Inklings Winter: Prose, Short Fiction, and Drama
Updated: Jan 30, 2022
In this issue, authors tackle the struggles of life, from fictional foes to emotional turmoil and finding a place in a world that doesn't seem to have room (or to have ever had room) for just one more like you... Enjoy this look at a few facets of human existence, as we know it.
The Reasons Why I Read
I get asked the same question over and over again.”Why do you read”? They ask. I read because it’s a way to get lost in a reality that makes you feel like you're walking in a field of dandelions. A way to fall in love with people that can’t hurt you. A way to feel like your life is worth living. A way to forget about the thoughts going through your head making you question whether you're good enough or not. Reading helps you find yourself in characters that are like you. Reading makes you fall in love with men that don’t just want you for your body, they want to figure you out like a puzzle they will do anything to make you feel like a princess. People say reading is for old people, but that’s not true. Reading takes you on an adventure and shows you there's a life outside of reality, a place where they love you for you. No matter what you read, every book can help you find a part of yourself. You just have to try it and see!
Being alone in life is something everyone will have to go through no matter what, but loneliness is a byproduct of being alone. Loneliness happens when you yearn for something more than yourself when being you is too much for yourself so you want someone there to quench that feeling of loneliness to ease your heart of all of its tremors and make it feel welcomed.
-a play by M. Wright
(Click PDF link below to read)
As You Grow Up
When I was a child I would go outside and play in the grass. I remember getting grass stains all over my clothes.We used to go to our friends house and stay out all hours of the night not wanting to come in. We were innocent, not knowing all the things that were about to come our way, not knowing all the pain and suffering that people go through. We didn’t understand why parents were screaming at each other.
As you get older, you don’t want to play anymore. You learn how to get stains out of your clothes, you start to experience pain and suffering, you have thoughts in your head that tell you you're not good enough. We find out the reason why our parents are screaming is because they are not happy anymore. We learn no matter what people are going to judge us. People are going to use you and you're not going to know why. We have to stay strong because that’s the only way we are going to make it out alive.
I often think of us already together, but what of a confession? The thoughts of letting true feelings be voiced scares me.
So instead I dream of a world where we've skipped that and have simply settled in.
A battle with the idea of rejection; I reject rejections itself.
Remove it from the equation and I no longer have to fear the one thing that I truly fear: to be rejected. Simply hiding behind a mask of fear, letting my imagination run wild with a hazy, lovesick vision of domestic life with you has sustained me for now, but deep down I crave the real thing. No lovely little daydream, nor pen and paper could ever compare to what could be pure bliss.
None of my romanticized writings of a life that could be, would ever be enough to satiate my desire for you and me to be real! To be happy and to hold one another.
For now I write, I daydream, and I hide.
II) "The Rambles of a Romantic"
Tall, blonde and blue eyes, common traits, but somehow you make me feel as if you've introduced me to a new. wondrous concept.
I would be a liar to say you don't mesmerize me, eyes like icy crystals and hair golden like the sun. Dare I even mention your voice? I fear being taken away with its siren-like call. Low and burly, a hint of gravel, yet I prefer it over the call of a bird. The laugh that accompanies your melodious call sends me in hysterics in an attempt to cherish what I feel is so precious. By far you are what I long for the most, mind full of thoughts only of you. I find myself lost in thought. I a world that often feel bleak, you've brought sunshine and harmony. I can only pray I've brought even an ounce of the same into your world. All I long for is to make you as happy as you have me. Not just a dream, but a wish for you to feel the same.
I’ve experienced a lot of death in my life. Funerals from before I can remember, my mothers boyfriend, my grandmother, my great grandmother. The first one I actually remember is my great grandfather, I never knew him, but I cry seeing him laying there lifeless. Bright white lights surrounded him from the funeral room. Members of my family are grief stricken, for they have just lost a dad, uncle, grandad. I stand there looking at him and knowing that one day, that will be me. I will die, and everyone else, my mother, grandfther, and other relatives whose names I didn’t even know. We will lay lifeless in a wooden box, buried, and never seen again.
Around 5th grade or so, my great grandmother on my grandad's side died. I went to the funeral and I cried for her life. She always made me feel like a true part of the family during Christmas, even though my mom and I were the black sheep of my family. She loved all of her great grandkids. I don't remember much from that funeral though.
Years after her death, I explored my own. I used to see how far I could go until the pain overtook the negative thought of self worth and hopelessness. I remember taking a handful of different pills, knowing that individually, they wouldn’t hurt me, and wondering what would happen when I took them all together. I took them, laid in bed, silently crying waiting for either sleep or death to take me. Sleep won. This time.
I used to think that all these people went to heaven, that I would eventually go there too. After my step dad died while I was in 8th grade, I wasn’t so sure. I was coming home on a school bus from a football game 90 minutes away, my mother called and talked to my coaches, the landlord came and picked me up. When we got to the house, they told me what had happened. My mother rushed to me, held me in her arms, and cried with me as I cried into her chest. She cried because she had lost a battle with death while trying to save her husband. I cried because I lost the only man who treated me like I was his own child.
A few days later, my mother and I cried in the same position. Looking at his body on a cold, hard metal table, a knitted quilt resting on his body. He was gray, no makeup or special treatment, prepared for his cremation. Everyone posted their apologies and condolences, I couldn’t help but wonder why God could do this. Why would He take away the glue that held our small family together? How can He be so cruel? He was 47 and only wanted to live until at least 52, why couldn’t he have those 5 extra years?
The latest funeral happened this year. On the first day of my senior year, I get a call in the middle of second period. My mother says, “Your aunt died on Tuesday night, 45 minutes away at a ‘friends’ house. Do you want to leave school and come to the funeral home with me?’ I had a lot of questions. Who were these friends? Did she overdose? Where are my cousins and what’s going to happen to the one who isn’t 18 yet? No one had answers to my questions. No one could help.
We made the arrangements that day, the medical examiner decided to do an autopsy because her death was suspicious. A week later we got to see her for the very last time. I walk into the viewing room and see a faint outline of her face. As she has done many times before, my mother rushes to me and holds me up because I can’t stand. This time it hit too close to my heart. I stood there sobbing into her shoulder. Watching everyone else crying for the loss of their daughter, sister, mother, friend. I worked up enough courage to walk closer, to get a better look at her. Her lifeless, gray body, eyes sunken in. I was certain there was no god.
Short Story #1
The day was September fifth, and it was Annaliese's first day of twelfth grade. She had worked very hard for many years to get to this year. She was happy at the thought of seeing her friends, her favorite teachers, and while she loved school, she wanted it to be over. She was already counting down the one hundred and eighty days in her daily planner. Annaliese was so prepared that she had already memorized her schedule and knew exactly where she would be during the day (all of which was also in her planner, if she forgot). She also had a photographic memory, adding to her ability to over-prepare.
Annaliese's classes throughout the day were Auto Body, Pre-Calculus, first lunch, Dual-Enrollment English, and AP Government. She was happy to have those, especially first lunch, because it was right in the middle of the day, right before she got too hungry. The first half of her day and lunch were awesome. The rest of her day was a different story. In Dual English, her teacher gave her class a full week's worth of work for two and a half days. There was also a kid in her class who had already started picking fights with the teacher, Mr. Leichenstern, and called him every name in the book thirty minutes into class. Her school already gave them limited privileges, such as no use of cellular devices, hall monitors, and no outside drinks, unless it is water. . Now, Mr. Leichenstern took all of his students' bathroom and eating privileges, and it was one o'clock on the first day of school.
AP Government wasn't that much better, seeing as their notes were just as bad as any other AP class she had ever taken. The notes were eight pages long, and their homework was to read a fifteen-page chapter and be ready to discuss it at the beginning of class the next day. If the rest of the year was going to be like the last half of her day, it was going to be a stressful year. She knew that being cheer captain for both the varsity team and competition cheer team, as well as student council president was going to be to much for her to handle, especially with the upcoming school play. She was going to be school's Christmas musical, The Muppet Christmas Carol. After a lot of careful consideration and agonized thinking, she decided it was best to quit competition cheer. In SCA, varsity cheer, and theatre, she had worked so hard to get to where she was. The was going to be her last opportunity to act in high school, and she wasn't going to resign from being SCA president. As far as varsity cheer, she had waited since 9th grade to have a Senior Night. She was already planning it for November first, and while half of the team was graduating, she and her fellow graduates agreed that they were leaving the team in great hands. Her competition coach also said that she could come to the competitions and support the girls, even if she didn't compete.
In her senior year, she wanted to be able to do everything, but sometimes, you have to admit it when you've had enough and can't keep up with everything. Everything mixed together was inevitably going to be too much, not just for her physical health, but for her mental health, as well. As bad as Annaliese wanted to everything for the last time, she also wanted to enjoy her last year of high school while she had it.
Short Story #2
"Today is going to be a great day," said Amarah. She always started her day with this mantra to prepare for what was coming next. Next meant her day, the next day, next month, next six months. She found this mantra on the movie Dear Evan Hansen, and while it was only a movie, it really helped Amarah cope with her life.
Amarah was a senior at Rochester High School in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and she had just finished applying to colleges on January fourth, 2022. She would have to wait until March for acceptance or rejection letters, but she felt confident. Amarah applied to Princeton, Colombia, Virginia Tech, and Yale. All of them would require her to leave home, but that is exactly what she wanted to do.
Most people would describe Amarah as an ordinary girl whose life goals were to go to a good college, get a job that she liked and give herself and her future family "the dream life." She wanted her future to be better than the life she was currently living. She lived with her dad and sister, and as different as all three of them were from one another, they share one commonality besides blood--tragedy. Amarah's mom had died during childbirth with Amarah, and that was a hard thing to live with. She felt as if Emily, her sister, resented her for the loss of their mother. Their main rebuttal for arguments was Emily yelling at Amarah for being the reason that their mom died, and Amarah's was the fact that Emily belittled her all of the time and always overshadowed Amarah because she wanted attention. Amarah was definitely different from her sister, but neither of them were perfect. One of them was always doing something to make the other mad, and each did things that were considered wrong, but they did have one main difference: Amarah was optimistic, and Emily was pessimistic. Their differences also made a big impact on their single dad. He tried his best to raise his girls to always look on the bright side, but sometimes it was too hard. He was so busy working to support them that he barely had time for them. The worst thing was that he knew that Emily was pessimistic because her one remaining parent wasn't there for her. Amarah tried to look on the bright side, and she definitely did in public, that became much harder, especially after she found out that the fact that they didn't have a mom was her fault.
Even thought her family like was tough, she did have a best friend from next door, Holly. Holly and Amarah were always closer than Amarah and Emily. Holly knew about Amarah's history and didn't judge her for it. She was always supporting Amarah in everything Amarah wanted to do, just as Amarah supported her and tried to support Emily. Holly was not only her best friend, but she had the "sister-best-friend" relationship with Amarah that she had always wanted with Emily. Holly was nice, appreciative, and essentially made everyone around her a better person. Amarah liked to believe that Emily was kind of like that because she had a lot of friends that liked hanging out with her; it was just Amarah who seemed to be the problem. Amarah vied for approval from her older sister, and for that kind of "sister-best-friend" relationship that she had with Holly. To her, it wasn't the same. As much as she loved Holly, she wanted that love and approval so much from Emily that it was eating her up inside. She honestly had no clue what to do.
What made matters worse was the Emily was overshadowing Amarah by doing some outlandish things. She was vaping and doing drugs, which was a "you do you" thing, but she intentionally spread an awful rumor about Amarah. Last year, Emily claimed that Amarah was planning to commit arson at the school. While that was not all true, Amarah was still monitored closely for homicidal thoughts and was forced to go to therapy for two months. Amarah felt angry, betrayed, and abandoned. An older sister is supposed to look out for your in situations like that, but Amarah supposed that that just happened in fairy tales. Sometimes, Emily made her so mad that she wished Emily would just go off into another state that wasn't Michigan and stay there.
She knew that the chances of Emily moving any time soon were very slim, so she decided to focus on college, something that Emily couldn't bother her about. She had just sent out her applications, and she was confident, with a 4.2 GPA and over 80 hours of volunteer work at various places since 9th grade under her belt. She pictures herself getting into one of her dream school and being able to move and leave all of this behind her. Her dad and sister acted as if they didn't need her or want her. The more that she thought abotu it, she started thinking, "What if I don't get into college beacuse of my family?" Her dad hadn't supported her in this dream , except for a college fund in Amarah's name that her mother had set up for her before she was born. The arson ordeal was also put on Amarah's permanent record, so that was something else to worry about. The teachers and some of her her so-called "friends" looked at her funny after that. They didn't really care about her, they just didn't wanted on the "arson monster's" side. They just didn't want to be caught in the crossfire of something that a terrible girl could/would do, and the rumors weren't even true! It made Amarah so angry that there were people out there that would actually believe that she could do anything like that. As much as she desired a great relationship with Emily, at some point, you have to admit defeat. You owe it to yourself to stop trying to put in all of the effort for the both of you and just resolve to let it happen gradually, if it ever will.
(Flash forward two months)
The day is now March 17, 2022, the day when all of Amarah's college acceptance letters would be arriving. She was so excited for this day! Of the four colleges that she applied to, three of them had replied already, so today, she should be getting a letter from Yale. As soon
as she got home from school, she took all of the letters to her room, too off her shoes, and sat on her bed. Nobody else was home, and she was alone. She wanted somebody to be with her. Holly was on vacation, but Amarah decided to Facetime her so that she wouldn't have to face her news alone. Holly had already received her letters from Yale and the University of Michigan, which was in Ann Arbor, about an hour and five minutes away. Amarah didn't want to be even that close to her family, so she had decided not to apply there. Now that she had Holly on the phone to support her, it was time to open the letters together. The results were:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey- DECLINE
Colombia University, New York City, New York- WAIT LISTED
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, Virginia- WAIT LISTED
Yale University, New Haven, Conneticut- ACCEPTED!
Amarah looked at her Yale acceptance letter about twelve different times before accepting that it was true. Amarah was going to Yale! Holly was very excited for her, but brought up a good point. The yearly tuition for Yale was $55, 500, and she definitely didn't have enough. Even her college fund had $40,000, and she had to split that up between all four years. She didn't know what was going to happen.
The next day, March 18, 2022, Amarah got two more letters. One was from FAFSA. She was approved for $36,000 in financial aid! The other letter stated that she had been awarded a $10,000 scholarship for all of the volunteer work that she had completed during her high school years.This would cover her first year! Her next steps would be to get a job, start saving, cut back on expenses, and she would eventually have enough money to cover all four years of college. When Holly found out, she said "Amarah, I am so proud of you for achieving your goals!" It was that sentence fro Holly that made Amarah realize that it the "perfect life" or the "perfect relationships" didn't matter. What did matter was that she had reached a goal that was important to her, even if she didn't have the greatest support system. For the first time in a long time, she was confident in the direction her life was going, and she couldn't wait for the next chapter of her life to begin.