September Writing Challenge: Honorable Mentions — Carlie Campol and Breah Koller

These entries from September's challenge were selected as Honorable Mentions. Those who completed  this challenge are now encouraged to share their stories in the comments section of the "September Writing Challenge."
Carlie Campol

Start Anew

I don’t know where it came from, but I thank my lucky stars everyday that it found me. One day the world was spinning around me, all stale air and blurred faces. And the next, an escape from this world was painting itself in front of me. Art used to run through my veins. Creations would burst from my fingertips faster than I could grab a paintbrush. But that well of inspiration has dried up. The world has leached it out of me. It kept taking and taking until there was nothing left for me to give. All the colors dimmed to grey, until I was left staring into the face of darkness.

Months ago, I had given up. I could not take the disappointment of coming up dry, unable to create. But something that morning was calling me. Begging me to dig my canvas and brushes out of the closet. And when my brush touched the canvas, it was as if it had a mind of its own. I couldn’t stop myself from painting if I tried. The brush painted mountains as tall as the clouds and rivers as clear as a night sky. There were bees buzzing through the flowers and birds singing in the trees. I could hear their voices. They beckoned me closer, until my ear was pressed against the painting. It vibrated under my skin. I could feel the warmth of the sun and the cool of the breeze. I pulled away startled as my painting came to life before my eyes.

I took a step back to study the landscape. I had never seen it before, nor had anyone in this world. The sun and moon fought for dominance in the sky, and creatures unlike our own roamed the grounds. I could see oceans and islands, white capped mountains and sand beaches. The painting went on and on, showing more of this land that had never yet been seen. It was a map to a new world, an invitation to start a new life in a new place away from all the darkness that surrounded me. I took a step forward, reaching out my hand to touch. My fingers slipped through the canvas, creating ripples around my arm. I could feel the sun on my fingertips and feel the warm slick dew of the grass. I did not look back at the world I was leaving behind. Never will I ever feel the teeth of dread and sadness sinking into my soul. Never will I hear the screams when I close my eyes. I am free from this life, free from this world, and I will never look back. So, I stepped through the door to another land, where I will finally find peace and happiness.




Breah Koller

Alabaster Ashes

Looking over your shoulder, you wonder how it could follow you for so long
A dusky shadow in the blackening corners of your mind,
And under the nodding dandelions of your joy
Never quite there,
But never letting you forget

It comes in the night
A subtle reminder of what went wrong
Trailing behind you like that burnt cookie smell of rejection
You crave freedom
From your clenching heart,
And near-perfect balance above treacherous waters,
A light bright enough to chase off the dark thoughts that cloud your vision

You’ve finally had enough
So yellow sparks of courage begin to flood your veins,
Scintillating into a snapping fire,
A rhythm, a whip cracking the skulls of what once were
The undead beasts that crept out of your discontent

Smoke curls from beneath your deadly feet
You bend with grace and let no flames escape
You dance upon the alabaster ashes of your past
On those crippling mistakes, when you staggered
On the creases in the map of your life,
When you stumbled over dashed lines turning red,
A slash across squinted-shut eyes, a papercut on your heart

But the feeble sun breaks through,
Tired yet satisfied, as is your spirit
Relinquished, you brush the remnants from your shoes
And blow it from your hands,
Fingers of stardust trailing

May you look down and see
That, whether close or far,
There lies a row of stones, a path in troubled woods,
Or perhaps just a clean spread of grass for you to rest your head
And watch the dimming paintbrush of light against the lavender sky.
Each stroke, violet, sapphire, velvet, black

Against it may you hold high your match, struck on possibilities,
To set fire to your yesterdays and open
A vibrant crimson door
Of unbounded tomorrows


Germ Magazine guest author
… is a contributing guest author for Germ, which means the following criteria (and then some) have been met: possessor of a fresh, original voice; creator of fresh, original content; genius storyteller; superlative speller; fantastic dancer; expert joke teller; handy with a toolbox; brilliant at parties; loves us as much as we love them.


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