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                                               Pastelitos de Navidad

                                                               By: A.X. Bueno 

     

    El tiempo de Navidad

    Cuando la familia está reunida con comida delicioso y hay regalos 

    Y todos comparten momentos felices 

    Un tiempo cuando todo es tranquilidad y maravilloso  

    Hay muchas cosas buena en Navidad

    Mi parte favorita de Navidad aparte de estar en familia es comer pastelitos 

    Los pastelitos en Navidad saben diferente porque es un tiempo especial del año 

    Mi pastelito favorito es de res porque para mi no hay nada mejor 

    Mi familia y yo no cocinamos pastelitos muy frecuente 

    Solo lo hacemos en ocasiones especiales

    Y no hay una ocasión más especial que la navidad 

    Estos pastelitos son hechos con amor

    Cuando yo como un pastelito me gusta porque me recuerda a la navidad

    Un tiempo donde la familia está reunida, feliz y eso me hace sonreír 

     

     

     

     

    Christmas Time  

    When the family is united with delicious food and gifts 

    And happy moments are shared 

    A time when all is calm and wonderful

    And there are a lot of good things at Christmas 

    My favorite part of Christmas aside from being with family is to eat pastelitos 

    The pastelitos at Christmas taste different because it’s a special time of the year

    My favorite pastelitos are the beef kind because to me there’s nothing better 

    My family and I don’t cook pastelitos very often 

    But when we do it’s for a special occasion 

    And there is no occasion more special than Christmas 

    These pastelitos are made with love 

    When I eat a pastelito I like it because it reminds me of Christmas

    A time when my family is united, happy and it makes me smile 


     

     

    Pastelitos de Navidad.pdf

  1. TheysayImmawalkingdreamer
    Latest Entry

    I’ve known Raoule since he was in high school, and he’s made quite the change now that he has started university. I always had the feeling that he wanted to stand out somehow, something that is very important for most high school students. Almost no one from his teenage years had gotten into this university, so one would think that it was his chance to start anew and show a different side of him to these strangers, but something tells me that some of his previous reputation haunted him. He had prided himself on being intelligent and studious, a top of the class bookworm that didn’t hesitate to aid anyone who asked - he tutored me for my Calculus finals for free - and he always insisted on showing off the latest talent he had picked up; the one he was most known for was the piano, and Filippe, the only unicorn to ever go to his house, confirmed that he had a wooden piano he practiced with every afternoon. This proved to be a good party trick, he was usually requested to play contemporary pop songs but we always granted him the chance to demonstrate his real proficiency with classical pieces by Brahms, Schumann, Lizst and Schoenberg. We would tease him about learning some true oldies like any Mozart or Beethoven, but apparently he was saving that for a graduation recital where he would play a Bach piano concerto, fourteen minutes long, or twelve minutes long. When the day came, he accidentally tainted his performance before he even started to play: he came out timidly after his name was announced, sat his fat ass on the stool and just stared blankly at his sheet music for a couple of seconds after the welcoming applause had died out. I was in a high row far away from the auditorium stage, but he looked very nervous. He broke his silence with a large burp that sneaked up on him and made the entire audience burst out in laughter. Many unicorns were filming on their phones, some of them posted the footage on their social media profiles, so to this day the video is still up in a few high school reunion groups. You can hear how the sound reverberated across the auditorium. As for Raoule, he immediately started to play, to drown the sound of laughter with the music, with a straight face, but not a relaxed straight face, rather a paranoid straight face. He performed his entire set without removing that panic expression from his face. Afterwards, when the whole event was over, I congratulated him and, although he smiled, he seemed uneased. He was vain, he loved himself, but he was very shy. And I don’t know if those qualities are opposites or complementary. They were the right combination for a particularly fragile ego. The weeks before summer vacation were brief, but he did not endure the attention following his gaffe. He did not go with the joke, he instead tried to play it off. To my knowledge, he spent most of those remaining school days hanging out with Filippe. Filippe was a lot that he himself was not. Filippe was confident, built, big, he cracked jokes and talked to ladies a lot. He had a loud laugh and helped Raoule laugh at more stuff, too. Filippe, insisting that they should meet each other better, invited Raoule over to his house. This was unprecedented for him, no one had invited him over since elementary school. Raoule accepted and was surprised to find a piano at Filippe’s house as well. 
    “Do you play it?”
    “It’s my mom’s.” Filippe said humbly. “Speaking of which...hey, mom!” 
    “Hey, sweetie.” a shorter unicorn entered the house and met the boys in the living room.
    “This is the friend I told you was coming over.” Filippe gestured at him. Raoule showed her a bashful smile.
    “Hello, dear.” she greeted him. “What’s your name, again?”
    “Raoule.”
    “Alright, Raoule, if you need anything, you can tell Filippe or me, we'll gladly help you out. I’m making spinach quiche, if you would like to eat here.”
    “Oh, thanks, ma’am.”
    “Remember to fold the dry laundry like I told you, and cover the hole the dogs dug in the patio, please.” she told her son.
    “Of course, mom.”
    “Well, do it now as I unpack some stuff, so you don’t have him waiting for you.” she quipped as she walked the other way.
    “I’m on it.” Filippe assured with a mischievous grin. He inhaled and quickly released a thunderous belch that was louder than the one from Raoule’s incident. 
    “Stop. Doing that!” his mother scolded him, giving him a light push on his right buttock. Filippe laughed. 
    “Come on.” he told Raoule. “Let’s go upstairs.”

    After completing some of the first campaign missions in Halo 4 and faring “quite well” for someone who had never played the game, Raoule was challenged to win at Infinite Slayer. After several defeats, the game was changed to Halo Reach, so he could have a hand at regular Slayer. The score was at a disastrous seven to one out of an agreed upon maximum of fifteen kills. Filippe somehow kept outsmarting him. The laughs were not lacking, though.
    “You did so well an hour ago! And now it looks like you’ve never played.”
    “Because I haven’t! Oh, you mother…”
    “Ha, ha, ha, ha! Lord…”
    Raoule glanced at the shelves stacked with video game boxes. 
    “So you’ve played all of these…”
    “Yeah, man, they’re fun! As you can tell…”
    “Right. I don’t know, my parents wouldn’t have liked spending on more than one console.”
    “Then give your PC a try. It’s crazy how fun game nights with pals can get.”
    “Alright, alright.” he searched and tried to take the lead in the conversation for once. “And...have you gotten your university results?”
    “Yeah! What about you?”
    “Me too. And how did it go?”
    “I’m in. So you can consider me a UME student from now on.”
    Raoule’s jaw dropped.
    “I’m going there, too.”
    Filippe’s face lit up. 
    “We’ll be seeing more of each other, then!”
    “Yeah…”
    “What will you study?”
    “Communications.”
    “Wow. That’s a competitive one. It might be a tough fight.”
    “Yeah, but I feel like it really suits me. I’m really impressed with ultra technological majors like bioengineering and mechatronics, but my abilities are somewhere else. I also considered history because I really like it. In communications there are lots of jobs and it’s also a gateway for other stuff I want to try, like business managing.”
    “That’s really cool.”
    Raoule stretched on his borrowed gaming chair, thinking about what he could ask Filippe about history as a career, and inhaled to then let out a decent burp. 
    Filippe laughed in response.

    The first few weeks of university, Raoule was spotted wearing a cap, which he had never done before. He still was selective with his acquaintances and interactions, he participated frequently during class with insightful questions and assertions, yet the teachers got the impression that this new student was a troublemaker. He never confronted his superiors, but they noticed he was foul-mouthed, hyperactive, difficult to maintain within the line. In particular, he didn’t seem fazed by being called out in the classroom. On one occasion, a teacher considered he was stimming too hard, so she ordered him to get out and to come back after walking around campus. This episode made him infamous, at least for one semester. He became more focused on his appearance: the first day he came without the new cap, he was sporting a heavy hoop earring that weighed his ear down, a look that did not last very long but certainly made for memorable moments, like when the tutor nagged him, “Johan, I will drag you from that earring and hang you on the flagpole!”, to which he responded with a playful scoff. 

    Filippe met Dave on the first day of school, but it took longer for him to cross paths with Raoule again, he didn’t know where his dorm nor who his roommate was, and when he finally asked him, he claimed that his roommate wouldn’t want unicorns coming over; nonetheless, he kept in touch online, they messaged frequently, and the few times he was available they spent afternoons and nights out together, usually with Dave by their side. Dave had not met Filippe nor Raoule before university, so Filippe introduced them. Just in their first semester, they decided to form a group chat, so they could be close friends despite Raoule being from a different faculty. Soon enough, Horace Gulliver, an economics student that was seen by many on campus as everyone’s older brother, took interest in joining their group, so he started to hang out with them and invite them to big frat parties. Seeing how they had consolidated a now popular friend circle, Filippe proposed to give it a name. They decided on “Syntax Error”, suggested by Horace after he got that disclaimer on his calculator because of an arithmetic mistake. No one but them knew their agroupation had a name, but they were easily identifiable as they did everything together. Before Filippe, Dave and Raoule’s first semester ended (Horace was already a senior), a fifth unicorn joined them, a guy by the name of Mr. Liedenmann. It was an absolute mystery where he had come from, his surname could not be traced back to any known genealogy or even a language, maybe German, since “lieder” means “songs”, or maybe it was a deformation of a surname like Lindemann, and everyone already called him Mr. Liedenmann instead of addressing him by his first name, which could mean he didn’t have one, or that he was an exchange student to whom everyone was overly formal. Except Raoule knew him from the school’s chess club, and the girls who met up with Syntax Error knew him as Ivonne Siobhán’s roommate. Ivonne recounted to her frat friends the time she invited Mr. Liedenmann to have sex the day he moved to her dorm, only for him to respectfully decline and reveal he was gay. Eventually the word spread and reached the Syntax Error guys’ ears. Being new, like every other student, he had not come out publicly, but he felt encouraged to after being accepted into this new group of friends. So that’s who they were throughout their school days, Syntax Error, hanging out together in and out of school grounds, often times with an evenly numbered group of female students, who were an assembly of their own, together they amounted to thirteen or fourteen unicorns in one big unnamed bunch unbounded by their majors, sharing parties and outings in a delirious world of fun. It must be said that Raoule never had a girlfriend prior to enrolling into university, but sometime around his second semester his friends noticed that he was more absent in their reunions, he was more secretive about what he did in his free time and ultimately seen less often. Still, he did not go silent on the group chat, but he evaded all questions related to his disappearance. This prompted speculation among his peers about who he could be meeting with. It could be that the shy young man was finally going out with a girl. What raised this suspicion was that one day he came up to Filippe and wriggled his hips in front of him and the rest of the guys.
    “I have a big ass, right?”
    None of them had really noticed before, or, more precisely, none of them had bothered to check, but since he had brought it to their attention, they confirmed that, in fact, it was quite big for a male. He was really proud of it, as if he himself had only found out about it. They took this as something odd, he was still a little narcissistic after all but they felt it would help their investigation, as he could be trying to feel more seductive. Unfortunately, despite checking with all of the women they knew, they couldn’t find one who knew Raoule enough to be in a relationship with him. Until, and nobody predicted it, a video of him went viral. It featured him, sounding pretty drunk, in a dimly lit room with a television that was heard in the background, wearing a cap, a hoodie and booty shorts, turned the other way around, as whoever was recording encouraged him to twerk. First, he released a bomb-loud belch and proceeded to bounce his ass up and down. This action repeated four times before he stuck his butt up in the air and spread his cheeks from under his underwear using magic touch from his horn, to then inhale for a few seconds and fart loudly afterwards. The video was only three minutes long, but he loaded farts this way twice, and on one occasion he twerked as he farted the air out. To top it all off, he burped and farted at the same time and twerked a little more, as the unicorn recording laughed and cheered. That’s how it ended. The video was titled “Twarping”, a blend of twerking, farting and burping, nowhere in the description he was named, his face was barely visible and the channel that uploaded it was unrecognizable. However, from his voice, his friends could tell it was him, they shared it on the Syntax Error group chat, where he confessed it proudly. Everyone cheered on him, and although he was far from being the first creature to ever achieve a burpfart, for a long time it was referred to as “that thing Raoule does.” Yet, no talk about who he made the video with. Word came out that it was his girlfriend that recorded him and that he was doing that for her. Her identity was later discovered, she was a psychology student named Bebe, and Raoule told the guys, not through chat but in person, that he didn’t want to go public about it until it was somewhat official. But it only would become official when one morning, on a see-through bridge that connected two Psychology faculty buildings, he pressed his butt against the windows to display a message written on it for Bebe: 
    Would you marry me? — Raoule
    The stunt was carefully coordinated with the help of Noel Lucas, a unicorn that put Raoule’s academic record to shame and who was an honorary member of Syntax Error, they would stand waiting for her to cross the main campus plaza during her lunch break, as soon as her hot pink mane was visible from afar Raoule would turn around and Noel would notify him if she had seen the message, for he could only turn his head to show his face.
    “Has she seen it?”
    “Yes.”
    When Raoule turned around, she saw her calling him with gestures, so he went down, the demonstration had not really garnered much attention from passersby, and met up with her, who excitedly nodded:
    “Oh, yes...what am I saying? Yes! Yes! Of course yes!”
    Bebe’s friend had already left her, so the couple ran away instead of going to the cafeteria, as she had originally planned. They laid down on the grass of the green area, pressed to one another, exchanging all the thoughts they felt, all the emotions they thought, they embraced and later laid down in silence, enjoying each other’s company, they sat and contemplated the sun setting together. Then they did something they didn’t expect: they pondered about the possibility of their relationship ending. It was only that, a possibility, but they wondered about what it would mean for each other, and if there was a life after such a departure. All we have is this moment, I have you, I want you to have me. Who said this barely matters, they were one. Their joy had to be broken momentarily as they had to return to class, but later they spent the entire afternoon together. Despite being very young, they married a few weeks later, and despite still being in school, they moved together to an apartment.

  2. Arco The Fox
    Latest Entry

    Closing the door to their quarters, Nightstorm pulled Lightstrike so her fur mingled with his. Delicately, he began licking her face, clearing away the stains from her tears of frustration.

                Wrapping her arms about her mate, the female stoat held him tight. “What was that stuff?”

                “I don’t know. I’m sure the techs are analysing it right now. If I had to guess, it is a form of the devices found at Death City. They certainly behaved like them.” lifting her chin with a finger, Night looked into Light’s eyes. “Don’t worry about them. We’ve had two bad frights today, I think we just need to relax and take the evening gently.” Leading his mate to the couch, the stoat lay down, pulling her on top of him.

                “Now, we were interrupted last time,” he nuzzled her gently, “why don't we continue where we left off?”

                A small chuckle escaped as Light smiled down at her mate. “That sounds like a good plan.” Pulling Night to his feet, she led him through to the bedroom.

     

                Late evening corridor lighting gently illuminated Blackear and Nocturna as they slowly made their way to their quarters. “Can you tell me anything about that wreckage?” Nocturna gently queried.

                “Not much,” Black sighed. “Whatever they used to destroy it was rather thorough. A few things we were capable of identifying, mainly that it was definitely some form of hover-copter, though more advanced than ours, and obviously very well armoured from the reports.”

                “I heard it took both rocket and cannon without any problem.”

                “So the cadets' report reads. The only thing that caused it problems was the sniper's light rifle. The electromagnetic interference must have got to their controls. So we know at least that much. I've already asked Mortimer to have all units equipped with those new weapons.”

                “You think they'll attack again?” Nocturna paused, some fear shadowing her face.

                “It is highly likely that that craft was merely a scout craft. We know there was some sort of civil war in the past. Obviously there are survivors, but what gets me is why they attacked us. We have found no evidence to show that humans were ever aggressive to us. You just need to look at where we came from. We were born here, Father made us, how could they then turn on us?” Blackear's voice began to break with frustration.

                “Those we knew may not have, but where did all the others come from? We still have to learn that. Central was asleep, surviving the radiation down here, so she can't tell us where the other antros came from, isn't that why we created this organisation, so that we could learn the truth?”

                “You are right. There are still so many unanswered questions. It has been fifty years since we woke up and our explorations have only reached half way across ancient Europe and that Death City on the coast of the Americas.”

                “Our forward teams have nearly arrived at the region the ancients called South Africa. In fact, I'd have thought they would have been there last week and we haven't heard from them in a while.”

                Blackear grabbed his mate's shoulder. “Does anyone else know about their lateness?”

                “I haven't thought about it until now, so I haven't told anyone. What is wrong?”

                Blackear's voice was cold and hard. “We've been at war for a week and didn't know.

                The sound of running paws caused the two to look down the corridoor. A scrawny young rat in the uniform of the messenger corps came pelting to a sliding stop in front of them. Saluting smartly the rat spoke. “Blackear, Nocturna, your presence is requested in the council room.”

                “Thank you young one,” Nocturna smiled at the boy whilst looking fearful at her mate. The rat swayed on his feet, his tail and ears twitching nervously. “What is it?”

                “I must bring this message to Nightstorm and Lightstrike, there were not answering their comm unit. Where are their quarters?”

                “Just down this corridor a way, their names are carved on the door,” Blackear responded.

                “Thank you sir!” The young rat saluted before speeding off down the corridor once more.

                “I think we'd better hurry,” Blackear started to run the opposite way from the messenger, Nocturna hard on his heels.

     

                Everyone jumped at the sound of the door opening to permit Nightstorm and Lightstrike entrance, taking their usual seats the black wolf, Theologen, stood up. “Sorry to call you all here so late. I know we have had a rather full day, but the team from New York have called in a rather interesting development, that I think is worth the interruption. As we know, Night and Black returned from the city only three days ago. The follow up team have already constructed surface shelters against the dust storms, but they sent us this image,” the screen behind him lit up.

                “Taken from the highest point in the city, and as you can see, there is a large domed construction to the west. So large the base is beyond the horizon.”

                “Do you think it could be related to the ruin in Africa?” Lightstrike enquired.

                “It is possible,” Faralina replied. “The African construction was obviously unfinished. This one must be complete or at least near completion, it is definitely the largest human structure we have yet discovered. Due to the nature of the area, it has been requested that we send a team of Historical Agents to investigate.”

                “Then send my us,” Night stood. “We don't know how dangerous the area is and if today's events can tell us anything then we want to be sure we can survive if there are any enemy forces in the area.”

                Blackear leaned forward to face Theo directly. “About the enemy. Have we had any word on our team of agents pushing towards South Africa or the main bases?”

                “Nothing has come through, why?” the wolf looked unesy.

                “They should have reported in a few days ago. Has word of the attack been spread to the bases yet?” the rat asked.

                “We didn't think it necessary, the attack happened here, they are thousands of miles away,” Faralina responded.

                “Linking Comm now,” Ross alerted them to the change in the screen. “No response from southern or western bases, eastern base is receiving...”

                “Eastern base is here, Council. What do you need?” A male caracal had appeared on the screen.

                “When was the last time you had word from the other African bases?” Black enquired.

                “The other bases? About four days from the southern base, two from western, we presumed their equipment was on the fritz again. The weather around here makes our systems high maintenance.”

                “I notice you are inside,” Carinette commented.

                “We are,” the caracal responded. “About three days ago our forward scouts spotted unidentified craft quartering the land. The fact they were unidentified made us wary and we decided to move our equipment into the ancient temples and pyramids. So far we have avoided detection.”

                “Smart move,” Mortimer interrupted. “One of those craft arrived here and attacked a training exercise. They are hostile, so exercise extreme caution.”

                “You don't think they attacked the other bases do you?” the caracals voice shook nervously.

                “We do,” the wolverine replied. “We will send you a security detail, they will come through in about an hour. Guard your pad, we can't have them accessed by the enemy.”

                “Yes sir!” The caracal responded as the signal was cut.

                “On that note,” Coriana stood beside her mate. “I will lead expeditions to the other two bases if their pads are still operational and decommission them. We will need transport of some sort so we can travel between the bases there,” she looked at Rossoco.

                “I'll get it sorted, you leave as soon as, right?”

                Coriana nodded before leaving the room, Mortimer close behind.

                “Looks like it's going to be a sleepless night,” Theo commented, mostly to himself.

                “We need to take shifts, twelve hours each I think, all of you,” Faralina swept her gaze over the remaining members.

                “A good idea for most of you,” Nocturna replied, “However Light and I don't exactly have to be operating twenty-four hours right now.”

                “That is true,” Blackear stoked his mate's head. “Night and I will gather our team and be at the pads in one hour. I really hope this situation doesn't get out of control.”

                “This situation is war, when has war ever been in control?” Theo asked.

                “True, we'll take our leave now,” Night and Black left the room, leaving the others to discuss their own duties. As they made their way down the hall, the rat turned to his stoat friend. “Who will you gather?”

                “I'll go get Rraji and Tugger, you get Skrik, you seemed to get along with him better than me,” Night smiled.

                “Then I'll get the supplies as well. Don't want to deplete those of the outpost.” The rat trotted away, leaving the stoat to slowly wander through the network of corridors and stairs before he came across the snow leopard's quarters.

                Pressing the bell, he waited for her response, which came muffled through the door, “It's open, come in.” Pushing the door wide, Night saw Rraji uncurling herself on the main room rug.

                “Why not sleep in the bed?” the stoat was puzzled.

                “Though your beds are comfortable, I am more used to a skin on the floor, though this is far softer, even better than my old chief's skins,” Rraji responded as she drew herself up to attention.

                Night noticed her posture and gestured for her to relax. “At ease, Rraji, you need only stand to attention when we are on duty.” He waited for the snow leopard to relax before continuing. “Talking of duty, we are to head out on a mission in under an hour, report to the transmat hub as soon as possible.”

                “Yes, Sir!” Rraji went to head to the door. “Sir! May I ask you a question?”

                “You can, and call me by my name, not Sir.”

                “As you wish. My question, Nightstorm, is where did you come from.”

                “What do you mean?” the stoat was taken aback.

                “You are not like the other anthros here. You, Blackear and the others, you are built differently to all other anthros I have ever seen, your legs are straight, rather than sprung like most others.”

                “That is a very good question, and if you are deemed loyal enough to know, then you will be told, but right now, it would take too long to tell even if I was permitted to do so.”

                “Another question if I may be so bold?”

                Night gestured for her to continue.

                “Why is it that some here wear clothing and others do not. I have noticed on many occasions you will choose to go unclothed, including the time we first met in peace.”

                “Clothing was something the ancients wore due to them having no fur. We wear it to remind ourselves that we were not the first civilization, if you can call thousands of scattered tribes and only one city a civilisation. Most have no idea what the clothing actually meant to the ancients, and we have grown in a world where, what the ancients would call nudity, is normal, for we are not nude, we are covered in fur, we carry our own clothing, so to speak. We wear clothes to honour the memory of the ancients, nothing more. That is why I, more than not, wear nothing but my tool belts, as now. I'm sure if we ever were able to ask the question of an ancient they would tell us the full reason for their clothing.”

                “Thank you, Night. What of our uniform?”

                “That is to identify friendly soldiers with enemies. If you would rather not have the full uniform, we do have shoulder cladding that can be worn by itself.”

                “That is a relief to know,” Rraji smiled sweetly at the stoat. “I will meet you at the pads,” she paused a moment. “It sounds so strange saying that, only three days ago I didn't even know such devices even existed.”

                Night chuckled as he turned from the room, “I will leave you to ready yourself. We may not be back for days or even weeks if things go badly.”

                “Then I will bring what may be necessary,” she saluted as Night left the room, closing the door behind him.

                Smiling to himself spoke aloud, “Now where is that one called Tugger housed?”

     

                Half an hour later, Night approached the pads, the raccon-wolf, son of Shadow and Raska, in tow. Black leaped from a large crate as they approached, to land beside Rraji and the bat Skrik. “Additional supplies are being transported as we speak, we're next up.” he reported.

                “Glad I didn't miss the trip,” Night quipped. “Tugger, this is the rest of the team,” Night introduced the young soldier. “Rraji, and Blackear you already know from when you came to collect us, the bat is Skrik, he has promised us his service and refuses to be left behind wherever we may go. The rest of you, this is Tugger, his father wants him to be safe whilst gaining field experience and so believes that we are the best team to place him with.”

                A hare loped over to the group. “Team Night, your supplies are clear, please move up to the pad.”

                “Thank you Hubmaster,” Blackear saluted the hare before quickly stepping ahead of the others.

                “Did Coriana leave already?” Night asked as he passed the hare.

                Stepping beside the stoat, the hare kept pace, “She did, her team of ten left in a pair of Pumas about half an hour ago. No arrival report yet, I've submitted my concern already.”

                “She was heading into an area believed to be hostile, maybe the enemy was on the doorstep,” Night suggested.

                “That would explain lack of communication, still, my concerns have been lodged already.”

                “Keep it up, I would ask for security in case any enemy forces come through our pads unannounced,”

                “Good idea, Sir! I'll send that request off just as soon as I have seen you off safely.”

                “Are you coming with us?” Blackear asked. “If not, kindly clear the pad.”

                “Oops, I'm holding you up aren't I?” The hare stepped back to the controls. “You know the drill, keep your arms and legs inside the pad at all times and don't move. See you when you get back,” he slapped his paw on the activation button.

     

                Less than a minute later the transmat mist was clearing around them and a team of mice approached the pad. Their leader a female historian stepped forward. “Welcome to the new main base. I am Historian Fael, since you left we have fortified and sealed this building to act as our search headquarters, and obviously relocated the pad up here from the sewers. The dust storms cannot get in to the building, don't worry about that. If you'll follow me, I'll show you the important navigation landmarks and outrider storm shelters.”

                Silently the team followed the mouse into an elevator.

                “You got the building itself operational already? Your team has been busy,” Night commented.

                “Thanks to your maps we were able to move around quickly and set up our safe zones. We haven't actually done any work pertaining to the history of this place yet, we have purely been making it safe for exploration.”

                “Good thinking, considering the dust storms,” Night responded.

                The lift doors opened out onto a floor filled with desks and abandoned computers. A stairwell visible at the other end of the room. Blackear noticed some marks on one of the computers, “Night, take a look at this, familiar is it not?”

                Night examined where the rat was pointing and gave out a small laugh. “Of all the buildings to choose. Fael, you realize what happened in this building?”

                The mouse looked confused. “I'm afraid I don't.”

                “This is the building where my tribe tried to capture Night and Black,” Rraji put forwards.

                “You recognised it too?” Night asked. “And if we're not mistaken, your chief died in that doorway.” Night pointed towards the stairwell.

  3. LiteralGrill
    Latest Entry

    There is no compassion as life fades away

    This self deliverance the choice you have made

    You feel stressed out, You wanna let it go

    Let's go way out, spaced out, and lose all control

     

    Contemplate your last breath

    As you see the face of death

    Contemplate your last breath

    Tonight’s gonna be a good good good good



    Tonight's the night, let's live it up

    I got my money, let's spend it up

    Go out and smash it like, "Oh, my God!"

    Jump out that sofa, let's kick it off

     

    There is no compassion as life fades away

    This self deliverance the choice you have made

    You feel stressed out, You wanna let it go

    Let's go way out, spaced out, and lose all control

     

    Contemplate your last breath

    As you see the face of death

    Contemplate your last breath

    Tonight’s gonna be a good good good good

     

    Fill up my cup, mazel tov

    Look at her dancing, just take it off 

    Let's paint the town, we'll shut it down

    Let's burn the roof, cuz’ we can’t do it again

     

    Cuz’ we can’t do it again

    Cuz’ we can’t do it again

    Cuz we can’t do it again

     

    There is no compassion as life fades away

    This self deliverance the choice you have made

    You feel stressed out, You wanna let it go

    Let's go way out, spaced out, and lose all control

     

    (Goodbye)
    Tonight’s gonna be a good night
    (Goodbye)
    Tonight’s gonna be a good night

    (Goodbye)
    Tonight’s gonna be a good night
    (Goodbye)
    Tonight’s gonna be a good good good good

     

    (Goodbye)
    Tonight’s gonna be a good night
    (Goodbye)
    Tonight’s gonna be a good night

    (Goodbye)
    Tonight’s gonna be a good night
    (Goodbye)
    Tonight’s gonna be a good good good goodbye...

  4. 12:20 pm, students were leaving their classrooms and boarding the North Route bus. The bus never left until it was at full capacity, and that usually took a couple of minutes. By 12:30, the door closed and the bus parted. Chatter, laughter, singing, mumbling, swearing, kissing, the noise of everyday was feeling heavy on his ears, he had struggled to wake up on time and had only eaten an apple for breakfast. Rolf checked the time. Twenty. Twenty more minutes. The pounding in his head was accelerating. The sun was blinding him. Rolf checked the time. Fifteen. Fifteen more minutes. Congestion out of nowhere. He felt he could cry. He nervously massaged his face. The couple behind him were speaking very loudly. There was a fly that snuck in from his window and buzzed on his nose. He tapped a fast-paced beat on the wheel to try to focus on anything, anything. Boom. The blockage was liberated, the cars ahead flowed, traffic mobilized again, and Rolf readjusted his cap before he checked the time. Ten minutes. Ten more minutes. Most students got down there. After a mass exodus of passengers, the stops further down were leaving the bus more and more roomy, which definitely helped Rolf to be more in peace, although his mood hadn’t exactly improved. After the last unicorn stepped out, Rolf swallowed bitterly and wished to be back at home immediately after the two-hour shift. He made a left to take the desert freeway, away from city chaos, into the silence of stillness. That was until he heard a strange sound. He immediately turned back, but didn’t see anything. It wasn’t one of the sounds heard in or emitted by the bus, which he knew by heart. It wasn’t long before he heard it again, and he stopped the engine. He knew he wasn’t the bravest unicorn, yet he wanted to investigate. He just hoped it weren’t anything supernatural, or monstrous, or terrible. If it were, he would be alone, helpless, in the middle of the desert where his body would be found days after the matter. He shivered at that thought. 
    “Hey!” he yelled. No response. No more sounds. 
    He stood up and walked cautiously to the back of the vehicle. He even inspected behind the seats next to the emergency exit.
    “Psst.”
    Rolf jumped back. “Ah!”
    Horace reversed his invisibility spell and revealed himself sat right in front of him, grinning, with his legs crossed, as if he relaxed on a chaise longue while sunbathing on a balcony. 
    “What are you doing here? You should have gotten off at Longview ten minutes ago!” Rolf scolded, sounding as severe as he could. He regretted his phrasing, but hesitated to say anything else before a response.
    Horace shrugged. “I just wanted to keep you company. That’s all.” 
    Rolf regained his composure: he went from the stilted crouch he was in to standing straight, stretching his neck and quickly flipping his hair back in its place. Steadily, he turned around and walked to his seat behind the wheel.
    Horace observed two things: for one, Rolf was shorter than him by at least an inch, he was all around smaller than him. In daylight, it was much more noticeable that, compared to his own broad, compact face, Rolf had narrower, gentler features. The other thing that caught his attention was that Rolf had his tail shaven off. It was a growing trend among young adults, to shave their tails off. Since they grow back, the aesthetic effort demanded consistency. Some instead opted for tying it in a bun. His fuzzy dream from last night aside, he had never seen Rolf standing up.
    As soon as the engine revved, Rolf heard steps approaching him. He looked over his shoulder: there was Horace’s grin again. 
    “Can I be on the front seat?”
    “Just...get comfortable. It’ll be a long way.” Rolf uttered. A pull of a lever and the bus was back on track. 
    “So...how was your day?” Horace asked.
    Rolf looked at him with distrust. His co-pilot’s smile suddenly faded. 
    “So far...not so great.” he replied, once he turned to the windshield. 
    “Oh, yeah? How come?” 
    “I mean...it would be silly to complain, anyway. I’ve only been awake for an hour.”
    “What? When do you sleep?”
    “I sleep from five to noon. I do this short ride for two hours and then I’m back at home to do homework...and shit.” he added jerkily. 
    “Nice, nice…” went Horace. “Can I ask you a question in all honesty?”
    “Yes.” 
    “I know it was kinda dodgy to do that invisibility thing, I’m sorry. I scared you, didn’t I?”
    “That’s what you were going to ask me?” 
    “No! It’s actually…” a snort “...do I intimidate you?”
    “What?”
    “I sense you are very shaky right now. Am I doing something right now, or are you usually like this? You were kinda different yesterday.”
    Rolf sighed and said:
    “I don’t know, dude.” 
    “I feel like you wanted to be left alone.” Horace remarked. “These questions might as well have been invasive. I want to make it up to you.”
    Rolf furrowed his brow. 
    “I guess I should make myself clear then.” he disclosed. “It’s cool if you want to follow me to talk...or whatever, but these little stunts you pull...you’ve got to refrain from doing them, because I don’t really know you…”
    “Do you know my name?” Horace inquired, smiling again.
    “Yes. Horace Gulliver. You’re a senior. You’re majoring in Economics, or at least you exit the B-3 faculty to take the bus.”
    Horace seemed surprised. Then he said in his low voice, turning to Rolf: “I’m doing my thesis on monetarism.” 
    And he added, whispering on his ear: “Alan Greenspan.”
    “That’s great.” Rolf conceded. 
    Horace looked around in silence for a while before commenting: 
    “You have a very pretty ass.”
    Rolf immediately looked at him. Eye contact. Direct confrontation. The other guy better chose his words, or else. He hadn’t really fought anyone before, but there is a first time for everything. 
    He saw Horace shrug and say: “It’s true.” He felt his own eyes inspect the guy quickly from horn to hoof, and then his own head lower.
    “Do you feel better?” were the next words he heard from his co-pilot.
    Nothing better occurred to Rolf than to nod. Slowly, but surely, he detached his hoof from the pedal, something which Horace noticed, perplexed. 
    He felt his vocal cords vibrate as he asked him: 
    “Would...you like to see it again?”
    Then he looked at him.
    Horace. His grin grew, his brow rose, he touched his lips briefly with his tongue and he shook his head, only to then nod and reply “Okay.”
    Rolf hit the brakes, stopping the engine. Horace got out of his seat first and turned around (which required propulsion from his hind legs) to face forward from the floor, taking several steps back. Rolf stood up and when he finally put his front legs down, he breathed in and looked back. This was not comfortable for long, so he stared to the front, awaiting. He tried to make sense of what he had put himself up to. He wasn’t defenseless. He had power. He heard Horace scoff: 
    “Who are you serving this too? It’s a lot of meat.”
    Rolf felt the best thing he could do was wiggle his hips. He heard Horace gasp in disbelief.
    “Could I...feel it?”
    Rolf wiggled it again and even pushed it closer to him. An air force pressed delicately on his right glute. This was followed by a circling caress, a light massage…pats…
    Using his magic touch, Horace gave him a loud smack. It was hard. Rolf peeked back with a bothered look, but Horace didn’t make much of it:
    “It’s so round, and soft, and bouncy…”
    Horace was reminded of Raoule’s ass. Large posteriors were perceived as a feminine attribute, since only very thin women didn’t have them, but they weren’t as proportionally common among white males, whose rears tended to be square, solid with muscle. Raoule once joked that his ass was so big because he ate too many grilled-cheese sandwiches.
    The larger unicorn was definitely enjoying playing with it, but he didn’t know if his owner was equally pleased. It was when he was giving it some gentle squeezes when he looked further down and saw a pair of testicles being rendered visible. His brow rose once again, and he searched for the other guy’s gaze when he looked back. 
    “Are you...are you insinuating?” he asked Rolf. The latter nodded.
    “How about you show it to me?”
    Rolf didn’t respond: instead, he stretched his neck to point at him and insisted. 
    Using a magic force pull, Horace separated the cheeks, revealing an anus.
    In stark contrast with horses, unicorns’ assholes aren’t exposed nor outer. They’re inner circles, and in white unicorns they tend to be pink.
    “Are you sure? Are you even cleaned out?” he said, teasingly.
    A whooshing sound was heard near the driver’s coccygeal vertebrae. He himself muttered a quick yes.
    “Alright.” Horace held his breath as he stretched Rolf’s asshole with invisible hands. “I’m going to get you wet.”
    Feeling how he was fairly hard, he used a spell to materialize a lube he could rub on his penis and on the hole in front of him. He performed both actions simultaneously, getting himself ready and rubbing Rolf’s wrinkles and poking the slot. 
    The first step. Horace stood on his hind legs and ran his glans across Rolf’s cleft, even quickly touching his testicles. 
    “Ready?” after a very muffled ‘mmhmm’  “I’m coming in.”
    One last time, he lubed up the asshole. He seized Rolf’s hips somewhat suddenly, making him jump a little. Finally, he dared to introduce his glans, then the rest of his dick, pushing it by coming forward, into Rolf. 
    Just from the glans, Rolf was already starting to groan. 
    “Huhh…”
    He felt his insides pulsating because of the pressure. 
    “Ohh…”
    Horace had moved and was now grabbing him by the waist. Rolf was shocked to guess that he must have taken the dick to the base. 
    Penetrating up close is only a fetichistic choice. Unicorns have lengthy phalluses, so to hump up close they have to magically shorten them. This is a common practice among black unicorns, 
    “Hohh…Hohh…Hohh…”
    Horace took a couple of steps back, keeping his balance on his legs, and thrusted. 
    “Argh! Fuck!” Rolf yelped. 
    Horace stopped immediately. He heard a subtle “Careful…” and pulled out. He’s not all the way there yet, he thought. The anus had closed as soon as he left it, but it quickly opened back up. 
    Rolf groaned again as he accepted the penis back in. Horace was now going at it in deep, slow strokes, until he was bumping into him.
    In this position, unicorns cannot look down at their phalluses or at their partners’ posteriors. They can only feel how they bump against each other. 
    Horace could not detect that Rolf was rubbing his own penis as he was getting filled. 
    Rolf, instead, was aware of three sources of pleasure, the third and probably most intense one being Horace’s hot breath on his ear. 
    Horace picked up the pace after a while, and Rolf’s sensory reception skyrocketed. 
    “Uh...I’m...I’m gonna...I’m gonna...Stop!...Huh!”
    A gasp that interrupted itself and continued, followed by exuberant panting. 
    “Don’t worry.” Horace murmured, pausing for a moment. “I’ll finish right up.”
    He only had to feel four more thrusts before he ejaculated inside him, to which he also reacted with gasps and sighing. Horace finally got off him and pulled out. 
    “Want to push it out?” he asked him.
    Rolf spread his asshole with his own magic touch: it winked before pushing the load out all in one go. It was thick and it trickled down beautifully. 
    He took some steps forward, four seats behind his driver seat. He focused on his own breathing. He didn’t know what to think. 
    “I’m going to sit down.” he said to no one. And so he did. It felt uncomfortable, but he couldn’t bear to stand up. 
    “Wow!” Horace’s voice said. “You shot pretty far!”
    He had to look back, and then at the floor. Goodness gracious, he thought. I’ll have to clean all that. It is pretty far. 
    Horace sat down on a separate seat, to his right. 
    “Do you masturbate frequently?”
    Rolf smiled awkwardly. 
    “No.”
    “Fuck. I do it everyday, so I appreciate a load that’s dense and thick like that one.”
    Rolf chuckled. The sun rays came through the window, making the spilled semen sparkle. Ouch. His bottom ached again. 
    Horace peeked at the bus clock. From what he could gather, they probably lasted twenty minutes total, accounting for the time of preparation. 
    “Not bad.” he vocalized to himself. “Fuck. I’m spent.” he chuckled too. “I don’t know about you but it was really good.”
    “It’s the first time that I’ve done it.”
    Horace turned to him in disbelief. 
    “What? Done what?”
    “Had sex.”
    “What?! No way!” Horace looked up, down, many ways, he gasped, tried to speak and found himself unable to, he repressed laughter. “I don’t mean this in, uh, a shameful way, but you had me convinced that you were experienced.”
    Rolf was looking the other way.
    “You took me all the way in. That is seriously impressive.”
    “You shrunk it.”
    “Shortened it.” Horace corrected, cheerfully. “It was just as thick. You’ve seen it, you know it is not small.”
    Horace at last saw a smile grow on the driver’s face. 
    “Can I tell you a secret?”
    Rolf looked at him in the eyes. 
    “You’re the first guy I’ve had sex with.”
    Rolf’s reaction was of shock, but not nearly as explosive as Horace’s. 
    “Really?”
    “I am straight. At least, that’s what I thought.” Horace admitted as he rested his crossed hooves on his lap, like Rolf.
    “Wow. I’ve always thought of myself as ace gay. I did get horny, but I never sought an experience out. I guess that I was kept busy by other things. I felt like I was fine with not rushing.”
    This last comment made Horace furrow his brow, but with a defiant smile. 
    “Do you think that I’ve rushed?”
    “I don’t know. We all have different paces.” 
    Horace only stared back with the same expression.
    “How are you feeling?”
    “I can’t feel my asshole.” Rolf blurted out. “I’m tired and my legs are shaking.”
    Horace laughed on the inside. Not the answer I expected, but we’re getting there, he thought.
    “You know what? Why don’t you rest and I take it from here?” he asked as he stood up and walked to the driver’s seat.
    Rolf only glanced at him with curiosity.
    “Get comfortable.”
    “Are you serious? Do you know how to get there? Can you dri-“
    “Yes to all that.” replied Horace. Subsequently, he started the engine. 
    Rolf felt at peace. He decided to rub his abdomen and to smile more. 

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                                          They Deserved Better

     

                                                            By: A.X. Bueno

     

    They deserved so much better

    The trans people who’ve passed along the way 

    The trans people who have come and gone even so close as just yesterday

    Today we remember them and the strength that they had

    There’s so many out there who shouldn’t have to feel so bad 

    The friends and family that mourn when it shouldn’t have to be this way

    They deserved to be happy, they deserved to feel loved 

    They didn’t deserve the bullying and abuse from those who feel they were above

    There’s just too many people who won’t let anyone trans just be 

    Which leads to too many to feel like there’s nothing worthwhile in them that they can see

    All they want is acceptance but they usually receive society’s scorn

    All while some only love them when they provide good porn 

    But they deserve better, they deserve so much more 

    They were all loveworthy human beings who should get more than somber remembrance only after they reach death’s door

    They deserved truly accepting, loving families 

    They deserved warm, caring friends

    It’s just not fair their lives came to such abrupt ends

    Of course there’s so much that could do someone especially a trans person in 

    Their lives seem to be shorter thanks to the unfair conditions they’re given 

    It’s unfair that to be who they are they’re put through so much

    But despite it all they don’t simply settle for misery and such

    Many continue to live and thrive

    Though sadly there are those who just couldn’t survive

    Whether it was by their own forced hands or thanks to petty hatred too disturbingly well known 

    Today we mourn their tragic losses and feel regret for their too early gravestones

    We failed them and for them we should have done more 

    They deserved to be here now but we all know that’s not possible anymore

    So I guess the next best thing is to celebrate the trans people who are still here

    If you’re trans know that you’re valid, you’re loved and you don’t deserve to live in fear 

    We should be doing so much better by you and, maybe someday we will

    Progress has been slow and difficult but we’re certainly climbing that uphill

    Hopefully someday we’ll reach a point where acceptance and love can be achieved and it’ll all be chill


     

    They Deserved Better.pdf

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    You couldn’t have imagined it,

    Nor could you have explained it,

    Nor would it have made sense.

    But there he sat enamoured by it. It... it, what was it? He couldn’t put a hoof to it. “It” was a nostalgic feeling; it was the feeling of a basement decorated in the previous century, with prayer beads, seashell lamps, sports cards with long expired gum, and small tchatchkes on a shelf. “It” was its orange glow, like a bejewelled touch-me-not’s flower, framed under orange lamplight.

    “It” was probably nostalgia. Just... personified, flavoured a little, maybe.

    It was there. “It” was there. Was he there?

    He sat on the sofa further. No, he was there. He was there. He “was” there, right?

    He tried to listen. Maybe he wasn’t there. Maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he was just intimately absorbed into the room, as if nothing else was there but the room itself.

    He tried to listen, but the sound there fell on deaf ears. Just the buzz of the lights & of the wi-fi modem ringing in his ears.

    He swivelled his ears. He heard the buzzing of the seashell lamp. He turned his head. His eyes glanced at the spider-ivy in the low basement-window’s moonlight - its light, which it had captured from outside. He breathed it in. He smelled it - almost a sweet taste, he imagined - his primal desire for foliage.

    He looked to his side. There she was talking.

    He couldn’t hear a word she had said.

    What was that buzzing? He felt his ears. And why was she talking?

    His memory failed him.

    Her antlers gleamed. So why was she so upset when talking to him? And why were they in their basement? He couldn’t realize.

    He grunted. Slowly, he lifted his creaking joints. Lifting them deliberately, he began to walk back up, up the corridor, upstairs.

    Then he heard what seemed like the first words from his wife’s mouth: “Hairy oaf. Watch where those antlers go!”

    He felt his head again. Had his hearing aids been turned on?

  5. City Island, Bronx

    The 6 train rhythmically barrelled towards Pelham Bay Park, the terminus for the subway train line in the Bronx. I was riding it to a place I was not unfamiliar with, but far from being just a mundane same-old-thing visit. The destination was a bit further up north than the train reached: the community of City Island. The neighbourhood that, probably because of the small island it was on, indeed, despite being politically part of NYC by ways of the Borough of The Bronx, felt like a small town away from the city. And I had chosen to visit there to celebrate me finishing 12th grade, effectively graduating my high school at long last. And hey, it was a Friday, so yay me.

    As student Metrocards had 3 rides daily, and I used one, and the free transfer it had, I decided to save the 2nd ride because who knew how long I would be at City Island. So thus I embarked on the medium-long bit distant road north that was the Pelham Parkway, which wounded northwards past Pelham Bay Park, and, upon reaching the Pelham Bay Bridge, became Shore Road, the Pelham Bridge Road, becoming Shore Road again until it terminated in the nearby Westchester County neighbourhood of New Rochelle, which I have been to several times. Upon crossing the bridge, I turned right, as the directional sign demarcated, to City Island. I crossed the City Island Bridge, which formed City Island Road, the main road, and thus a vital artery of sorts, to the town. At that time, the old bridge was removed, and the new one was being built. In the meantime, all traffic, vehicular, and pedestrian, used an interim bridge. While the road part of the bridge was solid in order to handle heavy vehicles, the narrow pedestrian footpath felt shaky, and fragile. I admit that I was worried I was going to sleep with the fishes several times while walking it, but a bicyclist speeding by assured me that the temporary footpath was fine, and I trudged on with confidence. After a rather rickety walk, I finally made it.

    City Island has modernised rapidly for the better since then. In a recent visit back to the place, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the new permanent bridge was finally finished, and open, with a wide, and not-rickety footpath. The untended grass-filled lot fenced off by chain-links, which greeted you when you stepped afoot onto the island, has since been paved, and redeveloped into a public recreational space waterfront with park benches, akin to the waterfront of Erie Basin Park, a dog park in the neighbourhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn, which had the IKEA Dock (named after the eponymous retailer that took space next to the park), which served a ferry that whisked you off to Wall Street, downtown Lower Manhattan. I duly noted the changes to City Island, and was glad it was changing for the better.

    As previously mentioned, I was no stranger to City Island. The first time I went, I never actually set foot on there, and settled for Orchard Beach north of the opposite side of the water from City Island. It was Thursday 11th December, 2014. The second time I went, I actually made it. It was 6 months later, on Wednesday 10th June, 2015. I made it to the New York Public Library, before calling it quits by there, due to the bus stop for the Bx29 being there. The last time, I made it all the way to the end of City Island Road, determined to explore the whole Island.

    I will never forget that day, and date I went on that little trip: Friday, 9th June, 2017, because of the connotation that that day, and that trip carried.

    Indeed, at first glance, it looked like an ordinary little trip. It was a rather, at first sight, uneventful trip that happened on a normal, uneventful day, with no event especially noteworthy occurring that day. And indeed I just simply walked around, hung out by the waterline, and mundanely took the bus back home. If you only see the surface of things, then yes, it is beyond a shadow of doubt nothing but an ordinary trip, for the true worth was not from what was without, but from what was within.

    For behind the obvious was a load of dark, and heavy emotional baggage, and the personal rediscovery journey.

    See, I was enrolled at a high school I opposed, as it cost tuition, and I worried that our financially frail state meant that tuition would consume money that could be put to use for more urgent matters, such as rent. However my mother didn’t listen because she believed (and still believes...) that I can’t take care of myself (ugh...), and sent me to there. It was less of a school, and more of a shelter. My financial concerns were proven right in the end, but that’s a story for next time, I suppose. I guess I could’ve forgiven the tuition, and the financial burden it placed upon us if the school had exceptional standards, but it was far from the truth. Pretty much the only respectable students were the international students, who were enrolled there because their parents didn’t know better. Apart from a few really good ones (enrolled out of the same naïveté that prompted the international students’ parents to enrol their children here), pretty much all of the American students were only here because they were staff’s children, or were expelled from public school because of bad, sometimes borderline illegal - pretty much illegal behaviour, as after all, my old High School is a shelter, as previously mentioned. And the teachers were, for the most part incompetent. As it was not a public school, the teachers didn’t need certification, and so often didn’t know what they were teaching, with some of the teachers straight up admitting that they were college students who only took the teaching job up to pay off their debt, and that it was the office that told you what you teach. The only standard you needed to have to get hired was to say that you are a Christian.

    Even then, the crappy school wouldn’t have ruffled my feathers too much, but the darkest, most painful emotional burden came from home. My father had run us aground, so my mother sent him off to China hoping that he’d be able to send us money from there. He did - for 4 years. Then he was back to being useless. Since then on, he hasn’t, and still hasn’t, sent any money recently.

    After my father left, was when the thread really unravelled, so to speak, when my family collapsed. My sister got tired of out hardship, and started to lash out, while my mother lashed back. In this dysfunctional family, I was the one who became the designated medium keeping everyone together. Because I feared injury, I ended up taking on the role of the reclusive figure alongside being a parental figure which entailed being the said designated medium. The fact of my innocence being cruelly ripped from me is made most cruelly ironic when you take in the fact that I am the youngest member in my family.

    There was no more reason I could see to be who I really was. When 10th grade came around, I caught a nasty cold that struck me with a sore throat. Despite having to rest up, I was compelled to speak during class, which messed with the healing process. When I finally got well, the damage was done: my voice permanently deepened until years later. But I stopped caring. Rather than seek to properly restore my throat to its original condition, I just casually rolled with it and spoke with a deepened voice for the rest of high school until I took it upon myself to actively raise the pitch back up. It’s back to before now, and then some.

    But the deepened voice was not the only thing that was a result of my apathy. I adopted a fake personality that reeked of said apathy. I spoke in a more deadpan voice to reflect my attitude. And, of course, I didn’t bother to hide the fact, let it be obvious, that I just didn’t care, no, not anymore.

    Slowly but surely, everything I loved, and all the passionate love I had for those things drained away. They dried, and dried up, until nothing was left. Absolutely nothing. Surviving high school, making it out alive in one piece, was all that only ever mattered now. I was now a dead husk of my former self, just a bland machine that robotically did daily routine like the dry stiff I now was, as demonstrated with me going to school on days I didn’t even have to.

    They say time can be slowed down or sped up by the mind’s perception. It seems they’re right, for high school is 4 years, but for me it felt like a decade. Although it was clear to myself at first that it was all just an act, I was wearing the mask so much that I started to slowly, but surely, believe that it was the real me, that it was who I am. Towards the end of 12th grade, however, things started to change for the better. It was then did the self-rediscovery journey that helped me return to who I am, that helped me drop the mask, began.

    Although it was only a little bit at a little time, it gradually increased, and increased. Alongside the increase of self-discovery itself came the rate of it. As I slowly rediscovered myself, I was rediscovering more of myself every time I underwent a session. And my trip to City Island was a hallmark of when it really took off. I finally displayed an external sign of a return to my previous self by a small act, but nevertheless an act, of mindfulness.

    Once again, I didn’t need to go to school, having finished all my tests. But I knew my mom wouldn’t let me go out on my own (it was a long while before she was forced to let me go), so I said I had a final test. But the biggest sign of mindfulness was going to City Island without even needlessly stopping at the school. Like a Phoenix, I was reborn from a flame, a flame that also cleansed myself of the fake identity I had assumed so much I assumed it was who I really was. The rebirth within was truly a catharsis of every sense of the word: the fierce flame that burned away all the bullshit that my life was full of, and the real self that arose from the said flame, and ashes, fully purified.

    I wish I could say that life became easier after high school. I wish I could’ve said many things about my life post-high school, almost all of them good, positive, sweet, beautiful, sunshine-y, and cuddly. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. I continued, and still continue, to struggle. It remains a battle that I had to fight, not a battle against the evils itself, but a battle against the legacy the evils left on my life.

    But what was most important was that I fought them battles as myself. After all, if they were going to be my battles, why not fight them as myself, as who I really am? So thus facilitated the importance of the rebirth.

    This event wasn’t the beginning of my rebirth, and it most certainly wasn’t the end. It was when things started to get really exciting.

    Soon, I was going to be free from the dark chains of high school. Soon, I was free to go out into the world. I will be free to explore, and be, just simply be, who I really am. Whom I always was supposed to be.

    I reached one of the beaches around the island. It was probably due to the fact that City Island was in the western end of the Long Island Sound where the East River ended, but the waters were calm. No violent wave crashing. Just calm sloshing of tiny waves against the waterline. Little snails crawled about in the sand. And, most remarkably of all, Horseshoe Crabs were there. It seems that they were taking advantage of the calm waters to lay eggs in the beach’s sand.

    I waded about as I looked out pensively, thinking about all the struggles I managed to overcome, into the Sound, where people were boating about not too far away on the calm waters. Wading about with no violent wave crashes to worry me about being knocked over, and be swept away, I easily lost myself into my thoughts. And I thought about my present situation. Thought about my past, what I’ve become, and will become as I metamorphosed within. And I, for the first time in a long while, was happy.

    Later on, I took the bus home, as I had planned. I remarked to myself how the walk between Pelham Bay Park and City Island was 45 minutes, yet the bus ride that sped past all the paths I walked on was 15. As I watched the landscape blur past as the bus sped to the train station, I thought it was worth it. It was all worth it. The next day, graduation commenced.

    I sometimes catch myself looking back upon the memory, and I ponder deeply about it. About what happened. About what I became. About what my life became because of the journey. About all the emotional, and mental, renewal. And I thank that moment for being a catalyst that told me that I was ready to take off like a rocket into the sky, never to look back at what I left behind so that I can confidently, and fully embrace what was coming to me for making the choice of re-discovery, a journey that would stretch a span of years to come.

    But in the moment, all that really mattered was that the Phoenix within that was me chose to rise from the ashes to boldly be who I want to be. And so I looked ponderously into the horizon, taking a deep, soulful look upon the new possibilities that awaited me on the horizon far ahead of, and far above me.

    END

    Random Essay.pdf

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    Apolarbear17
    Latest Entry

              City of Haze

                          By: A.X. Bueno

              

    Cold City of haze

    True All Encompassing maze

    No sun solely haze

     

    Rain comes with the haze

    Only sometimes how strange 

    Only a drizzle 

     

    Haze covers buildings 

    The skyline is almost gone

    Somber sight to see 

     

    All week it has been 

    Nothing but much rain and haze

    The city is tired 

     

    The weekend brings sun

    Soon the city of haze no more 

    For a while be gone

     

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  6. The High Road You Expect Us To Take To Oblivion 

     

                                                         By: A.X. Bueno

     

    The high road heading towards oblivion 

     

    Is that what you just expect me & others to joyfully take? 

     

    Well I see, fuck you then

     

    You make both my head and stomach ache 

     

    You and all the others who relish my demise, 

     

    While having a love and smile so clearly fake 

     

    You don’t have any sympathy or empathy for anyone but yourself no matter how much you pretend to disguise 

     

    Anyone who cares and truly knows what’s going on can see through your blatant, self deluded lies

     

    You cheered for this for four years either directly or indirectly and by now the mask is gone

     

    We see who you really are under the crappy deception and it’s sad if you haven’t yet seen that you’re wrong

     

    You’ve rooted for people who’ve strip people of their basic rights and showed happiness at protections now being gone 

     

    You laughed and mocked us four years as you won the first time 

     

    Drinking in our terror and tears and then going on to applaud every crime 

     

    And at this point there’s not much left to be said  

     

    You’ve made your bed as your malicious choices have made many lives nightmares 

     

    You expect us to forgive you and still hold you in some regard

     

    You laughed and brushed off the concern at those who knew back then and now are shocked we seek to discard 

     

    We’re not being unfair and you’re not oppressed 

     

    It’s just no one wants to deal with you as we continue to try and sort through the mess 

     

    The one you made thanks to your bigotry, hatred, contrarianism and misplaced fear

     

    What you did with one awful, continuous choice to this country we’ll be stuck fixing for at least a few years 

     

    Yet you’ve defended it endlessly and acted like you did the good thing

     

    Then get stupidly angry and hypocritical when it’s pointed out, the suffering that you brung and still bring

     

    So no the high road won’t be taken, you need to acknowledge what you’ve done 

     

    Through your direct and indirect actions you’ve hurt, mocked, occasionally killed and dehumanized many 

     

    I’m hoping we win this time and they’re be happiness and gloating aplenty 

     

    You don’t get to complain ever again about how we conduct ourselves regardless of the outcome of this year

     

    The high road to oblivion won’t be taken, at least not here

     

    I’ve watched so much destruction and hardship caused by a select few these past four years

     

    We  both know they’re on your side, this administration of exploitative fear 

     

    So we won’t go quietly no matter the outcome we’ll be here 

     

    But I’m hoping there’ll be a win for everyone’s sake and there’ll be some positive change next year 

     

    I know you’ll be very sore losers and won’t own up to anything you did 

     

    But you won’t get to just forget, there’ll be consequences for your terrible bid 

     

    After 4 years any good faith to be had for you has eroded into the past

     

    The high road is gone and while the lowness of your level will probably never be reached, things are almost at an end at last 

     

    The results of this time still remain to be seen

     

    However you won’t just win with your cheating ways and use of loopholes and schemes 

     

    Know that actions have consequences that you might be forced to actually glean 

     

    And while we won’t be you we can still get the right amount of necessary mean 

     

    The High Road You Expect Us To Take To Oblivion .pdf

  7. DemonZoroarkAnthony
    Latest Entry

    Anthony was a well known scientist and artist by now. He does chemistry by the day, but at night he draws to cope with his insomnia due to being super smart.

    one day he came into work tired, and he had a important job: to not mix two volatile chemicals. He didn’t do that all day, but when night came he was locked in the building. Where he slept in the break room a janitor accidentally knocked the chemicals over. The sound of hissing was heard and Anthony ran to see what was going on. “Oh no! You maniac!” He yelled to the janitor. 

    “Sorry. My bosom gets in the way. Lemme get out.” She said and left, closing the door behind her.

    what happened next rocked the city. Literally. There was a huge explosion in that room, and Anthony was the only one in there. 

    The next morning everyone gathered round to see his body, which was still alive and breathing. A ambulance was called and he was transported to a hospital.

  8. Paphvul
    Latest Entry

    Warlord Kravar is a wild-hearted man, but there are things even he fears. Things far wilder, and older.

    ----

    By now, Ambrosius no longer had to hold back the lurching in his stomach around dead bodies. So, so much blood… Dear gods. That the dead also eventually evacuated themselves didn’t help, either.

    This latest scene was a study in red and green, corpses marring an otherwise pastoral forest landscape. Who knew that brigand would have so many friends? Or that their friends would have friends? Or that none of them had the sense to run the hell away from the laughing maniac decorated with skulls and teeth?

     Said maniac now wiped down his khopesh, a satisfied smirk across his scarred face. “Even lowlifes have friends and loved ones.” Kravar brought out a whetstone, and continued his ramble as he sharpened the blade. “It just goes to show you, we are all connected.”

    “In this great Circle of Death?” Ambro deadpanned.

    “Circle of Death…” Kravar repeated, tasting each word. “Yes, I like that.”

    A sigh escaped Ambro’s muzzle. “It feels like a circle, for sure. Weren’t you complaining that the world was too peaceful, when we first met?”

    Kravar laughed. “What you’ve seen lately is nothing, boy. Just the risks you take, when traveling.”

    Ambro had to step over a stray fallen arm or two on the way to a nearby tree for him to lean against. “I don’t remember the trip to New Ralath being half this bad, when I last made it.”

    “Likely because you didn’t know the right shortcuts. I guarantee you, I’ve saved us at least another day’s walk with this route.”

    “Mmmhm.” The green skies bloomed into red hues as the suns set, and before long they made camp— far away from the scene Kravar’s blade had painted, of course.

    As Ambrosius slept in Kravar’s strong embrace, the mystic’s spirit traveled the worlds behind the veil of the senses. As he soared through the spirit realm, he saw something sinister on the horizon. A bellowing, furry demon mounted on a bone-white horse charged before a legion of howling wraiths.

    Before he could flee, he felt a sharp tug at the silvery thread connecting him to his body, and the next thing he knew was a scaled hand over his muzzle, and sharp, commanding hiss.

    Yanked to his feet, any demand for an explanation were silenced by a pair of panicked eyes. Kravar was a man of many emotions, but this was the first time Ambrosius had seen him in fear. “Run, boy.” Was all the barbarian said before his arm pulled Ambro almost faster than the deer’s legs could keep up with.

    In the distance to his right, he could hear a mad cackling, accompanied by a chorus of furious voices demanding blood. Still Kravar pulled him harder, and Ambrosius feared his arm would tear from its socket. Time lost all meaning, as they ran in the near pitch darkness. The muscles in Ambro’s legs screamed, his dry, aching lungs begged for mercy.

    “In here, now!” Kravar snarled as he threw Ambro forward into a small pocket of earth, then clutched his body tight as they both fell in. The sharp, huffing breaths the warlord drew were not the kind Ambrosius heard after a battle, or while they made love. What he heard was the toll of panic and exhaustion.

    The stench of fear mixed with Kravar’s normal cinnamon musk. As the two caught their breath, and the distant cackling started to grow closer, Kravar whispered “Don’t pray. The gods can’t hear you, tonight.”

    Ambro touched Kravar’s mind to respond. What are you talking about? What’s happening?

    The Wild Hunt has come.

    Ambrosius froze to the spot.

    The Wild Hunt, a time when Gwynn ap Nudd and a host of fae and the spirits in his care went mad with bloodlust, and cut a swath of destruction across the land.

    Funny. I thought you’d be eager to join them.

    You think wrong, boy. The Wild Hunt cares not whether you’re soldier, commoner, king, or child. When the Wild Hunt catches you, you disappear. Some say they’ve seen the faces of its victims among the roaring throng. Others say its madness strips you down to less than a spirit, a tattered remnant of your former self. I’m not sure which I fear more.

    With that, they said no more, only hugging each other tight. They may not have had the gods with them, that night, but they had each other. As the furious sound grew deafening, and the thundering feet of the horde shook the very earth around them, they held on to each other, each an island of sanity for the other amongst the storming sea of chaos.

    Then a piece of the ceiling above them cracked off, and with a sickening crunch and snap, it splintered Kravar’s leg. Ambro lifted the rock, and hurried to haul Kravar out of the pocket as it collapsed. The horde raged on, yet seemed to take no notice of them.

    Amidst this chaos, Ambro couldn’t focus enough to mend Kravar’s leg, so he had to slowly, painfully hold him up from under his arm. Then, a thousand yellow glowing eyes met theirs. The yellow lights formed a ring around them.

    Here’s our Circle of Death! Kravar laughed, the only thing that Ambro could hear above the chaos that drowned out all other sound. Unseen talons tore into Ambro’s arm, and without him even realizing it, Ambro had called forth a spike of earth, broken it in his hand, then thrust it into the midst of the hellish crowd of eyes. The feeling of flesh giving way under the spike reached his arm, and the talons retreated as the creature shrieked.

    “Ambrosius the Mystic shall not die here!” Ambrosius shouted not only into the wind, but into the minds of all present. Kravar’s laughter ended, and soon he answered with And neither shall Warlord Kravar!

    In the heat of the moment, Ambrosius made a plan. Though Kravar’s leg was useless, both of Ambro’s still worked. Show me what you need my legs to do, and I’ll keep up. Their hearts beat as one, and through their connection, Kravar showed Ambro where to step in time with Kravar’s swordplay.

    Black ichor stained the barbarian’s blade, and though the ring around them tore with tooth and claw at them, the two remained standing, albeit bloodied as more and more of the lights began to blink out.

    Even the proudest fighter’s body can only take so much, however, and at last the two fell to the ground in exhaustion, unable to move a muscle to resist. As the two prepared for the end, however, they heard the sound of a war horn trumpeting from afar. The remaining lights retreated, and the horde grew distant.

    That was the last thing they knew before they felt dawn’s light shine on their prone forms. Neither said a word to the other for hours, too relieved and exhausted from the night’s trials.

    At last, however, Ambrosius broke their silence. “We’re not taking any more of your shortcuts.”

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