The Elixir

The Literature and Arts Magazine of Brenau University


Sudden Fiction

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”

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”

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”

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”


Albert by Rebecca Jarrett

The old man sat at the bar, nursing a whisky.

“Take it easy there, Albert. It’s only just half four; you should pace yourself.”

Albert smiled wryly at the grimacing barkeep. “I’m 81 years old and I fought in a war. I’ve served out Queen and this country. I think it’s well within my rights to have a drink or two.”

That barkeep shrugged, then turned back around to finish wiping down the glasses with a musty cloth.

The young man finishes his pint and pushes it toward the barkeep. “Cheers,” he calls over his shoulder- though he doesn’t bother to look back as he walks to the other end of the reception hall.

He is in his uniform, today. She likes a man in uniform, and he knows it. He uses it to his advantage.

“Hello, Matilda. What’s a young lass like yourself doing at such a boring reception?” Continue reading “Albert”

Mazda Memories

Mazda Memories by Abigail Paul

We’ve aged. Looking at his new thick-rimmed glasses, I realize if his polo wasn’t sugh a light shade of blue he’d look a lot like Clark Kent.

-This is Weekend Edition from NPR News.-

He’s grown into the man any mother would be proud of, no longer the dangerous bad boy who drew me in with his charm seven years ago. Everything about him has lightened; the boy I first met would never be caught dead in a loose-fitting baby blue shirt, let alone a polo.

-Russia has blocked the Security Council from any action.-

His cargo shorts blend into the tan leather interior of his new car. When did he start wearing khaki? As I twist the ring on my finger, I notice yet another fundraising campaign nagging from the speakers behind me. Continue reading “Mazda Memories”

Reflections of a Journey

Reflections of a Journey by Karla Utterback

She gets in her car, turns the radio on, and sets the volume to an even number, or a multiple of five. She doesn’t know when she started doing this, she just does. Driving to the women’s clinic for her yearly breast exam seems like a regular event, she hardly gives it a second thought except for the slight dread of discomfort when the plates always seem to press harder than she remembers. Continue reading “Reflections of a Journey”

The Sad Firework

The Sad Firework by Sara Hubaishi

My outer shell began to shake. All the robust sounds filled my tubing. Where was I going? My creator left me, and it felt like I was going to explode. What is the purpose of my life? Why was I brought into this world? I have no talking device, nor do I have those chubby knobs that my creator had. My boxing seemed to engulf my very being. One of my Continue reading “The Sad Firework”

Test Day

Test Day by Jondell Taylor

The phone rang. Jason stood up, grabbed the phone, and held it to his ear.

“She just opened her eyes, and now she’s asking about you and Nell. Can you come see her now?”

Before that, Jason sat down with his sister, Nell, to play Go Fish. She wanted to deal the first hand, and counted out seven cards for each of them. “Give me all of your two’s Jace.”

Jason smiled. “You’re supposed to say, ‘Do you have any two’s?”

Before that, Jason washed the dishes he and Nell had used for dinner. He had made macaroni and cheese and chicken strips. Before that, Jason grabbed his sister’s hand and led her out of the hospital doors.

“I thought we came to visit mommy.” Continue reading “Test Day”

I Do

I Do by Marissa Hewatt Stephens

She walks down the aisle towards him and with my weathered, veiny hand, I adjust my glasses, and squinting through thick lenses, I watch her.

As we gather here today…

She’ll go to a swanky hotel on their wedding night; just like she saw in the movies, and she’ll lie there after on the expensive sheets and think that the cinema has ruined it for us all, which it has.

And when she has a child, if she’s so blessed, she’ll envision herself as one of those all-belly pregnant women and vow to control her portions, but instead he’ll drive her to the local Jimmy B’s at 3am for extra-fried onion rings and blue-raspberry slurpees. He thought it’s what the baby would want anyhow. Continue reading “I Do”

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