Yellow Jacket 

by Kate Ward '23 on December 8, 2022
Portfolio Co-Editor


a bumblebee!
photo creds: pixabay

I saw you on my walk today. I was listening to some Christmas song and wishing that the drizzle was snow. You were huddled in a crescent moon on a concrete step; your antennae wilted like the flowers you flew past in favor of stinging my arm. Normally when I see you like this it is early November, not a few days after Thanksgiving. The cold seeped into your small yellow and black striped body, and you grew tired. Was the concrete a pillow in your eyes? Was it a safe resting place? Or did gravity and frigid temperatures yank you down just inches from your hive? 

You know, you stung me three times when I was in elementary school, and I hated you. I took every opportunity to step on you and the rest of your species when you were crawling around, wounded. I hated you, yet…there was a heavy sadness knowing that you wouldn’t return home. You wouldn’t continue to fly around and harass everyone on a hot summer day. I’m glad the cold is what took you away, the most natural way of doing things, rather than ripping out your insides and leaving your poison in my body. 

I hope the snowfall this season allows for more of your comrades to drift into a cold peace. I hope that people realize you take care of our environment like honey bees, you take care of pests, and you deliver karma to those who need it. I think if you hadn’t stung me, I wouldn’t be thinking about you in this way. Maybe I deserved a little karma, a little wake-up call. I think that wake-up call gave me the room to think about you now with a little more compassion, and I think that’s what I needed. I think that’s what everyone needs. Thank you.

A Good Meal

by Kate Ward '23 on October 20, 2022
Portfolio Co-Editor


photo creds: pexels

Something was tickling my cheek. I attempted to move my arm to brush the sensation away, but I couldn’t feel anything aside from my face. The tickling happened again. It was wet this time, sticky. It was quiet wherever I was—where was I? My eyes struggled and failed to open. There was a horrible tugging sensation when I tried and failed to open them once more. My heart was beating so I wasn’t dead; maybe there had been an accident and I was in some medical chamber healing. I could think—that was good. I tried to wiggle my toes like they tell you to do when coming out of Shavasana. Nothing. My heart began to thump harder, the vein on my neck threatening to give way. I tried my mouth and was met with failure and the same tugging that had affected my eyes. 

I could smell. I could smell to an extent. I inhaled sharply, nostrils wiggling like a rabbit’s. In the brief seconds before disaster. I could smell dampness, the earth. Then my nostrils were clogged, clogged with soil. My cheek twitched as the sensitive skin was graced with the presence of a worm. I was underground. I was buried alive. I screamed and screamed into the dirt but it seemed only I could hear it. I could hear nothing, no cars, no voices above me. My heart raced faster, panicked breathing sucking what oxygen remained out of my grave. 

I was choking, my tongue folding back against my throat as my head began to pound and ache. I coughed with a closed mouth, trying to break what I thought must be some kind of string that stitched my mouth and eyes closed. It was useless, there was little energy left in me anyway. If only I could see my arms and see what’s holding them down. I tried to wiggle my shoulders, nothing. The soil beside me gave way, a burst of red and orange lit up my eyelids as the sun shined in for a brief moment. 

“Mmm!” I grunted to the sky. 

In response there was a heavy thunk and the sound of sniffling as the dirt showered over who I assumed was the next victim of live burial. The person next to me was quiet, maybe this one was dead? I grunted at them again, trying to find some sign of life. Nothing. My head hurt, black dots speckled the inside of my eyelids, breathing became nonexistent. I was dying. I couldn’t remember if I was sick before this, or if I had been attacked by someone and this is where they dumped me. If I could cry I would be wailing, wailing like the lost spirit I was going to become. I wish I could remember something, my family, my pets, a prayer from Sunday School. I didn’t know if I was going to heaven or to hell or if I even believed in either of those, but at least I would be a good meal for the worms. 


by Kate Ward '23 on September 8, 2022
Portfolio Co-Editor

Creative Non-Fiction

a red truck
photo creds: pixabay

Most people would say that there isn’t anything funny about death or losing a loved one however, when my grandfather passed I ended up inheriting what turned out to be something quite funny. My grandfather used to drive a red 2008 Cadillac, it has four seats and it belongs down in Miami with an eighty-year-old behind the wheel headed towards their weekly solitaire game. Or it should have some mid-fifty-year-old man shouting Billy Joel lyrics on the way to a seven a.m. tee time. My family and I call this car the red rocket. Despite being fairly old, this car is (what my Mom would call) zippy. 

So, once summer hit I started taking the rocket to work, windows down, music up. The music that flowed from the car was everything but what an eighty-year-old in Miami would listen to. It was an eclectic mix of Bad Bunny, Steely Dan, ABBA, Logic, Kendrick, and the occasional Piece the Veil song. A twenty-year-old driving her grandfather’s car, heading to work at a children’s art camp. It’s ridiculous. My Mom got frequent text messages along the lines of “Saw Kate driving the caddy today!”
To that I would respond, “Okay but did they like the Bad Bunny I was playing?”

Like any teenager or young adult with the ability to drive and a fast car to do so, I started abusing the power gifted to me from my grandfather. I ended up buying an absurd amount of snacks and ice cream which earned a laugh from my Mom as I would pull into the driveway, Efecto by Bad Bunny thrumming out of the window. She thought it was incredibly ridiculous and my Dad thought it was great because he ended up bumming some of my snacks. 

Aside from working at the art camp, I also worked as a nanny. The two kids, ages six and two, were immediately obsessed with the car and decorating it. They also wanted to be driven everywhere (that did not happen). The two year old, every day on our walk would see some other red car and immediately shout out “Kate’s car!”
Wrong. If there isn’t a bag of Spicy Doritos (the purple bag, of course) in the passenger seat and a flat Celsius in the cupholder, then that isn’t mine. I remember when I first started driving the rocket around, I desperately wanted to make it my own. After getting a phone holder and Aux cord,  I wanted stickers and trinkets to hang off of my rearview mirror. Towards the end of the summer, my StabiliTrak and braking system needed to be serviced. My Dad got in the car and looked around, pointed at the moth sticker on my glovebox, and asked, “What is that?”
“Moth sticker from art camp,” I replied with a smile. 

He chuckles a little and shakes his head before pulling away.

I’d like to hope that my grandfather is looking on and laughing from wherever he is and not cursing my name for decorating his beloved sports car and playing music you “can’t sing to,” as my grandmother would say. 

There it Goes

by trogers5 on May 5, 2022


a couple walking away from hearts
photo creds: pixabay

By: Kate Ward ‘23

The club was packed with bodies but Christa didn’t care much for anyone in the crowd. She frequented this club and was here even on its slower nights just to get a drink or two. She and the bartender had gotten quite close over the past couple of years.

“Ysabel!” Christa called to the bartender once she fought her way to the front to be pressed up against the bar.

The brunette turned her head and smiled, lifting the shaker over her shoulder as she prepared some fancy cocktail.

“Your usual?” Ysabel replied over the loud bass, her face lit up by the extreme strobe lights.

Christa nodded and wormed her way onto the barstool closest to her. She took out her phone, scrolling through various social media accounts before checking her texts; as usual, nothing. She pulled up Tinder, swiping idly. None of the women in this city caught her eye. More to the point, none of them caught her eye like Ysabel. Christa passed Ysabel her card while she took the drink with her other hand. “What time do you get off tonight?”

Ysabel swiped her card and passed it back. “Around three, so,” she looked at her watch. “three hours.”

“Would you like to come back to mine when you’re done?” Christa sipped her drink, a dirty shirley. Perfectly made as usual.

Ysabel glanced down at the glass she was coating with salt. “Will you be here until three?”

Christa laughed, clutching at her chest. “Are you doubting my ability to stay up? I’m hurt!”

Ysabel moved down the bar to give the frenzied drunks their drinks. “I’m not doubting, I’m just asking!”

The drunks down the bar swept the drinks towards them like a dragon bringing jewels closer to his horde. Christa liked to watch them; they were like the stingrays you could feed at the aquarium. Ysabel returned and started wiping down the bar. Christa pressed her, “so are you saying yes?”

“Christa, I don’t know, I kind of want to sleep in my own bed,” Ysabel sighed, taking a few more credit cards that had been slid her way.

Christa frowned. “But you sleep in your bed seven out of seven days of the week! Spice it up!”

Ysabel pinched the bridge of her nose, exhaling slowly. “Christa, I have a thing about not getting involved with customers.”

The words crashed over her like a ton of bricks, ruining her buzz. Christa took a long drink, the ice bumping her nose, reminding her that she had to reply at some point. She looked through the glass at the distorted image of Ysabel and lowered the glass. “I thought we were friends…I was wondering if we could hang out?”

Ysabel laughed coldly, “There was no way in hell you thought we were just friends. I know how you look at me Christa.”

Christa felt her cheeks and ears go red. “I-I don’t know what to say.”

“Tell me the truth. Are we just friends or do you think something else of me?” Ysabel packed the shaker full of ice.

Christa looked down into her drink, frowning, “I like you. Like-like you.”

“There it goes,” Ysabel murmured as she poured the drink.

“Take a chance,” Christa pleaded and finished her drink, shoving the glass towards the bartender.

“Don’t beg me,” Ysabel retorted, “I did like you too but then you kept coming back every night. It wasn’t special anymore.”

Christa’s heart cracked in two. “Okay. There it goes.” She slid off the barstool. “See you around.”

Ysabel watched her go. Though disappointed in herself and the younger woman leaving, she would not chase her. She couldn’t chase her.

But English Majors Love to Write!

by The Cowl Editor on April 21, 2022

Creative Non-Fiction

by Kate Ward ’23

woman writing at desk
Photo courtesy of

“As an English Major, you must love writing!” God, if only I had a tally over my head each time I heard that throughout college. And I do, I do love writing, but sometimes it’s a little much with three papers due a week plus an awkward Cowl deadline on the day I’m supposed to be relaxing. As much as I love to write, I can’t help the constant threat of burnout or the anxious feeling of when my inspiration will run out. The uninspired feeling is one that is particularly brutal for me. Why? Because mentally I have ideas and storylines that I want to write and indulge in, but…I can’t. Every word on the page I hate, nothing fits, nothing sounds good, nothing encapsulates the way I want this character to sound. I can’t remember the last time I wrote something that either wasn’t for a grade or wasn’t extremely forced. 

I enjoy bringing short pieces to life for The Cowl, but I hate shouldering the weight. The impending doom of a Saturday or Sunday submission deadline makes my stomach turn. I’m more of a machine than a writer—of course, I want to produce quality work for my friends and professors, but as of late, everything is rushed—it doesn’t fit. But English Majors must love to write! The past two weeks have been the most difficult, balancing a thirteen-page workshop story with essays coming in hot and now this piece I’m writing. In fact, I’m only writing this piece because I have nothing else creative to write. I am all consumed by my severe loss of inspiration. I’m struggling to hit the five hundred word minimum for this piece and this is coming from someone who wrote four hundred pages freshman year for fun.

I know I can take breaks and step back from writing. I also know I chose this major and I chose it because I love it. I do love to write but I don’t like the hangover it gives, the meter ticking away as it draws closer to burnout. It’s a drug and when I’m high on writing it’s great, but it’s the lows I’m worried about. I know I’m not the only person who has this struggle, which is comforting. I do know how sometimes my writing friends express how it’s easier to write academic papers than take a break and try to write something creative. It breaks my heart to hear my friends who are so passionate about writing say this, because who exactly takes pleasure in writing essays? No one. If you do, no offense, but creative writing is way more fun, try it out—maybe even a little academic fanfic will help you get off the track of academia. But, hey! English majors do love to write. So, it’s okay, inspiration will return (in a few weeks) but at the mental cost of not being able to produce content up to your internal standards! Good luck!


by trogers5 on March 3, 2022


two statues in a musuem
photo creds: pixabay

Kate Ward ’23

John was the only man in his figure drawing class. He had always gotten extra odd looks when there was a female life model coming into the studio to pose for them. Most of the time the models weren’t even nude, so he didn’t know why everyone still assumed he was looking at them in a certain way. However, walking into class today with his sketchpad and pencil case full of overpriced art supplies, he was surprised to see a young man standing there. He concluded they were around the same age.

The professor wasn’t there yet, but John took a seat and began to set up his easel. 

“May I see your sketches?”  

John looked up to find the model standing in front of him in nothing but briefs. “Sure.” He handed the book over. “It’s John, by the way.”

“Marco,” the other replied with a small smile as he flicked through the sketchbook, arriving at a portrait of a woman with darker hair and large gray eyes. 

John set up his charcoal and pencils. “Nice to meet you.” Marco nodded and handed the book back, smoothing his hair back before sitting on the edge of the stage. 

“How much are they paying you to be posing for two and a half hours for a bunch of college students?” John asked, looking through the wooden slats of the easel.  

Marco laughed, freckles on his cheeks bunching up. “I wish they were paying me, but unfortunately I made this idiotic mistake of volunteering in order to launch some art students ahead in their careers.”

“That’s B.S.” John shook his head.“This is 101. You’re not launching anyone.” 

Another laugh. “You’re right. Well, I’m here because it pays rent for my apartment. You’re the only one so far whose art is actually pretty good. You only draw women?” 

“Well, my art better be good—it’s my second major,” John explained. “And I don’t just draw women, it’s just what the class…allows? I don’t know, women are what they can get their hands on.” He put the paper up on the easel as more of his classmates strolled in, some nursing a coffee or a severe hangover. The professor came in and began pointing out a few different poses for Marco to go through as warm-ups and then longer poses to hold. John started scribbling some rough outlines. He usually focused mainly on the larger parts of the body before adding detail, but he couldn’t get past detailing Marco’s face from his freckles to kind eyes. 

“You know you’re supposed to do the face last, right?” A girl leaned over and tapped his page with the end of her charcoal stick. 

John looked at her before wetting his thumb and smudging the charcoal into the background. He shook his head and kept going.

As the class wrapped up and John was again the one left packing up last, he approached Marco. “I wanted to show you the art from today.” 

Marco pulled on sweatpants and a t-shirt. “Oh, please do.” He leaned forward as John flicked through. At one drawing, he stopped him. “Could I keep this? Or if you need to keep it, could you come over and do another?”

John paused, stunned into silence at the request. He cleared his throat and said quietly, “Um…I need to keep this one, but I would love to come over and do you—I mean, do this again.” 

Marco laughed and wrote his address and number down on the corner of John’s page. “See you soon, then.”

The Underground

by trogers5 on February 10, 2022


coffee in a pile of beans
photo creds: pixabay

Kate Ward ’23


By the time of his lunch break, Edmund was exhausted from an early morning preparing a case to defend his client. It wasn’t looking good, and frankly, Edmund had little faith that his client would get out of this unscathed. He walked outside to the loud street and waited under a streetlamp for the “walk” sign to appear. The wind, which smelled awfully polluted, tousled his neatly-kept hair and sent the tassels of his bolo tie flitting around. He placed a hand on his chest to try to prevent it, but just like his efforts to strengthen the case with his current client, it proved to be futile. 

He crossed the street and walked up four blocks to his favorite haunt, a tiny tea shop that had the best lavender-vanilla tea.

Lanam looked up as the door jingled. He snapped on a fresh pair of gloves and pulled his mask up over his nose. Seeing it was Edmund, he paused a moment, hands fumbling with the delicate porcelain cup he was polishing. 

“Good morning sir, what can I get started for you?” he asked as he set the cup down.

Edmund looked over the menu, fingers poised on his chin, rubbing a spot there as he read and reread the options. 

“Morning.” He paused and glanced at Lanam’s name tag. “Morning, Lanam. Say, may I have a cup of the lavender-vanilla tea with a bit of milk? Actually, make that two.” 

Lanam was taken aback—Edmund was switching up his usual order. “Do you have someone joining you?”

Edmund made himself comfortable at a table by the window, legs crossed as he skimmed through a real estate magazine. “Oh, no but I was hoping you would?” He glanced around the shop. It was empty save for the two of them, a quiet hour amidst the chaos outside. “If you aren’t too busy, of course.” A small smile graced his face, blue eyes twinkling.

The barista made a noise of annoyance and continued to assemble the two teas. Edmund liked listening to the process—the meticulous craft of tea-making, especially with loose leaves and complex flavoring, was mesmerizing. He found it to be far more interesting than brownstone apartments on glossy pages. 

Lanam sprinkled lavender petals into the cup and flourished it with a dash of milk. “Did you want the other one to have milk?” 

“Make it how you want it,” Edmund replied, dipping his chin in an affirming nod. 

Another scoff and a dribble of honey later, Lanam passed the barrier and came over to Edmund’s table. He carefully folded and set aside the magazine; he hadn’t been able to get past the first few pages anyway. He took the tiny cup in his hand and took a sip, and only then did Lanam take a seat. 

“Why tea?” Edmund asked, cup nestling against its plate.  

“Why law?” Lanam returned, bristling at the question.  

Edmund lifted a hand. “I didn’t mean any offense. I was just trying to make conversation.” He found himself a bit more flustered than usual. He was used to clients being emotional, but at work, he could detach himself from the situation. This felt different. 

Lanam sighed and smoothed his hair back. “Whatever. I guess I settled on tea because no one could do it the way I liked it, so…” He shrugged and pulled his mask up once more.

“I chose law because I wanted to help those who couldn’t help themselves. Get them out of situations that they didn’t choose to be in.” Edmund’s eyes glossed a little, recalling something distant.

A few beats of silence passed before Lanam nodded. “That’s very noble of you.” 

“It’s just a job. But…thank you.” Edmund took another sip. “How did you come up with the name for this place?” 

“The Underground? I don’t know. It was a place I was fond of as a kid, so…I decided to carry the name over to here.” He shrugged. “Look, I’m not interested in small talk, really, I’ll be honest with you.”

Edmund finished his tea and fished around in his wallet. With a thunk he set it on the table and gave Lanam a look. “I’m just glad you’re interested in talking at all. Here, I haven’t paid you. This has been the best tea yet.”

Lanam took the bills he offered and slid them into his apron pocket with a curt nod before getting up and carrying his own cup and plate to the back, and then coming back to get the other. He picked up the dish and the cup in one hand. Edmund caught his other hand and held fast. Lanam nearly dropped the dishes in shock. He looked down at their joined hands and gave the lawyer a startled look. 

Edmund rose from his seat. “So, you don’t like small talk. That’s fine. Let me cut to the chase.” He paused and was met with a scowl. “Let me take you out to dinner.” 

Frankly, that was the last thing he expected, so Lanam was caught off guard. He averted his eyes. His cruel mask had slipped and there was no recovering it, so he sighed. “Fine. One dinner. It’s not like it’s going to change anything.” 

Edmund smiled warmly and dropped his hand, heading toward the door before glancing over his shoulder. “Oh, make sure you count those bills before putting them in the register.” 

Lanam scoffed as he hurried behind the counter, trying desperately to hide the blush that had crawled up his face. “What kind of idiot doesn’t count bills before putting them away?” he grumbled as the door slammed shut, Edmund’s laugh carrying out into the street. He thumbed through the bills. Aside from being overpaid, he didn’t see anything inherently wrong with them. What was that lawyer on about? Then he noticed that one of the singles had a slight tear in the upper corner, and directly below it, ten digits scrawled in blue pen.

“Unbelievable,” he sighed.


by trogers5 on January 27, 2022


the inside of an art musuem
photo creds: pexels

Kate Ward ’23

My piece of art had been hanging in that museum for far too long. I was never entirely on board with the fact that the museum would take it and display it, and I wanted it back—it was a masterpiece, after all. I called and emailed and called again, but the museum refused to give back my painting. Even worse? The painting was of my dead dog. How ruthless that the museum wouldn’t return it to me! Did they have no souls? I came to a realization: I would need to steal it.

The idea came to me while I was watching some movie about a heist and they seemed to pull it off pretty well. I understood that someone else wrote the plan and that these people are just actors, but to be honest, I was desperate. In my desperation, I didn’t bother coming up with a bombproof plan; I decided I would walk into the museum, go to the exhibit that held my painting, and take it off the wall. I would, of course, take a bag with me so I could hold the painting, and thankfully it wasn’t much bigger than two sheets of paper.

Normally when artists have their art stolen, whether it’s online or out of a museum, it isn’t the artist himself doing the stealing, so I thought that if this went south, then I guess I’ll make history. I didn’t want to sit with my plan; I needed to carry it out as soon as possible, so I didn’t psych myself out and end up staying home. The day after I created this plan I got up, got dressed in the most boring outfit I could muster, and went about my morning routine. I walked down the steps of my apartment and started the trek to the museum. Thankfully, it wasn’t too far, so I didn’t have too much anxiety building up about it, but I was still nervous.  

I got into the museum unscathed. The guards didn’t ask me about my empty bag or why I had it—as far as they knew, I was just another environmentally friendly New Yorker making his way through an art museum. I found it. The watchful eyes of the guards were elsewhere, either on their phones or focused somewhere else entirely. I approached my painting and let the top handle of my bag slide open, I lifted the glass and the canvas off the wall and slipped it into my bag. I tried not to, but I did scurry out of there. I hurried back down to the entrance. 

A guard’s heavy hand clapped down on my shoulder. “I’m going to need to check your bag before you leave, sir.”

“You only check bags when people enter the museum—why are you coming after me?” I asked, pulling my bag away from him.

“We have reason to believe you may be stealing. Now, would you please step aside so we can get this figured out?” He swept his arm to the side, pulling me with him so other people could pass. The guard picked up his walkie talkie and spoke into it, calling for the museum director to come assist. 

“Why are you stealing?” 

“You never got back to me,” I snapped. “I wanted the painting back, so I took it. It’s mine.”

“Sir, I have never seen you before in my life,” the director replied. “That isn’t your artwork.”

The True Christmas Spirit

by The Cowl Editor on December 9, 2021


christmas elf
photo creds- pixabay

Kate Ward ’23


Dear Diary, 

Another day in the workshop—you know, it’s exhausting being an elf. We’re given shoddy tools and forced to work year-round. Do you know how insufferable it is listening to Christmas music all year? The good part is the Big Man sometimes shares letters from the kids with us, so that makes us all feel a little bit better. But my favorite part? The reindeer. We get to feed them sometimes and take them on long walks. But do you know how hard it is for me, an elf, to walk a reindeer? They’re fussy animals. I didn’t even want to work up here in the North Pole! I wanted to work somewhere warm with a wide variety of music and a diet other than Christmas cookies and hot chocolate.

We watch a lot of Christmas movies while we work, and a lot of them are extremely inaccurate to the elf lifestyle. The only one which got it right was Elf with Will Ferrell. We do have intramural sports and we do have quotas we need to reach! Plus, Buddy the Elf did a great job depicting our diet. I mean, I’ve never had spaghetti before, but I’m sure with all the sugar he put on it, it would be delicious. Our uniforms are the same as the ones in the movie but instead, the different colors represent our different ranks. I would do anything to get out of this workshop and out from under the foot of the Big Man, but he keeps us so busy that the only breaks we get are lunch, dinner, and sleep.  

It’s not all holly and jolly here in the workshop. Instead, the mood is more like the claymation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with Hermie who wants to be a dentist. Sure, singing songs and building toys for all the little girls and boys is great, but I have dreams and aspirations! I wanted to be an archeologist, and now I’m making toys! What happened? We definitely skipped a few chapters. Anyway, I’ll leave it there—I need to get some sleep so I can get up and keep making Etch-A-Sketches for kids who will use them once then leave them at their grandparents’ houses.

Yours truly, 


No Snow in October 

by The Cowl Editor on October 28, 2021



Photo courtesy of

by Kate Ward ’23


It was another October; she had lost track of how many Octobers had come and gone. Her friends and her lovers came and went with it. Victoria was tired. Not just tired—exhausted, drained, defeated. She had been experimenting for years on how to turn her human friends into vampires so they could be together forever and potentially make this suffering a little more enjoyable. Nothing had worked—she had bitten them, injected them with her blood, and there was still no transformation; it was futile. Victoria sat in a high-backed leather chair rereading Homer’s Iliad, which she didn’t need to read as she had been alive for the actual war, but she liked to see how the humans told the story. 

Magnus, her brother, plodded down the stairs, moving his hair from his eyes and sitting across from her. “Vic?”

“Mag.” She looked at him over the top of her book.  

“Any progress on that serum that allows us to go outside during the day?” he asked, picking at his cuticles.  

Victoria had also been researching a serum to allow her and her fellow vampires to exist alongside humans in daylight. After multiple trials, a handful of deaths, and some savage burns, she decided to call it off. She hadn’t yet had the heart to tell Magnus this, and she didn’t intend to.  

“Some, but it’s slow going.” She shrugged and returned to her reading, the fire popping beside her. He departed and left her there to stew over past failures and nitpick Homer. After hundreds of lengthy pages she got up, bones cracking like the tinder in the fireplace, and she moved to the front door. It was the morning of Halloween, a holiday she always enjoyed as a child because she could fit in with the other kids with her permanent costume. But now—now things had changed. Halloween wasn’t fun, she was too old to go out, and she had no children of her own, but she still put out a bucket of candy with a sign reading “take as much as you want” posted on the front.  

Victoria slid the bucket out through the small doggy door they had, her flesh tingling as a beam of sunlight hit it. She pulled her hand back. Many vampires committed suicide by wooden stake, but she found the idea to be too risky, too many things could go wrong, there were easy fixes to healing vampires who tried it. She had thought about it and even helped with finding cures, but she was tired of seeing the people she loved vanish, tired of seeing her human friends die off when she aged slower than a tortoise. Before she was turned into a vampire, she had always loved the sun, loved the feeling of it on her face, and especially loved watching it dip below the horizon every night. She had fallen deeply, deeply in love with the sun and that was ripped away from her just like everything else. She wanted to return to her love, her one true love, and so she would.  

While flying in her bat form, the sun didn’t bother her, but the feeling of the sun against her skin wasn’t the same, plus it didn’t take long until her wings started to singe. She stepped out onto her front porch and transformed into a bat, beating her wings hard and fast directly up to the sun. Tears trickled down her pushed-in snout and her heart wrenched as she left behind her last remaining family member. She flew and flew until the sun’s rays embraced her, her wings turning to ash. Victoria sobbed and the sun drew her in, her now battered and burnt vampiric form. Her body combusted and ash rained down to earth. 

“Snow!” a young girl cried and stuck her tongue out, catching a grey-white flake on her tongue. 

Her mother took her by the shoulder. “It doesn’t snow in October, honey.”