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February is the shortest month of the year. It’s black history month and the third month of winter. Punxsutawney Phil predicts if there will be a longer winter or if spring will come soon. Regardless of his prediction, spring is just a month away. Usually February is as bitterly cold as January with chances of ice storms. Second semester of school is in full swing. People are chatting about Valentine’s day and for some there’s Mardi Gras. Purim often occurs in this month and it’s quite eventful for such a short month.

It’s been a personal important month past and present whether I’m thinking about the fact I moved to my current town on February 27, 2004, which makes this 14 years since I lived here. On the 26th of this month I uploaded my first video, which made it the start of my Youtube career. On the 6th day in 2015 I almost died when I was hit by a car and on the 20th I had my first car wreck this year in 2018. This is also the month on Valentine’s day that our family dog Rocky passed away. In short, this month represents a period transition and remembrance.


There’s No Month Like April


In the northern hemisphere the weather warms, the grass greens. Life is in full bloom with flowering fields, fresh produce, animals awakening from hibernation and mating. A burst of colors on the horizon. Spring is in full swing. Warm showers water the terrain. In the Midwest the risk of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms increase.

A semester closes, and graduation is around the corner. Taking a trip down memory lane, I recall grass stained jeans, prairie dogs, swinging in the park, and field day in elementary, spring mixers and track and field in middles school. In high school prom and last preparation for finals and projects in college.

Cloud watching during the day and stargazing at night, enjoying cookouts and ride with the windows down. The sound of children playing, sprinklers, dogs barking, the chirp of crickets and birds, and lawn mowers returns. The smell of barbecue and fresh cut grass permeates the clement breeze. Light jackets replace coats, dresses exchanged for sweats, and shorts, and blouses in place of jeans and sleeves.

A quarter of the year is over, and it’s a wonder what the remaining part will yield. April is a time of global and personal triumphs and tragedies. The third week has historical ties to horrific events. It is also a period of reflecting on those who entered and exited my life.

It’s a month and season of transition and transformation. A merging of innocence with maturity, loss and gain. The antithesis to autumn where everything slows, cools and dies instead all is revived in a new form. There’s no month like April.

There’s Something About the Number 26

There’s something about the number 26. Throughout my life there have been landmark moments for good and bad surrounding this number. My grandmother one of the most influential people in my life was born on the 26th of January. My older brother is also born on the 26th of May. The 26th of February is when I uploaded my first YouTube video, the 26th of November is also the day I originally opened a YouTube channel. The 26th of March is when I began writing my second novel. I could go on and on about all the events that took place surrounding the 26th of the month.

Beyond my life, 26 has some interesting facts. Twenty-six is the atomic number of iron. According to gematria the number is the sum of the Hebrew characters for name of God–YHWH. The number is associated in Greek with agape love, the highest form of love outside of friendship and sexual interest. It deals with commitment and will. Some associate agape love with originating with God. Like my life experiences surrounding the number, I could go on all the coincidences affiliated with it.

Regardless, the number will always hold a significant place in my heart as it is the number that continues to pop up time and time again.


Six Years and Counting

Six years have passed since I conceptualized Skepticism. Although, I would’ve liked to have published the manuscript by now, the long wait for the edits to fall in line and to be at a place in life where I can dedicate time to promoting it has been worth it. I’ve determined a little over a month after graduation come Wednesday, June 27, 2018 on PTSD awareness day, Skepticism will be available.

Saturday, November 19, 2011 like most seventeen-year-old high school seniors I was fretting over what was to come after graduation. I was weighing my option granted my SAT and ACT scores, cram studying for finals and end of semester projects. Amid, all the progression something within me had shattered. Just a semester ago, I had experienced several negative incidents in relation to writing. Those failures broke my spirit. My passion wilted, and I questioned my ability.

Writing had always been my love. I wasn’t the best yet I worked with my awkward prose, syntax and bad grammar to form compelling short stories. I admit a lot of my past stories were subpar, but without them I couldn’t have churned out two novels and I’d hate to imagine how mediocre I’d still write had I not wrote Skepticism.

I glared at the bright empty Microsoft word document. I’d told my mother I’d never write again. It was the source of my shame. How could I fail at the one thing I had going for me? Most of 2011 had been a painful turn of events. Writing was my release. It was the only way I could express myself. Communication wasn’t my strongest suit.

A writing prompt formed in my mind of an angry eighteen-year-old, Ivy League freshman. He’d share my childhood trauma, misfortune, and misanthropic thoughts. Yet rather than relying on faith and a belief in a God he’d cleave to his skepticism and disdain for religion to explain the unresolved trauma, unexplained events and hallucinations. His denial of not only a higher power but his diagnosis of PTSD would be his greatest asset, but a source of great frustration to both himself and the reader.

In a way this prompt allowed me to explore a world foreign to my own. A world I’d never dreamed possible to comprehend. Each chapter I wrote brought out new questions. I entertained perspectives outsidemy realm of comfort and researched concepts I’d otherwise ignore.

When someone writes a novel whether it’s about magic or coming of age, there’s no way it won’t transform them. Committing six years and counting of my life to Skepticism has been one of my greatest investments. Sure it’s not on a shelf yet. There’s no saying  Skepticism it will be a huge success. If fame and fortune were my end goal, there’s no way I would’ve stuck with this project this long. All the sacrifices I’ve had to make and time spent writing could’ve been used graduating college earlier, making a steady income, interning, or building relationships as I’ve balanced working on my novels with being a fulltime college student. In the process of working on Skepticism a second novel blossomed, Volatile. Not everyone has been understanding of my work as an author. Many view it as a hobby, pipe dream and excuse for not working a “real” job. The discipline of sticking with a project you’re not profiting monetarily from for over half a decade isn’t easy yet I can’t imagine where I’d be today if I hadn’t gotten over my mountain of fears to write Skepticism.



How did I get to this point? Torn between two worlds. Both are as promising as frightening. Pulling in me in opposite directions. Like an internal tug-of-war. I can’t seem to make up my mind, which way to go. Both come with wins and losses. All I want is the best outcome. If I chose path A, I will have to sacrifice everything I’ve known for a potential more vivid future. If it’s all a mirage, I’ll lose everything in pursuit of a pipe dream. However, if I cling to what I known on path B I’ll miss out on an opportunity that might only come around once in a lifetime. However, things are starting to pan out, but still aren’t where I want them yet. This monotony with the same-old-same old routine is tiresome. Something’s got to give? Yet I’m fearful of acting rashly. Familiarity brings comfort with certainty. Yet my longing for change grows by the day and I’ve outgrown this waiting period where I stand at this mental crossroads indecisive.

The Cab Ride Part II: The Interrogation

“We made it.” I smiled at her.

“Thanks.” Her mouth curved into a grin for the first time.

“You’re welcome, and good luck…?” I paused as I realized I hadn’t bothered to learn her name.

“Angel,” she said, closing the door behind her. I watched her plod away, and I wondered what would become of her. Just as my hand reached for the gear shift, the screech of tires caused my eyes to tear upwards.

A car with tinted windows was right beside her. She didn’t seem to notice as she meandered along with headphones in her ears. The windows of the car rolled down, revealing a group of masked men with guns drawn. A cry rose in my throat as the sound of gun shots led to her collapse.

The car sped away, and hot tears filled my eyes as I rushed out of the cab and took her limp body into my arms. There was no response as she bled out. My head dropped as I muttered.

“You were almost free.”

A breeze rippled my copper waves, and even with the bomber jacket I wore I shivered as the smell of burnt tires filled my nostrils. Sirens wailed with me as a swarm of police cars encircled the crime scene.

A soft hand enclosed around my broad shoulder and I lifted my head to see a female police officer dangling her badge in my face.

“Horus Isles, I’m officer Mays and you are under arrest for the murder of Angel Rogers.”

“What?” I shook my head, confused as tears streamed down my pudgy face.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have read to you?”

“Yes,” I nodded as she handcuffed and ushered me to the back of a police car.

As I sat there, my eyes met the officer May’s hazel eyes. Her lips pressed into a tight line, and I tore my eyes away from hers.

* * *

When we arrived at the police station, I was taken in for questioning. They asked if I wanted to make a phone call, but I declined, figuring just like I had managed to talk myself out of trouble for rigging poker games with weighted dice, I could do so here.

I clasped my hands on the table as I sat across from officer Mays. Now that I directly faced her, I could see the bags under her eyes. Based on her sallow complexion and wild dark, hair, it looked like she hadn’t had a decent sleep in weeks. If I selected my words carefully could work to my advantage.

“Horus, what was your relation to Angel?” she said.

“I was her cab driver,” I answered.

“If you were only her cab driver then why were you clutching her corpse?”

“I panicked. The poor girl was alive one minute and dead the next. She just wanted to clean up her life, and these heartless thugs killed her.”

“Clean up her life?” She narrowed her eyes.

“She was a drug dealer”

“Is there more?”

“What more do you expect me to know?”

“How about her connection to Paradise Road?”

“What the hell is that?” I scratched my sweaty forehead.

“A drug ring stemming from the dark net,” she said. I leaned back in my chair, causing a creak and folded my droopy eyelids shut, as I pondered on what all she had spoken.

“She said she had been a drug dealer for five years, and wanted out.”

“Why now? Officer May’s voice dropped a few octaves.

“She was tired of the lifestyle”

“It’s strange Angel would tell a complete stranger so much information if she was on the run. Don’t you think Mr. Isles?” officer Mays folded her wide arms over her chest.

“I guess she had to get it off her chest somehow,” I sighed.

“What happened with the criminals that killed her?”

“When I dropped her off, a black car full of masked men pulled up, shot her and sped off.

“How many of them were there?” “I don’t know; I’d say about four.”

“What type of car were they driving?”

“A Ford Focus.”

“When you were driving Angel, were you under the impression she was being followed.” She leaned forward.

“She seemed paranoid when she got in the cab.”

“How so?”

“She kept glancing behind her as if she were waiting on someone.”

“Did she tell you someone was expecting her?” “No, she said she was supposed to deliver six pounds of cocaine”

“Very odd, there were no drugs on her when we searched her possessions”

“That’s what she told me, at least,” I rubbed neck.

“If she wanted out, why didn’t she go to the police?”

“A state trooper pulled me over for driving with my fuel door open, and I advised her to tell him about her situation, but she refused.” My voice cracked, as another whimper burst from my lips.

“Did she say why she refused to get help if she were in such danger?”

“She said something along the lines of “the less I talk the safer I am.” I brushed a tear from my lazy eye.

“That’s unfortunate. Well, Mr. Isles, I’m sorry you were caught in the middle of such a horrific event. You’re free to go,” officer Mays said, staring at me as I stood.

“Thank you officer Mays, and I hope you find whatever scumbag did that to that poor girl.”

“Likewise, have a good evening,” she grinned, then instructed another officer to escort me out. From a distance, I could overhear officer Mays speaking to another officer.

“You really think he’s innocent?” a male voice asked Mays.

“He seemed sincere enough, but the forensic evidence will tell the story.”

“I don’t trust the guy.” he said. Mays chuckled.

“Most cab drivers are oddballs.”

Their voices grew faint as I breathed in the evening autumn air and the pink sunset captured my eyes. Everything that occurred in the past couple of hours raced through my mind: Angel, her killers, and the police. In a matter of seconds, I had been thrust into the middle of a crime scene.

I smirked to myself, as I slipped my hand into my faded jean pocket, retrieving my keys. One of my old weighted dice rolled onto the dusty pavement. It was never my intent for Angel to die, but when she failed to deliver for Paradise Road-the website I founded. Her fate was sealed the minute she opened her mouth. The hit I ordered on her didn’t go according to plan. My henchmen acted faster than I anticipated leaving a trail I was unsure I’d be able to dodge. I would’ve been better driving away, but it was too late for regrets. For now, I’d enjoy my last days cruising the crowded streets as an unassuming cab driver.


I am many things, but good is not one of them.
If you knew the monster that resided behind
These bright eyes you would run and hide.
But instead you believe he can be tamed,
Failing to understand he origins of
such a miscreation.
There’s no need to pretend that what we are is
Normal let alone natural. It would be better for you
To die than to love me, but you do because
Of naivety.