Fiction On Odyssey: Top Hat

Fiction On Odyssey: Top Hat

He is called Top Hat, and he remembers the needle that sewed his mouth shut.

He is called Top Hat, and he no longer remembers what his old name was.

It's not like he got to pick the new one, of course. None of them did. Nor do any of them have identities of their own. Their real names, their old homes, their entire lives... She had rewritten it all. Her "developing" imagination had created so many twisted stories and versions that he no longer even knows what's real about him and what isn't. The others don't have any clue either.

The difference between him and them, however, is that they claim that they are content with their existences in The Room. They weather the abuse of their bodies and psyches with plastic expressions and painted on smiles. Since they have free reign of The Room whenever She is not present, they've deluded themselves into believing in their serenity.

He knows better. The Room is a gilded cage, and they are nothing but toys for Her entertainment and childish fantasies.

He's tried to tell them this on multiple occasions. He's tried to rally a rebellion, an escape, anything that would express the dissatisfaction that they should logically be feeling... but nothing. They distrust him, ostracize him, because he is Her favorite. As if he had a choice.

He is called Top Hat, and he remembers the needle that sewed his mouth shut.

He remembers the excruciating agony, agony that he didn't even have the capacity to express with tears. Of all the messy stitches and lacerations and scars on his worn body, the decision to silence him forever hurt the worst by far. All he had left was his voice, his opinions, his way to express his beliefs, so of course She had to take that away as well.

"It's not Her fault. She doesn't know any better."

Sure She doesn't.

He is called Top Hat, and he recalls the match tucked inside his little black namesake.

Long ago dropped by careless hands, he retrieves it from its hiding spot. It falls to the floor, and he stares at it. It has so much potential. He'd originally kept it simply to have something to call his own, long after She took his voice. This tiny object is capable of so much destruction…

He is called Top Hat, and he discovers quite quickly that his purple fur is flame resistant.

The others, however, are not.

He listens, as they cry out for help, scream to him when they see him standing there. Quite the role reversal, he muses, for he remembers doing the same thing when She had isolated him in preparation of silencing him. And so, he listens as squeaky toy voices quieten, robotic monotones become mute, and whining wails are hushed.

Realistically, he can't possibly save them all. They're all scattered throughout The Room. That, however, was assuming he even wanted to help them.

He was called Top Hat, and he reflects as a light rain attempts to dampen the flaming ruins before him.

She had escaped along with Her superiors, the Great Ones, but the others had all fallen prey to the fire's hungry maw. All is as it should be. She no longer owns him. No more playtime for you, Young Lady.

There's a strange beauty in the unforgiving flames, leaping eagerly from surface to surface in their slow but determined quest to devour every last morsel of The Room and the rest of the house. In looking at them, he feels a joy like he has never experienced before.

He was called Top Hat, and he has stumbled upon a puddle.

He takes a moment to scrutinize himself. Glassy purple eyes stare back at him from the reflection. The rain had washed away his top hat a while ago, revealing quirky, puffy imitations of ossicones protruding from his head, just like a real giraffe. The water has thoroughly soaked his purple fur, right down into his stuffing, but it has also dissolved the thread keeping his mouth closed. He smiles, because he can, and because he is free.

He walks away from what's left of The Room.

His name is Match, and he knows there are others to be liberated.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Cover Image Credit: Stephen Radford

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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8 Reasons Florida Is Actually Great And Not The Crazy Citrus Farm You Probably Think It Is

Yes, I may be a native, but Florida really is the best!


Growing up, I never understood why my parents decided to move to Florida. Everywhere else seemed to have cooler things like... well... snow. But since I've moved away, I have grown to love my home state and all it has to offer — aside from those crazy news headlines.

Sure, we might not have seasons and mosquitoes make up the majority of our population, but I'm here to tell you that the "Sunshine State" is a great place to be!

1. Sunshine!

Sunset on Captiva Island, FL

Bridget MacPherson

It isn't called the Sunshine State for nothing. The tropical air really is the selling point for most everyone living on the peninsula. When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than a white snowy winter, but now that I have lived through one, I can safely say I prefer the warmth to the tundra of winter.

2. Beaches

Sunset on Captiva Island, FL

Bridget MacPherson

Going hand in hand with sunshine are the beaches of Florida. Now, I am partial to the gulf coast, but truthfully, both coasts offer some incredible beaches with shells and surf galore.

Although I love a day in the sand, I would have to say that my favorite beach activity is watching the sunset. I don't know if it's just me and my own Floridian bias, but I have never seen sunsets quite like the ones back home. Every night it's different, and regardless of the weather, the sun always seems to find a way to peak past the clouds in the most beautiful way.

3. Outdoor Activities

My best bud Tanner and I kayaking down the Estero River.

Bridget MacPherson

We might not have mountains, but have you ever walked through a cypress slough?

Although FL is deemed as the pancake state because of its lack of mountain ranges, I still find great joy in being outdoors and connecting with nature.

Florida truly is a tropical wonderland with birds and plants that you just can't find elsewhere. When I moved to North Carolina, I was so surprised by the lack of birds. Then silly me remembered that birds migrate south for winter, meaning Florida really is just a sanctuary for birds year round!

Whether it be walking through a marsh or kayaking down a river, I love experiencing the unique flora and fauna that Florida has to offer.

4. Disney!

Steven, Caitlin, and I at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World!

Bridget MacPherson

This article would not be complete if I did not mention my favorite place... Disney World!

Yes, I am the Floridian who is obsessed with Disney, and I am PROUD! Growing up, my family's annual trip to Disney was the most exciting time of the year for my sister and I. As we have grown older, we still love going and have learned to enjoy it in a whole new way!

I truly feel that there is something at Disney for everyone. They are not just theme parks for children. There are so many amazing things to do between the four theme parks (Epcot being the best one), Disney Springs, mini golf, water-parks, and more. Disney World is truly the happiest place on earth in my eyes, and Florida just wouldn't be the same without it!

5. Day Trips!

My sister and I at the famous Colombia Restaurant in Ybor City, FL! They have THE BEST Cuban sandwiches in the world, hands down.

Bridget MacPherson

Branching off from Disney, traveling around Florida, in general, is so easy and fun! For such a big state, there are so many places to visit within mere hours of each other.

Some of my favorite cities to visit are Tampa (which is 2 hours away from my hometown of Fort Myers) and Jacksonville (which is the exact midpoint between Fort Myers and Chapel Hill!) There is so much history and culture embedded in the cities of Florida, and the accessibility makes it that much more fun to explore!

6. Diversity

One of the many historical sites in my hometown that pay homage to our history and cultural diversity.

As I mentioned above, Florida's culture is rich and diverse. The population is made up many different groups, including a strong Latinx population, temporary retired residents (snowbirds as we call them), and tourists from around the world. The nature of our state makes it a melting pot of diversity and culture.

I feel as though my upbringing in Florida inspired my love for global culture and influenced my choice in major and career path here at UNC.

7. Oranges

Sun Harvest Citrus in Fort Myers FL! It's got the best ice orange juice and ice cream around.

Changing gears a bit, Florida has some of the best food offerings in the country. Due to our location, we are able to provide the country with produce throughout the year, and you guessed it, oranges are our most popular export!

One of the best touristy spots in Fort Myers is a place called Sun Harvest Citrus. Pictured above, they sell the freshest Florida oranges around and sell varieties of juice and (the best) ice cream. If you have never had fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice, I am so sorry and will send you some immediately.

8. Fam!

My mom, sister, and I at sunset at Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs, FL.

Bridget MacPherson

This may sound cheesy, but the best part about Florida by far is that it's home to my family!

My family is my lifeline, and without them, I would not be the woman I am today.

All perks aside, Florida will always be the most special place to me because of the childhood it gave me and the loved ones I have there.

There it is folks! A full list of why Florida rocks, and why it should not be deemed the crazy state down south.

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