Joey Cifelli ’23
A mother cat carries her kitten by the scruff of its neck along a cool grass field. She places it down in a small clearing where the grass is matted down and soft. The kitten, young as it is, rolls around the clearing like an air hockey puck, chirping little mews and whines as it fights a battle unseen. The mother cat watches from the grass’ edge, supervising. A rustle in the grass. The mother cat freezes instantly and shifts her coat to blend in with the vegetation. The kitten, too, does this, oblivious to any danger but obeying its instincts nonetheless. They don’t make a sound. Don’t breathe. A mottled yellow hound steps into the clearing with teeth bared and saliva dripping from its maw. It makes its way through the empty space, head flicking from side to side like a snake’s tongue. Its hooked paws land inches from the kitten’s body. Imperceptibly, the mother cat’s claws slide from their sheaths. A howl in the distance, and the hound dashes off. The family has survived, for now. 7.4/10.
LEONARD: What do you make of this gap in the forest Herman?
ANT 2: *munch munch*
LEONARD: To think, until yesterday, we thought it to be an endless void! I haven’t got a clue what our boys in development are thinking, but it sure as heck is something. We’re on the cutting edge now! Yes sir. Only five more days out on the floor, scouting, hunting, and then its straight to the hive for us. By the Queen: I cannot wait! Say, Herman, got any plans once we get back?
ANT 2: *munch*
LEONARD: You sicken me.
Presently, the ants are obliterated by a toddler waddling her way over to something she thought was a rock but turned out to be the wrapper of the Snickers bar her dad ate by himself earlier. 6.6/10.
There’s a storm brewing. Leaves on the pavement rattle down the street. The telephone wires shake. Your grandmother says she can feel it in her bones. Even you can feel the heavy pulse of ruin in your marrow. It’s going to be a big one. Crows caw in trees and on fences. You ask your grandmother what to do. She shakes her head. She says there’s nothing anybody can do about this kind of storm. She says you should get in the basement and hide. That way it may not find you. The wind is a howl now, a wolf scratching against your door. The wind chimes ring their bells in a stunted melody. It is the sound dread makes when it is afraid. In the basement, curled up under a shelf, you breathe heavily. You hear it all, even underground. The sounds pause for a second. You feel the world holding its breath. Then the storm hits at last, and all is black. 8.2/10.
Following the hustle and bustle of the market comes a brief period of respite for Timbley, who had just spent the better part of the day selling fish at his father’s stall. The smell of fish clings to his apron still, and it never comes out even when he uses Ereden’s cleaning elixir, which is rumored (by Ereden) to be so strong as to remove the freckles from a child’s face and keep it smelling clean all the while. With his chores done, Timbley takes a long walk along the edge of town. The trees in their fiery vestiges of life on his right, and dingy brick buildings on his left. Eventually, he arrives at his favorite spot on a small hill with a beautiful view of the lake for which his town is named. As the sun sets, young Timbley lays down and dreams in his heart of the adventures he’ll go on some day. 8.0/10.