RUGGED BISHOP DUNNE CATHOLIC SCHOOL
Editorsâ€™ Note Rugged Spring 2018
This issue of Rugged, the literary arts magazine of the students of Bishop Dunne Catholic School, brings together a wide range of voices and views, from 6th grade through 12th. Our students continue to amaze me with the insight they have into their own lives as well into our times. Many of these poems and reflections indicate the strong feelings they have as they work to make their own place in the world. Junior Sean Jurek has contributed several fiction pieces over the years, and we applaud his talent as he continues to grow as a writer. This issue contains a chapter in another of Seanâ€™s world-building novels. We look forward to reading more. Our visual art and photography students continue to provide an abundance of riches when we ask what they are working on. Melanie McGarrahan Gibson, Literary Editor Allison Ramirez, Arts Editor Painting by Calli Lynch
Cover art by Corbin Harvey
Albert Andrews He knows you don’t need to know his name. It’s not important. Use of pronoun instead of a name keeps you reading, playing a game of suspense and nearly morbid fascination. What an odd thought to have. He spun his wheeled chair around and stood up. One heavy yawn and a world-spanning stretch later, he walks to the door to his room and yanks it open. A wide mirror is posted into the wall at the turn in the hallway. He stares back at himself, a figure standing solitary but not lonely. His clothes are generic at best. Grey slacks, white shirt and a light brown jacket. His hair is short, with a longer cut, and it is an odd brown. Some days it looked blond, others it was black. It even appeared red on especially dull days.
“What was that noise,” the standing boy’s voice was raspy from sleep. “Nothin’. I dropped my shpoon.” Food filled the man’s mouth and was spoken around. “Huh. Okay.” The boy turned around and made his way back to his room, not really concerned with any other problems. The boy sat down at his desk, adjusting his wheeled chair to the normal position and made the flat black glass start to shine. He pressed a few white buttons set on a silver, rectangular plate and was sucked away to a different world.
His skin was similar, a bland tone with no real sign of belonging. That didn’t keep him from being lonely. Somewhere downstairs, somebody fumbled in the kitchen. It was the pinging of metal being dropped that shook him out of his reverie. That’s odd, he thought to himself in no particular language. I am usually the first one to get hungry. He made his way down a flight of carpeted steps and into the kitchen. His roommate was sitting at the counter reading a newspaper and eating a bowl of some ordinary plant product immersed in the milk of an equally ordinary animal. “Mornin’,” the other man waved his spoon of food absentmindedly, spilling the food back into the bowl. His accent was standard and the language he spoke was the common one.
Photo by Chris Rosales
Yazmin Narvaez When we are born, we are put in certain boxes. Girls are this way. Boys are that way. Colored people are a certain way. Poor people are a certain way. Etc., etc. These boxes limit us to certain actions, beliefs, and ways of being. “You’re not _____ enough,” we are often told. Whether that means we aren’t Mexican enough, girly enough, smart enough, or even straight enough. This phrase is supposed to put us down. Make us ashamed of the way we are. Make us ashamed of our individuality. Make us ashamed of not being like them. When we hear this phrase, it makes us feel isolated because we can’t possibly relate to them because we’re not “good enough”. This short sentence lives with us our whole lives. We change how we speak, dress, and act to accommodate the standards of society. We change who we are to make us blend in. To make us like everyone else. If we all conformed to these boxes, we’d all be the same. There would be no room for individuality. No originality. No freedom.
Photo by Kazai Drew
But being ourselves is enough. We shouldn’t have to prove how black, gay, rich, and masculine we are because, however we are, it is enough.
Photo by Faustina Richardson
Just Like You Justus L. Clark
I wake up and brush my teeth just like you Well at least I hope I do I put my pants on one leg at a time Just like you I wash my face just like you My money is green like yours so if you were to shoot me Would I not bleed, just like you If you were to beat me Would I not feel pain, just like you If I were to die tomorrow Would my family not be in sorrow Just like yours My skin color does not make me any less human My skin color does not make me any less of a person The thought of me being pulled over Should not make my mother worrisome The thought that for just going three miles per hour over the speed limit I could be shot while still in my seatbelt I have lungs and a brain and a heart and a soul Just like you I have lungs and a brain and a heart and a soul Just like you Painting by Corbin Harvey
My Plaid Skirt Yazmin Narvaez
My plaid skirt sits around my waist every day, clinging on with hope that no one looks. It’s supposed to symbolize my higher education. My faith. But, especially, my modesty. But when you lay your eyes on me, I am stripped from that and am seen only as an object, something that can be picked up and put down whenever you’re bored. I feel your eyes boring into the back of my head and trailing down my back. I turn around and see you give me a look that says something along the lines of “Hey, baby.” You probably think it’s a compliment, but it’s not. I feel sick to my stomach knowing that you probably don’t know how degrading it is. You won’t ever feel like this, and I’m glad because it is not great. However, if you did experience this, it would be stopped because you’d actually be listened to. Your experiences and feelings would be taken seriously and considered valid. Unlike mine. Mine, along with many other women’s experiences, are belittled. Your actions are excused because “boys will be boys,” but I am blamed for having my skirt a little too short. When you look at me, I feel like a dog at a pound. Hopeless and vulnerable. Your eyes scare me and make me pray that I’ll get home safely. I pull down my skirt, pull on my sweater, and make myself smaller, trying to disappear. I wish I could say I’m only talking to you, but you aren’t the only one.
Photo by Corinne Dorsey
My Castle Is My Dream House Natalia Cantu
Growing up on my way to school, my mom and I had a dream house. It was too big for a family of five. It had more than six rooms, four bathrooms, a threater room, two living and dining rooms, and also a big front and back yard. But it was still our dream house even though it was too big for a family of five. My mom and I would talk about how we would decorate the house for all the holidays. And how we could finally have our own bathrooms so we wouldn’t be fighting over who is next in line. And when people came over, we would have a guest room.
Photo by Katie Posado
But as we pass our dream house on our way to and from school, we go back to our reality house—our “normal”-sized house. Our reality house has three rooms, one bathroom, and one living and dining room, and it also has a back and front yard and a garage. But why couldn’t our reality house be our dream house? I would ask myself every once in a while. When I was little our “normal” sized house was like a castle to me, and my parents would feed me and change and bathe me and do everything for me, so I was like a princes. But as time passed our family grew and I grew, the house became smaller and smaller. Our “normal”-sized house consisted of one thing a castle or a dream house could never contain: my siblings’ and my childhood memories. Me falling asleep on the toilet. My mom telling my sister and me we were having a little brother. My little brother taking his first steps. The place I got the letter telling me I got accepted into my dream high school. Everything happened in my castle, so to me my normal-sized house will always be my dream
Photo by ValeriaFelix
Niko Gonzalez I am a revolution rising from the depths of this earth. I am everything that has ever tried to stop me. Everything that has tried to silence me. I am a wolf screaming at the moon that will never take a step back to see from my point of view. I am the voices of those who are unable to speak up for themselves. I am a revolution. I am everything that has tried to break me but has never succeeded in doing so. I am the two scars across my chest. I am the heritage and culture which I hold closely to my heart. I was the little kid who cried boy. I am now the boy who will not back down from this fight of rights. I am a revolution. And I will never stop being one.
Painting by Daniel Rojas
Warm Pretzel Christmas Aleina Mendoza As I sit on the dirty curbside I see fortunate families buying hot warm pretzels From a present-shaped corner shop. Passing, passing, passing That’s all they do Pass me by A dirty, unfortunate working soul. Every day’s the same. Work instead of education, And never knowing what I’m going to eat or if I’d live Another day in this poor world.
Photo by Katie Marquez
Yazmin Narvaez Yazmin. Yazmin meaning jasmine flower. It reminds of a field of beautiful flowers. It is something I wear with pride like a kid who finally got his favorite toy and was showing off to the other kids. It also reminds me of Jasmine, the Disney princess. She was bold and spoke her mind, reminding me of myself. My mom wanted to name me that after one of her clients at a women’s clinic. “It’s unique because I knew you’d be,” she said. Though I like it, sometimes I think “why can’t I be named Jasmine?” Everyone knows how to pronounce it and you don’t need to pronounce it in Spanish or English. It’s just Jasmine. People mispronounce and spell it wrong often. At one point, I’d answer to Jasmine, Jaz, Yasmin, and even Yaz-men. I used to not mind. I used to be ashamed of it. I’d say it how white people say it because I wanted to be them. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I was Latina and that my name was pronounced in Spanish. But I slowly learned to love it. “Your name is a watered down version of Jasmine. It’s so difficult. Why couldn’t you just have been named Jasmine,” I’ve had people tell me. But I don’t want to be named Jasmine, I want my name, Yazmin. Yas-mEEN is how Spanish speakers say it and I honestly prefer it that way. It reminds me of who my family is and a part of who I am. The voices of my tias, abuelos, and my dad pop into my head when I hear Yas-mEEN. It’s a way I can connect back to my Latina roots because I forget sometimes. But being Latina is something I’m proud of. Just like my name.
Photo by Maya Hightower
A City on its Knees Sean Jurek
Chapter I: Every Man This excerpt takes the reader into a fantastical world of specters and spectromancers.
Jonathan Claiborne lost many long hours staring at his reflection, but he inevitably found it lacking. The gaslight overhead exposed his bent nose, his bulging eyes, and his warped cheeks in the garnet tip of his scepter. Silence blanketed the courtyard, broken by Warden Alexei Stavros reminding each journeyman of where they stood and what they stood to gain. Jonathan’s palms began to sweat, and it became harder for his aching fingers to grasp his scepter’s handle. He refocused, figuring something would take shape if only his longing was powerful enough. He glanced at his reflection once more, dismissing Warden Stavros’ prattle, and suddenly he felt a pang of disgust for the alien face returning his gaze. It was not the first time that Jonathan had been taken aback by these sensations, and his stomach churned at the thought of what would come next.
ing to buckle. Their every activity was done under the close scrutiny of Victor Grüber, a brute with a wheezing mechanical bludgeon for an arm, but also a High Warden and a true master spectromancer. His brown hair and severely cut beard were flecked with iron grey. Aside from the lustrous fringe of his black robes and the mass of gears and pistons that was his left arm, he was difficult to distinguish from the early morning shadows. High Wardens never strayed far from Farrow Hall, and it was from this vantage point that he hungrily surveyed the journeymen for evidence of talent. Approaching footsteps warned Jonathan that Stavros had turned in his direction. Stavros thrived on control and had an especially critical eye, never hesitating to remark upon Jonathan’s slow progress. When he spoke, he spoke loudly for all to hear. Jonathan looked up to see his Warden’s disapproving glare and then returned to his reflection in the garnet jewel. He hoped he might find some faint trace of spectral power to awe Stavros and set him
Jonathan glanced to either side of him, trying to bury his apprehension without drawing Stavros over. He sighted other journeymen standing at the ready. Unlike its enemies, the noble House Rotte was cosmopolitan in makeup, and it was not uncommon to find Greeks like Stavros, and tall, dark-haired Englishmen like Jonathan himself, as well as Dutch, Swedes, Prussians, Arabs, Spaniards, and Portuguese all occupying the same instruction courtyard. All of them were able-bodied young men and women, and Jonathan suspected they all were faring better than he. Some had even managed to draw misty little wisps from within their scepters, and he was sure it would not be long before they coaxed out more formidable entities. He looked upward in the direction of old Farrow Hall, across the courtyard. The sight was enough to cause him to regret ever having attempted spectromancy. He turned away, his knees threatenPhoto by Carol Mitz
apart from his peers. Instead, the roiling in his stomach increased and then subsided, leaving behind a sudden conviction that he had to share. Jonathan’s voice came out as a whisper but increased in confidence with every word. “He—he cannot control it.” Stavros was silent for a moment as he struggled to give words to his surprise. Then, High Warden Victor Grüber shifted in his place and that slight movement was enough to spur Stavros on. An individual journeyman—or, for that matter, an individual Warden— was never quite certain of where Victor Grüber’s gaze might fall, but they were sure that when it really counted it would land directly on them. Both Jonathan and Stavros bore that burden now, and they also sensed the collective gaze of the journeymen. For Stavros, this was a concern, and it needed to be resolved quickly. “Who are you to say such things about another underling?” Stavros demanded. “You, who are not a Warden of our king and our overseer Archibald Rotte? You, who has yet to prove that you are a real spectromancer, capable of rivaling these others. Half of them aren’t even aware that you exist, much less know your name!” Jonathan could only bow his head and repeat meekly, “He cannot control it.”
Jonathan Claiborne was not a worldly man nor did he understand a word of the Rottes’ many and varied literatures on spectromancy. That required clear-headedness and leisure, both of which were the High Wardens’ prerogatives. In truth, Jonathan had only left the areas adjacent to Farrow Hall several times in his life, and that had been to patrol the Rotte factory district. He knew nothing of the world outside of House Rotte’s claim to London—nor, for that matter, of his life beyond the past two years—but he did know that another journeyman was about to lose control. He didn’t know how he knew it. His reply did not satisfy Stavros: “You’ve already said that once before. You haven’t even told us who is going to lose control. Are we to accept that someone will on grounds of faith?” Stavros enunciated that last word, “faith,” with a touch of scorn, and Jonathan hung his head even lower. Then, Stavros, without even a glance at Victor Grüber, pressed his meaty palm against Jonathan’s right shoulder and shoved him backwards. “How can you judge another journeyman like this? Who is going to lose control?” Jonathan dropped his scepter and clenched his fists, but Stavros was taller and stronger, and he could not retaliate. Instead, he cleared his throat and said, “Bartholomew…It’s Bartholomew, Bartholomew Fleet.” The eyes of every journeyman shifted with a jerk to Bartholomew, a thickset, freckled young Irishman and a spectromancer prodigy. He lowered his scepter and scanned the courtyard frantically. His expression showed fear and confusion but it gave way to relief, which was far more telling than any words of Jonathan’s.
Photo by Eshan Venkatesswarlu
Stavros’ gaze moved with his underlings, and he stood in dumb silence, his focus wavering between the two. Even Victor Grüber seemed to be paying careful attention. All of the journeymen stood watching, the specters that they had spent the entire morning summoning vanishing in an instant. Bartholomew seemed confused, as they all were, but they had all seen the relief that had shone in his eyes. It amazed Jonathan all the more when he met Stavros’ eyes and saw confusion there, perhaps even uncertainty. The Rottes—that is, Archibald Rotte’s immediate family and the High Wardens under their employ—bred uncertainty, and they allowed it to graze freely amongst their journeymen, who were no more than eighteen years of age. Uncertainty was the only thing that motivated them to return to the courtyard each morning, for fear of falling behind and losing their one chance at Wardenship. But such feelings were unthinkable in a Warden, especially in Stavros, and none of the journeymen was quite sure how to respond. But an instant later, Jonathan doubled over, his viscera searing inside of him. The nearest journeymen gasped as Jonathan sprawled onto the cobblestones, clutching at the fringes of Stavros’ navy blue cape. Jonathan attempted to speak, but Stavros tore himself away, leaving Jonathan to writhe on the stones. Every journeyman and Warden had watched someone collapse during an exercise—usually after an extrasensory battle with a powerful specter—but never with as much thrashing or wide-eyed terror. Stavros recovered himself and issued commands to several journeymen. A senseless underling was a familiar problem, and one that he could resolve. Meanwhile, Jonathan’s hearing was the first thing to vanish. His limbs became numb and the frantic pounding of his heart seemed to fade. Finally he lost his sight, focused in that last moment on Bartholomew Fleet’s wan face over someone’s shoulder. Then, that face became alien and distorted. The others vanished and in their place was a young woman, strange and sickening to look at but somehow captivating and alluring. Jonathan had never seen a
full-bodied specter before, but she could only have been that, an overpowering presence. The specter’s grey skin was framed by flowing red hairs moving with a breeze that he could not feel. She was probably about his age and height but seemed to him like a giantess in a pristine white dress, tattered on one side. Jonathan squirmed and found that he could stand. Then he looked over his shoulder and saw Farrow Hall just a few paces away, lit from within in all its forgotten splendor; the gaping holes that the Rottes had boarded up were filled with windows of multicolored glass, and above the doorframe was a mysterious emblem. Golden bells that the Rottes had melted down were ringing overhead, and Jonathan almost forgot the specter. Then she beckoned for him to come forward, and he stepped into the shadows. The specter woman’s bloodless lips moved, and she whispered something. “Abigail.” So her name was Abigail. This was not the first time that Jonathan had seen her in his visions, but this was the clearest and most dramatic. He prayed it would be the last. Abigail turned abruptly and began to move away, and Jonathan realized her feet weren’t making contact with the cobblestone path. Even though she was barely moving, he had difficulty matching her pace. He
Drawing by Corbin Harvey
was entranced by the way the beautiful dead woman’s strands of hair moved and swayed as she walked. Like all specters she exuded wisps of grey fog, and it coalesced into a cloud around her. She stopped abruptly, and Jonathan caught a whiff of the acrid stuff as he came close. He coughed several times. Abigail turned to him and for the first time he saw her eyes. Those who had encountered full-bodied specters reported that, unlike their underdeveloped, hollow-eyed counterparts, these creatures retained the eyes they had possessed in life. Abigail’s irises were the same dull grey as her flesh, but somewhere deep within Jonathan observed pinpricks of unholy fire. He recoiled instantly. She smiled—without warmth or tenderness—and pointed at something down the path. Jonathan strained to look past the shadows at a fleeing figure, a small young girl with fiery red hair wearing a white dress and carrying a bundle. Her stride was wobbly and she veered to the right. She halted for a moment to press a hand against her side; her hand glistened red in the dim light. He paled and turned from Abigail to the fleeing girl, understanding now that they were one and the same. Abigail the specter brought her own emaciated fingers to her side where her dress was tattered, and for the first time he saw a wound black with congealed blood. Her face became hideously contorted with pain as the living girl’s strength failed, and she fell with a thud. She lay there, her red
hair fanned out. The bundle landed a pace or two in front of her, and the cloth wrapping came undone to reveal a large leather-bound tome. “My book. My responsibility,” Abigail the specter whispered solemnly. Jonathan felt that he had swallowed a stone when he looked down and saw the drops of Abigail’s blood. “My book. My responsibility,” Abigail repeated, more emphatically. She took hold of Jonathan’s shoulders without warning and spun him to face her, to make him understand. Jonathan understood that he had never known anything so repulsive yet so beautiful as the spectral afterthought of that young girl. Then it was all gone. *** “Charcoals!” Jonathan heard this word practically screamed twice before he realized he was speaking. He stretched out his hand to feel the courtyard ground. “Charcoals…” he said again, trailing off when he saw everyone’s gaze on him. There was something cold and metallic pressing against his neck and gripping his collar, preparing to hoist him to his feet. Bartholomew Fleet was squatting next to him, checking him for bruising, his past relief traded for blind fear. “Go on, Mr. Fleet,” came an authoritative voice that did not belong to Stavros. “Do as Mr. Claiborne says and bring him some charcoals.” Bartholomew left immediately, leaving Jonathan at the mercy of Victor Grüber. “Make him speak, High Warden,” Stavros chimed in, his tone calm and collected now that he had regained control. “Let him explain.” “Do hold your tongue, Warden Stavros. We will wait to see what he does with the charcoals. Now, where is Mr. Fleet?”
Painting by McClain Martenson
Jonathan had no artistic ability to speak of, but he hoped that his instinct was for the best. Bartholomew returned with a charcoal stub and passed it to Jonathan too quickly and nearly let it fall. Jonathan managed a brief glimpse of the other journeyman’s eyes and could see that same relief and fear. Then, Bartholomew escaped into the group. Jonathan gripped the charcoal, feeling the edge of Victor Grüber’s prosthetic tensed against his neck, compelling him to sketch something. For an agonizing second
Jonathan could not decide what to draw. His memory of the hauntingly vivid specter did not abandon him, however, and with a heavy breath he began to sketch. The contours of her face were not normal, and the work was made difficult by the fragmenting of the charcoal, but after a few attempts he began to make progress. Victor Grüber loosened his grip and then released it entirely. As soon as he did so, Jonathan completed work on Abigail’s fiery eyes as best he could before his charcoal stub fell apart. “Bring him another,” Victor Grüber ordered no one in particular, “I want to see this thing finished.” Several journeymen, eager to please him, dashed from the courtyard, granting Jonathan several seconds to breathe and calm his pounding heart. In the meantime, Grüber scanned the faces of the young ladies in the crowd, looking for similarities with Jonathan’s hasty sketch. If they had been alike in any way, then his treatment of this disruption would have been swift. The girls recruited by the Rottes hailed from respected families of various lands, yet their faces were unremarkable. This thing drawn in the center of the courtyard was extraordinary. The first of the journeymen returned, breathless. The remainder of the sketch came easily, but the results were deeply disturbing. The observers could see every crease and furrow of her face, every strand of hair framing her sallow cheeks, and the unnatural extension of her dainty jawline. A collective gasp traveled round at the sight of her much too wideopened mouth, paralyzed in the same expression of suffering Jonathan had seen as the human girl breathed her last. There was no mistaking her for a grey specter just as there was no doubt that Victor Grüber knew her identity. At that moment, Victor Grüber lifted him from the cobblestones and whisked him away from the courtyard. Jonathan saw Stavros seizing the opportunity to redirect the crowd’s attention, reminding them that a raid was planned for the morning. Victor Grüber released the younger man suddenly and allowed him to tumble onto the path. Once he regained his footing, Grüber motioned Jonathan into a barrack, and a sense of foreboding came over Jonathan. This particular barrack housed only the sick and the wounded, and none Painting by Calli Lynch
of them would be capable of telling what happened inside. Jonathan took a seat on a sagging cot close to the door and waited. A family of bedbugs seeped out of the mattress where Jonathan sat, and Victor Grüber casually crushed them beneath the heel of his boot. The High Warden had closed but not bolted the door, and Jonathan permitted himself a sigh of relief. Grüber, a tall and heavyset man with a noticeable paunch protruding from beneath his robes, stood directly over him now. He addressed Jonathan with a rasping breath, “I realize that you must have many questions. I do, too. You are an oddity, Mr. Claiborne, as you have probably realized by this time. The Great Experimenters, whose literature we feed you underlings, avoid speaking of this particular disturbance and so do we, but it is not unfamiliar to us. Now, how long have these visions plagued you?” “Months,” Jonathan managed to say, his tongue as dry as sandpaper. “Since you reached eighteen years of age and became an adult in the eyes of our benevolent overseer, I presume.” “Yes.” “Very well. Now, tell me the name of the specter woman that you drew. It’s no use lying or pretending you don’t know. You people simply cannot lie about the things you see, about the pain and suffering. She was suffering, was she not?”
“And that explains why no one else expected you to behave as you did.” Grüber appeared to be satisfied with his conclusions. Victor Grüber was widely acknowledged as one of the Rottes’ finest authorities on spectromancy, second only to Lord Archibald himself. He was reputed to have joined the Rottes from the very beginning, just after The King left London on his “Long Sojourn” and during the time of the Vile Divorce between Lord Archibald and his wife, the venomous Lady Ophelia Figg. Three years ago, Grüber and the Rottes met in secret within the city’s sprawling cemeteries to practice spectromancy against the will of the royal authorities. Now they led hundreds in the practice of the art within old Farrow Hall. With barely a pause, Grüber continued, “Tell me now, Mr. Claiborne, what did this Abigail say to you?” Jonathan dreaded the question. Farrow Hall restored to its former glory, the unsettling death of Abigail, and every detail remained fresh in his mind, and he longed to share them. But he was dimly aware that all of these things meant little without knowledge of Abigail’s book, the leather-bound tome. If he omitted this detail, then Victor Grüber would notice immediately, yet the specter had spoken with such urgency that Jonathan feared repeating her words would mean betrayal of something.
“Yes.” “Of course she was. Her name?” Jonathan hesitated. “Her name, Mr. Claiborne?” Grüber’s tone betrayed nothing, but he bent down and violently pressed his mechanical hand against the corner of the mattress, bursting its yellowed seams. “Abigail.” “Good. And how many times have you encountered Abigail?” Victor Grüber seemed to mull over that name as he said it. “At least three, no more than that. I’ve most often seen her as I slept, sir.”
Photo by Marissa Ladatto
He could only speculate as to what that something might be, however, and as Grüber had said, he could not very well lie. The other was clearly growing impatient, and Jonathan glanced down at the ruined corner of the mattress and imagined himself suffering a worse fate. Then he opened his mouth but was interrupted by a feeble knock at the barrack door. Victor Grüber gave a guttural noise and flew to the door, allowing Bartholomew Fleet to enter. Bartholomew spoke hurriedly and without permission, saying, “Warden Stavros sent me to join you and Johnny, sir. He said that I was to see to it that Johnny was still in good working condition.” Victor Grüber nodded his assent, appreciating Stavros’ judgement that Bartholomew was now a source of distraction and ought not to be present among the journeymen on the morning of an important raid. This interrogation would have to wait, however. Grüber was a patient and calculating man. Jonathan saw the irritation in his eyes give way to steely resolve, then he turned to go and said, “The raid will begin at dawn and I must go to make preparations. I will tolerate no more distractions of this nature.” Both Jonathan and Bartholomew averted their eyes at his words. Grüber knew that he had them at his mercy, and his gaze softened a little as he said, “Despair will do neither you nor our overseer any good. I am not telling you that you cannot yet become Wardens; I am only saying that there will be consequences if these distractions persist. Mr. Claiborne, you and I will speak again soon. For the moment, tell no one else of your visions and think only of your own advancement. It is only then that you can dream of becoming a master of men with all the benefits that entails. As for you, Mr. Fleet—” Bartholomew forced himself to meet Grüber’s gaze and there were nervous tears welling up in his eyes. The High Warden sneered at the pitiful sight. “You will attend to Mr. Claiborne, and when he is comfortable you will report to the High Warden of Armaments—wearing your uniform—to prepare for the raid. You are one of our strongest spectromancers, for all of your faults, and I have no misgivings about sending you into the fray.”
Photo by Mia Gonzalez
Something about this last pronouncement disturbed Jonathan very much, and he shuddered. Then Victor Grüber addressed him once more. “You, Mr. Claiborne, are not a fine spectromancer—people in your position rarely are—and you will not participate in combat against the Figgs today. Until you have shown me that you can manage this curse and that you can summon a specter confidently and correctly you will not fight.” Satisfied that they understood, Victor Grüber left.
Literary magazine created by the students of Bishop Dunne Catholic School.