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APH: Harsh lessonsWhen dreams no longer offer rest and escape from a harsh world, they become nightmares, terrible reminders of a past we had thought that we left behind.
"And so the great and powerful Centurion finally defeated the great dragon and conquered the city. Women worshipped and men envied him, but for himself he only wanted the best, the king's beautiful daughter. And so began a new golden age in that once accursed city." Rome flashed a wide smile and rolled up the scroll. "Wasn't that a fantastic story? Battles, fights, monsters, wars and women!"
"Tell me more stories, Grandpa Rome!" Chibitalia asked. He could barely sit, so exciting the story had been.
"Come now, it's time for my favourite grandchild to go to bed!" Rome answered and stroked Chibitalia's hair. He covered the young child with a blanket and smiled. "Tomorrow is a new day and we can make art together again, like today. And you can watch as I win Germania in an arm wrestle!"
Chibitalia tried to protest, but already he fe
longdead leafa longdead leaf
burnt brown in the depth of green
cups a handful of fresh water
a leaf left behind
holds something of worth
forgoing death with its dead body
Poetic PsychosisIn thirty seconds, the next shell would fall. Every night was the same, but every night Lorenzo experienced it as if it were the first time. His throat felt swollen; breathing was hard. He glanced around at the others; young men like him who had been shipped out in the name of honour and freedom. There was no honour in this, no freedom. Only death behind your eyelids, and a fear so gutting, that it carved out your innards and left you a hollow husk. Lorenzo tried to breathe, tried to assure himself that he was still whole, still made of flesh. They had lied when they told him he was ready.
Matteo ran towards him, arms out, rifle swinging uselessly at his side. He shouted for him to run, but Lorenzo remained motionless, unable to move as his friend’s warning was lost in the constant blare of gunfire. None of them were ready.
“The cycle is repeating. It is not safe.” The voice was soft and weak, yet it carried over the gunfire and battle cries without impediment.
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