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  Cover Issue 2 SHADES OF BLUE


You’ve always thought of forests as green,

but all around you tonight

seems blue.

The darkened trunks of trees

loom navy; the opalescent moon

gleams bright through the sapphire leaves,

makes your skin glow


The weight of your pack on your back

is eager for its destination.

You push aside cold, bony branches

and shuffle through wet, whispering leaves

fallen in clumps on the earth.


Finally, the clearing appears before you,

almost unnaturally round,

wide and empty but for the ancient,

magnificent tree.

Inhaling magic, you step into the circle,

feel tall teal grass brush your calves.

Hearing ropes groan –

ropes only creak

if they’re weighted –

you look up

so high into the cobalt braches

that your neck strains,

and you spot them.


Hundreds of skeletons

dangling by the neck,

swaying beneath gnarled branches

like demented wind chimes.

Some glow pure, brilliant white,

gleaming with inappropriate smiles

in this sea of azures,

but the old ones are browner, swing less...

bones get lighter with time.

The hairs on your neck dance

in recognition of your fate.

You pull out your rope

and begin to climb.






Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer) is a short story author and award-winning poet. She has work appearing or forthcoming in over two dozen venues, including Buzzy Mag, The Spirit of Poe, Underneath the Juniper Tree, the British Fantasy Society journal Dark Horizons, and the National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ prize anthology Encore. She’s a member of the Horror Writers Association, vice president of the Denton Poets’ Assembly, and president of the North Branch Writers’ Critique Group. She also blogs for Writer Unboxed.  You can visit her at annieneugebauer.com. Annie's poem, "Shades of Blue", appears in the June, 2013 issue of HelloHorror. 

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