Pastel Dress

Pastel Dress

Pastel Dress by Aysha Nasrin

It was a warm Sunday morning in the mid of summer. Aiden had already overworked and worn out after a frantic week at his office. He slept through the night like a rock. The morning light glistened in his tan skin. Aiden was six feet tall with messy brunet hair and deep chocolate brown eyes. He was rational and earnest in the works he did. Aiden woke up from his bed and looked through his mail.

“God! NOT AGAIN,” he said, groaning in distress and pulled the blanket over his head as he dashed the phone back and closed his eyes again.  Aiden couldn’t sleep as his stomach growled. He stood up and raided the entire refrigerator, but couldn’t find anything to eat. He put on his shirt and track and went out to get breakfast.

It was 8 AM on Sunday morning.  The diner looked calmer than usual because no one would wake up at 8 on a weekend. He had the usual breakfast with coffee and felt alive after the dose of caffeine in his blood. 
“Thank you.” He greeted the waitress and left the place.

On his way back home, unlikely the whole street looked composed and the vacant roads seemed bizarre. Suddenly, he saw an odd building in the opposite lane of the street.  “It was never here before. Was it?”  He gaped, then crossed the road and took a closed look at the board outside of the shop, which read ‘object d’ art’. It was a bookstore in the middle of nowhere.

“Maybe I didn’t see it before,” he thought to himself.

The whole facet of the book store looked distinctive.  The interior of the store enthralled Aiden.  He saw people reading the books here and there, who had a confused expression about the existence of the bookstore as him.  It had a collection of vintage books and he loved the place as it reminded him of one of his favorite horror movies. He flipped through book after book in the entire history section. The smell of the book simplified the value of it. Every book was a limited edition. The history of the English monarchy had always fascinated him.

His cell phone rang. “Shhhh.”  Someone from the back of the book rack shushed him. 
“Sorry,” he whispered. “Hey! Call you later.”  He hung up the phone abruptly. “Do you have another copy of this?”

He heard a distant mellow voice asking him a question, and he turned around.  It was a girl.  A beautiful girl in a pastel-colored dress.  Overdressed for the morning.  Her auburn curly hair cautiously curled. Her hazel eyes twinkled in the morning light and her chiseled face gleamed in the vintage bookstore. She looked surreal and Aiden couldn’t take his eyes off her.  She held an amused reaction as her beauty stumbled him.

“Excuse me!”
She waved back at him. “Me? No, you’re mistaken.  I don’t work here.”  That the most stunning girl in the world thought of him as ‘A guy who works in a weird bookstore’ embarrassed him.  
She blushed and said. “Well I know.”
“You know?” Aiden beamed. 
She nodded and flushed again.
“Man!”  Aiden murmured.  She is blushing for you, he thought to himself.

She looked straight into his chocolate brown eyes. Their eyes met.  Aiden never felt like this with anyone. He has been with many girls before, but he wasn’t in love with anyone. His relationships flickered like rain in a tropical country. He looked at her again, her wide hazel eyes were already looking into his.

When four eyes met, love was born. 

“And you are…?” Aiden prompted the conversation, but a loud bang interrupted. 

People screamed.  He couldn’t understand what was going on. It happened before he could realize it. A bullet punched through the girl’s right temple.  A stranger shot her.  She fell down on the floor and blood streamed from her head. 

“Oh my God,” Aiden cried.  “Why? God!!! Why?” he screamed in agony. He looked at the shooter in despair but the shooter looked disturbed as he wasn’t sure why he shot the girl from the bookstore.

Aiden couldn’t save the girl or the people who were running here and there. He looked around, and they flooded the bookstore with blood. 
At last, the gunman pointed the gun at Aiden as he was the last one standing and he panicked before he even moved.

Crack.

AIDEN WAS SHOT

Aiden found his love and death at the same time and at the same place. 

It was unbearable. He howled in pain, he couldn’t breathe nor move. He felt like someone had tied his entire body with a cord.  He heard his own pulse, and it was fading slowly. His legs were ice cold, and the coldness had spread into his entire body. He couldn’t bear the pain. 

In the mayhem’s midst, he heard a distant voice from the radio, “Local gunman shot the people like it was a video game. People posted it online. And the police reported that the gunman was mentally unstable.” The news anchor reported.  Confused, Aiden rested his head down as he closed his eyes. Finally, he let go of himself.

iPhone’s ringtone screeched. 

“Oh my God,” Aiden gasped. He couldn’t breathe. He opened his eyes and searched for the phone that rang a minute ago. He held his chest. He couldn’t move. But he didn’t feel the cold anymore. “Oh my God! I’m alive,” he screamed with joy.  He looked around and realized he was in his home not in the bookstore. He found his phone and checked the time.

8 AM

He rubbed his eyes harder. He couldn’t believe it.

“Argh! It was a dream,” he sighed. “Thank God.” He stood up from his bed and sat down for a while as he recollected his dream again. “It wasn’t a dream. It was a Nightmare.”  He was glad that it wasn’t real. But it felt real to him in every sense.  His stomach growled as he was hungry. He raided through his entire refrigerator, as he couldn’t find anything. 
He put on his tees and tracks to get his breakfast.

He went to the diner where he usually eats. Unlike in the dream, he saw people having their breakfast in the diner. He sighed in relief and sat down in his seat. 

“So, what’s your order, sir?.” “The usual,” he replied. “No, wait..” He heard the same mellow voice before.  He looked up to see the face of that voice. 
It shook Aiden. “Usual? Sorry, I’m new here. Can you repeat your order, please?” she asked. 

Aiden trembled and stuttered as he stood up to leave. “No I’m not hungry.”  He hurried to the exit and left the place. He ran as fast as he could.  He couldn’t breathe as he stopped.

“The same girl with the pastel dress.  Same hazel eyes,” he murmured.  He didn’t know if the dream haunted him or the girl.  “Both,” he mumbled.  “Love is my nightmare.” He sighed in relief and ran for his life.  But how far could he go?  He would never know. 

Meet Aysha

<strong>Aysha Nasrin </strong>
Aysha Nasrin

My name is Aysha Nasrin and I go by pen name A. N. Born and brought up from a small town in the southern part of India. My physical age is 27, but my mind hasn’t aged in the last 7 years. I’m a homemaker and mother of two beautiful boys who never fail to make my day.

Periodically I wrote in the notepads of the phone, it started off as an escape from reality, then it turned into a hobby and now it became a part of me. I was part of three published anthologies and I got an Instagram account to connect with other writers.  Instagram Id @whenshewrites_an 

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Poetry by Jason Bayliss

Poetry by Jason Bayliss

Walk the Paths Well Trodden by the Brave

Poetry by Jason Bayliss

Walk the paths well trodden by the brave,
Live boldly my son, embrace your fears and let them drive you on,
Be master of your hurts not slave,
Value the story in your scars, pity those that have none.

Treasure every tear that rolls on your cheek,
Let them fall on barren ground knowing their waters bring life,
Their salt does not cleanse the lips of the meek
In the same way as those that shoulder their strife.

Let your heart be broken a dozen times,
Rather than close it in fear of all that would break it,
In love be fierce but never blind,
Love true and honest so that none can mistake it.

Face your end with a defiant smile,
Recount all the steps that have led you hence,
Insist that the reaper tarry a while,
Enjoy a few moments at his expense.

And in that final time, when he asks,
Fix him with a gaze both firm and steady,
Acknowledge that he has, “Other tasks,”
And calmly say, “I’m ready.”

Meet Jason

<strong>Jason Bayliss</strong>
Jason Bayliss

My name is Jason Bayliss. I’m 51 and live in a little village outside of Lincoln, UK. I wrote my first proper poem when I was about 12 years old. Poetry back then was a way of dealing with a particularly turbulent adolescence, a way of speaking when I couldn’t speak. I pretty much stopped when I was 16 and only really started again in January of this year. Since then I’ve written about 150 poems.

Writing for me is catharsis, experimentation and trying to share some life lessons with my kids. Also I’m dyslexic and it helps me to put my thoughts in order. I remain, at the moment unpublished. I do a tough and demanding job and in my downtime like to relax with my family and also enjoy a bit of archery. You can view all of my current work on Instagram @jason.bayliss.186

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Hold On. Let Go.

Hold On. Let Go.

Poetry by Liz Baronofsky 

It’s hard to explain the part of your journey
You have to face alone
I’ve been dangling on a thread
For a good portion of my life
Hooked by fear
Teetering between holding on
And letting go
Of most things
Of almost everything

I’ve been as close as a step away from giving up
5 steps away from moving forward
10 steps away from running
A mountain away from faith
And at times
Inches away from the edge

(Hold on tight the pendulum is shifting).

About the Poet

<strong>Liz Baronofsky</strong>
Liz Baronofsky

I grew up in a small town, right outside Philadelphia. I am a full-time Mom, Registered Nurse and also own a photography business (B Philly Photography). I spend as much time outdoors as possible and feel most connected and grounded amongst nature. 

Writing has carried me through the best and worst times of my life. I lost my father to cancer at age 7 and when you’re that young you don’t carry the capacity to truly comprehend such a large loss. As I got older, the only way I could give that part of me a voice was through writing. As an adult, right before my oldest daughter was born, I started having debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. Writing was one of the few outlets I had to help me process and navigate through those experiences.

Now, with the very recent loss of my sister, I have found that writing has truly been a saving grace for me. I am currently putting a manuscript together for a book. Hopefully, in the near future, it will be published.

You can follow me on instagram @wage_the_war  Instagram

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The Taste of Rainbow

The Taste of Rainbow

By Hadeel Rashed

You sit by the window sill,
quietly imagining what the rainbow tastes like.
Desperately in need for an answer.
Knowing it may differ from person to person.
I've tasted the rainbow and I'll tell you what it tastes like.

The red tastes sweet like strawberries but looks like blood.
The orange looks like an orange but tastes like a punch of pungent.
The yellow tastes sour like the sun.
Green has as astringent taste, looks like a lot of fun!
The blue is salty just like the calm sea
Purple tastes like flowers and smells just like me!
And the pink, has a flavour of soft marshmallows,
like pastel balloons floating in the sky.
Free.

About the Poet

<strong>Hadeel Rashed</strong>
Hadeel Rashed

My name is Hadeel Rashed and I am 16 years old and live in Canada.  I’m in grade 11 and my hobbies include writing poems, reading and cooking. 

I get inspired by the things that happen around me and mainly that’s what I write about. My greatest encouragement has been from my family and friends.

One of my poems will be published in an anthology by The Poetry Institute of Canada in February 2020 called The Winds of Change.  As an emerging writer, I am grateful for all the attention and time taken to read my work and hope that people enjoy reading my poems.

Instagram: @h16poems4U

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Cozy Stars

Cozy Stars

Poetry by Andrew Person

The couch needs air,
I know a magic trick.

Past the overpass,
at the edge of the winding barracuda’s neck.

A delta of delight, the ingredients for the perfect night,
stars to warm our eyes, the universe is comfier.  
<strong>Andrew Person</strong>
Andrew Person

Andrew Person lives in Portland, Oregon with his Jack Russell mix (Eleven) and spends most days diving into new books. And while writing has become a great pastime, he’ll always make time for healthy procrastination breaks. 

Instagram: hawnter_99

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Alluring by Richika Ghosh

Alluring by Richika Ghosh

Poetry by Richika Ghosh

And there will always be
Something more Alluring;
Carved more beautifully
Enchanting it seems
Enticing you to your knees

And magnificent on your lips
Etched forever, vivid details
In the back of your mind
With every passing second
With every stolen glance

Neither you nor I could
Have had her captive
For she was out of your grasp
Yet right in your vicinity
Bittersweet it felt;
Sore eyes, numb knees
Yet you stride towards a well known ending!!!
<strong>Richika Ghosh</strong>
Richika Ghosh

I’m from one of the metropolitan cities of India, Kolkata. I love to paint on fabrics, i.e. fabric painting. 

Currently, I’m studying at college.  Writing is both a hobby and a passion for me.  I hope to get my own book published someday.  Though I got my write-ups published in three different anthologies. 

My Instagram account is @lost_in_mirage.

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I Cherish

I Cherish

By Amrita Singh

I Cherish.
I Cherish the smell of the earth after the first rain, the greenery, the trees and the chirping of the birds.

I Cherish a long walk with wandering thoughts.
A sip of a cool lemonade in the summer heat,
The aroma of a freshly baked cake.

I Cherish the music blasting in my ears as I let my mind dive into the beats without a care of the world.

The scraping of the pen on paper, the musky scent of an old book, a flower in full bloom.

A smiling face, a beautifully and aimless conversation. A hearty meal and infectious laughter.

The heat of a lover’s touch, the butterflies in the stomach.
The dazed eyes, the sharp intake of breath.

The realisation that you are in love, the heartbreaks the sad songs.

The meaning in the medleys, the sadness in the lyrics. The loneliness and the happiness.

I Cherish them all.

I Cherish the soft fur and the soft purr, that someone who makes me a bowl of steaming soup when I am down with cold or to have a cup of piping hot coffee while I drift off to the land of the fairies.

An act of kindness, an admission of love. The asking for advice and that unexpected hug.

I Cherish it all. I Cherish them all!

Meet the Poet

<strong>Amrita Singh</strong>
Amrita Singh

My name is Amrita Singh, 23 bar din Mumbai, India.  

I used to plan Weddings for a living, but now I am looking forward to writing full time. I love it spin out poetries as they say so much in so little.  You can check out my work on Instagram: @lifettroves
 
Currently, I’m working on my blog and hopefully it will be routine and out soon! 

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Poetry by Patricia MacKay

Poetry by Patricia MacKay

In the Middle of the Middle

Poetry by Patricia MacKay

I’m stuck in the middle of the middle
Inside the most remote of locations
I’m a simple worn-weary life traveler
At a mid-point between two situations

I’m neither half way to where I’m going
Nor am I half way from where I’ve been
Inside a boxed-in middle of the middle
Waiting for movement to again begin
<strong>Patricia MacKay</strong>
Patricia MacKay

I live in Duncan, British Columbia, Canada.  My hobbies include hiking, ice-skating, cooking, and knitting.  I have always been a storyteller and began writing short stories and poems when I was six or seven-years old.   

My writing is serious insofar as I spend every available opportunity working on my craft. I am working on a novel (creative non-fiction) and have had selected poems published in anthologies.  Writing is a part of who I am and I can’t imagine not being a writer.  It sounds cliché but writing sustains me.

I post my poetry on Instagram @patriciahelenwriter

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A Somber Day in Autumn

A Somber Day in Autumn

A Somber Day in Autumn by Donnie Hamel

Bold hues of orange surrealism
sprout dynamically from trees
against the backs of foothills
glowing with natures altruism.

Trickles rise from my feet,
the rolling water laying
sporadic sounds of light rain
across the top of a lazy creek.

I came to this place of peace,
looking for something I could not see.
Leverage against life’s tribulation,
some sort of cathartic release.
<strong>Donnie Hamel</strong>
Donnie Hamel

I’ve lived in Denver, Colorado for my entire life. Aside from writing, I like a lot of nerdy things like superheroes and World of Warcraft.  Fitness is another passion of mine. 

Writing for me is just a hobby, and I have nothing grandiose planned with my poetry. It’s always just been a way for me to express how I feel when life inevitably gets tough. Plus, I’ve always thought the way we speak to each other every day is a kind of art form. 

Instagram: @noctum_

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That Summer Day

That Summer Day

That Summer Day by Perry Kornbluh

Summer days in Louisiana are not quite the picture of fun.  On that day the temperature reached above ninety but that didn’t stop our family from venturing out for our weekly barbeque.  I was probably the only sixteen-year-old in my neighborhood that stayed behind that year, while all my friends attended summer camp.

“Jane,” said my dad when I broached the subject, “When I was your age, we didn’t go to summer camp.” 

Personally, I think he was just scared to see me go. I tried arguing, cajoling, even threatening but nothing helped. So, I spent my summer roasting under the sun during the day, and at night, getting bitten by a thousand blood-sucking mosquitos while I watched the stars and asked God questions that he never answered.

“Janie dear, we’re leaving to the lake in five minutes. If you don’t get down here by then, you’ll have to pedal all the way there yourself.”

I grunted.  “Nobody needs these stupid barbecues.” 

But tradition was the tradition in our family.  I didn’t bother changing out my pajamas, or fixing my messy bun.  I just grabbed my iPod and headphones and ran outside.

Grandpa and dad were piling boxes full of food into the back of the pickup truck, as Grandma admired herself in her little pocket mirror. “Here she is, my little teenager,” she said as she reached out to fluff my hair. 

I rolled my eyes at her and pulled away, wincing slightly when I noticed her shoulder sag. I’m not cold or heartless, but sometimes I feel like I have no control over the raging hormones in me.  Dad revved up the motor of his pickup truck as we all piled inside. I plugged myself into my earphones, trying to drown out the noise of Grandma’s fake teeth chewing on bubble gum. It was a useless attempt. 

After riding in the rickety mess of a vehicle for seemingly an eternity we got to the lake. It was a small secluded reservoir surrounded by a dense forest. We’ve been having our weekly barbecues here ever since I can remember. We never stopped, except when Mom died last July.  We were all too stricken with grief to sit around, listening to music, and eating roasted marshmallows.

But then, everyone moved on it seemed. The music was back on in the house, and the laughter resumed as if it had never stopped. And me?  Still stuck in the past.  I still stayed up night after night, nose pressed against the window, waiting for her.  She never came back and deep inside I know she never will. But I was not ready to make peace with that reality yet.

“Jane, whatcha thinkin bout?” said Dad, growling.  He had come back to fetch me from the car where I sat lost in thought. 

“Um, nothing.” I lied. 

“Come on, babe. Cheer up.” Dad looked away as he said those words. I knew it was hard for him to show emotion.  He was a tough guy, but under that veneer he had a heart made of marshmallow fluff. 

I choked back a cry and forced a smile. “I’m happy, see?” I pointed to my face and saw Dad’s shoulders visibly relax. ‘Why can’t you see through that?’ I silently yelled.  And once again my pleads fell on deaf ears.

With a sigh I collected myself, not that anyone would notice anyway, and joined my family hard at work trying to set the barbecue up. 

Before long, Uncle Harry’s jeep pulled to a stop beside us, music blaring. Dad waved as all his kids piled out of the van. 

“Hey Jane, you look so beautiful.” Aunt Lee showed up beside me and smiled that condescending smile of hers at me.  I wanted to punch her in the face. I was wearing pajamas, but was owning it with pride. 

“Thank you, it’s actually pajamas, and I got it in Target.  But I appreciate you trying so hard.” I smiled back as Lee walked off looking miffed. 

I took a can of diet coke out of the cooler and perched myself on the edge of a bench where I got to watch the sun setting over the lake. My cousin Olivia, followed me and plopped down beside me. I turned to look at her, searched her entire face for a sign of pity but found none. “Hi,” I mumbled, gazing off into the distance. 

“How are you holding up?” she asked genuinely. 

I looked down at my fingers wrapped around the perspiring can of Coke; they were trembling violently. I was tired of holding it all in. Tired of lying. The worst part, I wasn’t even pretending but everyone just attributed my misery to me being a teenager. 

“Jane.” Olivia ventured gently. 

And then the dam burst. The tears flooded for the first time since Mom’s passing. Olivia put her arms around me and rocked me gently while I cried. I couldn’t stop. All the restrained pain came gushing at me forcefully. I felt like I was drowning in them.  Desperately, I gasped for air and coughed on the smoke that entered my lungs. 

“It’s okay, Jane.  Just remember to breathe,” Olivia whispered into my ears. 
It was as if I was back in Mom’s arms. As if she was holding me again after I got a bad grade or a kid said something nasty. It was as if she hugged me after I told her the first boy that loved me dumped me.  As if she was protecting me from the bad world out there. As if she was here again, right by my side. Loving me.

I looked up to the sky which had turned to pitch black. The tall trees spread out above me.  I used to think of them as menacing claws, now I saw them as fierce protectors. Olivia was still beside me now holding my hand as my crying turned into sobbing.

The stars twinkled, and I saw Dad approaching me with open arms. I ran towards him and collapsed in his arms. And from the heavens I swear I heard Mom whisper “You’ll be alright.”

<strong>Perry K</strong>ornbluh
Perry Kornbluh

Perry K. is a freelance writer who breathes poetry. Besides for writing, she also has a passion for drawing, ballet, and photography. Her greatest inspiration for her writings are life and humanity. 

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