Subterranean Confidential

“If he gets out no one can control him.”

Writing by David P. Miller
Art by Erica Peebus

Subterranean Confidential

One college Halloween, some person who was probably a friend of a friend of mine threw a deep-suburban shindig.

The Mom of the friend’s friend posted herself at the front door, a solo sentry.

“I have a drink in my hand. That’s all the costume I need.”

A pair of Cadillacs lounged in the driveway. I’d already forgotten the family’s name by the time I walked in.

“There are two doors in this house you will not open.” She pointed to the two that lead to one room behind her.

“If he gets out no one can control him.”

The basement inundated with other friends of other friends, swarmed for intended mirth.  Were there costumes?

There were leather-like barstools in the basement, teeners’ beanbag chairs. Blue wall plush here, zebra wallpaper there. Flotsam from a dozen upstairs redecorations covered every surface.

All night above our heads, the dog threw himself against the doors. They budged like weakening dams.

His guardian rage penetrated everything. The twin Caddys, the Mom’s face paint. The hilarity as more of us arrived, crossed the front threshold, descended below lawn level. The fury in his throat tracked us as we escaped into the later night.

About the Author

lighted jack o lantern decors

David P. Miller’s collection, Bend in the Stair, was published by Lily Poetry Review Books in 2021. Sprawled Asleep was published by Nixes Mate Books in 2019. Poems have recently appeared in Meat for Tea, Hawaii Pacific Review, Turtle Island Quarterly, Clementine Unbound, Constellations, J Journal, The Lily Poetry Review, Ibbetson Street, Redheaded Stepchild, The Blue Pages, and What Rough Beast, among others. His poem “Add One Father to Earth” was awarded an Honorable Mention by Robert Pinsky for the New England Poetry Club’s 2019 Samuel Washington Allen Prize competition. He was a librarian at Curry College in Massachusetts, from which he retired in June 2018.

About the Artist

Erica Peebus (b.1982) recently moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana from Portland, Oregon where she received her BFA with an emphasis in painting in 2013 from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Erica’s acrylic paintings can be described as both dark and whimsical. Employing a strong illustrative quality, she mixes realism with graphic details. Her works often represent plants, animals, bones, and the human figure exposing her fascination with life and death as well as her love for the natural and super natural world. Her work is heavily influenced by religious symbolism, renaissance paintings, mythology, folklore, and surrealism.

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