Butterfly Effect

Warnings: mental illness, animal and child abuse, graphic gore

~

I examine the butterfly pinned on the table: stained glass window membranes, mushy eggplant guts and midnight seaweed skin. Its legs still writhe. My fingernails sear the edges of its wings, cuts them fresh off. Its legs still writhe. I pluck the antennas like eyelashes, squish the eyes like globs of ink-oil, and tear the body segments apart onto the rough-soft paper towel. Disseminated. Dead. Its legs are still. 

One day, I’ll do the same to you.

~

I am a mother. I live in a cottage. There are rolling hills of sweet grass, hair dried willow trees, and kids whose imaginations have run far away. Schizophrenics- that’s what the doctors call them, but I call them the Lost Boys. Perhaps, that makes me Peter Pan, to lead them through their fantasies, or Wendy to sing their delusions to sleep. 

I don’t know. I’m not familiar with fairytales. Can you tell me one? 

~

I asked you that on the morning you arrived on my doorstep. 

You were a pale faced child who took on the spirit of a butterfly- the same ink-oil eyes, delicate antenna lashes and a mosaic of a mind behind the flapping six-year old arms. You have your hair pulled in a tight blonde braid and you wear a sky blue dress as you prance about. Your lips flutter with teensy giggles. I want to catch them in the air. 

And pin them to the wall. 

~

Junonia almana

The peacock pansy, with fuzzy mustard wings and those cocoa hue owl eyes that watch me through the glass. It is framed on the basement drywall, in a new place, rearranged with the others for a new blank space- approximately 50 by 150 square inches in area. There are larger pins. Bolts. And rope. 

Just like your pretty little braids.

~

I comb your frayed locks, free from those little ginger roots. You gaze into the mirror, bite your nails and curl up in your seat so your knees pillow your chin. A cocoon. I tug on your longest lock, what you think is a silkworm shaving.  

“Don’t-” I say, “we’ll go to bed soon.” 

You water your eyes at me, lips in a red larvae pout.

I yank the hair from your head. The wailing takes a while to settle.

~

I sew your silk back on the next morning. Your glass eyes are beading with crystal, and your nose blushes with rosy sniffles as you wince at every prick of the needle. In, out, in, out- skin and blood and dandruff and tousles of rope thread hair. 

“It hurts,” your tears pool on your cheeks, “Can you stop, Miss?” 

“No,” My lips thin into a straight line. 

I can’t let the doctors know. 

~

The doctors flood into the cottage. They take the lost boys one by one, cultivating caterpillars into their nests. Some are bribed with leaves, others simply slink in, and all of them leave slimy paths behind. Good riddance. 

I only think of the white coat, white mask doctors, and their syringe slits of eyes that scan us with pinpoint precision. I clench your hand tight. 

I’ll never let them have you. 

~

We run down the dark stairway, slipper flats and baby bare feet tip-tap against the ashwood. We spill out into the basement- the clothes I scrimmied off you splayed on the tile floor. You shiver under my touch, as my cuticles indicate lines upon your back. 

I drag out my butterfly canopies from the closet. Layered blankets: monarchs, swallowtails, painted ladies, buckeyes, blue sulphurs all weaved together. 

Remember the fairytale you told me? What if I said I could make it come true?

~

“Miss, I-” 

“Hush.” 

I sew the quilts onto your back, stitching them to the skin with black thread. In, out, in, out. My needle is diligent, but my eyes are disorderly. They look at places they shouldn’t. They linger as I work. In, out, in, out- eggplant mush and seaweed skin and a set of prismatic wings, spread before me like Neverland. 

~

My butterfly.

Teeth- A Short Story

So, I’m back after a long time of school hell! Piles of homework, AP tests and an (almost!) failing grade in Calculus later I survived the perilous trials of school and now I am ready to embrace the summer. I wrote a gothic short story a couple months ago, and I thought it would be a good thing to start consistently blogging again with a spooky tale.

~

The true form is long and slender, a crimson string serpentine within a cage of flesh and fanged ivory. It is tweezed from the set of marble gargoyles in her mouth as scarlet blood drivels down her chin.

Raven is the cathedral. Her body is arranged on the bleached lily sheets, rigid in a boned corset as her stained-glass eyes dilate at the sight of her messiah’s altar –a cluttered rosewood desk. Upon it are scalpels, knives, blades, pliers, needles, and scrapers, all crusted with remnants of red. The tooth in question is gutted out with a minuscule wrench, two millimeters of metal budding a pinprick of torment.

Tears touch Raven’s irises and yet, her body refuses to writhe. She is chain locked, trapped under the rule of her new god: Scarlett Stone.

The woman is a wraith in a gentleman’s lab coat, with bladed eyes under a pair of silver spectacles. A cheshire smirk emerges beneath the lacquer of her lips, crooked as she places the ivory into a frosted glass vial.

Despite her pained position, Raven sips at the dripping nectar of her own hollowed tooth slot, taking pleasure in it like a foolish child. Her tongue silks around the space as it agitates in pursuance of the holy hotbed of bare flesh. She finds the sweet spot, and sucks it, answering Scarlett’s violent tooth-picking plea in ecstasy.

“Release them,” Raven refers to the rest of her canines, whine-whispering her words, “Take me away, my dearest Scarlett. Let me feel numb.”

“Shall I?” Scarlett asks, not for the judgment of her beloved, but rather her taxidermized “friends” in the midnight suite.

A red-eyed raven on the dresser. A two-tongued snake on the windowsill. A wolf who growls, gums expanding in an unruly garden of dentition. There are roses and violets of teeth, ivory blooming into different shapes with each consecutive set. It is a hundred-tooth monster; Scarlett’s life work on a macabre mural, angel fangs, and devilish flats upon sinews of meat, a gaping vortex parting its shadows for a spindly tongue, oozing with sticky spit.

All the creatures are animated in the moonlight, yet only the rugged black fur beast dares to howl to the crescent of the scientist’s mad mind, declaring his fate: a smile with Raven’s perfect teeth, strung with the other rows, seated sparkling in the front. The finishing touch to his collection, the smooth ivories of a human. That shall be my victory.

“What do they foretell?” Raven asks.

“To continue,” Scarlett murmurs, teasing Raven with her scalpel, “I would love to do so, but your pain hurts my heart.”

“The pain keeps this damn carcass of mine alive.”

“May I alleviate it?”

“I intend to be awake.”

“No,” Scarlett leans closer, summoning her puppet to rise with a soft indication of her hand, “My care is a selfish desire; it is for my lips to be upon yours in your last moments with a mortal mouth. I am sorry, for my love threatens to tear the seam of our promise, for you are so-”

“Shh…” Raven takes her request, tongue brimming underlip, “I have apprehended your taste.”

Their kiss is deep, a melting candle wax tryst, the reassurance of those crystalline whispers they had of their twisted passions before. The atmosphere is sweltering, flames in their chests as ashes cobweb their lips in the heat of the endless embrace. Their hands paralyze, holding hair in tangled clumps, as Scarlett bites the skin and Raven sucks the saliva, romance fluttering away to reveal the scorched image of lust. Raven steals the last affirmation and severs the neck of her prey with blistering lipstick, a headhunter as she yanks Scarlett’s raven locks and places a tiny peck upon her chest.

With the action, Scarlett is either engulfed in flowers or flesh; it is impossible to tell if it was a virtuous kiss or a violent scar upon her sternum. Her heart stings yet swells with overwhelming senses she cannot even begin to place. All she could ponder in this abyss was Raven.

“Love… will it be forgotten amid this cursed night? Will it not fade from your memories once all is complete?” Scarlett questions.

“I will miss you,” says Raven, “Nevermore, we are broken souls. Nothing will be fixed until we uncover ourselves, despite our perversions.”

Perversions– the statement pangs in Scarlett’s psyche. This is not love. Their affections are nothing but a mirage, a chain-linked deal gilded with roses that sought to puncture their skins with thorns. Tangles of lust, a thread of flirtation, and nothing more.

“May you take out the left molar next?” Raven inquires, “Leave the right one for last.”

“Oh… yes.”

The taxidermist retrieves her scalpel, this time sporting a blade of four millimeters instead of the usual two.

“Open wide, tongue down, and for the love of our blessed Father, do not move again.” She says.

Scarlett’s gloved hands shake as the scalpel uncovers the mysteries of the cavern. Her tongue was snaking inside it seconds prior, but she had sparing experience with live specimens. Raven is also uneasy, her tender skin blush-warm under the facade of her rigid-cold expression.

The bladed sharp-edge roots itself at the end of the set of top teeth, provoking the molar into submission. Raven squeaks, her tongue quivers, and she is scarred by the knife, red tears lining her cheeks. She bites her lip, ravaged by the kisses they fancied before.

Scarlett mumbles, pulling out the tool, “My apologies.”

“It is simply the punishment of your scalpel.” Her syllables crawl around the loose tooth of hers, clunky in execution, “You are impartial to it, I know.”

“Well,” Scarlett picks up the pliers, a brute set meant for declawing wildebeests and mauling the fangs of foxes, “I enjoy these more. They are therapeutic, my savior for when I must slay a beast.”

“What beasts?”

“My wolf. He was not always so kind to me,” Scarlett’s voice cracks, crumpled paper around the edges, “but I tamed him.”

“Shall you do the same for me-?”

Clearing her throat, Scarlett drives the two tools into her mouth, targeting the precious molar. The pliers clutch the tooth and the scalpel pushes it from the side. Raven blinks when it is pulled, numb at first, but then it erupts with aching pain. It is out. A smile and frown fight at her lips; she is not sure which one wins out until her lover regards her.

“Was that better?” Scarlett asks, the tooth pristine in her hand. It is as long as the last had been, but now the base is larger, the muscled ivory bumps amusing to Raven as it was too weak to stand the tiny metallic tools her “dentist” had at her disposal.

“Yes,” She chuckles, blood teasing her gums, “I will take delight in sucking it dry. Perhaps, we can exchange another kiss?”

“Of course.”

“My mouth will be a redesigned creature, a new experience every time.”

“Are you asking for-”

“A softer staircase to my demise?” She is giddy.

Scarlett kisses Raven’s nose, trailing to her lips in quick succession. Her tongue flicks the space of the left molar, causing her lover to laugh once again.

Time whirls, teeth clicking into glass jars, and kisses being shared to numb the scars. With each passing extraction, the two grow lighter, drunk on the dead hours of the night and due to the lust-love they carve out, their passionate blood shadows dancing on the green woodland walls. They are overgrown, unruly as the teeth on the wolf-beast, strung to each other in a twisted tsunami, a blossoming daze they have yet to awaken from. Emerging from the cyclone, they are a quarter-way finished, the calcium tops of Raven’s mouth half gone, revealing a zip of the jagged bottom teeth.

Scarlett releases her love from another kiss, skin matted with sweat, and says, “I miss your smile.”

“Already?” Raven asks, “I do not.”

“I desire to see it again… It was so lovely.”

Raven’s teeth sink into the upper gums, as they gush with aches, carving the flesh with fingernail imprints. The white edges magnetize to the pink, pain not allowing her to pull them apart. Akin to the sensation is her chest convulsing, ripping as the pages of a secret diary. I love her, but she loves someone else; she loves an image of stolen beauty, not the wretch I truly am.

Scarlett is supposed to be her solace -her Romeo romantics are comforting- but, she always sees her teeth first, then her face- God knows if she even sees her beating heart. Downtrodden, Raven turns to quit the suite, her lover questioning her departure.

“Why must you leave? We are not finished.”

“I must think,” Raven’s voice is muffled, “I will be back.” She takes a long jacket off a hanger- a long black cat crossdress.

“Alright…” Scarlett is a whimper of a wolf pup, slumped on the bed with her ghost of a lab coat. Her lips quiver and Raven angles around, tempted to give one last kiss, but she lets go, plodding into the thunderous night.

Lightning cracks onto the backbone of the black boulevard as rain patters down into the edges of soil between the brick. The atmosphere is weighty, curls of must and worm-wash lapping the air as Raven is at a standstill, considering her heavy thoughts. Her eyes wander through the willows of the gothic church houses and mansions, ardent in searching for an answer to her dilemma. They dart to the intricately designed bedroom windows of the higher class, importance on the frames rather than the people sleeping away within, wishing to target a sight, but nothing provides her solace. Nothing but her loving Scarlett two floors up.

Temptation riddles within Raven as she dares to run upstairs and confess her love, to mangle with her morals once again. Her slender hands cradle her face and she imagines her dearest Scarlett placing a delicate kiss on her lips, repeating “I love your smile.”

The lie tears into her, perverted thoughts of keeping her beloved close injecting her blood with doubt.

This should be my death, right?

She gazes at her reflection in the puddles, a calm vision of her beautiful expression. It is not so true to life.

Then why am I so infatuated with my noose?

An electric bolt seizes the sky. The rains gollup, distorting her image in the flanks of filth-water.

Her true form feathers in the liquid, her skin bone-white and cracked, her eyes sunken vortexes punctured with stabs of red. Her horns are those of a ram, twisted fangs of scarlet sewn onto her forehead and her teeth are those of a wolf with long, slender canines under the pulp of her lips. Raven is a demonic creature to be sent back to hell, to burn for an eternity, to die as a wretch who attempted to masquerade as a mortal. She is to be stuffed, never loved, and forgotten in the endless galvanized monsoon.

~

New moon.

Scarlett’s teeth are sprawled upon the hardwood floor. She is unaware of how it happened. Her tools are clean.

The rattlesnake splatters as the window shakes. Thunder rumbles outside, a furious white and grey jumble of gauze in the sky, a riff-raff as the fabric rubs against itself. Lightning lashes as a whip, between the low trenches of whale-sound and the graveyard spirits of grey cumulus clouds. A coward in the storm, Scarlett retreats into her coat carapace. She retreats into the image of Raven.

Scarlett remembers the stormy night when she retreated into the cathedral, her senses a blur when she tumbled in, the red glow of the hollowed church bowing under the other woman’s silhouette. She had an exodus of raven billowed hair, with a divine ink-black dress, a simple figure underneath swimming layers of caged fabrics. The tresses were gaudy, golden designs of roses upon the weighty velvet as the structured wall of the gown blocked the altar, the ruffles upon her chest fluffed like a bird’s plume. All the towering stained glass windows stood on guard of their queen and signaled Scarlett red in their reflections.

Despite their warnings, Raven twirled around.

Her countenance was blinding, her blistering eyes, the slope of her nose, and her apple-tinged lips in perfect proportion, for she was an idol in the marrows of the church. A red sea carpet connected the two of them, and a fire erupted in Scarlett’s soul, flames wilted as she dared to take a look. The goddess was too powerful; her everlasting stare buried the mere taxidermist in an abyss of unknowns, an endless valley that pricked in the realm of her tired mind. Raven was an ideal Renaissance painting, but she was uncanny, too good to be true.

Scarlett’s fingers wrung together with sweat. “M-may I draw you?” she asked.

“You are an artist?” Raven questioned, a polite façade, “My, that is grand. Go ahead, dear.”

“Yes,” Scarlett flushed, sitting upon the benches. Her heartbeat hands carried her supplies out of her leather satchel, as Raven posed mimics of poised style journals. A side profile. A curtsy. A hand that lifts her skirt.

The artist furrowed her brow, “Be natural. Do as you please.”

“Oh,” Raven scuttled down on all fours and bit a nail, “Is this adequate?”

Scarlett gazed upon her, absolutely horrified. “Perfect,” she said.

Currently, in the realm of the present thunder, the recluse hugs her four-pawed wolf within the womb of her ghastly cloak. Her digits tremble on the warm tufts of fur, his skin breathing underneath her fingerprints, her arms imprisoning the unmoving relic as the downpour heightens. The rains roar like the jittery woods, like a cry for help, and her lip bleeds with worry.

“Will Raven be alright?”

The girl never drowns. You know that. The wolf murmurs.

Despite his reassurance, Scarlett peers outside at her beloved’s silhouette, her cloak blending in with the midnight hue of the setting. She is consumed by rain.

More teeth on the floor. Ivory cherubs.

~

Waning crescent.

The cloaked figure is the storm. Her guilt drowns the landscape, damp and humid under the endless waves of rainfall. She burrows into her heavy rain jacket, pulling it over her head to protect her raven locks. A gut reaction to preserve her beauty, shackling the beast inside. Was she a monster or an innocent girl of dreams?

Her existence came in two phases.

Raven was born in insectile netting, an irritant to the skin; it was gauze that attracted termites, dirt, and decay. A spider web.

Her home was a wooden hobbit, a blemish upon a rich family estate which was centered around a colossal mansion with magnums of Corinthian columns, statues of Romans in every garden, and fragrant flowers thriving in empires of manicured hedges. They were given care and tended to under the breezy whistles of wind and the canary blanket of the afternoon sun.

They were unlike her, who lived in the dark, discarded like a forgotten bloom as she wilted away. She was a rose, crusted dry petals and brandished thorns, as she hunted for dead rodents under the rickets of the floor. Blood upon her cursed claws signified a feast, but when retracted it was a signal of hunger- gentle calloused fingers, almost human, but uncanny.

Her eyes scanned the rackety walls, spotting a miniature chink in the locked door. Sometimes it would be white- a hollow circle etched on a floor with a claw, other times it would be black- a void filled in. Six pairs of these moons were sketched in, with no one to retrieve her from this vat of murky dark.

On the seventh day, light poured into the shack and quenched Raven’s thirst. The whiteness was pierced by a feminine silhouette, her voice a sing-song hum as she tumbled in. Her countenance was even brighter than the sun outside. She was encased in what Raven regarded as an oddly beautiful cocoon, black mats, and frills as she presented a plate of dinner scraps to the demon and smiled.

Raven grinned back.

The maid recoiled.

“Take it,” She said, plate shaking. The monster did not comprehend.

The foodstuffs were neatly arranged, almost as a proper meal, but the discarded chicken bones, the halves of vegetables, and the butter-water mush of eve-eaten potatoes proved otherwise. With caution, Raven stabbed a piece of chicken, her teeth grating against her talons as she consumed it.

She spat it out, tasting blood. The vomit was a wad of wet meat, with a greasy brown membrane and hacksaws of calcium that protruded from it. Disgusting.

Her company made some more noises, ripping away her frill-skin to remedy the demon’s bleeding tongue. The maid patted it, the fabric soft and lush as it soaked red saliva, her fingers trembling in the jaws of the beast. Raven knew not to bite down. She instead opened her mouth wider, revealing another set of tiny layered canines as she steadied her caretaker’s hand.

“Thanks,” The maid smiled as she found the cut.

The cloth blushed, as did Raven.

~

Half moon.

The cloth blushed, as did Scarlett.

She is washing up a puddle of blood on her desk, chagrin by her foolish actions as barbed wires of hurt tangle into her mandibles. The ichor was equally unpleasant, leaking constantly as a poor man’s shack on a rainy day. She fails to understand Raven’s pleasure in these extractions; how could she simply do away with her ivories?

Teeth are a symbol of power; they are Romans in Trojan horses and they are a Stone family crest. She came from a long heritage of dentists, tough men in white coats that promised to preserve the smiles of millions. Scarlett could not fulfill that promise.

Instead, she plucked the teeth out, selfish as she followed her senses, searching far and wide for a creature she could call her own. She found it in Raven.

She gazes at the portraits of her beloved on the wall, melancholy as the storm rattles their cracked surfaces. It is a timeline of their love, a collection of captured moments as she tracked the hunt. The artworks had frantic energy with the playdates of light and color, surreal on the canvas as her depictions danced from scene to scene. They were flat dabs of paint, yet caught the day-to-day realities of Raven- as she ate a croissant, or tightened her corset, or bit her nails at a dinner party- all through intricately designed windows, importance on the girl within rather than the frames.

With every canvas, Scarlett would chip away at her mystery, convinced she found the answer, but the clues still sat idle on the wall without conclusion.

One painting crashes on the floor- the only artwork of her lovely muse in silks. With tremulous hands, Scarlett clutches it. Her cuticles pin the frame and in seconds, she guts it out, eating the paints in a fit of rage.

Why did I tie the rope?

She destroys the canvas with her knee, leaving a violent gash of paper and oil paint between the wooden frame.

To fucking hang myself?

Her teeth secure themselves on the painting’s skeleton, bloody as they attempt to splinter through it. She is a lunatic who lost her way, hiding in a woodland madhouse as her teeth imprint themselves in the wood. They are stuck on the frame rather than to the gums. With the hideous pain, she whirls towards her wolf, pulling her cloak over her cranium.

“I caught you, I caught you, I c-caught you…” She repeats it as a holy chant, as an old man with his wrinkled hands in prayer, “I killed your wr-retched soul, but why do you still haunt m-me?”

I desire my victory, He growls, not your love story.

In her delirium, Scarlett looks out the window again, spotting her love in the same area as before. She would be the key to end all of this, to end the nightmares and the self-inflicted pain. Irene was an angel, a savior, and her only smiling hope in this twisted world. Her teeth were pearls, perfect shells in the sand, and she was the innocence the devil would prey on to finally get his fill as he did with her family long ago. Perhaps, that would grant her solace.

The sea salts Scarlett’s under eyes and the echoes of those she missed lull her to sleep.

~

Waning Gibbous.

The sea roared, waking Raven up to a lukewarm summer night. Her caretaker was the boundless ocean, for she had frills of waves, the smile of a seashell, and the ticklish manner of the bubbly suds of saltwater dashing onto the ankles. However, the two were not on a beach; they were on the steps to the estate mansion, having explored the red velvet guts of the expensive palace. Despite its gilded guise, nature was what brought them both solace, the eye of the three-quarter crescent just waiting to reveal itself in its full grandeur.

“Do you feel alone?” The maid asked. It was a sudden blip in conversation.

Raven nodded yes, but answered, “Not when I with you.”

“I like that answer.” A cheeky smile.

“Not true. I am monster.”

“Oh?”

“There is no one like me.”

“Well, I feel the same. My family regards me as nothing but a housekeeper, as a maid. They have me make their beds, unclog the toilets and do all the chores while my sister studies away. They even forgot me on our forest vacation!”

“Hmmm.”

“Am I cursed because I was born to a different mother? Are you cursed because you are a monster?” The maid declares.

“Yes. I am cursed with love for your beauty.”

“Aww…” she ruffles the demon’s hair, giggly again.

Raven leaned upon the maid, holding her hand tight in the cold breeze. It was warm as her silk cocoon, but it was not an irritant for it was smooth and graceful, fingers delicately wrapped around hers as they enjoyed a sleepy haze. The human’s amethyst necklace glinted in the limelight, as did her countenance, everlasting in its pale appearance- the full moon.

~

Raven stole her mask the next morning.

Fabric frills, clack-click buttons, oily plaits, and a sweet apple scent. She was the only human who regarded her form with kindness, only to be repaid with killing kisses as Raven ate her corpse.

They were both in a marbella lavatory, speckled red peels of blood seeping into the faint grey veins of the washtub as she consumed her core. The maiden’s cries reverberated upon the walls, but no one could hear as the monster devoured her body, limb by limb, organ by organ, shriek by a shriek. She was tenderloin muscle, flabs of fat and scurries of flesh, delicious livers Raven had craved and nothing more. Her jowl lurched upon the skin, red spritz upon the stone as she bit into the human, the lacework of her tethered gores being holed and ripped by the treacherous demon. The screams haunted the succubus, but she could not halt; her love was too much.

At last, Raven leaned into her sweetheart and her wolfine canines dug into the vellum of her tender head, hooking the undereye bags with the juicy pop of eyeballs. She extracted the gums and teeth, kissing her love before she slit the tongue.

She placed the jaws on her head like a crown. Her victim’s teeth were dominos, the calcium forming the monster’s renewed appearance as she pulled them out one by one with metallic spiral claws. She counted:

“1…2…3…

Her horns shrunk and her skin warmed.

“14…15…16…”

Her eyes emerged from the blackness.

“30…31…32…”

Raven’s newborn countenance was the most divine. She was sculpted yet organic, sun-kissed porcelain dressed in a butcher’s bedgown, a gentle dove who had just eaten the innards of a raucous rat. Her ivories were unsharp, her features a delight in the mirror ten steps afar. The maid was a tousle of skin, blood and bone, a deformed wretch of meat as a lamb at the slaughter.

She hung her victim on the door. The body was a martyr, for the father, son, and holy spirit of Raven’s eyes, nose, and lips.

Now, drenched in rain, she looks at her stolen reflection in the wine-water. It is perfectly human. No wrinkles, no pores, no imperfections, but it is unnerving. Her form is an eternal nightmare. She is not a cathedral, but a tombstone, holding a lost life.

~

Scarlett lays on the bed.

Her mind is a blood moon night, the stubble of evergreens and a thick fog coursing through the dark expanse of the forest. Blooms of blood color the campground, arms, legs, and heads severed. Her sister’s pretty doll dress soaks up strawberries, and her father’s rich cloak is shredded at the tips, cotton edges like parchment, hardened with grime. The grass beneath her is an itch, needles into her goosebumps as the woodland shadows close in.

Her eyes skitter in panic, and she winces at every slight sound, at the creak of twigs, the howl of the wind and the wretched growlings of the monster rippling through the trees. Her family is faceless, nameless, massacred, and she is the only one left alive, shackled in her mental tortures.

She does not know what it is- only that it assumes the form of a wolf and that it has extracted their mandibles, leaving them intact with the gums. The jaws are crowns on the grass, perfectly donned upon nature’s unruly kingdom.

They grin.

Scarlett recoils.

The wolf bustles through the timbers again and she tastes copper as her survival instincts kick in. For a flash, the beast morphs into a silk demon, a dash of white-silver before it changes into a charcoal black.

Wind dashes her hair. Fur touches her skin.

All the teeth of her family vanished. Scarlett bites down to assure hers are still there and they ping with pain at the pressure. She grits them, the nails-on-chalkboard sensation being the only comfort she can manage to provide herself. Despite it, her fear amounts as the beast circles around one more time, waiting to pounce at any given moment.

The body parts disappear.

Scarlett takes that as her cue to run, dashing through the barbarous trees, bone-cracking leaves under every step. Her father’s cloak soars upon her shoulders as the shadows of the forest intertwine, ropes of the forgotten ghosts trying to force her into the black cauldron of death, to poison her limbs with acute soreness, but she instead speeds quicker than ever before. To halt is not an option.

She reaches the estate. The marbella house flashes with a strike of lightning, the first thunderous orchestra hit before the rain downpours in a sheet over Scarlett’s locks. She cannot discern her tears from the weather, and panics in search of a place to hide.

In the end, she finds the blemished shack. Rains trickle from the roof like blood from an old open wound, thick and mud-caked, as they threaten to ruin the only memory of her father. She is warm in the lab coat, warm in scientific certainty. This did not happen, it is all a dream, right?

Scarlett examines the cobwebs of silk in the corner, which crawl with termites eating away at the plastic strings. Their pincers suck at the thin ropes and nibble on the minuscule cilia upon them, the bedbugs squirming in her psyche as she recalls the warning her dad had given her prior. Reason critters away to a bedtime story:

The m-monster lives inside the s-shack. Never go in there.

The door pounds. Her heart as well.

No. No. No.

It creaks open.

“Ms. Stone?”

The taxidermist heaves a sigh. Raven.

“Are you alright? You look very pale.”

“I am fine- unfine… I have awakened from the most frightening of dreams– an endless nightmare.”

“Tell me everything. You may hold your fears with me.” Raven takes Scarlett’s hands, thumb gleaning over the skin. Her nail nicks the knuckles.

“Ah- I shall not worry you. Your mind must be tangled with thoughts, walking down the spiral staircase of your goodbyes,” Scarlett leaves the wound unattended, “My dream does not matter.”

“What is yours to burden is mine as well-” Raven sees her missing ivories and pauses, “and are you alright?”

“Please, rest! You already have much to burden.” Seulgi commands, soft when caressing her lover’s cheek, “You look terribly ill.”

Ill?

Raven takes a peek at her image in Scarlett’s dresser mirror, gazing at her wilted white skin- reminiscent of that devil’s appearance. There are gullies under her eyes, which are tempted to erupt with fire at any given time. Her nose is a crooked beak, her hair is disheveled, and her wolfine teeth are beginning to bud from the tops of her gums.

A line of rose blood marks where Scarlett touched her, and her hideous appearance blushes. She tries her finger upon it, and sucks her nail, intoxicated with the appetizer. Terribly ill, the concern echoes in her consciousness, She cares for me too much.

“Do go to bed. I will extract your teeth tomorrow morning.” Scarlett says.

Raven refutes, “No, finish. Be quick before I starve.”

“Starve?”

“Of your love, darling.”

Scarlett grins, holes in her bridgework like the floorboards of the hobbit Raven lived in prior. She imagines insects crawling out and she wants to crush them all red, to devour their sweet taste. As had been done with the illustration on the wall… probably one of her fits again.

“Say aah-!” The taxidermist was glad to have her angel back.

Raven chuckles, “Do not baby me; I am not a child for you to pander. Tug them with no mercy. Let me feel pain.”

“Then why are you so lit-“

The wolf girl targets her.

Scarlett shifts to her desk and retrieves her tools, quickly hacking out four ivories without any hesitation. She is focused on her work, dry of emotion as she clears out the mandibles, in a flow state. Raven is just another animal, a bear, a bird, or a wolf and is close to death, haggard and lifeless as her eyes wrinkle in the twilight hours of the night. Scarlett can see the prick of each extraction, the peculiar chaos in her subject’s mouth, but the taxidermist refuses to halt. Panic suffocates her.

21..22…23…

“I am eshaaausted,” Raven is a neanderthal with her words.

“Do you want to go to bed?”

“Yesh.”

“Whatever you say,” Scarlett gives her a wistful smile.

Her love takes bedrest and buries herself under the frost tipped sheets, pulling them close as they embrace her with warm passionate spirits. The pillow is a feathered icebox, cold comfort and raindrops as she dozes off into a peaceful slumber.

Scarlett watches her in the marble bath, head bobbing upon the water as her eyes roll back. Her porcelain surface chipped and the water roiled of pearl dust fog. Raven was an oyster, to be hacked open, to drown in the poison of her sins, but she never had been.

The taxidermist was present at the ritual drowning this afternoon, when sun prismed and thin shadows twined upon the open washroom. Her love was a divine sight behind her canvas, a glass girl in the ocean, fading away in her web of lies. Impressions of light and shadow cascaded her form, dignifying her as a classic. Venus of Urbino. An honor to paint, and in the near future, an honor to stuff.

Of course, what Raven was doing was an oddity, mysterious as usual. Sister Joyce had said it was baptism, a refreshing daily routine, and Sister Yvette had said it was a curse, one that she always had to clean up after. The artist saw it for what it was behind the curtains of courtesy: a suicide attempt.

Raven had always counted to thirty-two twice; it was an odd even number, double of the sixteen lustrous parties she hosted this month, half of the sixty-four gowns the guests wore to each and the exact number of human teeth in their fake smiles. In a way, the water was her own fancy, gossips whispered from the tendrils of hair that floated above. Her nose was strangled in a liquid choke of soap murmurs, mouth silenced in fear of the ocean’s inquisition. She kept her eyes open, bitter and burning, to gaze at the chandelier above, crystals of color that blurred under the sea. Was this what she saw when she died? Was this her god?

Raven never answered the question.

She would always rise from the water in a fit of coughs, a flop in her loose drapery of silk, but on that day she arose to see Scarlett staring. Her eyes were mirrors, her presence like a gentle tide during forceful winds, Irene’s appearance a haze within them. Paradoxical.

“You did it again,” Scarlett whimpered.

“Why are you here, my love? Do you not have some other fucking shit to do other than stalk me?” Raven’s rude words scribbled across her canvas.

Scarlett went cold, skin prickled with goosebumps.

“Sorry, I was harsh…” Raven attempted to thread through them. Needles. “This is typically a private time.”

“Should I leave?” Scarlett asked.

“Join me.”

Scarlett shed her lab coat like a snakeskin, slithering into the bath, water drained to the ankles. Like the beach. Like the waves that threaten to swallow me whole.

She huddled into Raven’s side, nose buried in the cape of her neck, the cold metal of her spectacles grazing her beloved’s chin as she stole a kiss. Raven chuckled, gazing down at her as the Virgin Mary. Their love yawned with steam, humid as they pulled closer, faces sculpted by the early morning light. They ate breakfast, impolite, mouths open rather than closed, their affections muted chews with the sudden ivory scratches of silverware, jousting as they motioned against each other. Scarlett hummed, sun on her tongue as she burned bright with Raven’s love. Their delirious dream of love.

Silks fluttered by Scarlett’s wet fabrics, mopped upon her pillowcase shirt and tight black pants as Irene laughed, splashing vapors onto her cheeks.

“I want to die,” Raven said, “My happiness, my luxury, my -you…” she caressed her lover’s countenance, “is not deserved.”

Scarlett squeezed her arm, “Why is it not?”

“You hope for a lie,” Raven declares, “A lie that would take the universe to unwind. A lie that has seeped into every kiss I have given you. No matter how I try to run away, to claw, to waltz, to drown, I will never be free. Unless you release me.”

“Raven-” Scarlett let go of her.

“I want you to accept this,” She whispered, handing her a tube. Cyanide.

The silver vial now rests in Scarlett’s palm as she lays by her sleeping beauty, unsure of what to do. She is encapsulated in tangled locks, damp with bathwater sweat as she gazes towards the eve of Raven’s back. A bite is what the artist desires, but she shall not make haste. She instead reverts to her duty and takes the tweezers, sliding the vial onto her bedside table. Slowly, she parts Raven’s lips. Her metallic pinchers click upon the last tiles of teeth as a mallet to a xylophone as she plays an ominous tune. She is ripped between two options: Either keep her teeth until the morning, or pull them out, right at this moment.

Scarlett’s mind crawls with termites, Her death will be soon. You will keep the promise this time.

She eyes the vial again and grabs it off her desk. The poison roils within the glass upon her heartbeat hands. Her whole body is in a tremor and her brows furrow in the earthquake, a tremendous force that only affects her in the aftermath of the rainstorm weaving away. She is sick; there is a certain canine trying to claw his way in again. She tries to breathe, to stay calm, but her breaths only suffocate her, as she inhales hacks of sharp air into her fragile lungs.

The vial crashes upon the floor, glass splintered as her teeth before. Or the other way around. He knocks on the door, a constant beating in Scarlett’s tell tale heart. Louder. Louder.

The beast ripples through the trees. Louder. Louder. Louder.

Thunder booms once more, strings of the rains in a rising crescendo, her heart fluttering as a flautist’s trill as thousands of faint reflections stare at Scarlett through the shards. The teeth are in crooked grins, cascading by the frosts of cyanide.

Louder. Louder. He howls in her head. The beast circles around her legs and snarls at her, soap frost poison burbling upon his jaws. His canines remind her of the forest again, the rows of evergreens as the shadowy sinews close in. She runs. Louder. Louder. Louder. She shutters towards the mirror, knuckles gasping at the edges of the dresser as she takes in her being- cracked chalk skin, voracious gullies beneath her florid eyes, and the canines that once belonged to her wolf.

I am terribly ill. Terribly, terribly…

She is choked in the noose of her own identity- a mangled sketch of her “sister” and “father” whom she barely knew but only stalked in the night, rippling through the trees.

Silence. All is still and Raven is coddled up in the bedchamber, undead.

Scarlett makes haste over to her lover’s side, brushing away the bothersome flings of hair to reveal her forehead. Her pinky nicks the skin.

“I must tell you of my deformity,” She leans over Raven’s skull and gifts her a small kiss on the scar. A crescent moon cut.

Raven awakens, soft despite the irritation, and gazes at her lover’s blood lined lips. Her eyes trail up Scarlett’s jagged claws, the glints of her fangs and the bog willows of her ruffled locks, only to find her own reflection staring back at her. She repositions herself to sit on the bed, the last of her canine teeth jutting out. The only copper words Irene dares to whisper are, “You have the illness…”

“Indeed. I am an untrained medic,” Scarlett laughs bitterly at her own joke.

Irene cries, “Why did you keep this away?” Tears sting her lashes, as a single ashen droplet slivers down her sunken cheek. Her weeps morph to howls, “Why?”

“Why did you?”

“I-I- …I am so sorry.”

“Give me no apology,” Scarlett quotes her, “After all, a lie takes the universe unwind.”

“And once it is unwound, what is left?”

Raven gnashes her teeth, and bites into her beloved’s crimson lips as she finishes the sentiment. Scarlett snaps back.

They both bloom like roses, blurred maroons and blood moons shifting over them as they parse out each other’s bodices and eat the tender flesh inside. Fangs line their multiple layers of jaws and spike the canals of midnight-hued gums, spiral stairways to endless dark. Scarlett hooks her prey onto the sheets, as she capers away at chunks of flesh. Corpa, venter, pectus, humerus, collum, oculus… She memorizes her and ravages her body, part by part, preserving the delicate center for last.

Raven snaps hellfire. Her teeth sink into Scarlett’s stomach, gouging her way up the torso as her sabers plunge into her body and scratch the skeleton. Raven’s scissorhands sever the skin with scars as the membranes swivel around her lover’s bare-bones, organs juiced and devoured in her jaws. The fruit of her love.

Blood stains the bed, now weighty with the liquid, mattress sloshing in the rickety wooden frame. The monsters are kneeling upon it, talons at each other’s cigarette scarred chests.

Scarlett croaks, “Ms. Wick…”

“What is left?” Raven guts her beloved and holds her heart, “Answer me!”

“Are you hurt?” Scarlett rambles. She carves out her lover’s heart with soft gestures, her scalpel like pinky claw imprinting the skin.

Raven’s eye widens, since the other was holed, “I am. It hurts, but it is the truth- my heart on your rosewood desk.” The organ flops onto Scarlett’s claws.

“But, now that we are wretched beings… what is left for us?” Raven asks.

“Love is left.” Scarlett grins.

Raven grins back.

Neither of them recoil.

~

The dawn breaks and sunlight filters through the window onto their human figures. It outlines them, their forms dipping in light and shadow, defined yet blurry in the midsummer’s rays. They are in a soft embrace, as Raven’s lips smile into Scarlett’s shoulders and the warm lily bleached sheets blanket them together. Their scalps both share a single pillow as their hair sprawls and swirls upon the bed, lashes crusted before the birdcall of a new day.

“Stoneeee…” Raven yawns, hot air upon her collarbone, “Morning?”

The sheets fold a “yes” as Scarlett nods. She takes hold of Raven’s small hand, kisses the fingertips, and bites the cuticles, hungry from last night. The moon scar still marks her hand, now an ashen symbol as she motions for a peck. Irene delivers, and it glows red around the edges and she gets up, stretching. Scarlett watches as the muscle of her tender back expands, corset loose around her ribcage.

Raven gazes back at her love, face painted by shadow. “Come,” she says, “Embrace me some more.”

“Here you go…” Scarlett’s voice is gruff as she wraps Raven in a bear hug.

“Go on,” Raven dares her to come close, “I bite.”

Scarlett takes her request and kisses her lips once more. It is not grandiose nor explosive- it simply is. Blissfully light, as the flower petals in the wind, as the light cascading upon the dewdrop mansions outdoors, and as the people inside unaware of the thunderous storm the previous night. It foreshadows the white heavens which would welcome them as the sand does the sea.

Raven pulls away, giddy as a child as she takes Scarlett’s hand and says, “We can go outside, if you desire to. If you are not afraid or-”

“I can,” Scarlett puffs out her chest in a juvenile show of bravery.

They button up angel wing coats before Raven tugs Scarlett away and clicks the door to a close. The martyr is hung upon it, bloody remains and organs as the forgotten body threatens to wither away. Scarlett follows her as they pass through the hall and stairway, blooms of blood upon the floor, arms and legs obstructing the path. The outdoors are breathless, clouds whipping the sky in light strokes, a graphite sketch of churches upon the street under a pale moon-sun. All of the gothic cityscape is drawled out on white parchment as the light consumes them.

Their white dusted figures flock to the cathedral nearby, hands interlocked as they look upon the building. The stained glass windows beckon them to hurry inside, a curious eye watching over them, eloquent rays of light casting illustrative designs upon their faces. Raven and Scarlett look at each other, at once agreeing to proceed.

They flutter through the barracks of benches and bibles to the altar, to see the Savior upon the Catholic cross. A gruesome sight- rose thorn crown, bolts in the palms, and the expression of anguish on his countenance as he bears the weight of all of humanity’s sins. The shadows flank him, and squares of light illuminate the girls in the ultimate reversal. The two devils smirk; he was not going to rise up any time soon. Judea had won.

Raven and Scarlett embrace each other, in a reverie, gazing longingly into the crystal twilights of each others’ irises. Their eyes are orbs of glass.

~

A tooth is not the stubby stump a child finds under a pillow.

Its true form is long and slender, two of them strung upon a serpentine string of endless lies. Two of them mangled corpses, bloodied, bruised, and feasted on, drunk on saltwater cyanide.

The Keyboard

To create a story is to create a world and characters so vivid that the reader cannot bear to accept it as only fiction. To create a story is to allow the reader to breach a space that fundamentally belongs to the writer, and as they peer into its depths, it becomes its own reality. I’m awed that it is me who lurks behind a keyboard and builds worlds, that it is me who toys with the nonexistent reader’s emotions and plays god to my characters. Despite being wholly unqualified, I try to create stories that will entrance readers and lure them into the make-believe.

The story’s foundation is built in the writer’s imagination, in isolation and darkness, hidden and inaccessible. It begins as an idea that is so easily blown beyond reach. The barest brush at the edge of one’s consciousness and then nothing at all, a wisp of smoke, a dying flame, a final breath. The idea is sneaky, a small mouse hiding and darting across the edges of vision when no one’s looking. To capture the idea, one must be constantly vigilant, hunting and prepared to pounce. The pen sets the trap. At the briefest whisper of an idea floating by, the pen is touched to paper. It rips across the page. It constructs an inescapable prison to store the idea so it will never be forgotten. The keyboard bides its time in the background, preparing for the war it anticipates.

Once captured, the idea is welcomed into the brain. In the mind, the idea festers. It swelters and parasitically feeds on thoughts, leaving no space for anything else. It grows like a fungus, and you allow it, nurture it, cherish it. The idea is a needy infant. It requires constant care and attention to grow. The mind is the mother, willingly throwing all of herself to the idea. It soon eats too many thoughts and is too large to contain within the mind anymore. Pieces of the idea overflow and escape and the mind frantically tries to recapture them, but there is too much. The idea can no longer be contained. It demands to be free, yet the keyboard continues to lie patiently in wait. Brief notes are scribbled, but the keyboard remains mostly untouched as the idea grows into something worthy of it.

Pen cannot keep pace with the flood of ideas that pours from the mind during the exodus. Something always escapes while the pen is preoccupied with decadent flourishes. One must turn to the keyboard to find what the pen lacks: speed. There is something beautiful about the pen, about thoughts flowing in one’s own hand, but as speed increases, legibility is sacrificed. Even the most perfect words are worthless if they cannot be deciphered. The keyboard is cold and mechanical, but endearing, as it never once falters at the barrage of letters that spill from the fingers in a hurricane of story. Every flailing limb of the idea struggles and pushes to escape first. They tug and demand and pull the consciousness every which way. The keyboard is attacked, the fingers venomously striking the letters, matching the speed of the rushing ideas and the keyboard’s hunger for words. Clicking fills the air and becomes music.

The idea is sloppily captured on the page in the rush. Word vomit is splattered to the edges of the sheet, contradictory and directionless and pointless. There are ugly words and cloudy images that must be refined or excised. My mind changes from a loving mother to a soulless surgeon. The love I felt for the leaching idea becomes clinical detachment as I appraise the words with a critical eye. With cold efficiency, I slice into my story, butcher it, maim it, the backspace pummeled, even as my heart cracks and shrivels. I raze my story, decimating the contradictory, the directionless, the pointless, with knives and guns and bombs and keys blazing. It becomes a war zone. Unrecognizable. I assault the keys, my anger expressed through the ferocity of the frantic strokes. The keyboard finds a cruel joy in the vicious destruction of all the words it ever loved.

And then I slow and melt from the violence-starved butcher to the artist. I paint over the fractures with beautiful words. The keys are pressed slowly, gently, each letter carefully considered and caressed. The furious typing is replaced with a graceful dance as the story grows. I nurture the story, feed it and love it once more with beautiful words until it blooms into something lovely, but this time my love is requited. The story sheds its ravenous hunger. It is content and complete. It no longer impedes on my every thought. It settles, finally placated. I breathe a sigh of relief, the battle over and casualties counted.

All throughout the creating and expelling and destroying and rebuilding of the story, the keys clatter. It’s deafening. It’s a wild dance of only the hands. A key is pressed lightly and the finger moves on. There is no proof that the key ever changed except for the letter that has burst into existence like a firework. The letter’s moment of glory is immediately surpassed by the next letter that appears, then the next and next, like bullets fired in quick succession. It quickly becomes nothing on its own, insignificant, but powerful taken in tandem with the other letters. The keyboard hungers for these words. It will become enamored with a beautiful turn of phrase, a romantic. It will encourage a mediocre one to flower, a friend. It will ruthlessly slaughter an inadequate one, a slayer.

The keyboard, a thin, unassuming sheet of squares, is so much more than what it seems. It houses the twenty-six letters, a meaningless jumble of symbols that combine into an innumerable number of words, which are combined in endless, infinitely different sentences and paragraphs and pages and stories. The keyboard allows stories to be told, to exist. It allows worlds to be created and demolished. It is the conduit through which stories can leave a writer’s mind and come alive. And yet, unlike the story, the keyboard does not gloat nor posture. It elegantly accepts praise and continues to work, bearing the vicious tirade of punching fingers as it destroys and creates from ruins.


Connect with me on Twitter @arachnid_weaver.

The Garden of (American) Dreams

Greetings, humans. I’m going to steal another post from English class because it’s just so easy. I will most likely continue to do this. Therefore, expect uncharacteristic, serious topics like this because that’s what we do in English, though I will attempt to make them lighthearted and entertaining because that’s what I do always.

This week’s topic was the American Dream. (We’re reading The Great Gatsby.) Background: The American Dream is the idea that in America is the land of opportunity, that anyone can achieve their dreams no matter where they start if they work hard. However, the American Dream appears to be an ideal that’s not real for many.


Let us imagine a garden. This garden is imaginary because as we established in the last post, I am a terrible gardener and any real garden of mine would surely turn to either a field of gravel or a luscious plastic paradise. This imaginary garden is actually where my last remaining cactus now lives.

So let us imagine this garden together. There’s a fence. In fact, it is a white picket fence. The garden is a predictable and neat rectangle. As this garden is imaginary, there are many different microbiomes and the plants are semi-sentient. Predictably, every fresh-faced, dewy young plant has the exact same dream: to grow in the sun-warmed soil, to spread their leaves, to photosynthesize, to exist, to be. But often to be the greenest, to outgrow and outcompete all the other plants, to spread their roots the widest and spread their seeds the farthest, to be the most beautiful plant, the most useful, to live in luxury, to be glorious, to have more.

In the center of the garden, we have the prime spot. There’s a tree that provides shade for those snobbish plants that need something like three hours of full sun and an hour and thirty-eight minutes of partial shade. The center of the garden has the most fertile soil. It’s a deep chocolate, like crumbled, moist brownies. It’s imported from an earth-like exoplanet that has far superior soil, untouched by human pollution. The center plants require vintage wine and hand-fed grapes every six hours. In addition to exquisite wine, the plants are fed melted ice water only from the purest snow of the Arctic. It’s a lovely place to be, but it’s rather small and exclusive. All the plants there have been there for generations, and when they die and rot in the chocolate soil, their seeds take root and grow where they died. As they will always grow and die in the center patch. Life is good in the center; sure, they have their problems, like everyone else, but it’s hard not to envy the center. The center patch of the garden is what all the other plants want, what we work towards, but the plants in the center just had the luck to grow there, I suppose, just like any other plant had the luck to grow where they grew. And we can’t really blame the center plants for being center plants; they didn’t choose for their seeds to be there, just like the plants in the desert didn’t choose to be there. But that doesn’t stop us from hating them, or at least the idea of them, a little bit. Their vintage wine and Arctic snow-melt and imported dirt…. Jealousy and a sense of entitlement are a bitter mix.
Most of the plants grow in the area encircling the center. Life’s pretty good for us. We don’t have the purest water, but it’s still clean, human-grade drinking water that rains down on us like clockwork from the sprinklers. Sometimes we’re thirsty, but most of the time we’re not. There are no shade plants, and the sun sometimes burns, but most of the time it’s warm. The dirt isn’t great, but it’s good. We don’t have imported soil, but we do get store-bought, eutrophying nitrogen fertilizer occasionally. Life’s pretty amazing actually, and yet we moan and envy the center patch. It’s only natural. After a plant’s grown some, reached its old plant dreams, it isn’t usually satisfied. It makes new dreams. It doesn’t stop growing, it wants more. It’s only plant nature. We can’t really blame ourselves for wanting, but we can’t help but be a little disgusted.

There are also other areas in which plants struggle but where it’s not quite so bad as the desert, such as the bog and the mud pits and the marsh and the patch of eternal darkness in the corner. However, we will only mention them in passing because this is already far too long and there’s still much more gardening to be done.

The desert is the worst of the worst place to be, Supreme Cactus help those who end up there. It only gets water when the fickle clouds feel like it, and even then it falls from the gutter. The only other source of water is when a stray cat bothers to urinate on it. The sun burns, an inescapable oppression; the “soil” is cracked and dry, indistinguishable from the rock of the moon, where no plant dares grow. Contrary to expectations, there are plants in these inhospitable wastelands, where the days are brutal and the nights are brutal and where no plant belongs. There are a few plants, my cactus, for instance, who grew up in the desert and thrived. We point at these exceptions and exclaim, “Look! It is possible to reach the dream, even from the desert with nothing to begin. The other desert plants must not be trying hard enough. They must be irresponsible or unintelligent to not have beaten the impossible odds. In this garden, all you need is hard work to reach the dream, not luck or good soil or anything else. Those other plants must have gotten what they deserve.” The desert is spreading, you know, mingling with the middle patch as we erode our lands with unsustainable agriculture. This terrifies us. It makes our soil all the more precious. Oh, we care. We sympathize. We toss the desert our excess water, some fertilizer, to soothe our consciences. We worry and talk and read and write stupid articles about gardening, but at the same time, we clutch our soil all the tighter because Can you imagine living in the desert? and watch the center patch like hungry cats. We shrug and think, “Well, there isn’t enough space here for everyone. Someone needs to live in the desert.” But most of the time we don’t think about the desert at all. It’s only at the fringes of the garden. We can barely even see it. And the plants in the desert? They can barely see us. The desert is infinite, all-consuming, inescapable. The “dream” belongs in quotation marks for the desert. It is a joke. A whisper of a possibility you’d need a microscope to see. As Langston Hughes, an eloquent shrub, put it, “America never was America to me.” (To make this quote work, we’re going to pretend I named my garden “America,” even though I would never name a garden, let alone such an idyllic name, the pessimist that I am. Note that I don’t like metaphors and that this is absolutely not a metaphor for anything. It is simply an imaginary garden that I have to replace the real garden I failed to sustain.)

We must also mention the weeds: the dandelion seeds that float over the fence, the clover that crops up from nowhere. We see them as ugly. We spray them with weed-killer (poisoning nature). We call them “foreign,” “invaders,” “aliens,” like the little green imposters from Mars who plant themselves among us. We think they’re taking our space, that we somehow deserve the garden more because we were here first, like petulant children claiming toys (The native grasses were here first anyway. Kentucky Bluegrass is actually from Europe). We believe our dreams of glorious plant life are somehow worth more than theirs, even though we all dream the same dreams at night. We will correct this error here: dandelion and clover are beautiful and these “weeds” are flowers, actually.

That is all I have to say. I have no profound conclusion. But I am a mere semi-sentient plant and can therefore barely have thoughts, let alone profound ones. Goodbye, humans. Dream of gardens tonight.

Note: Maybe I won’t kill this garden. Since it’s not real, it shouldn’t die unless I want it too, right?

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Writing in the Middle of the Night

The middle of the night is the perfect time to write. I lay buried under blankets, staring into the deep darkness, my eyes dry and unblinking, and I travel worlds in my mind. I can let go of my earthly obligations to be a functioning human bean and transcend the boundaries between this world and the one I’ve created. It’s when plots solidify and worlds unfold.

This intense thinking, of course, comes with detrimental effects to my sleep and therefore harms my daily functioning. I slog through the day on far less sleep than I should have since I stayed up late into the night daydreaming (also known as teleporting).

Despite doing much of my writing in the middle of the night, I think I’d prefer to be a daytime writer, but alas, my mind seems to be otherwise occupied during the day. I simply can’t stare off into the distance melodramatically for hours.

Aside from sleepiness, writing at night comes with many other drawbacks. As most of the writing happens in my head, I forget much of it the next day. Not only do I forget it, I forget about its existence, as well, so I don’t even attempt to retrieve the idea from the depths of my brain.

When I think of a lovely idea, I get up and write it on a sticky note, which I stick to my night table. This way, writing at night works like a filter — or my own laziness is the filter — because I can only be bothered to write down the good ideas and the bad ones are discarded and quickly forgotten. But it’s sad that the mediocre ideas, the ones that just need a little love and attention before they become adequate, are tossed too. (It should be noted that what I think are good ideas with my sleep-addled brain usually don’t seem so great in the morning.)

The sticky notes are becoming a problem. I usually leave them on the nightstand and transcribe them to my computer on the weekends. But sometimes, when I’m lazy, they just stick to my nightstand and collect dust. And the sticky notes quickly build up until they’re covering every inch of my nightstand, usually three or four sticky notes deep. At this point of the sticky note apocalypse, I move on to sticking them onto my bed frame. And the process repeats itself. It hasn’t gotten that bad yet, but I imagine if this trend were to continue, the walls near my bed would be next and then the sticky notes will slowly encroach on every part of my room, spreading like a fungus, until my room becomes a sticky note paradise. But don’t worry — I’m not the stereotypical potential serial killer yet.

Names and Saying Them

I have the horrible habit of, in my head, calling people by the name of what I think they look like instead of their actual name. For example, there could be a person named Butter, but I think they look more like a Jelly, so I’ll call them Jelly (not out loud, of course).

I’m making an effort to stop. I consciously use their actual names in my head were I to think of them. It’s in that brief moment when you first see someone when things spiral out of my control.

ARACHNID: “Hey, Butter… elly!!”

BUTTER/JELLY glares with the fire of a thousand flaming suns at ARACHNID. ARACHNID spontaneously combusts.

It’s a nightmare when you call one of your closest friends by something other than their name (that is also not an applicable nickname).

Except for a few mortifying instances, this issue thankfully doesn’t occur often because I tend to never use people’s names when I’m talking to them.

PEOPLE: Hey, Arachnid!

ARACHNID: Hi. (Note the lack of “People”)

I never really thought about not-saying-people’s-names until a few weeks ago. I can’t remember what prompted me to think about it. Possibly someone said my name and I thought, Huh. I never say that person’s name. Or maybe I was trying to get someone’s attention and my usual methods were insufficient and I had to scream their name, and it felt awkward in my mouth. When I usually try to grab someone’s attention, I put my sock on my hand, along with googly eyes that are always conveniently located in my pocket, and throw a spectacular puppet show. Sorry, just trying to get your attention, dear reader. Making sure you’re not yet bored out of your mind and simply skimming these words for any sort of emotion to break the predictable mundaneness of daily zombie living. When I usually try to grab someone’s attention, I tap their shoulders. If that fails, I’ll wave my hand obnoxiously in their face or simply give up and flop over like a deflated version of those dancing balloon people thingies outside of car washes.

On the rare occasion that I use someone’s name, I more-often-than-not stumble over it like a bunny leaping over a boulder the size of Mount Everest (I’ve lost track of that simile. OH WELL). It’s not how it looks. I know your name, I really do! Just… AHHHHH. I can pronounce words.

I think the name I stumble the most on is my own. You never really say your own name often, and with such little practice with it, I’m terrible at saying it. I can barely eke out the traditional pronunciation, and even then, I have to repeat it back to you; I can’t come up with it off the top of my head. But, as my name is my own, I get to decide how to say it, right?

Is it A-rack-nid, like a horrible hacking cough, or is it A-rah-ch-nid like that itchy rash?

The main reason I decided to go with a pseudonym (Yes, I’ll admit, it’s a pseudonym. My parents did not actually name me Arachnid Weaver. But I will deny it if you ever ask) is because the name on my birth certificate is a pain to pronounce. It’s not the worst out there, but whenever anyone asks me how to say it, I usually have to repeat it multiple times, and even then, it’s a fifty-fifty shot.

But sometimes even I don’t pronounce it right (according to the pronunciation I prefer. If we go the traditional route, I never say it right).

I was always trying to escape my name. When I was four, I asked my mom why they didn’t name me Golden Girl (I’m glad they didn’t. And, yes, four-year-old-me wanted a superhero name. She didn’t yet realize that they had secret identities. She thought Spider-Man’s parents named him “Spider-Man” as a powerless infant). When I was in kindergarten, I’d occasionally put a name other than mine on my papers (probably a pain for the teacher to sort, but at least I was consistent). When I was ten, I wanted to legally change my name for my birthday (I didn’t).

Not Human

In early elementary school, up through third or fourth grade, I’d thoroughly convinced myself that I wasn’t human. Humans were far too mundane, to unmagical for my tastes. I was absolutely certain that one day I’d wake up and my true magical potential would emerge and I wouldn’t be a lowly human anymore. I was just waiting for that day to happen and simply passing the time in my human life. My humanity was a placeholder for my true magical self.

On top of believing that I wasn’t human, I would search for magical beings everywhere. I remember intently searching for leprechauns every St. Patrick’s Day with my friends. My house had a pond in the backyard, and of course there were mermaids in the shallow pond. They were lurking under the surface, biding their time and waiting for me to sprout my tail so I could join them.

All mythical creatures weren’t created equal. Mermaid, for instance, I’d take over human any day, but it wasn’t preferential. While mermaids did have their underwater cities, I didn’t want to leave land forever. Therefore, I would be a shapeshifting mermaid so I could still come to the surface and get ice cream on the weekends.

For fairy, which was mythical creature I most wanted to be (a human-sized one, not a small one. I didn’t want to be crushed underfoot.), I imagined having wings and practiced flapping them so I’d be prepared to fly whenever they grew. I practiced folding them away and fluttering them gently when I walked. I could feel them, and I could almost see them. I was so convinced they were real that I’d even briefly considered jumping off our second floor to test them.

In third grade, I was convinced that the existence of my canine teeth indicated that I was actually a vampire or a werewolf. I couldn’t decide between the two. I managed to persuade my friends that this was true as well. It turned out they were harboring doubts about their humanity too.

When I finally came to realize that I was a mere mortal and would never sprout magic powers or wings, I turned to writing. I wrote many “novels” about mythical creatures. I wish I still had them, but most I’ve lost and some I destroyed.

In third grade, during writing time, our teacher would give us a prompt. She usually wanted us to talk about our real lives and experiences, but I decided to do my own thing and write fiction. My novel was about these three cat-fairy sisters going on a quest of some sort to save their mother. I was so excited to reach twenty pages in my composition book.

I also wrote a picture book in third grade. It was about three friends at a vampire school going on an egg hunt for solid gold eggs. It was a competition between their whole school. A race. I remember one of the eggs was stuck on the roof of the school, so they decided to blow it down. And plot twist/cliff hanger: one of the characters is actually a werewolf. *Mind blown* This was revealed by one of the eggs having a werewolf engraved on it.

Slight detour from fairy tales: In fourth grade, I wrote about a fork who was terrified of being used. It’s about how fork are superior to spoons. I hold this belief strongly to this day.

Then back to fairy tales in fifth grade, I wrote a bunch of fairy tale retellings with the villain as the misunderstood protagonist.

I also wrote a “novel” about shape-shifting mermaids. I was super excited when I hit a thousand words. *Looks at ~800 word blog post written in half-an-hour. Looks at ~1,300 word essay written for English yesterday.* This novel was written in lieu of whatever assignment we had in the computer lab. It was also my first typed story. I deleted it after it devolved into overpowered characters, no real plot, and shell phones. I wish I hadn’t.

In sixth and seventh grade, I diverged from fantasy and wrote my first dystopian, which I didn’t finish. It was about a terrible war that destroyed human life. The main character was Annie, a normal citizen who struggled to make ends meet, whose parents just laid hopelessly in bed all day watching a blank TV, and only ate peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (except the bread was secretly cardboard). The other main character was Nikki, who was a privileged girl not really even aware of the war with an aloof, uncaring father. Plot twist: the father started the whole war. Annie and Nikki would band together to stop her father, but at the end, when it really counted, Nikki would choose her father over Annie and the war would continue. The end.

What if the Day Were Eight Hours Longer?

Time is, unfortunately, limited. There is only so much you can have. It is also elusive. The slippery thing always seems to slip through your slippery fingers, doesn’t it? There never seems to be enough to go around.

They say you can make time, but can you, really? You can only rearrange time, redistribute it. Imagine that time is a carrot cake. You can give adequate slices to some, slivers to the undesirables, and crumbs to the vermin, but you still only have one cake, or twenty-four hours, to give away. If you need more time for something, you have to cut the time from something else. And unfortunately, things must be prioritized and it’s usually the things you enjoy that you find yourself having no time for.

But what if you could make more time? What if you could bake another cake? What if some gifted magician out there concentrated really hard and snapped his fingers and the day was suddenly, magically, twelve hours longer?

I was listening to a podcast, Ear Biscuits, the other day that posed this question. What if the day had an extra twelve hours? There are some stipulations: You wouldn’t need to sleep any longer and you wouldn’t have to work more. So if you truly had extra time, what would you do?

First of all, even though we don’t have to, I’d sleep more. Because couldn’t we all use some more sleep? The world would be a much happier place if only we weren’t all sleep deprived.

Second, though, I have no idea. There’s a difference between what I’d probably do and what I want to do.

In all honesty, if I had extra time, I’d most likely just work more. I’m like a goldfish, the amount of work I do expands with available time. (Note: The things about goldfish expanding with available space is a myth, but let’s just go with it because I like the analogy.) Even if I ran out of work, I’d probably find more. There’s an endless list of things I could do in order to be more productive. I could double-check my assignments, I could do the next day’s homework, I could study for the test in three weeks, I could read ahead, etc. That’s just how I roll.

However, since this is a purely hypothetical situation that can’t actually happen, let’s talk about the things I’d want to do. I’d probably just do more of the things I already do in my (rare) free time. Ergo, I’d read, write, blog, and draw more. I might even spend time with actual, real-life human beings instead of conversing with my textbooks. (I wouldn’t recommend them as partners in conversation. They’re very dull, very dry, they have poor taste in humor, and they only talk obsessively about one topic.) I might take up a new hobby, go on an adventure, who knows? I’d really like to have time to just sit and think (aka daydream) and people watch. (People can be really entertaining.)

So, in conclusion, this year, I’m going to try to be more efficient at doing my homework and I’m going to attempt to not go overboard with the amount I work, all in order to create free time. Think of it like I’m concentrating my work into a smaller sliver of time, without diluting the quality, somehow. (Except it’s not really true that it’s my New Year’s Resolution. I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I think if you have a goal or some plan for self-improvement, you shouldn’t wait for the New Year as an excuse to start. That seems a bit like procrastinating. Make your goal happen now. And besides, New Year’s Resolutions are notorious for never being kept anyway. My goal isn’t really a New Year’s Resolution. It’s a goal I’ve had since October, but one I’ve utterly failed at. I just thought I should tie in this post to the New Year somehow because I didn’t want yet another holiday to pass by without acknowledgement.)

And what would you do, dear nonexistent reader, if you suddenly found twelve extra hours plopped into your hands?

The Nightmare of Dentistry

I went to the dentist today. I despise the dentist.

But I have no cavities! Aren’t you so EXCITED that I have no cavities?! *Jazz hands*

I dislike the dentist so much because of the way they put their fingers in your mouth. Yes, they wear gloves, but still.

It’s also really wet. Yes, that drool sliding down your chin is yours, but it’s still spit. And it belongs in your mouth. And what about that suspicious clear liquid on the dentist’s glove? Is it water, or is it SPIT? My spit, but STILL!

Even more than doctorism, dentistry is one job I could never do. Day in and day out, you’re just sticking your hands in people’s mouths. So applause to all the dentists of the world for risking their sanity in order to keep people’s mouths cavity, pain, and dirt-free. *Claps*

ALSO. If there are any dentist out there reading this, please educate me on the rules of dentist-appointment etiquette. What the heck are you supposed to do with your tongue?!

  • Put it at the bottom of your mouth?
  • The roof of your mouth?
  • Follow the fingers/tools? This is what I tend to do. I try not to, but it’s not a conscious thing. Sometimes I remember not to, sometimes I don’t. But if I were the dentist and the patient were doing this…
    • Arachnid the Dentist (screams): AHHH! THE TONGUE IS ATTACKING ME!!! (Runs out of the office, leaving the patient strapped to the chair with multiple sharp objects in their mouth.)
  • Curl it up at the back of your mouth?
  • Lick the dentist’s tools?

When I’m at the dentist, I feel like a puppet. A very stressed puppet. Because here I am at the dentist’s mercy (I mean, if they wanted to, they could stab your mouth with those pointy tools) with sweat dripping down my back and the bright lights glaring at my eyes, masked dentists leaning above me with sharp tools at their disposal, thinking about all the other mouths these tools have touched (It’s the same principle as using a fork a restaurant), while the dentists are conversing with each other like normal human beings, occasionally asking you to tilt your head or open your mouth wider.

Why Diversity is Important in Media

I am an Indian human (technically Bangladeshi—but is that nationality? (Is it even my nationality since I was born in Canada? What IS a nationality? (I think my nationality is either Canadian or American and my ethnicity is Bangladeshi, but that is probably incorrect)). What even is the actual term for my race [I just did some minor Googling and I couldn’t find anything. There are multiple races from Bangladesh] I always just went with Indian (Bangladesh is on the Indian subcontinent) or generic brown).

So I have the average black hair, black eyes, and brown skin combo. But when I was a kid, I thought I was blond with blue eyes.

Seriously.

This wasn’t a color identification issue. If you gave me paint swatches, I could tell you black, brown, yellow, smaragdine, blue, etc.

This was because I had no idea what being blond with blue eyes actually meant. (Or what an Indian person was.) I thought it was a unanimous characteristic for hair and eyes. All hair is stringy, and all hair is blond. All eyeballs are round, and all eyeballs are blue. I watched a LOT of Barbie movies (and Dora the Explorer) and Barbie is blond with blue eyes. Therefore, all humans are blond with blue eyes (or they’re talking animals [thanks Dora]).

Person trying to teach me colors: What color are your hair and eyes?

Mini Arachnid: Blond and blue. (Note that Mini Arachnid has a giant mass of tangled black hair and giant, unblinking black eyes.)

I remember in kindergarten we had to fill out a questionnaire with our eye colors. I don’t quite remember what purpose this served. The options were brown, blue, and green. I chose blue.

When my parents corrected me…

Mini Arachnid (jaw drops): WHAAAAT?

So I asked them what their eye colors are, and they said black. This ensued in another round of dramatic gasping because black wasn’t on the list of options. But their drivers’ licenses listed their eye colors as black. So clearly someone was lying.

So, in conclusion, diversity is important because it prevents confusion among young children.

 

Ask TheWebWeavers || How do I tell my parents I’m moving?

John Siebelink asks…

Dear Arachnid,

So, I’ve been planning to move out to California for almost two years now, but because I’m not too close with my parents I haven’t said a single thing to them about it. How do I bring it up that I’ve been planning it for so long without them accusing me of another rash decision I’ve been known to make in the past?

This was sent in early June. So I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now. But I’m going to answer the question anyway. Maybe it’ll help someone else in an eerily similar situation.

So. I think you have to convince your parents that this is not, in fact, a rash decision. Show them that you’ve learned from the past. You said in your letter that you’ve been planning for two years. So WE know that it’s not a rash decision. You’ve put so much effort into planning the move, it’s anything but. So how do you tell your parents that?

This is going to sound silly, but what if you made a PowerPoint with every last detail of your move planned out. Your job, where you’re going to live, a plan to get an apartment/buy a house, your movers, etc. This will probably be helpful for you as well, to figure out any last minute details.

If your plans are rock solid and well-thought out, your parents will know it’s not a rash decision.


Do you have any questions that need answering? Send them to Ask TheWebWeavers using the Contact Page. Please specify if you want your letter to be anonymous. If you want the world to know who you are (otherwise known as this small corner of the internet), we’ll add a link to your blog to help spread the love.

The Horrors of Highschool Homecoming

It was really loopy.

I mean loopy in all ways possible. It’s probably the only word I can use other than the ambiguous “fun”.

My friend, LeRain and I walked around from the gym to the cafeteria for the first hour, talking to her band friends while I regretted my class decisions. (I didn’t take band because I’m trash at ze flute and drawing interested me more.)

It was kind of boring at that point and the only thing that saved it from being that way was the yummy ice cones and this physical Angry Birds game. So the game basically went like this: step on the wooden thing and try desperately to knock down a tower of plastic bricks. Easy, right?

Wrong. It was so hard for me, even with my eight-inch heels (that’s a story for another post) to get the bird to hit the building. I knocked down the tower once in the twentyish tries I had. At times like this, I question why angry birds don’t have wings.   

After that, I met up with my other friend, Ash. She was dancing with her friend, Zip and introduced her to me. We danced a bit in the gym then went to the cafeteria since we were a bit tired. This was when the loopiness began.

Since the Gatorade was an odd grey color, we joked around that it was laced with illegal substances. We laughed so much that Ash spilled some of her drink on her dress. A guy passed by and said that it looked like a private part of the human body and snickered.

In an attempt to cover it up I gave her my Spanish crossword (which was due the next day) and tucked it under her dress so it looked like a bib. We walked out of the lunchroom then, Ash looking magnificent.

Outside the cafeteria, I saw a girl who had THE SAME EXACT dress as me and I just started laughing so much because of all the odd events that were somehow circulating around me. The girl probably thought I laced my own Gatorade with illegal substances because that’s what I sounded like at the time. I managed to say “Nice dress,” before promptly making my exit from her glaring radius.

Later, Ash, Zip, LeRain and I all went to the gym and played a game similar to Mad Libs. We danced more afterward, joining a dancing circle of freshmen doing stupid dances. Once in the middle, Ash danced like a goddess, but then was suddenly bombarded by two girls doing a sickening butt-slapping dance. Luckily, all was back to normal when this person went in the middle and started to do the chicken dance with incredible finesse. I think now I fully understand why people call highschoolers “weird”.

Lastly, LeRain and I did a slow dance to “A Thousand Years” since we were both third wheels to a couple. The song was a nice end to the rather loopy event.

I Accidentally Dented My Wall… With a Comb

This week has been a long series of mishaps and general clumsiness. But after I got over the sheer mortification, it’s actually kinda funny.

So. STORY TIME.


How I Dented the Wall With a Comb

I was doing my homework this weekend, and a comb was on my desk. Now, this was a rather hefty comb. And I got very annoyed at this comb for being on my desk. (I know, I know. The comb’s only fault was existing. It didn’t deserve its fate.) So, I did the only rational thing and decided to get it out of my sight and into the closet. But… I decided to throw it into the closet instead of calmly walking it to the closet. Cuz, yeah. Maybe I was a bit frustrated. And true, I wasn’t frustrated at the comb. I was angry at my homework, but I couldn’t very well rip up my homework. So I threw the comb at the closet. And I’m not particularly athletic, and I don’t have particularly good aim nor descent hand-eye coordination. So, I completely missed the pile of clothes at the bottom of my closet and instead hit the wall. And I kinda sorta made a dent.

BUT.

At least it’s not a hole.


How I Nearly Killed a Flute With My Clumsiness

And a few days before that, I was in band class, sitting between the people who sit to my left and right. We will call them Leftie and Rightie for simplicity. So I turned my stand and knocked Leftie’s flute OFF OF HER STAND.

Leftie, unlike me, has very good reflexes and lovely hand-eye coordination, so she somehow, like a SUPERHERO, managed to catch her flute MIDAIR, while I was shouting “ohmygodI’msosorry.”

BUT.

Five minutes later…

I knocked my stand over and Leftie AGAIN manages to catch it in midair.

AND.

Half an hour later…

I knocked my flute into Rightie’s stand and dented it. (The flute, not the stand. Which is unfortunate because I’d rather the stand was the dented one.)


How I Burned a Bunch of Rubber in a Botched Chemistry Lab

In Chemistry, we’ve been doing a lab. Lovely, lovely, lovely lab.

Yesterday we didn’t finish the first trial and today we didn’t finish the second. But that’s not the point.

After heating a crucible, we set said very hot crucible down right next to the rubber tube that feeds the gas into the bunsen burner. And then the rubber melted.

LOVELY.

The end.


So. School’s started, and I’m doing homework almost every waking minute.

My schedule:

  • 6 am: Wake up.
  • 6:30 am: Go to school.
  • 2:30 pm: Come home.
  • 3 pm: Start homework.
  • 9 pm: Hopefully finish homework.
  • 10 pm: Go to sleep and start this whole horrid cycle all over again.

So. The blog’s been a bit neglected, unfortunately. I’m hoping that I figure out the secret key to doing homework faster (Do any of you guys know?). In the meantime, my plan is to schedule posts ahead on the weekends (but to do that, I’d need a weekend that’s not packed).

A Rambling About the Purpose of Breathing and Mashed Potatoes

Welcome back to A Stream of Random Thoughts, where I will use a random word generator to generate a random word. After which I will say whatever crosses my mind!

Doesn’t that sound like fun? That sounds like a ton of fun!

Aren’t you EXCITED?!

(Can you tell by my tone that I have once again done WAY too much homework? I’m doing this while I’m trying to figure out my physics in the back of my head. It’s somewhere back there. It just has to emerge as the correct answer.)

So today’s word is…

SNIFF

 

What a wonderful word! I was thinking today, as I was walking down the hallway of my school, preparing to acquire more homework (aka, go to class), that some words are pretty because of what they mean, like bunny or happy or clover, and some are pretty because of the way they sound, like grotesque or ubiquitous or arbitrary.

bunny. happy. clover.

grotesque. ubiquitous. arbitrary.

I AM SENSING SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THESE WORDS.

My mind has exploded. You peeps must be wiping brain matter from your computer screens. Because that’s how it works. My brain explodes on THIS side of the computer, and my brain matter ends up on THAT side. (Look how connected we are. We’re friends. *Warm squishy feels*.) If only it worked like that. Then I could just reach through and steal all the cookies you guys bake without me. *pouts*

My brain is a mush. Bleh. Blech. Blah.

Blech is my favorite.

Has it occurred to you that I haven’t talked about the word sniff yet? So I was planning to go back around in a giant magical circle, but I got sidetracked because, with only slight exaggeration, my brain is a LITERAL MUSH. Bleh. Blech. Blah.

I’m breaking all the grammar rules with these fragment sentences and run-ons and WeIrd cAPitiliZAtions.

Hold on, my friend is texting me about the physics. She said my lab report was fine the way it was. She’s the second person who’s told me that. BUT I LOVE TO WORRY.

Well, back to sniffing. You sniff— I forgot about the magical circle!

Okay. I had to go figure out more physics and help Scorpion with math homework. But I’m back! And so is the magical circle.

But then I left again to wash my hands.

At this point, you guys probably think that the magical circle is way cooler than it actually is. It’s not. I hate to crush your hopes and dreams. I was just going to say that sniff is not pretty at all. It doesn’t mean a pretty thing and it doesn’t sound pretty either.

Sniff, in my opinion, is a rather annoying sound. That great inhalation. The even worse exhalation that comes afterward. Why do people even need to breath? That constant exchange of breath. Yeah, I just breathed in the air that was just INSIDE YOUR LUNGS, random stranger that I’m sitting next to on the airplane. I hate airplanes. And don’t even get me started on sneezing.

I’m just generally against most bodily functions. Blech.

Am I spouting weird mind-thoughts, peeps? My brain is a literal mush. Mushy mushy mush. Like a caveman mashed potato. You, dear reader, might be questioning the random caveman thrown in there. I am too. I don’t know, that’s what my brain decided to think when I actually meant MASHED POTATO. I pictured a mashed potato while I said a caveman.

That’s right. Welcome to my brain, where a mashed potato is a caveman.

How do you mash your potatoes, dear reader? (I always spell potato wrong, in its singular form. I always add an extra e.) Do you buy the boxed powder? Do you imagine the potato as the head of your enemy and aggressively throw it off of a tall building? Do you wash your hands thoroughly, imagine the potato as the head of your enemy, and destroy it bare-handed?

Do you, dear reader, believe that I need more sleep?

Accidental Shoe Thievery

After reading this post, I was reminded of a story from years ago that I completely forgot about.

Years ago, Spinette, some mutual friends, and I went to the temple for some celebration/holiday or something or the other. In temples, it’s customary to take off your shoes before you enter. I really hate doing this because sometimes the floors are wet with mystery liquids, but that’s beside the point. So everyone leaves their shoes in this big, communal pile of shoes outside of the door. It’s common for your shoes to be stepped on, be buried underneath piles of stranger’s shoes that you then have to dig through to find your shoes, or other shoe-related horrors.

Anyway, after the celebration/holiday thingie, Spinette and I were planning to go to our mutual friends’ house. They’re a family of three sisters, Leaf, Leafie, and Leafster, the oldest of whom is two years younger than Spinette.

The Leaf Family and my family left to go to their house before Spinette and her family did, so we were at the house for a while when Spinette entered.

 

When Spinette was leaving the temple, she discovered that I’d left my shoes in the communal shoe pile, so she, like any well-meaning, helpful friend, brought them with her.

 

So when they opened the door, Spinette was holding a pair of blue sandals similar to the ones that I was wearing.

Spinette: You forgot your shoes!

Arachnid: … Those aren’t mine …

 

Spinette’s dad went back to the temple to return the shoes to the communal shoe pile.

Partying in New York and Other Social Struggles (and a rant about school)

Hello, nonexistent peeps!

So as you may know, I recently went to my cousin’s wedding in New York. The wedding was really different from my other cousin’s wedding in Bangladesh. While the Bangladesh wedding was strictly traditional and tedious, the New York one consisted of three straight days of partying with much alcohol involved. While I don’t enjoy parties (or people in general) I did have fun discovering a new version of people-watching: Drunk people-watching.

The drunken peoples did many, many idiotic things. It was hilarious.

One dude was very, very drunk and he was dancing flopping like a fish out of water. At one point he fell asleep on my cousin’s shoulder, and my cousin just let him stay there. After that, he fell asleep on the floor for a bit before finally sleeping on one of the tables at the banquet hall.

The drunk peoples also wriggled around on the floor doing a “snake dance”.

Before people got overly drunk, there were some social struggles. I was wearing an off-the-shoulder dress at the party, and an older lady touched my shoulder and asked if it was the style or if it was ripped. I usually keep my sarcasm inside my head with strangers, but I was annoyed, so it kinda slipped out and with a little extra bite. I said, “No, it ripped” with an unspoken Of course it’s the style. This is obvious. And it’s rude to ask people if their clothing is torn. *Shrugs* I was feeling mean. And then EVERYONE within earshot gasped. My mom tried to play it off because I had, in fact, just ripped my skirt.

Soon after, I was retrieving my food from the buffet and I was trying to pick up the naan, but I dropped the tongs on the floor. I tried to get the waiter’s attention while the line was growing behind me. The lady behind me told me to just put it on the table. As soon as I exited the line, a new waiter arrived and put the tongs BACK IN THE FOOD.

and I didn’t say anything.

At the actual wedding, I wore a dress that weighed a LOT. I’m certain that if someone weight trained with it, they would grow some serious muscles. (Is that the proper terminology?!) My mom said that I could change out of the dress after a couple hours, but then she accidentally left the normal dress in the car, which was driven away by a valet-dude. But I convinced my mom to let me wear my sneakers with the dress. So people were drunk. Other people got married. One of my cousins asked his wife who she was. One cousin tried to give away his credit card. One person I don’t know was feeding people desserts from a communal spoon. Etc. Many cousins wriggled on the floor pretending to be snakes.

There was also this priest-dude. In the middle of a ceremony, he got a phone call. He talked for fiveish minutes, in the middle of the ceremony. “Yep. Hi. Sup. Yeah, I’m marrying some peeps right now.” And then after the phone call, he started the ceremony over again.


Bonus: A Random, Unrelated Rant.

So yesterday, we got our schedules for school and mine was pretty messed up. They kicked me out of the honors math program and put me in precalculus instead of honors precalculus. This is because I’m doing the class as a tenth grader with eleventh graders and the upperclassmen get priority for honors. Because I’m in regular precalculus, all the honors precalculus homework that I spent the summer doing is now obsolete and the year after, I’ll have to do Calculus AB instead of Calculus BC like the honors kids.

On top of that, instead of a biology class I REALLY wanted, I got health and architectural design, which a super bummer because no one likes health (which I’d planned to do over the summer) and I’m not interested in architecture. So instead of the biology class, which is full, I asked for Physics, but that’s full, too. So then I asked for Spanish 3, but that doesn’t work either. My friends who also wanted the biology class all ended up with Physics. This is awful because I wanted more science.

I am like cookie monster. I want math/science.

GIVE ME.

I’m upset.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Greetings, people of the universe! I should probably be finishing my summer homework… but here we are.

I was nominated by the unique and awesomazing (which is totally a word) Have You Ever Noticed? You nonexistent guys should check out this hilarious blog that points out all the things you’ve never noticed about your life.


RULES

  1. First of all, thank the blogger who has nominated you and link to their blog in your post.
  2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger.
  3. Nominate 11 more blogs, who you think should be given this award.
  4. List the rules and the logo of the award on your post or in your blog.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. What is one dish you like to cook?I have no idea how to cook. I can make cereal, toast, and pb&j. Of those measly three, cereal is my favorite. (FROSTED MINI WHEATS. GIVE ME.)
  2.  How would you describe your favorite pair of shoes?Suede, tan-colored combat boots with faded soles that haven’t fallen apart yet.
  3. What is the best thing that you did last week?I walked through a forest. (But this “forest” was next to a highway, so the illusion was kinda broken by the sound of the cars honking and rushing around.) It was a ton a fun and it smelled really good.
  4. If you could have lunch with one author (living or dead) who would it be and why?Leigh Bardugo because she created Six of Crows.
  5.  What kind of snack do you like to add to your ice cream?Whipped cream. Whipped cream is basically warm ice cream. My favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip.
    • Also, whipped cream is totally a snack.
  6.  If you could return to any decade and visit a movie set, which would you like to see and why?Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s my favorite movie and I’d love to see the magic in real life.
    • Harry Potter because Hogwarts.
    • I just finished watching Les Miserables yesterday and I loved it, so I’d like to see that set as well.
  7. What is a song that makes you smile?Mama by My Chemical Romance.
    • “Mama, we’re all going to die.” The lyrics just make me happy.
  8. What advice would you give to your younger self?Try cotton candy. I swear you’ll love it.
  9. What is one food you just can’t eat?Mayonaise.
      • Story time!
      • One time, my cousin went to a restaurant with her coworkers and she had pasta with alfredo. She adored it, so she wanted to recreate it for us. Except there was one mixup. She thought that the alfredo was mayonaise. I was skeptical because I HATED mayonaise, but her excitement was contagious, so we couldn’t wait for the weekend when she would make us this delicious pasta. She went out and purchased the igredients and made dinner for the entire family that weekend and she was so proud.
      • But the pasta was heaped with mayonaise and I gagged at the first bite. My dad made me finish the entire bowl.
  10. If you can earn a gold medal in any sport, what would it be and why?I seriously doubt that I’d ever get an aluminum medal in a sport, let alone a gold one. I’m very unathletic. So, my sport is waffle consumption.
  11. What is something you wish you could add to your blog and why?Animations! I don’t have the time or equipment to do them, but I think animations would go wonderfully with a lot of our posts.

Short People Problems

Clocking in at 5’2″, I’m generally regarded as a short person. I’m shorter than most people, so I have to look up when I’m talking to them (but I usually just end up talking to their chins) and I have trouble reading menus or watching plays over people’s heads. You know, the usual slew of short-people problems. (Not that tall people don’t have problems, too.)

In elementary school, whenever we had assemblies, the fifth graders would sit on chairs in the back and everyone else would sit in neat rows on the floor in front of them in descending order of grade with the kindergarteners in the front row. In theory, this is a good idea because older people are taller, right? So, hypothetically, if the older kids sit in the back, they’ll be able to see over everyone else’s heads because everyone else is younger. For me, at least, this didn’t really work out. After kindergarten, I was always seated behind taller, but younger, students, so I never got to see anything. (Another flaw in this plan: those freakishly tall kindergarteners that make me jealous of their height.)

Being short my entire life, I’d come to accept that this is the way it will be forever, no matter how much I hope and wish and stretch and dream.

Until I went to Bangladesh.

It turns out that Bangladeshi people just happen to generally be even shorter than me, and for the first time in my life, I got to experience being tall. I got to look over people’s heads, I got to look straight at (or down at) people when I was talking at them. I got a taste of being tall, all 5’2″ of me.

And I never wanted to go back (to being short). But I’m back in America, the land of tall people, and here we are again, short.

But this isn’t the shortest I’ve ever felt. When I lived in Kentucky, the general population seemed to be significantly taller than the general population of Michigan. When I walked through the hallways, I was stuck staring at people’s shoulder blades instead of the backs of their heads. I had trouble finding my classes because I couldn’t see anything except humans. Whenever I talked to sixth graders, they were always shocked that I was in the eighth grade. Every single one asked me twice to double check and when I assured them that, yes, I am, in fact, an eighth grader, they always responded with a “but you’re so short!” In Michigan, while I am on the shorter side of average, my grade is never questioned.

Warning: This following segment will feel contradictory to the rest of the post.

While I’ve always felt short, I’ve never felt extremely short. As I said, I’m on the shorter side of average.

Mare Barrow from Red Queen, as I recently learned, is a fellow 5’2″.

Mare Barrow, as it states over and over over the course of the four-book series, is extremely short. She barely makes it to the shoulders of most of her acquaintances.

Which begs the question, “How ridiculously tall is the general population of Red Queen?!” and “Was this entire series developed to make me feel bad about my height?”

Ask TheWebWeavers #3 || The Chewer

Sophia Ismaa Writes asks…

My aunt chews so loudly. Like, SO loudly that it sounds like there’s a factory operating in her mouth and every single one of the workers there are French kissing each other. I have told her I don’t like it because it gives me flashbacks to someone in my childhood and it makes me uncomfortable. She refuses to change. What do I do?

There are several courses of action that you can take for this particular problem. You have already attempted the most simple and effective one, asking her to stop, but that did not work. Unfortunately, chewing loudly is something that one often doesn’t realize they’re doing. So asking someone to stop might quiet them down for a minute or two, but then they’re right back to chewing like a lawnmower.

It’s quite difficult to change someone else, so the easiest course of action is to change either yourself or your environment.

  1. Wear earplugs/noise-canceling headphones
    • This option is, of course, a bit rude. But sometimes drastic measures must be taken. However, the drawback to this plan is that it will be quite difficult to follow the conversation. So it is recommended that one becomes proficient in the art of lip-reading before attempting this method.
  2. Avoid eating with your aunt
    • This method is also somewhat rude. But effective. You could claim to be busy or even say you’re eating with other people.
  3. If you are cooking…
    1. Make only Jell-O. It’s hard to chew loudly with Jell-O
    2. Make something like spaghetti that requires a lot of slurping (and other disgusting chewing sounds) to eat. Set the table so you are sitting really close to your aunt, and talk with your mouth full during dinner. Later, while there is still food in your mouth, laugh rambunctiously at your own spectacular joke and throw your arm around your aunt in a fit of giggles. Then just stay there on your aunt’s shoulder for a bit and keep eating, making sure to chew obnoxiously in her ear. Add loud slurping for a bit of pizzaz. If you want to get extra credit, laugh again at someone else’s joke later in the meal and “accidentally” spit a piece of food onto her plate.
      • This labor-intensive solution will hopefully make your aunt become more aware of her own chewing.
  4. Show her this post.

Do you have any questions that need answering? Send them to Ask TheWebWeavers using the Contact Page. Please specify if you want your letter to be anonymous. If you want the world to know who you are (otherwise known as this small corner of the internet), we’ll add a link to your blog to help spread the love.

Texting? What’s that?

LOL. BRB. ABC. TTYL. ETC.

Do you know what texting is? I’m going to operate under the assumption that you do know what it is because if you don’t, I’ll be forced to ask, “How oblivious can a person be?”

No one actually calls anymore. No, no, no. That’s so old-fashioned. It’s all about texting now. The blipipity-bloop-bloop buttons that are pressed to send sentences to other peeps. Like a faster version of email (email *scoffs*—so passé). Often, the buttons are quite small, resulting in numerous vexing typos.

But like good old snail-mail, one cannot convey emotions through simple text as well as one can through phone calls or *gasp* face-to-face interaction. Thus, the creation of the emoji.

This weekend, Spinette and I were sitting on a couch. We were less than six inches apart and yet we were texting instead of speaking. And the reasoning we used to validate this behavior was the lack of emoji in real life.

I mean, it’s not like you can use your face to display emotion. No, no, no. It’s all about that emoji.

Also, it should be noted that we were at an emoji-themed birthday party.

Keyword = emoji-themed.

Phones, phones, phones.

A Brief Example…

You are eating lunch with Friend A, B, and C. But you are currently texting Friend D, who is not there. You are texting Friend D because Friend A and B are group-chatting with Friend E and Friend C is staring off into space and slightly drooling and you don’t want to deal with that drool. Since no one at your lunch table is talking to you, you begin to text Friend D to entertain yourself and complain about Friend C’s drool.

Later, you are eating dinner with Friend D, but you are texting Friend C to talk about how awesome the restaurant is. Friend D gets bored of you not paying attention to him and goes off to another table to talk to an ex-boyfriend who has just walked into the restaurant.

The Solution…

If only you were to strike up a conversation. Then Friend A and B would stop texting Friend E because, honestly, you’re far more interesting than her. Friend C (whose phone was taken away because she refused to do the dishes) is intrigued by your conversation and joins in, ceasing to drool. Now, the drool problem is solved and you, Friend A, B, and C will all get your daily dose of Real Life Human Interaction.

And later, you can hold a proper conversation with Friend D so he doesn’t wander away and get caught up in the mess that is Ex-Boyfriend.

TADA

I am brilliant.