River of Ink

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“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” - Revelaion 3:8

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Time, as it flies
Swiftly as wind
Memory dies
As the embers grow cold
The story, it waits, a tale untold
We ventured deep into the world
The world of shadows, things unseen
The unknown world beyond the green
There’s so much more for us to find
Yet, from the absence, the journey is slowed
My friend and I, we glance behind
Viewing the memories bestowed

The path ahead exists not now
When heroes return, it will somehow

Time moves on,
The light dies away.
The shadows deepen,
As all hope fades.
But, you must know that no matter how long,
The night is always darkest before dawn.
The ember crackles and sparks to life,
The tale unfolds with a whole new light.
The path opens like a flower in spring,
It’s colorful petals, a new song they sing.
For the world that darkened and turn to grey,
Is infused with a light that will not soon fade.
Take courage and lift your weary brow,
For the path ahead has returned just now.

Word Challenge: by @SierepicaFuzzywalker
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Short story: by @Xonos_Darkgrate

For a brief moment, the redness on his fingers resembled blood. The fries in his mouth were rendered tasteless, and his stomach became a pit. He shook his head–not blood. Just ketchup. Morbid thoughts like these plagued his mind constantly. It wasn’t even entertaining to him, and it certainly wasn’t by his choice. They were just there.
A disruptive metal sound outside distracted him briefly. He looked out the blackened windows of his car to see a dirty waste arbiter cleaning the streets. The grime on its side had covered over the government-sealed label: Property of The State.
His phone rang.
He ran his hand over the green indicator, and a scratchy voice came out of the car speaker.
“Rice,” it said.
“Here,” Rice replied.
“Did you get it done?”
Rice took a long sip of his ice tea, keeping the speaker in suspense. He didn’t like being put on the spot. He nodded his head and closed his eyes. “Yes,” he said quietly.
“Good. I’ve got another one for you.”
“Can’t yet.”
“Why not?” the voice said.
“I have to finish up this one first.”
“I thought you said you were done already.”
“Almost.”
The person behind the phone made a pleghm-y growling noise.
“I’m going to email you the specifics. Don’t miss this one; it’s important.”
Rice nodded his head, but realized that the voice was still waiting for some indicator of understanding. He cleared his throat. “I’ll get on it.”
Satisfied, the person ended the call.
Left alone to his thoughts, Rice sighed. Good to talk to you too, Savin, he thought.
He looked over his shoulder and saw a body slumped in the back seats. It was covered entirely in black plastic bag except for the head, which had a dark sack tied around the neck. He had clumsily tried to buckle it in place earlier, but it had slipped out of the straps and now resembled a cocoon.
None of the lights were on, but when he squinted, he could see it move slightly. Up . . . . down . . . up . . . down. Breathing, just barely awake. And not quite alive.
Rice shuffled in his seat. He opened the window of his car and threw out the trash of the food he was eating for the waste arbiters to pick up outside. Littering was illegal–under penalty of jail time, in fact, depending on how much you did it. But why else did they have giant, hovering trucks to pick up the trash outside?
The body cocoon in the back moved slightly, responding to the noise. Rice looked into the rear view mirror and squinted. The effect of his “killing” didn’t last long when his concentration was thin, which wasn’t a good sign. The body began to move with more power, wriggling in the plastic like it would suddenly burst out as a butterfly. It was clearly awake now. Rice knew it was time to kill it again when a muffled cry came out of the sack. He raised a boney right hand and snapped his fingers, and the struggling body immediately slumped down. The whole ordeal only taking two seconds.
It convulsed slightly in resistance. But in moments, the movement died down, and the body became still. No breathing, no thinking, no beating. It was dead. Now he just had to take care of it before it woke up again.

Rice put his car into gear and grabbed both sides of the wheel. Auto-exit parking was a miracle. Once onto the road, Rice turned off the holographic dashboard. No need for GPS, he knew well-enough where the landfill was.
As he drove to his destination, he had time to think a little bit more about things. He didn’t regret what he did in any way. He had long since become desensitized to the constant “killing” his job entitled; and on top of that, the “final kills”, as he called it. The kind you don’t wake up from. But it didn’t matter, because he was paid well.
A small beeping sound came from his phone. An email from Savin. He didn’t open it, but the label read: G. Gordon, Male, 23, South York.
Another email, another trip, another body. Rice sighed again. He was sure he didn’t regret it . . . any of it. No matter what people said. But maybe it was the same philosophy that enabled him to kill to efficiently that also emptied his soul the most:
Life has no meaning.

And as he neared the landfill, the redness on his fingers looked like blood again.

Artist’s Corner:

Submitted Artworks:

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This sketch was submitted by the amazing @Gworg! A young girl, her wrist baring what appear to be cuts or scars, releases a tearing butterfly. The tearing of her face may be the remnants of a mask, or something of a different nature. All in all, this piece is well-illustrated and quite remarkable.
:fire: Exploding Kitten

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This sketch is another remarkable rendering of WildBlueShine! A fellow, inked in blue, staring gravely into the eyes of the beholder. Lila believes this fellow resembles Steve Rodgers, and come to think of it, so do I.
:fire: Exploding Kitten

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What I love most about this picture is the hair, the bird, and the incredible outfit. The hair seems as if it would feel like real hair if I could touch it. The bird looks as if it is made of crystals. (I can’t tell if that thing behind it is part of the bird or the background.) The gloves are amazing, I wish I owned them. The outfit is wonderful on so many levels. As for the character, I’m having great difficulty telling if it is male or female. I want to say male, but I’m not entirely certain.
:milky_way: ScienceSiren

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I love the look in this person’s eyes. He’s looking up at something greater than himself. The eyes themselves are so real that it is hard to believe there were made with a humble pencil. The nose is a far nicernose than I have seen on most people. the hair reminds me of a long-haired fluffy cat’s fur.

:milky_way: ScienceSiren

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This lovely young lady has Toon Link eyes, sweet, innocent, and bright as sunshine. She is serene as the setting in which she sits. Her hair is quite lovely. I wouldn’t mind having such hair myself.
:milky_way: ScienceSiren

Sketching Tips:

Drawing Challenge: by @Rapunzel

Draw a Dystopian Kebab shop or a Mammal-bird hybrid (along the lines of a Griffin). Proud of your work? Send it in to Rhy and I and we’ll publish it in the next edition.

Inspirational Quote: by @TheMidget

“If you love and get hurt, love more. If you love more and hurt more, love even more. If you love even more and get hurt even more, love some more until it hurts no more…” - William Shakespeare

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“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” - Psalm 19:14

“Self-consciousness” by @DigitalDaze

Self-consciousness—
That which rips you from the world
And draws you into your dark hole
Which causes you in fear to decay
While the world around you flies past and fades
Which keeps you from caring outwardly
Since too occupied you are with “me”
Which causes you to miss out
On love you are too blind to see.

“To Those Who Want But Never Give” by DigitalDaze

To be known,
To be loved,
To be understood in life
Are a few of many qualities
That all humans desire.
But to give,
If only that we did,
Then maybe we would start to receive
That which we crave, sometimes, selfishly.

Word Challenge: by @TheMidget

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Short story: by DigitalDaze

“Mommy, look. There it is. ‘Patient Room 304.’” I hold little Abby’s hand in mine. “Yes, sweetie. That’s the one.” Stepping in front of the door, I halt with my little daughter by my side. A minute passes before her sweet voice asks, “Mommy, what’s wrong?” My baby Abby gazes up into my hazel eyes, and I gaze down into hers. The pulse in my hand grows and fades, grows and fades and throbs stronger and stronger with each passing moment. My calm face suddenly softens into a face of worry as I stare into hers, and I grasp her plump hand slightly tighter. Heat emanates from her soft palm and flows through my cold fingers. A simple touch, warmth, and squeeze—her tiny hand in mine is so precious, so soothing. “It—It’s nothing, sweetie. Now, remember. We must be very quiet. Can you do that for me?” Abby bobs her little head up and down, her thin bangs flopping in unison. As I lay my hand upon the cold handle of the door, I let out a deep sigh and then gently push it open. At the back of the room, the dying sun reaches its hands through a wide glass window and teases through the short silver hairs of an elderly lady in her mid-eighties. She is resting so peacefully, so quietly, that the room seems to have stopped in time, as if the dying sun splashed the room in yellow paint and framed it in a sepia photograph. The only other movement is the specks of dust that dance in the sun’s stream and float past the closed eyelashes of my grandmother. My eyes travel down from her silver lashes to the lines on the outer edges of her eyes. Many wrinkles meander through her scrawny face all the way down to her neck and disappear beneath the collar of her hospital gown. But then the rivulets of wrinkles reappear upon the emaciated figure of her hands. So frail, so tender. She is all skin and bones! I pull a chair close to her bed and sit little Abby upon my lap so as not to let her see the tears cascading down my burning cheeks. My hands travel toward my grandmother’s, which are folded upon her abdomen. Veins run very visibly beneath her skin and crawl all the way to the tips of her fingers. I rest my hand on top of hers, and the coolness of her hands sends shivers down my spine. I gently squeeze her hand under mine, just lightly enough as to not wake her but firmly enough to allow my heat to emanate into her. As my heat floods into her hands, pain, worry, and longing flood into my heart. I’ll miss these hands, my grandmother’s hands. Though they are so wrinkled and scrawny now, they are just as beautiful as they were so many years back, not because of their appearance but because of how these hands touched my life. Her touch, her warmth, her squeeze. I remember it all. But when I was a teenager, I took it all for granted. Who knew that the warm, tender embrace of these hands would be my favorite in the whole world? Who knew that these hands, that baked me my favorite oatmeal raisin cookies, would one day cease to ever do so again? Had I realized earlier that these hands that always cared for others, would soon themselves need to be cared for, would I still have pushed these hands away? Would I still have abused these hands—and run away from home? These hands that tried to keep me from harm’s way, that tried to shield me, protect me, were the only ones to sacrifice themselves for me when no one else would—not even my own parents. Had I only accepted their help and loved them more before her health slipped away, could I have been—a better granddaughter? My heart clenches violently inside my chest, and a startling sniffle escapes me. Little Abby, who is still sitting on my lap, hears my sniffle behind her and turns her body to face me. She doesn’t know what’s going on. She doesn’t know what to say. She doesn’t know what to do. But she lifts that plump little hand of hers and places it on top of my own, driving me into a river of more tears and more memories of my grandmother. In the heat of the moment, a hand suddenly slips out from under mine and gently rests itself on top of Abby’s and my own. “G-Grandma!” I stutter. Tears continue cascading down my cheeks as years of distance slowly melt away with the simple touch, warmth, and squeeze of her tender hand. Oh, how I’ll miss these beautiful hands.

Artist’s Corner:

Submitted Artworks: Missy’s Masterpieces

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Sketching Tips: by @Gworg

I recommend tracing a subject to familiarize yourself with it. Whether it be using a lightpad or printing out a picture at low opacity to use, or tracing over the fundamental shapes or line art, it’s still great practice! It’ll help you get used to using different drawing techniques and ‘train’ yourself to remember new ways to draw.

Drawing Challenge: by @ScienceSiren

Draw the wildest thing you can imagine. For example: two of your friends jousting on chickens with baguettes while wearing funny hats. It can be as crazy as you want.

Book Review: by @Xonos_Darkgrate

The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild by Jack London is a relatively short adventure story following the tumultuous life of Buck when he is snatched from a life of luxury and thrown into a savage wilderness. At first glance, this book may seem like just another bland historical fiction; but Jack London quickly paves a different path with his choice of characters.

You see, Buck is a dog. A Saint Bernard/Shephard mix, to be exact. And he is the master of his house. But even his strength cannot save him from the tides of fate when a conniving servant of Buck’s owner steals Buck away to sell him for a profit. The story, which is set in the late 1800s when the Klondike Gold Rush was in motion, then follows Buck as he is roughly broken into a ragtag group of sled dogs.

Other stories may show how an odd assortment of figures may become an unbeatable team, or how enemies may eventually make up to be powerful allies. The Call of the Wild dispels this notion and wastes no time on feel-good plotlines. The unloving, cold, and icy world Buck is thrown into is defined by the survival of the fittest. It is, quite literally, a dog eat dog world. And Buck soon finds that he must cast off all remnants of his domesticated life in order to survive in his new life.

Throughout the story is the constant threat of death: Whether from wolves, callous uncaring humans, rival dogs, or simply the unbelievably harsh conditions of the Alaska wilderness. But Buck is tenacious, and inside his heart, he discovers that the blood is not of the domesticated but of the savage, wandering beasts who ruled the same wilderness years before. It is the Call of the Wild.

And in the end, Buck must choose whether or not to heed this dangerous call. Because with it is the forfeit of all humanity and kindness, but without? Almost certain death.

Jack London masterfully captures just what a dog might feel and discover when throwing into the world while asking questions about how deep an animal can truly feel loyalty to its master–whether that master is a man or the call of the wild itself.

Inspirational Quote: by @SheOfManyNames

"There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky, and you ask ‘What if I fall?’

Oh, my friend, but what if you FLY ?" -Erin Hanson-

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