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Greetings, Readers! We are proud to present Castilleja’s Middle School Literary Magazine for 2009-10. This book represents the work of a dedicated group of club members and poetry, prose and artwork by 56 talented Castilleja students! We sincerely hope you enjoy. --Katie Sauvain and Jole Seroff, Faculty Advisors

A Note on the Cover Art As a part of their trip to Washington DC, Castilleja students visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and read I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children's Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp. The butterflies that adorn the covers of this work were created by grade 8 students Alinna Brown, Libby Burnette, Maddie Huber, Anne Li, and Juliet Norvig in response to these experiences.

Flame Production Team Kris Auyeung Kiana Borjian Jane Choi Maya Crawford Lucy Fox Claire Goldberg Karina Gunadi Abby Holston Cassidy Jensen Lauren Johnston Nayanika Kapoor

Shea Ketsdever Sasha Landauer Abby Lowell Jolena Ma Karly Quadros Ryoko Shibata Clare Tandy Monica Taneja Caroline Wheeler Allison Zanolli

Special thanks to Mary Hurlbut and Helen Shanks for hours of image editing and artistic guidance.

Art by Lucy Fox

Untitled I sit there, Staring at the blank page. My little cursor sits: Harmless. Just doing its job. Telling me where I am on the page, Blinking to catch my attention. As I sit, numb, uninspired, I realize that the cursor is Doing more than its designated job. It is challenging me. Challenging me to do my best. I take a deep breath, And write. --Caroline Wheeler

Art by Karina Gunadi

Art by Shea Ketsdever

Questions Do you hear that? I do Do you smell that? I do Do you feel that? I do I understand, do you? Questions are Questions But what are you? --Jackie Maloney

Time hangs limp on the trees. The animals are dying. An infestation of bugs crawls over abandoned belongings. Huge chunks of sky lie randomly on the ground. The bugs, they are eating the time, defenseless as it is, strewn everywhere. Time is too tired. It has run out. No one exists anymore. No one besides the infestation of bugs. --Abby Alter Art by Shea Ketsdever

Rolling “Shai?” The blessed silence of my now-empty bedroom was sacrificed to my mother's voice coming from the hallway. She waited for a response before gently knocking on the door and pushing it open. “Honey? Are you awake?” I didn't answer, instead letting her come over and place a cold hand on my shoulder. She squeezed my shoulder and rubbed the back of my neck in an attempt to wake me up. “We've got to hit the road, hon,” Mom tried again. I lifted up my neck painstakingly. My whole body ached from lying on the floor all night. My temples throbbed and my feet felt like blocks of ice underneath the covers. Mom sensed my movement and backed off. Her footsteps shook the floor, and, in consequence, a sharp pain ran through my spine. “Are the twins awake?” I croaked. Abby and Nicki began shouting at each other across the hall. “Oh.” “Get dressed,” Mom said, closing the door behind her as she walked out. I stretched out of my crumpled shape and stood up. Each vertebra in my back slowly clicked back into place as I placed both feet on the ground. The house smelled like bacon. My stomach turned from lack of sleep. I pulled off my pajamas in a hurry. The cold morning air felt like the gust of cold air that rushes from the freezer when you open the door. I stepped into a pair of jeans and yanked a sweater over my head. I collected the pile of sheets and throw blankets and stuffed them into the plastic container in the corner. I picked up the container and bumped the door open with my hip. Abby had started to blast music, much to Nicki's displeasure, or at least that's what I gathered from the shouting coming from their tiny room across the hall. “Abby, turn it down,” Mom yelled from the kitchen. I pushed open the door just as Nicki jumped onto Abby's back and screamed. Abby spun around and yelled back. Nicki tumbled off and grabbed Abby's long brown hair. Abby responded by aiming a kick backward. Nicki recoiled and shrieked. I kicked Abby's ten-year-old stereo hard enough to yank the plug out of the wall. The two twelve-year-olds stopped immediately, as if I had pressed a pause button on a Tom & Jerry cartoon. “Give me your covers,” I said, picking up Abby's sleeping bag and stuffing it in the box. Nicki straightened and released Abby's hair. Abby put her foot back on the floor and looked up at me apologetically. Nicki flipped open a compact mirror and fixed her hair. Abby stuck her tongue out at her and picked up the stereo, cradling it under her arm like a

puppy. Their room was empty, too, with the exception of two sleeping bags and a couple little pillows. Usually their walls were plastered with posters of teen heartthrobs on Nicki's side and old records pinned up on Abby's side. Nicki's clothes were usually tossed around the floor and things were always spilling. The only thing left on the wall was one photograph of Nicki's absolute favorite actor, Jamie Rae Cooper. It wasn't a poster, but a little wallet-size photo. “Are you all packed up, other than the sleeping bags?” I inquired, bending over and stuffing Nicki's mummy bag into the box. “What's with the picture of JRC on the wall? Take it down. The landlord is a weirdo. She'd probably freak.” Nicki looked tearful. “I can't take it down,” she said, her lower lip wobbling. Abby groaned and stomped out. “Nicki, why can't you take it down?” I asked. Nicki was twenty-four minutes younger than Abby, and it showed. She was always more teary than Abby, who was tougher than leather. “I'm afraid that if I take it down...if I take it down, Jason might die,” Nicki said mournfully, stroking the picture. I gave her a look and she gulped. She inhaled deeply and grabbed the bottom. With one tug, the picture tore off of the push pin. “Okay, well, because of the absence of the screams of teenage girls, I'm assuming that Jason Rae Cooper is still alive and singing. Singing poorly.” I turned around and walked into the living room. Boxes upon boxes were stacked up to the ceiling in the foyer, labeled with things like NICKI'S SHOES, MOM'S COOKBOOKS, BOOKS A-M, and BOOKS N-Z, all written in Mom's all-caps handwriting. Mom slapped a plate of eggs and bacon onto the breakfast bar. “Okay, Shai, this one's for you. Abby? I've got some cooking for you.” “Abby can have mine,” I said, wrinkling my nose. Abby emerged from the garage with our dog, Snoopy. She dropped him onto the floor, and Snoopy responded by sliding a good two feet across the wood floor. “Hi, Snoop.” Snoopy looked up at me lovingly and wriggled over so I could pick him up. “Here, Abby. Shai doesn't want any,” Mom said, handing Abby my plate. Abby shrugged and jumped up onto the counter to eat the eggs and bacon. Nicki walked out of their room and yawned, her mouth stretching wide across her face. Mom flipped an omelet onto Nicki's plate and handed it to her. Nicki gave her a sleepy nod in thanks. “Okay, eat quickly. We need to be in Madison by tomorrow night. Mr. Caden from next door is going to pack

up the car with the Wynn boys from down the block.” “As in Jamie and Lance?” Nicki shrieked. Mom shrugged. “Probably.” Nicki screamed and raced back into her room. Mom rolled her eyes. The doorbell rang and Nicki screamed again. I opened the door to Mr. Caden, who slightly resembled Mr. Clean, Jamie Wynn, who was a freshman in high school, and Lance Wynn, who was a senior. Jamie raised his eyes in hello, and Lance stared at his feet. “Thanks, guys,” Mom said, hurrying to the front door with a distant look on her face. She looked like a wreck. Half of her hair was twirled into a sloppy bun on top of her head, the rest dangling out freely. Her lipstick had left residue on her teeth and she had yet to notice the big mustard stain beneath the collar of her unflattering purple polo shirt. “The boxes are all in this room, and Nicki and Abby can help you. Shai and I are going to drop Snoopy off at at Suzy Lockwood's, we'll be--” Mom was interrupted by Nicki clearing her throat. We all looked at her in surprise and she placed her hand on her hip in as seductive a pose as a twelve-year-old could manage. Jamie and Lance took one look at her and turned back to the boxes they had started to pick up. Nicki looked like a Forever 21 mannequin. Abby scoffed and sent scrambled eggs flying. Nicki batted her eyelashes at Lance's back. “Well, Abby can help you. Nicki, change into something you can actually move in and help the boys pack up the car.” Nicki grumbled and turned around and wobbled into the direction of the bathroom. I scooped up Snoopy, who was busy chewing on Lance's ankle. Lance looked more than relieved to have Snoopy gone. “Bye. Thanks,” I said to the boys, who gave me toothy smiles. Snoopy rolled around in my arms, panting happily. I felt tears sting my eyes and blinked rapidly to shoo them away. I walked down the front steps and turned to look at the little twobedroom cottage, where Mom had slept in the garage for the three months we'd lived there. It was August, time to go back to school. September is a time of safety. Mom doesn't like to move during the school year. Once we hit June, we're on the road again, criss-crossing America trying to find a decent month-to-month rental for four people that Mom can afford on her measly commission from selling lawn mowers. The three of us kids are dragged around without a week's notice before we pack up Mom's station wagon and drive for hundreds of miles. Mom walked down the steps and motioned for me to keep walking. Anger bubbled under my chest, the suffocating feeling of losing control

racing through my lungs. I should have known we'd leave Seaview at the end of the summer. I'd done it before—Charlottesville, Indianapolis, Santa Monica, Houston. Seaview was different, though. I was finally seventeen, I'd learned to drive, and I had even discovered Saint Fredrick's, a private college on the water. And now Mom was taking us halfway across the country to Madison, Wisconsin. “What are you thinking about, Daffy?” Mom asked. Daffy was my unfortunate nickname for my unfortunate middle name, Daffodil. I shook my head and Mom quieted. She tried to grab my hand, but I pulled it away. “Look at him,” Mom said, pointing to Snoopy, who was jumping around like a Mexican Jumping Bean on drugs. “I think he's chasing a fly.” We reached Mrs. Lockwood's house and I started to tear up again. Mrs. Lockwood was a foster mom who apparently also had room in her house for Snoopy. Why don't houses in Madison want dogs? Mom rang the doorbell and picked up Snoopy, who started to whine, as if he sensed my anger. I heard Mrs. Lockwood's voice from at the top of the stairs. I heard another person's voice and the door opened. It was a little girl I'd never seen before. She had long brown hair and was chubby. She was in a wheelchair. Mrs. Lockwood appeared behind her and greeted us warmly. I stared at the little girl, who wore a blank expression. “Why don't you give them the dog?” Mom said quietly. I looked at her in surprise and saw tears working their way down her cheeks. She was trying to avoid making eye contact with anyone by staring at Snoopy expectantly. Shaking, I handed over Snoopy to the little girl. She let out a little gasp and I turned my attention to her. She looked happier than any kid I'd ever seen. The joy on her face radiated through her smile. “What's its name?” She asked, grinning and stroking Snoopy's nose. I told her and she looked down at him happily. “Snoopy? Like the comic?” “Exactly.” Mom turned and started walking. Mrs. Lockwood looked confused. “Uh, we've really got to get on the road. Thanks. Enjoy him,” I said. The little girl nodded furiously. They disappeared into the house and left me to chase after Mom, who had broken down. “I don't want to do it anymore,” she said, through her tears. “I know you don't like to move, but neither do I. You've got to be strong for both of us, Shai.” I comforted her like I would comfort a baby, rubbing her back and hushing her. “I'm sorry to make you leave, Shai, but will you

please forgive me, hon?” The boys and the twins had packed the car to the brim. Nicki was flirting with Lance, who was patiently answering her questions with oneword answers and desperately trying to inch away from her. “Thanks, boys, you're all done,” Mom said. “Okay. Bye, Mrs. Bower. Bye, Shai.” Lance said. He and Jamie hurried off. Nicki stomped her foot angrily and she and Abby piled into the back. Mom pressed the keys into my hand. She looked up at me helplessly and I nodded. Wordlessly, we climbed in. My knees nearly reached the steering wheel. Nicki and Abby began bickering over what music we were going to listen to. Nicki was waving her Justin Rae Cooper CD in the air and Abby was trying to grab it, shouting “Green Day!” over and over. Mom silenced them with a look and Abby folded her arms over her chest. I slowly eased the car backward, then we began down the street. I silently said goodbye to Evergreen Terrace, to the cheerful yellow bungalows and two-story Victorians. Mrs. Lockwood and the little girl were on the porch, watching as Snoopy chased his tale. The Wynn brothers were loitering around outside Dana Keller's house, watching as Dana and her cheer leading squad performed a few high kicks. The old women from 892 were knitting on the front porch, gossiping loudly about their next-door neighbors. Justin Rae Cooper somehow won and Nicki shoved it into the CD player. It's a new day Baby open your eyes Show me you love me It's no surprise Look to the future I promise I'm there Keep your mind open Baby I'll always care I tried to tune out the repetitive chorus and stared forward, in autopilot. I'd driven to the highway a hundred times, gone up one exit to the Sonic with Jason Hammond and Kimmy White, taken Abby to karate in Tacoma, gone with Nicki to the outlet mall. Now, listening to Justin's lame lyrics, I paid close attention to every minute detail, committing everything to memory. I stared at each billboard, memorized every city name.

I knew where I was going. Each sign would tell me that. Lincoln Ave, ¼ mile. I didn't expect that to change on the highways in Wisconsin. But I couldn't look back without seeing the silver metal backings of each sign, the wood posts holding up the Colby Park City Limit sign. Both a comfort and not, I was being carefully guided in the right direction, with each mile mark, each tick of the odometer. I couldn't look back without inevitably swerving and causing Abby's fingers to tighten on the door handle. It wasn't much help anyway. No signs told me where I had come from. They would only tell me where I was going next. --Caroline King

“A Sketch of a Friend” by Lianne Blodgett

“Suspended Bottles” by Chela Davila

Necklace Poem Wrapped in the colorful cellophane, splotches and blotches of red, purple, blue. Fresh out of the foam out of the box. A mother-of-pearl pendant just hanging like a cocoon. Swaying. Just dangling, with its milky cream-like hue. An ornament A flower  with a cool, slippery texture The way it catches the light and glints... Glimmers, like a diamond. Hanging by a single jet-black cord with the silvery clasp the simple cord the flower. The Necklace. --Emma Glickman

Fear Dark Alone Heart Pounding Hopelessness inside A scream pierces the dark, crisp air --Tess Batchelder

Art by Gabby Occhipinti

Dark Ghosts  Hellish  They haunt you  It is over here that  Hades and Persephone dwell -Claire Huang

Art by Kris Auyeung

Freedom Freedom is like a bird soaring through the sky, Freedom is like a gust of wind, blowing across your face on a warm day, Freedom is supposed to be free, But in this world it comes with a cost, During slavery freedom could have cost an arm, or a leg, or even a life, Freedom is pictured as something happy, But sometimes it is not, If everyone in this world were free to do any thing that they wanted, It would be a horrible world, For we are all filled with sin or longings to do bad things, hatred, jealousy, anger, lying, stealing, coveting, and many more, Can we live a good life without freedom, no, Can we live a good life with freedom, no, Tigers are very beautiful but destructive animals, Freedom is like a tiger in a cage, That tiger is not free when it is in the cage therefore it does not have a life, But when you let the tiger out to be free, It is life-threatening or hurtful to the people near it, Freedom is like a certain food that you will eat for 5 months in a row, The first day that you eat the food it tastes divine, That mouthwatering aroma, But then as time passes on you grow tired of that food, and you end up not liking it anymore, It is good to live in a country where you are free to do whatever you want, But even better to live in a country with structure, That is why it is good to have rules, Remember, Freedom comes with a price, But it is not impossible to gain it. --Meg Johnson

Art by Chela Davila

Art by Libby Burnette

Joy, Light, Happy, Excitement, Flying on a swing, Through the wonderful evening air --Austin Jacobs

Art by Kathleen Chang Art by Kathleen Chang

Turtle Huge, green, ancient. Gracefully, it glides through water, protected by its big green shell. --Maya Nagaraj Art by Caroline Harris

Crow Harsh, black, flying, cackling intelligently, circling through the open air. --Maya Nagaraj Art by Kris Auyeung

Frog Once, a little small creature. Now, a great green blur, Hopping among the lily pads. --Abby Alter Art by Heejin Hahn

Horse Huge, sleek, and fast, he races across the pasture, hooves thundering upon the ground. --Abby Alter

Art by Audrey Flower

New to the world  little toes  clenched fist and cute nose  curious eyes full of wonder  --Karina Gunadi

Moments the girl stands there waiting for time to pass but it just barely moves she's waiting for that perfect moment but it never arrives What should she do? only time will tell When will she do what she has to do? only the perfect moment will tell --Juliana Diaz Ary by Audrey Flower

Art by Caroline Wheeler

The Person Who Never Deleted Emails Josie is a pack rat. She has never thrown anything away in her life, except for random scraps of paper and moldy food. However, she is not a cluttered person. She organizes everything, from files of pictures drawn in preschool to her notes for her finals. Her never-throw-anything-away behavior extends to her email. As of right now, she has 1,294,835 emails in her inbox, and the number is still steadily climbing. When questioned by her parents, friends, and teachers alike, she shakes her head and smiles a secret smile. Eventually people stop bugging her because it is not worth it. But what does Josie do with the junk??? Well, she always has whatever she needs at hand: thread, bags, wrapping paper, pencils, and every math device ever invented. Her room is the colors of a saltshaker: silver and white. Beside her window is a huge white desk with neatly organized cubbies. Next to it is her bookshelf, organized by author in straight lines. On the opposite wall is a gigantic silver filing cabinet, numbered and labeled. In between the file cabinet and bookshelf is her small white bed. And above the headboard of her bed hangs the only color and decoration in her room: a picture of Josie smiling out from inside a sleek, gray car. This is the story behind the picture: Josie received a packet labeled MEMORY TRIVIA on the way out of class meeting. Andrew, the class president, also her twin brother, winked and said, "Hey JoCD. Can I use your car when you win?" (JoCD is Andrew's pet name for her, because her name, Josie, fits so perfectly with OCD: obsessive compulsive disorder.) Josie ignored him, as she usually does. Josie caught up with her best friend Adrianna, completely recognizable from behind by her unruly thick, dark locks. "Josie, have you read the trivia? Can I get a ride in your car?" Josie raised an eyebrow. She didn't have a car. "No, I have not read the trivia. Why is everyone talking about my car? I don't have a car." "I know, Josie. Duh. I'm talking about the one you're going to get!" "I'm not get-" Adrianna shoved her memory trivia packet at her, flipped it open, and pointed at the first question - What two teachers had sabbatical in 6th grade? The rest of the page was filled with similar questions, like "Who was the art teacher in 9th grade? and “Who was class president in the second

semester of 7th grade?� Josie snorted. This was one of the lamest trivias ever. Josie looked up at a grinning Adrianna. "What?" she asked defensively. "Um? You've organized every single email you've ever received. All the answers are bound to be in some email. And, the prize! A Tesla Roadster!" Josie gave Adrianna a dubious glance. "Very funny. How could there be a car for a prize for trivia? Let alone a hybrid. Let alone a TESLA ROADSTER. The biggest prize ever given for any silly contest was a $50 iTunes gift card. And that was a big deal." "Well, look around." Josie sighed and turned around. All around her seniors excitedly giggled and shouted obscenities at each other. Josie heard the phrase "The car is mine!!!!" several times. She turned back to Adrianna. "I still don't get it. Where did the Roadster come from?" Adrianna rolled her eyes. "Didn't you hear? Oh, right, you always zone out in meetings." Josie glared at her. "Alright, alright. Mr. Venner, Penny's dad, is like a multibillionaire and decided that he wanted to leave his mark on the school as ‘Most generous parent ever’ or something and is donating a car to be presented to the student who answers the most questions correctly!!!" Josie blinked as she absorbed the information, amazed, then slowly nodded her head. When Josie got home, she immediately barricaded herself in her white room and answered all the questions using her laptop. When she finished, she sat on her bed daydreaming about her car until Andrew came home. When he did, Josie ran down the stairs and pressed the packet into Andrew's hands. He smirked and said teasingly, "Hey look JoCD! Your OCD paid off!" Josie gave him a patronizing look, then headed back upstairs. A month later, Josie pulls up in her new car, Adrianna happily riding shotgun. Half of the students smile ruefully at her and the other half glare at her. They all have stopped teasing Josie about her organization habits. Josie winks at them. She parks, and walks arm in arm with Adrianna, their graduation gowns swishing jauntily behind them. And that's what happens when you don't delete emails. --Karina Gunadi

Art by Caroline Wheeler

The Poor Grass What did the lush green grass ever do to you? Did it ever come out and find you in the middle of the night, Scaring you to death? No I did not think so. So now we have come to the conclusion that The grass has done nothing to you. So why do you trample on the grass, probably crushing the grass’s life? Next time before you do this, think of the grass staring up at you pleading, “Don’t kill me!” The poor grass lives a tough life, heh? --Ellie Chen

The Cornfield Down slams the tailgate Up I climb to sit In the bed Along the bumpy dirt road Beyond I see a cornfield Off goes the engine when we are Beside it Over the side I jump Towards the tall stalks Surrounding me they tower Into the field farther Behind me a horn sounds Around I turn Back to the truck To be driven home --Abby Lowell

Art by Karina Gunadi

The Machete “But I thought we were more than friends,” I said. “Since we are both so confused about our feelings, we should both say how we truly feel about each other,” Johnny said. This is how my life went from mortifying to perfect. Confused about a boy named Johnny’s feelings for me. Everything seemed to be normal before “the Machete” came to Brookville. It was a fresh morning in the fields of Brookville. The wind began to catch up and the skies began to clear. Brookville was normally a safe and private town, but then, a group called ‘the Machete’ tiptoed into town like a feather rolling down a hill. Every night they would capture the soul of an innocent person in the most atrocious way possible. The group leader, El Diablo, formerly known as Orlando Machete, never takes any prisoners. After they captured him for killing the governor, he started seeking his revenge on the town. Although he says he is innocent, there are many files that say otherwise. But let’s not talk about the positives, for now. I woke up with morning breath, sleepies in my eyes, and hair like Frankenstein’s wife. Crawling out of bed, I thought about how any night Orlando Machete could be creeping under my windowsill. You see, my dad was the new governor and since the old governor was dead, Orlando Machete thought he would seek revenge on the new one. Like every morning, I ambled towards the kitchen, my stomach grumbling at the smell of fresh pancakes. I spotted my mom in her old-fashioned, polka dot, and lace dress with a 50’s hairstyle to match. “Mom, why are you dressed like that?” I asked, thinking about my friends’ reactions to her outfit. “Now dear, you know I always have to stay “hip” and in with the newest fashion,” my mother replied. “From when, the 1950’s?” I said, chuckling. “That’s it, Kristina Maria Moure. If I hear one more word about my outfit, you can’t go to the movies tomorrow,” my mom said with her “serious” voice. I decided that making fun of my mom wasn’t worth missing the premier of “Nightlight: a Parody.” My best friend, Hayley, and I have been waiting way too long to miss something like this. Besides, Hayley would never forgive me for ditching or getting in trouble at the last minute. I quickly sat down to eat my breakfast, feeling as though my mom would find the perfect opportunity to keep me away from the movies. Ever since the Machete came into town and Dad was murdered, she hadn’t wanted to me to go out much. Why did it have to be my dad? Thinking about all this made my eyes begin to water so I quickly wiped my eyes before anyone could see. I had perfect timing cause right when I wiped my tear, my eight-year-old brother Taylor came downstairs for his usual breakfast: hash browns and toast. Thinking he was old enough to use the stove, he began to make some hash browns in the frying pan. Of course, being eight years old, he was too short, so he proceeded to get a 3rd degrees burn on his tiny little hands. He screamed at the feeling of intense pain across the back of his hands. “Oh my gosh, Taylor, are you okay?” my mom screamed in fear. “Nice job, genius,” I started to say, but then I saw my mom look at me and decided to say, “Are you okay?” in a not at all concerned voice. “What do you think, I’m dead, I can see my life flashing before my eyes,” Taylor replied dramatically. “What life, you’re eight, you pretty much just started your life,” I said, “Besides, it’s only a burn.”

“Look, I’m gonna be late for work, so Kristina, you’re gonna have to take your brother to the doctor,” my mom said. “It’s Kristy, mom, KRISTY, with a Y,” I yelled back at her, “and why do I have to take him? He can walk.” She glared at me so I scarfed down my pancakes, piggybacked my brother, and headed towards the doctor’s office. On the way there, I saw a strange man of about 5 feet 7 inches staring at me with his scarred eye and pitch black hair. I started to hurry, hoping he wouldn’t follow and that he wasn’t an enemy. Once we got to the doctor’s office I was as tired as a horse pulling a 480-pound man. I sluggishly took my brother to the doctor, checked him in, and sat in the only egg chair of the bare kids room of the waiting room. Once Taylor’s name was called I came with him into the room, just in case the mysterious man decided to make another appearance. After my brother and I were ready to go, I heard a dry knock on the window. I slowly turned my head in fear that it was the mystery man. It was my best friend, Hayley. I sighed with relief at the sight of my best friend instead of the mystery man. “What are you doing here? Not that I’m not happy to see you,” I said. “I went to your house to see if you wanted to go to the mall to get clothes for the dance but you weren’t there and then I thought Taylor must have broken something again, so I headed here,” Hayley said. “Yeah, we can head there after I walk – or should I say, carry – my brother back home,” I replied. I carried my brother in my arms and Hayley, my brother, and I trotted back to the house. Hayley and I dropped off my brother, got our money, and headed to the mall on our mountain bikes. Halfway there I thought about how much my life has changed ever since the Machete came into Brookville. The streets seemed deserted except for the occasional person or car that looked as though they had been left behind or didn’t belong there. We got to the mall and headed towards our favorite store, the one we go to every time we go to the mall, Restricted Too. The stores were filled with teen clothing and school supplies. I looked through the store and found the perfect shoes to wear to the upcoming school dance. I had to have them. I ran towards the pile of shoes, grabbed the last size 9 from the stack and held them in the air as if they were the best things on Earth. I ran around the room looking for a matching outfit and happily found a pair of gold sequined converse, a Hollister t-shirt, and a pair of shorts with a gold sequined belt to match my new shoes. I was now so excited for the dance. What made me even more excited was that Johnny, this guy I’ve had a crush on for years, was going to be there and I’d been dying to ask him to slow dance. But every single time, a girl who had more confidence, self-esteem, and courage than me took it away from me. I could picture it now, his golden short hair wisped across his face. His pearly white smile twinkling in the lights. And his brown, suave, eyes gleaming back at me. It seems as if we are the only people in the room. He leans in to kiss my cheek. Then, Hayley, trying to get my opinion on the casual brown dress she chose, rudely interrupted me. I looked at my outfit and thought that maybe I should change my outfit to a casual dress like Hayley’s. I asked for her opinion and she offered to give me hers, but I refused as my eyes caught an aquamarine dress that glowed like it was “the chosen one.” I snatched the dress, dropped my old outfit, sadly left my gold sequined shoes realizing I wouldn’t have enough money, and picked up aquamarine Keds instead. I grabbed some cute earrings as Haley and I headed to the cash register to buy our new dresses. After we left the store, we got a bite to eat, then headed back to my house for our usual Saturday sleepover.

We decided that we would made a pact that we would back up and support each other when asking a guy to dance. It may sound stupid, but it was the perfect idea to us. We stayed up the rest of the night talking about guys and the dance until we decided to get some sleep for the biggest day of our lives (at least for now). Hayley and I woke to the smell of burning bagels and eggs. We slowly crawled out of our sleeping bags and walked into the kitchen to find my mom making scrambled eggs and my brother burning his bagel because for some reason, he decided to use the stove instead of the toaster. “You know Taylor, the toaster is used for toasting bagels. The oven is for destroying bagels,” Hayley said. “Well, sorry for trying to be original, Little Miss Picky,” my brother squealed back. “Guys, can we at least stop the fighting until after we eat?” I groaned, wishing I could eat in peace and away from my brother. “My, Hayley, it seems like you are becoming more and more a part of this family every week,” my mom said. “I’m not sure if I’m supposed to take that in a negative or positive way, Ms. Wood,” Hayley replied. “Call me mom, Hayley, I mean, if that doesn’t make you upset at all,” my mom replied. “No, I think I’m okay with that,” Hayley replied. Hayley’s mom had died the same way my dad had, killed by the Machete, except Hayley’s mom was the secretary. “So, are you girls excited for the dance tonight?” my mom asked. “Are you crazy? We’ve been thinking about this dance for the past two weeks!” I said. “I just hope you guys remember the rules,” my mom began to say. “We know, we know, no double body dancing, no violence, pretty much nothing that gets you in trouble,” I said. “That’s right, and you better follow those rules or I will come and get you two,” my mom warned. “I don’t think that will be necessary Ms, I mean mom,” Hayley said. “It better not be.” Just eight hours until the greatest night of our lives. In that eight hours we saw the premiere of Nightlight: a Parody (the best movie ever!), swam, and jumped on the trampoline in the backyard. Then, we were ready for the night of nights, the night of nights, tonight. We were dancing in the gym, the DJ playing my favorite song, the lights flashing everywhere, and everyone having a good time. Then, a slow song. It was time. I walked towards Johnny, took a deep breath, and said these words: “You wanna dance?” Thankfully, he said yes. As we danced together, we talked about stuff like music, school and interests. I glanced at Hayley and saw she was dancing with Grant, a guy she had been liking since 5th grade. Then, HE KISSED HER! ON THE LIPS! I think she was very happy after that. I looked at Johnny; he leaned in towards me and I thought we were going to kiss, but then, the worst thing ever happened. The mystery man I had seen when taking Taylor to the doctor was walking towards Johnny and me with a gun in his hand. I screamed, and thankfully, the only thing that happened was that everyone looked at the mystery man, Johnny, and me. The mystery man had a gun pointed toward us as if he had done this before and wasn't afraid of pulling the trigger. “You two, come with me, or someone is gonna get hurt,” the mystery man said in a Spanish accent. I should have known. El Diablo. Johnny and I put our hands in the air, looked at each other

worriedly, and started to walk towards El Diablo. Then all of a sudden, El Diablo collapsed, dead on the ground. I looked to where the shot came from and it was an FBI agent standing on the balcony. He nodded at me, then proceeded to come downstairs with two other agents. And then, as you can probably guess, I fainted. I woke to find Johnny staring at me with his brown twinkly eyes. Everyone else in the building was surrounding Johnny and me with sighs of relief as I started to move. “Are you okay, Kristy?” Johnny asked. “I think so. Wait, you know my name, you actually said my name!” I said. “Wait, did I just say that out loud?” “Um, yeah,” he replied as he helped me up. “Well, I’m glad you’re okay,” he said as he gave me a hug. “Wait, that’s it, a stinkin’ hug?” I said. I stopped myself, realizing what I had just said in a room of about 50 people. “Well, yeah, I mean we are only friends,” Johnny said. “But I thought we were more than friends,” I said. “Since we are both so confused about our feelings, we should both say how we truly feel about each other,” Johnny said. “Yeah, but maybe in a more private area,” I said, eying the big crowd around us. We both headed outside to discuss this whole matter. “On three, we’ll both say how we truly feel about each other,” Johnny said. “One…two…three,” we both said. “I really like you,” we both said, synchronized We looked at each other and smiled. He leaned in and when we kissed, I realized that this had truly been the best night of my life. “So I was wondering if maybe you want to see a movie tomorrow night,” he asked. “I’d love to,” I replied. We headed back inside and we told Hayley and Grant that we’d be going out tomorrow. In the end, my near-death night turned out to make a guy go out with me. “I love my life,” I said, gazing up at the lights of the room my life almost ended in. --Maya Crawford

Art by April Chien

Art by Abby Lowell

The Spring We used to sit at a spring together talking and laughing, telling secrets quietly we dipped our toes in the water feeling the cold water rush over our feet we ate the little raspberries munching and crunching as the red juice swirled around we used to run and jump through the trees playing games of tag and hide-and-go-seek we used the pebbles to make face paint scooping up mud from under the rocks we used to jump in the water splashing and each performing cannonballs we sat and listened to the slow rushing as the spring moved slowly along a stream together we sat by a spring soaking up the warm sun. --Monica Taneja

Art by Kathleen Chang

Blown away with the wind, washed down the river, swallowed up by the earth, burnt in the raging fire, gone, gone forever. --Heejin Hahn

Art by Jolena Ma Art by Kris Auyeung

The moon is an alabaster globe, the sister of the sun, the beauty of the sky, the hope in the dark. --Heejin Hahn

The Red Violin A collage of deep beautiful reds and light, orange-y browns Blend together with young age They bloom out of each other in tidied shapes, And fit on the wood as a shoe fits on a foot. The Red Violin Its back is like that of The Red Violin a tiger's, Strong, stable, wonderfully patterned with dancing, frivolous stripes Yet humble and hollow-sounding when tapped on. A collage of deep beautiful reds and  The wood beneath is soft and flexible, the ingredients to the best types of sound. light, orange­y browns Blend together with young age But the violin behind the peaceful wood and the gorgeous colors is an unforgiving violin, They bloom out of each other in  Screeching in protest when the player is inexperienced or unfocused, tidied shapes, Wailing in pain when the musician has not practiced, Piercing the ears of listeners like a car horn or fire alarm. When my brother plays, his violin scratches and moans; It tattle-tales on him as a younger sister would, "He didn't practice." Of course, he has the nice, yellow, half-sized violin, And I have the red one. The red violin is unforgiving to me, too, though. It whistles and taps the wrong strings, full of complaints Ruining what is meant to be a work of art, Releasing the worst sounds that can be released. Although when I've practiced, I don't hear the protest if there is any. My mind gets lost, though my playing isn't that of a master's. The sound fills my body with the liquid of contentment, of love for the music It's like a ship taking me to a land of wonders. The ship paints me a garden, Filled with bright, lively, electric, blooming colors Ornamented by the flowers of the heavens with the most delicate petals Arranged in the most amazing patterns, which the most skillful florist would gape at. But its most favored music is red. The darkness and pride in it, reflecting the strength in the violin itself The sadness and blood-red streams of music far exceed the tranquility of the garden Its minor keys stabbing vigorously at a listener's heart as a sword would The projecting sound echos off of walls that may or may not exist. Bouncing off again and again and again, attacking again and again and again Revealing the reddest, coldest, gory, depressing story behind the piece it's playing... Again and again and again. --Heejung Chung

Art by Kate Gilhuly

Poetry is Like... Poetry is like the warmth of a hug from someone you love. It's the smile that takes over your face when you are happy. It's the applause from an over-excited audience, the sunlight seeping through a window in the summer. Poetry is like sadness when you must part, as black as the night. A dog so happy to see you after a long day at school. Like a dream that can sweep you off your feet and take you away to faeries and stars and kings and love, to darkness that can be overcome, to caves that can be lit, to the far reaches of the earth that seem to never be any closer. Poetry is your favorite snack, the happiness you feel when you take your first bite. It can be either a great joy in life, or a despair that leaves you devastated. Poetry is the messenger of all things; the Hermes of the mortal world. It is a way to convey all you feel, without embarrassment. Poetry is love, anger, happiness, sadness, life, death, confusion, excitement, surprise, but most importantly, poetry is whatever you want it to be. --Meredith Shell

Art by Caroline Harris

Rainy Day Poem With my desk by the window, I can look at the pale blue evening sky. I can see my reflection in the window. The rain is falling on the trees, in loud spatters. I went out and danced in the rain, felt cold on my bare feet. I danced and skipped, and opened my mouth, and let the rain pour in. Maybe it will fill me, till I overflow with feeling and cold wet. My tongue is so dry. Every cell in my body is reaching for the rain.

supernova, to be one with the earth and the invisible I want to be the driving wind, that tastes the rain, caresses the trees, assaults the walls and lonely cars. I want to be the earthworm wriggling in the dirt, content in my own blind beauty. My pink slimy body that doesn’t know the sky, until it opens up in its glory to wash me up, dead, on sidewalks. I want to be a leaf, tossed by precipitation, the water cycle that gives me precious green life. I want to become the lightning that wallops the trees and golf courses with perfect aim and deadly electric beauty.

I want to fly to crawl to swim. To be a singing frog in the rain, feel it on my delicate skin, seeping in. Croak to the rain in a symphony, be no one but my bug-eyed self. I want to be a raindrop, falling from a white blanket of sky. I would fall and collapse, like a dancer, like a soufflé, like an exploding

I want to be the thunder, rolling with such might, that frightens dogs and children, heaven’s cannons all firing like airplane engines far above. I want to become the rain and the wet, become the spring growth and storm destruction. I want to drizzle, pour, shower, soak, drench in my triumph. I want to be the rain, that I see from my desk by the window. --Cassidy Jensen

Box of Tears time keeps passing I can hear it in my ears my fingers grasping this brimming box of tears my heart keeps trying to save me though in vain said you'd been lying the whole time to keep me sane I know I never will forget your fingers in my hair the way you smiled was so perfect trapped inside your stare yet after all we had been through I guess I should have known it was time for me to move on it was time for you to go and now's my time to tell you all that I have left to say which is, that if I really love you I will let you fade away. --Kira Vargas

Art by Audrey Flower

Limerick There once was a cute little doggie Who lived in a city that was foggy So he smoked a cigar And drove a large car But made it even more smoggy --Claire Huang               

“Dog” by Kris Auyeung

Limerick There once was a boy from Bengal Who really loved to play basketball He tried out for the team But had no self-esteem For he was only two feet tall --Claire Huang

Art by Kathleen Chang

Art by Audrey Flower

Granny Smith, Versus The So Called Pink Lady Granny Smith wears a crisp green dress, Skin tight to her pure white flesh. She holds fruity power Her taste makes you cower, For a granny, she’s rather sour. Pink Lady blushes a ladylike pink, Clad in a ballgown of red. Her eyes are of yellow, She stops to say hello, Her manner sweet and mellow. --Sophia Pelosi

Art by Caroline Chou

Stuck-Up Dog Lover "Would you like that scrambled or sunny-side up or somethin' else?" “Anythin'." She wore a pair of skinny jeans and a tight, white blouse, and she was staring at a giant, framed photo of Elvis Presley on one of the brown, old-fashioned, log-cabin-styled walls in a diner, deliberately diverting her eyes from the waiter, whom she thought disgustingly fat and ugly. 'The King' was much more pleasant to look at for the stuck-up girl. "’Kay, ma'am. It'll be here in about ten minutes. Is someone coming later?" "Nope." "'Kay, see ya'." "Thanks." She sat back, crossed her legs, and cracked open the book she had previously set on the table in front of her, suggesting that the waiter leave. The book wasn't even of much interest to her, actually a very boring, nonfiction piece of literature that had been put together without much organization or thought. To pass a little more time, she started swinging her leg (a terrible habit) when she swung it a bit too hard and hit something. Now, she knew that it wasn't a table leg, or the empty chair across from her, because, after her foot came in contact with the object, it sank deeper into it, the way a person 'sinks' into a trampoline before rebounding into the air. She quickly pulled her foot back and swung her head to look under the table, hitting it in the process. "Ow?" There was a sort of asking-a-question tone in her voice, which wasn't raised to a very high volume, but was more calm than anything else. "You okay, miss?" "Yep." She looked at the waiter, who was trying desperately to balance the food on his tray without spilling anything. Surprisingly, he was succeeding. "Here's yer egg and bacon and lemonade, ma'am. Would ya' like anythin' else?" He was leaning a bit too close, close enough for her to smell his rotten, stinky breath. It smelled like fish. Scooting away from him and clearing her throat, she said, "No thanks." And he walked away, tray and notepad in hand. She stared at him until he had reached the counter of the diner to make sure that, if she did something stupid or embarrassing (like hitting her head on the edge of a table), he wouldn't see it.

Now, with the waiter gone, she stooped down under the table once more, grabbing the edge of it for support, but when she reached the bottom, the only soft objects in sight were the globs of chewing gum that 'dumb people had stuck under there' (as she often phrased it). There were no cushions or padding under the table or on the chair. She rolled her head around in search of the object that she had kicked when her eyes fell on a dog who had probably crawled out from under the table after having been kicked for what was, in all likelihood, the umpteenth time. The panting, cute little creature seemed to be smiling at her in a sort of scared way, most likely afraid of being kicked again. Its golden skin had been soiled quite a bit, giving it a more brown-ish, shaggy appearance. Cautiously, in an effort to keep from scaring the poor thing, she reached out with the back of her hand, letting the dog smell it. He seemed quite satisfied, so she got back up again (making sure to avoid the edge of the table) and threw a piece of breakfast bacon down for the dog, who (delighted at the sight of meat) thrust it into its mouth and swallowed it in less than a quarter of a second. She (the girl was pretty sure that the dog was a female) waddled up to her with her tail between her legs and rested her nose on the girl's knees. Being the observant girl that she was, she noticed that the dog had no collar, meaning that, as loving as it was, it was a stray. She didn't mind very much at that particular moment, though. "Sally. That's yer name. That's what I'm gonna call you. Sally. Like that?" she whispered, wrapping Sally's face in her hands. The dog wagged her tail in satisfaction and gave an encouraging yelp. "Sally it is, then," the girl said. And, with Sally still staring at her with begging, pearly eyes, she leaned back on her chair and threw another piece of bacon on the floor. --Heejung Chung

One girl alone needs a friend one act of kindness is all it takes to make a friend --Kathleen Kenealy

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

“Terrified� by Katya Scocimara

Loves Me Not Enter my heart It's cold and it's hot Loves me, Loves me not Smell the air That I forgot Loves me, Loves me not Make it, break it, Leave it to rot Loves me, loves me not Did not know What I had sought All I knew Was that I thought That in the end When all would be fought Loves me, Loves me not --Kira Vargas

A Wisp of Golden Hair

Art by Maya Crawford Gemma looked out her window, brushing her long dark hair out of her face. She watched the houses zoom by, getting closer and closer to the City of Lights- her new and, hopefully, final destination. She sighed and turned to the food trolley. A new home, she thought as she bought a small biscuit. This better be worth it. Gemma Dubois was a thirteen-year-old girl from Cannes. She had escaped from her home just hours before--it was a long story. In a little more time, she would be safe. The train rushed past the cities, past people, past cars. Suddenly, the train screeched to a halt. Gemma had reached her destination. She could not think of a way to describe it. She had made a rash decision. Anything to get her away from her previous home. The dark alleys, tall buildings, not being able to trust anyone--Gemma hoped Paris would be better. She would be attending Académie Supérieure on a scholarship. She knew the drill--as long as she stayed a slightly above average student, had at least one friend, and did anything else to possibly stay out of the spotlight, she would be fine. Académie Supérieure was an international school, and the main language was English. Gemma could have easily survived at a French school though, as she was fluent in both English and French. She had a certain … background with languages, partly due to the fact she moved around a lot. After putting away her book, which hadn't done her much good, Gemma walked down the stairs. It was 4:00 AM Paris time, so the train station was quiet. Dawn was just around the corner, giving just enough light for Gemma to see where she was headed. Gemma clutched her ID, birth certificate, and a slip of paper with her Aunt and Uncle's address on it. She carried a backpack, containing a book, some money, and the stuffed animal she had owned since she was two. She pulled a suitcase that contained some clothes. The girl did not know what to do now. It would be another 2 hours before she could catch a cab to her aunt and uncle's apartment. She sat down onto a bench, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She saw a lady walk by, and a love-struck man running down the side of the train track to catch up with her. As she often did, Gemma wondered about their story. A janitor was humming in the bathroom. Gemma slowly closed her eyes, listening to the tune of "A La Seine," a classic song. The music flowed through her body and calmed her mind. Gradually, Gemma nodded off to sleep. "Pardon?" a woman with bright make-up inquired. "Oui," replied a man, "what do you need?"

"When is the next train to Nice leaving?" "In an hour, at 7:00." Gemma jerked awake. Was it really 6:00? Had she slept for two hours? Her aunt and uncle would be arriving any minute. Gemma got up and stretched, wincing in the face of the bright light. Scanning the station for a clock, Gemma noticed how many people there were bustling about. She had always been a heavy sleeper. It was, in fact, what had gotten her into this whole mess in the first place. She had slept through the whole mix-up--in a way this was a good thing, because if she had woken up she would be dead. Instead, she was to be cursed with a life on the run. Gemma pulled out her book, and waited for her aunt and uncle. Her mind kept on wandering, so she finally put the book down. Just as Gemma began doubting that she would ever get picked up, she heard voices that sounded like her aunt and uncle. "Hello, my darling Gemma!" her uncle Christophe exclaimed. "So glad you arrived safely!" her aunt Jacqueline called. "Here, let me take your bags," said the chauffeur Yves. It went on like this, and Gemma nodded and smiled. Her uncle was a thin man, and also had dark hair and grey eyes, just like her. On the contrary, her aunt was rather round with curly auburn hair, and brown loving eyes. Both were oblivious of the real reason she was here. They had been told that she wanted to learn about a new culture, and was very interested in Paris. The ride to their apartment was quite uneventful. They drove past many popular landmarks including the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Gemma was in awe, but she knew not to fall in love with the city just yet. It was no good, as she never knew if or when she would have to leave again. After what had happened, Gemma would probably be on the run for a while. The car pulled up at a grey, castle-like building. The perfect place for a mystery, mused Gemma. The driver carried her bags as Gemma walked up the stairs. "Your room is this way." Gemma followed her aunt up a flight of carpeted stairs and turned left. In the room was a four-poster bed, a bureau, a huge closet, a simple wooden desk, and to the side, a bathroom. "You will be starting school tomorrow--but I'm sure you know all that. Here are some papers to fill out," said the aunt, handing Gemma a stack of papers, with stars next to where she would sign her name and list some information. Her aunt left, and Gemma flopped onto the bed. She began filling out the papers quickly. For once, Gemma did not have to lie -- Paris could be starting on a fresh, clean slate, and she could start it with her own identity. The rest of the day flew by, full of unpacking, exploring, reading, and eating. Soon it was time for bed. Gemma switched off the light, but had trouble falling asleep. She could not remember the time she had last been in a comfortable, safe bed. It was almost too good to be true. Little did she know that it wasn't true -- not at all. Gemma woke up at 7:00. School would be starting at 8:00, but it took half an hour to get there. Gemma decided to wear dark clothes to blend in. She pulled on a navy blue tee, putting a black jacket over it. She then slipped into some skinny jeans, and finally her lucky grey sneakers. During breakfast, her uncle walked in and greeted his niece warmly. "Gemma! How was your night? I hope you slept well. Well, I have to go to work. See you in the afternoon!" He rushed out the door, after grabbing a small croissant. Gemma watched him leave. She wondered if her uncle was going to always be this way. Nevertheless, her aunt was as jolly as ever. A baguette, some butter, hot chocolate, and fresh strawberries lay waiting to be devoured. Gemma just played with her food and picked at her breakfast. Even though she had started at a new school many times, she was still nervous. At last, it was time to go to school. Yves held the door open to the anxious Gemma. The friendly driver started out for school. Meanwhile, Gemma kept biting her nails. The first day was the always the worst. When Gemma arrived at the school, she gazed at the tall iron

gates in awe. The campus itself had elaborate stone buildings, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, three gyms, a tennis court, a cafe, an enormous field … you name it and it was there. Gemma had been to countless schools, but this one... was extremely exclusive. Would she really be able to fit in? Gemma entered the spacious administration building. A woman was filing papers at the front desk. "Umm, pardon? I'm Gemma Dubois, and I'm new here... could you give me a copy of my schedule?" murmured Gemma as she avoided the gaze of the secretary. "What? Gemma, you say? Oh, that new girl from Cannes, I remember. Here's your schedule - today you'll have French, History, Mathematics, then lunch, then Science, Fitness and English. Good luck." The lady left the room. Gemma scanned her schedule, looking for the room numbers. She found them at the bottom along with her teachers' names. According to her schedule, French was in room 121. She slowly followed the numbers in the hall, until she came to the door. Class had already started. Gemma timidly knocked on the door. As the teacher walked over to let her in, the students stared. So much for blending in. "You will be sitting here." The teacher, Madame Richard, gestured to a seat next to a girl who smiled as she sat down. "Hi," the girl mouthed as Gemma sat down. Gemma took a closer look at the girl. She had golden blonde hair, and piercing blue eyes. She was wearing a hot pink Juicy jacket over an orange t-shirt, with a miniskirt and hot pink converse with Alicia written on the back. Gemma smiled back. She knew she should hold onto the opportunity. Friends were hard to make. Then she turned around and began listening to a lesson about The Little Prince. Fifty minutes later the class was finished. On their way out, the girl who had greeted her during French called, "Hey! I'm Alicia Durand. If you didn't already know from the shoes. Call me Leesh if you want. " "Hi..." Gemma wondered why the girl liked her so much, but no matter what the reason was, she decided having a friend would be a good idea. Alicia smiled, and led her down the stairs to what they called "The Dungeon". "So you're the new girl from Cannes right?" Alicia asked politely as they walked through the torch-lit corridors. "Yeah. By the way, where are we going?" Gemma was beginning to become more comfortable talking with Alicia. "You and I have History and Math next. Both classes are underground." Just then, a tall, haughty-looking girl brushed past them. Gemma looked at the girl through the corner of her eye, following her path through the corridor. She looks like a criminal... thought Gemma. Alicia seemed to notice that Gemma was staring at the girl, and whispered scornfully, "That's Chloe Michel. Don't make friends with her -- she's a bad bully." Gemma was surprised that Alicia referred to her peer as a "bully", but took her new friend's word for it. Together, they entered the history classroom just in time for class. History and math passed by in a blur, and soon it was time for lunch. Gemma chose a hamburger, while Alicia opted for a vegetable quiche. "So..." began Gemma, "How long have you been attending Académie Supérieure?" "Three years." Was it just Gemma, or had Alicia said that a little bit too quickly? "Cool." Gemma looked around. She saw the girl Chloe glancing at their table and quickly looking away. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Alicia glare. "That's Chloe, as I said before. Whatever you do, do not associate with her. She has a certain background..." Gemma leaned in closer. "Like what?" "Um, it’s hard to explain. Anyway, what classes do you have next?" Alicia hastily changed the subject. "Science. Then Fitness and then English."

"Oh, what a coincidence. We have the same schedule!" "Yeah, totally!" Gemma was happy that she would have someone to count on. "Well, it looks like it’s time to go." The two girls walked across the courtyard and up to the science lab. Science passed quickly, and so did Fitness. Last period of the day, English, was when things started getting strange. English was the class Gemma had with Chloe. All through English, she caught Chloe staring at her, and Alicia staring at the two of them. When Gemma's back was turned, she felt a cold ball on her--eww...a spitball. She quickly turned around, only to see Alicia glaring at Chloe. Gemma decided that she didn't like Chloe either. After class, Gemma announced that she had to go to the bathroom. When she came out, she saw Chloe and Alicia arguing. Both turned red, and Chloe walked off, slumping. "What was that about?" asked Gemma. "Oh, um, nothing. Just standing up for you!" This seemed strange to Gemma, but she thanked Alicia anyway. She said goodbye, and waited outside for Yves. As she was waiting Chloe approached her. "I know that you don't know me, but I know you. And please, please, don't hang out with Alicia." "Um, no? She's my friend..." Gemma replied cautiously. Before Chloe could say anything more, Alicia appeared. "Has she been talking to you?" "Um, yeah." Alicia turned towards Chloe. "Just leave her alone, OK?" Chloe retreated, just as Yves pulled up. "So, how was school?" asked Yves, after the car had pulled away. "Fine," Gemma answered. She had a friend, and an enemy. She was semi-popular, just where she liked to be. School had been fantastic! Yet, something kept on nagging her, something not quite right. She replayed Chloe's words. I know that you don't know me, but I know you. Her words had been strange...yet familiar. Something was definitely weird. Dinner was quiet, slightly awkward, and yet very yummy. Gemma found her new favorite food - crepes. Afterwards, Gemma finished up her homework, showered, and climbed into bed. Lying in bed, Gemma remembered the words she had heard before she got on the train: "I will be back, just you wait..." They still creeped her out. And after Chloe's talk, they were starting to seem real. Just as Gemma was switching off the lights and getting ready for bed, she heard some rustling outside. She jerked her head up, and saw a faint shadow on her wall. Quickly she pulled up the covers over her head, and fell into a restless sleep, full of nightmares. The sun wasn't shining the next morning. Gemma groaned and hopped out of bed. Again she put on one of her dark outfits, gobbled up her breakfast, and drove to school. Alicia greeted her after Science. "Hey!" "Hi!" The two were becoming more familiar. "Do you want to go to the tennis court with me? We have 20 minutes before French starts." "Okay, sure." Gemma felt a bit uneasy, but this was a good chance to become closer friends. The day passed, the evening passed, and soon it was time for bed. Again, just as Gemma was getting into bed, she saw a shadow, over her bed. I'm just dreaming. She thought, and dozed off. Gemma did not know the true meaning behind these shadows until later that month. It was spring, and trees blossomed everywhere. Alicia’s parents picked Gemma up, as had become their ritual. Gemma had been seeing strange things lately, and the only time to tell

Art by Jessica Norum

Art by Katie Laubscher

Alicia was in the car. "Hey, Leesh? It's... well...I've seen strange things lately. Some shadows, voices, stuff like that. I'm so scared. What am I going to do?" "What? Huh? Shadows? Voices? That's impossible, Gemma. Just don't think about them, then they might go away." Alicia shooed the thought away. "All right... if you say so." Gemma still felt uneasy, but Alicia had said not to think about them. She would try that method tonight. That night, Gemma thought of unicorns. She thought of crepes. She thought of everything else besides those scary shadows and voices, but she kept seeing them. After she finally fell asleep, she dreamt of huge shadows coming to kill her, but then just as she was going to be murdered, she woke up screaming. Jacqueline rushed into her room and comforted her, but the moment she left the room, the shadows reappeared. Again, Gemma confronted Alicia in the car. "Alicia, your strategy didn't work last night, you know? I even dreamt of murderous shadows!" Alicia, dumbstruck, stuttered and then tried to smile, ending up wincing. She turned away and said bluntly, "Well, whatever. It's your business, so I don't want to interfere with it." Gemma looked at Alicia strangely. Why was she acting so spiteful all of the sudden? At school, they quickly became friends again after forgiving each other. Gemma came home after a long day of classes and tennis practice. When she got home, she found the house deserted. She ran all over the house, shouting her uncle and aunt's names. Just as she was about to give up and cry, she heard faint sobbing from the backyard. She rushed over to see her uncle in the garden, pounding the ground with his fist and bawling. "Uncle? Are you okay? What happened?" Gemma cried out, alarmed that her genteel uncle was acting like this. "Oh Gemma...your aunt, my sweet Jacqueline, passed away this morning. She went to the market, and was found lying dead in the parking lot. Oh, Gemma. Your aunt was so kind, so charming... a little spark of light in my dreary life. Oh Gemma!" Gemma rushed into his arms and wailed. Though it had been a short time, her aunt was so pleasant and cheerful. A nagging feeling in the bottom of her stomach told her it was her fault, and that it had been a sign from the past. Everything was happening the same way it had happened back home. Many things had happened, causing Gemma to move to Paris. Her parents had heard about a murder, and she had somehow gotten involved. They could not keep it a secret from Gemma, and she had heard. Little did they know they were being spied on. They had been forbidden from confiding the information to anyone, and had been murdered. Gemma had felt horrible, as it had been she who had begged for the truth. Also, she had slept through the whole thing, and as she liked to hide under her covers deep down, she had not been caught. The organization had not wanted her parents, but Gemma, and they would not tell of her existence, and were killed. An hour later, a close family friend had come rushing in, telling her she had to leave immediately. Her Aunt and Uncle had not heard any of it, as that would have put her in danger. And now it looked like Gemma was being followed. Her aunt had been a warning, Gemma knew. And the shadows--she had been spied on. Yet, Gemma could not leave her uncle, not with him in this state. She would just have to lay low. That night, as always, the shadows were outside Gemma's bedroom. She anticipated it, and quickly turned around. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a golden wisp of hair, so quickly she thought she had missed it. The next day, Gemma, crying, confided in Alicia. Alicia froze, and then exclaimed, "I know who did it, I know!" "Who!?" "Chloe," Alicia said.

"That makes sense," Gemma began to explain, her sobs dying away, "I mean, that would tell us why she is always staring at me, and the conversation she had with me the first time we came. " "Yes! And the blonde hair. That was the final clue. " "OK, mystery solved. But what do I do?" "I don't know. Whatever you do, don't confront her. She will probably blame someone else, and probably want to kill you even more. Chloe is a murderer." "Okay, do you think I should leave?" "NO!" yelled Alicia abruptly, and then stuttered, "I mean, I would miss you..." "Fine. But do you know if I will be safe?" To Gemma, it felt good to be missed, as she was used to missing others. She decided she would take the risk of staying. She couldn't bear the though of leaving her uncle, her friends, her school, and everything else. "Hey, I have an idea!" "What?" Gemma asked hopefully. "We can investigate…like detectives! That way, you can stay with me -- I mean in Paris." "Are you sure you want to get into this?" Gemma asked doubtfully. "Yeah, of course!" said Alicia quickly. "OK, how should we begin?" "Well, we know it's Chloe, so we need evidence so we can prove her guilty." "Yes, but.... Do we know for sure it’s Chloe?" Gemma inquired. "Of course we do, silly!" "Um, OK. So what kind of evidence are you talking about?" "Anything. How about we search her desk after school today, and her house on Friday; she has a violin lessons that day." "Wow, you know a lot about her." "Not really. Whatever. After English, wait for me--we'll investigate then." "OK." Gemma didn't have math with Chloe, but during English she kept on glancing at her, trying to picture her as a murderer. She just couldn't imagine it. She mentioned her worries to Alicia. "It's called disguise! Why would she want people to suspect her--that would just be dumb!" Gemma heard Alicia mutter under her breath, "As for me..." Alicia then handed Gemma some gloves. "Let’s get working!" They searched Chloe's desk for an hour, but eventually gave up. "She is probably too clever to hide stuff in her desk and locker. I'm guessing that our best bet is to scour her house,” explained Alicia. "OK." That made sense to Gemma. Life at home was sad, and full of papers to fill out. Gemma was happy to leave when Friday came. She decided to ride her bike to Alicia's house, and then they would walk together to Chloe's house. She felt adventurous, yet a little queasy about breaking into someone's house, especially a bully's. I hope Alicia's right about Chloe's schedule...otherwise it would be a disaster... Gemma pondered. Little did Gemma know that this daring expedition would turn out to be catastrophic. The two girls climbed up the stairs. Alicia ran up, but Gemma tiptoed. "I told you--no one's here! You don't have to tip toe, as no one is here!" "OK..." Gemma stopped tiptoeing but continued to walk lightly. The girls rummaged about through Chloe's closet, and then her desk. Nothing. Gemma then checked her jewelry case, There, she found a small note. She silently read it. “Gemma, I know you're reading this note. I have one thing to tell you: Alicia is the murderer. Please believe me. –Chloe”

Gemma started panicking. How did Chloe know she was here? Wasn't she the suspect? Gemma's head was swirling. This made sense: how Alicia was acting strangely, how she kept suspecting Chloe and how she was a bit too friendly. But she had been so nice to Gemma! How could she, her best friend, be the murderer? Gemma then noticed that Alicia had left the room, and she started quietly panicking. Alicia returned from the hallway a few minutes later. "Where were you? I was worried sick!" Gemma was careful not to show the note to Alicia. "Uh... sorry. I was, um, investigating." Alicia seemed uneasy. "OK. Did you find anything?" "No!!" Alicia almost yelled. "Are you OK? You seem... different." Gemma was confused. "Oh, it's nothing. Just, just some mood swings..." The girls left the house after cleaning the room. Gemma was lying on her bed, thinking about the events that had happened that day. Now that she thought about it, Alicia did seem a little strange. Maybe it was time to consult Chloe. Just as soon as she was out of Alicia's sight. The next morning, Gemma came to school early. She knew Chloe always came at seven. She soon found her sprawled on a couch, reading a book. "Hey Chloe? I was wondering if we could talk for a minute." "Oh, I was expecting you to come. Let's talk in the tennis court, because there's always nobody there in the morning." Chloe smiled and took Gemma's hand. The girls sat on the ground and started talking. "I read your note in your jewelry box... oh, and I'm sorry I broke into your house like that. It was Alicia's idea." Gemma apologized. "Oh no, it's fine. It's like Alicia to do that." The girls giggled nervously. "So, is it really true that Alicia was the suspect all along? She's been so nice, but lately she's been acting strangely." "Oh yes, it is. If you don't believe me, look at this note. It says: ‘Jacqueline...Darkness shall swallow you whole tonight. From, Ms. Durand.’ And look at the fingerprints; they are Alicia's. We can tell because I examined her pencils, which had the same fingerprints. See?” Sure enough, Chloe was right. "I just can't believe it. Well, we don't have time. Why don't we think of a plan to catch her?" As if on cue, Alicia came up to them. "GEMMA? What in the world are you doing here, with CHLOE? GO AWAY, YOU... YOU...LOSER!!!!!!" Alicia shoved Chloe, who rolled her eyes and walked away. Alicia pulled Gemma aside roughly and looked deep into her eyes. "Don't you ever, ever, ever do that again," Alicia's voice quivered with anger. And with that, she spun around and strode off. Gemma was mildly surprised by this incident, and thoroughly hoped Alicia would forgive her. But it was another piece of evidence that Alicia was the murderer. That night, Gemma and Chloe talked on the phone. "So, I'm still not sure about what we are going to do." "Well, we need witnesses and evidence, I guess..." "But how?" "Um...I guess...we could film it?" "OK." "Well, I have to go...but remember--When you see Alicia, pretend everything is OK." "OK! Bye!" Gemma and Alicia pretended to be friends, even though they both knew something was

different. Meanwhile, Chloe and Gemma investigated. To begin, they decided that they should steal her phone, to see if she had been making any strange phone calls. Gemma told Alicia that she had to borrow her phone to call home. When she did so, instead of calling, she flipped through Alicia's contacts. One name seemed strange: Machiavelli. It sounded a little bit like the person who had killed her parents...and his phone number was right there! Gemma scribbled it down. Something told her it would matter later. Next, they decided to ask Alicia what she had been doing the day her aunt died. Of course, they couldn't be too obvious. "Hey, Alicia?" "Yeah?" "You know that day when my Aunt died?" "Yes, yes. So sad." Suddenly Alicia turned aggressive. “Why do you want to know?" "Oh, I was just wondering why you didn't want to come when I called you over. I mean, I know that it made you sad too, but why didn't you comfort me?" Gemma could hear how stupid she sounded. "I was busy--you know...with homework. And well, she died at 4:36, right? Yeah...I couldn't pick up the phone as I was eating dinner." Alicia tried to come up with an alibi. "OK, cool." "Yeah, well...I have to go. See you!" "See you!" Gemma felt she hadn't uncovered anything. She thought about what Alicia had said again and again in bed. As she was running through it, her uncle sobbed loudly, right at the part when Alicia said 4:36 pm. She jerked awake. She had never told Alicia that! She had never told anyone that! Alicia knew things she shouldn't. Gemma told Chloe the news. "That's great! Now we need a little bit more evidence, and we can bust Alicia out of France. Do you know any more evidence?" Gemma thought and thought. She thought of everything that happened when she was in France, finally getting to the part when Alicia had convinced her that Chloe was the criminal. It had been because of a wisp of golden hair. Thought for a little bit longer and then realized--Alicia was blonde too! Gemma told Chloe this. "How are we going to use that?" asked Gemma. "Well, we know that it is possible to use... I think that we should use that as part of the evidence. All we need is one more piece..." "I know, I know!! Why didn't I think of this sooner?" exclaimed Chloe. "What?" "There are always shadows above my room, and after the hair I think they are Alicia's shadows. This plan will involve you. Tonight, you will hide near my window, and I will go to bed like normal. Then, when Alicia comes, you film her doing whatever she is doing. Remember: Do not let yourself be seen. Oh, and we can get the video camera from my uncle." "That sounds risky...but I'll do it!" "When should we do it?" "Tonight," said Gemma. A dark shadow crept through the night, moving swiftly and confidently. A little bit too confidently, as she didn't notice a second shadow, lurking outside Gemma's window. The shadow was Alicia, and she didn't know that the other shadow, Chloe, was about to get her final piece of evidence. "Now we have our evidence--what do we do?" Gemma was stuck. "What do you think? We take it to the authorities. " That’s what the two girls did. They gathered their evidence, which was:

1. The note with Alicia's fingerprints 2. Alicia knowing the exact time of Jacqueline's death, even though no one could have told her 3. The wisp of golden hair 4. The film 5. Machiavelli's Phone Number They showed this evidence to the French police and they investigated. They looked under Alicia's bed and found dead bodies, one of them Gemma's aunt. Now they could have a proper burial! Alicia was arrested that day, and they made her tell Machiavelli to "come over." He came, and he, too, was arrested. He glared, terrifyingly. And just as she was shoved into a police car, Alicia Durand whispered viciously, “I will be back, and I will get you. Just you wait." --Claire Goldberg, Claire Huang, and Ryoko Shibata

Art by Jessica Zubizarreta

The Rainbow Red: Full of energy A hot fire shining inside It warms me within. Orange: The heat of the day The warmth of the flames The rise of the sun. Yellow: Like the shining sun As bright as the twinkling stars A beautiful light. Green: The birth of new life Like a lush springtime meadow A calm sense of peace. Blue: The ocean's dark depths The sky of a sunny day A blue flower blooms. Purple: A majestic royalty An inky sunset fades The dark of the sky. --Shea Ketsdever

“Complicated� by Annie Kim

The Pen... Today I was rumbling through a dump on a weird planet with strange creatures. I have heard this planet be called Earth, I don’t know why. Anyways, as I was looking through the dump, I found a very strange object. This item was about 5 or 6 inches long with a small point at the top and a little clicker at the other end of the object that made the point go up and down. I tried rubbing the point against a piece of wood and it left a strange black mark that looked like a black string, only it stayed on the wood. I wonder what this mysterious item is‌. --Isabelle Arnheim Art by Caroline Chou

Candy Bars Candy bars are known for being unhealthy. They satisfy you temporarily and leave you wanting for more. The sweetness can be as addicting as a drug. You eventually need more, and more, and more. Snickers, Kit-Kat, Hersheys, Crunch, The list goes on and on. But even if these delicious bars of goodness are bad for you, When life is a bit too hard, Or when there’s a bit too much pain to handle, Well, one candy bar isn’t that bad. Because one candy bar can sweeten life, Even if it’s just a little bit. --Anna Yu Art by Lou Biffar

Still Dark Silent Vigilant Flies into the night Tawny round eyes searching for mice --Karina Gunadi

“and all of a sudden...� by Karly Quadros

Art by Anonymous

Memories past times moments experiences what is left behind gain more as future passes by --Nicki Mitchell

Photo from unknown Art 7 student

Art by Anna Yu

At a crossroads in the darkness In a winter forest cold, A dusty riverbed running through, A picture waiting to unfold I stood there once, and very soon, I heard the oddest thing For in the darkest time of night, I heard a nightingale sing. The trees were bare, but still I heard, Leaves rustling in the breeze And though the riverbed was dry Water flowed along with ease When the crescent moon broke through the clouds, The scene was flooded with light, And I stood looking all around At the bright and sparkling night The trees were green and flowering, The river flowing fast, Birds flitting all around the sky, But I knew it couldn’t last. And yes, as soon as the moon had hid, Behind the shroud of clouds, The forest sounds all went away, And the silence seemed so loud. --Clare Tandy

Art by Jolena Ma

The Way the Wind Blows Where does the wind blow? Over the treetops Under the snow Through the valleys Into the brush Far from the ocean Or close to the shore Between buildings of the city Or across the barren farmlands Off Route 66 or Highway 1 How does the wind blow? Fast or slow, Steady and calm, Fierce and powerful ruffling your hair swaying the flowers churning the water gently picking up paper or trees or houses Can you hear the wind blow? Telling you stories of past Poems and Prose written long ago Or lives of people living today Haikus and Couplets about the forest Sonnets written from Elizabethan times Acrostics falling from the sky Whispering magic in your ear The wind blows in a mysterious pattern through your town and mine bringing with it new life or devastation Always willing to take your secret and carry it in its flight passing it to the next person along with a cold breeze --Monica Taneja

Art by Jolena Ma

Art by Kris Auyeung

Always There Strong arms lifting you up, a protective figure smiling up at you. Strong arms lifting you up, a good friend always there to catch you. Strong arms lifting you up, a supportive group of people who love you. Strong arms lifting you up, a lover just for you. Missing you forever, and always a good friend, a protective figure, part of the support helping you reach the sky.

Art by Jane Choi Art by Jane Choi

--Meredith Shell

Underwater It was like one of those moments where time just seems to freeze out there in the middle of the lake in my kayak almost as though I was sitting on the water itself was enough love for a lifetime just me, you, and mother nature I lifted my face to the gray sky and felt the rain drops cascading like tears down my cheeks and I shouted for joy and laughed you looked at me and smiled as the rain soothed us I reached out my hand to you you took it then you took me underwater to a place happier than any I had ever known. --Kira Vargas

Art by Alinna Brown

Emma’s Gold Rush 1 Elias My life first started to get exciting in the year of my ninth birthday, 1849. The year of the gold rush. I lived with my ma and my pa, who loved each other very much. They also loved me, Emma. We ran a small pub and inn that usually had little to no business. When the miners started coming, we prospered. One day I heard Pa and Ma talking in the back room. Although little girls my ages aren’t supposed to do such things, I sat on the stairs and listened in on their conversation. “Have you heard anything from Elias lately?” came Ma’s voice. “Mmm,” said Pa, whose mouth was full of hot stew. Swallowing, he said, “A letter arrived yesterday. He, Julia, and Lottie are moving out here. He said his gut tells him that the gold rush will bring him luck, and when Elias’ gut tells him things, Elias trusts his gut.” “How wonderful!” cried Ma. I almost started crying with happiness. Tall, blonde, bearded Elias is like a second father to me. He lived near us when I was but three, then left to find a place with better soil to grow his crops. Now that he, his wife, and his darling daughter, Lottie, were coming back, they would surely stay after the gold rush ended. Traveling was very hard in those days. They didn’t live too far away right then, so I saw them every year, but to have them nearer to us was, as Ma put it, just wonderful. 2 Gold It had been nearly six months since Elias came to us with his beautiful little girl and his gentle wife. All three of them lived with us in the small extension that Pa built onto our cabin with the help of Elias. Lottie and I were fast friends, even though I was nine and she was only five. She toddled after me everywhere I went, and her mother often asked me to care for her. Elias now spent most of his time mining, and came back from the fields only once a week, on Sundays, the holy day, when no man, woman, or child could be seen out working. One day, a Thursday, the middle of the working week for Elias, a man came stumbling into the pub. He threw some coins at Pa, who handed him a tankard of rum. Taking large gulps, the man, who had a scrubby beard and was wearing a vest of animal skins, glanced around with bloodshot eyes, as though to make sure that he had everyone’s attention. Then he burst out, “Gold! Some young’un’s gone an’ done it! Found a hunk ‘bout the size of an apple! Rich for the rest of ‘is life, that one’ll

be! Comin’ down this way now. Can’t ‘magine why e’d wanna, but e’s prob’ly just come to boast on an’ on ‘bout it.” Pa’s head swiveled away from the glass he had been cleaning and his eyes came to rest on the man. “This man who found the gold, what did he look like?” “Ah, well, I dunno. Tall guy, very tan, looked slightly anxious to tell ya the truth. Maybe ‘e thought someone was gunna nick the jackpot off ‘a ‘im.” Pa pressed the man further. “And his hair? What color was it? Did he have a beard?” “Now that I think that back to it, yeah, the man ‘ad a ‘ole scruff of a blonde beard. ‘Ow come?” Pa did not answer. He turned around and looked at me. “Emma, go and fetch Julia. The man who found the gold, I think he might be Elias!” My heart pounding, I walked quickly toward the back door. As soon as I called for her, Julia came in from the kitchen, wiping her floury hands carefully on her white apron. She hung the apron on the hook on the wall as I impatiently bounced on the balls of my feet. As we reentered the pub, Pa quietly and calmly told Julia what was going on. As Julia’s face became curious, hopeful, wondering, and yet still calm, a man walked through the door. Elias. A broad grin on his face, he ran over, patting me on the head as he passed me. He shook Pa’s hand heartily, and then reached Julia. He put his hand into a pouch at his waist, and when he withdrew it, it was clutching a round ball of solid gold, glinting in the sunlight of the bright autumn day. As Julia collapsed into Elias’ arms for a hug, the men in the pub glared greedily at the glint of golden light reflecting from the ball of riches. As my eyes wandered over them curiously, I noticed a man hidden in shadows in the corner of the room. From what I could see of him, he was wearing a dark green vest and muddy brown trousers. His most defining feature was his hat, the same woodsy color as his vest, with three long brown feathers sticking out of it. I watched him for a few more minutes, then wandered away to congratulate Elias and Julia on their good fortune. When I saw Lottie’s eyelids flicker and droop, I scooped her up and carried her away to bed, with one last glance towards the man with the feathered hat. But he was gone. 3 Thief

The next morning I woke up, feeling refreshed and happy, although I could not remember why until I heard Elias’ voice from downstairs in the pub. It all came flooding back to me. The gold, the happiness, the glint of the light shining off the gold, all of it poured back into my mind. As I laced up my dress and reached for my bonnet, someone cried out downstairs. Jamming my white bonnet onto my head, I scurried down the stairs to see what was going on. Elias was sitting with his head on the counter, moaning; Pa was staring menacingly around at the onlookers in the pub, quite numerous despite the fact that it was barely eight o’ clock; and Ma was comforting a tearful Julia. Stepping hesitantly towards them, I summoned up the courage to ask, “What has happened? Is Lottie okay?” I could not remember seeing her in her little bed in our room. Just as I began to prepare myself for the worst, Lottie’s round little face poked out between her mother’s legs, powdered with the stains of white flour. I ran to hug her, releasing a sigh of relief as I did so. When I let go of her, she grabbed my right hand and pulled me down to her level. I could see my green eyes reflected in her large blue ones as she looked at me with an expression of sorrow, calmness, and understanding. “It’s Pa,” she said in her slow toddler voice. “He don’t have his gold no more.” Startled, I turned to the adults for conformation. “Elias? Pa? What’s going on?” When Elias answered, his face looked lined, tired, and gray, as though he had aged about ten years overnight. “Emma, my gold is gone. Somebody must have stolen it off of me last night. Did you see anyone strange in the pub last night?” I shook my head wonderingly. Who would have taken Elias’ gold? All I could think of was the man in the feathered hat, who had disappeared so quickly last night. Was it possible that it was he who had stolen Elias’ gold? When? “Elias?” I said suddenly. He looked up from the counter, which he had been examining in a melancholy sort of way. “Yes?” “Well, I was just wondering…is the extension that you and Pa built secure? Is it possible that someone could have snuck in and taken the gold while you and Julia were asleep?” He sighed. “I don’t see how.Your Pa and I worked long and hard to make that extension as sturdy as it is. The only way that anybody could have gotten in was if they were hiding in the closet, and how likely is that, really?” I did not reply. I was thinking hard about the man in the

feathered hat. Maybe he could have left the pub, returned later when Pa was not as alert, and crept into Elias and Julia’s room while he was in the back room. Absentmindedly, I took Lottie’s hand and walked slowly toward her parents’ bedroom. She followed without question; her habit of mirroring all of my actions was so strong. I heard the adults talking quietly in low, murmuring voices, as I crossed the threshold into Elias’ room. Although I knew Ma would not have approved of me snooping around, I knelt to examine the floor around the large and comfortable bed in the center of the room. In the thin layer of dust and dirt upon the floor, I searched for some sign of an intruder: light footprints, a scuffed up area where somebody might have performed a quiet about-face, or even a hair that could help Elias and Julia identify the thief, but I found nothing. I had been looking for about fifteen minutes when I found the evidence that I had so been craving. Or rather, Lottie did. Catching onto my actions surprisingly fast for a little girl her age, she was helping me look. In the small space between bed and floor, her little hand closed around a feather. Pulling it out, she extended her hand towards me, offering up her find. I stared at it, wondering what it could mean. Either Elias and Julia had a secret pet bird, or the thief was the man with the feathered hat. 4 Accusations With my heart pounding in my chest, I stowed the feather quickly in my pocket as I heard footsteps approaching. Julia entered the room, snatched a coat from the closet and hurried off without noticing us. I gestured to Lottie to keep quiet before we darted from the room, scurrying up the stairs without detection, or so I thought. Just as we were about to close the door of our room, Pa’s voice came up the stairs, sharp and suspicious in my ear. Slightly wary, I turned around, wondering if I were about to be accused of stealing the gold. I had to admit, even to myself, that snooping around the suspected scene of a crime was not a smart action for an innocent somebody. Sighing, preparing to attempt to explain the current situation to my parents and Elias and Julia, I closed the door on Lottie, hoping that she would not also be accused of being a thief. I needn’t have bothered myself worrying, though. The moment I reached the bar, Pa knelt beside me, and said in a kind yet directive

tone, “Emma, do you know anything?” I knew that I had to tell them. Taking a deep breath, I spoke of the man in the feathered hat, his untimely disappearance, and checking Elias’ room for clues. “But we can’t accuse the man just because he looked stran-” started Ma, but I held up one hand to stop her. Looking slightly surprised, she trailed away into silence. I felt a mounting importance as I reached into my pocket and withdrew the feather. Ma, Pa, Elias, Julia, and I all stared at it. Pa gently stretched out his hand and took the feather from me. “Maria,” he said quietly, still looking at the feather though he was addressing Ma, “maybe we can accuse him. After all, Emma said quite plainly that this feather matches the ones on the man’s hat.” He glanced up at me, and I could feel that his gaze was searching my eyes, trying to detect guilt, anything that might suggest that I was lying to them. Before he could speak, however, I whispered, “Why would I lie, Pa? I love them all. Elias, Julia, Lottie…they are as much a part of my family as you and Ma are.” Looking regretful, he apologized, then stood up and surveyed the pub. He didn’t appear to see anything odd. My eyes, though, had seen what his had not spotted. Sitting with his back to us, seemingly unconcerned, sat the man in the feathered hat. He was not wearing his cap, but I had noticed some feathers poking out of the bag at his feet. Storming over to him, I spouted some of the rage that had flown up inside me at the sight of him. “YOU!” I screamed, “I KNOW IT WAS YOU! I SAW YOU IN THE PUB THAT NIGHT, AND I FOUND YOUR FEATHER! GIVE ME YOUR HAT! NOW!” Shocked, Ma and Julia hurried towards me. “Emma! You absolutely cannot just go about shouting at people like that. This poor man! Sir,” she added kindly to the man, “I am ever so sorry for my daughter’s behavior. May I offer you a drink on the house?” “No!” I yelled, then, getting control of myself, “Just look at his hat, his hat, his hat.” Ma looked ready to refuse, but Pa ran forward to oblige. Before the man could even begin to protest, he had whipped the hat out of the man’s bag. It looked the same as ever, except for one difference. The hat now only had two feathers sticking out of it. Everyone in the pub stared at the hat. Slowly our gazes shifted to the man, who looked defiant, angry, and even scared at being discovered. “Blast it!” he cursed. He tried to run, but Elias and Pa tackled him down to the pub’s grimy floor.

I wanted to stay and watch, but Ma and Julia steered me up the stairs to where Lottie stood, waiting, having apparently watched the entire scene with interest. As I went to bed that night, much later than I normally would have, I knew one thing: Thanks to Lottie and me, Elias would soon be rich again. 5 Truth Three weeks later, when the entire hubbub had ended, and I was no longer being questioned about catching a thief, Elias announced that he, Julia, and Lottie would be moving back to their previous home. Distraught, I asked why. Looking straight into my eyes, he answered me. “I achieved what I came here to do, Emma. I wanted to make life better for my wife and my daughter,” (he smiled at Julia and Lottie), “and I have succeeded in that. I thank you profusely for what you did. That man, Jacob Tylerson,” (he spat out the name), “he deserved jail, and it is because of you that he is now there. I cannot thank you enough. I will, we will,” (he gestured around to his family), “always be indebted to you. Thank you, Emma.” The whole story had played out quite well, I thought. The thief, Jacob Tylerson, had left the pub as I had suspected, and climbed through a low window in Elias and Julia’s room as soon as they had fallen asleep. After stealing the gold, he crept out of the room through the public front entrance, one of the three feathers in his hat drifting to the floor under the bed as he did so. He was now, thanks to Lottie and me, in jail, as he deserved to be. Elias got back his gold, and he, Julia, and Lottie were moving back to their old town, a downside to the situation that I had not foreseen. However, they were happy, and that was truly what mattered to me. Art by Maya Crawford

--Allison Zanolli

CYCLES Cherry Tree Cherry trees are communities of souls; Together they murmur in the wind Whispering, Gossiping. In the winter leaves fall off and are replaced By the budding flowers They fill the tree And it is reborn. Waves Horses gallop down the beach They rear towards the sky To throw the millions of Sparkling diamonds Into the air. They slowly dissipate. The wild eyes, A foamy crest. The deafening roar of the Thundering herd Then all is silent The Daisy A seed floating through the air Carried by the wind. It drops down. It roots its feet into the soft soil. After the rain, its head pushes up Reaching towards the new day’s sun It uncoils into the light and Blooms The dainty, white petals Open up. Finally the yellow face shows. One day the rain stops And the dirt gets cracked and hard. The flower withers and wilts Slowly, slowly her head droops down Lower and lower It reaches the ground. Softly, and gracefully, Her life ends.

Art by Anne Li

But not in vain. Before her death She released A single seed Which as we speak Is floating With the wind Soon to continue the cycle --McKenna Barlow

Adieu Lazily, the daffodil yellow globe ascended into the hazy dark sky. Alabaster puffs of clouds slowly glided on a zephyr. The golden sunlight glistened in a crystal clear droplet of dew. The emerald slivers of grass rustled soothingly in the calming breeze. The pleasant chocolate colored dirt aroma filled nostrils. I lay down in the prickly yet smooth jade grass for one last time. Goodbye, Goodbye I said, for the circle of grass shall never take root again. Then the globe hid behind clouds of the glummest gray. The sweet calm breezes turned to a howling rage. Droplets of frigid water pelted the ground. I could not tell if the salty water on my cheeks was rain or tears. But they tasted bitter. --Heejin Hahn

Art by Jessica Zubizarreta

Farewell Art by Fernanda Kramer

Falling into sadness from the plank of happiness longing for waiting arms never arriving Loneliness shadows of the past imprinted into minds never forgotten the happy times shared Together --Meredith Shell

Flame 2010  

Flame Middle School Literary Magazine

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