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My childhood home, a gray, old farm house, sat nestled near the small town of McKean Pennsylvania.    My father moved us there from Pittsburgh in 1954 when I was no taller than a limp potato sack.  I was their only child at the time. He said the city was no place to raise a family. We needed room to run and explore and my mother needed a quiet place to work on her writing. However, in three years of living there she gave birth to four of my brothers.  So much for peace and quiet.  There must have been something in the water.

Folks in town liked to whisper about that house like it was some kind of architectural Jezebel.  By the time I could spell my own name I had heard dozens of rumors and stories surrounding our home.  There were certainly enough to keep my young mind racing through many sleepless nights.  Some of the more elaborate stories suggest a mass murder of the previous occupants by their deranged mother. My classmates claimed that this woman then buried the corpses of her husband and three children in the walls and that they walked around at night looking for revenge. I made sure to always keep my door locked.

Another urban legend told that this house was a Union hospital during the Civil War. Although I could see the possibility of truth in this yarn, I never believed the part about the secret chest of gold that a defecting soldier buried somewhere on our property.  My rolling eyes and smart remarks never stopped my younger brothers from searching for it though. God bless them.  Occasionally, when I didn't have a book to read or chores to do, I would humor the little pirates and go hunting with them.

One afternoon, I believe it was in late summer, my brothers and I were out by the old barn just snooping.   My eldest brother, Earl, came across a nest of milk snakes hidden underneath a patch of tall weeds.  The snakes scattered, slithering everywhere as we tried to catch them. Their low, hissing sounds perfectly complimented the summer heat. It sounded like the world was cooking in a skillet.   Earl raced inside to grab two glass jars from the kitchen cabinet. He hurried back and we spent the next hour or so catching the foot long critters.  I lost track after about thirty. We were so proud of our find. I poked a few holes in the top of the jars so that they could breath and we ran inside to show mother.

My brothers trailed after me as I presented mother with our spoils. Always seeking her approval, I crept up to her as she was mending an old quilt. My grin was met only with her disgusted frown. She didn't laugh like I hoped she would.  She didn't marvel at our cleverness and fascination with nature. She just scowled at me and made a noise very similar to the sound of the hissing snakes. She stood up and proceeded to drag me into the kitchen where I was sat down at our large, oak, dinner table.

Mother sat across from me. Whether it was because I was the oldest and should have known better or just because she didn't like me I have never figured out, but I was the only child punished for the serpent concentration camp we had created. I remember almost every word of that lecture. It was the sternest tongue lashing I had ever received. Mother raved about how disgusting and inappropriate it was for a young lady to play with such filthy creatures and how my father would be so ashamed if he found out that his little girl was handling snakes. She fumed about pride and manners: "What would people think if they saw my daughter rolling around in the yard like a hog in shit?"

According to her, it was time to start acting like a young woman. At thirteen I was now expected to spend less time adventuring with my brothers and more time domestically educating myself. If I ever wanted to find a suitable husband I would have to forgo these childish experiments and keep my hands away from those slimy, diseased creatures. However, of all the reasons she found my actions unacceptable, it was the soiling of her glass mason jars that sent her over the top.

It was the most my mother had ever said to me in one sitting and half the conversation was about jars. She never talked to me again as much as she did that sunny afternoon. I often theorize about my mother's secretive reasoning behind her anger.  I knew it was wasteful and slightly disgusting but the jars were only a quarter each. I knew it was wrong to keep God's creatures locked up in such poor conditions, even if they were snakes. I knew it was unhygienic. Yes. I knew all these things. There was just something I wasn't seeing and still to this day don't understand. I could only keep apologizing and asking why what I had done was so horrible and why my brothers weren't getting the same lecture. I could tell when she had grown impatient and fed up with my cluelessness and saw the defeat in her eyes. She stopped talking and sat quietly for a minute, only looking at me.

She broke the silence and asked me to bring her the two jars. I obliged and went into the other room where my brothers were on the ground, staring at our scaly pets. To their dismay I snatched the two jars from the floor and ran into the kitchen.  When I handed her the jars she took them in her hands and smiled at the tangled mass slithering around in their glass prison. It may have been my childhood imagination adding drama to an already dramatic scene but I swear I saw her tongue fork out of her mouth real quick, almost as if mocking the poor critters.

"Burry them." Cheerfully, she stood up and grabbed a small flower basket off of the window sill, placing the jars inside. She walked outside and I hesitantly followed her. Mother handed me a shovel that was leaning against the tool shed and we marched out into the middle of our corn field.  Her finger shook as she pointed at the ground. She was still smiling though. "Bury them."

I begged her to let me release them but she would only shake her head and repeat the same thing over and over again.

"Burry them."

I pleaded that they were just harmless snakes and I would be killing them if I buried them under the ground.

"Burry them or I'll give you such a beating your father will feel it." I reluctantly took the shovel to the dry earth and dug a hole about three feet deep.  She handed me the two jars and I cried as I put them in their grave. She pulled the shovel out of hands and began filling it in, burying them alive.  After she was done, she walked over to me and slapped me hard across the face.  Through the shock and the pain I think I heard the words whore and idiot. It's hard to remember everything after all these years but I can still feel the sting of her hand and hear the sound of dozens of snakes hissing in my ears.

When father came home I begged him to go save the snakes but he only shook his head apologetically and said they were surely dead by now. They would have suffocated.  I remember my parents arguing that night and many nights after. Through the walls I could hear their screams. If there were dead bodies walking around at night they probably would have found somewhere else to live.  I knew my father was enraged by what my mother had said and what she had done to me.  My cheek was bruised for a week and my brothers cried all night long when they learned of what had become of their pets.

I met my husband at sixteen and we married two years later. I loved him and I loved the idea of leaving that small town even more.  I left that town and all those memories behind, only visiting a handful of times. My parent's passed away a few years ago within a month of one another. We inherited the old farm house and my brothers had to beg me not to have it torn down. Occasionally, I go up there for a picnic with the kids and sometimes go looking for those glass jars.  I was certain I had marked the grave and etched the location into my memory but it appears that I forgot the exact location. Every time I go digging I never seem to find them.  Perhaps mother dug them up and hid them in the walls; more bodies to roam the house at night.
This is a story inspired by a story my grandmother told me. It was well received by my creative writing prof and I'm considering entering it into a contest. I would love some feed back on it. What you like or don't like?
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The Civil War
By: Nellie Melton

The war began when a bunch of people in the lower hemisphere of Americaland were ticked off at the ones above them because they ate all the pizza. What really used a straw to break a camel’s back though was when Lincoln was voted to be the president. South Carolina was all “AW HELL NAW,” and separated from the Union. Then, all the other states down there were all “Hey, let’s jump on the bandwagon too!” And so they did. However, the Union was going “OH NO YOU DI’INT”, so they started the war. This made people generally upset.

The first major battle of the war was when Lincoln was trying to open a jar of pickles. Then, the SECOND major battle of the war was called “The Battle of Bull” or something along the lines of that. This battle was important because a lot of people lost and it made the North and South realize that THIS IS A FREAKIN’ WAR AND OF COURSE IT’S NOT GOING TO END RIGHT AWAY. THEY NEVER DO. Unless it’s the Seven Day’s War, in which Sadako fought an army of little tiny Pyramid Heads because they critiqued her video too much. But that’s beside the point, because even then it took seven days. Seriously.

The battles went on for quite a while. There was espionage, guerilla warfare, warfare in general, and many vicious Halo and Dance Dance Revolution matches between the two sides. It was all so tiring that the two sides’ girlfriends got bored of watching the men play video games all the time and left them for the party life. Both the North and South were heavily inflicted with depression because of this, and wrote bad poetry about the darkness of their souls and how their teachers kept them in during recess. Alas, it was dark times.

The South was hit the hardest, however, when many men no longer had shoes to protect their little toesies. Because of this, they could no longer play DDR and were now on the defensive, until one fateful night. They preformed a summoning ritual that summoned the magical rainbow vintage Barbie doll, never removed from box! (NRFB! NRFB!) She granted them all plastic high-heels for which they could continue to fight in. The men rejoiced, for not only did they have shoes again, but they made their legs look sexy.

The southern men’s sexy legs angered the men from the North, for they became jealous. Angrily they gnashed their teeth and smoke poured out of their ears as they charged into the South. They crashed over mountains, deserts, and forests, but then many sank into the Bayou. It was a tragic event. Some smart ones dug a hole through the Bayou though and ended up in China. They ordered some takeout, then swam across the Altantic Ocean from New York to London like MapQuest told them to.

Some people may argue that the Civil War was over slavery. This was actually a cover-up by the CIA. It was actually over oil, ‘cause that’s usually what causes wars. Some say that the cover-up never happened though, and it was only a misinterpretation of “black gold” in old journals recovered from Civil War veterans. Either way, the CIA refused to comment when I followed them around all day, trying to ask stuff. Buncha jerks.

Anyway, after the Bayou incident was when the most horrendous assault happened. That’s right; Jefferson Davis released the ninjas on Lincoln. For a long time, Davis had ninja traps set throughout Japan. The traps were ingenious; disguised as pirates or helpless babies with candy, and soon many ninjas were hanging upside-down from nooses, and man were they pissed. In fact, they were so pissed that anyone who came within a 50-mile radius got their heads exploded from the pure ninja fury going on there. After the ninjas were caught, they were shipped to Americaland, directly to Lincoln’s house.

It was Christmas when he opened the package marked “This is totally not a box full of ninjas”. Suddenly a whole horde of them sprung out of the box, killed everyone in the building including all the bugs that were there, and then left. Fortunately for Lincoln, a phoenix down fell off the table from a gust of wind, landed on him, and revived him. He only had one, though, so in his grief, he built a robot that would replicate his wife, transplanting her brain into it. Meanwhile, the ninjas searched for the one who took them from their homeland, planning to avenge themselves. They found Davis in a supermarket, and ended up killing him with loaves of French bread. Then they teleported back home, to go tell their ninja friends of their excellent adventure.

And so, with their leader gone, the Confederacy lost the war, and the Union was preserved. People flopped about on the streets with happiness, and that’s how breakdancing was invented. Lincoln was shot afterwards.

I got an A! :D
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the skysick sun, fading woozy, throwing up.
dripping on the backs of conveying camels.
bodies of water, yes, every touch moves through.
grassland often. skinny belly atop the garden hill's slope.
train-track thap-thapping. smile, God's tap dancing on a saturday sundown.

you're watching the show frontrow. i'm watching you.
i say, "those mistakes on your arm look nice in this light." but i don't. not aloud.
instead i say, "do they hurt when it's cold?"
and you say, "it's not cold right now."
so i say, "i didn't notice." but we don't. not aloud. not allowed.
so i say, "you look hurt." no. i say,
"you look pretty."
yeah. i said that.

then you looked at me. then you cried. because i'm a liar. only to you.
i mean, to you only, i am a liar.
i mean you see me as a liar.
but you know what? everything's alright in my mind.
and that's good for me for now.

"hey, V?" that's what you said.
"yeah?" i said.
"where are we?"
"we're here, dear. we're right here."
tell me i'm lying. tell me there's a me and you, no 'we'.
tell me winter's coming and the mistakes you didn't feel
weeks ago are going to push your mattress into the atlantic
and you're going to paddle as far as you can away from me
through the pain to the rain that makes everything burn and
spills it on an island.

look at me. cry.
because i am a liar.
none of this happened.
this is all fake, like us
but there is no 'us',
just a you and me.
not really, i'm a liar.
none of this is real.
the lovely :iconspongexd: drew an image.
i wrote words.
this is what you get.
hope you enjoy(ed) ~:star:
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"Good things come to those that wait."

A night full of smiles.
Questioning eyes.
Quick glances.
I'm shy.
I can't look at you without getting weak in the knees.
Grasping onto my hand.
Running your fingers slowly across my palm.
Deep conversations about nothing.
Making me giggle.
Being so completely comfortable after a few drinks.
Poking your belly.
My leg touching yours as we sat next to each other on the couch.
We're at the peak of our innocence and something's bound to happen.
I tell you I have no talent.
You share a story.
I share my praise.
Sharing a drink.
Lingering over the thought that your lips touched my straw.
Would those lips meet mine anytime soon?

The songs played on.
I wanted nothing more than to imitate a feline.
Pounce on my prey.
Devour it whole.
You gave me:
A kiss on the hand.
A kiss on the forehead.
A kiss on the cheek.
Nothing would suffice.
Staring into your eyes and seeing the way you look at me.
Like I'm something amazing.
"Kiss me you fool" would have been innapropriate for the moment.

You're in my bed.
I feel your hand gently grace across my thigh.
Along with goosebumps comes a rush.
A warm feeling that started in my belly and went straight to my heart.
If there's a Cupid, he shot his arrow.
I can't see you and it's a shame because you're beautiful.
What time was it? Almost morning. Still dark? Good.
I want to be cheesy.
I want to tell you that I adore you.
I want to tell you that I've wanted you.
I want to tell you that my heart's beating a mile a minute as you crawled under the covers with me.
We speak a few words.
In between phrases, I hear the pounding in my chest.
I feel your breath on my chest.
Soft whispering.
You get closer, as if you already weren't close enough.
You lightly kiss my forehead and the word "Goodnight" escapes from your lips.
As if I'm going to capture those words, I lean in and my lips touch yours.
We hold still for a moment.
Millions of exquisite poems could have been written in that split second.
Our lips part and then join again.
You reach your hand up to join my cheek.
I rest my hand on your side.
Your delicate touch meets my hair and you softly tuck a piece behind my ear.
You whisper into my ear,

"Good things come to those that wait."

I waited.
I found those good things.
And I'm left with a warm feeling in my belly.
It goes straight to my heart.
A heart filled with dreams, passion and wants.
I want one thing.

Kiss me again.
Quite possibly the most beautiful first kiss I've ever had
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God, he is smiling at the waitress with big eyes as she brings him his dinner. i can see the gnarls of his hands from a dozen feet away, his chair pulled close to the wooden table. i watch him reveal his little teeth, presumably polydented dentures. he is wearing a yellow sweater, a cardigan with elbow patches.

the chair across from him is empty and in the same grain pattern as the table with his towering pile of supper. my brother asks if i know why he is alone and i tell him to keep silent. his wife died, he told me, with a smile. the old man turns his eyes to his meal and slowly begins to eat.

God, please forgive me for not sitting with him; forgive me for not telling him i am so sorry and i love him; please forgive me for not crying into his sweater or being enough

epiphany # 244: we will find this man again someday, and show him love still exists at the bottom of our hearts and a teacup.
i like my category, right or wrong.

~iLISI had this epic magic of epiphany series on tumblr, i think we're unofficially collabing?

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There was a little boy named Sheila. He didn't like the name very much, but it was what his parents gave him in pretty Hanukkah wrapping paper for his third birthday (in June), and he lost the receipt a while ago.
Sheila lived a few houses down from me, and you would often find us shooting at whatever living things we could find at the park till the sun got bored and fell down behind the ground-pimples.
One day, Sheila got very sick. He went to the hospital, and I visited as soon as I could and came into his room. There was a very old man in a dusty coat stroking Sheila's forehead, but Sheila didn't know him so he asked the man to leave. The man revealed that his name was Death, and he told Sheila it was time to go. Sheila couldn't prove the man wrong, so he got up and left with him.
To this day, I haven't seen Sheila again.
But I have tea with Sheila's tortoise, sometimes. Her name is Thomas. It seems the apple fell closer to the tree than Sheila would have liked to know. Hehe. He.
I hope Sheila's okay, wherever he may be.
I hope Death has nice lollipops that he gives him, but they have to be the red ones because the yellow ones are lemon, and Sheila hates lemons.

Watch everything. He's a genius.
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you stood in the doorway, damp orange light falling across your skin, black hoodie falling from your shoulders gently, hair a mess - and you were all but perfect. you stood, leaning against the door frame a little too drunk, and smiled at me. it was that kind of smile that i knew meant more than it should have, the one i have seen too many times since - the kind of smile that meant something. i'd like to tell myself it meant the world - that when, for the first time in a year, our eyes met and you told me something that wasn't a lie - the stars had aligned or the universe corrected itself - but i know that's not true.

we kissed that night, the alley way beside your house. you ran your hand along my legs, along my ripped tights, and i could feel your heartbeat under the sleeve of the shirt i had always loved. you stared at me, face relaxed, and told me that you had wanted that for a year.
sometimes, i think i have too.

my heart didn't explode though, and my knees didn't shudder underneath me -
because it's not the same as last time, is it? i spent years convincing myself to hate you - and now you're begging me to love you. this is acceptance in love, absence of loneliness, and shudder of known imperfection down my spine. this is me more afraid than i have ever been, me doing things i have told myself i never would again, me letting you in, me enabling you to hurt me. again.
and this,
after all these months -
all the tears and the lonely nights, grief and depression, all of the horrible words and the other boys, after all of the pain and the regret and the release -
this is me, preparing for it again.

but you know what? maybe i'm okay with that. because you make me happier than anyone in the world, and the warmth of your skin against mine in the middle of the night sometimes feels like it justifies everything we've ever done.
oh deary me.
sorry for my absence recently, been very busy with school and this and that and whatever
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madeline wants to paint a picture on a canvas.
she wants to build a tree house and wants her netball team to win the final.
meet someone new every day. she wants to realise pink's an ugly colour and throw out all of her clothes.
she wants to make her first phone call to a boy and hold his hand and go to his house. she wants to get butterflies and wants to share a hot chocolate with him. she wants to have her first kiss.
she wants to listen to music until its all she can hear. she wants to fail tests and say fuck studying, she wants to get a detention and wants to tell her parents that she handed in the excursion money, but keep it for herself.
madeline wants to get high and get a piercing and tell everyone she's fighting the power. she wants to try being vegetarian for a week. she wants to skip school and go to parties. she wants to stumble home in the early morning.
she wants to detox and spend all sunday sleeping. she wants to apologise to her parents and try so very hard to explain. she wants to have sex in the backyard and in the shower and at the beach and tell a boy she loves him and mean it
she wants to buy a white dress and say 'i do'. she wants to spend forever choosing a boy's name and a gir'sl name. she wants to get an ultrasound and she  wants be be able to tell her children about her childhood.


the doctor gave her two weeks to live.
if i could, i would give her more.
i've been listening to so much jack johnson lately.
i love it.

i just needed to write

updated 12/11 11.27 pm
changggggged some stuff.
and added another paragraph.
andd realised i kinda sorta like this.
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the air is always cold this time of year, you once told me as we lay in bed, warm, watching the last few seconds of christmas eve fall away. you whispered merry christmas in my ear, ran your hand along the the valley of my waist and told me that you had the best christmas present ever. i didn't need to ask what it was, because i already knew.
'this time of year, miracles come true,' i could tell you were murmuring through a smile into my shoulder 'if you just close your eyes and wish upon a star hard enough.'
giggling, i closed my eyes and wished that i would wake up next to you. when you asked me what i wished for, i turned to face you, and through a succession of small kisses i whispered that i couldn't tell you, or it wouldn't come true.
god, we always thought we were so young.

you know, i have closed my eyes every year since then, and wished for the same thing. this year though, i lay in my double bed alone, sheets littered with cigarette burns and little pieces of wrapping paper. blood red numbers glare at me from the bedside table, and again, i watch the seconds fade like clouds dissipate.
i rest my head against the wall behind me, and sigh. you told me, as you were packing your things into bags, calling me all the names you've ever heard, reminding me of everything that was wrong, that wishes never come true.
'you wish upon a star, a million miles away,' you sighed, holding the door frame as you walked out for the last time, 'but that star is dead rachel. all that is left of that shiny, pretty thing, is empty space.'
i know this should be happy, seeing as it's holiday season,
but nah - you guys know me !
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