Mrs. Stacey’s creative writing students turned in their assignments. Below the cut, you’ll see a poem by Liana Eramo and a short story by Evan Smith both of whom are much better writers than I was in high school. Thanks for letting me share these, guys!
Purgatory by Liana Eramo
There’s no light between floors,
Just pitch black unknown.
Fingertips sink into worn flesh;
Holding a body together-
The knob of elbows, knees, and toes to belly.
There, between floors
Is the beating heart of Poe.
The tell tale heart that tortures timelessly
Beating to the brink but never forcing out a cry:
“I admit the deed! –tear up the planks!”
Between the floors,
There is false insulation,
Waiting, tasting the sweet sickly air,
Smelling, but not yet feeling the flagrant heat
Knowing it is too late to change a thing.
Bowed in the midst of the between,
Where you came from there is guilt
Where you are going is uncertain
What you know is simple:
There’s no light between floors
The Two-Headed Girl by Evan Smith
She was never the same after her mother passed. Sometimes I’d catch her sneaking out to the beach where it happened. She would make her way to the base of the shoreline and stand there for hours. Even when the tide came in her feet would stay planted in the sand like columns. She would stare out into the sea aching, like if she tried hard enough it would bring her back.
I knew she stopped going to school. She never told me but I knew. I tried to approach her and act how a father should act, but her eyes, they seemed so alien to me now. Whenever I saw her, my throat would become rasp and she would glide by me without so much as a nod.
After the accident she spent the entirety of her days in the basement with her mothers old sewing junk. My wife made hundreds of quilts, scarves, everything. Michelle had never been interested in those things before, but now it’s all she did. She would sit in a chair spellbound with a needle and sew for days. The only sound she made, if any, would be if a flap from a blanket had become to long, and had fallen from her lap and slapped the dusty cement.
It was about a month ago when she came home very late, covered in dirt. It drove me absolutely furious, and I screamed at her for the better half of an hour. I told her she was to start speaking to me now, and that she was never allowed to go to that damned beach ever again. Once I’d finished my tantrum she said nothing to me, she wasn’t even curious of how I knew about the beach. She floated away from me again, back down to the basement in her ruined dress and tattered backpack.
After that day I kept myself working at the office overtime. Any excuse to avoid coming home, sometimes I’d even sleep in the car. She was destroying my life, punishing me for her mothers’ accident.
A week passed, and I came home to check up on her. The moment I saw her all the air from my lungs vanished. She was so emaciated, and had lost all the color in her skin. Her cheekbones were very defined now, and her forehead seemed like it was being tugged backwards. Her dress was torn and stained, and her backpack had pressed thin slits into her shoulders. I closed the front door loudly behind me to catch her attention, but she didn’t even recoil, even when I called out her name. I couldn’t take it; my little girl was turning into a ghost.
I left her a thick sandwich on a plate outside her door with a can of Coke. Then I got in the car and drove to a bar. I only remember brief flashes of that night. When I woke up, I was in the back of my station wagon with pieces of beer bottle in my hair and a weightless wallet. How could she be doing this to me?
I got home around 9 AM, of course it wasn’t my home anymore. I opened the basement door and noticed droplets of red on the floor. I ran down and saw Michelle wrapped in a dark quilt like a cocoon. I cried for her to get up but she didn’t budge. All around the blanket I saw needles floating in bloody puddles and dripping threads. I unraveled the blanket gently and saw her legs and rear soaked in scarlet. The backpack was covered in maggots and gave off an odor that made me vomit. I covered my mouth and tried to undo the zipper but the moment I felt the backpack I knew I could just pull it off like a hat. There had been a wide hole cut in the back of the bag.
I gently raised the bag up and saw her. She had not decomposed much, but her eyes were completely gone, and overflowing with bugs. Her lips were shriveled like leaves, and her hair was feral and unraveled. The base of her neck had been severed, and then sewn on to Michelle’s back. There was so much exposed bone torn flesh, and stretched skin.
“We forgive you,” said the two-headed girl.