Thursday, January 19, 2006

Greenhorn (Matthew Knaub)

In a time aching for remembrance,
Ancient creatures lived, far beyond our grasp,
In a land enchanted by God’s old past,
Outside of man’s domain and repentance,
These beings with a holy innocence,
Could not know how man is always corrupt,
So when one man came, he interrupted,
Life looked above for divine transcendence,
To find only that he traveled too far,
A man, not evil, only oblivious,
Without warning, prediction to forlorn,
He came, a quest, a goal he was after,
Who knew the end would come out of his kiss,
He brought the demise, his name was Greenhorn.

Just as he determined, spoke a sparkle,
Seven feet forward, through a briar patch,
A glimmer of light made quite an eye catch,
He crawled, hands and knees, to the miracle,
With his hand he clasped the bushes’ barbed branch,
A jolt of pain as he began to bleed,
The thorn had pierced his flesh, a bloody bead,
Fell to the dirt, silent he took his chance,
With his arms he spread the bushes to see,
His blood now stained the thicket crimson red,
No matter as the vision came to sight,
In front of him rested the proof, his key,
Not the unicorn, something else instead,
Magic was proven, this sight was his light.

"You are right, brownie, but what do I do?
I don’t want my presence to alarm them,
Humans are forbidden in these parts," then,
Greenhorn waited for instructions how to.
The brownie came closer towards his ear,
"They will be kind to accept your presence,
Long as they believe that you are pleasant.
Look at me, big man," stood and proved no fear,
"I, Nudnik, have no fear of human souls,"
Standing two inches from his left eyeball,
"The rejuvenating water does good,
I doubt any of them would think to oppose,
Get naked and swim. There’s no need to call,"
Nudnik hopped off and back on the wood.

To eyes that have never seen a human,
Man sure appears interesting in ways,
And to lips that yearned to see how man tastes,
Never before known the bite of his sin,
Man circled now by seven blue beauties,
Toe touched his back, spiraled under water,
The sprite submerged deep as Greenhorn watched her,
In water they must be able to breathe,
Their aquatic blue figures were perfect,
One sprite came face to face with destiny,
She gave her hand to the man openly,
Her flesh felt as good as he could predict,
"Heavenly angel," he was stunned to meet,
"What shall I say?" he must remain friendly.

His vicious prosecutor was a beast,
It stood tall with seven heads and ten horns,
Each head and horn had a body of thorns,
To scorn the wicked with hell full of teeth,
To grind the sinners that turned 666.
The blessed and the cursed number of the Beast,
To guard the number, on sinners they feast,
The seventeen members made quite a mix,
A noble race created by the gods,
To protect the actions of the Goddess,
The number is the Goddess and his sin,
Ample recipe for creating Gods,
That are without sin and truly modest,
Now here to place blame onto Greenhorn’s sin.


WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Forever in our Heaven (Geneva Doll)

Above a life of vanity
Balanced in a starry sea, a world of love,
Clearly placed for all to see, though
Darling William, this world calls only to you and me.

Envious any man would be
For what I’m going to say is true.
Golden and bright as each star shines,
Hardly compares to you.

Indeed men may cry, the heavens were never made for
"Just one guy," although a
Knowledgeable men can not deny,
Lucky is the man, who is the universe in her eye.

Miles above the shallow hearts,
Neatly tucked into the evening sky,
Our world sits high, made of memories
Pieced together never to be torn apart, despite who may try.

Quite rapidly we soar into the unknown,
Reaching and collecting stars as we pass by.
Somehow I’m sure in this love we have both grown,
Taller and taller, together, until the day we die.

Under the stars we snuggle and gaze
Vast heavens above our heads, we only need to wait,
Wait until we rise to our heaven and happily live out our days.
Xanthippe I promise to never be, you’ll only receive all of my praise.

You and I have a love pure and true
Zealously I await my forever, in our heaven, with you


WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Continental Tapestry (Rasharria Emery)

How beautiful were your diamond minds.
How beautiful was your soul.
I spoke of you with brazen beauty,
when your heart was solid gold.
I laid within your land,
listening to echoing cries of pain and sorrow.
I watched as you reigned Queen, Africa.
The promise land.

You gave me the cold shoulder,
Still I longed for you.
Trapped in your glaciers,
I hold onto you.
Looking into your sky,
I am still head over heels;
Antarctica oh! How I want to return to you.

Piled high,
Across a sea.
No desert.
No dream.
No ice,
and no streams;
Asia! Asia! Depart from me peacefully.

Return with your lustrous greens,
your foreign accent,
your wildlife serene.
I equate you to peace found within.
I married you into my soul.
I promised myself the day I say I do,
Australia, my love, I shall never let you go.

But I did let go.
I failed in my attempt.
I crossed another sea,
and was swept off my feet.
Standing slanted.
My heart has forsaken my future.
Not comprehending your language,
yet in love with your ways.
Europe will love me ‘til my dying day.

That day has come.
My love has cast me aside.
Abandoned me at the stake.
Carried me out to sea.
Laid me by my flag.
Pledged my foolish pride.
North America picked up where my love had slacked.

Here is where I belong.
The land of my ancestors.
The place my father called home.
Where the sky meets the sea,
where wishes are turned into streams of endless dreams.
South America my true love has rescued me.


WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Rock Wall (Christine Deluca)

(Final Exam Essay)

Always keep going, keep looking forward for your next step. Don’t look down, don’t look back, and remember--there’s always something to grab hold of. I remember the first time I tried rock climbing, it was amazing. It felt like I was facing my fears--no--more like facing myself. Keep going--keep climbing--remember that there’s always something to grab a hold of. If you repeat those words to yourself to yourself you can make it to the top. Your team is always there with you, no matter what, and they will never fail you.

Times were tough in my house during my last two years of high school. I had finally come out to my mother and father and they were none too happy, my sister had changed and I couldn’t really talk to her anymore, and my mother was looking into--of all things--conversion therapy. Coming out was one of the hardest things for me to do, and the fact that my mother was not handling it well didn’t make things easier. I tried telling them the "best" way possible, I tried to sit them down and explain that I was still their daughter and nothing would change that, but they wouldn’t have it. After many years of feeling like a freak I had finally come to terms with myself only to have that torn down by my parents. I felt like I had nowhere to go, but I tried to look on the bright side.

Then it came time to face the rest of my world, a.k.a. my friends. I hadn’t told a single one of them yet. We were all at the diner one night--as we always are--and the moment just felt right. I took a deep breath and dove in. "Guys, I have something to tell you." I was met with laughter of all things. I couldn’t understand why they were laughing! "Is this the part where you FINALLY tell us you’re gay?" my one friend asked. I was in shock. After agonizing over when to tell them, after nights of worrying if they would accept me or leave me, they knew! They explained to me that they had known since the day they met me and they were just waiting for the day I was comfortable enough with myself to tell them. I don’t think there has been any other moment in my life so far when I felt more loved and more safe than that night with my boys--my team.

I explained to them about the situation with my parents and how I was torn over what to do about it. I didn’t know whether to go along with my mother’s conversion therapy to make me happy, or stand my ground and be proud of who I was. My best friend, Radeeb, told me to meet him at his house the next morning fully packed for the weekend. He didn’t tell me where we were going.

I asked my mother if I could go and she reluctantly agreed. The next morning I met Radeeb and we got into his car. I was kind of worried to say the least. Radeeb and I have always been the more adventurous of the group, so I didn’t know what he had planned. After a few hours of driving we wound up in Fawn Lake Forest, Pennsylvania. We checked into the cabin we had for the weekend and he told me to get dressed in some warmer clothes and go outside for my beginner’s training. That’s when I saw the rock wall. It was HUGE with sharp edges and steep drops. It didn’t look fun. It didn’t look like beginner’s training. I decided I was not for dying any time soon so I went back to the cabin and sat on the comfy HORIZONTAL bed. Radeeb was furious. He came in the cabin and yelled at me. He told me to go on with "conversion," that I wouldn’t be able to stand my ground anyway so I might as well back down. I cried, he yelled more, and he finally got me up.

Beginner’s training was on the ground thankfully. They explained to us the dynamics of the harness and how to grab on to rocks properly (not that I ever thought there was a right or wrong way to grab a rock). Before we began the climb our professional Mr. Mallia hit us with the infamous pep talk. He began with a quote--"Courage consists of being able to hold on one second longer." He told us we had nothing to fear but ourselves and that as long as we put our faith in our team and our team’s ability to help us through the rough spots we would be okay--there would be no reason to turn back. That speech hit me harder than if I had fallen off the rock wall. I couldn’t not climb after that. It meant so much, and I knew I had to try this. It was hard. There were times we had to stop because the rocks were difficult, but we worked as a team and got through to the top. When we got up there I realized it wasn’t so high--well, it was high, but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was just high enough for an amazing view. It felt wonderful. To know that we had earned that view was one of the coolest feelings ever.

While I was climbing I made up a mantra to keep myself going. "Keep going. Don’t look down, don’t look back, and remember there’s always something to grab on to. You can always rely on your team." Today those words are still with me. I decided to stand my ground with my mother--to keep going. I realized that even if it was rough with her there was always something to grab on to, my team--my friends. I don’t look back on the bad times anymore and I know no matter how rough it gets I’ll always have my team.

"Courage consists of being able to hold on one second longer," and I held on, I hold on. I learned that day that the only way is up and if you put your faith in your team and yourself it’s not always as high as it looks but it’s high enough for an amazing view.


LIT160 Introduction to Literature, Fall 2005

[Posted with permission of writer]

The following instructions were part of the final exam; students had 75 minutes to complete the writing task:

Alan Sillitoe’s novella "The Loneliness of the Long-distance Runner" incorporates the sport of long-distance running as an extended metaphor.

Write a short story, or personal narrative essay (500-750 words) in which you incorporate an extended metaphor involving a sport (not long-distance running--Sillitoe has already done this, and you would be just echoing his story), such as baseball, basketball, swimming, football, etc., or other hard physical activity.

The Funeral (Shannon Arnold)

It hardly did justice for the man;
the absurdity of his folded hands,
and the stillness of the room.
The deep remorse of silence,
marred by coughs and tears,
the occasional quip of a child-like voice.

Attention soon turned to the sound of a soft voice,
the pastor stood rigid, a meek pallid man.
His presence stifled the torrent of tears,
soon to be wiped by moistened hands.
"Please, a moment of silence,
for the dead," he directed the room.

The people in the room
obeyed the doting voice;
bowing their heads they commenced into silence.
Each remembering the man
with absurd folded hands,
the rain outside poured down like tears.

"Dry your sadness and your tears,"
he said unto the room.
A weathered Bible was cradled in his hands.
"This is a celebration of life," announced the voice,
"for a father, husband, and God-fearing man,
whose soul has found eternal peace and silence."

"Eternal peace and silence,
safe from pain and fear and tears.
The body of this man
resides in this room,
but his soul was called by the Lord’s voice,
and carried away in God’s loving hands."

Upon reflection, I sat with folded hands,
a prisoner to the fleeting silence.
Suddenly a voice
full of pained tears
cuts through the room
screaming at the undisturbed man.

A gray-haired woman, with shaking hands,
dashes across the room, breaking the silence.
Her face is full of tears: "You left me," screamed her voice.


WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005

The Squad (Eric Bowersox)

(Fiction Excerpt)

The building was in the middle of the park, yet no one knew it was there, at least no one but a select few. It was located within the giant rock formation that most people thought was just a monument to the founders of Brown Rock, Virginia. Little did Brown Rock’s citizens know that this rock served as the headquarters of the Squad, a group of government-sanctioned peacekeepers. Of course, if the public ever found out the truth about the big rock, they would all likely ask, "What’s the Squad?" Only a few higher-ups in the government knew of their existence, and even fewer knew anything else about them.

In the war room, five figures gathered around the table. There was one seat still empty.

"How much longer do we have to wait?" asked a young man in his mid-twenties. This was Jason Steed, the youngest member of the Squad. He was their technology expert, thus earning him the codename "Tech." He could hack his way into any system given enough time, but aside from that, he had little patience.

"What, are you going to be late for a cyber-date or something?" asked Michelle Lampton, a.k.a. Scope. She was the only woman on the team, and often very quick to make fun of others, especially Tech. But when it came to sniping, there was no one better.

"Very funny, jerk," said Tech, "but no, I just hated sitting in here waiting for who knows what."

"Just calm down. Even if we have a new mission, it won’t be anything we can’t handle with ease. After all, we are the Squad," said Chief, real name Patrick Sitfield, the Squad’s leader, due to his excellent tactical skills and quick thinking in the field. "We haven’t failed a mission yet."

"Don’t get too cocky," said Scope. "You never know when one of your plans might go haywire."

"Let’s hope that doesn’t happen," said a voice from the doorway.

"General Merden, welcome," said Chief.

"Thank you, Chief," said the General. "Sorry to keep you waiting."

"Well, you’re here now, so let’s get started," said Tech.

"Very well. Last night, at 0100 hours, a warehouse in D.C. was attacked."

"Attacked? I saw this on the news this morning, and they said it was just a break-in and nothing was stolen," said Barry Forbs, the team’s demolition expert, appropriately named "Bomb."

"That was just a cover-up," said General Merden. "The basement of this warehouse contains a biological weapons laboratory. Three of our chief scientists had been working there for the past fifteen months trying to develop a bomb that wound infect only the target race."

"What? Why would such a thing be authorized?" asked Chief.

"It wasn’t. We just found out about it two days ago. Apparently so did someone else. They broke in and stole the canister containing the virus."

"Was it completed?" asked Scope.

"Yes," said the General.

"What race was it designed to take out?" asked Billy Timson, also called Fist for his advanced knowledge of two dozen forms of hand-to-hand combat.


"Why would they want to infect my people?" asked Bomb.

"They didn’t," said the General. "They never intended to use it. They just wanted to see if it could be done. The other races they tested failed."

"Of course our bodies have what it takes," said Bomb.

"General, do we know who took the virus?" asked Chief.

"All evidence points to a white supremacist terrorist cell called Whites "

"‘Whites?’ That’s a really stupid name," said Scope. "Sounds like we’re dealing with brain dead terrorists."

"Despite their lack of an imaginative name, they have caused over sixty deaths over the past two years. We have not been able to get any leads on their base, which leads us to your new mission. We need to locate that base, retrieve the viral canister, and shut down the Whites before they cause any more deaths."

"Do we have anything to go on?" asked Fist.

"No, but I want Tech to see what he can find on the Internet. I want the rest of you to go to the warehouse and do a search of the lab. Maybe you can find something the Feds missed."

"All right, team," said Chief, "let’s do this. Tech, get to your station. The rest of you, be at the tunnel in ten minutes. Move out!"

* * * * *
The train whisked through the tunnel. Its four occupants sat silent, wondering if success was on the horizon. The Squad had always been successful before.

"We’re almost there," said Chief.

Chief was controlling the train. To help keep the Squad’s existence a secret, travel to local missions was done in a subway system that could only be accessed by the Squad and a few other military and government personnel. If they had to travel far, they would use a private jet, then some heavily accessorized vans they kept hidden in most major cities around the world.

"Okay, people, we’re here," said Chief. "Move quietly and stay alert."

The team got out of the train, climbed out the hidden tunnel access in the alley, and casually crossed the street to the warehouse.

"Fist, stay out here and watch the front door. Let us know if any Feds come back to investigate."

"Sure thing, Chief."

"Scope, go up on the roof and keep watch from up there. Bomb, come with me."

Chief and Bomb went around back. Bomb picked the lock, and they went inside. The building looked just like a warehouse. Boxes were stacked everywhere, a perfect place for a criminal hideout. Too bad it was government scientists committing the wrongdoings.

Behind a big stack of crates they found a door that took them down to the lab. The place was a mess, broken glass everywhere and blood in a few spots on the floor. Bullet holes decorated the walls.

Suddenly Chief pushed Bomb back out into the hallway.

"What’s wrong?" asked Bomb.

"Security cameras," said Chief. Then into his radio, "Tech, fix the cameras so we can get in."

"I’m sending in a looped feed of the room just before you entered. You’re good to go."

"Thanks, Tech."

Now undetectable, Bomb and Chief searched the room. All hope seemed to be lost. They could not find a single clue that might lead them to the Whites.

"Chief," said Fist, over the radio, "There're three guys across the street. They're too obvious to be cops. They look like Skinheads."

"Keep your eye on them, Fist, we’ll be right up," said Chief.

"Wait, a black car just pulled up. They’re getting in. I’ll hail a taxi and follow them."

"Keep us informed of your location. We’ll get a van and track you down. Be careful, Fist."

"You got it, Chief."


WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005

The War of Draenth–From Part I: Decay (Anonymous)



"Faster," the putrid Orcish Overmaster screamed, "or I’ll snap all your worthless necks in half!"

A whip cracked out over the heads of some hundred grimy, green and panting Orcs. Each and every one retracted and winced with the snap, but quickly went back to their work hammering and pounding the thousands of wicked red-hot glowing swords scattered about the room. Massive furnaces lined the walls, and for every piece of weaponry that exited their searing embers, three more were thrown in. A thick corrosive smoke hung in the air over the disgusting figures, obscuring the amazing architecture above and around their heads in the great Orcish citadel of Jil’Vug.

Only thirty years ago, the ground they now stood upon was a beautiful Elvish settlement, nestled sweetly above the ground in the ancient treetops. Tiny innocent almond-eyed children had played and frolicked here deep into the summer nights. Now their blood and bones fueled the great Orcish war-machine. Each and every blacksmith smiled the cruelest smile at the thought of lifting such a frail quarry above their head and crushing them in a spray of gore like the dry and worthless twigs that they were, then feasting upon their flesh.

"Vug’Krush will not be happy with your lack of effort!" he screamed again.

The very mention of the great Warlord’s name sent every Orc in the room into a frenzy. Most eyes grew wide with fear, some covered their ears and others began to whimper softly, for the great and terrible power of Vug’Krush the Hellspawn was known all-too-well by these Orc tribes, "The Uniter", as they called him; an all-powerful Orc of monstrous size and even more formidable strength. Most had never seen the great warlord with their own eyes, but those who had glimpsed upon their most worshiped commander brought back tales of horror. They spoke of an Orc more akin to a giant, twelve feet tall, with blood-red eyes and the flesh ripped from the side of his face, leaving only finely-polished skull where his cheeks and forehead should be. Krush wore the skins of his most formidable enemies as breeches; King Cassius of Larg, High Warlord Bhat of the Doomfist Tribe and the Troll leader Kama’Kun. His chest armor was a ferocious piece of jagged metal that fit his massive frame perfectly. Foot-long barbs covered every inch of the breastplate, and if one were to inspect close enough, one would find the rotting flesh and organs of his past victims still lodged between some of the spikes. On his head he wore a cage of metal, magically grafted to his jawbone and eye sockets.

If his visage wasn’t enough to cause even the most ferocious fighter of the Orcish horde to wet himself, then his weapon would do the trick. Strapped to his back was a blade six feet long that emitted a sickly acidic-green aura, illuminating and outlining the horrific image of Krush. Down the length of the blade were carved runes of ancient Orcish magiks, and, when Krush swung that blade and cleaved into his enemy, the runes would activate, unleashing a blast wave capable of ripping the very bones out of a victim’s body, leaving the poor defender as nothing more than a pile of skin and muscle.

"Bah!" one puny Orc grumbled to his partner in the corner of the room, clearly unimpressed with the threats of the Warchief, "Krush is nothing! I could wring him dead with my very hands!"

"Don’t say that you fool, Grug!" his horrified partner whispered, barely able to contain his fear of being heard.

"What? Are you afraid of that mangy beast, Krush? Have you ever even seen the bastard?" Grug asked.

"Watch your tongue! You’re new here, and you don’t know what happens to people who speak ill of the master! And no, I haven’t seen him, but I’ve heard enough to know that he could kill everyone in this room right now if he wished, no matter how many weapons we had!" Grug’s accomplice whimpered.

Grug looked at his friend in disbelief. Never had he heard an Orc cower in such a pathetic manner, especially towards another Orc. Where Grug came from, when you felt one of your tribesman was superior to you, you challenged them to a duel to the death. Grug had never lost a duel before, and was damned sure his pride would not be hurt by any other Orc, no matter how powerful others said he was.

"You are weak, friend. You have lost your will to fight. You are no better than a sniveling Elf!" Grug scoffed.

The other Orc simply shook his head and went back to hammering.

"Fine! If this fool won’t remember what makes him an Orc, will anyone else in this room?" Grug cried out.

The banging stopped and a silence filled the air.

"Who here still has a spine?" yelled the enraged Orc, glad to see he had everyone’s attention.

"Quiet, fool! Back to hammering everyone!" the Warchief screamed, incensed at such traitorous words. He cracked his whip in Grug’s direction, expecting to hear a scream of pain as the barbed-tip ripped into flesh, but instead all he felt was a slight sting in his chest. The Warchief looked down to find three tiny daggers sticking out from his heart. He suddenly felt very weak, and fell to a pile on the floor, dead.

Down below his perch, a very jubilant Grug laid spread out on the floor. Clearly his nasty little daggers had found their mark.

Grug urged the other smiths in the room to join him with a triumphant cry, "Come my brethren! Let us go and make waste to this supposed ‘leader’ of ours! Nobody can control the Orcish tribes!"

He grasped two newly forged-swords in both hands and began to back his way to the door, beckoning for the others to take up arms and follow, but none of them moved. The workers simply stared at Grug with disbelief and horror, unsure of what to do about the dead taskmaster and this defect from the great cause of Vug’Krush.

"What? None of you shall follow me to slay this beast that you call your ‘master’? No Orc shall ever have a master! Don’t you realize that?" Grug screamed louder than he had ever before, rage splayed across his face, grimacing with the pain of seeing thousands of years of pure breeding turned into a farce, as his brethren slaved over furnaces and groveled like pitiful dogs at the very mention of this "Vug’Krush", this joke of a leader.

Through his screaming, Grug was unable to hear the massive wooden door creak open on its rusty hinges behind him. He continued to yell, tears streaming down his face, falling deeper into the passionate cry for his kinsmen to follow him out of slavery. Only when he saw the look in the other Orc’s faces did his speech grow softer and less violent. In every set of eyes he saw a greater fear, something terrible, something indescribable. The Orcs in the room shuddered and whimpered, and Grug could see a massive shadow cover the ground around him. All was silent. Even the once omnipresent hiss of steam pouring forth from the furnaces seemed to recoil back into the glowing embers and quiet itself.

Grug’s muscles tightened. Every hair in his body stood-up on end. Deep in his puny brain, something clicked; an inherent warrior instinct ingrained into every Orc, a switch, that when flipped, brings a terrible bloodlust to the body of the warrior; a desire to kill, which blocks out every other emotion. Grug was ready to kill his quarry. He was ready to demolish the figure behind him. Slowly, he swiveled around to face and hopefully eradicate whatever it was that had encroached upon his moment of glory.

The figure was black, blacker than the blackest night in the blackest corner Illidian; twelve feet of demonic energy, nothing but a ghostly mist in the air. There were two eyes which seemed to hover atop the figure, crimson and furious, perfectly spherical and perfectly disgusting. Within the orbs swirled a viscous liquid that reflected the meager light playing upon them and made it seem as if they contained a sea of blood.

Grug dropped his swords and fell to his knees.

Vug’Krush the Hellspawn stepped into the room, the furious furnace light illuminating every curvature of his horrific figure. Twelve feet tall and in full battle-gear, the leader of all things violent raised his terrible zweihandler into the air. Krush looked straight into the eyes of the quivering, pitiful Grug, and down came the sword. A wave of perfect pain and pleasure washed over the proud but insolent warrior, and he felt every bone in his body tearing its way from his skin. He was going to join the gods of war. He was happy. His bones blasted in every direction, a thin spray of red mist following, splashing upon Vug’Krush and the other Orcs in the room. Bliss was the last emotion Grug felt as his brain melted inside his skull, and then he was Grug no more, just one more Orc that had made his stand against the unstoppable Vug’Krush and found his death quick and painless.

All eyes shot to the floor and each Orc dropped to their knees in reverence of the great warlord who now stood amongst them.

"Rise!" Vug’Krush cried, his unbelievably deep voice, as if magically amplified, shaking the very walls of the forge-room.

Some whimpered, some cried, some trembled, but all stood up straight, with as much spine and dignity that an Orc could muster.

Krush smiled.

"You have toiled long and hard in the name of the Bloodgut and all that which is glorious on the battlefield! You have shown me you are loyal to carnage! You have shown me you are willing to devote everything within your puny bodies to me!"
Vug’Krush drew himself up to an even more massive size, puffing his chest out and raising his arms to the sky.

"So tomorrow it comes! The dawning of a new era is upon us, brethren! Tomorrow we march for Draenth!"

A monstrous cheer rose from the crowd of petrified Orcs. They knew that their years of toil and work and planning were soon to come to fruition. They knew that their great leader would soon show them the way to true glory. They knew the glory of the Bloodgut tribe and the relentless Vug’Krush the Hellspawn would be known the world over.

They knew that in only a few short days, the great Elvish city of Draenth would lie in ruins.

WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005

Hunting Season (Katie Winter)


It was high noon on a cold, brisk Sunday at the end of November. Tomorrow was the first day of deer season, and Colin was ready for it. He drove earlier to his cabin in northern Pennsylvania that was deep in the woods. There was nothing he looked forward to more then going to the mountains for deer season. Although he loved the thrill of the hunt, the peace and quiet was the part he loved most.

Colin was young and full of life. When he was not out hunting, he liked to play baseball for his local college. He was about five-seven with pale creamy skin, dark shaggy hair and big brown puppy looking eyes. He was very adventurous and was not afraid of taking risks. He was easily excited, but what made him most excited was getting to go up to the cabin alone this year. Colin’s father usually came up with him but his work forced him to fly out to California on business.

Colin loved spending time with his dad, at least when he could get time to spend with him. His father was always at work or traveling somewhere. Deer season was the one time he could count on his dad being there but that had come to an end. Colin being twenty now, his father felt that he was old enough and responsible enough to go up alone.

After getting settled in the cabin, Colin decided it was a good time to take a walk through the woods to scope out some spots, and find where he wanted to sit in the morning. As he set off down the trail behind the cabin it suddenly hit him how cold it was.

"It must be twenty degrees out," he said to himself as he heard the crackling of twigs under his boots. Right now there were nothing but brown, bare trees and dead crispy leaves all throughout the woods. He really hoped that it would snow tonight, and leave a thin layer of powdered snow in the morning.

Colin had been walking through the woods for about an hour now, going up and down the mountainsides. He stopped at the top of the mountain and peered down into the valley. He had only seen two doe and a pheasant. He was not too pleased with all he saw, but he knew tomorrow morning would be a lot different. He decided to sit down on a trunk of a fallen tree for a little, and to take a break before he would head back to camp. Before he left, he had packed a peanut butter sandwich and a bottle of water. He sat there for ten minutes just taking in the fresh air and amazing scenery. He reached down to get the sandwich out of his knapsack. While he was bending over he saw a dark flash in the corner of his eye. He froze in his spot. He suddenly felt like he was not alone. He felt like there was something watching him.

"Is there someone else in the woods?" Colin thought to himself. Out of the right corner of his eye he could see a dark figure that was not there before. Colin closed his eyes for a few seconds and opened them in hopes that the dark shadow would be gone. To his disappointment it was not. He knew now that at this moment he would have to force his head to turn and see what this black figure was.

Colin realized at this point he was holding his breath. He closed his eyes and turned his head to the right and reopened them. Once he adjusted his eyes and saw what was in front of him he let out a long sigh and smiled. Right before him was one of the biggest bucks he had ever seen. He thought that it had to be at least a twelve point. He did the best he could not to move, so he would not scare the buck away. The buck just stared at Colin for a little then turned and trotted off.

"This is definitely where I am going to sit tomorrow."

Colin then realized that he should soon be heading back, so he quickly ate his sandwich, packed up all his gear, and got up to walk back to the cabin.

As Colin was getting close to the cabin he could see someone walking about one hundred yards away. He did not think the man saw him yet, because once he got closer the guy looked up and saw Colin. The man was about to turn, and go another direction, but Colin yelled over to him first.

"Hey, did you see a lot of deer?" yelled Colin as he started to jog over to him. The man seemed to realize there was no escaping Colin now.

Once Colin reached the man he felt a little uneasy. The man was about five-ten, and seemed to be very well in shape. He had black hair, and it appeared he had not shaved in weeks. He was wearing a flannel shirt, and a pair of overalls. Colin then noticed that his overalls were covered in a thick red substance that was obviously blood.

"Are you okay? What happened?" Colin asked the man. The guy did not seem sure how to answer. "Did you hurt yourself?"

"No, I was, um, walking through the woods, and saw an injured deer, so I, um, went to see if it was okay, but it was unable to move."

Colin saw the rifle he was carrying. Gesturing towards it he asked, "Did you shoot it?"

Seeming to forget he was carrying it, the man looked at the rifle, and then looked back up at Colin. "Yeah, I just did not want to see it suffer, you know?"

"Yeah, I’m Colin by the way. I am staying at the cabin right over that hill." He pointed to the direction he was walking earlier. "What’s your name? Do you come up here a lot?"

"Uh, I’m James," he said a little hesitantly. "I’m just up paying a visit to a friend."

Giving him one more look over, Colin felt that it would be better to leave. There was just something odd about James and it made him very uncomfortable.

"Well, I better head back. Good luck tomorrow."

"Oh yeah, you too." James said. Colin could tell he was a little unsure what he was talking about. Colin could tell when James realized he was talking about hunting when his face perked up a little like he had a bright idea. "I hope you get a big one."

"Thanks, you too." Colin said as he took off towards camp not daring to look back at James.


(Excerpt: Part 1 of 4)

WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005

Two Unicorns (Nicole Utz)


It was still raining.

The man leaned slightly over the edge of his small balcony and squinted, looking somewhere into the distance, looking for any sign of life. He saw nothing but gray clouds, gray water, and the top of one palm tree swaying uselessly two feet above water. He leaned further out and squinted harder, and as he wondered to himself if that was a person sitting on top of that building over there, he was promptly drenched by a torrent of rain. He cursed and took a step back, reminding himself that the balcony was indeed small and that the rooftop above it was even smaller.

He removed his glasses and wiped them on the edge of his shirt, turning as he did to peer back into his hotel room. The door separating his room and the balcony on which he stood was open—what use was there to a closed door right now? --and in front of the king-sized bed, a small television still stood blaring. He’d only turned this television on twice during the week he’d already spent in this room. The first time had been four days ago, when the local news station was all abuzz about a tropical storm approaching the Florida coast, one expected to bring strong winds and six inches of rain. The second time had been two hours ago, when he’d woken up from a sound sleep and found the ceiling leaking and every floor below his flooded.

The television really hadn’t been much use; everyone on it was too frantic to do any good. Things had already spiraled out of control, with the less practical newscasters proclaiming that the second coming had finally arrived and those who hadn’t sinned would be saved by Jesus. They’d all promptly been dragged off their air by their higher-ups, but the man wondered to himself if the censors could really give half a damn at this point, Jesus Christ or not. He’d watched all that he could stand and had found himself absorbing the news calmly, eventually lighting a cigarette when he realized that there was probably nobody left in the hotel to tell him he was a menace to society or a man with dirty lungs. He certainly couldn’t give a crap about lung cancer right now.

So the entire continent was flooding. The man put his glasses back on and squinted out into the storm. He needed to get his prescription changed; he still couldn’t tell if that was a person over there or not. Fleeing to the roof was probably a good idea at this point, considering he’d managed to sleep right through whatever evacuation there had been the evening before. He was the kind of guy who could sleep through an earthquake, and during a business trip to California three years ago, he had. But he figured that the twelfth of fourteen floors was close enough to the roof as it was, and the water still had to rise another foot and a half to get to him, so for now he was safe. Safe, but a little pissed off.

He grunted and reached into the pocket of his jeans, looking for the cigarette he’d previously placed there for safekeeping. When he found it he went back into his hotel room for his lighter, and as he lit up his eyes were inevitably drawn to the television again. Some big shot reporter was speaking now, at a desk under bright lights instead of "on location" as guys like him always wanted to be, and something about the dark circles under the reporter’s eyes told the man that he’d missed a lot in the past couple days. As he listened, he caught the word "apocalypse." He sighed, wondering if the entire population had lost its collective mind. Wasn’t the end of the world supposed to come with fire and brimstone? Hadn’t that Noah guy been promised that the world was safe from giant, humanity-destroying floods from 2000 BC onwards? Or had that been a lie?

The man snorted as he lit his cigarette. Somehow he could see how people could be panicking. If he’d read the Bible at face value and taken Christianity seriously as a kid, maybe he, too, would have been willing to believe that the world was currently being flooded due to the wrath of an angry god. But he was far too intelligent to think that something of that nature was possible. A storm was a storm, and the fact that it was currently causing a gigantic flood was unfortunate, but on its own… that proved nothing. He would believe in religion the day God himself walked into the room, shook the man’s hand, and told him his life story forwards and backwards.
He looked at the television, decided to keep the now crying newscaster in his thoughts, and turned it off. Regardless of what anybody believed, this had to be something like hell on earth.

There was no doubt about that.

He went back to the balcony and leaned on the railing as well as he was able, being careful this time not to poke his head out too far. The last thing he needed right now was another drenching. The usually strong scent of cigarette smoke was nearly drowned out by the overwhelming smell of rain, and the man inhaled only twice before tossing the cigarette into the water below.

Smoking was his one bad habit, and the only reason he had to enjoy it was the scent. It reminded him of his father and grandfather--both men had smoked and had died from it, but yet the smell was so inviting (and the activity so calming) that it all seemed impossible to avoid. But with all this rain around…

"Well, looks like I’m not the only one left after all."

The man started and turned, nearly losing his footing as he did so. He caught himself and looked into his hotel room, staring across the short space at a figure in the entranceway. He’d forgotten to lock the door that led from the hallway into his room--what would have been the use? --and so someone had apparently decided that this permitted entrance. He squinted and took a step forward and saw that it was a woman. As she came into clear focus, he could see that she was smiling, and that smile put him on guard. "Who are you?"

She laughed, somehow sounding fearless. "Does it matter? I was looking for some company… didn’t think I’d find any, though." Her voice was sweet and Southern, and she moved into his hotel room, crossing the floor to the door that led out onto the balcony. "You here by yourself, sweetie?"

He looked at her and wondered how someone who seemed so young could have the audacity to call him "sweetie." His great-aunt called him "sweetie."

"As far as I know," he answered, cautious. "I thought everyone else had left--"

"Everyone but the two of us. D’you have a death wish? A handsome fellow like you should’ve evacuated long ago." The woman came onto the balcony and looked the man over, then smiled again. "Trying to jump or somethin’?"

"No! … No. I wouldn’t do such a thing." He frowned at her, wondering how someone could simply walk into his hotel room and judge him in such a way. "What do you want?"
"You’re all questions! Sheesh, what a hardass. Got any more of those smokes?"

He narrowed his eyes at her. "How long were you--"

"Look, does it really matter? I’m amazed somebody can ask so many questions while the whole damn earth is flooding." She snorted and took her place beside him at the balcony railing, tossing her hair over her shoulder. "Maybe this’ll get you to shut up. I came here with my grandmother on a vacation, and she died last night. She wasn’t well enough to move out when the evacuations started, and I sure as hell wasn’t gonna leave her alone, so I stayed. S’far as I know, we’re the only two people left here. Grandma’s body is up in my room on the next floor, and there’s some guy laying in the hallway outside your room--I think he’s dead, too, or just layin’ real still. I’ve been looking around for any sign of life since this morning, since I figure drowning alone would be pretty crappy… y’know what I mean?" She took a breath, paused, and rolled her eyes. "I was standin’ there long enough to see you toss a perfectly good cigarette out into the goddamned ocean, so if you’ve got another, I’d be happy to take it off your hands."

The man took a moment to absorb this information and then walked back into his hotel room. He emerged a moment later with a pack of cigarettes, half-full, and a lighter. She accepted both items with a grin. As she lit up, her eyes seemed to twinkle a little. The man took a good look at her and saw a woman that could have been no more than twenty years old-she was average height and somewhat skinny, and her waist-length hair had been dyed bright red- it reminded him of a freshly painted fire hydrant. Her eyebrows were blonde, but something made the man think red suited her better than blonde. Maybe it was just because she was a loudmouth.

"So, sweetie," the woman said, and blew a cloud of smoke into the rain, "why’re you still sticking around? If you’re not killing yourself, you’ve got to have some reason…"

He leaned against the railing again and stared out into the rain. Something told him that there would be no use resisting conversation with this woman. If they were going to drown anyway…

"I was asleep," he answered, and heard her choke. "I didn’t wake up for the evacuation."

"You’ve gotta be kidding--"

"No. I woke up and found the hotel abandoned and everything flooded."

"And you didn’t try to--"

"To escape? How?" He glanced at her and shook his head. "There seems to be no use now. I decided to wait. If the rain stops--"

"The rain ain’t stopping’, sweetie. Haven’t you heard?" The woman laughed. "It’s the end of the world. The rain won’t stop until there’s nothing left for it to rain on."

"The end of the world?" The man looked at her. "Do you actually believe that?"

"Why wouldn’t I?"

"It’s--you can’t possibly think such a thing--" He stumbled over his words. "How could you think such a thing?"

"How couldn't I? Think about it." She kicked off the shoes she had been wearing, sinking two inches lower to the ground as they were cast aside. "Do you know," she began, stepping towards the balcony edge, "what the probability is… of all this happening?"

He remained looking steadily at her. "What?"

"The chance of there being rain falling on every square inch of this planet-the chance of a flood occurring everywhere all at the same time-is less than a ten thousandth of a percent. That’s really damn low. To put that into perspective…" She stopped to blow more smoke. "It’s more likely for every member of the United States Senate to spontaneously combust at the same time."

The man chuckled despite himself. "That’s an image to remember."

"I’m not joking, y’know. It’s almost statistically impossible for the entire world to flood. The fact that this is happening completely defies logic." The woman’s expression hardened. She swallowed, her eyes fixed on the burning tip of her cigarette. "I don’t know if you’ve seen the news lately, but even the atheists are screaming about the apocalypse now. The probability is just too low--"

"How do you know that?"

She sighed. "Before I came here, sweetie, I was a statistics major."

The man was caught off guard. He drew back from the railing and looked over the woman again, unsure now of his previous judgments about her. At first she had seemed like a wild Southern teenager, uneducated and brash, but a statistics major? He never would have guessed such a thing. After all, the students he had attended college with would have never dared to dye their hair bright red. There would have been consequences to such an action. But, he reminded himself, times had changed. So it was possible for someone so strange to be more accomplished than he had initially thought. Even so… He cleared his throat. "How old are you?" he asked.

Now she seemed to be the one off guard. "How old… why d’ya ask?"

"I want to know." He folded his arms. "If we are the last people left, we might as well get to know each other before we drown."

"Well, well!" The woman laughed. "Looks like you had a change of heart. Can’t say I expected to hear something like that come out of your mouth." She flung her spent cigarette out into the water and tossed back her hair, pressing her thin arms to the top of the railing. "I’m twenty-four."

"You don’t look--"

"I know. Save it; I hear that every day." She looked at the water instead of him. "You?"
The man forced back his surprise and answered her. "Thirty-nine."

"Woooow." She threw back her head and laughed. "You’re practically an old geezer. Man, and at first I thought you were my age. You take a dip in the Fountain of Youth or somethin’?"

He chuckled softly and reached into his back pocket for his box of cigarettes. "Such a thing doesn’t exist."

"There y’go again. You’re just resolved to be the most practical man alive, aren’t you? I bet you don’t believe in God, either."


"Well, you’d better start believin’ while you can, sweetie. Otherwise…"

"Otherwise," he began, lighting up, "what?"

She shrugged. "Otherwise you spend eternity rotting in Hell. Who knows, at this point. Like I was saying before, though-you can’t explain this flood logically. The only thing left to do is blame it on a higher power."

The man snorted. "A thousandth of a percent still isn’t very low. I’ll take my chances."

The man and woman were quiet for a while, and as the rain continued to come down in torrents, they watched. Suddenly the woman whirled around and faced the man, grinning like a cat would if it had cornered a mouse. "You ever read the Bible, sweetie?"

He nodded. "Once, a very long time ago."

"Ever wonder why the unicorns weren’t mentioned?"

"The unicorns?" The man blinked. "What are you talking about? Unicorns never existed."

"Do you have proof of that?"

"Well, no, but--"

"Look, just listen to me for a second." The woman shook her head, seemingly annoyed with his protests. "It’s said that the unicorns weren’t mentioned in the Bible because they managed to get themselves killed back when the Earth flooded. You remember the story of Noah’s ark, right?" She waited until he nodded in response to continue. "It’s said, sometimes, that the Bible excluded mentions of certain creatures that boarded the ark-creatures we’re not supposed to believe in. Y’know, faeries, elves, and so on…"

The man cleared his throat. "I fail to see how this relates to our current situation."

"I’m getting to it!" The woman glared at him, then spun around, turning her back on the rainfall.

"Unicorns kind of fall into that category--you know, nonsensical creatures. My grandmother always used to tell me that they existed, though, and that they aren’t seen anymore because they were too proud to board the ark. When the rain started and Noah gathered up his pairs of animals, the unicorns were stubborn and stayed behind. They thought they could wait out the storm-that it wouldn’t get as bad as that crazy old man was thinkin’. They thought they could just swim right through it. Noah begged and pleaded with them, but they insisted on staying right where they were. So all the other pairs boarded the ark, and the unicorns just sat by watchin’, thinking to themselves how smart they were, how stupid Noah was for believing that God guy would really wipe out all of humanity…"

He pursed his lips. "Then what?"

"What do you think? You know what happened, geez. It rained for forty days and forty nights, and everything and everybody drowned before a week had passed. Those stubborn unicorns didn’t make it past two days--Grandma always said they tried to cross a river and each and every one of ‘em slipped on the rocks and fell in. Hooves aren’t exactly the sturdiest things, y’know, especially when there’s water involved." The woman studied her fingernails, painted red to match her hair. "What I’m saying is this: we’re kinda like those two unicorns. Noah gave those two a chance to live through the biggest storm the world would ever know, and they turned it down. They just walked away and thought to themselves that they would be just fine on their own. And we know how that turned out…"

"Are you trying to say that the two of us are going to die?"

"What else do you think could possibly happen at this point, sweetie?" She shook her head slowly, her hair falling forward to shield her eyes from his gaze. "It won’t stop raining anytime soon--at least that’s what the weatherman kept sayin’--and even if it does, where are we supposed to go? What do we have left here? I only have enough food in my room for one more meal, and I doubt we could find an open McDonald’s anywhere around here." She smiled a little at her own joke. "I could really kill for a cheeseburger right about now…"

The man looked at the cigarette in his hand and swallowed back the sudden lump in his throat.

"Me too."

"Honestly, I don’t know what’s goin’ on here. If we’re to believe the Bible, God’s taking back his word about never flooding out the world again--and he’s really pissed at humanity, to boot. If we’re to believe logic… well, I’m not so sure we can believe logic anymore, seeing as this defies just about everything."

"The whole world’s ruined, either way."

"Now you’re cookin’ with gas." She threw back her head and laughed. "I mean, look at this. A hundred percent of the world is covered with water right now. There are no houses, no businesses, no buildings that aren’t filled with water to some extent. If the rain keeps coming, even the skyscrapers will be submerged. There’s almost no food, no drinkable water, only a couple places to sit or sleep in, and I’m sure people are panicking their asses off considering the death toll’s supposedly two million right now in the United States alone." The smile on her face was slowly dying. "Even if we do wait out this storm, what’s left for us? What’s left for any of us when the storm clears and everything we hold dear is underwater?"

The man flung his cigarette out into the rain and watched it fall to the ocean below them, his throat tight. Not even the smell of smoke could comfort him now. "Nothing," he said, mostly to himself, and closed his eyes. "There’s a very grim future in store for anyone who lives through this."

"Think it’s even worth living through?"

"I don’t know right now," he answered. "But I won’t know until I try."

"So you’re gonna cross the river?"

He chuckled. "I can swim very well."

"Well, if you’re determined to do that…" She turned and pointed across what had once been a beach, her sight set solidly on a taller, larger hotel. "We’ve gotta move to higher ground. There are balconies over there, too--we can climb up onto the nearest one and see if we can get into a room from there." She paused. "I was about to say that I wouldn’t wanna break in, but I guess that doesn’t matter much now."

"No." The man adjusted his glasses and squinted at the hotel--there was someone on the roof there, he was sure of it now--and sighed. "Do you think we’ll live?"

"You said you could swim well, didn’t you?" The woman was suddenly climbing on the railing, pushing herself up to sit on the top bar. "It isn’t too bad out there… nothing I couldn’t handle. I was on the swim team in high school, y’know…"

"Me too."

"Well, that’s just another thing we have in common, huh?" She winked over her shoulder at him, then slid a little off the railing. "C’mon, let’s get going. And I’m not saving you if you start to flail around, so you’d better be good at watchin’ your own ass."

The man bent to remove his shoes, smiling. "I can take care of myself just fine. I’ve made it this far, haven’t I?"

He waited for his answer and heard nothing-the woman was already gone. Sighing, he peeled off his socks, unbuttoned his shirt, and began to climb over the railing. Around him the rain continued to come down, relentless, as if it was determined to continue until there was nothing left but the sound of waves lapping against rooftops.


WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005

After the Bell (Miles Watson)


"That was bad," Tina said. "That was real bad."

"It’s over," I said.

"’Till the next time, you mean."

"Isn’t gonna be a next time."

"Sure," she said.

"I mean it."

"Sure," she said.


"Tina, what?"

"Let it go. I’m not in the mood."

"I wasn’t in the mood to see you play human heavy bag, either."

"You didn’t have to come."

"You looked like a fucking puppy dog when I said I wasn’t."

"I did not."

"You did."

"I did not."

"Stop talking. You keep splitting your lip open. Put the ice back on."

"Ice won’t help. Give me another Advil."

"You’ve had four already. And two Vicodan. You need to stop."

"Give me another."

"Get it yourself."

"Tina, for Christ’s sake."

"All right. Here. But you’re not supposed to mix those with alcohol and you know it."

"I don’t care."

"That’s obvious."


"Stop saying my damn name like that. My father used to do that. Are you my father?"

"You’re acting like my mother, so why not?"

"If I was your mother I never would have let you get in that damn ring. You nearly got killed in there."

"I had a bad night. That’s all."

"You had no business being in with him. I couldn’t even watch that last round. It was awful."

"It wasn’t that bad. He couldn’t knock me out."

"You must be very proud."

"Why don’t you lay off?"

"Because you’re crazy. What were you trying to prove?"


"Are you trying to get yourself killed because you ran into that old girl of yours."

"Don’t be stupid."

"You’re one to talk. You’re not a real fighter anymore, Mick. You got no trainer. You’re not in shape. Christ, that kid looked like he stepped out of a Bally’s commercial."

"Beautiful bodies don’t win fights."

"Neither do love handles."

"I would have killed him a few years ago."

"I got a newsflash for you: It’s not a few years ago. It’s now. You may be a big tough guy on the street, Mick, but in the ring, you’re just a victim."

"I almost had him in the first round."

"It was the other nine that were the problem."

"You really enjoy kicking a guy when he’s down, don’t you?"

"It’s just that everybody told you not to do it. Kraut told you. I told you. Alton practically begged you not to. There’s a reason he wouldn’t work your corner, you know."

"The money was good. I made good money."

"Good enough to get your head beat in?"

"Yeah, well – sometimes my money has blood on it. This time it just happened to be mine. Either way you like to spend it, so what’s the difference?"

"You think I’m with you for your money? That’s a joke right there. I had a guy come onto me last week who owned his own jet. He practically got down on his knees and begged me to come away with him for the weekend. But no, I spent it in a shitty ballroom in Yonkers, watching you get your ass kicked."

"Don’t let me cramp your style."

"I’m just saying that if you’ve got money problems, this ain’t the way out of them. How much did they pay you tonight? Twenty-five hundred? How long are you gonna be laid up after this? Ten days? Two weeks? You didn’t make money tonight, Mick. You treaded water."

"I have to do what I have to do. Business is way off and they’re upping my rent again. Every time I score Gino has his hand out. He’s getting worse all the time. I swear to Christ he can hear a dollar bill in your pocket. This kind of money, clean money, is the only he kind he doesn’t want a cut of."

"Mick, I can make what you made tonight in a week if I hustle my ass, and I don’t bleed all over the pillowcase, afterwards."

"You want I should try out for Chippendale’s?"

"I think I’d rather loan you the money than watch you go through that again."

"I don’t want your money. I’ll figure something out."

"Don’t take my head off. I’m trying to help you."

"Well, I don’t need your help. I’m not a pimp. I don’t need a woman to support me."

"I’m not offering to, Superfly."

"Okay, okay. I’m sorry. That was a stupid thing to say. My head hurts and I’m not thinking right. It was nice of you to offer. But I’ll figure something else out on my own."

"Not fighting."

"Not fighting. I’m finished with that."

"Because I’m not your girlfriend or your damn nurse. I’m not going to watch that again and I’m not going to sit here and feed you through a straw afterwards."

"Okay. But go get a milkshake, will you?"

"I mean it, Mick. What you do is dangerous enough without looking for more trouble on the side."

"All right.""I don’t know why I put up with you as it is."

"Me neither."

"I’m serious. I could be in Bimini now."

"I’m glad you’re not."

"Of course you are. You can barely move. Now lie back. Put the ice on. God, he made a mess of you. Why didn’t you just go down?"

"I did go down."

"I mean why didn’t you stay there?"

"You mean dog it?"

"Why not? You couldn’t win. Why stay in there and take a beating?"

"I have my reasons."



"What, then?"

"They might have withheld my purse."

"Finally," Tina said. "You say something that makes sense."


Excerpt from Knuckle Down, a novel-in-progress

WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005

Between A Woman and Her Work (Meg Goforth)

She picks up her silver camera
and asks the subject to stand still.
For as long as she can remember
this has been a dream.

She asks the subject to stand still.
He looks her straight in the eye.
This has been a dream,
but she must focus on her work.

He looks her straight in the eye.
She becomes more and more distracted,
but she must focus on her work.
She has known no other love.

She becomes more and more distracted,
and her eyes begin to shine.
She has known no other love
but cannot decide what to choose.

Her eyes begin to shine,
and his smile widens.
She cannot decide what to choose,
so she continues taking pictures.

His smile widens
as she asks him to remove his shirt.
She continues taking pictures,
but her mind wanders to the bedroom.

As she asks him to remove his shirt
he becomes more sexual.
Her mind wanders to the bedroom,
and she cannot help but succumb.

He looks at her with sexuality.
For as long as she can remember
she could not help but succumb.
So, she puts down her silver camera.


WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005

Curtis and the Rip-Roarin’ Snowballs (Eli Murray)


Curtis moaned with sagging shoulders as Mom wrapped an itchy scarf around his neck.
"For the last time," Mom said, firmly tugging a wool cap over Curtis’ ears, "You must wear more than a T-shirt. There’s five inches of snow on the ground."
Curtis eagerly made his way towards the back door. He waddled because of the winter clothes. After gingerly stepping onto the icy steps, Curtis squinted at the bright snow.
He gazed upon the neighborhood in awe. Every house, car, and inch of ground was covered with a dazzling, flawless blanket of snow. Pine trees sagged from the newly weight. Other than the distant sounds of chains on truck tires and snow shovels scraping sidewalks, it was silent. There were no birds or rabbits playing. They were in their homes keeping warm. Curtis took a deep breath of wintry air and caught a hint of smoky firewood.
"Mom thinks there’s five inches of snow on the ground," Curtis said to himself, "but I think there’s five thousand inches of snow!"
Curtis walked into the new snowy world. With his foot prints, Curtis spelled his name. He then rolled a snowman and named him "Captain Snow Menace." To stop the snowman from conquering the world, Curtis destroyed him.
Tucked in the corner of the yard was a wooden shed. Inside was a ladder, a lawnmower, and gardening tools; all hibernating for the winter.
Curtis scooped up a handful of snow, patted it into a ball. "I wonder if I can hit the shed with this," Curtis said as he lightly tossed the snowball up and down. Curtis threw the snowball through the chilly air… thunk! The snowball smacked against the side of the shed exactly where Curtis was aiming. "Wow! My aim is tremendous!"
Curtis spotted a tall oak tree off to the right. "I bet I can hit that old tree in the center of its trunk." Curtis launched a second snowball and… thud! The snowball exploded in the center of the trunk, leaving behind a small trace of snow. "My arm is truly unbelievable."
A checkered monster with fuzzy horns and enormous pink ears suddenly appeared from behind the shed. Smacking its fist into a catcher’s mitt, the monster stooped down and bellowed, "Put ‘er there, Sport." Curtis wound his arm back and lifted a knee before he pitched another snowball through the air… smack! "Strike!" the monster shrieked before he pounced back behind the shed.
"When I grow up, I’m going to be a Major League pitcher," Curtis said as he spat and scraped the ground with his foot.
Curtis turned to the sound of crunching snow. Rolling down the white alley, wearing a football helmet, was a kangaroo on a unicycle. Curtis was feeling confident. He sent a snowball whizzing through the trees and sure enough… bang! The snowball hit the kangaroo’s helmet, knocking off the five inches of snow that innocently sat on top. "Do you have to throw so hard?" the kangaroo grumbled as he wobbled on his way.
In the distance, Curtis heard the piercing sound of a pterodactyl screech. As the dinosaur flew near, Curtis quickly created another snowball. "I hope the pterodactyl stops in my yard," Curtis thought. The creature flew overhead but showed no signs of slowing down. Curtis lobbed the snowball straight up in the air… wham! Curtis hit the pterodactyl in mid-flight. The broken snowball pieces fell to the earth but the dinosaur regained control and flew away.
"Nice shot," said the pterodactyl looking over its shoulder.
As Curtis watched the pterodactyl fly further away, he noticed an alien jet craft doing loops and zigzags through the winter sky. "Hitting that alien should be a cinch!" Curtis boasted. With precise timing, Curtis blasted another snowball. The air ripped as the snowball climbed higher and higher. Curtis watched with anticipation… boom! The snowball slapped the side of the strange aircraft. Curtis listened very closely and heard the alien pilot say high in the sky, "That human has remarkable throwing power!"
Curtis was so impressed with his new-found talent he decided to hurl another snowball just to see how far it would go. With a mighty grunt, he sent one flying. He watched the snowball until it disappeared between the clouds. As Curtis panted, he heard the encouraging cheer of fans.
The snowball zipped over the Atlantic Ocean. It whipped through Europe and soared past China. It cruised over the Pacific Ocean. The snowball was now on fire and started falling over California. From behind him the snowball reappeared over Curtis’ house. While he was still searching the skies… bam! The snowball whacked Curtis on the back of his head, knocking off his hat and sending him to the arctic ground.
Curtis made a snow angel before he peeled himself out of the snow. By this time, the birds and rabbits were peeking from their homes to watch. "My throwing power is truly a gift," Curtis thought as he brushed the snow from his hat.
"Now it’s time for the most rip-roarin’ of all snowballs. I’m going to hit the sun!" Curtis took his time to form one perfectly round snowball. He rolled his arm back and with all his strength, heaved the snowball into orbit. With rosy cheeks, Curtis watched and waited… and waited… and waited. At last, he heard what he had been listening for. The snowball struck the surface of the sun, making the sound of raw eggs meeting a piping hot pan… tsssss and then dead silence.
Like a ball slowly rolling off a table, the sun gradually tipped forward, then quickly dropped towards the backyard. The blazing hot mass of fire roared madly as it sped closer and closer. The snow in the backyard started to boil as steam rolled upwards. Curtis wiped his sweltering face with his mittens. "I’ve really done it this time," Curtis said trembling.
Just when Curtis thought he was burnt toast, the sun came to a screeching halt just inches from his face. Glaring angrily the sun asked, "What on earth were you thinking?"
Curtis’ throat was too scorched to answer. All he could do was squint and loosen his roasting scarf.
Unexpectedly, Curtis heard the cracks and pops of the back door opening, followed by Mom’s familiar voice. "I made hot chocolate with marshmallows. Come inside and warm yourself."
Curtis turned to see the winter sun sitting quietly behind the tall trees. He smiled. "Thanks, Mom," Curtis answered as he merrily ran towards his house.
WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005

The Mane of My Existence (Siobahn Hyser)

(Creative Non-fiction)

I hate my hair. Well, I used to hate my hair when it was long. Until I chopped it off, my hair was well below my shoulders, a mass of curls that parasitically existed upon my scalp. My hair had a life of its own. People were happy to meet my hair. They remembered my hair. I’m sure they would have taken it to dinner if they could. My hair reveled in the compliments and praise it received, rustling about like sea anemone in the ocean.
I have always had long hair, until a gay boy with an electric razor made a drastic mistake. When my hair and I were very young, the long curly locks were a beacon that attracted strangers. "What beautiful hair she has!" they would exclaim to my mother in the grocery store. "It’s so long!" I would smile and bask in their adoration. Mom always told me my hair was pretty, but she never told me I was pretty. When I got older, in high school, she would constantly point out, "Your hair is so thin on top!" I don’t think it actually was. But her insistence caused it to believe that I was going bald, becoming an ugly freak.
My hair had become my identity. If it didn’t look good, I was ugly. I wasn’t a girl: I couldn’t even do my hair right. Some days it would be this beautiful masterpiece of loose curls, and other days it was a frizzy mess. And then there was the whole going bald on top thing. Some days my hair would look great from what I could see and then I would use a handheld mirror to look at the back of my head. Sure enough, there was a scalp showing through. Years later, I discovered the simple reason for the seeming "bald spot", a cowlick that made a bunch of my hair into one big curl. My mother wasn’t much help. She just let me linger in the horrific prospect of baldness and ugliness for my senior prom. Mom wasn’t really a hands-on sort of mother, although she would help wash my hair in the sink before school if I ended up with too much goop in it.
After graduation, I couldn’t give it up; I was still worried about losing my hair. I was still afraid of being ugly. Soon, I thought, I will be one of those old women with cotton ball wisps floating about their heads. I couldn’t think of anything more horrific.
I kept my anxiety to myself, not seeking help from friends or my female relatives. It was shameful to be losing my hair; I must have done something wrong. I had failed at being a girl. If I couldn’t do my hair, much less hold onto the hair I still had, was I really a girl? It sounds dramatic, but my late teenage years were spent in the rave scene where sexual confusion hung in the air thicker than the smoke from the dry ice machine. The baggy pants and oversized shirts, the baseball caps and short hair: who knew who was a girl? A boy?
One evening about four years ago, I was at Jeremey’s house. His roommate had a friend over and they were all going to trim their up hair with clippers. "Jeremey," I said, "Do me, too." I had had enough. The past few years with their deaths and sorrows had left me feeling naked. First Daddy died, and then Anna was killed six months later. Around the same time, Nana, Daddy’s mom, died of old age. Why should I have any hair to hide behind? I didn’t feel beautiful, and my hair wasn’t sad for my losses. Isn’t that what women used to do anyway, cut their hair off when they were in mourning?
Besides, if I was going to do something drastic with my hair, Jeremey was the one do it. He’d gone to acting school in New York and had cut hair for his theatre friends to make money. He was gay and had an inherent sense of style. Unfortunately, he’s also an inveterate drunk.
We went upstairs to the bathroom and I sat on the side of the tub. We chopped off most of length and then he said he was going to trim it up with the clippers. He kept going back and forth from one side to the other. I ended up with sort of a faux hawk in the middle. "That looks so punk rock!" he said, "You totally need to keep it." So I did.
A few hours later, and a few – well, a lot more – beers later, Jeremey decided he needed to touch it up a little. Again, we went upstairs. Again, I sat on the tub. Jeremey picked up the clippers. He put the razor to my head, above my right ear and shaved around my ear. "Okay," he said brightly, standing back and crossing his arms, clippers still in hand, "We have two choices. We can either shave it to the skin around your ear on the other side or shave it all to the skin except for the mohawk." I looked to the mirror as my jaw dropped. All I saw was a blur because my glasses were out of reach on the counter by the sink.
Jeremey continued, never failing in his chipper tone. "I forgot to put the attachment on the blade so it shaved your head right there."
Did I mention we were drunk?
Ten minutes later I have a checkerboard pattern on my head, squares of skin and fuzz, with a mohawk in the middle. Over the course of the next week, repeated visits to Jeremey slowly remove the rest of the hair from my pale, white scalp. I am as bald as Vger from the Star Trek movie. And I like it.
Suddenly, showering takes 5 minutes. No wonder guys get ready so fast. I can leave the house without looking in a mirror. My hair doesn’t get in my mouth or my eyes when I’m driving with the windows down. My budget for hair products just went down to zero.
It never gets past my chin again. With full time school and full time work, I don’t have the patience for hair anymore. I tried growing it out a bit a couple of times. But as soon as it gets a few inches long, the curls erupt and I have two choices: back to the hair product aisle or back to razor. I keep choosing the razor.
Shaving my head was the most liberating thing I have ever done. I’ve heard other girls say the same thing. I got rid of something that had been weighing me down most of life. My sense of self became detached from the parasite that devoured hair goop and shampoo. My sense of self was now… my self.
When I first got rid of my hair, there were some ingrates at the bars who taunted with me "dyke" and "Where’s your girlfriend?" I flashed a guy on the street one day because he thought me and the guy with whom I was holding hands were gay men. I had never done that before nor have I done it since.
I realize now that my femininity does not emanate from my hair. It does not determine my sexuality or my beauty or my life. I thought no one else could see past my hair because I couldn’t. Not letting it grow has allowed me to grow. I get it cut every 4-6 weeks, telling the girl to cut it like Alyssa Milano’s character on Charmed. I’ve discovered I don’t have a pointy or dented head.
I still hate my hair, especially when I remember all the time and effort I put into it. Especially when I think of the stress it caused me and the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars spent on yet another fix-it-all hair product over the years. When I think of all the time I spent worrying over my mother’s idiotic and uncaring fixation on my thinning hair, I can’t believe I didn’t chop it off sooner.
It’s funny how I still get compliments on my hair; chicks tell me how brave I am, how they never could do it. They tell me I have the right face for it. I never believed anyone who told me I was pretty until I had no hair. I knew now they meant me, not my hair. It makes all those years of standing in front of them mirror seem all the more pointless.
Rapunzel was an idiot. She should have used that rope of hair and saved herself.
WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005