Voices From The Forest A collection of stories by fiction writers from Shorecrest High School Fall 2009 Compiled by Peter Mountford, writer-in-residence Table of Contents Mr. Barker’s class ------------------------------- Page 1 Ms. Archipley’s class(per. 2) -------------------- Page 78 Ms. Nyman’s class (with two from Majorowicz’s) --- Page 154 Ms. Archipley’s class(per. 5) -------------------- Page 216 Mr. Barker’s Class Contents Michael Pope 4 Eskender Woldeghebriel 9 Jonathon Jeffreys 11 Ashley Horsefield 13 Joe Dexter 15 Erika Cruz 17 Katherine Young 19 Ryan Vanderveen 22 Angel Tulee 25 Zack Stallings 29 Emma Schumacher 31 Vesal Rezaei 34 Brooklyn Miller 36 Selena Masarik-Williams 38 Kaden Liddle 42 Josh Hughes 46 Valarie Howell 50 Brynn Hendrickson 53 Nate Gniffke 55 Leul Getahun 59 Jimmy Dinh 61 Andrew Cruz 64 Daniel Cook 67 Gabriel Brazil 72 Gebriel Amare 76 Michael Pope Vlad’s Story The moon is shining through the leaves of a great oak tree. It’s eleven o’ clock on Halloween night. Kids are screaming joyfully at the props set up for this occasion, as their parents drag them along from house to house. Some of the children’s eyes are glazed over, the younger ones at least, and all of them being energized by the large amount of sugar consumed. For a moment I’m sad, thinking of my parents unfortunate accident. It’s been four years. “Vlad!” she screamed when she saw me. It was Jenny. She looked so beautiful in the moonlight that it was hard to control myself. “How are you Jenny?” I said as I held her in my arms. Everything just seems to go away when I see her. I laughed when I saw her eyes following a young girl. She looked up “What? I’m really thirsty, and plus, she looks really mouth watering.” She says, still blushing, pointing down at the girl. “I know love, ha, I’m thirsty too.” I said, licking my lips. “Your aunt said we could stay out all night rite?” Jenny had that hopeful look on her face that I couldn’t resist. “Yes, she did say that.” I said before I kissed her. It was almost like she was hypnotized and completely forgot what she was thinking about. She just kept looking at me with that blissful expression on her face. It told me she was mine, forever. We jumped up onto a branch in the oak tree so none would see us. “Good! Now we can go feed!” she said with the biggest smile, finally snapping out of it. “You’re that thirsty? I thought we fed not that long ago.” I said, but she ignored the question. “Can I take her?” she asked as she pointed at the girl again. She was dressed in all black with waist length golden brown hair. She was at least five foot three and had emerald green eyes. “I don’t know Jenny, maybe.” I said, laughing at the same time. Jenny was beautiful, short, around five foot one, long midnight black hair, deep brown eyes and an incredible body. “You know we can’t have too much tonight rite?” I said trying to keep her attention off the girl. I wanted it to be just her and me tonight. “I don’t think it would be safe to kill too many, it would probably make us look really suspicious.” Jenny just sat there on her branch and stared at me. The light from the moon made me realize just how thirsty she was. Her eyes were crimson red, seeming to glow in the dark and starry night. Her canine teeth were larger and sharper than they should have been, and she was paler than ever, making her look dead. “Tonight we’re gonna have some fun!” Jenny said. About an hour later we found the girl she was so interested in. “Thank you soooo much Vlad!” she whispered in my ear, making me excited. We jumped to the very top of the oak tree without much effort, and I found the girl she wanted to have for tonight. She was walking into the woods across the street from us. “Yay! Now I can have her!” she said, again with that cute smile of hers. I sighed. “Fine, but I want some too ok?” I said almost begging. “Ummm, Ok!” she said smiling. We jumped down and went in the woods. “Lets play with our food. I always love hearing their heartbeat race in terror.” Jenny said. She was so terrible, and I loved it. We stalked the girl quietly for about a half an hour until she stopped in a clearing filled with fireflies floating in the soft breeze. The grass was knee high, with all kinds of flowers growing everywhere. Only one of them stood out from all the rest, a single white flower big and beautiful. As Jenny and I watched her, the girl held the flower cupped in her hands tears falling onto it. “Why is she crying Vlad? Does she know?” Jenny asked me with concern in her voice. “I don’t know, are you sure you want her?” I was thinking of what she would say next, and I have to admit I was scared of what she might ask me. “Can we turn her?” the question hit me like a punch to the gut. I grunted softly, hoping that she wouldn’t hear me. But it was ludicrous to do so. “Whaaaaat!? It’s just a question!” she hissed at me. “You know how painful it would be for her rite? Not just physically mentally as well!” I couldn’t think of doing it. I didn’t want too many of us running around. “But I need a friend, one who’s a girl!” she look over at me with a look of desperation. I couldn’t resist anymore. I had no choice. Only one more of us wouldn’t hurt. “Fine, but only ‘cause I love you.” I sighed. “YAY!!!! I’m so happy Vlad! Can I turn her?” she had a gleam in her eyes that told me she was really excited. “Ok, but do be gentle love, don’t make her scream too much.” I asked her. “Aren’t I always?” Jenny said as she jumped from the pine tree we were on. I watched her land softly a hundred feet or so away from the crying girl. To my surprise, Jenny walked up behind her and held the girl in her arms. She flinched and turned away looking at my Jenny with the saddest eyes I had ever seen. She just stood there and let the girl get a good look at her. Jenny had her skinny jeans on and a plain black t-shirt with no shoes on. “It’s ok, you can cry. I’ll be here to hold you.” Jenny whispered in the most comforting way. The girl just looked dumbfounded starring up at her. It was sad but also amazingly humorous. “Who are you?” The girl shivered violently, her voice breaking in what almost seemed like fear. “I’m the one who is going to save you from this life and give you the chance to be with me for eternity.” Jenny said in such a serious tone the girl flinched, her heart started to race and skip beats as she became even more terrified. Jenny bent down to hug the girl, but I knew better to think that it was just a hug. “What is your name?” Jenny whispered in her ear softly. Silence at first but as she built up the courage she said, in almost a whisper “Madison.” She looked down at the ground as if she were ashamed. “That’s a very beautiful name Madison. Why are you crying? Has something happened to you?” Jenny asked, honestly sounding curious. “I don’t know why but I feel I can trust you, is that weird, to feel so close to you?” Madison said. “I think it’s a good thing that you do. I won’t hurt you I promise.” Jenny declared. Madison looked up and her eyes widened in surprise. “Jenny?” she said startled. Eskender Woldeghebriel Untitled One day Tony was on his way to his new school on a Wednesday, he went into his first period class and it was Gym. He’s in the 9th grade, 14 years old. The Gym teacher happened to be the basketball coach and Tony grew up playing basketball. Tony walks up to the gym teacher and says “hi I’m Tony and im the new kid” and the coach said “I’m Mr.Speed nice to meet you”. Late on in the gym class the students were able to do what ever they wanted and Tony chose to play basketball. The coach watched for a bit and he liked how Tony played and Mr. Speed walks up to him and asked “Did you play on your last school basketball team?” Tony said yes he played for his old school named Generous Stine High School. The coach asked him to come practice with the basketball team to see if he was good enough to be on the team. Tony’s Gym teacher said he would love to have him on the team, from there on he was practicing and the first game was coming up in about 3 weeks, so the team practiced as hard as they possibly could. Finally playing on my school team called The Vikings and we were playing against MLT the score was 56-54 their lead 2.3 seconds left on the clock and its our ball on the base line my friend Tony the point guard passes it to me when I’m at the half court line I pass it to my friend Nate quickly and then I someone screens for me and Tony runs and he’s left opened Nate passes it back to the three pointer with 1.2 seconds left on the clock. Tony is on the three pointer and he shoots and Tony shoots the ball and he banks the shot and the score was 57-56 Tony won the game. Getting ready for my first game against MLT I was getting nervous hands all sweaty heart beat racing. Jonathon Jeffreys Untitled Jon’s family lives in Shoreline, one of the best places around. It’s not too cold and not to hot. He lives in a good neighborhood with school friends. His friends ask Jon if he wants too go to the movie theater. He said “hell ya” so Jon got his wallet and headed out the front door. For some reason his stomach started hurting. He stopped for a second. Then he hears everybody saying’ “lets go” and “come on.” Jon stood there for a second but he started walking again. He had run down the stairs and walked past his mom’s truck and he got to the car. The driver was Becca (Joe’s girlfriend) and the passenger was Joe. In the back were Hillary and Rachel. Hillary has nice blonde hair and an awesome personality. She is really smart also. Rachel has brown hair and is really nice. He grabbed the handle of the door and got in the back. The car was small and compact, so they all crammed in together. Jon put his seatbelt on and Becca drove off. (Joe had been Jon’s friend since about 7th grade.) So time passed by and they were talking about how school can get REAL annoying. Joe talked about how teachers give to much homework. Then Becca said True story. Then Rachel was talking about how there’s not enough time for tap. Then Hillary butted in and said “yeah, and the new machines suck.” After Hillary said that Jon turned to her and said “true story”. They finally got to the theater at the mall. Becca went into a parking garage and had to do a couple loops to find a spot. She finally found one. It was a close fit but she made it. We all had a hard time getting out. Rachel said “why does this van have to park so close to the line? And while Jon was getting out he said, “cause some people can’t drive.” They all got out without hitting any cars around. They walked up the stairs and in the doors. They walked to the doors of the theater. Then they get their tickets and get some popcorn and a pop. Then the group walked to the entrance of the movie. They walk up the stairs in the movie up to the top row. Becca sat next to Joe and Hillary sat next to Becca. Then Rachel sat next to Hillary and Jon sat next to Rachel. Hillary asked Joe to pass the popcorn. Then Becca said, “shhhh, it started.” Then Hillary smacked Becca and said “I don’t care.” Joe passed the popcorn and they watched the movie. Two hours later the credits were going up the screen, and everybody sat there waiting for the theater to clear out. A couple minutes passed and the lasted person walked out. Rachel said, “That was a good movie.” “Yeah, I like the part where the cop finds the robbers and all the money” Joe said to Rachel. “Yah me too” Jon said. Everybody got up and walk down the stairs. They got outside and Jon said “WOW, it’s dark.” “Haha, I can’t see my hand even though it’s right in front of my face,” exclaimed Joe. They were happy because the van was gone, so they could get in without any problem. Becca drove Joe and Jon to Jon’s house and we said our good byes and closed the door. Becca drove off. Ashley Horsefield The end I am lying on the dusty old couch in the middle of the ancient living room staring at the ceiling. My long Blonde hair hung in my face and my forehead throbbed from being punched for taking a nerds lunch. In the other room my aunt sat watching the news yelling and screaming about a car crash on I-5. It brought back thoughts of my parents and how they had died in a car accident on their way to New Jersey for their 16th anniversary. After the school bell rang for school to be over everyone streamed out of the building. I had been the last one to get all my crap off of my desk and stick it in my backpack. Slowly I walked to the gymnasium. The gymnasium was empty and the floor looked like it had just been cleaned. I set my backpack down and grabbed a basketball from the corner of the gym that someone had left out. The ball hit my hand and hit the floor again several times before I lifted my arms up to shoot. Suddenly I heard the door slam shut behind me. It was Carry, my mother’s sister. She had tears dripping down her face and her body was rigid. I dropped the basketball from my hands and ran up to her. “Aunt Carry, are you alright, what’s wrong?” I whispered in a comforting voice. She whimpered as if the earth was about to end. I took her shoulders and roughly shook her. “What is going on?” I screamed getting more and more irritated with every second that passed. “She, he, they, died” she whimpered. “Your mother and father died in a terrible accident this morning at 3:oo AM. They were at an intersection and decided to speed up to get past a red light. A semi hit them and they died instantly”. My knees completely collapsed under me and I fell to the ground. I was shaking heavily, crying hot tears that just rolled of my cheeks, my blood pumped, and I felt like I was about to explode. Carry held my head on her shoulder and let me cry on her. “Carry” I whispered “I will always have you no matter what happens” She nodded and kissed my cheek “I love you.” “I love you too,” I whispered, feeling some more tears streaming down my face. * This is the reason I am laying here now. My aunt walked in and grinned noticing I had finally waked up from my nap. Secretly I had been awake for hours daydreaming and thinking. “Good morning,” she stated.” I was thinking you might want to go to a carnival to cheer you up. It’s been two years now and you need to get up sooner or later. I jumped up and brushed of f my clothing. “See you soon Carry,” I screamed running out the door. “Wait” Carry screamed after me from the doorstep. “Where are you going!”? Joe Dexter Hobo Hobo wakes up and all of a sudden he is under a bridge with a magnificent piece if art. IT WAS A TROLL! He was in the famous Seattle. He poked the troll and it did not move. Hobo was scared, there were noises and fast moving electronics. He had no idea where, or WHEN he was. He walked on his four hairy legs all the way to the troll’s head and it still dint move. It was stone. One of the electronics stopped in front of the troll and pulled out a device that when they pressed a button, FLASH! A white light came from it and blinded Hobo. This device was called a camera. Hobo walked along the streets of Seattle and felt something rumbling in his stomach, (he was hungry). He started moving his nose and out of nowhere he smelled something. IT WAS A KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUT! He ran and ran and ran as fast as he could to the source of the smell. He had found it, he tried to run to the doughnuts and he crashed into an invisible wall. He had wondered what kind of magic or science this could be. He tried Habitually, over and over, but got nowhere. Hobo examined a life form open one of the invisible walls with a frame around it and Hobo ran through before the invisible wall with the frame had shut. He ran and jumped over a table, knocked down a chair, and jumped over the counter. When he got to the other side he saw an incredible sight. There was a life form with a broom swinging it towards him. She was shouting louder and louder each time, “DOG IN THE KITCHEN, GET THAT DOG OUT OF HERE!”. He had noticed she was aiming for his head and he took a doughnut and ran through the invisible wall with the frame again when some other life form had opened it. Hobo was walking in the parking lot when he saw a collar. It had said “Hobo, 555-5555”. Hobo was thinking, “Could this be mine?” He looked around and notice posters on all the poles around him. All of the posters had had pictures on them. Hobo went back to the invisible wall and look hard and could see his reflection. He remembered the poster and was surprised to find out that it was his face on the poster! He had realized what this meant. Hobo was lost. But, The question was how could he find his way home? Hobo sniffed for hours and ended up going in circles. After another stealing of a doughnut he went back to a poster. Hobo sniffed the poster and instantaneously he knew where he was and where the poster had come from. When Hobo started running to the scent, he had tripped while trying to jump over a tree branch that had fallen from a nearby oak. Hobo was passed out. Hobo woke to a world where everyone was using all four legs to walk, and the streets and buildings, and people, just everything was made of a T-bone steak. Hobo was in heaven. While he was walking down a streak with a T-bone steak in his mouth, he had an annoying ringing in his ear all of the sudden. Next, out of nowhere there were voices talking in his head, they were saying, “ I found him, I found Hobo!” Another voice said, “ What happened here? Why is Hobo unconscious? Is he ok?” The deeper voice replied, “ He is fine we just need to wake him up.” After the deeper voice had stopped talking Hobo was getting dizzy in his steak life world, and it looked like all the atoms were rearranging themselves to a different reality. Erika Cruz Untitled Nancy shes a girl that sometimes has problems in school and out school. She hangs out at school more because she can go and see all of her friends and she loves school because she gets to spend more time with there friends there and when she not at school she doesn’t really go out that much. When she’s with her friends she gets in trouble a lot and there were some times when she got suspended because the teacher caught her skipping class. When teachers saw her doing something bad she would get lunch detention and if she didn’t go she would get another one. When she’s at lunch she hangs out with her friends. Nancy and her friends would go to a teacher’s room and hang out there. They come eat, talk, or watch a movie in there. In the mornings she would get late to school, and she would skip a little and then come to class tardy, and she would come with a tardy pass. Her friends would get into fights and her friends would act like they were cool and they are popular. When she’s in class she would just sit there and talk or sometimes she would do work in class. There was one day when Nancy asks her mom if she can go to the mall with her friends and her mom said,”Yea but you have to take your sister because she’s crying and she wants to go too.” Nancy didn’t have another choice so she took her sister. When they got there she saw her friends and they started talking and walking around the mall trying to see what they would do. When Nancy had a problem she would always tell her mom because she like’s her mom as a friend and she wanted to know what she would say to her and what’s her opinion. Whenever Nancy told her something it would always be something that her friends did or did to her. Her mom doesn’t like Nancy’s friends because Nancy doesn’t have true friends and she doesn’t like her friends. When she’s with her friends she would do bad things because her friends would tell her to do it or she would do it so she could be cool like them. For example, she would smoke if they did or she would skip and skip lunch detention, but if she skip lunch detention she would get another lunch detention. There was one day when Nancy friend’s got mad at her because she was going out with one of her friends ex boyfriend. They all came up to her and they asked her why she was going out with him and why didn’t she say anything about it. When it was her turn to talk, she didn’t say anything and she just walked away and she didn’t care what they said. One of her friends asked why would she go out with him if his ex still liked him and she knows that. She didn’t care what they thought about them. She’s nice when she doesn’t hang out with her friends. She would always stay after school and skip it and go somewhere. She would get suspended a lot and her mom would get mad her. She would get suspended of fights and getting into problems. Her friends like to do bad stuff, and all the bad things she got it from her friends, and those friends she has aren’t real friends. Teachers would always help her to learn and be better than her friends. She likes to have fun at school and go to the dances that the school does. She also likes to go to parties. When people mess with her she goes up to them and asks them what’s their problem and she would tries to solve it by talking to them. Katherine Young Samantha My name is Sam, well my mother named me Samantha, but I thought that was too girly to fit my personality. Yes, I guess you could say I am a tomboy, I love football, that is my passion, that is what helps me through everything. It helps me get my anger out. My mother is a drunk so I get angry a lot, but I have learned to control it, I have gotten used to it for the most part. The first time I threw a football I was five. All of the kids on the field thought I couldn’t throw one, because I was a girl, and I wanted to prove them wrong and show them that I could throw a football better then anyone else. I was on the soccer field at school, throwing it to one of the other kids. I leaned back, readying my arm, smelling the sweet smell of the fresh cut grass, and feeling the warm sun hitting my skin. As I threw the ball feeling a little wind pass through my hair. As I watch the ball fly into the air it suddenly fell flat reaching about half way between me and the other kid. At that moment, I just stood there remembering everything that happened in the past, I remember my mom telling me that I could never play football, I wasn’t strong enough, just crushing my dream. I could hear all the kids laughing, it was replaying over and over in my head. I suddenly felt and urge of anger rush through my body I picked up the ball again and threw it as hard as I could, this time hearing the big whoosh of air in my ear. I could see the football flying in the air and I watched it fly into the other kids arms, as I watched him fly backwards. At that moment I knew that football was something I was good at, and that is when I figured out that football was my passion in life. I have learned a lot since then, I have learned that football isn’t all about how hard you throw the ball, its about how determined you are. Have you ever done something that your parents probably wont approve of? Well try doing that everyday. My mom was different, if she found out that I was playing football, I think she would kill me, literately. See she doesn’t want me getting involved in anything that would cost money. The only way I am going to be able to achieve my goal is to face her, but I am not going to be able to do that with her gone all the time, so there is only one other option. I ran away, yes that might be the stupidest thing I have done for a while, but right now football is the only thing I have right now. The only problem is I have nowhere to go. I went to Nikki’s house, my best friend. I knocked on her door, and her mother opened the door, I thought oh great, but I just asked if Nikki was home, and she came running down the stairs. And I asked if we could go on a walk cause I wanted to ask her something. “Do you want to go on a walk with me?” I asked her. It was a nice day out; the sun was beating on my face before I walked up to the door. “Um? Sure.” She agreed, looking confused. “I just want to talk to you about something and I don’t want your mom to hear.” I explained. “Oh okay, I understand.” She replied. We were about half way down the street, and I just blurted out. “Can I stay at your house for the rest of the school year?” I asked. “What are you talking about Sam, are you going crazy or something??” She asked, freaking out. “You know how I like football, and there is something that I haven’t really told you.” I said, scared of her reply. “Okay? Well tell me now.” She replied. “Well, the reason I never want you to come over is because my mom is a drunk and she is never home, but when she is home its one crazy scene and I just didn’t want you to be around that. I am sorry I didn’t tell you but I just didn’t really feel like talking about it.” I told her. “Well, I am not sure how my mom would react to that. Why don’t you just stay with your mom and just talk to her about it and I am sure she will understand.” Well that didn’t go well, she obviously isn’t really my friend, and she doesn’t understand. So I will just have to think of something else to do. All of a sudden it started to pour down rain, the rain hit my face so hard, almost like hail. “Well its getting late, ill see you later” She said to me. I just walked away, I really had nothing else to say to her, but I was not going to let it get to me. So I have to think of something else to do. It was the next day and I was walking out of the girl’s locker room, and suddenly someone held my mouth shut and dragged me into the boy’s locker room. I didn’t know what was going on, who this was, or if I would live or not. Ryan Vanderveen Untitled My name’s Kevin and I am a freshman at college in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. I don’t have much of a family. My dad left when I was young, my mom passed away and my sister is off living the dream, exploring Europe. I don’t have much money and I live in an apartment alone. My apartment is small, but cozy. It has enough room for a bed, small kitchen, bathroom, and a soccer ball in the corner. Right now I’m studying to become an engineer, but I don’t know how well that will work out for me because my real passion is soccer. I have been playing soccer since I could walk and now I have become so talented that I have a good chance of playing as a pro. I just wish I knew where my life would take me. During my sophomore and junior year, school was going well and I maintained a 3.3, but I wasn’t the smartest student and I knew that I wasn’t going to have an easy and successful life unless I became a professional soccer player. I practiced everyday and I could see that I was doing well. My training was continuously going great until one day at the lake I had broken my leg. I was down at the lake with a few of my friends and we were going to go inner tubing and wakeboarding. It was a hot day, around 90º, and everyone was enjoying a break from school. We were out sitting on the dock taking a break and my friend Scott was driving around in the boat. I was amazed at his driving abilities and at that moment I got up while still staring at him and I took a funny step and got caught on a rope and tripped. The pain felt like a thousand needles into my leg and I knew that this was going to end badly. My leg started to hurt so excruciatingly that I fell to the ground and was rushed to the hospital. After many x-rays and tests I was told that my leg was broken. As my school year went on I was not able to play for a couple months in the season, which put me at a total disadvantage. Everyone was improving while I was losing my touch. After two months I was back in and excited to train. Years went by quickly and eventually my senior year was starting to come to an end. It came down to one final game that decided the rest of my life. It was a tough game with even play, but we were out playing the other team by a little. The score was 0– 0 and in the 52nd minute the opposing team, Evergreen, scored a goal off a stunning header. We were now down by one and everyone was tired, but I had to find that extra energy within me to put us back in the game. The game was getting close to the end and in the 78th minute I scored a shot in the upper left hand corner from about 25 yards out. Now with the score 1-1 I got the ball and took it up the field. I dodged a few people and right before I took my shot I was hit from the left side a penalty kick was called. I knew that there was only about a minute left in the final half and that this penalty kick will decide who takes home the victory. As I set the ball down on the penalty marker, time began to slow and seconds felt like minutes and minutes felt like hours. I could see everyone in the background jumping up and down, a faint yelling of the crowd and I could feel the intensity of all the players around me. As the referee blew the whistle I went to strike the ball and I could just taste victory within my grasp. The ball flew in the air, inch by inch it moved. Every shot, every moment and every hour of practice came down to this one shot. The ball soared in the air and flew towards the upper right corner. The goalie made a jump for the ball and he got a few fingers on it and time felt like it had stopped. That few milliseconds were the ball touched the goalies fingers felt like years and I knew that this would decide if I would go pro or go home. The ball skimmed the goalies fingers and dropped into the back of the goal. It took a few seconds for it to soak it, but when the referee blew the three whistles indicating the end of the game the crowd went wild and all my friends and all my teammates jumped on me and it was the greatest moment of my life. My life is going great now and I have retired with enough money living a quiet and peaceful 70-year-old life. I played soccer until I had enough money to start an engineering business where I made millions of dollars making a new type of soccer cleats. Now my house is a huge mansion out in the mountains of beautiful Canada. I couldn’t ask for much better of a life and it all happened from pursuing my dreams as a soccer player, continuing to work hard in school and fighting through any obstacles in my way. Angel Tulee Winter Formal ‘09 Don had been dreading this moment since he first came to the conclusion that he must do it. Nothing else seemed as hard to him in the world, and his palms got sweaty just thinking about it. Don would have chosen to fight a cage full of tigers rather than ask Monica to be his date for South Hill’s ’09 Winter Formal. He saw her across the room and millions of reasons soared through his mind of why she would say no. She was too pretty for him. She was too nice and had too many friends for him. She was not a popular snob, like most of his friends, though. She had both class and courtesy and portrayed it with such grace and elegance no girl could envy her, but at the same time all wanted to be her. Don and Monica’s previous history and all that he put her through told him to stop right there. But it was as if she had read his mind and pleaded him to ask. She made eye contact and just stared. Stared for about two seconds, then she got back to her business. It felt more like twenty minutes and seemed to Don more significant and signaling then she had intended it to be. Finally he brought up enough nerve to call out her name. “Monica.” Said Don. “Hey… What’s up?” Monica replied. The hallway seemed to go completely silent in that instant, although the jostling kids maneuvering through the corridors, and the nonchalant quiet hall-moniters would have said otherwise. At South Hill, there is rarely ever a quiet moment during passing period, and considering it was lunch time, it was twice as loud. To Monica and Don it didn’t matter though, the green walls that were painted nearly over a year ago, disappeared, the students who were all passing by with their twenty pound backpacks, disappeared and the teachers, standing in their doorways with their fake looking smiles, and warm welcomes, they all disappeared. So Don finally responded. “Nothing… Um would you like to go to that dance thing, with me? I don’t really know how to dance and I know what we’ve gone through and I thought that…” Don managed to stammer, with a quickened tongue that anyone a mile away could recognize as a bad case of teenage-boy-nervousness. “Stop.” Don gazed at her dismayed. He didn’t expect her to be jumping for joy at his request, but to coldly reject him like this made him want to jump into a deep dark isolated hole. He almost half expected her to accept his request… “O… Yeah whatever,” he said. It seemed like she was about to punch him in the face before her next words came out of her mouth. Every single ounce of body language a person can possibly use, it seemed Monica’s was harnessing all of them to send feelings of hate towards Don. “You are unbelievable. Did you really think that you could treat me like that and I’d still say yes to you? That I’d still be just wishing that you wanted to be with me? Well I hate to break it to you… But I have some pride left. Thanks for asking but NO thanks.” Don didn’t know what to do. All his life girls had just lined up to be with him, and this was the first time he had ever been denied. He just started to feel angry, confused. When he didn’t get what he wanted he was scared. A scared boy that uses excuses to either get what he wants, or make whoever pay for not letting him have it. To do this he has mastered the art of throwing tantrums, grander tantrums than a 2 year old, and acting somewhat like an infant but much, much worse. “I only was asking you as a friend. HA, did you think I would ever think of YOU as more? I don’t care. Just leave me alone.” He was already in the stage where he was plotting how he would inform half the school that he only asked her to be nice, and that no other half decent guy would bother. He would tell the other half that he had never wanted to go with her anyways. He knew that the stupid ones would believe him, and that the ones that actually knew him and Monica would see right through this. Meanwhile what was going through Monica’s head was quite different, a million different feelings went through her heart and she was at a loss for words. Conflict arose, should she confess to Don that she had never gotten over him? Should she do the mature thing and walk away with her head held high and dignity intact? Or should she slap him across the face, and let him know that nobody talks to her like that, EVER. Over the Summer was when they had met, she was the pretty new girl with an unknown past and he had been the popular local boy with all of the friends, girls , and everyone knew everything about him. It wasn’t long before he decided that she was his new mission. To him girls were a game, a challenge. God put them on this earth to see how many he could get to fall in love with him. And so far, he was playing this game very well. But she was different from the rest of them, all she wanted was to go back home to Arizona and not even have to deal with the outside world anymore. It had taken awhile before they even grew to be friends, which made it even more fun and puzzling for Don. But something weird had happened, they both started liking each other. She didn’t remember her ever being in a stable good relationship, and he couldn’t recall ever having feeling for another girl. So after almost a month of them falling for each other, he did what he does best and split like a banana. Without a phone call, text message, or friendly greeting when they would see each other around town. Shortly after he found a girl named Valerie, he thought that by dating her he would get rid of these strange unfamiliar feelings he had towards Monica. But in the end, nobody was happy, and nobody wanted anything to do with each other.. That’s how she remembers it, and that’s how it went. He would tell it differently, but soon enough everyone knew. It was a small town and word and actions spread fast. “Oh…” She only was able to give off a pained express on her face. She tried not to show how extremely torn she was about his response, but failed drastically. Monica was almost brought to tears when Don reacted with what he thought should be done, he looked at her and remembered this as the last chance he’ll ever have to make up with his girl, and then he walked away. Each slow methodical step he took ripped both of their hearts a little more and when he got to his car he screamed, hit his window and just sat there all throughout 5th and 6th period hurting deeply inside. Zack Stallings Untitled You want to know about Sam MacSamsonson’s family? There isn’t much I know about his family. I can tell you that his father had a home business. Graphics design, I think. His Mother worked for some large publishing company. He had two siblings, A 13 year old sister and an 11 year old brother; their names were Sarah and Tristan, respectively. Since Sam didn’t have any “friends” per se, there wasn’t much information about him to gather. I didn’t know what his parents were like. However, I do know now. It was sophomore year when Sam’s little sister came to high school. If I remember anything about Sarah it was that she was one of the most talkative people I had ever met! Sophomore year turned out to be the year that the enigma that Was Sam MacSamsonson begun to unravel. I even remember the date when it began, September 24th, the day when my friend, Jerry, came to me. “Hey,” He said. “Have you met Sam’s sis yet?” “No why?” I replied. “She’s been telling us like, everything about Sam, she’s just spilling the beans everywhere!” He exclaimed. He must have seen the surprised look on my face, for the next thing he said was “ Don’t you wanna know about Sam too?” I don’t remember if I had hesitated or not before I gave my answer, for the truth is, I did want to know about Sam. But, I couldn’t help feeling guilt about wanting to pry into his personal life. However, if I did hesitate or not, it doesn’t really matter, for I do remember that I did say, “Yes”. “She’s in the courtyard,” Jerry informed me, “come on.” Emma Schumacher Untitled I came in the front door and slipped my shoes off. “Mom” I yelled trying to pinpoint what room she was in. I heard no response, so I made my way into the kitchen to get a quick snack before dinner. To my surprise Mom was sitting at the kitchen table with her head in her hands. I thought that she was crying over another of those stupid romances she reads. I can remember her reading those since I was little, they always bothered me because they all were the same. It always starts with some beautiful looking lady who is madly in love with her fiancé or “man” only until she meets some new guy who was just a friend in the beginning but then she leaves her fiancé for this new guy. I am always thinking, when does this ever happen in real life. And why doesn’t the one ex- fiancé go after her, all the characters are extremely frustrating. All the stories my mom reads go like this and end this way. I come up to her teasing her and asking about the characters and if one had done something beautiful, or moving as she always describes it. She just looks up at me, her blue eyes are squinted and eyelids red and puffy, she stared at me for a good whole minute. I could tell this wasn’t about her book, I went up to her and put my arms around her and waited for her to speak. It felt like lifetime passed before she spoke. “Grandpa died honey.” She pushed a strand of my hair behind my ears and kissed my forehead. She looked up at me and did a half-hearted smile, but I just looked down. In my mind it felt like I had just been punched in the stomach, the air knocked out of me, I had a lump in my throat that wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t feel anything. An emptiness maybe, but I couldn’t tell. The world had just turned over and I couldn’t take it. Mom kept talking about what had happened, the words kept zipping by my ears, I only caught a few points, but what would that matter. My grandpa had been my best friend, a person who would be there no matter what I’ve done. Now he’s gone, what am I going to do, who will watch me while my mom is out of town for her job, who’s going to pick me up after school. I plopped myself on my moms lap and leaned into her. I tried to cry but couldn’t, as much as I wanted to I wasn’t able to. What was wrong with me, I didn’t feel one emotion all I kept thinking was he was gone. To have someone one moment and them gone the next is something that you can’t believe. I quickly turned to mom trying to get her to stop talking about him, and asked her if there was anything that she needed. She seemed to stumble over her words but was able to say, “No, no I don’t need anything, thanks, I think I’ll be able to manage.” She stood up making me slide off her lap. Mom walked to the sink and picked up some dishes and ran them under the faucet. She looked out our window and started too mumble something to herself. I decided to leave and let her be alone. I needed to think for a while to. I dragged my feet on the way to my room, turned the knob, and slowly entered my dark room. I knew switching on the light would do nothing. Ever since mom had put in florescent lights they took about five minutes to actually start to turn on. I went to my bed and curled up into a small ball and threw my covers over me. I always feel like sleeping when I’m sad. I waited a bit under my covers but had too much to think about. I rolled over on my side and stared at my wall. I heard the door open and someone walk into my room. Mom entered and sat at the foot of my bed I turned back over and sat up. “You hungry?” I looked up at her and shook my head no, I didn’t think Mom would be able to cook anything and I didn’t want her driving in case she broke down again. “Hm…” It seemed like she wanted to say something else but wasn’t able to. “Will you be alright mom?” I stared at her hands, which were fumbling in her lap, I looked up at her and waited for her response. “I don’t know.” Her expression was told me that she would forever be grieving Grandpa’s death. I then felt like the adult here, I would now have to try and to support her even though I was going through the same thing. I knew I’d need to put in a lot of effort to mend her broken heart and that it would take some serious time but I was willing to help her whatever way I could. Vesal Rezaei Untitled While Alison was waiting for her luggage at the airport, she was talking to Drew, the guy she liked. It was so loud at the air port that they sounded like they were screaming at each other. She asked him whether he wanted to be with her at Washington D.C. to spend some time together. “Well um… I think.” He trailed off, and then suddenly a guy crashed into Drew with their luggage in hand and then apologized when Drew looked at him. There was a moment of silence between them because it looked like Drew had nothing to say about Alison’s question. Alison looked at Drew puzzled and told him, “so what do think”? Suddenly Alison’s luggage’s arrived and it got even more crowded than before, she couldn’t find him anywhere. While Alison was searching for her luggage, a lady came and blocked her way from her stuff. “ Excuse me ma’am” Alison said. “ Yes”? The lady answered. “I was standing in line in before you!” Alison raised her voice in frustration. But the lady ignored her completely. Suddenly Alison grabbed a cart that was right beside her and hurtle it toward her as hard as she could. Suddenly she heard the lady scream around hundreds of people who turned and looked at Alison because she looked as red as a fire. Alison pushed everyone to the side and grabbed her luggage and walked away. She looked around where she last saw Drew but he wasn’t there. She started walking in a faster pace but she didn’t see him. Suddenly her eyes were filled with water and tears were coming down her face. She was in a very bad situation now that she had an argument in front of many people, she lost Drew and she was having a hard time dragging her heavy luggage to the taxi station. While she was walking she saw a guy with the same colored jacket as Drew, she ran as fast as she possibly could with her cases in her hands, but when she got really close to him, it wasn’t Drew. She said to herself “what is happening to me”? All Alison could do in the busy airport was to get a taxi and go to the nearest hotel. When she arrived, she sat there thinking how she could find him again. Alison sat on her bed thinking for hours. She couldn’t think of anywhere to go or where he could’ve gone. Alison didn’t know D.C that well or where he was planning to head after the airport, she had no idea where to go look for him. Brooklyn Miller Untitled Someone was knocking on the door. I knew never to answer it when Mom and Dad leave the house, but I did anyway. He was a tall, sinister man dressed in a suit with wide brimmed hat balanced delicately on top of his head. It was raining, water dripping off the front of his chapeau because his head was slightly bowed. “Are you Emily?” I nodded my head slowly, wondering what he wanted. He told me that I should come with him, and not ask any questions. I knew it was wrong to go with strangers, especially following them to their car, but something about the man felt intriguingly mysterious. After descending the stairs, we reached the deputy car, where he told me there was something very important I had to know. “My name is Sheriff Mark Silverstone. I’m afraid there has been a terrible accident involving your parents. I am sorry to inform you that when they were driving home from the store they were crashed head on by a driver in their lane. They were rushed to the hospital about a half an hour ago, and died there minutes later.” My first thought was that I was in a dream, I didn’t want to believe that what the man said was true. My tongue seemed swollen, dry. Like a fresh bruise blooming into a mass of black and green skin. I just sat there, comprehending what was actually going on. Then I started to cry, I started crying mainly because that’s what people are supposed to do, right? I couldn’t believe it, but I had to cry. I couldn’t hold it in anymore, and I didn’t know what to do. I felt the blood that was once pulsing through my veins halt to a stop. I didn’t know where I was going to go, and what was to happen of me. I have no other family relatives, no sister, no brother, aunts, uncles, or grandparents. All I could do was sit on the vinyl leather seats of this mans old car. I sat weeping with my head in my lap, solemn and scared. I always knew of other children who had lost their parents, but I never knew what they had gone through. You go through life trying to impress and amaze people, and to think that everything you do has a purpose. There are people that are going to stand by you and support you in any direction you go, and help you through every problem. Those people were my parents. I went to them for everything, school, boys, fights. I don’t have anybody. I’m forced to grow up alone and afraid, all on my own. My parents were all that I had. They were my best friends. I remember my mom always told me that if anything were to happen to her and dad, I could make it on my own, I can stay strong and not let others get me down. The truth is, I’m not strong at all. I can’t stand up for what I believe in because I am scared of rejection. I’m different from the kids at school. I don’t have friends and I’m not accepted. My parents never saw that, they loved me for who I was. Emily James Astrid. They were the only people I could go to for anything, and they never once complained. “We’re going to take a drive.” The Sheriff said. “Okay.” I replied. And we drove off on the old brick road of North Carolina. Selena Masarik-Williams Untitled I was born in the small town of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. Growing up there was fun; since it was small my friends and I could go around town all by ourselves. Playing hide and go seek was our favorite thing to do, we would do it all day. It was much safer now then it was in the 50’s and 60’s and even earlier than that when there were shootings. There were a few problems of living in a small town one was everyone knew everyone. The guy who owned the drug store knew almost everything about you. One of the problems of living in the small town was when we needed food and groceries we had to drive into Middlesboro in Kentucky. But that was always fun going through the tunnel in Tennessee and coming out in Kentucky. As my friends and I got older our parents would take us to Middlesboro more often and as of last year I could drive, so I would take the four of us (Me, Amber, Sarah, and Julia,) to Middlesboro to go shopping and spend the day there. Of course it was nothing compared to Hide-and Seek. We were getting older and things were changing and I wasn’t sure I liked it. “Come on Marie, lets go out to eat,” Amber suggested. We had spent the whole day shopping and I was exhausted. “I don’t know I’m really tired,” I said, and it was true Amber had taken me to every shopping store in Middlesboro. “Are you sure? Because I was thinking we could go to our favorite restaurant,” Amber said smiling. I knew she was trying to persuade me; she did it all the time. “Alright fine,” I said, giving in, I hate it when she does this but she knows I will give in when it involves our favorite Mexican restaurant. Then at that moment there was a crack of thunder and it started pouring down rain. We ran inside still managing to get soaking wet. “I love the rain,” I said smiling as we got inside the restaurant. “You do?” Amber asked. “Yeah, especially thunderstorms, they are the best.” I said while we waited for the waiter to take us to our seats. “I can’t wait to leave this place, and move somewhere were the weather is normal.” “Amber, the weather here is normal,” I told her, resisting the urge to start laughing. “I just hate living in a small town,” She said, and then the waiter came and took us to our seat. “Why do you want to leave here so bad?” I asked, wishing that everyone would just stay. “I don’t like small towns,” She said simply. “There aren’t exciting, and once you get older there isn’t anything fun to do.” “Then why do you live here?” I asked. “Because of my parents, but once I graduate I am out of here,” She said leaning back in her seat. “I like it here. I don’t want to leave this place” I told her. “Are you crazy?” She asked. “No I’m not, I like our town.” “Then where do you plan on going to college?” “I don’t know somewhere in Tennessee.” I told her not really wanting to have this conversation. “I want to go somewhere to a big city, where everyone doesn’t know you.” “I like that, the sense of knowing everyone,” I mumbled. * My alarm went off, I leaned over to hit the snooze button when I realized today was graduation. I sat upright slowly, and ran my hands through my hair. I was graduating today. I couldn’t believe it; my friends would be leaving in the next few days. Part of me wanted to stay in bed and sleep, but the other part wanted to get up and see my friends. I walked over to my mirror and looked at myself. I had slept in a ponytail the previous night and my hair was crazy half of it was still in the ponytail on the top of my head and the other half was in knots falling down to my shoulders. Sighing I took out the hair tie and grabbed my hairbrush and began to brush my hair, which seemed to take hours. “Marie!” My mom called from downstairs. “Yeah?” I yelled back finally setting down my brush and moving over to my drawer. “Do you need a ride to the after party?” She asked. “No I’m going with the girls,” I told her, which she should have already known. “Okay, hurry up we are leaving in 15 minutes,” My mom yelled back. Sighing I looked at myself in the mirror again. This would be the last day that I would see most of my friends and other people from school, everyone was going to college in another state or in Tennessee but like miles and miles away. 15 minutes later I was in the car with my mom. I had decided to just wear jeans and a t-shirt under my gown, the hideous gowns that no one liked. I looked at the window and watched the houses and building go by as we reached the school. I saw Julia, Amber, and Sarah talking with each other in the front of the school. “Mom I’ll see you afterwards I’m going go talk my friends,” I said. “Alright honey have fun,” my mom said as I got out of the car and ran towards my friends. “Hey guys,” I said and hugged them. “I can’t believe we are graduating today,” Julia said. “I know, we have to promise that we will always be friends,” Amber said. “Promise,” We all said at the same time. I knew that everything would work out the way it was suppose to be. Kaden Liddle Untitled We grew up on this house, it may seem small sitting on the countryside outside of Seattle but to my brother and I it wasn’t, it was like the world was our backyard. Who knew that could be taken away. The fire took everything from us, we lost the barn and most of are cattle, just everything. We didn’t know what to do so we did the only thing we could do, Move into the city. We knew this would be a huge change for my brother and I but we were ready for it. By the next month we were moved into the city, our parents went to get some jobs, my dad became a construction worker while my mom became a maid. With are parents working all the time my brother and I were all ways together. Everyday after school we would sneak into the movie theater and watch some R rated movies, my brother and I were watching around the world in eighty days and that’s when he got the idea. “Hey bro, lets make a promise that when we grow up were going to travel the world together, promise?” He said. What else could I say other then yeah, to me at the time it didn’t seem like that could ever happen to us, but its worth a try. Growing up in the city wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, the classes went [flew] by in a breeze once we started school, my brother and I started hanging with some other kids, it seemed like life couldn’t get any better, but dam can it get better. I met her when I was 15 I was out with some friends when one of them brought their girlfriend but she also brought a friend, her name was Crystal. The party went as usual, while I was going to get another drink I saw Crystal sitting alone on the couch so I grabbed an extra drink and headed right over to her. “Hey enjoying the party?” I was really knew at talking to girls, so I kind of did what I thought would be cool. “Eh its ok, other then my friend ditching me with her stupid boyfriend” She laughed. “Yeah Jacob can be a real jerk when it comes to these kind of things” We laughed together. “What’s your name? If you don’t mind me asking” “My name’s Crystal, what about yours?” We continued talking till her friend came back to take her home, but for us it didn’t stop there we started talking over the phone almost every night. Man was that like the best times of my life. We started dating shortly after that party, and to this day I’m so glad my friend talked me into going to that party. My live started was starting to go great, had an amazing girl and a great job, My brother and I were getting close to are dream of traveling the world. But then the unthinkable had happened. After a hard day at work I was home watching the TV when the phone rang and I noticed it was my brother, “Hey bro what’s happening with you?” I heard sobbing in the background. “Hey Drew are you ok?” “Craig its not Drew” It was Drew’s Wife Lisa. “Lisa what happened to Drew?” I started panicking. “He was coming home from work, there was black ice he didn’t have anytime to react, he slid into the oncoming traffic and hit a semi, They say he’s not going to make it” I dropped the phone, My ears were pounding as the blood in my head was swirling around. Everything was rushing threw my mind, everything we did all the stuff we had planned. It didn’t seem like this could ever be real. “Craig are you ok?” I picked up the phone. “Lisa I’m coming over” And that’s where it all ended for me, I lost my job and don’t think that I would ever be able to fulfill my brother and are dream of traveling the world. The years had come and gone like usual, I was just reading my book when I got a phone call, and it was Crystal. “Hey baby what’s going on?” I answer. “Craig would you be able to come see me?” She asked. “Yea I can where do you want me to go?” “I was wondering if I could come to where you and your brother used to play as kids” I hadn’t been there in years. “Yeah, yeah ill be there in a minute” “Ok thank you Craig” It didn’t take me long to get there, I knew the route by heart, heck I could do it blindfolded. I got out of my car and sat in the bench next to the water. It wasn’t long till I saw the lights and heard the car pull-up. I walked over to the black sedan and got in. “So what are you going to do now Craig?” I voice said. “Baby listen I don’t know what to do, its really hard now without the money” I replied. “God dammit why the heck wont you just swallow your pride and take my parents money!” she screamed. “I don’t want you and your brothers dream going to dam waste because you wont accept a little help” “My brother and I made the bet meaning its going to be mine and his money alone, I don’t care if they insist on helping me its not going to change a thing!” I opened the door and got out. “Craig why won’t you listen to us!” I hear a voice yell. But at the time I didn’t care, I just kept on walking till I was in my car and on the road. I thought to myself. “If anything Josh Hughes Untitled “You’re absolutely right, thanks. I really needed to talk it out.” Jake said silently outside the 7-Eleven. “You’re welcome, just don’t tell Alex, okay? I don’t need the grief.” I replied. Jake and I shared goodbyes and I treaded down the sidewalk toward my house, past the intersection, ready for a good night’s sleep. I tried not to think about the conflict through the past few weeks, because drama was one thing, but this was just stressful. I opened the door to my bedroom, tired. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, and dreamt of nothing but my current problems. My friends were gone, and I couldn’t help feel a little lonely, because absence makes the heart grow fonder, or so they say. When morning came I was in the bathroom getting ready for school, remembering in regret of the horrible things I said about Rachel. She and my friend Alex have been dating for almost a year now, and I think what I said may have affected my friendship with him, which doesn’t help my current dilemma. It’s hard to explain, but the moment I can say I’m happy with relationships in my life, my friends disappear. I stood under the bright light of my bathroom brushing my teeth remembering the past weeks when I heard the front door slam. Alex pushed the bathroom door open aggressively. “Do you have a problem with Rachel?” he asked, glaring. I choked; he must’ve heard what I said, “Listen, I was just trying to make Jake feel better.” I responded. “You sure?” he almost yelled, “Because it seemed a little harsh.” I looked down at the boring linoleum, then back at him. “I don’t know what to say, Alex I’m sorry.” I whispered. “Don’t gimme that!” he snapped. “What?” I asked, foolishly. “We’ll settle this right now,” he said, putting his fists up. He was stronger than I was, and I knew I was in trouble. “Alex, I’m sorry what I said offended you, but I’m serious. Jake was a wreck.” I said, backing away. He muttered some obscenities to himself and loosened up. Alex peered back outside from the bathroom, and glanced back at me. “I gotta go.” He said. I couldn’t let him vanish twice this week; if he left he’d be gone, forever. “Let me come with you, we need to resolve this.” “Just forget it, all we need is time apart.” “NO!” I shouted, he looked back at me from the doorway, puzzled. He then looked down. “See you later” he said, leaving. I followed him, he couldn’t be out of my sight, he hopped into his car, and I stood in front of it in the dark breeze. “What are you doing? Move!” Alex yelled back at me, rolling down his window. “If I told you the truth you’d think I were crazy.” I said, squinting from the headlights. “I already think you’re crazy, now get out of the way.” “No, if you leave I might not see you again!” “What?” he asked, turning the key back in the ignition turning the headlights off and making the car shut down. “If you leave I might not see you again.” I repeated, waiting for an answer. He didn’t answer, but he hopped out of the car. “Brett, I’m not gonna flee the country or anything –“ “That’s not what I mean.” I said, interrupting him. “Then what do you mean?” he asked. “I mean you keep vanishing, disappearing, I mean. Literally.” He gave me a look that said I was confused, insane and stupid at the same time. He slammed the car door closed, and took a few steps forward, crossing his arms warming his chest up from the cold. “You really are crazy.” “I’m serious, I haven’t seen you since Tuesday, Alex.” His face became even more confused, and the pine stung our noses in the dark, cold evergreen breeze. “We hung out just yesterday.” He said. My heart sank, and my eyes blurred, so it was true, he was gone. I couldn’t remember anything, was I insane? I didn’t respond, instead, I began walking down the street toward my school, and began to think about what he just said. I didn’t see him yesterday, or the day before, and I didn’t even know if that conversation did or didn’t happen. It was all very confusing, like I should have known what was going on but at the same time it was all very complex. Alex was yelling something at me, but I didn’t hear him, and it began to rain. I stopped at the intersection, a block from my house and waited as Alex’s BMW slowly came to a stop beside me. I didn’t dare look at the car, just the red traffic light that illuminated the wet street corner. “Hey!” Alex yelled out at me. I turned, and looked into the driver seat of Alex’s BMW beside me, but Alex wasn’t there, it was an older blonde woman wearing red trimmed sunglasses, who actually somewhat looked like Alex’s mother. “Need a ride?” Alex spoke again, but he wasn’t there. I glanced behind the BMW, in the backseats and the passenger seat, no Alex. No car was positioned anywhere else, just me and the older woman were at the red light. I opened the passenger car door and looked into the black shades of the old woman, but she didn’t move. I sat on the cold leather and slammed the door closed, still nothing. The light turned green and the car lurched quickly, the tires screeching. The car kept speeding down the one-lane road, and the rain pounded on the metallic roof of the vehicle. “Slow down!” I yelled at the driver. The woman was pale, with a wrinkled face. She still didn’t budge, like she’d been dead for some time. The road was coming to an end, where a guardrail was placed for the right turn in the street. I pushed the steering wheel, and the car swerved to the left, the woman’s hands didn’t move, and were still gripped tightly on the wheel. The car slid into the guardrail, and the side mirror broke through my window, deeply cutting my arm. The car stopped, and my eyes were tightly closed. The thick smell of smoke and smog caused me to cough, and as I opened my teary eyes I noticed the older woman wasn’t there. I kicked the driver door open, and pulled myself out, tightly gripping my arm, which was stained red. “Alex!” I yelled out, but he didn’t answer. My friend was gone again, and I was wondering how many more times I’ll be put in these life-threatening situations, and I couldn’t help but think that I shouldn’t have said those things about Rachel. Valarie Howell Limits My brother was running in his final race of the season, the race if he won would get in to the Olympics. He trained for this his entire life; He wanted to be in the Olympics even more than he wanted to be with our parents. Of course I didn’t blame him for not wanting to be around our parents, they were drunks who didn’t care about us and let us roam the street as long as we wanted to. That’s why he wanted to make something of himself so he didn’t end up like our parents. Derek was speeding way to fast down the track, his final race, and his final chance to get into the Olympics. We were on top of a mountain, were the north edge of the track was hanging off the side of the mountain. I didn’t think this was safe but the track itself was enclosed in a huge dome. They sped past me into a stride that pushed his legs even faster. I knew he was going too fast and he would fall but, he wouldn’t stop I just know he wouldn’t stop. The last hundred yards, all the runners pushed themselves yet Derek was faster, he didn’t even stop when he hit the finish line ribbon. He continued to run even though the won the race; he needed to slow down, so he kept on running. He patted my head as he passed me, and smiled. I smiled back. I knew he was happy with winning. He was still looking at me when he went smashing through the dome, I couldn’t believe it. He didn’t just fall. Reality hit me hard when I realized my brother was dangling for dear life on the edge of the mountain. “NO” I screamed. My brother’s coach grabbed me as I tried to escape. No he couldn’t be dead. I realized only seconds had passed when he fell but it felt like two hours. It’s been a year since then; I walk to my brother’s grave and stand in front of it. The tears are fresh as the run down my face. The pain still so much there; it feels like my brother stole my heart when he fell and I will never get it back. But I can’t stand feeling so beat and torn up knowing that my brother was so close to Olympics. It’s not fair that he had to die when he was so close. “I promise you now, brother, I will finish what you started.” I vowed as I laid the single white lily on my brothers grave and walked away. *** It’s been eight years since I vowed to my brother that I would finish what he started. Now I stand on the very track that my brother died on. I stand at the finish line waiting for the referee to fire the shot. I stood behind my starting block, “ON YOUR MARK!” the ref said. Do this for your brother Trinity, do it for him. I put my feet in my starting block. “GET SET!” I pushed myself up ready to take off at any second. The shot fired. I pushed off really fast on the blocks and took off. I had to laps to run as I stayed in a steady third place at the time. I would take my chance at the last hundred yards. I concentrated on breathing evenly. I sped past the first lap with flying colors. I continued to push myself as hard as I could go, we rounded the turn and I took my chance. I pushed myself harder and harder till I passed the first runner. Keep it up, keep it up. I was losing my breath; the first runner was neck and neck with me. No I was not going to lose. You can do it, Trinity, I believe you can. I heard my brother’s voice in my head. That’s all it took for me to get a full burst of energy and I flew forward with everything I had. I felt the ribbon touch me waist and rip as I flew past it. YES!! I did it. I made it. I’m going to the Olympics. I jumped up and down and tears ran down my face, I was too happy. I went and hugged my coach, my wonderful coach. Later after all the hugs and joy and went outside looked up into the sky. “Where ever you are, thank you, for everything, I’m doing this for you. I’m finishing what you started brother. I wont give up till I do. I love you brother.” I whispered to him wherever he was I know he would hear it. Brynn Hendrickson Untitled “Page? Azorah…Azorah Page?” “Here.” I said raising my hand as everyone turned to peek around to see the new girl. My mother was the one to name me. Azorah. It means blue, just like my stormy eyes. I inherited her hair; so black it was like a midnight blue. I was her clone. And the day she left my father never looked at me again. Later that day during lunch, a girl came up to me. She had a thin body and eyes that seemed to pop around her poof of blond hair. “New girl?” I doubt it was a question so I decided the only option was to nod. “I’ll give you a heads up, ‘kay?” she flipped her hair back and leaned forward, “You see that boy…” pointed her finger to the one in the middle of the big band of them and said, “he is mine. Steal him and I’ll be you biggest nightmare.” Her voice became a deadly whisper. I already did not like her she was too close. “Scaring the new girl already, Jenna?” A tall girl with long shock of white hair interrupted. “I would have thought better of you.” “What’s it to you?” Lena asked. “Back off.” Another girl leaned forward and stared her pure green eyes into Jenna’s face. Her hair was died green and spiked short enough to be a guys. She had a lot of piercings all over her ears, one on her nose and eyebrow, and another on her tongue. She gave off this vibe like if you got near her she’d bite your head off. Her intimidating look seemed to work because Jenna walked away. “Azorah? That’s your name right?” the white haired girl said. “Call me Zuzu instead, everyone else does.” “Okay, well Zuzu, I am Rina and this is Thaila. We have been watching you for a while now annnnnnnnnd…” she glanced at Thaila to finish. “We want you to become one of us.” She said. “Why?” I didn’t know anything about these two. So why did they want me? What was so interesting that drew their attention. They seemed nice enough although they both were very intimidating for both of them were tall. I am not tall or pretty like them. “Because we like you. Strong, independent, and …well we just want you to hang with us. Thinking about this now I would have said straight out no. But I didn’t know what they were capable of and so many times now I wish I had taken a different road. Nate Gniffke Al Al Wilshire had no family. They were all killed on a terrible December day in a car accident on the way to his Holiday Big Band Dance. Al lives in Greenwood in 1990. Greenwood was so free, music was peaking the city. That is all everybody ever talked about or did for fun. Al was the 3rd of 4 children, he is the only musical one in his family. He dreamt of someday leaving Greenwood and going to live New York City to experience the real music scene. Al plays trumpet and guitar and is the only person that cares about music in his band. Even though he hates his band Al’s family is very supportive of him to try to be the best he can. But now he has no one. Al’s dad was a doctor at the University of Washington and Al’s mom taught villages how to make farms so she was out of the country for long periods of time. Al spent a lot of time with his older brother Tom and his younger sister Hannah. Al’s oldest brother Colin was in the service fighting in the Gulf War. Al, Tom and Hannah spent a lot of time in the woods in their backyard, building forts, drawing animals, playing tag and hide and go seek. But now those things are all distant memories. Al looked up and down the isle checking to see if anybody was coming. He was going to shoplift, like he had started doing ever since he ran out of money. But today was different. He had to get a turkey since it was almost Thanksgiving. Al got to the turkeys and reached for the turkey right when an old lady swooped in and grabbed it out of his hand. “Hey! Give me that turkey!” Al shouted. “No it is mine, respect your elders young man.” Said the old lady back to him. “What does that have to do with anything!? Give me the turkey! Al screamed. He reaches for the turkey when the old lady suddenly grabs some mace and sprays him a couple times but the shots hit the side of his head. But he managed to grab the turkey and run. The old lady raised quite a ruckus in this moment alerting the store manager, Tom the store manager rushed over to see what was wrong and saw Al sprinting out of the store. Tom chased after him. In the isle over two cops were buying their morning donuts and coffee heard the yelling and rushed over and saw Al running and they too ran after him. Al jumped over the carts and slid past the crowds of people with the manager and the police in hot pursuit. Al flew out the door and in to the parking lot he grabbed his skateboard off of his backpack and hopped on it with the turkey in hand along with many other much needed supplies. He grabbed on to a car and rolled away from the store losing the cops and the manager. He slid to a stop at his house and walked inside. He put all the food that he obtained in the freezer. He walked over to the living room and made a small fire in the fire pit, which warmed the house from the freezing snow outside. He then walked upstairs to his room. He trudged over to his bed and flopped down and fell instantly asleep. Al slowly rose out of bed at 6 o’ clock and goes to get ready for school and turns on the radio to listen to the weather report. “A giant snow storm is coming school is only a half day today in Greenwood and many other schools because of the storm.” Says the weatherman. “WHOOOO HOOO!” Al’s exclaims. Al then walked out of the door to school. The snowstorm was picking up and was coming down harder. He reaches his English class and within minutes of class starting he gets a note from the office saying the principal needs to see him. “Now what, what could she possibly want with me?” Al said in his head. He walks down to the principal’s office. Ms. Giovanni is a good principal but she cares too much about children’s home life while she should be spent helping with the schools kids’ constantly lowering grade point average. Al knocked on the principal’s door. “Who is it?” Ms. Giovanni replied in a very sweet voice. “It’s me Al,” Al responded back. “Hold one moment please” The Principal says. From behind the door Al could hear the mumbles in Ms. Giovanni’s room he could hear her talking with someone on the phone. “Yes, Yes he is right outside my door,” Ms. Giovanni responded to the person on the other side of the phone. He could hear the mumbles from the person talking to her. Then the principal responded back. “Yes the people are in the room right now, they are ready to take him away to the orphanage. Yes he thinks that we are going to have a little talk about his home life. Yes, yes we are going to leave his house as it is and not have take anything out of it.” Ms. Giovanni said to the mysterious person. “NEVER!!!!” Al screamed as he burst through the door. He saw the collectors from the orphanage, they were big and built and both had bald heads with handlebar mustaches. Al saw these men and started running, he ran for his life he was leaving this school and he was leaving town. The two bald men chased after him through the halls and out in to the parking lot. “You will never take me to the orphanage!” Screamed Al. “Son, we are here to help,” responded one of the bald men in a very calm voice. “NO YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO TAKE ME!! NEVER!!!” Al screamed in his heat of blistering fury. Al started sprinting home through the parking lot. The snow storm was at full blast now the wind was blowing hard and the snow was coming at full speed and Al could not even see five feet in front of him. Al went sprinting across the street when the same two policeman from the store were driving down the same street and didn’t see Al crossing and they ran him over, Al died instantly from rolling under the car. Leul Getahun First Job Chris was a student of a boarding school in Ohio who is on academic probation. Even though his family is poor. Chris was the fastest on the team. At the last race he was scouted. He got a full scholarship to. He loves his family and he will miss them a lot. A few weeks after getting settled in and meeting his roommate, Matt he started hopping around town with his new friends. Just having fun. Chris was walking to his room when he found a help wanted flyer on the ground. Rushing to his room he called the number. Knowing he needed the money he tried to make him self look good. He arranged for an inter view. The interview was in a restaurant. They currently had two positions available is waiter and runner. He went in and had the interview. They told him that they would send him the answer. Chris all exited was walking back to his dorm room. When he walked in his dorm room he was amazed to find Matt knocked out on his bed. Running to get some medical attention. He gets the school physician and the man brings him back from being unconscious Matt. Chris in a hurry to ask matt what happened he says the words completely out of order “ happened what you to.” Matt look at Chris and in a slow and tired voice said, “I fell and hit my head.” The next week he found a mail on his bed. He took his time to open it. he walked to the kitchen got a knife to cut the tip of the envelop. He slowly put his finger in the hole moved it to open it. he slowly unfolded the paper and with in seconds went to the end to see if he got the job or not. With in a moment he had a smile on his face. He obviously got the job. But what had made him happy was the money. He had planed all his spending and rushed to Matt to tell him. After Chris and Matt had there fun. One week had passed and it was time for Chris to start work. His job was simple. All he had to do was take the food to the people in the cars that were in the parking lot. After running from place to place he was finally on his break when he realized with all the excitement. Forgot to tell his parents. He though that once he got his first pay check he should sent them a gift. Chris was doing a good job. When the end of his shift ended had arrived he was still in work mode. He grabbed diner from the restaurant. He took some food to Matt. He walked home and with the entire running he was doing he was really tired. With his first paycheck of $500 a month he bought his parents a really beautiful painting. He kind of blew of the rest of his paycheck. He realized that after all he bought for him self he had lots money left. He has more money than any one does. After all that’s what really maters. Jimmy Dinh I live in Tokyo, the age where teenagers sneak out every night and race for cash. It was the age of racing and everyone race all day until they finally get too tired to race anymore. I was 17 living in Tokyo with my mother; my father went missing when I was first born. My name is Ping Boomaglincachoa and i'm a single child in search for my father. My mother was not very a good mom and i'm not surprised why my dad left her. She’s never ever home; every time I call her she’s either at a club or a bar. I sometimes wish that when my dad left he would take me with him. Every single night I go out and take a spin in my pimped out ride. I race until someone comes and beats me. I only race because it’s like a part of life for me and it gets me good money. When i'm not racing i'm usually researching about my family history, but so far I haven’t found anything yet. When I look at my ceilings at night I say to myself; what if I was a ceiling, so plain and unmovable. So I had a plan, a plan to go find my father once and for all. One day I woke and had my breakfast and of course my mom comes rushing through the front door with a whisky bottle in her hand. She tells me that she didn’t drink today but I just ignored her and kept eating. So soon enough she fell asleep and that’s when I made my move. I went through her whole room searching for information about where my father could be and I found something. The paper didn’t say much, all it said was: leaving to the west and that was good enough for me. I spent one whole day packing everything I thought that would be useful for a road trip and searching for a person. The next day I hit the road and headed west in search for my father at last. Driving to the west was no problem but finding where my dad is should be a challenge. I have now entered the west town of Tokyo and suddenly I hear a noise that sounded like an engine of a car. So I look into my side mirrors and I see a car driving really fast and the sound got even bigger. I soon realized that my car was no match for his. I pull over to let him pass because I wasn’t looking for trouble. The driver stops his car right by mine and gets out so I also get out. The driver says, “What’re you doing all the way up here in the west”. I said “I’m in search of my father and I have a pretty good feeling he’s somewhere in the west”. But the driver says, “I don’t care about you looking for your daddy, how about you and I race for 350 dollars on the line”. Then I said, “ Whoa that’s a lot of money, are you sure?” He says, “of course we’ll just race to the bridge”. So I stupidly accepted knowing that his car is faster than mine. We used the stoplight to start the race, so when the light turns yellow we get ready and when it hits red we race. I got in my car and started the engine and put on my seat belt. The light was at yellow now…RED! I stepped on the gas as hard as I could but the other driver was too fast, so I planed to cheat. I used up all my boost power and caught up to him and I smashed into his rear. The driver’s car spins around and stops at a corner but I stupidly didn’t watch the road and ran into a pole. Thank god I wasn’t hurt but then I heard a noise, the noise of a pole falling and so it was the pole crashing onto my car and cracks my head open. A few minutes later the ambulance comes and bandages my head. After my treatment I was sent to prison for 8 months for illegal activities. But then my heart pounded when I heard the last name of the guy that I was rooming with. It was Bob boomaglincachoa, and so my dad and me catch up and live happily together right when we got out of jail. Andrew Cruz The New Being. Quantay is 33 years old living in New York with serious wounds breathing his last breath in the hospital. Looking back on his life he regrets all the crimes he has committed. WANTED in 4 states Florida, Washington, New York, and California until he realized by getting shot by cops that he shouldn’t live life like a criminal but to live right no committing crimes. Mean while in the hospital he began to get a heart attack mysteriously went in a white light, and out of know where someone speaks in a low voice shouting “QUANTAY.” Then Quantay realize that it’s God. Then he says, “why didn’t you stop me”, God says, “ what do you mean?” “If you are God why don’t you stop me from all the crimes that I have done. “ Will I didn’t know you wanted me to?’ “Will I know I can’t go back because if I go back I will be in jail for life?” “I would just rather die and go to hell then go back” “Then God leaves with no word. Meanwhile in the hospital Quantay breathes bit by bit, heart rate goes lower and lowers until they couldn’t help him anymore and is announced dead. December 17, 1995 was when I was rebirth into Andrew Cyberious was born but now I am 14 living in California in high school living with my parents. My whole life has change when I realize something went wrong. I was 10 years old when I did something bad it was when my friends told me to see if my cat can land on it’s feet on top of the roof of my 2 floor condo but when I was about drop my cat a strange voice told me “DON’T DO IT! ” and out of know where a hawk came and was attacking me then my cat got scared and bit me and ran away. That’s when I thought something was wrong I didn’t know what to say how did he know; so then I put them back. The next time was when I was when I was 12, it was after school and I was with my friends hanging out at the mall we went to Nordstrom until my friends were trying to confidence me to steal a jacket and when I pushed the front door the same strange voice was telling me not to steal, I thought it was just my imagination I ignored it and when I was reaching the jacket I got stopped by a girl and told me I don’t think you should do that I suggest you put that back, I was wondering how did she know that I was about to steal the jacket. I left the store wondering how she knew that I was trying to steal the jacket. The last crime I did was my friends we were walking along the sidewalk when we see a cop car parked on the side of the street and my friends and I wanted to see how it felt riding a police car so when my friends and I were in the police car a old man went towards us was trying to tell us to get out of the car or he’ll call the cops so my friend Mike who was in the driver seat just drove away. When we were driving a very same strange voice called me and said “This is your last warning if you don’t stop something very bad will happen” I was wondering what bad thing would happen to me. Police were chasing us and I thought that was the bad thing, Until I realized there are 6 cop cars behind us and we were driving the cop car rushing from the cops a tire came off and we were sliding and tipped over 3 times. We were in serious condition; we were rushed to the hospital. When I was in the hospital a huge light shined on me and I was thinking to myself I felt that I came here before. Then a huge voice said, “You’re here again” “I feel that I know this place but I don’t remember when” “you told me before to stop you for doing crimes and I did” “Will I don’t remember saying that to you, and who are you?” “I am God you told me to stop you from doing crime before you do them.” “Why” “Because before you did crimes before” “I haven’t done crimes and how come I don’t remember.” “You have down crimes but I stopped you I was the hawk when you were about to kill your cat, I am the girl that caught you stealing, and I was the guy that told you not to stealing the cop car?” “But before you were reincarnated? “Who was I before?” “You were Quantay Par you were a criminal!” “Until you died and reincarnated to you Andrew Cyberious!” you told me to prevent you from doing these things” “But you didn’t choose the right path again so your friends paid the consequences!” “Wait what happen to my friends?” “From doing these things leading to the stealing the cop car you have killed your friends from the accident!” “No I wasn’t trying to do these things on purpose I trying to kill my friends” “I wish I never have done this I want to start my live over” ……Crying “I will grant this wish but this will be your last life, I will not help you out I will give you free will I will not be here when you have your life over” “I will do my best God I will try to make you proud!” Daniel Cook Untitled I have been in Afghanistan for a week; I am hyped up and ready to kick some ass. Around lunch me along with my whole platoon was watching a movie in the mess hall. Then we heard over the speaker Cp. Johnny Peters announced “All Marines report to the Armory.” “TIME TO MOUNT UP, GET SOME MARINES GET SOME” he shouted. Everyone was yelling and screaming. I was quiet, I was nervous but in this cold dark place of war, killing and fighting, I was excited. When we got to the armory everyone was suited up. I got my M-16, we had to clean them and while I was cleaning I said softly, “This is my rifle, there are many like it but this one is mine, without me my rifle is nothing, without my rifle I am nothing.” About an hour and a half later we mounted up in the Humvee’s. I was scared. Fear was good, fear drives you, but getting a jump of fear in the middle of a shoot out it is like snakebite. We were blasting music. This place looked like a garbage dump. Then the sun came over the horizon and it looked so beautiful. 12 Minutes the driver yelled. We were all laughing and having fun. Then something exploded, the humvee flew up in the air, it seemed like it was in the air for eternity. Everyone’s eyes were full of fear. We hit the ground. Amazingly no one was dead, and I managed to get the door open. Shots were fired. I saw sand fly up and I dived to the ground, everyone got out of the humvee very quickly “ 360! 360!” I was scared. “What the hell, I thought this area was secured, Our Intel must have fun getting people killed”. More shots were fired. “We’re pinned down, where’s the radio?” “ It’s broken!!” “I thought we were supposed to have a column following us?” “Guess they never showed up!” “We got to get out of here RIGHT NOW! I think I know how to make a diversion,” I said. “HOW?” Sergeant Peterson yelled. “We have C4 right?” I said with a smile, Here, I took the C4 and crawled out of the cover of the Humvee. “YOU’RE CRAZY”, said Sergant. I crawled about 50 feet infront the Humvee, I put two C4’S and three smoke grenades about 300 ft. in front of the Humvee. Amazingly enough not a shot was fired, but then when I got into the cover of the Humvee. It seemed like shots where fired in all directions. “IM HIT!” I heard someone scream. I wasn’t sure who it was. I looked around and it was Gage, A boy about 19 from Alabama. Then another explosion hit the ground near us (this is most likely from a R.P.G). Every thing slowed down. People where yelling I didn’t know what was happening. Sand was flying everywhere, oh man, the sand was covering us from the explosions around. This was completely insane and unbelievable. It felt like a bad dream. Everyone was behind the Humvee, which provided us a great deal of cover from the small arms fire and some R.P.G fire. Gage was shot, everything was slowed down… Gage! I thought. I ran over to him “Where are you hit?” I asked frantically “In the chest, I think my vest might have stopped the bullet” he said Oh no I thought… he saw my worried and dreadful look on my face and asked, “Is it bad?” Gage is probably going to die soon if we don’t get him out of here fast. “No Gage it’s ok, it’s ok,” I said trying to make the situation at least 1% better than it was. “No its not, I know it went into my chest I can feel it, it feels like my chest is burning” he said “How are you not screaming in pain?” I asked “Hey…. Can you give this to my wife and little boy,” he said “No, because I am going to get you outta here and you will give that to your wife and kids, Hold on and stay with me, just stay with me,” I said “So what’s your plan?”, Sergant asked. I replied, “I am going to set off the C4’s and then you guys throw smoke grenades right after the C4’s go off” “Alright in 3, 2…Wait! I screamed” “What’s wrong?” Sergant asked in a concerned voice…I was thinking and everything seemed to go in slow motion again…is this really going to work?. I thought I could see the sparks flying off the Humvee. Sand was flying up, the sand dunes seemed taller. I looked around and then I looked down I saw the detonator. I slowly yelled “3, 2, 1”. A big explosion made sand fly everywhere. I heard shots fired everywhere. Six Iraqis insurgents stepped out of cover I saw them and me and the rest who were able to fight shot them all… they where all dead. “WHOOOOHHAAOO, the new kid is one hell of a shot,” gunner yelled. “We have to get a Medivac in the area, right now” I yelled. Gage was slipping in and out of consciousness…..which means were running out of time. I stood up, no shot was fired. “Ok here is the plan, you see that building over there… in that building there might be a radio, which we could use to call a Medivac” “All right let’s out, Johnson you stay with Gage, LETS MOVE” I yelled. We started slowly jogging to the building which was not too far down the road. No one has fired anything at us. I wondered if those six insurgents where the only men attacking us. We got to the building and no one was in there “All rooms clear Tommy,” said Todd, a guy at the age of 27. I think. I found the radio and turned the dial to 1:15 (the radio channel for military base) and said, “This 55th Delta Company we have a man down, and we are in need of a Medivac and reinforcements. This place is crawling with insurgents. Over,” No one answered…. I said again “This 55th Delta Company to base. Please respond we have a man down.” Still no answer… Everyone had a stone cold fearful look in their eyes. Suddenly we found that we were being shot at from all sides outside of the building. I heard another scream. “SERGANT!” He was hit, unconscious but alive, I was angry. I stood out looked over the window, and shot two insurgents. It was so loud with bullets flying and the smell of sulfur and broken cement. I heard screams so loud it could rupture eardrums. Then out of all this, I heard something on the radio I didn’t make it out, but I could hear something. “This is 55th delta company, can you repeat that?” “We hear you loud and clear. Thank god your alive we thought you were all dead, give us your position and we will send a medivac and some reinforcements. “Hold on tight” base camp replied, we where going to be rescued but we where still in grave danger. I glanced out the window and saw a man with a R.P.G. I ran over and covered up Sergant. Then I remembered Gage… I hear footsteps I quickly pivoted around and raised my M-16…. They weren’t insurgents. It was U.S. Marines… “Sergant is shot in the leg, left shoulder and lower chest,” I said to them reporting the injures we had. I was glad that we are safe. More men came out of the Humvees. We got into a big armored Humvee that was like a limo. Inside was beds for wounded men. We drove off and got back to base. * 12 hours later I was alone in the barracks while everyone was celebrating outside, I was in disbeliefe of what happened. My mind was racing, is going to happen tomorrow?, I wondered. I was going insane thinking about it. I killed those men. But yet that was a part of war. I started thinking about Jill my girlfriend. What she is doing? Is she ok? Does she miss me? I started to think about mamma, daddy and Josh… I thought about Josh the most…Does he miss me? Because damn I sure miss him… Am I going to die in this place? Am I going to get captured and a letter will be sent home saying MIA: presumed dead… Or is it going to be a sappy, same old damn letter that was sent saying how good of a job and how proud they were of us. Well the truth is, the generals don’t give a damn if we die, as long as we get the job done… I would really like to give the general who ordered that column yesterday a piece of my mind. he could have gotten soldiers killed and he knew that road wasn’t safe… I was thinking about all of this…. Then the sun came up… Gabriel Brazil San San is a quiet and lonely 20 - year old with little connection and relation to his parents. He loved the woods, as it was a home he always fit in. His parents were careless as sloths, lounging around that filth-filled domain. He never really wanted their input but always asked anyway. “So what do you think?” San would say in the politest way, but still with a hint of boredom. “Whatever you want DEAR!” His mother would reply, like he had been the straw that broke the old woman’s back. He would never forget the day of the “incident” at the conveyance store. Although he never wanted to admit it, it was just like yesterday… He was putting away the last of the pound cake in the back of aisle three. He went over to the cash register to count the day’s revenue, when a shady, middle-aged man walked in and asked for the money. “What?” San replied, confused, thinking, “How is this guy a threat more than the last roamer?” He lifted up his hood and said (this time with much more determination) “Put the money in a bag, NOW!” as he pointed a gun to his chest. San ducked and grabbed a bag quickly, trying not to agitate the robber. He quickly handed the man the bag with $1,590.00 (San always counted the money before leaving.) As the man put down his gun and fled, San, not thinking, grabbed a sack of potatoes and tripped the robber. He tried to punch him, but slipped on a grease spill from the corn dog machine. The thief ran out the door, but as San tried to get up, he fired three rounds. Two missed, but one hit him two-inches under the kneecap of his left leg. * The pain was more of a recollection rather than an immediate sense of hurt. He thought of when he was five year-old and his mother warned him not to play with the stove (he used to love the sound of the burner when it began to heat.) San insisted, “MOM, it’s not like I’m gonna kill myself…” Indeed he didn’t, but he did burn off all the skin on the tip of his left index finger. As the bullet when further and further in to his leg, San kept remembering the pain in his life, like the time he had almost killed himself. He was walking through the woods and carving his favorite tree as usual when, if he had he been paying attention, his foot snagged on the, overgrown root of the tree and he fell into the ravine next to it. He fell, but managed to catch another overgrown root of a different tree. San was lucky below him were about 13 glass bottles, broken up, just waiting to stab someone in the back. He was lucky. * As the bullet left San’s leg, all of the pain in his left leg suddenly rushed into his thoughts. He felt as if he would burst. Then he came back into real time. He saw the man running away from the scene, dropping some of the money out of the bag. San lie there for two minutes and 54 seconds, thinking, “What the HELL just happened to me?” but as he tried to get another thought in he began to slowly pass out. The last thing he saw were the cops rushing to his aid. He woke up in a hospital bed, the one a couple of blocks away from the forest. He was still dazed from the shooting, so he had really blurred vision. He tried to move his leg, when he did as Issac Newton said; he was faced with the immense pain. He grunted like trying to lift a heavy stake off the ground. “Honey please DON’T move it!” A familiar, raggedy voice came from the right corner of the room. “Wow, she ACTUALLY came…” He thought to himself. He widened his eyes and his clear vision returned, seeing his two parents in the room with him. He propped himself up with two pillows and began to speak when his mother interrupted him. “For God’s sake, San what have you done?” she said with the most annoyed tone. Again before San could say anything his father cut in. “I’m taking you off that job and getting you a job at the construction site.” He said very pissed off at San like he shot himself. “STOP IT!” he said at his wits end with worries and trying to figure out still what was going on. “You try SO much to help me now, but what about being there when I’m not hurt, like with my other problems?” he said as if he were attempting to pierce through a wall of steel. “Both of you! I’ve had enough of the popping in and out and always telling me to NOT do what I really want!” There was a shocking pause from everyone in the room. You could hear the anger in San's concealed breath. “San honey, we’re not trying to force you into anything…” His Mother started. “I’d rather be alone now.” San said. “But son…” He Father Began… “I would really appreciate it if you would leave this room for now. “Alright dear, whatever you want.” His mother said as if she was dealing with an old man, debating whether or not to go into a retirement home. They both left quietly and as San lay there he thought about his future and what would become of him and this. Then he dozed off to sleep. Gebriel Amare April/25th/2004 On a rainy winter day two kids fought in a black Rav4 car. After a stroking ten minutes both Gabe and his cousin stopped talking to each other. There was a nasty silence in the car. As they got to their destination, both of the kids had to get out of the same left door as usual, because the right one had a broken inside handle. Gabe stepped out of the door after his cousin, as he was getting out of the car. Boom! The door slammed shut Gabe felt his middle finger tingling, he saw blood everywhere. Everyone’s feet were buried in the ground with fear. That night they sat in the game room, Gabriel’s finger still throbbing in pain. The room was quiet and still. Gebriel sat across from his cousin on the waterbed. His cousin sat on a rocking chair, sadly looking at the lanky finger of Gebriel. Gebriel starts out with. “Man, did you do that on purpose?” Gabriel asked. His cousin replies, “No way. You serious?” “Hell yea! I’m serious”. “Well no I didn’t mean to close the door on you bro”. “No dawg, don’t bro me, you always do something unexpected to me”. “What are you talking about Gabe?” “Last time you let one of your friends punch me and you did not standup for me even though I am 3 years younger than you are. Now you close the door on me, almost made me loose my finger.” Gabe madly looked into his cousin eyes. The room was quiet and still, the rocking chair stopped rocking. Both kids quit looking each other and walk of to different rooms. The next day Gebriel swore to him self that he will never ever say of his cousin name. As he was leaving the house he had a quick flashback of the indecent. Gabe remembered his cousin smiling after the car door shut, while his mother was calling the ambulance. With that shocking memory Gabe walked away with a turned cheek. He stepped in his moms’ car and together they drove off. Ms. Archipley’s Class (period 2) Contents Savanna Starkey 79 Sam Schober 84 Aaron Moreno 88 Alex Horning 91 Brian Fortney 94 Logan Mast 98 Chris Herzog 102 Betelhem Yohannes 107 Alex Vowels 112 Cody Shimazu 115 Ben Schoedel 119 Sarah Satko 122 Louis Mouton 126 Emma Marmor 129 Brianna Gruger, Andrea Horsefield, and Anna Thompson 132 Keita Fukumoto 138 Amelia Flohr 141 Gavin Draper 145 Hasnain Akhund 148 Christina Chapman 151 Savanna Starkey The Fallen One I entered the cafeteria and stomped up to Delilah. “I overheard you insulting my boyfriend in the bathroom.” I was trying to keep calm and have a mature conversation with her. “Uhm… no? Why would you say that?” She got really squirmy; her eyes flickered in all directions. She was looking at everything and any thing but me. She stared at the floor, and then her feet. Her eyes jerked from the lunch line and back to the soda machines “I say this because I heard.” I spat through gritted teeth. Still she refused to make eye contact. “No, no I didn’t. You’re mistaken Selena. If you think I did then what do you think you heard?” I fastened my eyes shut and consumed a deep breath. I was clenching and unclenching my jaw. Balling and un-balling my fists. Right as she said that, I just about exploded inside. ‘Wow! What kind of answer is that? Stay calm. I don’t need to cause a scene. I’m above this. Let her play dumb. Then I continued thinking to myself ‘Calm down and don’t get angry.’ “Okay miss I-like-to-play-dumb. You were talking a whole lot of mess about his clothes for starters. Then his personality and him as a person. Oh and then, not to mention…” I inhaled a deep calming breath, trying to stay calm. “You said he’s only going out with me because he feels sorry for me. Have I said enough to jog your memory?” I folded my arms. She stopped squirming and finally made eye contact. She had a hard, cold stare. “What?” She snapped and her eyes went wide with anger. “I barely know you! Why would I say that?” She practically shrieked. I had to stifle a laugh. “Are you dumb or just stupid?” I asked with a sneering smile. “Let’s see. Because you had a clear straight shot with Trey before I came here! I know your reputation and I know you guys had ‘a thing’. But when I came he dropped you in a hot second. You KNOW you mean nothing to him and you can’t stand it. You ENVY me for that. You can’t bring your self to admit you hate him for that so you think you can take it out on me. But you are mistaken!” I retorted. I was getting loud, well louder then usual. Heads were turning. Her eyes were big and watery. I lowered my voice and leaned close. I pointed a finger in her face and whispered, “I will make your life a living hell” I retreated outside. There were a few kids sitting on benches, most kids were inside somewhere because the cold winter air was harsh. It looked like snow was coming; the heavily clouded sky and the dry cold air gave me that feeling. I called Katlyin. She picked up after the third ring. “Hello?” I started talking very loudly into the phone, practically yelling about the situation “It’s okay. Calm down, just calm down and take a deep breathe.” At the time she was on vacation in California with her family. We talked until lunch ended. She said she would be back home tomorrow. “Okay. Well tomorrow is Saturday so we can kick it all day… And then all night.” We both laughed and said good-bye. I just had to make it to the end of the school day without totally losing it. It was Saturday and I had met up with Katlyin. We were strolling through the park on our way to meet up with Trey. We were bundled up in our winter jackets. I had my Baby Phat jacket zipped all the way up past my chin to my nose. Katlyin was wearing her favorite lime green scarf. I was telling her about the cafeteria incident with Delilah. “OMG I’m so sorry Kiana. She is so greezy. I can’t stand her. She is such a beezy. I wish someone would just pop her one. It sucks both of us live out of district other wise we could do it during school.” Katlyin was getting furious at Delilah from just hearing the story “ I know and she is too scared to even dare to be within ten feet of me off campus and not during school hours. I’m just trying to finish junior year, then we can set our plans into action. She is so lucky me and you have our future planned out otherwise I would have let my anger taken control.” I answered fantasying the plans Katlyin and me made. We planned on dropping out of high school after we finish this year. Then we’re heading to Cali. To open our own little business. We had just started to cross Old Roy’s Bridge, which everyone referred to as the “Death Walk” People simply did this because of its height and width. The bridge was about 150 feet above the frozen solid river. And it was skinny, about 2 and a half people wide with five-foot tall railings. I glanced up and saw Trey, my boyfriend, past the other end. He was climbing the steep path that led to the bridge. His hands were stuffed deep in to his pockets, with his chin tucked down. I hadn’t seen him in a week, so I broke off into a sprint leaving Katlyin behind. As I reached him I noticed a man in black running towards us. At first I thought he was going to try and rob me, but I quickly realized there were about four police chasing behind him. He rushed past us, making me stumble. I briskly caught my balance and whirled around. He was quickly approaching Katlyin, with five other policemen blocking the other end of the bridge. The police that had been chasing him stopped about five yards away from him. They did what you see in every movie, they whipped out their guns and yelled freeze. The man only stopped when he was two feet from Katlyin. She was frozen in fear. Her eyes were bigger then dinner plates. I couldn’t tell from the distance I was at, but it looked as if she was crying. In 30 seconds, everything changed. The man had his arm around Katlyin’s throat, holding a knife to the exposed portion. The police started shouting commands all yelling into their walkie-talkies. I wanted to dashed to her, but there was something restraining me. An arm. Trey’s arm, which was twisted around my waist. My vision was now blurred and I was shrieking and kicking, my arms flailing around like a kite stuck in a storm. I kept thinking ‘Why? Why don’t they just shoot?’ That’s when I heard four loud, deaf defying gunshots. Nobody knew what had happened until five more went off. The man with the knife was a crazed maniac. I finally realized what had happened, the man with the knife had a gun. He shot the police and now the only thing I could see was Katlyin falling. Falling, past the railing, plummeting towards the ice. Her scarf fluttered and landed peacefully on the bridge. All the while Katlyin was closer and closer to her death. I slammed my eyes closed right before she hit the ice. I heard a crack then a splash. I opened my eyes seeing a gaping hole in the ice. I tried to rush over to the opening but Trey wouldn’t let me close enough, I could only see the red stained water, ice splattered wit red. Now I sit here, writing this letter to you. My will as you would say. In my hand I cherish the lime green scarf smothered in blood. I request to be cremated with it. Please spread my ashes through the river in which Katlyin died. I leave all my personal possessions and belongings to my mom. Along with my dog, Mackey. And now I say good-bye, forever, as I pull the trigger. Kiana Steds Sam Schober A First Love Jake was your typical 18 year-old kid. He had a girlfriend and a bunch of friends. It was his senior year and he was going to college in Florida and there isn’t anyone going with him. All of his friends were staying home and sticking together, except for him. He moved 3,000 miles away not knowing anyone else near there and he had to end his relationship with his girlfriend, Amanda, who he had been dating since sophomore year and can’t picture life without. Jakes was aways a tough guy but this is his actual entering of his life and he was really scared. “Mom, I’m going for a drive.” Jake shouted. Jake was just sitting in his car for about five minutes before he actually started it. Then he backed the car out of the garage, out of the driveway and pulled off. He was going to the beach to watch his final pacific coast sunset, since he was leaving the next day for Florida. He was just sitting in his car daydreaming about his friends and his girlfriend. He eventually called Amanda and begged her to come and sit with him for the last time. As he watched her pull up he started to get tears in his eyes because he knew this was going to have to be it. She ran over to where he was and sat. She saw the tears in his eyes. They were sitting there watching the bloody sky fall and spent time remembering the past and their relationship . “So this is really it, huh?” said Amanda. “I guess this is way too hard.” He replied. “I know, I’m going to miss you so much and I don’t know what I’m going to do without you.” Amanda explained. “You don’t need me to continue your life. You’re going to go to college, find a guy you want to spend the rest of your life with.” Jake said with a shaky voice. “I already have.” Amanda said trembling. At that point, Jake didn’t know what to say he had it in his mind that this would all play out and that Amanda and him would go about thier lives as if it never happened. “What are you doing tomorrow morning?” Jake asked in a sad yet very curious tone. “I have to go to my grandparent’s house, so this is our last time together for a while,” Amanda was tearing up as she replied. “Well it’s ten O’clock and I still need to pack. So…” Jake said hesitantly “Okay,” Amanda started to cry as she replied. Jake just held her for about fifteen minutes as she cried in his arms and he didn’t say a word. He walked her to her car and gave her one last kiss before he left her with memories that will last forever. He went back to his car drying his tears, trying to stand while he got in his car and waited for the sun to set. As he saw that last bit of light, he thought of it as his relationship with Amanda ending the last final bit. He started his car, pulled out of the parking lot and started his one mile trip home that would take him the rest of his life to finish. “Oh God! Why does he have to go?” Amanda screamed while driving her car. She finally turned around to go back to the beach to see if Jake was still there, but when she arrived to an empty parking lot she lost hope. She pulled into a spot and turned the car off and cried for about ten minutes, banging her steering wheel and blaming herself for Jake leaving. Then she got a call from her Mom asking her if she was coming home soon. She tried to act fine and responded without making her mom worry. “Yes.” She replied in a sharp tone and shut her phone. She started the car and continued back home. She eventually stopped crying and eased up to a stop sign. Jake then texted her and as she pulled into the middle of the intersection, she noticed something in the corner of her eye. The next thing she knew she was looking into the headlights of a huge truck. She looked back forward then cranked the wheel trying to prevent the accident from happening, but it was too late. The truck was already making a deep depression in the driver door. She put her arms up to protect her face and she closed her eyes and saw nothing but Jake. “We are gathered here today to remember Amanda McGillivray. Someone who meant a great deal to all of us and has died this tragic death.” As Jake heard her name he started to cry. Then he closed his eyes and all he could see was Amanda and all the memories they had together. Such as their first date at the county fair, their first kiss on the boardwalk and the last time they exchanged each others presence. “And I would like to end our ceremony asking everyone to sign the card at the entrance because we will be burying that with her. It will surround her with friends and family. Thank you, the burial is in thirty minutes.” Those were the last things the pastor said and as everyone filed out the door to leave Jake just stood their crying. Then he knelt and prayed, he prayed for her, he prayed for her family, and he prayed for himself. He prayed God would guide her to heaven. He prayed her family would not forget about her but embrace this event. The prayer he put in for himself was not selfish but more selfless. He prayed that where ever she is let her know he loves her and please let her stay with him. As they ended the burial, he was the last one there and he was just standing there for about an hour talking to Amanda. Then as he started to cry once more he got down on one knee and reached for something in his pocket. He removed a small black box and opened it. “I bought this the day before our last meeting and I was going to give it to you that night but I got scared and that text message you were looking at was from me saying come back. If I had just asked you to marry me that night we would never be here.” Jake mumbled. Then he placed the ring next to the picture of Amanda and himself on the coffin. He got up and walked away with Amanda on his mind forever. Aaron Moreno The Story of Wayne Wayne was an old despaired man who was the founder and powerful CEO of Wayne enterprises. He was a wealthy individual who loved his dog. He would always take his dog on lengthy morning walks to downtown and back, he had a life that every 50 year old would dream of, but he was missing one of the most important things every one needs, family. He currently lives in the Bahamas on an island with it’s own little Wal- Mart, gaming store etc. basically what every town has. Although he doesn’t have a full family he does have a son, but his son who is now the corporate executive of Wayne enterprises but the only thing wrong with Kevin is that he is really greedy and he will do anything to get whatever he wants. Wayne has a garage that is his prized possession. When he was in his garage he felt like he was the king of a kingdom. Whenever he was bored he would simply just sprinted into his garage and make something like birdhouse, wooden boat, and one time he made helicopter that was remote controlled by hand. This proved that he was a very smart man indeed. He was quite awfully proud of what he made, the helicopter was one of his most prized possessions and so were his Aston martin, Lamborghini, Corvette, customized Supra, and customized Mazda RX-7. The majority of his prized possessions were just cars and the stuff that he made that wouldn’t fall apart after 30 minutes of being built. He was so afraid that his helicopter would fall apart, he would put glue on it everyday that he could feast his hands on it. He also had his TV that was limited edition the TV was a 60- inch plasma, which he had custom made from Sony after he won the Nobel Prize for his company, Wayne enterprises. But it still cost him, the Plasma screen alone cost him 2,000 dollars and the surround sound was another 4,000 dollars too. His garage as like the paradise that every football junkie would want to be in. Not many people went into his garage (based on the fact that he barely has any friends at all). He even had his own bar in his garage with every drink you could think. The drinks in this bar are so expensive that if he gave the money that was spent on the drinks to a homeless person, that person could buy a mansion with the money. Wayne is at the office of his son, “I know I’m the last person you’ve been wanting to see. But I am here to talk to you about something” with a look of power he said. “Ever since you’ve been here you have changed this corporation a lot you have almost transformed the face that I’ve been building for almost 15 years, and I will not let you destroy the empire that I’ve built. That is why you are fired from this moment on from Wayne enterprises”. Kevin with a fake look of astonishment walked up to Wayne and said, “I don’t think you want to do that he said with certainty”. “I don’t think you want to do that cause I know a lot of stuff about this enterprise and with the firing of me I will tell all the secrets to the media and this corporation will go down the drain for cuts that you are taking in the health car plan and the minimum wage you’re paying the workers here, once the media finds out about this they will eat you alive. So it’s you’re choice to either fire me or risk your business”. With that Wayne just left the office and walked the streets of New York City with a look of defeat on his face. Meanwhile, he was walking on the streets looking defeated and very pale. He saw this guy who he recognized, he was a famous soccer player who played for the New England Revolution. When Zack the soccer player looked at Wayne, Wayne immediately gave him a look of disgust that said you suck at soccer or you suck at life. Wayne walked up to him and said, “I lost 1,000 dollars thanks to you”. With a look of weirdness he said, “ What the hell did I do”? “You missed the penalty against the LA galaxy in the finals, if you made it the team would’ve won but you had to miss didn’t you” With the same look a couple minutes before he said “I have had enough with that crap about the finals and all that shit”. After that he ran away and Wayne never saw him again. That moment between him and the soccer player was the weirdest moment Wayne has ever had. Alex Horning Three Seconds The clock was ticking down three, two, Max took the ball, jumped and shot. He knew that there was a million to one chance that the ball would go in from that far away, but still max stared as the ball started to arch, hoping, praying that there was just a little chance that the ball would go in. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, the ball battered the rim and it started to roll, like a racecar going around the track, now max knew that there was a fifty-fifty chance that the ball would fall in, or it would roll out. The crowd that had, just seconds ago, been roaring like a lion in the enormous gym of Max’s high school, had now become deathly silent. The gym seemed to echo with the sound of the ball rolling around the rim. Max could smell the tang of hot dogs and pretzels at the concession stand. He felt sweat bucketing down his face and back. Then the ball stopped rolling, it was at the edge of the rim. Max held his breath, then the ball started to fall. He heard a faint thwick and a single bounce before a roar erupted from Max’s throat, and his fist was thrust into the air, then the crowd joined Max and Max’s teammates started to roar too. Everybody on the bench grabbed the Gatorade dispenser and dumped it on the coach. Then the ref ran onto the court holding a giant gold trophy with champions written on it. They had won the game. Two Weeks Later at the basketball award ceremony Coach stood on the stage in front of a crowd of parents and students. He was holding a gold medal with the letters M.V.P. inscribed on it. “This player always tried his hardest whether it was to win the championship, or beat his teammates at running lines, he is the best player I’ve ever coached, and I think everyone will agree with me that he most deserves this award” coach paused letting his words sink in then continued “Max, come up and get your award.” Max almost expected to get the MV.P. Award but no matter how much he knew he would get it. He still wasn’t prepared for the excitement of being the most valuable player for a team that had won the state champs. 7 years later in the N.B.A. The clock was ticking down three, two, max took the ball jumped and launched it into the air. He knew that he could make the shot despite the distance, but the lack of sleep, and the alcohol in his system made it harder than he thought. As the ball started to arch spinning like a wheel on a rusted old car max thought about the night before. After practice, despite having a championship game the next day, max had gone to the casino. He drank and gambled until he had the grace of a two-legged horse. He didn’t get home until 5 in the morning, and when it was game time he barely had 3 hours of sleep before he had to start warming up. The crowed was still roaring and it was giving max a headache, as a result from his hang over, that made it almost impossible to think about the shot. He could feel the sweat on his face and dripping down his back but he couldn’t smell anything but the alcohol left on his jersey. The ball looked like it was dead on. So thinking that he had won max turned around and had a look of pure arrogance written on his face as he started to walk away. His lips were curled into a half smile, and his eyes were half closed. As he waited and listened for the thwick of the ball.he heard the ball bounce once then the buzzer went off. But there was no thwick, as the ball swished, no bonk, as it went off the backboard. Then max realized what had happened, they lost, the ball had come up short. Brian Fortney Lone Summer Jack was alone. There was no one for him after his father died. But one day at school, he was paired with a new kid for a History project. He was a tall and skinny kid with long brown hair covering part of his eyes. He was wearing Nike shoes, some shorts and to complete Jack’s assumption that he was a basketball player, he had a Kobe Bryant t-shirt on. He turned to Jack and said, “Hey, my name’s Steven, what’s yours?” “Jack”, he replied. After that day, Jack and Steven would begin to hangout together all the time, and quickly got to know each other. Before long they became the best of friends, and everyone knew that their friendship would last for years to come. ‘Come on! Just one more minute!’ he thought, his eyes filled with extreme anticipation. He glanced around the room and saw all of the other eyes staring at the clock yearning for the day to end. 47 seconds. Jack thought back on this long year. Everyday for the past nine and a half months had been leading up to this very day, this very moment. 33 seconds. He looked back towards his English teacher who was still droning on about how the class needed to “expand our knowledge” over the summer. You would think that he would figure out that no one had been listening to him for the past 5 minutes. 18 seconds. Jack’s eyes darted looked around the room once more and saw the kids now glaring at the door, ready to pounce on it like a lion to its prey. 12 seconds. “Can time go any slower?” Jack thought. He reached back, snatched his backpack, slung it around his shoulder and scooted to the edge of his seat. 5 seconds! 4…3…2…1…summer! Everyone jolted out of their seats and ran outside into the warm air. He looked back to see kids bounding out of the school, rushing to their friends to say goodbye. Jack peered through the crowd to see Steven coming up to him. “Man, I’m so glad that it’s finally over.” Steven yelled over the roar of the crowd. “Yeah, I know. I’ve been waiting for today to come for the past month.” Jack replied as he looked out into the blue open sky. “You’re still walking today right?” Jack looked back at Steven, “Why wouldn’t I?” “Ok, well I’ll meet you back here in a couple minutes.” Jack walked back towards the crowd and gave the whole, “See ya, have a good summer, maybe I’ll run into you somewhere”, speech to a couple people. After saying a few goodbyes, Jack met Steven and they started their walk. They started talking about the year, school, summer plans and such when Steven turned towards Jack, “Hey, I have something I need to tell you.” “Ok, what’s up?” “Um, well, it’s kind of big news.” Steven said softly. “Really? So what is it?” Jack said, now piqued with curiosity. Steven stopped walking and turned to face Jack and said, “This is kind of hard to tell you Jack, but my family is moving to California.” Jack stopped. His mind went blank. He could make out some words in the background like “Dad”, “promoted”, and “San Diego”. But there was only one word that lingered in Jack’s head, moving. Although it was a warm day, Jack could feel a cold chill run through his body. He couldn’t believe it! “How could you be leaving so soon?” Jack yelled at Steven. “You only moved here two years ago!” Steven turned away from Jack and slowly continued to walk down the street. “I know Jack. I couldn’t believe it either when my dad told me. He was given this huge opportunity and it would have been stupid for him not to take it.” “Well he should have said no,” Jack muttered under his breath. “I’m really sorry Jack. I tried as hard as I could to persuade him to stay, but he just wouldn’t listen.” “It’s ok”, Jack said, “I believe you. So when are you leaving?” “Well my dad said that we would probably be leaving here at the end of July, or somewhere around that time.” As they came up to Steven’s house, he turned towards Jack and said, “Well, if I have to move in July, then we’ll just have to make this the best summer ever!” “Yeah, we will.” Jack said as he turned around to walk the rest of the way to his house. But deep down, both Jack and Steven knew that this summer would have to end. For the next month, Jack would spend almost every moment he could with Steven or thinking about Steven. The first couple weeks of this summer were some of the best days that Jack and Steven ever had together. For a while, Jack had almost completely forgotten that Steven was moving at all. But one day at the beginning of July, Jack went over to Steven’s house to shoot some hoops when Steven said he couldn’t. “How come?” Jack asked. “I have to start packing, sorry.” This was the way it would go for the next couple weeks. Steven was always too busy to ever play, and the day came when it was time for him to go. When Jack went over to Steven’s house to say his final goodbyes, he could see slight tears forming in Steven’s eyes. “Well, I guess this is it.” Jack said. “Yeah, I’m really going to miss you.” Steven said as he looked into Jack eyes. Jack looked away to try to avoid the aching truth deep in his chest. Steven looked back towards his house, “Remember to call and stay in touch.” “I will,” Jack said. Steven turned away and walked towards his car. As he sat down in his car seat, he rolled down the window and stared back at Jack. With tears rolling out of his eyes, he waved to Jack and he waved back. This would be the final time they would see each other as Steven drove out of sight. Bansenshukai Logan Mast Untitled The rain plummeted through the dark canopy overhead, the only sound was the splashing of the raindrops, and the short shallow breathing of a ninja perched on the top of a lifeless tree. The uniform cloud cover obscured his view of the night sky, making it impossible to determine his location. His heavy, dank clothing made him tired, and he felt as if the forest was dragging him in, forcing him to be lost among the countless nondescript trees. His only link to the rest of the world, to keep him from losing himself, was his brother’s sword, and right now the cold sharp steel was more lifelike, and comforting than anything else. As dawn broke, the ninja—Keitaro—was still hidden among the tree’s, his shaking hands were clutched around the hilt of his new blade. He wished he could forget that day. Closing his eyes he thought back to the previous bloody morning. It had been a routine Intel gathering mission with my small band of fellow ninja; a rival lord, who opposed the powerful lands of the Akninari family, hired us. We were heading out to an enemy territory to accumulate troop movement information. Then 6 miles from the destination, the forward units I sent out didn’t return. I had argued with my brother--Kenji—on weather to wait for them or continue with our mission. “With all due respect Keitaro, we cannot go further without knowing what lies ahead!” said Kenji in a inspiring voice “I am the one leading this mission, and I say that the risk is acceptable! The ninja must carry out his mission no matter what the cost!” I replied, “Yes, but not with the unnecessary risk of the entire team,” he said, I shook my head “no! I feel I am right we will continue without the forward units.” We continued on my orders, and what a grave mistake I made. Less than 2 miles from the enemy location, while walking through a clearing, the regional samurai ambushed and surrounded us; my entire unit was killed, all Because of my folly. “Stop!” said an especially official looking samurai, “Bring out your leader!” he shouted, I stepped forward, “I am the leader of this team,” “Are you Keitaro Minamoto of the Koga family?” “That I am,” I replied, “Then, you have been accused of treason, for assisting a conspirer who plotted to kill our lord Saito of the Akinari family, I’m going to have to kill you for your crimes,” I could feel him smiling as he said that. “Wait, you can’t kill us here, we are in the lands of another lord province, you have no jurisdiction here! It would be a act of war!” I said “The shogun has no love of ninjas, so we have received special permission for your arrest throughout all of Japan.” He replied “I wont go easily you know.” I said coldly “we were hoping you would say that” “we?” Just as I said that six more samurai rose from the tall grass, and they were archers. Before the brawl even started I new we were going to lose, only part way into the fight my base team was dieing all around me. I turned my attention to the area adjacent to see if we could retreat. No such luck, they had us outflanked and out numbered. But with relief I saw that Kenji was holding them back just fine. As I turned my attention back to the more intense combat in front, I noticed an enemy archer take aim at someone behind me. Just as the arrow sprung from the well-greased string, across the temporary battlefield, Kenji unluckily turned to look in my direction. Time slowed as the arrow got closer and closer, the wobble of its flight path had stabilized, making it more accurate, the arrow was less then 2 feet away from him, but I could see the precision hammered point as if I were holding it in my hands. I was the only person too see any of this, but I was powerless to stop it. Then Kenji was dead; the arrow had hit its mark in the center of his chest. I was thrown back into the fast- paced world of combat, yet I felt still stuck in that slow motion realm. I was able to slip away into the night after that, before they routinely stabbed and searched the bodies. Looking back on this had not helped me reconcile my brothers death, but I see now that it could have just easily been me who died out there, and Kenji would be sitting here reflecting on my death. Ever since we were kids we’ve always been evenly matched. I remember fighting on the terraced gardens of the schools; we had decided it would be fun to have a sparring match to see who was stronger. The match ended up with us both on the ground exhausted nether of us winning. Just coming out of my flash back, I heard something move in front of my tree. I knew I shouldn’t say something but curiosity got the better of me. “who’s there?” I called “Why do I sound familiar?” a ragged voice said “…Kenji?” I said “the only,” Kenji said There was a long pause. And I jumped down from the tree to see if it was true. Sure enough he was sitting at the base of the tree looking a little worse for ware, but alive none the less. “Bro your alive! How did you live through a arrow to the chest?” “I didn’t quite trust your decision to continue, so I but on a steel breast plate.” He said matter of factly. “After every one else was dead I was able to sneak out alive.” He then dropped a dented a twisted steal breastplate at my feet. “Well, I can honesty tell you I’ve never been so happy for someone to question my judgment,” I said “Are you ready to finish our mission,” he said I just stared at him. “Lets get going I guess.” Chris Herzog The Brothers War My name is Affe, I live with my mother and father, and I am fourteen years old and on my way back to my home from the hospital. As you might not know I lost my brother to the desert storm war, all were his last words were “top shelf on the left”. My parents weren’t paying attention when he was talking, I’m going to find out what he was talking about. So we got home first things first to not seem suspicious I went straight to my room. Waited thirty minutes or so and went to his room “what are you looking for?” my dad asked. “I left my videogame in his room” I answered so I went into the room, searched his shelf what was it again? Top shelf, right? No, no it was to the left. All I could see was a tin box he was given in the army, inside was his Zippo lighter. I’m confused what is important about this? So I took it and left his room. Oh no I forgot to get my game! “Where’s your game?” “I couldn’t find it” Quickly I went to my room and sat on my bed with my brothers Zippo in my hand. Slowly I felt drowsy, I couldn’t stand, I fell back on my bed and fell asleep. Next day I woke up to find five men taking things out of my brother’s room. “What are you doing?!” I yelled “We are moving things out so I can put my office in your brother’s old room.” My mom said to me in astonishment. So I run into the room to find everything gone but the bed, I lifted the covers and found my game of course it had to be right there. “Where are you going to put everything?” I asked “We are going to send it to a funding for children without homes” “so you are going to send all of this which we could use for our self to a fake program that will just sell it to a pawn shop and keep the money because your wife doesn’t like to think about these things!” I yelled back at him I think I won the most sarcastic and rude child award right there. My dad just walked away and started taking things from the truck and putting them back in like shelves, boxes, school supplies, and his bed sheets. That whole day I was just thinking about what to do about the Zippo. I opened it and found note, it said don’t hide the little things, but keep the bigger things a secret. Confusing, I don’t understand this at all. Probably one of his metaphors. I flipped it and there was a drawing of the house in third demotion. It showed every part of the house, four drawing put together which were the four sides of the house. There were underlines, highlights, and circles all around the house. I thought to myself I have a little scavenger hunt to go on. The first place was the closest and it was in my room weirdly. On the map it showed a circle on my lizard’s tank. I opened the lid and searched under the bark until I hit the glass on the bottom. Then I checked under my lizards hiding log and found another piece of paper, it said the big things are kept from the world. Ok then? I still don’t get it. So I searched for more of these notes they kept saying the same thing, the last one said. The little things are open to my world but kept from the Dinjii. At this point I’m interested, what are the Dinjii and why is he keeping these secret? Eh I can search more later. It’s been a couple days I got a little annoyed at finding pieces of paper. “Hey guess what!” my mom yelled “what?” “We got a puppy!” in my mind I was saying aw but at the same time I kept thinking about the puppy’s different stages… Well three days went by and I found almost all of the papers they say the same things about dinjii, keeping secrets kept I think these where war memories my brother kept. I looked up dinjii and it turns out that they were a group of people who used superstition against their enemy. I kept good aware to keep them hidden from anyone. I found the last hiding spot and it said “don’t let the little things die…” “Ah! He’s running toward the cliff!” my mom shouted in fear. I ran after the dog and tackled him. I realized I ran to fast and started to roll near the cliff. I fell rolling down the cliff with the dog in my hands. There was a 20 foot drop off into a patch of wheat, I fell thinking to myself well either I will stay awake and this will hurt a lot or I will black out and wake up in the hospital. At that moment I blacked out. What’s going to happen to me? Where am I? Should I wait or try to find a light? Suddenly I woke up in a hospital my head wrapped in gauze. I looked around the room to find a nurse staring at me in fear. “Doctor come in quick he woke up!” Wait woke up? What do you mean? Is it bad that I woke up? “Quick give him the morphine!” the doctor ordered his nurse “wait no I feel find I just need to sit u… ah!” “Son don’t move, you’ve been out for three weeks and we need to you sleep a little more to try and fix you.” The doctor calmly said as his slipped the morphine into my system. Another week has passed until I woke up again and was ready for another shot of drugs… “Nurse is it ok if I can sit up or at least stay awake.” “Yes, sorry about the big scare we wanted to make sure you won’t go back into a coma with all the pain you have. “Oh I almost forgot, you kept talking about dinjii, so I decided to look it up for you. It is a supersticial group. “Yea I already know that.” I said in a rude tone “did you also know that your family comes from a descendant from the leader of that group. Also that your brother wasn’t in the war but trying to become the next leader in the group. Just how you soon will.” Well not that this can be any more confusing. “Well I am going to go home now.” I said to the nurse “Your parents are here and your father has a story to tell you” Now I’m on my way to my house and can’t wait for what my father has to tell me. “Son, I didn’t know when I was going to tell you about the whole past family life, and how we can control demons and they help fight in the war.” My father said Wait what? They control demons? And they have them fight in the war!? “You forgot to tell him that, we have no ordinary puppy…” my mom said to my father. Ok now I am really confused. “So you’re saying we have a demon in the house.” “Yea pretty much” “your older brother was the true heir to the group but his demon turned on him.” Well that just sounds lovely. So let me guess the puppy is mine. Betelhem Yohannes Chains Lucy daydreamed through all those amazing performances done by her peers, wishing that it were she, standing there in front of the crowd. But, her shyness was what was holding her back. She was not confident, and she couldn’t break through this problem. It was as if a thousand metal chains were wrapped around her, locking her in place, imprisoning her with their coldness so that she couldn’t shine. She preferred wearing cloth that wasn’t bright in color, with her usual converse shoes. Her friends always complained that she walked to fast. She zipped through the crowed, as if the bell would ring before she could take the next step. Her beautiful black hair draped on her shoulders, as if she were wearing a satin veil. The moment the bell rang Lucy got out of her chair and went to the door. Her friends had told her that they would wait for her by the tree, where it was cooler and the afternoon breeze rustled the leaves. It was a good place to relax and forget about school for just a while. Lost in thought, Lucy walked fast to get away from the loud voices that occupied the hallways. She was thinking of how great it would be to have a different life. A life where she could be whomever she wanted, perhaps a life where she could rule the world…No, that wouldn’t be possible. But at least a life where she was looked up to. Oh well, she was going to have to endure this life that she has. “You could try out you know,” came a voice behind her. When she came out of her thoughts she found herself standing in front of a glass case. In it was a paper talking about the hip-hop tryout that was coming up. She swung around to find the hallway deserted, or was she even standing in the hallway anymore? There were desks, set up in perfect rows. “Wasn’t I just walking?” she thought. She glanced around to see whom that voice belonged to. A girl about her age was sitting in one of the desks looking glum.” I must be dreaming,” thought Lucy, and so she opened the door and slipped out. She found the place where she was supposed to meet her friends, so she threw herself on the grass leaning on the rough bark of the tree. The thought that she made it here first before her friends nagged her as she yet again drifted into another daydream. She waited for a while but as the quietness of her surroundings stole her attention; she realized that nothing stirred around her. Getting up from where she sat, she went into the school building to see where everyone was. She checked every classroom, until she came upon the one where she found herself standing once again. The girl that she had seen earlier was still sitting there, with her position undisturbed. “Hello!” Lucy said. “Hi!” said the girl with a teary voice. “Umm…do you know where everyone went?” Lucy asked. “Assembly,” said the girl, this time with a teardrop clinging to her eyes. “What do you mean? We already had an assembly first period!” replied Lucy confused. “Well…good then… nobody told you. At least that is better than nobody wanting you to go!” came the words shooting out of the girl’s mouth. “I am really sorry, but I don’t understand what you are talking about,” said Lucy. “Don’t you see? You would have been at the assembly if they told you about it. But I guess they dislike us both so we have to sit here and wallow on what we have done wrong,” said the girl bitterly. “CLICK” a light bulb went on, in Lucy’s head. She remembered her teacher telling the class about the two assemblies that would take place, but she forgot that they would be on the same day. She didn’t want to say this out loud and upset the girl even more, so Lucy kept it to herself and fell on a desk with exhaustion. “So…are you going to the assembly?” Lucy asked. “Didn’t you hear me, THEY DON’T WANT ME TO GO!” said the girl. “They…being…?”Lucy said puzzled. “They being, everyone that is part of this school!” Replied the girl. Lucy felt really bad for the girl but yet the whole thing about “THEY” not wanting the girl to go to the assembly seemed ridiculous to her. What worse situation is there than not having the courage to stand up for oneself? She couldn’t bring herself to say anything else to the girl and so they sat in silence. “What were you saying about the tryouts…? I though I heard you say something?” asked Lucy. “Just that you should tryout. I would think you would make it, considering the fact that you are in great shape and…I have seen you dance a couple of times. You’re good,” said the girl. “Thank you, but…where have you seen me dance?” asked Lucy. “Well that one time in 5th grade you performed halfway before you threw up on the stage,” said the girl. Awkward! Now what was she supposed to reply to this one. Lucy was a little touchy when it came to embarrassing moments such as the one the girl brought up. It wasn’t that long ago and yet people would still point at her in the hallways. That was why she was so reluctant on staying a minute longer in the hallways. “Umm…I should get going,” replied Lucy. “But…?” started the girl before she got interrupted by the sound of the bell, ending the school day. “Thanks anyways…for suggesting that I should tryout,” said Lucy as she got up and rushed to the door before the girl could say anything more. The last thing she heard before the door closed was the girls voice asking if she really was going tryout for the hip-hop team. “Yeah right,” thought Lucy, “there is no way that I am going to do that!” All the same, her yarning to become more than a person who lives a simple life, tugged at her as she made her way to the buses. But her timidness was more overpowering. After her long exhausting day at school, Lucy got home to her peaceful room. No sound seemed to escape through its walls, but for the sound of the wind that escaped through its window. She wrapped herself in the warm blankets and lying on her bed, started to think about her weird encounter with the girl. She had no idea who the girl was but yet the girl had been in her 5th grade class. Considering the fact that her 5th grade class was so small, Lucy thought she should have remembered her. As she was being carried away to sleep, she suddenly became overwhelmed with floods of memories. The girl had always greeted Lucy in the morning with a cheery mood, but Lucy had passed her, leaving the girl unnoticed. “What was her name?” thought Lucy, “Oh that was it, Emily.” Emily would sit at Lucy’s table at lunch, but Lucy, occupied with her friends chatter, never turned to talk to her. Emily always seemed lonely and depressed. At recess she would have no one to hang out with. She would sit by the tree, where no one seemed to come near and hide her face behind a book to seem like she was reading. She would go back to class at the end of recess with red eyes, and a trail that her tears had left on her cheeks. She would sit at the back of the class unnoticed and undisturbed. One rainy Monday the teacher in Lucy’s 7th grade class broke the news that Emily had died in the halls of the high school. Emily had went to get her brother, but no one knew what, who, or how she had died. It was as if the rain was her only friend that shed her tears while it deprived everyone of the comfort and warmth that they had failed to place in Emily’s heart. Alex Vowels The Move Boxes. That’s all I could view in the house as I meandered down the stairs that morning. The house. The house that once contained our memories. Great memories. Memories that could make anyone smile. Even a stranger would get the slightest grin over their face when they heard about the memories that once filled this house. But now nothing. The thought of another family moving in and filling the house with their memories made me cringe. I would have never thought that my parents would divorce. Sure, it happened to my friend’s parents, but the word “divorce” never crossed my mind. Of course my parents fought, but I never thought it was that serious. So, when my father rushed out of the house with multiple suitcases in hand, leaving me with only a piece of paper torn out of a notebook, I was astonished. It dawned on me that my life would change greatly from that moment on. But then I realized he wasn’t divorcing my stepmom he was divorcing me, kicking me out of the family. Once my father walked out of the door, My ex-stepmom Nancy, was my only “mother figure” in my life. My father, although he never explained it clearly, stated that my mother abandoned me when I was only a year old, to go pursue her dreams. Abandoned twice, once by my mother and now by my father; who also took away my only “mother figure.” Still in shock, I realized I was clenching the piece of paper held in my hand. Contemplating on whether or not to waste my time reading the note, I unfolded the note. It said as follows: Dear Natalie, I’m sorry this may be unexpected but Nancy and I have decided to go and work towards our dreams as a couple. We both have come to an agreement that you need your mother in your life. I have already contacted your mother and you are going to go live with her now. A cab will be out front no later than 2:00 sharp to bring you to the airport. The ticket is on hold so when you get to the airport, go to Customer Service and ask for the ticket under the name Coberman. Your flight is at 6:00 and you’ll be flying with Alaska Airlines, first class. ☺ I’ve already arranged another cab to pick you up from the airport to drive you to your mother’s. You know where to find the suitcases. There’s money in the drawer next to the kitchen sink for food and whatever else you need before you get to New Jersey. Call me when you land. Have a safe flight! Love, Dad and Nancy Furious without consciousness, I tore the paper up. The paper that held my father’s last words was now in tiny little pieces scattered along the wood floor in the hallway. I glanced at the time. In red glowing digital numbers, it said 12:30. I only had an hour and a half to pack all of my clothes and other belongings before the cab reached the house. In a rush I started to throw stuff in my suitcase. An hour later I ended up with two full suitcases, a carry on, and 30 minutes to spare. When the cab arrived, I glanced back at my house one last time before I got in. It seemed like only seconds when I noticed we were already at the airport getting out with each suitcase in hand and my carry on over my shoulder. After paying the driver I followed the signs that stated, “Customer Service.” My father was right; when I got off the plane I spotted a man holding a paper. It read, “Welcome to New Jersey Natalie!” The man was plump and on the shorter side, with a brown mustache and hair that looked like the type you only see in advertisements. I felt like I was an exchange student in the middle of nowhere. “Natalie Coberman?” the man asked with a friendly smile over his face as I slowly walked over to him. “That’s me.” I said with a tremble, I hadn’t heard my voice in the last 12 hours. It sounded scratchy and dry. “Don’t be shy, your father told me to come pick you up, remember?” “Oh yeah, I forgot…” “Ok, well is this your stuff?” He reached over to grab my suitcases. The neighborhood looked like any other neighborhood with houses all along the streets. When we finally reached the house it was about four in the morning. The porch light was on. I examined the house; it was a small yellow house with a tree to the right. I drifted up the steps that lead to the cream colored door. There was a note attached to the door that read; Welcome home Natalie, please just walk in, the door is unlocked. I’ll be asleep so make yourself comfortable. You’ll know where your room is. I think you’re going to really like it here in New Jersey. –Mom The front door led to an open room with a couch and fireplace and a coffee table in between. Everything was welcoming. The kitchen was more on the smaller side but it was a good size for just two people. As I entered my bedroom I looked above the doorframe and noticed a sign written in red bold letters, “Welcome Home Natalie! ☺” Cody Shimazu A Historic Steal Today would perhaps be monumental to my young life. My name is Mike and I come from a small town in mid-California. There wasn’t much here except a group of families and a serious passion for baseball. Although we had never done anything serious or won any meaningful games, the spirit of the game was what unified our town. However, on a Saturday in late September, something occurred that no person in this town or in this country, for that matter, would think possible. Our small team of 12 friends battled our way into to the 3A High School state championship for the first time in history. We were a small town team taking on a powerhouse San Diego team stacked with numerous college recruits. Both teams had their best pitchers on the mound so I knew it was going to be a close game. And a close game it was. We fought to a scoreless tie through the 7 innings of regulation. The score stalled at a scoreless tie until the 11th inning when the game came to an exciting conclusion. It was a perfect night for baseball. Only a minor breeze broke through the skies in the cool 60-degree weather. The pitch-black darkness loomed, only illuminated by the light posts surrounding the field. Even though the game was well into extra innings, nobody on either bench surrendered. I was scheduled to lead off the bottom of the inning. Every member of our team craved for that single run to give us victory. That thought jolted through my mind multiple times as I prepared to get up to bat. As the tension increased, negative images scarred into my head. Would I strike out? Would I not get on? I had to shield myself of all those questions. I proceeded with a quick knock on my cleats from my bat and a readjustment of my batting gloves as I was ready to go. Stepping into the batter’s box, I knew this would define the longest few minutes of my young life. San Diego’s pitcher stared me down as I carefully entered the batter’s box. This guy is the real deal. He’s built at a powerful 6 feet, probably weighing about 200 pounds. His last name, Robertson, immediately reminded me that he is a highly touted college recruit. Almost every school in the Northwest has scouts at this game just to look at him be dominant. Shivers went down my spine. I was more nervous than ever as he got into his windup and delivered the first pitch. FWOOSH. “Strike one!” The umpire declared. Now normally I wouldn’t reject the first pitch, but I had no idea a pitcher our age could throw that fast. Stunned, I bolted my eyes at the 3rd base coach for the next sign. He motioned a series of hand gestures as I impatiently waited for a sign. Then I saw it. Coach pulled his right ear. He wants me to bunt. The exact sign I wanted to see because I’m a great bunter and I don’t think I can catch up to this pitcher’s scorching velocity. So I planted my feet into the batter’s box again with newfound determination. I refused to let my team down. The pitcher was quite efficient. He began his windup right as I got into the box. He unleashed another fastball. Perfect. I can easily bunt this pitch. Faster than lightning, I jabbed my bat at the ball at the last possible moment and the ball dribbled down the 3rd base line. As I started to run, I realized I accidentally kicked up dirt into the catcher’s face. Stunned, the catcher stood in a dazed state and not going for the ball. I couldn’t let this perfect opportunity be wasted as I hustled down the 1st base line, easily beating the throw to get on base. Step one of my job was complete. I successfully got on base. Now came the hard part. Crossing home plate. Never has a big piece of white rubber ever been so meaningful. I had my eyes on the prize as the next hitter was getting ready. We perfectly executed a fake bunt and steal as I glided into 2nd base safely. Then an actual bunt got me to 3rd base with one out. 90 feet is all that stands between the glory of winning and I. Also, the state championship would be a nice prize as well. Our perpetual run producer, Charlie, was at the plate and in theory; it was almost automatic he would knock me in, even though he strikes out a lot. I remembered that all he needed to do is put the ball into play and let my wheels give us the win. I started my lead off 3rd base. One step, crossover, then two side shuffles. My eyes fixated on the pitcher, trying to mentally affect his game. I hoped it was working. My right foot bounced rapidly like a bomb ticking away, ready to explode. As the pitcher got set I began to get anxious. Every second felt like a minute. Finally, he delivered another rocket to home plate. Without thinking, I sprinted towards home without warning. Then the unthinkable happened. Charlie whiffed with his swing. I was caught in between. Scrambling back to 3rd, I carefully watched the catcher running after me, like an animal stalking its prey. All those games of Pickle and Rundown drills would have to pay off here. I waited to lash out at my opponent’s weakness. In this case, that weakness was the catcher throwing the ball. When he did, I reversed direction and sprinted towards home. Nobody was covering. I had a free shot to win. My legs moved faster and harder as I caught the pitcher corner of my eye. Diving head first, a giant cloud of dust and dirt exploded into the air. The umpire hesitated as he waited for the dust to clear. He saw the pitcher didn’t have possession of the ball. Game over! My idiotic mistake turned into a heroic chance. An act of luck and pure timing had won our town its first ever state title. Fans engulfed the field. Chants flooded the sound stream. The San Diego team began to walk away, defeated and dumbfounded. They couldn’t believe what they just witnessed. A small town team banding together to accomplish the impossible. Another occasion of David defeating Goliath. Another reason that anything is possible. Ben Schoedel Soccer Crash Stan is just an average guy with a normal family except that he is a pro soccer player. As a young boy Stan got really into soccer. At the age of 18 Stan became a pro for Brazil’s national team. At 23 he met Carley, a fan, the lady who would soon be his wife to his two kids Maria and Alley. Now being 25, his team just made it to the national championship in the US. . So there he was on the plane to Mexico for the national championships in soccer. Everyone on the team was singing songs, dancing and drinking. A couple of the guys already had passed out because of all the alcohol. It was just the perfect start of the national championship. Everything except for the fact that Stan was sitting around being anti-social. Stan was like this on the ride up to the airplane too. About half way through the plane ride to Mexico Stan stopped his sulking and looked out the window. “Holy S***, the plane’s on fire!!!!!!!” Stan starts hollering. It just happens to be that one engine blew up, then the next and then the other two. “EVERYONE HEAD TOWARDS THE EMERGENCY DOOR,” said the captain. “I REPEAT EVERYONE HEAD TOWARDS THE EMERGENCY DOOR THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!” “Grab you’re parachute and get out of you’re seat!” yelled the coach from the front of the plane. As the plane started to descend faster and faster it seemed like life became slower and slower. Everything that Stan has been thinking about lately just came and hit him strait on the face. It’s not the thought of being dead that he was sad about, it was how he realized that he never told his wife how much she meant to him or how he wants to spend every bit of time with her caring for the children. But most of all he forgot to say “I love you” before he left. “ I’m out!” yells a teammate as he jumps for it “Me to!!!” screams the manager Soon all of the team was dropping out of the plane. Some with parachutes others with a prayer on their minds and Jesus in their hearts. Stan let off his shoot strait from the beginning, in doing so he was above the plane watching the captain who was maneuvering the plane to keep it from smashing into people, but life isn’t fair…. there goes Kyle dead by impact, then Brad, Alex, Iuka, Ben, Sam, Coach, Manager, Treasure. The plane just obliterated everyone and if you weren’t one of those people the wind of plane caused parachute to fold and you start to descend and fast. Stan looks down seeing his teammates, and thinking of how this must have been the worst thing that’s ever happened to him. Individually one by one he got to see each guy hop out of the plane and get killed, before each death he starting thinking about all the things this team and each individual did for him, and why he missed them this much. As the plane descended Stan could see the tops of trees, now the plane was in the trees, then sliding across the ground to a stop Looking around Stan realized the captain was the last one on the plane, as he went to go check on the captain he felt a jolt of pain as he stepped on his right leg. Stan looked down to see the bone was snapped almost straight in half. Using the seats to pull some of the weigh off his broken leg, he made it up to the cockpit to see the captain pierced by a branch square between his eyes. Realizing there wasn’t anybody on the plane, he quickly hobbled his way to the to the med kit. He pulled out a needle and some numbing drugs, and then he wrapped his leg up. As Stan made his way out of the plane he could see how the 200 yards the plane fell, did so much damage. There were parts everywhere, engines were scattered around one wing was missing its like the place was a junkyard. As he walked up to examine the ruin of the plane, Stan heard voices in the distance. They didn’t sound like Spanish or English; it was like an old ancient language. “Is anybody there!!!” Stan said with fear in his voice. “ Show yourself” There was rustling in the bushes. Sweat started to roll slowly down his face then more and more sweat came. The bushes all around were starting to rustle now. He could hear them talking in the bushes and he couldn’t understand anything other then the words other then kind of hearing a words that sounded like fire!!! He could see the darts zooming through the bushes past his face and other’s piercing deep into his skin. The feeling of the poison seeping through his blood stream felt like someone lit his insides on fire. The voices started to dim into silence, and his vision just got worse and worse till he couldn’t see anything but the shapes of the figures running towards him with weapons in their hands “Last Saturday the whole Brazil National soccer team all went down in a plane crash from the engines failing. Only two bodies were found, Air Pilot and the team captain, Stan Abataka. I’m Judy Karma for the Monday news and I’m signing off.” Stan’s wife cried for hours and days, She quit work; stopped caring for children, and just became a wreck. Sarah Satko The Purple Flower She clung to the locket as she slumped in the corner, fighting back tears that dared to overwhelm her. Her mother softly knocked on the door, not waiting for an answer to open it. Alice was already on her feet, her black dress hanging just above her toes showing off the worn out hand-me-down shoes she wore. Her thin figure barely fit into the oversized dress that she borrowed from her older sister. Her hair was tied up into a bun that was placed on the top of her head, letting loose only a few strands of hair. Outside the car waited, the engine already started. Stumbling out, the cold morning air bit at her exposed skin, leaving it cold. The ride was long and tiring. As they arrived at the cemetery, they could tell that the sun had just began to rise, but large grey clouds hung in the sky threatening to block the light. Stepping out of the car, she was attacked by cold droplets of rain that froze her skin. Looking across the long green field she saw her relatives, all turned towards them, pain shown in their faces making her quiver. Forgetting the cold she marched awkwardly towards the shelter they slouched under, keeping a rectangular hole semidry from the sudden rain. The day she died was like all others; school, homework and friends. I had convinced Cassie to go to my club dressed as me and had thought it ok. Never would I have thought she would get in an accident. That night a drunk driver had hit the car she was riding in. She was rushed to the hospital minutes later. Being as it was I had to tell Mom that it was really Cassie. That night in the emergency waiting room, I slumped awkwardly against a wall. My throat stung with dryness, like a bad sunburn. My lips stayed unmoved, dry and cracked. Waiting silently, my eyes slowly drifted closed. My eyes fought against sleep while my head fought against hate and anger, as well as hopelessness, loneliness and sadness. Peeking up from my lap I found my mom and dad talking to the doctor. I could only make out the sudden tears my mother had and my dad wrapping his arms around her. Right before, the now comforting, darkness embraced me. Opening my eyes I was now in the car, head resting against the window. Peering up, dad was driving while mom was leaning her head against the back of the seat with her eyes closed. Sitting up I peered out the window, only to find the sun stinging my eyes, blocking the sun with my hands I recognized the road and instantly knew we were going home. It has been 80 years since then, I now lay in a bright room with my beloved daughter Silvia, the IV loudly dripping along with her tears. She is now 46; she has grown up healthy and beautiful, just as I had hoped for. The constant rhythm of the heart monitor beeped in the back made me feel relaxed. Asking Silvia to take out a diary I had in one of my bags I told her that I wanted her to keep it. Taking the now dull locket from around my neck, I stretched out my old, wrinkled and sagging arm and hung it around her neck. I hadn’t told her about my twin sister, or about why I didn't go see my family often. But I was sure the diary would explain it. Everything slowly started to lose color, sound slowly faded, the beeping of the monitor fade just as slow, then suddenly stopping. The beeping of the heart monitor had stopped. Tears flowed from my eyes and down my face. Opening the locket that now hung around my neck I found a picture of two young girls who both wore yellow dresses that shined like the sun, they both looked alike. Closing the locket I opened the diary to find the first page state December 26, 1930 Alice is sitting behind me; drawing in the sketchbook I had bought her. This diary is what she had gotten me for Christmas; she also got me a gold locket. I found a picture of us and stuck it in the locket so that she can always be with me. I miss all the times we spent together in the branches above me, climbing like monkeys. Alice is someone very dear to me, it feels as if I make one wrong step and she will shatter into a million pieces. My precious younger twin, what in the world would I do without her? The diary continued on, almost every day something was written, and then it just suddenly stopped about two years after the first writing. It had just stopped the day of September 29, 1932. There on the paper printed in a different handwriting it stated R.I.P Cassie Ann Smith September 30th 1932. This handwriting I recognized, it was my mothers, the one who lay before me not breathing. Putting down the diary I held my mother and cried for a nurse. Only letting go of her the day of the funeral. We all stood under a shelter protecting us from the rain that fell heavy from the sky just as the tears fell from everyone’s eyes. They lowered her casket into the rectangular hole in the ground right next to a tombstone that stated Cassie Ann Smith August 14th 1917- September 30 1932 A beloved Daughter, Sister and Person. There on the right side of the tombstone was a carved and painted giant tree with a small purple flower sprouting from its roots. Such a beautiful flower, so small but so bright. Louis Mouton Samurai Short Story The lonely ronin drifted along the dusty city streets, head filled with daydreams. No one really knew the man, but his name was Saito Kenji. He was a quiet focused man. He spoke only when he deemed necessary. Always as a gentleman, spitting out morals and philosophical life lessons. The truth was that he was a tormented soul. Those morals and proverb were all he had; that and the small trinkets on his clothes and around his neck, the charms on his sword, his small gourd of sake on his waist. Each was special to him, each from his past. His friends and family were all killed in an unjust unnecessary war. The death of his wife was worst of all. It struck him harder than any blade could. They never had any children but he loved her more than anything that ever was. The war had turned him into ronin, a samurai with no lord and no cause. The only thing that kept him going was his sense of duty and justice. He had no intention of avenging his wife’s death but only make things just. He would do this by finding the lord who had caused this pointless despicable war and taking off his head. It was night now; the life of the city was slowly dying. Saito just had to finish getting food and supplies. He rushed forward to buy some meat from the small shop clerk. He chatted with the old man for a moment then once again became lost in a daydream. He dreamed about his past, his former glory, his old battles, and his wife. He dreamed about how his village, a small village with few warriors left home to fight to the death in an unjust war. To fulfill their duties and lay down their life for their lord. But in doing so the village they called home was sacked and razed to the ground. It was a memory that would forever haunt him. “Saito Kenji right?” the ronin turned to see a young swordsman facing him a few meters away. He wore a simple dirty dark red robe. He was a slender man with a long topknot and small black beard. Saito gave a grunt, and looked up from behind his hat with cold black eyes. “I hear you're searching for lord Fukumoto.” Saito gave a cold blank stare. Then turned and rested his hand upon the hilt of his sword. “I just so happen to know lord Fukumoto and-“ “Don’t waste my time with words. You’re a bounty hunter; come then.” A cocky smile spread to the mercenary’s lips “Interesting. Some can’t wait to die…” the hunter unsheathed his sword and charged forward. “ …Then die!” The ronin rolled to the side then drew his blade with a slash. His opponent blocked the attack with ease. The mercenary launched another blow. Saito ducked around it and used his shoulder to smash the hunter into the nearby shop counter. The shop clerk dashed away in terror. The combatants locked blades for a moment. The look in their eyes almost as sharp as their swords. The hunter shoved the ronin off and struck. It quickly became a flurry of blades: block, dodge, parry, duck, slash, thrust, counter, kick, sweep, riposte, and strike, strike! Strike!! Then he had found it, an opening, time had seemed to slow in the warriors’ minds. Saito’s opponent had overshot a slash leaving his right side exposed. Saito struck, the shining metal blade dived for the man’s ribs under the brick red robe in a glimmering silver arc. The night was perfectly still. The bright golden light of a full moon cast against the dark of night, drowning out the dying shop lights of a sleeping city. The only sound was the clang of metal on metal echoing through the night. The blade was centimeters away form it’s mark. It filled the former samurai with sadistic joy and anticipation. The thought sickened him reminding him of the battles he fought, the people he'd killed. He was snapped back to reality by the tempered steel edge driving into his target. Saito felt the resistance of flesh and bone. He cut with little effort, like slicing through tender meat. The bounty hunter had enough time to let out a grunt of agony and look at the ronin. His eyes filled with indescribable horror. Saito paused with the blade in flesh “Farewell.” He whispered then viscously turned and ripped the blade out. A nearby wall was sprayed with blood. Saito wiped the blade clean and sheathed his sword in a single swift movement. He reached for his gourd of sake and took a long swig. For only a few moments Saito Kenji dropped his stoic façade, which he knew so well. He looked toward the heavens then, as if the Rapacious lord Fukumoto could hear him he roared, “You want to kill me?! You'd better bring a whole damn army!” Emma Marmor Untitled She was different from everyone else in her family. Everything about her reeked of oddities, from her cave-like yellow bedroom to her straw-like yellow hair. Her build, her height—they just weren’t like her sisters or parents or brothers. But she was charming, with her near cherubic features and her long hair tied in an intricate knot at the back of her head. Her cheeks were perpetually windblown; her eyes held sparkle her sister’s glittery nail polish knew not. In outward appearance, she looked vastly different from her family, though no one would have been able to see the great war going on in her mind. It was ironic, in her opinion. She compared it to the Pig War for it was over something equally foolish— bread dough. The dreams, how the dough appeared at first, seemed to have no trigger. There was nothing in her life she could find that could be represented by dough. All of this confused her, so she did the only thing she thought was right: ignore the dough. She went on a no-bread, no-flour diet, passing all things made with dough to her younger sister. She hid all the books in her room that mentioned dough. She feigned innocence when her mother questioned where her best bread cookbooks went. She went to great lengths to ignore the dough, but the dough would not be silenced. It came to her in dreams, in hallucinations—it was on the bus. It was in the grocery store. The world as she knew it was being consumed by dough. She knew she was weird. Weirder than her large family, weirder than that kid in her gym class who made believe he was on a dragon named Minerva, yelling “Fly, Minerva, fly!” She had known she was different her whole life. But this, this stressing about dough, was too much. Unconsciously, she changed her technique of ignoring the dough to obsessing over it. The cookbooks found their way back to the kitchen, the diet was called off, and fines for overdue bread-baking books popped up from the library. Simultaneously, she made the choice not to tell anyone she was chummy with—including her family—about the dough. Maybe she was a prophet, she tried rationalizing, but that was idiocy, she finally reasoned. She must be crazy. She fretted over going to a therapist. It was her senior year in high school, and she needed to be saving her money for college. Wasting her money on therapy—one hundred and twenty dollars a session—was not wise. She considered seeking out her high school counselor for advice, but decided otherwise. Stupid Ms. Hollcrat would probably assume she was smoking something, like her first counselor did when she sought her help a year previous. After a night of popcorn and internal arguing, she fell asleep on her bed and dreamt of dough. She was on a train, with Victoire, her best friend. They had cameras and were taking candid pictures of the train’s passengers. While she ran to meet Victoire, she heard a low buzzing noise. The buzzing got louder, and seemed to have no epicenter. She inspected her camera to see if it were the problem. Deeming it innocent, she looked back up. The train was empty. She was utterly alone. She could feel her camera start to jitter in her hands. The train around her dissolved and she was in a grocery store. The store was shrinking, the floor was being pushed to the ceiling and the walls were closing in on her. Glancing down, she noticed her camera had stopped moving and was now oozing some substance. It wasn’t oil, she deduced—she caught some of it in her hand and smelled it. Salty. Hesitantly, she brought it up to her mouth and tasted it. Dough. The store was filling with it. She was surrounded by the dough, suffocating, thrashing, unable to move when a sharp keening sound broke through the dough. She opened her eyes and the dough was still there. The horrid noise continued until she struggled with the dough again. THUD. She fell off her bed, tangled in her blankets, her face straining against the thickest. That explained her struggle with the dough, her asphyxiation… but what could really explain the dough? Why was it even there? The dough. The damn dough, as she had taken to calling it. It plagued her, consumed her. It had to mean something—didn’t it? Didn’t Socrates say everything had a meaning? Or was that Confucius? It made her brain hurt. The damn dough had started creeping into her everyday life. Whether she was taking an A.P. U.S. History test or driving her brother to soccer practice, the dough was there, taunting her. It was always there. Working as a volunteer makeup stylist for her school’s play, the dough appeared in the form of a mascara brush. Buying clothes, it appeared as clothing racks and hangers. She was going insane. Of this she was sure. The only other thing in her life she didn’t doubt was that the dough was there. And she had to do something about it, because it wasn’t going away on its own. Brianna Gruger Andrea Horsefield Anna Thompson Tanner Chelsey and Issabell saw the bus turn the corner right when they jogged out of Chelsey’s private driveway. They tried to catch up to the bus, but it was already at the other end of the block. Apparently the bus driver had not seen them. “Oh No! I can’t miss the bus on the first day of school. That is bad luck. And I don’t want a bad reputation already!” Said Chelsey. They both heard a car slowing to a stop behind them. They spun around and saw a black BMW convertible with the roof down. “Hey girls, don’t you go to Oakview? I’m Tanner. Do you want a ride?” Tanner asked while winking at Issabell. “Yeah that would be really nice! Thanks,” “Tanner is so cute” said Issabell once they were walking down the halls holding the Oakveiw High School maps. “Oh I know. I think I like him” “Me too, I wonder if he has a girlfriend. Cause if not, I so call dibs” “WHAT?! That’s not fair!” Exclaimed Chelsey. “So?” Said Issabell while smirking at Chelsey. “Hey look it’s Tanner I am going to go talk to him. Why don’t get a head start on finding your Animal Science class.” “Alright…I guess you can go talk to him while I go….find my class.” “Aww Thanks Chelsey!” She said as she jumped up to Tanner. “Hey.” said Issabell “Oh hey,” Tanner said absentmindedly. “What class do you have next?” “U.S History if I can ever find it! It is impossible to find your way around here.” “I know! Hey wait, I have U.S history too, with Mrs, Anderson this period. “Well I guess we have a class together. Come on I think it’s down this hall.” “Oh well that is great! Chelsey and I were looking all over for my class before the bell rang.” “Your friend Chelsey seems pretty shy and awkward sometimes.” “Yeah she is a lot of the time when you don’t know her that well, maybe we should find someone she can really be herself around.” “What do you mean?” asked Tanner. “Well maybe we can find a guy that we think will treat her well and she can be herself around.” “Good idea! Lets talk about it more in class.” They found their classroom right before the bell rang. The only two seats that were left were right beside each other in the back of the room. When they sat down they traded schedules to see if they had any other classes together. “Oh hey, we have four classes together” “Yeah, Maybe you will have Chelsey in your other two classes, she is taking all AP classes.” “Damn, she’s smart” “Haha, yeah she is” The teacher explained their first big project. “I hope you like the person you are sitting next to, because they will be your partner for the remainder of the semester. Your first project will be working on a powerpoint about Global Warming. It will be due in two weeks. I expect the final project to be neat and colorful. If you have a problem with the person you are sitting next to then please tell me now.” He said. “I think I found the perfect person for Chelsey right over there!” Said Tanner pointing to a guy with long shaggy blond hair, freckles and glasses. “That’s Wally.” “Well We have to get this project done. Do you want to work together after school today?” asked Tanner. “Um, sure” said Issabell. I will meet you in front of the school right after sixth period. * * * Tanner glimpsed Issabell standing in front of the school and waved her down to where he was waiting by his car. “Does Chelsey need a ride home?” “I don’t think so. Math club started today.” “Hey wait lets go talk to Wally and ask him what he thinks of Chelsey.” Said Tanner. “Okay.” Issabell waved her arms and yelled “Wally, Wally, WALLY!” He turned around and glanced at them. When he glanced at them, Issabell waved him over. He walked slowly and hesitantly as if Issabell and Tanner were foreign aliens. “Hi,” he said in his high, nasaley voice. “Hello, we were wondering what you thought of Chelsey Duglin.” “Well she is pretty and nice, smart and well….smart.” “Well we were wondering if you could talk to her.” “Why?” Issabell hesitated while making up a little white lie. “Well………ummm….she likes you!” She said when she had come up with the right one. “Really, Well maybe I will talk to her. I will today or if I don’t see her maybe tommorow!” “Okay, cool.” Tanner’s room was nice and warm. The walls were white and all the books were thrown everywhere. The window was open and he had a big radio on a shelf above his bed. “Issabell, I want to tell you something, I think I really like you and I was wondering if you wanted to go on a date with me, this Saturday night.” “I would love to!” “Lets go out for ice cream” “Okay.” Issabell giggled. “Lets get back to our project.” “I better go home.” said Issabell said around 6:30. “Okay can I give you a ride to school tomorrow?” Asked Tanner. “Yeah, but you have to take Chelsey too. We walk to the bus together.” “Deal” The next day Issabell got up early and ate breakfast before heading out the door. She checked the mirror several times to make sure her hair was perfect. She fixed her cami and headed out the door. “Oh hey Chelsey! How is it going?” “AWFULL THANKS TO YOU!” “What did I do?” “Wally called me last night!” “What are you talking about?” Issabell said biting her lip. “You know what I am talking about!” “No I don’t.” “DON’T PLAY DUMB! Or is that your way of flirting?” Exclaimed Chelsey. “Is this all because me and Tanner are going on a date?” “You really think I am going to be mad about that! You could have tried to hook me up with someone who is not so nerdy as Wally!” “Umm….” “Yeah! Well he called me last night and talked to me and I asked why he called. You want to know the reason. Well he said I had a crush on him! So I was very confused and asked him who told him that and he said it was you! I mean you could have told me! On top of that you didn’t even tell your best friend you were going on a date. So now I have to go on a date with Wally!” “We could make it double.” “NO! You know what, there is Tanner, I am going to walk to school!” “Chelsey am sorry!” “Forget it.” Chelsey said storming off. Issabell and Tanner went on their first date and it didn’t stop there, soon after their first date they became boyfriend and girlfriend. Not only did they become a couple but so did Wally, or as Chelsey calls him Walter, and Chelsey. Soon after Chelsey and Wally started to go out Chelsey and Issabell became friends again. Chelsey realized that Issabell was right all along and Walter was an amazing boyfriend. Keita Fukumoto Untitled August 24th, 7:00PM, Afghanistan, 15 miles from base. Boom! An IED (improvised explosive device) had just been detonated startling a troop of American soldiers. “Take cover!” Yelled Colonel Autumn A searing pain had struck private Brown’s left arm. A sniper had targeted him from a position about 90 feet away. Everyone scurried to a concrete wall for cover. His squad member private Richard noticed and attempted to get the bullet of his arm. He pulled out his bowie knife and searched his left arm for a bullet. Feeling around in his arm he left felt the tip of his knife touch the bullet pretty deep into his arm. Brown started screaming from the pain nearly and nearly passed out. “Almost there… Got it! Let me just close it up and wrap it in gauze and your good to go.” Pop! Baisly looked behind him and saw his last squad member other than Brown hit the ground. “Look Brown, once I have you patched up were going to have to run across the street into that building on the count of three. One… Two… Three!” Immediately they stood up and sprinted over to the building and pulled out their assault rifles. They were safe. The building was dark and very bleak. They scouted out the building for any enemies or possibly another IED. Searching it they found no potential threat. Richard and Brown reached for their radios but they realized that when the IED went off it had damaged their radios to the point where they didn’t work. They estimated that they were only about 12 miles from base but the sniper out there would catch them if they left in broad daylight. They boarded up all the windows and locked all of the doors till it was dark out. Slow and steadily they cracked open the doors of the building. They constantly kept their guards up, alert for any movement in the area. As they were approaching the position that the sniper was in they decided to go into prone position to avoid the chances of being shot incase he was still there. As they crawled to his position they noticed no one there. It was very late and they were drifting lazily to sleep. They took turns sleeping every two hours so that one person could keep watch. The next day after not such a great sleep they spotted off into the distance some smoke was in the sky. They scrambled to the top of a hill to get a better look and pulled out their binoculars. There was an enemy camp. “Brown, come get a look at this.” “This is probably where the sniper that was shooting us is. Wait, what’s that?” Out of the corner of Brown’s eyes he saw one of his friend’s that he met in the army. He was sprawled out, face down and not breathing on the ground. A deep sinking feeling struck his stomach. After a few seconds of sorrow he grew livid and tried to bolt down to the camp to unload a few rounds but then Richard snatched him by the tails of his jacket and pulled him back. “Are you trying to get us killed?” “They killed him!” “Yea well there’s nothing we can do about it now and running in there and ending up in his same situation isn’t going to help.” “Fine then lets just go” They started heading towards base again at night. Boom! Another IED just went off behind them from about twenty yards away. Sand flew up everywhere and the force knocked both of them to the ground. They pulled out their assault rifles and scurried up to their feet. “Run!” Yelled Brown. They both dashed into the dunes to try and prevent being shot at. They heard people coming speaking in Arabic to each other. They rolled down to the bottom of the dune and covered themselves in sand to hide from their enemies. Their heart rates were escalating at an enormous rate and they were both ready to pull their triggers at anything advancing towards them. A person with an AK47 arose from the top of the dune and leered off into the distance. After a few moments he gave up and walked back to the rest of them. They waited for about five minutes before getting up and dragging them selves to the top of the dune where they could see their base that they were supposed to be at. “We did it! We really made it!” “One day on the job and we’ve already almost died more than once. Fantastic.” Amelia Flohr Untitled I was perched on a log, trying to accept what had happened. It shouldn’t be that hard to accept stupid! I thought to myself. Just…accept it. The clearing wasn’t really in a forest. It was a sparsely wooded area behind my house, thick enough to hide me from anyone’s view, but to thin to be called a forest. The rain pattered lightly against the trees that were almost too big for my arms to wrap around. These trees had a little too much space between them to be nature; their parents were probably cut down by loggers a few decades ago. I shifted against the log, glad my rain coat was a bit to long, and took a deep breath, pulling in the cold air perfumed with the smell of fresh rain and soaked pine. And another breath. And another. Go over it one more time in your head. Last week had been the first time it happened. I had been too unsure to try anything unless I knew no one was watching. I was lugging my butt home from soccer practice. Soccer was one of the only times I took my ring off, not wanting to break it or hurt someone with it. The ring’s usual place was on the middle finger of my left hand. That day, I jammed it onto my ring finger. I just kept walking. What the…Oh. Don’t take it of now, you’ll drop it down a gutter or something. Why should it matter if the ring was on the wrong finger. I would just switch it later. Whatever, right? I was on the back road that wound its way to my street. Well, most people just called it the pipeline, and it wasn’t really a road, maybe a horse trail. Walking along, I leaped for the top of a big rock, expecting a moment of weightlessness and braced for a landing. But the landing never came. I stared down, gaping at the space between my feet and the rock. “It’s nothing Gwen, just a dream.” I’d blabbered out loud to myself, while another part of me was giddy with one thought. You’re FLYING! I pinched my arm, but even then, I didn’t really believe myself. I never have vivid dreams. Never. Coming back to reality, I glared down at my ring. I had already inspected it to see if there was any fancy writing on it that might give me a clue, but there was nothing. It was a beautiful ring. The band was silver, and set in it was an amazing stone of deep green-blue. Rising out of the band was a leopard, mouth open and teeth bared, reaching out and almost over the jewel. I stared at it, turning it over and over. How could I never have discovered this? Why would this happen now? Maybe it wasn’t the ring, maybe it was me. Slowly I rose, glancing around quickly. Good, the only things watching me were the trees, looking like old men with the moss clinging to their branches. This had better work. I took a shaking step away from the tree I had been leaning against. Spinning around, I checked behind me. All alone. Reassured that no one was watching, I jumped. Okay, ‘jumped’ might be an understatement. Launched would describe it better. Much better. I just managed to whip my hands in front of me, barely breaking my landing. Almost breaking your ARM, I thought to myself. At least I’m not wearing white. Ruefully, I scrutinized the front of my jeans and my arms. Oh for the love of—of all the places to get grass staines! The entire front of my jacket was coated dark green with bits of wet grass and mud. “Stupid! You don’t just launch yourself across a clearing! Aarrrrgggggghhhhh!” I growled under my breath. Muttering the whole time, I stalked to the edge of the clearing and grabbed a stick, scraping it across my windbreaker. Well, that left one choice. My mind was racing to find another reason. No way in hell! Just try it! Don’t be a ninny, you have to do this! Gingerly, I pulled my beautiful ring off my middle finger and, bracing myself, jammed it onto my left ring finger. I must have stood there, braced and ready, for at least a minute. My eyes squeezed shut, left hand extended away from my body. You must look like your holding a bomb, I told myself. Peekinging down at my hand, I sighed in relief. Not burned to a crisp. Check. Not sprouting extra digits. Check. Not missing any digits. Check. Okay, okay, here goes. Hesitantly, I leaped. Straight up this time. No one needs two face plants in one day. I remained airborne. Hovering roughly six feet over the clearing floor, I gawked at the space between my feet and the ground. “Ohmygod….” I squeaked, eyes ready to pop out of their sockets. For a couple minutes, my mind just repeated, over and over — nowaynowaynowaynoway — before I took over. Calm down, this is just how it’s gonna be, I told myself. Get over it. You’re flying! Do you know how many people would kill to be able to do this Gwen?! Thoroughly scolded, I began to appreciate that yes, I was flying. But how did it work? There was no way I was going to put my fist in front of my face like Superman. Maybe you had to flex your legs? With no better idea, I clenched the muscles in my legs. Nothing. Okay, still not gonna put my fist in front of my face. To run, you don’t even think about it… I thought it over, trying to figure out what to do next—That’s it! Just think about what you want to do. The moment I thought of shooting into the air and doing a back flip—BAM! You guessed it, I shot through the air and did a back flip. My feet now hundreds of yards, meters, feet, or whatever, above the earth, I bobbed up and down in the wind, feeling rain drip down my grin. Now my biggest question was, ‘What would Superman do?’ ------------- I glared at the ground of the clearing that was slowly growing bigger and bigger. Flying was a lot easier than I thought it would be. But flying around like a superhero had made me think of just that. Superheroes. Everyone has a favorite superhero. The most common seemed to be from the ‘big three’ Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. All of them used their powers to save the world and the people in it. Whoa. Back up girl. You’re only a 15-year-old going to high school in Washington. As in the state, not the capital. There was no way I was going to zoom around stopping bank robberies. I didn’t even have any motivation! Plus that’s what people like policemen and fire fighters were for, right? Can you really imagine they’d want help from a 15 year old girl? Neither can I. But as I walked back towards my house, a small part of me — the part that had accepted flying, the part that still loved reading comic books, the part that still wanted to believe in Santa — clung to the idea of zooming around stopping bank robberies. Gavin Draper Twitchy’s Tail In a neighborhood in Western Washington there was a young, fat, big, gray, squirrel with a big, fury, twitchy tail. He loved to dash across the tops of fences, but it isn’t very easy when you’re tail is constantly twitching. He wasn’t the most graceful squirrel, (he wasn’t a very consistent jumper and he barely ever stuck the landing.) Twitchy constructed a nest out of old straw wrappers, plastic Easter grass, and any other piece of garbage or fiber that he could find around the neighborhood. There were left over peanut shells lining the inside of the nest. He chose to place it on top of the Douglas fir tree where his mom, dad, and his three younger siblings lived below. Twitchy put together his nest on the skinny part of the tree where it was bent over at 90-degree angle. Every time it was windy or rainy, he knew that he shouldn’t have placed it on top of that tree but he was too lazy to move it down the tree because he liked to see where all the food was thrown away. He never fell out of his nest, some how his twitching tail kept him balanced when he was still and scared away all of the deadly birds. Twitchy lived in the same tree as his parents, but they lived in the more safe middle of the tree with his younger siblings so they wouldn’t get eaten by eagles twitchy was too surprisingly heavy for the eagles to devour him. He helped his parents take care of his younger siblings and teach them how to climb trees walk across fences, find the right seeds and nuts, he attempted to teach them how to jump, and they eventually got the idea. The most dangerous things to squirrels are cars, kids with bb guns, cats and dogs. Twitchy was probably, the luckiest squirrel in Lake Forest Park. Every time he crossed the street, he stopped in the middle and one time a motercycle ran over his tail and that is why his tail twitches. One time, when he was taking his siblings on a nature walk, he was showing them how to get past the little shitsu to get to the bird feeder, he told them “so when you jump off the fence run to the rhodie and jump from there to the bird feeder.” He went first to show them how it was done. They followed him and they did not get chased by the dog, because he was inside. Another squirrel named Whiskers (known for his Dumbo-ear-sized whiskers, that looked like a butterfly when he ate or talked) said to him, “I heard you baby sit your little siblings.” He was too distracted by his enormous whiskers to hear what he said, so, he said it again. Twitchy replied sarcastically, “Yeah, do you want to come along? You can teach them how to groom their whiskers.” A long time ago it was a rainy, foggy, early morning and young Twitchy was running along the uneven fences of the suburbs. He was on his way to the best fir tree in the ‘hood. He came to the edge of the laurel hedge, he jumped, as he was in mid-air above the rough cement street, he remembered that he forgot to look where he leaped. As he was suspended in the cold, rain-soaked air, he looked to the left of him and he saw a sedan speeding down the street. Lucky for him, jumped over the car and forgot to look the other way and got his tail run over by a motorcycle. As he landed, he heard the V- twin puttering fast, the high-pressure tires silent against the rough wet cement, he thinks he had run past the motorcycle, but actually he ran under the bike and the rear tire was twice as big as the front wheel and flattened his tail between the highly compressed tire and the cold, wet pavement. This is how he got the name Twitchy. Hasnain Akhund Untitled Meandering down to the soccer field with Matt, Ricky was wondering where Richy was. “Now I know why nobody asks him for favors,” he said to Matt, who quietly agreed with him. But then from the other end of the field he could see Richy slowly making his way towards them. And coming in behind him, was James, another man who was probably his son, and another guy. “This can’t be that hard, I mean really, how could three professional soccer players lose to these guys?” Ricky asked. But then Ricky began to remember the previous day when he was taking his daily stroll in the park when he stumbled into a medium sized, healthy, 50-year-old man with a bald head by the name of James Wayne. And he had challenged Ricky to a soccer game. To Ricky this was a surprise, but then again, he’d been challenged before and this was not different at all. He accepted to a three on three soccer game the following day at three o’clock. He went home and called up his friends Matt and Richy to play with him in tomorrow’s games. The next day Ricky took it easy, at noon he went to his teams’ private stadium to practice a little bit. There he thought whether or not he should where his lucky chain that David Beckham had given him, after his team had won the world cup. And with that last thought, he focused on the game to come. “Hey man, I wouldn’t start judging right now. For all you know, they could be really good,” Matt replied back. When both teams met in the field, they talked for a while, and Ricky found out that James’s son was Paul, and the other guy’s name is Ron. James explained that this was a regular game of soccer, and that instead the match would be only 10 minutes long. But then it came time to start the game with Richy and Ron stationed at the goals. Ricky wasn’t really surprised to find a crowd just gathering around the edges of the field. Some groups even had his official team flag. And out of the goodness of his heart, and the fact that the opposing team was at a big disadvantage, he let them have the ball first. And that was his first mistake. James passed the ball to Paul, who with surprising speed ran down the field with the grace of a cheetah. Passing by Ricky and Matt as if they were trees, he sprinted up towards their goal, and with only twelve feet from the post he kicked. And Richy hardly saw the white blur pass by and the swish of the net. One point for team James, zero for Ricky’s team. Already, Ricky and Matt were having major doubts about ever accepting this challenge. With only nine minutes left, they had to hustle down and back from both sides. Feeling like this match would be just as tough as France when he was in the World Cup, Ricky dashed towards Paul and tried to slide tackle the ball from his feet to Matt on the other side, but it never worked out. Instead Ricky fouled and even though there wasn’t a referee, he got a yellow card. “Just great,” he said under his breath, there was only 4 minutes left, and the score was still 1-0, in James favor. But out of nowhere, James came and passed it to Paul who faked a left, and slammed the ball into the post, which bounced off Richy’s leg and went in. “This can not be happening,” Matt yelled to Ricky. “But it is,” was Ricky’s only reply. The clock was down to two minutes, and by accident, Matt managed to cross the ball the Ricky, who easily walked up to the other goal, and kicked it in. With the score at 2-1, and James leading, they had to finish this game fast, but they could never even up the score in time. And with that the buzzer ringed and that was the end of the game. James had won the match and Ricky had lost. With a face of astonishment Ricky walked up to James and congratulated him and wished him good luck for the future. “I’m sorry I had to embarrass you or anything, but these things happen, and old people like me aren’t as slow as you think we are,” James said to him. Ricky agreed with him, and walked towards his teammates. Reaching up for his chain, he noticed that he wasn’t wearing it during the game. Shocked, and disbelief took over him. How could he not have worn his chain on a day like this? And something dawned on him, without the chain, he had got hit by a car, and lost this game. With it, he won the world cup, got a girlfriend, and a whole lot of other great things happened to him. He should’ve remembered to wear the chain. And with that he slowly continued towards his friends. Christina Chapman Alyssa My life as we speak is wounded and unsatisfactory. The day my parents passed away was the day I died with them. Nothing has been or will ever be the same. This little beat up house consists of so many memories. I still think I hear my mom in the kitchen washing the dishes or my father plopped on the couch laughing at some stupid talk show. I almost find comfort in reminiscing on all of this, as if it were real. As if the more I thought of them the greater chance they’d come back to me, and never leave again. But this, I knew deep down was only a fantasy, an impossible dream. Yet here I am still. This little town is smothering me like a fire, and I can’t see through the smoke. As if my life couldn’t get any worse, there was my aunt Debra. My aunt Debra is wicked as a witch. She is the greediest and nastiest old prune I have ever met. All that she wants out of me is the money and the house that my parents left in their will for me. I swear, she would kill me for it; that’s how bad she wants it, and that’s what terrifies me the most. I try and tune out her obnoxious high-pitched soprano voice ringing in my ears constantly, but it seems almost impossible. Everywhere I go and anything I do, she’s there. Every time that I feel the ache of my loss, I just think of that last summer day when everything appeared so simple and perfect. With the sun high and bright in the sky, and the warm breeze swirling the sand up under my feet, I wish that day never came to an end. I scan through every detail of it in my head, at least once a day. The way my parents grinned at each other, how it felt to wrap my arms around my dad and the smell of my mother’s hair. It is so vivid in my mind, I almost feel as if I were there instead of trapped in this little room. But Debra is always quick to remind me otherwise. “Alyssa! Alyssaaaa! Where are you?” Debra yelled. “I’m in my room. What do you want Deb?” I replied. “How many times do I have to tell you not to call me that? Its very disrespectful to me.” She said walking towards my room. “I don’t understand how that’s being “disrespectful” but whatever.” I said. “It just is, so don’t be a brat just don’t call me that again” She commanded. “Sure, whatever. Deb.” I said. “Gosh, you are an obnoxious child.” Said Debra. “I am not a child, in case you’ve forgotten.” I laughed. “I guess your right. So you are almost eighteen…got any plans for college?” asked Deb. “No… not really. You have asked me this a million times. I’m thinking about just getting a job and living here. Since I already own the house and all. Maybe James will just come live here, but nothings finalized yet.” I said. “Oh. I don’t know if that is a good idea Alyssa. Moving in with your boyfriend right at eighteen might not be the best choice. I mean, I wouldn’t want to see you get pregnant at that age or anything. Your parents would be so ashamed of you Alyssa.” Explained Debra. “Who said that I would get pregnant at eighteen? And you don’t know squat about my parents or me. I replied. “Now you just shut your mouth you little brat. If it was up to me you would be in a boarding school in Timbuktu.” She hissed “Oh I know! But it’s not up to you, so you should shut your mouth. How many times do I have to tell you to get out of my house Deb? You aren’t going to get it so I don’t know why you are sticking around for so long.” said Alyssa “Oh I will get it. One way or another.” She threatened. “I’m sure you will.” I said sarcastically as I walked across the room and blasted my stereo. Later that week, Debra was meandering around the grocery store buying food for dinner. A man in a dress shirt and kaki pants strutted up to her and asked her out on a date. Debra hadn’t been asked on a date since high school. The man (according to her) was handsome, rich and was madly in love with her by the 3rd date. His name was Rick, and he was a small town boy from Tennessee who just happened to get lucky and work at Microsoft when the company just opened. I didn’t believe her at first but over time I realized Debra really did love him. I noticed the changes in her every day. She truly was a better person and I was actually happy for her. They dated for about 4 months until he proposed. Before they left on their honeymoon, I thanked Rick and gave him a huge hug. I even said goodbye to Debra, and for the first time in my life I gave her a hug too. I had a feeling that things between us would be different from here on out, and this, made me smile. Ms. Nyman’s Class Contents Alex Pitts 155 Tyler Harper 158 Lida Parker 162 Matt Gerlach 165 Ted Weber 168 Savannah Rogers 172 Katie Rodrigues 176 Michael Miyamoto 180 Haley Magaoay 185 Liane Johnson 190 Kristin Gunderson 194 Julia Fung 198 Sam Franks 201 Pavel Berezyuk 204 Lea Davis 207 And from Mr. Majorowicz’s class: Malena Stanzel 209 Andrew Purse 214 Alex Pitts The Rusty Watch It was 7:45 am, on a Monday morning, a school day. In the halls of Lakeview (the school for the gifted and intelligent) Jim Conner’s was nowhere to be found. Jim was still sitting alone in his room, staring at something he never thought would be such a prized possession to him. His father’s old rusty hand watch. Jim remembers the last conversation he had with his father. It was in the living room. It started out as a nice and peaceful chat, but then turned into a nasty argument. That argument led to the reason why Jim was sitting in his room alone, because later that night after the fight between Jim and his father, Jims dad had gotten into a fatal car accident which led to his death. Jim was still sitting in his room. He knew he would have to move in with his unsuccessful uncle. Jim has never really had a friend so he would have no moral support for his loss. Not even from his uncle. A week has past since Jim’s father had been killed. He is now spending the first week with his uncle. Jim’s uncle is never around so Jim usually has to care for himself. When Jim grew hungry that day he went off to find some food at the market. Jim had very little spending money so he had a limited selection. Jim feels like he hasn’t eaten in days, so when he walked into the market it was a bittersweet feeling. The sweet feeling was that he was happy he was going to finally get some food and the bitter feeling was that he couldn’t afford anything that would be satisfying. Jim was walking into the fruit section when he then noticed something out of the corner of his eye. Jim turned his head around and noticed that the bakery just put out his favorite treat. Grandma’s homemade cinnamon rolls. His mouth began to water while his eyes where beginning to melt. He quickly walked to the rolls and started to reach for them. Then suddenly he found himself at a deadlock with a little boy. “Hey I was here first.” Said the little boy. “I’m sorry but I think I grabbed it before you. And plus this is the only thing I can afford.” Said Jim. “Well my mom told me to get this for a party tonight and I don’t want to get grounded.” “I’m sorry but I don’t think you understand I…” “My parents just got divorced so shut up and give me the bread.” Interrupted the boy. “Well at least you have parents.” Said Jim in a saddened voice. Then he walked away from the boy and his food for the night.” Jim did not eat that day; instead he just sat in front of the TV holding his father’s old rusty watch. Jim knew his life was just about to get worse because it was only one more day until he went back to school. The next day Jim went back to school. Jim walked into the halls of his new high school. When he entered the school he looked at all the kids talking to each other. He knew his school year was going to be hard. Jim knew he was going to be a loner so he was just about to leave school but all the sudden he noticed that someone was staring at him. The student then approached Jim. Jim tried to walk away but the kid tapped him on the back. “Hey are you new here?” “Umm, yah.” “Well great, welcome to Peter Dale high school. My name is Robby. What’s your name?” “Jim Conners.” “Hey Jim nice to meet you, here come with me I’d like to show you around the school.” All the sudden Jim started to feel this sensation of happiness that he hasn’t felt in a long time. He knew that Robby and himself would be good friends. Tyler Harper Scene Nick, at 6’4” browned skinned, is walking through the hallways for passing period as he his friend, Sean John, who is at 6’0” light skinned with a design in his haircut that says, “Do Work” and also on the basketball team, calls for him. “Hey, Nick.” “Ay, what’s up man? I haven’t seen you all day.” Sean John scratches his head wondering. “Oh there was something that I was going to ask you but I forgot.” Nick looks and says, “Well you better remember ‘cause I have to go to math class.” “No no no. Wait, I remember what was now,” Sean John says with amusement. “OK, spit what you got to say then.” Sean John starts out, “Ok, rumor has it that you were with Tori Long after school last Friday and no one didn’t see you in the hood until twelve in the afternoon.” Nick thinks about what his friend had told him. It took him a second to remember what he was talking about until he says, “Hmmm…. I don’t recall having to hang out with her last Friday.” “Please. Ok here’s something to refresh your memory. Did you go to the Denny’s last weekend?” Then Nick thinks again. Immediately, Nick answers back. “Oh yeah I remember now. Yeah so what if I hung out with her?” “Dude, she’s one of the finest girls in school. That’s like major player status right there on the real NY!” “Eh. Yeah that’s true. She is though. But my question is this.” “Yeah what is it?” “How in the world did you hear I was hanging out with her last Friday?” “Ha. Don’t worry about it homeboy. I got access. That’s how.” “No really man. How did you? I mean I didn’t do nothing if that’s what you heard also.” “OK I’ll tell you who told me on one condition.” “And what’s that?” Nick asks as they finally start walking down the hall. “Tell me all you did and I’ll tell you who I heard it from.” Nick sighs. “OK. All we did was eat at Denny’s and later on went to a movie and I dropped her off. There now tell me.” Sean John shakes his head. “Nope. I heard there was more.” Nick looks in a quizzically way. “What do you mean?” Sean John says as he whispers to him, “Did you do anything else at the movie?” Nick looks around and says, “ Hey man. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Sean John just starts laughing real loud so then all of their friends, with either cornrows ors designs and all are between the heights of 6’)’ and 6’9” came in and one of them said, “What’s up with Sean John?” “I don’t know,” says Nick. “He was laughing when I said something ‘bout me and Tori Long.” “Oh. We already heard ‘bout that NY. No need to lie now.” The group starts laughing with Sean John. “No but seriously, who told you?” Nick says with a serious look on his face. “Hahahahaha. I just better tell you now since the group is here.” “I don’t care. Spill the beans” “TORI LONG TOLD US FOO’!!” Then Nick looked in embarrassment. “Oh shoot. See what had happened was…….” Nick couldn’t explain as the group was still laughing. “Dang dude you straight up rattled boy no lie!” “OK I ain’t gonna lie I did kiss her bro.” The group stares at him for 5 seconds. Soon after Tori Long, who is a perfect light brown, at 5’9” and looks like Alicia Keys and has a nice body, walks up to him and say, “Hey Nick. Ready for math class?” As stunned as he was, he finally said, “Yeah sure. Let’s go.” They walked off together and the last thing the group said aloud to Nick Young was, “ DO WORK HOMEBOY!” he turned back around with the thumbs up as the group laughs. Soon after Tori Long says, “What was all that about?” Nick looks and says, “It was nothing. Don’t worry about it.” She says back to him, “You guys are a total trip. On the real,” As he opens the door for her to math class right before the bell rang he said, “Yeah that’s just us. It’s who we are.” But what he had forgotten was that three of his friends were in his math class and one of them said, “Hey Nick. Why you almost late?” “Maybe because he was with Tori. Ooooooo.” Nick looks at his friends and says, “Dang. Really guys? Not again!” Lida Parker Untitled It seemed everything Winter dreamt of was coming true. The hurtful parents and careless stepsister were coming into clear view. First everything was okay but after a while the true sides started coming out. Young and beautiful Winter was 16 years of age. She was living with her stepmother, stepsister, dad, and brother. She lived in the downtown area of Seattle, Washington. There she attended Dartmoor, a high school she wasn’t too fond of. Her beauty was unnoticed by many, even her personality barely surfaced. Her past consisted of bad memories. Plus, a cruel future that awaits her is just beginning to surface, starting with her family moving to Seattle based on the step family’s overruling power in the families decisions. Winter’s family consisted of five people. Her step mother Angela, a secretary. Mike, Winter’s father, a wealthy lawyer. Winter’s cruel stepsister, Rose, attended school with Winter and brother. She had a personality of a whore but actions of a slut. Winter’s favorite person in her family was her brother, Andrew. Tall, slender, 17 and gorgeous with slick black hair with crystal blue eyes just like his mother and sister Everyday in Seattle was mostly miserable for Winter. Mike and Angela would argue and fight and so would Andrew and Rose and Winter. Most of the times Winter and Andrew would give up and just leave in silence when all Rose wanted to do was fight. One day she was crying in her room when once again the parents were fighting again. It surprised her so much they just didn’t break up already but maybe they didn’t have enough guts to do since they knew they couldn’t find anything better. “I can’t deal with Winter anymore, she won’t obey me at all!” yelled Angela. “She does everything she can possibly do except help rose”. Replied Mike with an apathetic tone since he was sick of Angela bringing it up and over and over again. After a few more minutes Winter went out to the living room where they stood arguing. Looking between Angela and mike she said, “Look Rose never listens to me she’s always too busy talking or texting on her phone. No matter what I do to help her with her schoolwork she always makes it difficult and tells me to leave. She screams and yells at me so I leave her alone”. Walking slowly towards Angela staring into her eyes with anger raging inside. “Look I can read right through you and I don’t care what you do to me”. ” Ha-ha oh thank you for giving me the right to walk all over you, and of course ill never believe you. My daughter is better than you will ever be so I don’t care what you tell me” replied Angela as she stepped a bit closer to winter and slapped Winter making Winter’s head turn around towards the ground. In those few seconds with her head turned all Winter could think of was how could she? “I want you to walk away in the direction your standing you little good for nothing pest” Angela sneered. Turning her face back around toward Angela she shed a tear across the red hand mark. ”Why did you do that?” asked Winter. “Anything to keep your mouth shut!” screamed Angela. “ Mike did you just see she back talked me! She never obeys me, was that enough evidence of how ignorant this child of yours really is?!” screamed Angela staring into Mike’s eyes. Then she set her eyes matching to Winter’s and walking slowly up to her with her heels clicking on the hardwood floor of the dinning room towards Winter. “ Or do I have to do something more to this pretty little piece of nothing” Angela said in a sarcastic and dark way as she grabbed Winter’s chin clenching as if to grind her fake nails into her face. Winter slapped her hand away and stepped a step away. “ Never slap me again or you’ll find yourself out on the streets!” screamed Angela. Then Angela walked slowly like before and whispered into winters ear, ” Both you and I know that’ll never happen because I’m going to keep you here and never let you leave until I finish you off and put you 6 feet under the ground”. As Angela smiled trying to act as if she had just apologized and winter ran to her room. Mike never said a single word but while winter ran to her room she could hear Mike’s footsteps go towards the porch Winter opened the door to her uninviting room. Matt Gerlach The Aftermath of the Fight I could hear the quiet sobbing of my mom coming from the corner of the room as I stood there. An angry and ashamed look on my face as my brother marc slammed the door. Then it struck me. The realization that it was just my mom and I, it made me feel so alone. It scared me to think about the possibilities of what could happen. The sound of Marc’s heavy footsteps echoed through my head as he walked away down the steps outside of our apartment complex. The slow ticking from our cheap pink clock hanging from the wall dragged on and on. I could smell brownies burning in the oven, and I’m sure my mom could too. But she didn’t care. All she cared about right now was Marc. He has left many times before, but this time it was for good. I could hear the cold air whistling through the crack in our door as the first flakes of snow descended into the streets. Involuntarily, I shivered. It crept through my thin bones, starting at my fingertips and ending at my frozen heart. My next thought wasn’t how I could get my brother back, how we were going to get food on the table for dinner, or even about the sadness that hung in the room like drapes over a window. I needed to comfort my mother. I walked over to the old piano in the corner of the room, and slowly started playing. My mom looked up at me, she had recognized the song at once, it was the melody my dad always used to play. The next couple weeks went by in a blur, things slowly got better. My mom and I didn’t talk much. She was mad at me. Of course, that was easy to tell. But she was also slightly glad, glad that there were no more arguments, glad that it wasn’t so hectic anymore, and glad, because she knew that in couple of weeks, when things got back to normal, there would be no more people leaving our little world. My father had disappeared one night when I was young, and now my brother had left too, but there was no way that I was going to leave. My mom and I would get through this together. A couple months into this, winter was starting to fade away. It was the first sunny afternoon in quite a while now, and it had lifted our spirits. My mom was actually smiling as we ate dinner, and we were speaking again. “Mom, why did dad leave?” I blurted out. I had learned to keep my mouth shut about dad in the past. I have been wondering about him so much lately, it just sort of came out, but I had to know, what if he was still out there somewhere? Sadness passed through my mom’s face briefly, I made her upset again. I felt ashamed and sorry. “When are you going to get a job to help support…?” She paused. She could tell from the disappointed look in my eyes that I needed to know what happened to dad. “If you must know, it was all my fault.” She said. “How was it your fault?” I asked. It took her a couple minutes to reply, she stood up and started doing the dishes. She didn’t want to remember any of it. Then she started talking again. “I loved your father, but sometimes he would go too far. We had another fight, much like the one with you and marc. He had been drinking too much and not only that, but he was drunk around you and marc. You were just kids and, I had to keep him from harming you. It was violent, and there was a lot of shouting. I couldn’t stand it. I slapped him. Looking him straight in the eye I told him to leave and never come back. He did exactly that. Early the next morning I got a call, they told me that my husband had been driving drunk and that he had died in a car accident. Those were the last words I ever spoke to the man I loved. It was all my fault.” I was stunned. I had finally learned the truth about my father, he was dead. All my hopes that he was out there, that I would someday find him had disappeared. “It was NOT your fault!” I said. “There was no way you could have known he was going to die, if it was any ones fault it was his. You know that.” There was silence for a while as I pondered what she told me. I got up and hugged my mom. “Thank you for telling me the truth.” None of it mattered anymore, Marc, my dad, all that mattered was that we had eachother. Ted Weber Tommy I still remember it to this day; when I found out. It hit me like a pile of bricks; I was totally delirious to the whole thing. I remember the night before, I had one of the weirdest dreams I’ve ever had. I was hanging from a cliff thinking that I was going to plunge to my perilous death in a few seconds. Then out of the blue there was this hand that reached out to me. I grabbed the hand and right when I was about to climb up the hand let go. It wasn’t like the hand slipped or anything, it just let go, like my life didn’t matter at all. I was falling for about ten seconds getting faster and faster but I woke up right before impact. Feeling dazed I started my usual morning routine; brushing my teeth, taking a shower, etc. Afterwards I strolled into the kitchen to get some breakfast and my parents were acting weird again. They would hardly ever talk when they were like this. It made me feel like I would be immediately admonished if I said a word at all. They usually acted like this when they had had a fight the night before. I don’t remember it because it was probably past my bedtime. I didn’t really mind when they acted like this, I just went along with my business. I popped open some Captain Crunch and I began my meal. My dad finally said something. “Tom, your mother and I have something we need to talk to you about.” Whenever both my parents sit down and talk with me you know it is going to be some bad news. “Yeah?” I responded. “Your mom and I are going to be spending some time away from each other…” Immediately I dropped my spoon into my cereal splattering milky debris all over my clean clothes. They didn’t need to say anything more than they already had; I understood the whole thing even though I was only ten-years-old. My mom started talking but I was so utterly awestruck that my ears had stopped functioning. My life was changed from that point on; it was turned upside down. “Get ready for school Tommy…” My dad said softly. The next couple of months were pretty rough because I was just getting used to the two houses and all. The schooldays began getting longer and I became less energetic. I lost interest in some of the things I used to excel in, like baseball. When I used to step on that baseball field rain or shine I would play my heart out and have the time of my life. After the divorce though I had thought of it more as a nuisance than a sport. Before the divorce I used to go to the neighborhood park a lot as well. It was a special place to me; it was where I could go to play baseball, swing on the monkey bars, ride my bike, anything. It was like my brain had shifted off its normal position and put me into to this strange mindset that disabled some of my normal functions. Whatever it was I did not like it, not one bit. It was almost the end of my fifth grade school year around that time and I could not wait to get out. Since the split I had been focusing less and getting less work done. It’s not like I was failing, but I wasn’t excelling either. I simply began winding down. On one hot spring day I remember going to the grocery store with my mom. We were getting the same food we usually get, nothing really important. The thing that really got drilled into my memory was when my mom asked me to go get her some plain white bread. I was making my way to the bread isle and everything was fine until I got to the end of the aisle. I saw a boy that looked about 15 or so years old. He was taking the last loaf of white bread. “Hey! I need that!” I exclaimed without thinking twice. “Umm…” he said in a monotone voice, “Sorry but I got here first.” “Then what am I gonna do!” I said rather loudly. The other boy was obviously confused and bothered. “I don’t know, go to another store or something.” He was slowly walking away backwards still looking at me. I decided there was only one logical way left to get that loaf of bread. “My parents are divorced,” I said. The sympathy card, that ought to get him I thought. “Well, my parents are dead…” He then turned around and walked away. I didn’t even respond; I was mesmerized. That person’s small five-word notion opened my eyes forever. It made me think more than I ever have before. I stood there motionless for at least thirty seconds until my mom came by and called my name. “Tommy? Where’s the bread I asked for?” “Huh? Oh, sorry, they are all out.” I mumbled. We continued on grocery shopping, just like we usually do. “Hey mom, where are we going to go to get bread?” I questioned. “I don’t know, I’ll get some later. It’s no big deal Tommy, it’s just a loaf of bread,” My mom responded casually. “Yeah, I guess so,” I said, but in my mind it was much more that just a loaf of bread. I decided to go to the park that day, just like old times. Savannah Rogers The Birth of Wyatt Douglas Nichols I distinctly remember the words “you are going to be an aunt as of October 12th”, those words are engraved in m mind and I will never forget all of the emotions and thoughts that were running through my mind. Knowing that I was going to finally be an aunt of my sister and brother in law’s child was hard to fathom as a thirteen year old. The thought of it retraced in my mind daily. Every ultra-sound and doctor’s check-up all told us that the child would be a healthy baby boy. When the H1N1 virus broke out all around the world, even though she was in great health, she got infected. Ericka, my sister, took extreme caution. Sadly, her effort was not good enough. Her immune system was weakened and was as helpless as the baby it’s self. Ericka fought and fought to keep her and her child safe. Due to these complications, I had brittle hope of him being a “healthy baby boy” as the doctor’s claimed he would be. As my hope and their immunity both grew weaker, the words that I kept hearing from surrounding people “They will be okay.” Even though I was hearing that from my peers and family, I was telling myself “No, they won’t be okay”. After three weeks, the medicine given to her was successful and helping her body and the baby’s body strengthened, doctors were still concerned. Every week, came along with the same routine, doctors appointments to ultra-sounds to injections and new medications. These routines carried on for weeks. I have never had such meaningful times in my life. The fear and negativity consumed me in the aspect of my nephew and sister. In fact, it consumed us all. The emotions, the worry yet the joy, the optimism yet the negativity, the tears yet the laughs, the mind’s distress yet the relaxing intuition’s call. The day that everyone looked forward to was finally here. From days in and out of the hospital wondering if this was a false alarm or the actual birth of my soon to be nephew. I walked in to Tacoma General Hospital using the South entrance, the sliding doors gusted a cool breeze in my face as I walked in between them. I wandered through the halls as the aroma of rubbing alcohol and powder used to soften the doctor’s hands surrounded me. I found myself in the F wing as I was searching continuously for the hospital room which my sister and brother in law were present. I tried not to believe that this was actually happening due to so many false alarms that got my hopes up many times before. I finally found the room where it was all happening in. F8. I listened in as my mother and father spoke to the doctors just outside the room. I heard that she had already been in labor for about 3 hours. The doctor’s determined that it would not be an easy birth for either one of them. 2 long hours drug on as I waited for some sort of exciting news yet nothing grabbed my attention. I was still trying to fathom that it was all still happening which indeed it was. Sadly, four weeks early. He was determined to be a weak baby due to the complications and being 4 weeks early does not help, if anything, it makes it much worse. Everybody was concerned about the baby’s health, from all of the walls they kept running in to; many of us feared that he would not survive past the point of being introduced to the world if he even lives to that point. Finally my mom came out with a strong sense of happiness expressed greatly on her face and told me that I had a new healthy nephew. I shot out of my chair and walked in the room and saw him lying there in Ericka’s arms. That moment was the greatest relief in my life that I can remember. As Ericka and Levi gently placed my new born nephew in my arms, it seemed like everything had changed. Watching him as he could hardly if at all open his eyes to glance around at the world that he had been introduced to even though all he could see was a whit tile checkered ceiling. He captured a small glimpse of me and the hospital room then shut his eyes and curled his limp body into mine and lied there safely with a sense of comfort for the both of us. He seemed exhausted and weak yet strong and ready to take on the world. It took me a long time to process the fact that I truly was holding a newborn baby boy let alone the fact that he had the same blood running through him as I did. The amount of responsibility, respect and love overwhelmed me. The brief time of about five minutes that I shared with him the first time I saw him, time felt like it drug on for hours yet flew by feeling like he was in my arms just long enough to last a split second, not even enough to blink. The strength of this newborn baby boy and my sister along with their immunity grasped my mind. Through all of the complications and weak point during the pregnancy gave us all a small amount of hope then they both end up being perfectly healthy. The moment we heard his weak cries, everything became the complete opposite of all of the emotions felt from early on in the pregnancy from bitterness, worry, tears, hopeless attitude suddenly turned into joy, happiness, peace, relief, merriment, gaiety and the love that swept me off my feet. The birth and the process that came before the labor, taught me a lot about life and what really mattered. I never did think much about as people like to call it, “the beauty of a child’s birth”. In fact, I never really even understood what they meant by that until the very moments that he laid there helplessly and dependant in my arms. Even though he was a healthy baby, he still had to go to the doctors once a month for regular check ups and medication to boost his immune system along with hers. To this day, Him, his mother, father and new baby sister remain healthy human beings and never had any more complications or problems. M memory of Wyatt Douglas Nichol’s birth remains engraved in my mind and a memory in my life that I will never forget. Katie Rodrigues Untitled The line at the corner market slowly inched forward and Darrel’s face came into view. Since when had he been a cashier? Lola felt her heart beat increase, as she started to panic. “Um… I’m going to go grab some more…apples. Be right back sweetie!” she charmed her boyfriend, trying to find some excuse to get out of line, fast. “No, let me,” Dax insisted already stepping his way out of the line. Lola turned around from looking at Dax to see a Darrel’s enthusiastic face looking at her. “Hi, did you find everything okay?” Darrel asked, with a smile, remembering the great summer they had spent together. “Yeah,” Lola answered him, hiding her face. She was too ashamed to make eye contact. As she built up the courage to say something Dax came back with a bag of seven green apples. “Hey, I’m Darrel, I’m a friend of Lola’s,” with a wink at Lola, Darrel introduced himself to Dax. “ Oh hi, I’m Dax, the boyfriend,” Dax said, sounding more possessive then usual. Darrel’s eyes flared with anger now, glaring straight at Lola. “So how much do I owe you?” she asked the floor, but Darrel knew it was at him. “$28.72 and a month of my summer!” Darrel thrust the bag at Lola, took off his employee apron, and walked off. “What was that about?” Dax asked Lola, she knew that he could tell something was wrong. And he knew it was a big something. “Nothing, I’m going to go talk to him, I’ll meet you at the car?” Lola walked off in search to find Darrel, she couldn’t leave him without explaining first. She found him propped up against his car, which he had parked behind the building. “Hey” Lola couldn’t think of anything to say, things felt awkward. “What was that? He’s your boyfriend? You told me you loved me! You never mentioned anything about him!” Darrel was waving his hands in the air, and then he lowered one down and punched the side of the building. No sign of pain flashed across his face. “Well, when I was with you this summer, he and were I taking a break. Since we wouldn’t be seeing each other I figured I’d pursue you.” Lola knew nothing she said would fix this mess but saying nothing would be even worse. “What? So you knew you’d get back together after the summer? Was I just a toy to you?” His anger was increasing and he had to get away, but he knew that Lola wouldn’t let him. He liked that about her. “No, you weren’t a toy, you were a great friend!” “A friend! You said you loved me, and I know that you didn’t mean it as a friend.” He took a long pause, “you love me! What are you afraid of?” Lola could see Darrel trying to hold back his tears; she rushed over and wrapped her arms around him. “I don’t know what I’m scared of, but you have to see my problem. I have two boys who say that they love me. What am I supposed to do?” Darrel pushed Lola off of him so he could look her straight the eyes. “Go with the one who said he loved you the minute he saw your eyes. Go with the one who thinks you’re always beautiful. Go with the one who held you when the other one said ‘let’s take a break.’ Choose me.” When she didn’t instantly reply Darrel got into his car and drove off. The one day that Lola decided that she could sit on the ground, careless of it being dirty, it was freezing cold. She leaned her back against the building and cried. Her left hand all of a sudden felt too heavy. She studied the diamond for a minute and then removed the engagement ring. Dax had proposed the night before and she’d said ‘yes.’ Could she really change her mind now and say ‘no’? Dax found her behind the market, she was drenched from the rain, and he could tell she’d been crying. “Gosh, you look awful, lets go get you cleaned up.” Darrel’s words ran through her mind, ‘Go with the one who thinks you’re always beautiful.’ “No thanks.” Lola turned away, she stood up, starting to follow the direction Darrel and his car had gone. “Lola, what are you doing? You need to clean up, have some dinner, come on let’s go.” He was looking desperate and she knew it was time; she was going to have to hurt him. “Here, please, take it back. Don’t ask questions just take it and go home.” She gave him the engagement ring and kept walking. “Lola! Why? What did I do?” “I said no questions.” She could barely choke out the words. Then she turned around and hugged him gently, her tears staining his shirt. She kissed his cheek and with that she was gone, and he knew it. Lola turned around just in time to watch him climb into his car. He sped down the road in the same direction that Darrel had. Michael Miyamoto Just a Dream Tim awoke with a shock. Feeling fine until he moved his body to his side, a sharp pain dashed through his whole body, shaking every bone in his body. Never in his life as he felt so much pain, ugh! What happened? Where am I? A shadowy figure was standing, staring at Tim trying to say something. The sound was fuzzy at first then clearing his mind the words were growing more loud and sharp more and more the sound became more unpleasant. Tim finally opened his eyes and saw his father. “Dad what happened?” “You crashed and nearly killed an innocent young man.” Tim’s heart stopped his mind slowly processing his father’s words. “Christ”! Yelled Tim! Is he okay? “He’s in ICU replied his Father.” “Good said Tim.” “When can I get out?” Tim asked now worried. “The doctor say in a week said his father.” “Now rest Tim I will see you tomorrow.” Answered Tim’s father sounding calm. The last few days in the hospital went by really fast! When the nurses announced that Tim could walk, Tim decided to find the boy he nearly killed. From what the nurses told Tim his name was Lionel about 18 years old on his last year in high school. “Great, on his last year.” Tim thought in grief “I hope he’s ok.” Tim spoke. After an hour past Tim slowly got enough courage to find Lionel. Walking to the elevators Tim found a transparent board then spotted the letters ICU. After Tim push the button Tim could feel his stomach sink which almost made him sick. When the elevator doors opened Tim clicked the button to ICU. As the elevator stopped the Tim walked out the elevator he found Lionel in the room number 12. The door was open and Tim walked in. “Hello? Lionel?” Tim said. No one answered, as Tim walked in he saw Lionel in the lying on his side. “Lionel?” Tim said again. “Hey Lionel!” Walking closer Tim could see that Lionel was trying to reach for the remote control on the table. “Here let me help you.” Lionel still on his side final turned around. “Thanks!” Lionel said with relief. “ Not to be rude but who are you?” Lionel said Looking at Tim Tim felt his heart sink. And froze. “I the guy who nearly killed you.” Tim said forcing out the words. “Oh” said Lionel” now feeling as if Tim’s. Then an awkward silence appeared. “Listen” Tim said. “I sorry I crashed in to you.” Said Tim “Stop!” Lionel yelled. “Look, I know your sorry but its just I wish this hadn’t happened.” Lionel said now calm now. Again the awkward silence fell on to them. Then finally Tim got the courage to ask. “When do you get out?” “By this Friday” replied Lionel, “why?” “Good” “We can both get out of here.” After a long conversation Tim realized that it’s late. “I will see you tomorrow” Lionel. “Yeah see you later.” Later that night Tim had another dream about Lionel. This time Lionel was in a dark room crying. The sound of Lionel’s crying almost made Tim burst in to tears. “You messed up my life!” Lionel screamed “You ruined me why!” “WHY!” Lionel again screamed. “What?” Tim said his voice trembling “Lionel I did do anything!” Tim was replying but nothing came out. Then Tim saw a knife in Lionel’s hands then a scream. Such a terrible screams that it made Tim wake up crying. Saying I am sorry, I am sorry Tim saying now shaking. * The next morning Tim went to talk with Lionel. Lionel was fine now on his feet looking at Tim. “Hey what’s wrong?” Lionel said “Nothing I just wanted to see you.” Replied Tim “Oh OK.” Lionel spoke now sounding worried “Well only one more day left.” Said Lionel. “Yeah I am glad.” Tim said. “Hey Tim you should go get some rest you look beat.” Lionel said. “All right I see you at later.” Tim said feeling better to see that Lionel is * Tim got a good sleep much better than that berserk nightmare. Opening his eyes Tim found that he wasn’t down stairs. Looking around Tim saw Lionel. Lionel looked better than the last time he saw him. As Tim started to walk to Lionel but something was different. Every came disoriented and Lionel figure was moving away from Tim. “No!” Tim screamed “no!” Tim now crying started to run after Lionel’s figure. But the figure just kept on going. After Tim stop trying to find Lionel a man in a dark robe appeared. Looking at Tim the man in dark robes started to walk toward Tim. Tim in fear was trying to run but couldn’t. When the man was close enough to Tim, he pulled a hunters knife dripping with blood then grabbed Tim’s hair then slit Tim’s throat. Feeling cold Tim could see his blood everywhere. Again the man looked at Tim now ready to decapitated Tim’s whole body. Now in so much pain Tim finally got enough strength to speak tell the man to end it. As the man was ready Tim closed his eyes in fear hoping the pain will end. Tim opened his eyes again and realized it was dream. In relief Tim tried to get up but couldn’t. “Something’s wrong” Tim thought. Looking around his surroundings, Tim found that he wasn’t in the hospital but on the street. Tim again tried again to get up but still couldn’t move. Tim tried to move for the 3rd time still nothing. His body now in pain Tim noticed that he was bleeding. In fear Tim turned his head Tim saw Lionel lifeless body. Now crying Tim felt cold. Trying to breath Tim was gasping for air. Looking again Tim could see Lionel’s dead body and managed to say sorry. Lying there Tim finally lay motionless on the ground, saying goodbye. Haley Magaoay Stuck I walk into the dimly lit living room. I see my mom, oh so powerful, sitting upon her throne. The chair my father and I got her for Christmas two years ago. No sympathy shows in her eyes. She doesn’t have a heart, I’m sure of it. Always thinking of her self, what’s new? Her long brown hair pulled up into her specialty bun with my father hovering over her shoulder, speechless and emotionless. Why does he let her do this to me? Why does he let her stomp all over us? “Bee, I’m sorry, but you have to come with us. You’re too young to stay with Derek. You’re team will do fine without you, and you will make new friends, and find another team there. Promise.” She tries looking me in the eyes, but I refuse. Why look in those painless, pitiless eyes? She’s wrong, she’s all wrong. Derek’s not only my brother but also my best friend. I’m not about to let us move away from him. And as for my basketball team, she couldn’t be more wrong. She doesn’t understand the bond we share. Through thick and thin, I love my Lady Scotts. I’m not about to leave them behind either. It’s not that I don’t want to, but I can’t. I’ve been so deprived of sleep lately, I can’t even think straight. But today is the day. The sun shines through the blinds, yet light snow covers the ground. It’s the night after we accomplished the unbelievable. We, the Lady Scotts, had won state. I can smell the sweet aroma of French toast making its way from the kitchen and under the small crack of my door. French toast, ah, the breakfast of champions. I lean up, and then it hits me. I see the empty room, my sleeping bag, but no bed. My clothes, my dresser, everything, is gone. I sink back into my sleeping bag. I no longer wish for the French toast, and just want to go back to bed. I feel my tears watering up again, but strongly yet helplessly I hold them back, drag myself out of bed, and force myself into the living room. “What makes you think that you’re staying here?” The shouts are echoing throughout the house. “Mom, just listen. Please.” “I AM listening. I have been listening for the past 2 months. All I’ve heard is you complaining!” She just won’t listen. “You know it’s better for me here with Derek.” “You’re going with us, end of discussion.” I have no other choice than to give in. But why leave? Why leave all my friends, my school, and my team behind? I can’t and I won’t. The one word I hoped to never have to say to my friends and team were ‘Goodbye’. But I never thought I would have to. Where I’m moving, I know I won’t be well liked. This entire place is just a preppy school for stuck-up rich kids. Why there? I don’t fit into any of those categories. I wish to stay out here, in the city. Not the suburbs. I don’t belong there. But I guess I have no other choice. I was then told to grab my things, and start packing up the truck. It’s time to go. But I will be back. Sorry if I didn’t introduce myself. My name is Brianne, but everyone calls me Bee. At my old school, Shorecrest, I was known as the upbeat outgoing girl everyone loved. Now, at my new school, Deer Park, I’m known as the basketball crazed new girl, that no one knows or talks to. I don’t get along with my family, only my brother, Derek. But he no longer lives with us. He was lucky enough to stay back. I love my basketball team more than anything. They’re my real family. Those are the people I wish I could be with. The people I really need. Those are the people who actually take my thoughts and feelings into consideration. If only I didn’t have to leave them behind. They were my lifeline, my scapegoat, and the only reason I was happy to live where I lived. But now, there’s nothing I can do. I will miss you Shorecrest High School, I will miss you Derek, I will miss you rain and snow, cold weather, early dark nights, evergreen trees, the Lady Scotts and our, excuse me, their, outstanding coach Jason Baskett, and all the other great and wonderful people there. “Here we are!” called my mom, as we pulled into the cul-de-sac. What is she trying to do to me? The white picket fence, the little kids running and screaming in the neighbor’s lawn, the perky flowers on the front porch, and the Jeep parked in the driveways of almost every house. This neighborhood is officially the picture perfect suburbs. Staying here is going to be even worse than I Imagined. “We’re going to love it here.” Again, you’re wrong. “Bee,” It’s been 3 months at this school, and Mrs. Reynolds never seems to leave me alone. “Can I talk to you?” “Sure.” I shrug. “What about?” I already know. “I’ve noticed you haven’t been performing too well in my class lately. Is everything o…” “Yes.” I cut her off before she can finish. If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard that line, well, I’d be living with my brother already. “I’d still like to speak with you. Is that okay?” “I actually had some plans for lunch.” I lied. “Well I think this is more important. It won’t take long.” Now she’s the liar. She could talk for days. But I still shrug. “So can you tell me why you’re missing 5 assignments in this class?” I say nothing. “Bee, if you wish to continue playing basketball. You’re going to need to keep up on school as well.” I’ve heard that line before. “It’s called a STUDENT-athlete. Student comes first,” she continued. Well there’s a new one. I just look at her, and nod my head. I begin to stand. “Bee, don’t do this to yourself. You don’t want to be switched out of this school too do you?” I turn around, and don’t even bother looking back. I then whisper to myself… “How’d you guess?” I’m just a girl who wants to play basketball, and go back to where she belongs. Most girls are still trying to find their place in this world. I found mine. Back in Shoreline, WA, at Shorecrest High School, with the Lady Scotts, and Jason Baskett. I belong on the basketball court. It’s where I go to solve all my problems. There, I don’t have to worry about my grades, my parents, or just life in general. You play the game, let all you anger out, and leave it on the court. There, I feel free. But it’s different here at Deer Park. It’s not the same without the same people. These girls don’t look at basketball the way I do. It’s so rough here. It’s so hard, and stressful. I was a good student back at Shorecrest because I actually enjoyed life there. I actually enjoyed waking up in the morning. Now, it’s such a struggle, such a hardship. I don’t even feel like myself anymore. I don’t feel like Brianne. I feel completely different. There’s only one thing that could bring me back. Everyone, I’m sure, knows what that is by now. “Just two more years.” I tell myself. But until then, I’m stuck. Liane Johnson Stupid Girl Surrender could clearly remember the day her mother died. The doctor came down the hall, his clean white shoes squeaking against the gleaming linoleum. “You can go see her now,” he said. His voice held a kind of detached pity. Surrender adjusted her grip on her younger sister and turned to her friend, Rain, who squeezed her fingers, his calloused hand rough in hers. She stood, but he made no movement to follow the girls. “Come with me,” Surrender said. “Please?” The room was very white. The sheets, the walls, the flowers, the floor, the hard plastic chairs, the machinery in the corner. A steady beep…beep…beep…filled Surrender’s ears, contrasting with her own erratically thumping heart. She sat down in a white chair next to the white bed and took one of her mother’s white hands in her own. “Surry,” her mother said, smiling slightly. “Hey, Mom,” Surrender said, trying and failing to smile back. Her sister climbed into her lap and stared at their mother with a mixture of fascination and fear. “Surry,” her mother repeated, her grip suddenly much too hard. “Surry, keep your sister.” “What?” Surrender said, then recalled how much her mother hated that word. “I mean, I don’t understand.” “Don’t let anyone take her away from you,” her mother said, her grip starting to loosen. There was too much space between the beeps now, so much that Surrender’s heart beat three times for every one of her mother’s. “Keep your sister,” her mother repeated faintly, yet firmly. “Mom,” Surrender said. “Mom? Mom!” She looked at her mother in shock, not comprehending why her mother’s hand had gone so limp in her own. The florescent lights were too bright, everything was too bright. Rain was saying something, but she couldn’t understand him. Now her baby sister was talking, her high, childish voice grating on Surrender’s ears. She was vaguely aware of Rain’s hand on her wrist, the warmth and pressure. He smelled like spearmint gum and unscented soap. His fingernails, oddly long and sharp for a man’s, bit into her skin. “Ow!” she said, jerking away. She rubbed her wrist and sucked the tiny spots of blood away. “You okay?” Rain said. “You were scaring me there.” “I’m fine,” Surrender said. “Mom’s sleeping, we should go.” She scooped up her now silent sister and swept out the door, not waiting for Rain to follow. What she didn’t say was what she was thinking, what the doctors knew but wouldn’t tell her to her face, what Rain knew, even. That conversation was the last she would have with her mother. She could remember less than a year ago, her mother’s announcement, the tears, her sister’s vacant, uncomprehending stare. She remembered the hospital rooms, the hallways, the doctors and nurses with their plastered on smiles and too-clean uniforms. Trying to get the vending machine to give her a candy bar. Rain tapping out a rhythm against its side, successfully extracting a Snickers. “You know you’ve spent too much time here when you’ve figured out the vending machine,” he’d said with a smile. Eating with him, talking to him, discussing death with him. How it had always seemed like such a distant thing. And now, eleven months later, it was real. She almost laughed at that. Rain caught up to her halfway down the hall. “You need a ride?” he said. “No, we’ll take the bus. Don’t want to inconvenience you,” she told him. He rolled his eyes, giving her the patronizing look she hated. He was only four years older than her, and not that much wiser. “Your house isn’t out of my way,” he told her. She knew that. He’d driven her home often. Her sister’s car seat was in his car. “You wouldn’t have thought twice about it before you went on your independence crusade,” he added. “I’m not on an independence crusade,” Surrender snapped, speeding up. Rain kept pace with her easily, being a good eight inches taller. “It’s on and off again, but it’s a crusade,” Rain said, moving in front of her so that she almost ran into him. “I don’t need your help,” Surrender said, trying to step around him. “What about when social workers come?” Rain said. “They’re going to. You’re a high school student, you’re eighteen, you shouldn’t have to care for a child by yourself. Your mother knew they were going to come,” he added. “That’s what she meant, just now, isn’t it?” Surrender tried, more determinedly this time, to step around him. He blocked her again. “Surry,” he said. He took her sister and her iPod from her, found the song he’d been thinking of, what he always thought of when Surrender incorrectly asserted that she could take care of herself, and hit play. Surrender glared at him and took a step back. “I’ll be in the car,” Rain said, gentle now. “Take as long as you need.” Dropping a kiss on the top of her head, he turned and left. As he rounded the corner, she fell back against the wall, sliding to the floor, wiping away the tears that were finally spilling over her cheeks. In her ear, Mick Jagger continued to punish her for being such a witch to the only person who really cared about her anymore. “She purrs like a pussycat, then she turns ‘round and hisses back, she’s the sickest thing in this world. Look at that stupid girl.” Kristin Gunderson Normal My life was normal; emphasis on the ‘was’. Now, I sit on an examining table, dressed in a pale, white, boring hospital robe. I’m Allyson, and I’m a lab rat. They ask me endless questions and poke my brain to figure out what’s gone wrong. This first happened on my 14th birthday, and my present was – hopefully – a diagnosis. It never came. Mom cried, and I never got that 14th birthday present. We had the coziest home in the neighborhood; the wealthy would envy our luck. It was built by my first father, my biological father in the outskirts of Chicago. Every room I visited had a touch of his love lingering in the curtains. I never was a pessimist, ever. I always looked at my life as an open door. Plus, we were a church-going family, Mom, Dylan, Robby and I. Daddy was what brought God to our home. He left us when I was 11, and with him, he took something I can never get back. I was the child who had college planned out since preschool, and I never failed to show it. My grades were ones to marvel at, my looks worthy to stare at, and my personality welcoming and free. The metamorphosis came once the striking combination of puberty and reality hit. It used to be that I could start my shower in my own, private bathroom, and look at my body as it unraveled from underneath my clothes. My luck was unbelievable – I fell into the right gene pool: my hour-glass figure, hips of a goddess poking out of my pelvis, big, bold golden curls and a shimmer of orange in my hazel eyes. My closest friend, Erika, said she envied me. We’ve been friends since we were three, in preschool. She even said she envied me then, in our pull-ups and out-of-style over-alls. I always tried to appear that I was okay, when on the inside I was dying. After the split of daddy and mom, she brought home men. She had dozens chasing after her, so many it was tiring to watch. Making it more revolting, she MARRIED them. It took 2 marriages to get it right, and she finally found someone – Pete. Pete was the handsome, homely guy any woman wanted by her side. He was constantly cracking jokes and adding life to our house, which worked well in covering the depression. He played whenever Dylan wanted to play, and listened to me gossip. Sometimes he had advice for the cattiness infesting the teenage girls at school. Ever since the first day I met him, I knew we would grow to like one another. ‘Hello Allyson, I’m Pete’, he said to me. It was the first time mom brought him home, and he welcomed me with a hug, ‘I’m so happy to meet you’. His eyes told a story, a story of kindness. He knew how to have fun, but not like Daddy did. It was a gentle way that he said things, and the boisterous laugh he let out many times during Scrabble. ‘Hello? Anyone home?’ I inquired one day after school. No body answered, but no body had to. I saw mom’s flailing body tumble down to the last step of the stairs. Running to her side, I saw Pete standing at the top of the staircase, with clenched fists. I could almost feel the steam coming out of his head, and I saw his bulging-eyed, blood shot stare was now directed at me. Scared for my life, I ran to the phone. Mom had a river of blood flowing out her nose, some more oozing out of her kneecaps, and a nice goose egg on her forehead. In some strange way, I regretted picking up the phone that day, hoping he could give me what daddy had, even while he punched me with 911 dialed into the phone’s screen. Pete left us all scarred. Mom was in therapy, poor Dylan cried when mom talked about a ‘new daddy’, and Robby was lucky enough to have gone off to college. I finished 8th grade with a 4.0, as expected, but high school changed many things for me. Erika set me up with a couple of guys, also, so we could double date. But one boy caught my attention over all the rest – Ryan. He showed me a better time than Daddy ever had. He always kept me wanting more. Slowly, we reached a point that I was pleased with. He showed me what daddy had given me so long ago. But Ryan changed me. My grades slipped, as did my friends and family. I dropped a dance class, and never came home earlier than eleven. The only person who took notice was Erika. It was one long over-due sleepover at the end of April when the truth erupted from me. ‘Are you Mollie or Allyson?’ she asked me. I fell off guard, and stumbled to grasp the answer just beyond my lips. ‘My name’s Allyson, and it always has been. What are you talking about?’ ‘Sometimes you claim that you’re this girl… Mollie. Who is she?’ ‘I have no idea Erika, what are you talking about?’ At that point, I decided she was crazy. ‘Allyson, please get some therapy or something. You’re different… It’s scary.’ Moments passed before either of us said anything. Finally, she broke the ice. ‘You could also tell me, if that’s alright…’ and she seemed to trail off. It took a lot of nerve, but I finally told somebody about my history. ‘Remember Joey? My biological father?’ ‘Yeah, he was the coolest,’ she replied, with a smile plastered on her face, ‘what about him?’ ‘He… he raped me when I was almost ten. I didn’t know what it was that he was doing… so I’ve been looking for someone to give me that for so long. Finally… Ryan’s given it to me. That’s why I’m so attached to him, because he gives me something my dad took from me… And I never cared about my perfect life anymore…’ The smile disappeared, and her voice changed by about an octave. ‘Allyson. Why the hell didn’t you tell me! Do you know how serious this is?’ She sounded mad at first. But once the tears came, it turned to sympathy. I felt like I’d left behind a burden in her room, and thankfully, it disappeared and left me alone. From that moment on, everything was different. As I expected, she took me to a therapist, my mom’s therapist to be exact. She couldn’t decide what was wrong, but she concluded I had a medical condition. The time being the late 70’s, they were still trying to figure out medical mysteries. I had no choice but to give myself over to medicine, and here I sit, in the psyche ward of the biggest hospital in Chicago. I’m now 16, and have had my brain prodded at and different medicines tested on me since I was almost 15. Mollie is leaving which I’m glad of, but so is everything else. My friends are becoming closer to me, now that Mollie is gone, but my goals and dreams are gone. Most importantly, my strive to find that perfect guy, just like my dad, has died. I feel that I have no reason to live, which only adds to the medical experiments. This lifestyle I lead is not what I would have chosen at 6–with Stanford and a happy marriage in mind-but I have no one else to blame but myself. Julia Fung Peter’s Life Peter is not a normal kid, going to the university his family owns. He’s pretty stuck up so he doesn’t gain a lot of friends. Peter’s tall, quite good looking with long curly hair; he always gets everything his way, but sometimes he looks at things differently than others do. The only friends and the only ones he wants to be friends with are Greg and Eric. They’re also from other rich families, which is why the mother didn’t object their friendship. Peter’s mother on the other hand is very strict. She looks down on what she calls ‘poor people’; that’s another reason why Peter doesn’t have a lot of friends. Everyone looks up to her because she is the CEO for her company. Her husband likes to travel and not care about his business so the wife has to take over. She hates it when Peter doesn’t listen to her and makes him do everything she considers is ‘high class’. Also, she’s always at work so she’s never at home to look after Peter so he always goes and leaves as he pleases. One day Peter and his two best friends, Greg and Eric, went water skiing because it was a nice day out and they wanted to have some fun. “Hey, look at the weather guys, isn’t it a beautiful day to go skiing? Look at how much girls we could pick up too!” Eric said with enthusiasm. “Same old Eric, always looking at the girls and nothing else, is there anything else in that head of yours?” Greg said with laughter. “Probably not, it’s too small to adapt anything else in.” Peter joked. They all laughed and continued to walk towards the beach. They were skiing and having fun being themselves when all of a sudden Peter’s mom arrived. “What are you doing here!?” Peter’s mom screamed at him. “What does it look like, skiing with my friends of course.” Peter replied with a blank face. “I do not tolerate you to be where ‘poor kids’ are, go home now!” Peter’s mom said. You see, Peter was already in a bad mood today, but was only happy because he was with his friends. He couldn’t keep the anger anymore of how the mom always treats him like he’s not old enough to make his own decisions. He screamed back, “Why do you always limit what I do!? Can’t you just let me be a regular kid for once? Let me do whatever I want I’m not a baby anymore mom, I can make my own decisions!” Surprised, Peter’s mom looked at him because he never spoke back like that. He only did what he was told and was very quiet about it most of the time. Peter’s mom poised there in silence thinking about what she was doing. She only thought everything she did was only good for him and now she conceived that everything she did only limited him. “Lets not have this chat here, we will discuss this at home,” Peter’s mom said. “Why not say it here?! This isn’t anything people can’t hear about!” Peter screamed back. Greg and Eric started pulling on Peter’s shoulder kind of hinting him to stop screaming and making a scene at the beach. So they both finally said, “Um, hey auntie lets just go back to your house and sort this out okay? Lets not make a huge scene, everyone is looking.” Peter was super annoyed, but decided to just do what his friends said because he thought it over and it would be best too, so they went home together. At home they talked about their problems and fixed everything eventually. Peter did whatever he wanted to with the love and support from the mother. His mother finally started to care for Peter and still managed the company. Sam Franks Tyler’s Love For the past year Tyler and Chelsey, two 9th grade students, had been going out. Their relationship had been very good for the time being. The last week though, Tyler had been struggling, his Mom was yelling at him, he had bad grades, and his life was just plain out stressful. Lately Chelsey and him had been moving farther apart, and it just felt plain different to Tyler. Every time he saw her now she just seemed to never want to talk to him. There had been rumors going around that a breakup was going to occur, but Tyler didn’t fully believe them. He still had hope… Chelsey was very special to Tyler and he had grown to love her, but lately everything had been going down hill. Tyler was walking in the halls with his friend Sam. Sam was giving him a pep talk about how to break up with Chelsey without being mean. “Sam I don’t know if I can do this… I feel sick to the stomach.” Sam prodded Tyler, “You can do this Tyler, there is plenty more, you don’t have to worry about her, shell learn how to deal.” Tyler looked back into the days when they loved each other, but he knew what he needed to do. Tyler started to shake, “Why do I have to do this? I really like her but I just don’t think it will work out… ahhhh, I just don’t know what to do Sam.” “Hey don’t worry man, you can do this, after this, you will never have to deal with all those problems ever again. “Alright, here goes nothing.” “Good luck man” Sam pushed Tyler forward when they saw Chelsey walk through the doors of the school. Tyler walked up to Chelsey, and muttered, “Hey we need to talk”. Chelsey knew Tyler wanted to break up. “Hey Chelsey, I don’t know if what we have will ever workout. I mean, lately nothing has been going well, I think we should take a break…” Chelsey stared at Tyler, “Are you really breaking up with me! This is wrong! We had something! Ugh!!!” “Chelsey…I didn’t mean it to end this way!” Tyler watched as Chelsey walked swiftly away. Sam saw what was happening the whole time, he couldn’t hear exactly what they were saying but he could tell that it wasn’t going too well. He saw Tyler walk away, and watched as Chelsey broke down crying, into one of her friend’s shoulders. Sam put his arm around Tyler, and spoke, “Good job, she didn’t take it that well… but at least it’s over now.” Tyler just looked down, thinking, he couldn’t take in fully of what he had just done. The Next Day Tyler walked into class he had been dreading this moment for a very long time. His next class was with Chelsey… and he had to sit right across from her. He sat down with his head down, but he could see at the corner of his eyes that Chelsey had just sat down. The teacher started to pass out some papers. He took his paper quickly, he could feel beads of sweat falling down his head and he started to shake. After working for a few minutes, he started to get his mind off of Chelsey. But as he looked up to put his finished paper into the basket, he saw Chelsey glaring at him. For the few seconds he saw her, he could see the fire in her eyes, and her face as red as a strawberry. He felt like she wanted to get back at him. But as soon as he realized what happened, the bell rung, he literally ran out of the classroom. He felt safe and the rest of the day went well, until Spanish came a long. Everything was going well, and Tyler had just taken a hall pass to go to the bathroom. He walked out of the classroom, and suddenly felt like there was another presence in the hall. He could feel a set of eyes watching him. They were watching and waiting… He walked into the bathroom and did his business. As he went to wash his hands, he saw a movement in the mirror, he turned around but nothing was there. He started to stumble; someone was watching him and he had a slight impression that he knew who it was. As he was about to run out the door he slipped and fell on his back. Everything suddenly went blurry and he could see something that was faded but he could hardly tell who it was… Chelsey stood over him with an expression that fired out hatred. She laughed, smiling, and brought her fist up and slammed it down… to be continued Pavel Berezyuk Untitled Mike! “That’s all you heard in the halls of UW. Every Saturday everyone was excited to watch the football team play, everyone got together threw parties and dressed up in their favorite UW gear and rooted the Huskies on. Mike was the star of the team; he was the starting quarterback and the ultimate weapon on the huskies offense. Everybody loved Mike he was just a great guy on and off the field, he was respectful and he always thought positively even when in a bad situation he kept his cool. Mike led the Huskies to the national championship last year but unfortunately they lost 42-40 in the final seconds of the game, after having a great season but the wretched loss, everyone was pumped to have another national championship run because the team was healthy again. The team was working hard in the off-season and new freshman talent showed up so the huskies were set to win it all. The day has finally come, the day everyone has been waiting for so long, the season opening game vs. conference rival USC. Mike walked on the field it was pre- game warm-up the sun was out shining bright like a star, the post standing tall like giants imitating Mike, the grass so green mike can almost feel its softness. Mike was nervous his first game after losing the national championship. The Dawg house was filling up quickly; the diehard fans were ready to cheer the huskies on. The pack was in the tunnel ready to emerge onto the field like a bunch of rabid dogs. Hoo hoo hoo hoo everyone was yelling and getting pumped the steam machines were started, BAM!!! The pack emerged mike felt the tingling feeling all the exciting fans roaring like lions and chanting the fight song, the ground beneath his feet was rumbling like an erupting volcano. Huskies won the toss and they were going to receive the ball. 1st and 10 from the 34-yard line. Mike was in his stance “down set go, go” the action started. Mike was rolling out to his right scouting the field like a hawk for an open receiver. No one was open, he had to go with plan B. He scrambled for his life he saw the 1st down mark within his reach and then the world just stopped; the linebacker made his move and attacked mike, mike felt the erupting pain in his right leg. Mike was on the ground clutching his leg and all the fans went from being crazy and roaring to dead silent. There wasn’t even a single sound; his teammates were holding their breath, and the trainers were running towards him. Mike laying on the ground clutching his right leg, the pain was too much to take he passed out. He woke up, it was just a bad dream probably he thought, nope this was reality he was in the hospital his leg in a cast. He asked what had happened, and the nurse told him his right leg was cleanly broken in half. No, Mike thought this couldn’t be happening he knew this was a season ending injury and he would be watching every game from the side now. He was just thinking how this happened, he was right there in the game then it suddenly just all ended for him. All the work he put in to be the starter and it just ends like nothing ever happened. Mike felt dead there was nothing he was better at then football. He didn’t want to sit out he wanted to help his team to be the best and redeem himself from the heartbreaking loss last year. Mike was laying thinking back to all he did to get this far. The day has finally come; the first day of training camp for college football has come. Mike was so excited he couldn’t sit still. He couldn’t wait till camp because that’s when he would meet all his new teammates and coaches and he would get to show off his skill. It was still 10:30, only two more hours to go. Mike was breaking a sweat from pacing around so much. Finally he sat down It was only 10:32 “why is time going so slowly he though. Mike was sitting thinking to himself then suddenly his dad came in startling him, “Coach Sarkisan called he wants you to come a bit early so you can meet your receivers and just get warmed up with them. Finally Mike was relieved he didn’t have to wait a lifetime anymore. He knew he had worked hard to get this far, and he wouldn’t let this injury stand in the way of his career so he had to start working out instead of relaxing and letting his leg heal. The back-up quarterback could replace him if he didn’t stay in shape. Mike rebounded from his injury and came back senior year and had the best season of his college career and led the Huskies undefeated to the national championship and they won it all a 13-0 record the national championship and Mike won the prestigious Heisman trophy along with many more awards. Lea Davis Untitled John always disagreed with his mom and sister whenever they talked about his father. His mom did not like the fact that john wanted to find his father. “Why don’t you think I should find my father”? John says as he interferes his sister while she is cooking. She quickly calls him an idiot; John follows with a shut- up. By the time anyone else can say something his mom explains why she thinks it’s a bad idea. “Your dad never cared, just like your sister said”. “ If he cared about us he would be here today with us but he’s not” johns mom sadly says. “Let him be” Johns sister excuses for saying. “He doesn’t want us or like us so What is the point”? John looks pretty aggravated with all their opinions so he just walks away angrily to his room. He sits on his bed after turning on his radio on high with a base that knocked a cup of grape kool-Aid on the floor. He sits there with a debating type of look n his face with a little sign of what he should do about wanting to find his father. John doesn’t give up on himself so he still try’s to make his mom and sister realize how finding his father makes him feel and why he wants to do so. They still don’t agree with him, john knows he is alone. “There is no way I’m giving up, they can say whatever they want”, He says to himself “Im doing what I feel is right”. After his last try with his mother and sister he fearfully starts his journey of looking for his father. In agony he knows this is going to be a hard and frustrating course he is taking. He starts to ask his other side of the family about his father. His name, Life and many questions. His aunt says he lives in Denver Colorado. John lives in Colorado Springs. He looked his name up on the Internet “James Redenbacher” Many names cam up but there were only a few that showed that lived in Denver Colorado. That made it way easier for john. John took a break and anxiously called his girlfriend Anna. She always understood and she is always there for him no matter what good or bad she was there. He told her about his altercation with his sister and mother. “They’re only acting like that because they don’t want you to hurt anymore”, Anna says. “I know honey you got to just try that’s all” “I know but I got to get back to finding him so I will talk to you later” “Okay love you” “Love you to bye” After john hangs up with Anna he gets a phone call from his uncle his dads brother. The best call he’s gotten all day. “I heard about you trying to find your dad” I know exactly where he stays” Right at that moment John realizes that this was the beginning to a new relationship. Malena Stanzel Bringing Rows of black cloaks, shawls and dresses crowded the small church, here all to see Jacqueline’s dead mother. Margarite lay in her nice clothes, used for church or important work outings. Her hair was all pinned back from her face. The lights and candles contradicted each other, bleaching her skin, yet somehow casting shadows. Jacqueline approached the casket, wooden with intricate drawings of roses, lilacs and freesia. Jacqueline peered up at her mother, lying there and thought they were playing a game. She grabbed her mother’s hand and dropped it instantaneously. It felt cold. Ice cold. Jacqueline turned to look at her grandmother and asked in a high voice, “What’s wrong with momma?” Her grandmother started crying, heart breaking sobs from deep in her soul. She looked back at her mother’s pale, lifeless face and her grandmother’s lively one distorted in pain. She tried to conclude why everyone was crying and talking about her mother as if she wasn’t coming back. Then reality hit her. Jacqueline realized her mother wasn’t coming back. Jacqueline started sobbing, almost as much as her grandmother. She sat down next to the casket and sat there until her father came to carry her- still crying- home and to bed where Jacqueline dreamt of her dead mother and the only way to talk to her. 1 year earlier Jacqueline sat on the porch swing with a coloring book in her lap and crayons in her hand when her mother walked out with two glasses of lemonade and sandwiches. Her mother sat down and tried to look at the picture but Jacqueline turned away murmuring “a surprise.” Occasionally, she’s taken a sip of lemonade or a bite of her sandwich but nothing else. Her mother would continue to try to look at the picture but to no avail. Only when the sunset, slowly creeping to the horizon, the sky slowly nibbling on the last surrounding light did Jacqueline sit up and show her mother her picture. The entire page was filled with writing and pictures. It had Jacqueline standing next to her parents but there was a dog and her grandmother in the picture. Margarite walked in the big Victorian house and approached her husband who was reading by the great bay window. Margarite handed him the picture with cold fingers, and an even colder heart. Philippe reached out a hand before seeing the look on Margarite’s face. His eyes scanned the picture and a look became plastered to his face. Margarite didn’t understand why her daughter had these strange thoughts. The dog didn’t exist. The lady looked ghostly. Pale skin, but same black hair only faded. Nothing seemed plausible except that Jacqueline’s imagination was running wild. Unless… She had the Sight. But that would call the attention of the Conclave. No one, even royalty like the Adams were, wanted the Conclave there. They always found a reason to demolish an entire supernatural family, royalty or not. Margarite walked out to her daughter to enquire how her drawing became as it was. Margarite was surprised that Jacqueline had been able to remember every single detail. “Where was Mommy, Jackie?” She asked, calling her by a nickname that Philippe always called her. Margarite’s voice was only a whisper. “I don’t know. You got up really early with a bag, and left.” She replied. She looked at her mother, a curious look on her face as she thought why Margarite would pack clothes. She thought and thought. Then she realized. West Seattle. She was supposed to fly there in a few months for work. But why did Jacqueline draw me like a ghost. Unless… I die on the plane. But that is unreasonable. No one dies on planes anymore except for a terrorist attack, and the last time that happened was 9 11. “Mommy?” Jacqueline asked. Margarite hadn’t noticed Jacqueline climbed up onto the porch swing and peering into her eyes. Margarite picked up Jacqueline and ran into the house, for the first time noticing the eyes looking at them from the field, coming closer and closer. She ran inside and slammed the door. She then took Jacqueline upstairs and said in a loud voice, “I protect you forever upon the loss of my life.” Margarite heard a crash and she remembered Philippe. She rushed downstairs and screamed. Lupus Tutela, the wolf guardians favored by the supernaturals as guard dogs, was in the living room, standing over Philippe, still breathing but very shallow. Margarite yelled, “You are no longer welcome here.” The wolf guardians looked at Margarite and their red eyes was filled with unspoken sadness. They came to her, very slowly and crouched below her; it was the traditional way an animal shows their allegiance to the leaders. “Are you here to help us,” Margarite asked, looking down at the wolf guardians. They looked up and dipped their heads in agreement. “Will you protect my daughter? She is upstairs. I gave her a charm for protection. I will go and fix the charm so you can get in but if the door is left open, the charm will not work. You must protect her. For the sake of the Supernaturals…” The wolf guardians looked at her, confusion clouding their eyes. Margarite looked back, her mind numb from the realization that Jacqueline might not survive the Conclave. It didn’t help that her father was the head of the Conclave, and he didn’t know that the child who could bring death and destruction to the world as well as light and purity, was his only granddaughter. Margarite turned around and went to see how Philippe was doing and saw that he was losing blood fast, his breath so shallow, his chest was hardly rising. She looked around for a wolf guard and said, “save him.” The wolves shook their heads and a wispy voice in her head said, “ We cannot save him. He is with Diana now. He shall hunt with her forever more.” Margarite clenched her hands into fists and cried, her tears shining as she wept for her dying husband. At that moment, a light tapping noise came from the door and the group of Conclave members walked in. She saw her father, Andre among them, and beckoned with a finger. “Father. I know why you are here. You can’t destroy her. Destroying Jacqueline would destroy me.” Margarite said. She looked defiantly into Andre’s eyes. She looked at the wolves once and nodded. The bounded up the stairs, the members of the Conclave after them. Only her father stayed. Andre stood there and looked at his daughter, wondering what was going on with her. Margarite dropped her head and said, “She’s my daughter. She has the Sight. Dream Premonitions.” Andre stepped toward her and said, “I want to see her. None of my men will touch her.” Andre called in a loud voice, “Friends, come to me.” Margarite turned around to see a throng of Supernaturals running down the stairs, coming to stand behind Andre. “Dearest daughter. Go and get the child. We will see then.” Margarite dashed upstairs and opened the door to find Jacqueline huddled in the floor and the guards still surrounding her. Margarite went and picked Jacqueline up and carried her back downstairs. Andre went and looked a Jacqueline, then to Margarite. “Alas. She really is your daughter. My granddaughter. There shall be no bloodshed today. Come we must leave.” Andre turned but then walked to the dead Philippe and said a few words. Philippe gave a few shuddered breaths, and started breathing. His wounds healed. Then, with a signal, the Conclave walked out, leaving them in peace forever more. Andrew Purse Untitled Jake Daniel was radiant in many ways. He could stop fights without throwing a single punch, as if his eyes spoke of vigor. His stature was bewildering for someone of only 21. Once, someone threatened him into fighting, and Jake walked right up to him, store right into his eyes, and said, “Take your best shot.” However, Jake’s life was not at all glorious. His short service of 2 years in the Vietnam War changed him psychologically. Everywhere, he thought he heard voices, gunfire, and screams of agony and pain. People around him stared when he flinched, but to Jake, he experienced fear. Then, he saw hope. He used that hope for a wish, a wish that he would be cured from his psychological pain. He wanted to enjoy life, not shun it. He shared that wish with his favorite belonging, a memento of his family. Every time he opened the locket, he saw his birth family: his brother, mother, father, and himself. It reminded him of his now 11-year-old past. He left them at age 10, promising to visit them every year, but after 11 years, not once had he visited. Now, he thought, they might not even remember me. Then, he had an idea that burned dimly, but he thought until it glowed with a warming embrace. He would visit them and tell them of his life, both good times and bad times, as well as remind them that he has not forgotten them, and never will. But he remembered. They had died from a disease while he was gone. He remembered hearing the news while he was in the Vietnam War, which caused him to leave because of him being the last of his bloodline. His eyes started to well up with tears. He has missed the chance to see their faces, to be with them during the holidays, to be with his family. He passed that. Now it was too late. Jake started to cry as he thought over the insurmountable chances he had to see them, and denied each one. He was angry with himself, the world, and everything else for taking the one thing from him…His family. However, he felt a cold happiness. He COULD visit them. He would visit their graves, say his prayers and place flowers on their graves. He could still talk to them, telling them that he was happy, and that he was sorry for not visiting. He would stay until dark, and than he would promise to visit, and uphold that. Never again would he forget his family, even if he had other things to do. He would mark a day and time when he would visit, and what to bring for the visit. The one time he was happy, was when he etched the address of the graveyard on the back of his locket. He was beyond happy, more so when he was welcomed into sociality. He prayed to himself for his foresight than started his journey to his family’s resting place. Ms. Archipley’s Class (period 5) Contents Feruza Mohammad 117 Ryan Moratti 122 David Jimenez 226 Clay Scollard 229 Rodrigo Arambula 232 David Miller 236 Marissa Ehlers 238 Niva Haakenson 241 Khan Malik 246 Alex Wilkinson 250 Emily Wielenga 254 Reed Shilvock 257 Zoë Schrader 261 Jerrick Sandico 265 Christopher Plancich 269 Cipriano Ortiz 271 Peyton McDanel 276 Anna Fahlstrom 280 Pierson Cockburn 284 Abel Bantiwalu 288 Lavelle Adams 292 Feruza Mohammad Sisters We lived in Shoreline for the past couple of years; very clean and very safe environment. We have a family of four girls, two boys and our amazing parents. I was almost the youngest, until my little brother was born. Our family relationships had always, (as my brother-in-law would say,) been a roller coaster. One day you might walk into our house and you would notice all of us laughing over dinner. Or, perhaps you would see my younger brother or myself playing catch with my niece or nephew; trying to pretend running after them and then catching them quickly in our arms and hear them giggle. Or, you might hear someone crack a joke from the kitchen and everyone would burst out laughing; thanking God for everything he gave us. “Hey Cher, guess what?!” I ask my oldest sister urgently, while washing up the dishes after dinner. She came down to visit us tonight with her 2 kids and her husband and I always get excited when she spends time with us. She has been and still is a very kind-hearted person; sweet and always encouraging. It’s such music to my ears to hear her voice and the sound of joy in my parents’ voice when they see her and especially her kids. “What? What?” she says with eyes bulging and her total focus on me, totally ready for me to shock her with my news. “So, you know how Farishta’s new fiancé is still in Afghanistan?” Farishta is my second eldest sister, who just came back from Afghanistan, newly engaged. “Yeah…and?” she says, the smile playing around her lips, because she knows that always get all OMGish while talking about Farishta’s fiancé. It’s so strange for me to believe and get used to my second sister being engaged. “Well, yesterday Farishta told me that she will try calling him tonight, if she has any phone cards left and if she does, she will ask him to talk to me. So basically she wants to introduce him to me, or introduce me to him, same thing! But the point is, I’m going to talk to him for the first time and what am I supposed to say to him?” I say this so fast, because I’m so nervous and shaky inside, that I have to let it out. “Tell him that you’re… happy to have Farishta back, or….umm, that you wished to be there for their engagement party, or something, Anything” She says, and continues, “I already talked to him, he is a very nice and witty guy, so…don’t be nervous.” “Ok, I’ll see,” I reply with uncertainty. I finished the last dish and I head upstairs. This is one of the ways that we keep in touch. Before we came to US, which was four years ago, life was completly different for us. My older brother and two of my eldest sisters went to the same school as did I. See, now you’re probably thinking either I was an intelligent kid and skipped a few grades or they were far below average and stayed behind with me. The answer is neither. In Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which used to be part of Russia, there are no such things as Elementary, Middle, or High school, there’s just school. All of us, siblings, went to the same Russian public school. You wouldn’t believe the size of it. Our school’s size was smaller than Briarcrest Elementary, which we have here in Shoreline. It had 2-3 classrooms of first graders, 1-2 classrooms of 2nd graders, one classroom of third graders and so on. Here’s the best part: you only had to go to school until ninth grade, then you could go on to University, because they don’t have such things as called colleges. So we, the kids, would go to school during the day and my mom would stay home because she didn’t speak the native language of Uzbekistan. Anyway, my mom was a housewife and the best cook ever. My dad used to drive taxicabs to earn some money for us. There were not a lot of job opportunities back home, unless you were very educated. Then you could work with American people there, in a formal office and earn a lot of cash. Cher, actually, was the one who worked in such an office called UNHCR. There, she interacted with many American and international groups of people and did a great deal of refugee paperwork. Anyways, back to where I was. I open the door to my room and calm my nerves. I think about the things we could possibly talk about and all these ticklish feelings inside me that are bubbling up even more instead of dying away. This is because when it comes to boys, I just can’t shut up. I keep blabbering on and on about silly things that you should do, and then the whole things sort of becomes like a joke; then it’s just not realistic. Farishta’s fiancé is not a joke, he is real. So, what exactly could I say that would impress him? “Hey you….upstairs!” calls Farishta from way below. “Yeahh?” “You want to talk with my fiancé?” she says with a hint of smile in her voice. “Ooookay! I’m coming” Here. We. Go. I take the phone from her and I greet him, as every other nerve in me is making me shake and of course, the bubbly feeling. “Hello, dear….how are you?” he replies with soothing, yet cheerful voice. “Good…what about you?” “I’m fine, thank you. Hey, why didn’t you come to Afghanistan?” He replies and carries on. “Well, if it was that easy to skip school and pay for my ticket, then I wouldn’t be here. But I wished I was there to meet you. I mean, come on! It’s my sister’s engagement party. But if God wills it, I will come when the wedding will happen.” I say this while I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, because Farishta and Cher were right there, listening to me and Farishta was dying of laughter. “What?” he laughs, “did you say you will come when you have your wedding…(chuckle)….by that time, I will be really old!” He laughs and I laugh and we both can’t stop laughing. You know what, I’m starting to like this guy, my new brother- in-law. And we continue on with our silly conversation until I quickly handed the phone to Farishta. When my oldest sister was getting married, we were all going loco about everything. We had to get used to her not living with us and my parents were emotional. Now, it's Farishta's turn, and we'll be experiencing those same feelings and getting used to our lives change. People will change and lives will change, you will never know when you will die, so be jolly, enjoy life and be appreciative of everything you have in this life, before it's too late. :) Ryan Moratti The Last Game I Would Ever Play Cool air with almost no wind; perfect football weather. Not a soul in sight. It was the night before a big game. The first game of senior year. As some say the most important game. Shaun was on the field all alone. This was where it all mattered for him. Where he would prove he was something. But handling the stress was also his burden; he had to carry the team. If he failed they all failed, 40 minutes the most important 40 minutes of his life. 100 yards and 11 bodies between you and victory. The bright stadium lights shinning down, the roar of the crowd, the smell of stale popcorn and hotdogs, feel of the leather in your hand knowing it’s the only thing that matters for those 40 minutes. * Beep… beep… beep… “Already 7:00 time for another day of school.” I thought. I got out of bed and went to the bathroom to get ready. Today was the day, the first game against Glacier Peak. They were a good team but so were we. I walked into my fathers study. Exactly the way he had left it. On the walls various clippings of my brothers various wins; such as promising running back breaks high school rushing record, Senior running back leads team to state championship’s. My brother just went off to play football for USC. I am determined to do just that. I am already getting looks from OSU and Texas Tech. As I burst out the back doors heading towards the locker room me and my team mates started to gather. Everyone yelling and screaming it was time to get pumped. Almost game time, I was ready, all the worries were gone, time to focus. Once on the bus up to glacier peak I mostly kept to myself. I listened to my music and just chilled out to mentally prepare for the game. I stepped off the bus and I was suddenly afraid again. I walked into the locker room to get suited up and almost couldn’t take the pressure anymore. Almost instantly it seemed like it was time to go out to the field. We ran onto the field under the lights and it was as if the world started to slow down and I could look into the eyes of every person in the stands. Under every footstep I could feel memories coming back. Standing on the sidelines waiting for kick off to be done I could not wait to go in, yet I dreaded the moment. “Tweettttt!” There was the whistle. I ran on the field and tried to keep my head in the game. The first play was a pass play so I didn’t have to worry so much. But on third down coach called my number and I instantly felt the adrenaline start pumping. Ricky the quarterback called the play it was a 26 lead. We hustled to line up on the line, then suddenly I was off down the field with the ball in my hands. I got low and plunged through the hole my fullback had set up a great secondary block on the linebacker so I had some field to work with. I broke off the outside breaking an arm tackle by the cornerback as I went. I was down the sidelines approaching the opposite 20 yard line when I felt Glacier Peaks strong safety hot on my heels. But I kept my feet moving and brought the ball all the way into the end zone. The crowd was extatic and my team was rushing down to congradulate me. On the next series we came upon a 3rd and long situation and coach called that same play a 26 lead hoping for my to break another one big. On hut the ball was bobbled a little on the snap but somehow it got to me, unfortunately the hole had collapsed so I bounced it outside which turned out to not be such a good decision. Glacier Peaks outside linebacker had read me the whole way and came flying around the outside shoulder of our end. I got hit in the backfield and was able to through it off, but more pressure was coming and I was running out of time I tried to reverse the ball across the field but to late. I was hit, hit hard. The linebacker took an open shot at my legs. The deafening thud as soon as he hit me, taking the blow. I could almost feel my bones crunch. As I hit the ground a sudden pain shot up my right leg. A harsh constant burning worse than anything I’ve ever experienced. I knew something was wrong. In a daze I heard the faint blow of the whistle. Sitting with no since of time just pain and the cold damp turf. Then all of a sudden the roar of the crowd, coach is looking down at me. “Ahhh!” “Whats wrong Shaun. Are you hurt?” “Yeah my leg I cant move it.” “Ok hold on the stretcher is coming.” I needed to be taken out so our second string running back went it. Once I got off the field our trainer assessed the injury and made a point that it could be very serious. Still on a stretcher I went to the hospital via ambulance; my mom was there when I arrived. After a series of test it was decided that I had shattered my right knee very seriously. But the only words I heard were “may never play ball again” I instantly went into a fit of panic I could not let that happen. The doctors put two metal rods in my knee and a cast on it. * Two weeks later I returned to school I am on crutches now and the team is 2-1. I got a very sympathetic welcome, which only made things harder because everyone on the team wanted to know when I would be back, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t know if I would ever be back. For the next 4 months I was in that cast football season coming to an end my career in college ball close to non-existent. The day I got the cast off was the day I knew I would never play football again. My knee had healed well but still was not strong enough for football. I was done and I had to accept it. I would never live up to my expectations. David Jimenez Untitled Sitting here at the altar, I realize I’ve been childish about my life. I heard from somewhere, someone said the strong people are the ones that take the beating; weather the beating is physical, mental, environmental, whatever. And now as I contemplate what I’ve done, I see I was among the weakest. I thought I was a man, but I know that even now I’m not. The fact is I could’ve done better, or at least done nothing bad; I just made excuses until now, but now I take responsibility for everything, all the way back to when I was thirteen A lot of kids were in a gang by my age, at least half of them not by choice. If you weren’t cool with a gang, you were against them; it’s just the way it was. I never saw it necessary; others did by the time they were ten. I was cool with a gang, but I never officially joined, not like my cousins, but they still treated me like I was one of them, so in a way it was like security for me. And the way some of them talked, like they would die for the gang, is why I never saw it as necessary. I couldn’t see myself dying for anyone but my family, or myself. But I did make some friends, in and out of the gang, which was good that I wasn’t fully exposed to either side. We were all still innocent compared to others we knew, I mean we partied, we drank, never smoked though, we stole, but we never robbed any one, and we hung out all around town, not just in the drug spots. Dee, Nathan, Micheal, Sal and me, through the years, we pretty much grew up together. We were tight, almost like brothers. We used kick it with Zach, but he started hanging out with Sebron and his crew and now half the time I don’t know where he is or what he does. Me, Dee and Nathan had seen him not too long ago on El Cajon. We stepped off the bus and made our way down the street. We were talking about us needing some money and it was brought up that we should head over to Vic’s auto shop. If anyone would give us money it was him, for some work in exchange of coarse. The sun was scorching that day, the sunlight reflected off of the sidewalk, which made everything even brighter. It had to be at least 100 degrees out, just standing made us sweat, but Vic always had the A/C on at his shop, so were set on going there. We had to work with what we had, so to keep from cooking, we mostly walked in the shade of trees and alleys. A few blocks from Vic’s, we were just about to cut through another alley, then Zach turned out of it. “Hey what’s up, JJ. What are you guys doing here?” He asked. I thought he was in no position to ask us that, but we all shook hands nonetheless. “What are you doing here by yourself is the question.” “Nothing, just kicking back.” “With who?” I just barely raised my voice, but it could’ve been enough to make him defensive. “No one, don’t trip. So what are you guys doing here, I kind of asked first.” “We’re going to Vic’s, work a little bit.” Piped Dee. I looked backed at him questioningly. “Vic’s? What you guys need some money? I tell you what,” he reached into his pocket. “Here’s a fifty, on me.” He pulled out a handful of cash, and took out a single fifty-dollar bill. I looked back at Dee and Nate, personally I wanted to take it, but I raised an eyebrow as if to ask what they thought. Before I turned back to Zach Nate spoke up. “Nah we don’t want that…” Zach looked straight at him. “What, you got a problem with me now?” “What if I do?!” Nate stepped up to him. “Dee stepped in, “Nah, he’s just hot you know. Gets to you sometimes too don’t it? We don’t got a problem with you, long as you don’t got a problem with us, alright?” “Yeah whatever” he was eyeing us down. “Alright then, we got to go. See you around?” I said. “Yeah, later.” Him and Nate had that thousand-yard stare at each other. I thought we were going to have to pull him away, but he straggled behind us as we walked away. Zach and Nathan have history; it had to be hard for him to do that. We all knew what Zach was getting into, but no one said anything about it. After that, the day was harder, hotter and longer. I can’t lie though. The whole day I wondered what it was like to make money fast, easy, and in big quantities. There was only one way I could, that anyone could, and I didn’t care. I spent the rest of the day weighing out the pros and cons. I came to one conclusion, that if push came to shove, if I felt I needed to, and only then would I resort to something as…flagrant, as slanging. Unfortunately, I “needed to” sooner than I thought. Clay Scollard Richard’s Fencing Debut Richard is a tall kid. Scrawny, but definitely taller than most. People underestimate him all of the time, but you couldn’t blame them. They don’t know the real Richard. Richard is a fencer. He had been interested in the sport since he was five years old, but he could be one of the best someday. Today though he is just practicing in the studio. Sparring with his instructor Chris. They are using fencing sabers instead of the customary foils. As they clashed, the light in the room magnifies to almost twice the normal brightness as the light reflects off the weapons. Lightning strikes across the room, behind it, a sword whistling and cutting the air like midwinter’s cold gaze. As the only thing more powerful struck back: greased lightning. As Chris blocks Richard’s mighty blow, his saber, deflected to the floor where it glanced and came back up in a move that would have decapitated a man in the days of old. Almost psychic reflexes were what saved Richard from an untimely loss to their duel, but his duck and lunge were not expected and he is already tickling Chris’s chest with his sword point as Chris struggled to comprehend he has lost the match. As Richard helped Chris off the floor he says with awe in his voice “You are ready for a tournament.” “ I am really?” Richard replied. “Yeah if you can best me, you can beat just about anybody.” Chris replied. “Now go home, you are tired, I can tell; we have been going at it for almost two hours now. I will call you later to help you decide which tournament to enter.” As Richard left the studio that day he practically leaped to the moon in his excitement. He ran to his mom’s waiting car and they went home. His dad stayed in California most of the time because of his job so he was missing the special day. When he god home, the apartment smelled like spaghetti and meat sauce. His mom had been working hard making dinner. She had been cooking and cleaning for hours, making a special dinner for his little brother Killian’s birthday. “Happy birthday Killian!” Richard exclaims when he walks in the door. His little brothers swamp him and his mom with hugs as they come into the entryway. Kent asks how his fencing lesson went as Richard waded through Killian to get to the dining room table. “It was great” Richard said “Chris is going to enter me in a tournament real soon!” as he was saying this he noticed a pile of laundry on the couch. He gravitated towards it. His mom burst out with a “That’s great!” and a shocked look on her face. “Isn’t it just so cool?” Richard said as he started to fold some laundry; His brothers joined in because at his home his mom is always busy. So there is always laundry to be folded. “Yeah it is honey. I am so excited for you!” his mom replied. When the laundry was all folded the three brothers each took it to their rooms and put it away. Richard and Killian share a room so they both go to the same place. Above Richard’s bed is a long-sword that had been passed down through his family for generations and has his entire family tree engraved down the blade. It is really a cool weapon and since Richard is the oldest in his family and is also trained to use swords, it is considered his. Richard touched the hilt for luck as he went dinner. The phone rings with a deafening beeeering beeeering and Richard got up with a record breaking arterial spaghetti sauce spray. His mother gives him a dirty look and yells “You’re going to be cleaning that up mister!” But Richard doesn’t care he is so excited about his instructor’s phone call that nothing else matters. “Hello, this is the state survey center we would like to know your take on the upcoming governor election.” As Richard stammered out a “I’m sorry I can’t take your call goodbye” and is about to hang up, Chris yelled “Hello! It was a joke! Don’t hang up!” “Bad joke man” Richard replies as Chris started to laugh. “So which tournament is it?” Richard asked flustered. “The Oregon National.” ”Holy Cow how can that be? There are qualifiers an-and the best amateur fencers in the united states!” “You are ready, like I said, anyone who can beat me, is ready for anything.” “Thanks man” is all that Richard can get out of his shocked body. “Sure thing. I’ll see you tomorrow then?” “Sure thing. Bye.” As Richard slowly walks back to the dinner table, sponge in hand, he realizes that he has just found heaven. Rodrigo Arambula William’s Life William is 13 years old. He wears big glasses that make his eyes look really big like alien eyes. He lives with his parents and his older brother Erik. They just moved to Florida from Texas. Erik is a football star and William’s dad only pays attention to Erik’s football and not William’s soccer. William and his mom were on their way to their new house. His dad and his brother Erik were already at the new house. On the highway he could see fields of citrus trees. After a couple hours later they reached their house. They saw Erik and his dad. William was shocked when he saw the house. It was two stories high and new. He went inside to see his brand new room. He went back own to help unload everything. He took a box full of plates and glass. When he walked to the front door he tripped, CRASH! He falls and breaks the glass cups and plates. “Good job four eyes, I’m going to tell mom and dad,” Erik said happily. Erik went running inside to tell his mom and dad and his dad came out and yelled at William. William went running upstairs and into his room for a while. “Time for dinner “, yelled his mom. He walked slowly the down stairs and he saw pizza. That was his favorite food. The next day his mom took him shopping for some new clothes. School started tomorrow for William and his brother. They went on a shopping spree and his mom bought him everything he wanted. When they came home they had to go back to the car to grab bags. Erik had football practice so William and his mom had to go pick him up at the high school. Erik was full of dirt and sweat. He smelt like a dead rat. “How was practice Erik”, asked his mom. “ It was good. The coach worked us hard today”, said Erik. William didn’t even get a hi from his brother. Later that day William was going to visit the school he was going to. William is a bit scared because he was entering middle school and he was afraid that people were going to make fun of him because of his glasses. When the went inside they saw a big sign that said, “ welcome to South Hill middle school”. The principle showed them around the middle school for a while. After the principle showed them around the school he got his school schedule. “ I hoped you enjoy the school year here at south hill middle school and we will see you when school starts”, said the principle. “Thank you so much”, said Williams mom. They went back home speechless. William wasn’t too happy because he had all of his friends back in Texas. A couple days later William had to go to the South Hill soccer tryouts. He had these special sports goggles that had his prescription for his eyes. He didn’t really go out on the field but he excellent at goalkeeper. He showed up, sat down and put on his soccer shoes. He got up and asked if he can be goalkeeper while they shoot with some of the guys that were playing. “Yea sure. What’s your name”, asked victor which was one of the soccer players. “ My name is William”. “Lets see what you got “, said Alex, which was one of the other players. William kept on blocking their shots. The coach called every body in. After the coach made his speech they got to the tryouts. After the tryouts were finished, His mom picked him up. “ How did it go”, asked his mom. “ It went well I think I made the team. They will call us in about two hours or so” said William. Two hours later the coach call and said that he didn’t make it because he wore glasses and it can be dangerous. William was mad about it and went up into his room. Ever since they moved into their new house there had been many robberies. Erik had a new friend that did whatever Erik did. A couple hours later William saw Erik and his friend with a backpack full of things. “Hey what do you guys have in there”, William asked. “Nothing four eyes just don’t worry about it”, said Erik. There was a meeting about the robberies and they were trying to find out who did it. William was going up into his room. While he was going upstairs he found some jewelry on the floor that was leading into Erik’s room. William picked it up and asked his mom if it was hers during the meeting. “No William where did you find that”, asked his mom. I found it near Erik’s room. William’s mom went up stairs into Erik’s room but it was locked. “Open this door right now”, said his mom. “Mom I am busy right now”, said Erik. You can hear Erik whispering, “ Dude hide this fast”. She pounds on the door and Williams dad come up. “What is going on here?” said his dad. “ I think Erik and his friend have been stealing from the neighborhood”, she said. William’s dad kicks open the door and find Erik and his friend trying to hide the jewelry. An hour later the police come by the house and put handcuffs on Erik and his friend. The police take Erik’s friend home. They talk to his Erik’s parents and they say they are going to give him house arrest and that they are going to come by the house 3 times a week to make sure everything is going fine and that he doesn’t leave the house. The next day William was kicking the soccer at his garage door and he remembered something when he was little. He remembers when he was little that his brother Erik had the same type of friend that he had here just like in Texas. He remembers asking his brother why they were spray-painting walls. Erik didn’t want William to go tell his mom so he sprayed paint in William’s eyes. William started to cry and his mom came out rushing through the door. Erik and his friend were long gone by now. William’s mom took him to the hospital. The doctors cleaned his eyes out but his eyes were still affected from the paint. They said he might be blind or they might heal but he will need glasses. William stopped playing with the basketball and told his mom the story. “Why didn’t you ever tell me this when I was older mom”, asked William. “I didn’t want you to hate your brother for making you have to wear glasses”, said his mom. William went up stairs to his room and stayed there for the rest of the day. David Miller Out on the Town “Hey man,” said Beau. “Hey, how was your week?” Stefan said in his thick German accent. They were standing in a courtyard outside the Los Angeles philharmonic orchestra rehearsal hall. The hall was astonishing. Outside, the building looked like a sculpture made out of polished steel and glass. It had curves and angles that you never see anywhere else and was a great place to hang out. “My week just flew by.” “I had to learn a really complicated piece by Steve Reich, called The Four Sections, all with complicated rhythms and modern notations, by Friday.” “Oh, I know that one,” Bea said he had been with the philharmonic orchestra for about five years. Stefan, who is the lead percussion player, was with the orchestra for two years. “Hello,” Emily said. Emily, originally from London was the new conductor. She had been in that position for just one year and is considered to be one of the most brilliant young conductors (just 26 years old), and at the head of a world-renowned orchestra. “ I was wondering if either of you could recommend a really good Indian restaurant? I have been working so hard that I have not had the time to go out to eat in this city.” Beau and Stephan were what you would call dedicated foodies; they loved to go out to eat and experience different cultures through their food. They knew just the place. “We will take you to our favorite Indian Restaurant if you would like. It is possibly the best place this side of the ocean for curries and tandoori.” That night they all got into Emily’s car and headed off to the restaurant. When they arrived at the restaurant there was a waiter there waiting for their arrival. “Good evening Sirs and Madame,” said the waiter Beau and Stefan looked casually dressed. Beau and Stefan made a good effort to dress nicely, (they wanted to impress Emily). Emily looked nice; they weren’t use to seeing her in a dress often. While the waiter showed them to there table Beau and Stefan had similar thoughts on their mind. They both wanted to introduce more featured percussion into their repertoire, and were looking forward to talking to Emily about there ideas. “So? How do you like the restaurant?” “Its really beautiful,” Emily said. They both started to talk at the same time because they wanted to impress her. Beau started to talk about how they wanted to have a piece composed for the orchestra that features a really good percussion part. Emily thought that was a great idea and showed it with a lot of enthusiasm. After having their stomachs stuffed with all sorts of incredible India cuisine, They walked out in silent satisfaction with nothing but a big belch from beau. Marissa Ehlers The Necklace Sitting in her room late one Thursday night, hiding from the monsters dwelling inside her househouse, the kind that are invisible to the naked eye. The pounding noise from downstairs echoed through her ears, making her head hurt. All the slamming doors had happened almost everyday since she had turned five. That day had been her fifth birthday. No matter how far away it really was it always seems as if it were just yesterday. She had woken up with the kind of excitement that only five year olds can have on their birthday. Not thinking that anything in the whole wide world could ever go wrong, She had slipped out of bed. Glancing out the window only to see the first frost of fall. As quickly as her little legs had allowed, she stumbled her way down the stairs to the kitchen. Expecting to get all her special birthday hugs and kisses, something that had happened every year for as long as she could remember. When she had reached the kitchen, there was no sign that her parents were even up. Dissapointment washed through her for a few seconds before the pushed it to the back of her head. She quickly had sprinted up to her parents room, pausing for a second before opening the door. As quietly as she could, she pushed the door open and tip-toed to her parents bed, Only to find one silent sleeping body. Casey had tapped her mother’s sleeping frame. “Mommy wake up! It’s my birthday,” Casey squealed. “Child go back to bed there isn’t a thing to celebrate today” her mother shot back. Hurt filled Casey like a balloon,her mother went back to pretending that she was asleep. Casey just sat there, trying to work up the nerve to ask the only question that had really mattered anymore. “Mom… where’s daddy?” she stuttered “Gone and I don’t think that he is coming back” her mom replyed. Her mom had peeked out from under the covers. She looked at Casey with a glance of tenderness before she had pulled the blankets back over her head. Casey slipped off of the bed as quickly as she could and raced back to the kitchen, in whatever hopes that her father just might suddenly be there. But, of course nothing had changed. On the table a small brown box sat. She climbedup on one of the chairs to see what it was. On the top of the box was her name, clearly written in her fathers swirly handwriting that he had used so much to show her how to write her name. She grabbed the box, and with selfish fingers started pulling the brown paper off. Inside the box sat a single heart necklace. The new silver shined like her moms thanksgiving silverware. As quickly as she could she had grabbed everything off the table and ran back up to the privacy of her room. Locking the door behind her, she ran to her bed. Throwing everything in her arms onto her bed. She once again took out the necklace, looking at it she felt a new comfort that hadn’t been there fifteen minutes ago. The weeks that had followed were filled with asking the same question over and over again, when her dad was going to be home.Everytime she had asked her mother had looked at her and went back up to her room. Casey would grab hold of the necklace and feel as if her father were there giving her a hug. A door slammed so hard it shook Casey back to the reality of the present. She had reached p to her neck to grab the heart that hung there. The silver had lost its shine, but no matter how hard she had tried she couldn’t force herself to take it off. She felt as if taking it off would be a betrayal to her father. It had comforted her threw many sleepless nights. Her mom hardly ever even looked at her anymore, not that she really wanted her to. Sirens screamed in the distance, slowly getting closer and closer to her house. “Great,” she sighed to herself. This was about the last thing that she had wanted to happen tonight, Another night of the cops coming and tearing her out of her house. Casey climbed off her bed and went to look out her window, now being able to see the flashing lights. She went to her dresser and packed an over night bag. She had been threw this routin many times and knew she wouldn’t be spending the night at her house that night Niva Haakenson Ekner Ervin Ekner hurried across the street, horns blared in protest. He slowly crept into the ally, checking to make sure none of the lounging Hobos where watching. He quickly lifted the vent screen of an abandoned building. Through the maze of corners and bends, he found the hole with fabric covering it. Memories of when he was 10 flooded into his head; Him crying in an empty park, Dave’s rages and most precious; his mother’s face. Shaking his head he pulled aside the curtain of uncertainty and jumped down the small distance from the vents, to the floor of the secret room. “Good Afternoon dear Sasha. I have a good loot today.” Sasha blinked lazily, and hopped down off her perch. Her bright orange pelt shining in the candlelight, she purred and rubbed against Ekner’s leg. The room had no windows or doors; it only had a small vent in the wall that filtered stale and fresh air. The floors and walls were solid stone. Ekner was 10 when he found it; and the couch, chair, table, candle and matches still in the room. He was surprised and watched the room for 2 weeks to find out if it was discovered. It was not and he made it his home. Year 2 was the year that he meet Sasha’s mom, when she had made her appearance. He didn’t have time to name her, because she gave birth to two kittens and then died. One died, but Sasha survived. He stole milk from Safeway for her, and eventually she grew strong and fit. Now the little room was littered with clothing from the lost and founds of various stores and train stations, empty wrappers and food cans and many trinkets. Ekner emptied his pockets and thumbed though the number of items; bruised fruit, two cans of tuna, a hat, a cat toy and candy. “What do you think precious?” “Meow,” purred Sasha as she nosed the tuna. Ekner laughed, “All right, you hungry queen. Food before talk.” He quickly used the can opener stolen from Safeway, and emptied the tuna into the bowl stolen from Wal-Mart. “Ok. I am going for a walk, see you.” Sasha didn’t answer, her face stuffed with tuna. Ekner made his way out of the tuna-smelling-stuffy-room, and once again made his trip out. g g g Ekner made his way to the golf course to earn money for things he could not steal. He hoped he would get a good load of golf balls this time. He walked though the dark man-built-pinewoods that lined the golf course and was not surprised to see that no one was there. Today was a winter day. Cold rain pelted the earth without any mercy. Even the birds were silently flying in the sky towards warmth; there was no rustle of leaves as animals walked by. In a sense, Ekner thought, the world is dead. Ekner imagined that it was a day that if you had a house, that you would stay in that house. You might even read by the fireplace or think about what you would get and give for Christmas. Ekner bitterly thought I couldn’t ever do that. He quickly found some golf balls, cashed them, and got out of there. g g g The next day, Ekner was walking around Safeway enjoying the fresh air and as he turned the corner, his mind drifted back to his mother. It must have been the billionth time that week. Ekner sighed and watched as a stream of steam rolled out of his mouth and though the air, before disappearing. When it cleared he saw something that made his blood freeze. There on a bench laughing into a cell phone was his mother. He could smell that rosemary perfume she always wore, he watch her cherry red lips move, but he could not hear the words. This was the mother who all those years ago left him in a park, while he was crying and screaming at the distant car. He let go of the breath that was inside him and moved towards the bench. “Hello ma’am.” He greeted her as she hung up. “Hello young man, and what might I help you with?” As Ekner looked, he could see that the bright smile was a fake, for her eyes were sad. “I was wondering if you would like a coffee?” His mother looked up at him and stood. “Yes…I would. My name is Jean Danny what. Is yours?” “Um…David Tonk.” He lied and smiled. Jean stared at him dumb founded. H stared back, challenging her to say it. “It’s just you remind me-I mean your smile reminds me of,” she stuttered. “ Oh never mind… it’s silly. I’ll buy.” She turned and hastily made way for her car. Was this her long lost son? His smile and the eyes looked the same, but could she be sure? He looked the right age. She opened the door to her car and put the keys in. Ekner had just gotten in the car and was in awe. When I lived with her we didn’t have a new car. We had called ours Old Betty. “Which café shop are we going to?” He asked aloud. “Um…I was thinking Starbucks. But if you had somewhere in mind we could go there.” “No. I am good.” This would be the first time in a long time that he went to Starbucks. “What school do you go to, David?” Jean inquired. Uh, oh, thought Ekner, this could get tricky real fast. “Um, I am home schooled.” Which was true, because he got all the books that he would need for an education. He had planned to get a job and go to community college. “What grade?” She asked as her eyes glanced sidewise. What grade was he in? 9th? 10th? “I advance depending on how well I understand things. But age wise, 9th going to 10th.” He said determinedly. Jean nodded and focused her attention to the road, as the light turned green. There was an unsettling silence the rest of the way to Starbucks. When they got there, they got out of the moving oven and into the ice-cold air. In the Starbucks, Jean asked, “What would you like?” “White Hot Chocolate with coconut shots.” He realized to late that, that was the exact drink that he had( and still did) liked when he was 10. Jean seemed to remember too and her eyes got huge. Ekner quickly walked to a table and waited for his mom to finish ordering. When she came back, she held two 16-ounce drinks in her hand. “It’s strange…my son likes that flavor as well. I thought he was the only one.” Ekner shifted uncomfortertably in his seat and said nothing. “I hope he is alright. He ran away when he was 10.” She said. Anger surged though Ekner. How could she, he thought, is this how she sees this? If it is, I want NOTHING to do with her. “Liar! And you know it too! You left me to be with that jerk Dave! I have had enough! I never want to see you again!” He picked up his drink and left his mom practically in tears and headed for the door. He could feel all the eyes in that store following his track. I don’t care! He thought bitterly. He didn’t need her. But in his heart and mind he was broken, with a crack that could never mend. Khan Malik Beautiful Kan Milk was known as the most beautiful person in town, maybe even the world. Girls would stare at his rock hard muscular body and his dreamy eyes, which would lead anyone who stared into them, into a trance. What everyone actually loved most about Kan was his long and luscious black hair. Kan didn’t need to stare at any girls because he knew they weren’t ever going to be as good looking as him, though Kan did find a girl that wouldn’t even be as close to how beautiful he is, but was the prettiest girl he could find, her name was Rinta Moon. Every morning, before Kan woke up, his girlfriend Rinta woke him up by calling him and telling him how beautiful he was. Rinta didn’t really even like Kan. No one did, they just liked his looks. Even though Rinta didn’t like Kan’s personality, she still had to deal with it. Last year Rinta shaved off all her glamorous hair because Kan had promised her a new Lamborghini and a million dollars if she shaved her head. Rinta had long soft comforting straight dark brown hair matching her brown glittering eyes and her skin was as soft as a newborn baby’s delectate skin. After Rinta’s wake-up call, Kan brushed his teeth, took a shower, spent an hour fixing his hair, even when it had looked perfect from the start and had gotten ready for his college football game. While Kan was running out to the field Avish (the second most beautiful person in town that was extremely jealous of Kan and wanted to get him out of the way so he can be the most beautiful person in town) was in the crowd and had thrown a banana at Kan, but Kan saw the banana coming from his peripheral vision and did a back flip, dodging the banana. It hit the coach of the team forcing him to scream “Mother Africa!” Though after the game, Kan’s team picked him up for scoring 50 touchdowns and winning the game for them. With an exciting victory, Kan wanted to go see his girlfriend Rinta and have her carry his dirty and stinky football clothes. Right when Kan saw Rinta from behind, he over heard her talking to Avish and telling him she only liked Kan for his looks not his personality or anything else, she had also mentioned many harsh things about Kan. Kan wasn’t heartbroken, he had no heart or had ever loved anyone because Kan actually only liked Rinta for her looks as well. When Kan had gotten the chance to catch up and talk to Rinta. He said, “I heard that you had only liked me for my looks and that if I was ugly you would dump me.” Rinta responded with a stutter and said “I…I…I would never say something like that about you.” Kan screamed, “Stutter! That always shows when someone is lying.” Rinta touched Kan’s muscular arms and said, “Don’t be silly honey, all I love about you is your personality, I never even thought about your looks until now that you mentioned it.” Rinta then held both Kan’s hands and said “The first time I saw you, I didn’t see your amazing beauty, I only saw inside you.” “Lies,” Kan whispered and walked away, then turned around and said, “I liked you better when your head was shaved.” While Kan was driving his gold, real gold, Lamborghini, he noticed a huge shiny Hummer. Watching it come towards him at a very fast speed, though in his eyes it was coming slower then a turtle crawling, but he was frozen and couldn’t move or do anything about it. The Hummer collided straight in front of Kan’s Lamborghini. Before the Air bag could come out and the glass of the car shattered, Kan saw the street light turn green, the wet water of the rain drip down the drain, other cars pass by him and people on the side walk smiling and laughing. A piece of glass bounced in the passenger’s seat, then lots of pieces of glass started raining. Kan’s hair felt softer then ever and his eyes were popping out more then ever as well. The air bag started inflating with hair like a balloon and he saw it coming towards him as well, but still couldn’t do anything about it. He saw a glimpse of what looked like Avish but then everything went black. * Kan woke up in a hospital, the doctors notified him that his face was extremely hurt and looked very ugly and his body’s skin was sagging, showing no muscle at all. Kan wanted to get revenge from Avish for doing this to him; Kan could never go out in the public looking like he did. Kan went from the most beautiful person to the most ugliest person. Staying home and not leaving made Kan think more about himself. He changed a lot, he started feeling more unselfish and grateful for things he use to have, he was a changed person. Someone knocked on the door, it was Avish, and he was ugly as well surprisingly. Avish told Kan that he had never attacked Kan, it was actually Rinta, she was so mad from their breakup that she wanted to kill Kan. Avish and Kan started to talk to each other and were communicating very well, they were becoming friends. Rinta wanted to have Avish as her new boyfriend, but he turned her down, so she sabotaged his looks too. Both the guys went out looking for her, with no care at all if people stared at their ugliness. Rinta was in her new mansion because she became rich after being named the new most beautiful person in town. When the guys arrived at Rinta’s mansion, they threatened to make her so ugly that she would be banned from every place she went too, so Rinta confessed that the doctors could change them back, Rinta had just paid them to lie. After the both of them were changed to them normal selves with surgery, they were different and more sincere about things, but they still sabotaged Rinta’s good looks forever and having her no way at all to change her back to looking good again. The both guys became best friends and went back to their normal lives, but with a bigger and kinder heart. Alex Wilkinson Meteor The hallways seem to always smell the same to her; a clean, sometimes fresh scent that isn’t quite as strong as the halls of the hospital but fairly close. During the fall and winter when the rain pours from the sky in waves, sometimes there would be a little moisture in the air, just enough to give you that uncomfortable feeling you get when you come in your house with your shoes on. But no matter what the weather, what the feeling, what the time, it was always familiar to her. That’s what Katherine loved about school sometimes. Sometimes, she could feel alone. Like just one of six billion people. Invisible, and unimportant. But sometimes, the familiarity of the classes, the people, and the work was soothing, and on some occasions she actually looked forward to being there every morning. Most wouldn’t admit it, but she loved going to school. Today, as she passed by many unfamiliar, but still familiar faces, she was in one of her moods when she thought deeply and felt extremely exhausted, almost nostalgic. These moods of hers often happen after she has read a book that really made her think about a topic, or sometimes they just occur out of memory she didn’t know she still remembered. The day slugged by slowly. Every time she glanced at the clock, time seemed to be going backwards. But eventually the bell did ring, and the students poured out of the building like water seeping through cracks. Sara spotted her soon, and she called after Katherine over the crowds of student’s heads. “Hey! Kath!” Katherine turned and greeted her long time friend with a small smile. “What’s up?” “I heard that people are planning a bonfire tonight at the beach,” Sara told her. “Are you going?” Katherine hesitated as she thought of her response. She did not feel up to going down to the beach tonight, but on the other hand Sara was probably only asking her because she didn’t want to go alone. “Sure, I’ll go.” She tried hard not to regret the words coming out of her mouth. “Great,” Sara said. “We should carpool or something. I’m sure my mom would love to take us.” She left then, turning and stepping up onto her bus with a flourish. ‘At least one of us will be happy tonight,’ Katherine thought to herself. The bonfire was alive with lights and heat. Faces flickered in the firelight, and it gave off such an eerie glow at one point it gave Katherine shivers. The sun had just barely set and the sky was still light on the horizon to prove it. Katherine was sat on an old log, while Sara was down by the water with her other friends. Now, Katherine wished she had brought something to do so the time would seem to pass faster. “Hey, did you know there is going to be a meteor shower soon?” One kid yelled out. Katherine looked up in interest. She had never witnessed a meteor shower. “Where did you hear that?” Another yelled back. “It was on the news!” Murmurs of disagreement filled the beach as the fire crackled and burst. Katherine had remembered hearing something about a meteor shower, but she doubted that any could be seen from where they were. She slung her head back anyway, knowing that even if she couldn’t see them, looking for them was something to do. There were millions of stars. Different sizes and different hues, but still twinkling all the same. After a while, the stars seemed to blur together, and with no sight of the meteors her eyes began to strain. But then, movement. It was sudden, and she didn’t believe she saw it at first. It was like when you were younger and starting out the window looking for snowflakes falling from the clouds. Katherine blinked, trying to clear her eyes as to see the sky better. And then, she waited. Suddenly cheers erupted from the bonfire, almost making her look back. But she held her gaze, suddenly desperate to get a glace of any meteor. A little later (and she was certain this time), she saw one. It streaked across the sky quickly, and she almost missed it again, but she got enough of a look to see its beauty as it soared through her vision brighter than a firework. She looked back at the fire with a small, satisfied smile on her face. It was strange, because in that moment everything seemed magnified. She saw every spark that burst off one of the many burning logs rise up into the air. The folds of the waves on the water’s surface were in slow motion, rolling when they finally crashed over one another. But noise was muffled, like someone is pressing an invisible blanket over everything. The laughter from her surrounding friends could not be heard, but she knew it was there. The sheer delight and appearance of laughter was all over their faces. “Hey,” Sara said, finally deciding to make an appearance. Her pant legs were rolled up to her knees and her bare calves shone with water in the firelight. “Hi,” Katherine was smiling. “Thanks for asking me to come.” “Your glad you came?” Sara asked, “Because I was just coming over here to check on you. You’ve been sitting on that log for the past hour or so, since we’ve gotten here.” Shrugging, Katherine stood up and brushed the sand from the back of her pants. “I know.” There were more cheers from the fire pit, sounding in the night like a siren. Someone had brought along marshmallows, and the bag was being tossed around the fire. “Hey, let’s toast some marshmallows.” She grasped onto her friends wrist, completely ignoring the bemused expression that was donned upon Sara’s face and pulled her toward the bag of marshmallows that was quickly emptying. Emily Wielenga Think of Me “Hope!” Dominic called from across the room. Hope looked around the small dark room, but saw no one. She saw a figure out of the corner of her eye; but it was only the tall lamp sitting next to the navy blue chair in the corner. Then some movement off to her right caught her eye; it was him. “What?” She seemed to yelp. Hope ran over to him dodging the couch, and the couple of garbage cans next to it, the floor creaking loudly under her feet as she hopped along. “Yes?” She said sweetly. “You insulted her,” was all that he said. “Excuse me? Who did I insult that would offend you?” “My girlfriend.” Her heart sunk as the word girlfriend crawled from his lips, through the air, and into her ear canal. “You have a girlfriend?” “Yes Hope, I do,” she could tell that he was trying not to lose it. “Why didn’t you tell me?” “Don’t change the subject,” she could feels his hot breath on her face; it smelled of mint. She was beginning to panic now. She didn’t want him to be dating anyone, or get mad at her for insulting the beast. “What did I say that’s making you so upset? Who is she exactly?” She whispered. “Oh what’s the use, you insult everyone I hang out with,” he said pushing past her. “And I’m sorry, but I’m tired of it.” Her heart was falling further and further into her chest with every word he hurdled at her. Every step he took away from her, she only wanted him more. She yearned to be in his arms. To feel his body pressed against hers. To make her feel like she had a place in the world. “Dominic, I’m sorry for whatever I said about her. I would be more specific about my apology if you would just tell me who she is,” she pleaded trailing after him. “Her name is Jamie,” Dominic sighed, still walking. “What!” Hope exclaimed. His voice seemed to echo off the cold walls. Pain drenched her body as memories flooded her brain. Her heart was no longer sinking further into her chest. It was now as if the organ that kept her body working; was now on the hardwood floor, beneath Dominic’s feet, being crushed. “I didn’t want to tell you because I knew that you wouldn’t like the fact that I was dating her. I know you hate her more than anyone.” “Dom, first things first, she is not a person, she is a thing, a gross thing. And second. I don’t wan you hiding this stuff from me. You mean everything to me. And if you want to date a swamp monster, be my guest,” Hope’s voice grew louder and louder with each word. Filling with more pain. “Hope...” A tear rolled down her cheek. And fell from her jaw, leaving her shirt a shade darker where it landed. “Please don’t cry. I hate it when you do this,” Dominic whined wiping away the trail water left behind by her pain filled tears. “I think it’s time that you go to bed. It’s getting late, and you need the rest.” He grabbed her hand and started walking; Hope trailing behind him. It didn’t take long for the dark to engulf her. And the sleep seemed to last forever. She woke up only a couple hours later though. Then passing out again two hours latter. She dreamt of the way that things used to be. And how much she missed them, the way she was able to laugh at everything, and walk around with a smile on her face without it being a mask hiding what she really felt. She had no reason to live anymore. She wanted to be the only thing on his mind. But that wasn’t possible. Her heart was beating because of him, because he was the only who really cared for her and only her, and now there was no point. Reed Shilvock The Shoes To other people they probably didn’t appear as much; they looked like normal Nike soccer cleats. Nothing out of the ordinary just worn leather cleats. But from his perspective they were much more important than that and at this point of life they were more important than ever he saw them as sort of good luck charm and once you thought about it him and those shoes had been through a lot together, good times and bad times. He got them about half way into the season of his off school season team and wearing them he had played better than he ever had before on his school team. Because of his performance he saw the last season as a challenge, a challenge for him to better himself. So, following the injury they became increasingly important to him. They were his physical evidence of his past season; his own living proof that it had actually happened. The season he first earned his permanent starting position on his school’s varsity team. The very season they got so close to winning state. Soccer had given him the sensation of joy of having a shot at the state championship but then losing it with a wave of heartbreak. He loved the sport. The cleats sent him into this nostalgic state in which he wished he could remain. His cast encasing a majority of his left leg and the cleats had such varying effects on his mood. The cast was a cruel reminder of his injury, the thing that messed up so much for him. It conjured up much different memories than his cleats did. Memories of the doctor telling him that it was no doubt broken and he would have to be in a cast for the next three months, going into his school’s soccer season. He could still remember that visit now. A couple of days following the injury he had limped into the doctor’s office. Same as a normal visit, he pulled up to the office and started to walk up the stairs but this time with some added difficulty. He tried to remain optimistic but in the back of his mind he knew it was probably broken. The minutes sitting in the waiting room were agonizing. He stared at the clock wanting to know right then and there how bad his situation was. “Derek?” a lady at the front desk called. He stood up but didn’t respond verbally he just followed her back and took a seat in the doctor’s office. After about another five minutes passed of him waiting the doctor came in greeted him and his father and started to take a look at his leg. “Well, Derek. I already know that it is broken… We’ll need to take X-rays to see how bad it is though, and how long you’ll need to be in a cast for.” The doctor told him. After the X-rays he was then told that three months would be the time period he would spend in a cast. Following this news he just remembered sitting there his optimistic hopes shattered, three WHOLE months… Those three months screwed up a great deal. Thanks to the injury the opportunity for a scholarship seemed to be a lot less of a possibility for him and on top of that he couldn’t play his favorite sport, his favorite thing to do. At times he grew rather eager. He couldn’t move with ease anymore, he was only mobile with the assistance of crutches or a wheel chair. Lately he had been a bit down. He had been injured before but never this bad or this long and the timing of course didn’t help the situation at all. He decided to direct most of his focus on his schoolwork; he used it as a passage to get his mind off all these things. School, although more frustrating because of his lack of mobility was something he looked forward to more than he ever had before. It was his best distraction. With the “one two” punch of work and friends he didn’t really think about it too much Hanging out with his friends was the new high point of his day. Time spent with them meant time he didn’t think about the injury and better times without it. The way I see the relationship between him and his shoes is something like a little kid and his “blanky” or teddy bear. They were his comfort item; they helped him feel better. For a good chunk of time he looked at them, just held them sitting on his bed with his left leg extended out. As a couple months passed he did this less and less, and as time went by so did his dependency to look at the cleats and gaze in a daze of nostalgia. This was something welcome; it was probably a bit healthier to be honest. So, as the 1st semester came to a close he became more acquainted with his injury. They weren’t best friends, but they like a brother and sister learned to live with one another. He learned a few things to help cope with it. Once he looked at the injury in a different light it actually brought him a few positives. The day the report cards came was something he, like every other kid, dreaded. As usual he rode the bus home and after getting the mail like usual he found it. Walking down the driveway he took a peak. Glancing at it brought a smile to his face his change was now on paper. His house had a pretty long driveway and at this point in time he never had been more excited to get to the end of it. The whole way down he had a big grin on his face. His neighborhood was in a pretty rural part of Washington. The trees and the cold/fresh air made it a very peaceful walk for him. As he neared the door excitement welled up inside of him. When he got to the door he burst through report card opened in hand. “Mom! I got my report card.” He yelled out. “Oh, ok lets see it.” His mom said as she walked down for the upstairs. She took it and he watched as she scanned it. The longer she looked at it the more her face lit up. “Sweety, this…. Is… phenomenal. Whatever got into you please, please keep it up. A 3.8?” She exclaimed. He was speechless after walking downstairs he collapsed on his bed with that same grin he had from before still on his face. Never had he been this happy about school and his report card. His father was equally happy with him and with them happy he was happy. Life was getting better for him, a great deal better. With his parents off his back he became more relaxed, a weight was lifted off his shoulders. So, around the time he got his cast taken off he didn’t hate his injury in that same way anymore. Of course he didn’t like it but it wasn’t as bad to him anymore. Sure, it took his ability to play soccer for a while. Soccer was a big part in his life but it wasn’t everything. But despite this the cleats were still important but not as important. Occasionally he glanced at them and smiled because he could remember all the times he had with them. His dependency was gone but the memories were not. All the good times and bad times weren’t forgotten. He still loved those worn pair of Nikes more than a lot of things in the world. They were still his “blanky,” his comfort item and he really couldn’t wait until the day he got to lace them up and walk back onto their home field in front of his peers and his friends who were already there in the stands. Zoë Schrader A Sunflower In Hand We all used to live in a nice, big apartment in upstate New York. My mom was a painter, and my dad a stockbroker. We were all living, as many would say, “happily ever after.” Our view from our living room window over-looked the bright flashing lights and the giant tourist filled buildings. They all looked so excited and pleased to be walking the streets of “the city that never sleeps,” snapping pictures every two seconds of everything that could be anything. Yes, our life was going great until we got the big news. When I came home from school one day and saw my mom sitting at the dining room table, just staring out the window, I knew that something was wrong. When she turned to look at me, it was confirmed. The sagging puffy-ness in her blood shot eyes, the look of pure hatred and disbelief on her face, I knew that it was bad. My mind started to race through all of the possibilities but nothing that my mind had concocted could have prepared me for what was about to come. “Honey, sit down for a second,” she said softly. I sat down, knees shaking. “Now, I went to the doctor today… And I got some news…” I was afraid to ask anymore, but she didn’t need questions, she just kept going on slowly and sure of herself. “I don’t want you to freak out, darling, but they said that I have cancer.” It dawned on me then that nothing would ever be the same. All the thoughts and emotions that were running through me crashed down in my mind like a giant wave. It’s a year later, and I can still remember every single second of that moment like it was yesterday. My name's Beth, and I currently live with my non-existent father. I am going to tell you a story. My story. One night I sat on my bed writing a letter, but it wasn’t just any ordinary letter. It was a letter to my mom, my mom who had died a year before from cancer. As I finished writing the letter I signed, “Love always, your Daughter” as I did every night. Then I went into the same routine that I always did after writing to her. Carefully folding the letter in half, I pulled out a box from underneath my bed that read, “Letters To Mom” across the top of it and slipped the letter inside. I had started writing the letters a few months after my mother died, and I kept every single one of them. I liked to think of myself as an independent girl, strong enough to deal with all the chaos the loss of my mom brought. I was forced into becoming the women of the house when she passed, and while the days crept on I watched my dad engulf him self in large amounts of food and the sports section of the newspaper. As I stood to shut my bedroom door my father called out a not so frequent “Goodnight!” and I headed off to bed. The next day I walked out of a local café with a mocha and sunflower in hand, and turned onto the busy streets of New York City. As I trudged along past men in business suits, and star-crazed tourists, I spotted my destination. Cedar Brook Park was a park smack dab in the middle of the tall buildings and bright lights. It gave off a sense of serenity. As I entered the park I took a second to breathe in the cool, crisp autumn air, and all the leaf baring trees with their shades of orange and red. The grass of the park was swept with a layer of leaves, all different colors and shapes. Through the grass there was a path that wove it’s way around tall trees and randomly placed benches where couples sat, viewing the beautiful park in a completely different way then I did. As I followed the path it was almost as if my mind was carrying me, and my feet were simply there to keep me standing. But with every curve in the pebble stoned walkway I knew that I was getting closer and closer to the graveyard in the center of the park; the grave where my mother was laid a few months before. I came back every week with a sunflower in hand, and a story to share with her. As I set the flower down on the grave, I began to tell her about everything and anything, it didn’t matter what, only that I knew that she would be listening to every word that I spoke. I knew it in my heart. As I headed back out of the park, towards home, something caught my eye, well someone actually. When I first saw him my heart stopped. A young man wearing a grey knit sweater that clung to his toned chest, and khaki’s. His strides were long and smooth as he approached, closer and closer. To my surprise this man called my name as I walked past him. He caught me off guard so it took me a second to turn around and acknowledge him. It was hard to keep my concentration on our conversation while his deep hazel- green eyes seemed to be staring into my soul. Finally I was able to pull myself back together and squeak out, “Sorry if this comes off a bit rude, but how do you know my name?” “I’m Emmett. Sorry if I startled you, but I go to college around here and always see you walking. As for your name, I asked around at the cemetery. They say that you’re here quite a bit,” he quickly explained, still gazing at me inquisitively with his deep eyes. “Nosey, are we? But yes, I guess you could say that I do come here a lot.” He looked down at me for a second as I if he were deciding whether or not to say something, and then asked, “Could I take you out to lunch sometime?” I waited a second to respond, and finally decided, “Yes, that would be nice.” It was a few days later that I took Emmett up on his offer to take me out to lunch. It was much needed. Emmett was the kind of guy that would sit there and let you talk, for minutes, for hours, for however long it took to get it all out. He wouldn’t judge once, but instead would just sit there and take in everything that you were saying with interest and concern. I liked that most about him. After my mother’s death, I hadn’t really been able to open up to anyone. I had become too scared of the worst outcome; that they would just leave. It was different with Emmett, though. It was so easy to talk to him for hours without worrying if I was blabbing or boring him, and that’s just what I did. Well, that’s where it all began. Emmett ended up staying around for a while, and lets face it, he saved me; saved me from my ever-spiraling life, and my not-so-there father. He taught me how to set the big city apart from the real world, and how to have fun and forget about all the things swirling around me in my head. But most of all he taught me that I could spend the rest of my life mourning over my mothers death, but that living my life wouldn’t kill her anymore than what she’d already experienced; and that in the end that was all she really wanted. And that, my friend, was the best lesson of all. He taught me how to live, and what more could I ask for? Love always, Your daughter Jerrick Sandico A Fender, A Classic and on Orange Mikey holed-up in the back of the jail cell waiting for his release from the Eastlake Police Station, about seven blocks from the venue he played at earlier last night. Over this fizzing of the T.V. screen, he heard his neighbor trying to talk to him “Hey… hey you!” whispered Scot Riebly “Me?” asked Mikey “Yeah you, you hit pretty hard for a punk” “Shut up, you play like Brendan McGuire with your Carvin!” “At least I don’t slap” “But that was a pretty good fight, right?” “Yeah…” “Why Jay Leno?” “I was drunk then…” “Right.” “But then again, I was drunk” Just as he was going to reply a knock came from the edge of his cell. An officer was waiting in the other side of the door. “Somebody’s here to pick you up.” I wonder who came to pick me up? All he could hear was the fizzing of the TV screen and the jingling of keys as the officer tries to find the cell door. “Okay, here it is!” The door clicks out as Mikey stumbles out of the door. “Your lucky you have family to take care of you.” Mikey was pushed out of the holding blocks as he comes into an empty room with a kid no more than 16 leaning towards the opposing wall. “Mikey!” “RJ!” “How’s life?” “Crappy, how’d you find me?” “I got a phone call from James, everybody was broke ‘cept for me” “That’s cool… I owe you so much” “Nah, don’t worry!” As they both drifted out of the station, he wondered what happened to the other guy. They were coming ‘round the corner when he broke the awkwardness of the silence. “How’s school?” “Crap, I feel like I wanna drop” “Don’t be like me, I’m serious” “Well, I wish I was like you anyways” “It’s your balls that are on the line” “Damn, but I only like what you do. I don’t like to sit around all day typing crap on the computer. Besides, you get a better pay being in a band then being in the office—“ “Okay, just don’t smoke anything, drinking’s alright as long as you don’t get totally wasted.” The rest of the trip back the to apartment complex went quiet and weirdly uncomfortable. Once they reached Mikey’s place, he said a quick goodbye to R.J. and came into his living room. He came to his answering machine to check the messages, “Hello Michael! You have one… new message, ‘Yo Mikey! This is James, after what happened earlier. The guys and me decided to kick you out of the band. No hard feelings man, we found a more low-key guitarist to replace you. His name is El Hefe, he even knows how to play the trumpet! Look, I found you a job at this place called GuitarVille down in Shoreline.’ End of message, if you want to delete this message, press—“ Before the machine could finish the sentence, Mikey already pressed on the number 5, “This message has been deleted.” When heard the message, he was pretty pissed at Danny. Since he convinced James into kicking him out of the band. He turned on the T.V. and ate the rest of the leftover Meatlover’s pizza from Dominoes. After a while, he fell fast asleep on the duct-tape ridden lazyboy. RRRRiiinnnngggg! He woke up startled and fell from his seat, warm beer spilled onto his crotch-area. “Jesus Christ!” He lazily gets up from the chair and stumbles toward the bathroom. After he took a hot shower, he dried up and changed into his everyday white beaters and ripped skinny jeans that surprisingly still fit him. He check the clock again that told him it was 9:40. So he left the apartments and got on the bus that brought him to the strip mall next to a Filipino store called Fil-Am. He started to head down the hill that eventually lead him to Guitar Ville. He came in and met up with Al Kolbeck. “Hey! You must be Mikey!” ‘Yeah, I heard you recently wanted me to take a position here?” “Yeah, I got a call from James last night, I almost expected you to come a little later, but its cool. By the way, what do you play?” “A Jaguar with an Ibanzez classic and an Orange, nothing much.” “Damn boy! Don’t go all Jimi on me! Here, my treat, take a guitar. As long as you don’t take anything from the glass case.” “Uh… thanks” “No prob, you’ll start to work here by… lets say now. You’ll be working the lessons and amps for now.” “Thanks again!” From now on, Mikey felt that he was in a better life now. No more long days at Guitar Center and no bad night getting drunk and playing like an idiot. “Hey, hey you!” Mikey snapped out of his thoughts and looked up to see a man in his 20’s with gothic style glasses looking at him, “I need a distortion effects head, do you got any?” “Uh, I’m sure we have a Martin and Co. head somewhere here” “By the way, name’s Ben Gibbard.” “Nice to meet you.” “No, prob! By the way… want me to tell you about my project with a band called Deathcab for Cutie?” This job is going to get so much better. Mikey thought as he listened to Ben’s “Plans” record. Christopher Plancich A trip of change Alex was on a bus to the California Maritime Academy in Northern California. He was miserable; everything seemed wrong. He was taken out of school to go to this dreadful place. How was he going to get a good education? Would he make it through everything? Having a love for books seemed history at a military academy. Still hopeful, he had a bag full of his favorite books sitting next to him. The rest of his luggage was in a suitcase, tucked in the overhead compartment. Alex was a 16-year-old boy who was being sent of to a military academy by order of his father. His home is in Vancouver, Washington. There he lived with his mother and father. He has no siblings. Alex always enjoyed school and loved writing, reading, and mathematics. But that wasn’t enough for his father, a prominent general. So, he sent Alex off to an academy of war to try and make him follow in his footsteps. The bus pulled up to the school four hours later. Alex could tell this from far away by the way the fading red brick buildings stood behind an enclosed fence. This made Alex’s heart sink further into despair. The new recruits on the bus with Alex were greeted by more than a hundred military. One man stood out from the rest. He wore a military officer suit with practically a hundred awards on it. Alex guessed he was the man in charge. When the recruits reached him, the man took them into the empty entrance of the building. This is where he gave them a briefing of the campus. After the briefing, Alex was put into the Research and Tank Preparation Sector. He liked this because he had to use a lot of mathematics. Plus, he got to read manuals and write up reports. This allowed Alex to do the things that he loved. There was just one problem. No one on the campus thought that Alex could ever live up to the standards that his father set down before him. However, Alex didn’t lose hope. Eventually he got switched from research to testing. This meant that he got to test out all the gadgets and gizmos before they got put on the field. He liked this. One day he was testing out a new radar system. This system was the largest radar scanner ever built before, and was going to replace the system that the academy used. After turning the system on, he saw many different green dots moving around on the screen. All of the airplanes landing and taking off. The test flights for the academy could also be seen. But something on the outskirts of the radar, roughly 200 miles out, there were 30 or so dots moving towards the base at high speed. From there size on the radar he guessed that they were large fighters. This scared him because he knew the old system wouldn’t see the planes on the radar until they were 50 miles away. So he went running to go and find the General. After taking a couple of turns in the hallways he found him. “General!” shouted Alex. “Yes Alex?” asked the General. “The scanner I’ve been testing,” started Alex. “It shows almost three dozen fighters closing in on our position.” The General thought about this for a while. “You’re sure?” “Positive,” replied Alex. “Well, let’s go and check that scanner,” said the General as he started toward the testing center. When they arrived, the scanner was still showing the air traffic. Sure enough the dots were closer now. “How far are they?” asked the General. “Roughly 150 miles, Sir,” replied Alex. “That might give us just enough time.” Thought the General out loud. He pulled out a phone. “Command, we might have a situation here, I want all guns facing west to what will be approaching aircraft. “Plus, I want all available aircraft to go west to check out and engage if necessary the approaching aircraft,” He turned to Alex. “If your right, you will be remembered forever as the one who saved this academy.” It turns out that they were enemies and that they had intended to harm the academy. The villains retreated at the sight of the prepared academy, and no one was hurt. Alex was presented with an award and had lived up to his family name. Cipriano Ortiz Untitled When I was eighteen years old, I decided that I wanted to go into the military to help pay for collage. A lot of my uncles and grandpas went into the marines and so did my dad. After I was drafted into the Marines. I was sent to a base in California where I did all my training. Once I got to my bunk the first day. I knew, right then that is was going to be a lot of work. The next day were started our training, lots of work, but made it through the day. Then years past and I finally graduated from the Marines. My family was there to see we graduate. I spend that week at home, then I had to go to war, I was terrified and so was my family. That week came and gone. The next thing I remembered was getting on the plane to fly to the base where the war was going on. The place was filled with Marine soldiers, Marine tanks and trucks. I got to my bunk and unpacked then I walked around to check things out and I saw one of my best friends from training camp, we were so excited to see each other. We spent the next hour or so talking then we had to go to a meeting with our squad. They we giving us loads of information on where we had to go and what was going on, because in the next couple of days we had to go to the battle field. I was scared to my bones, but I knew I was trained for this kind of stuff. the helicopter picked a group of us up to take us to the battle field where we would meet up with many of our Marines. The flight was about two hours, then we landed we all ran off and joined the other groups. We were heading in, we went to go take cover over by the old broken down buildings , we moved on the next and then the next until we finally got to safety. There was a truck of people coming up the street with guns, when they were shooting distance we shot until the car stopped moving. We moved on. The leader of our group told me to move into the building along with two other marines to search it for any people. We headed in. No one was inside, so I made a gesture to single the other marine soldiers to head it. Then we looked out the windows to make sure in was clear to move on, and it wasn’t clear there was about ten men surrounding the place we needed to invade. So we got a sniper upstairs, and we got our guns ready to fire there was about eight of us including me. So if we each picked a target, two of us had to be fast enough to hit the other two before they got away. Our sniper hit two that were behind the car, then we moved out and started to fire our guns, the moment we started to fire they fired back, but thank god they got hit before they could hit us. It was all clear to move in. We moved in slowly to the place we needed to get to. we made sure the place was all clear before we moved inside the building .we split up into two groups of four and moved in. We searched the building and no one was inside we looked around for any maps or things they were going to plan. We saw the computer screen of the blue print they were going to build a missal, it was going to be sent to America and hit Washington D.C. Leader Colin saw on the screen a count down on the clock it was going to take off in four days. They called it in to the base and told them what was going on. Now there mission was to stop the missal from taking off to America, no one knew how to stop the bomb, there was nothing there to stop the bomb. The bomb was being controlled from a different building. We needed to find that building soon before millions of citizens die. We had a group of soldiers stay at the site where we found the blue prints, then leader Colin told me and some other soldiers to move out and search each and every building. We looked all over for hours, looking through hundreds and hundreds of buildings and we couldn’t find where they were controlling the bomb. Until one of the people there brought us into a secret building and told us everything about what they were planning. He said they were controlling everything from an underground place, but that there was guards surrounding the place. We send in the information that the young man gave us, and our base sent over two groups of ten soldiers and four tanks, we went to the place where the young man said it would be. There was about ten soldiers guarding the place. We all move in and the place was turning into shot out, everyone was shooting all over the place, some of our guys got shot and we killed al there guys and then we moved in. we went inside and went down the stairs. We heard some guys talking and we looked in the room, but we were looking from a place where they could not see us, once we counted all the guys that were in the room we moved in, but we didn’t shoot. we caught them and we made them stop the bomb, they were going to stop the bomb then one of the guys started to shoot our guys they shot four of our men, so we had no choice but to shoot them all. They all went down, but now our problem was that we didn’t know how to stop the missal from going to America and killing people. We called in our bomb squad and they wouldn’t be able to make it all the way over here from the base until tomorrow late at night. We didn’t know what to do, all we could do was wait, but we didn’t have time to wait because the missal was going to send in the morning. But then I came up with an idea to defuse the bomb, on the computer it said it needed to be defused with a code, all we had to do was find that code we looked in the dead guys pockets for a code, but found nothing I hooked up my computer to there computer and tried to find any things that could possibly be the code. I looked for hours, but I still didn’t find anything. We had only two hours left the stop the bomb, people in America were counting on us to save their life, but I couldn’t find what code it was. There is millions and millions of codes. A hour pasted and we still couldn’t find he code, but then I thought of ways to stop the bomb without the code. We could either put C-4 on it before it takes off and blow it up when we re away or have our jets bomb it when the missal is far up into the sky. I stopped the bomb. We all were yelling in a happy voice that we saved our country. I called in my plans to the people in Washington D.C. they agreed that my plans would work so first we got out of the building and headed for the helicopters, we took off and dropped some c4 onto the missal then we flew away. When we were about ten miles away from the bomb we blew it up. And right when we pressed the button we could hear the explosion even though we were miles away, and we also saw the big blast, good thing it didn’t have radiation. Peyton McDanel Journal My name is Elizabeth Conrad and I am thirteen years old. Something I have learned is that life sucks. Do you ever wish that you could make it all better? I know I have. You wish that all of the bad things that happen to you and others would just stop. Would you believe me if I said that I could make it all better? It’s ok, I wouldn’t either. I mean come on, one person being able to fix the worlds problems? Ha! We wish. I’m sitting now at my grandma’s funeral, all I see is her empty casket. My parents tell me that they don’t have her body because she was found dismembered in a car crash. I believe otherwise. I sit here watching the priest talk about my grandma. As I look at her casket I see a movement at the door that leads in to the back. I slowly look over there and see my grandma staring straight at me. I slowly looked around; no one else was staring at the door. Its like no one else sees her except me. I get up and slowly walk to the door. The bathroom is back here, so my mom will think I am going to the bathroom or something. I look straight into my grandma’s eyes as I walk past her into the door. She follows. She stops, looks at me, and smiles. “My dear, Elizabeth. Do you know what you are?” she says in her sweet voice. “No I don’t, but you shouldn’t be alive either.” I replied. “No I shouldn’t be I will leave after you have learned. I just couldn’t leave just yet because I had to tell you. Elizabeth, you’re a witch.” “What, no that couldn’t be, if I was then my mom would be too wouldn’t she?” “No not really it skipped her generation, you see.” “ But you have to understand, I can’t stay very long, all I can do is stay and tell you. I have to leave now. But go to my house in the closet is a spell book learn the spells, you will be very powerful my dear.” She stepped closer to me and hugged me. I didn’t think that she could do that but she did and I hugged her back. She smiled and she started disappearing. “ I love you Elizabeth, don’t ever forget that.” She whispered. And she was gone for the second time. Those words stayed in my head for two years. I’m now fifteen, I found the spell book and I practiced everyday and got stronger and aware of everything that was going on around me. Today is October 10, my birthday. I am at my friend’s house. I just finished opening presents and my friends and I are all outside in the woods. My boyfriend, Tristan was yelling and jumping and play punching his twin brother, I sat on a rock watching everyone have fun. I love the way it is here. I was about to yell at my friend Ashley to come here, when I heard a growling sound come from the direction of Tristan. I quickly looked over there to find a giant bear growling at him and his brother. “NO!” I can’t use my powers. If I do, I will expose my secret. But he is also in danger. Tristan stood there frozen in pure fear. Huh, thought he was a masochist. I put my fingers in my mouth and whistled at the bear, and ran. I knew he would follow me if I ran. The bear chased me down. I tried to run faster but I wasn’t fast enough. The bear plowed me in to the ground. I ducked my head in as the bear clawed at my back causing an extreme amount of pain. I didn’t do anything but all of a sudden there was a flash of light and the bear was off of me. I looked up to find a boy about my age with fire in his hands. He couldn’t be. I got up really hurting, but the bear was coming at me again. I quickly recited a spell in my head and threw a big ball of fire at the bear. It hit him and he flew back. I knew he wasn’t done yet but it bought me some time. I hunched over, hurting extremely bad. The boy walked over to me and placed his hand on my back. It stung at first but I got better in a couple of seconds. The bear growled and got up. The boy was still working on my wound so I don’t think he noticed. I knew what I had to do. The bear stared straight at me and I recited the death spell in my head. The bear charged, as my hands had a glowing fog around them. The bear hit me I kept steady and placed one hand at his heart and one hand at his throat. The bear struggled for a second then dropped dead in front of me. The boy took his hands off of me and looked at me. “ Who are you?” I asked. “I am just like you but I am stronger. And you are?” He replied. “I’m am Elizabeth, I live away from here but today is my birthday and I was hanging out with my friends when the bear came.” “Oh I see, my name is Justin, I live here in the woods it helps my powers strengthen. But you should know something Elizabeth.” “What?” “ I belong in a secret organization for people like us, we protect people from animals like this one, this animal was trained to sniff you out, by our enemies. The shape shifters.” He said darkly. “Its, what we do to protect people from our secret and we need you to join. There is something special about you. Will you join?” “Umm ok I guess so.” “You will have to leave your friends though, I’m sorry but you cant live with humans anymore. Its not safe for them.” “Okay, if it’s safe for them I will do it.” “Good there is one other thing you should know too.” “Yes?” “I’m your brother.” And that’s how my life is now, I went with Justin. My friends thought I was dead. Now I live in the secret organization for witches. I protect everyone from shape shifters. I’m sitting now with my brother waiting for the next mission. “Elizabeth, Justin. There’s a tiger in the woods north of here. It’s stalking a couple of humans hiking the woods. This is your mission kill the tiger and don’t be seen.” “You ready, Elizabeth?” “You bet I’m ready to kick some tiger butt.” “ Lets do this.” And we disappeared in the forest. Anna Fahlstrom Just an Ordinary Day Natalie, sitting in her car alone in a vacant parking lot. A lock of long blond hair covering her face from seeing his picture; the last thing she has of him. Everything else of Mathias’ is either back with him or gone in ash forever. All she wants is this picture to come to life, for him to jump out at her and hold her forever saying everything will be okay. However, she knows this can’t happen. Her brain cancer is multiplying quickly. “Pretty soon all I will be able to see is collaged walls of Room 225, my own special room in the hospital,” she thinks to herself. Crawling back to him would hurt them both even more. Thinking of this makes her cry so hard; her beautiful bright green eyes remind you of Christmas, all red and bloodshot. Room 225 has been Natalie’s room for a while now. The workers keep all the pictures up of friends and family having a laugh at a party, the ancient roses from her cousins wedding; still giving off the aroma of old, dead flowers, and the “GET WELL!” balloons falling to the floor from loss of helium. Papers are spread out everywhere; on the table, all over the floor, hanging on the walls. There are amazing paintings, drawings and sketches on some; others are as blank as Nat’s facial expression when her blood pressure, vital signs, and shots are being giving. All of a sudden everything flahses black. There is no daylight, no moon, no streetlights or stop signs anywhere. Everything is pitch black, there is nothing in front of me, in back, under or above. I end up in a car. A car with lots of lights shining down on me, band aids, ace wraps, co-bands, splints, syringes, every medical thing you can possibly imagine are surrounding me all the way up from floor to ceiling. Then I realize where I am going. It was supposed to be a “normal” night. One where it doesn’t matter how late I stayed out or where I went. I should have known this would happen. It always does. It’s 3:21 in the afternoon. “Hello Natalie. I am Charlotte, your nurse today,” says Charlotte. Like always, I just look up and smile. It’s the same thing I always do when someone new comes in. To me, the worst thing is, well…there are a couple. One, I am stuck here listening to the monotone beeps and drips from heart monitors and medical drips that fill the halls. And two, nobody, and I mean it when I say nobody, understands when I draw, you don’t talk to me. I turn back to my paper and finish what I started. Sabrina, my best friend, walks in with more balloons. I don’t know why everyone brings them all the time. Can’t they see I have enough already?! Well, it is nice of her. And it’s go to see her. “Oh my gosh, Nat, guess what happened today at the basketball game!” Sabrina exclaims. “Umm…hmmm…I have no idea. What happened?” asks Natalie. “Okay long story short. So it was 67-64 with 1 minute to go in the 4th quarter. Greyson passes the ball up to Mathias but he misses the shot. He then gets the rebound, shoots again and makes it while going to the line. However, misses his free throws. With only 5 seconds left in the game, the score was 67-66. We get the other teams rebound and pass it up to Brendon at the half court. He has to shoot from there and right as the buzzer went off it was a swish!! It was so crazy! Everyone was going wild and everyone was galloping off the stands onto the court to congratulate the players.” “Dang!!!! Are you kidding me?! That is ridiculous. I wish I saw that,” exclaims Natalie. “Mhmmm! And I have a surprise for you. Just a sec.” Sabrina races out of the room, practically dancing as she passes through the door. Within a minute she is back, but who is that with her? It looks like him, it’s the way he walks. Actually, it’s more of a swagger walk, like the one basketball players have. This person is about the same height, with the same clothing style. There is only one thing different, their hair. Nat’s heart is pounding, getting excited about who it is. Sabrina halts. This person doesn’t notice and runs right into her, making her fall. Natalie turns to the picture she was drawing before Sabrina came by. It’s the exact picture of Mathias that she kept and had when she was in the empty parking lot two days ago. “I hope this is Mathias. Oh how I would love to see him just one more time before my cancer takes over my body completely and the only way to beat it is by getting chemotherapy. Please be him, please.” Natalie thinks waiting patiently. He turns. Natalie thinks she is going to die right then when she sees his face. Just seeing him makes her feel healed. Like all her worries have gone away and the cancer is gone forever. Her heart monitor starts beeping really fast, so fast the nurse runs in to make sure everything is okay. Charlotte sees what is going on and unplugs the machine. “This could go on for a while. I’ll plug it back in when he leaves,” thinks Charlotte and leaves the room. Natalie is practically jumping out of her bed she is so excited. “Mathias! I can’t believe it is actually you! I am so sorry about everything. I just didn’t want to hurt you too much…” He cuts her off. “Nat, I can’t do this anymore.” Nat cuts in. “Please, just listen. I can’t live without you. Your cancer is going to go away, we will be happy, I promise. This past week has been horrible without you. I haven’t been able to think straight at times, more like at all. I can’t sleep at night. I need you.” That is the exact thing I was waiting for. The thing that is going to get me through this. Pierson Cockburn NINJA STU Stu was a ninja. Not certified, but he just was a ninja. He was enrolled in a school not known to anyone, not even his parents knew that he was going to the Royal Academy for Ninjas. His parents were only aware that Stu was attending the Royal Academy. They knew he was special from the day they got a letter addressed to him at age six. The letter was from the Royal Academy. They wanted him to attend their school for free. The first few years of school Stu had completed “S” grade point average. Unlike our number system, they used numbers. A 4.0 GPA was like an O for “okay” GPA. An S stood for “sneaky” which was the equivalent of a 6.0 GPA in our schools. Stu had to finish his last year of school with an O or greater or he would have to repeat the grade. If Stu had completed his last grade with an S then he would surpass the ranks of many people. So, Stu thought that he would have a better chance if he failed 1 year, write down everything he would need to know and become the first person to pass the year with an S. Stu had always loved crowds. He lived in a large town named Fuhnkii, which he and his friends had promised themselves to never be monotonous. They believed that being monotonous was being boring, stupid and lame. So instead of being boring, stupid and lame, they became fun, smart, and interesting by doing things in a different way. So, instead of walking through crowds as usual, they would play hide and go seek inside the crowds. Or instead of playing poker, they would see how many times they could get away with cheating, they usually play with someone else on that one. One day they were playing crowd hiding, Stu’s favorite game, Stu had been hiding for fifteen minutes. He knew exactly where Joe, the seeker, was. Stu had snuck up behind him, stole his cell phone from his pocket and replaced it with his own. Stu then called his phone, which was now in Joe’s pocket. “What the hell?” Joe laughed. “For the win. I have to go, I’m in the Starbucks next to the theater,” said Stu. Then he began to tease him in a friendly, funny sort of way. Stu’s life has always been a good one. If it were bad, it would only be for a few days. He was rich, smart, handsome and athletic. Everything in his life was set for him. But, not any one thing event, gene or knowledge could prepare him for January 12, 2000. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Winter wonderland? Nope. Freezing frightening worsening-land. Steve hated winter. Fuhnkii town was not the best place for people like Steve. It snowed in September and refused to quit until March. Steve had a normal life. He had an okay job, an okay house, and an okay family. The only thing bad about his life was he didn’t have a license. He didn’t want one and he didn’t need one, or so he thought. This was his only thing that could have stopped what was inevitable on the fateful day of January 12, 2000. It was a regular winter day in Fuhnkii town, ice covered the ground, and the wind was blowing. A perfect day for not driving. Too bad Steve had to drive his son, who had just broken his arm, to the emergency room. John, his son, fell off of the trampoline onto the frozen snow in their backyard. “You sure this is legal?” John whimpered in between jolts of pain. John was only 7 so he didn’t know many laws. “Kinda. But if I get pulled over they will understand. Is anything else hurting?” Steve replied. He had asked that question many times before. He now regretted not getting his license for the thousandth time. But Steve only thought of it as a metal death trap. They were in the most populated area of the town; the emergency room was on the other side of the town. They had borrowed their neighbor’s car. It was at least 50 years old and hadn’t been used in 30. John yelled out in pain. “Are you okay?” Steve looked at him. Then snapped his head to look at the honking blue Honda Civic on the opposite side of the road. Steve tugged on the steering wheel. But it was too late. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Okay see you later.” Joe said with a smile. Stu jogged to his car. He was late to baby-sit his baby cousin. He had a dark blue Honda Civic. He was distracted. He had three double shot non-fat vanilla lattes on ice. And that bag flying around in the passenger seat was not helping him stay focused on the road His life was perfect. Nothing was wrong in his life. But the end of the road for his lucky-life streak had come to him at 90 miles an hour. He had a good life. 90 miles an hour. They would have been fine at 40. But John, Stu and Steve didn’t have another chance. Usually stories have a good ending but not everything was funky fresh for the people in Fuhnkii town. Abel Bantiwalu The Importance of Homework My name is Matt and I’m 17 years old. I’m 6 foot 4 and 185 pounds. I live in Miami, Florida and that’s where I’ve lived my whole life. I love the city and I have a lot of friends. I’m an only child and I live with my mom and dad. There’s good weather in Miami and its fun everyday, with all the sports and games and all the things you can do around here. One of the things I want to do is to go to a good college, but I don’t have the grades to go right now. One day I was walking to school and listening to music, when my best friend Henry, walked up behind me. I take out my earphones and say, “What’s up!” Henry says, “How is it going? I didn’t see you yesterday.” “Oh, yeah. I was playing in a basketball tournament at the park.” Henry asks, “So did you win?” I get surprised and say, “Are you kidding me??? Of course I won! When have you ever seen me lose a game?” He says, “I don’t know. I was just asking.” I asked, “So what were you doing over the weekend?” “I was doing the homework for math the whole weekend. Wasn’t it hard?” I stopped walking for a few seconds and Henry didn’t notice. “What’s wrong?” He asks. I just shake my head. He stops walking and understands what’s happened. “Didn’t you do the 100 point project?” I shake my head. He whispered, “Do you even want to go to college?” I say, “Of course I do! Are you joking?” “Well, it doesn’t look like it to me.” He turns around and walks away. I jog until I catch up to him. “It was just one project and I can turn it in late. Why do you even care if I don’t turn it in?” He turns around and looks at me in the eye. “Last time I checked we were friends and friends help each other out. I said I would help you on your project, but you were playing basketball, like you always are. As for this being just one project missing, you’ve had at least five missing assignments every week, this year. If you want to go to college, you have to put more effort in. Even if you plan to get a sports scholarship.” He turns around and walks away. I jog towards him and call him back, “Henry! Henry! Come back. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to not be there, when you came over to help. I’ll work harder and listen to you when you try to help me, from now on.” Henry turns around and stops. “Don’t you realize that I’ve been trying to help you since I’ve known you? But you always have something else to do, that’s more important.” “When do you want me to come, then? Can I come to your house after school, so you can help me?” “It’s a little late for that now and how do I know that you’ll show up and that it isn’t like every other time?” I say, “I promise, I’ll come.” “Okay, I’ll help you this time. If you don’t come though, I’ll never think about helping you again.” We realize that we’d gotten to school, while we were talking and we walk in. The bell rung and we headed to our classes, thinking about the school day, the homework we’d do later and both of us secretly disagreeing with each other. After school ended at 2:20, we walked to his house. We got to his house at 2:35 and we played video games for an hour before starting on our homework. The homework that was due the next day was easy and we finished all of it in 20 minutes. Then, we started working on the 100-point project that I hadn’t finished over the weekend. Since the project was 100 points, it took a long while to finish, but we were working together, so we finished faster. By the time we were done, it was around 6:15. We looked over the requirements a lot of times after we finished it, because we didn’t want to take any chances that I’d get a bad grade. I felt happy about the project when we finished it and I thanked Henry. Henry said, “From now on, you should never leave your homework to the last minute, because I won’t spend any more time helping you again. I only helped you this time, because I felt sorry for you. But, I’ll never feel sorry for you again, because it’s your responsibility to do your homework.” I said, “I know and thanks again.” Then, I left for home. The next day, I turned in the project. The teacher was happy, but also surprised. At first, he didn’t believe that it was my project and not someone else’s, but when he realized it wasn’t, he was proud that I had worked on and finished the project, even though it was late. I promised myself, that I would balance school and sports for the rest of my life in school, because I knew that you need both to succeed. Lavelle Adams A School Life As I tried to catch the bus I slipped on a patch of ice and slid a couple feet I ended up missing my bus. “What are you doing laying on the ground like that? Get up before someone runs over you,” said Cristy, trying to guess how I ended up on the street. “Fine” I said trying to stand on my own. “ I’m just guessing but did you miss the bus?” “Yes,” I admitted looking at the ground hide my scratched up face “Do you want a ride to school?” Cristy said, knowing I was going to ask for a ride. “Sure that would be great, thanks,” I yelled from her inside her car. “ How did you get from here to there, are you a alien or something?” “No I’m just a fast runner unlike you.” “Then why weren’t you able to catch the bus,” “Cause it was going to fast and you of all people should know that I am not a car and that I can’t go 25 mph.” “True I know your not that speedy” As we were arriving at school it started to hail. You could hear the hail bounce off of the car’s hood. As we rushed into the building to get out of the hail the principle came outside and as we rushed into the school we knocked him over as we past him. He yelled at us as we ran down the hallway but running into him was unavoidable since he was standing right in front of the door. He must know that not everyone would just stop or slow down just cause he we there. “Why, why did you do that I told you not to do that anymore, I was able to avoid him, you don’t get it do you?” I yelled. “Look I know what I did I think I can fix it,” cristy said to me trying to calm me down. “ Just because you think you can fix it doesn’t mean that you will be able to fix it!” I yelled. Poor Cristy, she didn’t know what to say. Later, we were captured during break and dragged to his office. When he turned his back to get something we ran out the door and got to class. When the bell stopped ringing we told the teacher that we were talking to the principle that got us out of trouble for being later to class since our teacher had a soft stop for the principle. Until the teachers phone rang. The teacher started yelling at us until everyone stood up and started clapping and yelling “Down with the principle.” Which we thought was awesome, because that meant that everyone was on our side expect for the teachers pet Nathan. “ What do you guys think your doing? You made our teacher pass out. And you guys are cheering for those two who didn’t even say I’m sorry to the principle of our school? They should go to detention cause they are ill behaved children. When the teacher wakes up I am going to have you sent to the principle’s office.“ But as Nathan was talking we all sat down and once everyone was seated our teacher woke up confused, not knowing what just happened. She looked at Nathan, then the clock, and then looked at Nathan again. Nathan was the only one standing and not in his seat, and the teacher hates it when you are out of your seat. Since she couldn’t remember why she passed out Nathan was sent to the principles office which made him very mad. But it also made us all very happy cause no one in our class likes him and he got what he deserved. As lunch began Cristy and I made our way to the world geography classroom were we eat with our other friends Max Dwain, Andy David, and Ian Alfonso. “ What did you guys do again?” said Ian who was leaning back on his chair “We knocked over the principle on our way in to the school this morning” Cristy answered. “ Then we were chased all around the school by the principle. For the rest of the day we are going to have to hide from the principle, or else we are going to explain to our parents who, might I remind you are on vacation and will not like hearing that we knocked over the principle today after we told they that we would behave.” As I spoke, I realized that the principle and the some of the staff were standing right behind us. We all looked up and I could see that the principle was grinning at Cristy and I. As we tried to run away, Ian was the one who was captured by the staff. We all ran through the hall and Max yelled ”we’ll come back for you bud!” As we were running, we could hear Ian confessing about so pranks that he had pulled on the staff and we could also hear “PLEASE DON’T CALL MY PARENTS I’M BEGGING PLEASE,” and “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU GUYS I HOPE THEY CATCH YOU.” For the rest of the day, whenever we saw Ian he was yelling at the principle and saying, “I don’t need to see a consoler.” “Poor Ian, Maybe we should have grabbed him from the teachers” Cristy said looking into space. “Hey earth to Cristy. The teachers would have caught us to if we had gone back or stayed to get Ian. Eventually someone would have gotten hurt and that would get us into more trouble and we don’t need more trouble right now.” I said, before I asked her how long until school was out. But when we were in the parking lot, the car wouldn’t start and the tires were slashed. I got out of the car to see Nathan standing in front of the car. “That’s for getting me sent to the principle’s office,” Said Nathan, as he started to run into the school. As he ran past the fire alarm, he broke the glass causing the alarm went off. We didn’t know what to do, besides chase Nathan. I saw him exit through the back door so I told Cristy to go through the back door, “I am going to go through the side door. You follow him and lead him to me. I will catch him. Please don’t jump on me again.” “Okay” Cristy said, as she ran to the back door. We were able to catch him and bring him to the principles office, which got us off the hook for knocking the principle over this morning. Now that’s an awesome school life.
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