What ‘s Up with Everyone Today?
by Daniel Carrero ’23
Ike was upset nobody shoveled the snow from the driveway. He had to park on the street. Walking inside the house he could hear Wonder barking from the backyard. He dropped his suitcase at the door, “Dad’s home!” No response. Ike thought the house was unusually silent this evening. Typically after a long trip he’s greeted at the door.
He walked into his bedroom and Tina, his wife, sat in front of the TV watching The Office, with a plate of burnt steak in her lap. Her brown hair looked like it was dipped in frying oil, and the bags under her eyes were purple potato skins.
Last time she looked like this was after Izzy was born, Ike thought. “Hey, babe. Um, you ok?”
Through a mouthful of food, she replied, “I’m doing great sweetie! I jus-just was feeling really sick the last few days is all.”
“Oh ok, well you’ll feel better soon,” he said, putting his arm around her. “That smells good, honey, what kinda steak is that?
“Mmm, new recipe I came up with,” she said, offering him a piece.
“Oh wow, that is good,” he said chewing. “Where are Izzy and Toni at?”
“The kids! Oh, they’re probably raiding the fridge or out in the backyard.”
“That’s weird, I didn’t hear them when I walked in.”
Tina giggled, “Maybe they’re hiding”
In the backyard, Ike watched Wonder in the snow, at the far end of the yard chewing a thick bone. Ike called Wonder over, but Wonder ignored him. He’s usually more excited to see me, Ike thought. Everyone’s usually excited to see me, what’s up with everyone today?
In the kitchen with Tina, Ike asked, “You know when the kids are coming home?
Preparing some vegetables, she said, “I’m making spaghetti tonight”
Ike narrowed his eyes at Tina, “Ok, but what about the kids?
“I’m sure they’re already here, babe, don’t worry.”
“Do you not know where they are?”
Tina barked, “Of course I do! I told you where they are! Will you stop pressing me? I’m cooking. Shut up and grab a beer or something. Leave me alone.”
Ike flinched, surprised at Tina’s outburst. Ike decided Tina must be going through her woman time—men, right, always assuming.
Opening the fridge for a beer, his stomach churned. He stood frozen, horrified by the two pale, mutilated faces staring back at him next to pools of blood
“Oh babe! While you’re in the fridge, pass me Izzy and Toni’s heads. I was defrosting them so we could have spaghetti and eyeballs tonight.”
Fast Fiction: What Scares You the Most?
In 14 words or less “What Scares You the Most?” Go!
An email comes from the Bursar’s Office: tuition due by the first.
by Daniel Carrero ’23
The shower upstairs turns on, but I thought I was home alone…
by Sam Pellman ’20
Spider—crawls away, out of sight…lurks still in mind.
by Sarah McLaughlin ’23
To die alone and unloved.
by Elizabeth McGinn ’21
At night, you’re home alone. The power goes out. You hear a voice.
by Sarah Kirchner ’21
Neither graveyards, nor goblins, not even ghouls. Just my midterm grades from this school.
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
Welcome to the Neighborhood
by Daniel Carrero ’23
I wonder if I walked like you when I was your age. There was an innocent bounce to your step.
You probably thought me and Coz pulled up on you by surprise. You probably thought you walked onto the wrong block on the wrong day and ran into the wrong people.
Your legs were shaking and your voice was cracking, “I don’t want n-n-no problem, yo. I’m just walking home,” you said.
Coz smiled with all his teeth, “Where you from kid?” he asked.
You felt so small to me then, so insignificant. Your trembling was disgusting to me.
My stomach churned at the sound of your voice, “I-I-I what kid?!” I shouted, “You don’t know how to talk or something?!”
The only word you managed to squeak out, “Pine!”
Coz looked at me, “Oh, he’s up on Pine, huh. Wild ’cause I ain’t ever seen you before.”
I never took my eyes off you—I never blinked.
“So who told you you could walk on Maple?” I asked.
The more I stared you down the more I wanted you to make a move—needed you to. Curse at me, scream at me, or hit me, do anything but not run away. If you ran away then things would be worse. Those are the rules. “I asked you a question!”
Say something—anything, I thought.
“N-no one,” you whimpered.
Finally! Coz nodded and stepped back.
Grabbing you by the collar, I let it all out. I felt your teeth cut my knuckles. Another swing and your nose poured; blood smeared onto my hand. I shoved you onto the sidewalk and you begged me to stop. At that moment you made me hate you so much.
What the hell is wrong with you? I thought, Get up, do something! I kicked and I stomped and you did nothing. You cried. You pleaded for me to stop but you refused to make me. How dare you, I thought.
Coz grabbed my shoulder, “You can stop, Nigel.” I looked up at him but I couldn’t see his face. I only heard his voice. “That was good,” he said.
We knew where you lived. You stepped out your gate and tried to run when you saw us—you didn’t get far. Your eye was black and your nose swollen and crooked. Something in your eyes was different than before. Even though you knew you didn’t stand a chance, you didn’t stutter when you said, “Leave me alone!”
You stared me down and I remembered being you once. I knew how much you hated me—how much you wanted to bury me. That was good, it’s what we wanted from you.
Coz put his hand on your shoulder. “Welcome to the neighborhood,” he said. “Come with us.”