Unremembered (Part 4)

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It felt like hours had passed before I peeled myself out of the chair in our living room. My body ached and I felt hollow and strangely hungry, though the hunger pains were quickly replaced by nausea brought on by the idea of actual food. The room was empty now except for me. Our parents had skittered off to various parts of the house to run their fingers over objects and dab at their eyes with wrinkled tissues; nothing productive, nothing helpful.

Yet I couldn’t bring myself to feel anger at their blaming of me, or even at their unwillingness to make frantic phone calls or attach eight-by-tens of Lily’s face to utility poles. The police had promised to explore every possible lead, comb through every area of town. They felt small and helpless, so instead they shrunk into corners and pointed fingers until someone else could make it all better; and slowly, reluctantly, I accepted that it was all I could do, too.

I spent the next few days like a child feeling for a new, comfortable routine: wake, shower, dress, eat (maybe), make a phone call grasping for updates. The other end of the line was always the same officer, sighing in the same way, feeding me the same empty words he likely presented to all families of cases that seemed to be going nowhere.

I’d already scanned Lily’s side of the sheets at least fifty times, sifted through her end of the closet, checked under the bed; I had no idea what I was hoping to find, maybe a clue, maybe my sanity. I retraced her usual jogging route, sat again where I’d curled into myself and released a siren in the underbrush. When the sun had fallen and risen so many times I’d lost count I found myself scooping toast crumbs into a zip lock bag, the ones beneath the toaster left from her breakfast the morning she disappeared; crazy, grieving things.

It was a Wednesday when the phone rang with forcefulness, a tone of urgency I hadn’t heard before. I was in the bedroom closet dusting Lily’s endless collection of shoes when it began, and something told me to drop everything and rush downstairs before the answering machine – that still chirped her voice – chimed in.


I was slightly breathless after a mix of inhaling cleaner and rushing down the staircase. I knew who it was before the voice on the other line even started.

“Mr. Hamilton, how are you?” Standard, even though we both knew the answer.

“Fine, Detective, thank you.”

A pause pulled taught, longer than usual. My knuckles whitened around the phone. Deep breaths from his end.

“We have someone here who claims he knows what happened to Lily.”

I stumbled backwards, slid helplessly down the wall, pulled my knees to my chest.


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Facebook Giveaway for Siren Suicides Trilogy

Originally posted on Tipsy Lit:

The Siren Suicides Ksenia Anske
Get excited! We’ve got a new Facebook Giveaway. Starting today, you can enter to win a signedset of the Siren Suicides Trilogy by Ksenia Anske!

Want the details?In order to enter our Siren Suicidesgiveaway, you need to likeTipsy Lit: Books, Booze, Brilliance, as and then leave us a comment on the giveaway post letting us know you’ve done both! Sharing the giveaway post always gets some extra love from us, FYI.

This contest ends, on Friday, April 25th at 8:00 PM EST and the winner will be announced on ourFacebook pageand contacted Monday, April 28th. We’ll be using Random.org to choose the winner.

Everyone is eligible as long as you’re 18 and live in the U.S. Facebook is in no way affiliated with this contest.

PRIZE: A signed setof the Siren Suicides trilogy by Ksenia Anske.

GIVEAWAY POST:http://on.fb.me/1mwbt7B

Check out Ksenia’s book here.


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and very suddenly

on a whim

.            eyes blind

I packed my mind

and s a i l e d

outside   myself

for a day

or two,

a plan


only when I

.           came back

very s u d d e n l y

I couldn’t





so I

built an army

with my    thoughts

but they


in the dark

and very s u d d e n l y

I lost my breath

out there


for a while

I          screamed at nothingness

then for a while I

swallowed it


and after a while


got back in

but I


out of matches


so now I flounder,

.                 only sometimes

until my eyes adjust

until there are

q u i e t

precious  o u t l i n e s

in the dim .






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Please Do Not Touch

Nicole Marie:

Join me over at Tipsy Lit! Oh, and don’t touch the wet paint.

Originally posted on Tipsy Lit:

Sometimes, dealing with adults is like dealing with stubborn, defiant children; tell them not to touch the button, and they’ll morph into Dexter’s sister Dee Dee.

Tell them they can’t take the pint glass, and they’ll steal it (and stiff you).

Tell them the paint is wet, and they’ll leave fingerprints in it just to make sure you aren’t aliar.

Recently, both bars at our place were sanded and freshly painted. Being in the airport, there isn’t much room for ventilation (AKA drying takes eight thousand times longer), so for a few days we could only seat customers at tables throughout the restaurant. No big deal, until we get ridiculously busy and every other person is questioning why they can’t sit at the bar, rather than reading the 15+ signs that have been layed out, clearly stating:





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she wasn’t so unlike the others


the girl came to be

as an unnoticed list of


of who cares,

in a two-toned,

dried up land:


brown hair, small wave

pear shaped, round faced

stale laugh,

stoic collarbone


helplessly female.


in blacks and navies,

maybe reds when she’d

try to turn faces,

she climbed through

most years with a

white flag on her head.


falling into beds was


for the girl

no one

wanted anyway,

just to say she did,

just to say she

wasn’t so unlike

the others

bathed in gold.


so she ended

how she’d began,

closing her eyes,

lying back in that

porcelain throne,

pinning on the badge of it figures

to a chorus of

oh well,

so what.



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Unremembered (Part 3)

If you haven’t read the other installments, click here for part one and here for part two. (This story comes in small increments!)


Days, weeks, months later we were still intertwined; her toothbrush stood stoically in the holder on my bathroom sink, remnants of her hairspray textured the mirror, soft threads of her hair stuck quietly to my pillowcase. No cigarettes. That afternoon on the corner by the bar, when she’d searched my face and struggled to remember, had faded to the black smoke of a dying fire, dreamlike.

When Lily moved in the cardboard boxes that held her belongings sat like an Egyptian pyramid for days in the front hall. She’d move from one to another when she needed something, like a hair brush or a t-shirt.

“Why don’t you get to unpacking those?” I mentioned one morning, pouring coffee into my favorite chipped mug while she sat cross-legged in one of my work shirts. “I’ll help, you know that.”

She flipped her hair to one side of her perfect moon face and peeked at me from behind a curtain of brunette. She said nothing, only smirked in some wicked, confident way, and went on leaving coffee rings on the kitchen counter. Ever smitten with her abruptness I peeled opened the refrigerator, grabbed the carton of eggs, and cracked open my uneasiness in a mixing bowl.

Lily loved me, I could feel it. I felt it in the warmth she left behind in every room of our home, in the steadiness of her breath at night, when there was nothing left but us, darkness; I inhaled it in fresh pots of coffee and the sweet, familiar perfume she seemed to wear permanently. So when she came to me, months after she’d moved in, and told me she needed to leave for a few days – she mentioned the ocean, vastness, something about meditation – I focused on the way she cupped my hand in hers instead of the idea that she was leaving me. My smile and nod had proven as heavy as the signing of my own signature, and from there our life continued in that perfectly stitched, undulating way that unspoken secrets between lovers allowed it to do.

Lily with her weekly leaving, me with my faulty, stubborn unknowingness.


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The Most Outlandish Tale About Anxiety and Depression Ever Told.


Wait wait, the story doesn’t start here!  This is a blog hop, people!  Click HERE to start from the beginning.

I have the tendency to park at least 8,000 miles away from the mall, somewhere near that one overhead light that blew out weeks ago and no one ever fixed, the only sign of civilization a flattened soda bottle and an empty fast food wrapper and some guy in dirty jeans and a windbreaker in the middle of July smoking a cigarette by the soda bottle and fast food wrapper.

So now I was half walking half running to my car, fully expecting the elderly lady with the white hair to pop out from the shadows with a nail file pointed in my direction. My stomach was in knots and suddenly my fingers had turned into carrots, and there I was fumbling with my keys horror movie style while the invisible villain breathed down my neck.

Finally inside, I locked the doors and whirled around to check the backseat. As usual, no serial killers.

Almost home, my breath had finally gone from about-to-give-birth to some definition of normal, and instead of searching for a paper bag to breathe into I was now in want of wine, tightly drawn curtains and some depressing ‘90s alternative rock, so I changed into the Disney pajama pants I hadn’t washed in at least two weeks (they smelled a little questionable but I put them on anyway) and crawled into bed, ready to break the world record for feeling the most sorry for myself.

Click HERE to continue the story.


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Unremembered (Part 2)


The sun was just beginning to dust the sky in pinks and greys and we were still on her doorstep, a modest collection of empty beer bottles at our ankles. It was early October, the air clean and brittle, and our voices floated unnoticed into the still sleeping morning. She tucked her chin into my shoulder and I inhaled her – sweet, floral, like home.

“My parents will be up soon,” she said. I knew it was time to tear myself away from her, at least for now.

“Will I see you again?”

She smiled, effortlessly mysterious. I hung on her gestures, the constant, brilliant glow of her.

A month passed before I saw her again. I’d deflated weeks before; intoxicated after one long, hazy night, I’d drifted through the week with nothing more than silence on her end. One phone call attempt went ignored, and so I quickly gave up. Obsessiveness never looked good on me.

I was trekking back home with a sandwich and a carton of milk when I saw her, smoking a cigarette and chatting with a friend outside of a brick-walled corner bar one block from my place. She wore a wool scarf that swallowed her neck and chin, black leather boots that hugged her legs just below the knee. I didn’t remember her smoking when we met.

After a second of debate I tucked the milk and sandwich under one arm and approached her.

“Lily?” I forced a smile. There was something different about her now – instead of comfort I felt purely uncomfortable. She turned to me and for a moment there was a look of concern on her face as she scanned over me, as if she was trying to remember how we knew each other. Internally, I was collapsing. Quickly I began to feel small, pathetic, and childlike. How could she forget?

Then something changed, like the imaginary light bulb had clicked on and her lips parted in a sunburst of a smile.

“Matt!” She yelled, and threw her arms around me like an old friend. My own arms hung limply at my sides for a moment, then slowly I wrapped them around her waist. I couldn’t stop myself, even in all the confusion. Her friend, a pale girl with long brown hair, looked bored as she pulled out another cigarette.

“How have you been?” she said, stomping out her own cigarette with one leather boot.

“Um,” I opened and closed my mouth awkwardly, ransacking my brain for words, for anything. “I was surprised I never heard from you.” I couldn’t help but get to the point.

“Sorry,” she said, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. “I’ve just been busy, I guess.”

She didn’t look busy now, standing on the corner, beer on her breath. Still, that warm, familiar rush began to return until I’d forgotten the strangeness of it all and we were melting into each other on two bar stools in the middle of the day, my milk souring on the floor beneath us.


Click here for Part 1; follow along for more installments!




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Don’t Read

Nicole Marie:

Seriously, read this.

Originally posted on The Hungry Dog's Lair:

Don’t ever start reading. If you’re reading now I encourage you to stop. Those who read tend to get better at it and want to do more of it. It’s an addicting behavior and it will start to control all aspects of your life. There is no such thing as a functioning readaholic. It exercises the brain in much the same way that going to the gym exercises the muscles of your body. If there’s one thing I hear everyone complaining about, it’s exercise. So stop reading now. Reading also improves concentration. The last thing we want is for our children to learn to sit for long periods of time without making a lot of noise. If we wanted them to do that we would just stuff them full of Ritalin and shove them in facilities where we make them do this for six to eight hours a day, so…

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5×5 With The Hook: Ericka Clay.

Originally posted on You've Been Hooked!:

There are literally hundreds of writers/bloggers whose work I admire enough to secretly worship and envy in equal amounts, but today we’re going to spend some time with someone truly special and gifted.

This is Ericka Clay at her happiest (to be honest, I’m sure there are moments when Ericka is happier but this isn’t that kind of blog), with her brand-spanking new book contract!


 (Cue the “very special episode” music.)

But Ericka needs your help. As you’ll soon see, Ericka Clay is one helluva writer and glitterer of cats. But the world needs to know that as well. Enter the EC Readers, Ericka’s very own Mouseketeers. In her own words:

What is EC Readersyou may ask?  Just the hottest thing to happen to the Internet since I posted that photo of my husband half naked in a sombrero. The EC Readers is a group of reading and reviewing…

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