Scribbler Literary and Arts Magazine April 2019 - Issue One

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Scribbler Literary and Arts Magazine April 2019 – Issue One


Cover Art by Suvasini Subbaraman.


Scribbler Literary Magazine

Issue One - April 2019 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lysette Cohen MANAGING EDITOR Alina Chisti EDITORIAL TEAM Jillian Bartz Sydney Cohen Ava Kim Surabhi Sajith Rachel Woosley


All rights revert to the author/artist upon publication. For digital republication, please limit excerpts to no more than 200 words and link back to the issue. To submit to Scribbler Literary Magazine, please visit our website at for Submission Guidelines. Submissions can be sent to Scribbler Literary Magazine is published three times a year: April, August, and December. Cover art is by Suvasini Subbaraman. To stay current on submission calls, new issues, and news at Ink and Feather Literary and Arts Journal, please follow us on Twitter @ScribblerLit Website: ŠScribbler Literary Magazine 2019


Table of Contents Art by Suvasini Subbaraman . . . . . . . . . . . Cover, 7, and 8 Fiction Shreya Bansal Adventures at the Ice Cream Shop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Adrish Gande Mousey and Moosey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Sanya Garg The Princess and Her Family. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Aneesh Velicheti The Pumpkin Growing Contest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Shruthi Sajith Down the Well . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Vrinda Bansal The Bone, the Archaeologist, and Shree . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Maryam Chisti The Kraken . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Keegan Diaz 13 Matches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . 55


Editor’s Note Beloved children’s author, Beverly Cleary, once said that, “Children should learn that reading is a pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school.” * Growing up, nothing excited me more than going to the library to pick out another book. I would come home with not just one book, but stacks of books, that I would dive into head first, not coming up for air until I had devoured every word. In between library trips, I would write my own stories, filling notebooks and journals with characters and childhood antics. It didn’t matter if my grammar was perfect, or even if the stories made sense—I was excited about creating stories. In this magazine, we strive to give young writers and artists a venue to display their art, their creativity, and their stories. Best regards, Lysette Cohen Editor-in-Chief *




Art by Suvasini Subbaraman. Suvasini is a 7th grader. She loves to draw, play the violin, and sing Indian classical music. She won a "Save the Fishes" contest, earning 2nd place in second and third grades. She also won a prize for the "World Peace Poster" Contest in 2016 and got 1st place for grades 4-6.


Adventures at the Ice Cream Shop by Shreya Bansal

After dinner one night last summer, my family and I decided to go for ice cream. I was so excited because I love ice cream. I love how cold and creamy it is. I could already taste the delicious treat. I ran to put on my shoes and got right into the car. I buckled my seatbelt and waited, and waited, and waited. It seemed like forever until my mom, dad, and sister finally left the house. As my mom got into the car she asked my dad if he had remembered to close the garage door. He had forgotten to close it last week and the neighbor’s cat had gotten in and knocked things off of the shelves. “Yes,” my dad said, as he started the car. Just as he began to back up, he stopped and looked over the front seat at my sister. My sister had forgotten to put on her seatbelt, so my dad waited while she put it on. The drive to the ice cream shop was short. My dad parked the car and we got out. I wanted to run across the parking lot and into the ice cream shop, but my mom made us walk slowly with her. By the time we got to the shop, I was almost bouncing with excitement. 10

It was cold in the ice cream shop. I ran across the tiled floor towards the counter. Trying to stop myself, I slid the last foot and pressed my face against the freezing glass. My eyes were wide as I stared at all the different kinds of ice cream. There was chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. But, there was also mint, rocky road, and one that looked like chocolate, but it was filled with chunks of nuts. I decided that I wanted chocolate ice cream. My sister got mint. The lady behind the counter scooped chocolate ice cream into a cone and handed it to me. I immediately dove into the ice cream. I didn’t care that it was freezing, it was too good to eat slowly. I walked over to the table where my parents were sitting. The chairs were tall, so my dad held my ice cream cone as I climbed onto the chair. My dad gave me back my ice cream cone and I took another bite as my sister joined us with her ice cream cone. “How’s your ice cream?” my dad asked. “Scrumptious!” I said with a huge smile. “Do you want a taste?” I stretched up my arm, offering my ice cream to my dad when all of a sudden, the ice cream fell out of the cone and landed on my head. It was freezing!


I squealed as I pushed the ice cream off of my head. It fell on the table, then slid onto the floor in a giant chocolate puddle. I didn’t know what to do. I looked up at my sister. She was laughing into her ice cream cone. Then, I looked at my dad. He had his eyes closed and was shaking his head. After that, I looked up at my mom. She was frowning as she grabbed several napkins and handed them to me. “Pick up the ice cream,” she said. I took the napkins and tried to clean up the ice cream from the floor, but all I did was make a bigger mess. The lady working behind the counter came running over with a towel. She kneeled down next to me and helped me clean up the ice cream. I was sad that I had dropped my ice cream. I really wanted some more, but I didn’t think my parents would let me. Sniffing back my tears, I stood by the table with my hair still covered in chocolate ice cream. My mom took me to the restroom and helped me wash the ice cream off my hair. She wasn’t frowning anymore, so I couldn’t tell if she was mad or not. “I’m sorry, Mom,” I said. “I didn’t mean to drop my ice cream.” “It’s okay,” she said. “Accidents happen. Would you like another ice cream cone?” 12

“Yes! Thank you!” I was excited that my mother would let her have more ice cream. We left the bathroom and went back to the counter. This time the lady put my ice cream in a dish so I couldn’t drop it. When my mom and I got back to the table, I climbed back onto my chair and ate my ice cream. My hair was still wet and cold, but I didn’t care.

Shreya Bansal is a first grader. She loves dancing, swimming, and playing tennis. When she grows up, Shreya wants to be an artist. 13

Mousey and Moosey by Adrish Gande

Mousey and Moosey woke up bright and early for their first day of school. They were excited because they had never been to school before. All summer long, they had talked about how great is was that they were going to be in class together. They quickly got ready for school and ate breakfast. Their dad walked them to the school bus stop and waited with them until the bus got there. As they got on the school bus their dad said, “Bye! Have a great day at school!” Mousey and Moosey waved at their dad and said, “Bye, Dad!” Getting off the school bus, Mousey and Moosey followed all the other students into their new school. They were excited to see the rainbow colored ceiling and colorful doors. Every classroom they passed had the students names posted in bright colors on the door. When they got to the Kindergarten classrooms, they saw that there were two classrooms. Mousey found her name on the door for classroom 1A, but Moosey’s name wasn’t there. 14

“Oh no!” Mousey said, putting her hands on her cheeks. “I don’t see your name on the door, Moosey.” Moosey looked at every name on the door. He couldn’t find his name either. Looking around, Moosey saw a teacher walking towards them. The teacher had long, white curly hair, and blue glasses. The nametag on her multi-colored dress said her name was Mrs. Alias. “Mrs. Alias, Mrs. Alias,” Moosey said. “I can’t find my name on the door.” “That means you are in a different class,” Mrs. Alias said, pushing her glasses up on her nose. “It looks like you are in room 1B, right next door. Your teacher is Mrs. Beckman.” Mousey and Moosey looked at each other, their eyes sad. They never thought that they would be in different classes. Hugging each other tightly, Mousey sniffled back tears. “Bye Moosey,” Mousey said. “I guess I will see you after school.” “Don’t worry, kids. Even if you are not in the same class, you will still get to play together at recess,” Mrs. Alias said. Mousey and Moosey went into their classrooms.


Later in the morning while his teacher was teaching science, Moosey took out his science folder but didn’t pay much attention. He was trying to figure out how to sneak out of class so he could be with his sister. He decided that when his teacher turned around, he was going to tiptoe out of class. Moosey was almost to the door when his teacher caught him. “What are you doing, Moosey?” Mrs. Beckman said. “I was going to the restroom,” Moosey said. “Well, Moosey, if you need to use the restroom, you need to ask for the restroom pass.” “Oh,” Moosey said. “Can I have the restroom pass?” “Okay, but you have to come straight back to class.” “Thank you, Mrs. Beckman,” Moosey said. Once outside the classroom, he went next door to his sister’s classroom. Opening the door, he quietly walked into the room. “Moosey!” Mousey said. “You aren’t supposed to be here!” “What are you doing here, Moosey?” Mrs. Alias asked. “Why aren’t you in your own class?” 16

“I missed my sister and wanted to see her,” Moosey answered, looking down at the floor. “I have to take you back to your own class, Moosey,” Mrs. Alias said. “Okay,” Moosey said. Mrs. Alias took Moosey back to his classroom. “Moosey,” Mrs. Beckman said, “You can’t go see your sister during class.” “But I missed Mousey,” he said. “I understand, but you will see her at recess,” Mrs. Beckman told him. Moosey waited impatiently for the bell to ring so he could see his sister at recess. When the kids arrived at the playground, Moosey ran over to his sister right away. They played together the entire time, but when the bell rang, Moosey didn’t want to go back to class without her. “You have to go back to class, Moosey,” Mousey said. “And I have to go to my class, but I will see you at the next recess.”


“I want to go to class with you,” Moosey said. When the kids got back to their classrooms, Moosey snuck into Mrs. Alias’s classroom and sat next to his sister. “Moosey,” Mrs. Alias said, “You have to go back to your classroom.” “But I want to stay here,” he said. “Come on, Moosey. I’ll walk you back.” After Mrs. Alias left him in his classroom, Mrs. Beckman sat down and talked with him. “You can’t keep sneaking into Mrs. Alias’s classroom,” she told him patiently. “But I miss Mousey!” he said, his eyes filling with tears. “She’s right next door.” “We have always been in the same class.” “Okay, Moosey. I will talk with your parents and with Mrs. Alias and see what we can do.” During the afternoon Moosey began to miss his sister again. He thought about asking his teacher for the 18

bathroom pass, but remembered that Mrs. Alias was going to talk to his parents about being in the same class with Mousey. That afternoon, Mousey and Moosey’s parents went to talk with Mrs. Alias and Mrs. Beckman. They all decided that Mousey and Moosey were not ready to be in different classes yet. The next day, Mrs. Beckman helped Moosey carry his books over to Mrs. Alias’s classroom and put them on the desk next to his sister’s. “Thank you, Mrs. Beckman,” Moosey said.“I promise I will be really good.” Putting all of his books in his new desk, Moosey sat down, opened up his book and was finally ready to learn.

Adrish Gande is 7 years old. He is in first grade. His favorite sport is Taekwondo. He likes bicycle riding and going to the park. Adrish wants to become a doctor. His fantasy wish is to be the king of the whole world. 19

The Princess and Her Family by Sanya Garg

Once upon a time there was a queen, a king, a prince, and a princess. They lived very happily until they moved to a different castle. They were happy in their new home, but they did not know any royal people in their kingdom to live in the castle they had left behind. So, the guards decided to watch the castle until the family found new royalty that would like to reside in the castle. When different families came to look around the castle, the guards asked them if they would like to live in the castle. None of the families wanted to reside in the castle, but the last family that came in agreed. Now, there are new queens, kings, princesses, and princes. The princess, who was fourteen years old, was the most excited about moving to the castle. The prince was fourteen years old as well. The whole family was really happy in their grand new home, and they were having a lot of fun too. One day, they went to visit the original owners of the castle. The original owners moved to England, and they were also enjoying their new castle. When the new royals arrived to England, they told the former royalty that they were the new royals of Barcelona. 20

The former owners said, “Hello new royals we are happy that you are living in our old home. Please take care of the castle and have fun, but you must remember the responsibilities that come from being the new royalty of Barcelona. As the new royalty, you have to make laws to help the people and never be rude to the people.” The new royals said, “Thank you for telling us. We promise to never be disrespectful toward the people of Barcelona, and we will fulfill all of our responsibilities. After further discussing over some tea, they said their goodbyes. Before leaving, the new royals told the former royals that they could come visit anytime. After the new royals returned to the castle, the princesses and princes went to their rooms and played. The princess played a game called Roblox on her iPad. She loved to play Roblox, and she would often play it in her free time. During her free time, she would paint and read as well. Although she loved painting and reading, her favorite hobby was gymnastics. She taught herself many tricks and planned to start gymnastics classes. She was really excited for the classes, and she practiced a lot so she could get better and better. The prince played Fortnight on his XBox. Other than playing fortnight, he loved reading and playing guitar; he took guitar lessons as well. 21

The queen works very hard. Her hobbies include reading, playing Candy Crush on her iPad, and solving math problems. The king is a doctor. In his free time, he only likes to watch the news. Although the new royals love to pursue their hobbies, they all still do their work and fulfill the responsibilities the former royal family had told them about.

Sanya Garg is a third grader. She is interested in gymnastics and piano. In school, music is her favorite class because she gets to show all the songs she has learned on piano. She also like to sing when she plays piano. 22

The Pumpkin Growing Contest by Aneesh Velicheti

One sunny summer day, Joey and David found a flyer on their door for a pumpkin growing contest that would happen in four months. It would be hosted by Joey and David’s grandfather. Only thirty children would be entered in the contest. In bold, the flyer said “NO SUPERGROW!” Joey and David understood that it would make the contest unfair for people that didn’t have Supergrow, which could make fruits and vegetables extra big. The flyer also said that at the end of the contest, the judges would give pie to all the kids that entered the contest. Joey and David loved pie and decided to enter the contest. They put their money together and walked to the market to buy pumpkin seeds. After they got home, they got a spade from their parent’s shed and went to their backyard garden to plant the pumpkin seeds. They dug a small hole and put the seeds in. After covering the hole with soil, they watered it consistently for the next four months. In one month, the seeds sprouted and became small plants. In two months, the plants turned into vines. In three months, tiny pumpkins appeared on the vines, and in four months, the tiny pumpkins turned into giant pumpkins.


On the day of the contest, Joey and David got up early and borrowed a wheelbarrow from their parents and harvested one of their pumpkins. The pumpkin was heavy, so it took them a while to lift the pumpkin. After they got the pumpkin into the wheelbarrow, they took it to their grandfather’s garden for the contest. Their grandfather’s garden was full of pumpkins and some tiny round green balls that looked like baby pumpkins, but they later found out were another type of squash. There were about thirty kids who were all looking at each other’s pumpkins. The garden was really big and had fountains, statues, and fences. Trees and flowers bloomed in abundance. In the garden at that moment, they saw the biggest pumpkin ever! Joey and David looked at each other, their eyes wide, before looking at their own pumpkin. When they had harvested their pumpkin that morning, they thought it was huge. Now, it looked small next to the other pumpkin. Their hearts sunk a little. Then, a short boy with blonde hair and brown eyes came out from behind the pumpkin. He walked towards them, his eyes narrowed, as if he were mad. “Who is that? ”David asked, shoving his hands into his pockets and looking at Joey.


“I don’t know, but suddenly I feel like our pumpkin is really small,” Joey said, looking back and forth between their pumpkin and the other boy’s pumpkin. The boy walked up to Joey and David and introduced himself. “I’m Louis,” the boy said, planting his hands on his hips and smirking. “This is my pumpkin, and I am going to beat you.” “Will not,” Joey said, crossing his arms over his chest. “Yes, I will. I am going to get first prize and the blue ribbon!” Louis boasted, putting his hands on his hips. “My pumpkin is bigger than everyone else’s. It’s the biggest one here.” “I don’t care,” David retorted. “I really just want the pie at the end of the contest.” That wasn’t true, but he didn’t want Louis to think he was worried about losing. “Whatever. You are still going to lose.” Louis smirked again and walked away. Joey and David looked at each other, both with discouraged expressions on their face. “We are probably going to lose,” David said. “Yep,” said Joey. “We definitely are.”


Just then, their grandfather announced that the contest was going to start. Joey and David ran to the platform with their pumpkin. They carefully took it out of the wheelbarrow and set it on the stage. ​ ​ When they were done, Joey looked around and saw that there were about thirty kids with pumpkins. There was one judge and Joey and David’s grandfather. The judge had black hair and green eyes. He was wearing a yellow shirt and khakis. The judge walked around and looked at each kid’s pumpkin. He judged them on size, color, and shape. After the judge was finished, he went over and discussed the winners David and Joey’s grandfather. After several moments, Grandfather walked up to the front and when everyone got quiet, he began speaking. “Third prize is ...Marcus! Second is... Joey and David! First is....Louis!” The judge awarded trophies to the winners. “Everyone’s pumpkins were great! Now enjoy the pie!” the judge said. As the kids were eating their pie, someone bumped into Louis’s pumpkin. It came crashing down, and thick, gooey green stuff came pouring out. “Supergrow!” Joey and David yelled. “Look! Look! Louis used Supergrow to get his pumpkin so big!”


The judge and their grandfather came over. They frowned as he looked at Louis’s pumpkin. “I’m sorry, Louis,” the judge said. “You know the rules. You are disqualified for using Supergrow.” The judge took the trophy away from Louis and handed it to David and Joey. “Congratulations, boys,” the judge said. “You are now the winners of the pumpkin growing contest.” David and Joey were so excited they took their trophy and pumpkin and rushed home to tell their parents. They put the pumpkin in their garden and ran to their rooms to put their trophy into the display case. David and Joey realized that they were so excited they forgot to take some pie!

Aneesh is a fourth grader. His interests are reading, playing tennis, and building Legos. He likes to paint and do artwork in his free time. When Aneesh grows up he wants to either an engineer or entrepreneur. 27

Down the Well by Shruthi Sajith It was a very fine day. My pet bunny, Duke Fuzzbunz, and I were enjoying tea time. Suddenly, the sun came down very fast, and it started to rain. I called Duke, and we ran inside. I was very confused since it was only 2:00 pm. Once I got inside, I realized that Duke wasn't with me. I got a glimpse of him jumping down our well. I knew I had to save him, so I ran out the door and jumped down the well. ​I’m going to die!​ As I was falling down the endless well, all I could think of was my imminent death. Suddenly, I came to a halt. I then realized I wasn’t on the ground. It took me a few second but then I realized what I was in. I was in a ... BUBBLE!! After floating for a while, I saw animals in bubbles. I saw a koala and another girl like myself. Their bubble came to us faster than it took to say “Duke Fuzzbuzz.” Suddenly, there was a whoosh of air. Before I knew it, I was right next to the girl. It was very awkward. I broke the awkward silence by bursting out, “Hi! My name is Allison, but you can call me Ali.”


She waited for a while and then hesitantly answered, “My name is Zoe.” My mind was bursting with several questions, but the biggest question was “where are we?” She said she didn’t know; she said that her Koala led her here. Finally, we landed on the ground, and there was a big sign in front of us that said “Kookamanga Isles.” We decided that we needed to stick together. We were both scared and lost. Then, the scariest thing happened to us. As we entered the Kookamanga Isle, we turned into animals. Zoe turned into a koala and her pet koala, Sydney was gone. I turned into a bunny, and Duke was gone! We took a few moment to calm ourselves. I said, “We don’t have time to worry about this; we have to find a way back home.” Zoe agreed, and we wandered around for a while. We saw a big boat and it cost less than a single pound to ride it, so we boarded it. It took us to a another island thats sign said “Town.” It was smaller than the first island. When we were walking around the Town, we encountered crowds of people. It was so crowded we couldn’t even tell where we were going. Then at one point, there was no one around us and we didn't know where we were. We got really worried.


Suddenly, a leopard appeared, and it approached us. We were terrified. We were in the middle of nowhere, and there was a leopard that was about to eat us! We knew this was the end, and we had to accept it. But instead of attacking us, he said, “Hi! My name is Bassy. What’s yours?” We were both incredibly surprised and confused at the same time. Zoe finally spoke, “My name is Zoe, and this is Ali.” We talked for a while. He said that there was no way he could eat us because firstly, it was forbidden. Secondly, he was a vegetarian. He was very kind and told us how to get home. He told us that the smallest island out of the group of islands had a portal to get out. The only problem was that it was guarded by a fearsome s’more monster. The only way to get past him was through using s’more sticks. That would take a while since it was on the other side of the island, but we didn’t have a choice. In about two hours, we returned with the s’more sticks. As soon as we picked one up (which was quite difficult since we were animals), we faced the s’more monster. The sticks had teleported us! We didn’t know how to defeat the monster so we did what seemed logical. We took the sticks with the flame on top (which was a very difficult action to execute considering our current state) and touched the s’more monster with the fire.


Then, there was a blast. Next thing I knew, I was back having tea with Duke. It was 2:01 pm.

Shruthi Sajith is a 5th grader. She enjoys singing, drawing, and watching television. When she grows up, she wants to study history and become an archeologist. 31

The Bone, Archaeologist, and Shree by Vrinda Bansal Shree loved Granger Park. She loved the park because it was filled with toys, and a lot of kids would come there to play. In the fall, Shree would jump in the leaves and in the winter, she liked to play in the snow. In spring and summer, she would would dig up some places of the park to find stuff if she could. She also loved to run with her sister, Sriya, and her dog, Amyra. She would also try to find stuff in piles of sand and mud, where she would find all sorts of interesting things. One particular day when Shree was digging, she found something quite odd. She pulled the small object out of the ground. It was rough and covered in mud. Even though it was small, it was shaped similar to a dog treat, though a little different. She saw a water tap a few yards away and ran to it to clean off the dirt on the thing she had found. Once it was cleaned, Shree turned the odd little thing over and over in her hand. She thought that it looked liked a fossil. She was excited because she had never found something this cool before. She loved to read about paleontology, and she had always wanted to find a fossil by herself. Leaving the park, she went home running happily with the fossil.


When Shree ran into the house, her dog barked at her in greeting. Shree patted her friendly German Shepherd on the head. Her dog barked softly in return. “We’ll play later. I gotta go figure out what I found at the park,” Shree said and went to her room so she could research the fossil. She went to her study table and turned on her computer. She looked at all the websites that her science teacher had told her to use to find the best information. After hours of searching the internet and through her archaeology books, she decided to call a group of archaeologists at the local college. She looked up the phone number and called. When one of the archeologist answered, she told him about what she had found. “Would you be able to bring us the fossil?” asked the archeologist. Shree told him to wait a second so she could ask her parents’ permission. Shree went to her parent’s room where her mom was watching a movie. “Mom, can we go to the archeology lab at the college tomorrow?” asked Shree. “Why?” her mother asked, frowning.


“I found a fossil while I was digging in the park today,” Shree answered, as if it was a normal thing to find a fossil. “You found what?!” “I found a fossil.” “Where?” “In the park.” “That sounds really exciting. Yes, I will take you to the lab tomorrow,” her mom said. “Thanks, Mom.” Shree went back into her bedroom and picked up the phone. “My mom said that it would be okay if we brought you the fossil tomorrow.” She got directions to the lab and hung up the phone. The next day when Shree woke up, she immediately got ready to go to the lab and drop off the bone. After she was ready, she carefully wrapped the fossil in a cloth and put it in a small box. When Shree went downstairs, she saw that her mom was downstairs making breakfast. Shree set the box on the table and dug into the bowl of cereal her mom placed in front of her. “We are going to leave in about twenty minutes,” her mom said. 34

“Okay,” Shree responded. After breakfast, they left for the lab. When Shree and her mom walked into the lab, Shree was surprised by how small the room was. She had been expecting a huge room filled with microscopes, but this was more like a shed with tools and brushes. She also was surprised by the technology. Shree was expecting a lot of computers with a X-ray machine and more. But there was only one small computer. “This was probably a small company,” Shree thought. The lab had microscopes and lots of tables. The room was really big. She also saw some bones that had been attached and some that hadn’t. She saw a young man with dark hair advancing towards them. “Hello, I’m Dr. Mann.” “Hello,” Shree said, instantly liking the archeologist. Not only did he have a job that Shree always wanted, but he seemed really nice. Her mother said, “Hello, I am Mrs. Andrele.” “Shree told me that she found a bone while she was digging in the park.” “Yes,” Dr. Mann said. “She called us about it last night.” Looking at Shree, he asked, “Can I see the fossil?” 35

“Yes,” said Shree. She handed him the small box with the fossil inside. Dr. Mann opened the box and carefully removed the fossil. After looking at it for several seconds, he asked Shree where she found the fossil. “I found them in the park,” said Shree. “Then we need the excavate the park.” “Really?” Shree asked. “Yes,” the archeologist grinned. “Want to help?” Shree was super excited because she loved this type of digging and finding stuff. “Can I go to the park tomorrow to help the archeologists?” Shree asked her mom, really wanting to go. “Well, you can go because you have no school tomorrow,” said her mom. “Agreed!” said Shree. So, Shree went to the park the next day. She helped the archaeologists excavate and find fossils. 36

“Finding fossils takes a lot of skill,” the archeologist said. “You first have to clean the fossil for a few hours and then you can do your research.” “That sounds like a lot of work,” said Shree. “It is,” Dr. Mann agreed. “Also when you try to find fossils in the dirt, you have to scrape slowly so you don’t damage the artifact.” Dr. Mann handed Shree a small paint brush and helped her carefully brush the dirt off another fossil.

Shree and the archeologists work for hours, digging and cleaning fossils. Shree decided that it was the best day of her life.

Vrinda Bansal is a fifth grader. She loves reading, swimming, riding her bicycle, and playing Tennis. When she grows up, Vrinda wants to be a physician. 37

The Kraken by Maryam Chisti Katie ran to her office as fast as her high heels would let her. At last, she stumbled into the building, out of breath and nearly drenched in sweat. “When was the last time you were early?” a gruff voice growled. Katie groaned to see John looking through her papers. “I’m here for your new investigation,” John sneered, not bothering to acknowledge her presence as he spoke. He then tossed a paper onto her desk and walked out the door. Katie rolled her eyes and walked over to read the prompt. ​There has been a lot of arguments about what really sank the Titanic. Your job: Go over and question the people who survived the titanic that sank eight years ago. I'll let you do this in your own way. No restrictions applied other than the obvious.​ Katie started to freak out internally. “A titanic investigation, the most mysterious of them all,” Katie thought. Grace shoved her chair into her desk, grateful for the alarm signaling the end of her shift. She packed her stuff and walked to the coffee shop, where she had expected her friends, Rosie and Katie to be waiting. She was very excited about what her boss assigned her. After a few minutes, Rosie and Katie finally walked into the coffee shop. Grace waved them over, and she noticed something about Katie that she hadn't seen in a long 38

time. As Katie and Rosie sat down, Grace asked what happened. Katie took in a shaky breath and told her about the assignment her boss gave her.Grace laughed and told Katie about her similar assignment. Rosie chimed, “Really? That's great;you guys can work together!” After a few minutes or so, Katie was smiling and laughing with her two best friends. Way after the sunset, they all lingered some more and then hesitantly departed, hoping they could all do the same thing the next day as usual. The next day started as normal as every other day should start because why should it be any different? They were normal people with normal lives. As usual, Rosie was early to her department of technical engineering, Grace, on time to her department of marine biologists, and Katie, running late to her office building filled with journalists. Rosie went earlier than usual because she was determined to get the same assignment as her friends. She drew in a breath and walked into her bosses office. “Um sir?” “What do you want? Spit it out; don't waste my time.” “Can I choose a specific assig-” “No.” 39

“Why?” He looked at her. Rosie cringed. “Fine. You can choose your assignment but only this once. This is the only exception,” he said.” Rosie excitedly looked through the files until she found the one on the Titanic. She smiled and turned to leave. “Thank you,” Rosie said as she left. The boss raised his eyebrows and nodded, but paid no heed to her as he continued to glare out the window. “You start today,” the boss grumbled. “What’s wrong with him? He’s always so grumpy,” Rosie thought as she sighed in frustration. For the rest of the time, Rosie whiled the day away. She had to wait a whole day to tell them, and she didn't feel like doing anything in the meantime. When the day was over, she burst out of the door to reach the coffee shop first. Turns out, all three of them had the same idea. They all raced to the coffee shop, and Katie almost crashed into Grace at the entrance. Rosie was sitting at a table for three, smiling at them innocently while giggling at their crash. She sat with her legs crossed, aware she had beaten them in the race that the three of them had not known they were in until it started. Since she was the first one to come, she could speak first. 40

Grace and Katie slumped down on the chairs out of breath as Rosie told them the news. “That's great!” Grace exclaimed. “Now we can all do this together!” Katie pipped in. “But guys, this is serious. We have to work separately during our shifts. This is going to take a lot of determination and this will peek into our free time.” Rosie wore a serious expression that they’d never seen on her before. After she finished her sentence, her expression molded back to what it always was: a smile. Katie and Grace took a breath of relief. Rosie looked puzzled,“What's wrong? Did I say or do something wrong?” Rosie asked. Katie and Grace smiled and said, “No, it's fine. We are just happy that we’re all in this together.” They talked for a while more and then left. The next day, the three of them started working really hard, especially Rosie who had to work twice as hard that day to make up for yesterday. Rosie looked through newspapers and books about what the ship was made up of. She looked at a picture of the titanic. A shiver went through her spine. “It was beautiful, such amazing and fine workmanship. It was such a shame that such a fine and powerful work of art went down into the ocean 41

of unknown. The weather was just fine; there were just simple ice warnings. It just doesn't add up, and how was it that they only spotted the iceberg 900 feet away? With the amount of high tech gear they had, they could’ve spotted it at least one mile away which would’ve gave them twice the amount of time to stop it. This is just crazy stupid,” Rosie silently fummed. ​All that, gone to waste Grace was writing down what should she do first. She ended up writing a list that was something like this : 1) Look up animals that could have possibly contributed to the sinking of the titanic. 2) Expand your knowledge on the ones that could’ve contributed to the sinking. 3) Eliminate animals that couldn't have made a big impact on the titanic 4) Check em out Grace got up and gathered as many books about marine life in the North Atlantic as she could. She narrowed her list down to these animals: the Mako, Sandbar, the Common Thresher shark, Colossal and Giant squid, and of course as Grace believed in superstitions, the Kraken or the Nessie. The sharks were definitely not big enough to take down the whole titanic, so it was probably the giant squid. Grace groaned in frustration. ​How am I supposed to do this without examining at least a little part 42

of the titanic?​ Grace jumped up. ​That's it!​ Now all she needed to do was to convince her boss! Grace groaned once again and slumped back into her chair, her hands covering her face. ​Ugh, I’m going to have to do this sooner or later.​ Grace got up again. She walked to the office and frowned, but then remembered that her boss really doesn’t have a problem with her anyways. She smiled and knocked on the door. “Come in,” a voice said. Grace took a breath and walked in. Well isn't this interesting? Interviewing people suffering from PTSD. Yup, nothing really gets better than this, does it ? ​With a shaky breath, Katie entered the room to find many people ranging from their thirties to fifties all staring back at her. Katie managed a smile, and said “Hello, my name is Katie.” She was about to continue when a man about fifty or so groaned and rolled his eyes, “We know what you're here to do. We’re not dumb, just traumatized.” Katie looked around the room because she was planning to start with the oldest last. From the corner of her eye, she saw one guy who looked about twenty and was sweating profusely. He must have been around twelve at the time of the incident. She then found the person that seemed to be the oldest of the bunch. All he managed to say was that,“The glacier caused the 43

crash. What else do you need to know, huh kid? Mind your own business.” Many others replied similarly except for the younger gentleman who seemed to be less on the defensive side and more nervous. She walked over to the twenty year old, who was so nervous that he stammered and fidgeted uncontrollably. Katie soothed him, saying that he couldn't get hurt. The boy looked at her and shook his head and said,“They’ll come and get me faster than they caught Antoinette-” He was going to continue, but Katie stopped him. “How do you know my mother?” The boy looked at her and said,“Your mother isn’t crazy. I wish I had died on that god forsaken ship. The crew and the government officials that were there threatened that we would be branded mental and be put in a mental asylum if we were to dare say the truth, but here it is. The boy looked at Katie seriously and said what she feared all along, “Your mother was right, Katie. It wasn't an iceberg that made the titanic sink. It was something huge, Katie. It was monstrous, and looked right at me while I was escapingboth of its black eyes, two on each side of its head.” His breath was shaking, “I don't know what it was. It was beyond human understanding, Katie! Don't you understand? The “myths” are real... I don't care if you think I'm crazy. Heed my words Katie. Heed my words. Don't be another person who becomes a victim of the creature.” Katie was taken aback. She didn't know why 44

she believed him, but something deep down told her that he was right- once someone sees a glimpse of the truth, it grows and grows until it's all you see. Katie managed to gather herself and said, “I believe you, even if no one else will.” With that, she left. Rosie studied and read the books until she was done with one stack. She smiled, but then she looked across her desk. ​Great. Only four more stacks to go. Actually, not bad.​ Rosie couldn't help but to laugh at the memory. It's not over yet she reminded herself. We’ve devoted our whole lives to this cause, so it’s worth it. Rosie set back to work, confident that she and her friends would figure this out. Then, something drew her attention. She looked closer at a picture. It had something engraved into the metal, either something attacked the titanic or she just had a poor quality photo. Grace studied the books on the marine life in the North Atlantic until she felt like her head was going to explode. She was going to fall asleep, but then something jolted her awake. ​Could the Kraken actually exist?​ Grace narrowed her eyebrows and wondered why she even thought of the Kraken. ​Oh.​ Katie's mom practically planted the idea in her mind. It was worth a try either ways. She got up and grabbed some books on the Kraken and wondered when she could get a piece of the ship. After she got 45

the books, she looked through them. What she read was surprising. Apparently, the Kraken was huge; it had multiple arms, and it could reach as high as the top of a ships main mast which is the tallest part of the ship. The Kraken was intelligent. It had brains and brawn. It would wrap its r arms around the hull of the ship and capsize it. The creature didn’t even eat majority of the people when they killed them. Ally, the bosses attendant, walked in with a part of the ship, shaking Grace out of her trance. Ally frowned and thrust the piece into Grace’s hands and walked away. The front seemed perfectly fine, but she felt bumps on the other sides. She turned the piece around and dropped the metal piece. Her eyes widened, and she almost choked. Katie was walking out of the building, her fists clenching. She went to the coffee shop and paced. She was still trying to decipher what just happened. That was a lot of information at once. A part of her was dying to explore the area. She frowned, remembering what would happen to her if she were to try to tell the truth. Rosie looked closer at the pictures of the ship. Yup, those were definitely punctures, large ones, and they were pretty deep down into the metal. She rubbed her eyes to see if she was imagining things. Nope, they were still there. They looked like prints from what a squid would create except, these were much larger. 46

Maybe even larger than one that a colossal squid would leave and definitely larger than what a giant squid would leave. She would need Grace to look into this later. She tore out the page and hid it in her jacket. She looked at her watch and got up. It's time to go. I think for once, Katie is going to be earlier than me. Graces shaking hands slowly picked up the piece of metal. She turned it around once again. She gulped. There were four enormous circles on the metal. It was unmistakable. They were the sharp toothed sucker marks that would be created by any squid. ​So was the titanic attacked by a colossal squid? Or was it a type of squid larger than the colossal squid ? Something larger than forty-three feet? And what motive did the creature even have? ​The alarm she set on her watch almost made her scream. Its over. Now she just had to… convince her friends about this and hope they don't think she’s crazy. She got up and raced to the coffee shop because at this point, even Katie was going to be earlier than her. Rosie walked into the coffee shop, not surprised that Katie was already there waiting. At this point Katie had prepared a whole speech for them so they wouldn't think she lost her marbles After a few minutes, Grace bursted into the shop and sat down. Today was definitely not a normal day. Katie was first, Rosie second, and Grace third. Katie took a deep breath and told them the story. She watched them as they listened intently. When she 47

was done, she took a deep breath as Rosie smiled and told what she discovered. After that, they listened to Grace. They then had to connect the information they acquired. It was after dark, so it was time to go home. They got up and did the same thing day after day, week after week, month after month, until it was absolutely unmistakable that no other than the Kraken drowned the titanic.​ How did the Kraken drown the ship? The Kraken saw a ship coming toward the ice and silently swam to the ice. After that, the Kraken rose up close enough so it's hard to turn back or change direction yet far enough so that it looked like it was always there. When the boat was placed in a perfect position it took out a single tentacle and -BAM- the once unsinkable titanic, now sunk​. Grace, Katie, and Rosie had to deem the case as just an iceberg. There were too many chain events that would happen if mankind found out about the Kraken. All of them were bad. So they deemed the case closed. The titanic sank due to an iceberg. After a month or so, the three of them had seemed to cool down about the whole Kraken mess. Rosie was getting ready to meet her friends at the coffee shop to decide what to do on their vacation. She noticed that the paper boy dropped off the newest edition of the Monthly Cruise. The Monthly Cruise was an extremely popular magazine and had the best sales to the best cruises. She rushed over and picked up the magazine, and she 48

read it while walking to the coffee shop. No doubt she was early so she had another few moments to look over the magazine. When Grace and Katie came in, she already found a perfect cruise in the North Atlantic ocean. It was perfect, and it was a big ship that was probably supposed to fit twenty-five people comfortably. “Hey guys, look at this mini cruise we can take for our vacation! It comes with a crew!” Rosie said excitedly. Katie and grace looked at the brochure, and it seemed just perfect.Before they knew it, they booked their tickets and were set to leave the next day. They had to get ready fast. They quickly went home and packed for the trip. The next day, they all met on the dock. The three friends got into the ship and got a lecture from the captain of the ship about what to do in an emergency. After a solid three hours, they were able to board the ship. Grace groaned, “I never knew it would take three hours.” Rosie laughed. They got onto the ship, but now they had to wait for another hour for the crew to arrive. They sat quietly for a while before Grace started ranting about her bosses attendant. The crew finally arrived and started to make a few final preparations. The three friends started to talk to the crew. All of a sudden, Rick spontaneously got up, looked at them seriously, and asked, “Do you believe in the Kraken?” Grace looked


confused. His friend, Zachary, elbowed Rick. He managed a nervous laugh and said “ I'm just jo-” “Yes, why?” Grace interrupted. “Because you’re travelling right toward the domain of the Krakens.” “Krakens? There’s more than one Kraken?” “Well, there might be...” They continued to talk about the Kraken and their beliefs. Meanwhile, Katie thought she saw a familiar face; it was the strange guy that told her the real information about the titanic sinking. He was talking to his friend, so she decided she would say ‘Hi’ another time. “Katie!” she heard a voice say. She turned around and saw him. “Hey,” she replied. “Just so you know, my name is Aiden,” he said. “Oh cool.” “I see you didn’t take my advice seriously” 50

Katie laughed. “I did. We just figured that it would be easier to not be in a mental asylum. Did you not hear of the penalty for telling the truth?” “Oh, I see. But what did you find out?” The two of them continued talking about the investigation. Rosie was walking around, surprised that there were only two or three women, not including herself, Grace, and Katie. She was so busy looking for other women to talk to, she almost bumped into a guy at the hull who was busy fixing the controls. He got frustrated and kicked the wall. She looked over to see what he was doing wrong and found the problem almost immediately. “Your Coupled and Decoupled are backwards,” she pointed out. He snorted, “Thanks, lady. What else am I doing wrong?” and he continued to do what he was doing. She reached over and pressed caps lock to match the HUD. “Also there are a handful of things that you’re doing wrong, but I guess you can figure it out because you’re so smart,” Rosie said sarcastically. The guy grumbled and asked her to help. 51

She finished off helping him, and then they started talking until a girl came in and said, “ It's time to eat, Zane and Rosie.” Rosie and Zane walked to the boiler room where everyone was waiting. Zane sat with Aiden, Zachary, and Rick. Rosie sat with Grace and Katie, who were talking to the same girl that called them over for dinner. Rosie joined in on their conversation and figured out that the girls name was Alice. The next week was the same thing, just talking, walking, and eating, until they could see the destination in the distance. That is when everything screwed up. They were so close, but what happened. It began like any other day should. Katie was walking near the bow of the ship, when all of a sudden, she saw a blood red island. She never saw anything like it, but then she remembered. Katie ran inside the ship screaming, “It's here! The Kraken is here! Get the emergency boats ready!” Everyone laughed and said “good one,” yet she kept on insisting. Of course, they didn't believe her. She wished she could’ve said more, but they were approaching it quickly. She needed to get as many people out as she could. So she went to the seven people that she knew would believe her. “The Kraken is here. Get as many people as you can onto the boats and get out of here!” they cried. No one believed them either, so they could only save themselves, but they gave them advice nevertheless. “No matter what, don’t look into the 52

Kraken’s eyes.” Then they took the emergency floats and were about to take off, but they were too late. The Kraken took its tentacle and smashed the ship right down the middle. All they could hear was painful screams, and all they could witness was endless gore. Everyone looked up and did exactly what the eight people warned them not to: look into the Kraken’s eyes. During those few moments, they all bore witness to the havoc and treachery the Kraken caused and were petrified with fear. If they listened to their shipmates, they could’ve been secured to the floats that Zane and Rosie were preparing, but they were kneeling on the floor wailing. And that was the last thing they did. The last Zane, Zachary, Aiden, Rick, Rosie, Katie, Grace, and Alison saw of them was that horrible scene. They rowed their emergency boat as fast as they could manage away from the commotion. After hours of rowing, they all ended up falling asleep on the boat as the Kraken wickedly stared back at them. The first thing they saw when they woke was the police helping them up and into the hospital beds. As they were being moved into the hospital rooms, they all murmured things in their sleep about the horrible incident and the Kraken. From the corner of their eyes, they saw a bunch of people with white coats storm into the hospital room.


Aidan woke up from his trance with beads of sweat forming along his forehead, “Oh no...they’re here. They know we’ve witnessed the truth.”

Maryam Chisti is in sixth grade. She has earned student of the month and is an honors student. She has won writing contests, was part of the National Junior Honors society, participated in battle of the books, and played the lead role in multiple plays. Her hobbies include reading, tennis, table tennis, archery, drawing, writing stories, and coding. 54

13 Matches by Keegan Diaz

I am an apprentice of a sorcerer priest. My name is Fortis. It means strong and brave, which is funny, since I am sort of the opposite. Well, at least right now I am. I keep hoping that eventually I will eventually grow into my name. I had been trained in battle techniques, but I had not yet been tested on the field of battle. My master sent me on a quest to retrieve ​The Book of Dark Sacred Rituals ​in an abandoned castle​. ​I’m not sure exactly what he needs the book for. My master is a very wise man, but he thinks in a very unusual way. Many people who knew my master told me that he could predict the future and could teleport and has psychic abilities such as reading minds and telekinesis, although I had never actually seen him move anything with his mind. For my quest, my master gave me leather paddings and a small one handed sword (for protection). My master said that I would arrive at my destination by night, so I brought an oil lamp, 13 matches, and a map to the location of the book. I packed all of those items in a leather bag, strapped the pads on my body, and slid my sword into a scabbard at my belt.


I began my journey into the woods early in the morning when the sun was a bare glimmer on the eastern horizon struggling to break through the clouds. I pulled my cloak more tightly around me as lightning lit the grey sky and thunder roared in the distance. I had not wanted to undertake this journey alone, but it is not an apprentice’s place to question his master. “Come now, Fortis,” the priest had said. “It is not like you to be so timid. Go, fetch the book. All will be well.” It was exactly like me to be so timid. But disobeying my master was not an option, so I took a deep breath and continued my journey. I walked for hours through the thick green vegetation. Above me, trees soared straight into the gray clouds before bending and twisting into a canopy of green so dark, sunlight could barely trickle through. I was soaked from head to toe with rain water. Beneath my feet, the ground was hard and uneven, broken by rocks and stumps. I took a step and my foot slipped on the mossy stones. I could feel the ground coming up to meet me. With a soft umph, my knee hit the hard ground. “Ouch,” I grumbled, pushing myself back to my feet. A quick check told me that I had not cut myself, only bruised skin. I brushed the moss off of my cloak and continued my


journey, walking with even more care as I picked my way across the slippery loose rocks and rubble. It was sometime later when I made the gruesome discovery. The day had grown warm as I came upon the bones, weapons, and discarded armor of men. I realized that they had been soldier scouts. My eyes widened in shock and horror as I noticed that the bones were positioned in a circle. Evil had visited this place. A dark evil. An evil unlike anything I had encountered before. The sound of a twig snapping sent fear racing through me and the sound of footsteps had me praying for my safety. I turned toward the sound, my hand at the hilt of my sword. “I will be strong,” I told myself. “I will be brave.” Out of the brush came a man dressed in a cloak as green as the moss under my feet. His head and face was covered by the voluminous material. His face was covered by the voluminous material and he wore old rusty armor. Fear had me drawing my sword and pointing it at him. I didn't want to die. The man was armed with a longsword. He drew out his sword with a loud intimidating ring. My eyes went wide and I quaked, but didn’t stand down. 57

He began running at me with his sword above his head. With a cry, I ran at him and at the same time, struck him in the chestplate only denting it. Although my master taught me techniques with a sword, I hadn’t learned enough to fight an actual Legionary Soldier. He tried hitting me, but I dodged the attacks. My small size made it easy to avoid the heavy, cumbersome weapon. Everytime I blocked his sword strikes, it felt like holding a leaf being whipped around in a windstorm. I knew that my small sword wasn’t going to be able to withstand much more, so I ran over to the skeletons to snatch a belt and a staff. As the cloaked figure followed me, I hit him in the chest with my handle of my sword. He stumbled back a little giving me a few precious seconds. I tied my sword to the staff with the belt to make a spear so I could keep my distance from him. He charged again, but this time he had his sword pointed out to stab me. I blocked his attack with the back side of the spear and whacked him in the head with the blunt side of the blade. I should not have been able to best such a soldier, yet I had. His weapon was knocked out of his hand and he was on his back. As he propped himself up with his hands, I quickly untied the belt from the staff and sword. 58

“Who are you?” I interrogated him as I put my sword to his neck. “I’m Arthur,” he answered in a shaky voice. He uncovered his hood revealing his hollow, face full of wrinkles, and his hair was long, shaggy, and gray. “I’m one of the soldier scouts. The Dark Summoners let me live, but took my eyes.” That was why I had survived his attack. I was surprised of how well he was able to locate me without his eyes. “The Dark Summoners came along, and killed off the scouts but left me to suffer eye-less. Well, I didn’t need my eyes in the first place,” he said, with a raspy chuckle. “Why?” I asked, frowning. I felt bad that he had to suffer without eyes. “I was blind even before they took my eyes out!” he said with a rusty laugh that sounded like metal scratching against metal. “After they took out my eyes, I played dead and they didn’t know!” Arthur laughed. “How did you know I was here?” I asked.


He tapped the side of his head. “I don’t need eyes to hear you trashing about the forest, lad. It sounded like a herd of wild horses,” said Arthur. “Why did you attack me?” “At first I had thought you were the Dark Summoner who would come to finish me off, but then I realized you were too clumsy.” Fortis grimaced and glared. “Stop glaring, boy.” Fortis’ eyes went wide. “How did you—” “I was a young man once— though it was many years ago.” Arthur tilted his head to the side. “What is your name?” “Fortis.” Arthur grunted. “Well, there is time for you to grow into your name.” I did not like this old soldier mocking me, but I held my tongue. He might be blind, but he had decades of training on me. “What are ​Dark Summoners​ exactly?” I asked. 60

“They are a group of evil soldiers that go from place to place to collect books and objects possessed by souls long ago to perform sinister rituals on prisoners of war.” “One of the books that were possessed was the ​Book of Dark Rit-.” “Where did the Dark Summoners go?” I asked as I cutting him of. “I need to get it.” “I heard that they were trying to get the book you were looking for​.​” “Spies came here not long ago and told me that the Dark Summoners got lost and couldn’t find the way to the location of the book,” Arthur answered. “But that was long ago, they might have found the way to the castle now.” Out of the bushes, three men in leather armor and black hoods surrounded us. One of them had a battle axe, one had a war hammer, and the other had a spear. We couldn’t escape. We had no choice but to fight. Arthur took the man with the spear. I took on the men with the hammer and axe. I ran by the skeletons once more to snatch another short sword. It was old, slightly dulled, and rusty, but it would do.


The two men charged toward me on opposite sides. They raised their weapons high above their heads and started to drop them down. I moved away quickly and they both missed. The man’s axe got stuck in the ground. As he was busy pulling his axe out of the ground, I charged to the man with the hammer and he charged toward me. I ran past him and struck both of my swords into his chest. The damage was very minor and I only managed to bring him down to his knees. Behind me, the man with the axe came toward me. He tried striking me many times, but I blocked every one of his attacks. I made my move and cut him in the neck, instantly killing him. The man with the hammer came at me. He hit me hard in the chest. I was knocked back five feet away from him. My weapons weren’t knocked out of my hands. I got up quickly and attacked the man with a the hammer, and I drove my sword right though the man’s chest. Arthur, at the same time, finished battling the man with the spear. “You must run now before anymore of the Dark Summoners arrive!” said Arthur, as he returned to his hiding place in the brush. Afterward, I headed to the castle as fast as I could before the Dark Summoners arrived. As I arrived, the castle’s roof was falling apart and the timber was rotting away with spider webs inside the cracks of the rotting wood. As I pushed open the heavy spruce doors, a gust of cold wind 62

blew right at me. I entered the castle and the doors slammed shut behind me. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my match box. I struck the match across the side of the box and lit the oil lantern. I went down the hallways going from room to room. There was something lying in the hall, so I walked closer to it. The small light from my lamp uncovered a rotting skeleton out of the dark. The skeleton had arrows stuck in him. “Ahhhh!” I screamed as I kicked the skeleton sending bones flying everywhere. I chuckled as I realized wall just next to where the skeleton was had little holes in the wall. The place was rigged with traps! I watched out for false doors, tripwires, and pits. After exploring the castle’s rooms, stories, and, halls, I went back down to the first story. At the back of the house, I found the part of the house that I hate the most. The basement. “Oh god. You gotta be kidding me,” I said as I opened the hatch to the basement. A gust of wind blew out my oil lamp. I struck another match to light my lamp. I went in thinking that it would be an ordinary basement, but it was very different. The basements walls were covered in moss, there were jail cells like the ones you would find in dungeons. The iron bars were rusted. Some contained skeletons and some contained chests filled with gold weapons. I came to a very unique cell though. There were no chests nor skeletons, but there was a book lying 63

there on a table. I blew the dust off and the title said “​The Book of Dark Rituals​.” Another gust of wind blew out my lamp. That wind was different, and it sent a shiver down my spine. I took the book and put it into my leather bag. I headed back up the stairs to the first floor. I wanted to find more on the second story of the castle, so I climbed up the stairs. Walking in the halls looking from room to room, I heard the sound of orders being shouted, chainmail clanking on metal armor, and a big wooden cart from the front of the house. “I thought the empire wasn’t going to war,” I thought to myself. I ran to the window at the front of the house and saw lit torches in the forest. It wasn’t until a few seconds later that I saw men in heavy armor with horses, strong weapons, and dark hoods. “Go inside and find and search the place! ​The Book of Dark Rituals​ is here!” a large strong man on the wooden cart ordered. He was one of the generals of the Dark Summoners. I knew immediately that the Dark Summoners were here. They took a long wooden ram off of the cart and carried it over to door. They slammed the ram into the door three times. The wooden doors fell right down from the stone frame. I panicked as the Dark Summoners stormed into the castle. I realized that when I checked for traps, I didn’t set any of them off. A big grin appeared on my face, and I remembered that there was an active arrow trap right at the stairs that I haven’t set off yet. The tripwire clicked, and the 64

soldiers looked down at their ankles. Arrows suddenly flew at them from all sides. The arrows were enough to penetrate the iron and leather armor and killed them instantly. I went over to the bodies to salvage any resources that would be useful to use against The Dark Summoners. I took a small dagger and nails from their pockets. I blew out my lamp, and hid it. I headed down stairs to the kitchen. The Dark Summoners weren’t there yet, so I decided that I should place some traps down. The wooden planks that covered the floor were loose enough to pull them up form the floor. I quietly stuck the nails into the holes of the wood at the two entrances. I placed the wooden planks down right where they were. I also reset the arrow trap at both entrances, and hid in the small pantry. Two Dark Summoners ran into both entrances, and stepped onto both nail traps. “Ahhhh!” They yelled as the nails pierced though there leather boots into their feet. In a blink of an eye, the arrow trap was triggered and shot all the troops in the head. “Yes! Headshot!” I whispered as the Dark Summoners fell to the ground.


I knew I took down many already, but there were still many more left. I left the kitchen quietly as I stepped over the bodies carefully. I headed upstairs to the second floor and checked the rooms once more. In the very, very center of the house lay barrels and barrels of black powder. One Dark Summoner troop came behind and nearly cut me in the shoulder with his sword. I quickly dodged the attack, drew out one of my swords from my scabbard and slashed the man clean in the neck. The man fell down on the floor loudly, and I was worried that on it the Dark Summoners heard noise. I noticed that there was fuse in the corner of the room. I took the fuse and stuffed it into the barrel of black powder. By the length of the fuse, it would take me one minute to run from the house before it blew up. I checked my leather bag one more time to make sure the “​The Sacred Book of Dark Rituals” w ​ as there. It was. I took out all of my remaining matches and struck them all across the side of the match box. The fire emitted a light as bright as the sun. I dropped all of them on the fuse, and ran. The general and his troops were still down stairs. I ran down the stairs but the Dark Summoners saw me. “Get that little brat!” Shouted the general. He had a huge metal spear axe and began chasing me with his troops. I found a window, and below it was a cart full of hay. I had no choice but to jump. I jumped, landed safely 66

on the hay, and took cover behind a large firewood pile. At the same time, the general and his troops found the room with the black powder. “No!” I heard the general shout. The whole building exploded with a loud deafening boom. To my suprise, the general’s weapon landed right at my feet. I stood up and looked at the remaining parts of the castle. When dawn broke, I picked up the general’s weapon, and headed back to greet my master with ​The Book of Dark Rituals.

Keegan Diaz is a sixth grader. He plays the piano, French horn, and guitar. Keegan loves to make people laugh, play guitar, and write. When he grows up, he wants to be an ophthalmologist 67

Editorial Staff Lysette Cohen, Editor-in-Chief Lysette Cohen holds a M.Ed. in Education from Northern Arizona University and a M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. She has been an educator for over 15 years teaching ABE/GED, English, and American History. Lysette has traveled extensively, but currently makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona. Her nonfiction essays, short stories, and poems can be found in Page & Spine, The Penman Review, The Scarlet Leaf, Unstrung, and The Blue Guitar Literary and Arts Magazine. Alina Chisti, Managing Editor Alina Chisti is a sophomore honors student in high school. She has been named student of the year for her class for the past two years. She founded her own nonprofit tutoring organization called A+ Tutoring. In addition to tutoring, Alina also volunteers for Hospice of the Valley, Friends for Life Animal Rescue, Helping Hands, ICNA relief, FMSC, and Red Cross. When she is not studying or volunteering, she loves theatre and script writing. She has been actively involved in theatre for seven years. Alina’s other hobbies include archery, cooking, hiking, guitar, ukulele, listening to music, spending time with her family, creating unique looks with makeup, and playing with her two orange tabby cats.


Jillian Bartz is a junior in high school. This year she is her school’s DECA president and French Club treasurer. She is also involved in Thunder Buddies, Link Crew Administration, and FBLA. When she is not studying or editing, she enjoys spending time with her two cats and sleeping— she really likes sleeping. After graduating from high school, she plans to visit Paris before entering college as a finance major. Sydney Cohen is a junior in high school where she is a first violinist in the chamber orchestra and a varsity swimmer. In her spare time, she loves camping, watching videos, writing, and spending time with her friends. She has been published in Blue Guitar Jr. ​Ava Kim is a sophomore in high school. She spends most of her time thinking in endless circles that lead nowhere. She also enjoys procrastinating, writing, and drawing. For her, the future seems very far, so she instead focuses on living today in the best way possible. Surabhi Sajith is a sophomore in high school. She has been pursuing her passion for dance for past ten years and enjoys learning Carnatic music and writing. She participates in diverse events and had won the Phoenix Rotary 100 speech contest, the regional school bee, and several dance competitions. Surabhi has worked to raise money for many charity events, and continues to give back to the community through peer tutoring as Math Sprouts tutor in Tempe, Arizona, volunteering at Chinmaya mission and Maricopa Integrated Health, and teaching dance to younger children. At school, she is a Student Representative and is part of the Leadership Society, which plans school events. Rachel Woosley is a sophomore in high school. She enjoys drawing, writing, and spending time with her friends. Her short stories and poems have been published in The Blue Guitar Literary and Arts Magazine, and Blue Guitar Jr.