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Blurb! ... Ink on the magazine cover? Come on, this is our final draft, and... wait, what? How is there even ink the school? No one uses ink any more. Unless you know, it’s printer ink. Put it back. Oh, hey! Didn’t see you there. I am a magazine blurb after all, and I don’t have eyes. Logic took a day off. Since you are reading this blurb, I assume that you want to know why you are holding this booklet in your hands. I will now summarize this issue of Inkspill while discreetly drawing your interest so that you feel the inclination to read the stories and poems within. So what is Inkspill? Much as I would like to say that the staff throw ink-bottles at each other, the reality is that they are the ISB MS Literary Magazine (at your service). They get together every Thursday afternoon and write things so awesome (namely, me) that your brains will turn into something of similar consistency to guacamole upon witnessing them. We also accepted submissions from other MS students (hint hint). Are you interested yet? No? Come on. I mentioned guacamole. Everyone loves guacamole.

Editors: Carolyn Zhao Teety So Inkspill staff: Amy Li Annabelle Lucas

Supervisors:

Claire Tao Ethan Kiang Ingrid Huang Katherine Kuang Katrina Cherk Kimberly Borja Maya Lu

Chris Herzberg Matthew Li

Iain Carter

Natasha Thomas Olivia Tang

Special thanks to:

Ryan Sun

Robert Cormack

Sun Min Choi 2


Table of Contents

Poetry

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“Contentment” by Katherine Kuang ..............................................................5 “Flora” by Annabelle Lucas ............................................................................6 “Wander” by Claire Tao ..................................................................................7 “I don’t have anything to write about” by Tony Ma .......................................8 “Found your dog” by Katie Boyden ................................................................9 “Dinner” by Lillie Weddle ..............................................................................9 “I took your tiger” by Kirsten Meilchen ........................................................10 “Techno Dream” by Cosette Koh ...................................................................10 “Inspiration” by Cosette Koh .........................................................................11 “I hate you” by Cosette Koh ...........................................................................12 “I crashed your car, Dad” by Daniel Echelberger ..........................................12 “I have eaten your pear” by Aaron Mer .........................................................13 “I’m sorry for chewing up the couch pillow” by Amanda Zhao .....................13 “Lucky” by Austin Curtis ................................................................................14 “My best friend” by Emma Tseng ..................................................................15 “Remember the days” by Maya Lu ................................................................15 “Spots and Glows” by Salma Ghanem ...........................................................16 “Total” by Cindy Choi .....................................................................................18 “When the day met the night” by Maria Hamill ............................................19 “The Downward Journey” by Judy Kam .......................................................20 “Valentine’s Day” by Kristine Liao ................................................................20

Stories

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“Hold on” by Jessica Wang ............................................................................22 “Dying embers of love” by Matthew Li ..........................................................27 “Just a photo” by Ingrid Huang .....................................................................28 “Grains of time” by Natasha Thomas .............................................................31 “Resiphoina” by Trinette Wong .....................................................................33 “Hero in you” by Matthew Li .........................................................................37 “Twenty-two” by Cindy Choi ..........................................................................39 “The Cabinet” by Olivia Tang .........................................................................41 “Good night” by Matthew Li ..........................................................................44 “The Light of the Moon” by Ashley Wang .....................................................47 “Fixing a TV for Dummies” by Ethan Kiang ..................................................51 “My brother” by Natasha Thomas .................................................................52 “My true love” by Mike Cheung .....................................................................54 “Cassandra” by Stephanie Du ........................................................................55 “Twilight: an analysis” by Carolyn Zhao ........................................................57

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Work of art by Carolyn Zhao

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Contentment By Katherine Kuang

What is it that you have learned? From happiness that you have earned. Maybe you are just too blessed, To care, or even bothered to guess?

Forget why you were seething Just remember that you're here and breathing That you are here, alive and well It itself is a miracle, a wonderful spell

“Continue chasing after your dream” And “Don’t give up when you want to scream” Yet the more you say how you could have won The fewer things you can actually get done

But all you really needed from the start Is to keep a handful of courage in your heart To fight against the endless sorrow And to live through each day’s tomorrow.

Work of art by Tyler Ryoo

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Flora By Annabelle Lucas

Lithe, lean and full of grace, And she moved with quiet ease. Flora, the beautiful Flora, Oh how could I ever forget?

Flora, the beautiful Flora,

She had the voice of an angel,

Oh how could I ever forget?

Like smooth golden honey,

How her eyes sparkled,

Running down a bumblebee’s nest.

And how she smiled her warm smile, She was the prettiest girl I ever met.

Her eyes, oh her eyes! Sparkled with the green, That resembled an emerald, Or the deep green sparkle, Of a forest ravine.

Her skin was satiny copper, The colour of caramel. Her hair was silken waves, Fine strands of bronze, That shimmered and glittered like a shiny bronze bell.

She moved with the grace of an angel, Like a flower in summer breeze. She had the body of a panther,

Work of art by Danielle Meng

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Wander By Claire Tao

You >lew  far  with  your  wings  and

To prove  that  I  loved  you,  

Forgot me,  down  below.

I had  to  set  you  free.

I >inally  realized

For everyone  had  stated,

You weren't  coming  back  and  so,

That if  it  was  meant  to  be,

To prove  that  I  still  love  you,

Then no  matter  what  happened,

I’m gradually,

You would  come  back  to  me.

Letting

~

Go.

You >lew  far  with  your  wings  and The  freedom  for  which  you’d  yearned, Without  a  second  glance  backward. A  lesson  I  have  learned, For  once  I  let  you  wander, You  never,  to  me,  returned.   ~ To  prove  that  I  loved  you, I  had  to  set  you  free. For  your  return  I  waited, Oh  so  patiently, But  all  the  lies  I  never  saw, Clearly  now,  I  see. ~

Work of art by Carolyn Zhao

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I Don’t Have Anything Interesting To Write About By Tony Ma

This Is  Just  To  Say

This Is  Just  To  Say

I have  called

I don’t  really  have

The cops  again

Anything

With your  cell  phone

To write  about

As a  prank

For this  poem And  which  

And which You  probably  didn’t  want

I probably

Con>iscated.

Needed To  turn  in.

Forgive me It  was  fun

Forgive me

To watch

I got  bored  of  writing.

Police arrest  your  dog.

Mythbusters was  so  cool

Work of art by Rhiannon Thomas

And so  much  more  interesting.  

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Dinner By Lily Weddle

This is just to say I have taken your dog And cooked it. But I have to say, It was worth it. It was very large and juicy,

Work of art by Carolyn Zhao

And fed my family for a week.

Found Your Dog By Katie Boyden

This is  just  to  say That  I  found  your  dog So  I  took  him  in And  took  really  good  care  of  him I  kept  him  for  over  a  year The  >lyers  around  town Well  they  turned  my  face  into  a  real  big  frown The  dog  had  an  owner

Work of art by Judy Kam

And it  was  you You  must  have  been  worried  sick Well  at  least  he  was  in  good  hands 9


I Took Your Tiger

Techno Dream

By Kirsten Meilchen

By Cosette Koh

This is just to say,

d delete a

I took your tiger

I dreamt that

Which you were probably

I could delete all those retentions

Going to poach

Quit all those compunctions

But it’s illegal

Minimize all my grieves

And she was just so adorable

And drag my misfortunes into the trash

I’m sorry but I just had to,

I dreamt that

She was growling and obviously

I could skip all my repentances

Crying, “Kirsten! Kirsten! Save Me!!”

Stop all my sufferings

Forgive me, you’ll never get her back,

Fast-forward all my anguishes

Sorry but she made it obvious who she

Eject all my sorrows

Loved more. I dreamt that I could rewind all my luck Maximize all my bliss Pause my glory Drag my memories into my favorites

Then I woke up…II Work of art by Danielle Meng

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Inspiration By Cosette Koh

Is war  raging Her  knees  weak

People keep  on  hatin

Arms are  heavy

Its time  for  things  to  start  changing

Sweat soaks  her  top  already

For us  to  stop  betrayin

But she  keeps  on  forgetting

We really  should  stop  playin

She cant  back  down

This sick  SICK  game

Nu uh  no  not  now The  dust  chokes  her  how Will  she  pick  herself  n  keep  going  on  now Her  throat  is  on  >ire But  she’s  here  to  inspire She  has  this  desire For  the  world  to  be  inquire Is  this  right Why  is  everyone  so  uptight We  can  stop  this  >ight This  won’t  end  tonight It  is  time  we  ignite This  world’s  sense  of  right We  blame  things  on  each  other Deny  thy  brother Work of art by Carolyn Zhao

The truth  is  kept  secret Swept  under  the  rug The  result  of  this  terrible  drug

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I Hate You

I Crashed Your Car, Dad

By Cosette Koh

By Daniel Echelberger

She needn’t to say a word Let alone Move those elusive lips Her eyes divulged her contemplations I hate you They taunted

This is  just  to  say, I  crashed  your  car  dad, Your  silver  Ferrari, Which  you  may  have Been  taking  to  a  race  today.

The sound of silence can be tedious It can be callous It can bore a hole strait through your brain All she did was stare But I felt those abysmal words I hate you

Forgive me, It  was  so  funny  and  thrilling For  me  and  my  friends.

Her hate crammed the hallways Where I sauntered It deluged the bathrooms Where I wept And there subsisted those three words I hate you

Work of art by Sun Min Choi

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I Have Eaten Your Pear By Aaron Mer

I have eaten your pear That was in the fridge It tasted like old strands of hair That was dragged over a bridge You were probably going to eat that So happily Wait, you were going to do what? You were going to throw that at me Just wait one moment, I’ve really got to flee This is just to say,

Work of art by Carolyn Zhao

I’m sorry, Jay For chewing up The couch pillow It was soft Cushy Chewable T’was just sitting there Oh, so tempting How could I not? Plus, I enjoyed that treat Afterwards Work of art by Carolyn Zhao

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I’m Sorry For Chewing Up The Couch Pillow By Amanda Zhao


Tuck you in at night

Lucky

Scare away the demons lurking under your bed?

By Austin Curtis

Do you have to carry a useless piece of junk Wandering through traffic?

The street child wanders through traffic

Do you have to steal people’s pocket change

Barefoot

To live in house of drug traffickers?

Holding nothing But an old bottle filled with dry soupy water To get no more than a dime.

Do you have to Search through McDonalds’ trashcan To get a half-eaten burger?

These future parents, still kids Start life with nothing

That is what’s wrong with us today.

And end up with even less.

We think our lives are so bad

Home Seeking Children

When we have everything

Thrown into the streets by their own kind

Two siblings going through

Don’t have four walls and roof to enclose them at night.

The devil’s torture could wish for.

The extraordinary children

We think our lives are so bad

Trying to break free of those infernal bonds

When we get to fill our stomachs

But treated no better than a monkey

With all the delicious food we want

In a rusty old cage

We think our lives are so bad

With unfamiliar faces peering in.

When we get to travel the world. We think our lives are so bad

See! Is YOUR life that bad?

When we get treated like

Do your parents get down on their knees

Kings and queens.

To get a job but only end up cleaning McDonalds frying pan?

So think about it! How lucky are you?

Do you not have a parent Work of art by Sun Min Choi

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My Best Friend

Remember the Days

By Emma Tseng

by Maya Lu

My best friend is strange

Remember the days

Her friendship with me is something she’ll never change

When we woke up early

She’s as soft as a rose petal Shines like a gold medal

Watching cartoons? Went to the store for bundles of balloons? It doesn’t matter what you wear,

Quirky, humorous, intelligence, bright— She’s the one who gives my life light Her face lights up as she smiles

And who cared about messy hair? Remember the days When the sky was blue?

Releases the stress that falls on my shoulders like piles

We were so innocent,

Friendship is one thing she would not lack

We had no clue

When you smile at her, she smiles back

When there was only one sheet of math

Trustworthy, cunning, active, cheerful—

That everyone forgot to do?

Turns life into something beautiful

Remember the days

I cherish my moments with my best friend

Of our childhood

My friendship with my best friend would never end

Filled with fun and games? When you couldn’t hear Even one single complaint? I loved those days in which we sat and gazed At the heavenly night sky. I wonder why The stars don’t shine

Work of art by Sun Min Choi

As brightly anymore.

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Spots and Glows Writing and artwork by Salma Ghanem

Once there was a boy, who found a spot,

“Oh yes! Oh yes! He knew what to do,

And decided to connect the dots,

With his spots he’d make a moon,

One by one he gathered them,

That came out at night,

And made them glow above his head,

And slept through the day,

He chose to call the glow the sun.

But what would accompany it along the way? With all the spots that he had left, He through them up to float and they slept. “I’ll call you stars!” he yelled and yelled. “I’ll see you when I go to bed!”

The boy was happy full of cheer, But sadness was very near, How could he stare up high? If the sun would blind his eyes? He thought deeply what should he do?

He woke up the very next day,

What if sometimes the sun was gone?

The sun was up,

And came back just after dawn?

I’ll go and play! He tried and tried to look at the sun,

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“Think!” what  can  I  do,  

And that  is  the  story  boys  and  girls

To see  the  sun  not  the  moon!

Of how  some  spots  made  our  world.

“Oh I  know!” He  gathered  the  most  spots  ever!  It  took  him  a   few  days, He  colored  them  blue  and  placed  them  face  to   face, As  wide  as  ever  was  a  blue  land, “What  should  I  call  you?”  he  thought, As  he  lay  in  the  sand. He  threw  some  rocks  into  the  blue, And  then  he  heard,  and  then  he  knew, “I’ll  call  you  ocean!  Just  like  you  sound”   Oooooooshhhheeennnnn. As  the  sun  was  resting  about  to  sleep He  saw  the  re>lection,  on  the  deep  blue  sea. I  can  see  the  sun  without  blinding  by  eyes “I’ll  call  this  a  sunset,  my  what  a  surprise!”

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Sometimes when I am alone

Total

I look up to the sky By Cindy Choi

And whisper to myself Why? Why?

Final goodbye was never said

But never will I hear your answer

Rubies and diamonds rolling down

I know that and always have

Stories not yet to be told

Sometimes when things get hard

And never to be told evermore

I look at the old pictures

Silent fires

Of you, of me

Ashes rising

Of everything we did together

Not a single breath

Of everything I learned from you

Not a single word

Sometimes everything makes me cry

No smiles

Because it still hurts to think of you

No laughs

It’s everyday that I promise myself

You have left

To let you go

For evermore

To set you free

I know that I should let you go

It’s everyday that I hold back

To leave you to rest

That I resist, that I refuse

In your porcelain bed

Because it hurts to keep you

But the memories I hold

But it hurts even more to let you go

Will not go away

If you see me,

Only remind me of pain

If you hear me,

Remind me of you

Please don’t be sad

Sometimes when the darkness falls

Don’t make my grief

I close my eyes

Grieve you too

To remember once more

But please remember

How it felt to be with you

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Remember – this once That I have always loved you And that I always will. - Ode to my grandfather

When the Day Met the Night By Maria Hamill

The midnight Moon, lost and frozen,

A feeling of change consumed her core,

Left no hopeful yearning unspoken,

Things couldn’t be the same anymore,

To see a brighter night.

She would break free.

The morning Sun, in all of her glory,

The Sun too would break from where she’s bound,

Had not a reason to feel sad or sorry; She lit the heavens and earth.

Darkness was what she craved and what she found, To rejoice in the peaceful equilibrium

But content she was not, though one couldn’t see, And she wished for nothing but her heart to be free,

Neither consumed by fire nor ice, The universe felt peace, and saw it twice;

Trapped as she was by the harsh fire.

Gravity no longer held control.

One summer twilight, as the wind swept her away,

Existing together, they balanced well,

The Moon caught sight of the glorious day And would accept fate no longer.

The ice of heaven, the fires of hell, And rejoiced in the soothing sensation of nothing. Work of art by Claire Tao

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Below are examples of FoUnd Poetry, poetry of words taken from other sources.

The Downward Journey By Judy Kam

Valentine’s Day Found poem

A found poem, words from Lois Lowry’s The Giver

By Kristine Liao

All you need is love. Lovebirds are romantic, Cupid to polished Romeo. Dishes, dates, whipping up, Red cupcake, velvet truffle. Lonely hearts treat yourselves, Indulge your inner cynic. Fairytale ending wrap up, Mushy, creative, artistic. One magic proposal, Happy Valentines Day!

Work of art by Megan Zhao

All words are from http:// googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/ roses-are-red-violets-are-bluehereare.html yet rearranged by Kristine.

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Work of art by Teety So

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Hold On By Jessica Wang

fro from work, leaving early and returning late, but still during the day.

Death. Inevitable. Something we all have in common. It’s lurking around the corner, and someday, it’s going to get you. Everybody knows that. And we all know that death can come early in life. But I never really realized death could set in so quickly-disrupting life so swiftly, unravelling everything you’d begun, so easily. *** Tires crunched against sun-baked cement, snatches of rock music drifting out the rolled-down windows as cars speed by, blinding sun reflecting off the shiny surfaces. Hot summer sun scorched the poor plants that were out of range of the automatic sprinklers.

Melanie complained about that a lot-she had no one to talk to that was her age. My street was more rowdy--you couldn’t walk five meters before you saw a skateboard or a chalk drawing or some other mark that shouted A KID WAS HERE. That’s why she was glad I was visiting her today--Mom and Dad had an important meeting they had to attend, and neither of them trusted my brother enough to let him watch me. Not that I was complaining-I’d much rather spend the afternoon with Melanie then Finn. I trundled up the steps and rang the front door. The door was flung open almost

immediately--revealing a tall, skinny darkhaired girl who looked like her excitement Kids lounged in the shade of their front could light all of the United States for a day or porches, thumbs bleeping across screens, pop two without a problem. music blaring from inside. There was just one “Dad fixed the tree house,” she informed more week of school left-- mostly of me as she closed the door and led me down a celebrations, ceremonies and parties-- and no narrow hallway that brought us to her real learning at all. Grades were out, disorderly, snug kitchen. “Want to see it?” homework was graded and thrown in the recycling bin, textbooks rendered useless. I turned into a new block full of sunny, and dry thorns poked out at me, scraping across my cheek and leaving light pink cheerful-looking houses with window-boxes scratches. and neat little gardens and wraparound porches. Faded paint shone dully one the I was too busy trying to avoid a thorn to walls. The windows looked in to lonely, empty notice what happened at first. Melanie had rooms, some concealed behind flowered been talking--yammering on about something curtains. Summers Street was empty as a or other, and I had been trying to listen. She ghost town during the day--there wasn’t a kid had a loud voice-- so loud that none of us heard on the block, except for Melanie. The place the telltale buzz of the bee as it flew about us was full of grown-ups, always rushing to and

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angrily, annoyed that we were nearing it’s home tree. I did hear Melanie’s scream, however. It pierced through the whole sky, puncturing it and making it bleed tears of pain. It seemed to shake the ground we were standing on, throwing my balance off. My hand slipped with shock, the thorn whipped at my face, and I yelped with frustration. Melanie never screams. She’s too proud to squeal and she says it hurts her throat.

rapid, beating with unnatural speed. She swayed dizzily, and I helped her lay down. “Stings-” she murmured, her mouth barely moving. With a splotchy hand, she touched her cheek. “I know,” I whispered soothingly. “I’m going to get help.” She looked at me with round eyes, almost pleading. It made my heart race--I’d never seen her look so fragile, so helpless. She’d always been self-reliant, and it was frightening to see her like this.

So my first thought was that someone else had screamed. But then I heard the dying buzz of the bee, saw Melanie totter forward and collapse on the ground, ignoring all the brambles and thorns that dug themselves in to her skin bloodthirstily, taking advantage of her weakness.

“It pierced through the whole sky, puncturing it and making it bleed tears of pain...”

She was allergic to bee stings. Fatally allergic. We’d done a project called My Best Friend once and she’d told me that, laughing it off casually. She wasn’t laughing now.

I sank to the ground beside her, the irritating thorns fading away from my mind rapidly. Melanie’s pale skin was splotchy and red, breaking out in itchy hives. Her eyes were wide-- panicked, restless. Her breathing was gaspy and ragged. I didn’t bother asking her if she was okay, because she obviously wasn’t. I lifted her wrist gingerly and pressed my fingers to it. Her pulse wasn’t hard to find--it was fast,

“Hold on, Melanie-” I whispered to her, getting up and sprinting back to the house, flinging open the door. Grabbing the phone, my fingers stumbled as I dialed the ambulance number. “Hello? I have a friend who just got stung by a bee, and she’s allergic.”

I gave the person on the other side the Melanie’s address and told them to get cracking. I terminated the call and started dialing my parent’s numbers, as well as her parent’s numbers, listed in the address book on the counter. My fingers slipped on the numbers and ripped the fragile pages of the address book, a sheen of cold sweat breaking out on my skin. None of them answered--Melanie’s parents were at the office, and mine were at a meeting. I left a frantic message on their answering machines and hung up, finally realizing how alone I was. I couldn’t do this, not on my own.

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But there wasn’t a choice. Running back outside, I noticed that her breathing was getting more and more choked up. Spooked by the angry red swelling of her tongue, and especially around where she’d been stung--on her cheek, I fastened my fingers around her wrist and lifted her up. She’d always been underweight, so I didn’t have any problem dragging her in to the house. Her pant legs snagged on twigs and various other prickly things, but she didn’t complain. I stretched her out on the couch and tried to calm her down, but it obviously wasn’t working. Her cheek had swollen up too much for her to talk to me easily, and so all she did was stare at me with wide, scared eyes like a deer in headlights. I discerned my own eyes, reflected in hers-they were alarmed and unsure.

familiar yellow box. There wasn’t enough time to neatly take everything out and spread it on the ground, so I pried off the lids of the plastic containers and dumped everything on the carpet, bottles and vials rolling away from me and down the stairs, but I didn’t care. They’d be stopped at the landing, and there wasn’t enough time. It was a race against time, and I was losing. Tylenol and aspirin rolled past. I rifled through the mess on the floor, fingers finally closing around a rectangular yellow box. Tearing it out, I examined it to make sure. The expiration date was stamped on the front in black numbers. I scanned them hastily, heart beating madly. The darn thing had expired two years ago.

“What should I do? What should I do?” I started talking to myself, as I often do when I scared. Melanie didn’t reply, just gazed at me vulnerably. Her life might depend on me. I snapped my fingers when I thought of something, but it didn’t really work because my fingers were so sweaty that they just slid uselessly against each other. “Do you have an Epi-Pen?” Melanie began to nod furiously, her eyes brightening a little. “Stay here,” I ordered, as if she could move. I guess I wasn’t really talking about her physical body but her life. It had to stay. It had to wait for me to get back with the EpiPen. I ran up the stairs to the closet where Melanie’s family kept their medicine. Last time I was here, I’d caught a fever and I’d seen them rushing for this closet. Hurling the door open so hard that it bounced against the wall back at me, I started searching for the

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But could I use it? Should I? Briefly, I remembered reading that expired medicine shouldn’t be used. In life or death situations, with such a tiny margin for error, I couldn’t afford it. I couldn’t afford to mess up such an important thing as her life. I continued the search, but there was only one Epi-Pen. Furious at the world, at time, at medicine for not lasting longer, at Melanie’s parents for not replacing their Epi Pen, I threw the Epi-Pen down and flew down the stairs out the front door. I didn’t have the time to check on Melanie-- she was only going to get worse anyways. I burst out on to the sun-scorched pavement barefoot, wincing as my feet slapped against the burning ground. I charged down the vacant street, careering on to the neighbor’s front porches. I rang the door bells, praying and hoping and hoping and praying that someone, ANYONE would open the door. After counting out ten


Work of art by Tyler Ryoo

seconds in jagged breaths, I padded back down the steps and darted into the next house. All I got in response to my ring was a dog’s barking. I strained my ears hard, but I didn’t hear any footsteps or voices. Swearing out loud, I tried the next door. For a second I thought I heard footsteps--but they were just the beating of my heart and my hopeful imagination. “Answer already!” I yelled, at little hysterically, at the door. My words bounced through the deserted street, flying back at me in a mocking way. Gritting my teeth, I crossed the street and began trying the other doors. After ten houses, I decided to run back, to check on Melanie. I felt guilty, leaving her alone in her house, itchy and

dizzy and scared. Casting one last wistful look at the houses, I turned around and pelted back down the street, back to the once cheerful-looking house that now just looked mocking and mean. The pink window-boxes, the carnations, smiling in the sun--so blissfully unaware of what was going on inside, of the life that was hanging in there, caught in between life and death. She was shivering now. Breathing was such an effort that it seemed she was actually going to give up on trying. “Breathe!” I scolded her, so harshly that she recoiled and I felt a nasty pang of guilt. “They’re coming soon,” I lied, staring hopefully out the window. “The ambulance. They’ll know what to do. Just hang in there.” There wasn’t much I could do for her.

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She barely seemed to hear me--she exerted so much effort in forcing herself to breathe that she didn’t have much strength for anything else. I got up and went out to the front yard, too anxious to just sit still and watch my best friend’s oxygen be sucked away.

her when she left our world, but I was at my house, still asleep, unaware that when I returned to Earth, Melanie wouldn’t be waiting for me there anymore.

When I returned, Melanie’s hazel eyes were closed, and her breathing was muted. Her chest still rose and fell as she breathed, but she didn’t respond when I touched her shoulder. She was still here, though, still holding on. Still alive, but for how much longer? Loads of people think that the sound of an ambulance siren is irritating and screechy, but it was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard, when it careered down the street, sirens blaring, lights flashing. I ran out to meet them, relieved to find that finally, finally I wasn’t alone. They loaded her, still unconscious, on to a gurney and carried her in to the ambulance. “Will she be okay?” I asked nearly every medic I saw, but they just said: “We’ll do our best.” in a sad sort of way that didn’t exactly fill me with hope. I was given a ride home, where Dad was waiting for me on the porch with a relieved smile. I nodded at him, walking indoors and up to my room. I crumpled on to my couch in all my clothes and crashed out before Dad could follow me upstairs, forgetting everything that had happened the moment my eyes closed. *** Turns out the doctor’s “best” wasn’t enough. Melanie passed away that fateful night, at eleven o’clock, which she’d always said was her favorite number. Her parents were with

Mom told me when I woke up, reminding me that we’re all going to die someday, and that Melanie’s “someday” just came a bit sooner than it was expected. If that was Mom’s attempt at consolation, it seriously backfired. *** Her desk is still there. It still sits in front of me, Melanie’s name tag taped on the top. No one bothered to take it off, and it was almost summer so no one ever moved to sit in her seat. Now I can see the board. Now there’s no waving hand to block it. But now there’s also no one to talk back to the teacher. No one to correct his mistakes or argue for the class. No one to play devil’s advocate. It’s like there’s a gap in our class, a piece that’s missing, that we all try to ignore. But we know that there isn’t nothing to replace her. Everyone stares glumly at the seat in front of me, wishing, hoping, remembering. Even her enemies pause when they brush past her desk to purse their lips and sigh. I don’t know if you can hear me, Melanie. But if you do? We miss you. A lot.

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Dying Embers of Love By Matthew Li

In the end it didn’t matter. It didn't matter whether he gave her the necklace or not. She would always hate him. Always hate him for being clueless, being clueless that she loved him, clueless that he even had feelings for her.

the end it didn’t matter. She was in tears by the time he tried to apologize. She slapped him and ran off. People stared at him, but he just got on the train. Now he regretted it all. He regretted not telling her, not staying with herHe regretted even meeting her. If he had never met her, they would have never had this argument. He would have never broken her fragile heart. He never would have put out those strong flames of love.

He sat on the “But in the end it didn’t train, twenty-yearold Kirisaki Eins. He matter. She was in tears by the sat on the red, cushioned, back-totime he tried to apologize.” back seats of the oldfashioned car, his small suitcase on the luggage rack over his He watched the shadowed blurs of trees head, his laptop resting on his lap, open to a and houses rush by, splashed on top of the blank word document. He stared out the window, standard Apple ear-buds stuffed into darkening orange sky. The bluish clouds slowly crawled across the stop. his ears, softly ringing out depressing music, They reached their second of six stops. while his right hand clutched the pearl necklace He sat there as some passengers collected their luggage and moved to the doors. It had been just ten minutes ago. He had been standing on the train station After all of the platform, about to move from home, when passengers had left, a woman walked into the the woman that admired him so much. Katie car. She wore normal, everyday clothes, but her Saunders. Saw him, walked up to him, asked face was covered by a white veil. him what was wrong with him. Why had he rejected her. Why didn’t he realize his feelings “May I sit here?” she asked Kirisaki with for her earlier. Then they could’ve lived a an angelic voice. happier life. A warm, joyful life full of “Sure,” he grunted in reply. She sounds happiness and love. just like Katie, he thought. Of course, he tried to apologize by giving a beautiful pearl necklace to her. But in

“That’s a beautiful necklace,” she said as the sat down. “You want it?” he asked throwing a lazy glance at her.

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“Oh I couldn’t take it! It’s probably a gift for your girlfriend, right?”

He placed the necklace over her neck, and she smiled at him happily. “I realized that you were the one. You’re my true love, Kirisaki,” she embraced him as he stood on the platform in shock and awe.

“Nope. I don’t have one anymore,” he replied sadly. “Oh…I’m sorry,” she said sympathetically.

He returned the hug and stroked her silky hair.

“It’s fine,” he said.

“And you’re mine, Katie.”

For the rest of the train ride, they talked about their own lives. The woman had apparently just broken up with a man she loved as well, who had tried to give her a parting gift, but she was too saddened to accept it.

Just a Photo By Ingrid Huang

“I mean, he never knew I loved him… and then he moved away…” Sounds like Katie and I, he thought, holding the pearl necklace in both hands. The pearls shined from the lights in the car, casting small spots of light onto the floor and chairs. “So, who was this woman?” The veiled lady asked. “Katie. Katie Saunders,” Kirisaki answered softly, a sad look in her eyes. The train screeched to a stop. Kirisaki stood up and grabbed his suitcase. “Goodbye,” he called over his shoulder. He didn’t notice that the woman followed him out onto the platform, and when she grabbed his wrist, he whirled around in surprise. “I thought your stop was further down the-“ he was cut off as she pulled off her white veil. It was Katie. “K-K-Katie…” Kirisaki stammered, “Give me that necklace, silly,” she replied to him, her voice warm and full of care.

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I just had enough money to go onto the Internet again. Finally. It was good years ago, until mom died because of a car crash. Dad got sad and went more mean to me. He kept on grumbling about the stupid drunk driver that crashed into mom. He’s not much better. He just drinks and drinks. I can do nothing to stop him. I’m stuck with dad. Dad doesn’t work. He can only sit there and stare off into space. We have no money, no food, not really a house neither. More like a vacant lot. I’ve sold all the furniture for money. Now I’m rich, now I am. I’ve got enough money to care for dad and he can have a better life. How awesome. I’m 14, not ready to work yet. I never went to high school. That was how young I was when my mom died. I had to think of a way to care for my dad. Let’s think back to a year ago. Hmm… I was poor and practically living on the streets. I had to dig into the garbage in order to find some decent food. One day, I was lucky and saw something shiny in the snow on the sidewalk. Something silver. Something like a dime. Happily, I picked it up. It was really nothing compared to now, but it was money, and money is money. I stuffed the dime into my


right pocket. I was happy. You can’t find something like that everyday. I skipped happily home. I told dad that I found a dime. He didn’t understand. Impatiently, I stuck my fingers into my right pocket. But there, I found nothing, but a hole.

The next day, dad forgot everything he did. He didn’t even notice the back door was broken. How drunk could he get? He slowly walked to the door and out to the streets. BEEP, BEEP!

“Hey you old man! Watch where Dad called me a liar once he you’re goin’! Don’t rush onto the road! Wait understood. He pushed me out of my own for the light you old man! Get the heck out of house and told me I couldn’t get into the here!” the driver shouted. Dad didn’t even house until I find that dime. I searched and look at him. He just went on his way, making searched until midnight. I was so stupid. It the driver even madder. That’s why dad’s was in my other pocket really sick. The driver the whole time. When I beat him up. I couldn’t “I hugged, I cried, got home with my head do anything, just watch. held high, dad was I know what you’re I smiled, I laughed asleep. I knocked on the thinking. He wasn’t door. No answer. I exactly nice to me, but and then decided he was asleep so what could I do? Pound I walked to the back my tiny 13-year-oldit was door. That door is fists on him? He’ll just always open. I twisted throw me away like the doorknob. Didn’t garbage! Dad was sent budge. to the hospital because someone called the I leaned hospital and the man, that driver drove away against the door. Maybe the old man isn’t without looking back. I was left alone at always so drunk. I swore. Outraged, I kicked home. I could take care of myself, just not the door. It wobbled. dad.

all over.”

No big deal. It was an old door anyways. I pretended the door was my dad. More anger got into me and I kicked the door harder. Now it had a dent in it. I kept on kicking and the door became more and more weak. Wearily, I kicked the door a final time. Everything fell silent and you could’ve heard a pin drop (not literally. There’s snow here). Suddenly, the door fell. Dad slightly roused from his sleep but he was too drunk to get up. I had the urge to slap him, but as a Christian, I had to OBEY my dad. How pathetic.

One day I was walking down the street and saw a sign on a table. Curiously, I peered at it. ‘Enter a photograph for a dime to win $50,000,000! Enter now! Interesting and fun! Enter a photograph of anything! Only for a dime!’ it said. Hmm… Maybe I should try it. “Hey, girl! You entering this?” a man said. I raised my eyebrow. Last time, an old man tricked me. He wanted a nickel. I gave 3 nickels to him to get more of a chance. There wasn’t even a contest. What a trickster. I hesitated. Shoot, I really want to enter, but I don’t have my dime anymore. If I win, I

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could win money to keep dad and me alive for a long time. I slowly shook my head to the man. “Just looking,” I whispered, afraid to tell the truth. I put my hands in my pockets and I fidgeted. I stopped right on my tracks. What did I touch? Something dusty and cold was in my pocket. I took it out. It was covered with dirt. It was shiny. The light beamed off the sun and into my eyes. I could see it now. It had something on it. Was it a dime? WAS IT MY DIME? “Yeah, come on. You can do this. This better be my dime,” I mumbled. But no, it wasn’t. It was a nickel I saved before for a bottle I found on the streets. Tears filled my eyes. I really wanted to enter. “Hey kid, it’s fine, man!” The man shouted when I took another step to run away, “you have a dime?” Sniffing, I replied, “no” and took another step. “You have a nickel?” My eyes brightened up a little. “Yeah,” came my voice. “Kiddo, a nickel’s fine. You really wanna join don’t you?” the man asked nicely. I nodded and gave him my nickel. “You have a photo?” he asked. Fear took over my eyes. He must have understood. He took out a camera, one of those old ones that published the photo right away, and gave it to me to use. . I smiled like I have never smiled before after mom died. He only let me take one, which was fine with me. He looked like he didn’t know where to let me take it, so only let me take it to the children’s playground. Leaves blew around in the wind and I ran with my hair blew behind me. The man laughed and ran with me. 30

“STOP!!!” I screamed. Startled, the man jumped back. I laughed. It was only a sandpit in the playground. I stopped and knelt and took a picture. I published it and gave it to the man. He raised his eyebrows and smiled. “Nice picture, kiddo,” he said and patted my back. I smiled and told him it’s time I go back. He nodded. That time, I loved him like I loved my mom and loved him for giving the chance I’ve waited for. We went separate ways backs to each other and he never looked back. I waited until the results came out for the contest. I’VE WON! I’VE WON!!!! I’VE WON!!!!!! Now to think of it, it was a great moment. A moment I’ve cried with joy with the man, Simon, he says his name is, patting my back and letting me lean on him. The love came rushing out. I hugged, I cried, I smiled, I laughed and then it was all over. I traveled to the hospital and asked the doctor to lead me to my dad. She smiled a smile, a smile that made an uncomfortable shiver travel through my spine. I waited. The woman didn’t move. She told me slowly that my dad was very sick. I nodded impatiently. I only wanted to see my dad. It’s no big deal. She told me that dad was really sick, so sick that he… died. Wait a second. Died? My DAD? The hate and anger for the past few years rushed out and I felt like choking her. Tears rushed out and I felt faint. Before the tears showed up, I bolt out the hospital door. Disbelief showed in my face. I rushed to where Simon is. He isn’t there. Never again, I will see him. Slowly, I walked away with my tears blurring my view. What will I do? What will I do?


Grains of Time By Natasha Thomas

Tick tick tick tick tick tick… Time. I’m sorry. It is all my fault. My fault time gives you life only to take it away again. My fault we live in a world full of chaos. I should never have touched something so powerful, but, I did. And here are the consequences. I have ruined the lives of you, me, and everyone else, really, I have. Perhaps you know nothing “better”, but believe me there was once “a better” and it was I who took it away. So before you find some other scientific reason to explain it, let me tell you how it came about, how I cursed man with time…

Tick tick tick tick tick tick… When Time was stopped on that gorgeous summer day the world was bliss. There was a type of peacefulness I fail to describe for there are no words to do justice to that deific simplicity. Just imagine a world of pure happiness, without a worry, what is it you guys called it? Heaven? The ideal utopia for everyone… well whatever it is that is what the world was like without time. It seemed everyone was happy living this nonchalant life, everyone, but me. I had been exposed to time before you see and ever since then I was a danger. Nothing, I repeat, nothing could satisfy my want for more. It was on accident of course, but that one innocent glimpse ruined me. Nothing could satisfy my arrogant ...Longing? Is that the right word? No, desire. That sounds good, my arrogant desire… Tick tick tick tick tick tick… The clockwork building was a large and intimidating structure, placed in the middle of town. Most people never went near it because they were scared of the “dangers” inside, but I was mostly fascinated. I guess I had always been drawn to powerful things, but I was unsuspected. I was sitting on the lawn like I did on most days, kind of just staring off into space. It was a typical day, before something caught my eye. It was just a flicker of some glimmering substance, it was there one second and gone the next, but that was enough to provoke me. I was overcome with curiosity and did what any senseless human would do: I walked towards it. The flicker came again, just for an instance, I grabbed for it and surprisingly

Work of art by Rhiannon Thomas

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enough grasped some silky material. Like a hands grasped the air madly for the curtain, curtain I pulled it back, just enough for me to but my hands remained empty. I was ready see inside. What I saw astonished me I was at to go insane. I was furious at the unjustness, first going to recoil—but no, could what I had I ran up and down the street looking for the just seen be real? I pulled my face slightly glimmer, but to my disappointment found further in. What first caught my attention none. I tried to head home and forget, but was the darkness peppered with little the moment the glimmer had caught my eye I twinkling morsels, it was spectacular to was a goner. behold; the little lights were dancing before Tick tick tick tick tick tick… my eyes as if inviting me. The sounds of the There was little else I could think of. I street outside faded as I pulled my head in frequently returned to the spot of the curtain, further. Now the only audible sound was an but always faced defeat. I could think only odd ticking. It was rhythmic and soothing, one thought: I needed to get back that but kind of creepy. I liked it. Tick tick tick mystifying world. tick tick tick… I surveyed the place in more detail I don’t know what squinting as I struggled it was that made me “It is all yours. to gather more light. It think I could find it in took a while for my eyes the clockwork building; to adjust as I wasn’t I just had this sense that You can be the one to accustomed to darkness, that was where my but soon the blurry answer was. Any normal edges of objects began to human would have take shape. It took me a thought I was out of my while to register that mind, and who am I to someone was standing in say I wasn’t, but I had front of me. Initially I this good feeling. No felt shock, but then the ticking lulled me into one ever went in the clock tower because they awe. The being before me paid me no notice, were scared of it. Some people went in and it just continued to stare composedly ahead never came out. That should have been a through its peculiar goggles, but what really good enough hint that this was a bad idea, sparked my interest was the orb it held in its but at the time I wasn’t thinking of anything, hands. It omitted a faint glow that I had but getting that glimpse of that magic I had originally thought belonged to another one of witnessed. I wanted to have more and maybe those twinkling morsels, but now that I saw it share it with the rest of the world. I was high I realized the glow was unique. Images on my own thoughts as I entered the danced in the orb in which I could not see building. clearly, but they comforted me. Everything Tick tick tick tick tick tick… seemed to beat in unison with the ticking; I My legs knew where to go. It was as if felt my heartbeat slowing to the same pace… it were instinctive, though I didn’t remember Tick tick tick tick tick tick… ever being inside the building I knew where I jerked back into reality as the whole to go. I made my way to a wooden door in a image vanished suddenly. I was back in my third floor corridor. It was the only room in own world. I blinked in the binding light my the hallway and gave off a warm feeling full

restart time...”

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of life. I was sure this was it when up close I was even able to detect that ticking noise. My fingers itched with anticipation as I struggled to open the door. After years of neglect the hinges were slightly rusty. I forced open the door expecting to see that dark sky and the person with the orb, but was a bit taken aback when I was overwhelmed with light. Gold shone from everywhere, spilling out of little sacks. It was a magnificent sight to behold, even more so because that was where —could it be? Yes, the gold was definitely the ticking source. I felt my body slipping into that trance again, being lured toward the ticking, every inch of me yearning to be involved. I went to a nearby bag picking some of the gold my hands letting it run through my fingers just like grains of wheat. “It is all yours. You can be the one to restart time” a voice in my head encouraged me. Time, so that was this lovely thing, I could no longer resist. Touching the gold I felt that same adrenaline rush as I had behind the curtain in that dark world full of lights. My body knew what to do and for the first time I noticed the wall covered in rusty gears. I set to work pouring the grains on the gears. Moving with the ticking, feeling the ticking inside of me, being the ticking. I did not even notice my human body slipping away from inside of me, being replaced with clockwork… Tick tick tick tick tick tick… I do not know how long it took, but at some point I realized that my body was no longer flesh, but metal, and leather. At some point I realized my insides were mechanics. At some point I started to realize the craziness of what I was doing, at some point I remembered why we had gotten rid of time in the first place. Living in one day for so long had made me forget our motives. I had forgotten it destroyed people. As I looked at the bags empty of time grains all over the floor I knew it was irreversible, we would

never escape it again. “What have I done?” I let out a moan, but no one could hear me, it was all too much. The burden of time was weight on my shoulders I never wished to have to bear again. Why did the world have to stop being perfect? Oh yes, that was right, it was my fault. All my fault. Tick tick tick tick tick tick… Time is a devil of human destruction and I was the one who cursed you with it. I am truly sorry. I’m sorry you were destroyed by my stupidity and I’m sorry that I sit here ticking, ticking, ticking until I rust.

Resiphoina By Trinette Wong

Her daydreaming is orchestrated by the likes of a golden sparrow, glittering, gleaming, and of pure gold, however light. It flutters around her head and suddenly disappears. She stands, undaunted by its sudden disappearance, but wonders where it might have gone. A whistle of golden flame wheels through the air and she feels compelled to chase this winsome sparrow. So into the air does the bird go, and her feet stay to the ground; nevertheless they take flight, the air slips past until all she sees is all that is around her, and she sees nothing, for the long blades of

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grass cease to exist and the pony’s paddock has passed into oblivion.

back of the animal, pondering what to do next when it lurched forward at a sickening speed. Brown hair whipping about, she struggles for a handgrip. Finally settling for the shimmering silvery horns perched atop her mounts’ head, she perceives that she is off to yet another possible unknown destination; the wind billows about her, whatever surroundings she once knew are ripped from the scene.

Replacing the whiteness is the red and yellow sea of poppies, swaying serenely; the soft hum of the intricately patterned wings of a monarch beating quickly; the smell of freshly baked apple pie wafting from the windows of the nearby cottage. When Serren Chamberlayne starts to the door of the quaint little house, she is on the receiving line of a very odd feeling that someone might be watching her, watching her with ravenous eyes. Eyes of hate and hunger and the running of an icy finger down her spine; she whirls around to see – Greeted by a peculiar creature of such abnormal proportions, she takes a step back cautiously, watches it with fearful eyes. She hesitates when a sound emanates from it; the gibber of a monkey, the unnerving hyena’s laugh, and the eagle’s scream. What unearthly creature is this? Its grey eyes - flecked with gold, regards her with a somber look. It lowers its head, as if it is about to charge into her; she flinches, expecting the worst; its eyes are fixed on the place where her heart should be; there is an earsplitting silence following – It leans itself forward; lowers itself to the ground, and tilts its head to the left, with large questioning eyes, as if it might be missing something. It suddenly occurs to her that this creature might not mean harm, for if it had, she would be dead by now. Flattened. Slaughtered. The girl is alive, all the same; this monster has not struck; instead inviting her to mount it. So she does; perhaps out of curiosity, or perhaps out of fear – fear that the beast might be insulted. She is on the

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Instantaneously, the creature comes to rest at a primrose yellow willow tree; it sags to its left, for all one knows, burdened with age. The beast once again lowers its head with the utmost respect. Serren clambers off briskly; yet again apprehensive about whether it might try to behead her, should she take too slow. Queenly, she curtsies, lifting the hem of her slate blue dress all but above her knees. It returns the favor with again the responding cross of monkey, hyena, and eagle; then leaves at a gallop. Serren, bright emerald eyes twinkling with curiosity, approaches the swaying fronds of the willow tree; reaching out, extending her arm, her fingers part the lush curtain to revealBeneath the azure sky, dotted with fleece clouds, sun beaming brilliantly, her eyes fall upon a single golden turret; her line of vision scampers down the single tower until it comes to rest on a charming palace; it sits majestically on the grassy outcrop, held aloft by none, hovering single-handedly. Serren Chamberlayne, always the unique, adventurous one of the group, has discovered the Forgotten Citadel. As if she has a choice, she eagerly starts towards the fortress; she dashes across the unoccupied plain the willow tree rests on. Moving like greased lightning, she reaches the end of the plain; a rickety bridge needs to be crossed in order to reach the citadel. This looks


promising, she thinks, stopping to stare doubtfully at the bridge moving to and fro with the wind. It doesn’t look like it can stand much, but what choice does she have? Cautiously, slowly, slowly, she outstretches her foot; steadily she lets it down, releasing her weight unto it; her eyes are wide with anticipation, and then shut tight with dread. Relief, glorious relief floods through as she deduces that bridge will not collapse. Filled with a new confidence, she keeps with small, timid steps; light-footed, as if tiny wings flitter on her shoes.

down, down, down, picking up speed as they go. At this point, of course Serren has noticed; she utters an ear-splitting shriek and it has dawned on her that this is no ordinary fairytale she is living; she is locked into a nightmare of grievous proportions. This unfortunate fall into the inky chasm results in both her and the beast alighting into the murky river that snakes across the bottom of the void. Serren, thinking, knowing she would see the end of her life in those shady waters, closes her eyes and with them goes her last sliver of hope…

Her feet touch the water first. It’s up to her knees; her waist; her shoulders; her chin; “Serren closes her and the rest of the turbid water closes over her eyes, and with them head.

All of a sudden, quicker than sound, the wooden plank her foot goes her rests on now caves in and splits in half; there is a sickening feeling as she is tossed forward; her hands scrabble for purchase; her legs cascade through the empty space where the plank once existed; cries of distress escape her lips. One by one, her fingers leave the rope and she is in free fall, all sense of direction left on top of the bridge and as she tumbles down into the black abyss, she hears a familiar call; the gibber, the laugh, the scream. Of course her prized companion comes to her rescue; is this not how fairy tales end? She watches as the wings suddenly materialize on its back and it glides toward her, surprisingly swiftly, and lands with a thump on its back.

last sliver of hope…”

Yes, Serren thinks. Safe again. Subtly, the beast nestled under Serren begins to change direction, so muted and artful; it shifts into a downward position; the wings recedes from view; they plummet

Now enveloped in the swampy water, she dares to open her eyes. What she sees – so beyond the definition of frightful; she is looking directly into the beast’s eyes; the charcoal, gunmetal eyes; the golden flecks; she stares into them with a dawning sense of dread. Then, an astounding thing should come about; the petrified girl finds herself being lifted up; something solid beneath her feet; she presses her hand against the glass – What glass? Alarmed, she swivels around to find herself in an elevator of some kind. Buttons appear on the side of the elevator, each one intricately patterned with a design of an animal. Serren’s eyes scan the buttons; daring to hope that the one she is searching for is there. And it is- between the anteater and the fluttering sparrow, she finds herself ogling the button with a human stamped onto it. A surge of exuberance fills her; she’s

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finally found the way out, this horrid nightmare will be no more – Quick as a panther, a hand slips past Serren, pushes a different button, one with a diamond pattern on it; and it forces Serren to the back of the elevator. Unable to move, Serren sits there. She knows she has to do something, but what? Then all rational thought leaves her mind as she sees through the glass, they are the sea instead of a river; dolphins leap around, squealing with delight. How she wishes she could be as joyful as they are. Suddenly, the dolphins are gone, replaced with a thick coating of snow, on which polar bears make footprints.

It finally registers in her brain – as she looked at the elevator buttons again – right above the button with the dolphin on it, rested a button with a polar bear engraved on it. She then notices that there is a mere three buttons left to go before she reaches her stopping place. Serren takes a shaky breath. She will not go down without a fight. But just as she is about to whirl around and leap at whatever has delayed her freedom, the elevator doors whoosh open; darkness falls upon them. She immediately realizes they are in a cave of sorts. Her heart thumping wildly, she peers into the gloom. So very, very glad you could come. An icy voice echoes across the cavern, and an ominous purple light is cast across the room, belonging to a single candle that lies in the corner. I haven’t had a visitor in such a long time. Shivers went down her back and her fists were clammy and clenched. I’ve been a bit lonely, you see. But you must be wondering where you are? Serren bit back the urge to scream, in case whoever was talking couldn’t see her and she didn’t want to give away her location. You’ve just come across the Forgotten Citadel. She shivers, daunted by the forbidding voice that rang across the grotto. I know where you are; there’s no use hiding from me. You’re right… here. A bloodcurdling shriek rings through the cave as Serren feels a hand on her shoulder. She crouches down, eyes shut tight, with all the nightmarish world inside her head. An invisible force, so powerful, forces her eyes open and she stares into the same gunmetal eyes, the same golden flecks, she sees her face reflecting inside them, her own eyes gaping with horror.

Work of art by Claire Tao

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She realizes, the beast isn’t there anymore, replaced instead with a thin humanly figure. Her eyes are sunken and her skin snow-pale and flawless. Her bony fingers tap gently on Serren’s shoulder, and proceed to wrap around her neck. Her ebony lips pursed into a thin, frosty smile, she bends down; tilts her head slightly, and her lips emanate a strange sizzling sound. Then her lips meet the trembling girl’s forehead. A dizzying sensation sweeps over Serren like a tidal wave. No, she thinks, this can’t be happening. She feels her knees buckle and the rest of her go to pieces. Blackness settles over her vision, and the last thing she sees is those same smoky eyes, golden lines flashing maliciously. This is the end. Something tickles Serren’s face gently. The blackness parts to a ribbon of powder blue sky; Serren blinks and turns to her side. Her emerald eyes focus on one single blade of grass; her vision fans out to the whole field of green. She hears the distinct song of the sparrow, and the feather-light beat of its wings. She is home.

Hero In You

battlefield on the planet Reach. Covenant aircraft scream over our heads. Hundreds of Grunts fall from the shots of our assault rifles. Jackals raise their energy shields, Hunters charge with their humongous hulk, and Elites charge forwards, full of honor. My part in this mission is to get the Nova-class bomb into their mothership. It's a suicide mission, of course. We all ran forwards, explosions occurring feet away, sending shrapnel into the air. Our Scorpion tanks fired their cannons, and the Covenant Banshees rained hell on us. I weaved through the field, past squealing Grunts and roaring Hunters, shooting anything that got in my way with my pistol. I held the bomb in one hand and armed it with my other. The sky was gray, and the Covenant warships cast huge shadows onto the ground. I watched a comrade of mine fall in front of me. I sprinted past and ran towards the mothership. Suddenly, another Spartan appeared next to me. “Jane!” I yelled over the COM channel. Jane had been my closest friend in the training program. She was kind and nice, but when it came to battle, she could be a lion. “Let’s go,” was all she said.

By Matthew Li

My name is Spartan-129, Matthew. I don’t remember my last name. I’m a Spartan III. Our team of soldiers is a top-secret operation by ONI, or the Office of Naval Intelligence. Right now I’m in hell. My team of two-hundred-and-ninety other Spartans are running across a

We dashed past the dead bodies and leapt over the debris. Jane fired upon an Elite who charged at her and fell. Suddenly.. “Ugh…” An energy sword impaled her stomach. “Jane!” I roared. She collapsed. I didn't stop running.

37


“Matthew…” she whispered. “Don’t stop. I know you can do it. I…love….y….you…” Her heart rate monitor flatlined. A wave of pain and sadness washed over me, but I kept on sprinting.

eventually took me to the Covenant ship’s reactor.

An Elite charged at me, raising its blue and white energy sword. “You Covenant son of a ...” I placed the bomb into the straps on myback and charged at the Elite. I punched its helmet head on, shattering it. I then grabbed its energy sword and charged towards the mothership, while saying, “Jane…”

I stood in front of the reactor and held the bomb. Thirty seconds. No time for evac.

Once the bomb went off here, this ship would go kablooie.

I wonder if mom and dad are still alive. I wonder what my last name is. I wonder if anyone liked me. I wonder… Twenty seconds.

What Earth is like. What the Covenant More Grunts and Elites charged. I eat. What emotions are. punched more Elites and Ten seconds. grabbed one more blade. I then started to slash “I stood in front of Who I really am. and hack away at the aliens, yelling with rage Five. the reactor and held and anger. Covenant blood spattered onto my Why, the bomb. black SI suit, dirtying the Four. once shining armor. “I’m going to kill every last one of you!” I screamed.

Thirty seconds.”

The swords’ batteries ran out. I tossed them aside, and pulled out my Magnum sidearm. I fired, and the shot resonated through the air.

A tear ran down my face. Three.

Jane…I saw Jane and I eating lunch together when we were twelve. I started to cry. Not just tears, but I began to cry and yell in pain.

A shadow loomed over me. I looked up, and there was the mothership, its huge hulk blocking out the sun.

Two. Dad…I saw my father and I playing back at my home when I was five.

I grinned. I ran into the gravity-lift, the beam that descended from one of the ship’s holes in its underside. The beam lifted me through the air, breaking the laws of physics, and

38

The Covenant forces in the hall turned to me. One.


Mom…I saw my mother holding me close when I was six-the year I was taken for the Spartan III program. I turned to the reactor. A huge wave of pain and sadness washed over me, and I sniffed.

Twenty-Two By Cindy Choi

Zero. I smiled. “Screw it.” I tossed the nuke. The bomb detonated. I said my farewell, and uttered, “See ya.”

One. Eight. Fifteen. Twenty-two… Twentytwo days since Hein left. Twenty-two days I have stayed alone. A bluebird’s song leaked in faintly through my windowpane. I shook my head as I rose slowly to answer the knock on the door. A creak from the door. A gasp from somewhere. The footsteps, so equal in their distance, a voice, so clear and welcoming… the sound I missed so much. Hein peeked at me from under her beret. “May I?” I nodded, slowly opening the door, my feet still planted in the brown tiles of the doorway. Small squeaks filed in the silence that filled the room. Hein, now in my slippers, sat down on my couch, the place she always used to sit whenever she visited. I closed the door. My leaden feet were heavy as I walked to the couch. “I… I wanted to tell you I was sorry. It was wrong for me to leave like that. I… I apologize.” A glance at my eyes. “But… but you don’t understand, Laene. They… they aren’t what you think… they…” Her words stopped with my glare.

Work of art by Claire Tao

No. No. No, no, no, no, no. Hein is wrong. Everyone is wrong. Nobody sees them for what they are. Only I do. Only me. Don’t they see what they do in names of God and love, peace, and goodness? They murder, condemn, torture. They steal, loot, burn, and rip apart everything that was ever built up. How was it that only I saw it?

39


“Laene…” I interrupt her. “Hein, shut up. You’re defending them? After all they’ve done? Don’t you see what they do? They’ve killed millions, Hein. Millions. Is this goodness? Is this the peace and love they talk about? Murder? Is that it?” I glared at her. “Don’t you remember anything?” Hein bit her lips. “Laene, you don’t understand anything. The condemned are the witches! Demons! Evil! They are the forces of the Great Deceiver! Why don’t you know that? They are not murderers. They are…” “No. No. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! You don’t know anything! So you’re completely brainwashed, eh? Don’t you remember anything? Don’t you remember how they took my family away, how they took all our life away? For the first time in his whole life, my father was begging for the mercy of those beasts. He was begging on his knees to spare my baby sister and my brothers. But they took them all. Them all, you hear! They took my baby sister! She was 2 months old, Hein, 2 months. And yet they took her, tore her away from the light of life. “Is this in the name of goodness? How can a 2-month-old baby be a creature of Satan? Hein, you know my family. They are not witches, nor are they demons. They didn’t deserve anything like that! Many times have I gone to see my family. Not once did I get to see them. Nobody knows what happened to them. The only clues I have are the taunting words I heard: ‘The old man died on his knees, begging for mercy.’ My father is dead, Hein. Till the end, he asked to spare my baby sister. And till the end they have kept her and killed her alongside my father.” I muttered softly, “A baby. A 2-month old baby. They took her. What that fragile soul has experienced, I can only imagine.”

40

Work of art by Claire Tao

Hein looked at me, her golden eyes pleading. “Laene, listen to me. They’ll kill you if you don’t submit. Your family worshipped Satan. They'll think you do, too, if you don’t submit. They can save you. You can be saved. We can go back to the old time, Laene. It’s possible.” An attempt at a smile. I gritted my teeth. “My family wasn't demonic! Your family wasn’t either. They took your family too. They took everything from me. From you. They took my family. They took you. They took my life.” I shook my head sadly and muttered, “They cannot be saviors. They are the demons.” “Leane…” “Speak no more.” Hein rose. She looked at me for sometime. As she reached for the door, she said, “Very well. I tried to warn you. One day, they’ll come, and you’ll plead for mercy. One day, you’ll remember my words. And that day is not too far away, Laene. We’ll come for you soon. Next time I come, it’ll be for your life. Farewell.” The creak of the door. Cold December air poured into my bare room. The bluebird flew away from my garden. Twenty-two. I smiled. It’ll be over soon.


The Cabinet By Olivia Tang

PREFACE I was dying. I could definitely tell. My heart was pounding so loudly, I thought it was going to explode. Stop it, I told myself. All you have to do is survive for one more hour. Just one more. Could I? Suddenly, the courageous hero’s ending I had imagined to receive seemed false and far away. Would I even reach that moment? Sweat poured down my face. I couldn’t see what was going on. Everything was changing colors and I felt too weak to do anything. I felt like I was suffocating. It was heat stroke, and I do not know how I survived so long with it, crammed inside a stuffy cabinet in a strange hall with no lights. The hall was so shiny that when I looked out of the crack of the cabinet doors my eyes were almost blinded. The light at the end of the hall reflected off the walls. Maybe they were made of metal or something. I had an urge to reach the light at the end, but I knew that if I did all my hard work from before, all the endurance, would be wasted. I had to go to the bathroom but somehow had gotten used to it or something because I didn’t have to anymore. It must be because I was dead.

or be reborn somewhere in the world, as someone told me. I trusted them, if you’re wondering why I would do something like this if he were lying. Maybe it would be better if I died. I wouldn’t remember this horrible moment and what I face now. My heat stroke made me too woozy and my head hit the back of the cabinet. Great, now besides heat stroke and breathing problems, you have an internal bleed in your head. Good job, you come this far and you have to die. You have to leave everyone if you die anyway. So don’t. It’s not a good choice, I said to myself in my mind. When would they come? Perhaps I would never leave this hall. “This is the hall of dreams,” my leader had told me. “Don’t stop dreaming while you’re in there.” Dream, I thought. Must dream. Suddenly my whole body slumped. Tears streamed from my closed eyes. I was dead. I tried to scream, but what came out was a scraping noise. “Come with me,” I heard a familiar voice say. “We can go to the pond and catch some fish. Mommy is there setting up a picnic.” Was I dead, and having a skim through my life, or was I dreaming?

I tried to remember everything I was doing this for. One was my own life. For a moment I wondered that maybe if I hadn’t come here I would’ve had a better chance of living. The thing was; if I hadn’t done this, I would’ve led a miserable life. And if I succeeded in this, well yes, I might die, but then I would have a good life if I survived; and even if I died I could go to the other side

41


Gluttony

NOTE FROM THE EDITORS Sloth Eye see you~ (Hah, geddit? Geddit?) No...? Okay. So these are the 7 Deadly Sins, and each one is represented by an eye. I don始t know why these are all eyes. Could始ve been a nose. Or a spleen. Pride, Lust, Greed, Sloth, Gluttony, Wrath, and Envy. Don始t do any of these things because something bad will happen to you after death. You might be reincarnated as a nematode or something.

Greed

Lust 42


Wrath

Works of art by Jeana Wei

Pride

Envy 43


Good Night By Matthew Li

In the middle of space, massive United Nations Battleships float through the meteor belt, severely damaged or crew-less. One such ship has lost its crew except for its emotionless AI, floating intact with its two large wings unfolded to its side and its long hull stretching out like an arrow. The AI announced the time in its unfaltering, monotone voice.

At seven forty-five, the bread of the sandwich was hard and cold, the tuna had lost its taste, and the bags of chips were still sitting where they had been placed. Arms woke up again, and their pincer-like arms folded out into wedges, pushing the food off of the counter and into the incinerator, as the suicidal paper plates leapt in after them to their fiery deaths, and the bags of chips were tossed down another chute.

“The time is seven o’clock A.M., identical “Eight o’clock, identical meantime.” meantime. All crew members report to the stated the AI. “Patrol Unit 4, please report to bridge for briefing.” It repeated with its flat the hangar and prepare to launch.” The hangar tone, as if hoping that the crew that was now doors pulled themselves up, the energy shield dead and decaying holding in the oxygen would pop back to and keeping the life, fresh and “The center of the desk deathly void out. Five alive. small Ace-class opened up, and a luxurious At seven starships rose from fifteen in the hatches in the floor, galley, robotic each one customized with arms willed by their pilots and themselves to life. donning a name rose up, its mouthToasters popped painted on their sides. out plates of tuna watering aroma dancing “Patrol Unit 4,” the sandwiches, while AI repeated. “Please the cabinets slowly around the room...” report to the hangar opened up, letting and prepare to the bags of potato launch.” chips fall next to the sandwiches, and dispensers tossed down Five minutes later, as if it had lost bottles of soda. The robotic arms grabbed patience, the AI released punishment onto each meal and placed them on the counter, Patrol Unit 4. waiting for the dead crew to pick them up and eat. “Patrol Unit 4, you have committed an act of insubordination. You shall report to jail They didn’t. cell block 5.”

lunch-steak fries

44


“Nine o’clock, identical meantime.” the AI said flatly. “Cameras, begin scanning.” Cameras strewn on the hull of the ship shuddered to life and began to pivot around, scanning the empty void around them. “Nine o five, identical meantime. Cameras have not sighted any possible threats. Continue normal routine.” Until a few days before, before the crew had been killed by the incredible highspeeds and G-forces, the ship had been bustling with voices. The ship was also very sensitive. At this moment, a small pebble bounced off of a window. A laser turret immediately woke up, locked on, and vaporized the poor rock with a single shot of superheated plasma. Its fellow comrades leapt up from their slumber and began to scan the area, searching for more hostiles. “False alarm. Stand down.” The AI

“Twelve o’clock, identical meantime.” A broken recorder at the foot of a door woke up from its sleep, whistling a six-note tune. The door computer recognized the tune, and the steel door slid open with a hiss, while a speaker in the ceiling of the spacious quarters said, “Good day, Captain Eins.” The desk in the center of the room hummed to life, and holographic screen popped up, casting blue light throughout the dark room. The center of the desk opened up, and a luxurious lunch-steak and fries-rose up, its mouth-watering aroma dancing slowly around the room. “Captain Eins, please select a song to listen to with your lunch.” The speaker rang. Silence. “Because you give no selection, the computer shall select one at random: Last Night, Good Night. Your favorite, I recall.”

said.

Soundly, peacefully.

The turrets swiveled side-to-side, as if shaking their mechanical heads clear, and dozed back into their peaceful sleep.

You’re sleeping so quietly. Here I am, sitting besides you,

“Eleven o’clock, identical meantime.”

A tear falls down my face,

In the ship’s lounge, round tables sprung up from the floor, while bottled drinks bounded from the dispenser onto the tables. Boxes of playing cards leapt onto the tables from the cannons that spat them out with a putt putt sound

As I look upon yours.

But no one went in to enjoy the drinks or play a game of poker.

Last Night, Good Night.

Momentary, beating of affections, But this heart of mine, Will it tell yours?

Last Night, Good Night!

At eleven thirty, identical meantime, the tables sank back into the floor slowly, as if saddened by the fact that no one had come to enjoy the game they could have played.

This voice, If it would dry out,

45


It is

“Venting atmosphere now!”

A melody.

The lower deck doors threw themselves up, letting the oxygen escape. As it gushed out like water, it cut down the fires and blazes like a mower cutting grass. The sudden release of the oxygen pushed the ship to the right, allowing it to barely dodge another stray meteorite.

Last Night, Good Night, Last Night, Good Night! Someday,

The ship made a valiant attempt to rescue itself from the flames of disaster. The sprinklers on the ceiling began to spin around like ballerinas, spraying water in scattered streams. The fires fell back a bit as the water cut them down.

We will meet, The last moment, I think of that and caress, The night sky.

The sprinklers shuddered and coughed to a halt.

I wish Ever-green-leaves, Never changing smile. Good Night. The song began to fade away quietly from the speakers. Suddenly, a large meteorite crashed into a smaller one, sending it hurtling towards the ship’s hull like a missile flying to its target. The large space-rock hit the hull and tore through the foot-wide titanium wall, hitting a fuel tank and it igniting it. “Fire on lower decks!” The AI cried.

Work of art by Teety So

46

Sirens blared and screamed as the water tank capacity level read zero. The fires picked themselves off of the floor and ran through the corridors once more. They eventually reached the propane tanks of the ship and lit them. The tanks blew a moment later, taking out a large chunk of the ship’s rear. More explosions resonated throughout the hull as small fuel lines caught fire and exploded, blowing up bits and pieces of the once magnificent ship, slowly but steadily eating the ship away.


The bridge remained intact, holding on for dear life as huge explosions rocked the ship like a baby in a crib. Monitors leapt up and yelled warnings, gauges ran to the left and right, and sonars spun around, making themselves sick. The AI’s disembodied voice split up into a whole choir, singing commands and notices through the speakers that were still clinging to this world. The ship was dying. All throughout the screaming of the AI, the yells of the monitors, and the roars of the flames, the small radio still sang in the captain’s quarters, oblivious to the fact that the whole ship was the meal of the huge flames. The ship finally surrendered, breaking apart into burnt, charred chunks, resisting at first, like a family unwilling to separate, but finally letting go all of their bonds. The steel beams and girders hidden within the walls prodded out like jagged teeth. The captain’s quarters was still intact, floating through space like a swimmer in water. The walls and ceiling were still stuck to the floor, keeping the box-appearance. The small radio continued to sing the last two words of the song, over and over again. Good Night, Good Night, Good Night…

The Light of the Moon By Ashley Wang

She stares at her feet, the flowing skirts of her white dress rising with the movement of her knees as she climbs up the rocky steps.

The rocks are surprisingly even, the warm temperature the outcome of the afternoon sun’s rays. She shields her eyes with her hand, squinting into the sunlight of the setting sun. ‘Almost there,’ she thinks. The contrast between the cliff and the sun peeking from behind it is amazing, and for a moment she regrets not bringing her camera. She can’t help letting out a sigh, wondering if she would be able to print the photos later, even if she’d remembered to bring it. Quickening her pace, she soon reaches the top of the cliff. She walks over hesitantly. Carefully seating herself at the edge of the cliff, her legs dangle high over the water beneath, the pale fabric of her dress spread out around her. The cerulean water of the ocean sparkles in the sunlight, seemingly stretching on to the end of the world. She glances down at the waves, white foam breaking against the pale sand. They’re spinning around, laughing, his large, tan hands intertwined with her pale, smaller ones. He falls down onto the sand, pulling her down next to her. She can’t stop laughing, the dizziness making her hysterical. She slowly stops laughing, twisting her head around to look at him, a smile still on her face. He’s looking back at her, his hazel eyes serious, and her smile slowly fades away. He pulls out a box from his pocket and gets up on one knee. “Emily Nicole Arreguin, will you marry me?” His expression is nervous, waiting impatiently for her answer. As if she could ever say no. “Of course I’ll marry you,” she tells him, throwing her arms around him. Grinning widely, he gently unravels them from where they are clinging tightly to around his neck and puts the diamond ring on her outstretched hand. The waves wash

47


against their feet and the cliffs tower high above them, as if all the world wants to be a part of their incredulous joy.

Incredulously, her heart beats even faster upon seeing the heave of the officer’s chest as he takes a deep breath.

A lone tear trails down her cheek. Everything had been perfect back then – before the war, before he left.

“We regret to inform you, ma’am, but your fiancé Derek Alexander Underwood was shot on September 17th, 2010 at around fourthirty in the afternoon. He was immediately sent to the hospital, but the wound proved to be fatal and he died at around seven in morning on September 18th, 2010.”

The doorbell rings. She opens her mouth to call out his name, but then she remembers that he’s gone, off to fight in the war. The doorbell rings again. She quickly turns off the stovetop and walks out of the kitchen, her black hair up in a bun. “Coming, “ ‘...How would coming,” she calls. “Patience is a virtue.” Emily?’ Isabel Opening the door, she sees what appears to be a police officer, judging from his uniform.

‘I’d

die

He wasn’t the only one who’d died. Her dad had died from a heart attack about a you die, year before Derek, her mom from lung asks. cancer three years later, and her older brother when she was just a teenager.

falling.’ ...”

Thoughts race through her head as she tries to figure out the reason the man is there, her mind wandering from possibility to possibility. What would be so important that a police officer would be required to personally tell her the announcement, instead of delivering a mere letter? ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ she asks herself. ‘Derek could be dead.’ She’s astonished at how quickly the thought came to her mind, though the mere thought sends a shiver down her spine. ‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ she tells herself.

“Yes?” she inquires politely, her anxiousness betraying her as she apprehensively brushes an ebony curl behind her ear.

48

She was alone.

The townspeople, they’re whispering behind her back. They think that just because she’s depressed, just because she’s alone, that she won’t know what they’re saying. They don’t know that she heard their every word, clear and pronounced. “Poor girl.” “Must be terrible, to lose so many in such a short time.” “She must be going insane with grief.” “I do think she’s going crazy, you know. She’s been wearing the dress ever since she received the letter.” “I really don’t know what she’s going to do now, with nobody to support her. What can she do?” The words hurt, shards of glass cutting into her skin. They don’t know anything. They


never will. She knows she’s not crazy, that she’s not insane.

Underwood. She doesn’t know how she knows that Leah’s a girl. She just does.

She found out that she was pregnant shortly before he left, two months before the letter. Without him, what would be the point of raising Leah up? Without him, her daughter wouldn’t have a father figure in her life, and she would be working so much to keep their lives going that she wouldn’t be much of a mother either. But she is halfDerek, half herself. She sighs, looking down at the sea, remembering a conversation she’d had with her friends when she was just a freshman. She isn’t quite alone, she knows. Looking down. “I’m so sorry,” she tells her unborn baby. She’s six months old, and she already has a name for her. Leah Jessica

“You know, if I could choose how I died, I’d want to die with a gunshot through my head. It’d be quick and painless,” Erin, one of her best friends, blurts out of nowhere. Her other friends all give her a weird look. After all, most people don’t talk often about how they’d like to die. But then, Erin wasn’t most people. “Well, I wouldn’t,” Isabel replies. She was always the one who couldn’t help but argue back “I’d die in my sleep.” “What’s the point of dying in your sleep? It’s so boring. I’d much rather die in

Work of art by Jeana Wei

49


a plane crash or something. Better yet, I’d survive a plane crash, but die in the desolate place that I end up in!” Emily can’t help but smile, her green eyes twinkling, at her friend Olivia’s excitement, though she has to admit it’s a rather strange way to die. “How would you die, Emily?” Isabel

She blamed it on the rest of the world. There was no way that they would ever get married now. Her parents were dead, her brother – the best man – was dead, and the groom was dead. The groom was dead. How do you have a wedding without a groom? The answer was simple. You don’t.

asks. “I’d die falling.” The cliff was rather high up – thirty meters, perhaps more. She’d never bothered to count. She stands up, brushing the dirt off her dress. She’d fallen in love with the dress when she first saw it in the shop – short white sleeves, the waist of the dress adjusted so that it was at her ribcage, the off-white fabric loose and flowing above her ankles. Of course, it didn’t fit in the stomach area as well as it would if she wasn’t pregnant. But then, Leah was a small baby, and the bump was barely noticeable under the loose fabric. It was her wedding dress. Today would’ve been their wedding. The fourteenth of February – Valentine’s Day. It’d been his idea, actually. He was a romantic – one of the things she’d loved about him. Still loved about him. “When are you coming back, Derek?” she asks him, her emerald green eyes wide.

In middle school, she, along with all of her classmates, had been forced to learn how to dive. She remembers beaming proudly when the teacher praised her ‘natural ability’ while the other students shot her jealous glares. Furrowing her eyebrows, she tries to remember how to dive again. She clasps her hands above her head, her arms straight and covering her ears. She slowly bends down, her upper body at a forty-five degree angle from her legs. Her toes are curled around the edge. Once again, she’s quite thankful that the rocks on the cliff are smooth. The sun is dangerously close to the horizon now. The wind is exhilarating, whipping through her hair and stinging her eyes. The aquamarine waters reflect the tranquil expression of the young girl far below, her image wavering. And with just a mere blink of the eye, the sun has set.

“They said I can get back in three months,” he replies, his brown hair in his eyes as he bends down to kiss the top of her head. “Just keep out of mischief while I’m gone, okay?”

But there remains the light of the moon.

She’d kept out of mischief, as he’d said. But he hadn’t. He’d gotten shot. It wasn’t his fault. She didn’t blame it on him.

50


Fixing a TV for Dummies By Ethan Kiang

It is Sunday morning and you wake up grumpily and wearily to the sound of a doorbell. You stumble down the stairs and open the door. A new TV magazine appears sitting on the steps to your house. Immediately, you snatch the TV program and shut the door. You stare at the TV program in bewilderment and joy as you see that the show Boom is back in the channel and will start again today at 1. All the sleepiness seemed to have instantly drained out of you. You whoop, jump, dance for joy. There simply is no way to describe how delighted you are.

It just seems hard to believe that of all the possible times, your TV just broke down when then show is about to begin. You just can’t miss the show. Why of all times does the TV have to break at a point like this? In anger, you slap the TV hard and black and white dots start dancing on the screen. Then an image starts fuzzing onto a screen until you are seeing a spectacular image of Boom exploding boom under the sea. There is nothing like relaxing and watching TV on a Sunday afternoon.

However, the seconds tick slowly forward one by one. One by one, the minutes gradually pass away. Time seems to be postponing that show. Eventually, it is 1 o clock and that show is about to begin now.

AWESOME!

Immediately, you settle down quickly and lean back on the couch. While munching and crunching your crispy chips, you start reclining back on your couch and press the on button on your remote. You stare at your blank screen. You now jab the on button, glaring at a null screen. You are really desperate and you really don’t want to miss that show. Both anger and anxiety starts to build up in you. When you flick the switch, the TV just won’t go on. Hastily, you check all the wiring to see if it is correct. It is. You check if the TV is plugged in. It is. You check if the TV is on yet. But it isn’t.

Art of work by Judy Kam

51


shout into  his  ear  what  a  stupid  fool  he  is  and  he   wouldn’t  even  hear  it  and  even  if  he  could,  he   wouldn’t  understand,  he’d  just  sit  there  with  that   same  smile  and  look  at  you  like  you  had  patted   him  on  the  back  or  somethin’.  I’m  glad  he  cain’t   hear  all  that  stuff  when  it  comin’  from  other   people,  but  sometimes  I  wish  he  could  hear  it   comin’  from  me.  No  matter  what  I  do  or  say  he   jus’  keep  on  smilin’  like  the  happy  fool  that  ‘e  is,   too  dang  stupid  and  innocent  to  do  otherwise.  

My Brother By Natasha Thomas

Back  in  the  days  when  we  all  used  to   play  down  by  the  waterhole  in  the  summer   time,  everything  was  long  and  lazy-­‐like.  The   whole  world  was  set  in  that  phase  like  that  type   when  you  wake  up  early  in  the  morning  jus’   sittin’  in  bed  starin’  up  at  the  ceiling  fan  as  it   He  also  don’  have  any  idea  how  stupid  it  looks  for   sways  around  and  around.  All  time  and   a  twelve  year  old  to  go  ‘round  holdin’  her  older   meaning  ceased  to  exist  all  lost  to  the  buzz  of   brother’s  hand  like  he’s  three.  Now  I’m  always   insects  and  the  thick  moist  air.  Those  were  the   havin’  to  slap  his  thumb  outta  his  mouth  or  grab   best  o’  times;  when  Buckwheat  could  come   ‘im  so  he  don’t  go  runnin’  after  someone’s  dog.   with  me  and  no  one  cared,  those  were  the   I’m  always  gettin’  stares  from  onlookers  thinkin’   times  when  we  were  too  stupid  to  go  ‘round   they’s  all  smart  shakin’  their  sorry  heads  in  pity.   judgin’  anyone  and  when  no  one  cared  if  you   I’ve  half  a  mind  to  tell  ‘em  to  keep  their  big,  fat   were  any  different.  Those  were  times  of  bliss   shakin’  heads  and  clucks  and  pointin’  >ingers   when  nothin’  mattered  other  than  you  can  play   away  a’fore  I  bite  ‘em  off,  but  I  jus’  keep  on   a  game  or  cain’t.  Sometimes  now  I  wonder   walkin’  only  pausin’  to  give  them  a  death  stare.  It   what  happened  to  that.  When  did  we  all   wan’t  no  different  today,  cept  for  I  wasn’t  payin’   change?  When  did  people   no  attention  to  no  onlookers,  I   decide  to  start  their   had  a  purpose  in  my  stride,  I   judgin’?  I  s’pose  it’s  part  o’   knew  where  I  was  goin’,  and   “TJ’s smile faded. growin’  up  though  I  ain’t   none  o’  them  fools  were  gonna   “Wha’d ya bring that always  ready  to  accept  that. ruin  it.

piece o’ trash in here When we  >inally  got  there,  I   Buckwheat  was  born   dumb,  dumb  as  those   pried  my  brother’s  hand  loose   for?” godforsaken  stray  dogs   from  my  stiff  >ingers,  darin’  him   snif>in’  down  by  the   to  grab  me  again  with  my  eyes.   dumpster.  They’s  always   The  alley  was  dark  as  hell,   thinkin’  they’ll  >ind  somethin’  enough  to  >ill   probably  the  darkest  place  in  town,  even  in  broad   their  empty,  sagging  bellies,  they’s  always   daylight  it’s  like  you’s  many  miles  underground.  I   waitin’  for  the  dinner  that  ain’t  never  gonna   beckoned  for  Buckwheat  to  follow  me  into  the   come.  And  Buckwheat,  with  that  little  head  of   abyss,  but  he  just  stood  there  lookin’  straight  at   his  and  those  big  ears  and  that  goofy  grin   me.  “C’mon  you  good  for  nothin’  fool!”  I  walked   plastered  across  his  face,  Buckwheat’s  just  the   over  to  him  and  grabbed  hold  of  his  wrist,  but  he   same.  He  looks  just  as  expectant  as  them  mutts,   remained  rooted.  I  pulled  at  his  wrist  and  he   expectant  like  he  believes  life  is  waitin’  for  ‘im   pulled  back,  and  won  cause  he’s  a  hell  of  a  lot   just  around  the  corner,  but  truth  is  that  his   bigger’n  me.  “Shoot,”  I  said  lookin’  at  ‘im,  ‘e   whole  life,  ‘e’s  just  gonna  be  stuck  in  the  same   smiled  back  at  me  obviously  not  planning  on   place  always  waitin’,  always  smilin’.  You  could   budgin’.  “This  ain’t  a  game  we’re  talkin’  about!”  I   52


said, “Now  come  on!”  I  began  to  walk  and  much   to  my  satisfaction  ‘e  followed  me.  As  we  went,   the  alley  got  darker,  the  warehouses  and   towerin’  above  our  heads  became  more  ‘n  more   ominous.  “C’mon,  Buckwheat”  I  said  into  the   silence,  though  I  knew  he  couldn’t  hear  me.  My   voice  sounded  weird  echoin’  off  the  buildings   and  I  couldn’t  help,  but  waver  in  my  speech.   Buckwheat  was  close  behind  me,  eyes  wide,   suckin’  away  at  ‘is  thumb.  “You  scared?”  I  asked   him  as  I  reached  out  my  hand  for  ‘im  to  grab.   He  relaxed  and  so  did  I  under  the  familiarity  of   each  other’s  touch 2309.  That  was  it.  The  black  painted  door  with   an  X  scratched  into  it,  just  like  it  had  said  on  the   note  Missy’d  passed  to  me  in  school  while  we   were  pretendin’  to  listen  to  the  teacher.  I   pushed  it  open  a  crack  just  to  be  sure  and  there   was  the  gang,  all  sittin’  round  smokin’,  the   booze  sittin’  at  the  table.  “‘Ey!    Zoe!  You  made   it!”  TJ’s  cracklin’  voice  sounded  from  the  corner   and  I  felt  my  stomach  contract.  As  I  stepped   forward  I  attempted  a  laid-­‐back  wave  pullin’   buckwheat  through  the  door  behind  me.  TJ’s   smile  faded  at  the  sight  of  my  brother  and  he   said  to  me,  “wha’d  ya  bring  that  piece  o  trash  in   for?”  

brother, but  he  looked  back  at  me  easily  sayin’   “C’mon  Zoe  take  the  fool  home  or  you’s  got  no   business  bein’  here.”  I  looked  towards  Missy  and   the  girls  for  back  up,  but  she’s  too  wasted  to  care   and  the  ones  that  were  sober,  just  raised  a  brow.   Then  I  look  at  my  brother.  His  eyes  were  wide,   and  he  looked  at  me  almost  pleadingly.  I  could   sense  his  distress  pullin’  at  the  back  of  my  mind.   He  weren’t  smilin’  as  ‘e  tugged  at  my  arm.  He   looked  downright  scared  out  o’  his  wits. “Alright,”  I  >inally  said,  breaking  the  silence.  I  was   looking  directly  at  TJ  when  I  spat,  “let’s  go”  and  I   lead  my  brother  out  the  door.   “Zoe!”  TJ  yelled  after  me,  but  I  didn’t  turn  back,  I   wouldn’t  give  ‘im  that  satisfaction. “Let’s  run”,  I  said  lookin’  at  Buckwheat,  past  his   terri>ied  stare.  I  pulled  at  his  arm  and  we  ran,  just   like  we  used  to  do  playin’  tag  by  the  water  hole  in   the  summer  time.  I  had  forgotten  how  fast  ‘e   could  go  as  we  ran  out  of  the  alley.    TJ  was  right,   he  was  smart  enough  to  be  scared,  smarter  than  I   was  walkin’  into  that  place.  Somewhere  down   there  Buckwheat,  just  knew.  And  as  we  reached   the  street,  hunkered  over,  out  of  breath,  I  saw   Buckwheat  smile  and  so  did  I.

“’E’s my  brother,”  I  replied  evenly,  my  voice  is   as  steady  as  I  could  manage. TJ  stared,  “Aw,  c’mon  Zoe.  We  know,  but   nobody  ain’t  ever  invited  him.  This  is  a  club,  ‘s   not  like  you  can  come  in  bringin’  whoever  the   hell  ya  want!”“E’s  my  brother,”  I  said  again,   stronger  that  time.  “And  it’s  not  like  he’ll  go   round  tellin’  on  us.  You  know  ‘e  cain’t  talk,  or   even  know  what’s  ‘appenin’.”  I  feel  my   brother’s  grip  tighten,  and  he  lets  out  a   whimper.   “Is  that  so?  Well,  he’s  got  sense  enough  to  be   scared,  don’  ‘e?”  TJ  smirked.  I  stared  at  ‘im   darin’  him  to  make  another  move  against  my   Work of art by Teety So

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My True Love By Mike Cheung

I said, “ This is a polluted city, but heck, lets go out. We'll ride the train for hours to go to the down town area, and when we leave the train station, we'll look up and see only a few stars, but that doesn’t matter. Let us walk down the alleys of the city where our own thoughts can echo off the walls, but be too dark to see. I want us to walk out and the first thing we see would be the fountain show with the multi colored lights shining, and to be followed by the fire works where we hear the bangs and booms of the people’s joy, I want to hold your hand as we see off to the distance, to the lights as they shine, and I want to come back home with you in my arms, and to set you down on your bed, then kiss you good night.”

I want to wake up in the middle of the night, hike all the way down to the car, and drive as fast we can back home for hours. We can be sleepy, but still have a fun time, see things that aren’t there, and laugh at the most stupid things. When we get home in the early morning, I want us to fall flat and sleep in the matter of seconds.”

The next morning during the exams that will determine lives, we laid our heads on our desks and she said, “I am sorry.” I said back, “Sorry for what?”

But she said, “Nah, I want to get away from the city life, and go the Great Wall. I want to drive for hours in a car, be next to you and talk all the way there. When we get out, we will be in a place where we can look up and see all the stars we want to see. I don’t care if it’s cold, you can sleep next to me, if you snore, I will still be able to sleep in peace because I'll be next to you. Work of art by Judy Kam

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Cassandra By Stephanie Du

Cassandra was the daughter of Posiedon and Narydice, mortal queen of Corinth. The king, Aeuous was ecstatic when his wife was pregnant, not knowing that the child was Poseidon’s, not his. Narydice hoped that the expecting child would resemble her. Unfortunately, the child, a girl took after her father’s looks, windblown black hair and sea green eyes. The king was suspicious at first but came to a boiling rage when he discovered the unmistakable scent of seawater on Cassandra. He ordered his wife and the child to be executed. But the queen conjured up with a brilliant plan; she might not save herself, but would definitely rescue her daughter, for she knew that a child of Posiedon couldn’t drown. Just before the execution, Narydice threw her into the sea. One day, a Nereid called Penteslia found the baby floating; she called her Cassandra and gave her as a gift to Posiedon. Posiedon was exhilarated at this offer, knowing that this was his daughter. As Cassandra grew, he told her stories of Greek heroes and tantalized her by telling her that one-day she will too, be an unforgettable hero. But Posiedon knew that his child was a girl and there were hardly any girl heroes. Yet, Posiedon was wrong. When Cassandra was twelve, she became more and more aware of her birth. When she asked her father, he told her all that had happened. Cassandra was in wrath, how dare King Aeuous kill her mother. All the girl wanted now was revenge. Without telling her father, she packed for the journey, a bag

filled with a canteen of nectar, a box of ambrosia, and a dagger. She set off for an oracle called Pythia, swimming through the seas. She heard from the fishes that she took sanctuary in a cave on a volcanic island known as Montheca. By the time Cassandra stumbled on Pythia, the oracle started a seizure, green smoke seeping from her mouth, coiling into a serpent, she rasped, Head west to your homeland And rise and fall by a tyrant’s hand If rise Victor dance in your eyes If fall Death shall call All will be lost Your life at a great cost Cassandra puzzled over this, the oracle’s words were obscure, it was so perplexing, yet the speech was so simple. She decided to analyze it, bit by bit. She had to go back to Corinth, but then will victor or destruction by a tyrant’s hand…who was the tyrant? Some kind of priest, lord? Suddenly, a horrendous thought struck her like a lightening bolt—of course, the king! And she would live or die at his hand. The whole idea was absurd. Why would she want to risk everything? She thought about all the splendor of her father’s palace, the fire coral, beautiful horses with fish tails, the soothing lullaby of the mermaids, and the welcome arms of the sea. While she was pondering, a woman appeared in front of all. “I am Athena, goddess of wisdom, patron of Athens. I know what you are planning and I must agree with you for King

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Aeuous nearly destroyed my city. I will help you even though I sometimes have distaste for Poseidon.” Athena hands Cassandra a long silver cloak, “You will be invisible in it.” She continued. Then in a flash, Athena vanished without a trace.

from layers of slimy gray fat. They had the bodies of seals and eagle talons for feet. “You! Where are you, little sea creature? Daughter of Poseidon, come out and we will end your life quickly.” Synhais snarled. She crept up behind Khronis and drew her knife, in one swift blow she slashed his head off. Unfortunately Khronis flailed so much that he tore her hood off, revealing the invisible.

When Cassandra came to the gates of the castle, she noticed guards were posted everywhere. She slipped into her cloak and scuttled behind a cart carrying fruit. She Synhais howled and picked up a spear, slinked through the ornate doors and he threw it and Cassandra followed a servant dodged just in time. The quietly. As she was descending the steps “He clamped his mouth demon raised a lumpy hand and pointed at her knife, it after the servant, she shut as she watched him flew to the wall and lodged heard voices parleying in itself there. hushed tones. She drown in his own stopped to listen. Cassandra took a deep breath blood.” and let out a yell, seawater “What I am saying exploded into the room, is, Synhais, the girl is a engulfing everything in sight. great threat to King Aeuous.” An oily voice She quickly retrieved her knife and pulled on breathed. It didn’t sound human. her hood while seawater beat at Synhais “Yes, yes, Khronis. I know that, but constantly. But he only laughed. “I am a sea how could this be?” demon, little seaweed. I cannot be killed by water and interestingly enough I can handle fire “Haven’t you heard? She’s the well. Come out, daughter of Posiedon!” daughter of Posiedon. She can control the waters within reason. Corinth is also near the Cassandra lashed out, leaving a long sea which is dangerous for the whole gash on Synhais’s face. He howled in agony. kingdom. That is why the king sent us to hunt Cassandra thrust the dagger through the her down and tear her apart.” Khronis demon’s heart and he disintegrated. growled. All of a sudden, she heard voices coming “Where is the king now?” Synhais to the chamber, oily ones like the sea demons’. asked. She immediately rushed off to where the High Hall must be for the floor tiles weren’t bronze “In his chambers, probably asleep.” but gold. Up ahead Cassandra saw two guards Replied Khronis. Cassandra couldn't stand it in bright armor guarding the door. Right away, anymore. She opened the door and almost she knew they were the king’s chambers. But screamed. Standing before her were the most there was no way opening the door with them revolting creatures; they had a hound’s head shielding it. and a pig’s snout, small dark eyes peered

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Then as her eyes stray to a jade vase, she had an idea; she wrenched out her dagger and swung the blade as far away from the door possible. The guards leaded into action brandishing jeweled swords. “By Apollo! That thing just burst open.” One guard yelled. “Sss-omeone m-m-ust ha-ve b-br-broken it.” Stuttered the second knight. The moved towards Cassandra even though she knew they couldn’t see her. She dodged around them and silently opened the door wide enough for her to slip through. She brandished the knife, head swinging from side to side. There was a cough in the room next to me so she peered around the wall. There sat the king leaning over a map of the sea. Then Cassandra realized how much he wanted her back, not in a good way. But she could bet that he was scheming how to carve her heart out.

She flung the knife at his throat with good aim; it went clean through his neck as he gave a silent scream, eyes darting wildly. Without thinking Cassandra threw off her hood, revealing her face. He let out a choked gasp, he tried to utter a sound but his voice was gone. He clamped his mouth shut as she watched him drown in his own blood. Getting out was another problem but Cassandra soon spotted an open window, when she peered about of it, she almost laughed out loud, it was right above the sea. She climbed to the ledge and felt herself falling swiftly into a salty embrace. Posiedon greeted Cassandra with a radiant smile and said, “Believe me, you have a whole life of quests ahead of you. Someday you probably will be greater than Heracles. I am certainly proud of you.”

Work of art by Maya Lu

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Twilight - An Analysis By Carolyn Zhao

These numbers may not be accurate as I was crying tears of laughter as I read the book. That may have blurred my vision a little. Total Number of Pages: 498 Where the Plot Begins: page 373 Time Beginning from when Bella Meets Edward Until She Starts Begging For Him To Drink Her Blood: a week or two. Three weeks, tops. The timeline is a little fuzzy.

Note: I would have kept track of the number of times Meyer used the words marble, granite, stone and even diamonds for crying out loud, but I gave up after page 200. Apparently, Edward’s entire body is as hard as rock, and Bella is constantly describing the feeling of kissing his ‘unyielding’ lips. How is kissing stone lips even remotely appealing? There are also numerous descriptions of Bella ‘molding [her] lips into the shape of his mouth’, which means that she is mashing her face into him so hard that her lips have either completely lost their shape, or Edward’s sheer beauty has turned them into a material of similar texture to Play-Doh. Lines That Made Me Laugh Out Loud “I deliberated where I stood, wanting to return to him badly.”

References to Edward’s Beauty: 150 before I gave up, but there’s definitely more. 160?

I presume Meyer meant that Bella stood and contemplated the situation, badly wanting to return to Edward. However this sentence (phrased in her way) now means “I thought about my standing spot, wanting to return to him in a very bad way.”

Edward’s Beauty Broken Down (# of times described): Face: 24 (adjectives: glorious, heavenly, seraphic) Voice: 20 (“The voice of an archangel…”) Eyes: 16 (amber, topaz, onyx. Bella bases her favorite color on this. They change according to how much he wants to eat her.) Movement: 10 (Lots of blurring.) Smile: 10 (No fangs.)

“It seemed like a miracle that he was there, his arms still waiting for me. He reached out to me, and my heart thumped unsteadily.” You must be careful, Bella. This is known as cardiac dysrhythmia. “He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare… ”

Skin/Sparkly-ness: 7 or 8. (Adjectives: scintillating, incandescent. See below) Breath/ Scent: 8 (I’m not kidding. EVEN HIS BREATH IS AMAZING.) Handwriting: 2

Incandescent. Scintillating. The adjectives are hilarious. Because he sparkles! Bella must find glitter so attractive. “This is the skin of a killer!” *Edward sparkling*

Driving skills: 2

I… I just don’t know what to do other than

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!

laugh hysterically and beat my head against the desk. “As I had just that once before, I smelled his cool breath in my face. Sweet, delicious, the scent made my mouth water.” Er… This has got to be the most disturbing description of Edward’s inhuman beauty in the book. It’s just weird. And gross. And weird. “He leaned in slowly, the beeping noise accelerated wildly before his lips even touched me. But when they did, though with the most gentle of pressure, the beeping stopped altogether.” Oh God. He kisses her, and HER HEART LITERALLY STOPS. Is this what they call twu wuv?

!

!

Work of art by Danielle Meng

“Sleep, my Bella. Dream happy dreams. You are the only one who has ever touched my heart. It will always be yours. Sleep, my only love.” If a guy ever said this to me I would laugh so hard I’d fall off the bed… “What a sick, masochistic lion.”– Edward on himself. Edward, do you even know what masochistic means? Dictionary: The tendency to derive pleasure from one’s own pain or humiliation.• (in general use) the enjoyment of what appears to be painful or tiresome. Hope you enjoyed this. I’m sorry, Twihards. This was too good an opportunity to pass up.

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THIS IS THE BACK COVER. TURN TO THE FRONT COVER. THE MORE INTERESTING STUFF IS THERE.

Or you know, you could stare at the white space here. Free of charge. 60

Inkspill Issue 1 (2011-2012)  

The International School of Beijing's middle school literary magazine

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