hey! quick PSA over here!
Hello all! As some of you might know, I’m editor-in-chief of Interstellar Literary Review, a recently launched online literary magazine. We are currently accepting poetry and prose submissions until December 1st for Issue 01, which will be released January 2021.
We would be ecstatic to see your work! Regardless of whether or not we accept your work for publication, you will receive personalized feedback from 1-2 editors from our editing team. For more information, check out our website at https://www.interstellarlit.com. If you’re interested in submitting, here’s the form to submit your piece(s)!: tinyurl.com/y2ds2m7u. Both of these links are in my bio.
Additionally, we are also on instagram @interstellar.review (www.instagram.com/interstellar.review) and twitter @interstellarlit (twitter.com/interstellarlit)! We’ll be posting updates about the magazine, announcements, excerpts of accepted pieces, etc. Follow us to see what we’re doing!
Lastly, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or direct message me. Our goal at Interstellar is to help writers across the globe of any background to shine, and we’d love to be a part of your writing journey.
tl/dr: please! submit what i always call “good food” to us at the link in my bio! :D
Chapter 36: The First Strike
The guard paced across the grim hallway, his hands trembling. It was his duty to convey the unwelcome news to Banks, one Banks does not even wish to hear though he knows. Leila is in Bryan’s camp. He could not even imagine how the tyrannical psychopath would react to the news. Banks never had any regret in killing off his people. I would just be one among them, the guard told himself.
The guard waited a moment before opening the door, calculating the probability that he would make it alive out of this room. His face grew pale. Though he did not have much hope, he pushed the door open. Banks was not alone inside, Richard and Jacob were accompanying him, leaning over the table. They were concentrating on a map, planning their next evil deed.
Upon the unexpected entry, the three looked up at him. “What is it?” Banks was the one to ask.
“Sir, there is bad news.” The guard replied, his voice quivering.
“What is it?” Banks asked again, his voice more hoarse.
“We found Leila’s whereabouts. She is at Kirkland’s camp.” The guard got rid of the words out of his throat. Whatever his fate was, it was one to accept, there was nothing that could change it.
Banks stood still, his fists were clenched, his face was turning red and, the guard was turning pale. The guard closed his eyes, ready to accept his destiny. “I believed her.” A faint, but powerful, a voice emerged from Banks. Suddenly, he pulled the drawer open, with all his force, and grabbed a pistol. The guard closed his eyes even tighter, praying to God one last time.
But before Banks could pull the trigger, Richard pushed his hand away. “Leo, Don’t.” The old man shouted as loud as he could. Banks’ eyes were gushing red now. “You have killed enough people, your own people. You are not doing this anymore.” Richard was exhausted, his old age could not withstand a lot of pressure.
Banks stared at him intensely, but he stopped. It’s Richard. He told himself. Banks lowered his gun and asked the guard never to come before him again. He was unable to pull the trigger anymore. It’s Richard.
Banks had a lot of respect for him. Richard was the only person who stayed with him from the very beginning, even before Emery. However cruel Banks was, he could never defy Richard’s words, from the time he was just a child; He respected him, Richard was maybe the only one in the world, who had his respect.
“Richard, it’s over. The wait is over. I will not tolerate this any longer. We are taking it to that stupid, little Kirkland. We are.” Banks roared.
“If that’s what you think, I will no longer stop you,” Richard spoke, looking away. Banks sprinted off the room, leaving behind the other two. Felix. Jacob’s heart was pounding hard.
It was getting darker, the bright, full moon was their only guide through the woods. Suddenly, Miles fell down, exhausted from their long run. It has been two days since he tasted some water. He was beyond dehydrated, he couldn’t take another step. “Miles, get up. We are so close.” Sue whispered, not losing her sense of secrecy, even when they were already so far from Banks’ guards.
“I can’t, Sue. I am sorry.” He felt his chest getting compressed as he spoke each word. “Leave.” He told Sue faintly.
“Leave? I am not going anywhere without you.” Sue sat beside him. She raised his head from the ground and rested it on her thighs. Her hands slowly stroked his hair, their eyes locked with each other. “Nowhere.” Sue leaned down to Miles and, gave him a kiss.
Miles pulled away from her, his eyes wandering the woods. Suddenly, he noticed someone behind the tree. “Sue, there is someone there.” He said, pointing at the tree. Miles rolled over so Sue could take cover. She stood up, pulling her gun out and hid behind another tree. She held her pistol close to her chest. “We know you are there. Show yourself, and we will not hurt you.” Sue spoke out loud.
A small girl came out from behind the tree. It was Faith, it was the second time her own side was threatening her with firearms. But, she had never seen these two before. She feared if they were someone else. Suddenly, Miles shouted out as loud as he could, “It’s a child, Sue.” It was too much on him, he started coughing, his throat burning.
Sue ran towards him, while Faith ran in the other direction. Sue didn’t understand what the kid was up to, but it did not matter. She had to do something, Miles was nearly dying, and she could never let him go. “Miles, Miles, look at me.” She held his head upon her thighs. “You are alright. Just look at me.” Her voice was trembling.
Suddenly, she found the child running back to them, holding something in her hands. Faith ran fast and sat beside them. There was a kettle in her hands, she poured the water over to Miles. Miles gulped as much water as he could, he felt like heaven. He craved so much for this moment to come. Having had enough, he tilted his head to a side, washing his dirt-covered face.
Miles lied back in relief, his eyes again met with Sue. “You should have some water too,” Miles told her. Faith held the kettle up for Sue. She grabbed it and finished the kettle in a few gulps, she too had waited enough for this. Miles looked up at Faith now, “Do you know Bryan?” He asked her. Faith nodded.
“We need to get to him. Can you help?” Sue asked the child. Faith nodded again, in agreement. “Well then, let’s move,” Sue told them and lifted Miles from the ground. The three moved towards the camp, Faith walked ahead, and they followed, Miles still supported by Sue to walk.
Leila sat upon the bed, resting against a pillow. She has not yet recovered fully; Her wounds were too many. Rachel and Felix sat at the other end of the room; They were the ones dutied to protect the highly-capable, wounded soldier.
Leila tried to grab an orange from the basket, kept aside her bed. But, her efforts were in vain, her hands could not reach it. Felix noticed her failed attempt, so he walked across the room and picked one of the oranges. Rachel stayed on her chair, keeping an eye for even the slightest of movements. She simply smiled at them both.
“My sister grows them.” He smiled, his hands peeling the skin off the orange he picked up. Leila simply smiled at the comment, she has long forgotten the last time she had a normal conversation. Felix split the orange in half and gave Leila one of them. He then walked over to Rachel, dividing the half again. Rachel grabbed it and said, “Thank you, Fe.”
As Felix was walking back to Leila again, Rachel suddenly called out to him. “What is it?” Felix replied, his voice tensed. “Are those people?” She pointed to the far end of the ground. There indeed was some movement behind the trees, Felix quickly grabbed the walkie-talkie.
“And what about the power grid?” Bryan asked Philips. They were all taking a walk through the camp, Castor and Theodore, one of the electrical engineers, accompanying them. Their conversation changed to enquiries by the time Philips and Theodore were about to return to their station.
“Seems promising enough, Kirkland,” Philips replied, in his deep voice. He was getting tired of the conversation that was stretching out without a subject. “Well, see you guys tomorrow. Try and stay alive.”
“We will, Philips.” It was Castor who replied. They waved their hands at the returning pair. Bryan and Castor looked at each other for a moment. Then, they started walking back. “That guy, Philips, he is a bit strange, isn’t he?” Bryan asked, trying to start a conversation. “Yes, he is.” John’s answer was short and not at all helped in extending the conversation.
They walked together for some time when Bryan again asked a question, “So, what do you think, Castor?” John looked at him, confused, “About what?” Bryan bit his lips, “About everything, everything we are doing.” Castor was confused on how to reply, their situation was pathetic, but that was not the answer Bryan needed right now. “It’s not bad,” Castor replied in the end. “Why did you ask that?” He continued.
“Well, a lot of people look up at me, John. They believe I can lead them out of this mess. They believe in me. And I, I don’t even have the slightest idea what to do. All I have is a bunch of damaged people, the ones who have only faced one war in their lives, one they all failed miserably in. Most of them have never even handled a gun. And there are children. While they should be enjoying their life, I hand them guns to kill. I am afraid I am wrong. And there are not much people around here, who I can tell these too.”
Castor patted his shoulders, he felt helpless for this man. “You are doing what’s right,” Castor replied, he did not have a lot of consoling words to offer. Suddenly, Bryan pulled Castor out of the way. “Grenade.” He screamed. They took cover behind the ruins of an old building. “What the hell?” Castor asked himself. They could hear gunshots behind them. Bryan’s walkie-talkie screeched, it was Felix. “Sir, there are other people outside the camp.”
“They are inside now, Felix. Get Leila out of there, now.” He replied. Castor was already holding firearms on his hands. He handed one of the F-2000s to Bryan. “Are you ready?” He asked. “I always were.” Bryan’s reply was quick. Taking a deep breath, they both moved out. Bryan signed Castor to be careful. And then, they made one swift run.
Now, Bryan and Castor walked, side by side, directly into the lines of fire.
Haley laid on Matt’s shoulder, watching the small chamber, her eyes brimming with happiness. They held each other’s hands tightly. We are going to be parents, Haley thought. “She will be beautiful,” Matt spoke, breaking the long silence.
“She?” Haley looked up at him, her chin still resting on his shoulders. “I think it will be a boy.” Matt held the side of her neck and kissed her forehead.
“Well, boy or girl, I think you guys would make great parents.” Kalinda stood behind them. “Oh! I didn’t see you.” Matt replied.
“It’s alright. Enjoy the moment. I just came here to grab some things. I am going out now.” Matt looked at Haley, blushing. She smiled back at him. “Are you feeling better now, Haley?” Kalinda continued.
“A day at a time, Dr Matthews. But I’m feeling okay” Haley replied.
“Well, positive thoughts help a lot. Like Peter Pan.” Kalinda winked at her and went out of the room.
“Here you go, ma’am” Kalinda handed the syringe to Dr Perez. She was helping Rosa out a lot. Her expertise in almost everything had always surprised Kalinda. She grabbed it and filled it with some drug. “This will hurt a tad bit, Rosa.” She smiled at her own comment. “But it will help with the pain. You said it keeps on hurting, right? This might put an end to it. We may need a few more doses, but for now, this seems good enough.” Kalinda stood by Rosa and held her hands tight. But Rosa was way stronger than she thought. Her grasp nearly broke her bones.
Suddenly, they all heard a loud noise from outside. “What was that?” Eleanor asked. “Something’s happening,” Rosa replied, getting out of the bed. Matt and Haley also reached the room. “We have to go check,” Rosa continued.
Matt looked at Haley, “I have to go, honey.”
“No, honey, please don’t. Don’t leave me out here.”
“I have to. You are safe here. I am sorry.” Matt replied, trying to lose her hold. He hugged her tight and helped her rest on a chair. Then he began on his way out. Suddenly, a call stopped him. “I am coming too.” It was from Rosa. Kalinda jumped against her. “Rosa, you are in no condition. You can’t.”
“It’s him, it’s Banks. It can’t be anyone else. I know what to do to that imbecile.” She patted Kalinda’s shoulders and joined Matt on his way out.
All out of Love.
There’s this girl,
that I always adored.
Her hair is beautiful,
and she has an immaculate form.
She always goes to the same coffee shop,
and half-past four.
And oh, I do so very much wish.
For a day, just one.
I could follow her,
out of the shop,
down the street.
I just wish
that I could see what she thinks of me.
Alas, she probably not a thought
for the man who only seems to exist
solely to give her a flat white.
But it is this day,
a most peculiar event occurred.
After a depressed and drunken stupor,
I awake to the sight of...
I lay in my bed,
Yet I cannot see myself.
This is what I need.
I can see her.
But she’ll never see me.
Call my boss,
and tell them I’m sick.
And, at exactly ten-to-six.
There she is...
she doesn’t see me.
Not behind the counter
or behind her.
Doesn’t notice my disappearance.
She patiently collects her drink.
and walk down the road.
Just like every other day...
except that I’ll follow her.
I’ll see what she wants in a man,
I’ll change myself in whatever image she wants to see.
Turns out she’s a graphic designer.
I watch her work.
She deserves more...
She deserves me.
As I watch her perfect hands create immaculate images,
The man in the office to my right gives her a look.
It can’t be.
As the clock strikes four the office empties.
The chattering dies.
But it seems that my love is still working.
Brushing her laptop with a stylus, in masterful strokes.
I’m so enthralled that I nearly miss the man walking towards me.
He looks perfect,
It must be some deception.
I’d have no chance of winning her against him.
He traverses the office and stands behind her.
He leans down.
She turns her head.
I can’t watch it.
My love, that is supposed to be me.
He is stealing her heart.
As I look pointedly at the desk I’m leaning on I can hear their advances.
The sounds of love,
and of pleasure.
I must leave.
I shouldn’t be here.
This is perverse.
Maybe I’m perverse.
I turn my head to view them,
Even more beautiful than I could imagine.
those should be mine...
He should not have her.
She is mine,
The desk of which I support myself with,
Has a Stanley knife in the pen holder.
the sounds of her with...
He’ll feel my wrath.
Without thinking my hand in one swoop
takes the small knife,
as I rush forward.
I must protect her.
So it is all out of love,
that I drive the blade into the neck of the beast,
the warm blood sprays out.
It splatters on my face.
She views my bloody silhouette.
Too stunned to scream
as the sputtering,
writhing thing besides me begins to fade away.
All out of love,
I must be with her,
to protect her.
So it is out of love,
my blade passes through her neck.
It’s justified, right?
I did this for her.
Her blood pours down.
It doesn’t stop.
She stares at me.
The bloody monster I am.
But I’m her monster.
I must complete my mission.
If I am to protect her forevermore
I must sacrifice myself to be with her.
As the life drains from her eyes.
My knees buckle.
My hand which possesses my blade,
swiftly travels into my throat.
What have I done?
This is what she felt?
It is these thoughts which replay in my head like a broken tape...
I feel faint,
I can’t breathe.
All out of love,
My vision goes dark.
All for her. To protect her. To be with... Her.
My sacrifice for her...
His soul was the color
of broken glass
and creaking ice
a moment before
His soul was the space
between the fine print-
so when he took her breath away
she didn't know
he wouldn't be giving it back.
she can't breathe.
And when the day ends
she is chained
to the corpse of a man
who never had a soul
to begin with.
so maybe she'll give him hers.
tearing it to ribbons
and pressing the silken fragments to cold lips.
but they flutter to the floor,
like the bloodied bodies of slain doves
and she learns
that love cannot be taught.
What are we, if not for our fear.
Our ideas, our successes, and our failures, all because why?
Certainly my friend.
For each action taken is not for love or greed.
For covetousness, or euphoria.
No, my friend. It is all out of fear.
You never find a soulmate for the love,
for the feeling of a warm embrace.
You do it for the fear of being alone.
That deep-seated, fear of Vulnerability.
Fear is dyed-in-the-wool of humanity,
so to speak,
It’s at the root of all actions.
What about greed you ask?
Ah, this gets most.
For it not being the fear of having naught,
or for having less than they-who-are next to you,
you would ne’re lie, cheat, steal... execute your brethren.
If it were not for the fear that you will be left behind,
as the carriage of opportunity to merely waltz on past.
’Tis at the root of all.
Are you convinced?
Or still, you believe these pathetic fallacies of emotion?
Still, shall you believe that what it is you do is done for what you want?
Or to avoid that you fear.
You collect meaningless pieces of paper and alloy,
Are you scared to go without food?
You think the soldier lays down their life for love?
For large tracts of dirt and vegetation?
What is there to love?
When thou hast drenched the soil in the blood of your species?
You think the soldier dispatches of innocents for love?
For sadistic satisfaction?
He does it for the fear of what you will do he fails to.
He does it for the fear of your reprisal.
When you survive and return the oh so bloody favor.
Out of the simple,
That autochthonous driving factor of all that we are.
Why is it that every day untold millions of people pray?
Why do they want to go to a better place?
When your mortal coil is inevitably snuffed?
Why is it that we seem to clamor like lemmings
all for the possible...
warranty of a heaven?
Because we are in fear,
primordial piece of us,
that dictates the very course of our lives,
and our history.
Yes, that is our history.
The story of us.
Genre: I don’t know. That’s for the audience (and you) to decide.
Age range: 16+ would be the best to read and think about the poem in an intellectual fashion.
Word Count: Approx 415 words.
Author Name: Ooooh, this appears to be a mystery.
Why is this project a good fit? I don’t know what it’s meant to fit into. So if I’ve answered a question that’s meant to be a story to sell, then this probably isn’t it.
The Hook: If I’ve done this right, then the first line should make for at least a decent hook, basically by calling out the reader and making them think about the driving factors their own emotions.
Synopsis: The Poem is the monologue of an unknown person. Giving insight and debate into the role that fear has played in humanity. However, as a silent audience disagrees their tone becomes less friendly, and they begin to use increasingly violent examples. Possibly out of the fear that their audience will not understand.
Target Audience: People who like poetry, philosophy, and intellectual discussion... I think.
Bio: OooOOooOoh... another mystery.
Hobbies: Well, apart from this another mystery.
Writing Style: I don't know. Another thing for the audience and our all-powerful overlords of "the judges" to determine.
Hometown: Surprise! It's Albania. (It's not. It's another mystery. )
I'd like to think death to be a pair of angel twins.
One light and peaceful, one dark and painful.
One whole and beautiful, shining like the stars.
One scarred and broken, dark as night
And it all depends on who their Mother chooses to send.
What kind of death you will encounter,
depends on your life,
how you lived.
Was it full of Evil and Violence?
Did the devil on your shoulder deafen you?
His whispers and murmurings in your ears,
but so hypnotising
Or was it Goodness and Love?
Did the angel on your shoulder protect you,
from the darkness threathening to swallow you?
Her wings covering you in a protective, warm embrace?
Love with purpose, now. Don’t wait until you get permission, or feel the timing is right, those are simply excuses, reasons not to act. When you love someone, let them know. If you think someone’s outfit is cute, tell them. Exchange secrets with a friend – giggling all the while – or give them a hug to show you’re proud of them. Don’t let your fear of vulnerability overcome the urge to connect with other people. Do not wallow. Do not succumb to self-pity. Rather, pay attention to the world around you. Take time to listen to the bird’s morning song, and as a gift, leave birdseed on your porch. Buy yourself a pretzel just because you were craving one, and smile at the cashier who hands it to you. Write a letter that contains nothing but good intent, and place it in your neighbor’s mailbox.
So often, we restrain ourselves from small acts of joy, not wanting to offend or frighten away, but the time we have on this earth is limited. You never know how long people have. That is not a bad thing though, it just makes every small kindness that much more special, that much more vital. So be quick to say a kind word, give a kiss on the cheek. And, conversely, be slow to bid farewell, making plans for next time even as you step out the door. Love recklessly, and with abandon, don’t hesitate—use your time to spread joy.
Another Day Another Penny
Digested, earmarked, tea stained, and relished, each book written by Colette percolated through Bridgette’s veins as a rich café laced with precisely the right amount of sucre and crème fraîche. Stacked upon her desk askew, there they lay lonely; only the dust now touched the acclaimed author’s books, the single most source of inspiration for Bridgette’s own rough draft she had laid to rest and placed on a war time pause.
The days were long and upside down, strangled and hung by the hint of death and extinction in the Paris air and in the next room. He didn’t have to know. A lie of omission when stacked against starvation should surely be forgiven by an ailing heart. How could her dear le Père know what she was doing all day when she wasn’t tending to his needs. He could barely see and barely walk to the latrine and back to his sick bed unattended, let alone over to her Triumph typewriter as she wrote word after word of erotica.
At a penny a word she did the math.
*“His tongue traced my skin like a cartographer, traveling from head to toe and back, lingering just the right amount of time between my legs before he thrust himself inside me,”….
Equals Une pound of Le boeuf haché
**“Her supple breasts longed for his touch, and she could see how much he wanted her,”....
Equals Une grande baguette
***“They are alone now casting naked shadows by candlelight, ready to pleasure each other until the sun comes up,”....
Equals Une douzaine d’oeufs
“Ahh ma chère fille, they are paying you well now, no? A dying old man can appreciate a warm egg yolk sliding down his gullet.”
“Oui, mon père. The magazine editor told me the reviews on my short stories are quite favorable and the work will be steady. For now anyway. So eat up mon cher père.”
“You must read some to me later, oui?”
“Oui, of course mon père.”
Bridgette knew she was skilled at changing the narrative. If she wasn’t, she would not have landed her current job. Later that night she read right from her daily passages to her audience of one, her dear le père, handily cleaning up the pleasure seeking text from X to G rated.
*“The cartographer traced the lines of the map as he traveled north to south, lingering just the right amount of time between the mountainous ridge, enjoying the view, then thrusted the throttle towards home,”....
**“The supple ripe melons he collected along the way looked too good to eat, too juicy enroute, yet he longed to rip into the fruit right then and there,”.....
***“When he arrived home, he lit the candle, unable to detect the fatigue cast in his shadow. He lay down knowing he would sleep soundly through the night until the sun came up,”....
“Très bon! Ma chère. Merci beaucoup for taking such good care of your old père with your marveilleux words! Feeding us and entertaining us at the same time! Time to close my tired eyes. Bonne nuit, mon amour. Till the morrow. You bring me such pleasure."
Bridgette kissed her father on the top of his head, and turned to walk out of his room, lowering her eyes and her voice, sheepishly whispering words out of earshot,
“That’s what they all say. If you only knew the half of it.”
Antlers of war
Like fashion models
For brief camera clicks
Fighting for attention
Fighting for success
Skin leaving to bare
Blood rolling out for their
Call it quits will you
Peace love & happiness
Just start talking
Bow out humbly
As long as the gazes of people
And the snaps of cameras continue
Posing is still a running business