He, a practiced piper

Poked holes in my windpipe

Teased notes of seduction

From this homemade flute

Caught you with a butterfly net

Weaved from my hair

And locked you in my ribcage

The bone splinters keep you


Check the back alley dumpster

His drive­through graveyard

Take his leftovers


Am his leftovers

Give him my skull

So he’ll stop asking for head

He never looks down anyways

Wrap yourself in my hide

To mask your scent

Between subway rides

And under park benches

When he asks for your tongue

And he will ask for your tongue

Cut out mine

Keep yours locked behind

Teeth stained yellow and red

Empty my stomach of the acid

Forced down my throat

Swallowed by bruised lips

Fashion a drawstring pouch

Tie it shut with braided ligaments


In case he catches up

Pull the pins out of my ovaries

Don’t forget to throw

Before they explode

Into ovum shrapnel

That scared him more than me

Bind his wrists with my small intestine

After the explosion

Set fire to the kindling that was my hair

Carve the fat from my chest

Marinate it in the remnants

Of my menstrual blood

And make him swallow

By Emily Boyle

Emily Boyle lives in Beaver Island, Michigan, and attends Interlochen Arts Academy as a senior. 

Art by Jules Ventre

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This is a town whose colors crawl from the shadows
Of nicks and corners.
Dust rolls up
The encapsulating outer walls of the town every other Tuesday,
The walls are 100 feet tall and there is no wind here
Peter and Lee are getting married
In the Jonsons’ inn on the west side of town:
Date, unknown.
I have never met Peter, Lee or the Jonsons,
Nor have I ever been driven to count
The number of rocks that make up the city’s walls.
The graveyard is very beautiful
When the sun peeks through the angry gray brushstrokes
That people call clouds,
All of the flowers are the same color.

The town holds a meeting every year
To determine how many people live
Within our protecting walls,
I do the headcount, the number is always
No one really knows
What their neighbor’s face looks like;
No one really cares
To try and paint portraits around here.
There are just as many alchemists
As there are mercenaries in this place,
There is no jail,
And both services cost the same.
The Jonsons open the inn at 7 am and close at 12 am,
Just in time to prevent Richard from walking in
Pushing an empty stroller.
The bar is open 24/7.

Scratch that,
There are 26
People in this town,
James lives down in the well,
He gives us water and we breathe him air.
The church’s people have had to move the chapel
12 feet East every year
To make more room for the cemetery.
Its been 70 years since I tried to leave this place,
I am the sheriff,
Business here is slow, the undertaker gets more business than I do.
There are always 26 people,
Everyone else
Never stays “around” for long.

Sometimes I can hear ‘everyone else’ sing,
Their monotone pitch of pain gives roses their rose.
It is January when they gain strength
And melody turns into the screeching
Of nails drawing against wood.
It must be beautiful what they do
In their tortured years bellow the dirt.
Once James murmured me to help them,
He said their noise was making him cold.
I told him I couldn’t
For shattered throat moans are not considered my jurisdiction.

By Eleonora Beran Jahn

Artwork by Hannah Hardy.
“Self Portrait,” Parallax Horror Contest Winner

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