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View Poll Results: Members' Choice - VOTE!
Imagine A Blank Wall - skhull 5 12.82%
A Hand for the Four-Fifteen to Romeroville - adrianhayter 12 30.77%
Where Are Your Children Tonight? - MisterJack 12 30.77%
Virtue & Fatale (Prologue) - darthwader 7 17.95%
Stolen - chloe.spencer 3 7.69%
Voters: 39. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 02-22-2008, 06:44 PM
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Default Members' Choice - VOTE NOW


Below you will find the five most-nominated pieces for this round of Members' Choice. Please read and vote for whichever you would like to see featured in the upcoming issue of In Pencil.

Voting ends at midnight EST on February 27th.

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  #2  
Old 02-22-2008, 06:52 PM
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Default Imagine A Blank Wall - skhull

Chocolate is dripping off my body. Nasty old chocolate.
I drip and drip.
I am happy. I am happy to see it melt off me.
The chocolate is dark and it drips away.
It drips mounds onto the floor.
Ten pounds, maybe.


No. Ten pounds would be too much.
Three, maybe.


Three pounds have dripped.
It makes me very happy. So happy.
I drip chocolate. Dark sweet chocolate.


My mouth is catching the chocolate
DAMN IT!


Okay. Itís okay when that happens.
Just start over.
Relax. Breathe. Visualize.



Chocolate is dripping off my body.



Two men with parrot hats.
NO!


Just concentrate. Relax.
Okay. Breathe. Deep breath.
Oops, my ankle itches.
Just ignore it.
Oh well, might as well scratch it, then start over.


Green leaf floating by.


Chocolate is oozing off me. I am happy.
More than happy. I am ecstatic.


Red apple. Snow White.
CRAPSHIT!


All right, this isnít working.
Change the image. Letís see.
Okay. Deep cleansing breath.
Relax.
Your toes, your ankles, your legs, buttocks, arms, neck
Your face.
You are very peaceful. Very relaxed.


My body is silly putty. A future masterpiece.
Artists are pinching off bits
to mold my perfect body.
Children make small clay farm animals
with the excess putty.
I am happy.


Oh, thatís stupid. What a stupid image.
Pinching hurts.

I am a fudgesicle.
A mouth is pulling all the fat away.
The fat flies away.
It feels soft and good as the mouth pulls
all the fat away.
It pulls the fat away and spits it into the universe.
I am happy. I am very happy
as the mouth pulls the fat away.


Edmund was the best sex
I ever had.
He really knew what he was doing.
Had a great mustache. Soft.
He could really manipulate that mustache.
Wonder where is now.
Could look for him on the internet.
Say hi.

Heís not married. We meet
and he is still in love with me.
His eyes devour me.
My wedding dress is blue and purple. Ethereal.
His hands are all over me.
He takes down the straps of my dress and kisses myÖ


FUDGESICLEÖplease.
I am a fudgesicle with the fat being sucked out of me!


Oh God. How much time is left?
Iíll just open my eyes and peek at the clock.
No, better not. Might break my meditation.

The coyote in the news, that was really strange.
Three peanuts.

Okay, stop. Just breathe. Very relaxed.
Go deeper and deeper.
Align with the universe.

Imagine a blank wall.
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  #3  
Old 02-22-2008, 06:53 PM
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Default A Hand for the Four-Fifteen to Romeroville - adrianhayter

Juan sits on the weed-covered edge of the railroad tracks. With his
left hand, he tosses small rocks at cans littering the roadway as he
waits for the train - the train that will remove his right hand.

As is his nature, he has thought through every detail. On the ground
beside him, are gauze and bandages, a leather strap for tying off the
stump, and half a quart of tequila. He realizes the hard part will be
stopping the flow of blood. The rest should be easy, especially the
tequila; he smiles and cradles the bottle against his hip. His old
pickup idles thirty feet away on the dusty road, the door opened
wide and ready as wisps of dark smoke exit the tailpipe. He wonít
have to shift for it has an automatic transmission - heís planned for
every emergency. Itís no more than a twenty-minute drive to the
County Hospital where heís sure theyíll take care of the details-the
stitching up, the antibiotics. The doctors will be upset but he will
claim it was an accident. What else can they do to punish old Juan,
remove his good hand? He unscrews the cap on the tequila and takes
a long swallow.

Theyíll be angry but itís their own doing. Since I was a child, Iíve
pleaded for them to remove this thing.

Juan taps his claw against the iron rail. Sparrows feeding in the dry
weeds, fly as the crackling sound echoes through distant junipers. He
hammers harder and the insects draw silent.

Medical reasons, thatís what they claim. Let the doctors live in my
shoes and watch their reasons fly out the window like scared
swallows.

Through the hard shell of his right hand, he feels the vibration and
grins; the train to Romeroville is on time. Smoke from The four-
fifteen rises above the trees and Juan pours another measure down
his throat.

Donít drink the whole bottle, Muchacho. You need to save some for
cleaning the stump and the ride to the hospital.

Juan stumbles over the bright rail and lays his hand across the iron,
his palm exposed in subjugation. On his chest, his patron Saint
Seraphina shines from the afternoon sun and Juan spreads his arms
like Jesus on the cinders. The vibrations swell as the locomotive
nears and his eyelids sink with the warm rumbling ground.

I will not need you looking out for me anymore Seraphina. Iíll return
you to the Father for some broken soul Ėone in need, not like
me.

Juan tears the Patronís medal from his chest and closes his eyes
from the hot sunís glare.

***

Juan startles awake as a tornado roars past his head and remembers
why heís on the track. Surprised at how small the pain is, he reaches
for the strap to stem the flowing blood. His red claw feebly snaps at
the leather and Juan screams for Saint SeraphinaÖ
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  #4  
Old 02-22-2008, 06:54 PM
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Default Where Are Your Children Tonight? - MisterJack

Ketamine
a grazed knee
bleeds a constant flow
below
rejoiced amphetamine smile
and pill falls in
to slippery eel-like skin
where vein now pumps
and drives the brain
to nothing
_______________gateless
mind
Insane
with fast reacting
constant flow of time distracting
pallid distributing
pharmaceuticals
_____________fight
the nightmare
driving spite
in pulses blinded
to ignite the hyper-active
sentimental using youth
with eyes on fire and razor ears
that pick up sounds of Beetles
_________ants
like charging wildebeast
__________________who feast
and eat the waxen
core of late night
drug debauchery
with girls who drink like fish
and laugh with fractured jaws
__________and scores
of interrupting buses
____________riding home
the worthless other users
who have bought the same old shit
__________________________from Steve
but canít contain imploding inquisitions
as admissions hit an all time high
with froth and spittle
drastic same faced kids
who mixed their plastic BOMBS
with drink
_______and hope
for some new route
to where they think euphoria
might exist
instead
of simply getting pissed
outside
_________a Tesco store
they pour themselves
another dose
of lamplight
_______twi--tching
shrouded ghosts
with one thing
on their minds when they wake up
one frosty morning
to the care
and gentle face of mother
at the bedside thanking god
theyíre still alive
______they weep
to see them
not tubed up to lifeline
bleep machine
and hope to Christ
that they
____will reach

fourteen
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  #5  
Old 02-22-2008, 06:55 PM
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Default Virtue & Fatale (Prologue) - darthwader

PROLOGUE

SINS


The jovial sounds of a few dozen smiling parents filled the small theatre as their children finished their performance. As the eight year olds bowed to overwhelming applause, a thick, crimson curtain lowered itself, hiding them from view.

The ballet recital had been unsurprisingly amateurish, and on more than one occasion a child had made a blatant mistake, yet as the parents rose from their chairs, there was a distinct air of pride. Something about the mere act of trying was enough for the children to sate the humble expectations of their parents.

A few minutes after the concert had concluded, an excited horde of kids came rushing into the vestibule, quickly hugging their loved ones, and smiling as they received words of encouragement.

“Daddy!” A young girl called as she raced toward her father.

Douglas, a tall, dark-haired man lowered himself to sweep his daughter up in his arms. He nearly toppled over as the surprisingly strong little girl dove into him.

“Did I do good, Daddy?” She asked, hugging him as hard as she could.

He looked at his daughter. She was the most distinctive child he had ever known. Her hair was grey due to a genetic anomaly, and her mind was as sharp as a razor’s edge, but these were merely the most tangible aspects of the girl who he considered to be the most special child in the world. “You did fantastically, Tara. That was the best performance of Swan Lake I’ve ever seen.”

Tara’s face bunched up into a cute facsimile of annoyance. “You’ve never seen Swan Lake before.”

“True. And I’ll never have to see it again, because I’ve now seen the best performance of it ever.”

“It would have been better, but the other kids suck.”

Tara,” the man put a distinct tone of warning into his voice, “I’ve told you before, don’t look down on other people.”

Releasing her father and taking a step back, the youngster planted her fists on her tutu-clad hips. “I wouldn’t if they weren’t so clumsy. They don’t even understand the concept of their centre of gravity.”

Douglas tried to hide his amusement. “Hey, I barely understand it myself.” He reached out and grasped his daughter’s hand. “Come on, let’s go home.”

Midafternoon sunlight washing over her, Tara followed her father out into the car park, a frown quickly forming on her face. “I wish Mum had come to see me dance.”

Opening the passenger door of his dark blue sedan, Douglas helped his daughter into the car. “So does she.” He ducked around to the driver’s side, and quickly seated himself. “She has been looking forward to your recital for months, but you know what it’s like when you have the flu.”

Tara crossed her arms. “Stupid micro-organisms.”

Again Douglas tried to hide his amusement. “I really wish I knew how you got to be so smart. You didn’t get it from me.” He started the car’s engine, and slowly drove out of the lot, soon making his way to the main highway of Stoic City.

The trip progressed in uncharacteristic silence, many minutes passing before Douglas spoke again. “Why are you being so quiet? I would have thought that you’d be chattering away. Aren’t you exited? You were been practicing for this recital for ages.”

Tara looked out the window, watching as the cityscape drifted by. “I don’t want to do ballet anymore.”

“What? I thought you liked ballet.”

“I don’t like the other kids. They’re mean. They make fun of my hair.”

Douglas glanced at his daughter. In this light her grey hair looked almost silver. It didn’t make her look older, it didn’t make her look like she was suffering from a progeria-like disease, it merely set her apart. “They’re jealous of you. You’re a special young woman.”

Tara crossed her arms. “I hate being special.”

“Well I won’t force you to keep doing ballet, but you shouldn’t be ashamed of being special.”

“I’m not ashamed, I’m just sick of the other girls never shutting their fucking mouths.”

It took all of Douglas’ restraint to keep from slamming on the brakes. “Tara Susanne Poise!” He yelled. “If I hear those words come out of your mouth again, you won’t see dessert again until you’re twenty-two. Where did you pick up that language?”

The girl did not respond.

“I asked you a question, young lady.”

Her eyes darting around the car as though searching for a distraction, Tara finally slumped her shoulders and released a sigh. “The Shadow Man says that sometimes.”

“Jesus.” Douglas hissed. “I thought we’d settled all of this Shadow Man nonsense. I don’t care if you have an imaginary friend, but you can’t blame them every time you do something bad.”

“He’s not imaginary. He was sitting right next to you the entire time you were watching me dance.”

“Tara, the only seat next to me was your mother’s, and it was empty.”

“No it wasn’t! He was there!”

Douglas took a few calming breaths. “I’m very proud of how well you did today, but don’t think for a second that I won’t send you to your room when we get home.”

A look of utter malice crossed the girl’s face. Sneering at her father, she muttered the words, “I hate you.”

At that moment, from outside the car came the sound of screeching wheels. Tara looked in her father’s direction just in time to see another car collide with theirs. Everything went black.




Her ears ringing, Tara slowly opened her eyes, flinching when she saw the blunted steel rod hovering just a few centimetres from her face. She reached out and tried to push the rod away, but it was very solid, and quite unmovable. That was when she noticed that her hands were coated in blood. Looking down, she saw that her entire body was covered.

Panic quickly consuming her, the girl ran her hands over her arms, her shoulders, her stomach, trying to find a wound that would explain the blood. She found none.

Her hands shaking as shock settled in, she tried to undo her seatbelt, her fingers twitching too much for her to free herself. “Daddy.” Thoughts of her father quickly filled her mind.

Jerking her head to the side, she immediately released a scream of absolute horror. Her father’s airbag had clearly deployed, but the scraps of fabric which hung limp from the steering wheel showed that it had somehow ruptured.

Firmly planted into the wheel was the lower half of Douglas’ head, the top half being spread around the car in a random pattern of blood and bone.
Tara’s jaw began to tremble. “Daddy? Daddy!”

The inside of the car sudden grew cold, and a low, hissing voice could be heard from the ether. “If you had only stopped dancing back when I told you to, this never would have happened. I was trying to stop this. Congratulations, you just killed your father.”
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  #6  
Old 02-22-2008, 06:56 PM
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Default Stolen - chloe.spencer

Sat upon a swing she was, in chequered gingham green.
Red hair done up in ribbons and a graze on her left knee.
Chains framed her tiny torso, sitting on the wooden seat.
The man behind her pushed it, they made such a lovely scene.

Oh, but how I have betrayed that innocent little girl.
Assuming she was safe with him! That wretched nasty cur!
For he was not her father, as I had at first presumed.
That night his ugly face was shown, on the evening news.

They never found her body, though they searched for quite a while.
The police asked me once or twice; I never outright lied.
I also never told them, what I saw that afternoon.
Perhaps my eyes deceived me in the dullness of late noon.
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  #7  
Old 02-26-2008, 07:52 AM
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Vote Vote Vote Vote Vote Vote Vote
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  #8  
Old 02-27-2008, 02:07 PM
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I voted for Adrien's piece. I thought it was disturbing, but in a good kinda way. However I very nearly voted for Sins. That just struck me as an interesting concept.
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  #9  
Old 02-28-2008, 07:51 AM
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Congrats to both MisterJack and adrianhayter.

EDIT:
A heads up for our attentive readers/members: only MisterJack's poem will be appearing in In Pencil as Adrian's story has already been accepted by another publication.
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Last edited by Icarus; 02-28-2008 at 03:47 PM..
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  #10  
Old 02-28-2008, 02:45 PM
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I rule...
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A Girl in Winter.
His lips parted, cracked and dry as he struggled to whisper: "My muse, you're here."
She simply smiled, "Yes, Drake, I am here."
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