Posted in 2018-2019, Issue 02, Poetry

Empty Carcass

by Hailey Stoner

I never quite understood why people choose to have
open casket funerals. I guess they want
to remember their beloved in the best way.
Even if it means remembering the empty carcass.
Remembering a house no longer inhabited.

Today, I am at my great grandmother’s
funeral. I am standing in the funeral home,
opposite the open casket.
Red and blue lights shine down on her.
An arrangement of pink and purple and white flowers
sits on the bottom half of the casket.

I have to remind myself
to breathe in. Breathe out.

She’s beautiful. Her thin, grey hair is
curled. She’s wearing a blue and purple flowered
dress. A cream shawl lays over her shoulders
and arms, covering her wrinkled skin.

I want to burst into tears.

Again, breathe in.
Breathe out.

We weren’t very close, but I can’t
stand being next to the casket.
She’s hollow. The mortician removed her
furniture, contaminated the house,
sealed the door.  

That isn’t her.
There is no rise and fall
of her chest. No movement
behind her eyelids. She isn’t asleep.
Isn’t warm.
Her heart is not beating.

That isn’t her.
It is only the cold, stiff body,
that everybody wants to remember.

Posted in 2018-2019, Issue 02, Non-Fiction

Around and Around

by Hailey Stoner

The air was sweet. Two robins chased one another from one tree to the next. Sunshine drenched the sky and the tree branches hung low, heavy with thick, green leaves. The tulips in the front flower bed swayed gently with the breeze. The mailman filled the mailboxes on the right side of the road, then moved to the left. I sat in the front window and waited for the mail truck to disappear around the corner. Then, I tore open the garage, hopped on my bike, and rode up and down the street, waiting for the other girls to join me.

Our houses sat in a triangle, my house on one side of the street, Hannah’s and Kassidy’s on the other, separated with an outsider’s home in between theirs. We didn’t see much of the people inside that house, but their lawn was always freshly cut and remained a deep, dark green almost year round. We never knew it was possible for grass to look that perfect. There were ten houses on our road. To the left of the triangle was the twin’s house, and the Hispanic house. To the right of us was the Lorenzen’s, the haunted house that terrified us, the old couple in the yellow house, and the people who always had cars coming to and from their house.

Our garages were always open, exposing all the internal organs for everyone driving by to see. They could see the tall, wooden shelves filled with lawn toys in mine, the couch and table in Hannah’s, and the seven foot tall Santa Claus in Kassidy’s. We would sit at the table and Hannah would teach us how to play blackjack or go fish. We tore down the toys from the shelves in my garage and hosted cornhole tournaments, but we avoided Kassidy’s garage at all cost. The Santa Claus never settled well with us. It felt like his eyes followed us, no matter where we stood.

This road witnessed many scraped knees and elbows. It was the trail that led Kassidy from one house to the next during Girl Scout cookie season. It was a canvas for our sidewalk chalk masterpieces and the road that lead us to school in the mornings. It was where we all met to start our night of trick-or-treating on Halloween. It was where we all met during the summer and ran around on the boiling pavement in our bathing suits before piling into Kassidy’s mom’s minivan to drive us to the pool. It’s where we could do whatever we desired.

Rolling down the hill in my front yard before the bees made their way to the sprouting weeds was the best thing to do. All three of us lined up at the top and layed down in the grass that was soft, yet somehow tough at the same time. Once we were in position, one person counted down. When we heard ‘go,’ we wrapped tight and pushed ourselves as hard as we could down the hill. The entire world spun around, and around, and around. We mercilessly crushed every poor dandelion that happened to be in our path and all the tiny bugs hiding in the tall blades of grass. It was only seconds, but it felt like minutes passed when we finally reached the bottom.

I shot up to make sure everybody knew I was the first to reach the bottom and it was a big mistake. As quickly as I was up on my feet, I was on the ground. The world still spun even though I stopped rolling. But once everything finally went straight, I stood up again to claim my victory.

I basked in the glory. My win made everything seem a little bit brighter. The grass looks greener, the sky bluer, and the birds sounded a little louder. A car drove by and we went silent, waiting for them to pass, making sure they couldn’t steal our secrets. Then, we raced to the top of the hill, ready to do it again.

We thought we’d be able to this everyday, for the rest of our lives. But we didn’t know that you’re not allowed to roll down hills after elementary school. Or jump in the rain puddles. Go on Easter egg hunts. Be excited for Christmas morning after Santa came the night before. I didn’t know that friendships would get complicated. Or the old couple a few houses down would die and the Lorenzen’s would move away. Or that my parents would divorce and we’d all go to different high schools.

I didn’t know my world would always be spinning out of control, even though I haven’t rolled down that hill since fourth grade.

Posted in 2018-2019, Issue 02, Poetry

Hagerstown As A Destination

by Sara Malott

I sit at a high-top table by a big open window
Looking over the streets of my birth place
I look up and I see blue skies finally
A promise of an eventual spring.
Around me are stoic brick buildings
Older than anyone I’ve ever met. Across the street
Award Beauty School, rusted hanging white sign
Above a school that has been closed for ages
And I am reminded that there was a list at one time
Claiming our city to have the third largest collection of ugly men
In the country. Satisfied customers stroll out of the age-old
German restaurant, doors held open by rusty bolts and miracles.
A man in a blue-buffalo-checked shirt
Walks through the middle of the road and inspects each car
He passes. A stop sign is angled directly towards myself
And I am worried that I am exposing somebody’s secrets.

The ground below me is all concrete and pavement. The
County commuter bus stops for no one while a balding man pushes
A double stroller down the sidewalk with only one kid.
I will leave this library and go home soon to a neighborhood
With houses that do not have TV satellites hanging by a thread
From somebody’s window. I will go home to a neighborhood
Where people still hide their drunk crumplings behind the bedroom door.
In my neighborhood there is only mowed grass and flower beds.
You will not find cop cars or cigarette butts on the streets.

Yes, I was born here
Yes I call this place my home but I have been lying to myself
For too long. I do not know what it is like to ride a bike
On these streets after sundown. I am not around to see
Lost souls shooting up in the back alleys. I am still taken aback
When I see people without homes talking to themselves
On the streets in mid-day. This is not my home
I am but a visitor. So today, I write this poem as one
Would make a scrapbook documenting a beautiful vacation.
I am a tourist. Here are the attractions.
I will be back soon.

Posted in 2018-2019, November 2018

Letter From the Editors

Hello everybody! We were nominated to take over Post Script, a magazine that has been up and running for four years now. We have been published writers, section editors, layout and design, and now, we are co-editors-in-Chief. It is so amazing how far we have come as people, as a magazine, and as a community.

There will be a few changes to the magazine in the upcoming issues. We have given our writers creative liberty to write in any form or direction their inspiration leads them. We have heads of departments such as the head of writers and editors and we have a trusted and experienced team of editors. We will be focusing on producing issues this year that our writers have been diligently working on and revising.

We are focusing on giving the magazine structure and communication this year. We were able to adapt the sections and deadlines to be more organized and easily accessible. We have paired our writers with our editors according to their working style and interests. We will also be shuffling the groups to make sure that both writers and editors get to work and learn from different people throughout this year.

Additionally, we will be hosting a release celebration to congratulate our fantastic team on another successful issue! Post Script exists to serve as a platform where we can share our stories as BISFA students and as human beings. We are all part of each others’ human experiences, so why not have the most fun and rewarding human experience possible?

We are so excited for all of the amazing things we will accomplish this year, and we thank you for coming on this journey with us!

With love,
Elizabeth Anders and Nicole Zimmerman

Posted in 2018-2019, Fiction, November 2018

Apple-Basil Stew

By Elizabeth Mcfarland

I don’t know if I’m dead, exactly. I don’t even know if I’m human. I think I look like a human, I guess. My hands do at least. Humans glow, in a halo around their bodies. I don’t glow, and I haven’t settled on what I think about that, yet. No human has ever done what I do to them to me. I Consume them. I think it serves a purpose. If one of them is glowing too much. I dip my hands into their shoulders and eat. Have you ever been depressed by a meal? I am, most of the time. It’s cold and still. A bit how I assume being human actually is.

It’s a part of them. I know what meat is supposed to taste like, what blood is supposed to taste like, and this is something different. Fluffier. At least I can believe I serve a purpose. I think I’m saving them. They’re too sad– too anything –and they glow too hard. I’m drawn to them like smelling cookies straight out of the oven, and I drink. I just know, I don’t know how else I would tell other than whatever feeling this is.

There was this girl, I think, in tennessee who was holding a gun to her head, shining the most appalling shade of red I ever saw. I came up from behind and reached inside of her. It was metallic and oily, like someone was cooking rusted iron. It tasted so good I felt like I couldn’t move. I’m getting used to being depressed by my food. She just dropped the gun on the floor and faded to a soft grey-blue.

Humans can’t see me. I think, if they did, they would have more objections to whatever I do to them. I once saw a man grab a woman in the chest and she slapped him. They both acted like it hurt. I’m glad none of them feel what I do.

I used to think I was the only one. I wondered what happened to everyone else, if there was anyone else. I had seen the feeling of lonely, drank it too, but I never thought I could feel it. I wondered, for the longest time, if it would be possible for me to die. I thought about trying it once or twice and it made me nauseous.

Then I met her. I was in a grocery store, and the fluorescent lights were flickering and made the halos hard to see. I followed her out of the frozen aisle into produce and she saw me. She wasn’t glowing and she looked right at me. Her posture dropped, and we stared at each other. The cold of the grocery store squirmed beneath my skin and we approached each other like feral cats.

Her eyes were big and round but the color was off. It was a watery plain gray. Not how some people say gray eyes, but grey, like a sad awful stone. Her hair was dusty blonde and long, but it was pulled back into a ponytail.

“What are we?” she said. Her voice was soft and crackly.

“I don’t know,” I said.

She nodded, “Do you call yourself anything?”

“What? Like a name?” She nodded again. “No.”

“Why not?”

“Why not? What, do you have a name?”

“No.”

Why not?” I asked again.

“I think it’s because I see too many.” She cocked her head to a family picking out apples beside us, “Their parents choose their names for them. I don’t think, if it were left up to them, they would be able to choose either.”

“We might’ve had names,” I said. “I don’t remember anything… before this, so we could have had parents. I hate thinking about that, though.”

“I wish I had a name.” Her eyes wandered to the grocery store tile.

“Why not get one?”

“I wouldn’t have anyone to use it with.” She glanced around frantically. “Apple,” she blurted. “I want you to call me Apple.”

“Like the fruit?”

“There are people named Apple.” Apple bobbed up and down on the balls of her feet. “You should pick one too.”

“Why?”

“I want to have something other than ‘mister’ to call you.” It dawned on me right then that she was the only other thing like me I had ever seen. I looked around the produce aisle and my vision jumped from grapes, to pears, to zucchini, to spinach, to barley, to rosemary, to basil– basil. That sounded normal enough. As normal as Apple.

“Basil, I guess, is fine.” Apple smiled and gave me a deep, tight hug. I couldn’t reach into her. She got this intense smile and started shaking a little as she held onto me.

“I always wanted to do that,” her eyes got misty, “but I never could.”

“Do you think we’re ghosts?” I asked.

“Like, Beetlejuice, you mean?”

“No, do you think we’re dead and this is just what we do?”

Apple pulled away from me. “I don’t know,” she motioned around the store, “lots of people die, and… look.”

“I wonder if it matters.”

“It doesn’t matter.” She sat down in the middle of the aisle. “It’s not like anyone cares.” I sat down across from her. “It doesn’t matter what we are, it matters that we’re a we.

I nodded. “I sat in philosophy lecture at some Ivy League college— lots of very high strung people— and they all seemed to think it matters a lot.”

“How much do you hate this?” said Apple, lying down on her back “Not being able to feel things, for real?”

“No.”

“Sometimes, I go for days without doing it. I sat on some man’s bathroom floor and watched him cut both his wrists open in his tub because I couldn’t bring myself to taste that. It was torture, but watching him die was better than feeling anything close to how he felt. I could have saved him. He was glowing so hard it wasn’t even a color, wasn’t even light.” There was a long pause.

“Lighght.” I said.

“What? I said it wasn’t light.”

“It’s a poem. By Aram Saroyan.”

“That’s stupid.”

“It’s beautiful.”

After a while, Apple and I left the grocery store. It closed while we were still inside

We walked the streets for hours talking about what we think we are. Apple mentioned Cihuateteo, an Aztec goddess who drained the life out of people.

“I don’t think we’re anything like that,” she said. “For her, there was never the prospect of being hurt herself, or depressed by it.”

“Do you go to a lot of places like Mexico and all?” I asked.

“Yeah, all the time. I haven’t been to England though. China is nice, though. I like the jungles, and the deserts, and the…” Apple stopped walking. I turned around and saw her standing completely still, with her hands covering her mouth.

“What?”

“I can’t believe I haven’t told you! Oh god, you have to see it! You are going to love it.”

“Love what?”

“In China, there’s this place. It does something to you.” She giggled and started bouncing up and down on her toes again. “You have to come! We have to go now!”

I agreed before I even considered any part of it. China. I didn’t even know how far away that was. It was a whole ocean away. But what did I have to lose? I wanted to know her. Apple dragged me to a port somewhere in the city. I wanted to know her, and I wondered if this was how Adam felt when he met Eve, but on fire and resurrected.

The port was cold and bleak. A single cargo ship was being loaded with steel and iron exports that was heading to Hong Kong. Apple looked up at the monstrosity with absolute wonder.  

I followed her onto the deck of the boat. Men moved passed us in a perfect rhythm carrying boxes and crates, and even bigger crates swung above us carried by enormous looming cranes.

Apple and I fell asleep on the dec the first night, watching the city shrink away from us. It wasn’t until after the ship left the port when Apple bothered to tell me the ship’s course was a month long. It felt like a part of me cracked off and fell into the ocean. In that moment, I felt glacial and empty. But I dealt with it, like everything else.

The ship wasn’t how I’d imagined. Everything was cleaner, more modern, and cushier than the picture I had in my head. The sailors, even, were different. I didn’t picture pirates or anything, but they looked more like dads than bearded, rubber-yellow-hat-wearing, sailors. But that was fine. I preferred dads to pirates anyway. I got hungry almost every day. They glowed bright blue with boredom, loneliness, stagnation.  

Apple watched me one day, when I did it. My arms were buried up to the elbow in the back of this man, glowing the most intense blue. He was running a zippo lighter next to an oil barrel, watching the paint curl away. He tasted cottoney and intoxicating, like rotted strawberries. When he faded, and I left him, he turned and put the lighter in his pocket. He remembered he had something else to be doing.

“How did it taste?” she asked. Apple was paler than she was before the beginning of this trip. There was a bright red rash on her wrists and neck and she scratched at it.

I told her exactly how it tasted. “Are you ok?” I asked.

“How does it feel?” I had to think for a moment.

“Like when you stand on a high place and want to jump.”

“There’s no one happy, or even just content on this entire ship,” she said. A big teardrop clung to one of her bottom eyelashes. I bent down to her level. “I’m so hungry.”

I stood, and took a step back from her. “You’re hungry? Eat then.”

“I have eaten. I just can’t do that. I can’t live though feeling that anymore. The other day, that one guy was playing that video game and when he won, I ate that. It was like lukewarm lemon water. But it was better than wanting to fling myself off a cliff.”

“You’re starving.”

“But, I can feel things. Taking other people’s feelings, just isn’t the same, and sometimes it’s just too much.” Have I ever felt my own emotions? I follow wherever the hunger leads me, and eat whatever it tells me. I do what I want along the way, but it’s always… tinged, by whatever I consumed last.

“Halfway.”

I think Apple only eats the happy things. I don’t care. Everything almost tastes the same to me anyway, and it’s harder to find people happy. She and I didn’t talk for two weeks, we were so consumed by looking at the waves curl and dance against the boat. It wasn’t until we heard we dock tomorrow come out of a shipmates mouth, that we were whipped out of our trance. We both stood at the gate of the ramp and waited.

Hong Kong looked like any other big city but it’s road signs begun to morph from Cantonese to English. I looked at Apple and she grinned so wide I thought it might’ve been hurting her.

“Isn’t this place amazing?” she asked.

“I guess.” A mechanic scream erupted from a bus catapulting down the street. “It’s loud.”

There was a woman sitting on a bench outside a store front reading a book. I felt it immediately. She was glowing this bright sunny orange. I moved toward her, but Apple beat me to it. She dipped into the woman like paint, and the halo seeped into her. The rashes that had splayed further from the time I first noticed them, shrank into puckered scrapes, and her skin looked like someone was alive inside it again. The woman’s face spun from a soft smile to shaken emptiness.

There was a halo around the whole city when we left. From the people, and from the lights in the buildings. Apple and I caught a bus into a small village and spent the night there. The village was so silent. Soft light pulsed out of small houses but I stared straight up at the leafy ceiling above me. Stars peaked through and I watched the sky spin around me. I felt so empty. I felt like I could float, disappear, and never come back. Apple and I were going to take a truck full of jackfruit in some empty dirt road. She said she knew exactly where we were going. Beautiful she kept saying. Beautiful.

Suddenly I was overtaken. What if I die here? What would it feel like? If I’m not already dead. I tried to picture nothingness in my brain, the physical erasing me. Black, with inky purple swimming in it. I couldn’t do it. All the ways I could die played in my brain. I hadn’t had this little to do in my entire existence. I wanted so badly to listen to some professor, and take notes on some lecture. I wanted so badly to be distracted.  

My skin had started to burn and go pale with the same rashes Apple had. I was hungry. We walked a little longer, and I started to feel something.

“We’re getting close,” said Apple. Was this it? Some sort of energy field that made my bones ache. Apple swiped another big leaf out of her way, “Oh my god!” She shot ahead of me.

It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It was a big clearing, encased on one side by a sheet of mountain rock. A small waterfall poured into a spring at the base of the rocks. The water was the clearest I had seen in my entire life. And the feeling was stronger, and I wondered if this is what being high feel like. This was better. It felt like I was buzzing.

Apple was floating on her back in the water, and I joined her.

“Oh god, this is cold,” I shuttered. It was the coldest water I had ever felt.

“Do you feel it?” she whispered. “I think this is what it’s like to be human.”

I felt each cell in my body dividing, every breath I took, every pump of my heart pushing blood through my body. I could feel my heartbeat in my eyeballs.

Apple sank under the water and bobbed back up. “I’d almost forgotten what this felt like.” She leaned back and floated at the surface of the water. “Have you ever felt pain, without being hungry?”

“No.”

Apple took me by the arm and rested at the top of my inner forearm. Her hand curled into a claw and shot down, sending a stingy salt and vinegar pain up my arm in a red firework.

“Agh, god what the hell?” I screamed, clutching my arm. She just fell back into the water laughing. “I’m serious!”

“How does it feel?” I stared at my hand. It was a small scrape next to my thumb and it was only throbbing now. I felt alive.

“Human.”

Human. I could live off that word.

Apple cracked open a pomegranate on the sharp side of a rock. When I took a bite out of it, spongy white membrane and all, it flooded my body with flavor. The rashes on my skin disappeared, and the burning disappeared. It was real food.

“Why did you ever leave?” I asked her.

“I got so lonely, and it felt like I was going completely insane.” I wondered if you could get lonely with another person. I don’t think I could get lonely with Apple. We laid down next to the spring and stared up at the sky, alight in reds and oranges. I took the last bite of the pomegranate and threw the husk into the bushes. Apple rolled over and plucked another off the tree.

Posted in 2018-2019, Non-Fiction, November 2018

Type of Love

By Gabriella Snyder

She offered the type of love that looked like tired eyes at 4:00 in the morning. I gave her my time, my sleep. Her mornings began when my afternoons started. When rolling out of bed late for school, she woke up to brewed coffee and eggs on the stove. The type of love that rimmed my eyes with dark circles, her eyes bright with energy. Lights in my room remained on when facetiming her, making sure to comeback my desperation for shut eye. Her lights were always off, preparing to drift to sleep. At times I wondered if I should allow my lights to turn off and for my eyes to flutter close. Maybe I should have allowed my muscles to loosen the tight knots of deep care, just as she did. I let my sleep deprived thoughts silence when remembering her. The type of love where I convinced myself that she cared for me, even loved me.

She offered the type of love that sounded like whimpers for attention. I never questioned why I put all of my focus on her. I told myself that she was my soulmate. The type of love where my eyes were fixed on making her wishes my command. I made sure every beg for attention that quivered from her lips were met with my comforting hands. The type of love that made sure her blue thoughts transformed into ones of yellow hope. Her praise was quiet, nearly a whisper. She made sure there was no other sound that could be heard past her whine of seeking security and admiration. I could never match her whimpers of attention. She was the center of my world. The type of love that adjusted my hearing to the pitch of her cries.

She offered the type of love that tasted like honey in my throat. The type of love that was sweet and thick. She didn’t know what love was. She thought it only consisted of the sugary kind of taste. The type of love that only existed in romantic movies, with boxes of chocolates and bouquets of flower. The taste of love that would blanket across your tastebuds but only last a second. She has flooded my taste of love with honey.

She offered the type of love that felt like pins and needles tracing my body, cutting into my hope for us. I loved her past the pain she caused. I told her I would never leave her, never let the pins and needles poke too deep in my skin. I held onto the past experiences I had with her: This is when our love was like flowers blooming in my chest, was like love growing in my belly, vines lacing my throat. Her words of poison unrooted my flowers, leaving stems and thorns behind.

It’s quiet now. The type of love that I’ve been wishing for.