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the nature of love and destruction: a Duck Story.

Volume III, Issue I of Signal Mountain Review is live now! Featuring works from , , , , David Franklin, Lexi Covalsen, Juanita Rey, and Susanne Paola Antonetta. Found at .

Author Cynthia Hamilton THE TROUBLE WITH PARADISE, Detective Series , THE TROUBLE WITH PARADISE, Detective Series

the latest -- Gaslight Paradise -- Three very different people having midlife crises find themselves in a very strange party, and soon find out it is not what it seems.

“What happened with the other creatures?” Rising Fawn asked, wanting to move along the story. “The deer were the next to hold a council to decide how...” Timpoochee said. Promise of Shaconage, Act 207: Invasion of the people...

• Last winter Ricky was just another gangly freshman hoping to fit in - or at least not get picked on - and maybe catch the attention of Becky Nance, a girl in his biology class. Now he is stuck in pirate land and trying to get back home.

From a separate sack, Wahta also produced smoking pipes. Two were smaller, made of stone like those of western cousins, and painted red. One was large, white... Promise of Shaconage, Act 213: The visitor also stood his ground...

• In this award-winning middle-grade murder mystery series readers head to a Wild West Ghost Town - to Transylvania, NC where a vampire dies playing golf - on a zombie crawl in Savannah - to Sleepy Hollow to find a werewolf. Clean teen

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FSG 2020 Stickers

In 2020,

Stop giving abused children representation in fictional characters in media only to kill them off to “flavour the plotline”.

Stop using abuse/abandonment as a “sad backstory” if you are only doing it for shock value and pity points and not planning to resolve or confront the trauma in detail.

These are serious topics that deserve respect. There WILL be someone in your audience that Has Actually Experiened That Trauma and relates to the character. You will do harm if you don’t treat the character with respect and basic humanity.

Imagine finally finding someone who understands you and you look up to them and lean on them for support in bad times for years and years only to be punished for loving the character in the end and be essentially told “people like you don’t deserve to live, you never will be able to overcome your past/trauma/blood ties and be loved and happy.”

Instead, be radical and defiant of cynical views. Let the abused character LIVE and be LOVED and LOVE in return.

Please stop making the abuse victim forgive their abuser and go back to the toxic relationship/family. Please stop putting placing blame on the victim. Please stop making the abuser apologize and WOW suddenly everything is forgiven!!! Please stop making the victim self sacrifice to save their loved ones. Please stop giving the victim ptsd if you just “magic” it away with ~°love*~ and the effects are never mentioned again. Please stop demonizing the abuse victim and making them act like a monster. Please stop only making abuse victims villains and not heros.

(But it’s so beautiful and poetic! I hear you say. Well maybe consider this, if the rest of your characters don’t have this trauma and you kill off the only character that strongly resonates with a group of abuse survivors…maybe it sends a bad message. No matter how poetic blood is, it is still blood.)

I’m not saying that writers have to be perfect or that what I said above is the rule book of writing.

I’m just an abuse victim asking that maybe it is kinder to put more work and love into writing abuse and abuse victims.

The world is already a dark place,

for once, let fiction be kind.

some useful words i found on a bookmark

books help us by having an accurately broad grasp of what it means to be normal -

which is, of course, far from what we insist on pretending is normal.

books don’t require us to be conventionally good or typical. they can reflect the true oddity and wonder of being human.

as with an ideal lover, their honest distinctiveness means we can be usefully weird around them.

Better Than A Movie

Carie went through so many emotions while watching a movie, Paulo often found himself watching her instead of the screen. Today, they were settling down to watch Moana.

She awed at the sight of baby Moana playing with the waves.

“Paulo, did you see that?” she said hitting his arm. “Isn’t that just adorable?”

“Yes, I saw it,” he said, fighting off her hands. “Stop hitting me and eat your popcorn.”

Keep reading


Night or day, I can’t tell.

Fire and thunder, I can feel the lightning flowing between the gun and me, a voltage constantly shifting as the overflow of power fills my battery. Time keeps ticking but I feel at ease now. Walking past Valkyrie and placing the duffle bag on the table, I removed the Russian rifle from the bag and carefully mounted the stock back to it. Clock keeps ticking; it is only a matter of time before they rush in here with their own weapons drawn. Having gotten this far, there is no going out silently.

“Here.” I loaded a fresh magazine into the rifle and handed it over to Valkyrie. One spare for it, saving bullets where possible would be important.

“Last mag?”

“Yes, but you stick to your claws, don’t you?”

“Heh, like a lion.”

“Scavenging comes naturally once you have done enough of it. Ready up.”


Safety off, I kicked the table over and pushed it closer to the door. Breathing calm, Valkyrie took position next to the door as I kneeled down behind the desk. Half a magazine in the mk17, I would adapt my tactics around it.

Seconds passed, the silence remained. Scanners focused, I slowly got myself up and walked over to the wall next to the door. Signatures were there, but felt weaker than the ones I had seen before. Make the call, scan the ID and open the door. Rifle braced against shoulder, I followed Valkyrie out of the room and assessed the situation. A crowd of statues, red runes flashing by in their visors as they stood around. Unable to make sense of the dataflow, most of the runes formed to resemble errors across the visors.

No further information available, I took what I could from one of the soldiers. His pistol and magazines, along with anything that could be used for repairs. A few syringes in a pouch on his belt, I left one behind and zipped up the pouch.

“You good to go?”

“Yeah… Hold on, can you hear that?” A whispering around us, growing louder by the second. Hard to extract a full transcript from the chanting, several repeated verses of the word “Goddess”, how she protects, guards and guides.

No, snap out of it. Focus, can’t get into my head that easily. The code has been reworked time after time, the bugs within haunt it. Shaking myself back to reality, I silenced my audio and told Valkyrie to do the same.

“Did… you… say something? I feel…hazy…”

“Audio, off, NOW.”

Silence, I placed my hands on her shoulder and kept my eyes locked with hers. There it is, the focus required. Draw power from it and use it, evade the haze within your own mind. She shook her head and nodded back to me.

A pair of trucks parked just meters away from the door; we removed the occupants from their seats. Eyes as vacant as the ones on those standing near the door, their visors empty. Climbing inside, Valkyrie took the wheel as I focused on filtering out the chanting from our audio sensors.

A short drive, we arrived at the checkpoint leading back to the shipyard. A green light as Valkyrie drove the truck up on a ramp where it was taken through an airlock to remove any traces of chemicals. Walking in, the chemical spray felt somewhat refreshing, even with the suit preventing anything from getting through.

A light above switched over to green and the door unlocked itself.

Perhaps I can breathe now.

Welcome To My World part 4

Man, where is he? I told him I’d be here early, and the clock in the lobby wall already says its 10. I need him today. Some serious cash could be scored with a distraction. Or food. Or clothing. I sigh and sit down on a couch.

“Oh, Vic! Have you been waiting long?”

I look over at a grown man grinning like a toddler. As I stand up, I lie. “Nah, I just got here. You ready to go?”


We walk out of the hotel, and he already asks “So, where are we going?”

I smile down at him. “Well, I was thinking we could walk around, see a street performer or two, and then go to a museum or something. I assume you’ve already seen quite a bit?”

He nods. “Yesterday I took a tour, and went souvenir shopping, and-”

“That’s nice. So, you ready to see some raw talent from starving artist?”

“More than ready!”

I slick back my greasy purple hair with my hand, and compose myself. This is going to be a long day.

As we walk down the street, I let him talk. He just rambles about whatever he thinks about, pretty much; his parents, his job, how he wants to travel some day, trivial stuff that I’ll forget in a couple of days.

“What about you?”

I look down at him. “What about me?”

That was so out of the blue. What’s he even asking?

“Well, what’s your family like? And why did you choose New York? Oh! Or were you born here?”

I don’t really want to form any sort of relationship with this guy. I don’t wanna talk. But, if I wanna use ‘em, I gotta sweet talk 'em. “My family? Eh, its 4. Me, parents, and a younger sister. My sister’s a typical teenage girl,” I shrug. “And my old man and mother are uptight as any other adults with 2 children.”

“That’s cool! I never had any siblings, so I can’t really imagine it. What’s it like being a brother?”

Wanting to roll my eyes back to my brain, I keep it inside. “Not as great as it seems. Ya fight, gotta share stuff, and if you’re older like I am, ya gotta listen to 'em cry for a good 3 to 4 years.”

Okay, good. Minimal information seems to have shut him up. Oh thank God, there’s a performer ahead. The tub of lard leaves me behind to go watch. Its nothing special-just a girl playing with anything she can juggle and a huge crowd. I sigh and wait for a bit.

“Hey, Theo,” I call.

“Yeah,” he asks without turning around.

I place my hand on his shoulder. “You know, the really underrated ones are a little farther away from more crowded areas, such as here.”

His attention is grabbed. Blondie finally turns around.

“Really? Then what are we waiting for, let’s go!”

That was easy.

As we make our way out to a museum, he asks again; “You never answered my question about living here.”

Looks like I’m not getting out of that one. I shrug. “Public transportation I guess. And no, I wasn’t born here.”

For a while, it was a little quiet, thankfully. Until we got to the museum. A bit in front was a young man playing the guitar and most lucky, almost no one around. There was a old couple going into the building and a woman nearby, but otherwise, no one. We walk over, letting the man play. Ah-ha! I look down at his guitar’s case, full of money. 50 dollars or so would be an easy grab. I don’t want all of his money, just most of it.

After a song or two, Theo claps.

“You’re so talented! Why aren’t you doing concerts and things?”

While those two have a little chat, I bend down to “tie my shoe,” grabbing a bit of money. After standing and sneaking the cash into my pocket, I take out my flip phone. “Yo, Theo, I gotta go take this.”

Hehe, that was almost too easy. Last time I was able to swipe some street cash was over a year ago, and it wasn’t near this much. Time to go gambling! Let’s turn this 67 into a 600. Maybe I can find him tomorrow and swipe his wallet then. If not, no biggie.


I turn, seeing Theo running towards me, and the performer screaming.

I put my phone away and book it. There’s no way that teddy bear could catch up to a rat like me; I know these streets! Not to mention my thin build and long legs. After 8 to 9 minutes of running, I look behind me. He’s still there! He does look tired, though. Time to out wit him.


s, likes and comment are appreciated! Story thought of and written by me! I hope you enjoyed this part

六十一 (61)

Yume’s eyes had adjusted to the dim light in the room, but she still struggled to make out the words of the letter Kazuo showed her.

To you,

I say ‘you’ because even now, after some time, it still hurts to even think your name. I have no idea how to start this letter, if you could even call it that. Perhaps “Last Will and Testament” would be a better title, though I have nothing to leave or offer anyone in this world.

I wish I had more poetic words to ascribe to this situation, some wisdom to offer, or a reflection to cast to the world. But I have nothing. I have only the pain and guilt that serves as a reminder for what I have done.

The first reason for this is purely selfish: I can no longer bear to be in a world that you no do not inhabit. There is a distinct lack of vibrance and color in this world now, and the monochrome filter that has been placed over it drains my will to live. The weight of how much I miss you will never be outweighed by any color this world might offer.

I also know you probably left this world feeling anger towards me. Knowing that you died with bitterness for not showing up is something that I cannot live with. Thinking of your spirit hovering around me with malice and vengeance eats at my soul.

But worse than all of that is the guilt—the guilt in knowing that it is directly because of me that you’re no longer in this world. This reason alone is enough to motivate my actions. I realize that if we had never met, if you had never known me, that you would not have had to die like you did. Even worse, if I had just been on time, or not been distracted as I was, your death could have been avoided. I simply cannot ignore this.  

If I should see you in the next life, I will spend that existence begging for your forgiveness, though I will not expect it. I wish I could have said the things I wanted to say to you in life, but I know all too well that it is too late for that now.

This is the final letter I will send. If anyone is reading this, please look in the box in my closet. There are letters for others there. I will be found at the Skyline Observatory, and by the time anyone reads this, I will be already dead, for “There’s no chance now of a recovery .”

-Kazuo Kitazono

After she finished reading the letter, Yume looked up at Kazuo in disbelief. Despite its dramatic flair, she could tell he was completely serious about the words he wrote.

“What is this? Did you just you write this?” she asked.

“No. Before. I remember everything now. This is why I was up on the mountain. I was sending this final letter, and then I was going to end it all.”

“You mean, when we met? I mean, when I came back?”

Kazuo nodded.

“But you didn’t! You got struck by lightning instead. And lived! Don’t you think that’s some kind of sign?!” she said hopefully.

“It doesn’t change anything. You’re still…”

“But it does! Don’t you see? If that’s not some sort of divine intervention, I don’t know what is! And I came back, and only you can see me! That’s like God saying, ‘Hey! Don’t do it!’”

“But you’re not really here! You left me behind!”

The words caught her off-guard, and she was silent for a moment.

“I didn’t mean to. I didn’t want to! Honestly… I… I…”

Tears were forming in her eyes, but Kazuo felt no remorse for what he said. She sniffled them back and turned her back on him.

“I’m sorry, I can’t stay. I have to go!”

“So you’re leaving me, again?!” he said, letting pettiness get the better of him.

Yume tried to hold back her sobs as she hurried out of the room and out of the house. The sky was bleak, and not a single star shone. There was just the pale ghost of the moon hanging above her head.


I was sitting in my usual spot, just minding my own business. Kindle in my hand, trying to finish a book I’ve been reading for 3 months now. My coconut latte, halfway done, is on the table.

Across me I notice you sneaking glances at me. I try to remember if I know you from somewhere. When I look up and see you staring at me, you look flustered and force a small smile with your furrowed brows. How cute, you’re nervous. I return an equally confused smile and get back to my book.

Before I leave, I take another look at you. I’m trying to figure out where I’ve seen your face before. I still don’t know where to place my memory of you. So, I get up and gather my things and head out the door.

Once I drive out to the highway, a big billboard catches my attention. And there you are, with that same awkward smile. You weren’t nervous. You probably thought I was a fan.

When people are super passionate about an anime/cartoon/fictional character; I love that. They then start drawing them, imagining scenarios with them in it, look at pictures of them 24/7 because they have just fallen so in love with that chatacter that they make them so happy. Ah, good stuff. 🥺

60th Annual Lex Allen Literary Festival Poetry and Fiction Contest

The 60th Annual Lex Allen Literary Festival is currently accepting submissions for their Poetry and Fiction Contest

Submission Guidelines:

  • Must be an undergraduate student at an accredited university
  • Each entry must include the author’s name and contact information and the name, city, and state of the author’s college or university.
  • All fiction entries must be double spaced
  • Entries can include up to three poems and/or two short stories

Prize: $100 for Poetry and $100 for Fiction and winners will be announced April 4th

Deadline: February 14th and no fee to enter. Entries must be sent to

1974. The Works Of Jesus

This is called “The Works Of Jesus.” Anybody want to throw spaghetti into my mouth? 


The game I play is called “Confusion.” 

     I wear a bowtie to sexually strangle me. 

     All of my teeth are foreign and obese.

     Nothing I ever do will help money. 

     Isn’t it nice to be at rest?

     Houston will give you cancer. 

     What if the american flag was just a white pillow?

     There is not a clock in existence that knows the works of Jesus.

      I’ve already evaporated, my heart has exploded, every bit of the cosmos that animated me has returned back to the dark. 

      I’m waiting to be born again on someone else’s deathbed, surrounded by the heirlooms of strangers.