September 1, 2023 | Volume I, Issue 5:

Haunt

All the Ways I Haunt Myself

Dannie Marsella
Mixed Media Zine

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Looming

Emily VanDerEems

But I guess just being is an awfully strange place to be.

You’re reminded of how carefree your life used to seem

when nothing mattered and you had your whole existence in front of you

These little moments 

come back now and then

the thunderstorms 

the fantasies

the weekends of wonder 

You go back for a brief moment 

whether on purpose or not 

to feel nostalgic

sentimental

hopeful

And then you’re forced back to reality 

and then some

infinite opportunity smacks you in the face

and reminds  you of all the things you’re doing 

not doing

and you want to make them proud 

and be who you said you’d be 

But that’s the thing you just are. 

You’re just a being 

just being

There are a million different ways your life could have gone

And a million different ways your life will go

And every day you’re gonna show up as one. 

It’s not the same being as yesterday

and you won’t be the same being tomorrow 

But the world is growing and changing and bending and balancing and 

you are growing and changing and bending and balancing right along with it. 

It’s simple and it’s messy and it’s beautiful and it’s tragic 

But I hope it makes you realize

you are way more than just being. 

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3AM

Lily Garnaat
Digital Art

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Where The Fun Never Stops

Raven Reynolds
Photos taken at Enchanted Forest Water Safari

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Super Popular Strawberry Milk

Lisa Kribs

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Have you dreamed of this creature?

A true story from Courtney "CB" Brown

I must have been 4 or 5. The dream began with me “waking up” in bed. It was late morning and the house was quiet and clean, like everyone had left on vacation without me. I peeked out my door and called out to my parents. No answer. I walked across the hall to their bedroom.

 

The bed was pleasantly made, and the sunlight beautifully caught Cookie, our sweet tuxedo cat, sitting in perfect formation on the comforter. Seeing him calmed me instantly. I lost interest in finding my parents and instead sat on the bed to pet him. I could feel his fur vibrating as he purred. No part of me felt asleep.

 

When I looked into his eyes, though, something was off. He became stiff and his coat started to bubble like thick slugs were trying to make their way out. His face contorted. His fur turned a sun-bleached brown and became matted and dirty. The whites of his eyes began to show. His face was becoming both more human and more beast at once. It resembled a dog, or a bat, with human eyes and dense fur. His mouth opened, revealing uneven yellow teeth, and then– he laughed. An absolutely nauseating laugh, deep and pure evil, conveying to me, “I tricked you.” It (no longer Cookie) was so very delighted by my intense fear and disgust.

 

In a panic, I began clawing at its face, as if trying to dig out my cat from this monster. It didn’t stop laughing. It seemed to enjoy my frenzy. As it laughed, its face began to lose structure in my hands. I was pulling off tuffs of fur and skin, and from every wound, thick black goo seeped out. So much. Too much to fit in the body of a cat. It continued to laugh as it fell apart, and I woke up.

 

I’ll never forget that dream. Many years later, I brought it up to my brother and father while reminiscing on “the old house.” My father reluctantly admitted that he had recurring dreams in that house. In his dreams, he was home alone but felt there was something there with him, something that wanted to hurt us. He would check every room, every dark corner, but never found it.

 

My brother would routinely sleepwalk there. Like my dad, he wandered the house alone in a dream state, though he doesn’t remember why. What he does remember is always waking up in the same spot—the basement. The sleepwalking stopped once we moved. I can’t help but wonder if my father and brother were both searching for the same something in the dead of night. 

 

Since then, I’ve brought up this up anytime a campfire story is in order. And I’ve heard of similar dreams from others— of something deeply evil luring us in (particularly kids) with a familiar face. The one element that repeatedly comes up is the black syrupy goo that follows the trickster.

 

My friend Ian recalls a childhood dream where he saw a very similar creature I did. He described it as “a talking bat with very human eyes, covered in syrup.” In his dream, the neighborhood kids excitingly brought him to a wooded area at the end of the street. They wanted to show him what they had found. They crowded around a tree, and the beast emerged from the hollow. It spoke to Ian with a simple request: bring me more kids.

 

Is this the product of a collective unconscious? Or could there be something with its own conscious lurking in our dreams, feasting on our fear? If you too dreamed of this creature, call (585) 432-0333 and tell us your story.

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