Deception. Treachery. Friends stabbing each other in the back, the smiles we wear to hide our true emotions. Whether you admit it or not, we lie every day, in white lies or in bigger, deep dark secrets we keep hidden away. Deception is all around us. And today, life’s deceptions, big and small, are explored in brutally honest or shockingly creative ways.
So c'mon, we promise you a good time… or do we?
So c'mon, we promise you a good time… or do we?
Take me to the labs
I’ll tell the Science Men I’m sick
They’ll put wires in my head
To find out what makes me tick
They’ll say “Oh gosh! Oh my!”
‘Cause they’ll be so surprised
In my head, there’s lots of bugs
But they’ve been civilized
They have bug cars and bug homes
That they leave to go to their bug jobs
They’re building condos in my skull
With permits, they’re following bug laws
The Science Men won’t understand
They’ll ask me how this happened
I’ll tell them I lay down one day
And they snuck in while I was napping
The labs will be so loud now
They’ll be fighting over my body
Everyone will want to be the Man
Who made this unique discovery
It’ll come to blows and things will get bad
As Science Men tear each other apart
I’ll stitch myself up and walk out the front door
And make my way back to my start
Why did this happen? What was my goal?
It was a bet I made so I could gloat
That Science Men aren’t all that smart, for you see
I’m really 9000 bugs in a trenchcoat
It was getting late now. Her hand was starting to cramp, and her fingertips were red with blisters. She wiped her sweaty brow, and bowed her head, her nose almost touching the paper.
"C’mon! C'mon! Can’t you go any faster?! I have to go home now!”
Liv wrote even faster, her hands numb with pain.
She pushed the paper weakly across her desk. He snatched it and looked it over with great speed.
“Yes! This is perfect!”
He grabbed his bag off the floor and swung it over his shoulder. Carefully he folded the paper in his pocket, then turned around slightly so Liv could only see the silhouette of his face.
“You won’t regret this, Liv. I’ll pay you soon- I promise.”
And he dashed out the door.
The next day, Liv sat at her desk; shaking. She had laid awake in her bed all night, worrying about the day to come. She had never done a thing like this before- especially not for him. She kept asking herself why she did it. Was it because he scared her? Because it was the right thing to do? Or was it because deep down, she really was an evil person? Liv tried to push those thoughts out of her mind. She instead focused on her teacher; doing rounds around the desks, picking up the homework assigned.
Soon enough the teacher stopped in front of the boy’s desk. He rummaged through his bag and gave the paper to the teacher. He stared at Liv smuggly. He wore a crooked smile, and winked at her with his piercing blue eyes.
“Thanks again, Liv. Maybe we should do this again sometime. You're a lifesaver.”
He chuckled to himself and lay back in his chair, without a care in the world. Liv, however, sat quite still. Her whole body felt stiff, as if she were on a medieval torture machine, being stretched from all sides. The teacher finished collecting the homework and started to teach the class.
But Liv wasn’t listening. Her heart was pounding like a drum. She couldn’t stop thinking about the paper. Scary thoughts kept creeping into her mind. What if she got caught? What would happen? Would she be suspended? Or even expelled from school?! She couldn’t take it anymore. She got up from her chair.
“Mr Sanchez! Mr Sanchez! There’s something I have to tell y-”
The boy grabbed her wrist. He twisted it, and dug his nails into her hand. Liv went quiet. She looked her teacher in the eyes, and said there was nothing wrong. She was just pulling a joke. Her teacher shrugged it off and continued with the lesson.
So Liv sat at her desk. Rubbing her red wrist with her hand, her head bowed down over her desk; her nose to her paper, with small tears wriggling down her cheeks.
On Hope and On Liars.
By Caitlyn O'Reilly
Who are you? The child asks, and you hear him reply.
"I am the soldier with a knife in one hand, and an old scar through my eye.
I know war like you know a fire, burning heat that'll make you cry."
Does the soldier keep the child safe?
Who are you? The child asks, and you hear him reply.
"I am the general with orders to give, that you must not defy,
I know war like you know chess, but without a single ally."
Does the general keep the child safe?
Who are you? The child asks, and you hear him reply.
"I am the king with the golden crown, and I'm sure you're asking why,
Because I know war like you know the birds, unreachable up so high."
Does the king keep the child safe?
Who are you? The child asks, but you hear no reply.
But the shimmering song of the stars, quiet from the sky.
"These men think they know war, but we will clarify.
All of this glory and gory will never satisfy.
Your ribs are showing, your boots untied.
Your head is aching, you don't know why.
But listen close,
You know war like mothers who cry
Like sons wanting home but they had to die.
You know stories to horrify.
But you'll be safe in the end, warm, home, and alive.
Never again will you say goodbye.
You'll live, see the sun, your life won't pass you by.
I promise, I swear, this hope do not deny."
The child was warm with the words from the sky.
Children don't know not to listen to words of light.
But I know.
And you know.
(Stars only feed you lies.)
Four Eyes, Two Identities
by Jocelyn van Hees
Superman and Clark Kent are the same person.
Did you know?
No one knew this because Superman had a secret identity.
A pair of glasses.
Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, two professional journalists.
Able to analyze critical situations.
And they see no resemblance...
When your friend gets a new pair of glasses, are you able to recognize them?
Woah, who are you?
You look vaguely familiar, I just can't put my finger on it...
The Boy With Titanium Hair and the Smile of Sunshine and Lemons
by Sharon Xu
He was the boy with titanium hair and the smile of sunshine and lemons.
His eyes were often glassy with reverie, as though he was walking through a perpetual dreamscape in our universe. It was never a confirmed illusion or reality, but I would briefly catch a glimpse of a thin halo sitting neatly atop his curls from time to time. It shone brightly, a white light sharp enough to cut through ribbon or steel.
This is a secret I have never told anyone—so take care—for I often thought he was an angel without wings. It was only after our charade that I found out he was the devil in disguise. Pretty lies flowed easily from his mouth, spilling past his lips like a river cascading down from the Heavens. His honeyed words painted charming pictures; of landscapes and mountains from watercolours, of vast skies and grassy plains made of silk. I gambled on a game of cards with him in exchange for freedom, but it was too late when I realized that I had already suffocated in his quicksand.
From that day on, I became the girl with ebony hair and the scowl of nightmares and licorice. While he, remained the boy with titanium hair and the smile of sunshine and lemons.
The Strange Island
by Logan Webster
A plane soars over the Pacific Ocean. The pilot (a curious man) surveys the azure waves and notes an uncharted island. He thinks to himself, 'What a strange island’. Intrigued but unaffected, he continues his flight. Just then, an awful crack snaps for his attention. A quick check verifies his fear; the engines are stalling. The vehicle plummets. The pilot cracks his head on some metal, unaccustomed to the lack of gravity. His consciousness fades as the plane tumbles. No time for his life to flash before his eyes.
He jolts awake. The pilot finds himself unharmed (somehow) and surrounded by the unrecognisable fuselage that must have been his plane. The conditions of his survival are so absurd that they’re lost on him. It’s strange, he reflects, that the plane landed on this uncharted island despite clearly crashing oceanbound. The pilot gets his wits about him and checks the fuselage’s blackbox. The nearly indestructible blackbox was blown to smithereens. The circumstances of its destruction must have been incredible! His phone had been destroyed as well. It finally occurs to him to take in his surroundings. Lost and scared, he takes in sights the likes of which he never thought he’d see: Purple and gray grass splays out in every direction. The island is hilly and full of plant life. A quick look out to sea shows him curtains of pink fog, not thick but somehow hard to look at. The longer he gazed, the worse his mind split. Just then, a pleasant odor graces him. The pilot takes a deep sniff. He’s interested in the source. Another sniff. The plants seem brighter somehow. Again. His plight slips his mind. Curiosity grows and fear diminishes. He investigates. The unfortunate pilot makes his way towards the center of the island when what must be natives appear from nowhere. They sway like jellyfish but their feet stay glued to the earth. Their hair is green and their skin is gray.
‘You’re looking for the Mouth…’ They hum. The pilot nods in agreement without moving. They point to the island’s center without lifting a finger. He continues on. A damp, overgrown cave sticks out of the ground. Must be the Mouth. He probes deeper into the mouth, too woozy to hear the alarm bells in his own head as the entrance slips shut behind him. Effectively unconscious, he’s helpless and ignorant to the slobbery tongue dragging him deeper and deeper into The Mouth. Outside, the natives lose their shape. They recede to planten form. The false fuselage crumbles back into dust. The island is satisfied.
Hours later, a helicopter rescue team finds the real fuselage of the deceased pilot’s plane, blackbox perfectly intact. While they don’t find a body from the crash, they do spot an uncharted island. The helicopter operators think to themselves, ‘What a strange island’. Just then, the engines fail.
by Kara Brulotte
you're not quite sure when that girl stopped being you
maybe she never was
a girl made up of preparation and participation, well rounded, a pleasure to have in class
all her parts, though sewn together, are complimentary colours, high quality stitches.
and of course that's who you'd like to be
put together and clever and earnest.
the first daughter who casts a shadow for the next
but though that's who you see
in mirrors, the glass windows of your bedroom
she's only a projection
a new year's resolution never realized
put off in the mess of failures and wanting that overwhelms your own brain
by Tara Fitzgerald
I’d sell my soul for one hug,
I’d let you break down my walls.
Let your dirty hands run through my soft hair.
Let you hold me as the world fell apart around us.
But you won’t.
It seems an entire world keeps us apart every day.
Ocean tides bring us together,
Let my salty tears meet your loving sand.
If only for a moment,
Before getting ripped back to oblivion.
I could whisper untold secrets into your ear,
But it wouldn’t matter.
Because by the next morning you’d forget.
Already high on the drug of someone else’s love.
Already having more fun,
by Hinata Derouin
It's hard to fit in at a new job
An anomaly amongst your coworkers
Managing your work alone
Affluence is all they talk about
Lulling me to sleep as my eyelids droop
I want to fit in with the others
Zany as I am I want to belong
Alerted by my behaviour they stay far away
Revealing my insides though is something I can't afford
Distracted by my outside they won't know what's in
TO DESIGN FLUFFILY, THAT IS EVERYTHING
by Charley Rands
The 25th of October was a normal day before a certain customer walked in. After that, it wasn’t. The first thing Lucius remarked was the man’s resemblance to him. From his shock yellow hair to his hooked nose to his spindly legs, he was a perfect reflection of Lucius’s own beautiful physique.
“Good Evening,” said Lucius, for it was one.
“What can I do for you?”
“Well, I’d like to buy a windshield,” replied the man.
“I heard you had a discount for diplomats.”
“Why, yes we do.” answered Lucius.
“37.00759385 percent. And what kind of diplomat would you be?”
The man presented his identification card. “A diplomat of Very Important Buildings. That is my profession.”
Five O’Clock in Late Autumn
Despite barely being five o'clock, the sun had already sunk well below the horizon, abandoning the city to the night and the thick expanse of clouds it promised. No matter how expensive your telescope, the streetlights which lined the suburban area, standing at attention like soldiers, were the closest you'd ever get to seeing actual stars.
Carly Brian had drained the coffeepot for the second time that day and was about to start on another, when there came a familiar knock at the door. She dropped the teaspoon back into the grounds and stumbled towards it, sticking her head out to one side to better see the visitor. What she did see was a figure nearly collapsed in on itself to fend off the late autumn chill; coat pulled tightly up around their nose and hat nearly covering their eyes. They were squinting in such a manner that made them look angry, though if you were outside in that sort of cold, you would be angrily squinting yourself.
He’s a terrible dancer, for a prince.
Honestly, he’s a terrible dancer in general. He’s stepped on my toes three times in the last song alone. And it’s not even like I’ve danced with very many people, but really, a prince? You’d think they’d train him better.
Eh, it’s not the end of the world. He won’t be dancing after tonight.
I’m going to kill him.
Look, it’s nothing personal. It’s not him I hate, it’s just… what he stands for. What he maintains, what he inherits. This kingdom has been nurturing the one percent at the expense of literally everyone else for decades. There is no healthcare, there is no infrastructure, there’s barely even water unless you drink from the river (into which all of the castle’s waste is dumped). The only thing they get for free is the stars, and that’s only because there are so many holes in the roofs of their houses.
The song ends, and I step away from the prince like any polite person would do, but he grabs my wrist.
Pitchforks and knives
Blood and claws
The ravaging never stops
Of our perception
Continues to fail our eyes
Do they seem kind
Are they true
Are they free
Or are they the dark cloak of evil
that seemed so pure
The purity of the lost
Consumed by the shadows you cast across
The very deep cloak
That consumed our land
No one knows
Your bloody claws may not come through
May the ravaging rest
The knives and claws
The blood that drips from a fearful blade
May the deception of your purity
Be no longer
Show your true colors
And have the land be pure.
The clash of their swords rang out
One, two, three steps back
His blade at her chest
Her blood on the stage
The spotlight shining down
“Did you really think you’d be cast as lead?”
My Dear Panacea
By Alecia Winchester
O the beauty in anguish so horrid
I call for your most caring arms
To embrace me in thick nostalgia
For I am your most loyal hostage
And you are my most loyal eudaemonia
Break me out of the illusion
Of what it means to be free
You are all that is my love and my life
My isolation and my death
You are irresistible and familiar
Where the Fog Meets the Sky
by Olivia Ersil
Where the fog meets sky
In the hazy morn,
It beckons to all.
Daring ones to float
Into the abyss.
Where the fog meets field
It will wait for none.
Fleeting but still cruel,
It mingles with death,
And the rotting crops.
Where the fog meets ground
It stakes its claim well.
Creeping just too close
To the safe haven
Of fluorescent lights.
Where the fog meets eyes
The deception comes.
A quaint reminder
Of a fatal day
That is always near.
Where the fog meets skin,
It wraps the tendrils
Of an aging beast,
Cool yet comforting.
Tight around the heart.
by Jenna Mihalchan
Jules walked through the back door after a long day of school. As she stepped inside the door squeaked behind her. She made it across the kitchen without hearing a single noise. Inside her room, Jules slugged off her backpack and flung her jacket on the floor along with the rest of her dirty clothes.
“How was school?” Her mom asked from her perch in the doorframe. Jules had not shut it under the impression that she was home alone.
“Good. Did well on that Chem test from last week.”
“Great. That’s really great Julia.” She lingered by the door for a few seconds longer.
“You need anything?” Jules asked.
“No. Just wondering what bus you took today?”
“Uh. I walked.”
“I see. That’s why you were late.”
Jules looked at her face trying to discern what she was thinking behind those furrowed brows.
“Your fathers still at work. Just to let you know. Think we’ll have lasagna tonight. You’re favourite.” She smiled.
“You know how much I loveee that.” Jules rolled around in bed feeling a little dejected at the choice of meal. Now that her back was to her mom, she pulled out her IPhone. She opened the Settings to find out Share My Location was on.
Mask Of Lies
by Mariam Gabr
The truth is, we’re all liars.
Of course, there are the thieves and the cheaters, the scammers and the blackmailers.
But then there’s you and me.
“I’ve read the terms and conditions.” “Yes, I like your dress.” “Oh, this tastes good.”
And the most common lie of all,
one each and every one of us utters,
Often, though, we are not.
by Nev Wright
I have never told a lie and I swear I never will.
I do everything I want but also everything I should.
The apples I knocked to the ground
Are bullet proof; they're safe and sound.
I found God in the attic and He told me He approved.
Is this just how it feels to be immovable, unstoppable?
Lawful and phenomenal; valued and methodical?
Have I become the best of you?
A perfect piece, a perfect move?
Have I convinced you, so obtuse,
To let me play you as the fool?
I didn't mean to do it and I'll swear that on my Grave.
I didn't mean to do it, I depose I'm not a knave,
And I promise I can do no wrongs,
It just can't be, within the throng.
All these people, I indeed,
Just cannot see the skin beneath.
Please, just let me keep the weary costume that I wear;
It was given just to me, and without it I'll despair.
My blasphemy can all be fixed,
The lies I've told the sins I've lived.
Don't take from me my one true gift;
Don't pierce my ignorance and bliss.
TO DESIGN FLUFFILY, THAT IS EVERYTHING
by Charley Rands
Lucius Salmon had wanted to be a DOVIBAFCA as long as he had lived. Ever since he had been a toddler and had seen their office 一an iconic pink polka-dotted cube 一 from his booth at the Chuck E. Cheese on McHiggins Boulevard, he had been obsessed with that magical bureau. Oh, how he had wanted to ride the bus down to the structure of destiny, a coffee in tow as he flashed his identification to signify his place as a Diplomat of Very Important Buildings and Fluffy Cloud Architecture. Oh, what a feeling that would be! How he wished to hold that title, to gaze out at the city’s skyline from that rose colored polygon of brilliance. It pained Lucius’s pancreas each time he thought of the thrills of such an appointment. Returning from his job as a windshield salesman each day, he would sit at his desk and pretend that he was exercising diplomacy on buildings of importance while his daughter pestered him to make them dinner. This annoyed Lucius more than anything in the world, and it happened to him daily. “Why can’t you make it yourself? You’re nine years old, for God’s sake! When I was your age, I was already planning my career. Be independent for once. “Aren’t you still planning your career?” asked his daughter before insolently collapsing from hunger. Lucius shook his head. Children these days couldn’t be trusted to do anything.
by Maya Mousa
Alarms blarred in the distance, signifying that I overstayed my welcome. Quickly grabbing the jewel that was so nicely displayed in front of me, I made my way towards a window to my right, shattering the glass without hesitation and grappling out as though I was never there to begin with. But of course, I was. And they knew that. They know everything. As I merged into a usually public place, I noticed it’s emptiness and deemed it as unusual. It was a night market that always blooms with customers this time of day or rather night. I continued walking down the lane of deserted carts and kiosks, eeriness creeping up on me. As if on cue, I started hearing the cries of a baby and the shushing of what seemed to be a worried parent. My curiosity overpowered my commonsense and my ears led me to the sound, my feet following suit. With each step I took, the child's desperate cries became louder and the parent’s shushing more violent. The sound was coming from an alleyway between two stores that I used to go to frequently.
The Way We Are
by Basil Sinclair
A vicious world,
Suffocating in its own fumes.
Constricted by its own hands,
Dying by its own sword.
The end is always coming and so we fill what’s in between with friends and hate and love and drugs and wake up on the floor, parched and gasping.
It’s a cycle. It’s a cycle.
The innocence of the day,
Eaten away by the unforgiving night.
by Éléonore Dumais
The primary caretaker raised her hands again. What will she do now? I stared intensely from my mighty throne, hoping for a good performance. Suddenly, she disappeared. My eyes widened, shocked. How is one able to perform such sorceries? I began to panic, my favourite subject had volatised! All that remained were her hands… and they moved! The caregiver’s face returned, revealing her trick. T’was merely deception, for she had obscured her face from view!
The baby in the high chair laughed so hard he puked on his mother.