Behind doors are secrets (to discover or not)
By Stella Z. Hu (aka Twig)
Discussed: blood, possible death
A liminal space I found in my school, and what I left there.
There’s an odd, twisted kind of whimsy to be found on an empty hidden stairwell
In the wings of an auditorium stage
When your teacher is absent and your classmates are all on their phones.
The corners have dust and cobwebs.
The walls are yellow, cracked, warped, and peeling, with a few fluorescent lights
Illuminating red stains on them.
They’re probably watercolor paints,
but I can’t help but think of some innocent fellow child’s blood.
The thought makes me both shiver and giggle.
There’s no telling where it goes.
I pulled a little on the two doors on either side of the landing at the top, but I couldn’t open them.
Might be for the best.
I don’t try to pull harder. I’m not quite brave enough for that.
For all I know some nightmarish creature could be sealed behind one of them.
Probably not. But the thought won’t leave my mind.
I can’t tell if it makes me feel more terror or glee.
I might give it another shot sometime.
Once or twice I think I hear voices from above,
and I wonder if I should run before I’m caught.
I don’t. I freeze and wait until they’re gone.
I sit on the landing in the middle, and I read a book.
I feel the need to add something to the atmosphere,
make it raise just a few more questions and few more neck-hairs for the next person.
I take out my pencil and scrawl a message on the wall:
Girls Write Now On the Other Side of Everything: The 2023 Anthology
Do you know what it’s like to communicate with your family across a salty ocean’s divide? Do you want the sun and moon to enter your home with stories written in embers? Do you seek voices that will punctuate the darkness? Welcome to the other side of everything. It’s the other side of silence, the other side of childhood, the other side of hate, the other side of indifference, it’s the other side of sides, where the binary breaks down. It’s a new paradigm, a destination, a different perspective, a mindset, a state of openness, the space between the endless folds in your forehead, hopes for tomorrow, and reflections on the past. This anthology of diverse voices is an everything bagel of literary genres and love songs, secrets whispered in the dark of night, conversations held with ancestors under the sea.
My mentor and I used a word randomizer to match abstract ideas with concrete images. One particular combination got me thinking about this piece.
Stella/Twig is a biracial (Greek/Chinese) Spiral-aligned autistic aroace seven-and-a-half-year-old in a seventeen-year-old’s body. She writes short stories both original and fanfic, as well as song parodies. She’s a hardcore Trolls fan, a theater kid, a Tumblr addict and above all a crazy little space elf who exists to paint rainbows on everything in existence, including the establishment. She’s still waiting to find a way into a magical world and have awesome adventures, but until then she will be doing so 24/7 inside her imagination and online roleplay. She physically lives in Manhattan with her mom, dad, brother and imaginary friend.