Anha

Australia

dreaming of goddesses, sunflowers and italian sunshine.
yet, every heaven has a hell under its surface.

write free, SomeFormOfWriting
miss you, LackingASocialLife

Message from Writer

just reminding y'all posting weird political propaganda: i'm sapphic, i'm agnostic, i'm pro-choice and anti-gun. so basically everything you conservatives hate :)))

REMINDER:
___________
PUT ANNOUNCEMENTS (CONTESTS, ETC) IN THE COMMENTS OF MY NON-SERIOUS WRITING. I ALWAYS GET THE NOTIFICATION.

please only review if you have feedback.

lowercase is intentional.

-------------------
NOTICEBOARD
-------------------
hey! read my novella:
http://bit.ly/2QNullN

december highlights are live!
http://bit.ly/2RRDtGH

submissions for january wtw highlights are closed. join the mailing list!
http://bit.ly/2SAtLIZ

want to enter a user hosted contest?
https://bit.ly/2SxeFVV

need help?
https://bit.ly/2WfXKqY

Published Work

january 2020 wtw highlights

2020 has had a rough start, i won't be the first to admit that. amid international tensions, the appearance of a new epidemic, and climate catastrophes growing more and more severe, it's easy to forget that there are still little pieces of good being created. and this is where i'll remind you of the good parts of january. there are almost 100 pieces of exemplar writing this month, if you're not too busy, take your time to read each individual piece. savour the work of your peers. this is what keeps our community united.

(for easier navigation, control+f to check if a piece or writer you submitted appears in this list. if it's not, don't fret! there's plenty more gems to sort through while you're here. take your time.)

the contrarian's i. for what is hope
but Hope is the seamstress, the light, with her needle she weaves
a red string tied, a smile undying, the torn fabric...

one more poem about growing old (alone)

the towel is thin and damp across my shoulders,
held secure between
soft upper arms and blushing thighs
as my knees are pulled up to my chest,
the grooves and divets pulled taut as
i shuffle my heels in closer;
this is how we curled in the womb,
all soft-boned and
        pulsing
with another woman's blood;
if i closed my eyes and pretended it were silent
(though the tiles echo with
    my inadequacy,
        my dreams that are always too much
                                             or not enough)
perhaps then
                i would feel safe again.

[my knees] are splotched red and for a moment
i think they look like the skin of a wintermelon.
(what, with its dark patches, light lines;
i'd take a gourd in a heartbeat
to avoid a land cracked apart by drought.)

    i wonder
if i bit into the flesh and bone
if it would taste as sweet as my mortality feels;
the longer we age, the more pungent it grows ...

a two step program for all your (redacted) needs

this is how your days will pass;
uneventful, monotonous,
a funeral dirge to an uncertain end.
we prolong it in this simple two step program, assigned for your needs.
homegrown, if you will.
are you ready?
of course you aren’t.
none of us truly are.
and you’re waiting for the film to run to the end of its reel but no --
 
1. you wake.
this part is simple.
you are asleep and then you are not.
you have a moment alone in your consciousness before intruders knock on your door.
this is just enough time to contemplate whether you are tired or rested --
it’s always neither of the two.
waking to a new day is a sisyphean feat;
every step an agony,
waiting for the rock to roll back down
and your head to hit the pillow.
(of course it is not so easy for a tired person to sleep, but that will be addressed in later...

i need to be youthfully felt cos god i never felt young

and we are the oldest we’ve ever felt and / we’re the oldest we’ve ever been and / we’re running and / we’re running and / we’re running and / our breath comes short and / maybe you start to cry and / maybe i’m crying too because everything is spinning too fast past us and / we know that even though we’re running so hard we might not make it and / i think that i won’t make it and / i’ve thought it nearly my entirely life and / all it gave me was concern and disappointment from the hands that clothed me and / the words that guided me turn current trying to sweep me away (trying to sweep me off course, adrift even further; but would that be so bad?) / and we’re always too old and / we’re always too young and / no one ever says, you’re just the right age to start, and...

december 2019 wtw highlights

i can't believe december has come and gone. perhaps it was because of the giving spirit of christmas, but the community came in full force of talent and brilliant examples of writing this month. without further ado, let me bring your attention to the exceptional work and these writers in december.

(for easier navigation, control+f to check if a piece or writer you submitted appears in this list. if it's not, don't fret! there's plenty more gems to sort through while you're here. take your time.)

norah's 12/11/19
I must memorize my entire life, as I fall asleep, I agonize about the moments I will miss the most, I smell last year’s trip to Europe on the wind.

marsan's alma
It felt as if the story had been branded onto her mind, red-hot iron filling her skull with thick smoke once it touched her.

ghostlyglory's a night i remember
Esther grins and laughs, loud and vaguely...

millstone | #allin200

Your father comes home with a sixth stone. You all know what this means; your mother caresses her stomach tenderly. This one will be special, she says.

After dinner, you and your siblings sit on the roof. Things will be different again, your brother says, as if things aren’t constantly changing anyway.

You wear the millstones around your necks, trace the carvings with your thumbs, the ‘x’s your mother carved when each of you turned seven – the age old enough to understand that your family is different. Being born is a blood oath, an exchange of fates.

As you grew, you carved away at your millstone, as did your siblings. Your mother drew the rune for ‘protection’ since you were always getting yourself in trouble. Your brother’s is smattered with petals and sunlights shadows; your sister’s is an amalgamation of ink.

Your parents have theirs too; your mother’s smells like herbs and fresh water, your father’s, grass...

love is a cliche but it helps us to grow | #allin200

Before you know it, a tree has grown in your yard.

It’s your brother, of course. Jason’s been coming around more; you often see them standing in the yard and talking, sometimes laughing at what the other has said. You see your brother fingering his locket. You can almost hear his thoughts – is it him? is he the one?

(You hope for his sake he is. Jason is a good man.)

It isn’t Jason’s fault the tree has grown this tall. Not really. But they say plants can sense emotions. You wonder if love makes them grow stronger.

It’s budding – tightly furled neon pink – on the upper branches, you realise one day. You’re on the roof watching the sun set; the canopy has grown taller than your house.

You’ve lost interest in the coloured sky in the face of this giant, you climb it. you edge your way along thick bough, find footholds in the bark solid...

rich girl summer | #allin200

The day Amanda Summers moves into town, you load your father’s rifle, go out into the fields, and shoot locusts, as many as you can before the bullets run out. Never before have you suffered the detestable fate of living next door to a rich girl.

You complain about it to the Birds, and they acquiesce with varying degrees of empathy.

Amanda Summers’ father is Swift’s mother’s cousin. Swift says they came to your town to escape from a media scandal of some kind.

Magpie claims Amanda Summers boasts about owning a bicycle with tyres made of pearls. You all scoff. Crow says she’ll support Magpie if she chooses to steal the bike.

Magpie steals the bike the next Tuesday. Crow is her getaway driver.

Amanda Summers doesn’t even notice.

The problem with Amanda Summers living in your town is that she has money, but nowhere to spend it. They say she wanders aimlessly around town, just looking.

Amanda Summers...

twisted stool | #allin200

Jonathon Carpenter is leaving town today.

He says he needs to go. He doesn’t say why. He’s like your sister in that way.

Jonathon and your sister – they’re close, but she isn’t sad. Doesn’t cling to his arm like his mother does, begging him to stay, telling him that he has a life here, a duty to his family. (If you had a mother like that, you’d want to escape too.)

But he’s going. His younger sisters don’t care as much as they probably should. They’re aloof and old enough to reach the stove. Jonathon gives them a set of wooden chess pieces.

He gives your sister something too. It’s his last stop before Mr Glover drives him out of town on his way to the city. (You think Jonathon loves her. She insists it’s not like that.)

Jonathon brings a chair with him. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.

It only has two legs, but they twist around...

a sudden interruption | #allin200

You aren't surprised that your sister's book isn't whole. Everything comes with a price, your father likes to say. And if it doesn't look like there's a price to pay, it's because you're getting less than you expected. Less than you want.

"Who gave it back to you?" you ask, tasting the uneven paradox on your tongue. Back because it belongs in the book, but at the same time, it hadn't belonged to your sister prior to the universe deciding it was to be so.

"A man with no face," she says, scrawling a quick translation in red pen on Linear A for your benefit. You devour pieces of history as quickly as you can receive them, but these sentences are largely financial matters. You surrender the paper.

"Are you done choosing?" she asks, putting the papers back into her satchel.

You're about to say yes and reach for the gauntlet (at least it will look good in your hoard,...

souvenirs from a land less travelled | #allin200

Your sister went to the city. She didn't bring any money, but she didn't need it. The universe loves her; gifts abound.

Of course she bought souvenirs - while your mother occasionally goes to the city on business and your brother goes with his friends once a month (the bars in town are shit), your father hasn't seen skyscrapers for the last twenty years, and you? You've never left.

She bought your mother some gem dust and balms, a new lighter for your father, and a broad-rimmed gardening hat for your brother. You didn't ask for anything, so you get to pick from what's left.

Your sister empties her satchel onto the table and lets your eyes roam.

A gauntlet? Impressive but impractical. Another sword? ...Your one may be damaged but it has sentimental value. You ignore the silver casket and jewellery - you believe that if it is not tarnished, it is worthless.

Your eyes catch on three pieces...

scavenger | #allin200

You do not live in a desert town.

For as barren as the fields are, you are sure that some kind of prehistoric forest once stood. No, not prehistoric, your sister would say; she knows these things and you trust her word. Razed to make room for farmland back in the 1800's.

But while particles of dirt and dust stand substitute for sandy dunes, it would take a brave (or maniacally unhappy) person to admit that you live in a wasteland.

And now, it seems, your town has earned its first scavengers.

Lark spots the first.

A two-headed jackal, he says. Lark isn't exactly known for his bullshit, and you're used to strange things, but the rest aren't convinced. Shrike tells him to go get a picture. Raven asks him where the corpse it was eating was. (She goes but doesn't find the bones.) Finch thinks it might be extra hungry with two heads - hungry enough to eat bones and...

the Old World (and those who live beyond it)

The first time you see air, you try to swallow it.
 
It's light - far too light - and you choke a little. And you're choking and wheezing and it doesn't take you long to realise you're drowning, here, in a place that is too foreign for your senses, where your pores are screaming for saltwater again and you're screaming too but no bubbles are coming out. So you duck back beneath that invisible barrier and take deep breaths until it no longer feels like you're suffocating with hands wringing your chest from the inside out.
 
It's a pity, you think, as you stare through at the world above. Up there is so much brighter than down here. So much so that it hurts to look at it.
 
The light is different to the fluorescence of jellyfish or other deep-sea creatures. It's not there for decoration, not some biological adornment to attract mates or dissuade predators from...

a green thumb, a golden touch | #allin200

Ever since Mr Carver’s nephew came to town, your brother’s taken to gardening.

There must have been some blessed ancestor, for everything you three siblings attempt, you are always victorious. Your sister’s potion makes the grass grow greener than ever before, and in a seventh of the time. You lead your band of scavengers over the hills and discover a pantheon of statues, overgrown with vines and cracked visages.

And your brother, of course he is successful too.

Not even a month has gone by before he has cultivated the only rose of your town – gilded petals and a smooth stem void of thorns.

(You don’t have seeds for roses here. You would need to go to the city to buy them. But he never left.)

Of course there have been roses before. Red and white – the yellow and orange ones didn’t grow so well. But soon the flowers died and only the thorns grew in their place....

unthinkable | #allin200

Your sister’s been cooking a lot lately.

The recipes come from her book, of course. You can understand some of the words now. Simple words – ingredients. (You suppose the diagrams scribbled into the margins do help.) Words like basil and marble and salt.

Some words even your sister, with her silver eyes and all-knowing, can’t read. Ink blots consumed the words, dry parchment caving to an irrevocable hunger. It spreads, even now. Your sister copies what is left into the notes on her phone.

You ask her what she’s cooking for.

She says she doesn’t know. But she wants to.

You shouldn’t have expected anything different.

So you leave her to her concoctions on the kitchen counter. The strange smell follows you out the front door; it is cloying, but not sweet; neither putrid nor pleasant – you don’t know what you think of it. Or rather, you can’t think it at all. Whenever you try to form an...

secrets are the best currency | #allin200

Lillian Gates has a secret.

The thing about secrets is that once more than one person knows, you can’t control where that secret goes. Secrets are unwieldy, slimy creatures. They slip out of your mouth unless you have an iron nail stuck to the end of their tails. Hold the nail snug under your tongue – it’s the best way to keep a secret close, but not let it escape.

All of this to say, you know Lillian Gates’ secret. And she knows you know.

What she doesn’t know is that secrets are as good a currency as memories. Sometimes even better.

Lillian Gates works at the library at a computer with two screens, one for books people are borrowing and the other for books more likely to borrow people.

Lillian Gates is not a witch. Not at all, merely curious, she tells you. But still, she’s scared. Most good secrets inspire fear.

So she gives you extra...

promised, but not bound | #allin200

On their wedding night, your parents broke their rings. They hammered over the anvil at your uncle’s forge, dousing the bands in liquid fire and other extremities, until the rings were no longer circular. Instead of meeting in the middle, they separated, one raising higher and the other sweeping downwards.

It’s our way of saying we are not bound to each other eternally, mija, your mother told you when you were young and bouncing on her lap.

We are tied to each other here and now, but see how the ring rises upwards? When we are gone, I do not wish for your father to be bound to me. A ring symbolises eternity, mija. An inescapable fate. She smiles sadly. But we forged our own future together.

So one day, if your father dies before me, I am allowed to love another. If I die before him, I hope he will do the same. It does not do to...

funeral for a missing man | #allin200

When you buried Abuela, there were two caskets instead of one.

Her second husband had disappeared a long time ago, so her funeral was for him too.

You only met him once. (He smelled like dried fruit and malt whiskey. The palms of his hands were like sandpaper, but his veins felt like eels under his skin.)

Both caskets were open at the altar, and while the people lined up behind Abuela’s casket to say their piece to a memory of a living being (and others just wanted the morbid satisfaction of seeing death before them), you went to her husband’s first.

What to say to an empty casket? A memento to a life not lost but missing? In the end, you said nothing, but ran your eyes over the vertices of the casket like it was his body, and not just a hollow reminder.

Your siblings joined you. This was the man that gave your brother his first taste...

superstitions and the falsehoods of witchcraft | #allin200

If she were born on a full moon to the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, one might call your mother a witch. But since she was not, they smile and lend her sugar when she asks for it, invite her to social gatherings and charity events.

When she has guests over, no one questions why the house smells like sage, instead asking her if the holy properties of the herb are as they heard. (In short, they are. She’s never sent you to ask Mark to bless your house, unlike other nervous housewives. Jay’s mother is one of those types. Praying five times a day, you know how it is.)

And no one tells you to take off your necklace of spices on Samhain. You’re strange – they know that. Those you like are allowed to sniff the base of your neck and your collarbone; those two spots are the most fragrant. When you were little, you slept with...

now she speaks a different tongue | #allin200

When she was seven, your sister found a book. It is like your sword hilt, not in that it is golden in any way, but that when anyone tries to remember where it had come from, time and space seem to waver and distort. Memories are a resource your family trades in, but they are not always willing transactions.

Sometimes they are taken.

You suppose it’s probably for the best that you don’t know. It doesn’t bother you, the not knowing.

After all, you’ve grown up knowing barely anything that you didn’t learn for yourself.

Your sister was different. She had to know everything, every time the clock chimed, every time a bird fell. And the universe listened. She asked and it told her everything.

So it wasn’t surprising when she found a book no one could read and traced a word in the air that turned her eyes silver. (Your parents know all languages spoken yesterday, today, and tomorrow,...

And you would have walked upon shards of glass for the rest of your life just to see her smile again. | part six

Astrid does not recognise you, but you would be worried if you did. You present yourself to her all the same.

You bow low and kiss her hand – it smells like sea salt and something sweet, “Greetings, Lady Astrid. I thank you humbly for your invitation to such a prestigious event.”

She bids your rise. Her breeding is too thorough for her to tell you she has no idea who you are, so she smiles. But there is nothing in the eyes, nothing like when she smiles to Island-Seeker. The stark comparison comforts you a little; she will not smile like she does to you, even to a handsome man.

“Welcome, Sir Esca. I am glad you found the time to indulge my frivolous antics,” she says, she is still smiling, but you can tell by the lilt of her voice that she is pleased. Astrid likes sincerity and those of humble nature, not braggarts whose achievements are spilling...

the lion, the witch, and circus snacks | #allin200

On the day the circus came, Dove’s nose bled so profusely she was allowed to leave math class early.

This is of no consequence, but all that it means is that Dove saw the ringmaster before anyone else.

He was tall, Dove told you, tall and young. Some could call him handsome, I suppose. Dove has lost most of her love for men; she has five brothers, all older than she is.

She told you all this while rust-red sugar dissolved on her tongue; while her nose had stopped bleeding, her mouth had not. You wondered which taste was more potent on her tongue – the cloying cloud-like saccharine or the iron of all your childhood scrapes.

You wondered if you had kissed her whether you would have found out, or if she would have tasted like she always did, like cold water and mint, like orange juice and sweetened cream.

But you satisfied your palate with caramel popcorn...

everything and nothing, chaos and order; maybe just let it be | #kickoff

You met her at the beginning of everything, and ever since then, words have felt too big to fit in the empty space of your mouth. Too stifling - choking, almost.
 
But she just looks at you with nothing but her eyes - pity, satisfaction, disgust - a million emotions roiling within a single gaze.
 
And you can't stop the words spilling out.
 
She curls them around her index finger in the vacuum of space, and makes herself a cat's cradle. She frowns at it, turning the rigid structure over in her hands. "Why are you so full of nothing?"
 
You scoff. "How can I be nothing when I am everything? Look at what I've made, what I've done! You wouldn't have a mouth to speak if I hadn't given you one."
 
She purses her lips, and tosses the words she caught to the wind. "I will always have a voice, whether you gave me...

birds of a feather | #allin200

It seems that only the birds in your town share your band’s love for pilfering and poking around, so you name yourselves accordingly, with titles of the avian sort. Robin, Sparrow, Wren, Magpie. Swift, Dove, Pigeon, Shrike. Jay, Raven, Lark, Finch. Crow tags along sometimes, but she’s working three part time jobs these days. You can’t blame her. Unless you’re made of old money, it’s hard to stay afloat in this town.

The last time all of you were together, it was New Year’s Eve. Well technically, it was New Year’s already, but all of you agreed that you wouldn’t call it New Year until 3am.

So there you were, sitting in an abandoned bar on the outskirts of town and drinking holy water Mark blessed for you behind the altar. (He tells you to call him ‘Brother’, but you’ve known him since he smoked $5 cigarettes behind the school canteen so you don’t bother.)

And you’re passing around a...

half a blade, half a hero | #allin200

Like your brother, you too have something precious on you at all times.

When asked where it came from, you’ve said all sorts of things. In a dumpster. Outside someone’s house. Half buried beneath the iron-wrought gates surrounding the cemetery. The attic.
You go treasure hunting with your friends at least once a week, so maybe it’s true.

You certainly can’t remember.

But you finger the pommel, grip the hilt until your hand seizes from the tension; whatever it’s made of, it was dull and grey when you first found it, and you’ve rubbed it to a Vatican gold.

It’s like a metaphor, your sister says. You have to work hard to gain something that truly shines.

She would know. Her eyes are bright silver.

Mother is very proud of her.

But you’re not looking for praise just yet, so you lead your party of scavengers with half-a-sword pointed skyward and scour your town, with its cracked statues and...

locket | #allin200

Your brother has a locket that he wears night and day.

He's worn it for as long as you can remember:

  • When you fought as children, it was there for you to pull on. (The chain never broke.)
  • When he brought roses for Oma when she was in hospital, it dangled loosely beneath his shirt. (It hung there still when he placed more roses on her grave.)
  • When he picked you up from Robin’s party last Saturday, it was looped around his wrist like a rosary. (You wondered if he’d been whispering secret prayers to what was locked inside.)

He’s never tried to hide it. Never tried to hide what’s inside it.

A single lock of dark, curly hair.

Where did you find it? you asked him once.

But he just smiled and said, It found me. Now I just have to find its owner.

You might’ve thought his response strange, but there are stranger things. The unexplainable, the...

Star Wish

i wish i could wish like i did back then

we can't see the stars anymore.

not when it's clouded with smog and ash, and in the clear light of our phones there is more truth than hope.

mallacoota is so red, so dark, you can barely see the people hiding.

if you don't look, it's like they're not even there at all.


teen activists are discarded - they're just emotional, you know how young people get about things they're passionate about, it'll all blow over in a few months. the naysayers choose to ignore the panel of scientists standing behind them, sitting beside them - facts are inscrutable. and while ignorance and indifference are two different things, neither move our country forward.

dozens are dying, even just from the air alone. pray for rain, say the foreigners, not knowing that the land we stand on would rather commit climate suicide to rid herself of the pests that dredged through her skin and bones looking for more resources...

meat is meat; we eat dead things to celebrate that we are alive

today, i saw a duck on our kitchen tabletop.
(it was dead of course,
dead and plucked,
dead and pluck and cold.)
but for a moment
a single delirious thought
i saw a child.
mangled and twisted
nigh unrecognisable as human.
(though it never was [human];
my hallucination continues.)
the neck folds into its back,
stomach exposed,
a beached whale on the cutting board.
i know that i will soon hear the meat cleaver
being sharpened again
so as to cut effortlessly through thin bone.
(limbs much easier to break than our own.)
i saw the wings,
joints drawn in as if to keep itself warm
now that it was lacking feathers.
we will feast on its flesh tonight
and we will enjoy it
because these are the delicacies of my mother's blood.
but for an instant,
i didn't see a duck
(dead and plucked and cold).
for an instant, i saw a child.

hey! telling you something cool about myself | PouringOutTheSun's Q&A

  • This one has always been something that’s hounded me, so: glory or wisdom?
wisdom, for certain. i've never been one for the limelight and it doesn't bother me to think that i will fade into obscurity; i'd rather prefer the latter. knowing is so much better than fame.
  • If offered immortality, would you take it? To be more specific, this bored sort of deity has offered you complete immortality, and as such,  it’s all or nothing. Either you take it and stay around for all that silence (I actually do not know if it would be silent, please leave me be,) when the universe dies out or you go through your normal biological process. Before you think of all the existential dread that that prospect offers you, think of all the skills you could master, the people you could meet and how much of the universe you’d be able to explore. Think of what you could achieve. 
mortality please. they...

And you would have walked upon shards of glass for the rest of your life just to see her smile again. | part five

Melora kept her end of the bargain. Only magic could have made a man this perfect.

You touch the looking glass with one hand, and your face with the other. The skin of your new cheeks is soft beneath your touch, and you grin. Not even your plain clothes could diminish the fineness of your features. You are possibly the most perfect specimen of the male species in all the oceans.

The thought of most men (your dreaded husband and Erik included) leave you in a cold sweat, when you see your new face in Melora’s looking glass, you are quite taken. You can’t help it; you preen.

“I hope you are satisfied.” The red-haired witch seems paler now. This must have taken quite a bit out of her.

You kiss her briefly on the cheek. “It’s perfect. I’m perfect, thank you.” In this moment, you are electric. You are electric, and the world is a storm, urging you...

november 2019 wtw highlights

i have a bad habit of either: writing these lists as soon as the month begins OR bookmarking pieces in an "xyz month wtw highlights" folder on my laptop and then writing it over the course of three very strenuous days. it seems that this month has been the latter. (if you see me sporadically liking pieces all of a sudden in copious amounts with no apparent rhyme or reason, it's because i'm gearing up to write them compliments in these highlights. i hate to leave a like and then not comment, so this is my compensation.) this month's novel writing competition has delivered some truly promising narratives, and i'm only disappointed that the ones most deserving of the credit got no credit at all. so it'll be my job to fix that here.

also: since i've run into some free time, november 2019 will mark the inaugural month where pieces will have a specified reason for why i picked...

Six-Word Story

airport terminal

she holds a sign; he's home.

One-Liner

maybe Nietzsche was right after all

We live, we die; it is what occurs between those two inevitable points in human history that matters most.

Jericho | (2) #writerswords2

They call the forest Jericho.

It arrived just yesterday, and no one knows what to make of it, least of all Yael. Aaron, the smartest of the three children, had always told her that plants took a long time to grow, so she shouldn’t pull flowers out of the ground the way she did, even if Mother let Yael thread the stalks into her long, silver braid.

No one knows what to do about Jericho. So the days pass like this:

On the first day, the forest appears. They give it a name and let the children play where they can still see them.
 

On the second day, the men hold a meeting. By the time the sun sets, they decide they must send a party into Jericho. To explore the forest. To determine whether it has valuable resources, or if it is the product of malevolent intentions.
Yael’s father volunteers to go.

He tells their family over dinner....

the Lady of Belmont

From the moment you wake, you are at her beck and call. Not that you mind, of course. You’ve seen parts of her that you doubt any man will be privy to witnessing. She likes you because you are clever – clever enough to challenge her, yet clever enough to know when to be discreet in your ministrations. Her father died, for that you are sorry, but not at all sorry that he chose you to be by her side in her youth. Even now, when she is no longer fresh-faced and naïve, you stay with her. You live only to serve.

When it is dark and the moon is high above Belmont, she says you do not need to heed her. There are servants outside her door; they will do the mundane and trifling tasks she requires in these heavy hours.

But a mere hallway separates her quarters from yours. You will go if called.

Every so often, Belmont...

My December Competition 2019

burning, despite the expected cold

1995

It is long before our generation has a voice when it snows like the sky is falling. It is a blizzard, a true Northern Hemisphere December; a Christmas your grandparents talk about, the storybooks talk about. Powder whiter than cotton covering the fields as far as the eye can see. I am not yet born – just a mere embryo in the fabric of my mother’s womb – but I can imagine them like this:

My mother shivers in her China-girl skin; she is from Singapore, the equator’s sun-kissed port, and unused to this weather. My father – her soon-to-be husband – should be comfortable in this climate, but even he is longing for more temperate regions. My grandparents are one with the European winter, but even this deluge of sleet makes my grandmother shut the door extra tightly. My grandfather feeds some wood to the furnace in the cellar – even now he is not as strong as...

only when they ask you what you want do you realise you want everything and nothing at the same time

Ever since we were little, we've learned - we've been told; we learned what to say and what not to say when eyes were upon us, young and impressionable - that "I want" is a phrase too selfish to say out loud.
 
Nonetheless, I've wanted a lot of things, then and now.
 
(Time is fluid, warped, and memory isn't strong enough not to contort under that strain. So I'll reference what I wanted in two categories: childhood and relative adolescence.)
 
Childhood:

  • I wanted a trampoline. I wanted a trampoline because the kids next door had a trampoline and we all envy that which we cannot have.
  • I wanted a horse - despite the fact that I could not spell the word. Perhaps that was part of the fact that I wanted to be taller.
  • I wanted a pool. I wanted a pool because the Australian summer scorched my skin and my undeveloped brain thought it would be...

questions for you (yes you) because i'm suddenly curious about the world | #justoneq&a

after a little bit of thinking, i realised that i actually don't know much about the current users of wtw. there've been lots of users who've come and went throughout my time here, but to the new faces, welcome!

here's an opportunity for those of you young and old to introduce yourself through a set of questions cultivated by your truly. because as paperbird once said, "everyone loves to talk about themselves." (or something to that effect.)

also, a confession: a lot of these questions will be callbacks to other iconic questions of past q&a's.

some questions on philosophy. humour me.
 

  1. what was the weirdest thing you've ever done as a kid?
  2. which bird in the area that you live in do you hate the most?
  3. i know what google says, but do you consider turtles to be reptiles?
  4. what is the meaning of life? (courtesy of whoever did the #capitallettersq&a, i can't find them for the life of...

when we were magic | #whatislove?

when we were magic, once, they called us witches. it was back when mystical pools swapped bodies and souls, and stars detached themselves from the satin of the cosmos to visit their favourite mortals. too often they left disappointed, white shifts and halos losing some of their gleam. the stars loved the witches, but the witches worshipped the stars. they named their children Sirius or Orion, and swaddled their babes in cloth drawn from still moonlit lakes. the stars gave thanks with gifts of glittering eyes or nimble fingers, things that became of witches.

    those they called witches were resplendent – you could tell by the fall of their locks that they were blessed. most stars were selective by who they chose, but Delphinius was flighty and impulsive. he stole away beautiful women and men for his starlit debauchery, then left the former's bellies swelling with an unborn witch-child. his blessings were frivolous, he handed them out like treats from...

little witch, how fast you've grown | #thewitchinghour

wide brimmed hats
converge with heather

and lavender sprigs
fall onto dirt

and soil heaped
on tiles laid

generations ago; it
reflects the moon --

makes brown-soled
feet soft with

cold kisses and
a glowing white --

a cotton never
stained with the

bile of mortal
hatred, with the

scorn of man
who barks at

the cruelty of
your mother's craft --

witches never bear
sons, only daughters

with pomegranate stained
fingers, grasping for

the moon, dull
above her crib --

ribbons of stardust
dot her skin like

constellations in a new
universe; they spin

and spin and
spin and spin

and spin and
spin and spin

until she's as
grown as the

cattails in her
aunt's fields; golden

and rasping and
rough on bare

ankles; when your
daughter was small

and she laughed
still, she tore

a bundle of
dry, chittering stalks

and offered them
to you as

a gift; her
hands were nicked

and her hair
is tied with string...

YOU in threes

i will not give you my name, for wasn't it mine to keep?

i.
she writes reminders and little phrases on her hands and arms; it's a fickle way to give herself notes, but it feels more personal than writing them in books or on sticky wads of paper. little illustrations accompany scrawled dot points on her palms and wrists; she finishes a math test early and draws a field of daffodils on her left hand because she has nothing better to do. a horned demonic figure joins the flowers; they have no correlation, she's just following the strokes of her pen with no rhyme or reason, no goal or premise for drawing. the ink lasts for two days, but fades after the first.

she's one for appearances, and while she loathes to spend money, she is not immune to impulse buying when the mood strikes her. this would explain the dozens of untouched notebooks on her desk. but if a notebook is too pretty, she can't write in it. it's the pressure...

he who watches, he who guards | Round Three

they killed him before he was due.

it was their custom, you see. he was charged with the task of guardianship, watching over those who would someday lie here.

but for now, all he was guarding was an empty lot of land bordering on a decrepit chapel, barred from the rest of the town by a set of iron-wrought gates. the pointed tips glowed red at sunset, as if slick with unshed blood, and he'd watch the illusory rust every night.

always watching, always waiting.

not six months after his soul has been bound to this soil, a little girl joined him. she had dark hair, small teeth, and wore a white dress that never stained. she could see better when she was here than when she was outside, but she still kept a hand on his back to steady herself. her withered legs were no more, but she wasn't used to walking without them. she'd left her walking stick...

And you would have walked upon shards of glass for the rest of your life just to see her smile again. | part four

He is still livid, come morning, and the welts on your back and forearms sting as you serve him breakfast. You whisper apologies into his food, into the floor, into the coat you put on his shoulders. He has business to do today.

“If I find that you have been practicing your harlotry again in the mere hour that I am gone, even God will not save you,” he says, as a means of farewell.

You nod silently and close the door behind him.

You go to the willow tree and cry.

Hollow-Wood would comfort you, but she cannot. One that can only mirror emotion cannot sympathise when she herself is wracked with grief the same as yours. Your body, it aches, it burns, it stings in all the places you can touch, and all the more little places that you cannot, but feel burning all the same.

He has not beaten you for such a long time.

You wonder...

there's a dead bird near my bus stop and other than a few ruffled feathers, death has barely touched it.

Monday night. The streetlamps glow a sickly yellow; a jaundiced street. The corpse of a bird not oft seen around these parts lies on the pavement the same way it has laid there for the past three weeks. It isn't rotting like it should, nor do ants swarm its body like they do the refuse and join the black hordes for their midday feasts of shit and disease.

Perhaps the bird has been poisoned. Creatures of the underground and similarly detested things have an uncanny sense of knowing when something will cause them harm. Just as the cockroach flees from a gas chamber asphyxiation to live another day, perhaps the ants smell its toxic fumes, the cloying sweetness of its tainted blood, and leave it to an airborne decay.

All of this to say, death remains stagnant. No longer does there seem to be any earth for bodies to return to; no peaceful slipping into the yawning chasms of the...

blessing of the stag | # Fortuna Major

the Goddess of the Hunt lives in the forests, the hounds, the hunters, the earth. she lives in the thrum of pulses pounding through mortal flesh, the arhythmic pattern of fleeing feet and paws and hooves upon stone, the whistle of a fletcher's arrow as it meets its mark; prey is prey, and will always fall to those the gods have blessed.

you silence the braying stag with a quick slice to its throat - a quick prayer to the gods for allowing your aim to fly true - and tear your Tychon's arrow from its shoulder; its antlers are large and branched; you know your brother will be pleased with your kill. your mother named you Tachys, and it seems that Boreas blows gently on your back, for no other name has rung as true; no other - man or woman, boy or child - can match your pace when you hunt. you find footholds where others' sandals would...

And you would have walked upon shards of glass for the rest of your life just to see her smile again. | part three

And you wake grasping for her. There is nothing but empty sheets, but you still smell her salty tears on your shoulder.

The next day passes uneventful. Your husband is still cheerful from all the drink he had consumed the night before. He is a bumbling fool, and though he has not always treated you kindly, he could have treated you worse. You hope for his sake that he does not embarrass himself tonight.

The day drags on, eager to keep its light aloft. But all things must come to an end. And the sun comes screaming to the horizon, sunset red as a battlefield before dusk approaches, and then, twilight.

Your husband leaves for the ball, and you go to the willow tree. Melora and Hollow-Wood are waiting for you. They could not have seen what happened last night, but Melora seems to know. She is gentler tonight, less brash.

“You don’t have to do this again, if you...

And you would have walked upon shards of glass for the rest of your life just to see her smile again. | part one

You and your sisters come to the land every year, when the waters are cold and the fire of humans warm your newfound fingers with a crackling animosity. You feel the danger from the flames, but as you cannot burn mist, you run your hand through the flames just to make your sisters smile. You never stay long. Lady Astrid is your gracious host, and while you stay, none see you and your kin but those of similar female skin. But you know how it taxes her, so you kept your visits brief, and before the moon has waned again, you and your sisters shrug your coats onto your shoulders once more and wade into the ocean; home.

Lady Astrid watches from the beach, a flickering lantern raised until the trembling light disappears over the horizon. You never watch how long she holds the light aloft. Only that when you turn around, she is still waiting. She misses you while...

And you would have walked upon shards of glass for the rest of your life just to see her smile again. | part two | #CuriousWriters2019

And you’re racing towards the Svensgård villa, dressed in ocean spray, ready to see the girl you love. Even if it’s just one last time.

You try talking to the driver a few times, but the wind takes your breath away and he doesn’t answer. You don’t know if he can’t hear you or if he just isn’t able to speak. You remind yourself silently to tell Melora that it would be nice if some of her creations had some autonomy. You miss having people to talk to.

But the rhythm of the horses’ hooves on the flagstones chant, Astrid, Astrid, Astrid, Astrid, and your heart is chanting along with it. You’re tying your fingers into knots and nooses, and your palms sweat sea salt into your ocean-spray dress.

You’re going to see her.

It feels like an eternity and an instant before the carriage begins to slow. You peek out the window; there is a long line of...

shots fired, no bullets | #letsdothis

You guess it all started to go right when you recognized the handwriting.

You got promoted from rookie to detective a month ago, and Lieutenant Anderson’s been giving you paperwork from the other detective’s closed cases. You gritted your teeth and filled out paper after paper, endured the pats on the back by sausage-fingered senior officers for doing their work for them, if only for the chance to get your own case.

And thanks to Detective Reynold’s gastro, Anderson showed up to your desk on Tuesday and told you to get ready to hightail it to the scene of the crime.

“Is it a break in or something?” You’re making small talk in the cop car; it’s a bit of a drive from here to the scene. Good to butter up your superiors, you know?

Anderson’s face is stony. “A murder.”

You’re tempted to ask, “Most foul?” but keep your mouth shut. You don’t want to joke away your first...

Novel Writing Competition 2019

can you see the stars where you are?

Isla Silver is playing at the bar on 2nd Street, and no one is listening.

Well, nearly no one. When David Byrne isn’t staring blankly into his glass of whiskey, he’s staring blankly at her fingers, plucking and strumming to a long-practiced rhythm. Sometimes she thinks she’s forgotten, but her fingers always remember.

The soft buzz of conversation nearly drowns out the acoustic of her guitar; while some glance over occasionally, they always return to their drink and their one-night lovers; it seems alcohol eases every pain, dims the world to a point where it’s finally bearable.

Bars are safe havens while the wars bang on the walls outside.

She strums the last chord and the buzz of the bar continues without her. She supposes it doesn’t matter. Mr Pine will pay her $50 regardless. It’s a good deal for two hours of ambience. Or less – Mr Pine’s not always around to check whether she plays for one hundred...

october 2019 wtw highlights

this month has been a little difficult in regards to collating the monthly lists i decided to make; there were technical issues which caused its compilation and subsequent release to be delayed, but to everyone who's reading this, i'm glad you're seeing it. these highlights only matter because people like you read them and support your fellow writers. anyway, i'm getting too soppy; onto the writing!

_blue's the peculiar case of lily harthollow
I hate how, when the sunlight hits you just right, your body glows in a seemingly otherworldly light, and it makes you look like a goddess.

rainandsonder's "i thought it less like a lake and more like a moat"
autumn smells like minty toothpaste and 
far-off forest fires, smoked sunrises and 
popcorn between your teeth...


rainandsonder's and his notes so blue they shatter the sky and the sea
i am sure this it. this is when i crawl out of my body like the undead out of...

And you would have walked upon shards of glass for the rest of your life just to see her smile again. | part two | #CuriousWriters2019

And you’re racing towards the Svensgård villa, dressed in ocean spray, ready to see the girl you love. Even if it’s just one last time.

You try talking to the driver a few times, but the wind takes your breath away and he doesn’t answer. You don’t know if he can’t hear you or if he just isn’t able to speak. You remind yourself silently to tell Melora that it would be nice if some of her creations had some autonomy. You miss having people to talk to.

But the rhythm of the horses’ hooves on the flagstones chant, Astrid, Astrid, Astrid, Astrid, and your heart is chanting along with it. You’re tying your fingers into knots and nooses, and your palms sweat sea salt into your ocean-spray dress.
You’re going to see her.

It feels like an eternity and an instant before the carriage begins to slow. You peek out the window; there is a long line of...

the year Dean went missing | # Fortuna Major

“Are you working again?”

Dean invited you for coffee at the café on the corner of Villiers’ Street. They know you don’t drink coffee, so they’ll buy you a smoothie. You’ll say no, you can pay your own way, but Dean will insist.

It’s how things work between you two. It’s a dance, a rhythm that the two of you tap to absentmindedly every time you meet.

Dean’s been visiting less often lately.

“I’m always working.”

Dean is young today. It makes you kind of sad. Dean only wears the faces of those close to their time; this boy has a crooked smile and a tussle of dark hair, stubble struggling to grow on his smooth chin. Even though you know he won’t live to be able to shave, you told Dean, “You look good today.” They replied with a wry grin – the both of you know it’s a bad sign, means the world’s losing a little piece of...

the year Dean went missing | # Fortuna Major

“Are you working again?”

Dean invited you for coffee at the café on the corner of Villiers’ Street. They know you don’t drink coffee, so they’ll buy you a smoothie. You’ll say no, you can pay your own way, but Dean will insist.

It’s how things work between you two. It’s a dance, a rhythm that the two of you tap to absentmindedly every time you meet.

Dean’s been visiting less often lately.

“I’m always working.”

Dean is young today. It makes you kind of sad. Dean only wears the faces of those close to their time; this boy has a crooked smile and a tussle of dark hair, stubble struggling to grow on his smooth chin. Even though you know he won’t live to be able to shave, you told Dean, “You look good today.” He replied with a wry grin – the both of you know it’s a bad sign, means the world’s losing a little piece of...

Your View

ten pieces of insight from an ever-changing mind

  1. there are exceptions to every rule; don't generalise and risk making a fool of yourself. (i am guilty of this mistake.)
  2. we are minds inhabiting bodies, and minds can change as much as bodies can. it is important to realise the relationship you have between mind and body, before making a drastic move to "fix" either one or the other.
  3. not all people like, or need, labels, but for others, it grounds them and lets them feel a part of something. to take away someone's choice of label - what they think of themselves at that moment (it doesn't matter if it changes, we're always changing and labels are a way to find where we fit now) - should not be practiced by an individual or community.
  4. indigenous people deserve more national and global respect than they receive at the moment; symbolic handing back of the land is great and all, but if you're going to continue to call...

autumn has come | Round Two

a child asks his mother
one night, a question from
a crib grown too small --
it can’t contain him for
long, quick, find a new cage
so that he may not escape --
“mother, what is evil?”
 
mother answers with a
patience that has been
perfected from previous
questions so alike --
do not question the
rust-coloured stains
painting the walls next
to the child’s crib,
do not ask her about
the two small skulls
she smashed against the
alabaster --
and she answers,
“evil is Brother Winter,
whose stinging winds
strip away the leaves
of shivering trees buried
in his snow.”
 
the child is frowning now --
careful, little bud, do not
upset her --
“mother, if evil is simply
stripping leaves from trees,
then is Sister Autumn not
the source of their grief?”
 
mother’s smile is tight
against her plastic cheeks
and chalky teeth.
 
slow down, child, don’t
be too smart for your ...

And you would have walked upon shards of glass for the rest of your life just to see her smile again. | #tellastory

You and your sisters come to the land every year, when the waters are cold and the fire of humans warm your newfound fingers with a crackling animosity. You feel the danger from the flames, but as you cannot burn mist, you run your hand through the flames just to make your sisters smile. You never stay long. Lady Astrid is your gracious host, and while you stay, none see you and your kin but those of similar female skin. But you know how it taxes her, so you kept your visits brief, and before the moon has waned again, you and your sisters shrug your coats onto your shoulders once more and wade into the ocean; home.

Lady Astrid watches from the beach, a flickering lantern raised until the trembling light disappears over the horizon. You never watch how long she holds the light aloft. Only that when you turn around, she is still waiting. She misses you while...

How to survive All Hallow's Eve | Round One

It seems that even in the midst of a sweltering Australian summer, a cool breeze can still manage to find itself whistling through the leaves of the gumtree in your front yard. It’s All Hallow’s Eve, the day where good Christian parents let their kids out to continue the tradition of an old Pagan ritual. You smile, lock the cellar, ignore the growls within it – he can’t hurt you tonight – and put your pendulum in your pocket. You won’t need it tonight, but the weight of it is comforting.
 
Fill up the bowls of tooth decay and rotting gums; they love it too much to keep their stubby fingers away. They fist through the saccharine, and emerge the next morning with cotton mouth and sticky fingers stained red.
 
You wear black tonight, cast a shadow of irony on your Puritan oppressors from the thrill of the evening.
 
The creak on the sixteenth stair is moaning...

250 followers, as i live and breathe

i don't think i'm capable of writing some kind of introspective speech like rainandsonder regarding this topic, so i'll attempt to keep it brief.

i'm sure everyone's had to have said this once they reach a milestone, but honestly, i never thought i'd make it this far. the fact that there are two hundred and fifty people who like my writing enough to follow me. it'd be a lie to say that i hadn't been seeing the numbers rack up over time, but still, this is unbelievable. when i joined wtw back in the (fairly recent?) winter of 2018 all i wanted was to get the badge for 30 followers. it seems like a lifetime since then, and so much has changed. but one thing that hasn't changed is my love for writing and the lovely people who support my work. (thank you so so much!!)

i'm taking a page from paperbird's book to thank those who helped me most...

september 2019 wtw highlights

three's my lucky number, so it's no wonder that on my third instalment of monthly wtw highlights, there have been some truly incredible pieces written by my peers and yours. without any further ado, let's get to it!

bluebookbadger's a dreamer
Today, we have run out of rooms. There are no more beds. Illuminating the “No” on the vacancy sign, I return to my pacing of the halls, listening to the quiet breathing of the satisfied customers who dream. We cannot guarantee the dreams that will be had, only that we will not wake the sleeper. They sign the dotted line, and we put them to rest.
    bluebookbadger's had a few gems during the time which i've been on this site, and this piece is no exception. with an urban gothic vibe, the uncertainty of a sinister nature being overshadowed by neon lights and uniforms that are always crisp, 'a dreamer' has an incredible premise and an...

"important" questions to fill the void where real writing ought to be

it's been a while since i did a q&a (i've deleted most of the old ones i did because i've changed a lot and most of those answers don't apply anymore) so let's get right into it.

  1. What do you want to be called?
    • anha. i have a pretty simple username so it shouldn't be hard to address me as such.
  2. Where are you from?
    • australia. says right there next to the username.
  3. What's your favorite colour?
    • blue.
  4. Who's your favorite book character?
    • ferius parfax from sebastien de castell's spellslinger series.
  5. Who is/are your favorite author(s)?
    • neil gaiman, and the aforementioned sebastien de castell.
  6. What do you mainly like to write?
    • wlw romances, fantasies, magical realism, metaphors, metaphors, similes, metaphors.
  7. Why do you write?
    • do i need a reason? i write to write. (and also to enter contests.)
  8. What element do you feel the strongest in you?
    • i'm guessing this means fire, earth, water, air kinda thing. probably fire.
  9. ...

0-9

endless, we count on

0 is the time and space between sleeping and waking. it is lying half-conscious on an air mattress in a place far away; it is foreign, to be sure, but not necessarily across the ocean from home; it is staring at red numbers blinking 3:46 until the image burns into your retinas and you dream of red stars and planets accreting and crumbling again faster than you can perceive.

1 is the singularity of life; that it must end. some argue that taxes are also a constant thread in the weft of humanity, but our ancestors scoff. we cannot remember a time before capitalism was our prevalent master. we walk the road towards our destination, ever so often faltering, but the path was meant for us to falter. did we really ever have a choice? the gods sigh, no.

2 is the choice between a duality. up or down. left or right. north or south. east or west. black...

​maybe hell is closer than we think | #experience #fire,fire

After Poppa left, Momma took to smoking.

She said it calmed her nerves, helped her forget about him. But she’d scream in the garden when she thought no one was watching, smash terracotta pots across the walls so that the white plaster flaked like exfoliated skin. Momma says that fancy, civilised ladies exfoliate. Seemed like an awfully complicated word to me when she tried to explain it, so I don’t think I wanna be a fancy lady like Momma. She tried to take me to a lady in town to exfoliate once for my birthday, but the blades and rocks against my skin felt grating and wrong.

Country girls need good hard heels to run through the fields. So that no burrs or spikes hurt us, you see. I'd much rather be a country girl than a fancy lady like Momma, but Momma says I’ll grow out of it. Like Poppa’s old straw hat that he gave me when I...

wolves on the wind

Long, long ago, in lands mirroring, yet, not our own, there was a village named Khonstant. Khonstant was renowned among travellers for their long and harsh winters, and the banshees that stole women, men, and children alike if they found them alone in the storm.

Khonstant was small, but had no shortage of funds for when it came to their faith. The marble-hewn mosque that lay to the outskirts of the village was a testament of their devotion, as were the adorned vestments worn by the priests and acolytes, renowned for being forbidden to touch. But Miera had touched them. Many times.

Her father would often find her stroking his silken garments when he returned from the temple just shy of twilight, but unlike the other priests, he would not punish her. He would just hold her on his lap and stroke her hair and tell her over and over how much he loved her. She would fall asleep to...

creatures of the desert | #hybrid

my father likes to say that my grandfather loved herabesq from the day he came screaming into the world til the day he died.

i can tell you that this statement is incorrect in two parts. my grandfather was a gentle man; quiet, reserved, generally amiable to whatever elements pushed or pulled him in their direction. when i was young, i'd sit by his chair and listen to his stories. the chair was old and soft and smelled like coming home. he told me why he loved herabesq, why he didn't fear them like his mother taught him to.

my grandfather was gentle and quiet, but he was not a fool. all children are born without prejudice; they are born with love for all the world. my grandfather was able to preserve his love for the world throughout his childhood. i'd asked him, "baba, how can you love so much when all the world's against you?" and he'd smiled his...

creatures of the desert | #hybrid

my father likes to say that my grandfather loved herabesq from the day he came screaming into the world til the day he died.

i can tell you that this statement is incorrect in two parts. my grandfather was a gentle man; quiet, reserved, generally amiable to whatever elements pushed or pulled him in their direction. when i was young, i'd sit by his chair and listen to his stories. the chair was old and soft and smelled like coming home. he told me why he loved herabesq, why he didn't fear them like his mother taught him to.

my grandfather was gentle and quiet, but he was not a fool. all children are born without prejudice; they are born with love for all the world. my grandfather was able to preserve his love for the world throughout his childhood. i'd asked him, "baba, how can you love so much when all the world's against you?" and he'd smiled his...

please do not stand on ceremony

“Aiyah! Your eyes are so small. They have procedures for that, you know.”

Sarah has heard these comments from Auntie Joyce many times before. Auntie thinks she is the paragon of Chinese beauty, and insists the daughters of her ugly sister must do the same.

Sarah takes the red packet from her aunt’s manicured hands. The fake nails are red as the blood on a predator’s claws; red as the hong bao Sarah holds. Auntie Joyce smiles; the tiger’s perfect white teeth.

“I’m only in high school, Yi Ma,” Sarah says. “And Mama will never pay for it.” And it’s true. Caroline Yang is a frugal woman, not one to splurge on plastic surgery. Even if she wasn’t, Sarah would have begged her not to do it.

“Aiyah, you know I can take you for your birthday if you like.”

“No thank you, Yi Ma. I have exams.”

Auntie Joyce drifts off to sink her claws into a different victim,...

please do not stand on ceremony

“Aiyah! Your eyes are so small. They have procedures for that, you know.”

Sarah has heard these comments from Auntie Joyce many times before. Auntie thinks she is the paragon of Chinese beauty, and insists the daughters of her ugly sister must do the same.

Sarah takes the red packed from her aunt’s manicured hands. The fake nails are red as the blood on a predator’s claws; red as the hong bao Sarah holds. Auntie Joyce smiles; the tiger’s perfect white teeth.

“I’m only in high school, Yi Ma,” Sarah says. “And Mama will never pay for it.” And it’s true. Caroline Yang is a frugal woman, not one to splurge on plastic surgery. Even if she wasn’t, Sarah would have begged her not to do it.

“Aiyah, you know I can take you for your birthday if you like.”

“No thank you, Yi Ma. I have exams.”

Auntie Joyce drifts off to sink her claws into a different victim,...

Compose a 200 word creative response that utilises the metaphor of a door.

You are standing in front of a door. You are standing in front of a door and it is white. You are standing in front of a door and it is white and you’re not quite sure how you got there.

You are standing in front of a white door, at the end of a long white hall. The end disappears into obscurity; you must have walked for a long time. Or maybe you will have to walk. You don’t know, you only just got here.

A message rings out through terminal loudspeakers you did not see, yet are now there. “Ladies, gentlemen and neuter. The flight for St Paul’s is now boarding. Please proceed to gate one.”

You stare down the hall. There are no arrows pointing you to gate one.

“Behind you, sir,” the loudspeaker says. It sounds like a long-suffering chauffer or the concierge for a frequently trafficked luxury hotel. Amazing what computers can do these days,...

Compose a 200 word creative response that utilises the metaphor of a door.

You are standing in front of a door. You are standing in front of a door and it is white. You are standing in front of a door and it is white and you’re not quite sure how you got there.

You are standing in front of a white door, at the end of a long white hall. The end disappears into obscurity; you must have walked for a long time. Or maybe you will have to walk. You don’t know, you only just got here.

A message rings out through terminal loudspeakers you did not see, yet are now there. “Ladies, gentlemen and neuter. The flight for St Paul’s is now boarding. Please proceed to gate one.”
You stare down the hall. There are no arrows pointing you to gate one.

“Behind you, sir,” the loudspeaker says. It sounds like a long-suffering chauffer or the concierge for a frequently trafficked luxury hotel. Amazing what computers can do these days,...

the honest hero; a burning tragedy | #HomoSapiensStory

out of ashes arose a hero.

you sneer almost reflexively. the innocence, the naivety of a line that is so ignorant it belongs in a bard's song.

mothers in slums use it as a line to comfort their impoverished kin; "see? even people in hardship can overcome their bearings." their children play at being heroes for a day, with wooden sticks for swords and gap-toothed grins.

but they scuttle away from you in fear when you walk among them; they do not like to gaze upon hardship. they want to see the polished steel, not the tarnished metal that came before. sometimes you cannot remove all of its rough edges.

there is black under your fingernails and the taste of soot in your mouth. perhaps if you ate something, the taste would go away, says the stupid princess. (she reminds you that she is the duke's daughter, but you see no difference between her pearly white teeth and...

Human Connections Essay Competition 2019

assimilation; a tragedy in six parts

I was three when I gained the skill of my mother’s native tongue.

    My adolescent mind has lost the memory of those moments to cram my mind with formulae and history of people not my own, but my mother showed me a video of a smiling cherub struggling to navigate the terrain of our deck, legs splayed either side of her brightly-coloured vehicle. It was little more than a child’s luggage with wheels, but the words streamed out of my three-year-old mouth as if I thought myself in a position of luxury.

    “That’s you,” my mother told me, as if I hadn’t seen that smooth black hair in all the family photos hanging around our house. And again, I am reminded of how much I have lost.

    I was five when I played with the children in the village my father once called home.

    There was a girl who was the same age as I was; she knocked at my...

Human Connections Essay Competition 2019

assimilation; a tragedy in six parts

I was three when I gained the skill of my mother’s native tongue.

    My adolescent mind has lost the memory of those moments to cram my mind with formulae and history of people not my own, but my mother showed me a video of a smiling cherub struggling to navigate the terrain of our deck, legs splayed either side of her brightly-coloured vehicle. It was little more than a child’s luggage with wheels, but the words streamed out of my three-year-old mouth as if I thought myself in a position of luxury.

    “That’s you,” my mother told me, as if I hadn’t seen that smooth black hair in all the family photos hanging around our house. And again, I am reminded of how much I have lost.

    I was five when I played with the children in the village my father once called home.

    There was a girl who was the same age as I was; she knocked at my...

Living People

she was born of an olive tree

i.             she was born of an olive tree. like a bud that unfurls come spring, she emerged from a gnarled trunk, its leaves crowning her hair as if she was a Pythian prince, swift as messenger Hermes. she wears her birthright on her wrists; petrified wood engraved with glyphs that proclaim her origin. no one can read it, not even she. and though she remembers it not, her eyes blazed with the might of Apollo as she chanted like a sibyl and the bracelets carved themselves from her otherworldly stare.

ii.            she remembers the circumstances of her birth, like all deities, their minds do not grow or wither as humans' do. the childhood of those with god-blood is so short, they wait not for years just to see their limbs lengthen and jaws sharpen with age. within hours, sometime between Helios' ascendance and Selene's departure, she had grown into herself. she has not yet learned the mortal trick of...

A Signature Capability

dante's inferno

he flourished on a signature capability, the ease of his smile and the twinkle in his eye.

his abuela would pinch his cheeks when he came to visit, strong arms cradling peaches from the gringo's tree; he'd never tell her where he had plucked them, but she savoured the flavour with such open ecstasy that he never considered it a crime. besides, the gringo was old, and the peach tree was hidden from view. how it produced fruit, he had no idea; he barely saw the man leave the house, and never saw him watering the tree however often he peered through his second-story shutters, open newspaper lying abandoned on the fading wooden table.

his nephew delivered the newspaper to his doorstep every day, with his dirt-encrusted fingernails and gap-toothed grin. his eyes creased like a summer breeze, and as soon as he was given his coin and orange juice, he would hop back on his rusting bicycle to continue...

Love in Words

a love letter to all the lives we've lived | #whatislove

dearest,
    it's been the longest time, and yet, we still have the rest of our lives left. it seems unthinkable that we have so much time to be together, that our stars didn't just collide by accident and continue on their fated path across the cosmos. you loved me before i loved you (well, i suppose i loved you in the first message i sent, but that was a very different type of love.) and looking back, i was a fool to have not seen it sooner. i didn't want to hope that someone as lovely as you could possibly find something worth living in me; i'd never experienced heartbreak and i hadn't planned on pinning such negative emotions to your sunflower smile. "but she had eyes, and she chose me," says the tragic hero. "one that loved not wisely, but too well." and such wisdom has long left me in lieu of utter adoration.

we've spoken late...

august 2019 wtw highlights

seeing as this month had the occurrence of the flash fiction competition, there were a multitude of pieces that lent themselves to being included in this list. see if you can pick one out that you remember!

rainandsonder's fragments of flashes of vignettes
october: reject your circadian rhythm; never let the elongated nights pull you down. don't drown don't drown. chase the remnants of sunlight like a hound on a trail that never ends.

rainandsonder's like the dark has opened its maw and now i can see its teeth
and there, the moon like the last sliver of light through the keyhole before the dark opens its great maw and begins to feast

oscar_locke's garden of the hesperides
atrophied, an apple tree 
her roots are rowan, are red 
the starving of soil 
to keep giving in end


oscar_locke's an exorcism
quiet as god 
like the psalm on your palms


ghostlyglory's this night
like a church...

sixth year, scones, and slinging spells | #justalittlemagic

It’s sixth year and that means having to make up your own spell. Dean argues that it’s the worst part about Watford, but I think he must have forgotten about the merwolves. He shouldn’t have – he’s the one that fell in the moat in third year after trying to float like a butterfly out the window of Mummer’s House. Janelle nearly offed herself trying to save him. She’s the most proficient mage in our year, her grandmother was headmistress back in the 60’s and she’s mighty proud about it. Not the boasting type though. Just casts some like it hot on our scones for us. Sometimes I think we’re her only friends after Reid moved to America.

    “Will?”

    I can only hum in response; the scones at Watford are the best in the world, and my gran can’t make them the way Cook Pritchard can. Cecelia says she reckons it’s magic, and gran just scoffs. Obviously.

    “What’d you...

Everyday Magic

the children's smoke shapes

they stood around the fire and fed locks of their hair to the flames. the logs were cedar and bergamot; how they'd fallen to the damp leaf litter of a pine forest was a mystery. but they were children, and children didn't question miracles. that was why miracles loved children.

    they stood around the fire, and as their hair burned on the wood, they spoke. not to each other, not to the fire, not to the trees, not to the air. words left their mouths as if coaxed by a silken touch on their vocal chords; a powerful conductor made music with their voices. they spoke their names, their wishes, their fears, but in that moment they were not afraid. the fire would protect them. they had given it a sacrifice.

    it was an ineffable feeling of suburban tribalism; children with scratched knees and dirt on their hands and knees, with twigs in their hair forming makeshift crowns, to welcome...

Everyday Magic

the children's smoke shapes

they stood around the fire and fed locks of their hair to the flames. the logs were cedar and bergamot; how they'd fallen to the damp leaf litter of a pine forest. but they were children, and children didn't question miracles. and that was why miracles loved children.

    they stood around the fire, and as their hair burned on the wood, they spoke. not to each other, not to the fire, not to the trees, not to the air. words left their mouths as if coaxed by a silked touch on their vocal chords; a powerful conductor made music with their voices. they spoke their names, their wishes, their fears, but in that moment they were not afraid. the fire would protect them. they had given it a sacrifice.

    it was an ineffable feeling of suburban tribalism; children with scratched knees and dirt on their hands and knees, with twigs in their hair makeshift crowns, to welcome the spirits who...

Sijo

questions for the universe

i look with at the universe with no eyes; it winks back; cat pupil crescents.
brass telescopes extend the astrologer's vision; they search
but they do not know what they search for. perhaps we are alone.

pomegranate seeds. | #raincontest

an apple a day keeps the doctor
away, the old children’s rhyme
recalls. but you can’t afford apples
and the doctor wears a mask that
smells of herbs and flowers and death.
an apple a day keeps the doctor away,
you pray underneath your breath.
but the doctor is coming, there’s
nowhere to hide, how long before
you realise the doctor is not to be
feared? you never should have touched
those apples.
 
Adam, Adam, don’t listen to her,
all women are liars, you grieve.
Adam, Adam, don’t get lost in her eyes;
the Eve of the end, the darkest Eve.
 
it was never an apple,
they got that part wrong
for there is much more to sin
than a crunch and sweet nectar.
 
they bit the snow-white core,
you say, it’s symbolic of their
willingness to sacrifice their
purity and holiness. God laughs
with us at your foolishness,
why would sin be such a hue ...

i think i met god on a bench at st james' park

You’re dreaming; you’re sure of it. There’s no other explanation for why you would be sitting on an old wooden bench in St James’ Park. You haven’t been here in decades, not since Mama packed your bags and declared you were moving to Edinburgh. There’s dew on the grass, and mist in the air. People walk past, but they don’t say anything, and unless you look them in the eye, you can’t see their faces. They walk too fast for you to remember what they look like before they turn away. It’s a blurry fantasy; a dream like all the others, some sick scenario your half-lucid mind comes up with to rationalise the world. Mama told you that on a frosty Sunday morning not unlike this one.

    There’s a lady sitting next to you covered in scarves from head to toe. You can barely see her eyes; black as pitch, hard as coal; through the wool and cotton and...

nine is the holiest number

you are my muse, you tell her; you are my muse, you whisper into her chestnut hair after she's fallen asleep; you are my muse, you declare under her iron-wrought balcony, like a hapless romeo with flowers in her hair and the sun in her eyes.

    she never did like the old things like you did. she was far too modern for that. but her loud exclamations at protests echoed calliope's cries of achilles! achilles! she tells you the contributing factors of the cold war, and the understanding of clio shines through her flickering eyes. erato and euterpe link hands when you sing; you were never one for poetry, but always the type of girl to serenade. you held her hand tight at her dad's funeral, praying silently that melpomene would leave her tears after you buried him. she recites the law like gospel; she knows her rights, and knows yours too. polyhymnia would be proud of...

little notebook story from a forgotten night in june

compliments fell from her tongue as easily as fish travelled down a waterfall. but alas, he was the stone beneath the torrent who would take centuries to wear away. so stagnant and firmly set in his dispositions was he, that her words simply trickled past his unhearing ears. soon, she vowed, temptations rushing rapid through her mind, she would break him. broken, he would move where she bid her flowing words to carry him – sediment set adrift over the course of time. but alas, she had set her sights on a rock too large to weather. he was a continent. and by every grain she thought she had chipped away, two more washed ashore on his banks. she would move on. it was inevitable. she could not say in the same play for so long. and besides, fish who only ate mud would never be tasty.

Living People

she was born of an olive tree

i.             she was born of an olive tree. like a bud that unfurls come spring, she emerged from a gnarled trunk, its leaves crowning her hair as if she was a Pythian prince, swift as messenger Hermes. she wears her birthright on her wrists; petrified wood engraved with glyphs that proclaim her origin. no one can read it, not even she. and though she remembers it not, her eyes blazed with the might of Apollo as she chanted like a sibyl and the bracelets carved themselves from her otherworldly stare.

ii.            she remembers the circumstances of her birth, like all deities, their minds do not grow or wither as humans' do. the childhood of those with god-blood is so short, they wait not for years just to see their limbs lengthen and jaws sharpen with age. within hours, sometime between Helios' ascendance and Selene's departure, she had grown into herself. she has not yet learned the mortal trick of...

breathe out, the worst has passed | #r&scontest

2015

    peter breathes out into the cold morning air, and after i watch his breath disappear, i do the same, keeping my eyes on the mist dissolving in the aether until all i can see is the dim-lit park across from the bus stop. peter and i used to play there when we were kids. but the council took away the swings and replaced the grass with artificial turf, hammering a chunky plastic monstrosity in its place. a playground for toddlers. even mcdonald’s had a better set up.

    i try breathing through my scarf, but the wool-cotton blend just gets warm, and the mist disappears again. that something as thoughtless as breath could become somewhat tangible… i thought it was magical. peter made fun of me for it, but there were worse things to find interests in. my mum still has photos of his halloween costume from 2007. peter takes his hands out of his pockets and begins to breathe...

Once the World Was...

in the grand scheme of things; ineffable

once the World was quiet.
but She was lonely, and the
silence frightened Her rather
than gave Her the comfort
of solitude, even though
rationally, the World knew
She was alone in the void
of nothing. not black, not
white. no glow-in-the-dark
stars on Her walls. those were
Her handiwork. She breathed
life into little lumps of clay;
an abandoned science project
made useful under the desk
lamp She named Sun. She
set them standing on Her
work table, weaved Solace
into the cardboard sky, Passion
into their sugar-dusted lips,
Happiness into their fragile
heads and hearts She
covered up with terracotta
to keep them safe. a broken
heart so early in this little
creation of Hers would not
do, She decided. all things
will break in time, but they
were newborns in a land full
of dust and dirt. over time,
Her figures made new things,
and She applauded like an
excited child. Time and
Space, Mine and Yours, they
made...

Child Narrator

the longest game of hide-and-seek

Alina Dunn was a very special child. Her mother always told her so, so there was no reason for her not to believe it. Even the teachers at school said she was special, but they didn't tell her like her mother did. They whispered it to each other behind clipboards with pity in their eyes and sympathies spilling from their lips. They'd keep her back after all the kids had gone to lunch and bend down to be level with her eyes. Alina supposed they did it to make her feel bigger. She didn't like that much. It didn't make her feel bigger at all. If there's anything I can do to help, they simpered, but Alina always smiled and said, "no thank you!" And it was true. Alina didn't need help. She was special.

    When Alina got home, she did the same thing she did every day - ran to the kitchen cupboard beneath the stove and sat...

the Fates have made their choice; you are merely a messenger

Klymene was five when she received her first vision, and fourteen when she entered Helen’s servitude. Everyone knew that those with talent or arrogance fascinated the gods, but Klymene's mother was a perfectly ordinary and sensible woman; small scars etched into her calloused palms like the splitting bark of a tree from the labour of scores past. Her name was Phaedra, and her lineage had a history of prophecy.

    Neither Phaedra nor her mother, nor her grandmother or great-grandmother were prophets, (as sensible as she was, she supposed the gift would dilute if it was passed through every generation) but Phaedra’s great-great-grandmother had been one of the most highly sought after sybilla of her lifetime. Phaedra kept a small wooden box hidden in the loose stonework of her village home, and though she could not read or write, she had been told it held the prophecies of old; the ones that came true. Phaedra could not read or write, but made...

αγάπη | #caput draconis

they meet at the shrine; gold-skin and silver-hair shining under the midnight moon - she shivers with anticipation. entwining marble hands, the goddess kisses her knuckles with a tenderness mortals lost long ago, before the age of fire and discovery; Prometheus' sacrifice. ελπίδα, her mind whispers, as the goddess runs her holy fingers through her hair and she sighs, ελπίδα ότι αυτό μπορεί να διαρκέσει.  the goddess kisses her with petal-soft lips, and she thinks, μια μεράκι όπως η φωτιά. she's lost, and she knows αγάπη has taken hold; but the love of a girl can never outlast the wiles of a goddess.

Flash Fiction Competition 2019

why must beauty come from blood? | #tellastory

aphrodite trips over her own divine feet, tumbling to the consecrated earth. she rushes through the brambles, the ichor of her blood staining her holy limbs. pain is foreign to the gods as death; they are the embodiment of everlasting life - then are they not dead from birth? she falls upon his mauled corpse, even apollo's caduceus could not heal such a wound. she curses the boar that killed her lover, but artemis' hounds have already fallen upon it. her tears fall upon the torn brambles; a red rose blooms.

soldiers fall and poppies rise on the heath.

i feel like an old god walking among new men.

"i feel like an old god walking among new men."

is this not how all who fade from relevance feel? those worn heartstrings, expecting a grand welcome upon their return; but those who worshipped them have returned to the earth, to dust and ashes, and their children forget the bedtime stories of old. even attention in itself is a mortal fallibility; they all turn their heads towards the sun, but when the light goes out, they desperately seek another source to fuel their self-righteous desires. you can't decide whether those who live in the dark are the wisest or the ones to pity most.

"but do they not think themselves new gods who walk among old men?"

capitalism is a wine left to air over the centuries, and it ferments, the ardour of her aroma pulling men in by their polished cufflinks and pressed ties; they do not resist the lure of power, and fall into her lap with a...

july 2019 wtw highlights

oscar_locke's jaw song
the wounds 
wet with whispers 
as your face 
shadows dawn.


oscar_locke's carroll poem 1
dreaming 
of winds wynrun, deathly 
we are watchers; vargolt gods 
nearing 
mountain top


oscar_locke's persephone
the trees hold us there 
your skin bare on black oak 
every fir outstretched  
cavernous, bridal 
the conifers call out  
as birds fill the air, 
forked tails, tongued 
flute songs and love 
get lost in the woods 
just to hear you again


oscar_locke's sontag poem
like christ, a cornfield, a phoenix, bonfires, the taste of rye...
    oscar's signature style - profound, lyrical and resonating with something more than human - is acknowledged on write the world, but not as much as it should be - despite having over a hundred followers, the likes and comments he receives on his pieces doesn't reflect this number at all.

agustdv's refugee
the mosques wail incomprehensibly; 
god is detached, god is being called 
to, god...

july 2019 wtw highlights

oscar_locke's jaw song
the wounds 
wet with whispers 
as your face 
shadows dawn.


oscar_locke's carroll poem 1
dreaming 
of winds wynrun, deathly 
we are watchers; vargolt gods 
nearing 
mountain top


oscar_locke's persephone
the trees hold us there 
your skin bare on black oak 
every fir outstretched  
cavernous, bridal 
the conifers call out  
as birds fill the air, 
forked tails, tongued 
flute songs and love 
get lost in the woods 
just to hear you again


oscar_locke's sontag poem
like christ, a cornfield, a phoenix, bonfires, the taste of rye...
    oscar's signature style - profound, lyrical and resonating with something more than human - is acknowledged on write the world, but not as much as it should be - despite having over a hundred followers, the likes and comments he receives on his pieces doesn't reflect this number at all.

agustdv's refugee
the mosques wail incomprehensibly; 
god is detached, god is being called 
to, god oh god, 
save us, save...

Five Endings

our heroes can finally rest

and they thought, in this moment, they had nothing left to be but themselves.

and as he looked over the precipice of the future, for the first time since his childhood, he truly smiled.

and the honest laughter that rose from the courtyard beneath his balcony joined hands with the stars that emerged from the dying flame of the sky, and as his sister called for him to join them, he laughed too, and ran to join the dance.

and perhaps, one day, with children crowded around his wicker chair, he would tell the story again; the story of how he and his sister managed to save the world.

"mother would be proud of you."
she reached for his hand. "of us."
 

Living People

she was born of an olive tree

i.             she was born of an olive tree. like a bud that unfurls come spring, she emerged from a gnarled trunk, its leaves crowning her hair as if she was a Pythian prince, swift as messenger Hermes. she wears her birthright on her wrists; petrified wood engraved with glyphs that proclaim her origin. no one can read it, not even she. and though she remembers it not, her eyes blazed with the might of Apollo as she chanted like a sibyl and the bracelets carved themselves from her otherworldly stare.

ii.            she remembers the circumstances of her birth, like all deities, their minds do not grow or wither as humans' do. the childhood of those with god-blood is so short, they wait not for years just to see their limbs lengthen and jaws sharpen with age. within hours, sometimes between Helios' ascendance and Selene's departure, she had grown into herself. she has not yet learned the mortal trick of...

Refuge

refuge: a place out of time

the gate stands looming before you.

"by their sacrifice, our home is made safe"

naturally, you are curious, but wave it off as some historical tribute to which you are oblivious.

a clay golem greets you with confusion and mild hostility. you think nothing of it. you've handled worse. your companions manage to convince the golem of your good intentions. you didn't plan to rob a bank that morning. or the morning after that. the morning after that, you probably did. how else were you to hear the witch's prophecy?

but istus is growing tired; your failure cannot be tolerated for much longer. her strand of fate grows thin with tension--

this is your eleventh hour.

do your best to make it count.

Lunar Phrases

why must we attach divine titles to a rock in space?

and the moon was a cradle,
a creche for something holy
far enough out of human clutches
that it could glow as bright as she.

and the moon was a sickle,
carving down the autumn wheat,
commanding farmers; a gentle whisper
her sliver of porcelain hanging by a thread.

and the moon was a woman,
shining ever-bright,
reflecting the successes of her
father and shining star; Sun who by
his name dominance carved out
our world with greedy hands
and when his rage overflowed;
exploded, and our humble rock
was formed - and she.

and the moon was a woman,
unable to create her own light
but simply redirect that which
had been cast on her by her
superstar parentage, so that
we might worship her too.
and do we not? we write poetry
about her pockmarked face,
the scars on her back, arms, legs,
the brief tickle on her bare stomach
from where we landed, then left her
alone...

perhaps it is our mortality that we are unsatisfied with

i was brought into this world screaming and cursing. there were those who would keep me from being born, kept Eileithyia away from my mother until at last she shrieked at the doctors to "cut it out of me!" and into this world with such livid fury, i was born.

    i was a quiet child, my anger simmered but never spilled. my silence was mistaken for maturity, because girls were meant to be seen and not heard, and i fulfilled their stereotype. china-doll haircut, i smiled for family photos, but when my brother was born, their perfect heir, something in me snapped. it fed my smouldering ashed tinder and flint, and i was thrown back to the moment of my birth, filled with hatred for the world and all who lived in it. my brother was their angel child, never complained, never spoke too loudly, never asked for anything my parents would not give him. my hair grew long and...

Universal Knowledge

i blinked and you were gone

the comprehension of such a thing, but understanding slipping away like spider's silk or a crisp autumn leaf caught in the creek's current; we awake and then forget, for the language everyone knows but will never truly understand is that of dreams.

return to the Night Hall

the Night Hall is filled with the usual bustle and anonymity as it was the night before, and the night before that, and all known nights, preceding the records of most historical documents, including the bible. in the past month, the anonymous donors and orchestrators of the venue have chosen to refurbish, adding velvet curtains on various walls to give the chambers a more mysterious aura, not that such renovations were necessary. the stone never grows old and the candelabras never dim.

    Yimena is preparing herself for the night - will it be long? short? only time will tell, and she sets her shroud over her hair, black with streaks of white that seems to glow red in the firelight. she is from the Sequoia tribe, her heritage whistling through the feathers that drift under the satin that marks the doorway to her wares and services. there is no wind to blow them in, but there rarely needs to be....

perhaps it is our mortality that we are unsatisfied with

i was brought into this world screaming and cursing. there were those who would keep me from being born, kept Eileithyia away from my mother until at last she shrieked at the doctors to "cut it out of me!" and into this world with such livid fury, i was born.

    i was a quiet child, my anger simmered but never spilled. my silence was mistaken for maturity, because girls were meant to be seen and not heard, and i fulfilled their stereotype. china-doll haircut, i smiled for family photos, but when my brother was born, their perfect heir, something in me snapped. it fed my smouldering ashed tinder and flint, and i was thrown back to the moment of my birth, filled with hatred for the world and all who lived in it. my brother was their angel child, never complained, never spoke too loudly, never asked for anything my parents would not give him. my hair grew long and...

A Pair of Poems

our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners.

virtue? a fig!

so that if we will plant nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it with many, either to have it sterile with idleness or manured with industry, why the power and the corrigible authority of this lies in our wills.

- othello, (I.iii.314-327)


she waters the plants on her windowsill.

the caps of acorns line the tiles, they are older than you know, and wiser still. their seed is now taller than any man. the amaryllis shines proudly, it is superior in its inception, and believes thus down to its roots. the bells of ireland chime, a leprechaun's jaunty carol, while the cheerful crocus sings along. the cattail waves; wheat on the plateau of its pot, a rural sprawl. the chrysanthemum sings gentle lullabies, while the bluebell blushes and hides its face. the daisy opens its eyes to the rising sun; asks the forget-me-not to...

thoughts about war on a thursday afternoon

what is war?

the history books, they tell us,
war is political. gendered men
with engendering agendas that
risk lives of boys and gentlemen
alike. look at these letters, sent
to loved ones across the sea. a
dead man tells no tales, and so
his privacy is revoked, for a dead
man has no court either. the devil
loves carnage, they say, but all
the devil wishes for are the men
who hide behind desks instead
of in the barracks. god has an
influx of soldiers now. given time,
their sweethearts go to join them.

the veterans, they tell us,
about the cannons booming and
how they split ears and heads in
two and the gunshots like the
rat-tat-tat-tat of a childhood
pea shooter, only if you fall out
there, your older brother won't
help you up; your mother won't
give you cookies; your father won't
call you a boy after his own heart.
the war is over, they say...

destiny is much larger than a word; hubris, his inheritance

he treks long mountain ranges, wades through the ocean's depths, soars across ravines and valleys, fights tooth and nail to win. he reaches the last precipice upon which his destiny lies.

a child.

"where is that which i am sworn to defeat?"

"i am he."

"then i have already done thee." his innocence and childhood lay smashed vases at his destiny's calloused hands.

"thou hast knows not the truth."

"be you a sorcerer or similar wretch?"

"lord, i am that which you search for."

"then you address your murderer."

the voice of childhood silenced by the blade of hubris.

would we still be in paradise, or merely dust and ashes?

she takes a bite and all is lost. for one cannot have knowledge without her ignorance being stripped away. modesty is suddenly fearful. she knows now that to be naked is to be prey. what games of His did she be a blundering pawn to in her childish stupor?

she is no use to him any longer. He casts her out, and her companion too.

the scaled perpetrator watches from the trees.

Tiny Love Story

alas, it was but a dream

i lay asleep on the bus today, dreaming of an island where women chose to love women and the distant crashing waves nearly drowned out the sound of your voice, a maiden practicing her lyre on the adjacent wall. we were eternal, darling, never fading. i hope you know that. we've spoken late into the night, they felt like whispers over the ocean, under greek marble, lost in a sunflower field, morning kisses grazing sleepy eyelids under the rising italian sun. i buy a bouquet of roses and fling them into the ocean, hoping they'll find their way to you.

the end of the world came a long time ago, we were just too blind to see | #imagineit

all at once, it feels like the apocalypse is upon us, blazing eyes and gaping maw – the smoke makes faces.
carved nails as sharp as those horrible monoliths that burrowed themselves towards a skyward freedom all those years ago.
everyone felt it, that inherent wrongness quaking through the dusty earth, through their aching bones and clockwork-empty hearts.
streetlights turned sinister under this new shadow, this oblivion, this echoing hum, sepia over all our senses.
but to the girl child, the streetlights never hid that which skulked in her alleyways, waiting.
those like her had screamed and cried, but the devil endorsed their deeds, she lies.
quick, girl, run home – a father with a bottle and a belt is safer.
our merciless antichrist watches from his skyscraper office chair, greed dripping off cufflinks.
the end doesn’t come with a bang, but a hiss of smoke.
the truly devout were crush underfoot long ago, dirt over crucifixes.
hallucinations...

breathe out, the worst has passed | #r&scontest

2015

    peter breathes out into the cold morning air, and after i watch his breath disappear, i do the same, keeping my eyes on the mist dissolving in the air until all i can see is the dim-lit park across from the bus stop. peter and i used to play there when we were kids. but the council took away the swings and replaced the grass with artificial turf, hammering a chunky plastic monstrosity in its place. a playground for toddlers. even mcdonald’s had a better set up.

    i try breathing through my scarf, but the wool just gets warm, and the mist disappears again. that something as thoughtless as breath could become somewhat tangible… i thought it was magical. peter made fun of me for it, but there were worse things to find interests in. my mum still has photos of his halloween costume from 2007. peter takes his hands out of his pockets and begins to breathe on...

my uncle's military momentos, my brother's bloody nose | #imagineit

uncle aaron always liked kristopher better than he liked me. when i was younger, we'd go and watch him ride at the stables. they were close to his house, further from ours, but we'd ride our bikes there after school to try and get a glimpse of his tall black boots and snorting stallion. the other horses didn't like uncle aaron one bit - they'd riot when they smelled the whiff of his scent on the wind, sandalwood and iron. mr wheeler had to lock them up in their stalls whenever uncle aaron came to ride, the whites of their eyes crazy with fear. but uncle aaron's stallion was never afraid of him. i'd asked him how old the horse was, i'd expected something young - it' russet coat was stunning a shone under the winter sun - and he'd simply smiled - a tight-lipped white line, it seemed his stunning caucasian genetics didn't allow for him to have much...

πτήση

the bright-eyed goddess keeps her eyes upon Moon, preparing her misty chariot to traverse our millenium sky. the coven wishes her well on her journey, and she blesses each who bid her farewell, a brush of stardust on their foreheads from her kiss. her silver-skinned arm keeps safe its ward, a babe swaddled in circumstance and divinity. when he blooms, the coven will have withered. they will not live to see him die. but he will bless their daughters and granddaughters as his προστάτης has done.

    the bright-eyed goddess kisses his forehead too, and presses a rune with her gentle fingers onto the dreaming babe's skin. πτήση. he will never see it, for no surface will reflect his brilliance in a way he can truly see. those who try will blind themselves with their futility. but beings like herself were not born with vanity wrapped like a summer's breeze behind their eyes. pride, yes, is a common fallacy among her...

requiem for a enduring moon

i notice
that the moon has not
turned her face away,
pale cratered skin
peering down from
a curtain of black.
her eyes stay open,
observant as a cat
she watches, large
pupils unmoving.
she hangs in the sky,
hangs in the balance,
drifting gently on her
ethereal rope-swing.

i wonder
what we have done
to garner the attention
of such a goddess.
i wonder
if the world has stopped turning.

Fantasy Writing Competition 2019

they called us witches

When we were magic, once, they called us witches. It was back when mystical pools swapped bodies and souls, and stars detached themselves from the satin of the cosmos to visit their favourite mortals. Too often they left disappointed, white shifts and halos losing some of their gleam. The stars loved the witches, but the witches worshipped the stars. They named their children Sirius or Orion, and swaddled their babes in cloth drawn from still moonlit lakes. The stars gave thanks with gifts of glittering eyes or nimble fingers, things that became of witches.

    Those they called witches were resplendent – you could tell by the fall of their locks that they were blessed. Most stars were selective by who they chose, but Delphinius was flighty and impulsive. He stole away beautiful women and men for his starlit debauchery, then left the former's bellies swelling with an unborn witch-child. His blessings were frivolous, he handed them out like treats from...

Fantasy Writing Competition 2019

they called us witches

When we were magic, once, they called us witches. It was back when mystical pools swapped bodies and souls, and stars detached themselves from the satin of the cosmos to visit their favourite mortals. Too often they left disappointed, white shifts and halos losing some of their gleam. The stars loved the witches, but the witches worshipped the stars. They named their children Sirius or Orion, and swaddled their babes in cloth drawn from still moonlit lakes. The stars gave thanks with gifts of glittering eyes or nimble fingers, things that became of witches.

    Those they called witches were resplendent – you could tell by the fall of their locks that they were blessed. Most stars were selective by who they chose, but Delphinius was flighty and impulsive. He stole away beautiful women and men for his starlit debauchery, then left the former's bellies swelling with an unborn witch-child. His blessings were frivolous, he handed them out like treats from...

Nicodranas

They take you to see the ocean for the first time. It is blue, the deepest cerulean, with sparkling shards of glass glimmering on the surface. You hear the gentle wooshing of the tides coming back...and forth...back...and forth...and it is as if the fire that has been plaguing your soul, your very being, has gone out. You've never smelled the ocean breeze before, this salty, windy onslaught, but with the clouds overhead you cannot call it unpleasant.

    Your companions are struck with similar awe, for different reasons. The tall green one is as ease out here, relaxed, calmer than you've seen him out on the road. You know he used to be a sailor. The water, it calls to him in more ways than any of you can understand. Those nights where he awakes coughing up seawater, though you are so far inland the crops are in drought, are impossible. Should be impossible. But stranger things are sure to...

at a glance

Christian Jones wasn’t what you would’ve called an attractive man. Though he dressed as well as any other New Yorker should, he was dull and plain – sharp cheekbones offset by eyes a little too big and sunken, brow constantly creased – only his mother ever called him handsome. Which was, to be honest, embarrassing. Contrary to his name, Christian Jones was not religious. Work had no time for prayer, like New York had no place for asking a non-existent man in the sky for a promotion. It just wasn’t going to happen. Capitalist society didn’t allow for fantasies like that.

    But in this moment, Christian Jones was praying to whatever god there was to get him out of this situation. He hadn’t been able to say no when Jacob Walker had invited himself to the uptight man’s after-work respite, and had regretted his cowardice every second since. This guy just doesn’t shut his mouth.

    By the time the...

i asked the moon how long, and she whispered back 'soon'

how long will it take for me to hear your voice, your breath brushing against my ear as we hug for the first time? how long will it take for me to hold your hand as we roam through fields of gold and green? how will we live out our lives knowing we are miles apart, across the sea and dark mirroring light - shall i tell you your moon will look beautiful tonight?

soon, my love, wait a little more and i'll be able to hold you in my arms - we're not creatures made to wait, but i'll be patient for you, darling.

my love, Elysium awaits us

ill-starred child Achilles, a child no longer, comes to greet you – his rage and despair are things you know somewhat of, while i am hailed by Patroclus, lover supporter, fighter. we meet, pair and pair, and gravity does the rest, pulling me into your sweet embrace as the fallen heroes look on – understanding and empathy rich in the blacks of their eyes. they retreat towards Elysium, but we stay here a little longer.

    it is dark but it is light, an inscrutable glow coming from the distance as if we were standing in a cavern, yet also beneath our very feet. i stroke your hair and hold my hand at your cheek; you lean into it with a warmth that fills my heart with both longing and indescribably affection simultaneously. we’re dressed simply, flowing white dresses, creases in all the right places, and while your golden halo offsets your eyes, my starlight anklets make my footfalls lighter – light...

Band Name

wandering dreamers

they're young, but old enough to know that this world is not made for them. so they make their own world; spinning idioms and beauty into their words and songs, tunes springing forth from pursed lips and mouths made for smiling, and people stop to listen. soft and honest, acoustic, their songs are like sunshine, and their lyrics speak of goddesses, dreams and starlight. slowly but surely, they move across the nations, their path steady and clear in their minds. for they seek italian fields filled with sunflowers and ladybugs - they've dreamed of it since they were young and new to loving each other. but now they've had years of practice and so they sing to each other as they walk, little gentle tunes of affection and ethereal worship, to the land and to one another.

"all that glitters is not gold," she sings, "but i see the flecks in your eyes and know you are precious to me,...

rose petal wishes, i kiss them softly and hope your dreams are soft and sweet | #wonderland

meine Liebe, du erinnerst mich an schönheit und blassrosa rosen

    i want to remember this phrase so that i can whisper it to you under the cotton-candy sunsets while you rest your head on my shoulders as we laze on your valencian beaches, or in our italian cottage as we sip honey drinks with petals floating in them. i want to remember this phrase so that i can mumble it under my breath as i thread geraniums into your crown of braids, you're quiet and still, and i don't know if you can hear me, but just this closeness is enough to make my heart melt into songs that you keep in your feel-good playlists - they play in my head as i breathe you in, the flowers suddenly became so much beautiful when you pointed them out to me.

    Schlaf gut und träume in der sanften Umarmung dieser rosa Wolken

    rose petal baths can't compare to the comfort you...

golden | #ManateeYellowContest

golden godchild, gleaming, gilded and splendid. beloved of the queen and her coming proclaimed by the gospels. they gifted her gowns of gossamer silk and gloves of glowing gauze. golden godchild, they whispered among themselves, she was to be perfect. nothing less than perfect, for if not her, who else could contest?

    they named her aurelia, for it meant she would be reminded of their promises every time they called her name. aurelia, they'd say, golden girl-child. you will deliver us, spin our debts from our fingers and return with shimmering leafs of gold. that was her purpose. she was born to serve. so although they gifted her gowns of gossamer silk and gloves of glowing gauze, all she could see was the gleam in their eyes, whispering through lengthened lashes and squinting lids, you will return our gifts threefold.

    she took lessons every day, a new wizened tutor every other week as she...

golden | #ManateeYellowContest

golden godchild, gleaming, gilded and splendid. beloved of the queen and her coming proclaimed by the gospels. they gifted her gowns of gossamer silk and gloves of glowing gauze. golden godchild, they whispered among themselves, she was to be perfect. nothing less than perfect, for if not her, who else could contest?

    they named her aurelia, for it meant she would be reminded of their promises every time they called her name. aurelia, they'd say, golden girl-child. you will deliver us, spin our debts from our fingers and return with shimmering leafs of gold. that was her purpose. she was born to serve. so although they gifted her gowns of gossamer silk and gloves of glowing gauze, all she could see was the gleam in their eyes, whispering through lengthened lashes and squinting lids, you will return our gifts threefold.

    she took lessons every day, a new wizened tutor every other week as she...

wrath of the iceni

warrior queen, they say you were wronged,
and who could argue with such a fact?

though they can't decide if your hair
was of crackling flames or brittle straw,

we can only look back and see the wounds
appear on your back, slashes, every blow

an insult to your dignity and power, but
they hold you down, their calloused

fingers bruising harried skin in hideous
bracelets, a reminder to you and your

daughters of the travesties they bestowed
upon you and your people as "gifts", for no

man of roman birth should be made to share
with children, they decided, and rounded

your people up like cattle, tanned leather
a sorry excuse for defense compared to stolen

iron and steel, they bear the weight with
misplaced arrogance, curled lips spitting

vulgarities at would-be rulers and you
can only watch your blood be dragged

away - she's screaming so horribly, but
your shoulders are burning and your wrists

are bound to the...

Cold Bargain #spearmintcontest

"Caleb...it's cold..."

    I shake my head and squeeze her hand, "shh Kara, you're gonna be fine."

    I hear my own words, but I don't believe them. I can only hope the scarf around my face will keep my sister from seeing my panic and fear. We've come too far. I can't lose her like this.

    Her ears are blue and tears have frozen on her cheeks, cracking as her mouth moves ever so slightly. "Caleb," she whispers.

    I don't say anything, just gripping her torso tighter. I can already feel that even my bearskin jerkin hasn't staunched the bleeding, as warmth seeps into my fingernails. It should've been me.

    It should've been you, Yllig says, his voice uncaring but not cold. He's a bastard but right now he sounds like a crackling hearth. Anything to get out of this cold, even to hear those horrid truths slip into my mind like smoke. Impossible to grasp and throw away. Some...

#capitallettersq&a where i am surprisingly honest

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? 
    spread love. if people are unable to be happy, life isn't worth living. that's why we fight.

WHAT’S YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? 
    does validating my friends count? cos that ain't guilty

DESCRIBE YOURSELF PHYSICALLY. (POSITIVITY AND HONESTY IS KEY)  (courtesy of she’s-got-a-story
    medium height, recently cut my hair so it's kind of layered but doesn't go past my neck, i've been told i have stars in my eyes - i don't see them but they do have a slight green tinge near the edge of the iris, soft hands, i like my fingers, i flush easily in hot or cold weather, stand me between a caucasian and a chinese person - my skin tone is exactly in the middle, my eyelashes could be called long but my brother's are longer.

SHOULD PINEAPPLE BE ON PIZZA? (courtesy of moi and every q&a i’ve ever done) 
    personally, i can't...

the choice they didn't want to make | #standalonedialogue

"we've been over this - there is no other way. this is it. el, you have to let me do it. it's the only way. i can drug him by disguising the sleeping pill as an aphrodisiac and making him take it by kissing him-"
    "no, absolutely not."
    "do you want to get out of here or not?"
     "...please...just... stay safe."
    "...hard to remain as something you've never been."

another life

in another life, we met sooner.

you had lived in the house by the sea, salt and brine tangled in your soft curls and every time i came to visit you would smile and drag me into the surf. it felt right to laugh and hold your hand, the salt water couldn't wash away the black stains on your hands from the inkwell in your father's study that you weren't meant to touch. we pressed our fingerprints into a pebble and tossed it out to sea.

in another life, we were closer.

you'd been reading on the train, and there were no seats left but the one next to you. why no one had sat next to the charming girl with the book, i had no idea. i sat down next to you. we talked so long we missed our stop, but i walked with you all the way until you turned at the fence with the hanging roses and...

lemon weeds in my head

knees turning brown in the soil – god i hate dirtpulled him out by his hair, like a weed – oversized shirt retaining more heat than it’s supposed to air – it’s worn with holes, been used like crazy – and like weeds do he only came a grew back again – the weed tips make me flinch, expecting pain, mild irritation – so i figured i might as well let him be – no blue screen, no black mirror or trailing speakers to drown out the hollow screams from the football field a few miles away – lemon boy and me – the wind’s blowing but the breeze is warm – god i hate this – sweat makes me blink, attempting to use the back of my hand is futile – i  need to wash my handswe mowed the lawn in bad weather – my legs are aching and my head hurts – headband doesn’t...

ask the writer?

need some buffer cos i've been lacking in inspiration for a bit, so send some asks my way and maybe it'll help? i'm way behind on this trend, but i didn't have time to join until now*, so credit to paperbird for bringing this trend back.

    ask me anything within reason, that means no details about where i live or go to school etc, and to avoid clogging up my portfolio, i'll answer your comments in the comments here! (watch this be a major flop)

    here's a question, food for thought before you (maybe) start typing away to uncover my deepest darkest secrets; y'all ever wondered how i met one of my friends on wtw? ask me here!

    this has been going on for too long, tl;dr - ask me stuff, i'll probably answer honestly ;)

gauntlet of words

my left hand is a glove of poetry,
a gauntlet, if you will,
the ink is spreading down my arm
but my words are not infallible
they will not protect me
 you see;
there are breaks in the armour
with no mail to substitute
but perhaps my saving grace
is the hand who wields the quill
able to patch up the cracks
but constantly fearing that
the words will run into each other and lose coherency.
perhaps my saving grace is my mind
tactical maneuvers, placing text
accompanied by the buzz of an air conditioner.
i could pretend my voice is useful
but even if i spoke the words aloud
i wouldn't remember them.
i have written myself a gauntlet of words
at 5:04 am.

the sores on my skin are just bumps on the page

3am
the witching hour
white magic has granted me inspiration
and a pen but no paper
my skin turns to parchment for my cause

the flyaway kids

she had a bumblebee
    tattooed behind her ear
he had a beetle
    wings spread as if leapt off his spine
she had a hummingbird
    perched on the back of her left shoulder like a pet
they had butterflies
    symmetrical droves extending off their arms

they called themselves the flyaway kids
    they were supposed to be able to escape
    fly away from their problems
    and into each others' arms

but even those who fly must land
    they all knew landing was the worst part.

is it jetlag or is it just me

i'm awake at 3am
the second night in a row
yesterday i waited an hour
passing the time through cowardice
and pulling the few remaining lights outside
apart with my eyes - slowly, don't lose sight of them  -
i went to sleep three hours later,
tonight, this morning -  time is blured when it's dark outside -
the inflatable mattress leaves my left leg aching - why not the right? -
i stretch to ease the pain.
i write this on my hand in 0.4 ink
and go to check the time.
it's 4:32.
goddammit.

drunk in love

voice like moonshine
eyes pools of whiskey
without a slither of a doubt
you intoxicate me.

echo

how can you say that echoes are less than voices when they are the ones who spread your message?

you terrify me with your intensity, so i decided to write poetry about you

an arabian prince arrives on the streets
the next night his cousin performs onstage
torso class in velvet, arms snug in black lace
roses fall from her hair as she stomps and twirls
one after another, every sudden movement an added displacement
he picks the fallen flowers and places them aside, next to a candle in a wicker-woven nest
but it's all part of the show
for he looks much more handsome without the artificial desert lights and strangers watching his feet for rhythm and misstep
the kohl only accentuates his acne scars
sweat flies, a golden ichor, the fruit of labour and poise
in the end he blows out the candle and puts the wilted rose in his hair
he smiles - it doesn't reach his eyes - and bows

Collection #WrittenInBlood

Based on her recent search history, Valerie Hollow was certain that she was going to be able to research some very interesting material first-hand. As a freelance writer, Valerie handled all kinds of jobs - everything from small journalism gigs to ghostwriting biographies. But there was only so far Google could take her. Over the past few years, Valerie had been compiling an anthology of sorts. She wrote stories of dying professions, of small business owners and traditions and customs that had faded through time. She wrote people.

    Valerie's very livelihood depended on the progress of her anthology. It was not financial problems, no Valerie was quite an accomplished multi-tasker and didn't exactly have to beg around for employment. Valerie's anthology was her very world. She had created these people and their families and friends, all on the very same Earth, but who she would never meet with face to face. Only when this anthology was published would she...

the faults of the tactician #JA17

the tactician only wished she had chosen the sword before being swallowed by her own fractured agenda.

#paperbirdq&a

another q&a by wtw celebrity paperbird, i'm too tired to put links on this piece, just search them up in the username bar pls

what's the story behind your profile picture?
    used to be a gif of pidge from voltron finger gunning, but i lost interest in the series and had wanted a change for a long time but didn't know how to do it without ruining my brand somehow. when SomeFormOfWriting left, i finally found a reason to change. i chose this pic of @_jjolee (on instagram) because it's a whole ass Mood™

when you start a "free writing" piece, do you like the font better when it's the editing font or the published font?
    editing for sure. but sometimes depends on the format of the piece.

what movie scarred you for life as a child?  does it still freak you out?
    can't think of anything that was majorly scarring rn, but the cat in the...

island in her mind #candleflame

i held a little candle flame,
held it in a palm of stone.
it flickered, blasted by the winds
of blood close and not her own.

    the stone hand lies in solitude,
encircled by a moat of deepest black.
when the clouds above part briefly
it may seem as clear as glass, alack,

    unlike the melted sands of time
the moat cannot be breached.
it's black and blue are eternal and yet
the small candle flame they fail to reach.

    in vain they try to flush it out,
their efforts strong and true.
but strength and truth aren't always good,
experience causing a distorted view.

    the waters, it seemed, were kerosine,
only meant to fuel the blaze,
and while they thought they were crystal blue
their minds were a filthy haze

    of shallow wars and power surges
the waters' minds did wander,
of defeated foes and weakened minds
too many left to pointlessly ponder.

   ...

a conversation at an air bnb in france

"Matt's friends say that there was a terrorist attack at a Christmas market in France."

    I'm sitting at the wooden breakfast table at our air bnb, the geometric tablecloth matching the gentle blue, yellow and grey aesthetic of the apartment. My aunt's comment is enough to make me avert my eyes from the screen.

    My father nods. "Yes, at Strasbourg."

    My mother makes an exclamation of worry and exasperation, but doesn't stop moving to take her seat next to me at the table. "Aiyaah, that's where we're going..."

    "Did anyone die?"

    I can't remember who said this, even though it only happened ten minute ago. Maybe it was Matt, my cousin. He's always been similar to my brother and I in our morbid fascinations. As we returned to the apartment last night, we quoted memes and vines from the elevator to our rented door.

    It could've been my aunt. It's not her first visit to Europe, but the increased number...

#twistq&A

Interesting q&a idea by RainAndSonder, I'd like to know what you think!

1. What Hogwarts house do you think I am?
2. What is your mental image of me? How do you think I look IRL?
3. What's my aesthetic?
4. What trope do I remind you of? Look up some tropes if you don't get this one or don't know any.
5. What do you think my zodiac sign is? 
6. What's your favorite piece of mine?
7. What do you like most about my writing?
8. What fictional character do I remind you of?
9. What song do I remind you of/resembles my personality?
10. What meme am I?
11. What book/movie do I remind you of?
12. You know the rhyme about what girls are made of? What am I made of?
13. What fandom am I probably in?

I'll probably answer these once a few people have made their assumptions.

Era's Gifted #BlottedInkContest

Allswell Academy was an oxymoron in itself. For the most prestigious druidic school in the Asai-Piaficc region, some kind of uncontrollable magic-related catastrophes never failed to plague the flame-lit hallways, year after year. And yet, their enrollment numbers continued to skyrocket. How their questionable headmaster managed to do it, Amaya had no idea.

    Shipped off with other students collected from the Taalurasi region (on a rather impressive vessel, Amaya had to admit for all her lack of nautical knowledge) Amaya had been deposited with a portion of her cohort and seniors on the pristine ports of a jungle-seized island, the hidden location of Allswell Academy. It was all rather cliche, Amaya often found herself thinking, this concept that a school that taught magic had to remain hidden to those less fortunate, to those few who did not possess the mana gene, to the Secluded. They weren't secluded at all, it was just a name given by the Gifted who...

#oneblue

Blue was your favourite colour, so now I watch the sunset fade.

Tears were never blue, they only reflected a now non-existent sky.

Chimneysweep Bird #HWDYKT #leefudgecontest

It's 1796, but from all the smoke in the air, I wouldn't be surprised if it was before the birth of Christ, in the prelude to the eruption of an active volcano.

    I'm not supposed to know things like that - history and such - because of this stupid idea ringing around in people's heads, the heads of old white men, that women don't need to read, shouldn't read. "Knowledge is power." Ironically it was another old white man who apparently said this. Believe he was a pirate, he was. Must've been awfully exciting, pillaging ships and all that. All for a woman. Imagine that. Queen Elizabeth sounds like a damn right noble, ordering men and drinking wine while doing it. I think I'd hate her all the same if she were still alive though. Those in power never do anything worth doing. It's my opinion, and the opinion of thousands of others in London.

    I take another...

smoke #tenwords

When he breathed smoke, he felt at home with himself.

beautiful woman

i.    they say there's a beautiful woman who lives in the forest near my village. my brother says her hair is ebony silk; her traditional clothing from eras gone by as pristine as if she had stepped out of a history book; her hands delicate and unscathed by the world. her cherry blossom hairpin blooming all year round.

ii.    they say she's a beautiful woman. my cousin says she's the murdered lover of an absent shogun, who had her killed after she had an affair with the footman; her friend says she's the disowned bastard child that was exiled by the emperor, forced to maintain her finery through wood and the flowers she can find. my uncle reckons she's homeless.

iii.    they say she's a beautiful woman. i hear stories of her often, the only interesting news i can get in this isolated, rural town. the more i hear, the clearer my image of her becomes. her robes flow...

the librarian

i.    as soon as she wakes, she writes. it's her curse. ink bleeds on the tips of her fingers, leaving incriminating evidence on the yellowed pages her hasty script graces, a victorian quill in her grasp. she writes to remember who she is. for every night when she goes to sleep, she forgets.

ii.    she writes notes on paper dresses, the only garments that populates the wooden closet filled with mothballs. she moves the dresses to hang on the bookshelf. they always end up in the closet again. she eventually moves out of that room. it doesn't matter. every room accommodates for her. her skirt flutters like pages turning as she walks.

iii.    the musty smell of aged leather and parchment, though permeating the wooden structures she wanders through, never bother her. she simply walks through them as if they were water. they do not stick to her like they do to others, it's been decided that she...

pigeon wings

i saw the rotting remains of a dead pigeon

only the wings remain

a forgotten fallen angel

fading into the asphalt

sharp #warning #paperbirdcontest

the label on my shirt screams "WARNING: SHARP"
and the longer you look at me, the more you shudder in understanding.

my hair, no longer soft and thick, nor oily and sleek,
has turned dry like hay from lack of care.
i gave up the one thing i took pride in
for the possibility that he'd soften - foolish.
like a carpet of pine needles when i lie in bed,
the locks prick my neck and leave my back red and raw.

my eyes, though never compassionate, nor understanding,
have turned to obsidian, black and cutting.
perhaps it's the bruises that turned them this way,
or maybe it's the knife that he whets in front of me
that made my very irises capable of this hardness.

my hands, the hands of princesses and privilege long gone,
they're rough and raw, the needles of my hair entwined
in my uneven skin, the irritation giving way to pain.
i've let my nails grow,...

Novel Writing Competition 2018

The Iris Wars

As the world burned behind her, the girl in the dust-coloured robe stared at the water, her drab reflection backed by a sky of flames. The girl had never seen a body of water this vast before. It brought a sense of wonder and bright-eyed curiosity as much as it did worry, and a bit of something else. As young as she was, and uneducated, the girl had no way of knowing the word that described her feelings in those moments. Years later, she would learn that this feeling was called apprehension - the fear of the future. Or rather, what the future held.

    Her father had hustled her onto this wooden craft, so full of holes it seemed like it would sink at any moment, but by some miracle, the stained monstrosity remained afloat. He had hugged her one last time before the plank between land and sea was removed, but the girl had felt no fear at this...

sim's lament

"stay safe."

sim smiles.

"hard to remain as something you've never been."

Novel Writing Competition 2018

The Iris Wars

As the world burned behind her, the girl in the dust-coloured robe stared at the water, her drab reflection backed by a sky of flames. The girl had never seen a body of water this vast before. It brought a sense of wonder and bright-eyed curiosity as much as it did worry, and a bit of something else. As young as she was, and uneducated, the girl had no way of knowing the word that described her feelings in those moments. Years later, she would learn that this feeling was called apprehension - the fear of the future. Or rather, what the future held.

    Her father had hustled her onto this wooden craft, so full of holes it seemed like it would sink at any moment, but by some miracle, the stained monstrosity remained afloat. He had hugged her one last time before the plank between land and sea was removed, but the girl had felt no fear at this...

weeding out my priorities

i'm pulling out weeds in my garden
in my oversized t-shirt
a souvenir too often worn
and day shorts i slept in the night before

    no earphones erasing the sounds
of birds, wind through shrivelling leaves
and hollow screams from the football field
a few miles away from my house

    but lemon boy is playing in my head
i left my phone inside, hidden in my desk
my legs are aching and my head hurts
from a headband that presses down on my skull

    it's a small price to pay to avoid
a nonexistent heat that i'm hiding from
in an endless cycle of "no i don't want to go out today"
but my homework's not done and my weekend's practically gone

    i think i need to wake up earlier

way back then #zixmusic

there's a mint green bike
left in a stairwell of my school
it's chained to a steel pole
its wicker basket empty

it's an echo of a time gone by
when trains and cars still slept
sunsets come and go
the chains of the bike still rotate

(chorus)
i miss those simple days
you rode to my house
and you kissed me on the cheek
and laughed at my face

the sunflowers you gave me
died and withered once you left
my watering can bleached by the sun
why do i keep feeding them?

the pills that you used to take
are sitting on my bedside table
why didn't you take them with you?
i don't want this remembering

(chorus)
i miss those simple days
we'd stand out in the rain
stargazing through clouds
you thought it was beautiful

way back then...

there's a mint green bike
left in a stairwell of my school
i figured out the code
but i leave it...

seven birds

..a woman's voice rings out. it's tinny and slightly garbled, but the crystal walls make it echo with an ethereal quality.

i saw all of existence, all at once.

this isn't the first time you've heard this. in any other circumstance, you would say that it sounded like a broken record. but these words sound more like the repetition of a music box.

i saw a dark storm,
a living hunger eating it from within.


in boundaries lost to Time and Space, an obsidian mass approaches. within the mass sits a man, lean, in a crisp suit. his office chair faces the window. there are no blue skies. eyes are everywhere.

but i saw a brilliant light heralded by seven birds
flying tirelessly from the storm.


something murmurs in your mind. a short melody, but it's gone within the instant, like a tendril brushed over your conscious thoughts. it glows with a gentle hum, like a long lost friend's greeting...

the girl who fell in love #booksandbeacheswritingcontest

they say you become a different person when you fall in love. that you change. and i say so too. i believe it.

i fell in love. too many times.

i fell in love with the girl with the blue hair. when i was still young and naive, i met the girl with the waves of the ocean in her mane, her voice a sultry tune that rocked me to sleep in her lap on my sixteenth birthday. she smelled like salted caramel, the taste still clinging to her lips like a sugared coating. and like the sea, the tide took her away from me.

i fell in love with the girl with the green eyes. still tasting salt on my tongue from the loss of my last love, i saw her resting on the old oak bench, remnants of autumn left in her long, flowing hair. but as wilting leaves fall, she too fell from my favour, her lazy...

#OdeToSomeFormOfWriting

somehow in this short time i've been here
in this supportive, slightly dysfunctional community
i discovered you.
i discovered your writing,
i discovered your heart, your soul, your love.
i discovered girls with silver eyes and girls with red hair,
i discovered boys of warring kingdoms, friends against the odds,
i discovered celestial lovers, lost to space,
i discovered children. so many children. broken, bruised and hurt.
i discovered pain. your pain.
the pain of the child with the string turned red with anguish.
or maybe it was love.
through your writing, i discovered love.
love for nature
love for humanity
love for the stupid things we do
for the silly things we end
for the beautiful things we take away.
almost as an act of rebellion
i consider making this piece something that they despise
something mentioning death or suicide
or things that they to hide
under the premise of it being unsafe for the younger community,
really?
all...

My Roommate Hates My Cat

    "Daryll." I wait, cup of coffee in hand. "Where's the cat."

    He looks to the side. His hands fidget in the sleeves of the sweater he borrowed from my brother, two sizes too big. Guilt is written all over his stupid scaly face. "I don't know."

    "Daryll." The front of his sweater is covered in Juno's fur. He never touches Juno. For a demon, it's like he believes that cats are the devil. Which is to say that they're angels. Daryll loathes angels.

    "The feline is not present in my immediate area from what I can perceive with my inferior human-state of being."

    "DARYLL!"

    "Fine! I ate the cat, are you happy?" His outburst makes me groan, and the thousand-year-old demon is suddenly pouting like a child, arms crossed.

    "Daryll..." I run a hand over my face. "Jesus Christ."

    Daryll hisses. I roll my eyes. "Fine, hail Satan, freaking hell." I put down my mug and sit down...

The Hunt

The trail of oozing black dribbled down the gentle rocky slope of the mountain, catching on trees and shrubs as it slid down like a released drum of crude oil, only without the effervescent shimmers that caught the light. This black seemed to swallow it.

    It smelled like metal and mud, and she almost snarled at the reminders the odour dragged the surface of her conscious mind. The pungent tang would have led her straight to the wounded creature even if she had been blind from all those years hunched in the darkness, fearing what lay outside the den. She now knew that that fear was childish, misplaced. There had nothing to fear but fear itself, and even fear knew not to root itself in her mind. For her eyes were that of cinders, and her jagged nails and sharpened teeth would have left fear shredded in her wake as she stabbed her makeshift dagger into its most sensitive crevice,...

loverboy

don't worry for me dear loverboy
with your eyes of ocean blue
with your cherry lips and raven hair
a heavily curs'd hue

    don't cry for me dear loverboy
your tears like sparkling rain
i'd drink them like fine wine
if you'd just forget my name

    don't think of me dear loverboy
you mind a shifting expanse
of treasures old and far away
inside your head they dance

    don't sing for me dear loverboy
i never liked the tune
of you silver tongue and gilded words
too much had been assumed

    don't write to me dear loverboy
i know you've stolen ink
from crows' feathers and fingertips
the final missing link

    don't speak of me dear loverboy
for you were not the one
and every time you say my name
my hard work comes undone

    but if you see me in the street
do not approach me, this i...

fear of love #thisyearIlearnt

    this year,
i learnt no matter how many poems i write
no matter how many songs i sing
no matter how many sketches i draw
nothing will be able to compare
to seeing your glowing grin
from behind my black mirror.

    this year,
i learnt what first love felt like.
but even now i don't think i understand.
i fell in love with your beauty first,
your smile second,
the sound of your laughter third,
your interests and passions fourth,
your singing fifth,
trying to list the order in which
i fell in love with you
all the way until infinity.

    but this year,
i learnt that some things are stronger than love.
this love was new - one-sided.
my fear is eternal.
i hope for my sake that you never find this.

her

she's like a sunday morning, lazy and unassuming, free of the troubles and worries of the days gone. she thinks about the days to come, but shakes her head and goes back to sleep. Ignorance is bliss.

    despite her laid-back nature, her spirit is a fiery green, her jealousy spikes at the smallest touch, her pride is a weapon she draws without hesitation. her eyes as sharp as a blade of grass, she spits words of venom but rarely regrets it.

    the only way to describe how she lives her life is 'definite'. she walks with a purpose unhindered by the whispers and quiet remarks that follow her, though she doesn't exactly relish not being liked by others. Ironic, since she makes no attempt to reign in her hatred for others, a select few.

    though she is not righteous, her heart is that of a lion. be warned, do not underestimate her primal roar,...

glass walls, blue blood #contestfor69

glass walls are made to tease.

i see you through this cursed clear barrier, face as perfect as the day i first saw you. you're sleeping, your eyes closed in an inactive state. your chest doesn't move. but that's ok. mine doesn't either.

moving seems so troublesome. simply positioning myself so that i can see from where i stand is much more practical. they say we can't feel anything. pain is obsolete. then why does my blue blood pump faster when i see you?

i'm sure my lips part in disbelief at your immaculate beauty. your predecessors may appear similar, but they never made me feel this way.

there are no lights. it's quiet. through some error, i stay awake. i hear the rain hitting wet pavement outside. i hear a shout. i wait. there is no follow up. through logic, it's likely to be either a murder or a drunken mishap. especially at this hour. i turn my attention back to you. nothing is worth my time when you're here.

i know you won't wake until they come to turn us on. and...

Lightning #IAmPoem

I am fire.
I wonder why stars shine.
I hear radiation.
I see flammable gas.
I want to hold it, even if it burns me.
I am air.
I pretend that my shoulder blades are wings.
I feel the sky, wind whipping through my hair.
I touch the clouds, my hands coming away damp with condensation, the translucent white dissipating under my fingertips.
I worry that someday people will take their wings for granted.
I cry when I realise it's been years since my wings disappeared.
I am lightning.
I understand that electricity comes from friction, my power comes from hardships.
I say words that sting, my tongue striking like a viper almost against my will.
I dream of violent rainstorms, a cup of hot chocolate paired with a blanket and a book.
I try to be unfazed, a pilgrim soul that wanders as the hills take her.
I hope for storms to end our drought.
I am alive.

Achelois #WeAreUnnamed

her skin is luminous
glowing, shining even before
the moon held her in Her embrace
and the rising sun kissed her goodnight.

her scars are many
they coat her back
a visual cacophony
like the craters on a meteor.

her eyes are dark orbs,
as observant as a feline,
the specks of blue and green
within her heavily-lashed gaze
like a nebula
her lover would never replace.

her hair is as black as night
a velvet that cannot be replicated
by any mortal or celestial being
for it belongs to her alone.

her love for the sea is just as well,
as she spends her days
dancing with the tides
and speaking with the waves
bidding them to rise and fall
and they love to oblige.

her voice is like a wind chime
or a star falling from the heavens,
her laugh a soft delicate tinkle,
her silver tongue a gift from the gods.

shrinking violet #contestfor69

my eyes pan the landscape like a panorama camera
capturing everything in the ever adjusting lenses
of my optic nerves.

the green fades into the horizon, like a sea of stems
and chlorophyll, the weeds that we call daffodils
spec of colour caught and tossed around like
driftwood in this ocean of lime.

when i return, these fields will be taller, like the
way that my younger brother grew while i was
away in boarding school, studying for a future
that i'm not sure i want anymore.

out here, on the rolling plains, with my toes spread
deep into the soft, nurtured soil, i feel like i'm
growing again, apart from the concrete jungle
when i've needed the greenhouse.

my legs seep into the ground and lose movement
as they turn to tree trunks and my tears become
sticky sap on my cheeks, my arms branches that
sway in the wind, my hair the leaves of the
weeping willow, a somber plumage.
...

Night Hall #TitleGenerator

If you've been to the Night Hall before, you know that you'll never see the same thing twice. It stands to reason that many visitors return daily to view the products and talents, lest they miss something incredible. The Night Hall has always drawn in buyers and sellers from different walks of life. From an ex-prince from the isles of a nation now controlled by the military, to underground surgeons and their proteges, there's always been something in the Night Hall for every creature that walks its ever changing floors.

    The name 'Hall' has a certain irony to it, in that it is not one single building, but rather, a conjunction of chambers, joined together through some means (if it's unsavoury or no, most clients don't ask. I suggest you do the same). Some chambers are private, others are open for rental or multiple fascinations within the same alcove. Smelling salts next to exotic birds, threaded silks competing with the...

Guilt #RefuseToSay

no matter what happens,
i can't tell them.
if they find out,
it's over.

heart pounding
chest thumping
pulse
 pulse
    pulse

the wrong that i've done
is creeping behind me
like a shadow
or
no
like a killer
like a stalker
following me through the night
watching from my windows
an embodiment of my guilt
of the people i've wronged
of the things i've done.

sweaty hands
like a bloody cross on my forehead
a mark
shouting
look at her
she's a freak
she's a criminal


i smile
but the parting of my lips
my teeth against air
feel like a grimace
baring my teeth
like an animal against the world
trapped in a cage
iron bars
just the same
as the school gates
looming high above my head.

i feel a firm hand on my shoulder
and turn
heart beating
chest thumping
hand sweaty
but the owner smiles.
"good job.
but i need you to do...

Isolation #IslandPrompt

Log #1 - Date Unknown
    It's been what seems like less than an hour since I arrived at this island. The tides and water conditions suggest Pacific region but it's been years since I worked in Maritime and my knowledge has grown rusty. While there is no shortage of flora or fauna, the island seems to lack intelligent life forms. But I won't get ahead of myself. There have been plenty of instances in history where the indigenous peoples have not taken lightly to strangers on their lands. I will try not to make the mistakes past invaders have made, and show that I mean no harm if I do come across any humans.

    To the conditions of my arrival - I awoke on a vacant beach in the early hours of the morning, perhaps 4 or 5 o'clock, around there. There was no light, but the human senses have never been limited to just that of sight. But even...

Cold Tiles

It was a perfect day in August, beautiful as could be. But that was also the day that I died.

    Though I suppose it's incorrect to say that I died on a single day. I had felt myself being eaten up from the inside out, day after day, for months now. For months I had been trying to push the agony in my chest to the back of my mind, or no, that wouldn't be right, to push it out of my body entirely was more like it. It wasn't an illness I could name, nor was there a diagnosis that any doctor could possibly prescribe me. This was less of a disease than it was a curse. Yes, I was cursed to wander this Earth with this pain in my ribcage until the day I succumbed and fell. Perhaps that day I would finally be free. I don't give that idea much thought. As long as I've lived with...

queen of my heart

the woman of my heart is a fickle queen
who surrounds herself with piles of gold
reminders of her wealth and esteem
a token of the power that she holds
within her grasp are jewels that shine
proclaiming her virtues as she tosses them
to the peasants and commoners and swine
on the streets. she makes herself known by the hem
of her dress and the lace of her sleeves
that are tailor-made, scrutinised
by ruby eyes
so that no one will be able to believe
anything than what they are shown -
this facade of the queen
that they have long known
for her sharp tongue and quick wit
and hard smirk and deft hand
as she sends fools to the grave
and matyrs to the slaughter
their kindness a weakness
that she will not uphold in her lands.
she surrounds herself with whispers of poison
voices of reason that reek with greed
and a clambering hunger to rise...

#anhacontest WINNERS

Wow! I honestly thought this contest was going to be a complete flop, thanks for proving me wrong!

PROMPT: Clear
WINNER: it's clear by fatpanda

PROMPT: Then and now
WINNER: Then and Now by kaydenblue

PROMPT: Red string
Lots of people liked this prompt, so there's two winners here!
WINNERS: Jacob's Ladder by SomeFormOfWriting
                                AND
                red string by Surly Wombat

As promised, the winners will get a dedicated shoutout, a bunch of likes and a review on one piece of your choice. Winners please let me know in the comments which piece you'd like reviewed.

Now for some honourable mentions!

"If my vision is clear, why is my path blocked by the thorns of my past?"
    - i.c.f.l.o.w.e.r.s.

"Cosmic tears drip into the surface, sucking the last bits of life out of a dying planet...  I am made of stardust."
    - rosemarywisdom

"Stumbled, in fact, over / the red...

Remember #AStorysNumberLine

Chapter One: A Single Memory

    I've been in this room for a long time. Sometimes I forget I'm in a room if I close my eyes. I close my eyes a lot. Because the doctors tell me sleep is important. Sometimes I forget that too. So I stare at the wall, because if I stare at it long enough, I think I'll be able to remember if it has a crack on the bottom left-hand corner, or if there's a small orange stain near the ceiling. There aren't either of these things, those are just examples, but I like to think of things that I might be able to remember. I'm not very good at remembering.
    A doctor came in yesterday. I remember that they're called doctors because they wear white coats and no one else wears white coats and gets called Doctor. I think she was female but I don't remember. The doctor brought someone with them. The someone...

Goddesses Among Men #jediknightgirlcontest.sunandmoon

Pale ankles brushed the edges of the ceremonial shift as the young woman strode towards the altar, her steps a careful rhythm to the watching eyes of her superiors. She knew that the Gods demanded sacrifices, no Greek had ever doubted the Gods' lust for blood or treasure, but she supposed it was the cruel string of fate that pulled her up the hewn marble steps, gradually drawing closer to her uncompromising demise.

    The blade shone in the twilight sun, and the woman smiled, the taste of irony on her lips. If only the sacrifice had taken place closer to the sunrise. But perhaps, even then, that would not have made any difference. She didn't know how good a Goddess' eyesight was. Children were always taught that the Gods could always see you wherever you were, but Neaera had taught her that Gods were much more than mortals thought. And much less, the black-haired beauty mused.

    Neaera stood behind Achelois'...

I'M HAVING A CONTEST #anhacontest

    This has been a while coming (about a week but I'm slow), but to celebrate hitting 100 followers (see "holy mcnuggets") I'm going to hold a contest!

    I know a bunch of other people are also holding contests or competitions right now (god I'm so sorry), and that school in America's started, but I'm going to set the due date for the middle of October so there's no mad rush to have to publish things in time for the due date.

    Prompts - These can be interpreted however you want and there'll be one or two winners per prompt:
Clear
Then and now
Red string

    Requirements:
Must be over 100 words (no word limit, I hate those so you don't have to deal with that)
Post your entry in the comments or with #anhacontest in the title
Deadline is October 14th (11:59pm AEST)

    Prizes:
1....

nicotine #jediknightgirlcontest.panic

ashes dust her fingertips
and smog coats her lips
i'm always telling her
my breath as fresh as mint
that her lungs will rot
like an industrial powerplant
if she keeps up this facade

she laughs
and tells me
"baby
i'm already
rotten to the core"
but somehow
these words feel like
smoke in the breeze
insincere
and short-lived

she laughs
and kisses me
i can taste
the smoke on her breath
but i savour it
not because
i love the taste
of burned wishes
of burned desires
of burned lives
but because
i love the taste
of her
however i can get it

and the longer i'm kissing her
it feels like
i'll get addicted
addicted to the taste of her
addicted to her nicotine
god i love her nicotine

The Hunt

The trail of oozing black dribbled down the gentle rocky slope of the mountain, catching on trees and shrubs as it slid down like a released drum of crude oil, only without the effervescent shimmers that caught the light. This black seemed to swallow it.

    It smelled like metal and mud, and she almost snarled at the reminders the odour dragged the the surface of her conscious mind. The pungent tang would have led her straight to the wounded creature even if she had been blind from all those years hunched in the darkness, fearing what lay outside the den. She now knew that that fear was childish, misplaced. There had nothing to fear but fear itself, and even fear knew not to root itself in her mind. For her eyes were that of cinders, and her jagged nails and sharpened teeth would have left fear shredded in her wake as she stabbed her makeshift dagger into its most sensitive...

at first sight

two years ago, my english teacher asked my class if we believed in love at first sight.

some said yes.

some said no.

the cynic i was, i proclaimed the latter.

then she asked us if we believed in lust at first sight.

and speaking to a room full of young women, she already knew the answer.

how could we not?

girl of glass #TSESWC!WOW!

    with eyes so pale 
yet empty, 
    orbs of powdered snow 
        from a heart that had been pierced 
            by the ice queen's shards 
                gazing blankly 
                    at me, but not seeing, 
                        just past me, 
                            into nothingness. 
looking into your eyes 
    is like being 
        in the eye of a blizzard. 


    with hands so cold 
it seems like a miracle 
    that your fingers 
        aren't flushed 
            or tipped with blue.
the bite of a creature 
    without teeth 
        gnawing away 
            at someone else's limbs, 
                its poison infecting the host 
                    through winds and chill 
                    minds turning frantic 
                        as the cold turns to fire
                            and they give into the illusion. 
but with you 
    the illusion 
        is not in the warmth 
            of your smile 
                but in the colour of your lips. 


    with a kiss so sweet 
like snowcones in summer 
    temporary celebrations 
        for a temporary season 
            meant to be 
                a temporary feeling 
                    for a temporary person, 
                        memories that last eternal. 
mouth translucent 
    as tinted glass, 
        warm as the furnace  ...

rosemarywisdom's top ten lists

Long story short I decided to publish this instead of putting it in the comments to tell a bunch of other people that y'all should check out rosemarywisdom's top ten list post. She's doing god's work and trying to get writers who you think deserve more credit on this site a bit of a leg-up.

None of these lists are in any particular order

CELEBRITIES

  1. Paperbird - all round amazing writer (how in the heckity crap did you write all those pieces) and generally cool bird
  2. RainAndSonder - creative writer and amazing co-founder of the Corner Writing Club
  3. Johanna - hella active and her pieces are crazy real
  4. rosemarywisdom - the girl, the geek, the legend. thanks for doing this, seriously
  5. Luna Lemon - known for killer reviews and helpful comments, you should definitely give some of her pieces a read
  6. Gabriel Goodwin - one of the most poetic sources on this site (until the more credit list, watch...

Brooklyn walls #missingavowel

Running through Brooklyn on this night was probably not a good option at this point. But I did it anyway. Stupid war. Stupid politicians. I had to try anything to withdraw my conscious mind from thinking about this situation, cold air matching my gasps. This damn situation. My days consist of my back against a wall and stifling hitching sobs, patting hair of a child that shouldn’t know this world. Only a month ago I might walk to Dad’s without worrying about catching sight of a gun to my right. And living in doubt of any instant that my body would hit my city’s asphalt.

Progression #MyFormOfWriting

The first time I had stood over a body, knife in hand, I had thrown up onto the pavement. The milky white of his eyes stared blankly, yet I could swear that they mocked me, judged me, hated me, and understood me at the same time. As if he was forgiving me for killing him. This kind of involuntary kindness made me retch all the more.

    Words appeared before my eyes – the generic computer code font was a joke that those sadists enjoyed, treating me like a machine. I supposed it wouldn’t be long before I was one. I spat, trying to rid my tongue of the taste of vomit. No. I’d never let myself turn into one of them. No matter how long I’d have to do this.

    SECONDDARY LOCATION: 40.7128912° N, 74.006035° W

                                                                                    ~~~

    From behind the convenience store veranda and the chain-link barriers that separated the asphalt basketball court from the bustling...

Golden Shackles

    The boy’s name was that of midday, but despite the sunny disposition of his calling, his eyes were of clouds and smoke, sunken and tired like a year’s flooded crops. He spent his time with the own trappings of his stone walls, trying to turn broken swords into gold, just as he tried to see the good in the invisible pledge that bound him like shackles to this place. If there was anything more than irony that spurred his actions, it was fear – fear that the image of his hometown would disappear, overshadowed by the overdressed pomp and circumstance that came with residence in such a place as this. In the servants’ washing lines he saw his own, and though he could now reach the strings on which drenched cottons sagged, he could not touch them. For that was not his job. For that was not allowed. For he was no longer just a boy from the village, he...

15 word story - Stars

Her sanctity was a fraud. So she surrendered herself to the endless abyss of stars.

Lonely Lover pt 1

    Once upon a time, there was a girl who had never felt love. Sure, she had adored her teddy bears, and sure the taste of vanilla ice cream made her tastebuds sing, but these joys were dampened slightly by the fact that the bear had been her brother's, and that her act of daring to sneak downstairs in the middle of the night for the forbidden treat had left her locked in her room, alone and hungry.

    So, like any rational little girl would, she ran away, leaving her unloving family behind. She lived on the streets for a while, and regretted it a bit – the hunger here was worse than the hunger of a missed meal at "home". But she remembered the beatings and the bruises, and stubbornly decided to stay away. And so she did. She lived sparingly off the kindness of strangers – one lady she liked particularly, a lady in purple who walked past every...

#15wordstories

if I could, i would ask you about the stardust that shimmers on your skin.

if i could, i would tell you about the cosmos i see in your eyes.

if i could, i would remind you that of all the galaxies, you are mine.

if you asked, i would say it all. but you didn't. so i didn't either.

#cwcfirstcontest Humans

In second grade, we learned what humans were.
They called them ‘homo sapiens’, descended from a prehistoric ape.
Bent-over, walking slowly, slowly straightening, hair lessening,
Until it looks like a slimmer version of my father.

Lately, we see these ‘advanced’ homo sapiens on the news a lot more.
Titles like
POLICE TASE BLACK CHILD
WOMAN KILLS BLACK NEIGHBOUR IN HIS OWN HOME
RAPIST GRANTED PARENTAL RIGHTS
MOLESTER TURNS PRESIDENT

Overshadow
Woman helps the homeless

In ninth grade, we learned what humans are.
I guess I learned how to read.

#cwcbucketprompt

You are a bucket. Buckets are judged by their size and shape to determine their worth. People use buckets. I don't want to be a bucket.

Lonely Lover pt 1

    Once upon a time, there was a girl who had never felt love. Sure, she had adored her teddy bears, and sure the taste of vanilla ice-cream made her tastebuds sing, but these joys were dampened slightly by the fact that the bear had been her brother's, and that her act of daring to sneak downstairs in the middle of the night for the forbidden treat had left her locked in her room, alone and hungry.

    So, like any rational little girl would, she ran away, leaving her unloving family behind. She lived on the streets for a while, and regretted it a bit - the hunger here was worse than the hunger of a missed meal at "home". But she remembered the beatings and the bruises, and stubbornly decided to stay away. And so she did. Living sparingly off the kindness of strangers - one lady she liked particularly, a lady in purple who walked past every...

Foxmillionaire Prompt: Dream Best Friend

Prompt #3 - Create your dream best friend.
Tell us their interests, personalities, and even what they look like if you want.

My dream best friend
Is easily accessible to me
Lives across the street
Or next door
Or even a few streets away.
Far away enough to let me miss them
But close enough that I know I can reach them.

My dream best friend
Has known me for forever
We've grown up together
Our families know each other
And I can get gossip
About things you won't tell me
That my mother hears from yours.

My dream best friend
Goes to my school
And though our classes may differ
We can at least complain about the teacher
Who make our life hell
And the fact that there are too many stairs
And the school's dumb decisions.

My dream best friend
Doesn't have to like everything I do
It's no fun to have a clone
But rather
I want...

This Song Has No Title #songtitlepoem

    when you're on the porch
and you hear the whistles
of times long gone by,
a secret tune
hidden in the call
of a rogue cockatoo
hidden in the creaking
of a house not meant to last
hidden in the far-off grating
of the rusted windmill
tell me
what do you call that song?

    the night air is quiet
but not silent
the bush rustling
of their own accord
the firepit crackling
its sparks like childlike spirits
the methodic hoots
of an owl not seen.

    the bush night is its own symphony
a cacophony of sounds
that intertwine seamlessly
to create a spontaneous orchestra
where the percussion
and the bass
are one.

    the rogue cockatoo
now mocks the saxaphone
loud and haunting
impossible to ignore
so we acknowledge him
until his cries fade out.

    the creaking of the shack
the wood imitating
a dozen stringed bows
on a dozen stringed violins
sometimes striking furiously
othertimes with...

Story Plan Excerpt

    After this many years of seeing the girl with green and blue eyes, the boy almost couldn’t remember what she used to look like, the 11 year old as memorable as a ghost in his mind. Sometimes, his mind slipped into a world where his sister truly was the Chosen One, and truth be told, he was quite happy to sit back and be happy for her, give her support, well, what he could anyway.

    But three years had passed awfully quickly, with the deceptive play still continuing on, and within the next three moons, the twins were to go with a party to fulfill their destiny. Honestly, the boy wished his destiny was to go back to the village, maybe marry, have a quiet life and eventually die of old age. Anything but this. But he had no choice, and he just hoped with all his might that the king would realise that he was a fraud...

Coffee Shop Senses

    The smell of roasted coffee beans wafts through the air. Through the glass display, I see customers taking refuge from the cold July weather, coats slung over chairs and scarves laying haphazardly next to abandoned ceramic cups, the drugged accomplices to the thrall of the espresso in deep conversation with their neighbour. I push the heavy glass door open and a bell rings, the warmth of bodies and air conditioning making my face flush, the smell of coffee so much stronger - if the cold hadn’t woken me from my begrudging slumber, the caffeine would have. The muffled conversations from outside are suddenly sound so much louder - laughing women, a complaining child, the telltale clicking of fingers on keyboards. The printed menu behind the counter shouts deals and bargains on today’s meals, and a man in a beige trenchcoat addresses a blonde dressed in black with a tone that insinuates that it is shewho is wasting his time,...

Foxmillionaire Prompt: Top Ten

Prompt #2 - Make a top ten list.  

    Top Ten Twisted Fairy Tales
In no particular order, because I'm indecisive and can't choose which ones are better.
(ok be warned I'm going to be talking about Leigh Bardugo a lot here)
  1. The Witch of Duva by Leigh Bardugo - This has got to be the most amazing adaption of Hansel and Gretel I've ever seen. With a twist you won't see coming, it's an entrancing story about when girls go missing, but it isn't the witch's fault.
  2. Ayama and the Thorn Wood by Leigh Bardugo - This one's more tame compared to the first, a heartfelt rendition of Beauty and the Beast that reflects the message of Shrek (lmao) - that beauty can be more than skin-deep.
  3. The Soldier Prince by Leigh Bardugo - A version of the Nutcracker flipped on its head when the little wooden soldier begins to realise that there is more to being alive than going...

#LifeLemonsPrompt

    when Life gives you Lemons
is what they say
but it's never Life
who hands out
this sour
bitter tang.

    when Life gives you Lemons
you have to move on
because Life won't be
taking back
those lemons
anytime soon.

    when Life gives you Lemons
that's just how it is.
it's nature
it's order
it's how things
are meant to be
we just don't like to accept it.

    but if you ever tell me
to make lemonade
out of the injustices
out of the ways
that i've been mistreated
out of the ways
that are purely Human -
their spiteful words
as unforgiving
as any citrus -
then
i might just have to
throw those Lemons in your face
and see how you make lemonade out of it.

why do i see broken topazes

    topaz
a symbol of love
affection
strength
wisdom
and courage.
it is believed
to bring friendship and fidelity
to those who wear it.

    then why
do i see broken topazes
opening first aid kits
with trembling fingers
alcohol stinging
the marks he left
no one can know
this fear
she loves him too much.

    then why
do i see broken topazes
unable to console
the girl who cries
who screams
why
why doesn't he understand?
he can't understand.
he leaves the room.

    then why
do i see broken topazes
sitting alone
lunch tables
seeming like
universes away
their inhabitants
exotic aliens
that humanity isn't ready
to meet with yet.

    then why
do i see broken topazes
lying on concrete
gravel scraping skin
while scuffed converse
make blemishes
sure to last
with words
that will linger
longer than the bruises.

why do i see broken citrines

    citrine
a symbol of hope
youth
health
and fidelity.
it is revered
as the gift from the sun
and represents joy

    then why
do i see broken citrines
undergoing countless surgeries
plastic
gel
grafts
implants
scalpels
all in the name
of retaining youth
and beauty.

    then why
do i see broken citrines
surrounded by orange bottles
pills
spilled onto the unforgiving
tile floor
the phone
too far away
as their vision
goes cloudy
and heart stops beating.

    then why
do i see broken citrines
cursing the name
they prayed to long ago
because faith
and worship
means nothing
when you have to be
your own salvation.

Coffee Shop Senses

    The smell of roasted coffee beans wafts through the air, and through the glass display, I see customers taking refuge from the cold July weather, coats slung over chairs and scarves laying haphazardly next to abandoned ceramic cups, the drugged accessories in deep conversation with their neighbour. I push the heavy glass door open and a bell rings, the warmth of bodies and air conditioning making my face flush, the smell of coffee so much stronger - if the cold hadn’t woken me from my begrudging slumber, the caffeine would have. The muffled conversations from outside are suddenly sound so much louder - laughing women, a complaining child, the telltale clicking of fingers on keyboards. The printed menu behind the counter shouts deals and bargains on today’s meals, and a man in a beige trenchcoat addresses a blonde dressed in black monotonously, the former rifling through his wallet to find the funds for his morning addiction. The sudden change in...

why do i see broken tourmalines

    tourmaline
a symbol of balance
and protection.
it is believed
that all colours of tourmaline
protect the wearer
against many dangers
and misfortune.

    then why
do i see broken tourmalines
tripping over themselves
to please others
faces burning
with hot shame
gritted teeth
ears ringing
with laughter
but no joke was told.

    then why
do i see broken tourmalines
clutching to pieces of driftwood
that used to be their bedroom door
water rushes past
trying to swallow them whole
and the next morning
be among the names
of those who are missing.

    then why
do i see broken tourmalines
grey circles
under their eyes
dusty clothing
with drops of blood
eyes bordering on tears
impossible to ignore
the growling threats
and pain of the knife at their throat.

why do i see broken sapphires

    sapphire
a symbol of truth
sincerity
commitment
consistency
and loyalty of the heart.

    then why
do i see broken sapphires
being persecuted
for revealing corruption
for aiding
those who betray them
and paying a price
that wasn't their to pay.

    then why
do i see broken sapphires
with masks as cold as ice
living through
an empty shell
mouths moving
only to speak.

    then why
do i see broken sapphires
unable to trust
unable to promise
that they will be there
so instead they choose
to avoid them altogether
and promise themselves
to the heartless depths
of solitude.

    then why
do i see broken sapphires
breaking hearts
squandering their own
on booze and dice
disinterested gazes
following the rushing crowds
as they crush the glass in their hands
and stand up.

why do i see broken peridots

    peridot
a symbol of fame
dignity
and protection.
it is regarded as a powerful amulet
to ward off evil
and protect the wearer from nightmares.

    then why
do i see broken peridots
one-hit-wonders
doomed to failure
or overshadowed
by faces
clad in powder and shine.

    then why
do i see broken peridots
shoulders slumping
next to straight-backed beauties
from the misconception
that their worth
is less than her's.

    then why
do i see broken peridots
plagued by visions
of horned goats
and piercing red eyes
and screams
that come from so far away
that they don't realise it's their own.

why do i see broken rubies

    ruby
a symbol of fire
sucess
devotion
integrity
and passion.
it believed to be
the lord of the gems
because of it’s rarity and beauty.

    then why
do i see broken rubies
standing in the rain
the fire long extinguished
from their grey eyes
a relationship long lost
but they didn't want to accept it.

    then why
do i see broken rubies
forced into lives of crime
theft only because
college degrees
don't pay off
and bills
don't care
about your financial situation
unless you can't pay.

    then why
do i see broken rubies
thinking they're peasants
because contrary to belief
rubies are dime a dozen
and the more you have
the less you appreciate their beauty.

why do i see broken pearls

    pearl
a symbol of modesty
love
success
happiness
and purity.
it is believed
to have life giving powers
the ability to instore youth
and improving self worth.

    then why
do i see broken pearls
selling their bodies
moaning words
of feigned ecstasy
degrading themselves
labelled as used goods
in the span of three years.

    then why
do i see broken pearls
head in hands
unpaid debt reminders
strewn across the table
a child crying from the next room.

    then why
do i see broken pearls
well, not see
rather, sense
the hovering figure
over an open casket
tracing the lines of their face
their face
unable to cry
because death
isn't that kind.

why do i see broken emeralds

    emerald
a symbol of fertility
rebirth
and goodness
some believe
it is regarded
as the amulet for good fortune.

    then why
do i see broken emeralds
women unable to carry
men mocked by their peers
people praying
for a different body
for a different life
a life
that has a chance
of being better than this one.

    then why
do i see broken emeralds
sleeping on streets
running from broken homes
clutching bedraggled ragdolls
watching in the windows
as the rich get richer
and realise
that luck doesn't matter.

why do i see broken diamonds

    diamond
a symbol of popularity
wealth
eternal love
fidelity
courage
and invincibility.

    then why
do i see broken diamonds
love smashed underneath
the knowledge
of that one night stand
of a shattered marriage
of a love that wasn't made to last.

    then why
do i see broken diamonds
crying on the floor
no strength in their sobs
fear in their eyes
when yelled at to shut up.

    then why
do i see broken diamonds
supposed to be
the hardest gem to break
crushed so easily
by the constraints
of an unforgiving society.

why do i see broken aquamarines

    aquamarine
a symbol of youth
happiness
and beauty.
some believe
it promotes honesty
loyalty
and good health.

    then why
do i see broken aquamarines
old and grey
before their time
no smiles
youth stolen
by the cigarette packet.

    then why
do i see broken aquamarines
lying through their teeth
when their parents
threaten to beat them
wishing
wishing
for a life other than this.

    then why
do i see broken aquamarines
who have never left
the smell of sanitiser
the white walls
and the gloved hands
of an indeterminate future.

why do i see broken amethysts

    amethyst
a symbol of peace
protection
and tranquility.
some believe
it provides insight
on ways to solve problems
and is said to increase intelligence and spirituality.

    then why
do i see broken amethysts
starting wars
screaming at everyone
and no one
at anyone.

    then why
do i see broken amethysts
being hurt
abused
who just can't understand
what these problems mean
in their life
and on the whiteboard.

    then why
do i see broken amethysts
believing
that no one loves them
that gods don't exist
holding on desperately
to the stuffed bear
the only thing
they find company in.

why do i see broken garnets

    garnet
a symbol of friendship
loyalty
good health
and devotion.
some believe
it gives its wearer guidance
in the night
and protection from nightmares.

    then why
do i see broken garnets
with no friends
in hospital beds
an iv drip permantly connected
a part of them now.

    then why
do i see broken garnets
kneeling
with tears streaming down their faces
having given up on gods
that ignored their pleas.

    then why
do i see broken garnets
with shadows under their eyes
countless sleepless nights
staying awake
just so they don't have see
the things that are called "dreams".

Unimaginable

Tales of glory, tales of magic,
Tales of the unimaginable,
And tales of the imagined
That have been told to death.
 
I read these tales,
And yet,
I do not write tales of magic
Or the unimaginable
Or the future.
 
I write with something else.
Something raw.
A clawed hand grips my heart
Through my ribcage
As I write in blood,
My fountain pen
Leaking red with words
Of loss;
Of longing;
Of missing;
Of something unimaginable.
 
But the thing about
My type of unimaginable
Is that some people
Can imagine it.
They can imagine it
Because they’ve experienced it.
This type of loss
This type of pain
This type of longing
For something that never comes.
 
I do not write
For people to laugh
Or for people to smile.
I write for people
Who have lived through
The unimaginable
To continue.
To know
That they were never alone.
 
    "If one dream should fall apart...

#ValentineValentine

your mouth
that you think has been twisted
by words of scorn
and thorns of spat insults
is softer than you know
while you think you taste bitter
like lemons or sour candy
but you know the thing about sour candy?
people still love them
no matter how sour they are

your hands
scarred in ways
not always visible to the naked eye
scarred in ways
that you think make you
less than someone else
scarred in ways
that you don't want people to see
but i can see them anyway
you've let me

your eyes
often squinting
in concentration
not always noticing
the dumbstruck way I look at you
but when you do
and they light up
and my heart
feels like it's jumping out of my chest
you know they say
the eyes are the window to the soul
well
i might be wrong
but i think
that if you looked in mine
all you'd see is You

Blue Words

    My words are blue – azure, navy, shades ranging between Caribbean and turquoise. Staining the page and my fingers, the light blush of cerulean dusting my eyebrow and mouth (I don’t know how they got there).

    My body is not my own, an eternal cage, but a cage that can be altered nonetheless. But alterations call for metalworkers and seamstresses who have to agree on the actions to be taken. Some seamstresses don’t want to make the alterations, saying, “But this is perfect, you look lovely.” Alterations come with consequences that I don’t know if I know how to face.

    My passions are that redistribution rather than creation; nothing is created or destroyed, merely transferred – shifted – the words on the page none of them my own invention, but the order is something of my own fingers.

    My years are numbered, thirteen, the unlucky number. Superstition drives my year, looking over my shoulder and keeping umbrellas closed indoors. Making...

The Greenfly

You try so hard
Your childlike smile strained
Against the doubts and worries
You rarely voice.
Swallowed like a pill
That is promised to cure
But is more like a tapeworm
Leaving you feeling worse than before.
 
Your ukulele sings songs of love
Simple chords plucked
With expert precision
Gardens grown from songs
Practised to perfection,
Much like the mask you wear
To hide your insecurities.
 
Flowers hide your tears
Their petals blooming
Across cheeks that tremble.
They say that sticks and stones
Will break you bones
But words pervade your soul –
Writhing in your mind
Like a parasite;
A greenfly
With no ladybug.
The flowers
Eaten away
By the greenfly.

Writer's Block

    I can feel it clotting my veins, my blood slowly beginning to flow like the residue from a failed science experiment. I’ve fallen prey to a disease that no one is safe from. It strikes at random, like an asp in the desert, stays as long as it wants, it’s leisure like that of a cat in the sun, comes and goes like a clingy ex-girlfriend who won’t let go.

    My fingers feel numb – I can’t move them, my throat closing up – I can’t speak, my mind buzzing with an endless white noise that threatens to leave me deaf and unable to hear a single word. The words that I know, that I use so often are disappearing faster than I can grasp them, their grainy letter seeming to fade into nothing before my very eyes. I reach into the misty nothing, understanding that the attempt is futile, but sitting there and doing nothing is like damning myself...

#LoveOrSomething

i look through my old notebooks
"old" defined by the lack of use
even though it only filled up in july this year

on the last page,
i see words
i only ever wrote once;
their contents
filling only a few lines
the rest of the page left blank
except for
"i think i love her"

"i think i love her
"the way she smiles
"her hair
"her freckles
"i didn't think i could love anyone
"i think i love her"


"i think i love her"
i read, and, for a moment
it's like it's true again
the image of her soft smile
and the time i made her laugh through words on a screen
and the lack of french in my vocabulary

she is my friend's friend
a girl i could never hope to meet
through my own devices
her clothes
a thousand times cooler
than the hand-me-down hoodie i wear for comfort

a single conversation;
more than an...

Lilia

    With a head full of nothing but sky and cotton, my feet hit the never-ending winding paths of pavement, a mind-numbing rhythm that leaves my pocketed hands grasping for more, and my eyes flickering in unconscious dissatisfaction. The streets are familiar, and I watch the trees grow, their once bare and feeble bodies hardening and branching out over time, green turning to brown, their fallen children crushed underfoot by the uncaring rush of commuters returning to their point of reset, debts and phone screens reflected in their glazed eyes. Children pick up the dropped leaves, showing them happily to their parents, innocence and naivety in the creases of their gentle inspection and the dimples of their cheeks, but the parents merely tell them to put it down, that it’s dirty, so they do, and the object of their five-second affection is trampled on by men in suits – wealth in their cufflinks and cold calculation in the trim of their...

V

The wind blew, cool and crisp through the September evening air, but within the confines of the school gym, students hardly noticed the chill. Heat rose, the stench of perfume and cologne staining the walls of the interior, as teenagers high on sugar and adrenaline shouted and sang to the deafening music that played from the speakers all around the room, flashing lights with colours so vibrant, it was like the 1970’s all over again. You could feel the pulsing beat vibrating through the floor and through your bones, making the objects in your hand buzz, which would explain why most students had opted to throw away their cups full of soft drink and were now making an attempt at dancing in the crowded hall. Others chose to make out with their significant others closer to the walls, and the infamous stoned guy was definitely selling more of his stash over in the corner.

Quinn rolled her eyes and took...

Your Ideas for WtW

Ideas for WtW

What do you most value about Write the World? 

Even though I only got a WtW account a little bit ago, I love how this site works! Being able to get friends' and strangers' uninhibited opinions of my work is encouraging, and so is seeing all the amazing pieces from people around the globe, people I'll likely never meet but have the pleasure of reading their writing anyway (there's a reason I have several hundred likes).
 

What would you like to see Write the World do differently?
As a predominantly teen-focused writing website, I honestly think that this site is doing everything right. I'm getting feedback from the kind of people I'm writing for (I'm writing for myself but it's nice to see what others think) but for things to do differently...maybe those who win competitions can get a little more credit and recognition beyond the site? Prizes like getting one on one feedback with a professional? Something like...

The walls are white

The walls are white, blinding white, drive you insane white. Which is ironic for one reason in particular among others.
I can hear him behind me, but I don’t move. He can’t do anything right now. Not while I’m here.
I know he’d love to replace me. He’s always thought he was better.
I know him. I know him best apart from myself. I’ve been with him my entire life.
He thinks I’m weak. Infuriating.
I think he’s evil. Like a vulture.
Sometimes he scares me.
I want him to leave me alone.
 
The walls are white, blinding white, make me want to punch them white.
I fight the urge to glare at him, because I know he won’t see. I can’t do anything right now. Not while he’s here.
I’d love to replace him. I remind him every day.
He thinks I’m evil. Like a vulture.
I think he’s weak. Disgustingly positive.
I loathe him with a passion. ...

Math Book Alphabet

Always noticing how she
Buries her head in her hands
Can make someone feel as if their
Deeds have gone unnoticed.
Every little action, a
Fight to stay in control of the life she's been
Given,
Her hands trembling with the effort
It takes to stay silent.
Just one more day, one more
Kiss to reassure her that this is enough, this
Love is enough, even though she's worth so
Much more.
No, she'll never
Openly accept that her
Pain is not her fault
Questioning constantly,
Reading too much into the 
Simple actions of strangers,
The hot
Unwanted tears acting as a
Vice that grips her sanity.
Would she know that she turns my insides
Xerothermic with the thought of
Yielding my life so that her will be more than
Zero.

Impermanence

Tired

Days growing longer
Why can't winter stay this way?
Longing for the end

The Tale of the Seven Knights

    Metal clashed and sparks flew and spluttered lifeless to the cobbled ground as the two men fought – one for his Queen, the other for his Lord. ‘The two were evenly matched,’ may be something you expect to hear of this kind of battle. But really, it was much simpler than that. With years of experience and a heart that carried more burdens than most men would ever know, Sir Gallavich greatly outmatched Valerio’s second in command. If not for the wound behind his right knee, he would have done away with this man an eternity ago. Both men knew it. So the second tried his best to kill his opponent while he still had a chance. The thing he did not know, was that he had never had a chance.

    A shout sounded from the courtyard behind Gallavich, and he turned, ready at a moment’s notice to run to his liege. That was when the second struck,...

Where I'm From

Where I'm From

I am from last minute assignments;
long nights;
sugar for caffeine;
pounding heart and sweaty hands.
 
I am from muffled screams;
makeshift recording studios;
blankets above my head;
surfacing for gulps of fresh air.
 
I am from cold mornings;
drool stained pillowcases;
duck feather doonas;
resistance;
hope that the sun will fade.
 
I am from smudged graphite;
piles of used sketchbooks;
unnaturally coloured skin;
too many teeth.
 
I am from shared smiles;
friendships lost and found;
cringe-worthy photos;
will I remember?
 
I am from letters and lavender sachets;
pancakes served on kitchen benches;
hospital waiting rooms;
a grave thousands of miles away.

Five Beginnings

Five Beginnings

In that moment, there was only steel, sparks and sweat.

White smoke rose in drifting plumes, lazy and heavy from the round-bottomed flask pinched between the thumb and the forefinger of the boy with the bandaged arms.

As the world burned behind her, the girl in the dust-coloured robe stared at the water, her drab reflection backed by a sky of flames.

From the outsider's perspective, it would have seemed strange to see two teenagers accompanying a host of soldiers on horseback, the woman at the head's back straight and poised, her armour shining in the midday sun.

If you had ever served in the Adlis castle, you would know that it was not unusual to find the Crown Prince sleeping against the wall instead of in his ornate four poster bed.

I was only eleven

One week.
It was one week after they asked me,
If I wanted to leave,
That she appeared.
She walked in,
Her perfume stark against the smell of sterilised equipment,
And introduced herself.
She was my counsellor.
I didn’t know what to think.
I didn’t know what a counsellor was then.
I was only eleven.
I’d had my eleventh birthday in the hospital.
But what is a birthday to a medical record?

Open Prompt

Visitor in the Grove

It’s a seemingly perfect day in May – the sun shines warm and the telling breeze of a coming winter makes the weather more than agreeable. You and the love of your life, your wife of two wonderful years decided to have a picnic, since it was a warm pocket of sunshine in the unrelenting rain for the past few weeks and it would be a waste not to spend it outside.
 
The two of you go down to the stream branching off from the lake near your house, and your wife kicks off her sandals and runs down the grassy hill, laughing. There are remains of the morning dew, and the green seems to sparkle slightly. It all seems slightly magical, the chirping birds and rainbows peeking around shaded tree trunks, so peaceful and quiet. Its nature at its finest, and even though you might not be the biggest outdoors person, you’re glad to see your wife smiling...

Mad Libs

Noon Hawthorne

Noon Hawthorne is a 16 year old boy, who lives in Adlis, one of the main continent of a fantasy realm. Known for being introverted and possessive, he wants nothing more than to stay in the shadows and support his sister with his strengths in alchemy while she goes on her quest to save the world. He puts on a facade, weak smiles and waves, when in fact, inside, he really feels overcome with anxiety. Noon’s biggest fear is losing his sister, the only one he believes truly cares about him. What Noon needs is an escape from his predestined fate; the biggest thing getting in the way is the King of Adlis insisting on his involvement with freeing the citizens of Zenith from their King's tyrannical yet easily influenced rule.