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**PRINT: Amanda Yskampís THE SENTRY, broadsheet no. 36, marks the third in a series we're publishing leading into celebration of THE2NDHANDís 10+ years of publishing with "All Hands On: THE2NDHAND After 10," in fund-raising mode through Feb. 16. The pit bull in "The Sentry" stands guard in a robust section of new work that leads the "All Hands On" collection. Yskamp lives in and writes from the 10-year floodplain of California's Russian River. Her work has been featured in, among other magazines, Threepenny Review, Hayden Review, Caketrain, Redivider, and the Georgia Review. The issue also features illustrations by longtime T2H illustrator Andrew Davis and Nashville wood-block printmaker Martin Cadieux, whose THE2NDHAND block was used in custom prints of envelopes housing collections of broadsheets from our 10-year history.

**TXT: A PATCHWORK PILLOW T.J. McIntyre
MY PRETZEL HAS EYES Pitchfork Battalion
WING & FLY: 'LEAK' IS THE NEW 'PRESS RELEASE' | Todd Dills
MAYBE MAYBE Brian Warfield
STORMS Nick Ostdick
ARCHITECTURAL DIGESTION Garrett Socol
THE DETECTIVE DRIVES HOME Matt Pine
THE GIRLS TALK TO HER LIKE IT'S NOTHING Dominique Holmes
KOAN Ed Taylor
HIDEOUS BOUNTY: SEA SNAKE | Andrew Davis


A PATCHWORK PILLOW
  ---
T.J. McIntyre

McIntyre writes from a busy household in rural Alabama. His poems and short stories have been featured in numerous publications, including recent or forthcoming appearances in Moon Milk Review, M-Brane SF, The Red Penny Papers, and Illumen. A debut poetry collection, Isotropes: A Collection of Speculative Haibun, came out in 2010. He writes a monthly column for the Apex Books Blog, regularly contributes to Skull Salad Reviews, and can also be found on http://southernweirdo.wordpress.com.

Craig lost his way and we never saw him again.

***
Frank was one of the seven. He swooped through the empty tunnels seeking out life. He refused to give up. To give up would be to concede defeat. To give up would be to accept that there had been no point to his struggle.

His wings ached, but he fought the urge to rest.

***
Charles lounged in his hidden chamber. The revolution raged far outside, but he was protected from those sights and sounds by ten feet of stone wall covered by thick carpets of elaborate design. Here in his underground kingdom he was safe at last, safe from the chaos and insanity erupting in the world above: the world he had left behind, the world created by his own youthful neglect.

***
Sharice sat on the stoop watching the dealers drive by in their luxury sedans. Only two kinds of folks drove cars like that: dealers and old folks. The men driving by were not old. She heard the thump of bass blaring from their car radios. She knew she could pull over any one of them and score. Her hands shook. She wrapped her arms around her knobby bare knees to stop her legs from performing their restless dance. She watched the cars go by and felt something similar to hunger, but knew she could not indulge that appetite.

Last time she nearly lost herself.

***
Craig had left us all behind.

It was a simple overnight canoeing trip, no different than the others we had shared together that summer after high school. While sitting around our campfire, we had talked about what we were going to do next. Jim was heading off to community college, Gary to the military, and I was planning on taking my chances in New York and hoping to form a band. Craig sat silent listening to us talk. He drank a little more than normal, inhaled a little bit longer, and popped an extra Oxy, but he was no more messed up than the rest of us.

When asked his plans, he shrugged. "I haven't really thought about the future." He laughed, but his eyes looked unhappy. Looking back, those were prophetic words. We were just too messed up to understand.

***
The muscles on Frank's wings stiffened. He glided through the shadows, listening to the water drip all around him into the thin flowing aqueduct below. His ears twitched, the tiny hairs on his earlobes standing on edge, searching the air for any new vibrations.

Other than the rats and cockroaches, he appeared to be all alone. The other seven had told him there was no one left, but he didn't believe them. He refused to accept such a disappointment.

He locked his wings and glided.

***
Charles wondered where he had gone wrong. The people had loved him. He remembered his childhood coronation: the applause, the jubilation. He remembered how they had hailed him, and he had bowed to them. He had felt so proud of that humbling gesture, thought of it as such a treat for his subjects. But they appreciated nothing. No amount of formal humility would appease them. The world had fallen apart and they blamed him.

Didn't they know he had no power? Didn't they know he was not at fault?

Still they battered at the doors high above his hideaway. No sound made it through the insulation, but he could feel each battering of the iron doors like the beating of his heart.

***
Unable to watch the parade of cars any longer, her cravings growing unbearable, Sharice walked back inside. She walked up the stairs and down the hall that led to her apartment. She heard couples fighting and babies crying behind the closed doors on either side of her. One of the doors opened and a woman wearing only a nightgown and rollers in her hair yelled profanities after a scrawny white boy who ran out in front of her. Sharice smiled as she sidestepped and watched him run down the hall in nothing but his birthday suit.

She walked into the apartment she shared with her mother and sat down on the sofa, being careful to avoid the spot where she could get stuck by a spring poking up through the fabric. She turned on the television but only got static. No one had paid the cable bill. That bill was the least of their worries.

She picked up a pillow, a thing made out of scrap fabric she had rescued from the garbage can at the local craft store. She fingered the stitches holding the patchwork pillow together. Her handiwork made her smile. A whole made from many.

She rested her head on the patchwork pillow and dreamed.

***
We called his name over and over, again and again. Craig never answered. Our voices echoed off the granite canyon walls. The river roared, raging with white froth, angry and swollen after the recent storm.

We knew he had decided to tackle it alone. His canoe was gone. He was the type to ride the waves where they took him, even if they crashed him against the rocks.

***
Frank got a cramp in his wings. He tried to shake it off, and when he did so, a joint locked up. He crashed down into the fetid water. A viscous torrent poured over him, cementing his feathers together. It wasn't water flowing over him. The other Seven had not told him of this, but they had warned him of danger. Fighting the current, he was upset he had not listened.

Thankfully, the pool was shallow and he was able to stand. He worked his way against the current to a concrete walkway and pulled himself out of the water. Weak, he lay gasping, the side of his face touching the concrete ground. The floor felt gritty against his smooth skin. He tried to lift a wing, gave it his strongest effort, strained until tiny blue veins throbbed on his forehead, but he was unable to make either wing move.

Hardened by whatever fluid flowed down here in the basement of the world, his wings cracked off, fell to the ground, and shattered.

The light that had been emanating from him, the light he had carried with him as long as he had memory, went out. Darkness rushed around him. Tiny follicles on his ears announced something unseen rustled in the distance. The rustle became louder until a throng of starving rats swarmed and devoured him.

***
Charles listened to the gilded golden music box as it played a song. He remembered the song from his childhood and sang along. In his mind he saw his mother, beautiful and young, holding him in her arms. He could hear her voice in his head singing this song the same way she had every night when he was a child. Those were the happiest days -- the days before the crown.

His father was never around so it mattered little to him when he died. What mattered more was the inheritance left behind: a nation in shambles. Peasants revolted, warring kingdoms attacked, and being just a child, he didn't know what to do about any of it. He had trusted the wisdom of his mother's manservant at her urging. Charles was king in name only, but this served him fine. He was free to play on the royal grounds hidden from the chaos outside. But all that changed once the castle came down.

He had watched from the shadows at night as they held his mother and her manservant under the guillotines. The scene was lit by a spotlight suspended under a metal aeroship with a flashing sign announcing the revolution was a success. Her execution was displayed on the massive video grid of the aeroship. When her head rolled to the ground the world erupted in cheers.

In tears, Charles ran and hid. He made his home underneath the rubble in this hidden shelter. It had always been his favorite play-place, but now he was not playing and this wasn't pretend. His food stores were long gone, his stomach so hungry it ceased its rumble.

The room shook and the music box fell to the ground. The tubes inside the machine popped and there was a small explosion. A tongue of flame licked up the carpeted walls setting them ablaze.

"Viva la revolution!" an angry mob shouted as they crashed into his hidden sanctuary.

Charles had nowhere left to hide. He smiled, thinking that this was all right. He had nothing to hide from. In fact, the desire to hide had fled from him altogether.

The flames warmed the chill he had felt in his bones for so long. The chill had crept in once his mother was gone, once her arms were not there to hold him any longer.

***
Sharice slept on her pillow until the sky grew dark. She awoke and walked over and opened the kitchen window. With pillow in hand, she stepped out onto the fire escape and sat listening to the sound of the city around her: cars honked, sirens blared, gunshots, a scream. She had heard it all before.

She looked around at the building across the alley. Most of the windows were curtained, hiding the occupants and the dramas those apartments contained, but other windows were open. Pinpricks of light and shadow. She looked inside these portals and could see a dozen versions of herself. She looked inside a window near the top of the building, saw a man and woman dancing to a song that she could not hear, saw herself in that woman, fingered the stitches in the pillow on her lap, and smiled.






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