There was something haunting about the sign. Something that glued my eyes to it each night as I attempted to fall asleep. Mum used to close my curtains before I went to bed. Nobody closes them anymore. “Thank you. Come back soon”, as if everyone could come back. As if some cursive writing on a slimy red apple would allow anyone to come back.
The town I live in is quaint and delicate. The type that people would only come across if they need a pit-stop during a road trip. It looks as if the sky cracked open and out came an ocean of yellow paint. The flowers, the cars, and the eyes. We aren’t some group of sci-fi monsters, though some days it feels like we are, for some reason sixty percent of people just have yellow eyes in our town. Mustard yellow, bright and piercing, impossible to be mistaken as green. Cartoon cat’s eyes yellow; I hate cats.
The sign is adjacent to a graveyard with more tomb stones than residents in this town. I took this photo, he is supposedly the one behind this golden epidemic. With each accident, another dandelion flower appears. Death must be yellow.
Story by Stella Aldrich
This is the man we saw at the apple farm. I don’t know why but my daughter took this photo of him. He dressed classy, with a blue suit. He reminded me a little of Al Capone. He was cheesy but funny. We had a fun time at the apple farm. There were so many different colored apples. Red, green, yellow, even some that were all three. It was beautiful. The air was fresh and crisp. The year was 1967, the summer of love. You can only imagine all the hippies there, enjoying the fresh nature, and the delicious apples. Who wouldn’t enjoy a trip down to the apple farm. The grass was so green with small but beautiful daffodils. We sat they’re eating all our delicious, fresh picked apples, just lying on the grass talking and laughing. This photo brings back so many memories. The significance of a photo never fails to mesmerize me by capturing a cherished moment.
Story by Angelique Sandoval
There he stands in front of the sign. Smug. Mayor of Podunk. Mr. Big in Smallsville. Always dressed like he was going to a funeral. Got to make a good image, he said. “Thank You. Come Back Soon” the sign says. He designed it. He had it built. Talked someone into donating it. Why pay if you can get someone to give it to you. Think of the impression it will make and business it will bring he told them. Arm twisting. Coercion, but subtle. Smarmy, I thought, with that red heart and frou-frou lettering. And those cheap porch posts from the lumber store. He had one placed at each edge of town. Get ’em coming and going, he said. He didn’t mean it; not really. Well, maybe if you were a nice white family with well-behaved kids and you kept your grass mowed and your dog didn’t bark too loud and you were conservative and Protestant. Even better if you were Pentecostal. Otherwise, not so much. Maybe nothing overt, no real harassment or hassle. But if you knew him you knew it was there. The cops knew what he expected. They knew what would happen if they didn’t follow the rules. Still, in his mind, appearance was most important. He believed his own stories. The fact that his children avoided him and his grandchildren were afraid of him and he yelled at his wife and called her worthless were side issues. Don’t talk about it to anyone or you’ll really get it. Wide berth. “Come Back Soon” the sign says. I made it out, Granddaddy. No, I won’t.
Story by Steven Yancey