Bentley Literary Society

The smell lingered through the air, he took a breath and got out of bed. Sat by the window lit a spliff to cover up the smell of last night’s girl. Was her name Mandy? Mindy? Who knows she was just Monday’s girl. Not really too different from Sunday’s, Thursday’s or any other girl any other day.

Taking two simultaneous drags he stared out the window wondering how he got to this point. Tracing back to his memories, remembering the smell of fresh linen on the line of his childhood. Now the scent was faint, overpowered by the stench old booze, dirty sheets and loneliness.

—Jannath Ahmed

Sep 22
Taboo scent

A young man is offered a job by Satan in his dreams.

Nick Nemo unlocked the front door of his Boston apartment. He hung up his jacket in the coat closet and went over and kissed his wife on the cheek.

“Hey,” he said, yawning.

“Hey,” Gina said. “Long day at work?”

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “You should’ve heard some of the stuff people called me over the phone today.”

“Like what?”

“Asshole, jerk, stuff like that.” He stretched himself out. “If they paid off their debt, I wouldn’t have to call them. They put themselves in that position, so they don’t have the right to complain.” He headed towards the living room.  “I think I’ll take a nap.”

“Alright,” she said. “Dinner will be ready in half an hour.”

He kicked off his shoes and jumped onto the couch.

“Alright,” he said.

Nick Nemo snuggled against a pillow, crossed his arms over his chest and closed his eyes. Within a few minutes, he drifted off into sleep. A second later, he woke up.

He stared up at a white tiled ceiling through drooped eyelids. He looked down and saw that he was splayed out on a white leather couch, much nicer than the linen couch in his apartment, inside of a strange room.

He sat up from the couch and looked around the room. Everything in the room was stark white, except for the man in business casual attire sitting behind a sheer white, modern desk, typing away at a computer. His skin was dark red, and two sharp horns jutted out from his skull. A slight beard accented his face. Nick sat there with his hands on his knees.

“Uh, excuse me,” Nick said.

The horned man stopped typing and looked towards Nick. His eyes were solid yellow with black pupils. His gaze was alien, yet innocent.

“Can you tell me where I am?” Nick continued.

The horned man stared at him.

“Pandemonium, capital of Hell.”        

Nick’s heart sank. Just then, a buzz rang out. The horned man pressed a button.

“Yes, sir?”

“Send in Mr. Nemo.”

“Yes, sir.” The horned man smiled at Nick. “Mr. Satan will see you now.”

            Nick sat there for a moment, trying to process all of this. This could not have been real.

            “And if I refuse?”

            The horned man’s eyes widened. He shook his head.

“You do not want to do that.”

Nick sat there for a second. He sighed. What did he have to lose? None of this was real. He got up from his seat, fixed his hair and walked towards the door next to the receptionist.

            Nick entered a modest office. All that was inside was a white, minimalistic desk that stood behind a window that displayed a staggering tower of fire hundreds of feet high. A very tall man in a black striped suit stood next to the window with his hands folded behind his back, observing the tower of fire. His long, forked tail swished in the air behind him. He turned towards Nick. Like the receptionist, this man had dark red skin, but his beard was much thicker and his horns much larger. His expression was aloof and his gaze was captivating.

“Hello, Nicholas Nemo.” He walked over and reached out his hand. “I am Satan.”

            Nick hesitated, but reached out and shook his hand.

            “Nice to meet you.”

            “And same to you.” He gestured towards the chair opposite him. “Please, have a seat.”

            Nick went towards the chair and sat down. They sat there in silence for a moment. Satan smiled at Nick, his hands folded on the surface of his desk. Nick sat there, his forehead starting to sweat from the awkward situation and the heat from the tower of fire just outside. He looked back at Satan, who kept his stare. This guy seemed to be taking his time. At last, Satan spoke up.

            “I suppose you are wondering why you were summoned here.”

Nick nodded and Satan drummed his fingers on his desk.

“As you probably know, you are mortal,” Satan said.

Nick winced.

“Right…”

“All living matter contains a soul, and upon expiration of their current corporeal body, that soul is required to visit the underworld to take care of business before they continue their path along the cycle of life.”

Nick nodded. He thought he was taking a nap, not getting a lecture.

“Okay…”

Satan crossed one leg over the other.

            “Let me be straight with you. With your history of drinking, partying and general debauchery, you were on track towards the fiery pits of my domain, anyway.”

            Nick raised an eyebrow.

            “That was a long time ago, though. Doesn’t sobriety that count for something?”

            Satan shook his head.

“It helps, but it does not erase the past.”

            Nick frowned and threw up his hands.

            “So, I’m screwed no matter what I do.”

            Satan smirked.

            “Pretty much,” he said, shrugging. “That’s life. Each and every one of them.”

            Nick rolled his eyes. Get on with it, hell boy.

            Satan frowned and got up from his chair. He turned and admired the sight of the inferno just outside. “So, no matter what you do, in any lifetime, you are destined to visit the underworld after that life.” He began to pace. “Due to your karmic debt, you were on the path towards Hell, my domain. But, I am giving you a choice. You can expire and work as a slave in one of the lower circles of Hell, mining the endless, stifling caverns of brimstone, where fumes will choke your lungs and your arms will never feel respite from endless toil.” He put a hand on Nick’s shoulder and looked right in his eyes. “Or, you can work directly for me.”

            Nick felt the heat from Satan’s touch on his shoulder.

            “What’s the job?”

            Satan smirked.

            “Much like the dominant occupation of your most recent lifetime, you will work off your karmic debt by collecting the debts of recently departed souls.” Satan headed back towards his chair. “If you work your way out of your karmic debt, you will be offered several retirement options.” Satan formed a globe in his hand and sprinkled a tiny wisp towards its surface. “You can be reincarnated as another life form of your choice. You will remember nothing of your time in this realm, and your journey through the cycle of life will continue.” Satan put his hands together, as if in prayer, closing his eyes. “You may also vacation in Heaven, where you will feel unimaginable bliss, and burn away your accumulated positive karma like a fresh-scented candle.” He folded his hands and grinned. “So, Mr. Nemo, what will it be?”

Satan looked at Nick with expectation. Nick narrowed his brow.

“So, you want my soul.”

Satan chuckled.

“In a classical sense, yes. Practically, no. You will be my agent, but you owe no fealty towards me.”

Nick rubbed his stubbly chin and shrugged. It didn’t matter what he said, because none of this was real. He would wake up, have dinner, and play video games. Right?

            “Sure, whatever,” he said, reaching out his hand. “It’s not like I’m going anywhere anytime soon.”

            They shook hands. Satan seemed pleased. Nick released the handshake and drummed his hands on his lap.

“So, I guess we’ll get to specifics when the time comes?” Nick asked.

Satan nodded, a wide smile on his face.

“Indeed. Enjoy the rest of your life, Mr. Nemo.”

He snapped his fingers.

            Nick woke up with a start on his linen couch to the smell of dinner.

            “Nick, gumbo’s on!”

            Nick craned his head up from the couch and saw his wife in the kitchen, ladling him some soup into a bowl. Nick wiped the sweat from his forehead and got up from the couch.

            “Did you have a nice nap?” Gina asked as Nick approached the table.

            “Yeah,” Nick said, sitting himself down.  They began to eat. Nick savored the salty taste of the gumbo.

            “This is really good,” he said, licking his lips. “A little heavy on the garlic, but it’s good.”

            “I’m glad you like it,” Gina said, stirring her bowl of gumbo. Nick continued to eat with voracity.

            “I’m telling you, your stuff’s good enough for a restaurant or something. If you ever wanted to start your own business, I’d co-sign the loan for the property and everything.” He put his spoon down and took a drink of water. “If we both work hard, we can sign a mortgage and get out of this apartment.”

            Gina smiled to herself.

            “I’d like that.”

            “I mean, why not? Paying rent forever’s not going to get us anywhere. And I don’t wanna raise the kids in an apartment.”

            Gina continued to stir her gumbo without eating it.

            “Makes sense.”

            Nick rested his elbow on the table and gazed at his wife. She caught his glance and they looked in each other’s’ eyes for a moment.

            “We’ve got the rest of our lives ahead of us, Gina. Let’s make it count.”

            They smiled at each other. As Nick reached for his spoon again, he found himself feeling light-headed. He gripped his chest and hunched over, his heart rate quickening. He shuddered, a chill running throughout his body. His head hit the table and everything went black.

deftbeck aka Michael Kobzik

Sep 22
Hell of a Nap
Sep 3

Once a year, every fall, an amazing night happens at Bentley University. As the clock strikes 10pm, all the creatures come out for a night of great dancing. GrooveBoston happens every year and it is quite an event. Tickets sell out quickly and weeks of prep go into one night just for the students. It is amazing how music and dancing along with wonderful costumes brought joy to so many faces. This was all possible due to the help of various groups; student organizations, the Campus Activity Board and Bentley University staff and  volunteers came together to put together this wonderful event. Weeks of planning resulted in the marketing campaign which promoted the event through creative videos. Hours of preparation were spent for the day of the event, to make sure students had a great time. Special thanks to everyone who made it possible; from food services, water suppliers, photographers and the set up and tear down crews.

—Jannath Ahmed

Sep 3
As the Clock Strikes 10, all the ghouls and kids come out to dance

We don’t need to burn the books

And send the smoke billowing through the air

To build a skyscraper of ash

That’d make people stop and stare

No, we don’t need to burn the books,

We bury them instead,

Under terabytes of data,

Where they’re deleted before they’re read

And we don’t need to guillotine the writers

And put their heads high up on pikes

Instead we banish them to obscurity

From having too few “likes”

We don’t crush rebellions anymore

With swords and bayonets,

There’s no need to stop them,

If they’re not viral on the internet

Because there’s no need to stop the revolutions

When there’s no new troops on the ground

Riddle me this—if a protest gets no YouTube views

Does it even make a sound?

—Meghan Ryan

Sep 3
We Don’t Need to Burn the Books

The cold breeze,

Goodbyes,

Songs and quotes,

Forever not being enough.

Time, not having enough, passing too fast, the past,

The memories.

Shutting your eyes in a cold breeze,

As it trickles up your legs;

Pictures of lost meaning,

Changes with the season,

The chill, the touch, the tear,

And the fear.

What’s out of reach,

And what’s seemingly too close for comfort.

The goodbyes, the darkness, and the black.

The questions, and your mind drowning in what if’s;

The secrecy, the illness, the death, and it coming too soon.

The innocence, the bliss, and the ignorance of one single moment;

The beauty, the smiles, being in the right place at the right time,

And realizing it;

Hearing your favorite words being tied together

And read to a crowd, as you watch their faces.

Being held, being touched, the grip, the hope

And the possibilities flooding your mind;

The kiss, the bliss, the sun,

The belief of good.

The sadness, the loneliness;

The running, the spinning, the watching and the waiting of what’s to come;

The weakness, the simplicity, the rain,

And breathing in once too deep;

The freedom, the getaway;

The memories, the ones of those who faded,

And the laughs that cannot be reminisced;

The past and its stability.

The words that set you free,

The lyrics that say what you cannot,

The quote that leaves us breathless,

The memories that leave us hopeless,

The silence that screams,

And the touch that leaves us with goose bumps.

—Mackenzie Parker

Sep 3
Goosebumps