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Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School's Literary Magazine




Editorial Staff Staff Advisor Farrell Kelly

6th Grade

Genie DeArment Linnea Finegold Viktor Vollen

7th Grade

Annika Bjorkland Kieran Cummings Audrey Dubois Liam Timar Wilcox Lara Waldron Maya Wrona

8th Grade

Janine Anderson Tessa Boneau Katherine Donovan Maryn Hiscott Avery Morrison Callie Russell Elisabeth Snyder Jonah Werbel Special thanks to Tessa Boneau for designing the cover for the third year in a row.

I have been in literary magazine for three years now, and each year the magazine has grown a little more. At the very first meeting of every year, Mr. Kelly’s room is bursting with students, with every seat full. As the year continues, some realize that, though fun, literary magazine does require actual work, so they leave. Then the school play begins, and we lose even more of our staff. Despite this, we still have loyal members who manage and edit all of the different types of writing we receive. Every single member of our staff is extremely talented and it is a pleasure to watch them as they learn from other members and the work that they do. I’ve noticed that as we switch into editing as the second quarter starts, the members of our magazine become better writers themselves. To think critically about the work of others, helping all our members grow as readers and writers, and to participate in the community of Literary Magazine is an opportunity we’re all thankful to have had. From the beginning of the year, the staff can never tell how the magazine will end up. Some years, the Literary Magazine is brewing with dark stories (it is middle school, after all), other years we have little to no poetry, but I would say that this year has one of the most diverse, balanced collections we have seen. When we put together the magazine, we look back on past editions and pick certain elements to use in the new magazine. This year is, in my opinion, our best design yet. It isn’t completely plain, like last year’s edition, but it doesn’t have the distracting design reminiscent of the neon stripes from our very first edition. At the end of the year, we start to put the magazine together, and

the students on The Flaming Pen staff have to push themselves. It’s a time crunch to find all of the edited versions of stories, lay them out, and do so with only one meeting a week. Despite all of the challenges we face, this year’s edition of Literary Magazine is something every student who participated in the process can be proud of. Whether you submitted work, edited pieces, or helped lay out the magazine, you have done a fantastic job. Thank you for making this magazine great; it could not happen without the work of each individual. And to the parents, staff, and students, who have yet to read the works in here--enjoy! Many thanks, Maryn Hiscott

Table of Contents Destroy the Wall by Katherine Litton Sisyphus by Maryn Hiscott Winter by Liam Timar-Wilcox Canopy by Avery Morrison Lady Madonna by Katherine Donovan The Beginning by Callie Russell The Meta Sonnet by Janine Anderson Learn Color In School by Eva DeArment Chocolate by Jonah Werbel Sailor Moonroe by Katherine Donovan The Last Dragon by Ailene Neal A Moment To Remember by Katherine Litton Thes (Part I of Klenicks) by Maya Wrona Aurus (Part II of Klenicks) by Ellie O’Neill Eye by Katherine Donovan Down By the Run by Annika Bjorklund Him by Alexandra Funk Life Philosophies by Eva DeArment You Should Be Bilingual by Lara Waldron Brendon Urie by Katherine Donovan April Showers by Grace Tarpgaard Sophia by Rachel Margarella Flutterby by Elisabeth Snyder Perfection by Cara Schultz The Mistake by Loviise Puntso The Meddling Storm by Ellie O’Neill Journal Entry by Elizabeth Creed What Would I Do Without You by Ellie O’Neill The Last Letter by Maya Wrona

Destroy the Wall Katherine Litton We all act Like we’re locked inside a cage Too careful not to be judged We’re hiding out backstage But smash down the wall And soon you’ll discover The great freedoms found When you finally uncover Reveal vulnerability Let your guard down Step out in front of the crowd No one is perfect When someone does step out And breaks down the wall, Show love instead of judgment It’s not easy at all Grab the hammer of love The nails of hope Step right up to the wall Will you destroy it?

Sisyphus Sisyphus Maryn Hiscott Hiscott Maryn By Maryn Hiscott Lucy always woke up in the same place: her old elementary school, at the end of a hallway that seemed to go on forever. It had been that way for years; she knew every detail of the place. The stained walls were no longer white, there were cracked ceiling tiles hanging precariously, and you could see the dirt underneath the broken floor. There was a smell that hung heavy in the air, a mix of mold and old plastic. At first, it bothered Lucy, but she grew used to it. Besides, there was only so much time, and it wasn’t worth wasting on whining. Today, the fluorescent lights were on, headache-inducingly bright. They were stunning to look at. It took Lucy a minute of blinking for her eyes to adjust, and as soon as she could see, she stumbled to her feet. They were bare, not even dressed in dirty socks or sneakers with holes and chewed-through shoelaces, and underfoot, she noticed the scratchy, textured stone. At least she wasn’t going to slip, she supposed. With a deep breath filling her lungs, Lucy sprinted forward. They weren’t here yet--she had a head start, and she intended to use it. Lucy ran, and she felt only her heartbeat pulsing and blood racing, limbs tearing away from her torso. Perhaps literally, or perhaps not, she could never tell. Her pursuers were calling after her now, words garbled, like someone with cloth stuffed in their mouth. Sometimes, they had faces, sometimes they didn’t, and Lucy didn’t bother checking. Faces or no, the boys were always familiar, changing from day to day. Her brother, only seven years old. Her best friend, running, his limp prominent. The boy she hated back in third grade. They were pieces of her

past, and, she suspected, pieces of her future. That was only a gut feeling, though— it would only apply if she had a future. And Lucy was losing hope for that. When they caught her, their hands were always cold, lifeless. That was how they moved as well, like puppets being jerked by their strings. She tried not to get caught. Finally, Lucy reached the end of the corridor, taking a sharp turn to the left, into a room full of desks. Once, she tried to hide in here, under a desk. The boys found her immediately, so she didn’t do that again. Lucy navigated the cluttered room, shoving the furniture towards the door. Perhaps if it slowed them down enough, they wouldn’t catch her. What Lucy dreaded most was the day when she no longer had the energy or the willpower to run away. Then, there’d be an endless cycle of losing herself. It would be faster, but Lucy didn’t think she could handle that. Giving up. Lucy’s feet hurt, and her breath caught in her throat. She wondered if there was anyone to help her today--she never knew until they reached her. Then one of two things would happen: a boy would break away from the group and help her fight, or Lucy would be engulfed. The next room Lucy entered was connected to the first, with a chalkboard at the front and posters on the walls. The group was approaching her, faster and faster, but Lucy still had energy left, she sensed it. It was somewhere deep down, buried in her chest, hidden in her heart. A burst of energy might be all she needed to escape. She had to make it to the school doors, throw them open, and then it’d all be over. The day would start again, and she’d try again. She’d have a taste of fresh air, a glimpse of flowers and towering, graceful trees, and then it would be gone. When Lucy had been little, she heard the story of Sisyphus and laughed. “He’s so stupid!” she giggled to her mother. “Why doesn’t he just sit at the bottom

of the hill and refuse to push the rock up? He knows he’s going to fail no matter what.” However, now she understood. No matter what Lucy did, she would run once more and wake up once more, and, logically, she knew this. And yet, a part of her shouted that maybe, if she tried hard enough, if she kept going long enough, it would be over. She didn’t look back, but she heard a clattering of footsteps and felt cold and clammy hands clench her shoulders. Three. Her knees were wobbling. Two. Her head was woozy. One. Her consciousness was fading. Zero. Lucy woke up at the end of a hallway in her old elementary school.

Winter Liam Timar-Wilcox The wind howls through the trees The frosty air freezes the forest All of the creeks and streams are cold Covered in a slick blanket of ice The trees are like a graveyard No animals are in sight The frigid wind is daggers The trees are bare, like bones The sky is pale blue The sun is small and timid The frost is victorious Summer is gone and vanished. Winter is here

The Canopy ByAvery AveryMorrison Morrison The canopy of warring, restless leaves, Greedy trees stretch too high, With fury seethes the understory eaves, Unable to reach, they hope for sky. Swords of carbon drip and dance, In thunder's boisterous cry, As the palmy leaves take their stance, Stealing cloudy blood alive. Rows of soldiers fill the ranks, Catching life and out to match, As their neighbor's fauna makes, A sprint away from liana's raising catch. Prideful trunks find themselves unmended, Afraid to clash with gloomy forest's floor, Where water hangs suspended, Anticipating gold and more.

The Factory Meghan Carroll I wake up to bumping my head on the ceiling of our tenement. Rubbing my head, I climb down the ladder and see my sister, Jessie, in the bottom bunk, holding her teddy bear close to her chest. It was one of the few items she picked to bring with her from Sweden. “Mom, are you awake?” I call quietly, “Where are you?” “I’m over here,” I hear as I walk into our tiny kitchen to see her reading a book, all snuggled at the kitchen table. She was an author before we moved to the United States. “Good morning, Harriet,” Mom says. I pull out the chair next to her and sit down. “What are you doing up so early?” I ask. “You know how I worry about you and your new job,” she explains. I’ve been working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory for two weeks. I swore to my father back in Sweden that I would take care of Mom and Jessie so that’s what I intend to do. “It’s fine, Mom. I’m getting better at sewing. Trust me,” I say, trying to calm her. She sighs.

“These are hard times, Harriet. With your brother and Dad staying back in Sweden, I was worried that we would not be able to handle everything. But, you are just like your father. Strong. Courageous. I’m thankful to have you with me,” she says, smiling. I smile and give her a hug. Then, I run to get dressed. “Bye, Mom,” I say, closing the door behind me. “Wait!” I hear. As I turn back around, Jessie flings her arms around me giving me a big hug. “Bye,” she says smiling. “Bye, Jess,” I reply. I meet my friend, Sara, near the candy shop and we both walk to the factory. When we get to the building, we walk up three flights of stairs to our sewing machines and begin to sew dresses. “I can’t believe that I have to work here! It’s so crowded and smelly and they also lock the doors during to day. Don’t you feel like that's a little strange?” she asks. “I think it’s fine. You're always complaining,” I say and we both laugh. “Be quiet,” one of the guards says and we both become silent. The guards never seem to like us. I finish four dresses by the end of the day, only being scolded for going too slowly once or twice. As we walk out of the building, we are patted down as they search for any stolen cloth or thread. This is always my least favorite part of work. Sara and I

both walk to Phil’s, a candy shop just a block from my families tenement. We talk for almost an hour before I walk alone to the tenement. Time passes and fall turns into winter. Winter into spring. The days grow hotter and it gets harder and harder to work. Mother starts to come down with the flu just as winter ends. I start stashing some money under the bed for some type of medication but for now all I can do is listen to her cough. As time flies by, I start to cough too, but brush it off every morning, telling Sara that I am fine. “No! You’re not fine,” she exclaims every time. Finally, she says that she has had enough and attempts to tell the boss, Mr. Black, that I should take a day of. He says no and that we are wasting his precious time. “Thanks for trying, Sara,” I say. I try not to cough for the rest of the day to avoid upsetting. In the next weeks, it starts to become worse and my throat gets scratchy. Mom becomes worried, but I still strive to earn money for my family. The next day, when I walk into the building, Mr. Black, pulls me aside. “Are you the one getting all of my employees sick? I can’t stand your constant coughing! I am letting have a couple days of to get better before I send you away permanently, ” he exclaims. I look up, startled by the news. “No, Sir, you can’t do that! You see, my mother is sick, too, and I need the money for my family.”

He starts get more frustrated. “Now, you see here. I don’t need you getting all my employees sick. ” “Please, Sir. Let me stay, ” I beg. “No. You can be leaving now. I have a factory to run.” I stomp to the elevator, looking back at Mr. Black yelling at one of the other girls, tossing his cigarette in a nearby trash can. I walk back home, my head hanging low as I walk into the kitchen. “Oh, sweetie. Why are you back so early? Oh, my! Your head feels warm,” she remarks. “Mr. Black sent me home until I get better,” I say. I take a quick nap , but awaken when I hear commotion outside. “Oh, my.” I hear my mother say. I peek out the window to see many people running down the street. “The Factory!” I hear someone shout. I gasp, running outside, my mother and Jessie right behind me. I start to sprint, leaving them in the dust. All I can think about are Sara and the other girls. I stare horrified at the burning building. I search the crowds for Sara. Stumbling over people's feet, I run to the building. I glance a group of girls covered in soot. Suddenly, I see Sara’s red curls and soon I am running towards her in relief. I hug her with all of my might,

breaking down in tears. She hugs me back. I’m so glad that Sara is okay. We start to walk home when Mom and Jessie soon find us. Sara tells us how she escaped the huge building and how fortunate she is to have survived. I told her how lucky I was to be sick on a day like this one.

My Path Wenndy Sejas I am an energetic girl with many a way. I wonder about the path I follow. I hear my footsteps as I walk down a path I created. I see only so much as towards the fork in the road. I want a path that leads me towards my ambitions. I am an energetic girl with many a way. I see myself on top of the world, And I feel the pain and greatness of the world. I touch my path with my bare feet as I walk. I walk in streams and rivers, up hills and mountains, I worry sometimes that I might not make it. I cry out in pain as my foot hits a rock or a boulder, Or in joy as I reach the top of a hill or a mountain. I am an energetic girl with many a way. I understand the pains of others for I have already hit a boulder. The boulder hurt me a great amount and it has made it’s mark on me, A mark that still aches when I think about it which is every day as long as I will live. My mind and heart once where one, but now are two separate beings! Living in separate worlds, Eons apart! My mind yearns to learn more, to be the best! To stay here. But my heart loves it’s family, country, pets and wants to be with them. It wants to go there.

But I still persevere to get to the end of my road to the end of my goal‌. I have many goals which come from the many dreams I have. I have days full of countless dreams of a better world and a better life. One with no crime or cries, No lives being taken, or bombs being dropped, No starvation or cruelty. But of a world of peace and love, Peace and Love.

Lady Madonna By Katherine Donovan

The Beginning Callie Russell "Late to the scene again, Simmons?" The middle-aged man sighed as he ran a hand through his hair, "Yeah, you know how it is. The dry cleaners only just got finished." He drew from his bag a long black hood attached to a robe before he tossed it on the ground. He tossed it over himself with a flourish, pulling his arms through the sleeves, matching the hundreds of other hooded figures milling around the clearing. "How's the kids?" One said to another, making awkward small talk as they all waited in anticipation. "It's a good thing you're here, Simmons, patience was starting to wear thin. Did you bring it?" "Yes, yes of course. It's parked nearby. I'll go get it." Moments later he reappeared behind the wheel of a car. "My friends," he announced, "it is time!" A murmur ran through the crowd as they gathered in a loose circle around the vehicle. Simmons left the car and joined them as they raised their arms and began chanting. Slowly, the car rose into the air, the dark exterior changing to a deep blood red. The windows turned white and opaque, with two black dots on

the windshield. The dots slowly grew until they were quite clearly eyes, drowsily opening. The chanting quieted, and the car lightly floated down to the ground. Simmons stepped forward warily, stopping in front of the car. "Awaken!" He whispered, watching as the eyes focused on him questioningly. "You are my child, my weapon, my blade. I name you...Lightning McQueen."

Image courtesy of bandmix.com

The Meta Sonnet Janine Anderson Write fourteen lines of verse and that is all: End with a couplet after three quatrains. Just five iambs in ev’ry line seems small! Composing this should not cause many pains. Including rhyme should be an easy feat, With alternating lines of As and Bs. I’ll add a turn, then it will be complete! Well, writing sonnets seems to be a breeze. But wait–what’s that I see in the third line? Eleven syllables, and not just ten? It should not take too long to make this fine. I try to fix it, but mess up again. To write a sonnet is an uphill climb, Though now, I want to try another time!

Learn color in school Eva DeArment Yellow tastes like laughing with your friends until you choke, Blue tastes like falling off the seat on a groggy morning bus ride, Purple taste like cafeteria meatballs (extra weight going right to your hips), Green tastes like your old friend sitting with another girl Orange tastes like a bittersweet reunion, Brown tastes like soggy cafeteria bacon, And red, tastes like passionate rage growing when your test grade is an F. All these feelings need respect. (ESPECIALLY the one with bacon)

Chocolate Jonah Werbel My dear chocolate, where have you gone? My greatest treasure, my favorite cuisine My gold has been taken, you were from a leprechaun. I used to simply sit on my lawn Eating until someone would intervene, My dear chocolate, where have you gone? Wherever I was is where you used to spawn You were my natural caffeine, My gold has been taken, you were from a leprechaun. I suffered without you as I traveled the Amazon You were absent from the scene, My dear chocolate, where have you gone? On my quest to find you, I drove the Autobahn. For you, I drove over mountains, I drove through ravines, My gold has been taken, you were from a leprechaun. I can’t find you anymore, now it’s night without dawn. You’re too rare, can't be found in even the fanciest limousine My dear chocolate, where have you gone? My gold has been taken, you were from a leprechaun.

Sailor Moonroe By Katherine Donovan

The Last Dragon Ailene Neal Upon a lonely mountain a single dragon stood. He roared in grief and anger for what had been and never would. His friends and family slain by men their bodies left to rot. Of all of this he cried upon this windy spot. And now they came to kill him the last of dragon-kind. Their waving spears and thorn-sharp swords did greatly trouble his mind. His flame shot out into the knights and some, dismayed, they fled. His claws and tail wreaked havoc then spraying drops of red.

But one stray arrow pierced his chest he knew he’d soon be dead. He took one final breath and laid down his golden head. But deep in caverns long forgot a piece of hope appeared. A small green egg was hatching then Not extinct as had been feared. Upon a lonely mountain a single dragon stood. He roared in grief and anger for what had been and never would.

A Moment to Remember By Katherine Litton The luminous firelight glowed in the middle of the beach lighting up everyone’s faces in a beautiful amber hue. The sound of everyone’s voices joined together in harmony was such charming music for my ears to hear. The waves crashing gave peace to the moment as they whispered, “Everything is going to be all right.” Even with all the wonderful sights and sounds that night, the most precious part of that moment was that we were all together. My grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, parents, brothers, and my worries had been eaten by the fire. It was as if there was no yesterday and no tomorrow, only right now, being together, our voices joining in joyful song and laughter. It didn’t matter that we had to leave tomorrow, or that we forgot the flashlights. None of us cared about the s’more remnants all over our faces, or that our that our clothes would later smell like campfire smoke. My family, and I sat around the blazing fire, which roared like a lion by the shore. We wrapped our arms around each other and swayed back and forth to the beat of the song we were singing. The simple peace calmed my heart. Moments like those are the ones where we can push away all the blinding details of our lives and see what is truly important: the people who love us. It is in these moments that we create memories that we hold in our hearts forever.

Thes: Part I of Klenicks Maya Wrona 5:00 a.m. “Good morning citizens of Klenicks, welcome to another beautiful day as children of Larousse, God of Sinners, Saints, Sacrifice and all beings. Please dress and prepare for our Morning Service, which is due to take place 30 minutes from now. Have a holy and righteous day!” Another day for Larousse. Another day to worship our savior, and sacrifice nonbelievers for Him. Klenicks, the land of the Holy People was perfect. It’s crowded streets and black, smoggy skies were perfect. Everyone was the same, with the same opinion. The morning’s hopeful message kept His sacredness in the heart of my people. I wished I could continue my dreamless sleep, however I knew my slumber wouldn’t last, for as the High Priest, I always got a message from my departed father, that was meant to give me strength every day of my life. “Thes, my child, you know you have inherited this throne, this

great honor, through years of my hard work and reverence to Him. Every day of your life, you serve Him. You owe everything to Him. Do not let Him down, or there will be hell to pay. Listen to His words, and kill those who don’t. My love, do the right thing.” Every day, I was required to be like him, I was required to be evil. Listening to his words made me yearn to step through the engraved doors of my temple and pray, to repent for my sins. The so-called sins that my father tried to burn from my mind so many years ago. Or were they sins? Seven Years Ago I was twelve years old, and I felt different. I had begun meeting with possible brides that would help me one day rule the Holy Land, but I felt no connection to any of them. Though Father noticed it, he didn’t say anything, knowing I would trust him with my secret. I was hopeful and stupid, a foolish, naive child. I should’ve known he wouldn’t approve. I didn’t see my father’s true nature, the real him, who would haunt my dreams for the rest of my life. It was a Friday, the only day I was allowed any contact with Father. He was, of course, the High Priest, and any contact with his son

left little time to worship Larousse. It was the only chance I had to tell him my secret and hope he would understand. I prepared my speech and walked down the hall to his room. Every step I took, I felt more and more terrified. Not of the reaction that Father would have, but what would happen to me. If I would be condemned. I knocked on the door of his chamber and heard his voice, approving my entrance. I bowed my head and entered. My face was pale, and I stood there, staring at him for what felt like hours. I opened my mouth and licked my dry lips to stall even longer. I knew what I wanted to say, but I couldn’t think of a way to get it out. I took a deep breath and looked straight into my father’s grey, mystical eyes with a solemn face. It was now or never. “Your Holiness, High Priest, I have come to speak with you about a topic very near to my heart,” I began. Father’s brows furrowed, and he gave me a judgmental look, but I continued, “Sir, I am not attracted to any of the women you have brought before me. I do not find any part of their existence appealing. I know this is not what you want to hear, but in Larousse’s name, it is the truth. Indeed, they are beautiful girls, and I am aware you hand picked them for me, for my

choosing, but I have never felt any connection with them. I have never felt any connection with a woman at all.” The room went deathly silent as I awaited my father’s reaction. His right eye twitched, and he was clenching his jaw as tightly as a bear trap. I shut my eyes, inhaled a breath of fresh air, and finished my speech, “I love men.” With these last words, my father seemed to explode. He grabbed a syringe from his desk drawer with a menacing roar and stuck the needle into my veins. He waited until the full content was out, a possibly deadly amount, and grabbed me by the collar. I didn’t try to resist, I couldn’t. It all happened too fast, and by the time I realized what was going on, the contents of the syringe was already emptied. I was picked up by my robe and hauled down a set of corridors. My head spun, and I felt my insides churn, threatening to empty their fillings onto the floor I was now being dragged on. At last, we reached our looming destination, the dungeon. The uneven ground hurt my limbs as I was thrown onto it. “You aberrant, devious fool! How dare you demote our Lord in such a sinful way? You should be sacrificed, but alas, I am not as kind as to give you to our Savior without first suffering what you made Him

suffer. No, no, I shall beat this queerness out of you, even if it takes all my strength, all your tears, I shall do it. Do not lose hope that I will. I will save you and your rotting soul.� My mind returning to the present, I climbed down from my fluffy mattress. Two young servants immediately stepped up to dress me in my cotton robes. I kept my eyes up. I wasn’t allowed to look at peasants now that I’ve inherited the throne from Father. He passed on from this world nearly one year ago, having his life taken away by his own command. He had seen a vision, calling him to be with Larousse, and ordered to be formally executed on the day of his birthday. By doing so, he left me alone to rule the Land of the Lord. I was far too young to be the ruler on my own, so I decided to call upon an ordinary citizen and give him the great honor of working for me. However, the ceremony I had to go through in order to select a person to be my personal assistant, I had no time to attend service that morning. I would be sure to make up for it with an Oral Sacrifice Mass, the one thing in the world I hated most. But I knew I had to do it, I knew I had to put on a brave face and pretend to worship this society and its values.

5:30 a.m “Citizens, sinners, children of Larousse, we are gathered on this morning that our Lord has blessed us with to worship in His name. Before we begin, we must deal with a problem that is plaguing our children.” My speech started in the most horrific way possible. A girl spoke out against Larousse, and I had to act as though I hated her for it. I shook with rage. Not at the girl, but at myself. At the evil person I turned into. “Larousse; God of Sinners, Saints, Sacrifice and All Beings, I offer this girl to you, please, take her and have mercy on our people. She is a demon, and she is not from among us. Send her to where she belongs! Send this girl to hell,” I hated myself for saying this, as it cued two guards to come up and drug the young one that lay at my feet. My life was a lie. I couldn’t choose how I lived, how I ruled, what I said. I took a deep breath and looked at my subjects. “And so a year has passed since Mattias, my former slave, has been brought into the court of our Lord. He learned the ways of the holy children of Larousse, but, people of Klenicks, a new worker must take his place at my right hand. And that boy… that boy… will be

Aurus of the Snow family!” I announced. It felt wrong, evil, but I had to go through with it. There was something wrong with this world, I could feel it. 6:00 a.m. I now knelt in the privacy of my Temple, the only place I was allowed to go alone. “Larousse! My Lord, God, and Savior, God of Sacrifice and Holy Father, answer me, hear my sins! Take this offering in return!” I screamed, holding the limp girl’s body in my hands. I shook, tears streaming down my face. Yes, I had chosen a worthy person to assist me in my palace, but not for the right purpose. Not with a clear head. I looked at the knife on the altar. The ultimate symbol of life and death, and the fine line between the two of them. I picked it up delicately and placed it at my side. “Larousse, have mercy on by blackened soul. I have hurt you, my shameful actions, my dreadful sins. I have failed you, take this peasant as my sacrifice!” I exclaimed. I couldn’t bring myself to call out my sins. I couldn’t face what I had done, even though I didn’t think anything was truly wrong with it. I chose the boy, my worker, my slave, not because of his mind or power.

“Larousse! I… I am attracted to a man.” With this, I plunged a knife into the drugged girl in my arms and broke down in tears. I shook like a mad man, unable to stand. I held in my heart the most vile, malevolent, ugly of sins. Murder. I was brought up knowing man and woman were the only way. We all were one in Klenicks, no one was their own person, even I didn’t have a choice to love. I screamed over and over, hoping to leave this place. I threw the corpse onto the altar and limped out of the Temple. The sudden flash of light on the other side of the huge wooden doors blinded me, but I continued to walk. I felt morbid. I killed an innocent girl. I thought as I shrunk to the floor, the smell of fresh blood covering my robes. I was a villain. I heard steps growing louder in the hall and forced myself to my feet, putting on the solemn face the High Priest was expected to wear. I didn’t think I could live with myself after sacrificing someone. I couldn’t bring myself to think that Larousse was real, not after everything that happened. A cold feeling filled my body. My God was fake.

7:00 a.m A pounding at my metal doors woke me from my nightmarefilled slumber. My feet touched the cold floor, and I shivered as I looked around the bland room. Old furniture crowded the white walls. I shuffled up to the metal door. Sensing something was off, I pressed my ear against the door and listened to the heavy breathing of the person on the other side. They seemed angry, flustered. I hesitated, turned a golden key in the lock, and was ready to welcome my visitor with the same phrase I always said to people entering my chamber, “Welcome to the resting place of His Majesty, the High Prie…” I stopped and stared. It was him. Aurus. I opened my mouth, but he covered my words with his. “I know. And I am here to tell you, I am like you. They are coming for you, High Priest. If I could hear you, so could they.” I froze. He knew. Oh, Larousse, he knew. My foolish, stupid screams alterted the whole palace, and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing but be with Aurus. I stepped closer to him, taking in his features. Blue, fear-clouded eyes that had seen bliss that I had never known until now.

“My name is Thes.” I whispered, stating the obvious, but not knowing what else to say. I knew I would die soon, but I had to cherish this moment. I smiled, for the first time in years. A real smile. “My guards… they’ll come soon. They need time to process. I have a little over ten minutes.” I was sure of myself. I thought I knew my palace, my people. Aurus opened his mouth to speak, but a thud down the hall made him spin around in terror. Two beefy men stumbled into the room and took me away. A needle of Potion was put in my arm and all I could think was, as Larousse wishes it, so it shall be done. It all felt so wrong. 8:30 a.m I woke with a start to find that my robes had been ripped off of my body. I was not the High Priest anymore, I was just a sinner. A worthless piece of dust. A tear fell down my face as I remembered Aurus. The only person in this perfect world as deformed as I. I glanced around the bland walls of the space I was in. I remembered this too well, the place where my father chained and beat me. I couldn’t take all these emotions, and the Potion started to pull me back into slumber. I wanted desperately to get up and search for an exit, but the

drugs were too strong, and eventually won the fight. I fell into a whirlwind of nightmares and depressing memories, mixed with dreams of escape, freedom, and longing. 12:00 p.m A flash of light blinded me. It was time; my life was over. The same two men came into my room and picked me up by the arms, their sweaty odor sickening. Klenicks disusted me, and so did Larousse. I was dragged through hallway after hallway. I had no strength left in me, I was paralyzed. At least the Potion had worked, at least I wouldn’t feel anything. My head lolled from side to side, and drool dripped out of my mouth. This is your High Priest! I wanted to say. This is the real me. I heard a creak, and sunlight came flooding onto my bare body. I heard laughter and shouts from the courtyard, and realized what was happening. A public execution. Finish me, end it! However, I knew they would take their time. I was carried to the closest wall and pinned to it, just as feeling crawled back into my body, and terror crept into my mind. I lifted my head and squinted out at the audience. There, in the front row, stood Aurus. Everyone else seemed to fade away into the dark, polluted nation that was Klenicks.

I couldn’t let Aurus see me like this! But what would it matter? I would be gone soon. I heard a sound that I was too familiar with, and my blood went cold. The sound of blades slowly rubbing together. The executioner shuffled, getting in position, and a hush fell over the crowd. My weapon of choice, a knife, was being used against me. I glanced up in time to see the executioner wield the weapon, ready to mercilessly fling it at my limp body. My eyes locked with Aurus’, and as I heard the whoosh of the knife flying toward me, I opened my mouth and managed to spit out my final wish for Klenicks, “Save the rest of them.”

Text Aurus

Ellie O’Neill 5:00 a.m. “Good morning, citizens of Klenicks. Welcome to another beautiful day as children of Larousse; God of Sinners, Saints, Sacrifice, and All Other Beings. Please dress and prepare for our Morning Service, which is due to begin 30 minutes from now. Have a holy and righteous day!” I wanted to strangle someone. The message had been fun for my first few years, and I would recite it in time with the recording. Then I began to sleep longer, and the message would interrupt my dreams of a place where I could belong. It never changed. The words were harmless and seemed light on top, they were just a reminder to go to Mass and to love our idol. But the words pretended that all of us were happy to worship in the name of a god that didn’t exist. Klenicks was balancing unsteadily on a lie. And that lie was about to shatter. I opened my eyes. I squeezed the frayed piece of cloth that was always in my hand. It was bunched and wrinkled; crumpled after another round of night terrors. My head throbbed with pain from the night before. My brothers were already up, donning their shawls over their work clothes. My legs were wobbly as I rushed to put mine on as well. We walked in a line to meet our parents and sisters in the living room, after which we would join the rest of our village. “Milaia,

Miriam, Mae…” My mother said, Text as she checked off the line of my three elder sisters, all stony-faced. Milaia was 21, and betrothed to a man she didn’t even know. Miriam was 19, and finishing up her education. She dreamed of becoming a Lady of the Lord; an attendant to the High Priest. Mae was 15, and still in school with the other children and I. Mae was the only friend I had, the only person who looked at me and didn’t see a boy who never met your eyes or talked above a whisper. She only saw her brother who could make her smile and who she could talk to. Unlike the rest of my world, she could look past who I loved. Aaron and Alban, my older and younger brothers, stood by my side, staring at our father. Our father, Alexander, nodded, and we followed him out the door. We walked out into the frosty air, and were pushed aside by a line of Pastors. My frail mother fell over, and we stooped to pick her up. “I hate morning services! The High Priest scares me! Do you really think that the way to please our God is to kill people? Every year, it’s one of our friends. One of our neighbors. They get slaughtered, like cows. They weren’t raised to die! I don’t really believe in Larousse, anyway. I just want to go to school already. I can’t do this!” My eyes widened as I turned to Mae. She scowled and rolled her eyes. Suddenly, two large, beefy hands grabbed her shoulders. The hands belonged to a guard, and he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder; parting the crowd as he walked through. Mae screamed and swore, desperately clawing at the man

holding her. My heart quickened as Text I realized what was going to happen to my sister. 5:30 a.m. “Citizens, sinners, children of Larousse, we are gathered on this morning that our Lord has blessed us with to worship in his name. Before we begin, we must deal with a problem that is plaguing our children.” The guard standing behind the High Priest threw Mae at his feet. She cowered, covering her head with her hands. Shaking with fright, Mae peeked through her fingers, but jerked her eyes back down and covered them with her long, blond hair. “Larousse; God of Sinners, Saints, Sacrifice and All Other Beings, this girl has sinned against You. Her blood is thick with evil, and her soul has been destroyed with sin. She is a disbeliever! She hates us, she hates You, and she hates herself. Today, we are to begin the destruction evil like her! Today we will send this girl to where she belongs! Send this girl to hell!” The High Priest’s eyes flickered around madly, clutching Mae’s limp wrist. The crowd roared with approval. But as I looked back the Priest, he seemed frail. Scared. I brushed the feeling off, there were more important things to worry about. I clenched my jaw. Alban, only 8 years old, squeezed my hand tighter, terrified of what was about to happen. The piece of baby blue cloth in my hand was slick with sweat, and the last of the old dye was coming off onto my fingers. A guard handed the High Priest a syringe, full of bright green liquid. Mae was shaking in the High Priest’s grasp. “Larousse; God of Sinners, Saints, Sacrifice and All Other Beings, I

offer this girl to you, please, take her and have mercy on our people. She is a demon, and she is not from among us. Send her to where she belongs! Send this girl to hell!” He roared, and the crowd began to scream. Mae’s shrieks were silenced when the High Priest injected the serum into her arm. The guard that had first grabbed Mae picked her up and walked off of the stage. I was silent for the rest of the service, still in shock from losing my sister. My best friend. I read the message on my cloth over and over. It was the only thing that kept me safe. It was written in an unfamiliar language, but I could read the simple sentence. You are my shield. You are my shield. You are my shield. I finally looked up when Aaron nudged me with his bony elbow. “And so a year has passed since Mattias, my former servant, was brought into the court of our Lord. He learned the ways of the holy children of Larousse. But, people of Klenicks, a new worker must take his place at my right hand. And that boy… that boy… will be Aurus of the Snow family!” cried the High Priest. My stomach dropped. He couldn’t have just said my name. He couldn’t. He couldn’t take me away from my friends and family. Of course he can, said a voice inside of me. He just took your sister, didn’t he? No. He can’t do this. There wasn’t a way. They must have known. Oh, Larousse, they knew. They knew. 6:00 a.m. I woke up in an empty room. I was sitting on a plain gray bed, opposite from a dark wooden table. I stood up, with pain throbbing in

,my head. My scrap of cloth was still clenched in my hand, which had had cramped up, forcing me to pry my own hand open. I let out a sigh of relief. It was the only this they had let me keep; my clothes had been switched and I smelled an unfamiliar soap. On the table were three things: a porcelain basin filled with fresh water, a servant’s robe, and map of the palace. I was in a palace. My mind started racing, trying to find an escape. There were no windows, no doors, no ways out. I dreaded the moment when the High Priest would take me. My heart raced, and my head spun, and I fell against the wall in front of me, hoping for support. But instead of support, I kept falling, until I hit cold, hard stone. I picked myself up, and clutched my wrist, which was surely broken. All I heard was only my panting and dripping of water. No, there was something else. Incantations were being murmured in a language that I didn’t recognize, sung by a voice that filled me with dread. I peered around the corner and saw the High Priest, kneeling in front of an altar, holding a knife and… and… my sister. My dead sister. The serum… it must have just knocked her out. But she was dead now. I would never get her back. I choked back a sob that could have cost me my life. “Larousse! I… I am attracted to a man.” the High Priest confessed, putting the knife down. I gasped, and bit my hand. Stupid, stupid, stupid. The High Priest turned, but looked back at the corpse. I turned, terrified of what would happen if I looked back. I ran, not bothering to silence the sounds coming from me. I had to get out of that slaughterhouse, no matter what.

7:00 a.m. After running through the pitch black tunnels for what seemed like forever, I finally found a door. I pounded the wooden doors with all the strength I had. I was going to kill whoever was in that room, my heart full of hate, pain, and revenge. The door slid open, and out came a monotone voice. “Welcome to the resting place of His Majesty, the High Prie…” the High Priest faltered when he our eyes met. My anger evaporated for only a second, when I actually felt pity for the man before me. He hadn’t chosen to be like me. I hadn’t chosen to be like me. I hadn’t chosen to be who I was. “I know. And I am here to tell you, I am like you. They are coming for you, High Priest. If I could hear you, so could they.” He took a step towards me. For the first time, I saw who he really was. Slightly taller than me, my age, slender and pale. Light hair, but dark and troubled eyes. “My name is Thes,” he said to me. I nodded. We stood there, staring at each other for what seemed like forever. This was the man, the evil that killed Mae. Yet, I couldn’t feel ay hatred for him at the moment. At first I had felt pity; the man before me had no choice in his life. But as I stared into his eyes, my anger and hatred melted away, to reveal compassion and empathy. My heart betrayed my mind, but it was in that moment that I first fell in love. “My guards… they’ll come. Soon. But, they’re slow, we have an hour at least.” I nodded solemnly, but then came a thumping down the hall. I

turned, and the door burst open. Guards grabbed Thes away from me, and injected him with a serum. The serum that he had given Mae. The serum that drugged my sister. I stood there, helpless, as we locked eyes for the last time. My fleeting piece of happiness shattered, just like my heart. 9:00 a.m. My chest was hollow, my thoughts frozen on Thes’s face when he was being dragged out of the room. I dressed in the servants’ robe laid out for me, it seemed like years since I had first woken up in that room. I had lived my whole life in a matter of hours, and there seemed to be nowhere to go. Silent tears fell from my eyes onto the beautiful robe. I didn’t belong here. I didn’t belong anywhere. I was different when I was in school, I could never find anyone but Mae to connect with. Then I was singled out during that morning’s service, and I was watched by my grieving family and the entire village. I was alone. I had always been alone. I will always be alone. The silent tears turned into sobs of pain. Sobs of loss. Sobs of what might have been. 10:00 a.m. I woke up from a dreamless sleep. My surroundings had changed; I was back in my old room. I washed my face, and looked at the bureau. It was a dark mahogany, with a fine finish…. and a drawer. I yanked on it, but it was stuck. Frustration overpowered my grief, and I screamed. I knocked over the table; not caring that the basin shattered, and started jumping on the drawer. It easily gave way, and I peered

into it curiously. Inside was a little token, much smaller than its wooden prison. It was a lighter, with a simple gold shell. You are my sword, inscribed in perfect calligraphy, lined the front side. I took out my swatch of fabric, and compared the two objects. The same handwriting, similar words. I slipped both into my pocket, and waited on the bed. 12:00 p.m. The sun was blinding as I was led outside, and the heat felt different on my pale skin. The guard forced me onto my knees, and slapped my face. “I hope you rot!” I screamed as he walked away. I turned to face the crowd surrounding me. The people that I had once called my family… my friends… they were all strangers. They were all disposable. But then I saw Thes, who was chained to the wall like an animal. I prohibited myself from looking at him; terrified that I would feel any sort of emotion. We waited for an eternity, which could only have been a matter of seconds for all I knew. The executioner stepped up, wielding the same knife that killed Mae only hours before. Tears flooded out of my eyes, and just before the knife pierced Thes’s heart, he cried the words, “Save the rest of them.” I nodded. And then he was dead. The sea of people around me started to shift, and people began to run. They started to attack the guards in a bloody frenzy, but I slowly walked up to the stage. I pulled the knife out of Thes’s still, bleeding body, and wiped it off with the piece of fabric in my pocket. With the

knife stored safely in my belt, I walked through the revolting citizens to the palace. I pulled out the lighter and nodded. “I’ll see you soon,� I whispered to it. The fire began to spread through the building, and soon enough the entire palace was enflamed in a dazzling red, burning up the judgement and hate and violence. I walked through the collapsing building and watched it burn, watched Klenicks burn, and I watched the mistreatment that had gone on for hundreds of years burn. The sun blinded me on the other side but I gazed at a new land; I gazed at my future. And I began to run.

Eye By Katherine Donovan

Down by the the Run Run Down by Annika Bjorklund Down by the run A run full of tears Full from April showers this May There’s a ripple and a wave, My mouth is agape And I have begun to weep As I weep and weep Down by the run, My heart falls agape At the willow, and my falling tears Stop with at the willow’s wave. I shall dance, if I may. A month of flowers is May Flowers from under the willow’s weep. The arms of the willow wave As I run, to the missing tears Of the willow, my mouth falls agape.

Agape At the men in hard hats during May With all the tears On the men’s shirts, through them I weep. Goodbye to the willow by the run, Farewell to the run with anger in a wave. As I go, I wave My mouth still agape. Saying bye to the willow, the flowers, the rain and the run. I’ll still cry because I may, But I won’t weep; The rain can have those tears. The run has its tears, And its one single wave, But the willow can no longer weep And I am no longer agape But, if I may I shall continue to think of the run. My mouth is still agape But it’s no longer May Down by the run.

Him By Alexandra Funk The man whistled so cheerfully, you'd never guess he had a corpse in his suitcase. No one paid any attention to him. Not the women on the sidewalk, nor the men in the cars. Not the children crossing the road, nor the dogs in the park. "Hey! Hey, taxi!" the man called, waving his arms above his head. The cabbie pulled over in front of the man and asked where he would be taking him. "Uh-um..." the man trailed off, "Just a moment." He reached into the pocket of his blazer and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. Reading from the paper he said, "194 Sheen Road, in Richmond, please." "That'll be pricey. Hop in." replied the driver in his thick British accent. That's fine, the man thought to himself as he climbed in back with his suitcase, once I finish this job, I'll have enough money for a jet with plenty to spare. "So," the other man's voice jarred him out of his thoughts of what he would do if he were rich. "What takes you so far out of town? We're in Croydon for crying out loud!" "I know that," he muttered, "I even know the exact address we started at, 20 Katharine Street, Croydon, UK." "What was that? You'll have to speak up, I'm going deaf." the cabbie replied

gruffly. "Uh...Work. I'm going out for a business trip,” the man hastily excused himself. The driver didn't seem to buy it, but he kept his mouth shut. The man lay his head back on the leather seat, drifting off to dreamland, but his dreams were not pleasant ones. They were memories from not too long ago.

The sea was the darkest of blue and so was the boat. He didn't want to climb into the rickety old thing, but he didn't have much of a choice. When you have a gun barrel at your back and you value your life, which he did, you start to care. When a man says he has his goons watching your family with MK16s, and you value their lives, which he did, then you start to care. Even if you're a risk taker, which he was, hopefully you still have the humanity to not risk your wife and two beautiful children, and call a bluff. "Go on then," the Suit said, waving the gun towards the boat. The man would not stand for this, he would not be bossed around. He was in charge of his actions. He saw it in his head: He’d step up to the docks then stop, coaxing the man to prod him forward. When the Suit came close enough he would turn sharply, leaning back in case he fired, grab his wrist and use his other hand to take the gun. From then he was deciding to either knock him in the head and leave him there, or beat him up and drop him in the water. Whatever he chose he would have to pick quickly. "Oy! Come on then, let's go." The Suit was not happy. He pulled the safety off. The man

walked forward thinking through his plan one last time. He reached the end of the dock and stopped. The Suit came closer, closer, closer... The man could hear him breathing. His muscles tensed. Breathing in and out, he moved. He climbed in the boat. The Suit and his two goons pushed off the docks. Fog surrounded the boat until all you could see was a hazy white. As suddenly as it had come, the fog disappeared when they reached the shore. The full moon shone brightly on the island, showing off the gravelly sand and the jagged cliffs beyond it. Everyone got out and entered a cave, leaving the boat on the shore, tied to a tree, oars resting inside. There was no light in the cave. There was no moonlight to guide the way and soon you could see nothing but black. Then someone lit a candle. It was the girl. There was only one female among the four of them and even she was very masculine. With a big square-ish jaw and good muscles, she didn't look the slightest bit friendly. The man was more feminine than her. He had long nimble fingers and a fair skin tone. He was lean and didn't look very strong, but all this was put off but his shabby demeanor and ratty clothes. His beard looked like it hadn't been trimmed in months and he had deep shadows under his eyes. "Where are we going?" the man asked, directing his attention to the Suit. "To see the boss." That was all he said, that was all anyone said. They finally reached an open cavern with such a high ceiling, you could hardly see it. This

was good because the cave was becoming so cramped that they had to walk in pairs: The Suit and man in front, and the goons in back. Even then they brushed shoulders. There was another person in the cave, but this one was different. She was tall, lean, graceful, and artificially beautiful. She turned and smiled sweetly. "Hello darling, how was your journey here? I hope that Evelyn and Ryan didn't have to hurt you, did they?" Presumably, Evelyn and Ryan were the goons. They went over to the woman and stood on either side of her. "Jacos," the woman began, "Would you be a dear and step into the light. You too darling." The last bit was addressed to the man. Both the Suit, or Jacos, and the man stepped up. There were torches on the wall--two in the back and two on either side of the cavern. They glowed a pure, unnatural orange. The light showed off the dark and slimy interior. The walls were jagged along with the barely visible ceiling. A layer of sand covered the black rock that was the floor, but the sand could not hide the stalagmites that grew up to your waist. "Ahh‌ Much better!" The woman said cheerfully. "Why am I here?" The man was not happy, unlike the woman so clearly was. "Oh. Cutting straight to the chase are we now?" the woman inquired, "Alright." Her smile faded, replaced with a serious expression. "You see darling, I have called you here with a proposition," she began, "Oh don't look so surprised dear. Did you honestly think that I didn't have a plan? Well anyways, my proposition is this: You perform a task for me, and your family will be returned to you, safe and sound, never to be bothered again."

So they really do have my family… The man was still trying to process what she had said when she added, "Oh alright. I really would have thought, and hoped, that your family’s lives would be enough--" the woman cut herself off, "But oh well. In addition to your families lives you will be compensated greatly. Does that sound fair?" "Why can't you do it yourself, or have one of your lackeys do it?" the man asked. "A good question. You see, darling, the task is a little… Messy. If anything went wrong, all of us would be in big trouble. But you are very inconspicuous. No one would suspect anything of you." The man thought about the offer, "What would I have to do?" The woman smiled. "Well, Jared Quintín..." she began.

Life Philosophies Eva DeArment Pain is love Love is life Life is strife, but Those moments We have we keep What we keep we love Life is pain Pain is strife Peace in life is Love

You Should Be Bilingual! By Lara Waldron With increasing globalization and communication between countries and cultures, it is becoming increasingly important to understand and comprehend others. Everyone should learn a second language. There are only benefits to becoming fluent, or just knowing a little bit of a language that is not your own. Becoming fluent in another language is a challenge, but it does have many rewards. People fluent in more than one language experience many mental health benefits throughout their entire lives. According to a 2014 study in Singapore, children with the skill of bilingualism had heightened cognitive abilities even at six months old. The boost in cognitive ability in young children generally lead to a higher IQ later in life. This heightened cognitive ability stays throughout life, or as long as the person is bilingual. An article in Psychology Today lists that bilingual people have skills such as ignoring distraction, leading to better focus. On top of that, the article states that bilinguals tend to have a heightened ability to monitor the environment for change. Researchers believe this is because bilingual persons constantly switch languages and vocabulary. Bilingual people do not just have better cognitive abilities, bilingual persons have bigger brains as well. A research paper from Georgetown University Medical Center states, “people who speak two languages have more gray matter in the executive control region of the brain.� This is due to the higher number of brain neurons required to keep track of the vast vocabulary of two languages. Another study (and subsequent paper) conducted in 2011 found that the more bilingual a person was the later they

experienced Alzheimer’s onset and slower disease progression. Being bilingual has many mental health benefits, and there are virtually no downsides to being bilingual. Yet another advantage of being bilingual is being able to communicate with more people. There are approximately 6,500 languages on the earth, and 7.5 billion people. Theoretically, for each language a person speaks, they can speak to about 11 million more people. Being bilingual, and being able to speak to more people, opens up many jobs opportunities as well. Today, there are higher demands for translators, interpreters, and language teachers than ever before. Bilingual people in the U.S. get paid more too, on average about 2% more than the average monolinguistic (one language) speaker. There are many reasons why everyone should speak more than one language, such as cognitive benefits and job opportunities in this increasingly globalized society. There are many free and non-committal language programs such as Duolingo and Memrise to get started on the road to bilingualism. Language learning is a commitment, but has no negative impacts, only positive ones.

Brendon Urie Brendon Urie

By Katherine Donovan Katherine Donovan

April Showers By Grace Tarpgaard Oh, what a dreary, lazy, lousy day, I think while sitting, pondering the rain, Where does this rain come from? Where does it go? Why does the great sky feel like crying so? It pours down sheets and blankets on the world, Small creatures burrow, hugging tight their fur, The leaves are drooping from the weight of all, Oh, how I miss the sunny light of fall. It comes down in a roar and pounds away, I wait and wait for the bright light of day. And then, a pause, the downfall’s sudden cease, A ray of sun has broken through the crease, The clouds subside and move out to the bay To make room for the wondrous month of May.

I, Also, Sing America Wenndy Sejas I, also, sing America, You may have heard of Walt Whitman, and Langston Hughes, But who you haven’t heard of is me. What you don’t know is that I’m the Hispanic sister, They take one look at me and scoff, They think I can’t do anything and have no future. But if only they knew me! Ha! They would see I’m more than that! That I am more than them! That I and many others are the ones who do the dirty work that they are far to dainty to do. That we are the ones that do all the work and that keep this country on it’s feet. They tell us we can’t do it, and it’s true. Because they don’t let us, they don’t want to see us better than them.

We protest, we work harder only to be cut short by a simple no. Some country I say. When I was small my teachers told me I could do anything if I believed I could, Guess they forgot to include that race mattered if you want to succeed. So now I fight to get to my goal, to be the best and be better than them. I strive to prove to them that race doesn’t make me any less capable than them. That it doesn’t make me someone they can order around, That it doesn’t make me a dirty Hispanic, as they put it, that is worth nothing compared to them. I AM SOMETHING, I AM HISPANIC, I AM CAPABLE! Is the truth too much for you fellow reader to bear? Well, this is only a small part a pebble of a mountain of injustices done to us! I am lucky compared to others to are worse off than me. Cause I fight even in school.

I am the Hispanic sister, I’m saying it loud and proud, I speak up cause I have a voice and no one is about to take it away from me! I ain’t got nothing to hide, ‘Cause I too am America.

Sophia By Rachel Margarella

Flutterby Elisabeth Snyder I hear the crowd applaud and speak my name, My heart begins to pound inside my chest. Their whistling, clapping, sets my mind aflame, But now it’s time to smile and do my best. My brain is full of words and thoughts to share, But when I reach the stage my mind is void: I’m frozen in this second while they stare, A lonely girl whose plans are all destroyed. Yet, in a snap, my fears are all allayed; I’ve calmly freed my anxious butterflies. I proudly speak, no longer scared nor staid, A flightless bird whose wings now brush the skies. When I am through, they clap and cheer once more, For I’m a nestling, proving I can soar.

By Dmitri Modell

Perfection By Cara Schultz Peace, harmony, and tranquility. These traits characterize our wonderful society. Our society’s ancestors had many hardships, but peace resolved rebellion and war. Now only our society of perfect people with blonde hair and blue eyes remains. In the war, all imperfect people perished, leaving our glorious society. It is our hope that all of our citizens have a wonderful, worriless day. Thank you. As we leave the building, I am as always shocked by the cheerful faces I see all around me. Do they really believe this kind of stuff? When I was 2, I believed that The Rose was a perfect society, before my brother went missing 14 years ago. My parents deny his existence, but I saw the guards take away my one-year-old brother before my own eyes. I won’t ever forget his screams as I ran after the guards. They said he wasn’t perfect since he didn’t have blonde hair and blue eyes like everyone else in the society. With the amount of people disappearing just like my brother increasing, I can’t take his absence any longer. When we return home, I pull my sister into my room for a long-delayed talk. “Grace, before you were born, Mom and Dad had a son named Rory. The guards took him away when he was little because he was not…” my voice breaks

off. “Perfect.” I spit out the word as if it is poison. Grace gasps and shakes her head. She surprises me with her next words, “I was right!” “What?” I ask in confusion. Grace explains that when she was organizing Mom and Dad’s office, she found our birth records, but with an extra file between them. “I didn’t say anything because I wanted to be sure,” she adds. “Grace, we need to find your brother.”

… It was the next day before we could begin our search. Grace and I decide to search for public records with clues about Rory. As soon as the sun rises, Grace and I get ready to leave for City Hall. I grab a paper clip on the table just in case we need it. “Just where do you think you two are going?” Mom cries as I open the door. “The daily message is in an hour!” My mind spins for an appropriate explanation. Luckily, Grace saves me. “We’re going to cut Mr. Wood’s flowers. Since he’s getting older, we thought he might appreciate the extra help.” Mother beams before responding. “I’m glad you're helping someone in our community! Just make sure you make it to the daily video on time.”

Grace and I chorus, “We will!” and run out the door, desperate to be on our way. Ten minutes later, we arrive at City Hall, panting heavily. The man at the reception desk stares at us. “Excuse me, can you please tell me where the citizen archive is?” I ask as professionally as possible while I dust off the dirt from my clothing. The man looks at us oddly before replying, “Citizen records are not available to the public.” Grace dashes down the hallway before I can stop her. I take one last look at the man and I follow suit. “Guards! Guards! The man at the counter screams. Together Grace and I hurry down the hallway, trying every door for the archives. As I hear the guards getting closer, I begin to lose hope. Finally, Grace shoves open a heavy door and finds the archives. Together, we begin to look for the last name Green. Turns out there have been a lot of people with the last name Green, so it takes us about 25 minutes to find our family. I surf through the names, and to my delight, discover the name Green, Rory. “Did you find it?” my sister asks from behind a pile of files. “Yes!” I reply excitedly, “Come here!” Grace races over and, snatching the file from my hands, she scans the contents quickly.

“It says that Rory was taken to a containment facility,” Grace says. I stare at the floor, trying to think of where they would have taken him 14 years ago. I notice that near where Rory’s file was kept, the carpet is cut up and frayed. That’s odd, I think. I roll the carpet back, and to my surprise, find a trap door. “Grace, look, I found something,” I call. Grace, spotting the trap door, yanks it open to reveal a set of stairs leading down. Before I can even ask her to be careful, Grace is hopping down the stairs, two at a time. I go after her, down the dank stairs dimly lit by candles on the walls. I hear a metallic crunch followed by a thud. My heart starts beating twice its normal rate as I call out, “Grace, are you okay? Grace?” There is a long pause. “I’m okay, just fell. The last step is slippery.” I sigh with relief before I ask, “What’s down there?” “A metal fence. Come here!” Grace responds, clearly agitated. I hop down the rest of the stairs, carefully jump over the last step, and land next to Grace. Together we stare at the metal fence. A sign on it reads: Containment Facility Keep Out Trespassers Will Be Severely Punished Grace and I look nervously at each other before climbing over the fence. No punishment could be worse than living without Rory and pretending he never

existed. I stand on the other side of the fence, waiting for Grace to get over as well. I open my mouth to tell her to hurry up, but immediately close it as I see a guard march by. Grace freezes on the fence and I hide around the corner. Luckily, he doesn't see us. “Grace, hurry up,” I whisper, “There are guards around here.” Grace hops over the fence and runs down one of the aisles, looking for Rory. I join her. My breath catches in my throat. There are small cages with labels next to them. Inside are people curled up, fear in their eyes. They shrink back as they see us. Tears spring to my eyes at the sight. It also motivates me to find Rory even faster. I hurry down the aisles looking for the G-names section. The G section is huge, so Grace and I split up to find Rory. I scan the cages Gaby, Ginch, Gibb, Goodwin, Gravholt and many others. Finally I see Green. “Grace, over here,” I call. “Coming!” A moment later, I see Grace barreling down the corridor towards me. “Where is he?” Grace asks. “I haven’t found him yet,” I emphasize, “but I found the last name Green.” Together we hurry down the aisle, and at the end of the corridor, we finally find a cage where the tag reads: Green, Rory. “Rory!” I exclaim. Surprisingly, with his brown hair and brown determined eyes, he

still looks exactly like the brother I had before he was taken away. “Emerald? Is that you?” Rory responds in a raspy voice. “Yes! We came to rescue you.” I say. “This is our little sister, Grace.” “Nice to meet you, Grace. I don’t want to be rude, but we must hurry before the guards catch us if we are going to escape,” Rory replies anxiously. Quickly, I pull out the paper clip I had been saving and fashion a lockpick out of it. It takes less than 30 seconds for me to break the lock. Rory stumbles forward weakly, and I rush forward to support him. Together, Grace and I stand on either side of him to help Rory walk. As we retrace our steps, I feel a pit in my stomach as I see all of the other people I am leaving behind. I vow to return back to save them. I begin to climb the fence and help Rory do so too. “Stop right there, intruders! You have trespassed! You all shall be sentenced to death!”

The Mistake Loviise Puntso She won’t die. Why won’t she die? This is the fourth mistake, but the other three died. What went wrong? He stood, staring at the infant, pondering what he should do with her. Would he be able to fix her? Should he lock her up, never let anyone find out she existed? Maybe, if he kept her, he could find out what happened. He could prevent this from happening again. That is what I will do. I will keep her locked up, away from the society. This will never happen again.

He had just finished another of his experiments on the girl. The girl looked him in the eyes but said nothing. His experiments did not seem to bother her, which angered him even more. Not only could she not die, she seemed to not feel any pain. He had shocked her with wires, pierced her skin with needles, and drew the letter M onto her neck with a knife. He had drawn the same M on the other three mistakes’ necks. The letter M symbolized who they were, or what they were. They were and always would be the mistakes. He had the satisfaction of killing the other mistakes, but not this one. She did not cry, scream, or even flinch when he experimented on her. He tried

starving and suffocating her. Nothing worked. He could not get rid of her. If he could not get rid of her, he would have to fix her. For seven years, he had tried in vane to kill the girl. He could be the only immortal human being. Her existence infuriated him. He strapped the girl to the table and left the room. He needed to have the other children, the ones that were made successfully that winter, delivered to their homes. The mistakes were so different. So unpleasant and peculiar. Unlike the mistakes, the other children did not cry. They did not smile, or laugh, or make any sounds unless commanded to do so. That was the way they were supposed to be. The way he liked them. The child takers were waiting outside with their baskets, where they were every December thirty-first. They placed the newly created children into their baskets and left, to deliver them to the assigned houses. Families had one child. No more than one was permitted. The people followed his commands. They did not make their own decisions. They did not know how. He created them so that they were did not have the unimportant, useless human traits. Emotions and individuality had no place here. The people work, eat, and sleep. They do what they are told and no more, no less. That is all that is required of them. When needed,

they fight. They fight when he gets bored. He needs entertainment. He is alone. He likes it that way. No one to bother him with their constant presence. He walked back inside. He went to the room in which he had left the mistake. She was no longer on the table. She had somehow undone the straps and was walking around the room. She looked at him and smiled. He hated it. He hated her smile. He grabbed her by the arm and brought her to her room. It was a dark room. He had never used it before she was created. It had simply been there, it had no purpose. He pushed her into the room and said to her, “You will sit. You will stay there and will not move. You will not cry, smile, or make any sounds. You will do as I say.� The girl sat. She stopped all movement and did not make a sound. She stared blankly at him. She seemed to have lost all traces of human characteristics. She follows commands. Why? The other mistakes did not. He shut the door and made sure to lock it. He exited the building and went to the daily command session. This was when he instructed his people. They would not know what to do with themselves if he did not tell them daily. He liked the power that it gave him. When he arrived, he issued the people’s ordinary daily activities. All was normal. He

had to pretend like nothing was different, like he had done for seven years. He had to pretend that the mistake did not exist. He did, however, make one change in his orders today. “I am in need of one child. Female. I will need all female children alive for seven years to step forward.” Thirty or so children stepped forward. He studied them carefully. “You,” he said to a small girl. “What are you called?” The girl looked up and said, “Kira.” She will do. He dismissed all the people save the girl by the name of Kira. He said to her, “You will follow me. You are to come to my abode and you will stay there. You will not leave. You will only go and do what I say. You will not wander. When I am no longer in need of you, I will send you away.” I will kill you, but you do not need to know that. He started to walk back to his home and she followed. When they were inside, he brought her to the mistake’s room. The mistake was exactly where she was when he had left. “What do you see?” He motioned toward the mistake. “I see a female child. She is strange. She is different,” Kira said. What a curious thing to say. What is it that this child sees that I do not? “Why is she strange? How is she different?” he asked her. Kira stared blankly at the mistake. “I do not know Lord Pimedus,”

she replied. Lord Pimedus decided to leave Kira with the mistake to see if the interaction would change either of them in any way. “You will stay here in this room. You will not leave. You will sit and watch the mistake.” With that, he walked out of the room and once again, locked the door.

KIRA Why? Why did he choose me? There were over thirty other female children of my same age. He is going to find out. I can’t let him find out. What am I going to do? Kira sat on the ground as she was instructed and did not say anything. She needed to act normal. He waited for Lord Pimedus to leave the room. She heard him lock the door. He is not going to let me leave. He will never let me leave. She was terrified. She knew that when he was done with her, he was going to kill her, or at least he would try. Who is this girl? Why is he so interested in her? She seems very strange. She is different than anyone I have ever seen. She does as she is told. She does not speak. She does not show any emotion. That is how she is supposed to be. That is how everyone is supposed to be. Kira made sure that Lord Pimedus had gone, and then she spoke to the girl he called the mistake.

she spoke to the girl he called the mistake. “Hello. Who are you? Why are you here?” Kira received no response. The girl stared blankly, not moving, at the door Lord Pimedus had exited through. If she is like the rest, why does he keep her here? He seems afraid of her. Should I be afraid of her as well? But she was not. She was not afraid of the mistake. She hated that name. She did not believe that anyone deserved to be called that. Lord Pimedus was an exception. He was truly a mistake. He was cruel, vile, and nefarious. “I will call you Svetlana. I am Kira. Why is he keeping you here?” Svetlana did not reply. “What is wrong with you? Can you not speak?” Again, she received no answer. She seemed so lifeless. Kira noticed something on Svetlana’s neck. She screamed. It was the M. The same M on her own neck. This girl was another child whose creation was not successful. He had kept her to find out how to kill her, that is why she is covered in cuts and disgusting marks. A single tear rolled down Svetlana’s cheek. That is why he was so interested in her; Svetlana really was his mistake. Lord Pimedus had also tried to kill Kira. He had not been successful, but Kira had pretended that she, indeed, was dead. Since the moment of her creation, Kira’s mind had been fully developed and she had

the intelligence of a full grown woman. After thinking that Kira was dead, Lord Pimedus had left her body in the forest. Kira’s mind was developed, but her body was not. All she could do what cry and scream. A woman from the village had heard her and come to see why a child was screaming. The woman was the second mistake, and her husband was the first. They had learned to blend in and pretend to be like everyone else. Kira’s mother took her home and pretended the child takers had given the child to her. Kira was taught to blend in and to pretend. She was taught well. Suddenly, Kira was brought back to reality. She remembered her scream. She remembered it being too loud. She knew Lord Pimedus had heard it. He was coming. She was going to be locked up, tortured. He was going to try to kill her. “I will save you Svetlana, I promise.”

Lord Pimedus Lord Pimedus was in deep thought when he heard the scream. He ran into the dark room. He was appalled to find that both the mistake and Kira were gone. He had locked the doors, he was sure of it. How have they escaped? Where are they? How could I have been so ludicrous? He did not know what to do. He could not tell any of his people to search for them. They could not know of

the mistake’s existence. He quickly became frantic. They had ruined everything. In a last act of defeat, Lord Pimedus screamed. A bloodcurdling scream, so loud that everyone, everywhere, was able to hear him. A scream full of pain and despair.

The Meddling Storm Ellie O’Neill It starts out light as a feather, as a joke. No harm done, just words gliding and floating in the sky. You think nothing of them, just a little secret. But then you tell. You have to tell. It grows and grows, getting darker and heavier. You look up and see what your little joke has done. But it’s not a little joke anymore. You watch as it becomes threatening and ominous. You have no control over what happens next. With the rain pouring down, you look at what you have ruined. You watch others flee, they get hurt. Thunder cracks, it’s all your fault. Rain streaks down your face, your little joke. You didn’t know that everything and everyone would be destroyed. You didn’t know that your rumor would become a storm. All you knew was your little secret.

Journal Entry Elizabeth Creed I sprinted down the hall, the bright lights blinding me.. The machine’s beeping was getting slower and slower by the second. I had to make it, I just had to. I couldn’t let another one slip between my fingers. I shoved through throngs of people, screaming for them to move. The door was within my sight. Just a few more steps….. BEEEEEEEEEEEE-too late. Another person dead, all because of me. I wake up sweaty and shaking. I let my head fall back against my pillow. My clothes are drenched in sweat and my face is streaked with tears. Slowly, I carry myself out of bed and stumble to the bathroom. I turn on the faucet and let my hands run under the cool water. I stare into the mirror. My eyes are bloodshot, my skin pale and sickly. Night after night, these nightmares haunt me. They snap me back into reality. People die and their lives lay in my hands. I sigh and walk back to my bed. As I crawl in, I can’t imagine what terror will haunt my next dream. My head falls back against the pillow and I drift off. The next morning, the hospital is busy as usual. I have barely enough time to take a sip of my coffee when Abigail storms into the

cafeteria. “Pneumonia patient in room 173. You’re doing the chest tube. Oh, and there’s a kid getting knee surgery. You just have to knock her out and I’ll do the rest.” I stare up at her. “What?” She glares down at me. I glare right back at her, “Girl, I just got here, I slept horribly, and you can’t bother to say hello?” She rolls her eyes. “Hello. I better see you in 173 in 5 minutes or there’ll be trouble.” I sigh. “Fine. Let’s go.” My hands shake as I take off my gloves. All patients survived today and I can’t feel more relieved. I walk out into the parking lot shivering, angry that I forgot my coat. The wind slices at my skin and I walk quickly to reach my car. I don’t hear them creeping up behind me. I don’t even have time to scream. Hands grab me and I whip around to find my attackers, but I only find a fist colliding with my face. I hear only two words before I black out completely. Terminate her.

What Would I Do Without You? Ellie O’Neill What would I do without you? You’re my very best friend. You always have been. Without you, who would tell me who to be? Without you, nobody would talk to me. Without you, I would go around thinking that I’m pretty. That boys might like me. I would think that people listen to me, but you showed me that they don’t. Without you, I would think that I’m funny. Thank you for rolling your eyes at my jokes. I’m glad that you told me that I’m not. I would feel good about my body. Thank you for telling me to lose weight. Everyone would make fun of me, right? Thank you for always being there to tell me that. Without you, I might think that I could be friends with her. But you told me that she would never like me. You’ve saved me from rejection all my life.

Thank you for my insecurities. They greet me everyday like a warm blanket. Thank you, for being my blanket. My protector. My savior. My best friend. Forever and always. For that, I can never repay you. What would I do without you?

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The Last Letter Maya Wrona I’m alone, with the soft glow of light Only me and my roaring fright No one but myself in this cool air of night My pen scratching against the surface as I write Waiting for the sun to glow bright Contemplating the figure dressed in white Nobody believes my shadow dressed in white None trust the tale I brought to light No one accepts the demon glowing bright Only I can accept the fright Passing the pen over this letter as I write Chilled to the bone in this bitter, bleak night I wish to see more than the black of the night More than the candle, dripping with white Dripping onto this page as I write Praying and hoping for a world with more light Wanting to escape my sinister fright Wishing this darkness to quickly grow bright I hear my own moans, high-pitched and bright Hear myself in this harshness of the night My shaky voice with a tone of fright Seeming to summon the phantom adorned in white I close my eyes, vanquishing light, Fling them apart and continue to write

I cover the page with pen and ink as I write The scratching fills my ears as I await the first bright Not one more voice in this room with no light I might be stuck in an eternal night With the constant haunting of the devil in white A scratch at the door, and I am frozen in fright My heart pounds in this immobile state of fright The pulses move my hand as I finish to write It has come for me, this ghost draped in white The candle ferociously glowing bright A pale cloak moves in this cold air of night I take my letter, and set it to light.

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