Benjamin could feel the cold wind whipping against the nylon side of the tent, and he pulled his blanket up closer around his ears. He listened to the howling for a few more moments, then nestled back down and attempted to fall back asleep. Beside him, Connor slept silently. Benjamin reached out a hand and gently brushed aside a strand of hair out of Connor's face. The young man stirred in his sleep and opened his eyes. They stared at each other for a few moments, then silently sat up and began packing up their wares.
The Disappearing Girl
Hailey held the mug of tea up to her lips and took a deep whiff of the steam rising from the hot liquid. She smiled and slid the back porch door open. Stepping out onto the deck, she looked over the pond. The woods stretched out for miles around her, with only her small cottage peaking out amongst the foliage. The sun was partway into its daily climb in the sky, and the beams of light danced across the lake's frozen surface in intricate patterns. The birds were unusually loud this morning, but Hailey didn't mind. She stood for a minute, not moving a muscle. This is what she loved the most. With the bustle of modern life, it seemed that humans were built for noise and motion, but standing there, Hailey knew that wasn't the case. What humans crave is stillness. The silent contemplation of being. She wasn't into that hippy-dippy free love shit which many people in her position ascribed to. But, there was something powerful in just being. Standing in the wild, untamed brush, there was no pressure to do this or be that. Out on the small deck, she was nothing and everything all at once; a paradox existing in perfect harmony within herself.
He used to love marigolds. Their bright, vibrant color matched his bubbly personality. Some of the boys made fun of him for having a favorite flower ("What are you, a girl or something?"), but Travis didn't seem to mind. Of course, he never seemed to mind, and that was the problem. He had always been a quiet kid. Shyness meant that he kept to himself most of the time, so there weren't many people to notice him. It didn't much matter now though.
Black Tipped Dorsal Fin
He was horrifyingly magnificent as he glided just below the surface of the water. I fought the urge to reach out and stroke his dorsal fin and instead refocused my attention on my scuba gear. I tightened the hose down on my tanks and looked up at my diving partner Jamie. He already had all his gear on and was sitting on the edge of the boat, watching me. I blushed with embarrassment and slid the pack onto my back before securing the diving mask onto my face.
Defying Your Destiny
From a young age, it was clear to my parents that I was not going to be one of those "girly-girls" dressing up in a princess outfit and hosting tea parties. I was always much more fascinated with dinosaurs and dragons than anything else. I was a quiet kid, often keeping to myself and reading. I was a being seemingly made out of paper. Book after book I consumed like a starving animal.
I have always loved reading. From a young age, I would spend countless hours buried underneath a blanket with some sort of novel in my hand. From fantasy to nonfiction, I fell in love with each one. One of the genres that I was not much of a fan of growing up was comic books. Though I loved drawing, comics seemed like a cop-out to me. Rather than allowing your imagination to run wild, I felt constricted by the artist's interpretations of the characters I knew and loved so much. But, as people grow, so does their understanding of the world, and it was in the smallest moment that I fell in love with comic books.
Streaks of grey across a page, zigzagging here and there like the winding pass of a cliffside road. A random assortment of lines, each perfectly imperfect, curve and weave in and out of each other. Step back, and the basic form of a face appears, rendered in the faint traces of graphite. It is the bare bones, like a skeleton, waiting to be fleshed out. An array of drawing pens lay out on my lap, their permanence looming over me like a rain cloud hangs over a forest desperate for water. With a gentle sigh, I select one, raise it to the paper, and begin.
Master of the Murder Castle
When the police began searching the business/apartment complex at Sixty-third and Wallace in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago in 1895, they were horrified by what they saw. There were confusing passageways, trap floors, walk-in vaults that sealed airtight, with hoses that allowed all the air to be removed. Sequestered away was a dissection room, still littered with the tools that had cut apart over a dozen people. And, buried deep in the basement was a high-powered incinerator, capable of burning at a temperature more than hot enough to burn a human body. Chicago Police—and indeed, the rest of the world—had never encountered anything like this. Unlike the mass murders of before, this was methodical, a process of killing that had become a matter of efficiency the likes of which greatly surpassed the actions of any other man. Hundreds of miles away, Herman Webster Mudgett, under the alias of H.H. Holmes, sat in his jail cell awaiting trial for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel. He had been accused of killing nine people, although later estimates have placed that number as high as one hundred, in roughly an eleven-year time span. As he penned his first memoir in an attempt to prove himself the innocent victim of happenstance, Holmes’ “Murder Castle” revealed a horror show that would earn Holmes the title of America’s first serial killer.