The Elixir

The Literature and Arts Magazine of Brenau University



Watermelon Watermelon

Watermelon Watermelon by Ashley Lee

Alice sat in the car, her tiny frame pinned to the seat by the imposing mesh of the seat belt that was too big and almost sashed over her china-doll neck. Having just graduated from a car-seat, though, she was not about to complain. The weight of the fast-food burger in her lap, with its clammy wax paper encasing the greasy pile, sat untouched. Continue reading “Watermelon Watermelon”


Try as We May to Make Silence

Try as We May to Make Silence, We Cannot by Arielle Crumley

Amid the haze of smoke and musk, I join the crowd eagerly awaiting the show. The buzz of anticipation clashes with the sound of passing cars. Clad in pressed suits, polished shoes, and pearls for the ladies, all of New York’s finest musicians and artists have shown up for the event. “Can’t wait to see what this bastard has come up with this time,” a cigar- Continue reading “Try as We May to Make Silence”

Ms. Friedman’s Stroll

Ms. Friedman’s Stroll by Nina Siso

(2nd place prose winner)

“Now spit,” she said mechanically for the fourteenth time that afternoon. She watched the elderly man lean to the side of the chair and nearly expectorate into the metal bowl. She wiped his face with a cloth, dabbing moisture out of the wrinkles and grey beard. She gave a tight smile and promised him that the Dentist would arrive in a few minutes.  Of course it would be longer than that; the office had been short- staffed for a while. Most of the women in the office, herself included, only had this job because of the absence of male hygienists and doctors.  She walked out of the room quickly, eager to get home and relax with her favorite radio program.  It had been an unusually rough day. Continue reading “Ms. Friedman’s Stroll”

Ariel in Real Life

Ariel in Real Life by Rebecca Jarrett

She’s been sick for so long that she has almost forgotten what being normal feels like.

It feels like all she knows now is death, and dying. Her parents dishing out too much money on endless medical bills. Having no hair and getting stared at in public. Being told no, you can’t take Pilates/get a tattoo/pet that dog/go to that concert, you’re too sick. Continue reading “Ariel in Real Life”


Her by Kaleigh McIntyre

A girl sitting on a bus bench drinking coffee. Is she going to get on. Where is she going. Where has she been. Does it even matter where she’s been if she knows where she’s going next. Does she come out every morning, like this one, and wait for her bus. Is she trying to get away from something. Or trying to get back to it. Where on earth is her coat. Continue reading “Her”

Basket of Mourning

Basket of Mourning by Mae Allison

(3rd place prose winner)

Today’s sadness is different from yesterday’s. The realization that my young Chen will not return has settled in my heart. I have almost accepted that she is gone forever,  although I will always wish it was not so. The fog on the mountains rises every morning. Cherry blossoms bloom and fall as their season passes. My season of depression nearly passes. As I stroll through the fields of my family, I remember the times spent galloping through them with my sisters when I was only knee high. I see the baskets we crafted ourselves. Each one had a unique flare that displayed our personalities, but they have all moved now. I taught young Chen to weave. She and I would spend our time after chores weaving baskets of all shapes and sizes. Across the river and across the bridge, the jungle waits. My chores wait as well, for I cannot tear myself from the forest in search of her. I hear the trees calling to me by name. They whisper the truth I already know. My daughter was there, but now she is not. I have looked for years for clues that are never to be found. All I have left are her unfinished baskets. The weave is loose, and the reeds have grown black with time. The reeds hold my daughter’s soul. The unfinished ends dangle waiting to be touched again as my hands long to hold her. The grid intertwines and weaves, holding the memories together. As I gaze at the baskets, laughter of a child echoes through the air of our home.The sound fills my heart with joy. Continue reading “Basket of Mourning”

And Then They Had Sex

And Then They Had Sex by Kate Rochford-Price

Her husband was rubbing her feet.

Her feet were bare. Why did he always wear his socks to bed? His thumb pressed into the solar plexus of her left foot and she groaned. The sensation sped up her ankle, soaking into her tendons, sending her brain the message to relax. The running to-do list in her mind (email Meg her R.S.V.P., send their $147 installment check to the IRS, call in her birth control subscription, schedule PJ’s pediatric appointment) slowly faded. Continue reading “And Then They Had Sex”

As I Sit and Reflect

As I Sit and Reflect by Jane Stanfield

(1st place prose winner)

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before.

I had taken her to the cathedral so that she would shut up about it. I had eaten some bad pork the night before so the nausea was overwhelming. I think she wanted to experience the history or something. History was one of the things that we did not have in common. I could never feel the honor she felt when she stood in the same place as a historical figure. She had a way of encompassing the vibes that the building radiated. She absorbs The buzz of lights and the pounding of bricks as they were laid on top of one another and it gives her an undeniable satisfaction. She appreciates every detail, original or developed, and allows each to soak into her memory. As for me, I look at the bigger picture. I never pay attention to the details and little pieces. I look at the grand scheme of things. Continue reading “As I Sit and Reflect”

The Staircase

The Staircase by Chayla Park

There are hundreds of ways to lose your boyfriend–I just happened to lose mine in a museum. Not physically lose him, I know exactly where he is. Martin’s in the Atlanta High Museum’s third floor bathroom crying his eyes out and trying to find a ride home.

I meant that I emotionally lost him. Well I guess, technically, he lost me since I did the breaking up. Do semantics really even matter at this point when you both lost something in the fire? Because that’s what this relationship was: a fire. Big and toxic and consuming, blinding me, burning me, filling my lungs with smoke and calling it love. Continue reading “The Staircase”


Racing by Rebecca Jarrett

The night before the race, I can’t sleep. Instead, I toss and turn. Throw the blankets off me, pull them back on. Roll from side to side. Count ceiling tiles. Count sheep. Count torn ACLs and shattered dreams. Think about what’ll happen tomorrow if I fail. Think about how this could prove that I might never run again. Think about how much I shouldn’t be thinking about it. Think loud thoughts in a failed attempt to drown out the nagging voice in the back of my mind. Look at the clock again—holy shit, is it really still 1:30?  Get up and get a glass of water. Get back in bed. Get resituated. Get up again to pee. Continue reading “Racing”


Pink by Rebecca Jarrett

Pink was her favorite color; the very pink that had colored his cheeks in slumber. She despised grey. It reminded her of storm clouds and smog and spoiled meat. Looking at his suit, she revised her complaint. She didn’t merely hate grey; she hated all dark colors. With a new resolve, she turned from his casket and strode out of the church. When she got home, she threw out half of her clothes.

-Originally published in The Elixir’s 2015-16 print edition

-Photo credit to This Creative Girl

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Family Reunion

Family Reunion by Kate Rochford-Price

Aunt Marian turns toward him, reaching for his cheeks, which, to their credit, are really no longer pinchable, but that does not deter jolly old Aunt Marian; then he finally escapes her re-fingered clutches only to fall victim to Great Grandpa George as he corners him and regales him with racist and homophobic comments, making him acutely uncomfortable, his lips pursing in resistance to a barrage of retorts, but the secret of his black boyfriend keeps him silent; then his mother,visually and physically overjoyed to see him back from Continue reading “Family Reunion”

Born This Way

Born This Way by Laura Burke   

(2nd place prose winner)

Henry felt the familiar thrill as he opened his makeup cases. He didn’t care that his family no longer spoke to him. He never felt more right, more alive than when he pulled on his bling covered dresses, or slipped on his favorite wig. Tonight was no different. His act was on in little over an hour and a half, and he needed to pt his face on. He loved watching the mirror and seeing how his face and body transformed, Continue reading “Born This Way”

Empty House

Empty House by Rebecca Jarrett   

(1st place prose winner)

The house was empty, but the television in the sitting room was on, the glow from some commercial reflecting on the leather love-seat in the center of the room. The footrest was too far from the love-seat for anyone’s legs to possibly reach it while they were sitting there.

Boxes of baby clothes, diapers, and other such trinkets littered the hallway leading to the master bedroom. The door to the bedroom was wide open, a mark behind the door from the knob cracking into the wall. The bed itself was made up, the only objects on it the remote to the TV and a cracked open copy of  Continue reading “Empty House”

Questions for the Man Who Killed my Mother

Questions for the Man Who Killed my Mother by Tahimi Perez-Borroto

1 . When you loaded your gun for the night, did you think you’d get hot from the fear of getting caught?

2. Did you think you’d get stopped?

3. How did you hide your gun?

4. Did you hide it?

5. Did you step out into the Paris night and look at the Eiffel Tower for good measure?

Continue reading “Questions for the Man Who Killed my Mother”

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