before looping North towards the Gates of the Arctic for the approach run.
The landing is a front row rock concert where the bassist only knows one chord and the drummer is still setting up: the tone resonates in the ooze of our marrow;
that is to say, the landing is simple, drifting over alpine fir and spruce tops
with ballet grace before cutting power
and slamming wheels to gravel.
Yesterday’s rain feeds the Yukon today.
Its hands reach for a hard cloud ceiling and its lows, its troughs call my name,
call my name, call my name,
endless waves in the river’s center,
arcing with storm energy
and grip strength.
Other planes come, and leave,
and helicopters set down near us.
We play cards in their wind,
drink camp coffee that strains
through the teeth and plugs the gaps;
we watch and we wait for seats that never come,
waiting to leave this airport runway,
waiting to fight the big fires.
We hear the boats before we see them,
curving around the clay banks
and we line our packs along
their aluminum walls. We sit in plastic bags to keep dry of river spray,
I hear my name again,
and watch another mail plane
take off. The hardpack vibrates
under the wheels, the engines scream
their one note show, and the DC-3 sinks off the runway towards
the Yukon – and us – before catching itself,
then slowly, so slowly we can almost touch
the silver belly, it growls to the North
and loops South towards Fairbanks.
Origami Hands by Camden Michael Jones
We sit on white plastic chairs and watch the rain
wash these streets.
This is not a last meal;
let us origami our hands
and sing our departure songs
to the mirror glass of the sky.
Camden Michael Jones
Camden Michael Jones will earn his BA in English and History from Western Oregon University in June of 2020, and has won multiple literary and creative writing competitions during his undergraduate years.
His poetry focuses on his experiences as a wildland firefighter, with love and death, and with the randomness of life. Every poem he writes is inherently personal and as a collection may be viewed as a collective self-portrait.
You pushed me away And put your past to blame? That is not an excuse. For you, I’d open all of my wounds again, Hell, I’d even take a new bruise.
Sometimes we don’t let ourselves love again because of what happened to us in the past. But we forgot everything that we can gain from new love. At the end of the day, if we meet someone we truly love, it is worth it. Even, if it causes us some pain.
What about running away? I’ve packed everything A jar of honey Sprinkles of Coco A little mug of care Some sweets Your favorite curry And a lot of love But wait, We were about to run And I’m alone And the things I’ve packed Are incomplete without you.
Aiza is a young poetess and a writer who stays in her imagination and mixes it with reality to form a piece straight from her heart. You can find her at @sheiswriting._
swallow me, let me seethe tales that unravel in the noon.
Pale moon, Cold moon,
take me with you when the sun awakes,
hide me in your solace, be my cocoon.
Morph me into a star, while the earth heals from her aches.
Paul Idiaghe is an 18-year-old Nigerian currently studying in the United States. Writing has been an outlet for him to explore his creativity and reach others with his ideas.
Paul is looking forward to publishing a poetry collection in the nearest future. Apart from writing, some other of his hobbies include singing, ice skating, and solving the Rubik’s Cube. More of his work can be found on his poetry page on Instagram @glimpses_of_my_mind.
Once upon a nightmare, under a dark sky and behind gloomy trees, there was a manor in Scotland. The fog hid the murky frontage wall. You couldn’t miss it when you were entering Edinburgh. Nobody had the courage anymore to cross the threshold of this huge house different from the others and there was a reason.
The Hamilton family had adopted a girl everyone feared, her name was Olga. She was as white as the falling snow of December, her hair was bright like the lightning that illuminates the sky on a stormy day and her eyes were so clear that they pierced you. No one could look at them. She had a very low voice and a tone so cold that you could just freeze, hearing her.
Since they adopted her, she just sat there every day, at the same window staring at the falling rain that slowly turned into snow. This was the first time she would celebrate Christmas with her new family.
Even though everyone feared her, and that she didn’t smile anymore, Olga liked her new family, but she knew they had a secret. A deep and sad secret, but she could never ask them about it.
The couple that had adopted her already had two children, a young girl, older than her named Fiona, and a boy younger than her named Logan.
The days had passed. The evening of the 24th of December finally arrived. Outside the snow was falling in large flakes and the blizzard was so strong that we could hear the wind tapping on the windows and the sky was dark, nothing could be seen through the windows of the manor except the shadow of the huge trees that were hiding the mansion.
Olga and Logan were locked in a room playing with some toys and chatting about this special evening. Logan loved to imagine what kind of present he could get on Christmas evening.
“I hope to get this year the soldiers that match my castle! I’ve waited so long to get them!” cheered Logan.”
“I never liked these kinds of events,” said Olga, with her natural frosty tone.
“Why not? Christmas is great! You will love it here with us. Every year our godfather Drosselmeyer comes and bring us awesome toys he made!” said Logan.
“Don’t be too happy, Logan. The blizzard outside is so strong that uncle Drosselmeyer can’t come until morning. We will spend the night here,” said Fiona, walking in the room.
“Oh no! Wait, Fiona, why did you come in here? Does it mean that?” asked Logan.
Suddenly the lights went out. Everything became silent, except for the blizzard outside. The door opened, a big black silhouette followed, scaring the children.
“Surprise!” screamed Mrs. Hamilton, holding a candle.
Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton stood in front of the door. They were smiling to the top of their laps. Logan was very happy and ran to his parents’ arms. Olga didn’t show any emotions. Fiona noticed it and felt sorry for her. She came closer to her.
“Are you okay?” she asked nicely.
“Yes,” answered Olga.
Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton took the three children down to the living room. They gave Fiona and Logan their presents. Olga silently watched her adoptive brother and sister open their presents with her blue piercing eyes. Mrs. Hamilton watched her.
“Olga? Come here honey, we also have something for you. Godfather Drosselmeyer made it for you,” she said.
Mrs. Hamilton gave Olga a small packed box. Olga unpacked it slowly and discovered a small Nutcracker with a big mouth. The worn paint made it seem old. He was scary with his big black eyes and his big opened mouth. He had a big head and wore a red officer costume. The young girl held it in her hands, intrigued by his gloomy face, when it suddenly surprised her. She thought that the Nutcracker smiled at her. Olga got scared and put him on the table. Mrs. and now Mr. Hamilton looked carefully at her. They tried to make her smile.
“So Olga, do you like it?” asked Mrs. Hamilton, smiling hopefully.
“Yes. Thank you,” said Olga, lying.
“You know what is it?” asked Mr. Hamilton, also hopeful.
Olga shook her head no.
“It’s a Nutcracker. As the name says, it cracks nuts. When you find a nut too hard for your little teeth, like this one, you put it in his mouth, here. Then you close it, and the nut breaks,” said Mr. Hamilton, showing her.
Olga took the Nutcracker in her hands with amusement. She smiled a little, saying nothing. The Hamilton parents were glad to have made Olga smile finally. But they looked at the big clock in the living room. It was getting late. They looked at their two children, Fiona and Logan, who were playing happily with their new toys.
“Children! It is time for bed now!” shouted Mrs. Hamilton.
Fiona and Logan sighed. They left their toys in the living room and went to their rooms. Olga didn’t move and continued playing with her new toy.
“Olga it is time for bed” said Mr. Hamilton, smiling.
Olga didn’t listen to her adoptive father. The Nutcracker captivated her. The candlelight near her toy made a big and frightening shadow on the wall. Seeing that Olga wouldn’t move, Mr. Hamilton took the candle and smiled at her. It was the only candle left in the living room.
“The Nutcracker can come in bed with you,” he said.
Olga got up with the Nutcracker in her hands and went to the room she shared with Logan. Even though Olga liked her Nutcracker, she felt glad to get in her warm bed. Outside, the blizzard was so strong that the walls couldn’t insulate the house well. A chilly atmosphere reigned in the dusky room. It was silent. Logan slept already. Olga felt a cold blast. She got scared and climbed in her bed, leaving the Nutcracker on her bedside table. The house plunged into a deafening silence. The coldness soon left leaving behind a frightening atmosphere.
Olga woke in the middle of the night from a horrible nightmare. She could have sworn she heard not only footsteps but people talking in the living room.
“Logan? Logan.” she whispered, but no one answered. She looked in the bed next to hers. Even though it was dark, her blue piercing eyes noticed that her adoptive brother’s bed was empty. Then Olga saw a faint light appear in the hallway. She stood up from her bed and walked to the living room. There were voices coming from the living room.
Olga approached the voices until they became clear. Then she recognized the Hamilton’s little boy, Logan. He was speaking to someone. It wasn’t Fiona’s voice, or Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton. Olga walked further into the living room.
Logan held the only candlelight, and to her shock, he was talking to mice. “Logan?” she said.
Surprised by his adopted sister, Logan put out his candle, plunging the room in a total black. A silence settled in the room, with the subtle sound of blizzard wind outside.
The room grew colder. Olga shivered.
“Soldiers, charge! Attack her!” someone yelled.
Sharp pokes at her feet scared Olga, who couldn’t see anything. She didn’t understand what was happening and ran. But blinded by the absence of light, Olga run into furniture, the walls, and Fiona and Logan’s toys.
Despite her many attempts, she couldn’t escape the pointy things that pained her feet. Then she felt a hand on her nose and mouth. Someone behind Olga wanted to silence her. But Olga put up a fight, kicking the person behind her until he or she let her go.
“She’s too strong! We have to do something!” someone screamed.
Before Olga could react, she felt a cold energy around her. Then she felt someone in front of her. She tried to run away but, still blinded by the dark, hit against something hard and cold. She moved her hand to check for a wall. But she felt a lip. A hard lip.
“Could this be?” she said.
“Yes, I am the Nutcracker!” said a voice above her.
Then everything became clear to Olga. The cold energy that surrounded her was magic. Dark magic. Someone had cast a spell on Olga to make her small. The size of her Nutcracker. Olga felt an icy hand take her arm and pull her behind, then it let her go. It confused her. Then noises, like a knife cutting. Having read enough fairy tales, she understood right away it was a battle, and it terrified her. She walked along the wall trying to find a suitable place to hide, but the swords drew closer to her.
“Olga, go! You must leave this room, leave this place, you are in danger here. They will find you everywhere!” said a voice, but something or someone interrupted it.
Olga heard a hard thing fall next to her. She walked toward the noise but hurt her foot bumping into a piece of wood. It was her Nutcracker. It lost the battle. Who had her Nutcracker battled?
Olga heard an evil laugh. The laugh sounded obscure and cruel, and it got louder. She felt the gloomy laugh approaching her when she heard someone whispering her name. “Olga, Olga” said the voice.
Olga turned slowly, afraid to face it. A chilly breath passed through her body. She saw small red eyes, red like blood, and it petrified her. The eyes came closer to her. Olga started running as fast as she could and tried to find the door from which she came. She stopped to catch her breath and looked back. The red eyes disappeared. Relieved, she turned back when abruptly she heard again the evil laugh over her. Olga looked up, terrified. The small red eyes stared at her. She stepped back, screaming. Was this what the Hamilton family called “Christmas evening”? Was this why they liked this event so much? The eyes jumped on her. Olga screamed at the top of her lungs.
Then another scream, a louder one, sounded in the room. It wasn’t Olga’s voice. Terrified, Olga cried and begged the eyes to let her go. She couldn’t stand looking at them anymore and squeezed her eyes shut till she passed out.
Olga awoke in her bed. She looked around her. Everything was light and clear. It was morning. Next to her, Logan slept peacefully. She looked at her bedside table. The Nutcracker stood where she left it. She closed her eyes and put her hands on her head. She remembered that her brother wasn’t in his bed. She saw a light coming from the living room, that her brother was there talking to someone. She remembered everything.
Olga took her Nutcracker in her hands, but it looked normal. Nothing had changed about her toy.
“I’m sure it was just a nightmare,” she told herself.
Probably the worst nightmare she’s ever had. She got up from bed and went to the living room. As she thought, everything was normal.
The big clock on the wall showed it was 9 o’clock in the morning. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton sat calmly in the living room drinking tea.
Fiona came in a few minutes later. “Good morning, everyone! Rough night, huh?” she said.
“Yes,” answered Olga, in her distant tone.
“Where is Logan? Shouldn’t he be awake already?” asked Fiona.
“Now that you mention it, I haven’t seen him all morning. Maybe he just wanted to sleep,” said Mrs. Hamilton.
“I’m not sure I’ll go check on his room,” said Fiona.
Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton let her go. Unfortunately, Olga couldn’t explain why, but she had a terrible feeling. Like something happened or would happen. She reasoned it was because of her nightmare. No. Something terrible would happen.
A sharp scream resonated from the walls of the manor. They all ran toward the scream coming from Logan and Olga’s bedroom. Mr. Hamilton was the first one to reach the room.
“What’s wrong Fiona?” he asked, out of breath.
“Oh my god dad, it’s terrible, look!” she cried, turning around.
Mrs. Hamilton and Olga stood at the door, horrified. Fiona, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton cried over Logan, dead in his bed.
It appeared to Olga someone stabbed him in the back. She walked closer to him. His eyes open and emotionless. She tried to move his arms, but they were lifeless. The Hamilton cried all the tears from their body. They couldn’t believe something like this would happen, and on Christmas day.
Olga felt touched. She couldn’t move anymore. She felt horrible, sad and most of all, guilty. She didn’t even know why, but she felt that Logan’s death was her fault. The tears came slowly to her blue eyes, illuminating them.
Mr. Hamilton took Olga in his arms and hugged her. Unable to control it, Olga cried too, and Mr. Hamilton took her out of the room. While they were leaving, Olga noticed that the Nutcracker disappeared.
Her adoptive father took her to the living room where Mrs. Hamilton and Fiona sat crying. Olga cried with them, crying all the tears she had. No one could believe what happened, no one at all. Not even godfather Drosselmeyer, who came a few hours later. The blizzard had stopped, and the roads cleared. Christmas Day turned to the darkest, most horrible day.
The family never recovered from Logan’s death. Not even his adoptive sister, Olga.
The Hamiltons waited for Christmas to pass to have Logan’s funeral.
Olga was the most touched by Logan’s death. She still felt guilt about it. Like she had a connection to his death, or was the reason he died. She sat by the window watching the snow fall from the sky. The big green trees turned white. She felt empty, something in her was missing.
She turned back. She was sure she heard someone whispering her name. Olga searched the room, but no one was there. The voice she heard was familiar.
Olga felt a cold wooden hand touch her legs. She knew the touch. Reluctantly, she peered down. It was Nutcracker was calling her. She gave a little stifled cry.
“Shush, I will not hurt you!” said the Nutcracker.
“Then what do you want from me?” she asked.
“Nothing, it’s what you want from me!”
“I want nothing from you!” said Olga.
“You want to understand what happened to Logan, don’t you?”
“Yes, more than everything. But you’re a Nutcracker, how can you know anything?“ cried Olga.
The Nutcracker explained to Olga everything that happened on Christmas evening to Logan’s death, and suddenly everything became clearer to the young girl. She was right about everything. During the night, someone had put a spell on her to make her tiny. Her adoptive brother spoke to someone. It was a mouse.
The Nutcracker explained that her brother, or the person she thought was her brother, was actually a rat. An evil rat at the service of the Rat King. A long time ago, the Rat King had cursed the Nutcracker. Olga was the only one who could break it. When she came to the living room on Christmas night, they had thought she knew about everything so they tried to kill her. That’s when the Nutcracker came to rescue.
Logan tried to murder her. When the rat jumped on her, the Nutcracker stabbed him in the back and killed him. The rat uttered a horrible cry and then died. Afterwards, the Nutcracker took the sleeping Olga to her bed and Logan, then dead, to his bed. Then he placed himself back on the bedside table.
Christmas evening wasn’t a dream but reality. After telling Olga his story, the Nutcracker left the room. Minutes later, a young, handsome gentleman entered the room and presented himself to Olga.
“Good afternoon, my sweet young lady. I am Nathaniel Drosselmeyer, Mr. Drosselmeyer’s nephew. It’s very enchanting to meet you.” He kissed Olga’s hand and stayed to talk to her.
He flattered and intrigued her. But Nathaniel’s voice was strangely familiar.
My name is Lina, I was born the 30th of June 1997 in Cairo, Egypt to a French-Egyptian father and an Algerian-Syrian mother. My curiosity has always led me to the most random places on earth and it has now led me to small magical Luxembourg where I have been living for 2 years.
I am always described by my loved ones as a very creative and imaginative girl. Friendly with a bubbly personality and who is always traveling and always positive. I grew to be this person as I have always loved to read stories, especially fairy tales.
I have a great passion for writing and that I absolutely love to share my stories. Whatever I go through in life, I always make sure to end up with a good story to tell, hoping it will inspire and maybe help others. Because if you are not taking risks and being a little crazy, you are not living life to the fullest. As I always say, “Look beyond what you can see”.