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Cover
Table of Contents
Editor's Notes
Donations
Submission Guidelines
Website

Stories & Essays
A Wedding Toast For Daddy's Little Girl
_
By Miriam N. Kotzin
Bread
_ By Debbi Pless
Flowers
_ By Rachel Miller
Gyokusai
_ By Julie Jordan
Hearts Without Armor
_ By Angela P. Markham
Mental Constipation and Brain Vomit
_ By Winnie Khaw
My Best Subject
_ By Ashley Polker
Piper
_ By Samantha Rae
Requiem For An Author
_ By R. Holsen
Sometimes It Pours Only Dogs
_ By Saana Tykkä
The Black Tape
_ By Brad Jashinsky

Poetry
A Slave To Time
_ By Clyde Windjammer
Colour
_ By Kaleen Love
Death By My Lover
_ By Jessica Tempestad
I Am A Pineapple
_ By Rachel Miller
Lament For the Lost Soldier
_ By Melissa Augeri
Laundry Arcade
_ By Ashley Polker
Left Silent To Dream of Wine
_ By Kaleen Love
Mortality
_ By Henry Grieves
Ode To Microsoft Spell Cheque
_ By Arielle Demchuk
Reminiscent of Society As An Individual
_ By Henry Grieves
Ship's Cook
_ By Heather Inwood
The Phoenix
_ By Kaleen Love
The Raven and the Dove
_ By Melissa Augeri
Train Dreamer
_ By Heather Inwood 

Art & Photography
S. Camargo
_ Photography and Drawings
David C. Clarke
_ Photography
Wiltekirra Samaxionn
_ Photography
Anca Sandu
_ Paintings
Austin Tanney
_ Photography
Ray Tsang
_ Paintings
Mark Warren
_ Photography

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Gyokusai
By Julie Jordan


Koji stood straighter as Lieutenant Seki Yukio walked past him. The world was at war. He knew of the war and its consequences. People died honorably for their country. His older brothers had died for Japan, and now it was his turn to fight for his country. After the battle of Midway, in which his oldest brother, Jiro, had died, the Japanese navy was utterly destroyed. It was up to the Air Force to lead the attacks on the US.

Koji had recently been recruited to the Shimpu Tokubetsu Kogekitai, the Divine Wind Special Attack Corps. It was a small group of pilots who had the perfect Japanese mentality: they fought for their country and would die for their country. Gyokusai, the Japanese suicide attack force, gave him the strength to stand tall every day and know that someday he would bring great honor to his family.

Koji walked with the other pilots to the meeting hall. There they were briefed on the new assignment that would commence in five days. Yukio would lead nine Zero fighters loaded with explosives to attack the American battleships Santee, Petrof Bay, Sangamon, Suwanee, St. Lo, and the Kalinin Bay in the Leyte Gulf. All these vessels were part of an American attack force that numbered 216 vessels. Koji cheered with the other pilots when the Lieutenant chose him to fight in the attack.

Five days later, Koji walked to his plane. He was ready. The country finally needed his help. He was finally important in his family. After living under the shadow of five older brothers, he would be the one to bring glory to his family. Koji pushed his hair out of his eyes and looked up at the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter that he would be flying in. The single-seat plane was small and fast, and he could drop a bomb onto any target he chose. However, he had been given a target. Koji and Sergeant Keiko were to bomb the American battleship Santee. If he ran out of ammunition he was to drive his plane into the deck of the ship.

Koji grabbed his helmet and walked up the steps to board his plane. Keiichi, his friend and companion since he was a small boy, had joined the Air Force with Koji. They were both recruited to the Shimpu Tokubetsu Kogekitai. Keiichi wasn’t going on the raid, but he was there to see Koji off.

He went up to Koji when the man was stepping inside his plane. “Good luck my friend. Bring your family honor.”

Koji nodded. “Thank you. May you bring honor to your family soon.” The men hugged and Keiichi went to stand away from the plane.

Koji boarded his plane, started the engines, and waited for the order to take off. The air had to be clear. He knew that the attack might be easy or hard; it depended on the American reaction to the ground attack. The Japanese were launching two attacks at the same time. Ground forces were going to attack 120 miles north of Leyte Gulf, and if the Americans reacted as they usually did, they would launch planes from the ships to attack the ground forces.

Koji’s orders came. He pulled the plane onto the landing strip and started moving forward. The plane’s speed picked up and soon it leapt off the ground. Koji brought the A6M high in the air and flew into the formation with the eight other Zero fighters. They soared over the land and water, flying fast, and soon they came upon the Leyte Gulf.

The battleships were ranged out across the water, but Koji located Santee and flew towards it. He saw five Avenger and eight Wildcat aircrafts take off to attack the ground forces. It was 7:36 in the morning.

Suddenly he was sighted, and the ships turned their guns on him. He dipped and turned trying to avoid the bullets raining past him. He calmed his mind. If he was to do his job he needed to concentrate. He had to hit the bridge of the ship to cause the most damage. He flipped over to avoid a missile and dropped down to find a better route to the ship. He shot his guns at the men on deck, and then circled around shooting his guns.

He was one of the lucky ones. In his plane he couldn’t hear the screams of the dying. He couldn’t hear the dull thud of the bullet entering the human body. He heard no sounds of the bullets ricocheting off of the ship and hitting men. He saw no blood of the Americans as it spread over the ship and in the water. He heard only the ripping of the bullets as they left his guns and sped to the ship below, and he heard the static of his radio. He saw only the ship below him. His target. The path to the glory of his family. Keiko contacted him. “We are nearing the targeted area. You may drop in first.”

Koji nodded and replied his affirmative response. He dropped his plane down, and immediately a hard volley of bullets hit him. His right wing was torn through and he lost control of the plane.

Koji tried with all his might to regain the control of the plane, but he couldn’t. Thoughts started to run through his mind. He was going to die. And if he didn’t die then he would be shamed, as would his family. If he didn’t die he would be forced to surrender to the Americans. That was not an option. He had to die for his country. That was his duty. Wasn’t it? All he had to do was to drop his plane into the ship and let the bomb do it’s job. Koji pushed the thought of his death away and looked out the windshield. His plane was plunging straight towards the flight deck. He thought about releasing his 63-kilogram bomb, but changed his mind. He would die in the explosion when the plane crashed.

The plane spiraled down and hit the flight deck, and Koji felt the jolt of the plane crashing into the ship. He heard the grinding of the metal as the ship and plane ripped at each other. Koji gasped as he was crushed in the small metal aircraft. He closed his eyes and thought of the family he was leaving behind. His mother would find comfort in his honorable death. His father would nod and never speak of his sixth son again. His little brother and three sisters would miss him but never express that pain to their parents. His wife would never speak out against him. They had only been married for a short time. She would mourn and then remarry a different man. Koji suddenly lost all of his nerve. He shuddered and tried to move in his plane. The A6M stopped abruptly. He looked to the crushed window and looked out. He was on the hanger deck. It was 7:40 in the morning.

Koji’s bomb did not explode as he had planned. He sat in the A6M waiting for the explosion to take him to the afterlife, to take him away from the war and the fighting. Koji knew that the bomb wasn’t going to explode. He didn’t know how he knew, but he knew.

He thought of the war. It was a long and tiresome thing. The people of the world never had seen eye to eye on everything, and there was never a time that a war was not going on. The world would never be in complete peace. He knew that the world was always changing, but it was always regressing. War was not glorious like everyone thought.

Koji heard the screams of the dying. He heard the dull thud of the bullet entering the human body. He heard the sounds of the bullets ricocheting off of the ship and hitting men. He saw the blood of the Americans as it spread over the ship and in the water. He didn’t hear the ripping of the bullets as they left his guns and sped to his target. He saw the ship around him. His target. The path to the glory of his family. The path to his death and the loss of many human lives. Koji shuddered and breathed in his last breath. As the air left his lungs he grasped the picture of his wife close to his heart. His family would be honored by his death. They would feel honored that their son had died for their country. Koji felt no honor. He felt alone and cold. There was no one to share the warmth of honor with him, the one who brought the honor.

 


 

JULIE JORDAN always liked reading books. She ate them up like candy, so it was only natural that she would love to write as well. She hopes to become a psychologist, but these days she can be found hanging out with her friends or busily writing on her computer.