“The Girl with Bright Blue Eyes”
Lauren Royesky, Grade 12
Sitting alone in the grass one day, a ghost came to me. Or at least it appeared to be a ghost to me; one moment there, the next she was gone. A young girl with skin as pale as snow, her blonde hair long and faded to grey. She was beautiful but did not speak. But she looked at me with her bright blue eyes, and it was like I could feel her pain. I quickly stood up to approach the diminutive figure, but she was gone as quick as she came. Gone in thin air. I looked around for her everywhere. Into the woods I walked, calling out to this angel of darkness I had seen, asking why it was me who was chosen to see her grace. Remembering every detail of her skin, I began to feel the wind change.
As the coldness surrounded me, I saw her eyes again. Blue as the winter’s night in the arctic, the power within the pupils, she put me into a trance. What was she trying to tell me? I did not know and could not ask. My body felt numb as this strange spirit held me tight within her grip. But no pain I felt as I looked deep within the soul of the girl. She felt pain, she felt tired, she felt remorse. What had happened to such a tortured apparition that its only hope was to call out to the living? Was this a little girl or something much more sinister? No anxiety grew as I continued to be struck with her sorrow. Never have I suffered such a specific feeling that was not my own to feel.
The girl with the bright blue eyes had me in her arms and under her spell. No expression lay on her face as she continued to leave me defenseless. A loud sound of shouts and cries came from afar, making my ears ring in pain. I quickly covered my eyes and shut my eyes tightly, only to see she was gone again. But this time, she did not come back. That was the only time I saw the sorrowful girl in the woods, for I refused to return there. Not knowing if she was an angel or sent from Satan himself, I did not want to find out. But to that girl with the bright blue eyes, if she is real and needs closure, I hope you find the peace you need. Whatever is holding you back from crossing over to heaven or hell, I hope the pain you feel is no more.
No one would believe what I saw that day in the woods. But would I dare want to tell anyone at all? It struck deep within me, to see someone suffering so much and all I could do is watch. My pain in my soul seemed to go away as I realized how good I have it compared to one who cannot even breathe or hear their heartbeat. I shall never forget the feeling she pushed onto me. The coldness and abandonment, it is like a rope trying to pull me back to her again. She did not hurt me, but I did not feel safe, and the power she still holds over me gives me the sense that she is not what she seems. There is always more than meets the eye and some things go without being explained. But to be alive is better than to have the answers to that which I cannot explain.
It was the summer of 2013. It was a scorching hot and humid time of the year in Florida. Jimmy was back at what he does best and that is scamming casinos out of money by his natural skill of counting cards. He would dress up all nice and fancy, walk in the place all smug and confident, order one drink, sit at a table, and just win bucket loads of cash. He wouldn’t leave until he had at least a hundred grand in cash. Now Jimmy loved doing this, but he wouldn’t always do it considering no one actually liked it, and it was kind of just unfair. So he only did this when he was out of cash and needed some. After a six hour long gambling session, he got the cash he needed and figured it would last him about six months. He headed back to his place with his cash, but on the way home, he grabbed a McDouble with a large coke. On Jimmy´s long walk home, he saw a homeless man and decided to give him some cash and his food but not his coke because the coke was just his favorite. So when he got home, he immediately plopped down on his couch and turned on the news. The news broadcast said there was a robbery at the south side clinic. The suspect was a white male with red beard, no hair, and he was wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt. Jimmy thought this was quite odd considering this part of Florida seemed really peaceful, and nothing really ever happened. Jimmy didn't really care to watch any more television, so he just switched the channel and watched Nascar and drank his coke. Soon Jimmy had fallen asleep on his couch with coke in one hand and the remote in the other. RING RING RING!! RING RING RING!! Jimmy woke up suddenly to the sound of his phone ringing, so he got up and proceeded to stumble over things until he finally reached the phone.
Jimmy picked up the phone then said, ¨Hello?¨
The unknown caller answered back in a nervous tone saying, ¨Jimmy is this you?¨
Jimmy answered back puzzled, ¨Yeah now who is it?¨
The unknown caller responded, “Jimmy it's, it's me, Jimmy. It's Sarah.”
*Jimmy dropped the phone in shock*
CRASH! Jimmy fell to the floor and passed out from shock!
*Voices from the dangling phone can be heard very muffled.*
Jimmy wakes up to find himself lying on the floor and looking straight at the ceiling. He sits up immediately, thoughts running through his mind like “This can’t be happening. There is no way I ever thought I would hear her voice again.” It's her, really, who repeats in his head over and over. Jimmy walks over to get a drink of water, and he gulps it down quickly. He realizes the phone is still hanging against the wall and tries calling back. Ring Ring Ring! No answer. Ring Ring Ring! No answer. Ring Ring Ring! Again no answer. Jimmy begins losing faith as he sits against the wall in despair. He sheds a tear from his eye and begins to cry, with her being the one he's loved and her being the one he's lost. Jimmy’s done it again. Jimmy is just sitting down with his back against the wall wishing he never let her go. Ring Ring Ring!!
Jimmy jumps up, heart racing, and he picks up the phone and says ¨SARAH!¨
She answers back, “Yeah, Jim, it's me.”
Jimmy and Sarah end up talking for hours, reminiscing on what they had and all the good memories they made. Sarah brings up how she misses him dearly and asks him to come visit her. Jimmy doesn’t skip a beat to say yes, and Sarah tells him that she lives in California now. Jimmy tells her that he will head on out first thing the next morning, and they will meet at Sageway Diner. Jimmy hangs up the phone and gets packed. He packs up his nicest clothes and all of his cash into his rusty old pickup truck that he received as a gift from his father’s will after he died. Jimmy went to the nearest gas station, and you would have sworn he bought the place when he walked out. Jimmy came out of the store with bags full of Slim Jims, Doritos, candy, and all sorts of junk food. While he came out with that, you wouldn’t believe it, but he went back inside for something else. He walked in with nothing and then proceeded to walk out with boxes of Coke O Cola. If you didn't know Jimmy, you would probably assume he would have diabetes, but like Jimmy always says, “Nothing can ever break the big Jimbo.”
So the next morning rolls around, and Jimmy awakes very early as he is very excited to finally see the love of his life once again. Jimmy begins driving his drive all the way to California. Now Jimmy isn’t all great at directions, but Jimmy just says to himself, “I will follow my heart, and that will lead me to her.” Now twenty minutes down the line, he has to stop and ask for a map, which he was going in the complete opposite direction. This didn't stop Jimmy. He started driving once again, and now he was heading to the right place. Jimmy felt on top of the world; he was driving to his Sarah with coke in one hand and the other on the wheel. It was just Jimmy and the open road at this point. Blasting music on his radio was one of Jimmy’s favorite parts of the drive, but Jimmy didn't make it much further out of state with his nearly thirty year old truck. The truck’s engine began smoking as Jimmy was freaking out about it. He jumped out of his truck immediately and lifted the hood. Steam flew up at him, lifting his shirt, fluttering it back, and his hair was blowing in it. Jimmy finally got the steam to go away, and he found out he blew his gasket. He knew from when he was younger and his dad taught him all about cars that this meant that he would need to go to the shop for a few days. Now Jimmy knew he didn't have a few days, so he began to worry until he heard a loud HONK! It was a truck passing by, and the truck pulled over to assist Jimmy with his issue, and the trucker got out and introduced himself as Tom. Now Tom knew exactly what he was getting into when he pulled over. So Tom asked Jimmy if he needed help fixing up his truck. Now Jimmy, desperately needing to get back to driving, immediately accepted. Tom then walked on over to his truck and pulled out a toolbox and grabbed a few tools out while Jimmy stood aimlessly and hopefully. Tom began clicking and clunking, banging and smashing until…. VROOM VROOM!! The truck began running again! Jimmy furiously shook the man's hand saying, “Thank you sir, thank you so much!” repeatedly over and over until Tom said “Okay fellow you better get on your way if you're in such a hurry.”
Jimmy hurried his way back in the truck and drove off while waving back and yelling, “THANK YOU SIR!!” Tom chuckled as Jimmy drove off as he was getting back in his truck. Jimmy kept on driving off until he had reached 3 am and started dozing off at the wheel, so he decided to stop at a motel. When Jimmy arrived at the motel, he knew this wasn't such a great idea, but it was the only one. Jimmy got out of his truck and entered the lobby with just his coke in his right hand. He walked past the old broken up office chairs and stood next to a brown fern that was just screaming for help from the looks of its dangling branches. Jimmy slowly raised his hand over the bell to get someone's attention, but before he rang it, he thought about if it was a decision he would make and would turn out good. Jimmy's next move could have been his last, and he pressed down the bell, and as soon as he hit it, the bell crumbled into a pile of broken metal pieces. Jimmy looked down for one second for a man to somehow appear right in front of him. Jimmy was originally shocked by this but then just thought he didn't realize the guy walked over. Jimmy ordered himself a room which he now to this day regrets. He walked to his room with a gut feeling telling him not to. He put the key in the hole and turned, and as he opened the door, it screeched open, and he flipped the switch on. Jimmy's jaw dropped, and the keys fell from his hand. He took one look around and saw the wallpaper peeling off the wall, the bed unmade, cockroaches, in the bathtub, something red on the walls, the tv bashed in, and to sum it all up there was a six foot long trash bag with something in it that he didn't know exactly what but had a good idea. Jimmy hurried out and got in his truck and just drove off, trying to process what he just saw. He kept driving until he needed gas and went to sleep in the parking lot. Jimmy awoke the next morning and checked his map to find out he was right outside California, and he must have not realized how much he drove the previous night. He looked through the map to see where Sageway Diner was and it was only an hour and a half away. Jimmy's mood was enlightened from this information, and he began to drive once again but this time with no troubles. Jimmy pulled into the diner’s parking lot, and he saw a beautiful woman sitting in there all alone, yet she had changed so much he recognized her like a red zit on a pale face. His eyes began to glow like never before, while Jimmy opened the diner’s door, his palms began sweating, his heart began beating like a drum, his legs began to wobble. Jimmy approached the woman and tapped on her shoulder.
“Sarah? Is it you? Is it actually you, Sarah?”
*The woman turned around slowly and with a big greeting smile.*
She looked toward him and said, “Jimbo, how long it's been. At last, we meet again.”
Jimmy plopped down next to Sarah, and they began chatting and chatting like they had used to, like nothing had ever happened, like they were still what they once were. Jimmy began asking about where she lived now and how she'd been doing. She told him all about her new life and how she lived with her sister. So after Jimmy and Sarah finally took a breath they look and realized it was already night time, and Jimmy had no place to stay. Now Jimmy told Sarah that he could just sleep in his truck. It was fine, but he secretly hoped she would make him go stay at her house for the night or a few days. As Jimmy was explaining to Sarah about his sleeping in the truck, Sarah grabs his lips closed.
She said, “Jimmy, you are not going to be sleeping in such a truck! I must take you home with me, and you may stay in a warm home and get a shower if you must.”
Jimmy accepted, and in his head he was really happy because he got to spend more time with Sarah. So Jimmy and Sarah headed on out of the diner, and she showed him around while they drove home. Jimmy had a big grin on his face the entire time he was with her, and he could never truly be happier. Jimmy and Sarah finally arrived at her house, which is magnificent with the metal fence gate, big open doors, grand archway, and the brick foundation. Jimmy was astonished to see how well she was living. Jimmy walked inside and was directed to where he would be able to sleep and shower. Jimmy thanked Sarah multiple times for everything she had done for him, and she just grinned at him every time. For now that Sarah had shown him around, she went off to go to bed, and Jimmy was just sitting on the bed as he decided to go and shower. Jimmy finished up his shower and headed to bed but couldn't seem to fall asleep as he was lying in bed just staring at the ceiling above wondering about why something about Sarah had been off, and behind every smile, grin, or laugh, there was a bit of sadness. Jimmy brushed it off, thinking he had just been overthinking due to the whole hotel incident. Finally he was able to fall fast asleep. Jimmy woke up quite early the next morning before everyone else and began cooking breakfast for Sarah and her sister to thank them for what they had done for him. Jimmy had one last thing before he could perfect his breakfast, and that was flowers, one of the few things to a woman's heart. He remembered the fact that she liked roses, and he went in and said good morning from outside of Sarah's door, and he left a note for Sarah in case she woke up. Jimmy had woken up Sarah's sister to ask for instructions to a flower shop nearby, and she told him there was one right down the street. Jimmy thanked her, but before he was able to leave the room, she told him that she would go and keep Sarah in her room while he went out to fetch her some roses. Jimmy thanked her so very much and ran outside to go to the flower shop. While Jimmy was walking to the flower shop, he admired the beautiful houses in Sarah's neighborhood. He thought about maybe having a house like one of these soon in the future. He thought about how happy he was to finally be with Sarah again and how she was his happiness and joy, how she is the only one for him. He thought about how perfect she was, from the way she loved, touched, looked, felt, and how she made him feel. She made him feel as if he was the only one ever to be alive, she made his heart warm just when she walked in the room, and after all the years of knowing her, he still got butterflies when she said his name. Jimmy got lost in his thoughts and almost passed up the flower shop. Jimmy walked in the store. RING! The bell rang from the door, and the scent of fresh flowers filled his nose as he walked further into the flower shop. Jimmy saw in the back of the shop bright red flowers and knew they were perfect, so he walked back and smelled them, but as he did, he heard sirens of an ambulance. Jimmy thought about its being peculiar but didn’t think much more of it. He bought the flowers and left the store and headed back to the house to go and put them away for breakfast. He finished up and went to go get Sarah to surprise her. To his surprise, she wasn’t home; no one was. Jimmy sat down and tried to think where she would be but couldn't…. Ring Ring RING!!! Jimmy picked up the phone, and it was Sarah's sister. She said, “Jimmy, it's Sarah. She isn't okay. You need to come here quickly!” Jimmy wasted no time and rushed to the hospital to see Sarah lying in a hospital bed. Jimmy walked in slowly and saw Sarah’s sister crying on Sarah's stomach. Jimmy walked closer and asked what was wrong and why she was there and what happened. Sarah explained to him that she had cancer and wouldn’t live any longer than a week. She began telling him that she had known for months but asked him to come out because he was the last person she wanted to see.
Jimmy had a tear run down his cheek as he kissed her head and said, “We can get through this, Sarah. It doesn't end like this. We can beat this. We can! Come on, Sarah. Don't give up, not, not on me please, Sarah.”
Sarah responded, “Jimbo, I have always loved your positive attitude to things.” Jimmy just dropped his head on Sarah to hold him.
Jimmy went to sit in the chair next to Sarah and got comfortable going to sleep now that Sarah has gone to bed. Jimmy had a lot of trouble tonight going to rest but, he finally is able to get his eyes closed. BZZZZZZZ BZZZZZZZ!!!!! Sarah's life machine began buzzing loudly. Jimmy got up immediately and began screaming for a doctor! Doctors came rushing in trying to save Sarah as Jimmy was being pushed out of the room. He fell to his knees and began sobbing uncontrollably, realizing the truth: that Sarah was gone. Jimmy realized now there was something that could break big old Jimbo.
Amaya Eddings, Grade 9
One day on a cold, scary night, an evil father (a wizard) and a white witch of a mother (good witch) were waking up their children quickly. Before their mother woke them up, she put her magic on them along with their dad's black magic. ¨No witch will ever touch you my sweet lady bug,¨ the sad mother said while waking them both up. The two parents, hiding dark secrets, set their children off on their own on the side of the road and went back home only to be greeted by angry citizens. They burned them to death.
The confused kids were so scared in the dark night. Don't get them started on how paranoid they are about witches. Yes, Gretal was a white witch but, she didn’t know anything. She was yay big. Hansel knew how to build, though. His father’s lessons helped him. They built a little house, and Gretal somehow made candy appear and put it around the wood to make their house. They soon knew they had to stay safe, so they taught themselves some fighting skills. They also made their own weapons, ones that could kill witches too. One day they came across an ugly little house covered with moss. So they thought what better plan than to explore it to see what we can get as supplies. At this point they were basically cavemen hunting for their own food.
At such an old age, they learned how to talk better, fight, read, use their brains, and more! They walked into the house only to be grabbed by a witch who knows how to do black magic. She tried popping and zapping them, but it didn't work. They defeated her of course. Looking around they found a book on anything that could be supernatural. They read about ogres, witches, wizards, and paranormal creatures… Hansel stopped upon a beautiful jewel that read ¨The life of the white witch.¨ After reading it, they found out that after the humans killed their parents, the witches trapped their souls, and they could be let out by another white witch.
Sounded great for Hansel, but Gretal still wasn't good at magic, so her brother went out and tried to teach her. Trying to make her sad, happy, mad and more didn't work.
¨C'mon, G, you got this. Just try again,¨ he said, trying to encourage her. But she gave up and went inside. Months later they set out fighting creatures, getting hurt, and almost dying. They got back up and fought for them and their family. Oh I forgot to mention there is the most powerful black magic witch that watches over the gem. Because of the fact the two witches don't get along, she hated her, so she would cover it until the day she died. They fought more and more every hour of the day for eight years. They would lose each other, find each other, almost die, cry, laugh. They finally made it up to the castle and ran straight through killing everyone and ANYONE in their way. They finally walked up to the door of where the jewel was located. They both ran in and basically told her to hand it over. She wouldn't of course, so they fought to the death. She almost killed Hansel, and then Hansel saw his sister in trouble and glowed and all of a sudden got a wand and beat that witch to the ground.
The dying witch said, ¨Do you realize that this is a black witch only zone… the only way you would have gotten in is if you walked with.. A.. a. Black magic.. Wiizard..¨ Gretal was confused. Then she looked up at Hansel with his head down, not making eye contact. ¨So you lied to me Hans ?? You do have magic,¨ Hansel said in sadness because his sister lied. The witch said in her last breath, ¨Did he tell you the white witch has to die in order for them to come back.¨ Hansel dropped to her knees and started crying in confusion because they know that's not what they told her, and that's not what he told her. She got up and started waving her wand at the jewel as it was glowing. ¨G, stop please. I know what to do.¨ It was too late. She had already done it. As she dropped down, she looked at her brother and saw something behind him. ¨Hansel WATCH!¨
“The Friend in an Enemy”
Hello all. I would like you to meet my friend, Coronavirus. Don’t be scared or worried as I am not your enemy, but your friend. I may come visit you, or I may stay away, but I am always around. I came so unexpectedly to change all of your lives in a flash. I am not of your doom, but of your motivation. I thought you needed a break from life, sadness, stress, and more anxiety, so here I am my friend.
You are not getting ready for prom, graduation, a wedding? Well I will take that away from you along with everything else. But don’t cry, I am just being nice. I will take away the rest of your school year and make you struggle learning at home. I will make you bored out of your mind, and I will keep you from your friends and family. But that’s only because I want to be your only worry.
I will take away your freedom. You must stay in the house unless I say you need to go to the store. If you go to the store, you must wear a mask and gloves, wipe your cart down, and stay six feet apart from everyone else. It’s fairly easy if you just listen to me, but if you don’t, there is a chance that I will come visit. If you are hungry, you must cook at home or go pick up food at a restaurant. Do not think you can sit down and enjoy a meal with people you do not live with in a restaurant. I have closed off all stores and non-essential businesses, so the chance of your seeing me slims down a bit. I have canceled going to school all year because that’s what you always said you wanted, right? I am only taking these things away from you because I care.
Are you currently unemployed and struggling with money? Calm down; I love you. You always hated waking up and going to work all day, so I wanted to help. Why are you getting so frustrated with me and hating me? I was just trying to be your friend. I am new; I have no friends. I thought I was doing you a favor by not letting you go to the nail salon, get your hair cut, or get a tan. I wanted to show you the real beauty you have. I want you to take a break from your busy life and spend time with your family. I do not understand all the issues here.
I took you away from your friends because I wanted to be your only friend. You cannot see them or hang out with them anymore. But that’s not stopping you from talking to them on your phone all day. Just notice me. I am trying to help. I took away your Easter; it was only out of my heart filled soul that I did that. I didn’t want you to see your family. I did not want you to be happy because you stopped noticing me.
One day I will go away, and when I do, everything will go back to normal. You can live your daily lives as you once did. You can see your friends and family, go eat out, go places, have fun, and do everything you love. I never meant to hurt you or cause you pain. I came to find friends. Thank you to the friends who let me visit and that I took away. Thank you to those who did not want to be my friend and stayed away from me. But mostly, thank you Earth for allowing me to come in and take over your world. I will go away, and I am sorry. I am not the evil that meant to hurt you, but the evil that wanted to slow you down and show you how much you take for granted.
Esteban Zamora Montoya, Grade 10
Summer was looking at the people praying at the church. She recognized most of the faces in the small crowd, but someone caught her eye, a man with dirty blonde hair with a tired expression on his face. But what interested her most was that he was in a wheelchair. She didn't know anyone with injuries that would need a wheelchair to move, so she approached the man.
“Hello,” she said. This didn’t seem to get his attention. He was staring intently at the statue of “Ahni” on the podium of the church. “Hello,” she repeated. This time it seemed to get his attention. “W-what’s your name sir?” He stared at her, his gaze made her slightly uncomfortable.
“Isn't it disrespectful to ask a stranger’s name without saying your own?” he said.
“...y-yes” Summer responded. “My name is Su-Summer.”
“Just Summer?” he asked. His eyes flashed with interest.
“So... what is your name sir?”
“My name is Adam Rose.”
“Call me Adam.”
“A-are you by any chance in the Military?”
“Why would you care?” he asked.
“I saw someone I thought looked In-interesting.”
“Very honest, aren’t you?”
“Um.. yes, so, are you in the military?” Summer asked.
“Well I was retired due to my injuries.” She looked at his missing leg. What would need to happen to have a missing leg, she thought. “Are you interested in the military by any chance?”
“No not exactly, I just wanted to ask…”
“Ask what?” he said.
“I wanted to ask why would you enter the army if you run the risk of being injured like that?”
He looked at her. “That is not all, is it?” She was surprised. “There is something else in your mind that is troubling you?”
“Why do you fight for this country?”
“Why fight? Well, for the people… how old are you?” he asked.
He deflected my question, she thought. “I am fourteen.”
“Are you familiar with the story of the Mistran Empire?” he asked.
“Yes, I am,” she answered.
“So tell me, how did the empire collapse?”
Where is he going with this? “Well, by the power of Ahni, he and his daughters gave their faith to the Torian people, and with Ahni by their side, they toppled the Mistran empire.” He stared at her
“That is what the church taught you,” he responded.
“What.. what do you mean by that?” Is that not why the empire collapsed she thought.
“You know, you seem to trust a lot, people you just met.”
“Hey!” she responded.
“It seems very late, don’t you think? I think it's time to go home.”
“Well, good bye,” he said as he left the church
“You didn’t answer my question,” she said as she left the church.
“I’ll tell you some other day. I don’t want to anger my wife for being late home,” he answered back.
“Summer” she hears from inside the church. “I'm on my way” she shouted back. She looked back; he was already gone.
A few days had passed. Summer was outside the church. She was walking in the city park when she saw Adam sitting on a bench. She approached him. “Hi,” she said. He looked back.
“Hello, Summer,” he said back. She sat next to him.
“So tell me. What did you mean by ‘that is what the church taught you?’” He looked at her.
“Wow, straight to the point. You really want to know, don’t you?”
“Yes,” she answered back.
“Tell me what do you see in front of you?” he asked, as she looked to the city of Auroria.
“I see the city” she answered back.
“You have to be more specific.”
“I see the city of Auroria,” she answered.
He snorted, “Well, where you see a city, I see my brothers and sisters, the Torian people. So, your question, the Mistran Empire fell not because of the power of Ahni or some other god. It was us, our people, who united to topple the empire. I follow the belief that the way to unite a group of people is that there is a threat that will be so insurmountable and dangerous that people put aside their differences and hate and unite to face that threat, a common enemy between them.” he said. “The empire was already falling apart long before the Torians toppled them, the reason why they fell was their own Civil War. Their own conflict gave us the opportunity to dethrone them, and I am afraid that this time, it will be the Fall of the Torian Empire if this Civil war continues” he finished.
Summer looked at him and said, “I hope someone comes, you know?” He looked confused. “Someone that guides our people, and ends this war,” she continued “Like you said, so that our country does not fall apart like the Mistrans did.”
He smiled at her “Yeah ..I hope so too. Kid.” he said “Summer? Why were you at the church?” he asked, already knowing the answer.
“Well..I..I am an orphan.”
“There are many like you recently,” he responded, “but I can tell that you are very special. I think my wife would like to meet you,” Adam finished.
“R-really?” Summer asked.
“Yeah, she really likes kids.” Adam turned around his wheelchair and strolled back to the city. “See you tomorrow Summer,” he said as he left.
Summer was woken up by the caretaker of the orphans in the church. “Summer, I have very good news for you!” she exclaimed happily.
“What… what is it?” Summer said as she asked grogly.
“A couple wants to adopt you!” Summer took a few seconds to process the information. “Re-really?” she asked.
“Yes. They are waiting for you at the doors of the church.”
Summer left her room to see who would be her new parents. At the door she found Adam with a woman she never met before. “A-Adam?” she said. “Are you the one who is adopting me?” He looked back at her.
“Not just me, my wife here as well.” The woman next to Adam approached Summer and got lower so their faces would be eye to eye.
“Hello Summer, Adam has told me about you. I hope that you will be able to call me Mom soon.” Summer was teary eyed. She came closer to her and hugged her.
“What is your name?” Summer asked.
“My name, my name is Lilia Rose,” she answered, “but you can call me Mom.”
“Thank you, mom,” Summer replied. She looked to her right. “Dad?” she hesitantly said. “Yeah, kid, you can call me dad.” She walked up to him and hugged him as well. “I can see waterfalls, Summer,” he said jokingly. “Come on Summer, let's go home.” Summer held her new mother and father’s hands as she walked to her new home.
Dylan Wilson, Grade 10
I sit alone, crammed with the rest of the unused books, remembering times when I was picked up and used almost every day. That hasn’t been for years though. Now all it seems I do is collect dust. I wait and wait for somebody to check me out, but I’ve lost hope in that. Ever since I saw the first computer installed here, I was being picked up less and less. Then once I saw a cell phone for the first time, I don’t think I’ve been picked up since. Less and less people come in every time. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen a person besides the librarian. That was until I heard footsteps approaching. My mind was racing, wondering if I could finally get the rush of being checked out one last time. A hand began to grab me. I can not see who it is though. Whoever it is has to be carrying me to the front desk. I know this is my time; I had to be getting checked out. Then the hand began dropping me on what I knew had to be the front desk. My pages, fluttering through the air, as I noticed the fall seemed longer than I remembered. I hit the surface with a loud bang on what sounds like metal. I’m not too sure I know where I am. This seems nothing like the desk though. All I see is a large black bag around me with a few candy wrappers and empty drinks in it. I look up to see the librarian standing over whatever I am in. She walks away and shuts off the lights. I hear the sound of a door being locked. I then get a sick feeling throughout me as I realize where I have been placed.
Kylee Fisher, Grade 9
The day started as any other as I sleepily dragged my feet along the wooden floors in my bedroom, highly dreading another day of hiding myself from the world. They wouldn’t understand me for who I am. They would turn away and turn me into a science experiment or a carnival freakshow. The only person who knows of my alien origins is my friend, Steve Wiggles, and the only reason he knows is because while we were hanging, out my head fell off. Well my fake head is my human mask that shielded my origins from the world. Luckily for me, Steve took it well, of course. I did have to convince him I didn't have superpowers. However, to the rest of the world, I'm a twenty two-year-old human with a dead end job of waiting tables at Applebees, whose only real friend is a man named Steve who chugs nacho cheese at every party he goes to. However, I don't hate my life. I just wish I had someone special to share it with.
Though, I do not miss days like these when I have to wake up early just to hide in a face and serve meals with a smile. The worst part is my boss, Walter Bue, who is a crinkly old man whose life is held together by cigarettes and money. The only reason he keeps me around is because I work for cheap and am too scared to ask questions. Everyday I say the same thing to myself, acting as if I'm actually going to stand up to him and ask for a raise. He and I would both know how scared I'd be just from how much I'd be shaking in my shoes. But the day begins as I unlock the restaurant doors for lunch service, as the last known dinosaur comes racing in behind me, immediately complaining about my very presence with a slight huff and curses under his breath. I'm surprised this place is still open with how he runs it and how he acts toward people who come for a good time. Whenever a customer complains, it's their fault not his. He simply passes them all off with a simple “If they don't like the food they shouldn't have ordered it,” which to many customers is not a valid excuse and causes them to never come back, making our business mostly vacant. However, on this cold Tuesday night, a couple sits at one of the booth tables, and luckily I get to serve them.
I mope over to the table only to perk up with a smile as I get into their eyeline as they look at me cheerily and order their food. I thank them for coming to our restaurant and offer them the Valentine menu that we use on couples on dates.After I walk away, I hear them continue on talking and giggling about feelings. Ew. Feelings, they are pointless. Why waste time on someone else who isn't bettering your income or work experience or anything of the sort? I mean, no, I've never tried it, but why would I? All that they would ever do when they found out the truth is run and leave me alone all by myself, and if that's what they'll do, then I should just stay alone and skip the heartbreak. I brought them their food and served it with a smile, if you could even call it that, and as I sat the food down, the man motioned to me and whispered that he's gonna need a cake. I nodded and walked off to the kitchen confused. Why would he whisper it? Why did he hide it? Did he not want to share with her what was happening? But nonetheless I pinned his order, and as I walked out with it, I saw him kneel down in front of her as she began to cry of joy. She nodded yes and leaped into his arms. I dropped the cake and walked away quickly with a look of annoyance on my boss's face as I walked by. I then realized what I did and went to the back to change out of my uniform and collect my things, knowing I was fired. I had messed up before but never this drastically, and I knew I was a goner.
“What was that?” Walter grunted as he stormed into the room as I was nearly done cleaning out my locker; however, I ignored his interrogation and continued. That was until he yanked me by my shirt and angrily shouted with his breath hitting my face, the smell of alcohol making me nauseous. “Listen here, you bumbling idiot! That was supposed to be special for them, and ya´ botched it, and you’re right to pack ya´ things cause YOU ARE FIRED!” He stormed out, slamming the door behind him as I continued on my way groggily walking to my car flopping down on my horn with my head, scaring the alley cats in the process.
After I finished reciting my day to my friend Steve, leaving out the lonely feelings and saying I tripped with the cake instead of dropping it, he proceeded to blabber on about his crappy job and how we as people deserve better. However, he paused after saying “people” and glanced up at me with a worried expression. I presume because he hoped he didn't offend me. It didn't; I’m glad that his brain subconsciously thinks I'm human. It makes me feel a bit more normal especially because I can trust him with my secret, but I would never trust him with my deep secret of loneliness. What does it matter that I'm lonely? There's nothing he can do about it, so why go around moping? Nonetheless, I noticed him acting oddly and looking at my question. I couldn't figure out why, but either way, I just looked away and watched the soccer game. Then I heard him let out a gasp. I quickly shot my head in his direction as he began to talk.
“You didn't trip. I know you're not clumsy. You dropped that plate. Hmmm. Why? Tell me. I know there's a reason, so tell me!” he exclaimed as if he were a teenage girl about to receive gossip.
“I have no idea what you're talking about” was all I said in a calm voice; however, inside I was shaking with nervousness. “Aha! I know now you were jealous,” he said but in a sing song voice, mocking me.
“Now you’re being dumb. Why would I be jealous of a stranger?” I grumbled while turning away again.
“You’re lonely. Aww have you been watching Titanic too much, poor thing?” he blabbered on in a baby voice again, mocking me; however, I was too upset to care, so I lashed out at him. I felt bad after making him leave, but I didn't want to deal with it. I had to focus on getting a new job, but first I needed sleep. After making a simple dinner of macaroni and cheese, I went off to bed, wishing I could stay in my dreams forever, but sadly, I still awoke to the lawnmower of my neighbor whom I loathed in every way.
I walked out onto my lawn in my suit and tie, ready for an interview, before my neighbor, Mary Dootle, the most loud and obnoxious neighbor anyone could ever ask for, could say anything. I mean she was nice and all, but does she have to mow her lawn at 2 am or play loud country music at night? The other neighbors noticed it as soon as she moved in about a year ago, but she is very different and is a N.A.S.A scientist which is scary because I don't want her to blow my cover. However, I feel like she is always sneaking up on me in the creepiest way possible. She's been acting a bit different around me, specifically lately, and just being more nice and helpful, which I appreciate, but I still wonder why I'm nervous that she's a spy assigned by the government to track me and kidnap me. Then I see her trip over garden tools and second guess my superstitions. She hasn't approached me yet, but I can feel her breath on my neck as I walk to my car. “Howdy stranger!” she shouts over my shoulder, making me flinch in return as I give her a subtle hello. “Where ya heading dressed in your sunday's best? Must be important.” I sigh in response and speak quietly.
“I'm going to an interview, so if you'll excuse me, I’m gonna be late.” She looked confused at first but shrugged and gave me a cheerful wave goodbye; however, she then stopped in her tracks and spun back around handing me a paper invitation to a party.
“It's gonna be fun,” she said, while skipping away from me. I quickly looked over it before tossing it in my car as I prepared to drive. I had stayed up working on my new resume, and I had pushed myself away from food and waiting tables. I want a real job. However, getting one is harder than it seems, as all three of my interviews came up short and I was exhausted. As I went to leave my car to lug my feet home, I saw the bright invitation and realized how loud it would be. I sigh at the thought of another sleepless night as I walked up to her door hoping she would listen and keep the music down; however no music was heard, and the party supposedly started an hour ago. I heard a faint cry muffled by the door. I knocked lowly and asked if she was all right, and I heard shuffling around inside, but before I could question it, the door was pulled open. A huge smile was on her face as she dragged me into her surprisingly organized house, pushing me into the living room. “Tadaaa!” she shouted enthusiastically; however, even me, a guy who hates parties, had never seen such a sad one.
“Where is everyone else?” Her smile faded as she peered down
“They, uh, didn't come.”
I realized why she was upset now. She was like me, lonely. But her face perked up in a smile as she grabbed a bag of chips and plopped down on the couch
“But, hey, more food for us right?”
I giggled at her cheery tone as I sat down next to her as she put on a comedy movie. I hate to admit it, but she was a lot less annoying once you got to know her. And as the months went by, I realized that I liked having her around, and I trusted her, but I also had a small feeling of a tug in my stomach when I saw her smile. I had no idea what this meant. I had never felt it before, so I went to the only man who knew anything about anything. “DAVE,” I shouted as I barged into his door.
“Agh, jeez knock next time! I could have been naked,” ḧe said jokingly.
“Yea, yea, whatever. I need your help,” I proclaimed worriedly. But after an hour of explaining and him making jokes, he said words I never thought would be used about me.
“You’re in love!” he teased.
“Hmm. Well that's what the clues are pointing to. Wow! Who would've guessed you'd be a helpless romantic?”
I was shaking in my shoes at the realizaition, nervous about how she might react to me. Confusing, but I knew I had to do it, so with all the courage of a shrimp, I walked to her door and timidly knocked. She swung the door open with a smile, but her face dropped. It was then that I realized I wasn't in a human disguise. “What have I done? What will she say? She’s gonna hate me.” My heart had dropped to my knees, and I swallowed a lump in my throat as I mentally shunned myself for making such an idiot mistake. I quickly spun around and began to run. ¨
“Ricky?” she timidly said. I froze, and my head dropped down. She timidly reached out to hold my face. I looked up to see her smile reassuringly as she pulled me into a hug. It was then and only then that I felt truly loved and exempted.
A woman in her sixties, who could be quite compassionate, ran for president. Her name was Michelle Nikki. She didn't want to be lonely anymore, so she had the opportunity to meet new people while putting up her campaign signs. A young woman in her late 30s came up to her, who was very charming, and that girl was Nicole Jeffries. They thought they had never met before until they kept running into each other. Nicole knew who she was, but Michelle didn't. Nicole was Michelle's daughter before cops took Nicole away from Michelle. Why, you ask? Michelle was young, and her boyfriend at the time was on drugs and didn't have a job. Nicole searched for her birth mom till she was able to get out of foster care. She knew if she told Michelle before her big day, Michelle wouldn't want to run. They became good friends and bonded over dinner. Nicole actually stayed with Michelle for a few days. But something changed when they woke up to all the doors open, dressers gone through, Michelle's jewelry gone. She woke up and saw Nicole sleeping on the couch and didn't think anything of it. They lived in a gated community, so nobody could get in without a keycard. So it had to be Nicole. Nicole said “We have to talk after we figure out who did this.”
Michelle then went on and said “I think you did this. You knew where I lived and kept running into me. Why?”
Nicole went on and said, “You're my mother.”
Michelle said, “No, I’m not. You don't even look like me.”
Nicole said, “Because I look like my dad. I have pictures of me and you before the cops and child protection service took me. Here, look.”
“Oh my god! It really is you, Nicole. My last name is Nikki, so that's how you got your first name, but you have your dad’s last name.” Michelle then goes on to ask, “Why didn't you tell me this before?
Nicole then said, “Because I didn't want to ruin your big moment.”
Michelle said “Aww, honey! You wouldn't have. I would have wanted to go through this with my daughter.”
A few days passed before the big election. The winner’s name was in the envelope. Michelle Nikki was the winner. Michelle and Nicole moved in together and lived happily ever after.
“How are you today?”
Elizabeth Purnell, Grade 12 (19-20)
Well I woke up late and didn’t have time to eat breakfast. I jumped into the shower and let the water rinse over my body for no more than two minutes and decided it was sufficient enough to leave. I waved down my neighbor just as he was pulling out of his driveway to leave for school. So would the appropriate answer be hungry or hurried?
But when I finally arrived at school my friend offered me a bite of her pop-tart. I was hungry, so I ate the whole thing. She got mad, and she took back the wrapper, called me a non-repeatable name, crumbled it, and threw it back into my face. I ran to the bathroom and cried for
the remainder of the period. So would the appropriate answer be selfish or sensitive? I proceeded to spend two periods in a row staring at my test on my desk waiting for the formulas to hit me right in the face. They never did. I turned in my test, eventually, after settling and
circling C for the five questions stacked on top of each other (because one of them has to be C, right?). I walked into the lunchroom to find my friends talking and laughing about a show I’ve never watched. I continued to sit there unacknowledged. So would the appropriate answer be obtuse or obsolete?
As I stare into the eyes of my inquirer, I continue to ask myself these questions. It feels hot in here. Maybe I should just fake an illness; make up an excuse as to why I must leave immediately. If I nod my head and walk away, the assumption would be I just misunderstood. Should I just say that right now I’m feeling incredibly anxious? Perhaps I can act as if someone has just called my name and saved me from this painful, agonizing experience. I conjure up my best smile, suck in all the air in the room, and set my gaze as I open my mouth. “I’m all right. How ‘bout yourself?”
"The Letter of Life"
Lauren Royesky, Grade 11 (19-20)
Dear whoever found this,
Friendship comes out of the most unexpected places. A bond so strong that you will never forget the good times no matter how hard you try. But this story is not about those times we wish we could go back to. This is about a group of friends who were known by no one, yet they went through something none of them wish to speak about. The group of friends had dealt with what would be the worst thing they would have ever experienced. But to this day no one knows what really happened. Each of the remaining friends would tell different stories, all of them farther and farther from the truth. Watching their friends be ripped away from them, seeing life leave their eyes; they knew that they had to stick together. That is why I am writing this; the therapist said it would help me cope with the pain. What happened to my friends is something you would not believe, something that made me break and not know what is real. The pain is hard, but the night terrors are worse. Guilt can kill you, it has been eating at my insides slowly since that night in the grass. But you never know when it will be the last moment you share with that special person. I never used to believe in that advice, until it was too late. So if you are reading this, I pose a request. If you have anyone in your life that you love with all your heart, call them, be with them, don't make mistakes you wish you can go back on later. Because you only have so much time on this earth, and you need to make the most of what you have with the people surrounding you. Because only then, will you truly feel complete. Life is a gift that can’t be taken for granted; you only get one shot to make an impact on the world. Make the most of your remaining days, and don’t regret a thing. Be able to sit down when you’re older and think to yourself “Oh what a life it was.” It’s the life I wish I had. Years have gone by without my even knowing that time was ticking, that my time was short. This letter is to remind those who are making the same mistakes I once did. I hope it made you realize a few things. Live, love, experience the great beyond. Go out and be the best version of you.
I wish you well,
You’re my nameless reminder of life,
Lily never had good intentions about anything. Well these intentions were the worst that could ever be. She had a surprise for Emma, but not the one she would expect. Emma had arrived at Lily´s and something seemed off. Her door was wide open, all her lights were off, and no sound was coming from the house. Emma carried on with much caution; she called Cole before leaving her car and told him to stay on the phone no matter what. Cole was so confused that he got in his car and started to drive to Lily´s.
On his way he heard whispering; then a came a sudden scream. His tires streaked the road as he came to a sudden stop. He was so concerned he screamed into the phone. "EMMA, EMMA, EMMA, are you okay? Please tell me you are okay!" Nothing replied except the loneliness of the phone. "Emma, Emma?" he asked again, still no reply. As he sped off, he heard something come from the phone. It was so quiet even a mouse could not hear it. He was able to make out a few words. "Now you will pay." Such fear consumed his face as he pulled into the driveway at Lily´s house.
He ran and ran until he couldn't run anymore. Just before he reached the wide-open door, he fell to his knees. His eyes had seen the worst, for his girlfriend lay there lifeless. His heart sank to his stomach. He felt as if his soul were being drained from him. His worst nightmare had come true, not being able to live without Emma. His eyes had created a river down his face, to the point that he could not see. Cole had moved to Emma cradling her head in his arms, apologizing for not coming sooner, not coming as soon as she called, and being sorry for thinking this was even a good idea.
"Look at Me" (19-20)
I am always nervous about leaving my door open at night. I constantly picture a woman with her face misshapen and a narrow body in the middle of my room. Then I open my eyes and realize she is not there. My rocking chair occasionally rocks, and I can picture her there sitting smiling at me with her narrow eyes that are deep in her skull and her teeth with blood stained on them. Her deep voice sounding like she is engulfed in water, drowning, repeating the words "Look at me." I never look at her straight in the face, only from the corner of my eye. Once I close them and open them she is gone. I sit up right in my bed and hear the whispers commence through my room. "Look at me." I do not look up and repeat to myself it is not real. I see her silhouette, her long nails running through her dark rich brown hair, After I hear the footsteps stumble away and close the door behind me, I opened my eyes. I realize that my door never closed, and my eyes lock with hers.
"Wanting to Forget"
Veronica Shields, Grade 10 (19-20)
It was just a dream. I keep telling myself this. I'm wanting to believe what I'm telling myself, but in reality it wasn’t, at all. I'm clutching my chest. The waves of pain are subsiding. My heavy breathing softens, and my pounding heart calms itself. I feel like I want to start crying. The tears well up, but they don’t fall. It hurts remembering something so painful. It feels like you’re living through it all over again. I felt exactly that. That day, that horrible day. I want to forget, I really do, but every time I close my eyes, the images, thoughts, feelings, they all flow repeatedly through my head. I remember it all, so, so clearly. My dad, two brothers and I were all going for a ride up the mountains. It was such a beautiful day. I remember the bright, baby blue sky, and the soft, white, fluffy clouds floating above. Laughter filled the car as we were all excited to reach our destination, and that excitement turned into a shock wave of terror. The car had come to a red light, and the beautiful day had become dark and full of heavy, grey clouds. The sound of the thunder came crashing down, and I shivered. Thunder had always scared me. I looked out the window; droplets of water covered it. Even so, I could still make out the giant bolt of lightning that had struck down in an instant. The light turned green, and the car started moving again. Before we even reached halfway across the road, another car came hustling in. I felt like I was riding a roller coaster. When I opened my eyes, glass and blood were all that I could see. I tried my best to look to my left. I was looking at my little brother. He looked as if he were in such a peaceful sleep. I then became more cognizant of my surroundings. Flashing lights were moving around; I heard voices, some sounded concerned, others were more frightened and panicked. I then lost consciousness. I woke up in the hospital. My room was empty, and the only thing I could see or hear was the news playing on the television. I saw my father’s car flipped over. All the windows were busted, and there was a huge impact mark on the left side. That’s where we got hit. The news lady was talking about a devastating crash. Upon hearing those words, I knew. I knew I had lost somebody. But it wasn’t just anybody I lost; it was everyone. I was the only survivor. I was all alone. Why? Why couldn't I have left this world with them? I repeatedly thought that. I had gotten over those thoughts after several months of therapy, but no matter how much therapy I receive, or what I do to distract myself, I will always remember that day. Reliving it constantly. All I want to do is forget. Maybe someday I will. I’m waiting for that day to approach, but for now all I can do is remember.
Haile Rapano, Grade 10 (19-20)
It comes softly at first. Just a small reminder, a warning. Each drop gently caresses down my face as I stare up into the dark, dismal abyss. My breaths are slow. Relaxed.
It’s no sooner that the shower becomes a downpour. The streets are full of streams rushing to get to storm drains. The current has soaked through my jeans, my knees grinding into the concrete. I am stained, tainted with that icy liquid. My nose and mouth are starting to fill, but I don’t look down to rid myself of it. I stay, staring into the grey. I breathe in. I will myself not to cough. I deserve the pain.
The cycle continues; my guilt drowning me more than the currents of the storm. I wish I could die here as the rest of them will.
A warmth on my shoulder snaps me out of my episode.
I say nothing as I rise from my position. The warmth instantly disappears. The air is tense. I know it’s my doing. I tense.
“The seas rise and people drown. I’ve created, and I destroy. I am life and death, their past, present, and future. I am their everything. Yet, I betray them when they need me most.”
The presence instantly disappears. I shake my head.
I am supreme.
…But at what cost?
Nobody likes going to the dentist even if it’s just for a simple cleaning. Kaleigh knew eventually that she would run out of excuses to get out of going to get braces. She’d always been afraid of going to any type of dentist, and recently she learned that the person who invented the electric chair was a dentist. What a coincidence, right? Dentists can do anything while you’re lying there, oblivious to how they’re poking and stabbing your mouth. Kaleigh really didn’t want to go, but she had to. She was lying there, and it never felt right when she walked in, but today something was weirder than usual. Everyone who worked in the office was wearing dark glasses blocking their eyes. “We’re going to numb both your sides, okay?” the doctor said. Numb her mouth? For braces? She noticed everyone was getting large needles stabbed in their cheeks to numb them. When she couldn’t fill her mouth anymore, she saw all the tools the nurses brought in next to them. Sharp knives and drills. The doctor began drilling and cutting into her mouth. She could feel some kind of liquid building up in the back of her mouth, something that tasted like metal. Kaleigh couldn’t breathe past the liquid and started choking. The liquid was being spit out her mouth as she coughed, and it was everywhere. Red. Blood. Kaleigh jumped off the chair she was lying in. All the other kids weren’t moving. She was covered in blood. Backing up slowly, she needed to think of a plan fast. Of course, the only thing she could think was to run. So she did. Out into the waiting room. “RUN! GET OUT!”, she yelled at the families as best as she could with her mouth being numb and blood running down her chin. She was trying to distract all the doctors and nurses from the fleeing people. She fought as much as she could, but she had already lost too much blood. The numbing was wearing off in the back of her mouth, and she could feel her tongue. Unfortunately, it was where they had begun cutting, and her tongue was just barely hanging on. She knew there was nothing she could do now. She was doing to die. This is exactly how she thought she would. The dentist. Still fighting, blood flying out of her mouth and tongue dancing around in her mouth, she felt light headed. The doctor got hold of her and held her down as the nurses ripped the remaining piece of her tongue off that was holding it on. Her vision was blurry, and next thing she knew, she was lying on the ground, barely holding on to life. The doctor leaned down right above her face and took the glasses off. Completely black. His eyes were completely black. Then everything was dark. She tried to tell people the dentist killed people. Guess they’ll know now.