(Character Story) New Girl Sean walked through the sliding glass doors with a cup of Starbucks coffee in his hand and his bag (which was overflowing with paperwork) slung across his shoulder. He smiled as people passed by him, doing his best to spread some positivity in such a dull workplace. Everybody here worked in cubicles, spending their days typing on a computer trying to help other people while they couldn't even help themselves. But today was different for Sean – today he had been called in early to go to a meeting. Soon enough, Sean found himself standing outside of room 052, where all meetings were held. This would be his first time entering the room, and as soon as he did, he wanted to go back out. The room was dim with two desks sat back to back. One was the boss’ desk, the other was for anybody he called in here. The light bulb flickered overhead and the room smelled as if it was damp, the walls made of concrete and cobwebs in the corners. This wasn't anything like they were in the movies. There was only one other person in the room, someone he didn't recognize. A girl. She had black hair as straight as paper, parted perfectly, not one hair out of place. Sean could already tell that she was very proper, very tidy; everything she had was organized on the table in front of her as she sorted through various papers, placing them into separate piles. A big black Prada purse sat on the floor next to her chair, no doubt filled with everything she absolutely needed, stuff like lip gloss and hairspray and makeup. Girl stuff that he had no interest in hearing about. He moved forward and sat down his coffee; her brown eyes flicked over to the cup, then up to him and back to her papers. He saw lots of small print and many pieces with signatures all over them. “Uh, hi. I'm Sean,” he said quietly, holding out his hand hesitantly. “Hello... I'm Nancy.” said the girl shyly. Her voice was soft, shaky, as if she was scared to speak. Each of her movements was slow as she tried to sort through everything in her mind and then physically do them – you could practically see the gears shifting in her head. Sean watched her hands tremble as they hovered over one stack of paper only to quickly move to a different one. “Are ya nervous?” Joked Sean, finally taking his bag off his shoulder. He ran a hand through his hair and massaged his sore joint, trying to peek at what this Nancy girl was doing. “Were you called in for a meeting too?” “A meeting?” Nancy asked, her doe eyes growing wide and scared. “No, I wasn't called here for a meeting... Am I in the right spot? Oh no,” she groaned, massaging her temples. Her nails were painted a silver color that caught the light. “Hey” started Sean, but he was interrupted by the door flinging open. He sat down immediately as Mr. Chapman walked in with his gut sagging over the waistline of his pants, his dress shirt barely buttoned and large pit stains drenching the underarms of his shirt. “Ah, Mr. Peters, ya made it! Good for you, very good!” Mr. Chapman said in his booming voice. “Thank you for coming in earlier than usual, I have a very important assignment for you.” Sean sat up a little bit straighter in his seat and flashed a bright white smile. “Anything, sir. Anything at all, I'm ready for it!” He was very eager to know what said assignment was. Maybe it would finally get him a promotion, or even move him to a different company in another
state. “I want you” Mr. Chapman pointed at Sean, who nodded, “to mentor her” he pointed to Nancy, “Ms. Martinez. Show her around. She's new here, I just hired her the other day. Make sure she's doing everything she needs to be, I positioned her cubicle behind yours so if she needs you you're right there.” Sean's face fell. He had to babysit her? He sighed, but nodded again. “Yes sir, I'll make sure she's on top of everything. No worries.” He looked at Nancy out of the corner of his eyes. He couldn't see her face, her black hair was like a curtain between the two. She was put all her papers together in one big stack and stuffing them in an accordionlike binder. “Thank you son, I really appreciate it. Now be gone! Out! Out ya go!” Mr. Chapman swatted the two out like flies. Nancy was gone within seconds, but Sean chuckled and took his time while gathering his things. He met up with Nancy outside the room. This was when he got to see what she was wearing – a black skirt that went down to her knees, a white puffy button up blouse and flats. Her bulging purse was hanging off her shoulder and her binder was in her other hand. She smiled shyly and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. “Shall I escort you to your cubicle, Ms. Martinez?” Said Sean in a British accent. Nancy giggled and followed him as he walked back into the main room where people were bustling in and out of. The only sounds you could hear were the coffee makers, water bubbling in the big blue jug in the corner of the room near the fake plants, bathrooms being flushed overhead and the few people that were already there typing furiously at their computers. Chairs squeaked and papers rustled, people coughed and muttered to themselves occasionally. Sean and Nancy's cubicles were in the very back, near the coffee maker. Sean thanked someone for being positioned near it, otherwise he wouldn't be able to stay awake in such a quiet environment. He sat down his stuff on his chair and showed Nancy where hers was. She pulled a disapproving face when she saw how small the space was. There were walls on 2sides, separating her from the other people that she would never talk to. The desk was only big enough for the computer and a couple of papers. There were three drawers attached to the desk where she could place possessions and important files. Everything was either grey, black or white, nothing colored, which disappointed her. Even the people here only wore the bland colors. “So, anything you need to get started on?” Sean asked, sitting down and logging onto his computer. Nancy shook her head. “Uh, okay, well... I guess you can just sit there. Do you know your computer log in and stuff?” This time she nodded, swiveling around in her chair to log on just like he did. They both waited patiently for their computers to come to life. Sean hummed quietly to himself, tapping to the beat on his knee. Suddenly, a soft rumbling pierced the silence. Sean noticed his cup of coffee shaking on the counter. He reached up to hold it still, but it continued to wobble. Nancy’s cup was wobbling too. Soon, their chairs began to move by themselves. “Uh, Sean? What’s happening?!” Asked Nancy, panicking. She stood up from her chair and started picking up her stuff. “Sean?” He stood up and grabbed his bag, snatching Nancy by the elbow and guiding her out of the room. All around them, parts of the ceiling were crashing down and people were hurriedly
trying to get through the door. Everybody was backed up and they were forcing their way through the small doorway. Sean looked around for another exit – the fire door. A pipe overhead burst, spraying them with water. Nancy screamed and clutched Sean’s bicep. Swiftly, he opened the door and they quickly shuffled down the stairs and outside the building. This is when Sean realized what was happening: an earthquake. People were emerging from what used to be their work. Sean watched in horror as the once tall, sturdy building crumbled, people inside getting crushed. Nancy’s eyes were full of tears. The ground was still shaking. They darted underneath a vending table and held on for dear life, their bags forgotten on the street which was now cracking open. Sean thought he was going to be sick. Instinctively he held onto Nancy who was tightly pressed against him in the small space; they were bracing themselves for the worst, for the ground to open up and swallow them whole. Then, it all stopped. Sean opened his eyes and looked around. Cars were smoking and crushed by appliances that fell out of windows. Buildings were destroyed and had collapsed into a pile of rubble. People were in tears, holding onto each other. Nancy herself had tears running down her face, softly crying into Sean’s chest. “That... that was the scariest thing I have ever been through, oh my gosh... Thank you, Sean...” Nancy mumbled, wiping at her eyes. Sean flashed her a sidesmile. “Shhh, it’s okay, you’re okay...” He rubbed her back. They crawled out from under the table. The earthquake only lasted about two minutes but it seemed like an eternity as the ground shook beneath us. “So... what do we do now?” Nancy asked, holding her hands close to her chest. She looked around at what used to be New York City. It now looked like a grey, smokey battleground of some sort. “I guess we go find the others...” Sean scratched the back of his neck. He brushed off his pants and started walking towards the rubble. “Didn’t expect your first day on the job to be like this, did ya?” Nancy shook her head and sniffled. “No, not at all.” Firetruck and ambulance sirens could be heard from down the block. People ran into the streets holding their bloodied loved ones, waving their arms for help. “Help!” They cried. “Help us! Please!” Wailing, they fell to the ground. Nancy had begun crying all over again at the sight of the helpless strangers. “This is horrible,” she said through her tears. Sean’s eyes softened and he pulled her in for a hug, stroking her hair as she cried and clutched his tshirt. “Shhh... I know, I know...” was all Sean could choke out, afraid if he kept talking that he might burst into tears too. He was so scared, he didn’t know what to do anymore but comfort Nancy. “I’m so sorry,” he said into her hair. “I’m so sorry this happened...”
(Random Facts) Behind Grey Eyes Haylee Burton “Hey, Sally! Wait up!” Yelled Sam, pushing his way through the crowd. “Sally!” He tried once more, but the blonde girl didn't hear him. He sighed and slipped through a gap in between two senior boys; Sally was just a couple people ahead of him. Sam gripped the textbook in his hand tighter as he forced himself in between a couple holding hands. “Sorry,” he mumbled. “Sally! C'mon, I know you can hear me!” He tugged at the ends of her hair. Sally made no sudden movement; it was as if she didn't feel it at all. “Hey, are you okay?” Sam asked, trying to
see her face. She had covered it with her hair, like a curtain almost. “I am fine, Samuel.” Sally said in a monotone. “I have to go to class now.” She turned left and walked right into a random classroom, one that Sam knew she wasn't in. He shrugged it off and continued on down the hall and to his third period.
*** “Dude, I just learned the coolest thing!” Said Jack happily, throwing down his bookbag and leaning in front of Sam, talking with his hands. “Did you know that humans weren't the first... things to go up in a hot air balloon? A sheep, a duck, and a rooster were! Imagine that. I wonder if the rooster and duck tried to fly out... I bet the sheep was so scared. Aw, poor little sheep. I can hear it now, the cries of help as it flew sky high...” Jack waved his hand in front of Sam's face. He flinched and was pulled out of his daydream. “Aren't you going to shut me up?” Jack punched him lightly on the shoulder. “What's wrong?” “Sally. She wouldn't talk to me today. I was yelling for her in the hallway, I knew she could hear me but she acted like she didn't! Did... did I do something wrong, Jack? Has she said anything to you about me? After all, you are her brother. I bet she's told you all these horrible things, like how bad of a kisser I am, or that I give lousy hugs, or that my palms get sweaty really easily when we hold hands... Oh, man!” “Oh... um... Sally's undergone some... er... renovations, my friend. Wait and see... You'll be surprised. I know I was.” “Huh? Are they... y'know... good renovations, like” “Oh, gross! She's my sister!” “Sorry! I'm just curious!” “Trust me, you'll be very surprised.” *** “Hey, Sally. It's me again. I know, I know, this is like, the fifth time I've called you, but I wanna know why you won't talk to me. Did I do something wrong? Say something? Is it because I have bad breath? Oh, I don't know, I just want you to talk to me! Please... please call me back, Sally.” Sam flopped down on his pillow and sighed, staring at the ceiling, thinking of all the nasty things she's probably telling all her friends. He groaned and buried his face in a pillow. They'd been dating for six months, what could he possibly have done wrong? All the possibilities... there were too many. It made Sam nauseous just thinking about it. Shut up, said the little voice inside Sam's head. Quit worrying about it. Everything's going to be fine. Go to sleep. You're tired... very tired... *** The first thing Sam thought when he woke up the next morning was: “I will find out what's
wrong with Sally.” He rode his bike for 45 minutes in the freezing cold until he reached his girlfriend and his best friends house. By the time Sam got off his bike, his legs were numb. He threw his bike down in the Simpsons' yard and stumbled up the steps, knocking on the door. Jack answered it, grinning. “Hey Sam, you here to play video games?” “No, I wanna know what's up with your sister. Let me in, I'm freezing out here!” Jack moved out of the way and let Sam inside, where he kicked off his shoes and made his way up the stairs two at a time. He stopped outside of Sally's door, taking a deep breath before knocking. “Just one second!” Yelled a robotic like voice. Sam ran a hand through his hair and wiped his clammy palms on his shorts. The door swung open, but Sally wasn't there. Not the Sally that Sam knew, at least. Sally Simpson was now replaced with bits and pieces of multicolored wires, blinking lights, the soft humming of machines and chunks of metal. Her hair was still the same though, blonde and perfectly straight as its always been. Despite that, Sam yelped and jumped back, his adrenaline pumping and his heartbeat thumping loudly behind his ears. “Samuel? Is that you?” The voice said once again. “It's me, Sally Simpson. Sister of Jackson Simpson, daughter of Joe and Molly Simpson.” Sam pulled a face and looked closely at her. This definitely was not the Sally Simpson he was holding hands with the other day. “Wwho are you?” He asked, his voice wavering. “You're not Sally! You're a... robot or something! What are you?!” Socalled Sally's neck jerked haphazardly and an electrical spark shot out of a piece of wire. “What do you mean, Samuel? I am Sally. I have always been Sally. I have her brain.” Sam's eyes filled with tears. “Fine, if you really are Sally, then what day did I ask you out? When and where?” “The eighteenth of September. Behind the bleachers at the baseball game.” “...You... you... you're Sally... but... what happened?” Jack laughed from the bottom of the stairs. “I told you, she had some renovations. Same ole Sally, just in different form. Everything about her has been replaced with a machine except for her brain. It's impossible to replace her brain. She still has the same thoughts and memories and everything else... It's better this way.” “How? How is it better, Jack?” “Please stop screaming, Samuel. I still lllov” The new Sally's head spun around, spitting out electrical sparks. Her robotic arms thrashed this way and that, while the soft humming was replaced with loud, short bursts of eardrum shattering squeaking. “What's going on?!” Shouted Sam. “Jack?!” “Didn't you know? She selfdestructs when she's found love.” “But... but why? Why is she this... thing?!” asked Sam, his eyes flickering between his exploding girlfriend and best friend. With one final turn of her new head, Sally ‘powered down’ forever. Tears came to Sam’s eyes. He just lost his girlfriend. His robot girlfriend. Jack motioned for Sam to come down the stairs. Sam looked at his girlfriend one last time, smoking and wires sparking all over the place. He swallowed the lump in his throat and stumbled down the stairs to where Jack was sitting on the couch. “Uh, well, you see... Sally was a prototype of sorts... Have you ever read a story about how there are crazy scientists who want to take over the world?”
Sam nodded his head, his eyes wide. “Well... Sally actually found one and he asked her if she wanted to help him with a very important experiment. He never told her what it was beforehand, only that it could change humanity forever. So, she came home all excited and told Mom and Dad about it... They said that she could say yes as long as she knew what she was getting herself into. Naturally, she said yes... three days later she came home and she was a robot... We all were surprised, not just you. She had only been like that for a week... She told us that she was going to be apart of the new race that the scientist was trying to create, and she was one of the first people in it. The scientist wanted to used her a test experiment, figuring out her weaknesses and what problems that may occur... Obviously, she selfdestructs when she’s found love. The scientist told us that was a possibility because technically robots aren’t supposed to love but on the rare occasion that it does happen, they selfdestruct.” “Why wouldn’t she have told me though? I mean, I’m her boyfriend, aren’t I? ...Well, I was her boyfriend.” “It was supposed to be a topsecret type thing. Yesterday was the first day she came to school in a week. Did you not notice how she was wearing long sleeves and jeans?” “Jack, it’s winter. Everybody is wearing long sleeves and jeans.” “Yeah yeah yeah, whatever. She had her hair covering her face all the time too. Her hair. It was hers, Sam. The only thing that was Sallyish about her was her hair and the fact that she still had her own brain.” Sam sat there for a minute, letting everything sink in. So, my girlfriend is... was a robot. The first robot of some new race? She was a test run. She let herself be turned into... that. And she just selfdestructed and died right in front of me because she was in love with me.... Wow... I’m good. “Pretty much what you’re saying is that Sally died because of her love for me?” Jack thought about it for a moment before nodding. “Essentially.” “Dude... So, what are you gonna do with her body?” Jack shrugged. “I dunno. Throw it out in the junkyard I guess. I gotta wait until Mom and Dad get home from work though.” “And that is...?” “Soon, I know that. Will you help me move her downstairs?” Jack asked, already walking up the steps. Sam nodded and smiled. “Sure, buddy.” They both walked upstairs and began collecting various parts. Jack had what used to be her arms and legs, while Sam picked up her head and torso. He ran a hand through her hair, pieces getting tangled around his fingers. “Just to let you know... I love you, too.” *** “Who did you say that mad scientist was again? I’m gonna go give him a piece of my mind.” “I believe his name is Mr. Schwartz. He lives down the road. Big white house with a red
convertible out front.” “Sweet, thanks man,” said Sam, hugging Jack and running out the door. He pulled his hood over his head and picked his bike back up, the handlebars frozen. He shivered and pedaled as fast as he could until he was parked beside a mailbox that had “T. Schwartz” written on it. He took in a deep breath, dropped his bike and walked up the front door. A man with thinning brown hair and a skinny body answered the door. He wore a plaid buttonup shirt tucked into a pair of blue jean pants. Goggles were sitting atop his head, smoke billowing out of his house. “What do you want?” He asked, eying Sam. “Who are you?” “I’m Sam,” he said, his voice shaking. “Can I ask you to do me a favor, Mr. Schwartz?” Mr. Schwartz rubbed his hands together. He looked around the neighborhood and then opened his door wide enough for Sam to come in. “...What kind of favor, son?” Sam coughed and held up a piece of Sally’s hair. “Can you make a clone of my girlfriend out of this strand of hair?” His voice cracked and his eyes watered. Mr. Schwartz smiled and held the piece of hair between his thumb and index finger, holding it at eye level. “Of course I can...”
(Dead Celebrities) Steve The man with the dirty blonde hair smiled at the crocodile that laid before him. Steve Irwin was lying on the white ‘ground’, nose to nose with a gigantic 8 foot beast. While the others around him were panicking, he was as cool as a cucumber. “C’mon girl, c’mon,” He said in his Australian accent, backing away from her. The scaly monster snapped its jaws and moved forward, staring at what she thought was her dinner. Irwin grinned and covered the croc’s eyes, trying to rile her up. She thrashed her tail around, thumping on the ground. “Excuse me, but what are you doing? Isn’t that, y’know, dangerous?” asked a man wearing a black turtleneck sweater. His hair was grey and thinning and he wore glasses with a thick black frame. Irwin sighed and stood up, the crocodile disappearing. “I’m a professional, sir.” He said simply. “Oh, really? And I’m the founder of Apple. You may know me,” Steve Jobs chuckled a bit and scratched the side of his nose. “I’m Steve Jobs.” The Crocodile Hunter placed his hands on his hips and looked in the distance for a minute as though he was thinking about it. “No, I don’t think I do, Mr. Jobs.” He laughed and began walking away, only for Steve Jobs to grab him by the shoulder and spin him around. “What? You don’t? I invented the Macintosh... the computers with the little halfbitten apples on the back of them!” “Sorry Mr. Jobs, but I don’t know what you’re talking about or who you are!”
“Well, I don’t know who you are!” Irwin turned around and smiled. “And that’s okay, Mr. Jobs.” He began to walk away once more, but stopped when Steve Jobs called out, “Who are you?!” “I am Steve Irwin, also known as the Crocodile Hunter. I’m sure you’ve seen me on the telly!” “Do you by chance hunt crocodiles?” “Well, not technically. I save them from poachers and other stuff, y’know. My wife Terry and my dog Sui help me.” Jobs’ eyes widened. “Your wife helps you save crocodiles? Well that’s certainly not something you hear everyday…” Irwin smiled proudly. “Yep, Terry’s a beauty. I have a daughter named Bindi and a son named Robert, too… But, uh… I haven’t seen them in a while.” There was an awkward silence. “Well…” Irwin clapped his hands. “I better get going. It was nice meeting you, Mr. Jobs.” “Ya know what, wait just one second.” Jobs searched his pockets, until he pulled out a sleek device. He tapped a few things on it and handed it to his new friend. He watched as Irwin’s eyes filled up with tears. Steve Jobs had pulled up an app that lets you see through anyone’s computer webcam. He routed it back to the Irwin’s webcam. Steve Irwin was watching his beautiful 14 year old daughter set the table, her long brown hair flowing down past her shoulders. “Mom! It’s ready!” Bindi yelled, her voice smooth and girly. Robert, now nine, ran into the room giggling, his blonde hair all over the place. He sat down at the table and smiled, waiting for his mommy to bring him his meal. Then, Terry walked in. This is when the tears started falling. She was still as gorgeous as ever. Terry smiled and laughed at her giddy son. “Calm down, sweetheart!” She said, dishing out what looked like simple chicken and rice. “Oh, Terry…” said Irwin, his voice cracking. He gently stroked the screen. “…Dad?” said Bindi, standing up and running over to the computer. “Daddy?!” She cried, turning around and looking at her mother. “Mom… it’s dad!” “Oh please,” said Terry, coming over to stand beside her daughter. “That’s not …Steve? Steve, is that you?” Jobs smiled. Irwin laughed and wiped his tears away, waving at his family. Bindi was holding Robert, who waved and was crying. “Daddy, I miss you!” He yelled, blowing a kiss at the computer screen. “Oh baby, I miss you more,” Irwin said. “I miss Bindi, and I miss you, Terry… I miss you guys so much, oh man!” “Daddy… I miss you so much! What… How?” asked Bindi, holding her hand over her mouth while tears ran down her face. “I made a friend, pumpkin.” Suddenly, the device started beeping. “That means the battery’s dying, Mr. Irwin… It’s time to go.” “No! I don’t want to go! I want to stay here with my family! Bindi! Sweetheart? Can you hear me?” “Daddy? Daddy! I love you!”
More tears streamed down Irwin’s face. Jobs sighed. “I’m really sorry, Steve…” Steve Irwin sniffled. “No, no, don’t be sorry. Thank you, really. Thank you for letting me check up on them… Is there anything I can do for a handsome bloke like you?” Steve Jobs smiled and tucked the device back in his pocket. “Well… now I’m curious as to how you save an alligator…”
(Dystopia) Sub Collapse Jessica Small was walking her dog. Anthony Pole was picking fruit from his tank garden. Mary Sue was waking up her two children from their slumber. Jack Klein was sitting at his kitchen table doing last minute homework. Kelly Smith was sitting at her window, watching the world outside pass by. No one could have expected what happened later that day. No one could have seen it coming, except for the scientists who told the Caeruleuns that their home was sturdy, that the dome that kept them alive could take their life just as quickly. The thick glass that kept the water out and filtered oxygen in was supposed to be unbreakable, but that was all just a lie. Everybody was told to expect the unexpected but nobody thought they would ever need to take that advice to heart. Little did they know, their whole world was about to be turned upside down in a matter of seconds. The Earth beneath them rumbled a low, moaning sound through the firm glass. Nobody bothered to panic, because they knew they were safe. Or so they thought. People continued about their day, scientists reassuring them that nothing could break through the material that saved their lives a hundred years ago. But the glass had been worn down from the water outside eroding it, becoming thin and fragile. Not thin enough that if someone kicked it the glass would break, but thin enough for a natural disaster to destroy it, to make it cave in upon its own people. The Caeruleuns weren’t worried this dome had kept them alive when nothing else would, it was here to stay. Nobody except for the scientists who created the home thought that their world could fall apart. Sub Caeruleus was their one and only home without it they’d be lifeless bodies floating in the big blue sea. They all knew that this was their fate eventually. Funerals around here were simple; say a few words about the deceased, say your goodbyes and then let the body free through a hatch that was located in the Research Building. The scientists would examine the body there
before letting it go, trying to find out the cause of death. Most of them were simply dead from old age, and very few were successful suicide attempts people wanted to go back up to the surface, or were simply just tired of living in Sub Caeruleus. Overall, the annual death rate was very low, until the year 3000, when the entire population was wiped out. The two tectonic plates ground against each other, one sinking deep into the mantle of the Earth, the other chugging along slowly. Vibrations rose to the surface, just beneath Sub Caeruleus. A glass of water sitting on Kelly Smith’s dinner table rippled in the empty room. Jessica’s dog began to bark at the ground she tugged on his leash and jerked him away, calling him a bad dog. He yelped as he was harshly yanked all the way back to his house. Anthony’s tank that held his produce fell over and crashed into a million pieces. He sighed and put his head in his hands before sitting down on his couch that had moved slightly. He didn’t notice, though. Mary Sue’s children were wobbling as they stood up straight at the sink and brushed their teeth. Mary laughed and steadied them, kissing their cheek and saying a quick ‘I love you.’ The scientists in the Research Building were watching the screens, monitoring the movement beneath them. They had expected this for some time now; red lights were beeping on each screen, each in the same place directly beneath Sub Caeruleus. “Quick, Johnson, go get the escape pods ready!” Ordered one of the greyhaired men, waving vaguely into the open space around him. Johnson scrambled out the doors, his white coat trailing behind him. “Smith, go over the PA and tell them to take cover,” said chief scientist, Mr. Black. “On it,” Smith said, hurriedly walking out the door. His voice echoed throughout the building as he spoke into the microphone. “Attention, Caeruleuns. Please take cover in your houses. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill. Please take cover in your houses.” The people of Sub Caeruleus immediately began to buzz with talk, taking comfort in one another as they tried to calm their nerves. Mary Sue’s two children dropped their forks and ran to hug their mother’s leg, their heads resting on her hips. “Mommy?” asked one of them. She rubbed his head. “Yes, sweetheart?” “Are we going to be okay?” She took a deep breath, convincing herself that nothing big was happening. “Yeah, we’re gonna be just fine. I promise.” Their house began to shake, and the two kids whimpered in unison. Plates and glass cups fell out of cabinets and onto the floor all around them. While the children screamed, Mary swiftly picked up the two and hid in a closet, grabbing the flashlight from the top shelf and turning it on. She could see the tears welling up in their eyes, the fear that swirled around in them. “Hey,” she whispered, rubbing her thumb across her daughter’s cheek bone. “Do you wanna hear a story?” The little girl sniffled and sucked her bottom lip into her mouth, nuzzling her head into her mother’s neck. **** The miniature cities that once were spread around the outside of Sub Caeruleus had already collapsed. The people that resided in them with either dead from drowning or being
crushed by the buildings that fell upon them. The water was full of debris, it floating around aimlessly. Then a body hit the side of Sub Caeruleus. More hit the dome with enough force to crack the glass in various places, all of them tangling together like a big, fragile spider web. People inside their house braced themselves as they heard the Earth beneath them groan and felt it tremble. Their one and only home was collapsing upon them they all knew this was the end. Within minutes of people taking cover, Sub Caeruleus broke. The invincible dome cracked from all the pressure hitting it on all sides and coming from below. The glass shattered and water rushed in, enveloping everything with its cold temperature, some people freezing to death on contact. The Caeruleuns screamed and held their breath, being swept away and ripped apart from family that they tried so desperately to keep close. Children were ripped from their mothers and fathers like an infant’s bottle being taken away. They were left with their arms out, flailing, crying for it to come back to them because without it they could not live. The elderly peacefully closed their eyes and let the water seep into their lungs, knowing that they wouldn’t have lasted much longer anyways. The scientists were already in the escape pods, floating upwards towards the surface. They looked out the windows and saw the lifeless bodies of family and friends pass by, pieces of houses swirling around in the raging torrent of water, even pets trying to swim around in a desperate attempt to save their own lives. Johnson’s heart grew heavy as he thought about the family he left behind to die. He had a wife and two children that he didn’t even think about before he got into the pod. “Save yourself,” he thought. “You can do great things on the surface.” He was selfish. **** Mary Sue saw the water coming. She kissed her children’s foreheads and whispered “I love you” in their ears. “Wait, but mommy, are we going to finish the story?” Asked the innocent boy, his big blue eyes staring up at her. Her bottom lip quivered. She smoothed his hair and looked away from him; it made her stomach sick to think about it. Grabbing each of their hands, she said, “No baby, I don’t think we are...” Water rushed into their house. The children screamed, and Mary let go of their hands. **** Jessica Small was stuck underneath her roof that had caved in on her, her dog stuck with her, blood mixing with the water. Anthony Pole had his neck cut open by the glass from his garden. Mary and her two children were now dead, water filling their lungs as they floated around in the sea. Jack Klein’s face was white, a permanent state of shock left on it as bubbles escaped his parted lips, his heart slowing down to a stop. Kelly Smith’s leg was caught underneath a piece of rubble, it bleeding profusely. She held her breath and looked around, spotting a dark shadow slicing through the water towards her. Her eyes grew wide with shock as it got closer, the shark opening its wide jaws and cleanly taking off her head.
(Topic) Adam and Steve: Closer Than You Think Haylee Burton “Yo dude,” said James, catching me on the shoulder. I turn around to see his rosy red face. “Hey,” I reply. We’re both slick with sweat after coming in from an intense scrimmage during soccer practice. James' blonde curly hair is matted to his forehead, sweat rolling down his temple, across his defined jawline, trickling down the vein in his neck and disappearing into the collar of his already soaked shirt. “Good game bro,” I say casually. “Thanks.” He tells me, smiling. We wait for the rest of the team to exit the locker room before speaking again. I’m putting on deodorant when he says, “See you later tonight?” James subtly moves a bit closer to me after shutting his locker, which makes my heart beat faster. He smells like Axe body spray and I breathe it in deeply before nodding, a shy smile splitting my face. “Definitely.” James looks around the locker room. Then, very quickly, he kisses my cheek; it begins to burn from the sudden contact, or maybe it already was from where the cold wind had bit at my skin. I felt my face heat up. James laughed lowly before ruffling my hair. “See ya,” “Uhhuh,” I said breathlessly. Everything sounds so far away. This is what this boy could do to me, just by simply kissing my cheek. I watch him leave before looking down at my feet. I shake my head and chuckle a bit.
The doorbell rings. I smooth my shirt and make sure the collar isn't sticking up. I walk down the steps two at a time, grinning like an idiot. I know exactly who’s at the door. “Hey you,” I say, smiling at James who is leaning in the doorway. “Your parents home?” He asks softly. This makes my smile become even wider, if possible. I shake my head no, and before I know what’s happening, James kisses me swiftly on the mouth and pulls back, making his way into my living room. “You wanna watch a movie?” I ask, holding up the TV remote. James' eyes light up. “Riley, you know we aren't going to watch it.” “And?” My heart’s pounding against my ribcage. “I'm in.”
Two hours later, we sat breathless on my couch, my shirt tore open while James lightly kissed my neck. I could barely breathe – this boy knew how to push my buttons. “James... we gotta... we gotta stop...” I swallow hard. “Aww, you know you don't want that, Riles.” “My parents... they're uh...” James kisses the shell of my ear. “They're gonna be home soon....” This made him stop. He stands up and turns off the movie. I button my shirt back up and smile at him. My lips are so swollen, probably cherry red too. “James...” I say gently. I can tell that he’s mad. “James, baby, stop.” I stand behind him and wrap my arms around his skinny frame, pressing my body against his. I splay my hand out
over his stomach, and he leans back into me, placing his hands on mine. “Please?” I whisper in his ear. He shivers and wriggle out of my grip. “I'm sorry,” he mumbles kissing my knuckles. “I just wish we didn't have to hide it.” I sigh. “You know how your parents are, James.” He closes his eyes, running a hand through his blonde locks. “Yeah yeah yeah, I should get going.” “Text me later?” “Maybe.” I frown as I watch him walk out the front door. Now I'm left with a frustrated boy toy and an empty house. I sit back down on the couch and close my eyes, recalling today's earlier events. James kinda sorta kissed me in public... I guess he's getting used to it. I don't like having to hide my affection for him either, and it bugs me that he doesn't see that. Only my parents know that I'm gay, but they don't know that I'm messing around with James. They would kill me if they knew; everybody and their brother knows how James' parents are – the religious family, the dedicated Christians who believe being gay to be the worst thing in the world. They've always wondered why their boy has never had a girlfriend, but I guess they assume that he's waiting for the right girl. Little do they know, their little angel of a son isn't so angelic. We've been hooking up on and off for 7 months and nobody suspects a thing. We ignore each other at school, except for during soccer practice when we become best buds. Everybody jokes around saying that we have a bromance, and we laugh along with them, but they have no idea how accurate that is.
I yawn as I walk into school the next day. I notice that people are giving me odd looks but I choose to ignore them. I catch James' eye for just a second, only a second. His blue eyes pierce mine, glazing over as if he’s thinking about last night. He gives me the traditional “sup” nod, and I return it, smiling wide. I go to stand by Melissa and Parker, my two best friends. They don't know about my secret, and I plan to keep it that way. “Hey guys,” I say. Melissa gives me a weird look, the dark brown skin on her forehead crinkling up. “What?” “Nothing,” she tells me coolly, looking at her fingernails. “Uh, okay?” I am very confused, but I push those thoughts to the back of my mind. “Hey Parker, whatcha up to?” I nudge his knee with the toe of my Chuck Taylors. He's sitting down on the ground, writing furiously on a sheet of paper, probably trying to do the homework he neglected to do last night. “Bullcrapping an essay.” He says, not even looking up at me. Right on the money. “I see, I see. Hey, do you know why everyone's” I'm cut off by the bell. Time to go to first period.
Precalc goes by slowly. I can barely keep my eyes open. I got only two hours of sleep last night because I was up so late thinking about what people would do if they found out about James and I, especially if his parents found out, or if my parents did. My dad would be very disappointed in me, that's for sure. I never want to disappoint him, it makes my heart hurt just to think about it. I was very surprised at his reaction when I “came out of the closet.” He wasn't mad at all, he was happy that I had worked up the courage to actually tell him instead of him finding me making out with some boy on our couch. Before I know it, it's time for second period. I'm a teacher's assistant. It's a pretty easy
job, all I do is print out copies of worksheets and sit in the back of the room, free to do whatever. I mostly just mess around on my phone, check Facebook and Twitter. Today, I'm bored, so I search my full name on Twitter. It shocks me at how many people had talked about me without my knowledge. @missgenine_95: Omg guys I heard that Riley Stein and James Black were caught kissing in the boys locker room What? @brock_scr: @ashley09 yeah I saw James Black kiss Riley Stein on the cheek @ashley09: @brock_scr you're lying @brock_scr: @ashley09 I'm not lying!! I wouldn't make this up @ashley09: @brock_scr everybody knows they're best friends, I don't believe you @brock_scr: @ashley09 well ya better, because I saw it with my own two eyes Everything becomes muffled. I feel a cold sweat break out on my forehead. I shove my phone back in my pocket and walk out of the classroom while Mr. Stiles is teaching a lesson. Many freshmen watch me as I walk out, and I end up slamming the door louder than I meant to. Shakily, I make my way to the boys bathroom. Thankfully, it's empty. I cram myself into a stall and sit down on the toilet lid, holding my head in my hands, a million thoughts going through my head. I was sure everybody was gone... No, nobody's going to believe Brock... We're just gonna have to be more careful. I run a hand through my hair and press the heels of my hands into my eyes until I start to see colors. Sighing, I tear my hands away from my face and force myself to stare straight ahead. I pull my eyebrows together, reading what was written on the bathroom stall in various different colors. Riley Stein: gay or not? He's definitely gay! Faggot No he's not Yes he is are you blind? Do you see the way he looks at James He better not start hitting on me I'll kick his teeth in I think he's hot I feel a thick, hot feeling pool into my chest. He better not start hitting on me I’ll kick his teeth in. Are people really that repulsed by the fact that I could be gay? It doesn’t affect them, does it? Plus, I wouldn’t even consider so much as looking at a douchebag like that. I chuckle a bit. Don’t flatter yourself, jerk.
Later, at soccer practice, the team is very distant from James and I. They don’t pass us the ball. Actually, they don’t get very close to us in general. Nobody talks to us unless if they had to. This kind of hurt this means that people are actually believing Brock. Just the thought of that makes my heart beat faster and a cold rush trickle down my spine, like someone dropped an ice
cube down the back of my shirt. Back in the locker room, the rest of the team is huddled together murmuring about something. James and I shrug it off, peeling off our saturated shirts and stuffing them in our gym bags. The guys laugh behind us and cut their eyes in our direction. Joe, a brown headed senior, is holding a cell phone in the middle of the circle, showing something to the whole group. I looked at James, who was looking beyond me to see what they were laughing about. “What’s so funny?” He asks, taking a step towards them. Joe immediately put his phone back into his pocket. The group breaks away and everybody goes in a different direction, either deeper into the locker room or to the showers. “Uh, nothin’,” Joe says deeply, running a hand through his wet hair, his eyes trained on the ground. James crosses his arms. I cringe he has that look in his eye, that mad look. His eyes are glazed over and his whole body is tense. “No, c’mon, tell me. Why can’t I see what it is?” Challenges James, smirking a bit when Joe starts wringing his hands. Joe digs his hand into his pocket and pulls out his phone, unlocking it and handing it to James. It was his Twitter timeline. I walked up behind James and peeked over his shoulder to read it.
@sarah_lindsay: Hahaha gay pic.twitter/jam479kkl James clicks on the picture. It’s a (horribly) photoshopped picture of the two of us kissing. I feel my cheeks heat up and I refuse to let the team see me blushing over something as silly as that, then they would know my secret. I quickly turn around to throw a shirt on. “So?” James says. “It’s not like it’s real. Is it, Riley?” James looks over his shoulder to me, his blue eyes piercing mine. I couldn’t speak from fear that I would spill everything we’ve been doing for the past 7 months. The only thing I could do was shake my head no. “See?” James told the team, chucking Joe his phone. “We’re not gay, that’s gross.” My nostrils flare. I stare at him incredulously, my blood running redhot through my veins. I slam my locker shut, pull my shoes on and storm out of the stuffy room. I am so mad that I can feel the heat rolling off of my body. I pull out my phone out and log into Twitter, furiously typing. @Riley_S_19: I’m not gay. That’s GROSS. I shake my head, knowing that James would see it. I honestly don’t care. If he could say that, then so could I. No doubt he’ll be mad at me tomorrow or send me a text in the middle of the night telling me how I’m a horrible person. How dare he think I’m the horrible person! I’m the one who’s been keeping his secret for seven months! I could expose him! Tell the whole school his secret! I could ruin his reputation. New text message: James Hey, sorry about what I said. I know you’re mad. Please don’t be mad at me.
I sigh, my heart caving in. And to think, just seconds ago I was ready to tell the whole school that he’s gay.
Text message to: James I’m sorry. I just don’t like having to hide this. New text message: James Hide what, Riley? It’s not like you’re in love with me. This needs to stay private. Text message to: James I don’t know... Maybe I am? I mean, this has been going on for a while. Why can’t I be in love with you? Why can’t I show my affection for you in public? Because it’s not socially acceptable? I don’t care about that James, I don’t. I just want you! New text message: James You can’t be in love with me, Riley. You can’t. And you know why you can’t be affectionate. Don’t play games with me. Text message to: James Don’t play games with you? What has this thing we’ve had for seven months been, James? Why can’t I be in love with you? New text message: James You barely know me. Text message to: James Oh really? New text message: James What’s my favorite color? Text message to: James Green. New text message: James Wrong. Red. Favorite movie? Text message to: James The Blind Side. New text message: James Wrong. The Goonies. Favorite food? Text message to: James Oreos. New text message: James Hey, you got one right! What’s my sisters name, Riley?
Text message to: James ...I didn’t know you had a sister. New text message: James Exactly. You know nothing about me. That’s why you can’t be in love with me. Text message to: James But I am! I love you, your body, your eyes, your smile, your laugh... you. New text message: James You love my body? Another reason why you can’t be in love with me, Riley. You can love my body with your eyes and you can lust for it but you are not in love with ME. Who I am, what I stand for, nothing. You’re in love with my looks. That’s it. Text message to: James ... New text message: James Bye, Riles.
That... that stung. But I guess he’s right... I do know nothing about him. I didn’t even know he had a sister... After seven months of fooling around with him, I didn’t know he had a sister. I laugh. I thought I was in love with him. I laugh again. I laugh until I’m cackling, until I can’t even hear myself because I’m laughing so hard, until tears are rolling down the sides of my face. I laugh because I don’t know if I should cry or not.
I log into Facebook for the first time in a while. Lo and behold, the first thing I see is a girl posting a verse from the Bible about how being a homosexual is a sin. I close my eyes and force myself to bite my tongue so I won’t comment on it. I scroll down a bit further until I saw James’ status. James Black I hate fighting. I think about liking it just to be a smart alec, but I decide against it. I just smirk. I’m glad that he feels bad, as mean as that sounds. I sigh loudly and exit out of Facebook, standing up and running a hand through my hair. I’m so stressed with James and people spreading rumors about us. The other day I heard that we were caught making out in the field house during third period, and I’m pretty sure that we weren’t.
James hasn’t texted me all weekend. I swear, every five minutes I’m checking my phone to see if that boy has said something to me and then I go and get angry when he hasn’t. Honestly, it’s pathetic, and I know it is. I get mad because he doesn’t talk to me when I should be the one apologizing for being so foolish and thinking that whatever we had was going to go anywhere. I was nothing to him, I was just a friend with benefits. My heart feels heavy. I crawl into bed and pull the covers up over my chest, my arms behind my head. I stare at the ceiling, my mind wandering. I fall in and out of sleep as soon as I fall asleep, I dream that I’m falling and wake myself up. Finally, I get tired of this. I know I’m not going to get any sleep tonight. I shouldn’t be stressing about James so much. He was a stupid boy that I trusted. I should have known that nothing was going to come out of it. I stumble out of my bedroom and go to the kitchen to get a drink. My dad is sitting back in the recliner watching wrestling, his big belly jiggling as he whisperyells at the TV. He notices me and pauses the show. “Why do you look so tired, boy?” “Stressed.” I tell him, taking a long sip of my Mountain Dew. “About what?” “Stupid stuff, you wouldn’t care.” He scoffs. “I always care about you, son. Why don’t you talk to me anymore?” I shrug. “I dunno... Ever since I told you that I’m... gay... we just grew apart. I’m still a boy, dad. Nothing’s changed.” He sighs and runs a hand down his cheek. “I know, Riley, I know. It just takes time to get used to it, seeing your son with another boy, huggin’ and kissin’ and all that. I was raised knowing that stuff like that wasn’t right, but now that it’s in my own blood I have to accept it...” There is a long pause. “I still love you, you know that.” My lower lip trembles. I bite it and nod, tears coming to my eyes. I blink, refusing to let them fall. “I love you too.” He smiles and laughs. “Now, what’re ya wiggin’ out about?” “...School,” I lie. “Lots of projects and tests coming up, no biggie.” I’m lying right through my teeth. I am a dirty liar. I should tell him about James, but he’ll kill me. “What classes?” “Ya know, precalc and what not. Nothing too bad, I’ll figure it out.” My dad laughs; it’s a deep, musical sound. “You’re terrible at lying, Riley. Come on, what’s really goin’ on?” I sigh and run a hand through my hair, a habit of mine. I do it when I don’t know what to say or if I’m nervous. “Dad, I’m not sure if you wanna know.” “It can’t be too bad, just tell me.” I close my eyes for a few seconds, silently summoning the courage to tell him about James. “Well, first off, it’s a guy...” My dad looks off into the distance, not at me. “Uh huh,” he says, chewing his tongue. “...And we know his parents very well...” “Mmhmm...” “...And his name starts with a J...” I can’t bring myself to say it. I know he’ll raise cain and tell my mom about it. “Jeremy... Joseph... Jesus? Ha, Jesus. No... Is it that, um, Jerry kid who lives down the street?” “No...” “How about that kid with the really religious family?” He snaps his fingers, something he does when he’s trying to remember something. “Oh, what’s his name? James?” I keep silent. My lower lip starts to quiver again as everything that had happened between
us came rushing back. I nod; I can’t look at my father in the eyes. I hear him sigh loudly and the recliner being pushed back into place by his legs. I expect him to get up and start shouting about how stupid I am for getting myself involved with him. “Ah, I see.” My dad laughs. “What happened?” “...Dad...” “How long has it been?” “...Seven months...” “Alright, now what happened? You can tell me these things, Riley.” I let out a shaky breath, gathering all my thoughts. “I told him that I love him, and he pretty much said that I’m not allowed to because I don’t know him... and he’s right.. Dad, after seven months of messing around with him, I didn’t know he had a sister.” “Do you really love him?” I shrug awkwardly. “I don’t know... I mean, I thought I did, but now I’m not so sure... It just bugs me, it makes me so mad at myself because ugh I don’t know anymore...” “Riley, don’t worry about it. If you’re not sure that you love him, then don’t stress over it. You’re just making things harder on yourself. It’ll work out if it’s supposed to.” I nod. My dad claps me on my shoulder and ruffles my hair as he passes by me to go back to the bedroom. “Goodnight son, I love you.” “Love you too, Dad.”
The next morning I wake up to a voicemail from James. It automatically brings a smile to my face, but it disappears as soon as I listen to the message. James’ breathing is heavy and I can hear it through the speaker. It sounds like he’s been running. “Riley,” he says, “Riley, I’m sorry about what happened the other day, I really am. I’ve been meaning to text you about it but my dad found my phone and read all our messages last night and he didn’t do anything but I know he’s mad. I have to watch myself now and” “James!” Someone yells in the background. I recognize their voice; it’s his dad. “You better not be on the phone with that boy!” He spits. “I’m not! I swear I’m not!” “Don’t lie to me, boy! I know about you and Riley! I know how he loves you and how you love him! Well not in my house, that is not how God wants you to be. I’m going to show you God in a few seconds if you don’t get off that phone!” “I’m sorry Riley,” he whispers quickly, “I really am, I’m so sorry,” I hear his voice start to break, like he’s going to cry. He’s scared. Then there’s a loud bang, like a door was swung open, and the sound of leather smacking hard against soft flesh. Small squeals escape James as he begins to scream for his dad to stop, and I feel tears coming to my eyes. I can’t listen the voicemail any longer. James just got beaten by his own father because of me. I did that. It’s my fault. I can feel the guilt washing over me, my skin prickling as the feeling settles in. It courses through my veins and creates an ice cold feeling in my chest, making my heart heavy. I press the heels of my hands into my eyes until I see colors and tears squeeze out of the sides, running hot down my wrists. Oh my god oh my god oh my god. Those are the only comprehensible thoughts. I did this to him. I caused this. Oh my god, if only I didn’t say I love you. I am so stupid, oh my god. Why why why, why did I do that, why did I get myself involved with him, why, why, why?
I’m scared to walk into school the following Monday. I’m scared to see how hurt James is. I wonder if he even came to school. His father probably sent him despite his injuries. As my mom drops me off, my heartbeat quickens. I walk numbly through the double doors that lead to the lobby, happy that nobody notices me. My eyes dart around, looking for James’ blonde curls. I stand with Melissa and Parker, as I usually do. “Riley, did you hear what happened to James?” Act casual. “No, what happened?” “People are saying he got jumped in a parking lot last night. He’s got a black eye, a busted lip, the whole shebang!” “Where was he at?” I ask, curious to see how detailed this story was. “Nobody knows, I just know that he’s hurt.” Yeah, because of me. It’s my fault. “Well that sucks,” is all I can say.
Later on in the day at soccer practice is the first time I see James since hearing the voicemail. He keeps his distance from me, shielding his face. As far as I can see, he does in fact have a black eye that is now turning purpleyellow, and a swollen bottom lip. When he takes his shirt off, I see angry red marks stretching across his back from where his father whipped him, and they make my heart ache. There are crescent shape cuts on his left wrist, as if someone held him there too tight. I’m sure there are more bruises and cuts on his legs, and that’s probably why he changes in one of the bathroom stalls. All throughout practice, James stays very far away from me. He doesn’t even say hi. He winces a couple times while kicking the ball and it makes me cringe each time. I have to leave the field early because I can’t stand sitting around watching him hurt like that knowing that I caused it. I’m sitting on a bench in the locker room, my head in my hands when the rest of the team walks in. I look sadly at James, catching his eye for a moment. He shakes his head at me and saunters to the bathroom to change. Joe punches me on the shoulder, pulling me out of my daze. “You hear what happened?” He whispers. I nod silently, turning around to take off my sweaty shirt. “I wonder why he got jumped, maybe it’s cause he really is gay, hahahaha,” Joe jokes. “I’m not gay,” James says as he comes out of the bathroom. “I already told you that I’m not gay. That’s gross. They jumped me cause I was the only one there and it was gang territory. I could be dead right now.” My blood runs hot in my veins. I stand up and slam my locker shut, causing everybody to go quiet. “Woah, you okay, Stein?” I clench my jaw and suck my teeth. “Just dandy,” “No you’re not,” says a familiar voice. James. I whip around to look at him dead in the eye. “Don’t you even talk to me, Black,” I spit. “Um, okay? I don’t know what the heck is wrong with you, but” “You know what. You’re a liar,” The whole team “oooooh’s” as James crosses his arms and cracks his neck. “Excuse me?” “You know you didn’t get jumped. You know what happened.” “Actually, yes I did, and you better be lucky because I could be dead in the parking lot right
now.” I pull out my phone. “Oh really now? Should I get out my phone and play the voicemail of your father beating you?” “Are you threatening me?” “I’ll play the whole voicemail right now James if you don’t tell them the truth.” My voice is shakey. I’m getting angry, and when I get angry, I cry. “I am telling the truth, Riley. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Tell them.” I say darkly, growling almost. “I swear to God, James, if you don’t tell them right now I’m going to play it.” He cuts his eyes at me, challenging me. “No.” I press play. The whole voicemail plays, the beating, everything. At the end of it, James is still standing up straight but he has tears in his eyes. The team is silent, some of them looking down at the floor and others staring at one of us. “I’m sorry.” James says quietly. “I’m so sorry, Riley.” “I don’t need your apology,” I say clearly, grabbing my bag and storming out of the locker room.
I get a notification on my phone at about 9:30 the same night. It’s Facebook telling me that someone tagged me in a post. Curious, I log onto my account on my laptop to see who it is. James Black Many people nowadays are saying “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Well, I have to disagree. I 100% fully support Adam and Steve, whoever they may be, wherever they may be. (Some are closer than you think.) First off, who are you to tell someone who they can and can’t love? A persons sexuality is none of your business. A persons sexuality does not affect who they are as a person, who they are on the inside. I mean, you don’t say your black friend Damien or your Hispanic friend Jose, do you? That is why if one is a homosexual it shouldn’t matter. Despite what the Bible says in Leviticus 18:22: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination,” I will still defend people of all sexualities. Some of you may be wondering, why am I all of a sudden posting a status about homosexuality? I’m sure many of you have seen the posts on Twitter talking about how Riley Stein and I are a “thing.” This may shock you, but you all are right on point. After seven months, you all are just now catching on to the fact that I am absolutely crazy about this boy, even though I don’t say it as much as I should. Riley, I know I’ve said some hurtful things these past couple days, and I want you to know that I am truly sorry. From the bottom of my heart, I really am. I love you, I love you so much. So here I am, publicly asking you on the Internet where everyone can see, to be my boyfriend. I truly believe that you are my other half.
I’m smiling so hard by the time I finish reading the paragraph that my cheeks hurt. A blush warms them up, and I begin frantically typing. Riley Stein Of course, James. Of course I will be your boyfriend. We’ve been through hell for seven months, we can’t turn back now... I love you. I really do.
(Kindergarten) Growing Up I remember getting out of the car on the first day of kindergarten. It was raining and I didn’t want to get my new clothes wet, so I ran underneath into the building, forgetting to say goodbye to my mom. The principal stood in the lobby yelling “good morning!!” to each and every student that walked through the door, shaking their hands or hugging them. I walked into the office to find my aunt sitting at the counter. She smiled at me and said “Oh my goodness, look at how big you’re getting!” before hugging me really tight. “You know how to get to your classroom, right? Mrs. Perry?” I nodded proudly, hugged her one last time before marching down the hallway. It seemed so long and so wide. I had never seen that many kids before. There were little girls with their hair pulled way up high, clacky shoes and all. Boys had the book bags with wheels and their hair was combed back nice and tight so it would stay out of their eyes. I stayed to the right side of the hallway, staring directly ahead at my teacher, Mrs. Perry. She was an older lady with wiry red hair that was very poofy. Her skin was very pale and her clothes were baggy on her a green button up and loose black pants. She wore slippers on her feet and was smiling to everybody in the hallway. I stopped in front of her, peeked in the classroom and saw other children in there playing. That’s when all the butterflies came. I slowly walked into the room. I noticed that it smelled funny... it smelled like plastic and glue. The first thing I see directly in front of me is three play kitchens that I couldn’t wait to get into. I smiled as I walked over to them and picked up the cold, plastic food. When I looked to my left, there were 6 tables. Four people could sit at each table at a time, two on one side and two on the other. The desks had little slots in them to sit your stuff. I remember behind my table sat two huge tubs of
building blocks, lots of thin, worn out books and cubbies. I read my name and I quickly stuffed my book bag in there and began to wander around the room, looking at the other children and how they interacted. I remember two boys were already fighting over who got to play with the blocks. A white board sat at the front of the classroom with Mrs. Perry’s name on it and in the very corner of the room sat a rug with the alphabet on it. An easel with a gigantic notepad sat in the same corner where I assumed we’d have story time, like I saw on TV. All of a sudden, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to find a black lady with dreads pulled up high and red lipstick and glasses smiling at me. “Hello, I’m Mrs. Richmond, the teacher’s assistant. I know you, you’re Haylee! Your aunt in the office told me about you!” I smiled at her and placed my tiny hand in hers. “How do you know my Aunt Chelle?” I asked, and Mrs. Richmond winked at me and whispered in my ear “She’s my best friend. Don’t tell nobody though! Mrs. Bonita thinks I’m hers!” I giggled and she nipped my cheek before walking away. I sat down in the cold hard seat and shivered. The room was cold, or maybe I was just scared. More children filed in, just enough to fill all 24 seats. Some were crying, some were yelling, some were sitting there quietly like I was. Mrs. Perry walked into the classroom and shouted “Good morning students! Are you all excited to be in kindergarten?!” The class yelled back “YEAH!” I laughed and Mrs. Perry started taking attendance, calling out our names. I remember a hispanic girl named Leslie sat behind me; she turned out to be my best friend all throughout elementary school. After Mrs. Perry took attendance, she called us all over the “magic carpet” and told us to sit on a letter. Naturally, I sat on the H. She started talking about how good of a class this was and how eager she was to teach us. This was the start of my first day of kindergarten.
(Play Script) Not My Cup of Tea Alexandra Cavedo, Magdalina Cummings and Haylee Burton Credit for plot: Alexandra Cavedo
Scene 1 (Spotlight on two boys sitting downstage right. Voices from offstage are arguing back and forth.) FEMALE VOICE You don’t understand! You can’t go and buy stuff without looking at the budget! MALE VOICE Your budget is stupid and neither of us follow it anyways! FEMALE VOICE My budget is stupid? That is the budget WE decided on, TOGETHER! We need all the money we can get in order to send the boys to college!
MALE VOICE (Scoffs) I never went to college. FEMALE VOICE Yeah, and we know how you turned out... MALE VOICE (Offended) Excuse me? FEMALE VOICE You heard me! MALE VOICE What’s that supposed to mean? FEMALE VOICE It means that I want our boys to have a better life than we do. MALE VOICE What’s wrong with our life? FEMALE VOICE Everything! BLAKE (Sighs and stands up) C’mon E, let’s go. EMMETT
Where are we going? BLAKE Does it matter? EMMETT Kinda... (Looks offstage, as if looking at the mother and father) What if Mom and Dad come looking for us? (Both boys sit in silence listening to their parents argue) FEMALE VOICE We can’t afford all these useless things you keep buying! I know good and well you don’t need those slippers that light up at night. MALE VOICE Well at least I’m not the one who hoards all of my prom dresses because I’m still stuck in the past! It’s 2013, I think it’s time to stop! (BLAKE offers his hand to EMMETT. EMMETT sits for a second and glances backstage center once more. EMMETT then takes BLAKE’S hand and BLAKE pulls him to his feet. They both exit stage left.) Scene 2 (Lights up (dim) on both boys entering stage left. They look tired.) EMMETT Blake, where are we going?
(BLAKE doesn’t answer.) EMMETT (More urgent than before) Blake? Are we lost? (BLAKE still doesn’t answer) EMMETT Blake BLAKE (Interrupts) I heard you the first two times! EMMETT Then why didn’t you answer me? BLAKE ‘Cos I didn’t want to, that’s why. (Boys wander around the stage. Lights bright on a small platform with a table and two tea cups. EMMETT is the first to see the table.) EMMETT (Hitting BLAKE’S arm) Blake, look at that! BLAKE What is it? EMMETT
(Shrugging) I don’t know. (BLAKE walks over to the table and looks at the tea cups suspiciously. He then picks up a piece of paper that was sitting on the table.) BLAKE (Reading the paper) “One secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.” EMMETT What does that mean? BLAKE I think it means we drink the tea. EMMETT Wait! What if it’s poison? I mean, we don’t even know who put it out here, and BLAKE (Interrupts EMMETT, sighs) Emmett, c’mon EMMETT No! I always have to get you out of trouble! This is dangerous! BLAKE Emmett, this is our opportunity! (BLAKE sits in the stage left chair and drinks the contents of the cup. EMMETT looks on, scared. Both boys sit in silence for a few seconds. Suddenly, BLAKE falls to the ground
shaking.) EMMETT (Rushing to his brother) Blake?! Blake can you hear me? Blake! BLAKE (Taking EMMETT’s hand) I see the light! EMMETT (Frantically) Blake! No, Blake, stay with me BLAKE (Laughing) You should see the look on your face right now! EMMETT (Standing up, kinda angry at BLAKE) That wasn’t funny! It wasn’t funny when you did it last week so it’s not funny now! I thought you were actually in trouble! BLAKE I’m fine. I actually feel great. You should drink that stuff, it’s not as good as coffee, but it could be worse. (EMMETT cautiously sits at the chair stage right and BLAKE sits in the chair across from him. EMMETT picks up the cup and examines it, he then takes a small sip. After deciding that it isn’t poisoned he drinks the rest of the cup.) Told ya it wasn’t bad. (FEMALE VOICE sounds from offstage.) FEMALE VOICE Blake? Emmett? Where are you?
EMMETT C’mon, let’s go before mom gets really mad. (Both boys exit stage left. End of Scene 2) SCENE 3 (Both boys enter stage left. EMMETT moves to stage right, while BLAKE remains in stage left. BLAKE freezes and stage left lights are dim. EMMETT is lit up with a spotlight, he is sitting next to SARAH at a desk. They are both working on a test. They stand up to turn in the test at the same time and bump into each other, SARAH drops her paper. [Note: EMMETT is wearing casual clothes]) EMMETT Jeez, sorry! I didn’t even see you! SARAH (Chuckles) Oh, you’re fine. EMMETT No, really, I’m such a klutz. (Leans down to pick up GIRL’s paper, hands it to her) Here, sorry. SARAH (Laughs while taking her paper) Thanks. At least you’re parents didn’t wrap you in bubble wrap when you were little. EMMETT True, but my brother threatened to. SARAH
(Holding out hand) I’m Sarah. EMMETT Emmett. (SARAH and EMMETT shake hands. Lights out on stage right. Spotlight up on BLAKE sitting next to a GIRL on stage left. BLAKE leans over and peeks at her test. GIRL notices and puts her arm over her paper. BLAKE rolls his eyes and leans back into his chair and starts making his paper into an airplane. [Note: BLAKE is wearing casual clothing. During this scene, EMMETT should be backstage changing into some sort of formal clothing]) BLAKE (Throws paper airplane offstage) I’m Blake. GIRL And I’m taking a test. BLAKE How does it feel to be the most beautiful girl in this room? GIRL (Looks around the room) Seriously? BLAKE I’m serious about getting what I want. GIRL (Rolls her eyes) I really need to focus.
BLAKE I’ll leave you alone if you give me your number. GIRL (GIRL’S jaw drops) You’re trying to pick me up during a test? BLAKE (Shrugs) Seems as good a place as any. GIRL You’ll leave me alone if I give it to you? BLAKE Pinky promise. GIRL Fine. (GIRL scribbles on a piece of paper and hands it to BLAKE. BLAKE winks and grins at her. GIRL gets up and exits stage left. Lights go dim stage left. Spotlight up on a MAN and EMMETT sitting on opposite sides of the table. [Note: EMMETT should be wearing formal clothing, this can be as little as just a suit jacket]) MAN I want you to understand that the job you are applied for is usually given to people who are way more qualified than you are. EMMETT I understand sir, but someone once told me sometimes you just have to take a chance.
MAN That’s good advice. EMMETT My brother’s a smart guy. MAN Well, this time that chance paid off. Welcome to the team, son. (MAN and EMMETT both stand and EMMETT shakes the MAN’s hand.) EMMETT Thank you sir, you won’t be disappointed! (Lights go dim on stage right and a spotlight appears on BLAKE who has cards in his hand. [Note: BLAKE should be in casual clothing still. Not the ones from the school scene. The clothing should make BLAKE seemed to be perceived as mature, as an adult.]) BLAKE Royal flush! Guess that makes me the winner! (BLAKE pulls a pile of poker chips [can be checkers or connect four pieces.] Lights go dim on stage left. Spotlight on EMMETT pacing back and forth across the stage. SARAH enters stage right. [Note: to make everything easier for the next scene, EMMETT could be wearing dress pants and a white tshirt]) SARAH What are you doing? (EMMETT says nothing.) Emmett?
EMMETT I’m trying not to psych myself out. (SARAH looks at him, puzzled.) Sarah you are the best thing that has happened to me SARAH Besides the tea. EMMETT No, not even that can measure up to you. (Runs hand through his hair nervously) Sarah, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. (Gets down on one knee.) Will you marry me? SARAH (Covers her mouth in shock.) Oh my gosh, of course Emmett, of course! (EMMETT stands and hugs SARAH. ) SARAH (Pulls away from the hug, eyes wide) Emmett... We’re getting married! We have a ton of things to do! We have to get a caterer, pick out colors, florists, a photographer, menu, find a church, pick out what songs are gonna play, figure out who’s gonna be in the wedding, set table decorations, and most importantly, I have to find a dress! EMMETT (Holds both of SARAH’s hands in his own]) Hey, everything’s gonna work out, quit worrying... We’re finally engaged.
SARAH (Smiles at EMMETT) Yeah... engaged. (Lights out. End scene 3.) SCENE 4 (Lights up on both sides, EMMETT enters from stage right. [While backstage, EMMETT can throw on a blazer of some sort]) EMMETT Blake? Blake?! (Runs hand through his hair, making it stick up) Where are you? (BLAKE enters stage left.) BLAKE Chill out, I’m right here. (Brothers meet each other in the middle of the stage and hug. BLAKE ruffles EMMETT’s hair, laughing) It’s been a while. EMMETT Yeah, it has. Sarah told me she saw you. I almost didn’t believe her. The last time I saw you, you were on your way to some island with Beka. BLAKE Yeah, but when I heard my little bro was gettin’ hitched, I knew I had to be here. EMMETT Have you seen Mom and Dad? I sent them invitations, but I don’t know if they actually showed up. BLAKE
Yeah, they’re sitting front and center. Mom can’t stop talking about grandkids and I’m pretty sure Dad is drunk, but that’s nothing new. (EMMETT sighs and runs his fingers through his hair) Dude, chill, okay?Everything is going to be fine.. EMMETT (Smirks) Still trying to take care of me? BLAKE (Chuckles) Always. (Lights go blue across all of the stage, lights up on the small table set with tea. Both boys stare at it.) EMMETT Is that? BLAKE (nodding) Yeah it is. (The boys stare at the tea for a few minutes, then BLAKE starts forward.) EMMETT (G BLAKE’s arm) Blake, what are you doing? BLAKE Emmett, you know what that stuff did for us before! It made us both rich! We got out of that house and it made us who we are now! It got you Sarah and it got me Beka! EMMETT
It didn’t make us into anything. We did it all ourselves! Sure, it helped us along, but we could have done it by ourselves. BLAKE It doesn’t matter what we could have done. I’m rich now, I’m happy and this is going to get me everything I want. (Sits in stage left chair) And you and your stupid morals can’t stop me. (BLAKE tips the contents of the cup into his mouth and stands.) This is my choice, and I choose this. (Points to EMMETT’s cup) Are you going to drink yours? EMMETT (Shakes his head) No.. BLAKE (Smiles) Well, more for me! (Reaches across the table, drinks EMMETT”s share of tea, then exits stage left)
EMMETT (Softly) Blake, what have you done? (EMMETT looks at the empty teacups.) SARAH (From offstage) Emmett? Emmett, where are you? EMMETT (Yells) Coming Sarah! (Looks back at tea.) I have everything I want, everything I need. (EMMETT exits stage right) END SCENE 4
(SCENE 5. Lights up on stage right, the lights are yellow or red. We see EMMETT and SARAH standing in the middle of stage right EMMETT’s hands cover SARAH’s eyes.) SARAH (Giggling) Can I look now? EMMETT Yeah. (He takes his hands away from her eyes) SARAH (Gasping) Omigosh! Is this? A house?! EMMETT It’s yours! SARAH (Looks at the house and back at EMMETT lovingly) No, it’s ours. (SARAH turns and hugs EMMETT. Lights go out on stage right. Lights up on stage left, the lights are blue, or purple. BLAKE is glaring at BEKA who is standing on the other side of the room) BLAKE (Holding onto BEKA’s arm) What do you mean you’re leaving? BEKA This isn’t working, II just need to go. BLAKE
Why? BEKA It’s nothing BLAKE (interrupting) Well if it’s nothing then you can stay! BEKA Really, I can’t! BLAKE (Through gritted teeth) You keep saying that but you don’t have a reason. BEKA I do! BLAKE Then tell mem, Beka! BEKA (Angry, said as if she can’t keep it in any longer) It’s because of you! BLAKE (Shocked) Me? BEKA Yes, you, Blake! I can’t be around you anymore... (Softly) You’ve changed and it’s not for the better.
BLAKE (Shaking his head) I haven’t changed. BEKA (Walking to BLAKE) Yes you have. (Takes BLAKE’s hands) When I met you, you were smart, kind, loving and caring. Then after Emmett’s wedding you you changed, Blake! You started taking and taking and taking, and now, I don’t have anything left to give; no one does. I’m sorry, I really am, but I have to go. Please, give me a call if you find the man I fell in love with, because all I see now is the selfish child you’ve become. (BEKA exits stage left and BLAKE is left standing alone in the middle of stage left.) BLAKE (Pacing, shaking his head) No... I haven’t changed. She’s dead wrong. I’m still who I was before! No, I’m not I’m better than who I was. I finally have everything in the world! (He gestures to the stage around him that is empty. He runs around.) No, no! Where is my stuff! It was all here! (He searches the stage frantically. He sinks to his knees in the center of stage left) It’s gone, it’s all gone. Everything. (Stage left fades into black along with the rest of the stage. END SCENE 5) (SCENE 6. Lights up on two BOYs sitting on the edge of stage right. BLAKE and EMMETT stand behind them.) BOY 1 (pointing) And that constellation right there is Orion. He’s a great hunter. BOY 2
What about that group of stars? BOY 1 (Squinting) Which one? BOY 2 That one right there. BOY 1 I think that’s Castor and Pollux, see thats an arm there and a leg BOY 2 And the heads! I see it now! What’s their story? BOY 1 Well they were twin brothers, their mother was Leda and their father was the Greek god Zeus. One of the brothers, Castor, I think, was killed and Pollux didn’t want to be without his brother so he asked Zeus if he could share his immortality with his brother. Zeus then turned them into a constellation so that they could always be together. BOY 2 (Thoughtfully) Would you sacrifice your immortality for me? BOY 1 In a heartbeat. BOY 2 Me too. I love you, Blake.
BOY 1 I love you too, E. (Lights out. END SCENE 6)
(Anthology #1) Gloria By Haylee Burton In these woods, it seemed like I was walking on a dark road with only a few street lamps to keep me from wandering off. The “street lamps” happened to be parts of the treetops where sunlight would peek through every couple steps. The floor was covered in crunchy leaves and damp pine needles that echoed loudly around me with my every step. To my left, I heard a motor nearby. I cut my eyes in that direction, pulling the red hood to my jacket over my head and holding the basket of goodies tighter in my hand. Inside the brown woven basket were cough drops, throat medicine, NyQuil, some brownies and a get well card for my best friend. Her name is Alice she’s sick with the flu. My heart broke when I spoke to her on the phone this morning. Her voice was cracking and she couldn’t stop coughing, but she said she was very grateful when I told her I was coming to visit.
I sighed and looked around. The narrow path I was following had big, thick trees on both sides with almost no gaps in between. Branches rustled above me and shadows skittered across the floor at my feet. Spider webs shone in the little rays of sunlight and deer grazed close by. It was peaceful as a cool breeze flew by, blowing my hair in the wind. For just one second, I couldn’t see. When I opened my eyes, there stood a lumberjack. He was dressed in the typical red and black plaid buttonup shirt, jeans and boots, with the red beard and all.. He had his big axe swinging by his side, smiling at me. “Um, hello,” I said awkwardly, trying to walk by him. “Hello there, little lady,” he said in a southern twang. “Where might you be going?” I didn’t respond. The only answer was a gust of wind that rustled leaves all around us. “Do ya need a lift? I don’t mind, I can give ya one.” I shook my head. “No thank you, sir, I’m almost to my destination.” “C’mon, you’re deep in the woods, I don’t wanna let nothing get you.” I sighed and looked around. In front of me all I could see was more of the path that I was supposed to follow. My gut was starting to twist itself into knots as I became more and more nervous. “No, really, I’m alright.” He pointed up a steep hill. “My van is right up there. It’s not too far from here. I’m sure I can save ya twenty minutes of walking!” “No... really, I don’t need a lift. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to be somewhere,” I told him sternly, bravely walking past him. My breathing slowed down after walking for another ten minutes or so. I looked back every once in awhile to make sure the lumberjack wasn’t following me. I could hear cars on the road that was just up the hill to the left of me; it was a comforting sound. If anything or anybody tried something, I could just run up there and flag someone down. I stopped to check my basket of goodies and reorganize everything that had fallen over. I popped one of Alice’s mints in my mouth and continued walking. “Funny seeing you here,” said a familiar voice. I looked to my left and gasped quietly, causing the mint to painfully go down my windpipe. The lumberjack stood upon the hill, a big white bulky van behind him. I doubled over, hacking my lungs up to get this tiny mint out of my esophagus. As much as I didn’t want to, I cried for help. My voice was strained and barely comprehensible, but the lumberjack must have noticed. He slid down the hill on his side and wrapped his arms around me from behind, balling his fist up and pushing it underneath my rib cage, holding my arms tightly at my sides. He picked me up and started dragging me up the steep hill; I began to kick, but I couldn’t scream. The lumberjack smelled like sap and apples, a scent that will forever nauseate me. I was panting loudly, my legs flailing as I tried to break free. He opened the back doors to his van and threw me in the dark place roughly. He shut the doors behind me, leaving me to cough repeatedly. My stomach began to ache as I clutched it, sitting on all fours. Finally, I heard the mint hit the side of the van and I could breathe again. I sat against the wall, wiping my forehead. I still smelled of the lumberjack. My stomach churned. I crawled over to the doors to try to open them, but they were locked. Immediately, my heart began to beat faster. It thrummed behind my ears loudly, making it impossible to focus on anything else.
Was I just kidnapped? Oh my gosh, I was. I am. I’ve been kidnapped, oh my gosh. Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh. I felt the van start to move. Oh my gosh. I felt tears pull at the corners of my eyes; I blinked furiously I wouldn’t let myself show fear. I hurriedly checked my pockets for my phone, but it was gone. It must have fell out when he was dragging me up the hill. I’ve been kidnapped. What do I do? C’mon, think! I noticed the one small window on the side of the van where light was filtering through. That’s when I saw some sort of chest. It was brown and faded and had “Chester” written in blocky letters on the front. I saw that it was unlocked. No... my consciousness said. But... it’s unlocked, I replied. My curiosity got the best of me. I got down on my knees and pulled it open. A putrid odor immediately filled the small space and my eyes began to water. The light from the window shone perfectly on the chest and I saw hair... Hair? I opened the chest a bit wider and saw that there were... body parts. Rotting body parts a head, an arm, a leg, a torso. A scream rose in my throat. I didn’t notice that the van had stopped moving. I shut the chest and quickly sunk down into a corner, trying to hide myself in the darkness. I pulled my hood over my head, the basket of goodies forgotten on the hill. Suddenly, the lumberjack’s Chester’s face appeared in the window. He grinned, his yellow, cracked teeth on full view. “Sorry, little girl, but you’re not goin’ nowhere anytime soon!” My blood ran cold in my veins. His voice rang in my ears, a sound that would haunt me in my sleep. I clapped my hands over them and put my head in between my legs, taking deep breaths in hopes of calming myself down so I could find a way out of this situation. The doors are locked, so that’s not a possibility... I thought. The window is too small for me to get out of... I pulled at my hair. My mind was racing I won’t see my family again, my friends... I never got the goodies to Alice, who was so excited to see me. Tears pricked at the backs of my eyes. I bowed my head and pressed my palms into my closed eyes until I saw colors. “C’mon, ya young’n,” Chester said, opening the back doors, blinding me with light. I refused to move, so he hopped in the back, making the whole vehicle jostle with his weight. I curled into a ball, wrapping my arms tight around my knees. He forcefully yanked my arm and tugged me up, dragging me outside into the sunlight. I looked around to see if anyone was close by, but it appeared that he had taken me to a dull warehouse building. Chester guided me inside, stirring up dirt and dust with each step he took. I coughed and pulled at his hand trying to take back my arm from his crushing grip. “Hey now, quit that!” Chester growled while squeezing my forearm, his fingernails digging into my skin. I whimpered and thrashed around. “Alright, I didn’t wanna have to do this...” He crouched down, holding my hands behind me and pulling a roll of duct tape out of his boots. I took the opportunity to stomp on his toes; he didn’t even flinch. Steeltoed boots. “Dadgumit! I told you to stop!” Chester yelled, now holding me by the hair. I yelped as pain exploded in my skull. I closed my eyes and pursed my lips to prevent myself from screaming anymore. I felt something sticky touch my wrists and I knew what he was doing duct taping my hands behind my back so I can’t fight back. He did the same thing to my ankles and carried me bridal style over to a chair sitting in the middle of the warehouse. Above me was a skylight for the sunlight to come through, but this one was covered in pine needles. The whole
warehouse was dim. Chester tied a rope around my waist three times and knotted it tightly. I couldn’t even wiggle without it burning my skin. He smiled at me before turning around and exiting the building. “HELP!” I screamed, my lungs burning. “Someone help me, please!” A tear rolled down my cheek. “Please...” I sobbed. “Hush up!” Chester yelled from a distance, his boots scuffing the floor. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, composing myself. “What are you gonna do to me?” I asked him pitifully, my voice raw. He grinned devilishly, one arm behind his back. “You’ll see, sweetheart,” Chester whispered, walking behind me and running his hand through my brown hair. “Perfect color... Too long...” He pulled out a pair of scissors from behind him and began chopping my hair off, it falling all around me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it flutter down to the floor silently. When he was done, he jerked me back by my now shoulderlength hair and whispered warm in my ear, “Pretty girl... My pretty girl...” Chester ran a hand down the side of my face with his rough hand, clammy with sweat. A sob wracked through my body, ripping out of my lungs, my whole torso shaking. Suddenly, a hand struck the side of my face; I gasped, wideeyed and breathless. “Quit cryin’!” “Why are you doing this?!” I roared. “Ya better hush up!” Chester retaliated, his nose inches from mine. I could make out every feature of his face: the freckles on his cheeks, dirt on his forehead and the food still in his beard. His breath was wet as it hit my face, his nostrils flaring as he looked me dead in the eye. “Just shut up!” He hollered. “No more...” The duct tape was pulled back out of his boot. He ripped off a piece with his teeth and carelessly stuck it to my mouth. Then, his eyes softened as he gently touched his hand to my cheek. “My pretty girl...” He murmured, turning away from me. “Almost ready...” Tears were leaking hot out of my eyes, dribbling down my neck and onto my pants. A muffled scream escaped my mouth. I shut my eyes tight, images of my friends and family playing like a movie across my eyelids. When I opened them, the axe hit. Chester was smiling from ear to ear, showing no mercy for the girl he just beheaded. A sickening thud echoed throughout the warehouse as her head fell behind her, eyes wide open, lifeless. She was staring at the ceiling his pretty girl was. He wiped the blood off of his axe and set it aside before picking up her body, blood gushing from where her head used to sit. It was warm and sticky, covering everything it possibly could. Chester toted her body easily to the corner of the room where he soaked it in gasoline before chucking a lighter into the mix, it catching on fire immediately. The smell of burning flesh filled the room. He kicked the chair over and picked up the girl’s head, her blue eyes boring holes into his. Chester walked outside to his van happily, her head in his hand. He opened up the old worn down chest and threw her head into it before shutting it and carrying the heavy thing back inside. He laid it down on the dusty floor and began to take the parts out of it: one brown arm, one pale arm, one tan leg, one dark leg, a white male torso, and finally a white head. Smiling, he put all the body parts together. It created a small girl, about fourteen or fifteen years old. “Oh, Gloria...” He whispered, looking at his creation. “I’ve missed you...” Tears came
to his eyes as he looked at his daughter. “So pretty...” He picked up the duct tape he threw across the room earlier and began taping the body parts together, some of them at awkward angles. The left arm was hanging off because it’s end was still slick with blood; the two legs were bent in towards each other; the head was crooked, but he didn’t care. He had his daughter back. “Gloria...” He kissed her cheek once, twice, three times. Chester looked around at the body burning in the corner, almost worn down to ashes. “Gloria, are you... lonely?” He grinned, sitting her up against the wall. He cupped his hand around his ear. “What? You are? You want a... playmate? Do ya, sweetie? Oh, don’t ya worry... Daddy’s gonna get you one. I promise.”
(Anthology #2) Tension By Haylee Burton “Don't you walk away from me, young lady!” I massaged my temples and sighed.“Mom, not right now. I have a headache. Can we do this later?” “No we cannot! We are going to talk about this. Why on Earth do you have a D in chemistry?” My highly disapproving mother yelled, catching me by the shoulder and turning me around. “It's that boy, isn't it?” My jaw dropped. “Are you really blaming Jarrod for my grade?” My mother shook her head yes, her brown curls bouncing each time. “He's a bad influence on you and everyone in this town knows it! Smoking and drinking... A hellion, that's what he is. Disgusting. You should know better than to hang around boys like him.” “Are you kidding me right now? My grade is my fault, not Jarrod's, not yours – mine. You wanna know the truth as to why I have a D? Oh, I'll give you the truth. I haven't been sleeping. I've been having nightmares, Mom...” My breath caught in my throat as I prepared myself for what I was about to say. “Nightmares about Dad!” My mom placed a hand on her heart as if it physically pained her to hear about him. “Alice! You know we don't” “Remember him? Of course you wouldn't! You forgot about him whenever you saw something – no, someone – you liked. You drove him to drink! Wanna know what else you did? You drove him to drink and drive! He was coming home from the bar for you because you called saying that you couldn't deal with handling Ella anymore! Do you remember where he crashed, huh?” “Alice Lee!” “He crashed right up the road from here! He went through the windshield! We all went to
his funeral and cried for him, but guess who didn't? You! Because you were messing around with someone else already, planning to get married! You threw away all his stuff without asking Ella and I if we wanted anything to remember him by! I was four, Mom! Four! I don't even remember what my own father's voice sounds like, what he looked like” “Shut up!” My mom roared, raising her hand and slapping me hard across the cheek. The wind was knocked out of me as I bent over, cupping my cheek. “Mom!” Ella cried from the staircase. She scrambled down them two at a time and immediately came up to me, holding my face. “Are you okay?” I nodded numbly, my cheek still stinging. Ella whipped around to look at our mom dead in the eye, pointing a finger right in her face. “Don’t you ever touch my sister like that again.” Here she was, only 12 years old and defending me. Mom had a hand placed over her mouth, tears falling down her face. “I I’m sorry...” She tried to walk towards me but Ella blocked her path. “Alice, I’m sorry!” She whispered, another tear rolling down. I stood there with my mouth open staring at the brownhaired woman. “Alice... Please, I’m sorry!”
Novel SelfSelection Project Janie Face To Face Sadcore She loved them sadly. They raised her when she was lost Ripped away from her blood at only 3 By an unstable Beautiful Vicious Clever Irresponsible Selfish girl Who could barely complete simple tasks Let alone care for a small child. So why? Why did she do it? Why did the child stay with them? Because they were all she had ever known. They were her parents. Or so she thought. ****** Michael Hastings Manipulative Imperfect Conniving Hurtful
Arrogant Elusive Lowlife Hellion Angering Sycophant Truthful Involved Notorious Gregarious Spiteful ****** Airports Fortyeight hours full of you, What a perfect view? But so suddenly, you had to go No, no, no I dropped you off Hoping to get a farewell kiss I guess all I had left to do was reminisce As I watched you step in line You exchanged one last glance with me And I knew you were being taken away. I’ve hated airports ever since. “Janie,” I said “Janie, marry me,” I cried You heard me You heard it all “Come back,” I called You ran into my arms, And kissed me quick. I’ve loved airports ever since. You couldn’t stay. You left me all over again. All I know Is that as soon as you boarded that plane
I missed you. I’ve hated airports ever since. ****** Paper Shredder I am flimsy, like paper. I can be soaked to the bone and fall apart all at once, Or slip right between your fingers in little tiny pieces.
‘Mom’, am I tearing you up? Or are you ripping me to shreds? Torn, broken, confused. I don’t know what to do. Who do I choose? Who is my blood? All of these feelings hit me like a Flash flood. “What do you say, mom?” I asked. You burst into tears, Because you realized that I never was yours to begin with. This once frail sheet of paper has pieced her life back together, Rewinded it Took a pair of scissors and cut out that hole. She has become a big, sturdy, oak tree. ****** Different It’s simple. I am smart and you are dumb. I am clever and you are clumsy. I am strong and you are weak. I hold all the power and you quake in your boots. I am greedy and you are needy. I am angry and you are happy. I am embarrassing and you are ashamed. I am lost, and you have been found. I am Hannah Javensen, and you are Jennie Spring.
Random Poems (Extra Credit #1) Regretful I reached behind my back carefully and Unzipped my skin before letting it fall to the ground In a pool at my feet. My muscles were thin and pink, Not strong enough to hold anything but myself. I unwrapped the meat from my bones, Like taking paper off of a present, and Laid it in a pile off to the side While staring at myself in the mirror. My bones were yellow, small, brittle. Fragile, that is what I am. Sensitive. I knew I was not good enough for you. One hundred something days ago You unhinged my ribcage, searching for a place to stay. My heart was vacant. It was like a locket, Waiting for you to put yourself into it. With your fingertips as gentle as feathers against my skin, Your words warm in my ear, Your actions fresh in my mind, You cracked open my heart (The heart that I had tried so hard to piece back together, Just for it to fall apart again when you look at me) You cracked open my soul and poured yours into me. You poured your love into me. (Into the dark blotches that I thought were unable to be saved from all the sorrow over the past two years) Whether you know it or not, You revived me. You reminded me what it’s like to live. And that is something I hope you will never regret.
(Extra Credit #2) Doubts I hate that I am Sad about you, but I need Your comfort the most. All you have done is Tear my nerves into pieces And they are not toys Despite what you may believe. I am a human Being and I want respect. I want you to think Before you speak, because I Question if you do. I know you have good Intentions, but open your Mind before your mouth. (Extra Credit #3) It Happened For A Reason Sometimes I wonder About where I would be now If I had never crossed paths with you. If we had never spent those nights talking until two, three in the morning about anything. I don’t want to depend on you as much as I do. I don’t want you to think that you’re my crutch, And that I’ll fall apart when you’re gone. (Because, face it, that is our fate eventually and we both know it) I am stable. I am capable of going on without you, But not just yet. I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to mess up the one thing that has always been there for me, Even when I don’t deserve it.