Story Starter October – Erika Takács

October 2015 Story Starter

Our September Story Starter got a terrific response and we read some wonderful submissions! October features the innovative creation of Erika Takács!

To enter, write a short piece (100 words maximum) inspired by the art featured below. It can be any form of writing (poetry, prose, dialogue, haiku, etc.) as long as it is original. Submit your entry in the comment section below. Check the full entry rules and format here.

Introducing our October inspiration piece:

October 2015 Story Starter

Two Sisters

 About The Artist

October 2015 Story Starter

Erika Takács


 Erika Takács is an Oshawa based, award-winning figurative sculptor. She immigrated to Canada from Transylvania more than twenty-five years ago. Her material of choice is paper pulp that she often combines with found objects. She views the human figure as a vessel for exploring narratives and stylistic approaches that invite the viewer to consider and to reflect upon the complexities of the human condition ˆ with an open heart and mind.

Takács has been exhibiting regularly in the last eight years, most recently at the Aurora Cultural Centre in collaboration with painter Marissa Sweet.

Want to check out the September entries? Click here.

Feeling inspired? Paste in your 100-word entry below!




    Joined by the irresistible force
    of genes and chromosomes,
    the hold on each of them
    an unbreakable bond,
    yet each is her own woman.

    Sisters of the same sky,
    one gazes east and north,
    the other southwest,
    two shadows shading
    in a different light.

    Carol A. Stephen
    Oct. 1, 2015

    response to Two Sisters


    Two friends who had no sisters became close like sisters. At one family’s remote cottage they’d bathe in the lake. Using lots of shampoo, they’d giggle and braid their sudsy hair together so it looked like an umbilical cord between their heads, each nurturing the other.

    At home they’d play Elastics with friends. They’d hold the ends of an 8-foot length of mom’s white sewing-box elastic, sing a rhyming song and take turns at twisting the elastic around their legs, and getting untangled by the end of the song. “Yokis-in-the-kaiser, yokis-oddy-ay; Tangus-in-the-sobo, saw do, saw day.”


    As sisters go
    they were inseparable

    dancing their life away
    heel to heel,toe to toe

    happy as a pair
    of bugs in a rug

    cementing their affection
    with an eternal sideways hug

    though sometimes they shouted
    if you left my life forever

    I wouldn’t cry, I wouldn’t care!
    but in the end they were sisters

    satisfied to spend their time
    tangled in each other’s hair.


  • They were four; like the Queens in a deck of cards – Diamonds and Hearts both red, Clubs and Spades both black.

    Now they were two.

    Hearts was flimsy, so her sister, Spades, held her by the arm. She showed her their secret. They were mirror images when Hearts was hanging happily upside down.

    And Diamonds had a lonely walk, dragging at the end. Clubs, with a rank above her, told her: there were advantages to being at the end.

    Upon first glance, they were four. But then four became two and two became one. Each not unlike the other.

  • We were like-minded and strained all the muscles in our skinny necks holding our heads high. Laureen and I, we didn’t care what they said. That it was wrong. That our child-bearing hips shouldn’t go to waste. We were content. Accepted by a few. Old maids, spinsters, sisters, best friends, companions, and other not-so-nice names too. Not raised to be sheep, we chose well for ourselves and enjoyed our choices, despite the muffled baahs of those that spoke mostly behind us. We were complete, and happy. We were one – step-by-step, hand-in-hand, thought-by-thought and feeling-by-feeling. We lived by better rules.


    What you are, I am
    All that we have, I hoard

    What I do, you mock
    All that we see, you shroud

    What you covet, I revoke
    All that we build, I raze

    What I launder, you soil
    All that we sow, you supplant

    A ruddy plasma stream, made in the marrow of our bones,
    Warm, molten, merging
    Flows from mind to arm, diluting sovereignty and peril
    Nutritive, corrupt, indulgent

    What you are
    I love
    All that we have
    I want

  • The City of the Plains ( Written in Tanka Style)

    Conjoined and Condemned
    As Sodom and Gomorrah
    Flee shout the angels
    To stay stagnant is to die
    Transformed to pillars of salt

  • Kelly Ann Speagle October 4, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    She pushes me forward, knowing full well that I will push back. But I don’t. Instead, I pull her towards me. With me. I show her a glimpse of the rage that I bury deep within, while she reveals the remarkable secrets of her heart. We divulge our mutual sorrows. And our joys. Suddenly, the world seems a lot less lonely. A truth. An understanding descends upon the souls which we bare to one another. A force produced by a constant push and sustained pull; love.

  • Marie Beswick-Arthur October 5, 2015 at 11:23 pm


    The first S. Sometimes sassy, usually uppercase.
    Ess’ in all her glory.

    The second, a lowercase soft shadow of the first.

    Separated by ‘I’, a vertical prison bar.
    Or, if not in caps, the ‘i’ divide might represent a small straight body with a dot for a head; perhaps an absent sibling.

    Then the ‘T’ as in -shirts or Earl Grey.

    And a suffix. ‘Her’ without the ‘H’.
    ‘er’ designating the noun-ness of female connectedness.
    Or Emergency Room.

    And a repeat to pluralize; even serving to bookend of the start of kindred-spiriting.


    Yet another dream
    Her shadow flies above a bleak, silent landscape
    I chase after her, but she fades away again
    My nails cut into my hand
    Drops of blood drip into the parched land
    A ghostly chill seeps through my body,
    Now so frail and weary
    Through the graveyard silence,
    Her silky soft voice echoes
    The wind wails eerily
    Stirring up leaves and memories
    Finally I see the inscription on a
    It chills me to the bone
    Same surname and birth-date as mine
    “You died and I survived!”
    I cried
    “Yet we’ve been inextricably bound together,
    Twin Sister”

  • “Ow ! Careful Bobby , your hair is caught in mine.”
    ” Oh Beck, after all these years I know my limits .”
    Conjoined twins Roberta and Rebecca bickered constantly about space and privacy.
    ” I am so sick of living like this ” , Becky moaned, ” I am ready for bed .”
    Bobby retorted, ” well I am not tired , so you will have to try and nap because I am reading .”
    ” Rebecca , I am calling Doctor Malone in the morning . Mother and Father can’t make decisions for us any longer now that we are 21. I have had it , we need to be separated , come what may.”

  • Gemini Woman

    Hardened with time, yet soft
    in the contours of line, Gemini woman
    Liberty and Liberia
    soil connected life reflected
    in the black and white of life –

    white, black = gray
    an illumination the duality of self
    professed matrimonious soliloquy, an
    in depth, naked explanation of truth

    that trees die but are reused
    then live again in the artist’s muse
    to be loved once more, to be cared for
    to give life again when there was none.


    Tried so hard to save you; if only you knew
    I don’t know how to live without you
    The car narrowly missed the bus
    And careened towards us
    So cruel was Lady Destiny
    To take away the very heart of me
    My twin, you were my best friend
    This pain will haunt me to the end
    In the mirror, I see tear-stained eyes and smudged mascara
    It’s you! You still have that little scar
    I throw my arms around your fragile body
    But you just look right through me
    I see only one reflection
    Suddenly you shudder; we’ve made connection!

  • Twins

    The young sisters hated each other. They were identical, but refused to admit they looked anything alike. They needed constant reassurance that one was better. It became a race. Their mother hated the intense competition between them, and she spent the entirety of her life trying to encourage a friendship.

    She died, when the girls reached adulthood. They mourned, separately at first, but after they had some time, they started to see that it was their ridiculous feud that eventually killed their mother. They came together and grieved. It wasn’t long before they began to heal and grow together, as one.

    Antonia M.S. Neill
    Oct. 12, 2015

    response to Two Sisters

  • “I think about her a lot. In a lot of ways she’s an extension to myself. She laughed at the same jokes, she had the same mannerisms. She could even guess what I was thinking before I was thinking it. That’s what we did. Attached at the hip they would say. They were wrong. No one saw the truth. The hate we really had for each other. Behind the fake laughs and the fake smiles. My sister they would say, my enemy I would think. We were like sisters. But we weren’t and now she’s dead. No regrets here.”

  • How to walk away?
    Entrapped at birth, we’re stuck
    I cry while she laughs…

  • We born of blood the same and years apart.
    Our mind once whole but split like hewn oak.
    The heart we bear, pulsating and breathing in unison.
    The nuances in appearance, the changes in structure.
    Define not who we are, or who we will become.
    But who we were and who we share.
    Our similarities outweighed by differences.
    Two as one, divided between separate lives.


  • It’s Spring. The days lengthen, light creeps back into the world. Up my backbone, down my nose, between my breasts, straight down my torso, a line of sensation, tickling, burning, itching. Each day more, each day deeper. With it, strange dreams, memories of women myself, not-myself. And then, the change. No longer a narrow, central line of sensation, but an aching, wrenching, stretching, separation. My sight, my memory, my self stretches and separates, doubling. No longer I, but we, not one, but two, we stand, savouring our last connection before we step, separately, into our new lives.

  • Like most twins Livy & Lynn were very close. Livy was like the sun; Lynn was like the moon. It would surprise everyone how Lynn would eclipse her sister. The result would change their relationship. The result would change many things.


    We’re almost identical
    I understand your dilemma
    But my heart won’t be still!
    It’s either me or her

    I look out my window
    The stars shine bright
    Perhaps if I lose my halo
    You’ll choose me tonight

    After my poems have been read
    After her songs have been sung
    Who will you wed?
    My nightmare has only just begun

    “You’re so pathetic with your pen and notebook
    You’ve never been a fighter
    My voice will reel him in like a fish on a hook,
    Miss Writer!”

    HIS nightmare has only just begun
    The singer and the poet; we’re dead ringers!

  • “Don’t let go!” my twin said, but the wind yanked her away from me, its force stronger than our grip on each other’s hands. She and I had never been apart before. Rain and grit blew into my face, stinging like spitting fat. I reached out blindly for my sister, but grasped only air. In the storm, my sister and I lost each other. The wind sang a dirge and the sky wept. My heart turned to stone.

  • On the first day, lightening struck the earth and Nuren emerged from the clay.

    Before she took her first step, a slender hand tugged her ankle.

    “Don’t leave me behind,” Nuer pleaded.

    “I will never abandon you,” Nuren replied and she entwined their hair into a single braid.

    On the second day, Nuer learnt how to eat.

    On the third day, Nuren taught her how to count.

    On the fourth day, Nuer learnt how to write.

    On the fifth day, Nuren taught her how to fight.

    On the sixth day, Nuer stopped breathing.

    On the seventh day, Nuren swallowed her.

  • Shared Memories grew thicker
    bodies grew very old.
    Childish toys were abandoned
    our teenaged tales re-told.

    We each married our sweetheart,
    each bore a child or three.
    We laid to rest our parents,
    threw their ashes to the sea.

    And now my dearest sister
    I sadly leave your side.
    My fingers will slide from yours,
    in heaven I will abide.

    Shared Memories, like cement,
    will keep my spirit here.
    I need you to remember
    me with laughter, not with tears.

    Stay here! Please! Remember me!
    Keep me within your heart!
    That way my dearest sister
    we will never be apart.

  • There is always a constant pull upon us:
    Be perfect, be yourself, be different, be unique.

    The demand to be so much while still remaining whole,
    To give so much but to remain intact.

    A body, a mind, a person, a human;
    We can be so many things in so many ways.

    On one front, I am her.
    Against another, I am she.

    Constantly, I am all of me.

  • “Joined at the hip.”

    “Thick as thieves.”

    “Siamese twins.”


    That’s how folk around here described Sarah Denninger and Amanda Polk. Best friends. Huh! You never saw one without the other. They even finished each others’ sentences!

    “Community Angels.” Pastor Reed called them. They were always helping out the elderly and volunteering for some cause or another. A rare trait in teenagers these days.

    So you can imagine the shock when Sarah was found dead behind the Fiver Diner. And, the upheaval that followed when Amanda was charged with her death.

  • She holds me close
    I pull away
    Trying to re-establish my identity
    But I can’t, I am no longer the same

    Pieces of me are left behind
    With her
    In a life full of uncertainty, judgement, pain

    Her voice is demanding, desperate
    Full of longing

    I feel it too
    This bond we share
    Beyond skin deep

    She holds me close
    I pull away
    Trying to re-establish my identity
    Without losing my best friend

  • Hearts and tears and haughtiness,
    That’s what sisters are made of.
    I hate you; you rage at me.
    I love you; you crave me.
    You want to leave; I need to stay.
    Not facing; not apart.
    Forever entwined by gender and birth-womb.
    Don’t mess with us.

  • Even though everyone thought Vera had a twin sister it was only her alter-ego. She seemed so real but viewed the world very differently. Vera called her Veronica. If Vera felt warm Veronica felt cold. Vera loved the world while Veronica rejected it.
    However when Vera was married Veronica had the children and they all took after Vera!

  • Download

    Have you read any sci-fi? Heard of that concept of downloading your brain just before you die? Usually it’s done into a computer, keeps your consciousness alive. I like that idea. You would never be completely gone. Gone scares me. Where do we go? Our bodies go back to the earth, but where do “we” go. I guess everyone wants to know. I’ve just started thinking about death. I’ve never known anyone to die. But you see my best friend beside me, she’s going to die, she told me, she’s got cancer, bad. I want to download her into me.

  • You know that it is time for change. You can feel the world closing in around you and know that you are going to have to go through a significant change. You can feel the old you pulling away and metamorphosing into a new you. Like taffy, she is pulling and stretching, and you know that it will be a completely new, fully realized change. You are terrified. You are exhilarated. You will be free. You will be you. You will awaken to find that you are finally who were meant to be.

  • I decided to spend the afternoon by myself at the museum, hiding from the world. I was about half way through a new sculpture exhibit when I came to this piece. At first glance it just looked like twins. However, the more I looked at it the more I started to get a pit in my stomach. I had been so mad at everyone lately, blaming them all for my problems, for not understanding me. Here though, I stood right in front of it: the truth. There was only one person I was trying to escape and that was me.

  • I refold the delicate paper into quarters, then into eighths, while waiting for my mother to notice me standing beside her. She’s sipping a cup of Earl Grey, her favourite, while reading recipes in a magazine.

    “Something on your mind, Samantha?” she asks, not moving her eyes from the page.

    Staring at her, I try to find the right words. Any words. Tears are forming, as I unfold the birth certificate.

    “Who is Salina Catherine Brooks?” I ask, wiping my nose on my sleeve, “and why does she have the same birthday as me? Are there two of us?”

  • Her filthy fingers snake around my upper arm, squeezing tighter and tighter, piercing my skin with her fingernails.

    “Oh, we don’t know anything about that,” she says to the police officer. “Do we, Grace?”

    I squint into the brightness of the flashlight beam, clench my teeth together and I shake my head no. If I don’t say anything out loud, it doesn’t count as lying. I glance at my sister, admiring her calmness, her strength and her ability to hide her fear. Oh, she knows something, she just isn’t saying. Unfortunately, so do I.

  • Wendy Barrick Rhead October 31, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    We are sisters.
    We love, we hate,
    We share, we take.
    We laugh, we cry
    She never tries!
    We listen, we tell
    She used my gell!
    We work, we play
    I wish she’d stay.
    We go to the lake
    We never act fake.
    Our parents are gone
    We must go on,
    Tell our stories
    say we are sorry
    She is MY sister
    I love her I hate her.

    Thanks and good luck to all who entered. Check out the November contest here:

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