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Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent international monthly publication, based in New York and Lisbon. Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Franco Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to publish quality poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography, as well as interviews, articles, and book reviews, written in English and Portuguese. We seek to publish outstanding literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and to promote the writers we publish, helping both new, emerging, and established authors reach a wider literary audience.


A Revista Literária Adelaide é uma publicação mensal internacional e independente, localizada em Nova Iorque e Lisboa. Fundada por Stevan V. Nikolic e Adelaide Franco Nikolic em 2015, o objectivo da revista é publicar poesia, ficção, não-ficção, arte e fotografia de qualidade assim como entrevistas, artigos e críticas literárias, escritas em inglês e português. Pretendemos publicar ficção, não-ficção e poesia excepcionais assim como promover os escritores que publicamos, ajudando os autores novos e emergentes a atingir uma audiência literária mais vasta. (http://adelaidemagazine.org)

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Published by ADELAIDE BOOKS, 2021-07-08 06:05:54

Adelaide Literary Magazine No.49, June 2021

Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent international monthly publication, based in New York and Lisbon. Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Franco Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to publish quality poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography, as well as interviews, articles, and book reviews, written in English and Portuguese. We seek to publish outstanding literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and to promote the writers we publish, helping both new, emerging, and established authors reach a wider literary audience.


A Revista Literária Adelaide é uma publicação mensal internacional e independente, localizada em Nova Iorque e Lisboa. Fundada por Stevan V. Nikolic e Adelaide Franco Nikolic em 2015, o objectivo da revista é publicar poesia, ficção, não-ficção, arte e fotografia de qualidade assim como entrevistas, artigos e críticas literárias, escritas em inglês e português. Pretendemos publicar ficção, não-ficção e poesia excepcionais assim como promover os escritores que publicamos, ajudando os autores novos e emergentes a atingir uma audiência literária mais vasta. (http://adelaidemagazine.org)

Keywords: fiction,nonfiction,poetry,short stories,essays,memoirs

INDEPENDENT REVISTA
MONTHLY LITERÁRIA
LITERARY INDEPENDENTE
MAGAZINE
MENSAL

ADELAIDE FOUNDERS / FUNDADORES
Stevan V. Nikolic & Adelaide Franco Nikolic
Independent Monthly Literary Magazine
Revista Literária Independente Mensal EDITOR IN CHIEF / EDITOR-CHEFE
Year VI, Number 49, June 2021 Stevan V. Nikolic
Ano VI, Número 49, junho 2021
[email protected]
ISBN-13: 978-1-955196-71-0
MANAGING DIRECTOR / DIRECTORA EXECUTIVA
Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent inter- Adelaide Franco Nikolic
national monthly publication, based in New York and
Lisbon. Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and Adelaide Franco GRAPHIC & WEB DESIGN
Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to publish quality Adelaide Books LLC, New York
poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography, as
well as interviews, articles, and book reviews, written in CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS IN THIS ISSUE
English and Portuguese. We seek to publish outstanding
literary fiction, nonfic-tion, and poetry, and to promote Amanda Corbin, Alison Bullock,
the writers we publish, helping both new, emerging, and Anita Lekic, Robert Gamer,
established authors reach a wider literary audience.
Lawrence Dunning, Alexander Preis,
A Revista Literária Adelaide é uma publicação men- Alexa Renner, Sandra Perez, Edie Meade,
sal internacional e independente, localizada em Nova
Iorque e Lisboa. Fundada por Stevan V. Nikolic e Ade- Iva Cvjeticanin, Matthew Hernandez,
laide Franco Nikolic em 2015, o objectivo da revista é Anna Fritze, Xavier Paris, Olga Collazo
publicar poesia, ficção, não-ficção, arte e fotografia de Perez, Jacob RV, Jabari-Obasi Jones,
qualidade assim como entrevistas, artigos e críticas
literárias, escritas em inglês e por-tuguês. Pretendemos Thomas Belton, Cheryl Sim,
publicar ficção, não-ficção e poesia excepcionais assim Tivona McAllister, Aurora Rimel,
como promover os escritores que publicamos, ajudan-
do os autores novos e emergentes a atingir uma audiên- Trinity Summitt, Bo Kearns,
cia literária mais vasta. Matthew Fontenault, Brian Huggins,

(http://adelaidemagazine.org) Karole Bennett, Judith Newlin,
Gustavo Salvaggio, Diana Rosen,
Published by: Adelaide Books, New York Rekha Valliappan, Marian Fredal,
244 Fifth Avenue, Suite D27 Laurie Gelfand, Peter McQuade,
New York NY, 10001 Deborah Kent, Mary Ann Koruth,
e-mail: [email protected] Chris Sowers, Samuel Robert Piccoli,
phone: (917) 477 8984 Elsa Pair, Keith Hoerner, Kenneth Pobo,
http://adelaidebooks.org Arthur Powers, John Grey, Terry Brinkman,

Copyright © 2021 by Adelaide Literary Magazine Mark Murphy, Chris Arnone,
Sheree LaPuma, Linda Phillips,
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be Amy Gautschi, Don Thompson,
reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written Cheryl Heineman, Peggy Hammond
permission from the Adelaide Literary Maga-zine
Editor-in-chief, except in the case of brief quo-tations
embodied in critical articles and reviews.

CONTENTS / CONTEÚDOS HAPPY ANNIVERSARY
by Trinity Summitt 59
FICTION
MOZART’S SONATA IN D MAJOR
UNDOCUMENTED by Bo Kearns 62
by Maria Valenzuela Frangakis 5
AN ANGELS LAST GIFT
SECOND HONEYMOON by Matthew Fontenault 67
by Amanda Corbin 8
MORE
NOTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY by Karole Bennett 70
by Anita Lekic 10
RAFFLES
DESCENT by Judith Newlin 73
by Robert Gamer 12
O GIGANTE
THE FIRST by Gustavo Salvaggio 83
by Alexander Preis 14
NONFICTION
EPISODE
by Alexa Renner 16 SILVER SHADOW
by Rekha Valliappan 87
WILDERNESS
by Sandra Perez 26 SAVING SOULS
by Marian Fredal 91
KEEPSAKES ARE TEMPORAL DEBRIS
by Edie Meade 28 LAYERS OF FORGIVENESS
by Laurie Gelfand 95
DUBLINERS
by Iva Cvjeticanin 33 AN UNEARTHLY GRACE
by Peter McQuade 104
A PRETTY FACE
by Anna Fritze 36 THE TORCH FOR PEACE
by Deborah Kent 111
LIFE AND DEATH
by Xavier Paris 39 GETTING COCKY
by Mary Ann Koruth 114
PARTNERS
by Olga Collazo Perez 42 YOU’LL ALWAYS BE
THE TRUMP NEIGHBORS
MOTHER by Chris Sowers 118
by Jacob RV 45
BLESSED ARE THE FREE IN SPIRIT.
PETER-BY-THE-BAY A JOURNAL IN COMPLICATED TIMES
by Thomas Belton 48 by Samuel Robert Piccoli 120

NOT A BAD BOY
by Cheryl Sim 51

THE TRICKERY OF A MASKED DEMON
by Ren Nightshade 53

THE ELEVATOR
by Rory Rimel 56

3

Adelaide Literary Magazine

POETRY INTERVIEWS

CHICAGO JULIE REED
by Elsa Pair 127 The Winner of
the Second Annual Adelaide Books Children’s
IN THAT SAID-SAME SECOND Book Award 171
by Keith Hoerner 130
LAZARO MARIANO PEREZ
BOBOLINKO IN Shortlist Winner Nominee of
A FOREST the Second Annual Adelaide Books Children’s
by Kenneth Pobo 131 Book Award 173

PESSOAS MARIANNE SONG
by Arthur Powers 133 Shortlist Winner Nominee of
the Second Annual Adelaide Books Children’s
TENEMENT BASH Book Award 175
by John Grey 136
ELTON D’SOUSA
ALABASTER POLISH The Winner of the Second Annual Adelaide
by Terry Brinkman 139 Books Children’s Book Illustration Award 178

ZERO SUM GAME TAMMY BOHLENS
by Mark Murphy 141 Shortlist Winner Nominee of
the Second Annual Adelaide Books Children’s
COMING OUT Book Illustration Award 182
by Chris Arnone 145
JOANA MARINHO
OLD PAINT COLORS Shortlist Winner Nominee of
by Sheree LaPuma 149 the Second Annual Adelaide Books Children’s
Book Illustration Award 184
DOLLHOUSE
by Linda Phillips 153

GASLIGHTING
by Amy Gautschi 156

VESPERS UPDATE
by Don Thompson 161

AT FAULT
by Cheryl Heineman 163

THREE DAYS
by Peggy Hammond 166

4

UNDOCUMENTED

by Maria Valenzuela Frangakis

The U.S. border was only a three-hour-drive That connection to America died the year
from my college town, but the idea of going after, when Abuela died. Slowly, I became
al otro lado hadn’t occurred to me before aware of the great resentment Mexicans
Isa invited me to go shopping in Tucson. I’d harbored for America’s imperialistic reach.
just broken up with my idiotic boyfriend The adage “Poor México, so far from God, so
and was ready for a little fun, especially close to the United States” from those who
since Teo, Isa’s handsome twin brother, was blame the U.S. for all of México’s troubles,
going with us for added security. I’d been in including droughts and hurricanes, served
the U.S. once when my abuela took me on to exculpate our own government’s neglect,
one of her fayuca-buying trips. She smug- slowly took hold in my mind. America was
gled American merchandise into Mexico, a for me a distant world, too unfriendly and
highly illegal trade punishable by jail time too different to consider it a destination.
before NAFTA was signed into law. Abuela
avoided the Federales by crossing back into For Isa and Teo, however, crossing into
Mexico only when certain guards were on the U.S. was as normal as going to the su-
duty, the ones willing to look the other way permarket. Their hometown was less than
provided she paid the traditional mordida. an hour’s drive from the Arizona border,
across which, the family shopped for every-
At the store, Abuela left me in front of thing from groceries to appliances. As resi-
a row of television sets while she shopped, dents of a designated zona libre, they were
telling me not to go anywhere. She needn’t entitled to laminated permits that allowed
worry. I’d never watched television before, them to move freely across the border.
and the cartoon show, about a talking little Their not-so-Mexican looks and flawless
donkey, captured my imagination immedi- American accents could land them al otro
ately. I was only four years old, but I was lado hassle-free should they forget to carry
safe; the idea of unaccompanied minors their permits.
from south of the border hadn’t yet per-
meated the American psyche. By the time The invitation to go across the border
I returned home I was bilingual. I told my for the weekend had come rather sud-
father, yo hablo ingles, and then proceeded denly to plan for anything else than what
to demonstrate by saying, “Hee-Haw, to wear and where to go once we got there.
Hee-Haw,” imitating the donkey from the It wasn’t until we were midway through the
cartoon show. trip that documentation, or the lack thereof
on my part, became an issue. Nobody ever

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

mentioned that my college ID wasn’t suffi- differences in skin coloration typical of our
cient to get me across. people, think that all Mexicans look alike.

“Don’t you have a passport?” Teo asked I kept quiet, my eyes moving from Teo
with a mix of surprise and worry. to Isa, wondering whose argument would
prevail. Teo believed in being upfront. He
“No, but I’m also carrying my driver’s li- trusted that the guards, able to tell I wasn’t
cense,” I said, to ease his mind. trying to cross to stay, would give me a
weekend pass. Isa didn’t go out of her way
“I’m not sure that’s going to cut it either,” to be good anymore; she had stopped such
Isa said grimly. nonsense the day she left Catholic school.

“Too late to go back now,” Teo said. “We’ll Once committed to proceed with Isa’s
just have to see if they’ll give you a weekend plan, I spent the rest of the drive practicing
pass at the border. Maybe the two IDs will how to say “American Citizen,” should the
be sufficient proof that you have no interest guard asked me for papers at the border.
in staying there illegally.” While pronunciation was a real problem for
me, the lack of conviction was worse.
“Why don’t we pretend to be American
citizens?” Isa said, not convinced I could get “Soften your Rs, will you?” Isa instructed
a permit without proper documentation. me. “Also, careful with your Ts, only the
British pronounce the middle Ts in the same
“Maybe you guys can, but they will im- way as a leading T; Americans either slur it
mediately see the eagle and the cactus or turn it into a D.”
stamped on my forehead,” I said, referring
to the seal on the Mexican flag. “I don’t get it,” I said, getting more con-
fused the more Isa explained.
“C’mon, we can pull it off.” Isa insisted,
already fine-tuning her plan. “Our license “For instance, the word continental, Amer-
plates read Zona Libre, right?” icans mostly slur the two ‘t’s in the middle,
conninennal. But for the word citizen, for in-
“Right.” Teo said, waiting for Isa to explain, stance, they pronounce the middle ‘t’ as d,
used as he was to Isa’s off-the-wall ideas. ciddizen. You’ll get the hang of it.”

“Well, if the two of us in the front seats My apprehension increased with the
say we are American citizens they won’t number of signs on the road announcing
bother with the one in the back seat. You we were approaching the U.S. border. I no-
and I just have to sound convincing.” ticed many signs reading, “Mexican Curios.”
Some read only “Curios” with a big arrow
“Oh, I don’t know...” Teo said doubtfully. pointing ahead. Mentally, I translated it
to mean “All those curious, this way,” not
“It’ll work,” Isa assured him. “It worked realizing that the different spelling totally
last time mother and I took Juana grocery changed the meaning of the word. The
shopping with us.” word familiar to me, curioso, meant inquis-
itive, interested, probing - all words which
I was suddenly hopeful that if the maid, described me. Mexicano Curioso. I was
with her native, Mexican looks had managed Mexican and I was once again curioso about
to cross the border without incident, I, with el otro lado. When Abuela took me there all
much lighter skin and hair, would have an
easier time. I didn’t realize at the time that
most Americans, unable to detect the subtle

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Revista Literária Adelaide

those years before, Hee-Haw was enough “Mexican Curious!”
to make me feel bilingual. Now that I was
able to translate textbooks and my exten- I couldn’t tell if my companions in the
sive vocabulary included the word ‘curious,’ front seat were laughing or crying when I
I had no reason to be apprehensive. saw them lower their heads while discretely
covering their mouths. In the end, Teo de-
A long line of cars waiting to cross into cided to tell the truth and explained I had
the U.S. had already formed at the border. neither permit nor passport. Not surpris-
Teo rolled down the windows and turned ingly, we were ordered to turn around at
up the volume on the radio to show we once. They dropped me off at a restaurant
were regular American citizens listening to on the Mexican side where I waited while
modern American music. The volume of they again joined the long line of cars to do
their conversation, also in English, increased a little shopping al otro lado so that the trip
as well. My heart pounded and my intes- wouldn’t be in vain.
tines churned with what turned out to be
a mild case of Montezuma’s revenge. I was A few years later, I crossed the border at
feeling so American by now that even the that very point. This time, however, in addi-
intestinal bugs couldn’t tell the difference. tion to my Mexican passport and my stu-
dent visa, I also held a brand-new college
Perhaps the guard noticed the eagle on the diploma in my hand, all necessary docu-
cactus stamped on my forehead, or it might’ve ments that would allow me to pursue grad-
been that he was able to smell my fear, but, uate studies at the University of Arizona. To
like a drug-sniffing dog, he went straight to the say the experience traumatized me is not an
back-seat window to address me. exaggeration. After more than forty years as
a U.S. ciddizen, my most common recurring
“Dónde están sus documentos, por favor,” dream is that of trying to return to the U.S.
he said in a heavy gringo accent. I desper- after visiting my family in Mexico and real-
ately looked to the front seat for help. Nei- izing I’ve forgotten my American passport.
ther Isa nor Teo thought I needed transla- I’ve never forgotten it, but my heart skips a
tion for, despite the heavy accent, the guard beat every time a U.S. border agent looks at
spoke clearly in Spanish. When their help it, then at me, before he proceeds to tell me,
wasn’t forthcoming, I knew I had to do this “Welcome home, Madam!”
on my own, no matter how nervous I felt.
Gathering all the dignity and assertiveness
the occasion merited, I exclaimed:

About the Author

Maria Valenzuela Frangakis was born in a dusty village
along the International Highway in Mexico’s Northwest.
After earning a B.S degree in chemistry, she attended the
University of Arizona’s Graduate School, earning her M.S. in
Microbiology. She spent twenty-five years as a scientist in
academic and pharmaceutical labs. After earning her M.B.A.,
she went on to found Enarxis Research, a biotech consulting company. Her work has been
published in Typehouse Literary Magazine and Adelaide. She currently lives in Chapel Hill, NC.

7

SECOND
HONEYMOON

by Amanda Corbin

As they stood for coffee in the ribcage of was that of a service dog, relaxed but atten-
the airport terminal, he watched his wife tive. She nodded as he returned her coffee
pluck an invisible note from the air and tuck but he did not ask what she heard. The
it behind her ear. His tonsils caught a sigh. whispers were gone, she had one day told
The seventh one since security. He watched him in bed.
as she scanned the building’s skeleton for
a single stall restroom. She would only be Perhaps she was not drowning, but he
gone a few minutes, as was her chore, but could feel himself treading water. After
her fresh coffee would sting his hands as she told him offhandedly about his moth-
he waited. Inside the bathroom, over the er’s illness during an argument about the
sink or on the toilet, she would unwrap the dishes, he presented the idea of a second
snide comment a mother made in line and honeymoon. But it was really for him to es-
the TSA agent’s opinions on abortion. Her cape their home. These snippets of speech
ears would swallow them until her porous that she claimed to be lost littered their
mind was saturated and she was drunk on apartment and lives. He would find work
a stranger’s fortune cookie. She called this gossip folded in his laundry and subway
her eave-snatching. She fished from the un- secrets in the car. He would open the cab-
dercurrent of voices, reeling in the mutters inet searching for the coffee press and she
and the murmurs, trying not to drown. would rush over and catch the words from
the shelf. Her eyes would lock on his like
He readied himself for her reappearance. a candy store thief as she pocketed the
Sometimes tears stickied her face and her whisper in the side of her robe on her way,
bangs were damp and other times she’d pull walking backwards, to the bedroom.
him against the nearest surface and finagle
his belt before he could check his breath. It He knew without looking that she was
had been thrilling at first, but he recited his happy their seats were near the back of the
most successful counters until she walked plane. Oh the gaggles of conversations she
towards him from the restroom. Her face could harvest down the aisle. He wished he
was unusually porcelain but her demeanor could tell them all to shut up, stymie all their

8

Revista Literária Adelaide

conversations with an outcry. Just to your- did not enjoy but said they did for the sake
self, he would plead, keep your thoughts to of appearance). One of the extras asked the
yourself. Then he would get her back. She waiter for spaghetti and testicles. She had
abandoned her carry-on at his feet as she laughed so hard she kissed him.
shrunk her way into the window seat. After
he hoisted his briefcase into the compart- But now, she listened to her anthology of
ment, he found her bag reluctant to rise. whispers. Her noise canceling headphones
Embarrassed, he gripped the handle with were her favorite for this. As he sat beside
both hands and tossed the bag into storage. her, he tried to read the morse code of
her eyelids. Flickers that might give him a
As he toyed with his seatbelt, the sur- glimpse of where she is. He thought about
rounding voices of the passengers swelled the things that he could do. He could tell
up around him. Every now and then, he will jokes. He could whisper bomb threats. He
hear a laugh that sounds like hers and he could ask for a divorce. Or he could turn, as
will seek it out. It was that twangy tickle he always did, and face forward with a smile
that stuck to the roof of his mouth. He re- on his face, knowing that when her brain
called the taste. He discovered this honeyed walks back to sleep he will meet her there,
laugh on their first date, when she quoted because, if he’s lucky, they’re dreaming to-
every background character in How I Met gether, and, in the molasses of night, she
Your Mother (a show they both, admittedly, will reach out her hand for his.

About the Author

Amanda Nicole Corbin is a writer in Columbus, Ohio. She is
a former middle school English teacher who spent almost
a decade in Salt Lake City. She has had her short fiction
published in the Notre Dame Review, NANO Fiction, Columbia
College Literary Review, Thrice Fiction, Superstition Review,
Thin Air, The Vehicle, decomP, & others.

9

NOTHING OUT OF
THE ORDINARY

by Anita Lekic

“Oof!” She sighs in exasperation. Without preamble, he marches towards
me and says: “What’s with that look on your
I’m in Belgrade for a visit. Fadina – I’ve face?” And the next thing I know, he strikes
called my mother by her first name since I me on the head with a blow so powerful it
was a child -- is restless and annoyed. knocks me from the chair to the floor. And
then he proceeds to beat the living day-
She walks around the apartment, tidying, lights out of me.
to distract herself. For as long as I can re-
member there has been no love lost be- It hurts, it hurts terribly. Still, I have to
tween us. We pretty much loathe each other. acknowledge that there’s a flow to the beat-
ings and to my mother’s frenzied dancing
Having me there is driving her crazy. around us. It’s theatrical in a way – quite
dramatic. Too bad there’s no audience.
I don’t know why my mother is nuts —
she just is. And she’s always kept me on my Words are coming out of my mother’s
toes because I never know when I’ll have to mouth like a chant: Psss Psss Psss Call an
dodge yet another volley of hurt. I live well ambulance! Call an ambulance! Call an am-
away from her, an ocean away, on another bulance! I hear the hissing as I try to avoid
continent. the dull, repetitive thuds. She’s trying to
stop it.
Her pacing is interrupted as the front
door opens, and my brother walks in. She’s raving mad. She’s raving mad. She’s
out of her mind, my mother chants.
“How was Vienna, Rob?” “How’d it go
with your editors?” She’s positively gushing. As abruptly as it burst forth, my brother’s
The two of them have always been close. rage subsides. He doesn’t move. He looks
down at me sprawled on the floor. And that
My brother is a journalist. He’s covering may well be a look of contrition on his face.
the civil wars rending Yugoslavia apart.
I seize the moment and run to the front
Rob’s three years older than I am and door.
he’s a lot taller. His habitual ironic stare
makes me feel even smaller.

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Revista Literária Adelaide
And as I run, the world slows down,
stops, and bends out of shape, turning into
a warped version of itself. I hear my mother
calling out in her normal, everyday voice:
It’s lunchtime. To the table please.

About the Author
Anita Lekic has lived in many countries, including Brazil
and Egypt, before settling down in Portugal. She writes
nonfiction and fiction. Her articles have been published in
Counterpunch and The Local, Germany among other journals,
and her short stories in Streetlight Magazine, Cagibi, Typishly,
and Wanderlust.

11

DESCENT

by Robert Gamer

Pulling the rip cord, it failed to work. Same expensive ace private detective had been
with the rip cord for the escape chute. Spi- most thorough in providing her with a de-
raling down, I quickly deduced that my tailed log of these indiscretions, including
parachutes were not supposed to open. As graphic photographs. As the sole benefi-
I glanced above at the quickly receding fig- ciary of the estate , totaling, at last check,
ure of my wife, whose parachute did open, $1.83 billion, she stands to reap a mega-for-
did I spot a glimmer of satisfaction spread- tune. Yes, Gretchen-now just a dot in the
ing across her face as she eagle-eyed me sky-has it in her venal, twisted mercenary
plunging down? being to do something like this!

Realizing I had but seconds before I Regarding my worthless, base children,
crashed into the terra firma, it did not es- Ormond and Corrine, I wouldn’t put pat-
cape me that the priority at the given mo- ricide not being in their dissipated, de-
ment is to organize my last thoughts in order bauched natures. For that matter, so is
of priority. Ironically, this , in a nutshell, virtually every other ignominy. Sent to the
has been the principal shortcoming of my finest posh schools, this dynamic deficient
life-concentrating on what I judged to be duo wound up in and out of pricey drug
deserving of my attention to the absolute rehab clinics. These siblings have succeeded
exclusion of everything and everyone else. in doing nothing more than squandering
their fat, ridiculously inflated trust funds.
Starting off, in my freefall, I am dying to Depending on paternal handouts, they, too,
identify the party who tampered with my have ample motive. At any rate, with my
chutes. Although I can name a long line demise, this leaves just one to go for them,
of suspects, time being at a premium, the doesn’t it?- A very expendable mother.
short list will have to do.
Onto my business associates: Those I
Getting back to my wife of 25 years, built my hi-tech empire with would have
Gretchen, she certainly has the motive and prospered very well on a pirate ship. They
means. To spark our humdrum lives to- are not the kind to turn my back on. My
gether, we came up with some fun things to Chief Exec, Annabelle, the figure directly
do, like this parachute jump. Deathly afraid under me-in more ways than one-did not
of heights, I skittishly agreed to go on the rise through the ranks through or by al-
jump as a way of atoning for the countless truism. A natural cutthroat, she savaged
affairs I have engaged in. Gretchen’s very her way to her present position by taking

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Revista Literária Adelaide

no prisoners. With me gone, of course, she So, as I catapult down, it occurs to me
would stand to step right into my shoes. that I have to choose the perp from a most
crowded field. Maybe that is just the point.
Now while I am at it, who else would get No angel, I fully admit that I gave plenty of
top billing a suspect? Personal enemies? I cause. I proved to be an utter failure as a
could write a book with those who I had husband and parent. I made hundreds of
cheated, squeezed, swindled, misled, be- millions in my tech firm without paying the
trayed, or double-crossed. What can I say? slightest attention to morals or ethics, a
Rationalize and declare that business is letter perfect capitalist entrepreneur.
business? That I slop in the mud like all the
others as a means of getting ahead? What Checking below, as I can see that, as I
is the point of these rationalizations as I am am a football field away from hitting the
twirling downward? ground, I had better get myself in position.
I have decided to dive head first. My plan is
Then, of course, there are my paramours. to go out the same way that I came into the
As far as the succession of squeezes I have world. I have to say that coming to an end
poked, each was either well-paid for her isn’t as bad as I thought. Pow! Slam! Bang!
services and/or enjoyed her position at the And it’s over. Simple as that. Well, here goes
office in exchange for her favors, a classic nothing! As for my closing words, I feel that
quid pro quo. Call these couplings simple I must------.
business transactions. Did one of them get
catty and decide to waste me?

About the Author
Robert Gamer currently lives in Danvers, Massachusetts. He is currently working on another
novel.

13

THE FIRST

by Alexander Preis

Jacob looked at his watch. “I better head out; Jacob turned his attention to Allison on
my flight leaves pretty early.” Jacob’s table his right. She had gotten up, and they both
was the only one still occupied in the most- stood there awkwardly. “And, uh, well, it was
ly empty pub. Allison followed him with her a nice surprise to see you.”
bright blue eyes as he pushed back his chair
and rose to his feet. “Yeah, yeah, it was.” Allison looked at him,
but did not quite meet his forest-green eyes.
Elizabeth glanced at her phone. “I didn’t Mainly, she was just trying to avoid seeing
realize it had gotten so late. Are you sure the looks Elizabeth and Jocelyn were giving
you can’t stay a bit longer?” her behind Jacob’s back.

“I need at least a couple hours sleep, “I’ll, uh, I’ll call you tomorrow.”
don’t you think?”
“Yeah, that would be great.” There was
“Oh, I suppose.” Elizabeth rose and gave an awkward moment as the two tried to
him a hug, her heels giving the petite British figure out what sign of affection was appro-
brunette just enough height to match her priate, mutually settling on a simple hug.
American friend. “Happy birthday, again.” Elizabeth quietly sighed while Jocelyn took
a sip of her drink to hide a smirk.
He smiled as the two pulled apart.
“Thanks. And thanks for all of this. You, uh, Jacob and Allison soon separated. He
couldn’t have planned it better if you tried.” grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair.
“See ya.”
She laughed. “And I barely tried at all!
Imagine what I could have done if I knew “Bye,” answered Elizabeth, while Jocelyn
about the two of you.” She gave a significant just gave a little wave. Jacob left the table,
glance to the blonde woman across from walking outside to call a cab.
her, but Allison did not notice.
Jocelyn set her drink down. “Well, I ap-
“I’m sure it would have been great.” Jacob prove.”
nodded to the third woman in the party.
“Nice to meet you.” Elizabeth looked over at her. “And your
seal of approval was what she needed?”
Jocelyn sat with her arms crossed, giving
him a slight smile that did not quite reach “I’m just saying, I like the guy. He’s defi-
her eyes. “Likewise.” nite boyfriend material.”

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“Allison can make her own decisions. She Allison nodded, taking a step back. “Right.
doesn’t really need either of us to dictate Yeah, you’ve got to go. Um…happy birthday,
to her.” Jacob.”

Jocelyn rolled her eyes. “Just being a “Thanks, Allison.” He smiled at her before
friend. And seriously, in our jobs? These turning away, climbing into the car. It drove
“seal of approvals”? Kinda important.” off, Allison watching it disappear around a
corner.
Elizabeth pondered that for a moment.
“True.” She’d give Jocelyn this little victory. “In She walked back into the pub, returning
that case, I’ll just say that I have known Jacob to the table. Her friends were doing their
for years. He is, indeed, an excellent choice.” very best to keep their faces composed,
acting as if they had not seen a thing. She
“I thought we didn’t need to dictate to her?” took one look at them. “Oh, shut up.”

“I’m not dictating, merely offering my Jocelyn snickered while Elizabeth broke
opinion.” into a grin. “That was a particularly good
snog.”
“Oh, is that what you call it?”
Allison reclaimed her seat. “I’m not talking
Allison was not really paying attention about it.” She gave them both a stern look.
to either of her friends, sitting there lost
in thought, lightly biting her lower lip. She Jocelyn raised her hands as if fending off
suddenly got up. an attack. “All right, all right, fine, we won’t
talk about it.”
“Allison?”
There was an awkward silence, quickly
She ignored Jocelyn as she quickly broken by Elizabeth. “You know, I just read
turned and walked out of the pub. Jacob the most fascinating book.”
was still on the sidewalk, waiting for his
Uber. He looked up as Allison strode to- “You, reading a book? Shocking.”
wards him. “Hey, what –” She cut him off as
she placed her hands on his cheeks, her lips Elizabeth glared at Jocelyn, unappreciative
pressed against his. He was startled, tense of her sarcasm. “You should do it too, some-
at first, but quickly relaxed, his arms wrap- time, you might actually learn something.”
ping around her. It lasted only a handful of
seconds, but the passion of their kiss over- Allison paid no attention as the bickering
whelmed the illusion of time, making it last of her friends faded into the background.
forever. Her thoughts still lingered on that kiss.

The connection broke. Jacob’s phone
dinged as a car pulled up. “That’s my, uh, ride.”

About the Author
Alexander Preis is an English major at Concordia University
St. Paul. He lives in Shoreview.

15

EPISODE

by Alexa Renner

Characters: Julia

Julia Adalwolfa is the daughter of German I am so excited! I am in London. I get to
architects who moved to the United States see everything from the Tower of London
of America when she was three years old. to Buckingham palace. I also have to work
She has had trouble making friends and on my project for English (not as exciting).
blending in, especially with her mathemat- While Isaac Newton was an interesting per-
ical abilities and knowledge of history. Des- son, working on an essay about his life isn’t
perate for friends, she will do anything to as fun as exploring a foreign country. I’m
be connected to someone. also a Roman Catholic from Germany, liv-
ing in America. My favorite mathematician
Isaac Newton was a mathematician, is Leibniz, Newton’s lesser known German
philosopher, and scientist in the 1600s to rival. Newton thought that Catholicism was
1700s. He is responsible for almost every- an awful thing that needed to be destroyed.
thing we have today, from increased food Oh, well. I don’t have to like the person I do
production to cars, due to his discovery of my project on. My parents are at the store,
Calculus. That was his time alive. In his time getting food. I hear a knock on the door.
after his death, he is the friend/ protector/
helper of Julia Adalwolfa. I get up. There’s… a letter? I open it. It
has… math problems? Yes. Integrals and de-
The Destroyer is a spirit whose body was rivatives, to be specific. There is something
put to death by Newton in life. In death, he at the top. It says, “the newton project.org.
wants to get even with Newton by taking his The ‘crazy’ letter. You know the one.”
soul to tourture forever.
Indeed I do. At one point in his life,
Newton may have had a mental disorder or
mercury poisoning. He wrote to friends ac-
cusing them of plotting against him.

I fire up my computer and get to work.
It’s easy, nothing my calculator can’t solve. I
wonder where this came from, though.

I finally finish decoding it. The letter says,
“Meet me at Westminster Abbey, 12:00 AM.

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Revista Literária Adelaide

Near Newton’s tomb. You’ll know what to “Why?” I ask.
do when you get there. Bring a quill, pencil,
or pen.” He takes a deep breath. “I’m not the only
ghost. At this minute, there are the ghosts
Okay, this is odd. I always like a good ad- of criminals, murderers, people I put to
venture but this is going too far. Then some- death for their crimes in your world. I can’t
thing in my mind makes me reconsider. I do move on… I don’t know why. They don’t
like a good adventure… I’ll go. want to move on. They forcibly possess your
people to harm others. I know how to make
* them move on… but I have to be there to do
it. Besides, I’ve been stuck in this crypt for
I open the window. It’s 11:00 pm, and I about 300 years. I need a change,” he says.
have to go. I slide down a tree next to the
window, sharpie in hand. It’s a quiet walk to “Okay,” I say hesitantly, “I’ll be your host.
Westminster Abbey. Our hotel is right next We do share the body, right? Also, why did
to it. At the tomb, I check both ways. Noth- you pick me?”
ing. I rattle the door. It’s open. That’s… odd.
I walk in. I search it and the churchyard be- “Yes,” he says, “and I picked you because
fore I find Newton’s tomb. The rock glows I could see the future, and when I followed
and… letters form on it?! your timeline, it went black after this point.
I will not be able to see the future after we
“Hello. What is your name?” the rock says. bond. I manifested the letter to your door- it
was the only thing I had.”
I write back, “Julia Adalwolfa”
“Okay,” I say. I feel I need to do this… I
Suddenly, my feet start to sink. I try to have known the supernatural exists for
move, but can’t. I’m swallowed up, calling quite some time now. I’ve always been dis-
for help, into a pit of blackness. trustful around some people. I might have
an answer now.
“H-Hello?” I stammer.
“Thank you,” he says, a look of joy across
A torch is lit. There, in front of me, is a his face, “We’ve already bonded.”
man dressed in ancient garb. His face is pale
with blue eyes. His hair is grayish silver. The rock above us scrapes back. I climb
out. Newton is hovering next to me.
“You’re Isaac Newton?” I ask. I pinch my-
self. Yep, I’m still awake. “I can hear and see you. Can anyone else?”
I ask him, “Because if so, we need to get you
“Yes,” he says, “allow me to explain. You a haircut.”
see, I need to get out of here. I can’t move
far from my bones, and they’re here. The “No, no one can. I like my hair this way,” he
only way I can get out is with a host.” says.

He lets that sink in. We walk out, onto the street. Newton
looks in awe at the lamp posts. A car goes by.
“You want me to be your host?” I ask.
“What are these?” he asks, wonderstruck.
“Yes. It isn’t so much a parasitic relation-
ship as much as we share a body. You can “Lights and machines that run off a power
have it when you want, I get it when you called electricity,” I reply, and give him an
don’t want it. This is very important,” he says.

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

explanation of how electricity works. “It’s “This is amazing,” he says, looking at the
all because of Calculus,” I say. calculator, “can it do calculus?”

He looks around, happy. “I knew it would “Yes,” I reply, “it can do almost anything.
make a difference,” he says. By the way, you might like this.” I pull out a
box of pfeffernusse cookies. In Germany, it
He turns to me, his blue eyes gleaming. is polite to welcome guests with food. This
is no different, except I am welcoming an
“May I borrow your body?” he asks, “I just old mathematician who has a sweet tooth
want to know what it feels like to be alive and is *technically* dead.
again.”
He gasps, a happy look crosses his face.
“Sure,” I say.
“May I borrow your body for a moment?”
Suddenly, I’m floating next to my body. he says, stunned.
Newton, inside the body, turns to look at
me. I register a shock- Where my two green “Sure,” I say.
eyes were, there are two blue eyes!
Five minutes later, my body weighs a bit
He jumps in the air. Then he laughs hap- more. Ten pfeffernusse cookies more, to be
pily. Then he starts to run. specific.

“Wait!” I say, floating after him. “It’s been about 300 years since I had a
sweet. I missed them a lot,” he says, mouth
He suddenly stops, coughing loudly. full of cookies.

“Pull out the red thing in your pocket, yes, “What was it like, being shut away in a
that’s it. Now put it in your mouth and take tomb for 300 years?” I ask.
two puffs,” I say.
“It was horrible. I woke up, and saw my
He obeys. body lying there. I could see the future, and
after 100 years, I knew it was you I had to
“What was that?” He asks in a dry voice. follow. I lost hope in my second century, and
faded in and out of existence for a while.
“That was an asthma attack,” I say, “maybe Then you came. You awoke me from a 200
I should take us back to the hotel.” year slumber, 200 years of phasing in and
out of existence,” he says, “I cannot tell you
Still panting, we switch. how much I owe you.”

As we walked back to the hotel, I feel sort *
of sorry for him. In life, Newton didn’t have
many friends, but did have many enemies. The next day, I walk down stairs to a bike
In death, that ratio seems to have widened. shop. Since I’m going to college next year,
my parents let me do whatever I want.
We climb up the tree outside my window
and roll from a branch onto the bed. Newton paces around outside my body,
squinting at the gears and chains on the
Newton surveys the room. bikes.

“Whoa,” he says, “this is amazing!” “These are weird… how do they work?”
he asks me.
I explain to him several different items.
Light switch? Check. Bathtub? Check. Cal-
culator? Check.

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“Like this,” I say, paying the manager a he possesses people to do his bidding. He
pound, getting on a bike, and peddling. kills many people, but his main target is my
host - he wants to kill my host and capture
“Whoa,” he says, floating next to me. my spirit so that he can tourture it forever,”
Newton says, “we have to get to him first.”
We bike around London. He points out
sights of his past life. The Tower of London, “WHAT?” I say.
where he was Warden of the Mint. The
house that the Royal Society gathered in. “Calm down. He doesn’t want your spirit,”
Finally, what used to be the underbelly of he says, looking around.
town.
I gulp. This won’t be easy.
“I went there,” he says, pointing to the
outskirts of London, “I caught some crimi- I see something in an alley. I bike over to
nals on forgery charges. They were murders, check it out. It’s a ghost of a girl, in tattered
thieves, but we could only get them to hang clothes, begging at the side of the road and
on forgery charges. I almost got killed once, sniveling.
over there,” he gestures to the hills, “but I
got out of the way of the club fast enough Newton bends over. “Clara?” he says to
and ran.” the girl.

“You mean you actually traced down “Y-yes?” A broken voice answers.
criminals?” I asked, in awe.
I’m in shock. How did he know her name?
“Yes,” he says proudly, “and had a lot of
fun doing it, too.” “What’s wrong?” He asks.

I see a man dressed in all white. He isn’t “My parents are dead and they left me
a living human, he’s a spirit. He glows in the here to scrounge money off of the sidewalk,”
sunlight. she says, bursting into tears, “now I’m dead
and I can’t move on.”
“Who’s he?” I ask Newton in a low voice
Newton reaches into his pocket and pulls
His face grimaces. “He’s one of the ones out two pieces of silver. He puts them in her
who was able to move on. They come back tin cup. He touches her forehead, saying
to Earth for missions, to help others. I still “Go to God. Your time here is no more.”
have to move on,” he says.
She dissolves. The last thing I see are her
“Can he see you?” I ask. fading eyes, pools of infinite gratitude for
the man who helped her.
“No. I’m invisible to everyone but you
and spirits who haven’t moved on,” Newton Newton walks over to me.
says.
“I don’t know how I knew her name or
“What’s your mission?” I ask. had the silver pieces. I saw her once in life,
begging on the sidewalk. I guess that’s one
“I have to get some of the crooked spirits of the people I needed to help,” he says.
to move on, as I told you. There’s one that
will be really hard to do - he now goes by *
the name Destroyer. In life, he was a mur-
derer and foreger. I had him hang. Now Once we are home, I tell him about school
and how I’m in England over winter break

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

because my parents are architects and and a magazine that the man dropped and
have a contract here and have to go back reload.
to America soon. It takes a little explaining,
but I think he’s clear on the concept. “Hasta la vista,” I say to a man, cowering
in the corner. Everything goes black.
“Let me get this straight,” he says, “we’re
going to fly across the ocean in a metal I’m outside my body. What? Oh. Newton
tube to another continent and drive to your must have taken over. The body’s eyes
house?” glow blue, a far cry from my green. Newton
bends down towards the now whimpering
“Yes, all tomorrow,” I say while packing. man and touches his forehead.

“Okay, just wanted to get that straight,” “Go to God. Your time here is no more,”
he says. he says. A spirit is pulled out of the man’s
body. Kicking and screaming, it dissolves.
*
Newton turns to me. “You need to show
We are boarding the airplane. I snag a seat mercy. Killing them will do nothing, the bad
in the back, away from everyone else. Pret- spirit will be on the loose and the innocent
ty soon we take off. host will die,” he says.

“How does this thing work?” Newton asks, We pull the unconscious man out of the
awestruck at the idea that he is in a metal closet and prop him up in the bathroom.
tube a few thousand miles above Earth’s sur- He’ll be alright.
face.
We trade places. “Was that the Destroyer?”
I explain to him the ideas of thrust and I ask Newton.
jet engine. The rest of the trip is quiet. So
quiet, in fact, that I fall asleep. “No,” he says, “that was one of his com-
panions. It will be much harder to catch him.
I awaken to a sound in my ear.
We are alert for the rest of the flight.
“What?” I ask groggily.
*
Newton says, “we have to get out of here.
One of them is on the flight.” In the car on the way home, we talk about our
plan to take down the Destroyer. It will proba-
We hurry to the back. I open a closet and bly be coming after us, Newton says, so we will
get in. have to keep a lookout. Once we get home, I
fall asleep while Newton is on guard duty.
“Heh heh heh,” we hear, coming from be-
hind. We turn. The next day is a Sunday. My parents load
me into the car and start driving. Newton
There’s a man standing behind us. He presses his face to the window to see how
has a gun. Pointing it at my head, he says, the landscape speeds by.
“any last words, Newton, before I capture
your soul?” “This is.. interesting!” he says.

My martial arts training kicks in. I kick “Yeah,” I say, “I like it.”
the gun out of his hand. He had already
pulled the trigger. The bullet “pings!” off The trouble starts when we pull into
the side of the metal closet. I grab the gun, church. As we pass the sign that says “Trinity

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Revista Literária Adelaide

Roman Catholic Church,” Newton’s eyes People are whispering and pointing.
widen in shock horror. They give Newton a wide berth.

“You didn’t tell me you were a Catholic!” Newton looks at the solo cup. We can all
he exclaims. smell the alcohol coming off of Juana. The
rest happens in slow motion.
I sigh, roll my eyes, and tell him to be quiet.
Newton slaps the solo cup out of her
Ten minutes later, I sit in the car with my hand. Everyone else looks shocked.
arms crossed.
“You’re too young to drink alcohol! Don’t
“You acted totally inappropriately,” I tell get sucked into the vices of men! That’s
Newton, “now my parents and the congre- very irresponsible! I’m telling your mother!
gation are VERY angry with me.” Where is she?” he says.

He sighs. “It is my mission to bring God Everyone backs up.
to the Heathens,” he says.
“Fine! I’m leaving!” he says, storming to
Ohh boy. the door. I’m in shock.

* As if things couldn’t get worse, someone
says “Good riddance, you German freak!”
The next week is still off from school. I de-
cide to go to the Masquerade ball. Everyone laughs.

“Now Newton,” I say as I drive up, “There We trade bodies once in the car.
will be people at this party dressed like
devils. They aren’t the real thing. I do NOT I start to cry.
want a repeat of the Church Incident.”
“Why are you sad?” Newton asks.
“Okay, okay,” he says, rolling his eyes.
I stare at him.
We walk up to the door. I knock. We can
hear the pulsing music. “Could you possibly make things worse?
I wanted to make friends at my new school,
“Come in,” someone yells. now the only thing anyone will know about
me as that freaky German prohibitionist!” I
We walk in. Newton falls over in shock. say through tears.
He quickly recovers and all goes black.
“They wouldn’t be good friends if they’re
I am outside my body. What? Oh yeah. I drinking at this age,” he says, “You don’t
can float. This can only mean that Newton’s need them. If they don’t like you for being
inside my body. At a party. Ohh no. I look responsible, they don’t deserve you.”
down. Newton is screaming.
We drive home in silence.
“And another thing!” he shouts, “You all
look like harlots! Even the men! Get decent As we pass the library, I get an idea.
clothing on!” Newton wasn’t trying to make things worse,
he did what he thought was right. What I
At this moment, the host, Juana, walks need to do is inundate him in 21st century
up to us. culture. It was also probably good that we got
out of that party- I don’t want to get kicked
“Calm down, Julia,” she says, a red solo out of my new school for underage drinking.
cup in one hand, patting the body with the
other.

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“I think I have a place that you would like,” me into a harlot of a sorcerer who is an
I say gruffly to Newton. egomaniacal serial killer who abandons his
unborn baby?! Voltaire uses my own works
“We’re good?” he asks. that I did to glorify God to show that there
is no God?! I’m done!” he shouts.
“Yes,” I say as I pull into the parking lot
of the library, “this is a modern library. You I instantly know what to say. “Don’t re-
can take my body and browse as long as you turn the spirits for them. Do it for the people
are quiet.” who honored your memory. Did you know
there was a statue of you in Trinity college,
He looks at me, eyes full of joy. where you taught? You created a branch of
mathematics that many people find a com-
“You mean it?” he asks. munity in, it’s where they feel safe. If you
were never here, I probably would not be
“Yes,” I say, smiling back. alive. That asthma medicine you took? De-
veloped based on Calculus. The surgeries I’ve
We trade. Newton and I walk into the li- gone through? Calculus was needed,” I say,
brary. There is a huge display out front with “and what’s more? When I researched you,
a 5’ 7” cutout of Newton. The banner above even before I really knew you, I saw you as
it says: “Isaac Newton’s 400th birthday!” a spirit somewhat similar to mine. You took
Below it are all sorts of books on Newton. comfort in mathematics, you didn’t care for
Newton goes straight to the books under people, and you tried to do what was right.
the banner. Guess who else does? Me! I even prayed for
you, to be happy wherever you were.”
“I just want to see how I’m remembered,”
he says. He turns to look at me. His face looks
more happy.
Things go well for a while. He looks
through the books on Calculus, happily. “Really?” he says.
Then we run into some trouble.
“Yes,” I say.
He picks up a comic book. It has a colorful
cover with a picture of a man in detailed “Thank you. You’ve saved me once again,”
armor with silvery hair blasting people apart. he says, sighing, “I can’t believe I got that
It’s title is “SHIELD Vol.1”. He looks through out of hand.”
it. Then he sees it. An animated Isaac
Newton stares back at us, proclaiming that Together we walk into the library.
he is the Sorcerer Supreme. Newton turns
the pages with a look of shocked horror on We decide to look through the books on
his face. It shows him living forever. A sor- Calculus. Newton is really happy about how
cerer who kills his enemies. A person who much it has grown.
abandons his baby still in a woman’s womb.
He shuts the book abruptly and looks for The next day, we decide to go ice skating.
another one. He finds one by Voltaire. After
reading a little, he storms out. “Do you want to try?” I ask Newton.

“I can’t believe that’s how I’m remem- “Sure!” he says.
bered! I gave them Calculus, interpreted
religion, and physics all for them and THIS Five minutes later, my body is in an am-
is how they repay my memory?! They make bulance. Newton accidentally fell, put out

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Revista Literária Adelaide

the body’s left arm to break the fall, and prescription painkillers. On Sunday, we
broke a leg along with the arm. play a card game. My parents wonder what
I’m doing because it looks like I’m playing
In the ambulance, he turns to me. against myself. Eventually, we fall asleep,
crashed on the couch because I can’t walk
“Are you angry?” he whispers through tears upstairs.
of pain.
The next day, we arrive at school. Newton
“No,” I say, “You are the one feeling the looks around in wonder.
pain. It’s fine - I’ve been through surgery for
my stomach before.” “This place is huge!” he says of the brick
building.
Ten minutes later, we’re in surgery. Ev-
erything goes black as the anesthetic gets Our first class is Calculus. I’m in a class
pumped into my veins. of my own because I took all the Calculus
classes my school offered my freshman year.
When we wake up, my parents are there I have a test on integration today. This is
and furious. They lecture me about how I where we run into some trouble.
should never put my arm out to fall. Just
then, the doctor comes in. “You need to do it this way,” Newton says,
explaining a problem.
“You’ll be fine,” she says, “Just rest up.
Both the arm and leg are in casts. You’ll “No I don’t. I’ve got this,” I mutter.
be able to go to school, just in a motor-
ized wheelchair. By the way, you need an- “No you haven’t. You need some help,” he
other endoscope soon- we don’t want your says haughtily.
Crohn’s disease acting up!”
I turn to face him. “SHUT UP!” I say.
Soon, my parents leave. I have to stay in
the hospital for 24 hours so that they can It is at this moment that I realize my
teach me how to get around and what to do. teacher is staring at me.

“What’s Crohn’s disease?” Newton asks I have detention for a week. The max-
curiously. imum the school allows. Great. All because
of a dead mathematician.
“It just means I can’t eat some foods and
have some stomach pain a lot of the time,” I “I’m sorry,” Newton says at lunch when
say, “That’s part of why I want friends. It will we are on speaking terms again. I’m sit-
distract me from the pain. Unfortunately, ting alone and all of the other students are
having a debilitating illness usually leads to whispering and pointing at me. So much for
a lonely life,” I sigh. blending in.

“You’ve got me,” he says, “I don’t care I shrug. “It’s okay,” I say, “who knows?
what illness you have. You are one of my only Maybe we had to go through this for a reason.”
friends.”
The rest of the day passes in a blur. In
I smile at him. “Thanks,” I say. detention, we have Mr. Jones as a monitor.
Mr. Jones is asleep.
*
I’m doing my homework when Newton
The week passes quickly. We learn how to says, “Umm… Julia?”
use a motorized wheelchair and take more

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

Mr. Jones is walking towards us, with a “Wait, you’re leaving?” I say, “you were
pistol, moving in the same way the man in my only friend!”
the airplane closet did.
He looks at me sadly. “So were you,” he
“I am the Destroyer!” his voice booms, says, “but I must go.”
“Come out of your host, Newton, and no one
gets hurt. Surrender, for you have already lost.” He puts his hand to his forehead and
says, “Go to God. Your time here is no more.”
Newton starts to drift towards him.
The silver body on the floor disappears
“What are you doing?!” I exclaim, “Stay as he dissolves. A sad grin on his face is the
with me. If I die, I get to move on. If he gets last thing I see before he’s entirely gone.
you, you’re trapped forever!”
I struggle to get the gun out of the
“I can’t let you get hurt,” he says, tears window and into the river with my wheel-
pooling in his eyes. chair. It’s not Mr. Jones’s fault that he was
possessed.
I grab his arm. I’m the only one who can
feel him. I wake Mr. Jones. He says I may go, em-
barrassed that he fell asleep on the job.
The Destroyer comes nearer. “I’m rel-
ishing this conflict,” it says, “Instead of one I motor over to the park and park in an
soul, I’ll get two!” He points his gun at my obscure part of the paved sidewalk. My
head and pulls the trigger. All goes black. shoulders start shaking and I burst into sobs,
my face in my hand. I don’t know how long
I open my eyes. I’m floating outside my I cry.
body. Newton is in control. To my surprise,
I’m not bleeding! How-- Oh. I see. I see a “Hello,” a voice says.
body on the floor bleeding silver blood.
Newton blocked the bullet with his spiritual I wipe my face on my sleeve. Probably
body. It’s only physical to me, and because some do-gooder park goer, I think drearily.
of that, it was able to save me from a bullet.
Now that that’s gone, my body is the only I look up. I see white shoes, white pants,
thing he has. a white button down shirt. I scan the own-
er’s face. It’s pale with intense blue eyes,
The gun is on the floor. The wheelchair shining. The long hair is perfectly combed,
is next to Mr. Jones. Newton is leaning for- a silvery gray shade.
wards, his hand on Mr. Jones’s forehead.
Newton says, “Go to God. Your time here is “Isaac?” I ask, in disbelief.
no more.” He repeats this two more times,
as a silver body, kicking and screaming, “Yes,” he says.
comes out of Mr. Jones’s body and dissolves.
My face breaks into a smile. “I’m so glad
All goes black. to see you!” I say, “why are you here?”

We are both in the same body. I can see “It’s my mission,” he says happily, “My
Newton in my reflection on the window. mission is to guard you for your life and be-
yond. If you can’t move on, I’ll help you. If
“Thank you so much. I’ll miss you,” he you can, we’ll be partners.”
says, tears in his eyes.
I draw him in for a hug.

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We sit on the wheelchair, him on the
front, me in the seat, talking. Our next mis-
sion is in Virginia. Should be fun.

“Does the name Thomas Jefferson mean
anything to you?” He asks.

Ohh boy

About the Author
Alexa Renner lives in Akron, Ohio.

25

WILDERNESS

by Sandra Perez

She sits in the wilderness of her heart, once she believed again in cultivation, growth,
again balancing the dinner plate on the and color, and scent, growing fields of
arm of the sofa, watching the six o’clock flowers. She saw them vividly deep within
news. Sometimes she wipes away just a her imagination. Lavender, yellow and pink
couple of tears, moved by the stories of blooms yearning to be picked, savored and
death and civil unrest unfolding around her, placed upon their table. Even now she can’t
yet so removed from human interaction. forget the deep watering she had received
Connection with others during a pandemic in their short time together.
is rare. Her tears have almost dried up like
the stream behind her house, mud where The new wilderness within her did not
small fish used to dine, dust forming where appear suddenly it took some time for the
clear water once flowed; it was a long hot flower fields she had grown with him, the
summer. No lover has touched her heart ones that filled her with life, to become
in years. No deep emotions have been al- thick with strangling growths of weeds. She
lowed to seep in. grew tired of hoping he would come back to
her. Keeping an open path for her to travel
Her lover left her four years ago. She felt alone became too difficult a task when no
he was an honorable man. He could not let other cared to walk it with her, to her, be-
his family become a wilderness. There were cause of her, for her.
circumstances he could not ignore.
Each morning and evening she drenches
He was a music man; she loved him even her skin in expensive creams. Hope still
though he had no wealth to give her except blooming that someone will once again
his gaze and understanding. He needed to feel its suppleness. She knows people have
know her, to touch every part of her being. visited, masked faces staying distant like
She trusted in the luxurious garden of their the night spirits taunting you with pleasure
bond as truth and he told her he did too and only to disappear at daybreak without fully
held her close. making contact. They buoyed her spirit
though only like plants watered at the sur-
When she met him she hadn’t loved in a face. Her roots could not grow deep enough
long while. He had begun to mend the deep to sustain new blooms. Human closeness is
cracks in the foundation of her soul that had out of reach, yet she craves it like fire in a
first made her heart a wilderness. With him snowstorm, like the taste of love.

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Revista Literária Adelaide
The wilderness has grown around her
again, human connection not only hard to
find but unsafe as well. Now she covers the
wilderness of her heart, just a bit bigger,
with the script of Life, hovering in her pre-
serve while the world explodes around her
and fear becomes her partner, watching the
nightly news.

About the Author
Professor Emerita Sandra M. Perez, Towson University
Department of Dance began studying creative writing
after retiring from a lifelong career as a professional Ballet
and Modern dancer, and Arts educator. Sandra’s writing
reflects her perspectives as a human, child, woman,
mother, artist, educator, and mystic. She lives in Maryland
among nature with her cat Phoebe. Sandra continues to
teach Wellness through Dance, study tarot, and to pursue
her lifelong passion of telling stories through movement
and words.

27

KEEPSAKES ARE
TEMPORAL DEBRIS

by Edie Meade

I comb, in lieu of packing, through a box of ought to be getting the bedroom packed.
letters that’s been perched on the bedroom But I’m magnetized to the spot.
bookshelf since we leased this apartment
two years ago. And although now is not the A keepsake is kept for the sake of keeping
time, I discover I’m incapable of throwing it. My writer’s brain picks the word open
away mail from my mother or sisters. “Get like a clamshell: neither garbage nor junk,
on it,” I mutter to myself. but a mortal artifact I hold onto until I die.
After I’m dead someone else has to throw it
“You ‘kay, Kay?” Dana asks as she strides out, which is pretty convenient for me.
by the doorway. She manhandles our broken
armchair down the stairs to the dump- The box-lined back wall of my moth-
ster – beside the dumpster, I insist, in case er’s basement rises like a tidal wave in my
someone else needs a cartoonishly old char- mind. This move is just the warm up. We’ll
treuse chair. In the sun, the its shapely up- be moving Mom into my sister’s place later
holstery displays a sweat-shadow of my own this spring. Eventually, someone will have to
back in the velvet. I’ve spent the last few deal with all that junk.
years pecking away at my memoir in the eve-
nings after work in the embrace of that chair. *

It’s junk, I think, not garbage. Junk is I get sidetracked reading Mom’s letters,
something someone else can use. noticing now how she wrote on leftover
school notebook paper torn from wide-rule
The contents of my canvas-covered keep- tablets. It’s obvious when I stack the enve-
sakes box, on the other hand, are not junk. lopes chronologically how her handwriting
No one can use them. No one would care if declined long before I noticed her tremors.
I piled all these letters, photos, cards into Her schoolteacher cursive wobbles to print.
the trash. Maybe I should, box and all. After
all, I’ve kept them across several moves and Mom has an enviably no-nonsense
never looked through them once – until writing style. After a few salutations she
now, at the least convenient time, when I writes in list form, providing updates about
the seasons and life-stages of everyone else.

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Early spring, almost exactly a decade ago: articles I wrote for the student paper. “Ab-
“Dogwood budding up. Started flats of beef- surd,” I whisper, recalling how I discarded the
steaks and cherry tomatoes. Finished baby clippings before moving in with my boyfriend
blanket for Melanie.” By the time Melanie Alan. He wrote the strident, timely pieces on
had her last baby, Mom was too shaky to economics, culture, politics; I wrote about
hand-stitch anymore baby blankets. She the renovation of the campus bell-tower and
sewed a quilt on the machine, but couldn’t campus library reorganization. I wonder if
thread a needle to finish the binding by Alan works for a bigger newspaper than I do,
hand. At the baby shower, the blanket’s if he lays out the obituary pages in between
satin binding trembled like a blue tail as she his reporting assignments like me, or if he
pulled it out of her tote. I wonder if Melanie sticks to the big think pieces. Alan wrote like
finished it for her as she had promised. he walked, with impatiently long strides. He
wouldn’t have time to sweat the shape of his
Ten years have passed; maybe the back into a velvet chair.
blanket is long gone. As soon as the
thought appears, I wince. Of course my It makes sense I ultimately fell for a his-
sister wouldn’t toss a blanket our mother toric preservationist instead. It was Dana’s
made. She’d stash it in the back of a closet tenderness for the past that activated my
for decades until her kid was grown, like any memoirist sensitivities. Her long walks on
normal person. She’s got a big house and the beach with a metal detector, a fanny
her husband is three years into building the pack full of “can slaw,” was the perfect com-
“mother-in-law addition” for Mom. I will bination of sentimental and who-gives-a-
never have that kind of space. shit eccentricity. She was just what I needed.

I glance at the closet, which Dana evi- The acid from the newspaper stained the
dently left open to keep me on task, and bottom of the box into the shapes of my col-
decide to test the electric blanket before I umns, and I think Dana would probably be
pack it. It falls off the shelf heavy as a boa upset if she knew this box I insist on keeping
constrictor. doesn’t even provide archival protection of
its contents. She would have appreciated
It’s been with me since college, but it’s my banal interview with a bronze bell res-
still crimped in the middle from a wooden torationist.
thrift store hanger. Who knows the story of
an electric blanket? This one kept Michigan- The apartment door claps. Dana wraps
ders warm for generations only to spend its her arms around an overloaded box of
sunset years languishing in Virginia rental kitchen supplies and lumbers out again. She
property closets. It bares its two-pronged makes steady progress reducing our stuff to
plug like fangs at me. “I’m watching you,” I fit the new place, with its compact kitchen
say, and jam it into the outlet. and single bedroom. It’s in a Nineteenth Cen-
tury building in walking distance from the
“You ‘kay?” Dana calls from the living room. beach, and that’s enough to get her pumped.
We’re picking up a U-Haul in the morning
* and making the whole move tomorrow.

The raw canvas of my keepsakes box is This is happy exercise for Dana. She’s
sun-faded and flecked with lint; I bought it at in her running-panting rhythm. From the
a craft store when I was still in college to keep window I see her heave-ho the box into the

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

lap of our chair. She swings her arms into a *
clap like a child playing ball.
Some of the pictures in my box – high gloss
On impact, the chipped wooden salad prints from one-hour-photo places – are
bowl pops out to look around. It resembles stuck together from exposure to humidity.
a helmeted soldier peeking from the top of On top of one stack is a group picture from
a chartreuse tank. I hope it’s ready for the Easter one year. Mom sits on her buckling
spring offensive. sofa under a pile of grandchildren spilling
their Easter baskets. She clasps Lisa’s wrig-
* gling baby, who is a split-second from bit-
ing Mom’s thumb. It’s an awful photo, with
Over the years, Mom’s letters peter out, but the flash flattening and washing everyone
the cards keep coming, with a twenty dollar out, their eyes drooping ahead of the shut-
bill that I always spent on wine. Inside, she ter, their bright spring clothes clashing with
writes “Dear Kay” on top and “Love, Mom” Mom’s dusty rose-print furniture.
underneath, maudlin verses about daugh-
ters graced with her imprimatur. The last The picture underneath is sealed to the
card from her is postmarked four years ago. back; it’s a drab outdoor shot of Melanie’s
kids feeding gulls at the beach. I try to peel
She preferred cards with flowers drawn the photos apart but abandon the attempt
in a certain kind of mid-century style she when a rip opens up along the shoreline.
herself had been good at. She taught us
how to draw those same roses in series of My sisters’ special family-time photos
trapezoids and triangles, petals of dusty are so unnecessary, so exhausting. Mel-
rose set against brown backgrounds. All anie’s amateur family portraits at the
those arts and crafts we made with her, pumpkin patch look like color-coordinated
little pastel and watercolor projects I never hostage situations. And my sisters always
gave a second thought about, are stowed smile so hard they look like they’re bursting
away in her basement. into tears. Perhaps they are; someone had
to wrangle all those people and hit the timer
I curl into my electric blanket and read the on the camera, then hurry up and look like
cheesy rhymes. I imagine Mom bowing like they’re having a good time. Or raising chil-
a tortoise over these cards in the drug store, dren just pulls parents’ smiles downward
picking them out because she really does over time. I smile at myself in the closet
think of her daughters as the most beautiful door mirror to compare.
roses in her garden, God’s most precious
blessings – all this truth for only ninety-nine So many of these pictures seem like little
cents! She surely bought these cards in bulk; more than documentation of children’s
maybe my sisters received the same ones for teeth: teething infants, toddlers with smiles
their birthdays. I wonder if they have boxes of that never seem authentic, scrappy elemen-
Mom’s letters cluttering up their shelves, too. tary schooler grins with their improbably
large adult teeth emerging. School pictures
My eyes rove over the bedroom closet. of the nieces and nephews look so sim-
Does Dana have a box of old letters and ilar across the years I have trouble telling
photos from before we met? Maybe she them apart. Their faces open like time-lapse
keeps them in a folder, like tax forms, in her flowers, except they bloom into variations
metal filing cabinet. on my sisters and brothers-in-law. Suddenly,

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Revista Literária Adelaide

Lisa’s oldest girl flashes braces to mark the and throw it all into the waves. Let the
moment I become a spinster aunt. ocean carry it up the coast to be somebody
else’s problem. Love, Kay. It seems breath-
* takingly irresponsible, but I suppose leaving
the box on a shelf until I die is just littering
I’m the only one of my siblings still rent- the ocean of time instead of an ocean of
ing apartments, the only one who hasn’t space. Maybe keepsakes are temporal
sprawled herself into another branch of debris, and memoirists are just eccentric
our family tree with children. I don’t even beachcombers.
have a pet.
“Are you overthinking?” Dana calls from
I don’t have that much stuff. I’m investing the bathroom, where she’s piling cleaners
undue significance to my mortal artifacts. into a plastic bin.
“You’re smothering me,” I whisper and throw
off the electric blanket. Dana is down below “I’m struggling,” I say.
tossing bags into the dumpster, her sleeves
rolled up on her shoulders like a softball “We’ll have room,” she assures me, and
goddess. It’s seventy-five degrees outside. I think what she should say is get on it. Or
get over it, which is close to the same thing
I feel like a bad sibling, a bad daughter. – but she would never say that.
The same pictures probably framed in ev-
eryone else’s houses, arranged in cute dis- Instead, she declares we’ll have enough
plays on mantels and end tables, never even room and hopes it will become fact, some-
left the envelopes in which they arrived to thing as discoverable as a ring pinging in the
me. I never shared them with Dana – be- sand. A historic apartment building close to
cause they’re not all that significant to me. the beach, all the treasure waiting to be
collected, and all the room and time in the
Yet I can’t throw these things away. After world to hold it. I’m not sure if it’s Dana’s
sorting dozens of envelopes out of the box, fantasy anymore, or mine.
only a few Christmas cards from my sisters
drop into the bag at my feet. “Love, Lisa, “Love you,” I say.
John & family.”
“Love you, too,” she replies, just as care-
Lisa’s handwriting looks just like Mom’s. free as the thousands of times she’s done
I pluck the cards back out of the bag, slap before. Another cleaner bottle clatters into
them angrily into the box. I stare at her curly her bin.
Ls. “Love, Lisa.”
If I throw away the electric blanket, I
Is it really love, Lisa, to send cards out think, I’ll have room in the new closet for
like clockwork? Is that what family-centered my keepsakes box.
women are supposed to do? Maybe my sis-
ters will just keep sending out cards and Down in the parking lot, a pickup truck
photos of their children’s teeth, and I’ll just pulls up next to the dumpster. Two college
keep collecting them in my box until they girls hop out to circle our offerings. The
overflow and spill all over the floor of my wooden bowl is swiftly tucked under one
tiny apartment and bury me. girl’s arm. As they paw through the kitchen
supplies, the chartreuse chair holds its
Maybe I’ll carry my box down to the breath.
beach on a day with a good strong riptide

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

About the Author

Edie Meade is a writer, visual artist, and mother of four boys in Huntington, West Virginia.
She is passionate about literacy, and collects books like they’re going out of style. She has
published two collections of poetry, Every Day Is A Love Letter, and Birth & Other Stages of
Death. Say hi on Twitter @ediemeade.

32

DUBLINERS

by Iva Cvjeticanin

It was the pink velvet dress. Evelyn held it They had come from two different
up against her body slowly dancing with worlds. Evelyn was born and bred among
it while trying to avoid tripping over the the clouds. When life had thrown her and
boxes that filled her new apartment. “It her family down to earth, she struggled
was this dress,” she yelled. She could still with being on the ground until she met
feel his arms around her waist. His beard Rowan. He always saw her as someone who
brushing on her cheek. There were so many had all the opportunities in the world and
moments Evelyn wondered whether she if he didn’t call her an idiot by their second
had made a mistake that morning leaving drink something was wrong. She saw
him. She closed her eyes, gripping on to Rowan as her guide and opened her eyes in
the dress and started singing, “you soft and more ways than she could have imagined.
only, you lost and lonely you..” He was the only man that she trusted and
made her feel like she was worth something
It started out as a typical night for them. in a world that had thrown her so low that
Rowan, a Irish rebel who had jumped into she looked in the mirror everyday and just
more fights at stadiums than years he mumbled, “worthless.”
had lived, waited for her at a bar on the
beautiful Stone Street in NYC, Dubliners. The irony of it all was that he always felt
He was always wearing a cap on his head like he wasn’t good enough for her. Rowan
as if he had come straight out of Peaky had a massive commitment phobia, hence
Blinders. At first, she couldn’t stand his why he had her in his arms for 3 years and
hats but as time went on, she realized it never wanted to make her his. However,
was part of who he was. She walked into there was much more to him. His deci-
the bar and saw him holding a Guinness sions were fueled by self loathing. He car-
with the tattooed upside down cross on ried many demons in his chest and always
his finger. She glared at him for a moment. felt that Evelyn or any woman would not
Although he had several attractive qual- be happy with him. Happy with just who
ities, for her it was always his eyes that he was and what he had. In his mind, she
caught the most attention. They were this could be his world and all he had to give
beautiful shade of green that carried his her was pain. In the end, that’s all he gave
pain so well. A pain that she found to be her anyway.
a comfort because it made her feel like he
understood her. Drink after drink their night was filled
with laughter and playful jokes. They could

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Adelaide Literary Magazine

have not said a word to each other all night maybe she always knew they had no future
and just sat there happily staring at each or at least that’s what she kept repeating to
other smiling. Neither wanting to admit herself as rage started filling her walk down
how they feel about each other, of course. to the uber. Maybe she had just created a
Then, the song came on, “you soft and only, fantasy in her head that had to disappear
you lost and lonely you…” when he grabbed but how could she stop loving the man that
her hand and said, “come on, darlin. To brought her back to life.
this we have to dance.” For 3 minutes and
19 seconds, they took over the whole bar Holding onto the door handle, she whis-
and just twirled. Rowan kept singing to her, pered, “I love you. Is there anything you
“you’re just like a dream, you’re just like a have to tell me?” He just laughed and said,
dream” and it became the first time in their “There are some things that will always be
long history of attempted dating that they constant. The government will always take
were equals. Their pain erased for those our money, eventually we all die, and my
few minutes. A feeling neither of them will hatred for those words.” Evelyn just nodded
experience again, but always would have a and walked down the stairs, her heart shat-
moment of time that froze for them to re- tering. Rowan was never going to love her
member fondly. back or atleast, love her in the way that she
wanted him to. So, she got in the uber and
Shortly after, it was the last call at the left him. All he had to do was stop her or say
bar. They put on their coats and braced more but to him it was just another night,
themselves for the cold January air. As they expecting there to be more. She glared out
walked to World Trade Center, they paused the car window thinking about the words
at their spot, Saint Paul’s Chapel or as they again, lost and lonely.
had called it, makeout church. Usually this
was where they said their goodbyes to He was lonely. A choice that he justified
each other before they crossed the rivers as a selfless act to contain the self righteous
to their sides of the city. Across from the despair within the walls of his mind. She
Oculus, Rowan pinned her against the was lost trying to navigate a brand new life
iron gates of the chapel, slowly lifting her of which she barely could get a stronghold
legs, and kissing her as if all the lights and of. Together, they had created their own
streets of NYC had ceased to a halt. Tonight, heaven under the sheets that night which
she would journey to his world across the in her mind made it the perfect goodbye. A
Hudson where they spent the night in each silent departure.
other’s arms until Evelyn could hear the
birds chirping with the sunrise. She opened her eyes as the wave of
emotions hit her. Evelyn eventually moved
When she got up from the mattress he on. However, when asked about her and
always kept on the floor, reality had hit her. Rowan, she would say, “The problem with
All she could think about was them or what love is that sometimes it’s not enough. He
it was she was doing with him. Three years and I were like parallel lines. Destined to
and they were no more together than they hold each other’s hands but never cross the
when they first met. In the back of her mind, boundless earth as one.” It was just a pink
velvet dress.

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About the Author

Iva Cvjeticanin was born in Zagreb, Croatia. She spent the majority of her life growing up in
Queens, NYC. Although she was always an avid writer at school and University ( NYU ), her
passion for it really began as a way of therapy. Writing for her became a way of channeling
all the emotions and struggles she was facing and a way of facing those problems. - short
official bio In 2016, my father was sent to prison and within a few months of his departure,
I lost everything. Shortly after, my now ex boyfriend attempted suicide blaming me as the
cause and that my life had become “to complicated” for him. This short fiction piece is based
around a girl, Evelyn, and her struggles to navigate the “modern” dating world. I may not
have had money for food but I somehow always managed to find pen and paper. Through
writing, I gained not only clarity but an ability to muster the right words to respond to
situations. For me, it is about creating art and allowing my readers to feel what I have felt
and imagine what I have seen, not to have myself understood better but so that they could
understand themselves better. Today, I continue to write my story from my small Jackson
Heights apartment.

35

A PRETTY FACE

by Anna Fritze

Because it was her first day out for a while, The train slowed, and a man about her age
she wore her favorite neon purple dress. bursted through the doors breathing heavily.
They let her pick it out, surprisingly. She
wanted to be noticed as she walked up and He gestured a thank you to the con-
down the aisles of the train. She was already ductor and took his seat next to her. She
seeing people’s eyes drift to her as she stood looked at him out of the corner of his eye;
at the train station. She figured if they saw she’d seen people like him before. He wasn’t
the dress, they would see her beauty, too. necessarily ugly, per se, but he was not at-
tractive enough to be considered beautiful
Because she knew she was beautiful. If like her. He was attractive just enough that
she was ugly, people wouldn’t be jealous of she wouldn’t be insulted when he tried to
her like they were. She would have friends talk to her (they always did).
that truly had her best interests in mind and
weren’t secretly happy when a hair was out She waited. Besides the out-of-breath
of place or her lipstick was smudged. “hello” he offered as he sat down, he said
nothing. Still waiting. And waiting.
The clothes the people wore on the train
weren’t nearly as pretty as her purple dress. “I see you just barely made the train,” she
She smiled confidently as she noticed more practically burst out.
and more people notice her as she walked
to her seat towards the middle of the train. “Huh? Oh, yeah, yeah,” he replied.
By the time she sat down, everyone was
looking at her. She knew it was because But that was it. He just kept his head
of her beauty, but she didn’t let it go to down and looked in the opposite direc-
her head. There were advantages to being tion of her. She looked around the train
beautiful and to being ugly, prettiness just and noticed that people were still staring
came with more. at her. They were staring at them. She was
disappointed at the failed conversation at-
The train was soon full, and every seat tempt, but not yet too discouraged. He was
was filled except for the one next to her. probably just nervous, probably thought he
She was a little bummed; she liked a good didn’t have a chance with her. He was right,
conversation, and she hadn’t had one in a but she liked to see them try.
while. The train had started to move when
she heard a series of thuds on her side. She tried again. “What held you up?”

“Alarm didn’t go off. Slept in,” he said dis-
tractedly.

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“Well, you really shouldn’t--” She trailed feel better. She managed a smile, and she
off. He looked nervous, but not in the way looked over to the guy next to her. She saw
she was used to. his eyes widen a little in a way that some
people might mistake for fear, but she dis-
“Um… Look, no offense,” he said in a missed it as more awe. He rubbed his tem-
whisper, “You seem nice and all, but I really ples, squeezed his eyes shut, and shifted his
don’t need people seeing me talking to you.” legs to face away from her.

She opened her mouth to speak, but The nervousness he was showing earlier
before she could say anything, he said, “It’s really was just because of her beauty, she
just, my reputation already isn’t the best, thought. There really was no other plau-
and you’d just make it worse.” sible explanation.

She was stunned into silence. Sure, she They got off the train, and she said
was gone for a while, but not that long. Her goodbye to her new friend. He scurried away
eyes began to well up, and a single tear fell without saying anything back, but she didn’t
down her cheek and landed on her purple think about it much; she was distracted.
dress, marking it with a dark spot.
Her face was everywhere. It was on
He noticed and got uncomfortable. posters in store windows, flashing on pic-
ture-changing billboards, on the front of
“Look, look, don’t worry about it too magazines and newspapers.
much,” he said. “I’m lucky that you were on
this train; the ticket was half price since the The smile that was grown on her face fell
seat was right next to you. I wouldn’t have a little; she was wearing her yellow dress
been able to afford it otherwise.” in that picture that was everywhere. It was
after she stained it red, too. It was like these
This made her cry even more. A high- people wanted her to look bad.
pitched sound like a dog getting its tail
stepped on escaped her mouth as her shoul- Her smile didn’t fade all the way, though.
ders shook up and down. He realized he had She knew these people were just jealous.
said something wrong; his face turned red Jealous of her beauty and how obvious it
as he turned to the people around him for was that she was above them, so they tried
help, but while everyone was still staring at to choose an ugly picture of her. Well, they
him, no one said a thing. failed. Her beauty was still radiant, even in
that yellow dress.
A woman finally piped up from the back.
“She’s disgusting!” Her comment was fol- She started to walk home, but some-
lowed by a chorus of “yeeaaaahhs” and a thing in a shop window across the street
sea of finger pointing. distracted her. Next to a newsstand with
papers that read “Local Murderer Released
Oddly, this calmed her crying. They Early; Citizens of Small Town Upset” she saw
were acknowledging her; they were talking a dress, but this time, it was already red.
to her, gesturing toward her. It made her

37

Adelaide Literary Magazine

About the Author

Anna Fritze is an English major at Concordia University, Saint Paul whose work has been
published in Misery Tourism and Down in the Dirt.

38

LIFE AND DEATH

by Xavier Paris

I barely had enough time to see the truck Only problem was I didn’t know why.
coming.
I couldn’t really ask anyone about it
Crazy what happens to someone when without being laughed at like a crazy person.
they don’t look both ways. I did it almost I tried to go to some of my friends and ask
religiously when I was younger, but as I got for help, but obviously when you were in
older, I started doing it less and less. Long your fourties a minute ago and you’re prac-
as you paid attention, you tended to make tically eighteen now, people don’t really be-
it out alright. lieve you are who you say you are.

Turns out that the reason they were so One cold night on a park bench later, and
persistent on that rule was simple. If some- I realized that I was going to have to start
thing bad happens and you’re not prepared over. Find a new name, new job, new ev-
for it, you’re not going to get a chance to erything. This was a fresh start for me, and
fix it. I was gonna have to use it.

All I got was that split second staring *
ahead at the rampaging metal monster,
watching it spin out of control as it raced to- That new life lasted about twenty years, un-
wards me. I didn’t have time to think, much til I got stuck in a freak electrical accident,
less be afraid. There was just the feeling of shocking the life right out of my body. Again,
metal crashing against my bones. I woke up in my prime. Again, I needed to
start over. I wasn’t sure why I kept getting
Then nothing. these chances, but I felt the need to try to
make the most of it.
Bradford Thomson was dead.
That ‘reset’ lasted ten years. Car acci-
* dent was what did me in that time, massive
pile up in the middle of the street. Then I
I ended up waking up somewhere else, like woke up again, younger.
I was waking up from some sort of dream.
Any wrinkles or white hairs I had acquired This kept happening, again, and again,
were gone, like getting hit by that truck and again. Every time I died, I’d come back
somehow turned back the clock on my ex- to life, but I’d die in half the time I lived last.
istence, and my existence alone. I was back Five years, then two years and six months,
in my prime as a young adult.

39

Adelaide Literary Magazine

then one year and three. The time just kept “S-so what now?!” I scream out into the
dwindling and dwindling with every respawn, void, unsure of what else to do. The mere
and the anxiety was starting to get to me. realization of what’s happened to me too
much to bare or comprehend. “Now that I
I don’t know what’s going on, why I’m know what’s going on, this isn’t really tor-
gifted with this curse, or why it’s getting ture in the same way, right? Why’d I even
shorter and shorter, but I can’t help but end up here in the first place?!”
panic with every passing second now. I don’t
want to know what’s going to happen if I run “You think you get to know?” The demon
out of time to give. Will it be a month of life scoffs. “No one in these depths remembers
this time? One week? One day? One hour? what they’ve committed. To give them the
satisfaction of knowing they truly do de-
When does this end? How do I make it serve the torture they go through is hardly
stop?! a punishment. True misery is the paranoia,
the fear of not knowing what’s ahead.”
I’ve spent days since this rebirth just
looking around, trying to think of any “…then what about me?” I wonder aloud,
memory, any reason for this constant cycle trying to stay brave in the face of utter de-
of death and suffering to occur. Every time I spair. “I already know the suffering you’re
respawn, my ticking clock gets shorter and putting me through, so how are you going
shorter, and it’s complete and utter torture. to keep torturing me like this?”

…but then I realize I’ve sort of answered “That, my friend, is simple,” it laughs. I
my own question. This is torture. It’s a kind can’t see its face, but I know it’s grinning
of torture that mere humans could never that horrid, awful grin.
accomplish with weapons or guns. It’s psy-
chological suffering on a constant, unending …but then Darkness takes my mind. My
scale, which only really leaves one possible mind leaving me, slowly but surely. My sen-
answer to this riddle. tience feels like it’s being torn away from
me, my skull burning from both ends.
I’m in hell.
Thoughts, goals, morals, and memories.
Almost immediately, I hear a gruff, dis-
embodied voice laugh at my realization. It’s *
like the world around me suddenly burns
to a crisp, leaving me in an unending dark- It’s a bright sunny day, the light twinkling off
ness that I can’t stare through, but I know is my gray hairs as I walk down the sidewalk,
staring back at me. Paranoia incarnate. heading towards the nearest intersection.
The streets have been busy lately, full of
“Well done!” the demon, be it Satan him- traffic all over the place. For once though,
self or something more focused, taunts me. I’m lucky. It’s been almost a full minute
“Most people with your spirit fail to grasp and not a single car or truck has passed on
their situation until they’re forced through through.
that final loop of constant misery. You must
have been pretty perceptive to pick up on There’s no need to look both ways, right?
that so soon.”

40

Revista Literária Adelaide

About the Author

Xavier Paris studies creative writing at Full Sail University. He lives with his father and
stepmother, and is planning to move to Florida to study on campus.

41

PARTNERS

by Olga Collazo Perez

Kimi bit her lip and did her level best not to The Wendigo’s dead, eyes were fixed on
jump at the sound of something slamming the shopkeeper. The death spirit lifted his
against the counter behind her. hand towards the paunchy man.

“You’re not welcome here!” said a deep Kimi took Meged’s hand in hers before
and angry voice from behind her. the Wendigo could touch the shopkeeper
and shook her head as the mass of rotting
She prayed for patience from every flesh turned his gaze down to her. The pair
major deity of Faerûn in dealing with what continued to hold hands before the shop-
she knew would happen next. keeper, Meged exuding death and decay
while Kimi radiated with peace and life.
“Didn’t you hear me?” The voice grew
louder now, angrier. Kimi’s anger dissipated upon seeing his
discomfort. “Forgive us,” she continued.
Kimi turned around and flashed the “We are only here to get supplies and then
angry man her most winning smile, though we’ll be on our way. Can you, perhaps, help
she knew he didn’t deserve it. us expedite our shopping? This is what we
need.” In her free hand she held out a small
“I said—” square of paper with equally small writing.

“’We aren’t welcome here,’ yes I heard.” The shopkeeper, still transfixed on
While her words were calm and patient, the spirit of death before him, trembling.
she felt as angry as the man in front of her Through his fear he summoned the strength
looked with his tomato complexion and of will to lift his hand and point at Meged.
bulging temple vein. “Wha… What...?”

The shopkeeper huffed as he rolled up “What is he?” Kimi finished for him. She
his sleeves now, making no effort to hide lowered the hand holding the shopping list
the axe on the counter—the source of and looked up at her companion.
the slam earlier. But, viewing Meged up
close he suddenly didn’t seem so eager to From the top of his antlers to his cloven
commit to the aggression. His eyes flicked hooves, Meged stood 7.5 feet tall. He had
between Kimi’s slim face to the horrifying a head of a fleshless deer head with dead
and gaunt visage of the giant Wendigo be- burning eyes that never blinked. The flesh
side her; blood drained from his face, and from the rib cage to the hip bones had
he faltered in his resolve to eject the pair.

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Revista Literária Adelaide

rotted away, laying the intestines and other “I know. I know,” Kimi said. “I’ll figure it
organs bare for all to see. The bottom half out. But we can’t have this whole village
reminded Kimi of a giant goat, including a after us and if you eat him, we’re done for.”
cute little tail. She sighed again and looked around, re-
trieving her shopping list from the counter
But overall, she could see why people without thinking. Then she saw it; on an
were upset when they saw him. “He is my announcement board, at the far end of the
best friend,” she said as she smiled up at the counter, she saw an advertisement seeking
death spirit. “But,” she continued “I think it adventurers to clear out an encampment of
is safer if you don’t think of him that way. rogue soldiers led by a warlock. Plenty of
Wendigo’s don’t often have best friends. snacks for Meged to eat and no one would
Meged’s special.” get upset about it plus a pay day.

She slid her hand from the demon’s mas- Kimi, excited at the prospect of a short
sive claw and stepped forward to close the term brighter future giggled and went to re-
gap between herself and the shopkeeper. trieve the announcement from the board.
Setting the shopping list on the counter first, On her way back she hugged Meged from
she put both her hands on the larger man’s behind, oblivious to his rotting flesh and
shoulders and turned his body to face him the iron-tinged smell of blood which always
away from the Wendigo, but the man’s gaze lingered in the air around him. “You watch
remained locked on Meged’s unblinking stare. him, ok? I’m going to hurry and get some
supplies. But NO TOUCHIE!” She said with
This wouldn’t do. “Sir,” she said in a failed emphasis as she began to move in a hurry
attempt to gain his attention. In the end she around the store.
had to turn his head for him, so he faced her.
“Sir, please. I need you to focus.” Meged huffed out a response. The obe-
dient Wendigo stood in the same place
With his attention on her again, all the holding the shopkeeper in a death stare.
force of his personality returned, and Kimi
could see his complexion turning red as his It didn’t take long for Kimi to get every-
incoherent splutters gained meaning. thing she thought they needed gathered
and packaged for travel. She put some
“You and your THING had best leave here money on the counter and made for the
immediately!” The shop owner spat. door. “Alright, I think we’re ready. Let’s go.”

She sighed. Sometimes there was no rea- At her prompting, Meged turned and
soning with people. She turned him to face joined Kimi at the door.
Meged once more, patting his splotchy bald
head. “There’s a good man. You enjoy that Kimi sighed and slipped her hand into
staring contest while I figure this out. And Meged’s. They left together, a vibrant young
you,” she turned her attention to Meged, woman walking hand in hand with a de-
pointing a finger up at the Wendigo. “He’s not caying death spirit, leaving the shopkeeper
a snack. No touchie.” crumpled in a nervous heap on the shop
floor.
The rotting death spirit snorted and
tossed his head, a gesture which reminded
Kimi of a horse’s.

43

Adelaide Literary Magazine

About the Author

Olga Collazo Perez spent twelve years in the Marine Corps writing intelligence reports and is
now studying to be a creative writer. You can follow her on Twitter at @OlgaCP2

44

MOTHER

by Jacob RV

Terra was a mother of seven; America, Asia, Terra came home around 6:00 am to
Albert, Annica, Austin, Ani, and Edward. She sleep for an hour or two before having to
was a single mother. Terra worked count- wake up for work. As she closed the door
less jobs to provide for her children but as and bounded towards her room, she failed
a result could not be as present at home as to notice a pile of plastic brick toys that
she would have liked. It was perfectly fine blocked her path. Her legs went out from
for a long while her two oldest, Edward and under her and she toppled to the ground
America, helped keep the children in line beside the toys. She realized, while pulling
while their mother wasn’t at home. Terra herself together that there was an ocean of
was nothing short of the perfect mother toys in the living room.
given the circumstances. All that mattered
to her was giving her children an environ- “Ani Austin, please come pick up your toys
ment to thrive. However, with no real au- before school,” said Terra, as she started to
thority figure, the children became unruly. pick up some of the toys by herself. The two
children ran out from their room looked at
On a normal weekday Terra would work the toys.
until around 8:30 pm. She would race home
after that, to tuck the younger children into “Those aren’t ours,” said the two.
bed. After they were settled Terra would
leave yet again to take a night shift at her “Well, whose are they?” Terra scolded.
other job. Her lifestyle and the efforts she
made for her children were starting to have “Not mine,” said Austin, shaking his head
a visible effect on her. It was obvious that while observing Terra struggle with the
the years of late nights and early mornings ocean of plastic.
were adding up. Terra was still gorgeous,
and this made for quite the façade. Those “Me neither,” said Ani.
that would see her would ignore the dark
bags floating beneath her eyes. Terra would “Okay go get yourselves dressed I’ll be
mask her imperfections with her radiance in in just a moment,” said Terra. She didn’t
of bliss. Because of this the children took have time to reprimand them now, she
advantage of Terra. No matter the damage needed to sleep.
they overwhelmed their mother with she
would always be a god send. She woke up around 8:00 am sweating
bullets. Feeling as if she had melted, she
peeled her sweaty skin off of the sheets.
Terra paced until she got to the thermostat

45

Adelaide Literary Magazine

which was set at 80 degrees. She turned it silver Honda civic parked parallel to the
down to 68 and scanned the room for the house. She barged into the house to filled
perpetrator. Sitting watching television was with smoke. She heard unfamiliar voices
the most innocent little girl wrapped up in coming from Edward’s room. Opening the
a blanket. door, she was greeted by a cloud of smoke
thicker than the layer that covered the
“Asia, honey did you touch the thermo- house.
stat?” said Terra. “Aren’t you hot, baby?”
“What in the hell do you think you are
Asia shook her head, “It’s cold,” she replied. doing?” said Terra to the group of six high
schoolers. “You are supposed to be watching
“Please don’t touch the heat, honey,” your siblings and instead you are getting
said Terra not having much time to argue. high in your room with uninvited guests. I
She caught a glimpse of America in the don’t have time to deal with this.”
kitchen putting together something to eat
before school. Terra slammed the door went to tuck
the other children into bed. Terra kissed
“America, can you make sure, Asia, or any Austin, Ali, Albert, and Asia and turned out
of the others turn up the heat,” said Terra. the lights. Closing the door, she slumped to
the ground sobbing. Wiping tears out of her
“I turned it up a little because I was eyes she couldn’t help but be demoralized.
freezing,” said America while taking the last Everything she did was for them. 365 days a
piece of bread. year and 24 hours a day Terra provided. For
what? She loved them and no matter how
“I feel like I shouldn’t have to tell you selfish and ignorant they were they loved
this but please do not touch the heat,” said her. She reconciled with this fact then again
Terra. “It was freezing look at, Asia, she’s mustered her strength and dragged herself
wrapped up in a blanket.” to her night shift.

“I do not have time to sit and disagree Terra headed home tired after work. At
with you about the temperature please this point it was expected that she would
try to keep it down,” said Terra. America need to deal with some catastrophic event
scoffed and Terra ran to the bathroom to as soon as she walked in the door. As she
take a shower before work. She turned the pulled down her street, she saw flashing
knob, and nothing came out. She tried again lights and a billow of smoke. It felt as though
this time trying the cold knob. Dry. At this her heart sunk and her lungs collapsed as
point she sacrificed the idea of showering she realized what harsh reality lied ahead.
because she was going to be late for work. As she got closer, she realized her Garden
of Eden was none. Not able to make it any
Leaving the house, Terra realized that further down the street Terra felt the tears
the thermostat was back up to 75 she crept rolling down her cheeks as her earth came
over to turn it of dodging toys left and right. crashing down.
She was exhausted.

When she returned around 8:30 she
found a beat-up orange Prius and a newer

46

Revista Literária Adelaide

About the Author

Jacob RV studies creative writing at Full Sail University. He lives in Winter Park Florida. Follow
him on Twitter @JacobRv4

47

PETER-BY-THE-BAY

by Thomas Belton

While others went to the Park to see and ancient overhanging willow trees that fol-
be seen, to flirt and promenade, Peter lowed it on either side like temple sentinels
did not. He preferred to ride his bike past for a good hundred yards. The road was
the long meadow where the soccer play- built by earlier generations when the whole
ers were cursing their grass-stained knees, park down to the river had been used but
down past the duck-pond where the young now, in less affluent and more dangerous
Puerto Rican girls were throwing beer bot- times, it had been left to the seasons and
tles at the honkers who hid in the weeds, the Hackensack River that flowed beside it
up across the highway bridge where little in the summer morning heat.
kids from Duncan Garden Projects peed on
cars passing underneath, down onto a dirt Peter loved it there. It was quiescence
path that led through the deserted rushes in the heart of the thundering city. When
which grew so high that they swallowed he rode his bike into the hanging canopy
him whole, until finally he left the noisy city of willow branches the hot summer air dis-
behind. solved into a cool arboreal cave, the sun-
light filtering through the leaves a silent
Peter followed the dirt track as it got cascade of greens and yellows against the
progressively quieter and only the birds broad ashen trunks, which processed past
started up at his approach. The redwing as he pedaled farther and farther into their
blackbirds rocketing out in alarm then set- shadowy depths until the lane suddenly
tling back down on their nests in the rushes. ended, stoppered by a huge hummock of
The males hanging from the reeds sideways, red earth and brown roots upthrust from a
their slight weight swaying the slender deep hole where the last willow in the row
shoots forwards and back all the while their was felled by a hurricane last Fall and left
eyes darting about in search of dragonflies to hang unceremoniously and ashamedly
and cicadas. prone, half of its bulk stretched out above
the silty water of the tidal river.
Peter rode on down until the thick rushes
broke open and he came out upon his Peter loved that one tree even more
than the magical boulevard. It was his aerie!
Secret Avenue. A neglected and for- The trunk a ramp of fallen wood whose
gotten unpaved road from the last century leaves still blossomed and whose roots still
when the park was built and whose pres- drank from the hidden waters beneath the
ence was only slightly suggested by the red soil. He thought of it as a fallen yet not

48


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