A straight and narrow county road
Off highway fifty-nine
Leads to who-knows-where
Under the half-open eye
Of a waxing crescent.
Two rabbits appeared onto the road
And began a game of chess in the dirt.
The white one sat straight
Analyzing his opponent’s erratic movements
Both on and off the board.
The brown one jittered and twitched
In aching anxiety.
He said to the white rabbit if he would please give up a piece.
‘You have to earn it,’ the white one replied as he moved his pulpy red queen,
‘You recall what happened to the last challenger.’
The brown rabbit’s eyes squeezed shut, hearing the red piece squelched into place
Leaving a fresh puddle of blood around her.
The brown one lost his bone-white knight and his stomach growled.
Immediately, his move was made clear:
The chunky bishop, lined with fat
Lay helpless against his other knight.
The white rabbit conceded with a sneer
And the brown rabbit gnawed at the meat.
Suddenly, the raw red knight moved into position
And the brown rabbit slowed his chewing.
‘Checkmate,’ the white rabbit grinned with calm red eyes
And yellow canines.
DARE TO DISTURB
The closed window,
Its blinds drawn with apprehensive lenses
And a threadbare coat
Hides the most delicious fruit.
In the meantime,
His shadow self has
Broken the glass
Invaded her dark home and
Swallowed the peach that once
Belonged in her still life.
He will wait
Chewing the pulp
As the juices drip
Down the corner of his curling mouth.
A CHILD THINKING TO HIMSELF AT BEDTIME
There is nothing under the bed
There is nothing under the bed
There is nothing under the -!
That means They are in the closet!
But Daddy checked…
They’re so sneaky, they can fool him.
I wish I could do that, then I wouldn’t get caught
When I try to sneak a cookie before dinner.
What’s that growling noise?
Quick, under the covers!
There’s something crawling on the sheets
But They’ll get me if I call out.
I can’t move,
I can’t fight them,
I can’t catch them.
They’ll always come back
Night after night
Year after year
In different forms
The coworker who places the blame
The media who twists the message
The wife when you find her untrustworthy
And in the neighbor’s bed.
They are all waiting to catch me
And break me in my weakest moment.
JUDGEMENT FROM BEYOND
“Sad way to go,” she spoke through smoke and musk
And hovered beside me as we watched the end
Of the buildings twist and break and bend
“Even though I’ve seen it all, this sucks.”
I choked and asked her what would happen now
Her answer caught my throat, “You ought to know.”
I never understood ‘Reap what you sew’
But she took it to heart and raised her brow.
I saw her glance at me before she ripped
Her sickle through the smoky sky and turned
To take me in. I quaked like fire and churned;
I could not fight; She pushed me in the crypt
Beyond the broken seam. “Your penalty,”
She said and closed me in with vengeful glee.
Andrea Laham was born in Dallas, Texas and now lives in Houston. She graduated from Klein Forest High School in 2008, and now studies English at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas with a focus on Creative Writing. She has published poems in her high school’s literary magazine, Aquilae Stilus. Her favorite horror short story is “For All The Rude People” by Jack Ritchie. Her favorite horror movie is The Haunting, but she also has an affinity for dark comedy and comic books.