The Cedarville Review 2024

white arch by Angela Lee

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The Cedarville Review 2023-2024

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 1 Foreword with “beyond the arch” by Angela Lee ........................ 3 Creative Nonfi ction with “up” by Angela Lee ........................... 5 Meditation: From Psalm 139 by Anastasia Cook ....................... 6 On Worship by Gabrielle Utrie ......................................... 14 Night Scents by Benjamin G. Konuch ................................. 17 Wh en/ere I Saw by Emily L. Vest ....................................... 19 On Liminality by Haley C. Kollstedt .................................... 22 Ceramics with “dark ends” by Angela Lee .............................. 37 Truths & Lies Mugs by Kaitlyn D. Davis ................................ 38 The Drip Effect by Gabriela M. Bush .................................. 39 In His Hands by Nina Friess ............................................. 40 Table of Contents

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Fiction with “Rocks by the Sea” by Luke W. Smith..................... 41 Dear Jeffey by Adelyn Olson ........................................... 42 Camp Nasworthy by Elise Hunnemeyer ............................... 53 Photography of Place with “Bridge at the New River Gorge” by Luke W. Smith ...................................................................... 61 Parisian Mobility by Brosnan S. Butt ................................... 62 Roman Alleys by Brosnan S. Butt ....................................... 62 Fuji and Sunrise by Brosnan S. Butt .................................... 63 The Opera House by Brosnan S. Butt ................................. 63 Poetry with “Sunset Petals” by Brosnan S. Butt ........................ 65 the gods below by Hannah Shierman ................................. 66 parasite by Justin Kemp................................................. 68 Soundwaves by Brook T. Fetter ........................................ 69 Command (My Magnifi cat) by Grace Thornsbury ................... 71 Scales by Katie G. Handel ............................................... 72 Halls by Jake T. DeVol ................................................... 73 Release by Sierra Ausfahl ............................................... 74 Descartes Heart by Meghan Wells..................................... 75 Devotion: Psalm 16 by Anastasia Cook ............................... 77

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 3 beyond the arch by Angela Lee

4 FOREWORD Foreword I stand on a young tradition as I write this. Since 1996, The Cedarville Review has had the privilege of publishing undergraduate work, a mere blink of the eye of eternity. We have shifted and grown over the years, and I am proud to contribute yet another chapter in the story of this publication, to take up where my predecessors left off. This is not a grand work in the scheme of things. We will not change the world in these pages; it is too large for us to change. But our desire is that these pieces might provide some small illumination for you, our reader, some insight or reminder to worship. For that is one of the key purposes of art, specifi cally Christian art: to direct our eyes above to the Creator and to turn our hearts to worship Him. What small work we can accomplish with this publication is to remind ourselves in the minutia and the grandeur, in the light and the darkness, of the good gift of existence and the grace of God. We hope these pieces will encourage, will strike and convict, and ultimately lead you to worship, not the work, nor the creator of the work, but the Creator of the creator who existed before all things, who sustains all things, and for whom all things were formed. Thus I say, in the tradition of my predecessors and the gospel heart: enter, welcome, and worship. Alayna Drollinger Editor In Chief

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 5 Creative Nonfi ction up by Angela Lee

6 CREATIVE NONFICTION I am in a warm, safe place. There is a nose. Strong potter’s fi ngers reached down, pushed softly in, warmed it, pulled it out and smoothed it down with a forefi nger. He formed the little nostrils around some unknown support, spreading and smoothing to the perfect width and thickness, fi nishing with a little caress, completely unnecessary. Nourishment comes to me. I know not how, nor do I know enough to wonder about it. The baby has eyes it can open in this dark place. Two little beads in the face, forming into concentric circles of color from which a soul can look out. Months before there is anything to see, the Meditation: From Psalm 139 Anastasia Cook baby blinks. Do the eyelashes fl it open when she does, or do they grow in later, like the dusting of hair on the scalp that might not appear until after birth? What does it cost the woman who supports me? There is nausea. Feet fl atten after enough pregnancies. Weight she can’t drop. Iron defi ciencies, gestational diabetes. Blood work. So many needles. All for me to take up that space in her body. I join her bloodstream. In time, I can see lights and shadows. Then something changes. There is pressure, a rush—at least, it must feel like a rush to me, warmed and held in the same small space for nine

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 7 months—and there is light, more than I could imagine existing in the world, and breath. I am a cone-headed, red-faced creature, kicking at random in the vast expanse. I don’t know how to write about the babies who were never born, or never conceived. I only know what came next. My earliest memory is waking up in the back of our red Passat, parallel parked in front of our new house in West Virginia. I knew, waking up, that it was our new house, but if I had only my memory to rely on, I would have no idea where I had come from. I remember the house painter who came periodically after that, and I remember the wallpaper he and my parents left up—cream with delicate diamond patterns traced in red or navy, depending on the room. When I try to look more closely, the shapes blur. I remember walking downstairs with my mom some time later, feeling whiny for some reason and asking her to carry me. She said no, it would hurt her. She was near full-term with my next sister, Eden, who is now twenty years old. I remember the bunk bed I shared with my twin. I remember enjoying how gently I stepped down the ladder in the mornings so that I could be the fi rst one awake, and I remember the crib mattresses we slept on at fi rst, before my parents were comfortable putting us in beds. I remember falling down the porch steps as though I had watched it happen to someone else, the front wheel of my tricycle slipping over the edge and the rest following. Even now, I don’t like to think about how it bounced on the way down.

8 CREATIVE NONFICTION I don’t remember the doctor or resident or man in the waiting room who saw me and said, “She’ll never see out of that eye again.” God be praised, he was wrong. But you can bet my mother still resents it. In our attic, we had a crawl space. No idea what it was supposed to give access to. But before the forbidden expanse of fi berglass insulation began, there was some solid surface, hard and comforting and covered with brown paper. My parents set up a table lamp in that crawl space—it was round, blue and white, and it had dogs on it—and gave us a set of white chalk. The three of us, Theodore, I, and Eden, drew things all over those walls. For some reason, I mostly remember writing basic addition facts, neat, vertical, and correct to my fi ve- or six-year-old mind. I think the compulsion to use the chalk outweighed my lack of a subject. What would someone else have drawn? Would another have reacted differently the time somebody’s foot caught the lamp and the light fell over and out? I remember Eden’s room, directly across from my parents’, diagonal from us. She had pink walls with white wood accents and pastelstriped curtains, while Theodore and I had cream-colored walls with navy curtains and dark wood. I envied the décor, but not the having a room to herself. ~ I don’t know how to write about absence, even when it marks my life. How can I tell you what things should have been when all I know is how they were? I was two years old when my mother had a miscarriage. I have no memory of the event. They thought the baby was a girl, and they meant

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 9 to name her Zoe. That’s all I know. It’s funny—she and Eden would probably have shared that room. There wasn’t another room to put her in except upstairs in the furnished attic, and Mom and Dad wouldn’t have wanted us little ones so far away. Besides, it was good to have a guest room. I can see an alternate childhood, like concept art: one where Eden didn’t try to steal my Breyer horses or Theodore’s Legos because we might not pay attention to her otherwise, one where she and this other little girl whose name meant “life” played with stuffed animals and hung sheets or blankets off their top bunk to make an enclosed litter or carriage or monastic cell, one where her favorite toys shared shelf space with Eden’s and her clothes took up all the space Eden’s had left on the closet rack. Would Eden have been born if Zoe had lived? Would she be herself or someone else? Would Zoe have been brownhaired, brown-eyed, and righthanded, like me, Theodore, and Caleb, or blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and left-handed, like Eden, Joshua, and Noah? Some combination, like Lily, the youngest, who has the hair and eyes of our lefties but writes with her right hand? Would she have decided with Eden that “bad attention is better than no attention,” as my dad would often say? Or, like me, would she prefer to be overlooked than reprimanded? ~ But then, when I was nine, we moved to a larger house several minutes away; Joshua, the fi fth child, had been born, and there wasn’t room for him. With that move, Mom and Dad decided Theodore should have his own bedroom, and Eden and I would move in together. I remember my anger dimly: Eden annoyed me to no end, while

10 CREATIVE NONFICTION Theodore was a wonderful big brother who hardly ever fought with me. We each enjoyed coming each other’s way, I guess—modifying each other’s interests. If he wanted to play a game where we were dinosaurs, we would—only there would be mommy and daddy and baby dinosaurs. If he wanted to play Legos, I did too, as long as my horses could also have something important to do. Eden never got this consideration, and she took to provoking us to get our attention. So there I was, “stuck” with the little sister I had never learned to treat well, with no place of retreat—for who on earth could keep her from following me into Theodore’s room if she wanted to? The memories are already blurring in my mind. Is the Lego store game we played with Theodore’s Bionicle fi gures and everyone’s Webkinz a composite memory, or truly a specifi c instance? How many, many times we “sold” the same weapons to the same fi gures, never deviating from what was on the boxes, never (as well as I can recall—maybe we had a fi ght about it) giving Gresh Kiina’s trident just to do something different. We would cast our Webkinz as characters from PBS Kids shows and parody episodes, especially Martha Speaks. And how would school have shaped her? Would she have been studious and ostracized, like me and Theodore? Would school and friendship have come easily to her, like for Eden in her elementary years? Would prealgebra or literature have given her more trouble? If she had had to read My Antonía in seventh grade, would she have had any better idea what was going on than my class did? If she had had to read Hero’s part in Much Ado about Nothing, what

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 11 would she have done when Claudio denounced her as a wanton? (My reaction was very boring. By the time I fi gured out what was happening, the teacher and other guys in the class had berated him thoroughly.) Eden and I are in college, for crying out loud, she in math and I in English. What would Zoe be up to now? ~ What did God make her to do? Each of my other siblings has had things they love to do, things they fi nd God in: running, writing, catching insects, learning languages, riding horses, piano and harp, dancing, reading, swimming, even arguing. What did God make her for? ~ Until I was about sixteen, there was always somebody under fi ve in my house. Again and again, I watched my mother’s body stretch to accommodate the new life. Then one day she would come home from the hospital with another tiny person in the car seat. I remember the newborn cries when they brought home Lily, the seventh, and the rest of us crowded around to see her. I remember the six of us laughing, laughing because it was so adorable and small and not loud enough to be a nuisance yet. I remember the years when most of our chores involved keeping track of the little ones. And somewhere inside me, I think I can still remember Lily fi rst crying. Her eyes are squeezed shut; her mouth wide open, round and dark; her little hands are fi sts pounding at the air. As though she could shut out the whole world, drown it out with her new lungs.

12 CREATIVE NONFICTION Do I need to tell you that I long to become a mother? I imagine it sometimes—a part of my body distended and tender with new life. I imagine that damp living place where a new personality is nourished and enfl eshed. I envision doctors and nurses explaining my body to me and drawing blood and telling me what not to eat. Food cravings. Morning sickness. I remember a little child, weeks old, whom I saw earlier this week, kicking, working her arms and legs, and trying to talk. Her little dark eyes looked uncomprehendingly at the world—it was all so much—and her face was still red from being born. She had the little baby mittens on, the kind that keeps them from scratching their faces, so I could only see the skin on her head and neck. And I try to grasp something of the glory of sacrifi ce, of laying your life down not just in one moment, but daily and hourly, renouncing even the claim on your own body to let the new life in. And I wait for the day when that little red-faced, wide-eyed, mittened baby will look at me and know me. I wait for the time when I see the wailing newborn and know that he, or she, is mine, that the Lord has given this child to me and we have a claim on one another till death do us part. I wait for the day before that when I will know I am a warm, safe place. ~ “Zoe” is the Greek word for life. It’s the prefi x of “zoology,” the study of a particular kind of life, of profusion, of abundance. When the Septuagint translators had to render the name “Eve”—the mother of all the living—into Greek, they named her Zoe. My dad, a seminary

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 13 graduate with a love for the Old Testament, was convinced that names held predictive power. He and my mother chose our names slowly and prayerfully. And that sister, the one sister who was lost to us, they would have named “Life.” Maybe it fi ts better than I thought. There is a life absent from my story, a character and a richness. And I miss it. I rarely recognize it; all I’ve ever known is the absence, the gap. How can I imagine what it is like to be fi lled? My name means something, too: “Resurrection.” ~ Dying must be like being born. There comes a time, impossible for us to predict, when our bodily supports fail us; when there is darkness, pain, pressure, fear; when we are going whether we will or no and nobody can help us. The rest of us are left looking at the emptiness, and we mistake it for the end.

14 CREATIVE NONFICTION Once in high school I was at a youth leader’s house for a girl’s night, and we were playing the compliment game where we went around in a circle, giving compliments to a chosen person before turning the affection to the next person. Most of the girls were crying from an overdose of sentiment. When it got to my turn, I nodded along as my brain felt clogged with sniffl ing noses, layers of side whispers, and creaking chairs and fl oorboards. During the round, my youth leader told me she loved how I worshiped— how I closed my eyes and swayed. I smiled with tight lips and thanked her. But the thanks tasted bitter. On Worship Gabrielle Utrie Because I wasn’t going to tell her that I dreaded worship time. Or that I wasn’t doing those things unconsciously because I was lost in the Spirit. I closed my eyes because the clatter of too many instruments and the burning of too-bright lights threatened to make my brain melt every Sunday. I swayed because, in lieu of covering my ears and making a fool of myself, I needed some way to counteract and regulate against the overwhelming rush of sounds. My coping had been recast as holiness. Christians aren’t supposed to dislike worship services. I constantly hear other Christians my age talk about how worship services feel rejuvenating and how they look

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 15 forward to going to worship nights— even staying longer to sing extra songs. I wish I could leave worship rested rather than exhausted. I wish my mind didn’t scream against live music and crowded spaces. I wish community worship wasn’t bolted behind environments that I struggle to cope with. We’re told to make a joyful noise. I struggle to rejoice at the crackle of speakers, pounding bass music I can feel through the bottom of my shoes, fl ashing white and blue lights, the low buzz of conversations in the row behind me, shrieking electric guitars, the press of bodies around me, the waves of heat and sweat that clog my throat like cotton, and music so loud that it doesn’t sound like music anymore. Just clanging. But there are some sounds that I do rejoice over. The way my roommate says my name when she hasn’t seen me all day, choruses of clacking laptop keys as my friends and I write together, my boyfriend’s voice as he sings hymns, rain pounding, thunder rumbling, Rachel’s cackles through our shared wall, my rabbit’s honks, my cat’s chirps, Alayna’s cadence as she reads stories she’s written, the laughtersoaked way my aunt says “oh my gosh, that’s hilarious” after a funny anecdote, nails clicking rhythmically against wood, toad croaks, cicada songs, the chickadee’s “kay-dee, kay-dee,” the scratch of ink across notebook paper, the snap of my grandpa’s motor brand playing cards as they’re shuffl ed together, the jumbled greetings and goodbyes from my parents over a video call, the rapping of lake water against the boat house’s algaed concrete, muffl ed ukulele notes through the dorm wall, crackling embers that

16 CREATIVE NONFICTION chase my cousins from the campfi re, the garage door of my house opening at 6:30 P.M. on weeknights. If I could make a worship song out of those, I would gladly dedicate the best sounds of humanity to the Lord.

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 17 Did you know that the night has a scent? It's not even a true smell, not really. It's not something exact, or unique, that you can put your fi nger on. In fact, it’s more like a combination of feelings that the night air carries than anything. For me, it's the coolness of the night air touching your face. The silence of the world, broken only by crickets. The hint of rain and the smell of wet. A lighter, cleaner air fl owing through your lungs as you breathe. The slight smell of tea leaves and green olives. And above it all, there is the solitude of seeming to be the only one awake to take it all in. The freedom, the loneliness, and the overwhelming Night Scents Benjamin G. Konuch sense of quiet and peace, something just like this. These scents, these feelings, they bring back fl oods of memories. The late-night calls, creeping into the kitchen to grab snacks. The reading of books under covers, or watching TV with the sound down low. Talking to God while crying your eyes out. Video calls with a best friend. Sneaking outside to watch the sunrise. YouTube and iced tea. Pringles and Gotham. Bleeding in a bathroom. Laughing in a study. These are the memories that come back to me, what I think of, when I take in the night's scent. Some nights, I hide from it and keep the

18 CREATIVE NONFICTION bedroom window bolted shut. But some nights, I'll open the window wide and lay awake to breathe in the memories and the experiences carried by the scent. Sometimes, I'll remember the night air and how it smells.

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 19 Contributor's Note: “Wh en/ere I Saw” explores childhood imagination. While the fairies, mermaids, and wind spirits in my piece are fi ctional, the experiences are real; as a kid, I had believed I actually saw these magical creatures throughout my life—and there were many others. Writers can play with the boundaries of creative nonfi ction, and this piece seeks to show one way to do this. Wh en/ere I Saw Emily L. Vest 37° 39' 56.48" N, 80° 59' 56.39" W I heard a fairy in the mountains of Jumping Branch. Wandering from the American Chestnut shelter in the fi eld where Grandpa fed the bonfi re and Grandma fed my baby sister, pushing past branches of poplar and hickory and maple and gum tree leaves, delving deeper into the brush that pricked at my skin, I left— because I heard it. I know I did. A tinkling of bells. A whisper. A spot of light caught at my eyes, shining on my irises, pulling my gaze until I saw a sprite’s silhouette through a green-veined oak leaf, hovering. The breeze slowed, the shadow lowered onto a tallow, and I

20 CREATIVE NONFICTION held the moment and my breath as tiny fi ngers began to pull back the green curtain. My Grandma called, I turned away, I turned back, the fairy was gone. I returned to the fi eld with air of smoke and fresh grass, with the sound of popping wood and fl agpole clinking. But the next morning I went back, I built a house of sticks and moss, lined a garden path of stream pebbles, and set a feast of almonds and raspberries in acorn bowls. 47° 28' 39.55" N, 11° 4' 47.9" E I saw a mermaid in the lake of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. While parents sat at round tables through day-long lectures, the caretakers boarded the children on yellow buses and granted a trip to the mermaid lagoon if we behaved. They lined us at the fence overlooking Rießersee Lake with tugs at coats and nags in the ears of little boys who got too close to the edge. They told us to look for the tip of the mermaid’s tail. She’s there by the rock, they promised. Look, don’t you see the ripples in the water there? Shouts and laughter and cheers from everyone but me. I followed chapped fi ngers pointing, took my fur-lined hood down, squinted against the sun shining off the snowy cliffs, but boarded the bus again without a glimpse of her. Putting my hands over my ears, letting a tear fall freely, glaring out the gritty window, I let the frame’s cold metal seep into the skin of my arm as I leaned as far as I could from the outroar of children chattering about mermaids. They never saw her. The caretakers made it up. But there—a shadow!

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 21 I wiped my eyes and pressed my whole face against the glass. A splash in the river running alongside the rubber wheels, a sparkle of scales and the cascade of fl owing hair, a chime or a chirp or a laugh, I heard it. Not the tip of a tail—an imagined sight—but the entire silhouette of her as she swam and kept pace with us. I tugged on the girl’s arm next to me, but she did not see what I saw. Before the river turned gray and murky again, I waved and whispered thanks. 44° 2' 22.9" N, 75° 48' 37.32" W I felt wind spirits in the forests of Fort Drum. I kept pressed to the slatted fence behind my eighth childhood home and followed silently behind the boys who destroyed mine and my friends’ tree fort we named Walla Walla. It had taken days, hammers, nails, ropes, makeshift pulleys, beams, fathers’ help, sweat, and splinters to make our home in the woods, and only an absent afternoon and some spray paint to scatter it. I witnessed the aftermath, just as they congratulated each other and turned to leave. I couldn’t stop them, couldn’t make them pay, but I could follow and tell their mothers. Learn the identities of the teenagers who wrecked our haven. My boots dodged the dry leaves, my breaths kept even, and my eyes never left the turned backs of the boys in front of me before a gust whipped my hair in my face, static in the air threatening a storm, and two fi gures became none as they turned the corner and were taken by the breeze. I caught up, rounded the fence, saw an empty clearing with nowhere for cover. Where else could they have gone? What else could it have been but magic?

22 CREATIVE NONFICTION Your footsteps reverberate as you weave your way through this maze of summer-tees. A heap of eclectic items weighs on your forearm: that random pink pair of capris, a fl oral, tapered top that you know already you’re not going to like, and— You pause. Your chin tilts up over the eyelevel signpost reading, “50% off, store closing.” You step around it, assuming this store would be shutting its doors sooner or later. It’s JCPenney, after all. Their net sales fell over 3.4% last year. They fi led for bankruptcy back in 2020. The fact that the doors of this very establishment are still open is incredible. On Liminality Haley C. Kollstedt You enter the empty space between the clothing racks and the yawning gateway into the mall. The mall. Your arm goes limp. A slug of denim slips off your elbow and slouches onto the fl oor. You don’t pick it up right away. Your breathing slows as a whiff of stale retail breaches your thoughts with surprising potency. Tiles pave a swollen corridor, extending past your line of sight and forming a symmetrical river between steelbarred storefronts—closed for the day. To your right, a pair of frozen escalators crawl up to the fl oor above. An off-green glow penetrates

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 23 the glass roof and drowns the open space. You can't explain it, but there's a tug. You long to walk those frosted fl oors, sneakers thudding in the quiet. You want nothing more than to bask in solitude, to simply exist in this time and space. At peace. Forlorn. American indoor malls are a fading phenomenon—not quite alive, but not dead either. Besides you and a handful of employees, there’s not much life in the building. Yet somehow, it breathes. The air conditioner shrieks to life. In the distance, a set of footsteps thrum against the threshold. They crescendo. Someone is coming. You gather your jeans from the ground, prepare to head back into the store, and then— nothing. Silence. Maintenance, you tell yourself, trying not to shiver. You can't help but think of winter nights of the past, padding home after sledding with the girl down the street. The girl down the street, however, had already waddled back through her front door, snow bibs dribbling slush across her mother's fl oor. You were all alone. Powder squelched beneath your boots as you traversed the trackless road. Your old footprints were covered already. How much time had passed? You couldn’t quite say. Twenty minutes? Two hours? You found yourself asking if this was even your street. You knew it was, of course. Yet— had you even been here before? Everything looked so different in a monochrome world. Had you taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way? You squinted into the haze. Up ahead, a lamppost illuminated the space

24 CREATIVE NONFICTION between your home and where you stood. Your mailbox glistened. Three numbers winked against the white— your address: 434. With a rattling breath, you exhaled in relief. In your heart, you whispered a silent prayer, Thank you, God. Your feet quickened as they hit the driveway. Home. You couldn’t get back soon enough—warmth, light, hot cocoa, family. You blink back into the present— mid-September. The mall. A woman’s voice echoes across the void. “Attention all shoppers. The time is now 7:54. The mall will be closing in 6 minutes. Please complete all purchases and make your way to the exit immediately.” 7:54. What an odd time to be making an announcement. Perhaps she meant to do it at 7:55 but was a minute early and didn’t want to lie about the clock. She couldn’t get the words out fast enough. She wanted to fi ll the awkward gap between the mall’s active hours and the end of her shift. Could she have been speaking directly to you? Your chest infl ates with a mix of guilt and panic. You shouldn’t be here anymore. The employees want to lock up. What will they say if they fi nd you here, just staring, zombifi ed, waiting for the satisfaction that you always expect to fi nd in a place like this, but never do? In just a few minutes, that woman will have every reason to believe she is alone. But at this moment in time, the mall’s population is uncertain. Despite you yourself being a straggling customer and, henceforth, the very source of her discomfort, you sympathize with her unease. There is something so haunting about intermediate time and space.

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 25 Between your bedroom and the bathroom, between the basement fl oor and the landing on the stairs, between your closet and your bed. You don’t know why, but you always run. You can’t bring yourself to climb into bed. You have to jump. You bolt up the basement stairs as soon as your fi nger leaves the light switch. Click. The hallways at night are vacant, almost empty. You are a postmidnight dweller. You don’t mean to, but you lie awake into the pre-hours of the morning. The sun has not risen, but it’s far, far too deep into darkness to call it night. No term exists for these hours between 12 and 6 am. They cannot be labeled. They have no substance worthy of naming. They are simply liminal—trapped between the passing of one day into the next. Already morning, but not yet dawn. Perhaps this explains the human tendency to diurnality. The idea of being awake and alone, with nothing but shadows and one’s own thoughts to keep them company, can be terrifying. Despite being uneasy in the dark, however, you brave it. The appeal of it outweighs the fear. You aren’t afraid of isolation. Contemplation scares you at times, but you engage in it anyway, bouncing from thought to thought until it all becomes too heavy. Your eyelids droop, and you fade off into an unconscious fog. You don’t understand the paradox of your psyche. The concept of liminality frightens you, and yet, you long for it. The mall’s belly grumbles as the air conditioner sputters to a stop. It reminds you of an old man’s smoke-garbled cough. You stiffen, pondering the possibility that someone is watching you. Nevertheless, as you stand between

26 CREATIVE NONFICTION a dying JCPenney and its mother mall, you can’t help but mourn for the impending moment when you’re going to have to leave. With clammy fi ngers, you trace the stitch that runs down the front of the folded top you’d plucked from one of the many sale racks here in the store. There’s no point staying here. You forgot how soon the place closed for the day. There’s no time to even check out, let alone try anything on. You kick yourself for it, always letting time slip through the cracks. You don’t want to admit the truth to anyone, especially not to yourself. You didn’t come here for the clothes. The clothes were an excuse for you to bask in the empty quiet. There’s something about it that draws you back every time. Could it be the nostalgia? The solitude? The eerie hush that gives you just enough thrill to trigger a dopamine hit? Malls are places that never seem to change. You were here before, as a tiny thing, when you were small enough to fi t into every plastic cubby of the play area in the north wing. Your mamma would buy you a cookie at the end of the day, if you were good. You close your eyes and listen to the white murmur of moving air. If you let yourself dream, you can still hear the distant shouts of children on that indoor playground, clasping hands with their siblings, giggling in that scripted way that they do. You shouldn’t be here anymore. Who are you? Twenty years old, spaced out in an old mall doing absolutely nothing? You have things to do, responsibilities, school, a relationship. The past has come and gone. You would never give up your independence to be a child again.

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 27 Your whole adult life lies just up ahead. Ahead. Your throat constricts. In St. Louis, Missouri, there’s an old rusty factory called the Lemp Brewery Co. Once, on a trip, you took a ghost tour through this establishment. The time spent in the actual brewery was minimal. The tour guide led you through the brewery’s front door, fl icked on a lantern, and opened up another door for you and your fellow tourists. Like a creaky jaw, this door opened into a basement. Shadows oozed out from the stairway and contaminated the upper room where you stood. The only light on the premises emanated from the humming fl uorescents above your head. They fl ickered as you crept down the steps. Each footfall brought you down, down, down… into the musty depths. Each step carried you further and further away from what little light you had left. With a heart tight up against your esophagus, you fi nally hit solid ground. The dampened staircase gave way to concrete. Or perhaps stone? You couldn’t quite tell. Your feet smacked the ground far too soon. Pop. Your mind drifts back to the present. You still need to fi nd a place to set down all these clothes you’re not going to purchase. You should go. You need to get out of here. Do you really want to have that awkward confrontation with the mall police? What if they lock the doors early? What if you can’t get out? Of course, that’s irrational. You know it’s irrational. Still though, you’ve always had this strange anxiety about sand trickling through the hourglass. You watch it slide until every single grain has mounded up into a rounded

28 CREATIVE NONFICTION cone. And then, with a surge of panic, you fl ip over the glass and begin again. Above the escalators, something catches your eye. A grid of overhead fl oodlights fl ashes off. Only evening’s chalky glint lights the premises. You peer up into the skylights and ponder the weak impact of natural illumination. Come to think of it, you hadn’t even noticed the lights were on. You’d just assumed it was only the windows that brought the mall to life. But now, you see that with a fl ip of a switch, every store has become a void. You peer into the “Journeys” to your left and the “Hot Topic” to your right. They stare back at you like empty eye-sockets of a corpse. Beyond them, the lower corridor trails into shadow. You can hardly read the storefronts. Darkness has overcome the light. There is no telling what may lie within those barred storefronts, behind the doors at either end of the hallway, or in the shaded depths around the bend of your childhood street. When you were young, you were afraid of monsters. Anything could lurk in the dark— faceless entities, the boogeyman, a ghost perhaps. As you grow, the possibilities morph. Imagination dulls, but fear escalates. It begins to seep out from under closed doors, around the dark corners. It leaves you alone to think, to wonder about what was, and what is, what could possibly be. For the fi rst time today, you think about death. This mall isn’t dead, you know that. It’s just sleeping until 10 am when it opens up again. You think about the employees, that woman who’d been making the announcements over the speakers.

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 29 Does she fear death? Does she feel it closing in, sucking this recycled air right out of the premises? Does she ever wonder if one morning, the sleeping mall won’t wake up? Perhaps bankruptcy, like a thief in the night, will wrap these walls in eternal shade. The whole place will become like one massive Sears—a mere skeleton of what once was, an empty rib cage where dry-wall crumbles from the ceiling like fragments of bone—a refuge for rats, troubled teens, homeless addicts, and ghosts. You don’t want to admit it, but the concept of dying scares you. Of course you believe in the beyond. You’re not supposed to be alarmed by your own heart stuttering out, or the darkening of the American Economy, or the liminal highway between this world and the next. Nevertheless, you can’t help it. The scent of death swells in your lungs with every breath: thrownout leftovers from the food court, mothballs hiding in old clothes, a hint of cigarette smoke. Perhaps death doesn’t always mean the extinction of a life. What about the end of an era? Fleeting summer days fading into Autumn. September. The passing of one day into the next. The last goodbye you say before leaving an old friend. Will you ever see them again? Will you ever get this moment back? What about the girl down the street with whom you used to go sledding? You used to be good friends—best friends. But then, time and change dissolved the former bond. One day, you were just neighbors, waving to each other occasionally when you’d pass on the road, driving in opposite directions. Back in St. Louis, the air reeked of mortality. Unlike in the mall,

30 CREATIVE NONFICTION there were no skylights in the Lemp Brewery tunnels. The tour guide’s fl ashlight soaked the proximate walls in greenish milk. Flaking pipes and lumpy concrete lined the ceiling over your head. The guide shot his light forward, where the cave stretched for miles—quite literally, miles. You didn’t know when it was going to end. It wasn’t confi ned to the property of the Lemp Brewery. It extended beneath many structures, too many for you to count. It snaked its way beneath the bustling streets, laughing couples, singing children, restaurants, bars, shops, tourists like you. Here these tunnels lay, the underbelly of the metropolitan, the vestigial organ of the city. And there you stood. Your body shuddered. The cold slapped you with an invisible fog. You zipped up your jacket. Your teeth chattered, and your heart throbbed like the machines high above you that used to pump beer. You didn’t want to go forward. This was all too much– the blackness, the sense of solitude, the sickening air of death. You glanced around at the group of complete strangers beside you. They were so unfamiliar to you that they might as well not be there. They didn’t react to the subtle drips that left you so on edge, or the wisps of unexplained breeze that every now and then would waft behind your ears. They were so oblivious to this underground world that they’d become a part of it like cardboard cutouts on a one-hundred-year-old movie set. Despite the lover-of-night that you are, you knew you didn’t belong here. You wouldn’t be able to stand it much longer. The guide’s tales had everybody riveted, but you found it hard to pay attention. He

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 31 droned on about the rumors here of ghosts. Poor Mary White, for instance. Her abductor kept her here, somewhere in this winding maze. She fought hard. She cried out for rescue. She screamed until no sound could escape her lips. And then, her heart gave out. Her spirit seeped into eternity. Just like that, there’d been a fall. The air was so heavy you could barely breathe. Like smoke, it squeezed the breath from your lungs. You coughed. The walls coughed back at you. You jumped. Your hand fl ew up to your chest. You closed your eyes and exhaled. The echo faded. The tour pressed forward. You forced yourself to take a step. One step and then another. You hung back, setting a solid ten feet between the rest of the group and yourself. The fl ashlight fl ickered as human footsteps ticked. You became like a clock, twitching forward without an aim in the world. Perhaps you would just keep walking all night long. Perhaps night would fade to dawn, dawn to day, day to evening, and you would have no idea—wandering in this bunker of eternal dusk. There’s a part of you that longed for answers. Where were you going? Was there a reason the ghost tour went down into this cavernous system of basements? Were you headed towards some sort of epicenter? But then there was the rest of you that didn’t want to know anything. The mere echo of a destination in this chasm was enough to make you tremble. You’d rather be cursed to wander. The guide launched into another ghost story. All at once, you jump. Your heart leaps. You shake yourself back into the mall.

32 CREATIVE NONFICTION Something is off. There’s a light in the corridor—a moving spotlight. Someone is coming. You clutch your chest, breath held. The effulgence washes over a storefront. You make out its name: “Forever 21.” For just another minute—just one more minute—you reminisce on St. Louis. And now, you’ve traveled deeper into the tunnels. The room widened. It opened up into a yawning space where concrete gave way to cobblestone. Along the wall, you noticed an open archway. For the fi rst time since you’d headed down into the labyrinth, you felt the tug of curiosity. It pulled so hard that your breath shortened, eyes brightened. What lies back there? Secret rooms? Ancient treasures? You needed to know. Time is like this too. It makes you feel the same way. You want to know where it’s going, what it’s doing. You want control over the future. You want to know that everything is going to turn out just fi ne. You lack autonomy in the grand pulse of the universe, but every now and then you’ll have moments like these. You’ll see a tunnel in the wall, or a door in the back of the classroom that you’ve never noticed, a dark hallway, or a deer path behind a shady thicket. There’s something about these places that scares you. They’re going somewhere. You are going somewhere. To exist in them, you have to accept your place between one world and the next. Between living and dying. Between faith and fear. Between ten and thirty.

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 33 You approached the archway, took a breath, and—snapped back into reality. Your daydream fades. The mall brightens. Adrenaline sharpens your vision. Someone is coming. Rubber shoes squeak against the fl oor. They crescendo. You clutch your unbought clothes as if, at any moment, you could fl y away and leave them behind. You exhale. Without giving another thought to the wonderful world you’re leaving at your back, you turn and walk back into JCPenney. Up ahead, next to the nearest changing room, you spot a half-collapsed rolling rack and deposit your clothes. Your arms fl oat with the relief of putting them down. You hadn’t realized how heavy they were, how many outfi ts had accumulated over your shopping trip. You pause for a moment between the changing room doorway and the new line of fall fl annels that are, like everything else, astronomically marked down. A din escalates over your head. You turn your face to the ceiling. This isn’t the startling roar of the AC unit, but a different kind of white noise—a gentle roll echoing through the store. Rain. It reminds you, somehow, of the St. Louis tunnel—the hum of moving air through such a vast, underground space. Your mind returns to the ghost tour, where you stepped beneath the arch as the tour guide’s fl ashlight illuminated the bricks over your head. You noticed the cracked mortar between them. After a hundred years, it still held the structure in place. You marveled.

34 CREATIVE NONFICTION As you entered this new room, something changed. There was dampness to the air, not like the cold musk of the place where you came from, but a genuine humidity that ushered in warmth. Tiny streams of water rushed towards your toes. You winced as they seeped into your shoes. And then, your face tilted upward. That’s when you saw it. There was a shaft of light—yellow gold spilling into the gloom. You gasped. Relief fell upon your shoulders, heavier than the shadows of this maze, but light enough to lift your feet from the ground. Up ahead was a staircase. At its summit—a cracked-open door. You didn’t hesitate this time. You could hardly hear the guide when he announced the conclusion of the tour and beckoned the group forward. Your ears buzzed with anticipation. There was no apprehension, despite not knowing where you were going once you entered the glow. Desperation burned in the back of your throat. Something greater waited for you up there—something far more appealing than anything the world below could ever offer. And so, you ran. With each stride, you lifted your knees, higher and higher. You skipped a step, and then two. You practically fl ew. And then— You panic. You rocket back into the present and grip the handle of the JCPenney exit door. You pull as hard as you can. The door rattles. It won’t budge. Your heart bubbles up into your throat. You turn to the desk at your rear. There’s no cashier. You yank the stainless steel as hard as you can. Your breath shortens. Your eyes well. Outside, a stitch of lightning zips across the sky. In your mind, you scream help. The words won’t leave

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 35 your mouth. Will anyone ever hear you? Will anyone ever fi nd you? You stop, press your back against the door, and mutter a silent prayer— “Somebody help me.” Hopelessness. More heavy breathing. You can hardly feel the air entering and leaving your lungs anymore. They’ve gone numb. Your heart falls like a mountain into the sea. All at once, you freeze. At your rear, there’s a clatter of footsteps. They approach. Closer and closer. Jogging, and then running. They reverberate over the rain. With a thousand muscle fi bers letting go at once, you lean your head against the door, and exhale. Sheer solace swells with each breath. Rapturous joy reddens your sallowed face, and tears stream down your cheeks. Suddenly embarrassed, you wipe them from your eyes. Thank you, God. Someone is coming.


THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 37 dark ends by Angela Lee Ceramics

38 CERAMICS Truths & Lies Mugs Kaitlyn D. Davis Contributor's Note: As I began this project, I thought about the conversations my close friends and I have about our struggles, which are often over coffee or tea. These conversations are safe but can be painful and raw as we dive past the surface into our deeper lives. Often, the struggles we discuss are rooted in lies that Satan uses to attack God’s children. As believers, we are supposed to have fellowship where we can confess our brokenness and point each other back to God’s truth. For this project, I created 15 pairs of mugs displaying Satan’s lies and God’s corresponding truth. The lies displayed are based on the real struggles of real people. The mug pairs are intended to provide an opportunity for believers to have deep and vulnerable conversations to discuss Satan’s lies and the truth God reveals.

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 39 Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for usto do." The Drip Eff ect Gabriela M. Bush

40 CERAMICS Matthew 10:29-32 (ESV) “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” In His Hands Nina Friess

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 41 Fiction Rocks by the Sea by Luke W. Smith

42 FICTION Dear Jeffey, Someone once told me that everything we see is really just a bunch of pictures or snapshots strung together like some elaborate stop-motion. ‘Course, I know it’s all rubbish now, but when I was a kid, I really believed it. Something about it enchanted me, I guess, and I used to watch the stars shift across the sky at midnight. I wasn’t supposed to be awake, but I didn’t realize it was wrong, you know? I just wanted to watch each moment and each star. I’m a long way from that now. Out here in Chicago, you can hardly see them even if you want to. And most people don’t. They’ve got some Dear Jeff ey Adelyn Olson other business to do, I suppose. Phone calls to make, taxis to hail, arguments to be had, late night meetings. But I still like to look for them, somewhere up there, hiding behind skyscrapers. Somewhere outside all this stone and metal and smoke. I’m thinking someday I can get there, you know? That beautiful place, where you’re free and safe and happy. But anyway, on this night there weren’t any stars to be seen. Not one, Jeffey. It kinda scared me because I knew it was storm clouds covering them up, and I’ve never much liked storms. Not since… well you remember, Jeffey, back when we were little. This night I was out

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 43 real late, walking the streets like I had some business to be about. I guess I didn’t really but I wanted to pretend. I wanted to pretend I had some special place to be or person to see, you know? So I walked and walked, passing all these people in long coats and long faces. I fi gured I was hungry and stopped at this little bar with a funny yellow neon sign. It was called “The Crooked Dog” and had this poor, golden, drooping dog hanging below the name. Pretty weird sign if you ask me. I pushed on in and sat at the bar, scuffed up wood and coffee rings all over. The guy behind it was scowling something awful. I fi gured he must hate his job, cause of all the creases on his forehead. I mean I would too, with all the junk he’s gotta listen to. I made up my mind not to bother him with all my troubles. I ordered a water and a sandwich so he wouldn’t say I looked too young. Though he might’ve anyway. I don’t take after Dad and a good thing too. I was minding my own business when this big hulking guy with patched elbows stormed in, all dramatic and crazy. You could tell he was mad right off, the way his nostrils quivered, and his eyes widened and squinted every couple seconds. He kept clenching his briefcase like he was gonna snap it to pieces. You know, Jeffey, just like Dad used to. There weren’t many people in there, but we all looked up startled. He stood there for a second then landed at the bar a couple stools down from me. I kinda edged away (I was careful, Jeffey, I really was) cause I didn’t want to get mixed up in anything. But I don’t know, I guess this guy really needed someone to talk to and the bartender wasn’t giving him anything, so he turned