November Spotlight 2017
Skin is not a thrill like ink.
Twinning hearts don’t excite as crammed paper; graphite stains arouse like no bruise. Lips bear no fruit without the fertile soil of poetry, and hands stir nothing unless caught in rapturous fists of creation. Even blood is worth only as much as the fingertips it boils in.
No kiss--not love, betrayal, death--can challenge that of the internal Muse. The pink curse of passion possesses no fraction of benevolence unless it intends to release itself in words. And eyes of teary adrenaline, turned by beauty or truth, are valued like diamonds when cast to a page.
Creation dreams in its now like flesh cannot. It flushes with each iamb of wild stimulation; a lust for inspiration burns brighter in its divinity than the pure craving for mortal pleasure ever will. And yet the want, each so ultimate in its baseness, hungers for an identical reward: for the thrill of release, when excess heartbeat can be heard.
Soaring off the Edge
Take a deep breath.
Silence your mind.
A mile up in the sky,
you take the step off the edge
into the perilous continent of air.
Flailing like a flag in the wind.
Helplessly watching the world blur past.
Like Icarus you fall,
his fearless flight is your
Feel the thrill in your heart,
in every vein, bone, and nerve,
all awake and buzzing in your body,
charged with electricity.
Fresh water breeze fills your lungs.
Stormy white cliffs blur into a jagged alabaster slate.
Throwing your head back
and yelling into the winds.
Your arms are spread wide, like wings.
You’re dancing with a beast.
Your chest heaves as it twists and twirls you ferociously.
There is a fierceness in its movements,
a challenge that ignites the wildness of the dance.
The musical howl of the wind wakes you.
Wind crashes around you like a growing hurricane,
and you are at its eye.
Your heart pulses rapidly, head spinning.
Falling faster than you can breathe.
An inch from the end.
The surface ripples as you near collision,
shuddering from the force of your descent.
Then you feel the tug of a rubber cord.
Jolting back into the azure sky,
They careened down the empty road;
Haphazardly twisting around corners,
Rocketing through stop signs.
In tandem they roared, and the two
Lunged forward, shivering
The Thrills of Love and the Passions of Life
What is a thrill? For me, to put it in the simplest terms, thrill is passion. When Google defines the word thrill, it is a sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure. A passion is a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something. They have the exact same meaning. A passion should be something that you or someone else does that gives you a thrill. That is the reason that when I say “a world without thrills is a world that nobody could live in” I mean it, because a world without thrills is a world without love.
Love. People have died for it, lived for it, fought for it, and killed themselves for it (thank you, Romeo and Juliet). They have cried for it, yearned for it, searched for it, devoted their whole lives to it. Psychologist Robert Sternberg believes that there are three main parts to consummate love. Love with just passion is infatuation (or a crush, in human language). Love with commitment and passion, becomes fatuous love. A type of fantasy love. (Think of that couple you know whose relationship felt so rushed—they said I love you within two weeks of dating each other, and all they do is talk about each other. ALL. THE. TIME. To put it more simply think of Romeo and Juliet.) Love with passion and intimacy is romantic love (that significant other you’ve been dating for a week, a couple months—hell, maybe a year—but you know it’s not going to last in the long run). Love with only intimacy is called linking, to take a liking to somebody. Commitment alone is empty love–the relationship lasts for the same reason you’re watching that TV show that’s been going on for 10 plus seasons; you’re only watching it because you’ve been with the show since season one. You feel like you’re betraying the TV show if you leave. Commitment and intimacy is companionate love: that old married couple who are only together because that’s how it’s been their whole lives. The passion’s gone, but they don’t want to leave each other because they truly love each other, and are very much committed, but the thrills of the relationship are gone.
Jessie Dudding, Untitled
Carrie awoke from her nightmare in a cold sweat. She opened her eyes, and her dream shattered. Only fragments of it remained- the sound of breaking glass, the smooth feel of paper, the metallic tang of blood. Her breathing calmed as she took in her surroundings. Her room was dark and her alarm clock read 9:30pm. Everything was in its place, save for a small bookshelf moved to the foot of her bed. It was exactly across the room, a mirror image of where it should be. Carrie didn’t remember moving it there, but she had been known to occasionally sleepwalk. Satisfied with the explanation, she went back to sleep.
Hours later, she woke in the same way. Breaking glass, blood, and something else. Something important- She knew she was supposed to remember, but it was just out of reach. She might have dwelled on it longer had she not been distracted by a paper lying on her bed. It had been torn from the spine of a notebook that was, in fact, kept on the bookshelf. A sort of rhyme was scrawled across the page, curiously written from right to left instead of the other way around.
Sweetly sing your ABCs
Jack has broke his crown
Say your prayers and count to three
Else you will tumble down
China dolls and painted smiles
Ring around the rosies
Now sweep away her crumbling body
Aren’t you feeling dozy?
Turn off the light and say “goodnight,
Fanged beasts beneath the bed”
Remember not to tell about
Us monsters in your head
The Wedding Night
Today would be the best day--Molly had been planning it since she was a little girl. Everything was perfect. Her dress shimmered under the lights of the banquet hall that had been booked months ago. Her husband’s arm draped around her shoulders as they walked out to the new car on the way to their honeymoon. The evening air was warm as they got into the car, waving to everybody, they pulled out of the parking lot.
They drove in silence for a while.
“Can I turn the radio on?” Molly asked.
“Sure,” John replied with a huge smile.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” She asked looking at him worriedly.
“Are you sure? You seem kind of on edge.”
“I’m fine,” he growled through gritted teeth.
Molly fell asleep as they turned onto a dirt road.
I love swing sets.
I love the up-and-downness of it all,
The gently curving rise and fall,
The whooshing wind behind my ears,
Like flying tethered to the ground.
And as you dive,
The wind will pick you up and then,
The sun you’ll see, the moon you’ll feel,
Unlike Icarus, whose drop from grace ensured,
The stars he’d never see again.
The swings are like a rocking chair
For those who love excitement,
Providing all the thrill of moving
Faster, faster, higher, higher,
Up and down, the sky and ground,
The view is pleasant, joy abounds.
The love of swingsets, it is timeless,
Like the curves of smiles upon the face,
The triumph of noble victory,
The swings will always be in style
To incite excitement and amaze.
Michael Dylan Harrington
Brighter Days Ahead
The man walked into the room with his lips woven into a straight line. The gaze cast by his eyes was given to the floor. The shackles around his ankles and wrists jangled as he slowly moved across the room, a guard’s hand leading him toward the table. He didn’t look up to meet my eyes, and as they came closer, the speed at which they moved decreased. My head was spinning, a tornado swirling around in my brain. My thoughts were being swept up in gusts of wind which pleaded to escape through my mouth. I made sure to smile, unable to give him the satisfaction he would have received from seeing me upset. Even if I really was, he wasn’t going to know - he didn’t get to know. I looked at him as the guard reached the table and his head lifted up. There was no light in his eyes, no wrinkles on his peppered skin. He looked exactly like he had that day, just a little less manic - a little less alive. He looked me straight in the eyes, but he wasn’t looking at me, he wasn’t looking through me, he was looking with me. We were both examining one another, taking note of how we had changed physically, using the notes to make assumptions about how our lives had gone. What could we use to hurt each other the most?
As he slowly sat down I looked around the room. There was another inmate with his wife, maybe it was his daughter, it could have been either. He had a grey beard, broken down eyes, and his skin had become elastic.
A Helicopter Ride
Below, canopies spill towards
The horizon, tiny dollops of emerald.
Mist shrouds the sylvan clearing.
Above, rotor blades slice thick wind,
Propelling a steel frame of crimson.
Buttons envelop the black dashboard.
Below, rivers of molten lava etch
Themselves like scars of dying embers.
Ash encrusts the volcano’s body.
Outside, steam escapes from the crater,
Inspiring satisfied clicks from cameras.
Engines whirr towards the sunlight.
Below, a breathtaking landscape ---
Azure and malachite disappears
Beneath gauzy gray cirrus clouds.
She treks across the field in sheep
slippers and a fuzzy robe, polar bears dancing
about the grey cotton of her pyjamas.
With each step her hair bristles a little more
equal only to her inner ire.
This is a venture she has done before.
Her flashlight steers back and forth,
Amidst the threads and divots of
This woodland’s branches and sod.
Her erred offspring follows with a flashlight of his own,
The light caressing the evergreens that swoop
and sway, mimicking the boy's unease
Upon the starry night.
Maleficent, a potent force
and her somewhat guileless crow.
“Call it again.”
The backlight illuminates their faces.
And as they wait to hear a sound,
The missing phone rings back at home.
Adelaide hated being home alone. The feeling of vulnerability always scared her. That’s why when her sister and father left her at home, she couldn’t help but stay awake.
Adelaide finally fell asleep, but she woke up fairly quickly with the need to go to the washroom. She left the comfort of her bed and began to walk down the hall when she heard a creak coming from downstairs, but she knew it was just the floors settling. She went to the bathroom, and was on her way to return to her bed, when she stopped dead in her tracks. She looked out the window to see a dark figure looking up at her. She let out a gasp, and ran to another window. Again, she saw the figure. Thinking that it was her dad, she went to the window that overlooks the driveway but no cars were parked outside. But there, standing in the middle of the driveway, was the figure looking up at her. Adelaide spun around and ran to her bedroom. She got into her bed and covered herself in the blanket, her breathing getting heavier and heavier. She heard the unmistakable sound of a voice.
“Run,” it said.
She heard a loud bang coming from downstairs and knew instantly what it was. The knocker on the door, which meant someone was outside. Adelaide went to her window and slid it open. As she looked down, she saw the figure she’d seen before. She heard the squeak of the front door open. Adelaide turned around with a panicked look on her face only looking away from the figure for a second, and when she looked back, it was gone. A single tear fell down Adelaide’s cheek, threatening to let more come. Adelaide decided that the best thing to do was to run. Again, she heard the voice.
The monster leapt onto him. With a final choked scream, the little boy snapped awake.
His bedsheets were in a sweaty swathe around his squirming body, handfuls clenched tightly in his small hands.
Shuddering, he tried not to think about the dream and immediately thought about the dream.
As with such nightmares, the details were hazy at best, non-existent at worst.
He remembered feeling something slippery, clammy, and cold.
He remembered the awful, ice-cold realization that something was slinking out of the shadows. Black spines, or claws, or perhaps the teeth spearing out of an open maw, glimmering in the moonlight.
It had made an awful growling, primal rumble. The sound of a predator.
This sound crawling at the edge of his thoughts, he sprang out of the suffocating embrace of the twisted sheets and fled his room.
Fumbling blind across the hallway, the little boy started at every one of his footsteps that slapped on the wood floor.
He bumped against a cabinet and nearly fainted when it shifted, the scrape of the wood on wood not unlike the sound the monster had made in his dream.
His breath came in short bursts, panic rising in his chest with each one.
His mind twisted every shadow thrown across the floor by the moonlight into a roiling, gleaming black mass of terror.
The boy shuffled into his parents’ room, his heart feeling as though it was a wild animal trying to break free of his ribcage.
His parents’ room was awash in darkness. A foreboding sense of recognition flooded him.
The pool of shadows cast by the bed stretched across the room. The little boy’s breath caught in his throat as he recognized it as the spot the monster had been concealed within during his nightmare.
Sarah rushed into the hotel. After a long day of conferences, she couldn’t wait to lay back and relax. She stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for the top floor. As the doors closed, an arm shot through the gap. Sarah jumped as the fingers grabbed her shoulder. A middle aged woman darted inside and hit the button to close the doors with a shaking hand.
“Are you okay?” The woman didn’t answer. Sarah was silent for a moment, then she asked again. Still, there was no response.
She stepped hesitantly toward the trembling form. “Do you-”
The elevator jolted to a stop, throwing Sarah off balance. Her head smacked the metal wall with a painful crack! and her vision swam. Grabbing the railing Sarah hoisted herself to her feet and blinked. The room spun. She leaned against the wall and reached up to feel the bruise that was already forming. Black spots danced in her vision, like claws reaching toward her. She pressed her palms into her eyelids.
Sarah looked up to dimming lights. The woman was still huddled in her corner, somehow unmoved by the sudden jolt of the elevator.
The bulbs flickered, a split second of darkness before the soft hum of the power returning brought back a blinding light. When Sarah’s eyes adjusted, the woman was no longer standing in the corner. She wasn’t gone. She was still there, but she was on the floor. She was on the floor, staring up at the ceiling with blank eyes. Sarah moved to help the woman, and saw a gaping hole between her eyebrows. It went clean through her skull, but there was no blood, no gore—just a smooth hole, straight through.
Our hopes, crumbling to dust before our very eyes, our dreams, blown away by the snap of a finger, washed away like paper left on a beach at high tide. All thought of success was vanquished in an instant. We’d been played for fools, and now we were being punished for being so blind. But I can’t give up, not now, not ever. My body feels like it’s gone through hell and back, like it’ll shatter into billions of pieces at any instant, but my heart burns with a desire, too powerful to ignore. It won’t let me quit now. If I don’t stop this, everyone will die. It’s not just about us now. It’s about the whole world.
Something primal flared within me, sparking a flame I did not know could be lit, and power surged through my battered, feeble body. Pain pushed its way through my right arm like a tidal wave as I reached desperately for my twin swords, my legs followed suit as I tried to get up, but the agony drove me onward. I’m sure that my friends, if they weren’t dead, were feeling this, too. Everyone else in the world would have to suffer like this if I didn’t stand up to these wretched beings.
Then my world came screeching to a halt as the weight of what I’d done hit me. In that one moment, realization dawned. My universe, or what was even left, crumbled around me as I put the pieces of this puzzle together. It was my fault. My own ignorant arrogance. the tug of wanting to prove myself and my ever-starving yearn for power. I had handed my puppet strings to the hands of my own downfall and now the world would pay for my megalomania.
This was all because I craved the addictive thrill of the fight.
I dropped my weapon. All hope truly was lost.
Thrill of Writing
People describe thrill as doing something brave, adventurous.
Events with feelings that people wish to relive...
Doing things that, at the time, would seem dangerous
But nobody ever understands the rush that writing can give
Not everyone can grasp the feeling of being able to,
Paint beautiful pictures with mere sentences,
Describing vivid images for people’s minds to sink into,
Only some people understand what writing really is
Not everyone knows that feeling of excitement,
The pleasure of escaping verbal confinement,
Being able to dance freely across the white stage that is the writer’s page
Leaving behind a beautifully written assignment
People don’t know the thrill of the writer,
Creating events that only one can desire,
Writing is a lifestyle only a few people can live,
And only few truly know the thrill it can give.
The One About the Crazy Lady
Jessica had been warned by the previous tenant to be wary of the lady who lived in the unit across from her with the Christmas wreath on the door. Crazy Lady was known to have eccentric hallucinations which would cause horrendous fits of rage. Often, Crazy Lady could be heard restlessly pacing the hall at night, ranting incoherently about how the blood on her hands couldn’t be scrubbed away, carpets that would talk to her, or a fire-demon that haunted her. Some nights, when the episodes became really bad, Jessica could hear her shrieking about the criminals and murderers storming into her apartment, and would hear her kicking and thrashing as she tried to stop them.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
“Open the door, you snake! I saw what you did! I know you can hear me! Now open up!” A few seconds went by and then Crazy Lady started again, “Fine! Have it your way. You’d just better keep your sorry butt behind that door.”
“Oh no, she’s doing it again!” Jessica shuddered.
the clack of the tracks beneath the car,
building up and up to the peak,
ignites a thrill in my brain,
the nervous tissue lighting up like
glass pipes filled with hydrogen gas,
blaring to a bright blood red,
flooding with light, pulsing with energy,
as i tip over, and see all around me
the pressing insistence against my skull,
expands, expands, expands,
and shatters, the sharpened shards
rushing up into my head, as finally…
What is thrill?
Regrets regrets regrets
Close my eyes
Ground is closer
End is near
A Collection of Thrilling Haikus
“Thrilled to meet you sir”
Kidding I’m not thrilled at all
I’m pretty polite
If Hillary won
Her husband would be so thrilled
Name is Thrill Clinton
When Bill Clinton won
I bet Hillary was thrilled
they can get.
no matter how it reflects
or leaves them feeling
in the end.
You have this satin red quality
that draws me in, down your
traipsing, tapered structure
from your jilted collarbones
to your waist like the jutting
guard of an ornate dagger.
Your hair threads its own
war-torn white tapestry.
I’m supposed to turn first,
but fate deems that less interesting.
She steps in and sheathes you
in my claret neck.
Sierra sat down at her desk. She took a deep breath and waited for someone to call. The phone started to beep.
“911 What is your emergency?”
“Someone is breaking into my house.” The man on the other line sounded anxious.
“This isn’t the first time he’s been around my house. He’s been here almost every week, but he’s actually breaking into my home this time.”
“Okay, does he have any type of weapon?” Sierra had dealt with situations similar to this, but she had never been on a call with someone who was in this much danger.
“Yes, he has a shotgun. Please hurry, I don’t think I’ll be able to hide for much longer.” The man was beginning to sound more and more panicked.
“We need your address.”
“7539 Nonnel Avenue, in Tanstown.” Sierra quickly wrote down the address. She was beginning to get fearful, but she had to keep calm.
“Good. Now are you in a well hid area?” She asked.
“Yes! Please, can you be quicker?”
“Sir, the police are on there way. Do you have any family with you right now?”
“No, they aren’t home.”
The God of Fear
I love the taste of fear.
I’m staring at my reflection in the polished steel door of the elevator, a pale face dominated by tinted sunglasses and hair darker than obsidian, as the elevator shudders to a halt. The door opens and my reflection slides away from me. Everything I wear is black. My combat boots echo in the deserted hallway of my host’s apartment building. My undone trenchcoat ripples behind me, revealing my muscle t-shirt.
I stop at his door, my eyes flickering briefly over the numbers 347. I raise a gloved fist, rap at the door, and wait. No response. I knock again, hitting it harder. Eventually, he stirs.
“Wh-who’s there?” he calls, still waking up.
A smile slowly stretches across my face as I grab the knob. I’ve waited a long time for this moment. I can smell his fear through the layers of metal, and it’s delicious. I run my tongue over my carefully filed teeth.
“It's me,” I call softly.
His fear spikes.
“Go away!” he yells. “Leave me alone! I’ll...I’ll call the police!”
An empty threat.
I turn the knob, breaking the lock inside, and thrust the door open. I hear the chain snap off the wall. He must have been right against the door, because I find him sprawled out on the floor several feet from the entrance. I enter and close the door behind me. He scrambles backwards away from me, keeping a grip on his wooden baseball bat.
t is hard to be a monster that resides beneath the bed of a child. But, not for the reasons, most people ask me about.
“Is it hard to scare a child?” no, when has anyone ever had trouble scaring a child.
“Is it hard to live in the cramped space under a bed?” no surprise, it is a comfortable living situation, and my species was built for that sole purpose.
The thing that really hurts, is when you watch the child gradually grow up, go through their childhood, and move out. They no longer care about the distance between their bed and the light switch, they only care about which girl texted them. They don't care for bedtime stories or nightlights, only college applications. They start pushing the things that they strongly believed were real as children out of their brain to create space for new “better” things. They push ME away, for better things. It is not difficult to scare a child, it’s difficult to let them go.
It's Watching Me
Let me tell you about my old house. All the creepy events during our time of living there started with the sound of footsteps. At first, they could only be heard when someone was home alone or when there were only two people in the house. My dad liked to believe it was the wind making the house creak. But, I knew the sound the floor made when people walked across it upstairs and it was identical to that. Gradually, the footsteps became louder and more frequent.
A couple years passed and we grew accustomed to the noise. Of course, anyone staying in our house from out of town would always comment on it. My older sister and I would look at each other, knowing that if we told them what we thought it was, they wouldn’t believe us.
After a while, I began to notice shadows that shouldn’t have been there and a dark looming figure that I’d seen shift through the hallways a few times during the day. But what really began to worry me was how I never felt alone in my room. One night, I realized why I seemed to feel especially uneasy when I tried to fall asleep. It was when I opened my eyes halfway that I saw it, a dark, shadowy figure looming over me.
They did it for the thrill,
and for the rush of pride
they thought they would feel
when telling people what they did,
and how they could have died.
They did it for the thrill,
to feel wind in their hair
and gravity in their stomachs;
to experience a weightlessness in their bodies
throughout a long plummet.
They did it for the thrill,
to give themselves a good time;
because regular fun, they said, wasn’t enough,
and they simply couldn’t bare
the way life felt so tough.
They did it for the thrill
yes this is true,
but what they should have remembered
was how plans can fall through;
because at some point
in their quest for adrenaline
they met a severe miscalculation.
They did it for the thrill,
To feel intense exhilaration,
And to receive some congratulation;
But they never got to tell people,
What they did that day,
Because the thrill they were searching for
Didn’t quite go their way.
Do Not Be Ashamed
Do not be ashamed of yourself,
For living the life you want to.
We spend so much time trying to change ourselves,
Trying to conform to a certain standard,
When we could just let go.
You can’t experiences life’s thrill of ups and downs,
If you refuse to be anywhere but the middle,
Refuse to be anything other than ordinary.
Do not be ashamed of yourself,
Live your life and be free.
Thrills are wondrous things. Sometimes the simplicity of something that can be considered a thrill - is astonishing. Take a person, for example, and put them in the woods alone. What might that look like? Uncertainty, vulnerability, mystery, anxiety, curiosity, excitement? If you put all of these words together, you might come to the realization that this small, seemingly ordinary activity could actually mean big thrills! Personally, I think these words create the perfect recipe for a good thrill. Could walking through the woods alone be a perfect example of a thrilling experience? I would venture to say yes, it could! The thrills you get from staring out at the vast landscape - pristine natural beauty gripping your heart like a vise. As humans, we seldom get to experience this vulnerability, but in that feeling of uncertainty lies the thrill! Being alone in nature isn't necessarily safe. Who knows what could be lurking in the forest, or what could happen if you tripped and slid down the cliff face that lay ahead.
Of course, a thrill is not just about the bad stuff that might happen, it’s about the anticipation of what could happen! The thrill lies in the beating of your heart, the adrenaline pulsing through your blood. The uncertainty, the hint of possibility, of danger, of mystery, is somehow thrilling! Despite knowing the dangers of our behaviour we return, back to the woods, back to the unknown, back to - wherever, seeking that same thrill, over and over again. That is human nature - we long for the thrilling feeling that gives meaning to our lives. The thrills that send chills down our spines, and cause the hairs on the back of our necks to stand up, that create a fluttering - like thousands of tiny butterfly wings in our stomachs, that make us weak in the knees, and give us an uneasy, yet excited feeling. This is what lies at the heart of a thrill - the possibility, the inkling that something - anything, could happen! We are all dreamers - dreamers seeking life’s many thrills. Despite the inherent dangers of thrilling behaviours, they provide us with moments of sweet escape from the complexities of the world that haunts us. Which is why we as humans should surrender to the thrills that call us.
What Lays Buried
When she opened her eyes, darkness surrounded her. The first thing she felt, was the eerily comfortable surface that she laid on. It didn’t feel like her bed, and when she looked around, it didn’t look like it either. Had she passed out at a friend’s house? Where was she? She tried to pull herself up, only to hit her head on a surface above her. She tasted the moisture in the air around her, and realized how little space there was. She first tried to push, then pull then pound on the velvety surface atop her body to move. It didn’t budge.
“Hello?” she called, hoping that this was all some sort of misunderstanding and that someone would let her out of this velvety box. Then she heard voices approaching, familiar ones.
“She’s in a better place, Max,” one of the voices said, “Don’t worry about her.”
Max? Was this person talking to her little brother Max?
“Thanks, Roger,” Max said to the other person named, Roger. Roger, why did that name sound so familiar? Was he the same Roger she had coffee with? Then it came back to her, the man in the mask, the man who put her...wherever she was. It was Roger. She did know one thing, the box she lay in was no ordinary box, it was a coffin.