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Volume 37, Spring 2020

 

Contributors

Roshelle Amundson ("Breathe Free") currently teaches across writing and communications at UW-Green Bay’s Marinette campus. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and a BA in professional communications from Metropolitan State University. Roshelle pushes her students to use their voices to right wrongs. Pandemic-catalyst and student-inspired, she found she finally had something to say.

Elizabeth Asmus ("Vacation" and "Wild") loves to read, write, and do most anything outdoors with her family, which includes her three dogs. She is currently pursuing a degree in the Writing and Applied Arts program at the main UW-Green Bay campus and looks forward to graduating in December.

Breanne Bedgood (Untitled Poem and Untitled Photo) attends UW-Green Bay’s Marinette campus. She says, “The ocean is my place of comfort and contentment. I escape from the ordinary and find myself at peace.”

McKenna Belec (Untitled Art 1 and Untitled Art 2) loves drawing and wants to get a degree in art to further her knowledge and skills in art. She says, "I one day hope that I will be able to inspire others with my work."

A.J. Corey ("11 Types of Roommates") will graduate from UW-Green Bay’s Marinette campus this spring and will be pursing a medical degree. He loves flipping houses, working on cars, and skipping leg day at the gym. 

Sophia Dao ("Never Too Late" and "The Lion") is an international student in her second year at the Marinette campus. So far, Sophia has been having a lot of memorable experiences here at the university, and she is excited to graduate this spring.

Madelyn Davies (Untitled Art) is pursuing a degree in music at UW-Green Bay’s Marinette campus, and teaches piano on the side. She is the oldest of eight kids, and she and her family live in the beautiful U.P. She loves music and is passionate about teaching it to younger generations. 

Taylor Desotell ("The Building") is a freshman planning to major in history at UW-Green Bay’s Marinette campus. He loves to write but feels like history is his true calling.

Lydia Dildilian ("Lost & Found Series" cover art) received her BFA in painting and drawing from Miami University in Oxford, OH, in 2012, and her MFA from the University of Florida- Gainesville in 2016. Her art career includes 11 solo exhibitions, over 60 group shows, and 4 publications, and her work belongs to several private collections across the US and Italy. Often, her work deals with complex themes of human perception, thought, consciousness, and space/place. She is the Art Professor at UW-Green Bay, Marinette campus.

Barbi Gossen ("Ephemeral Pond" pieces) is an alumni from 2003 and went on to get an MFA from Kent State University in 2008. Her jewelry and metal work has been exhibited throughout Wisconsin, the US, and internationally. She has been a teacher of jewelry-making, enameling, and metal-smithing since leaving UW-Green Bay.

Katie Irving ("The Call") is a 34-year-old single mom who has overcome the struggles of addiction and is working hard to obtain her law degree. She has always loved to read and write creatively. She says, “My life has been difficult and uncertain at times, but because of that I never run out of stories to tell.”

So Hee Erin Jung (Untitled Photo) says, "My name is So Hee Jung, and people who live in America call me Erin. I am an international student at UW-Green Bay, Marinette campus, and I am from South Korea."

Cassidy MacArthur ("Cervidae," "My First Job was in a Nursing Home," and Untitled Art) is an avid poet and photographer who loves to see the weird in the world. She loves art, writing and theater, and would love to pursue them for work.

Abigail Marquardt ("Sunrise Over the Badlands") enjoys reading, crocheting, and art. She has enjoyed the UW-Green Bay, Marinette campus and enjoys being around all of her wonderful friends.

Indigo Ramirez ("Don't Struggle") is a Studio Arts major and loves being in the Creative Writing Club and VAC, as they allow Indigo to express themselves creatively alongside fellow enthusiasts. Indigo hopes to inspire others by encouraging others to express themselves.

Tracy Fernandez Rysavy ("Clocks") received her M.A.in English literature with distinction from Boston College.  She teaches literature and creative writing at UW-Green Bay, Marinette campus and is advisor to the Northern Lights. 

Lillian Sellen ("Recipe for a Day at the Dada Spa") is a student at UW-Green Bay’s main campus.

Bradlee Sievert ("The Philosopher") is a student at UW-Green Bay’s Marinette campus. Bradlee says, “Enjoy my thoughts and emotions manifest.”

August Wiegman ("Late September" and "Strawberry Blonde") is a writer, an artist, and a junior at UW-Green Bay enrolled in the BFA program for Writing & Applied Arts. They attended UW-Green Bay, Marinette campus and worked on the Northern Lights Journal during the 2019 spring semester, and they are ecstatic to see the continuation of the journal!

Abigale Woodruff (Untitled Photo 1 and Photo 2) attends UW-Green Bay, Marinette campus. She really enjoys taking pictures and editing them.

Editorial Staff

Sierra Adams
A.J. Corey
Breanne Bedgood
Cassidy MacArthur
Emily Burns
Indigo Ramirez
Advisor/Graphic Design: Tracy Fernandez Rysavy 


Pictured left to right: A.J. Corey, Breanne Bedgood, Cassidy MacArthur, Emily Burns, Indigo Ramirez.
Not Pictured: Sierra Adams


11 Types of Roommates That May Make You Reconsider Going to College


The Vacuum Cleaner: Most people believe having a roommate who is clean must be a spectacular thing. However, that is until they begin criticizing you for having two strands of hair on your pillow. “Why might they be looking at my pillow?” you may ask. Your guess is as good as mine.

The Spaghetti Monster: On the opposite end of the spectrum from the clean freak, the Spaghetti Monster manages to turn a dorm into the equivalent of a sewer. Your dorm will now look like a scene off of Animal Planet.

The Party Animal: Letting loose and having a good time is a necessity in college. However, getting polluted every day to the point where your shared bathroom smells like a bowl of vomit is crossing the line. 

The Hermit: If your roommate begins to resemble Bilbo Baggins, you have yourself a Stage 5 Hermit. The Hermit isn’t the worst-case scenario when it comes to roommates, but having the dorm to yourself will no longer be an option. 

Cookie Monster: When your roommate doesn’t buy food but has the special ability to sniff out your Buffalo Wild Wings and eat them while you sleep, it’s time to transfer. Everyone except the Cookie Monster knows a man’s leftover Buffalo Wild Wings are sacred and should never be touched.

The One In a High School Relationship: If you find yourself being woken up by the sound of your roommate crying, odds are they are in a high school relationship. Be prepared to give poor advice because their relationship is held on by threads anyway.

The One Who Can’t Manage Their Own Life: If you find yourself spending all of your time walking someone else through life, you may be better off dropping out and having your own kid.

The Polar Opposite: If you find yourself arguing with your roommate about stuff you do on a daily basis, your best bet is to avoid them at all cost. The Polar Opposite can lead to an unhappy night in jail when you decide it’s time to lock them out and throw their belongings out the window.

The Nudist: Often in the same category as the Party Animal. However, the Nudist takes partying to a new level. Be prepared to see your roommate’s undercarriage more than your own. Lord have mercy on you if you decide to have company over.

The Vanisher: Having space to yourself during college is a key element. However, the Vanisher typically vanishes when you need them around. Be prepared to never find them when the dishes need done, when you have a question, or when you need moral support.

The Borrower: Most of us have been taught to share since a young age. However, when you find ginger hairs in your razor and you don’t have ginger hair, it’s time to have a talk with your roommate. 
                                                                                                                                  —© 2020 A.J. Corey


Breathe Free


“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to...”  

Mother’s pneumonia kicked up again; 
double-roulette—take your chances or take her in, and by in—
the pandemic triage-garage-ambulance-bay-vitals-buffet 
where you’ll park it—mimicking an oil change 
Nurse? Mother needs high mileage synthetic, and would you please cap off her fluids?  

Faded blue disposable gloves sequestered to tired hands; 
she’ll slather them with sanitizer     
         rather than trade-for-new
after handling the patient-vehicle 30 feet in front; the next—
another methodical 30 feet behind because no one, 
         except the whole world
saw this coming, and they’re out of supplies. Everywhere. 
In aw-shucks-landlocked, except for the bay, in the middle of a midwestern wood—
out of PPE already. 
         Before it began. 

‘Safer at home’ executive order, but you can still walk your dog, 
though you don’t have one of those, so you borrow one— 
         like time
“Must-get” shopping-gauntlet run—
the young jack holes punking wild-eyed grocery-getters; 
stalking aisles and mock-coughing during a reach-past; 
cackling like jackals while exiting automated doors 
because it’s “funny” terrifying people—
         your parents must be so proud

Online classes started today; 
half the students convinced to drop out of college before you 
have the chance to talk them off the bridge over which they hover. 
They don’t believe they can do it. You do. 
         Tick Tock the online clock. 

Toilet paper and elbow macaroni fear-hoarding. 
In response, loathing-name calling-social distance dishonoring because 
          it’s just like the flu

Tell that to the Malaysian Tiger cage-fighting coronavirus at a Bronx Zoo. 
This is no flu—it’s a species-hopping sonofabitch, and it’s here to party. 
Medical facilities report an alarming shortage of tests. Tiger-tested.
International conspiracy theories; 1984 meets War of the Worlds
the platform of greed and need to make this political while 
          people are dying 

Land of the Free because of generations of brave. 
In the rearview, 1940’s Willow Run Ford factory
cranking out B-24 Liberator bombers in an hour;   
Modern day victory garden stand-still—however.
Rosie the Riveter, pre-pandemic pin-up, will not be at the factory today 
while the boys use her war-toys to blow this enemy to bits because 
         we can’t see it. 

Sepia-toned Dearborn factory fought polio while fabricating the iron lung—
         built Ford tough 
A screeching halt to the modern Ford of a month ago with its EcoBoost and drive-train— 
         “Ford is temporarily suspending production at its manufacturing sites 
         in North America …to protect its workforce and boost containment efforts…” 


In a masked world, halted manufacturing of the turbo diesel,
paying back their mortgage against the ozone by
         gifting oxygen
They’re working long days now producing ventilators—
         (essential employees) 
while the upper crust is working from the home-office 
         which was a closet until yesterday 
and homeschooling the children. They’re the lucky ones— 
too many classmates now fend for themselves for food, safety—security. 
They’re not drinking the milk our farmers are forced to dump. 

Earth is healing; her greatest threat locked away—contained like pandemic.
Cries of the lonely missing the presence of another to soothe the skin they’re in—
Others in paneled-palaces discovering the truth of a constant companion;  
they’ve run out love. 
For many, it’s Netflix and chill; quarantine-life a marketable verb. 
Pick up the phone from the safety of home; call out to those on the front lines
        I’d like to place an order for delivery

In the stillness in the stuck in the fear in the quiet in the chaos in the crying in the sadness and 
         in the dying.
All of it would choke the life from your lungs if you let it. 
If you let it.  

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...” 

                                             —© 2020 Roshelle Amundson


Cervidae

I watch quiet mice grow warm with panic, streaking past the carpet, and I lift the cats away. 

A rusting voice says to let them die, 
but I remember what it is like to be a mouse. 

I remember what it was like to be the wild fawn I touched, sleeping in the grass, and then what it 
was like to be the doe that threw herself into the oncoming truck. 

I felt the whole of me, 
pooling and spreading past my body’s edges
like dark, accidental blood. 

The light is gone, 
And I am just an animal
who sleeps inside her shame. 

I wait for the sun, and for bright grass and berries to eat. I wait for winter to end. 

Every time I say it wrong, my mind just shows me pavement. I’ve stepped in front of the car, and 

I sit in front of the mirror and categorize what I lose. Not weight, but time. The ability to have
caffeine. Years of memory. I sit in front of the mirror and wonder where it's gone, and wonder
     at the touch of blood along my arm.
I sit in front of the mirror and wonder at deer bones, buried underneath the snow.

                                                              —© 2020 Cassidy MacArthur


Clock

Clock photo by Tracy Fernandez Rysavy
© 2020 Tracy Fernandez Rysavy


Don't Struggle

Let me
hold you
by your
tongue

so I can
orchestrate 
your salvation

You don’t
need strings
to be a
puppet

and I
don’t need
to touch you
to move you

Now, 
repeat 
after 
me:
I pledge allegiance ...

                    —© 2020 Indigo Ramirez


Ephemeral Pond


Copper/enamel bowl by Barbi Gossen
"Ephemeral Pond—Blue Spotted Salamander" (copper and enamel) © 2020 Barbi Gossen


"Ephemeral Pond—Tadpoles" (copper and enamel) © 2020 Barbi Gossen


View a video where Barbi shows how she makes her bowl sculptures


Late September

There is a crack— 
A dizziness, a hollowing, 
I am in love with you. 
I am in love with you. 
Do you read me? Are you listening? 
Can you sing for me? 

I bleed slowly, growing like vines
up a lattice. 
The ache for sunlight, 
the cry for something more. 
Would you ever hurt me? Would you ever try?
Am I wrong to fear you? 

Inside, there is pain,
there is loss. 
I am hurting, I am 
hurting, 
Would you stop if I cried? Would you stop, ever? 
Is it too late to ask you who you are? 

                  —© 2020 August Wiegman


Lost & Found Series (Cover Art)

Art by Lydia Dildilian
"Lost & Found Series" (acrylic and embossing powder glitter on rag paper, 7"x5") © 2020 Lydia Dildilian


Making the Call

Wiping my sweaty palms on my dark blue jail-issued uniform, a tear rolls down my hot cheek, and my heart beats vehemently out of my chest. Everything around me moves in slow motion, echoing in my ears and playing tricks on my mind. I certainly must have heard the judge wrong: three years? In three years, my little boy will no longer be little; he will stand inches taller and have three years’ worth of memories that don’t include me. I think of bruises I will not be around to mend and bedtime stories I will no longer read to him. Moments ago, I thought I may be going home to him, and now I’m being told home is a prison void of my son’s smiling face? My heart crumbles, the pain is palpable and unbearable. Before I can finish picturing all the things in his life I will miss out on, I’m abruptly brought back to reality. An expressionless guard ushers me past my tearful parents and out of the courtroom; I’m thankful for his hand on my arm as it seems to be the only thing holding me upright. The shackles around my heavy feet scrape the concrete with every step I begrudgingly take on the ceaseless journey to my cold, empty jail cell. Surrounded by the incessant chaos of D Block, I am painfully alone. I curl into a ball on a mattress equally pathetic and hollow as my insides. Feeling disappointed in myself and despondent towards my future, I mentally prepare myself for the challenge ahead: the call. I know what I must do, yet my brain cannot seem to coax my body into moving. I must be strong; the alternative is no longer an option in a place like this. My feet find the floor miles below me as my eyes locate the only connection I have with the most important person in my world. Attempting to block out all the dysfunction surrounding me, I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Somehow, my finger finds the numbers in the correct order and dials; the leaden receiver presses against my ear as the line begins to ring. His voice is small and meek in anticipation of what I’m about to tell him. The hope he’d been holding onto escapes his tiny lips in a heavy sigh passing through the phone and into my soul like a cold, winter wind. My apologies and promises fall flat on little ears and do little to console. If I thought my world had changed, I realize his must be reeling. Although his love for me remains impervious, the unbreakable bond we’ve always shared is suddenly excruciatingly different. It’s an unnatural and unnerving feeling to be the one hurting him when my job is to protect him. To explain the profound changes of our circumstances to such innocence is beyond useless as I am traveling into new waters I don’t yet understand. A strange recording of a woman decides for us that our time on the phone is drawing near. I realize the 60 seconds I have left with my son isn’t nearly enough time to fix the damage I’ve just inflicted. Keeping myself together for his sake is proving to be harder than anything I have ever experienced and the moment we disconnect, I break. You’re not supposed to cry here, and yet I wonder how we aren’t all floating in a copious sea of tears. I look around and see hardened facades masking despondency and wonder if this is my future. Rejecting the idea that my fate will reflect the brutally bleak ambiance surrounding me, I immediately vow not to allow the mistakes of my past to shape my future. Returning to the solace of my cell, I stop adding to the list of things I will miss out on and begin to envision a different list: goals for myself. I realize no matter how hard I try, I am unable to return to a time before today; therefore, I must move forward and live in the opportunities I create for myself. The story of my life is one my son will read and tear pages from, so I decide to give him a story of triumph rather than tragedy. Shutting my eyes, I find the mattress beneath me feels a little firmer. Dreams replace dread, and I look forward to the call I get to make tomorrow, for as long as I have that connection, I have hope.
                                                                                                                —© 2020 Katie Irving


My First Job was at a Nursing Home

I am a door whose hinge has broken, and I am open, spilling light on the driveway.

My bed creaks.
My back twinges and the road blurs with rain.

At work, I read fairytales to the blind and dying. 
At home, I read fairytales to myself, at night, in the dark.

In my dreams I float,
and only skim the ground.

I pass a room a man has died in and see all his things in two black trash bags. He died this
morning, and soon his room will be someone else’s.

I show my back to the shore and weep on my way home.

If I come home to you, you say we have time, there’s plenty of time. I’m not sure I believe you.
We never have so much time as we all think. 

My dreams spill, and I bask in this endless slide of lake current. 

We bend and bow on carpet and listen for the roar of warm storms, and here I love you eternally, 
in youth, in early summer. 

but still,

I wonder at night if I will die young 
in a freak construction accident or random brain hemorrhage or dark morning deer collision or perhaps—

I will be old, and all my things will fit in two black trash bags.

                                             —© 2020 Cassidy MacArthur


Never Too Late

Thumbnail Image
© 2020 by Sophia Dao
(Portions of this work appeared on the "Contributors" pages in the print version of the 2020 Northern Lights.)


Recipe for a Day at the Dada Spa

Dadaist were outraged by the atrocities of the Great World War, and their work was absurd, funny, and even nihilistic at times. This is a recipe similar to ones made during the Dadaist movement.

• Towel
• Bathtub 
• Hot water 
• Bleach
• Lysol
• Extra moisturizing soap 
• Duct tape
• A glass 
• Metal straw 
• Ice 
• Tide Pods 
• Sharp pebbles 
• Sand
• Tar
• Glow Sticks
• Scissors 
• Blender
• Washable paint
• Glitter 
• Superglue

1. Begin by starting the bath, fill the tub with bleach, Lysol, extra-moisturizing soap, and hot water. The water should be hot enough to kill bacteria so between 140 and 1,300 degrees. This should give you a very deep clean. Don’t forget your towel because that would be awkward. 

2. While the bathtub is filling, get your drink ready so we remember to stay hydrated. Fill the glass with the liquid from the Tide Pod but remove the plastic part because I hate when it gets stuck in your teeth. Add ice, and your metal straw, because we are going to save the earth.
 
3. When the bath is ready, be sure to cannonball into it. While soaking in your luxurious concoction, it should bleach your leg hairs, but we should still get rid of them. Since shaving and waxing is so overrated, grab your duct tape, tear into strips, place on leg, rip really hard, and enjoy your silky-smooth legs. 

4. Next, we will move on to skincare. Mix some sharp pebbles, sand, and tar to make a quick and easy exfoliant. Use this to scrub your face and remove dead and not dead skin. Then cut some glow sticks open and rub the liquid onto your face for a beautiful, glowing complexion. 

5. Finally, we are going to give your hair a wash that will give it a whole new look. Start by taking your scissors and cutting as much of your hair off as you can without cutting yourself because Band-Aids were not on the supply list. Then wet the hair and place in a blender; add washable paint to clean and color the hair. Blend well (between 2 minutes and 5 days). For a little extra shine in your hair, add glitter and blend as long as it takes you to sing the Happy Birthday Song while only using the word “Dada”. Let dry and then Superglue back onto your head.

6. Ta-dada! Enjoy your new look.
                                                                                                 —© 2020 Lillian Sellen


Strawberry Blonde

Come to me glowing 
& warm. Tears sit on 
a precipice of nothing;
your knuckles are a deep,
pretty shade of blue.

You have always been in love
with the place where everything is born.
You have always loved too hard,
knocking teeth out of the wet, dark mouth of the sky
as if that were your God intended purpose. 

Come to me now. 
I will count your breaths 
& hold them to my chest 
in a curled fist. 
                    —© 2020 August Wiegman


Sunrise Over the Badlands

Sunrise Photo by Abigail Marquardt
© 2020 by Abigail Marquardt


The Building

The woods were dark and damp. As we trudged through the overgrowth, we finally came to the small stump-infested clearing. Placed off-center in the clearing was the looming grey building slowly being reclaimed by branches and ferns. We’d managed to find it again. The rust-coated iron door hung loosely from the hinges, but yet the deadbolt held it tightly in place as if guarding a well-kept secret. I dreaded going inside, but still, I snatched the crowbar from my bag as my companions patiently waited. Yesterday, the four of us had felt like exploring so we decided to check out the woods outside of our small hometown. Finding the building had only piqued our curiosity. Deep down, I felt afraid of it. It was one of those buildings that people would immediately think was haunted, but all of us had agreed to check it out when we got a chance. That chance just so happened to come today. School had been let out due to some kids spreading the flu. None of us were sick, so we saw it as a perfect opportunity.

“Come on, Mike. Get it open already! We don’t have all day,” Vanessa called to me from roughly two feet away. 

I kept my back to her and yelled, “Shut up! We’ve got all day.” 

Jim snickered. “Yeah, V, shut up!” 

I looked back just in time to see Vanessa roll her eyes. She gave a slight smirk, and her dimples dug deep into her cheeks. I turned back to the crowbar and shoved it into a crack between the hinges. I jerked and wrenched on it until one of the hinges broke off. I repeated the action until both hinges had been popped clean off. I set the crowbar on the ground and placed my fingers on the crack that now gaped between the door and the building. The iron of the door was ice cold, and the sudden chill almost made me draw back. I gripped onto the door and shoved it open further, and the old deadbolt made a sudden cracking noise. I let go of the door and slung my bag over my shoulder. “Come on, guys. It’s a tight squeeze, but that’s probably as good as I’m going to be able to do.” 

Dan jumped out of his squat and weaseled his way through the gap. “Hey, Jim, hand me my board.” 

Jim nodded, reaching for Dan’s skateboard. It was a purple- and yellow-checkered pool-shaped board that had blue wheels. It looked goofy, but Dan didn’t care because he couldn’t see the colors anyway. 

Vanessa playfully jibed, “What do you even plan on doing with that thing, Dan?” 

Dan stared at Vanessa, and his jaw dropped. “Gee, Vanessa, I don’t know. Maybe if we find a full-course meal in this dump, I can use it as a table.” Vanessa rolled her eyes again and slipped in after Dan. 

Jim shimmied himself in, chanting, “Skate or die! Skate or die!” 

I squeezed myself in, too, and was blinded by darkness. I shoved my hand into the bag and felt around for the flashlights. I had grabbed them before I left and replaced the batteries in both. I tossed the first one to Vanessa. 

She didn’t expect it, and couldn’t see regardless, so it just hit her leg. “What the hell, Mike?” 

I turned on my flashlight and looked at her apologetically. She picked up and flicked on hers and scanned the room. There was a small desk table set up against the wall to the right of us, and to the left of us was a door to the next room.

Jim walked up to the desk and opened it to reveal three syringes and a small velvet teddy bear. Jim cringed and shut the drawer without saying a word. He glanced over at us and asked the question that was on all of our minds. “What the hell is this place?” 

Vanessa looked at me worriedly. 

“Come on, guys; you don’t really think it’s haunted or some stupid shit like that, right?” I said this sarcastically, but deep down, I was nervous, too. We walked into the next room, and it was full of old musty bedsheets. The brown floorboards were stained with puke yellow splotches.

“This building is weird as all hell,” Dan exclaimed. I took the lead, wanting to get out of this place as quickly as possible. 

“Let’s just check out the other rooms and leave,” I suggested. Everyone nodded. 

The next room was unreasonably small. The four of us could barely even fit in. The wall opposite of where we entered had a hole torn through it. I shined my light up to the ceiling. “Just as I thought. It’s an elevator shaft, but why does it block the entrance to the third room on this floor?” I looked at my team for answers. Dan and Jim just shrugged, but

Vanessa kept staring up at the elevator shaft. 

Jim looked at her and tilted his head a bit. “You okay, V?” 

She nodded. “Yeah I’m good. This place just kinda weirds me out, you know?” 

Dan agreed. I stepped through the hole and into the next room. There was an old medical hanger in the center that was leaning to the left because one of its three wheels was missing. Hanging from one of its hooks was a dusty gas mask. It was grey and resembled a monkey’s face, except there was a long hose that drooped to the floor from a brown port below a voice diaphragm. The eye-holes were sunken, which only amplified the creepiness of the mask. 

“Damn,” Dan said. “That’s gotta be from the Cold War or something.” Other than those two items, the room was empty. 

“This is the last room. Let’s head out.” I shifted eagerly, taking the lead again, and Jim stayed at the rear. We passed back through the elevator shaft again and into the second room. This time, the room was filled with tables. The bedsheets were gone. 

“What the hell?” Vanessa and I said in unison. 

“Okay, Dan, what’d you do?” Jim turned to Dan accusingly. 

Dan looked just as surprised as everyone else. “You think I did this? Where would I have gotten the tables?” 

I glanced from Vanessa, to Jim, and then back to Dan. I opened my mouth to speak, but my mouth went dry, and I could only cough. 

“Hey, Mike, what’s up?” Vanessa patted my back. I shook my head and waved my hand in dismissal. 

I cleared my throat and spoke. “All of us were together this whole time. What if there’s someone else in here with us?” 

Jim turned towards the room with the gas mask and froze. He made a faint wheezing sound, and Vanessa turned her light towards the room. A tall, hulking figure in an olive-colored uniform was standing next to the medical hanger. It wore a grey ushanka that had a red star with a hammer and sickle surrounded by a golden wreath in the center, and beneath the hat was the exact same gas mask that had been hanging on the wall. I recognized the attire instantly because my dad was always raving about “Soviet Commies coming to take our rights.” He figured it would be better if I knew what they looked like so I could avoid them. I always thought he was just paranoid, but now there was one right in front of me. 

Vanessa and Dan ran to the next room. I tried to grab Jim, but he was frozen stiff in terror. The thing briskly walked towards us, and I pulled harder on Jim’s arm trying to get him to move. The Soviet beast brandished a large knife out of its baggy uniform. I yanked onto Jim, and we both fell to the ground. The thing lunged for Jim and struck the knife into his Adam’s apple. “Oh God!” I shrieked and scrambled off the floor and towards the others. I glanced back and saw the beast dragging Jim away. I couldn’t think. My mind just kept chanting “shit” repetitively. I was in the room where we’d first entered, but it looked completely different now. The teddy bear was now hanging from the ceiling by a noose, and there were assorted furniture sets scattered throughout the room. The desk was completely gone. I shined my light over at a brown- and red-checkered couch. I stepped around it and saw Vanessa and Dan huddled near.

“The door…. It’s shut tight,” Dan whispered in low sobs. 

I crouched next to them and said, “It got Jim,” in a hushed voice.

I walked to the door, and sure as shit, the hinges had been  replaced. “Damn it! I left the crowbar outside, too.” I looked around nervously at the contents in the room, and I noticed a small hammer. I rushed towards it and grabbed it. It was cold. The entire room was cold. I looked down the hall and saw that the Soviet and Jim were both gone. “I think we have some time,” I whispered hopefully. Somehow, I don’t think it would’ve mattered if that thing was a Communist. It didn’t even seem human in my mind. I stepped to the door and accidentally kicked Dan’s skateboard up against the wall. I set the flashlight on the couch and faced the light towards the door. Vanessa shined her light on the door as well. I slipped the claw of the hammer into one of the hinges of the door. Instead of screws, the hinges were held in place by long lag bolts now. I pried on the hinge, but it barely gave way. 

My flashlight started to flicker. Shit, I should’ve brought more batteries. A couple seconds later, Vanessa’s flashlight flickered as well, and they both went out. We were engulfed in darkness, and I could hear Vanessa’s faint whimper. Dan shifted around loudly, and the room was instantly dimly illuminated by a match Dan had struck. He smoked tobacco from a pipe, so he always carried matches with him everywhere. I used to nag him about lung cancer, but for once, I felt relief and comfort in the match. 

“It’s not bright enough,” Dan said solemnly. He lit a second match, and the room got slightly brighter, but not by much.

Vanessa screamed, and I turned around. The thing was leaning over the couch. Vanessa reached for Dan’s skateboard and smashed against the Soviet’s head. I was frozen with shock. I didn’t know Vanessa had it in her to pull off a move like that. 

“Holy shit!” Dan exclaimed. 

“Come on,” Vanessa turned to Dan. “Lets drag him to the room with the hanger before he wakes up. Then we might have more time to get the hell out of here.” Dan lit another two matches and nodded in agreement, and they both walked over to the beast. 

I turned my focus back to the door and began prying again. As the shuffles along the floor got quieter, the room got darker. My eyes were starting to adjust to the darkness. After a couple of minutes, one bolt had come loose, but the hinge bent against the other bolt. This only made my job more difficult because now I had to maneuver the hammer around to get a better grip on the hinge. A dim light came back into the room, and I heard a low panting behind me. My hands trembled. I didn’t know if I heard Vanessa and Dan behind me, or if the thing had gotten them and now loomed out of my view. 

“It’s just us,” I heard Dan say from behind me.

I breathed a quick sigh of relief and popped the top hinge off. Dan lit two matches. “That’s 16 out of 20,” Dan declared worriedly. 

We didn’t have much time. Dan bought storm-proof matches because they lasted 
longer, but they didn’t burn as bright. The matches burned two minutes each, but using two at a time meant we only had about four minutes left.

“Dan, keep an eye on that Soviet thing. V, you can stay with me. Keep that 
skateboard handy just in case,” I said to them, still focusing on the bottom hinge. 

“That’s not a good idea, Mike. We need to stick together. We’re stronger in numbers,” Vanessa said assuredly. 
Without looking back, I nodded. There were light footsteps coming up to the right of me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Vanessa crouch down to the corner. 

Dan lit two more matches.

“There’s a hatch over here,” Vanessa observed. 

I looked over and realized that must’ve been how that thing had gone from room to room without us seeing it. I didn’t have to say anything because I knew we all understood at this point. The thing must’ve lived here. It wanted to scare the shit out of us before it killed us. It must’ve moved the items in the room around to make us nervous, but we noticed it before it was ready. I finally popped the bottom hinge loose. 

Dan lit the last two matches.

I squirmed my fingers into the gap that had formed while I was getting the hinges loose. I pulled onto the door, but it didn’t want to budge. Vanessa came up next to me and slid her fingers into the gap. 

The matches went out, and the room turned completely black. For a minute, we sat in complete darkness. Vanessa and I continued to pull on the door until we finally pulled the door back enough so that we could squeeze through. A sliver of moonlight spilled into the room. Just then, I heard Dan scream. I turned back and saw a large hand on his shoulder. Vanessa threw the skateboard at it and ran towards me. The thing didn’t even flinch this time. It gripped onto Dan’s neck and swiftly sliced it open. Dan’s body fell limply to the floor, and the thing slowly raised its gaze towards Vanessa and me. 

I shoved Vanessa through the door and ran out behind her. It was dark, and the moon was encompassed by fog. I could barely see Vanessa running in front of me. I caught up to her, but I could hear heavy footsteps not far behind us. The undergrowth became increasingly thick the further we got from the clearing. Vanessa’s foot caught a root, and she fell onto her hands and knees. I didn’t have any time to react because the thing suddenly pinned her. It plunged its knife deep into her back. She let out a blood-curdling scream, and it stabbed her again and again. I turned back towards the woods and continued running. 

I was the only one left. I had to survive. I had to tell my friends’ stories. I had to honor them. I could only think about surviving, not for self-preservation, but for my friends. If I died here, no one would know what happened to us. We would be declared missing and eventually forgotten. If that thing succeeded in killing me, then who can say how many more curious teenagers like us it would continue to kill? 

My blood suddenly turned cold at a dark thought. I had wondered how long this thing had been killing. How many teenagers had come before us who entered the building never to see daylight again? Finally, I reached the side of the road once again. I plunged my keys into the slot in the car door and turned. I hopped, locked the doors, and started the car. I knew we shouldn’t have come back to this place.

I pressed on the accelerator and started down the road. Fog surrounded the headlights, but I could make out a large figure in front of the car. I breathed heavily and pressed the accelerator to the floor, smashing into the figure ahead. It thudded against the front of the car, flopped over the hood, and onto the road. Did I actually do it? Was it over? Leaving the car on, I opened the door and stepped out. As I reared around the front of the car, I realized the figure was Jim. Oh, my God. The figure…was Jim! I stumbled back in shock and horror. Somehow, Jim had survived, but barely, and was unfortunate enough for me to mistake him for that…that thing. His neck was still gushing blood into part of a bedsheet he must have torn apart for a bandage. Just then, my thoughts shifted wildly as I heard footsteps come up from behind me.
                                                                                                                —© 2020 Taylor Desotell


The Lion

Lion Art by Sophia Dao
© 2020 by Sophia Dao


The Philosopher

Painting by Bradlee Sievert
© 2020 Bradlee Sievert


Untitled (Bedgood)

If only we could take away pain and add flowers to the broken pieces
To plant beauty where spots are ugly
Where sadness dies and happiness begins to bloom
Growth of new delicacy 
My body, a home for bees and butterflies
Where they grow and nurture,
Imprinting the broken and adding flowers
To the broken pieces
                                                              —© 2020 Breanne Bedgood


Untitled (Bedgood_2)

Sunset Ocean Photo by Breanne Bedgood
© 2020 Breanne Bedgood


Untitled (Belec_1)

Digital Art by Mckenna Belec
© 2020 by Mckenna Belec


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Digital Art by Mckenna Belec
© 2020 Mckenna Belec


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Drawing by Madelyn Davies
© 2020 Madelyn Davies


Untitled (Jung)

Bridge photo by So Hee Erin Jung
© 2020 So Hee Erin Jung


Untitled (MacArthur)

Collage by Cassidy MacArthur
© 2020 Cassidy MacArthur


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Stream photo by Abigale Woodruff
© 2020 Abigale Woodruff 


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Bridge and locks photo by Abigale Woodruff
© 2020 by Abigale Woodruff


Vacation

In the summer, floral scents mix with the woody traces of the outdoors,
a passive breeze blows through the trees,
sounding wind chimes entrancing melody.
Upon a hill, a small log cabin appears.
Sunlight filters through the trees, paints shadows around the yard.
Out back sits a lake, surface like glass,
filtering reflections of dynasties.
Waves roll up on sandy shores, wash over colored rocks,
top ripples with excitement as predators dive, scattering fish.
Deer dart across the weathered road,
peeking out from depths unknown.
Laughter from young and old join the bird’s happy song,
knowing memories are overflowing and cherished. 

                          —© 2020 Elizabeth Asmus


Wild

Content to create madness,
chaos over sanity,
streaks of color pass, no way telling what’s ripping up dying grass
until it stops.

Break in action,
three pause, keep watch
waiting for movement.

Like a detonation
all dart away back to blurs.

Small yipes pierce tranquil air
drawing attention from all kinds.

Cutting corners too short,
a crash, yet the three bounce back on their feet
tearing through freshly raked leaves.

Nothing stopping the wildness, the weightless feeling of running free,
happy to live in disarray.

                              —© 2020 Elizabeth Asmus