The next name on the list led Isaac and Greg to a derelict old train stop. A stranded and splintered shack sat among a web of crisscrossing train tracks. Each track aimed to run the small shack through, but each time the shack had side-stepped, until it stood now at the center of a hundred crossed paths. A broken clock hung over the door.
Isaac tapped his fist against the doorframe. The door swung open. A fragile, fallen leaf of a boy stood in the doorway. Greg held his breath, afraid his exhaling might knock the boy to the floor. The boy’s eyes begged for a painless end. Isaac had to blink several times and wet his lips to steel himself against that hopeless look.
“Are you Devin?” He asked. The boy brightened a fraction at his name, but he said nothing. “I want to talk to you.”
The paper thin youth stepped back to welcome Isaac and Greg inside. The interior of the shack was no better than the exterior. It was divided into three rooms, a makeshift kitchen, a sitting room and the entrance area.
Devin sat on the floor of the kitchen and cocked his head at Isaac. Greg lowered himself down to the boy’s level and sat cross-legged across from him. Isaac followed along. Read more »
This is a draft of a college essay I've been working on, any and all feedback will be appreciated.
I spent the last few summers on a spaceship I built in the seventh grade. I used to build them out of Legos, but this time it was for real; I built The Steel Wing, out of words. What I was actually doing was writing my first real book. I was done with corny fan-fictions and Eragon analogues. “The Last Hunter,” in its first draft, was 21,126 words long, and I loved every single one. Flagrant breaches in the laws of physics and two-dimensional characters aside, it was my first book. I thought it was ready to hit the bestsellers list right then and there. Of course, a 12-year-old’s mind is attuned to instant success and fame.
I have been working on “The Last Hunter,” and its sequel, for the past four summers, revising, rewriting, re-everything. The most recent draft is somewhere around 99,547 words and reaches far beyond the goofy first draft. I love writing the story again and again finding new, better words, and building stronger characters, scenes and thoughts. Though it can look like a jumbled mess of finger paintings, it has grown as much as I have. Read more »
My humans see me tremble while I sleep, and think I am being tortured, but I am being liberated. I am being freed from collars, and leashes and chain link fences. They think I am scared. But I am nothing of the kind. There’s no solace or comfort in chew toys or playpens. There’s no escape in the food dish or dog door. Behind my eyelids, whether I lay in a stuffed bed or on the cement floor, I can find freedom.
Superman taught me that I could, and would, win every battle. That is a liberating idea for a child. Without reference or knowledge of death and abject failure, I grew up self-assured, invincible, and infallible. My opinions were facts, fairy tales were truths, I knew everything and nothing would ever change. I was the hero of my own story. I never stopped to think that the world could not be made up entirely of Supermen.
So what happened when, brick by broken brick, this false foundation fell? I got scared. Superman never bled, or lost. My knee bled; my shoulder broke; my parents cried. How could any of this happen? Lies? I didn’t know what lies were.
I was suddenly sure I wasn’t a man of steel. I wasn’t the hero in the story of the world. What else could I be? A bystander? An extra? I had nothing else to be.
Holden Caulfield told me that I was fallible. He lined it out in black and white, slapped me across the face and told me to watch my nose bleed. He taught me that I wasn’t the only one either. All humans are flawed, but that is just fine. Read more »
Dad wore glasses. Box framed, thin lenses, if not perched on his nose, “missing” in some obvious place, the kitchen table, usually. I loved Dad’s glasses. When I was little they would often go “missing” on my own face. I would do it on occasion in my teens, just to see his reaction.
“Jeremy have you seen my glasses?” He would say from the other room. I’d remain seated.
“Nope!” He’d come in eventually.
“Hey! There they are,”
I would act real surprised.
“Whoa! Didn’t see them there,”
It was a ritual of sorts.
Dad used to pack my lunches. He always packed carrots because they “helped me see better” so I wouldn’t end up like “old man cataracts here.” I would always throw them away. Truth was: I wanted glasses, just like Dad. His intentions were noble, he only wanted my vision to remain clear as I aged, but noble intentions are for knights and superheroes when you’re six.
They peeled Dirk Larner off the inside of his windshield. His car sat in the tree branches, cradled like a robin’s egg. Bare dry pavement and broad daylight seemed like an incongruous background for a vehicular catastrophe.
Dirk had a habit for dope, and a thing for mixing his habit with the accelerator of his Impala with it's peeling, battleship gray paintjob. He thought he was a real hot shot, even in his parents’ hand-me-down car.
Dirk had three older brothers. One lost a few fingers to a homemade pipe-bomb, the other lost his head. The last one, the eldest, made it to the Navy, and moved down south to a double wide, a golden retriever and her fat bitch.
I doubt I had much sympathy for Dirk’s scattered skull, because to be honest there was only bone inside that head. Rather, I felt a passing prayer for his poor parents, dragged again through the pig sty of grief for what may have been their most promising son.
He had agreed to attend community college after graduation. Though he didn’t aim high, he did better than his kin by aiming at all. Read more »