Joey Cifelli ’23
The clouds look like they always have. The sky is the same as it has always been. The grass today was exactly the way I expected the grass to be. And, at the same time, none of it is the same at all. Every day we wake up and it all feels different. Nothing ever happens twice. How is it that the more something changes, the faster it changes, the more it begins to blur and mix within itself, so that when we look back on it, nothing seemed so different? I’d like to remember the grass each day, the clouds each day. Each one, no matter how similar, entirely separate from all the others. 7.4/10.
Down the quiet thoroughfare in the evening, grazing by the ferns in their fleck speckled pots, slowly drawing to a close at the worn awning of Yawnett’s Inn, Nathan Cabby delivered his last customer of the day. The customer, or Rider, as he was called, was dressed in a plaid suit. In many ways the suit emulated the man himself, with its wrinkled fabric and well-thought-out creases and rich color like a cocoa husk just in season. After affirming his well-being and paying four thirty for the trip, Rider grabbed the underside hood of the car and, with a quick flick of his gangly hands, gracefully launched himself from the vehicle legs first. The man landed approximately ten feet from the car in a gentle puff of dust. “Very good, Mr. Cabby, au revoir,” he said. And with that Rider trailed off towards the inn, rolling the r around his mouth like a warm morsel of chocolate, letting it slowly dissolve under its own weight and pool around the tongue… and then he was gone, door swaying behind his precise legs. 7.0/10.
Two people in dark cloaks stood underneath the gravestone tree. One smoked a pipe, the other smoked cigarettes. Every so often there was a pause, then a moment of flame, or steel, some tapping, and the smoke would drift upwards again. Eventually, she ran out of cigarettes. “That’s it,” she said, tossing the carton on the wet grass, “I’m done. That was my last pack. I want to leave.” The figure next to her held up his hand, silencing her. “We do not litter in the grove of death,” he said. He took in a long breath, held it for several seconds, then let it out, slowly, through his nostrils. “It is about to arrive.” 8.0/10.
The woman rolled her eyes. “Whatever,” she said, and put the carton inside her cloak. The tree began to vibrate. A sound like pickaxes striking ore rang out from inside one of its cocoons. The rough pod split open and a simple gravestone fell out, embedding itself in the soft earth. Engraved in the stone, in plain capital lettering, was the name GRISHA TOMELY. “Very well,” said the man, his face shrouded in shadow and smoke, “now we begin.” He turned and walked away from the gravestone tree, the other close behind. Gravestones, hundreds of them, of every shape and size, lay scattered throughout the grass. As they walked past their cloaks wavered in the wind, every so often revealing the glint of oiled metal razors. 8.2/10.