They called it the species

A Write or Die response to After the War by A Maguire

Tamyka Bell
Oct 14, 2019 · 2 min read
Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash

It had gotten
seriously out of hand —

The smooth surface of the air
throbbed. Its shine
and fire had died, breath held
to feed the winter.

It was coming
as sure as their seed —

The wind like a gunshot
of order, like the impossible
children conceived through
their hunger.

Flames of sleep
shivered close and strong —

The sharp voice called:
back, knees, hips hauled upright,
a hand vaguely walking
bones around the walls.

(not tonight)
coming, with the smile
cracking time behind him.

He hadn’t told anyone yet.

A Maguire,

As I searched for combustible materials during my stay in the Hell of the Dead, I came across a discarded story. I searched for its rightful owner but was released into the Living Hall before I could find them — with this story still in my hand.

I can only guess the ramifications of taking this story with me. Perhaps some other poor soul now has no way to escape. Perhaps I have released another soul from the Hell of the Dead. Or perhaps I have released something else.

That is no matter to me, so long as I continue this chain and am not sent back.


Tamyka Bell

Erasure poetry by Tamyka Bell using A Maguire’s story as the source text

Dewi, Night Writer, you have been entered to the Hell of the Dead by me. To escape to the Living Hall, you will have to recreate this piece in your own words or extend it as part of the Write or Die collaboration. Failure to comply will leave your name and soul in the Hell of the Dead.


The home of asynchronous collaboration from Oct 2016 to May 2017


Closed to new submissions starting June 1, 2021

Tamyka Bell

Written by

Sponsored Altra Red Team Member. Sobah Beverages Fit Team Member. writes. runs. drinks coffee. doesn’t go in for that whole sleep thing


Closed to new submissions starting June 1, 2021