THE WILD RUMPUS
By Philip Weinrich
Standing with hundreds of costumed revelers in front of Creature Comforts, he shifted from one foot to the other, anxious for the parade to start. Work had been especially busy this year, and he looked forward to this rare night off. Leaning on his scythe and peering out from his black-hooded robe, he watched as “Max” climbed the tower, blew his conch shell, and shouted, “Let the Wild Rumpus begin!”
Horns blew, and people cheered as they moved up Hancock. He was surrounded by people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs—all together having fun. This was the one place he could truly reveal himself and feel totally accepted.
“Cool costume!” a voice beside him said. “Let me guess. You’re the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, right?” Looking over, he saw a girl dressed in green with a short skirt and wings, skipping and twirling as she walked. The streetlights reflected off the glitter on her face, and her smile sparkled like fireworks. She exuded a joy he longed to feel but knew he never would. It was enough to just be near the feeling, even if it was only temporary.
“Yeah, something like that,” he replied, the hood muffling his gravelly voice. He wasn’t used to people talking to him, and he hoped his awkwardness wouldn’t drive her away. “Now it’s my turn. Are you a sprite?”
“No, silly! I’m Tinkerbell!” Giggling, she reached into her pocket and threw fairy dust into the air over them both. “Now we can fly!” Grabbing his hand, she pulled him with her, jumping in circles to the applause of the crowd.
They walked the rest of the parade route together, making up backstories for all the costumed characters and waving at people she knew. He couldn’t remember ever having felt this free: free of the demands of his job, free of judgement, free of the loneliness of his existence. He knew it couldn’t last, so he wanted to enjoy it while it did.
“So, what do you do?” Her question caught him off guard. The night was going so well he hadn’t thought of how he would explain his work. “I…uh…I work with EMTs, mostly. Sometimes at the hospital if they’re really busy.”
“Oh, so you’re an ‘essential worker’ then?”
“Yeah, I guess you could call it that.”
“That must be pretty fulfilling, knowing you’re helping people.”
“Well, I don’t get to be there for the good end of things, if you get my drift.”
“Oh,” she said, and her face darkened. Then the brightness returned as she said, “Yeah, but you’re there when somebody might need you most. That would be a terrible time to be alone.” He had never looked at his work that way. She’s amazing! he thought.
“You know,” she said, “I’ve been having such a good time that I haven’t even asked you your name.”
He hesitated. “I was named Thanatos. It’s a Greek family name. If I had any friends, they’d call me Nate.”
“I’m sure you have lots of friends,” she said, bumping him sideways.
“Well, I work a lot,” Nate sighed. “It’s hard to find time to get to know people.”
“Then I guess I get to be your first one, Nate!” She grabbed another handful of fairy dust and tossed it up, spinning like a top as the sparkles fell around her.
The clock tower struck midnight, and Nate said, “I wish I could stay, but I need to get an early start tomorrow. Lots of work to catch up on.”
“Thanks for a great night, friend! Here,” she said, handing him a piece of paper. Nate opened it without thinking. It said, “Pam Creer 928 Brumby,” just like on his list for tomorrow. His hand quivered. Why? he thought. Why did she have to tell me her name? Anonymity made his job easier.
“You know where that is, right?” she asked.
“Y-yeah,” he stammered. “That’s actually my first stop.”
“Then I guess I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said as she skipped away.
“Yes, you will,” Nate said. What he assumed was a tear dripped down his bony cheek. “Goodbye, Tinkerbell.”
It was almost dawn and smoke was still billowing from the top of Brumby. Nate appeared near where the EMTs were working on the victims. One girl lay very still, the red lights from the fire truck reflecting off the glitter on her face. It was indeed a terrible time, but at least he knew she wouldn’t be alone.
THE GREAT CONJUNCTION
One night I was at my friend Andrew’s house. We used to look at the stars together. Jupiter and Saturn were closing in on each other—the Great Conjunction. But Mars was near opposition, and it was the brightest light in the sky.
He was kind of intense, but I was used to it. He said he wanted to show me something. It was a time machine.
“The Great Conjunction,” he said. “Time and space and consciousness are all coming together. And it’s happening at the solstice—that’s what makes time travel possible. Planets have consciousness, too. The big planets bring strength and wisdom, but Mars gives us division and discord. That means trouble.”
He opened the door to a big room with a desk and a ton of equipment, all sitting on a red square painted on the floor.
“It’s just like Google Maps,” he said. “You can look at any place on the screen, and zoom in or out.” There were two trackballs on the desk: one marked Time and the other Space. “You can record everything and then look at it when you get back. Check it out.” He sat down behind the desk.
The monitor on the wall flashed and I was looking at a ground sloth bigger than a car, sitting up on its haunches and munching buckeyes off a tree.
“I can’t believe it,” I said.
“This is Georgia, 13,000 years ago. Colder, open forest, lots of big animals. Things warmed up, humans arrived, and the megafauna disappeared. Plants like buckeyes aren’t so common now, with no big animals to spread them around.”
He picked up a couple of buckeyes from his desk and shook them in his hand, clicking against his gold ring.
“The world ecosystem is threatened. Mass extinctions have happened before, and no land animal bigger than fifty pounds survived. I want to see how plants and animals adapt to the future. Time travel unravels the DNA and puts it back together to fit the local time and space. Look at my cat.”
The monitor showed a shaggy feline with long fangs like knives, tearing at a carcass. The last time I saw his cat, it was a cuddly fur-ball. This thing looked like it wanted to eat your liver.
“I took it back with me to the past. It stepped outside the square and that’s what happened to it. But it proves that we can adapt. We have to change to fit the Earth of the future.”
He fiddled with the controls. “This time I’m going forward. You’ll see me gone for a minute, but for me it’ll be more like a few hours.
“Don’t come inside the square,” he said, and he hit the switch.
There was a hum and everything on the square blinked out. It was only a few seconds, and then he reappeared.
There were two big bulges on his forehead, like bags of gray jello with veins, pulsing up and down. His skin was gray and scaly, and his fingernails were thick and black like claws.
“I’m all right,” he said, hoarse and raspy, more like a hiss. He might have been a lot of things, but he was a long way from being all right. Looking at him made me want to puke. Before I could say anything, he waved at the monitor behind me, hit the switch again and disappeared.
A jumble of scenes appeared on the screen, years compressed into seconds—the city dark at night with no electricity, the grocery stores looted and empty. Bodies hung on scaffolds in front of barracks surrounded by barbed wire fences. Overseers with rifles watched from the shade at workers plowing fields by hand. People with guns were hunting and killing each other and eating each other’s livers. Finally, solitary people scavenged, eating grubs and grass seed. Scraggly trees dotted the horizon under the fierce sun.
Future Athens wasn’t looking too good.
There was another hum and the machine returned, but this time it was empty— he was gone. The monitor lit up again.
This time the hills were naked under the sun, dry and dusty. The river beds were sand and rock with a few desert plants and nothing moving bigger than a dog or a rat. A giant lizard plodded ahead, a gold ring on one of its claws, adapted to the future.
I went outside and looked up at the night sky. Mars was very bright.
UNDER THE RIVER
By David Young
Third Place (Three-Way Tie)
Some of my earliest memories are of Oconee Hill Cemetery. My Paw Paw was a gravedigger there. He lived in one of three houses on cemetery land. The big house near the gate was for the caretaker, then two worker houses. His was the one closest to the railroad track. A bridge crossed the tracks, and the road ran close to his front porch. Back then, this is how you got in to visit any loved ones buried there.
The bridge is gone and so is the trestle we used to sit on and watch the Bulldogs play, and sometimes Athens High would play night games. There was only the first level of the stadium, and the lights were on telephone poles behind the stands. The lights and shadows reflecting off the trees and tombstones of the cemetery seemed strange but not spooky, even to a three-year-old. The graves always looked content and at peace with the extra noise and lights from the stadium. But now the lights, noise and trestle are gone.
Living so close to the Oconee River, we fished a lot. My Paw Paw, Daddy, Uncle Jimmy and myself went fishing any chance we got—either the Oconee, Trail Creek, Sandy Creek or Brickyard Lake. On Saturday mornings we were somewhere, but most times we were behind the dam on the Oconee.
If we were fishing for fish to eat, we went above the dam or Trail Creek, but if you liked catching lots of fish, you went behind the dam. The sewer line from Athens ran straight into the river about 100 yards below the dam. You could catch lots of fish, big fish, but of course you didn’t eat them. Some people would sell these fish and tell those folks that they caught them out of Trail Creek. We never did that; at least me and Daddy didn’t.
As the years went on, my Paw Paw got old and moved away. But we all still fished the rivers and creeks, sometimes a couple times a week at night. As I grew up and started to drive, I would go after school lots of times down under the cemetery bridge. I remember one evening I was next to the bridge as it got dark—well, almost dark. I looked up at the bridge and thought of the story my Daddy told me of a headless wagon driver that used to be seen on that bridge at night. I was fishing off a ledge near the water. The bank behind me was well over eight feet high. I felt and heard something move, and as I looked around, a turtle the size of a barrel slid down the bank, hit my foot, then splashed into the water.
This warning was like Mama calling me home, and that was where I was going. I grabbed my poles, bait and box; climbed up that bank and started home. I really had stayed longer than I should have. I had left my car behind “Jake’s,” or some called it the Athens Supermarket or Jackson Grocery. It was at the foot of Oconee Street hill, and that was where I needed to be.
As I walked up the river, I heard children playing and a baby crying. I thought this was strange because the university was out, and there was only a small trailer park where Rivermill is now. As I walked on, the sounds got louder, but I didn’t meet any children. As I got near the dam, the sounds got muffled by the roar of the dam, then stopped as I got past it. When I was putting my gear in the car, I remembered a terrible accident that had happened here years before. A car leaving Jake’s turned and ran across the road, down the embankment into the rain-swollen river. Five people died that day: a man, lady, twin girls and a baby. The two girls were found in a sandbar below the dam. The baby was still in the car. I often wonder if I heard the spirits of these children. I pray their souls are at rest. The voices I heard sounded happy, but I lost my love for that part of the river. I don’t fish there anymore.
by Juracula Vün
Joe Feikus woke wide-eyed into the early morning hours of a mild October night. He had the overwhelming sensation that something had been left open, that a door was ajar. The feeling was enhanced by a new sound – a persistent, synthetic tone that oscillated through various amplitudes and pitches. He rose and found nothing in the house amiss, yet, after checking the backdoor, he felt compelled to open it and walk, still in slippers and bathrobe, toward he-knew-not-what.
After three blocks of stuporous rambling, he arrived at the intersection of Oneata and Barber streets. Before him was a large industrial plant designed to eviscerate chickens and wrap their remaining carcasses in cellophane. A new piece of glittering equipment had been bolted onto one of the factory’s many antechambers. In size and shape, the Apparatus resembled a steam locomotive.
Though he could clearly orient the sonic strobe to where he was standing, the sound had become almost inaudible. By some queer acoustic trick, the Apparatus grew louder not as he moved closer, but as he moved farther away. In spite of the relative quietude of the spot, Joe realized with some horror that a dribble of warm blood was flowing from his right ear.
Weeks passed. His doctor could find no pathology. The strobing tone continued. It was accompanied by a reoccurring dream in which Joe received a letter requesting that he visit the White House as soon as possible. Upon arriving, he would enter the Oval Office. The President would introduce himself by saying “Call me ‘Donny J’,” and consistently referred to himself in the third person. Donny J immediately set in with demands. “Donny J needs his cell-phone fixed . . . Donny J would like a pineapple-upside-down cake for desert . . .” Joe could manage none of these. Donny J’s frustration rapidly grew into rage. The dream always ended with Joe, in his haste to please, accidentally hitting a big red button on Donny J’s desk, triggering a wild chorus of light followed by a bloom of mushroom clouds.
The dreams began to bear on this waking life. He found himself googling “Donny J rally”. These searches would, to his shock, return hundreds of results – many within a twenty-mile radius of his home. He got into his truck one afternoon intending to go to the market but instead began driving toward one such rally in the outlying city of Gainesville. Once there, it was easy to spot the glut of pedestrians gathered around a projection screen. Donny J – the “real” Donny J – was enlarged on the screen, exhibiting the same gesticulations and shouts that lurked in Joe’s subconscious. The now familiar fluid sensation ran down Joe’s ear and neck. As he looked around, he noticed nearly all of the onlookers had the same rusty, semi-coagulated streak of blood dripping into their collars and staining their shirts. He fought the inexplicable impulse to stay and returned home with a new conviction.
That night, Joe gathered a 40-foot chain and tie-bolt into his truck. He found an old construction hard-hat and reflective vest and put them both on. Upon arriving at the chicken plant, he sat out orange cones around the Apparatus. He looped the chain around the humming central manifold and linked it with his truck. A just-off-work foreman passed his driver’s side window.
“What the hell is goin’ on here?”
Joe replied with reassuring aplomb, “Relax, friend; I know my business.”
He gave the accelerator a stomp. The Apparatus cracked, releasing purple and green plumes that danced into the atmosphere until their color had diffused.
The relief within his skull was immediate and deeply satisfying. More broadly, as time passed, local rallies waned in size to a pittance. Also, no one seemed to be leaking blood from their ears anymore. Though charges of “terrorism” were brought by the Brazilian conglomerate that owned the plant, the courts ruled petty vandalism. Joe got probation and twelve weekends of roadside litter removal. He thought it a small price to pay for saving his city and, quite possibly, the world.
By Lindsey Stanley
Saturday in Athens was, for most people, an exciting day full of celebration and tailgating. Even with the pandemic, the air was filled with its usual gameday buzz. For me, it was just another weekend of strategically avoiding football fans.
Coming from a small college two years earlier to attend graduate school at UGA, I wasn’t particularly fond of the fanfare of gameday culture and still couldn’t comprehend what possessed people to paint their bodies or travel from their homes just to watch the game on a flatscreen outside of the stadium. To make matters worse, I was living in a downtown apartment because of its closeness to my job at Main Library, which thrust me into the beating heart of UGA’s social life.
I had managed to avoid crowds, but today, a trip to the grocery store was forcing me out. I made my way down Broad Street, passing the fans walking aimlessly down the sidewalk. One guy, wearing khaki shorts and a red polo, stumbled drunkenly and almost stepped in front of my car. As he regained his footing, he slapped the hood of my car and yelled, GOOOO DAWGS! I made a point of rolling my eyes as I drove away. Whatever school spirit was, I was apparently immune.
Eager to return to the sanctity of my apartment, I sped through the grocery store aisles. I quickly paid for my items, loaded my car and made my way back home. Back on Broad Street, I smiled a little to myself as my building came into view in the distance.
The street was surprisingly devoid of cars but full of pedestrians. More than usual, actually. Suddenly, I heard a slowly rising roar. I was eventually able to make out the words of a gameday chant: “GOOOO DAWGS” repeated over and over. I honked my car horn at the people in the street, but the crowd seemed to be entirely oblivious. Distracted by the commotion, I missed my turn and was now looking for a place to turn around.
Just as I reached the College Avenue crosswalk, the light turned green. When I pressed the gas so I could make the light, a couple of my grocery bags toppled off the backseat. Then, I heard a loud thud that came from outside the car. Oh, crap.
In the split second that I turned my head to check my bags, I had hit someone! I jumped out of the car to find an older woman lying in the street. I knelt down and frantically asked, Are you okay, ma’am?! I looked around at the crowd and yelled, Help, someone please call 911! People continued walking, and the chant droned on, as if no one heard me. I stood up and rushed over to a woman in the crowd. Still panicking, I grabbed her arm and yelled again. The woman turned toward me with a wild look in her eyes, lunging at me and grabbing both my arms. I pulled away, but she held on. In the struggle, I managed to pull off her mask. When I did, I saw that her mouth was fixed into a delirious smile and dripping with foam. I slowly backed away as she glared at me. I turned back toward the woman who I had hit, but she was gone!
A hand grabbed me from behind. As I snatched away, I turned and came face-to-face with the woman who had been lying in the street. She was now grasping at me violently. I tried to run back to my car, but I was now surrounded by the chanting crowd. Finally, they descended upon me.
A small patch of sky widened above me as the crowd moved away. I felt something wet on my face. I lifted my mask to discover that I was now foaming at the mouth – just like the woman in the crowd. Then, in the back of my throat, something began to bubble up. I grimaced as I felt the urge to force my mouth open against my will. I let out a loud, pained scream as the thing forced its way out. I almost couldn’t believe my ears as the words GOOOO DAWGS! spewed forth from my lips. Once the words had escaped my body, I felt a strong sense of relief. Almost instinctively, I fell in-step with the surrounding crowd. As I followed them, I felt the corners of my mouth creep up into the same delirious smile.
CONCERNING THE EVENTS OF DECEMBER 14, 2019
It’s come to my attention that many people are without memory of the final game of the 2019 UGA football season, either because they missed the news somehow or came into contact with one or more entities with memory-erasing effects. (I’ve been told there’s a hotline you can call regarding compensation for that.) For those who don’t remember, that was the day the Dawgs played against Miskatonic U and their team, the Shoggoths.
The team’s name quickly became shortened to a nickname, much like the Dawgs themselves, and they were known as the ‘Goths around town. This might seem to imply that the team’s colors were dark and gloomy, but the jerseys their fans wore were of a color no one could quite describe, except to say that looking at it for too long made them physically ill. In fact, a few fans of the ‘Goths had to be ejected from Sanford Stadium due to the excess of complaints from those around them that staring at their jerseys had made them throw up, given them a migraine, or, to quote one Dawgs fan later taken to the hospital, “made a bee merge with my hand, dude, like it was under the skin!”
The players almost all had a slightly… fishy appearance, with a tracery of gills just visible on their short, thick necks, and very little body hair to be seen on any of them. But if you ask the stadium’s security guards, their parents—many of whom had to be ejected as well—were far worse. Technically, there were no rules against wearing a full fishman costume into the stadium, but they received too many complaints about people claiming to be the players’ parents or grandparents (or great-great-great-great grandparents, in some cases) commandeering cups of water from their seatmates and repeatedly dumping them over each others’ heads, quote, “to stay moist.” Several eyewitnesses report seeing them empty massive bags of salt into the water before drenching themselves, as if to replicate the salt content of the deep ocean.
Before I go any further, I should say that the Dawgs did win. They were flummoxed at times by the Goths’ bizarre tactics, such as maneuvers that seemed to serve no purpose other than to trace elaborate glyphs into the ground of the stadium, but somehow we won out in the end. The victory was eclipsed by the rampant hooliganism perpetrated by visiting Miskatonic U students and fans across town, however. No less than two dozen instances were reported of police having to break up what they described as “summoning circles”, in some cases in the middle of very public areas. All bystanders seemed entranced into a stunned silence. The Arch smelled like goat blood for days.
The ‘Goths’ coach, a highly eccentric character we only knew as “Mr. West”, became nearly apoplectic upon the loss of his home team. “We beat the Midwich Cuckoos!” He ranted in a later interview with WUOG. “We beat the Dunwich Horrors! How could we possibly have been bested by- by these people whose mascot is a dog?!”
I should also mention the ‘Goths’ mascot- or perhaps I shouldn’t. It’s still a sore point for those who were unfortunate enough to catch a glimpse of it. UGA scrambled to employ people with megaphones to stand at intervals throughout the seats and shout warnings against looking directly at the opposing team’s mascot, who, for some ungodly reason, was shambling through the seats unchecked. What it was meant to be is a mystery to all of us, but the ‘Goths fans who weren’t wearing those sickeningly-colored jerseys were wearing shirts adorned with what appeared to be a cutesy depiction of this abomination. When I personally asked one which demented artist came up with the idea for that thing, he simply smiled and said “Oh, but my friend, this is no mere artwork! It was drawn from life!”
In the spirit of sportsmanship, we are, of course, planning to give the Shoggoths a second chance to redeem themselves, unsettled as we may be. The final game this year is, once again, us against them. But this time, the town will at least be spared- it’s an away game, and I’ve been told it will be played “in Carcosa, where the black stars hang”. I’m assuming that’s somewhere in Florida.
By Ben Credle
Leaves crunched underfoot as Henry walked up Lumpkin, away from the bright lights and storefronts of Five points. He could hear the sounds of laughing children ringing doorbells and yelling, “Trick or Treat!” The fake candle in the plastic pumpkin on his doorstep guided him in like a beacon. They’d had it for years, every year intending to get something nicer. But the kids loved it and wouldn’t let them get rid of it. He struggled clumsily to unlock his front door. Had she changed the locks already? No, finally the key slid in and turned. But his fumbling must’ve been audible inside and had attracted attention. The sheer curtain in the nearest window slid back slightly, and a small nose pushed against the glass. Henry heard the familiar shriek of his 5-year-old son, “It’s Daddy!”
As the door creaked open, Henry heard the drumbeat of little feet, and he glimpsed Robby’s backside disappear round the corner, running out of the entryway toward the dining room. The kids had always loved to play hide and seek, with Henry chasing them around the house, socks slipping on the hardwood floors. But there wasn’t time for games tonight, he had a singular purpose. He needed to get to his kids. His wife didn’t want him to take them, and she would definitely try to stop him. He slowly followed the sound of Robby’s feet, looking for any sign of him or his sister. He wanted to hold them so badly.
Upstairs, Helen knelt on the floor as she screamed, “Kids, come up here! Do NOT listen to your father. He shouldn’t be here!” There was no use calling the police, they’d never get here in time. She’d seen enough cases like this on the news to know she was on her own. The only person who could protect her children was her. And if she didn’t hurry it would be too late.
She groped under the bed for the shotgun that Henry had always kept there. As much as Henry had encouraged her, she’d never practiced with it. In fact, she’d never fired it at all. She didn’t know if she’d be able to pull the trigger on her husband. Ex-husband. But she couldn’t let him have their children. There were only two shells in Henry’s bedside table. She grabbed them and pushed one into the gun’s chamber and the other in the magazine tube. She heard Henry’s heavy footfalls downstairs. She raced down the stairs, the shotgun held out in front of her.
She found him in the dining room. Robby was crouching behind a chair, the table was between him and his father. Robby looked confused. Helen shouted, “Henry, stop! You can’t have them! I’ll shoot. I really will!”
Henry turned to face her. She didn’t know what she expected to see, but his expression was completely unreadable. Then, without answering, he lunged toward her with arms outstretched in front of him. She squeezed the trigger, the barrel pointed somewhere near the middle of him. The sudden boom was incredible, echoing around the small room. Henry was blown backwards and fell to the floor. His head hit the wall with a loud thump. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she could see all the way through his midsection to the bloody wood floor underneath as she stepped over him. “Kids, stay behind me.”
Henry sat up and began crawling toward her. Helen tried to pump another shell into the chamber the way he’d showed her, but the slide was a lot harder to move than she’d imagined. Henry reached out and grabbed her ankle. His hand was ice cold and the gray skin felt like it was tearing away. Even over the smoke from the gun, she could smell his decaying flesh. The voice was barely recognizable as Henry’s, but the word that came out was clear enough. “Brains…”
DON’T WALK UNDER THE ARCH
By Gigi Gonsalves
The girl sighed at the time.
She was tired, desperate for a study break and another coffee, so she left her textbook at the table and sluggishly exited the library, making her way through North Campus and toward downtown Athens to a 24-hour coffee shop.
When she approached Broad Street, she found herself standing next to the Arch. She’d seen it a million times before, but tonight it looked different. It looked… taller, more translucent. Something about it made her curious.
She’d heard the rumor, of course- if you walk under it before you graduate you won’t
graduate on time. But she didn’t seem to care tonight. The structure just seemed so… magnetic.
Suddenly, and unexplainably, she lost her sense of direction and found herself desperately yet unwillingly putting one foot in front of the other until… she’d walked under the Arch!
She looked around blankly, unsure of what had just happened. Then, from a dark cloud in the sky, a strange figure appeared. It was ghastly, evil. So horribly unnerving.
It said in a deep, chilling voice, “Ahh, you’ve made a bad mistake, my friend. And the only way you can fix it is if you fetch me the best blood in town.”
“W-what do you mean?” stuttered the bamboozled girl.
“I mean exactly what I said- go find me the best blood in town from a blood cafe and I’ll undo the curse you’ve cast upon yourself! Or else, you’ll be stuck in Blood Bathens forever.”
With that, a flash of lightning broke through the sky and the figure was gone.
The girl, confused and shivering, looked around. Everything appeared eerie, with giant pumpkin heads floating through the air, ghosts and ghouls wandering the streets, and bats flying in and out of the windows of dilapidated buildings. This was Blood Bathens.
She decided she had to act fast.
She ran up to a nearby group of ghosts walking by and timidly asked them, “Excuse me! Hi, yeah, where is the best, er, blood in town?”
One ghost tilted its head to the side and looked at her sideways before grumbling, “Honestly, I’d say 1,000 Faces Blood has the best stuff.”
Its friend butted in and said, “No way, dude. It’s definitely Zombie Blood and Guts.”
The third ghost scoffed and said, “You all have it all wrong- Henderclot’s Blood is where it’s at.”
The girl didn’t stand around to listen any longer. She made her way to each place, ordering their best blood pours while narrowly escaping death and disgustingness the whole time.
At 1,000 Faces Blood, for instance, a thousand faces hung on the walls, each one cut off from the heads of previous visitors. The barista almost tried to take the girl’s own face, but somehow she managed to escape beforehand. At Zombie Blood and Guts, the zombie baristas tried to eat her guts out after giving her their best pour. And at Henderclot’s, she kept stepping in huge, globular blood clots, turning her shiny white shoes maroon red.
On her way back to the Arch, she asked a few more ghouls where to get the best blood. One suggested Boo-vez, the other suggested Stalker’s Blood Shop and Pub. A pumpkin head suggested Big City Dead Cafe or the Shook and Gone. Some bats mentioned Jittery Bones Blood, Iron Squirts Blood, Heirloom Blood and Flesh Market, Drips Blood Cafe or Don-marrow’s Kitchen.
Amazingly, she carried back almost 12 hot cups of blood to the Arch and waited. After a few minutes, lightning struck and the figure reappeared. He examined the cups of blood in her hand, then slowly tasted each one. The girl grimaced at the thought of blood going down her throat.
After the figure was done sampling the different bloods, he began laughing.
“Congratulations, my friend. You’ve passed!”
“What do you mean?” asked the girl.
The figure said wryly, “You didn’t bring me any blood from Scarcrux. So, they’re all the best blood.”
Then, with one final lightning strike, the figure was gone and the girl was whirled up over the arch- up, up, up, with the bats, until…
She lifted her head abruptly from the table and wiped the drool from her chin.
She checked the time.
She looked around the library, her vision fuzzy and her mind foggy.
What a nightmare, she thought.
Then, she left the library to go take a study break and, of course, get another cup of blood.
By Bain Mattox
I glanced out my window to a Barber Street roof
Saw a tool belted, floppy-hatted, handy-man goof
My neighbor and I share the same landlord crew
My roof was the next for inspection, I knew
In Athens, last week, dropped magnificent hail
Not at all pebble like, and at enormous scale
Shaped rather oddly, like blobby white clouds
Clamorous, rowdy and wake-the-dead loud
After a moment, the handy-man knocks
He tells me he’s checking the roofs on the block
“That hail storm, horrendous, so I was dispatched
To examine the roofs, to patch all the thatch”
I tell him that I had to leave for my job
He says, “Ain’t no problem, I got all the keys to the knobs”
A stranger in my home, makes me uneasy
Especially alone, makes me feel queasy
I pleaded that he not let out my old cat
Her name is Susan, she’s arthritic and fat
He said, “you ain’t got no reason to fret,
I’ll be in and out, and you’ll be all set.”
A slammed night at work, I ooze from my car
Annoyed to find that my door was ajar
His keys on his jangly, multifarious chain
Hung from my lock, and I feel deep disdain
“You’ve got to kidding me,” I say under breath
Knowing, upon whom that I would wish death
“Hello?!” I call out, as I slunk through the door
No answer, just silence, enraged to the core
“Susan?” I call out, my cat did not come
She got out, I knew it, this guy was so dumb
My pull-down, spring-loaded entry to my attic
Fully laddered out, on the floor… problematic
I shout up into the obnoxious abyss
“Susan?!” “Mister?!” instead I hear this…
A scratching, crawling, a noise couldn’t be crueler
Like mice squeaking inside a Styrofoam cooler
Nearly frozen in place, I conjure up spirit
If I even screamed, would anyone hear it?
Ascend the ladder at the pace of a snail
The ancient wood creaked as I crept scared and frail
I reach near the top, so far so unharmed
And suddenly, Susan JUMPS IN MY ARMS!
She nuzzles and purrs as I climb her back down
Happy to know that she’s here safe and sound
Sadly our reunion is cut quite short
A BANG! From the attic, the kitty aborts
I’m quivering scared, I know this must end
Hand to the ladder, I start to ascend
The chalkboardish sound emanates from above
The accelerated, minuscule coos of a dove
As I gain altitude, the racket gets intense
I gear up my fear with a line of defense
“Just rip off the band-aid,” I tell myself, “GO!”
I thrust through the opening, from up from below
I see in the distance a mass of static
Squirming and worming in a mass in the attic
Writhing and climbing all over each other
Like a pile of maggots, rotten meat smothered
And suddenly a clump of them fall to the floor
Revealing a skeleton of something before
Another clump falls from where they were at
Revealing a floppy, half-eaten hat
My feet turn to ice, my legs turn to stone
I realize I’m seeing the handy-man’s bones
I then remember the unmistakable blobs
Of which now before me, twists and throbs
The hail is alive, alive and feeding!
They’ve come to eat us, and they’re probably breeding!
I fall down the ladder in an attempt to jump
My body hits bottom, petrified to a lump
The ice blobs gather into a wad of debris
Seeping through the hatch, and now coming for ME!
By Matt Humphrey
“Look at all these people without masks!” a townie in a vintage Pylon T-shirt ranted to his companion as they strolled past a bar on Clayton Street. “I don’t understand why they don’t enforce the mask mandate. What was the point of enacting it if it doesn’t have any teeth?”
Cassandra overheard this remark as she made her own way down the sidewalk. She agreed with his premise. But what could she do about it?
There was one thing! But no, she thought; she didn’t ever use her witchcraft to influence public policy. She believed in the separation of coven and state.
But now the idea was in her head. This was no ordinary time, she reasoned, it was 2020. Covid-19 had claimed lives, shuttered businesses, derailed dreams. If ever there was a time for people like her to become civically engaged, it was now.
Even the dark magical community was suffering because of this plague, she noted. Her own situation was affected. She needed fresh supplies of the blood of children to keep her 342-year old self alive and youthful in appearance, and it was difficult to acquire locally-sourced children when large social gatherings were on hiatus due to the pandemic. With the youngsters of Athens staying inside at home all day for online classes, and maintaining social distance whenever they were allowed out, it was a challenge even for a witch as old and experienced as she was to obtain their precious blood.
On more than one occasion in recent months she’d been forced to go to neighboring counties—Jackson, Oglethorpe, Oconee—where the population was less likely to adhere to the CDC guidelines, where sheltering-in-place had been scorned, to harvest the blood of children. It was more than a mild inconvenience to venture out into unfamiliar places to hunt. She had to work much harder to cover her tracks! It wasn’t like nabbing a stray kid at AthFest or Twilight, where an occasional child getting separated from parents in a crowd was almost a given. Out in the sticks she was forced to improvise, using her magic to plant conspiracy theories of kids being abducted and trafficked by liberal celebrities into the minds of confused parents. The level of effort and energy required on her part to maintain their belief in such ridiculous nonsense was not sustainable.
She made up her mind. It was the right thing to do in this instance. The spellwork for something like this would be difficult, of course, but there was a full moon on Halloween night, when the veil between the worlds was thinnest, the most perfect of circumstances for this sort of magic. And since it was Halloween, her Boulevard neighbors wouldn’t think twice about her dancing and chanting around the firepit in her backyard.
Sure enough, no one paid any mind to her crafting her spell beneath the glow of the newly-risen moon. The orange ball of energy ascending from her cauldron into the night sky was just another seasonally-appropriate special effect as far as anyone knew.
Whether by fate or coincidence, the disgruntled townie whose comments about the mask mandate had inspired her epic spell happened to be downtown on Halloween night, on the same block of Clayton Street. While there were plenty of revelers out and about in costumes with masks, he still noticed scores of khaki-clad undergrads clustered in bars without any sort of face coverings.
He was about to recite his familiar rant about the uselessness of the mask mandate when he saw it happen: an orange glow began to shine on the faces of all those not wearing masks. Little orbs of light hovered over their mouths and noses. Then, splat! The orbs launched themselves at the lower halves of those faces. They spread out across cheeks and chins. The light dulled after a moment, and each and every one of the formerly-bare faces was now wearing a mask.
These magically-appearing masks were attractive, and perfectly contoured to each individual face. Try as they might, no one was able to remove them. The material felt strange to the touch, more like skin than fabric. They quivered when stroked, as though they were living creatures.
These masks were painful to wear: hot, heavy, suffocating. And worst of all, they had teeth.
A DAY DOWNTOWN
By Lillie Potts
I woke up groggy after Election Day and brewed our daily Jittery Joe’s, looking at wineberry and walnut trees we’d planted on Halloween. We played Irish tunes and ate garden greens; fitting ways to celebrate the ancient Samhain. I didn’t want to think about last night. Off work and feeling like escaping, I wanted a fun day as if none of this had happened. I fantasized watching a movie at Ciné with my sweetheart, Hopsecutioner in hand. I thought of small businesses struggling through the pandemic, wondering if any of that mattered now. Sipping coffee, thoughts caving to cynicism, I glimpsed a flash of movement in the window’s reflection. My heart jumped as I spun to look. A wasp. They’d nested in our chimney, intruding inside one-by-one. Grabbing keys, I headed downtown. It looked like a normal day, post-covid normal. Traffic was ordinary; trees still had fall colors. But I felt jumpy and downtown felt eerie. It was quiet in an underwater way, though plenty of people milled about. I shrugged, parking near 40 Watt Club, my fun plan in mind. I hadn’t seen the Athens Music Walk of Fame yet. I remembered the night I met my sweetheart at 40 Watt years ago, watching R.E.M. play under a pseudonym. Strangers at the time, we shared beer and jiggled around together to ‘Exhuming McCarthy’. Sighing, I was glad for my fun day. Donning mask, I browsed in Low YoYo for new local music. I aimed to do likewise at Wuxtry after walking. I exited YoYo hungry, so indulged in a veggie burger next door, sitting outside Clocked reading Greg Palast’s new book I’d picked up from Avid. Halfway through eating, I froze. A large bearded man was on the sidewalk laughing. He didn’t look happy. He was alone, pacing. When I saw what he was swinging, I set my burger down. I’d heard of right-wing extremists wielding assault rifles in public but never seen one. He wore military garb with a confederate flag pinned to the back of his shirt. I was scared, being aware that the most serious threat to domestic security are white supremacists and right-wing extremists. They scare me, a working-class white woman, even more than the risk of nuclear war. Just when I thought the man was acting unstable, he looked right at me. I froze, unable to chew or swallow. He emitted that sinister laugh again and pointed at me, then whirled around and stomped up the street. No longer hungry, I hastily paid and left, but instead of walking up Washington as planned, I went down to Pulaski and turned on Clayton. I felt shaky and used all my will to not think of last night. I walked fast, no longer excited about the Music Walk but intent on getting into Wuxtry and hanging for a while before circling back to my car. As I rushed past Georgia Theatre, I kept an eye out for the R.E.M plaque, but suddenly got chills. I had an urgent gut feeling to not look around, just to RUN. By the time I got to Wuxtry, I was out of breath and their shop was closed. Suddenly everywhere looked closed. I saw nobody. I heard a clicking sound, then clomping footsteps from behind. Not looking, I took off up College Ave. It was the hardest I’d ever exerted myself, sprinting those two blocks, my lungs feeling as if they’d explode. Six months after I got covid, I still had residual effects in my lungs and heart, lacking energy. Approaching the Hancock intersection, tears streaming down my face, I silently screamed for my sweetheart. My ears didn’t hear it first. Before the sound could be registered, it reverberated my whole body, knocking me on the ground and inducing a visceral, uncontrollable shaking. It resounded in my chest, numbed my brain, and paralyzed me in fear. When the shock subsided, I realized I was on the ground with my eyes squinted shut. Nothing hurt, but I smelled rotten flesh and felt a sticky hot body. Reeling with fear ricocheting around my stomach, I looked up to a horrifying sight. Surrounding the double-barreled cannon that sat on that corner for over a century, I saw smoke swirling around the ghosts of nine confederate soldiers. They weren’t looking at me. They were looking at the dead cow next to me. The fired cannon was no longer pointing north. It was aimed dead at the historic United States Post Office and CourtHouse.
PEARL AND SECOND
By John Brocato
On his first night in Athens, Harris heard the train. He was staying just north of the Oconee and so was perhaps half a mile from the tracks, but even to a newbie the noise seemed louder than it should have been. He chalked this up to fatigue and tried to go back to sleep, but the noise never seemed to relent.
In fact, as he lay there watching the ceiling fan, the noise seemed to get louder and louder, so much so that Harris got out of bed and went to look out his front door. A huge train was plowing down the middle of Pearl Street. Sparks flew as the metal wheels chewed up the old asphalt. He could see the branches of close-by trees juddering as the massive cars sped by. The engine, which was almost out of sight, crumpled several parallel-parked automobiles, but Harris heard no sound accompany these crumplings because, standing half-in-half-out the front door, the train was unbearably loud. His ears were ringing already, and the house rumbled and shook as if in an earthquake.
Harris continued watching this spectacle aghast, not fully grasping what he saw. Within a few minutes, the rumbling subsided, and the train was out of sight, leaving behind rutted asphalt, smashed autos, and a Dopplering sound as the train cars continued their apparent march east. He considered going outside but found he was scared and quickly decided against it. He closed the door and got back in bed.
Eventually, he fell asleep again. As he awoke several hours later, it took a few foggy minutes for him to remember the train. When he did, he moved quickly out of the bed and to the window.
If, at the window, Harris expected to see an undisturbed street because the train had been a dream, he found a surprise. Outside, people were busy cleaning up the aftermath of major destruction. Chunks of rock and asphalt were piled up hip-height along the sides of Pearl Street, and men were shoveling gravel into deep ruts that ran as far as he could see in either direction.
Harris walked down his steep driveway into the street and approached a man shoveling gravel. He was sweating profusely and wore a faded green Weaver D’s t-shirt that proclaimed AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE.
“Hey, man. What happened?” Harris asked. The man appeared not to have heard.
Harris cleared his throat and asked again, “What, um, what happened here?”
The man stopped in mid-shovel but didn’t look at Harris and continued looking down at his shovel, which hung knee-height in mid-stroke. “Tornado,” the man muttered and resumed shoveling.
Harris frowned and looked around. None of the people clearing the street appeared to be talking or even acknowledging each other. They were just working.
“But,” said Harris, “It woke me up last night. I saw—”
“What you think you saw?” the man said suddenly. He was now upright and looking intensely at Harris.
Harris stared back and blinked. “I, um…I thought it was—”
The man stepped uncomfortably close to Harris’s face. “It was a tornado,” he said. Harris returned the man’s gaze and saw that he was frightened, eyes wide beneath his sweaty brow. “A tornado,” the man repeated definitively. Then the frightened look was gone and the man resumed shoveling.
Harris just stared in disbelief. The man’s shirt was soaked through the back in the shape of a sine wave’s valley, and his black hair was flecked with gray gravel dust. Harris looked around at Pearl Street and saw again that no one spoke or acknowledged each other. They just worked, piling rubble and broken tree limbs along the curbs.
As the sounds of scraping shovels and thunking rocks continued, Harris began slowly walking back up the steep driveway, scratching his head blankly and wondering what the hell was going on. When he got to the apex, just before the sidewalk to his front door, something caught his eye to the right, and he turned to it.
There, at the corner of Pearl and Second, stood a diminutive man in an old train conductor’s uniform. He was looking at a pocket watch hung from a chain that looped back under his long black topcoat. The top of the man’s tall hat tilted back as he raised his head, looking directly at Harris, grinning.
By John Nelson
Sure, I still drink Terrapin Wake-N-Bake and Widespread Panic Proving Grounds to kickstart my day. When I grind those beans and drink my morning coffee, I still feel that nostalgia from the countless times I settled down at a table at a Jittery Joe’s to study for finals with my friends or work on a research paper that was due the following morning.
I can do two things at once, have loyalty to Jittery Joe’s and their great collection of coffees but acknowledge their crimes against humanity, particularly at this time of year.
Back in October 2005, I won a caption contest at the Jittery Joe’s Five Points. The grand prize was $100 worth of coffee beans, but I told the manager that I didn’t own a grinder so the prize was lost on me.
No issue, he said. I could come to the Roasters facility for the company’s annual Halloween get-together, which would feature a lot of merchandise that I could choose from.
Fast forward to that night, I parked along Prince Avenue and made the short hike down Barber Street because the facility’s parking lot was overflowing with cars. From a long distance away I could hear heavy metal music blaring. The lyrics were incomprehensible. Possibly it was Eastern European, it was tough to say.
I walked in and was immediately hit with the smells of weed, tobacco, beer, stomach acid and something akin to the smell at the zoo. Needless to say I was feeling pretty disoriented.
Even though it was the Roasters facility that I’ve visited before, they must’ve moved the equipment to accommodate the sea of people and stage because there was no trace of anything coffee-related.
And the people there couldn’t have been locals. They were too old and some of the women looked like they’ve had a lot of plastic surgery done, not really something you see much of in Athens.
Not seeing how I was going to collect my winnings, I felt a little bummed but was excited to be out at someplace new for the night. It would make for a more interesting story than renting “Blair Witch Project” at Vision Video for the billionth time.
After a Terrapin and PBR and some dancing with strangers, I decided to go outside to take a breather. On the way out the door the manager from the Five Points store walked up alongside me and asked how I was enjoying the evening. I said fine but that I was going to probably call it a night soon.
He said that they hadn’t even started the main event. I stuck around to see what that was, and I really wish I hadn’t. An hour later, the band stopped playing and two guys came on the stage. They thanked everyone for coming out and said it was the moment they’d been waiting all year for.
One by one, I saw people in the crowd remove their clothes and yell in excitement. Then, a group of black-clad meatheads dragged some random man on stage. He was put in a chair that was outfitted with straps and locks. After he was strapped in, the two emcees put masks on and walked over to the man in the chair, which I now could tell was an old-timey electric chair.
I was frozen out of fear and watched as one of the hosts threw a switch that electrified the poor guy, to the point where he caught on fire.
The next few minutes remain a blur but I remember pretending to get a phone call that I had to take outside. I ran like a madwoman back to my car and high-tailed it home. I called the cops but they didn’t believe me.
I called multiple times the next couple days but it was no use, I never heard back and never read about any ritualistic killings or bodies found.
A few weeks later, I logged onto Facebook and saw that I had a new friend request from the Jittery Joe’s main account. I accepted and immediately got a direct message:
You’re not crazy, it really happened.
We hope you like your meat blackened.
Sending you leftovers from the feast.
We think you’ll like it to say the least.
It was hard to see you go
But we’re glad you made our roast.
We lit the torch for all to see
And now await next year patiently.
THE ESSENTIAL WORKER
By Shannon Waters
Abigail grips the handrail
a scant private moment
to cry and dry
by the final step on the floor
and open the door
onto the handmade sign
Thank you healthcare heroes!
It has been made clear
this wearying year
that notice is not for her.
Slipping into her housekeeping closet
she uncovers the plastic gas can
Quick with its cap
and the jar in her hand
she transfers more creatures inside
They skitter and scuttle
they hit bottom and Insomnia Cookies
staff perk pumpkin cheesecake
it is time.
It has been made clear
this critical year
benefits are not for her.
Abigail lifts the mop pail
one last time
Sign the pledge
Remain on call
Buy your own protection
Be a team player
Take the pay cut
“You people” are lucky to have a job
that values you people
less than food and shelter cost.
It has been made clear
this malnourished year
Assistance is not for her.
Invisibility also is
Management looks through her
while hashing cases and gambits
and disrepair of parking lot cameras.
His black SUV is vented
against the light
enough to fit a spout
a tunnel bridge out
of red plastic
onto soft black interior
for a thousand scritching, twitching, grappling legs
Cockroaches on cockroaches piling
and diving and hiding.
It has been made clear
this transforming year
this position is not for her.
THE PACHYDERM IN THE PARLOR
By Jay Barnes
Well, now, come on in – no no, where you are is fine. Please, sit. Yes, right there, just don’t touch the arm rests, if you don’t mind…
Why, I’m just happy to be interviewed by you, thank you for the opportunity! I’ve been around Athens for quite a while, and I’ve seen many changes over the years. Some things never change, of course – fresh, bright new students every year, and lots of crowds in the fall! Maybe not this year… You know, because of everything…
But why should we concern ourselves with that? There’s plenty else to talk about, trust me. Why, we could discuss the latest theater offerings, or the sporting world. Oh. Those too, huh? How about the state of primary education… not everyone starts at the University when they’re 10 years old. What? Really. I hadn’t heard, no – I mostly keep to myself down here, so I guess I’m a little behind on the news cycle.
Well, if we have to talk about THAT, let’s not address it directly; inference will be just fine, don’t you think? I certainly don’t remember anything this significant happening to our area in very long time. I suppose it’s treating people differently depending on their situation, of course, things like this always do. Seems to me that the more things change, the more they stay the same – Oh, you’ve heard that before also? I’m sorry if I’m not being a fount of valuable information.
I know, we could chat about the weather! Why, just the other day, I read that people talking about the weather means that they have nothing of greater importance to discuss. Drat – I suppose that’s not what you were looking for either.
Politics? I stay far, far away from that. I encourage everyone to go out and do their civic duty, but otherwise, I don’t think the machinations of politicians far away from here have any effect on our daily lives. What do you mean, “lockdown?” Now you’re just being silly. And I won’t have any of your nonsense about not being able to go out and interact with people.
I’ve been by myself for quite a while now, so I haven’t noticed any big differences in my routine. Get up, check things, listen for guests – not that I get too many, of course. Again, I’m terribly sorry if I’m not the best subject for you – perhaps you could try one of my friends downtown, they’re a little more lively. Lively, get it? Hmm, not much slides past you. Oh, forget I said that.
The fall season, hmm? Are we back to weather so soon? Yes, there’s something to be said about the changing colors and the cooler weather. Someone like me doesn’t worry too much about sweaters or scarves, since I mostly keep to myself. You’re really the first visitor I’ve had since last year, or have I said that already? I might be having a moment – tell me your name again, and why you’re here?
That’s right, haunted places in Athens. You wanted to interview me about my lengthy career as a spirit, how long I’ve been an active poltergeist, and why I chose this field. Why, yes, the Eagle Tavern has been my one and only haunt. I found a special niche, and I plan on staying here until my contract runs through.
What’s that? Watkinsville is practically Athens. Don’t you know your history? This building was the reason Clarke County split from Oconee in the first place! My presence in the basement notwithstanding… No, don’t go – we could talk about trick or treating, or kids on playgrounds, or the abundance of soft paper goods… Oh phooey. I get so few guests, and this year has been especially bad…
THE SOUTH IS RISEN
By Cannon Wilson
“Ladies and gentlemen it is not without shock, sorrow and an overwhelming feeling of grief that I relate to you the reports you no doubt have heard are indeed true. If there are children in the room I ask you, please, do not turn them out for the day of reckoning is upon us all. Today: October 28, 2020 at approximately 8:00 a.m. the sins of America’s forefathers stunned all on lookers as teams of African American men, women and children emerged from a cave-in at the stump of a downed Confederate monument on East Broad in Athens, Georgia. This is no Halloween prank! The South is risen.
Without any better explanation it would seem the same souls who inhabited bodies long laid to rest have somehow reanimated and are now immortal. Eyewitness videos show a sudden halt to all of man’s movements proceeding what can only be described as the shriek of millions in immense pain. Moments after, what many are referring to as, the Scream a shake likened to that of scenes from cinematic end of days depictions crumbled the earth under the remnants of the afore mentioned memorial. Six abreast they arose, transported by means of an ebony escalator of polished steel.
It is believed the first few thousands of these beings from beyond the grave were once slaves, owing to the scars their shirtless bodies bore. “Run” is the rally cry echoed in the panic stricken streets. White skin of every race, color and creed no matter the wearer’s age, acceptance or resistance if not already beaten into a state of meekness and chained to whatever was closest by should expect this same form of vigilantism.
A group of 12, aptly labeled The Jury, can be seen in a video link on our website applying chains to The Arch at the University of Georgia bordering North Campus and Downtown Athens. The cast iron representation of the Seal of the State of Georgia directly across from the site of the initial disturbance was toppled with three heaving chants of ‘Not wisdom! No justice! Moderation—HAH!’ As The Jury freed their chains the South shook from Texas to Maryland at sites commemorating the Confederacy with more of the same. An invasion of millions”—
“Attempt as you might to adjust your devices, we are in control now. Death cannot even save your mortal souls from what must seem your darkest nightmares unuttered for fear of voicing reality into your manifest destiny. The dream I had was deferred. Today another dream exploded—onto your streets, into your homes, past the security of gates, locked doors, fired guns and institutions that you were sure would never fail because of the lies you told yourself were fact. The brought back to Life black human beings you view as causers of chaos lived and died as if not actual chattel then mentally bonded to a system of hierarchy that has chained my brothers and sisters for far too long”—
“Thank you, Doctor. I felt it necessary to pull him off the stream due to the heat still under his collar about that incident that happened in Memphis. I go by Steve. I was slave in Egypt a long time ago where I stole the knowledge you will probably best understand as mummy magic. I brought it here before this land even claimed to be a union in the late 17th century. My second life’s work has been to reawaken the minds and bodies of every enslaved, assassinated and or disenfranchised descendant of those people stolen from Africa and brought here to exist as something less than human.
Once our task is complete you whiteys too will be reawakened—that is after those who suffered inflict some suffering of their own upon you before your demise. You will possess absolutely no memory of what happened before Black became better than you’ll ever be. Think of the world as it is, but… white won’t be right anymore.
I’m afraid our humanity—not how it is defined in the dictionary, but humanity as it can be observed led us to this decision. The word on the street is “run,” I suggest you make every attempt to do so. It makes for a better game.
I’ll see you out there. Happy Halloween, everyone.
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