Something Else

by Derek Hamilton

I remember his smile. I remember making him laugh. I remember how he gently held my hand. I remember chilly nights spent looking at the stars. I remember long drives to nowhere in particular. I remember how the summer air smelled when he walked me to my car.

I remember when he said goodbye.

It doesn’t get any easier. We’ve all been told that time heals all wounds, but that’s a crude simplification of the healing process. You can always ask why. You can torture yourself trying to figure out where everything went wrong.

That’s how I’ve been spending my time lately.

I go to work. I think about him. I remind myself not to think about him. I think about him. I try to distract myself. I think about him.

Growing up, I was always told “If you want something bad enough, you have to earn it. Nothing is worth having that isn’t worth fighting for.” Looking back on it – there’s a strange disconnect.

What if I’m fighting for him and he doesn’t reciprocate? What if he doesn’t want me? Why is my happiness so dependent on this other person being in my life?

I guess it’s love, but it doesn’t seem right to call it that. It’s something else. It’s like the shadow that love casts. The negative energy that balances out all its positives.

Someone asks me how I’m doing. I think about him. The pit in my stomach turns as I wrestle for sleep. I think about him.

This is my life now. I think about him.

This is all I have to look forward to. I think about him.

This is the summary of my entire existence. I think about him.


Derek Hamilton is a writer, musician, voiceover talent, and self-proclaimed nerd from Northeast Ohio. He’s a Columbia College Chicago alumni, a published poet, and currently works as a streaming media producer. You can find more of his work at derekhamiltonedits.com

Seven!

by Alexander Olson

I knew you’d come crawling back, bloodied, scabbed, torn skin peeling away from your fingernails. You’re a horror victim in reverse; instead of being dragged away, nails digging grooves into hardwood, you’re clawing your way back, leaving gashes in everything like some lovelorn Wolverine.

I cut you out of my life for a reason. You were so clingy, always grabbing, groping, gripping. Moving things without being told. Flipping light switches, locking doors, snapping your fingers together in rhythm to keep count… one-two, one-two. Once, you reached down and began pulling leg hairs out of me, because you saw an uneven number. I can’t wear shorts.

You taped over all the electrical outlets because you read about lightning sending sparks out of them.

Even when I started cutting with that cheap saw with the loose blade, you couldn’t stop. Counting cuts, begging me to make sure it was an even number. Seven cuts to remove a hand was unbearable, eight or ten perfectly okay.

I stopped at seven and broke it off, yet you crawl towards me across dirty linoleum, fingers twitching and writhing like those facehugger aliens. I can’t fight you off, but listen:

Seven is a prime number.


Alexander Olson is from Port Huron, MI. He writes horror and sci-fi about poor people trying to pay the bills. His first novel, “Erosion” is due out this spring. You can find more of his writing on squidthroatonline.com

Voicemail

by Derek Hamilton

The phone will ring before going to voicemail, so I know she didn’t shut it off – she’s just ignoring my calls. I can’t decide if that makes it better or worse. Every time I get to her voicemail, I can’t help but listen to it:

“Hi, you’ve reached Katie’s voicemail. I’m not here right now, so leave me a message and I’ll get back to you!”

She sounds happier than I remember. She sounds fake. It feels good that I can tell that it isn’t really her on that recording, because that means I know who she really is. At this point, I’d give anything to talk to any version of her.

“Hi, you’ve reached Katie’s voicemail. I’m-“

Her voicemail sounds like someone who would talk to me. She sounds like someone I could get along with. She sounds like the type of girl who wouldn’t completely abandon the person she claims to love the most.

“Hi, you’ve reached Ka-“

Sure, we’ve had fights before – and we even broke up a few times – but maybe she’s really calling it quits this time. Maybe she doesn’t love me anymore. Maybe she never really loved me at all.

“Hi, you’ve-“

If that’s the case, then why am I even trying to talk to her? Wouldn’t I be better off without her? Why isn’t this making me feel better?

“Hi-“

Well, now it’s just going straight to voicemail. She probably turned her phone off. I guess I’ll have to try again tomorrow.


Derek Hamilton is a writer, musician, voiceover talent, and self-proclaimed nerd from Northeast Ohio. He’s a Columbia College Chicago alumni, a published poet, and currently works as a streaming media producer. You can find more of his work at derekhamiltonedits.com