Hemlock: A Short Story

Hemlock: A Short Story

You finally took back control.


You decide to bake it into brownies as if it was weed. You think about how much harder it was to get than weed is, and about how it will be the perfect dessert to top off your last meal. Brownies always were your favorite, after all. Ever since your aunt Patty had made you a batch for your fifth birthday, the kind with chunks of semi-sweet chocolate in them and a chocolate buttercream frosting swirled on top, you have been in love with the decadent treat.

You start mixing the ingredients together, stirring everything by hand with a whisk because you know that if you use an electric mixer the brownies will become tough. After all, you want the last thing you ever eat to be perfect. You laugh to yourself as you start to sprinkle it in. You think about how this really will bring new meaning to the phrase "death by chocolate."

Baking always was a comfort to you. That and self-harm were the only ways you ever felt like you had any control over anything. When you baked, you could manipulate everything about your creation. You could change the taste, the texture, the smell, and so much else with just a flick of the wrist or the addition of a little more or less of an ingredient.

When you self-harmed, you finally felt in control of yourself for a change. You were able to control how you felt, even if what you felt was pain, and you were able to manipulate your own body and decide what happens to it. Now you're preparing to combine the two, to take total control back from your AWOL mind once and for all.

You remember the first time you felt like you weren't in control of yourself. You just couldn't stop shaking, no matter how hard you tried. Your hands were rattles and your arms were snakes, begging to be skinned. They tried to give you medicine to fix it, but it seemed more like poison to you. It made you tired all the time, made you stay in bed even more than you already did. It didn't help, either. You seemed to have all the side effects and none of the relief that was supposed to come with them.

They tried having you talk to someone. He didn't seem to tell you anything you didn't already know, though. He mostly just sat there, shook his head, said "mhm" a few times, and occasionally repeated back what you had just said in an affirming tone. He didn't actually help at all despite the astronomical amount you were paying out of pocket to see him because, of course, he didn't accept insurance.

Nobody left seems like they would miss you and you have nowhere else to turn. Your family members don't even call anymore and always seem too busy to talk. So you eventually come up with this plan. Now, nearly a month later, you sit on the floor of your apartment finishing the last bite of your dinner. You sigh as you look around your apartment one last time, taking in all the family photos and old fake smiles you wore in them. Cutting yourself a brownie, you close your eyes and stuff the entire awkwardly cut square into your mouth.

It bursts with flavor. Before long, you can feel your mouth starting to water for more. Or maybe that's just the foaming. Either way, your eyes roll back in pure ecstasy as it hits your stomach. It sends chills, shakes, convulsions through your body as a smile forms across your face.

You did it. You finally took back control. You finally feel free from the confines of your sickened mind. Then, nothing.

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11 Reasons No One Should Ever Get Tattoos

You'll stand out more since everyone has tattoos now, right?

There are some serious misconceptions about tattoos and people with tattoos.

Some of my favorites include, "people with tattoos will never get a real job", "kids just do it for attention", "you'll regret it when you're older", and "tattoos are unprofessional". There are some people who are really against the idea of getting tattoos and that is okay. It starts to cross the line when those against it begin telling people who either have tattoos- or want tattoos- why they're wrong.

So, with that being said, here are some reasons you should NEVER get a tattoo.

1. They're super cool

Tattoos overall, in my opinion, are awesome. From the artistry and time that goes into them, to the people you meet while you get them, as well as all the different styles of tattoos that exist. Tattoos are a way for you to build your blank canvas.

2. They allow you to express yourself

Tattoos are a way for you to express yourself. Plain and simple. Some people write, some people sing, and some people get inked. Each tattoo you get sets you apart from the people around you. The tattoo above belongs to someone in my life whose cat passed away recently. She got this cat reaching up to the moon since her cat has passed. This little emblem means a lot to her and it is her way of expressing herself.

3. They can tell a story

Tattoos can have a lot of meaning behind them. In some cases, like the tattoo above, they are for a loved one who has passed away. This tattoo has a lot of meaning for my friend and seeing it everyday allows her to keep the memory of her loved one alive. Some of you may be thinking, "why do you need to get a tattoo to do that?". The truth of the matter is that everyone has a way of honoring special people in their lives, and this was hers.

4. They can be random

Many people have tattoos that represent something or someone in their lives. Then, there are tattoos that are done just for the sake of decorating the human body. These may seem silly/ pointless/ stupid to other people but for the one getting the tattoo it symbolizes nothing more than their own quirkiness.

5. They don't define you as a human being

I'll say it again for the people in the back, tattoos don't define people. Tattoos don't mean someone is a criminal, not professional, rebellious or anything else you can think of. Having tattoos means that someone... has tattoos. Shocker right? Not every guy that decides to get a sleeve wants to be different and not every girl that gets a flower on her foot thinks she's a hipster. Ever think that they just like how it looks? Crazy right?!

6. They are diverse

Water color, realism, traditional, tribal, geometric... the list goes on. The amount of tattoo styles is higher than we can count. From there each tattoo artist each has their own flare that they put on their work as well. Tattoos are like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same.

7. They're completely safe

There are laws on tattoo shops and on their artists to make sure that they are up to standard on cleanliness and sterilization of their needles. Sure, there may be some places with subpar conditions but that can happen in your dentist's office too so lets not be too quick to judge.

8. They are open to interpretation

Inspiration from tattoos can come from a lot of different places. The tattoo above was adapted from Jon Bellion's music. She has her reason why she got it and her interpretation of this phrase. To her "Beautiful Mind" means being at peace with yourself and finding positives within seemingly negative situations to keep your internal peace intact. She loves this because this tattoo can be interpreted by everyone in a different way.

9. They can become family mementos

The tattoo pictured above is shared by seven different family members. This small gem has a meaning larger than one may think. It symbolizes two grandparents who have finally met each other again in a world beyond our own, who are now at peace together. They decided to all go and honor the couple who loved to fish together with these hooks in a shape of a heart. Many times siblings, best friends, or family members get tattoos together to symbolize the bond they share or loved ones they have lost together.

10. They can help someone regain confidence

Not everyone copes with scars the same way. For some they show it off to show that they have gone through something and that they have conquered. For others, they want to hide it so people do not stare. In the piece above the tattoo artist did an amazing job at covering what looks to be a burn scar. This person may have a whole new appreciation for the world of tattoo artistry for bringing their confidence back.

11. You'll continue to look badass, like forever

Before you tell me that people with tattoos will regret it when they're older, please google "elderly tattoos" and report back when you're finished.

Model Credit

Cover: Scott Miller

2. Bria Scheets

3. Caitlynn Hopper

8. Kaylyn Goetz

9. Maria DiBuo

Cover Image Credit: Catherine Miller

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Eden: A Poem

May only the holy reside within.


As I drifted with a serpent's sight

among the decadent groves of Empyrean,

I came across a small sign that read

May only the holy reside within.

And I, seeing the irony in such,

did look toward the chthonic ocean

and whistled to my far off friends

who soon emerged as four horsemen.

We hellish fiends were in truth,

upon entering, the most upstanding

of all residents that dwelled inside due to

the constant oppression of religious demandings.

We marched, a force of five,

liberating each poor soul

with fires of free will from the

ignorance imposed by their god for control.

With new found wisdom of the world,

They too now followed us back,

forming a beacon of honesty and integrity

Together in the endless black.

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