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CLOVER A Literary Journal ____ A collection of art, poetry, and writing by the students of the MSR Middle School 2013 - 2014

Managing Editors Editor-in-Chief: Julie Ruble Artistic Director: Amber Morse Submissions Manager: Sarah Gaug

Artistic Editors Art Editor: Claire Hofelt Poetry Editor: Cicely Panara Fiction Editor: Paige Stevenson

Copyright Š 2014 Montessori School of Raleigh Cover designed by Garrett Byers and colored by Reece Brind’Amour All rights reserved. ISBN-10: 1497322782 ISBN-13: 978-1497322783


A Note from Clover

Bwaaaakkk, Bawk bwak? Bwakity Clover bwak bwak! Bawk bawky bwakity bwak bwaaaaak bawak! Bwak bwak wak waaaaak. Bwrawk bawk bawk bwwwak. Bawk brawk bwak brock bwak! Brawk bwak bawk bwak! Bwak, Bwakawak

(For those who don’t understand chicken, here is a rough translation.)

Dear Readers, Hello, it’s Clover here. Do you realize that you are making history? You, my friend, are reading the very first Clover Literary Journal! I would like to take a second to thank everyone that made this magazine possible. I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed making it. Everyone was very generous with their submissions. Thanks again for reading, and enjoy these amazing stories, poems, and works of art. Yours, Clover


Table of Contents 5 9 10 11 12 14 15 15 16 16 17 18 19 21 22 23 25 26 28 29 32 33 35 42 44 46 48 49 50 51 51 52 54 55 56 57 60


The Jump - Amber Morse I Am a Room - Anonymous The Bulkhead Project - Thomas Barker I am Writer - Claire Hofelt Just a Character - Rose Mathews Dark Dust Town - Melissa Schroder Clover Batik - Batik Intersession Mountains - Katie Bynum Magenta - Paige Stevenson I am Soul - Sarah Gaug Bad Wolf - Emily Holmes An Inspirational Room - Nicole Mayakis Drop-Outs - Anonymous Tiger, Sticker, and Calico - Daniel Brown Yarn - Sarah Gaug Anatomy - Katie Bynum Home - Amber Morse Waterfall - Paige Stevenson Spring Flowers - Alex Longo I am Creativity - Katie Bynum The Cage - Nola Baldwin Home - Cicely Panara Dark Light - Paige Stevenson and Rose Matthews After the End - Anonymous In the Stars - Amber Morse When Bees Attack - Campbell Tate Summertime Lake - Nicole Mayakis Giving - Paige Assa The Wilderness - Alex Longo Sherlock Holmes - Nola Baldwin 2 Haiku for a Cold Day - Julie Ruble The Workshop - Daniel Brown The Place I Belong - Cicely Panara London - Nola Baldwin Tourist Season - Jessica Emanuel Amber - Dylan Peverall Cassie’s Birthday Surprise - Alex Longo

The Jump

Amber Morse

A warm breeze blew through the air, sweeping what was left of winter away. New trees bloomed with buds, flowers glowed as bright as the sun, and the air was warm and dry. The playground at school was especially bright. Two wooden playground structures looked less gloomy than usual. A few young birds and their mothers tweeted a sweet song. The roar of cars on the street could be heard in the distance. All was calm. The spring serenity broke suddenly. A click of a classroom door released herds of squealing children sprinting out of the prison cell that held them. A few, tired-looking, middle-aged teachers stumbled out of the door, after having unsuccessful attempts at quieting and calming the children down. The playground had a large field that contained two gigantic soccer nets. It was magic to the teachers to see how their ‘unique’ children formed a surprisingly organized soccer game. All the other children (most of which thought soccer was a sport for dogs) ran as fast as they could to the top of one of the wooden structures. One of the older children yelled to the top of their lungs, “STRUCTURE TAG! STRUCTURE TAG! LAST ONE TO THE POLE IS IT-IT!” while all the other scramblers ran to the top of the structure to yell along. As always, the pole in the middle was flooded by grimy hands that dreaded to be ‘it.’ I was one of the children who bolted to the top of the structure, hoping that I didn’t lag too far behind all the others. Finally, a child who walked to the structure, chatting with his friends that played soccer, strutted onto the structure and took the role of being ‘it.’ He thought himself a child who was the fastest runner and most athletic in his class (he was almost always a short boy). Everyone knew, in fact, he wanted to be the tagger, but everyone dreaded being ‘it’ as much as the boy wanted to be ‘it’ so no one ever said anything about it. Unless, of course, they wanted to be the tagger for once. After an invigorating, fast paced game of tag, the teachers would call the kids in, back to class, where the children would be held prisoner the rest of the day. Days were gloomy when rain hit out battlefield. On those heinous days, we were not allowed outside in the rain. Some children would look outside to see the rain run down the windowpanes like the drops of rain were their own tears. All of us would long to go outside. Our energy collected up in our small


bodies that could only be released by structure tag. The day after any spring shower, children would burst out of the classroom doors to find a dangerous, slippery structure and a marsh where the soccer field used to be. It was more gloomy than it was when it rained on the playground the day before. When the weather left the playground like this, I sat on a drier-than-the-rest bench and watched the swamp monsters play soccer. The structures were always so gloomy-looking when they were wet, when no children with bright shirts, picked by their mothers that morning, climbed up like monkeys. It was especially gloomy when a lone child climbed up a structure just to be hailed down by a teacher. Thank goodness that it did not rain every day. When it reached the middle of the spring, classrooms became less segregated and intertwined the tag games and soccer games. Structure tag became extremely congested when this happened, so congested that to get down from the top of the structure was like going into New York City at rush hour. Some children learned to jump off the structures so that they could skip the traffic. Some of these kids were really good at it, and were satisfied with never getting tagged. I considered myself an extremist in the tagging arts, so, after seeing all the people who jumped off the structure, I wanted to learn how to jump off the side of it. Once I learned how to jump off the side, I was always on the same side of the structure, waiting for my moment to strike, peeking my head up at the top to see if the ‘it’ was up there. When the frustrated tagger came to get me I would jump down, my skirt with the shorts built in flying like a parachute. Of course I would sprint away because many children learned to jump off, the tagger included. One day, as usual, I peeked my head up once again, looking for the tagger - and then that’s when it happened. A car had hit the ground with a tragic crash. Anyone could see that a young third grader, by the name of Jason, tried to skip the traffic, jumping off the top. At the bottom of the structure he laid, waiting for help that always came. Some witnesses watched his arm turn purple and yellow and green, colors an arm should never be. Jason crashed into another child at the bottom, and the child had enough common sense to flee. After further examination, the child found that he only got a bruise on his right shoulder. “Oh my goodness! What happened?” I heard the teacher yelp. The little third grader moaned, but did not cry. The teacher called over one of the younger teachers, and together they carried the child off into the administration office. Both teachers had looks of


disquietude in their eyes, disquietude that was carried all the way to the office. A car pulled out of the school driveway and picked the child up. He was rushed wherever he needed to go, no one playing structure tag knew exactly. All the children gathered at the path to the road, waving at the car that rushed Jason off. We were all so curious. We didn’t see him for very long after the fall. The day after, before all the children scrambled out of class and into the field, our teachers told us that structure tag was not allowed unless we stopped jumping. With pleading eyes, we agreed, loving our game as our parents loved us. Some of the kids did not burst out of the door to get to the structure. Most of the girls were making theories on where Jason was and some even tried to speculate if he would ever come back. The practical sixth graders knew Jason had just broken his arm and probably had gone to the doctors to get it fixed up. I was oblivious to the fact that Jason had not come back that day. I went on playing tag with the rest of my even-more oblivious friends. I was on the top of the structure, looking at the bottom to see that the ‘it’ had not made it on top yet. I heard a loud thump behind me. It sounded like a jump from the top. I looked over the rail to see if someone had fallen again, but in the process I got tagged. I became the dreaded ‘it’ just as the teachers stopped the whole game. “We can NOT have anymore broken arms, fractured skulls or torn ligaments! This is completely disrespectful to our rules and the poor jumper from the other day. For your own safety, we have no choice but for structure tag to be banned. You all can still play a game of ground tag, children! It’s just as fun, isn’t it? Go off now, and remember, no more structure tag!” All the children were just as gloomy as if it were raining outside. It seemed like the world had just stopped them. A proud sixth-grader started yelling, “GROUND TAG! GROUND TAG! LAST ONE TO THIS TREE IS IT!” All the tag players ran to the tree that the sixth-grader was yelling from and pointed at me to be ‘it,’ because after all, I had previously been ‘it.’ I ran as fast as I could to tag someone. I cornered a fifth grader and tagged her. I ran off to the gazebo, where the rest of my friends were. Ground tag was not like the game that I had played my whole elementary life. It didn't have all the mischievous play with the tagger. It also did not have the space necessary for cornering someone. My feet carried me to the gazebo, where the rest of my friends were sitting and chatting. When I walked over we sang some


of our favorite songs, mostly by the singer Adele. Even after she became disfavored (as most stars do), we all belched out her songs as if no one was listening. After this, I joined the chorus with my friends, had a blast at recess, and would come home with a sore throat and a smile. When I was sick, the singing, laughing and dancing (random spurts of body spasms) in the gazebo made my sick days fun days. In the gazebo, I had the brightest days of my last two years of elementary. After that, I never played tag again. Occasionally I would watch the little kids play, remembering my days as a fantastic structure tag player. In my mind, a tear would dribble down my face, thinking about my early childhood playing tag, and how it was ruined with a jump. In many ways the jump was a symbol of becoming a new kind of myself. I laughed more, spoke my mind more, and had better relations with my friends after the jump. So jump for joy. For some jumps can change anything. ♣


I Am a Room Anonymous As I walk up on the stage I can see my life in a page Of all my wonderful dancing memories My mind blows away all of the worries I can do my thing and just dance I look around the room with a glance I remember to do my best and have fun The music starts to run I do my thing, and leap and turn I hoped I wouldn’t crash and burn I was able to shine I knew my dance, and I was fine In the corner of my eye Something caught my eye as it flew by When of course it was a terrible fall Similar to a way that I drop a ball Much to my surprise the music comes to a halt At that moment I thought it was my fault For we were sent off the stage and never went back We knew it was over when we heard a big clack No matter how much we cried and kicked The show was over and the lights clicked. ♣


The Bulkhead Project

Thomas Barker

There is a small town in Wagram, NC, a small community made up of ten to twenty little cabins where families can stay overnight. The small community is filled with three or four families that own the property. One of the main families is the McMillan family, four siblings who would come down and stay for a while, visit with each other, and go swimming in the river. In the summer of 2012, the bulkhead on the bank of the river was starting to erode. One of the four siblings, named Roy McMillan, was a builder, so he took it upon himself to rebuild the bulkhead. I might not have mentioned earlier about how powerful this little community of lawyers is. For example, they raise enough money each year to have a scholarship that lets one student from the local high school go to college. So when Roy sent out the email asking for help with supplies and workers, around 100 people showed up, ready to work. Among the 100 people that showed up, three of them were myself, my sister, and my dad, who was close friends with Roy. When I arrived to the bulkhead, I was welcomed by Roy and his father Robert McMillan, along with one of his three brothers, Duncan, who I knew well, and May, one of his sisters. I saw the other children playing in the water, so my sister and I went to them. After playing, I thought that I should help with building the bulkhead. So I went up to Roy, asking what I could do to help. Starting at the bottom of the food chain, I passed out screws. After twenty minutes or so of passing screws, I started to deliver the needed wood measurements to the person cutting the wood. As I kept getting new jobs to do, I was enjoying it even more. I eventually was tasked with handing out pieces of rebar to be hammered in. At the time, Roy had jaw cancer, and he had already had it removed. Because of the surgery, the way he spoke was hard for me to understand. When I was delivering the rebar, I called it rhubarb. When Roy heard me say this, he said that it was hard to understand his talking, and I replied that I had a hard time hearing. In 2013, Roy died of brain cancer. My family and I attended his funeral in Raleigh. On Saturday, April 12, 2014 my dad, my sister and I attended his burial, where R. L. McMillan, Roy’s father, told this story. I felt like I had really touched someone with just a few words. ♣


I am Writer Claire Hofelt

Writing gave her wings; she could do anything. ♣


Just a Character

Rose Matthews

Who am I this time? It changes every time. My name, face, age, height, survival skills. Everything. At the end of the story, I have died 1,542 times. I’ve lived 30,364 times, gotten married 1,456 times, and on one strange occasion, thrown over a cliff by an elephant, only to survive but in my own way die at the same time. I can feel your mind asking who I am. The best answer I can give you is that I am just a character, someone whose life is in the hands of the author. Except we never really die. Yes, we. Thousands of us, not all human-shaped but definitely with human souls. After a story ends, we float, waiting for the next story, the next author to give us a face and a voice. The lucky ones stay and are rarely picked up. Occasionally, the isolation will get to one, but, all things considered, they’re lucky. The unlucky ones are ones like me. My specialty? Male teenager, lead protagonist. I’ve been in hundreds of thousands of stories and only one thing sticks with me: the deaths. Day after day, I see the deaths of innocent characters. Sure, they will go on to re-live and redie in other stories, with different authors, but to me, those deaths feel real. The world that this author has created is different. White ground, stretching away to infinity with white sky. No light source, but it isn’t dark, either. And-oh, look a mirror. How convenient. Long black hair in a ponytail, black eyes. Vaguely Japanese. That explains the clothes. You were probably expecting blonde. I can’t do anything here but talk. Authors don’t let me do anything else. I don’t even know if these words are mine or not, but I will continue talking. I have to. This world is familiar. It’s like the one we go to after the final word is written. Beings shaped only by words that change every day. And in that world, there is hate against anyone and everyone. Our actions in the stories are out of our control, and there is still hatred against


those whose actions were different. No one seems to realize that we are stuck here. I would ask about your life, but I cannot see or hear your words. So let me ask you about it instead. I don’t care if I don’t get answers. What is your world like? Is there as much death as in the worlds I go through? Is it like my worlds in any way? Are you like me and just a character? That is all. But I still have to speak. I don’t think I even have a name in this world. <Alfred.> Guess the name’s Alfred. I’ll forget it in a few days, but for now I’ll deal with it. Even so, somehow I feel this will be my last name. Somehow I know that after this story, I will cease to exist. Even though I hate the worlds I’ve lived in, I’m not ready to die. Not yet. There’s still so much I haven’t done. And yet, even in this, I have no choice. When this story ends, I will die. Please don’t turn the page. I don’t want to die. ♣


Dark Dust Town

Melissa Schroder

Sometimes, even through the busy life that I lead, I think of my past. All the things I could have done differently. All the games I could have played harder. All the tests I could have aced. But those times were blurry, long ago. All I can remember now is the sweat, the heat, and the darkness. I am sure that some happy moments came, but in our small, coal mining town they were rare. I lived in Forest Creek, Ohio. This was a strange name for our town because it was dirt bare. Anywhere close to the mine entrance was black. It lay like a thick, wool blanket that wrapped around your shoulders. But instead of keeping you warm, it chilled you to the bone. Everywhere you stepped was like guessing whether to fall or not. You never saw anything except for one thing: the bright red light that flashed when there was an accident. Everyone who lived in our musty, dark town had a father or brother in the mine. You had to work at the mine to stay in this town. Accidents happened all the time, and when people saw that bright red light go off everyone gathered around the mine entrance. The problem was that the thick smoke captured you in its sweaty grasp. The air was silent and no one could see a thing. You could feel the presence of everyone else. The air grew tense. I have not been through a single accident without passing out. This town squeezed out your last strand of hope. You came with hope, left with despair. So many people had been killed, but many people came and replaced them. Old men, fathers, sons, and brothers went down into the mine, some of whom never came back up to breathe the fresh air again. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a good question why people moved here; it was because of the money. Our town was known to have the best pay for any coal miner. Many people came; they had dreams to get money, mostly. But they dreamed all different things. When people poured in, they soon realized what it was really like to live in a coal-mining town. There were tragedies, and they were harsh. After you got used to the town, the only dream you had was to get out. â&#x2122;Ł


Clover Batik The Batik Intersession Group

♣ Mountains Katie Bynum


Magenta Paige Stevenson

♣ I am Soul Sarah Gaug


Bad Wolf Emily Holmes



An Inspirational Room Nicole Shroder Including sleep I might spend 15 out of 24 hours in my room. Sometimes I’m in great tune, Sometimes in doom. In whatever mood I might be, My room is always such an organized, neat sight to see. With its purple luxurious walls, Everything about it gets me involved. My desk! oh my desk! Takes me through many different quests. Filled with many papers, pens, tools, books, notes, and thoughts, Yes it grows and grows and will never stop. But here is the thing. The desk is more than just a “thing.” Everything is precise. Even what I do, Feels like it is always something new. My bureau is full of patterns and designs, That has seems to greatly define. My clothes describe me and my style, And they always make me smile. On the back wall lies a shelf, Decorated with books and dolls from when I was little and not much else. The books I never do really read, I’m always so busy and am never in need. I sleep in a little sized bed, That every once in a while I fall off and hit my head! My sheets are very comfy and warm, And at night I can hear the owls from down the street howl in many shapes and forms. Relaxation comes mainly from my bed, Sometimes I talk in my sleep and always remember what I had said. My room is quiet and peaceful so I can reflect upon my day, It is my main source of inspiration that will stay the same way. ♣




Windy skies. Thick clouds. Crisp air. Thunder. Lightning. Sunlight. Fog. Snow. Hail. Rain. Lots of rain. Millions and billions of rain drops. I was one of them. I was the thing that spoiled soccer games, the thing that made every puddle jumper out there squeal with joy, the thing that caused life to stay alive. Yes, that’s me. Just some water. I’ve experienced dropping. But that wasn’t enough. Not for me. I have never been in the world. The rain of my fellow raindrops never let me drop. And I was so close to dropping. But it wouldn't happen. I wasn't the nurturer. I wasn’t the friend -- or end of a rainbow. No, I never did have a life like all those drop-outs. I never met a drop that I saw again. I had feelings that they didn't have. They plummeted to the ground helping all of mankind while I stood and watched. Waited. For many months. Months became years. Suddenly, I was older. Age wasn’t heard of. Age was shunned. ‘Never to drop.’ Of course, it had almost always been that way. I was a misplaced drop… I can only say that I was “special.” As a raindrop, I have journeyed to faraway places. Towns, exotic islands, seas that you have never witnessed and probably will never witness. I could tell stories for hours and hours if anyone listened to me, but no one ever does. I'm just one of those drops who is always behind everyone. Life as a raindrop is short. Most find themselves on a cloud and then tumble to the ground when they feel it’s right and then become life itself. These drops never get names, personalities, emotions, or anything. Their purpose in life is to drop out. I still have no name, like everyone else, but even in the other drop-outs’ short, raindrop-lived life they learn that I’m the Laster. The last one who is permitted to drop, if ever. I have heard that Lasters are always strong, but shunned immensely. As far as I know, I am the only one. They have to know how to drop, and they get the ‘privilege’ of dropping last. I suppose it was because I had dropping experience. I have no idea how they found out, or why they even dislike me for it. They dislike me because I am rightfully snow. Jealousy. In my mind I will always be vibrant, everlasting snow. But the other drops don't know what these words are. They stay on this cloud for a week at most. They can be jealous and angry and vicious without


knowing. They don't know how I really got here. How it was a miracle. How it was sheer luck, or bad luck. A raincloud, my old raincloud, crossed paths with a serious snowstorm that happened to be dying down into the ocean. I was frozen, and drifted away with the snowstorm. Frightened, I stayed in the snowstorm’s newfound blizzard for weeks. I didn’t know how to get off the cloud. Some snowflakes were falling off the cloud, but they had to be checked before they fell. I fell without permission into another cloud, where they knew my secret somehow. I was so young, like everyone else. Of course, we all knew our lives were always going to change, so fast, it didn't even matter. The life of a raindrop had no life. It wasn't always one way or the other. It was always a necessity. And yes, the nourishing waters killed many a year if we fell too fast. I had been thinking for the longest days, the longest nights, and just imagined, ‘What if there is a Laster just like me? Will we ever meet?’ I snapped out of my daydream and looked at the dropline. So many drops were lined up to be drop-outs. I could see a hurricane ahead. That meant the rain must be heavy. The amount of drops that fell had diminished substantially. Our western-moving cloud suddenly approached a storm and let more drop-outs fall to the ground. So suddenly, it was just me and the authoritative raindrops left. They dropped off the cloud with smiles on their faces. They left me stranded on the cloud. I was alone. I looked down and didn't know if I could jump. Breaking unknown rules got me here in the first place. I found myself wondering about my first drop. If I would like it. Did I want to drop? I looked to the hurricane, its swirling clouds vanishing away into the distance. It was now or never. I climbed over the cotton ball cloud that I had called home for so long. Finally, now finally, I was a drop-out. ♣


Tiger, Sticker, and Calico Daniel Brown



Yarn Sarah Gaug 1. The fibers, Spun into that which we call yarn. 2. Twine, string, thread, All lesser ways of saying yarn. So why don’t people say yarn? 3. I see it in the threadbare jeans, sweaters, and T-shirts. They’re all the same. 4. The flowing line, Like an ice skater, Stretching farther than anything. 5. Tell us a yarn, old one! Show us the line, That which is the fabric of our lives. 6. It hugs the needles, the yarn, So it may clothe it for that brief moment, Before we claim it as our own. 7. We see the ball, and leave it alone, For the old woman. The cat sees humans use it up, And steals it for a walk anyway. 8. The three ladies, Counting the days ‘til your number is up. Snip, snip! go the scissors. A lifeline becomes just another stitch in time, Meeting its unavoidable Fate. ♣


Anatomy: A Found Poem Katie Bynum In a north London hospital, scientists are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in the laboratory in a bold attempt to make body parts using stem cells. It is among several labs around the world, including in the U.S., that are working on the futuristic idea of growing custom-made organs in the lab. While only a handful of patients have received the British lab-made organs so far – including tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes – researchers hope they will soon be able to transplant more types of body parts into patients, including what would be the world’s first nose made partly from stem cells. “It’s like making a cake,” said Alexander Seifalian at University College London, the scientist leading the effort. “We just use a different kind of oven.” During a recent visit to his lab, Seifalian showed off a sophisticated machine used to make molds from a polymer material for various organs. Last year, he and his team made a nose for a British man who lost his to cancer. Scientists added a salt and sugar solution to the mold of the nose to mimic the somewhat sponge-like texture of the real thing. Stem cells were taken from the patient’s fat and grown in the lab for two weeks before being used to covered the nose scaffold. Later, the nose was implanted into the man’s forearm so that skin would grown to cover it. Seifalian said he and his team are waiting for approval from regulatory authorities to transferred the nose onto the patient’s face but couldn’t say when that might happen. The polymer material Seifalian uses for his organ scaffolds has been patented and he’s also applied for patents for their blood vessels, tear ducts and windpipe. He and his team are creating other organs including coronary arteries and ears. Later this year, a trial is scheduled to start in India and London to test lab-made ears for people born without them. “Ears are harder to make than noses because you have to get all the contours right and the skin is pulled tight so you see its entire structure,” said Dr. Michelle Griffin, a plastic surgeon who has made dozens of ears and noses in Seifalian’s lab. “At the moment, children who need new ears have to go through a really invasive procedure involving taking cartilage from their ribs,” Griffin said, adding that taking fat cells from patients’ abdomens to add to a labmade ear scaffold would be far easier than the multiple procedures often necessary to carve an ear from their ribs. Griffin added they plan to eventually create an entirely synthetic face but must first prove their polymer scaffolds won’t accidentally burst out of the skin. “Scientists have to get things like noses and ears right before


we can move onto something like a kidneys, lungs and livers, which is much more complicated,” said Eileen Gentleman, a stem cell expert at King’s College London, who is not involved in Seifalian’s research. “Where Seifalian has led is in showing us maybe we don’t need to have the absolutely perfect tissue for a (lab-made) organ to work,” she said. “What he has created is the correct structure and the fact that it’s good enough for his patients to have a functional (windpipe), tear duct, etc. is pretty amazing ♣



Amber Morse

I know of two houses. One house is in suburbia, next to houses that are all the same, with children giggling on lawns and dogs being walked by faithful owners. But this house is just a house, and nothing more. I know of another house, far away from my suburbia, where moss and mushrooms intrude my home, a home long since abandoned by another. It was warm in the home, and all seemed well. The home was nearly empty and had little decoration, but it was a home all the same. Set in a woodland, the home sat in a blanket of leaves, where trees towered over the home as a canopy, and protected the worn walls and the caved-in roof of the structure from exposure to the winds and rain. The early spring had brought purple wildflowers to the yard around the home, perfuming the surrounding area with a fresh, clean scent. Moss was growing all around the house, spreading into the doorway of the once abandoned house. Why the home was there, I never knew. Why I loved the home, I never knew, either. Never did I know why the house was there, and why it was a home to me. Maybe this house is a home because it haunts me. It haunts me in the way that a ghost haunts a loved one, perhaps in bewilderment, perhaps in sorrow, but all the same it haunts. I suppose now that the home reminds me of her, and that is why I love this house. She, too, haunts me as the home does. The house was small and simple as She was. The house was as homely, quiet and beautiful as She was. The house was disregarded, as She was. The house was broken, abandoned and empty just as She was, but all the same, the house kept its walls standing and withering away. And in this forest, I was both the leaves and the trees, keeping the home safe and secluded, and I was the wind and the rain that wore into the walls and that caved the roof in. She will live in my heart and spirit until this home - my home - is gone, destroyed, and no longer a home. But I cannot control what is a house and what is a home. â&#x2122;Ł



Paige Stevenson

The child stared over the ragged side of the cliff, feeling the dark water rush by her ankles. She could see the vivid orange sun set through the dense trees. Cold air chilled her skin as the wind bit at her face. She knew she had to jump. The only way down was to jump. But she didn’t want to. Nice going, genius, she scolded. Now I’m stuck! Peeking over the edge, she patted the rock in front, testing the ground. The current pushed her forward, as if it thought it could make her leap. Okay, she thought, I will get out of this. Looking around, there was nothing to use to escape her bitter situation. Behind her, the extent of the waterfall loomed above, taunting her, and blocking the moonlight. She tiptoed backwards with eyes closed to avoid the icy spray from the hundred-meter drop. The roar of crashing water prevent any sound from making it to her ears, and her limbs were too numb to be of any use. Slowly, she crept backwards blowing long brown strands out her face. She felt so insignificant, especially with the sun gone. Now what? I can’t exactly stay out here all night! She put her frozen foot back onto nothing, and tumbled into a hole. With a large splash, she found herself shivering in a deep, dark, underwater crevice. Terror seeped into her bones while she panicked and thrashed in the water. Which way is up?! she screamed in her mind. She felt her ears pop as her toes scraped against something. Was it the wall? Was it the floor? Taking her chances, she pushed as hard as she could against it, feeling the wicked water surge against her body, until her lungs found air on the surface. She lunged up into the wind, sucking in several breaths. I will never do that again! she vowed. She forced her weight onto the side. Gasping, she rolled to her feet. It was now as somber as the abyss, and there was really nothing to do. Her frame quivered with cold, a shaking figure in the darkness. She knew the only option now. Her eyes scanned the black landscape, revealing nothing. Bracing herself against the wind, she stumbled back to where she thought the waterfall was.


There was no sound except for the crashing waves and the gust whispering through the dark, looming trees. Battered cliffs surrounded her, with dead branches and scraps of plants hovering above, with suppressed moonlight glinting through the greenery. Taking long, deep breaths, she looked over the jagged falls, into the bleak void. She closed her eyes and jumped. She fell down for a count of two until she hit the surface and sank. The sharp, harsh cold washed over her as she numbly swam for the shore. Reaching land, she pulled on her sweater and boots, then picked up her watch and flashlight. Using the light of the moon, she glanced at the time. She had stood on the falls for two minutes. Sighing, she shouldered her daypack and stalked back to the campsite. Bitter wind attacked as she made her way through the thick undergrowth and painful thorns. Looking down at the clearing where they had set up camp, she saw a bright fire burning with enough wood to last a lifetime. Smiling, she tramped down to the site, wondering how long it had been since lunch. Too long, she thought, and ran the rest of the way. â&#x2122;Ł


Spring Flowers Alex Longo



I Am Creativity

Katie Bynum

Two rocks, a nose, and one curious mind. The perfect formula for a problematic childhood memory. The problem occurred at recess during a normal day of Pre-K at Primrose. Primrose was a bright and vivid place with rainbow colors around every corner. There were various colored flowers all around, and there was never a blank space. There were plenty of drawings, quotes, and decor to spread around all of the walls. Most of the rooms had 3 main areas: the rug, the kitchen, and the nap time area. Ms. Pippin was one of the teachers at the school. She was extremely short and had stubby arms and legs. She was kind, observant, and caring all at the same time. Ms. Pippin had noticed something interesting about this one little girl. She was creative, courageous, and yet still found a way to cause trouble. This tot was also very outgoing and expressed it through how she acted and what she wore. Today, she walked into school strutting her stuff as if she owned the place. She was wearing a bright lime green dress with hot pink watermelons stamped all over it. She was wearing sparkly silver shoes and had a Disney princess backpack, which she didn’t let go unnoticed. Ms. Pippin had learned not to let this little girl, by the name of Katie, out of her sight. Katie had just been joyfully playing in the wet and soggy sandbox, for it had rained the night before. Katie was not just a little girl who was troublesome and problematic, but also very smart in a “mastermind” kind of way. Katie also knew how to get around her teacher’s instructions at any given time. She was waiting for the perfect moment to let her curiosity take over. The second Ms. Pippin turned her back, Katie struck. She was planning to do a quick experiment and see if she stuck a rock up her nose, how many blows it would take to get them out. Katie was, as some would say, a diva, and would not just let two rusty, old-looking rocks go up her nose. So she swiftly picked out two of the shiniest rocks she could find and shoved them up her nose, until she couldn’t shove them up any further. One blow…. nothing, two blows…. nothing, three blows…. and still nothing. She scurried inside into the brightly lit and colorful room that served as their circle time area. She plumped down on the hot pink bean bag, for even though she was panicking, she still had plenty of time to sit on her absolute favorite bean bag.


She screamed as loud as her tiny voice would let her. She was trying to cry out without being overwhelmed by the gallons of tears preparing to stream down her face. Ms. Pippin finally heard her cry and ran as fast as her stubby legs would carry her. Ms. Pippin frantically looked around the classroom until she saw two sparkly silver shoes coming out from behind a hot pink bean bag. She knew it must be Katie and figured it was the usual drama about preschool told by the main drama queen herself. And of course, it was all centered around Katie, and how everyone else was mean and didn’t like her. Ms. Pippin had been with Katie for about 2 years now and knew that every other day there was a different “episode.” Then Ms. Pippin noticed that this cry was different and sounded sort of helpless. She sprinted over to the bean bag, and there she saw a tearful fashionista with two objects up her nose. Rocks. There were rocks up Katie’s nose. The most shiniest and polished rocks she had ever seen. Something told her this was no coincidence. Ms. Pippin sprinted over to the bean bags and examined the situation. Ms. Pippin knew better than to leave Katie alone, and yet she still did it. Katie was a troublemaker, and she should have known not to EVER leave her unsupervised. Millions of thoughts were going through Ms. Pippins head, most of them thoughts of fear. What would Katie’s parents think when Ms. Pippin told them what happened? Would they be mad for leaving Katie outside unsupervised? She would soon find out. She swiftly went to the phone, which she had earlier been talking on, dialed Katie’s parents, and then eagerly anticipated their answering. Three rings went by and it was torture. Every second longer her parents didn’t answer, Ms. Pippin was getting more nervous. Finally on the fourth ring she heard the sweet soothing voice of Dawn Bynum. Ms. Pippin heard many emotions in Ms. Bynum’s voice, such as understanding, kindness, and forgiveness. Ms. Pippin and Ms. Bynum had agreed to meet at the front of the school as soon as possible so they could get Katie to the hospital. Ms. Pippin could not believe what she had created. She felt horribly for poor little Katie. Ms. Pippin’s perspective of Katie changed that day. Katie went from being a troublesome toddler who always got in trouble to an innocent kid who was just very curious. Katie’s age may have changed over the years, but her personality sure didn’t. Seven years later Ms. Pippin and Katie met up once again, except this time Katie was a teenager who was still sassy and still very much a drama queen. Ms. Pippin and Katie recalled the many great memories they had together, but their was one memory that came to mind, the time Katie shoved rocks up her nose. Katie was still as curious as she once


was, but now Katie turned her creative and curious mind into many beautiful projects. Katie may be older now, but trust Ms. Pippin when she says that Katie can surely still find a way to get in trouble! â&#x2122;Ł

I Am Creativity Katie Bynum



The Cage Nola Baldwin Hours upon hours, here I could spend, Alone at last, myself is my friend, Leave reality, block every sound, Except my own, it has yet to be found. In front of me, a blank piece of paper lies, Waiting for minutes, sometimes days, as time goes by, My thoughts and feelings are spilled on the pages, Finally let out of their confining cages. The lines repeating as I try to find a tune, Maybe a verse will be done soon? The process more excruciating than I thought, It can be harder when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re self-taught. Once a melody is found, the verses complete, I let out a long sigh of relief, Singing out the song, reading, reciting, I notice some flaws and begin rewriting. Hastily rubbing the eraser, trying not to leave marks, Little by little, leaving traces of dark, Correcting and changing, making it better, Paying attention to each and every letter. My writing is finally done, The words have been moved, read, and sung, I hold it in my hands, this finished work of art, and rip it until itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s torn apart. New pages sit in a neat stack, Waiting for when my next feelings decide to attack, The cage has been closed and locked with a key, This is the place that matters most to me. â&#x2122;Ł



Cicely Panara

My ‘home.’ That old, yellow, rickety, creaky, washed out, loud, foul smelling house was never really my ‘home.’ All it ever was, was just the place that I would sleep, eat, and spend those horrible in-between hours. The time between school and band, school and chorus, school and anything except staying with my absent mom and stoner brother. The house would creak as loud and as squeaky as a clarinet played by an amateur not able to control the airflow or tone of her instrument. Each time I would open the door, all that greeted me was the smell of a cigarette and the horrible feeling that I had just walked into my worst nightmare. And each day, I did. I relived the same cycle; I would come home, eat, do homework, and finally I was able to leave the place that brought my nightmares to life, the old, yellow, rickety, creaky, washed out, loud, foul smelling house. In the backyard, there was a fence that had once been nice, tidy and white, but now just reminded me that I would always be fenced in, never able to leave the rotting wood and the peeling paint, the dripping ceiling and the musty, wet carpet. I was never ‘allowed’ to go out past the old rundown fence, but no one was there to stop me, so as long as I can remember, each day, that is where I would go. As soon as I jumped over the musty thing, a weight lifted off my shoulders. Out past the brown grass and muddy damp ground I would go, out past the house that was as gloomy as a prison, and almost as nice. At first, I was too small to go very far; there were horrible dangers like tripping and cutting my finger, or scraping my knee. But as I went to third grade, then fourth grade, and finally fifth, I was able to go out to a place where the smell of smoke and alcohol did not follow me like a ghost, filling the empty space and bringing me to tears. Past that fence the ghosts stopped, the smell faded away, and my freedom began. In fifth grade, I found it for the first time. The only safe place that I had. Six hundred thirteen steps past the fence there was a clearing that was much bigger than fifth grade-sized me needed. It was grassy and dry and warm, and I would just sit there and listen to the rhythmic rustle of the leaves or the crunching of pine straw. When I finally got the guts, I brought out a chair and a stand and that’s where I played my flute. Somehow, somewhere, my aunt acquired a gold ring, and when the only person who had ever supported me died, I inherited


it. With the money that I got from it, I bought my most prized possession: my flute. In the hole in the tree, five hundred and seventy nine steps from that old, wet, damp, musty, rundown fence, I hid it. For the first six months that I had it, I kept it a secret. It just sat there and mocked me, telling me that there was no point in keeping it if I was never going to play it. But when school started, and I was finally in middle school, I decided to be part of the band, and the only way I could ever do that was to take the flute out of the hole in the tree five hundred and seventy nine steps from that old fence. I made a decision to open up the black leather case and learn how to play the beautiful sterling silver flute. That decision is the only thing that left the keys to the prison cell that was the old, yellow, rickety, creaky, washed out, loud, foul smelling house just within my grasp. â&#x2122;Ł


Dark Light Artwork by Rose Matthews

Paige Stevenson

I did it. I can’t believe I did it. I killed her. Cold terror spread through her limbs. Her knees knocked together. Her fists were clenched. Her jaw was rigid. Her eyes were icily locked on the tree in front of her. That tree had always been her hiding place, with the long curved branches perfect for sitting on. This hiding spot could not protect her now. With a roar, she let loose the built up power inside. The tree shook violently and turned pitch-black. Fog seemed to gather and write alongside her trembling hands. Suddenly, the tree cracked open to reveal dead, decaying wood, as if it had been deceased for years. The leaves turned as black as midnight and fell to the ground. The girl felt as if she had been plugged into an electric socket, and now white-hot power flowed through her blood. She threw back her head and screamed. “I AM KUROHIME! AND I AM READY!” Hacu stared at the waving bushes were Kurohime had run off. With pity, she glanced at the fallen body of Aiko. The bus driver weeped and cried to the principal, who yelled back about paperwork and lawsuits. Hacu understood the stress. It was her turn to remove it. “Excuse me, sirs? I know you're stressed. But I can help. Just look here,” she pointed to the body, and let loose a flash of light. The principal and the bus driver smiled with unexplainable, sudden glee. “What am I doing here? I gotta go pick up the kids!” he said brightly. The principal staggered back into the school. Hacu looked back over onto the road. It was free of Aiko’s remains, and the terrible memory was gone from any witness’s mind. Kurohime raced through the undergrowth, not feeling any pain from the thorns and burrs the wilted like the tree as they brushed her. Cold, hard insanity crackled through her eyes. She had built up anger and grief and hatred that was dying to get out. Memories cursed her mind, forcing her to remember through the black fog the clouded her head. “I told you yesterday! No eating at our table. No sitting at my desk. No joining our club! Leave us alone!” yelled Aiko. “I’m sorry, but Hacu and I were here first. There’s another empty table over there,” replied Kurohime gracefully. She never got mad over anything. Aiko turned to Hacu.


“Tell your animal to move or she’ll be sorry,” threatened Aiko. Kurohime remained silent. She was thinking. “I promise to let you sit here tomorrow. Can we have the table for today?” “No! I’m sick of you ruining everything! You steal our desks, you mess up our clubs, and now our table!” “Enough, Aiko. It’s fine. Let it go.” Geez, Hacu thought. Does this girl ever get mad? “I can’t let it go! STAY OUT OF MY LIFE!” Kurohime jumped to her feet. “It’s not your anything! I can’t let you run the school like this! I’ve had enough. I hope you break a heel. I hope you lose your lunch money. I hope you miss the bus! I hope you move to Australia!” With a grunt, Aiko stalked over to the food bar. She stumbled and cracked her expensive shoes open down the back. Astounded, Hacu looked over at Kurohime, who had a grim look of satisfaction on her face. Aiko reached for her purse to pay for lunch, and realized that it was no longer there. Kurohime laughed and walked away. Hacu ran into the bathroom and pulled out her phone. Dialing a number, she whispered into the microphone. “Target confirmed.” Hacu watched as the black sedans pulled into the school parking lot. Men climbed out quickly and jogged over to where Hacu was standing. “What’s the subject’s position?” “You were right,” replied Hacu. “She was the one. She doesn’t know it yet, though.” “What happened to the victim?” “Missed the bus. Literally. Aiko went to step on and completely skipped over the stairs. Bus moved forward, and you can guess the rest.” “What about the subject?” “More powerful than we thought. She’s genuine. It will take a lot to bring her down. I suggest either our lab or our asylum.” The men nodded and charged off into the forest. Kurohime stopped and closed her frantic eyes. She knelt down and placed her dirty hand on the ground. The grass around her turn black. Her eyes snapped open. Someone was coming. Fast.


Kurohime ran as fast as she could, towards the aquamarine water of the river. The earth seemed to vibrate with the footsteps from behind. pounding of her pursuers’ feet. Kurohime’s sharp, deadly eyes scanned the bleak landscape, taking in all of her surroundings. Her crazed mind raced as she thought. "There she is!" yelled the leader, running out into the river clearing. Kurohime stared at them with intent to destroy. Intent to hurt. Intent to kill. The one remaining sane piece of her mind said, Hold it in. Hold it in. A figure walked through through the dead plants and shaking men. "Haku?" whispered Kurohime in disbelief. Her friend nodded. "Try to think, Kurohime. It's alright." Haku's coaxing began to dissolve the mad panic that had taken over the subject. Haku motioned behind her back to the man with the tranquilizer gun. Kurohime blinked. Then she shook her head. "What have I done?" she breathed. The man behind Haku raised his gun. He rested his finger on the trigger. Haku nodded to him. It was time to take the subject in. The man pulled the trigger. The flash of silver gleamed in the corner of Kurohime’s vision. Her instincts took over and she threw up her hand to protect her face.

“YAH!” Black thorny vines flung up from the ground, creating a shield around Kurohime. The insane fury replaced her fear, and she slammed her fist into the earth, creating a complex network of cracks and crevices in the ground. She pushed the vine forwards to Haku. That one had betrayed her. That one would die.


Haku fought with all her energy to break the vines. Thorns bit her sides and scraped her face. Hakuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s power of light was nothing compared to the darkness closing in. Through the webbing of black, she saw Kurohime escaping deeper into the forest. Not today, thought Haku, but the shadow vines kept coming. Kurohime was gone. Betrayal and terror and anger had hidden her away. The shred of feelings left wanted revenge. Only revenge. Her power felt good to use, as if it was healing her. She let out small bursts as she ran, leaving a telltale path of black. But Kurohime didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t care. With the energy at her fingertips, she would take on an army. She would take on a country. She would take on the world. Kurohime smiled grimly. Yes, the world sounded quite nice. Hard icy eyes burned into the landscape. She screamed like a banshee, allowing the sound to carry her magic through the air. Dark brown hair whipped around her face. She reached up and touched it gently. At her fingertips, her hair turned as black as night. Perfect.

She cast her frozen eyes on the sky, wishing for the sun to give way to the moon. Black foggy clouds gathered above her, shaping her misguided desires. The sky turned into an unnatural, unsettling dusk. Kurohime laughed hysterically and kept running. Haku sat up, blinking stars from her eyes. Her head throbbed, her leg hurt and her throat was dry. It was the first time


anyone had defeated her on the battlefield. It would not happen again. “Haku! What happened?” yelled the reinforcements as they charged through the brush. “What...what…” “I can’t control her. She’s too powerful. But I can subdue her.” Haku promised. I hope. “Go after her. You are the only one with powers even close to hers. I’ll take care of the survivors.” “There are no survivors. Trust me. If I was nearly killed, then they had no chance. Kurohime will make a wonderful addition to our arsenal.” “Oh, we don’t need her. She’s too…unpredictable. We’ll drain her, and to the cops she’ll go.” Kurohime didn’t need to think. Her power did all of that. All she needed to do is run. Her feet pounded on the ground, killed everything beneath them. Her scrambling foot caught on a root, launching her forward. Kurohime hit the ground. Hard. She rolled over to face the dark sky. Black magic crackled through her fingers as she lay on the ground panting like a dog. Pain flared through her ankle, a pull towards reality. Everything hurt, her chest, her head, her ankle. Breathing slowly, Kurohime sat up warily. She glanced at her swollen joint and winced. She blinked quickly, and her mind came back to her. No, nonononononono! I… I… She could barely grasp what she had done. Haku charged through the forest like an electrified bull. Light streamed off her footstep as she traced the path of decay left in Kurohime’s wake. She heard a low moan, and whipped around. Her target lay on the ground, whimpering. “Please, Haku! I didn’t mean to do it. I promise!” Haku was silent. Kurohime pleaded and begged, praying the Haku had a shred of mercy. “No. I will regain my reputation. No one has power like mine.” whispered Haku. Then she struck.


Kurohime curled into a ball of protection. Haku’s blasts blinded her and burned any exposed skin. Heat rolled over her in pounding waves. The sun intensified above, and lush green plants sprang up from the ground. Haku panted and sweated as she gave everything she had. “No more, no more nomorenomore.” cried Kurohime. “I SAID NO MORE!” A black shield sprang up from the ground, enveloping Kurohime. Haku’s beam rebounded back and exploded in a blast of light. Haku was thrown down. Both girls stared coldly at each other. The flames of anger whipped between them. “I have a job. You will not stop me.” “I will do what I want! Leave me alone!” “No. You are a danger to society. I am here to help.” Haku’s pale eyes narrowed at her target. Kurohime shook with the effort of holding in her corrupt power. Silence streamed through the deep forest as the sky turned a light gray. The ground vibrated, the trees quaked and the birds stopped singing. “Come now and nothing will happen. No regrets.” whispered Haku.


“No! You do not control me!” screamed Kurohime. Dark and light met in a furious clash. But the shadows pushed farther. Black writhed around Haku, smashing her power. She fell to the ground, throwing off weak sparks. Kurohime advanced, shaking as she walked. Black bolts cracked through her eyes. Haku’s shut her eyes in preparation for the end. Kurohime gathered the shadows, and stopped. “No,” she croaked. And she thrust her power in the ground. A huge crevice opened up, swallowing the two girls. Haku yelled as the earth choked on her, Kurohime just held her breath. The gap closed, leaving a huge black scar on the ground. Kurohime and Haku were lost in the earth. Weren’t they?


After the End


After the bright lights on the street flickered out, after the clouds stopped letting the sun shine down, after the green, thriving grass crumbled and died, after the river dried out into the thirsty ground, after our town sucked all of the fortune and life out of itself, it started to take people. Once it had you, it would hold tight with a cold sweaty grip, and if the grip was stronger than your hope, it would hold you forever. That’s why most of the people that are born here die here, because this town devours your hope like a starved lion. It feeds off the dreams of people forgotten in the darkness. I’ve heard of a time when the town was full of life, and vibrant colors shined from the brightly glowing windows of young and beautiful people, but that has been swallowed into the deep nothingness that is consuming this town. Now everything here, the people, the buildings, is sick, is dying. The streets that once bombed with excitement, that surrounded people with life, now crumbled under the harsh cars that ripped over and stamped it like enraged horses. The people that lived here when the town gave them joy have lost the drive for anything, no matter how desperate they are. They knew they were never leaving and had no reason to stay. Their fear of their ignorance of the world around them is greater than their hatred of their entrapment. All of the people here are alive, but there’s a giant difference in being alive and living; no one here was living. Everyone here had abandoned any chance of living when they didn’t leave. The color in their eyes have faded out long before I was born, and with every generation the color disappears even more. The older ones lived in the joy, my parents’ generation was born into it, but we were born into a broken world; no hope left, nothing. We were raised not knowing happiness. Those that didn’t have any wonder hidden in them wouldn't be able to tame the beast that was waiting for their soul, but the few of us that were given a wild craving for more and had a lush sense of curiosity deep inside, we could make it out, we could rip away from the clutches of our home. The richness of our souls made us even more desirable to the beast; because of that its grip on us was even tighter, even stronger. It was harder for us to leave; some of us tripped into the holes dug by our pasts that surrounded us on the way to the real world. We were leaving forever. We were leaving not to get away from people who tried to keep us, not to kill the beast that so desperately wanted


us, not to forget the past, not to burn the horrors that tried to latch onto us forever, not because we wanted to survive, but because we wanted to live. â&#x2122;Ł


In the Stars

Amber Morse

She looked the other way, for she couldn’t bear to watch. A mahogany casket was being lowered into the ground. Before, the ground was grassy green, but it was now brown and crumbling. She couldn’t bear to sob either, for she knew that it was too late to cry about sorrow, and that there was nothing else to be said or done. She couldn’t handle this feeling, this odd feeling of an end, so she was now a cracked dam, and she couldn’t hold back the oncoming tears. Now she was sobbing, gasping into the chest of another, but there was no love or wishes in the cries, only depression and regret that soon left her hollow and empty of all emotions. The burial was done, and part of her, too, was buried in the ground. The crowd soon left her on her knees, looking at the ground. I stood behind her, and looked at her crippled figure, and remembered what she used to be, which was like this grieving form on the ground. But anyone could tell that something was missing, and that what was missing wouldn’t ever be found. She brought herself off her knees, and I watched her with sorrow. It’s been many months since I died; my death wishes were more than she had in the bank account. I only wish I could tell her that the one whom she cries for is only right behind her. I will always be right behind her, as long as she does not let go of my death. I wish to go away, into the stars, but her sorrows grip onto my soul tight. I sit next to her, and I look at her once beautiful eyes, but they are now cold, empty. She hurries away, running to her car. I drift toward her. I sit in the back seat of her car as she drives toward her apartment, and I can sense her struggles. She gets out of her car, her hands at her side. Toward her door, she walks slowly and robotically. She unlocks her seventh-story apartment, dreary and lifeless. She lays down on her couch, and I can’t bear to look at her face anymore. So I look at her shoes, caked with dirt from my burial. I wonder if she will clean them off anytime soon. Her eyes are still beautiful, in a way. They are big and pure innocent. I wish for nothing more than for her to let me go, as I cannot bear to see her this way. She put on mascara, an odd move, considering all she did was cry for the last few hours. The bleeding makeup runs over her couch, which is faded and cream-colored. I


want to wipe it up, but I just can’t. The daylight outside is fading, but I must stay here. I sit at the end of the couch, and I wait for the day to come. Light shoots through the windows, and she wakes up. She looks just as empty as the day before. She sits up swiftly and glares toward the outside, her arms hugging her legs into her body. She turns to her left, looking towards me, but she doesn’t see me. Sometimes, I wish she did. She walks around, looking towards her balcony. No. She will not. I see it in her eyes, and what she sees in her mind will not happen. She puts one leg over the stainless steel railing, and then the other. The wind is blowing through her hair, and I see a small shred of my daughter left. She closes her eyes, about to lean forward. No, I think again. I get behind her and I hold my hands at her shoulders, steadying her. She almost seems shocked. She puts her legs back over the railing, and walks into her apartment, and I am suddenly relieved. A faint smile creeps onto her face, and it gives me hope. She hugs her legs once again, and looks towards me, not really seeing me. She sits for hours, thinking. She closes her eyes. Deep inside, I know she knows I am with her. The storm in her eyes has cleared, and her feet do not drag when she walks to get a sip of water. I sigh, relieved from the tension. I feel worried, as I am still behind her. She has not let me go. She walks out her front door to a local coffee shop, holding a newspaper. She sits at the coffee shop, sipping a latte. She sits there until it is noon. At noon, she goes back to her apartment. I can’t see the grief in her eyes, but it must still be there. She lays on her bed, tucking her feet behind her thighs. Nightfall comes, and she sighs, getting out of her bed. She walks quickly out the door, into the local park. Through large oak trees she looks, her eyes set on the stars. I feel as if I am floating, and I see her shrinking below me. I believe she can truly see me, as I drift away from her. She smiles just a bit and looks at the stars above. “I always knew you were watching over me,” she whispers to the night sky. The next day, I look down on her and I see her walking to my grave, the ground sill brown from overturned dirt. She watches as a man puts a slab of stone into the ground. I come down to the sight of the grave, and I read the tombstone. Here lies Catherine Reed, a woman who wasn’t a free spirit until it was after her time to leave the land.


When Bees Attack

Campbell Tate

I was nine years old. The day was about halfway through, and it showed. The golden-yellow shine of the mid-afternoon sun reflected off the tall, broad oaks in my backyard. The sky was the bluest of all blues I’ve ever seen. Birds whistled gaily in their roosts, melodiously ticking away the hours until, unfortunately, it would again be that time which all parents seem to agree that all children must suffer through, in which there was still enough daylight out to play more, but not so much it would be shocking to even suggest that one go lie down. Those euphonic tones would have provided a suitable distraction, had I needed it, but because nothing had been assigned from school and I had absolutely nowhere I would rather be, I was walking through my backyard with my older neighbor, Anastasia. She and I had known each other for so long, it was almost as though she was a sister to me, or perhaps a close cousin. She was tall, taller than my mother and several years older than me, but as I said before, it didn’t matter at all. We weren’t talking about anything in particular, just enjoying the good weather and the abundance of unexplored territory in my moderately forested backyard. We made our way through some dense clusters of trees to the creek that ran parallel to our road. The water rushed loudly, a clear indicator of the rain that had passed over just a day or two ago. Birds tweeted. Insects buzzed. Squirrels darted. We jumped the creek and went up the ridge on the bank. The water looked murky and yet clear at the same time, as usual, and there were leaves blanketing the entire vicinity. Though it was not yet winter, it was indeed the tail end of summer, and it was making itself heard in the crunching of our feet upon the ground. Now walking alongside the creek, we continued to travel behind the neighbors’ houses. Nobody in our neighborhood minded anyone doing so, as long as they didn’t disturb anybody. We were just ambling along in that way that you never see busy people doing, but those with all the time in the world know by heart. As we were walking that walk, we made our way over some rocks and through some cobwebs. Another benefit of having a tall companion that lives right next to you: when you go exploring they have no excuse to not


take the lead. We halted in the manner of those who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to go too far, for they will get in trouble, and have every intention of going back, but will remain stationary until told not to or pushed. Anastasia leaned against one of those taller, broader trees that have a very homey sort of feel, while I settled for a broken-down picnic table that seemed to have been there as long as the forest. We were just conversing normally when Anastasia let out a bloodcurdling scream, pointing behind me with a look on her face similar to that worn by those who see a murderer stabbing someone just a few yards away. I whipped my head around so fast it almost yanked itself clear off my neck, and my expectant eyes got quite the shocking reward. There, spiraling out of a hole we had recently stepped in without further thought, was a tornado of yellow-andblack insects, seeking revenge for their devastated nest, clearly out for blood. Instantly, the lazy, careless attitude was replaced by an adrenaline surge so powerful, we could have lifted a car. At first, we were batting our hands frantically around our faces. Seeing no clear indication of progress, we devoted our full concentration to running at breakneck speed and yelling at the top of our lungs as we made our way, noticeably quicker than before, to my back porch. Once we had managed to sufficiently communicate our dilemma, my parents broke out the flyswatters and shut the door, for the cloud of stinging death had followed us all the way into my house. As my mother, father, and uncle finished off the last of them, I was rushed upstairs to have toothpaste applied to my injuries as Anastasia was sent home with an apology and some wounds of her own to be treated. I might mention that though toothpaste is a marvelous substance to have scrubbed onto your teeth, it is not nearly so pleasant to have anywhere else. Suffice it to say that there is indeed a reason they call it TOOTHpaste. Though my body has recovered, my mind has not. Still jumping at the presence of any flying insect in the area, it is clear that this event has been one of the most dire events in the entirety of my lifespan. â&#x2122;Ł


Summertime Lake Nicole Mayakis Summer is finally here, I just love the lake. All I see is blue in the water. The birds are crowing, and there are crashing waves. I love the color of the sky. I see my friends tubing The lake is full of laughter When the birds crow, it sounds like laughter Everything is blue, including the lake I can’t wait till tomorrow when I can go tubing. My hair is wet from the water The sun is now setting in the sky I don’t hear as much crashing from the waves Tomorrow I hope there will be big waves It is getting quiet because there is no more laughter There goes the pretty sky Goodbye, I will see you tomorrow, lake ♣



Paige Assa

I believe in giving. I believe it can change someone’s life. I have made many visits to the soup kitchen and made food bank donations with groups, but one experience that I had definitely encouraged me to keep giving. One day in seventh grade, I took a field trip to the soup kitchen with a small group from school. I remember walking into the building, not knowing what to expect. I was a bit nervous. We walked in as a group, got some instructions, and went straight to work. I watched these people walk through the door looking hungry, tired, and cold. This made me feel a bit sad. As they started to line up, we were given positions in the assembly line. I was handing out dessert with my friend. I remember thinking to myself, “This is really easy.” The dessert was at the end of the line so by the time they got to me, they had all of their food. They had pasta, vegetables, bread, chicken, yogurt, and then my dessert, which was a piece of cake, a cookie, or a cupcake. I looked down to their plates then up at their faces. They were so grateful for such small amounts of food. I noticed that every single one of them said thank you to me and gave me a warm, friendly smile after I handed them their dessert. When they sat down at the tables, their faces lit up with joy. As they ate, they got to meet new people and have a good time. I could tell that this was a place where they felt safe and they had nothing to hide. Everyone was equal. The moment it hit me that giving was so great was when we were leaving. As we were piling onto the bus to go back to school, I looked back and felt like I did something good today, and I liked that feeling. That feeling was comforting, and satisfying, and made me feel selfless, which is why I believe in giving. ♣


The Wilderness Alex Longo Far from a hole, dark and deep, Where light-loving people groan in their sleep, Down some steps and through a door, Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a longing for peace at my very core. Many colorful flowers bloom in the spring, And there are beautiful songbirds that love to sing. The trees are tall and the color of green. Cheerful squirrels swing among their leaves. My dog chases after them for hours, While brilliant butterflies soar to tall-stemmed flowers. I love to walk among the trees, where once I played, Or quietly read in their tranquil shade. As the sun shines brightly from between the trees, I pause and sigh, composed and serene. â&#x2122;Ł


Sherlock Holmes Nola Baldwin

2 Haiku for a Cold Day Julie Ruble Some frozen chicken, but not from the grocery: Frozen in the coop. Shoes crunching gravel: Too cold in the shade to sit. Seek sunshine, Nina. â&#x2122;Ł


The Workshop Daniel Brown In Daniel’s workshop you will find what keeps his parents terrified. Malicious weapons line the dusty walls, there’s carving knives and spiked balls. In one corner you will see, dangerous chemicals of every degree. Some that make bursting flames settle, and others even burn through metal. The cold concrete floors caked with blood and paint, enough to make a grown man faint. There are shelves at every corner, filled with junk; it’s sporadic order. A pedestal takes center stage, a weathered workbench, battered and aged. A mass of “what’s its” are piled high, a bunch of junk to the casual eye. But the pieces of junk --to Daniel there’s no mistaking-are masterpieces in the making. On one side is a trophy case, his finished products on display. There are metal gloves and hidden blades, covered with suspicious crimson shades. A deflated globe hangs from the ceiling, once for looks, it now has no meaning. You’d think the globe had hit a cactus, for now it’s used for target practice. The whole great scene will make you surprised, that Daniel has not caused someone’s demise. For all of his work at the end of the day, is quietly just put away.


He does not use a single weapon, on any unsuspecting victim. The blades and bombs are art to him, never meant to take a life or limb. Not to show his hate or meanness, but to illustrate his evil genius. â&#x2122;Ł


The Place That I Belong Cicely Panara Open the door Close the door That is all I ask I want nothing more Is it really such a hard task? Beyond the door that swings and sways All of my memories and things there stays My bulletin board with pictures around Covered in thoughts from all my days And the pictures that I’ll never take down Upon all the rows of shelves, Sit all my books and bells Ring, ring, ding they scream Chanting like a thousand spells Interrupting my vivid dream Around the room my things fall Enough trinkets to fill a mall They sit and stare and gather dust My prized possessions fill the wall All my things I should adjust My bed is made, all nice and neat On winter nights it warms my feet Within this bed, I rest my eyes Snuggled under my soft sheet Never will I want to rise Now I sit and stare around Thinking of the joy I’ve found In this room, my days all start This is the place that I lie down, And with this room I shall not part. ♣


Tower of London in London, England Nola Baldwin

♣ London at Night Nola Baldwin


Tourist Season Jessica Emanuel




Dylan Peverall

A sleek, silver minivan was traveling across the highway at a brisk, agile speed. Around the highway were charming flowers, with yellows and reds bursting with color. There was pleasant wildlife living in the pine forest behind the flower display, each and every animal minding it’s own business and running along. All kinds of deer and rabbits drank from the majestic stream, just beyond the sight of a traveller along the highway. Inside the minivan was a special animal, who had been picked up from a nearby shelter and was currently being taken to a new life. The august animal had shimmering amber hair, covering it from head to toe. It had ears that could pick up almost any sound and eyes that gleamed in the sunlight. It was sitting on a gray, comfortable, passenger seat in the minivan, nervous about where it was being taken and what would happen to it. “It’s all right,” said the mysterious lady who had taken the dog away from certain death at the horrifying shelter. “We’re taking you to a new home where you’ll be happy,” and that made the dog feel slightly better. As the car began to slow down, the dog noticed some things. For one, they were in the middle of the daunting woods. There was also a large, welcoming house that they were pulling into. This made the dog very nervous, as she had never been here before. When the car stopped, the mysterious lady got out, then opened the door to let the dog out. The dog wanted to run far away, but the garage door was closed. She had nowhere to go but inside the house. When they went through the door, a boy came down the stairs. He had brown, spiky hair, long blue jeans, and a colorful shirt. The boy said “Hey, Mom,” and soon after went, “Oh, so you did get the dog!” He reached down to pet the dog. The dog pulled away, but soon realized that the boy was only trying to pet her. At nightfall, the dog was still very nervous about this new place. During the remaining time she had at the house before she was sent to a large room, she had done some exploring. She had discovered that the house was surprisingly large, to her, at least. There were some rooms downstairs where these new people seemed to spend some of their daylight hours in. There were rooms upstairs where the boy, and what seemed to be a smaller one, slept. The


room that she was currently in was where the lady and her husband slept. There were also other animals in the house. There were two little funny creatures, one black and the other a mix of brown and black, whom she loved to chase. There was also another dog, who would take time to get used to. She had had quite an interesting day, and she had no idea what tomorrow would bring. The dog awoke to a loud buzzing noise that filled the room. She had no idea what it was, and was about to panic before the lady turned it off. It looked like it came from a little black box with flashing numbers on it. The lady got up and opened the door to let the dog roam the house, as she went to the bathroom to get ready for the day. The dog wandered down the hallway, not knowing what to do and decided to go into the boy’s room. She found him sleeping on the bed, so she jumped up to see him. She woke him and he responded by petting her on the head. “Alright, I’ll get up,” responded the boy. As the morning progressed, everybody living in the household was up. The lady was making breakfast while the boys were sitting at the table. “Could you please feed the dog, Dylan?” said woman cooking what appeared to be eggs and bacon at the stove. The boy got up and went outside into the garage. He soon came back with a cup, which appeared to be full of tiny brown pebbles. He went over to two bowls sitting in the corner, one full of water, and filled the vacant bowl with the supposed rocks. He called the dog over and she realized that those weren’t pebbles, but food. She took a small bite, chewed quickly, and swallowed. It was delicious. The dog quickly stuffed herself full of the food. After her meal, she licked her lips and laid down belly up, asking for a belly rub. The boy came over and gave her a nice long one, lasting for about a minute. The whole time, the dog was filled with a feeling of optimism and leisure. “What should we call her, Mom?” the boy said as he was pulling his school project out of his backpack. “What about Pearl?” she replied. “Maybe Sugar, or, umm...hey, what do you have there?” “Just some amber for my science project.” As soon as the dog heard the word “amber,” she jumped a little. “Amber would be the perfect name!” exclaimed the mother. The dog knew that was the perfect name. She was beginning to love this new family. The boy and his younger brother started to head outside. Before the dog could make it out the door in time, the lady stopped her.


“You can’t go out without this on!” she said as she buckled a special collar with two metal pins on the dog. The dog has seen a collar like this before, back when she was with her old family. She had to stay inside the white flags or she would get zapped by an electric shock. As soon as it was on, she scampered out the door. Outside, the air felt astonishing. The wind was blowing nimbly, shaking the luscious green leaves attached to the trees above. Birds sang lovely tunes to each other, and a toad occasionally let out a groan or two. The two boys were playing on their swing set when they saw the dog come out of the house. The older one hopped off and instantly grabbed a green tennis ball. “Wanna play, Amber?” he said, and she knew exactly what to do. So she ran over and started jumping for joy as the boy threw the ball with all of the strength he could. Before it even hit the ground, the dog chased after it. The ball landed in some pine straw, which was instantly torn up by the dog’s haste as she clenched the ball in between her teeth. She ran back to the boy, dropped it, and he threw it again. They repeated the activity about ten times, until finally, the dog was worn out. She went inside, drank some water, and took a long nap. A couple of hours into the night, everything was winding down in the house. The cats had gone on the boy’s bed, the dogs were sleeping peacefully. The whole house was quiet. The boy was up, thinking about the dog. He had mixed feelings of excitement and happiness and other positive emotions. He loved the new dog. He couldn't wait to play with her again and again. This was a fun, special dog, who loved the new family, and they loved her back. ♣


Cassie’s Birthday Surprise

Alex Longo

The sun was bright, and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. The few clouds that were there were high up, soft, fluffy, and thin. They were wispy and moved at a quick pace. Outside, the temperature was over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit. The only place people could find shelter in the roasting heat was in the shade of trees. However, Alex and Andrew Longo were not playing outside this day, even on a day as beautiful as this one. Both children were much alike. Alex was ten years old. Andrew was six. They both had brown hair, although Andrew’s was slightly lighter. They both were usually light-hearted, and they both loved to have fun. On this day, they were not playing like they usually did. They were sitting in their house, trying to find out something to do for their dog Cassie’s second birthday. They had already owned Cassie for over a year and really enjoyed having her around to keep them company. Cassie was a relatively young golden retriever. At around the age of two, golden retrievers will start chewing on almost everything they can find. Cassie had shredded her favorite toy, a green nylon and cotton duck, about a month ago. Seeing how quickly the duck had been destroyed, coupled with the fact that it cost twenty dollars, Alex and Andrew’s mother had decided that she would not buy a new duck. “We should buy a new duck for Cassie,” said Alex. “You heard what Mommy said,” retorted Andrew. “We should make her a new duck out of paper and tape.” Alex stared at Andrew like he had just said that a dragon had landed outside the house. After a brief pause, he cleverly crafted his response. “Are you crazy? Cassie would shred a paper duck in seconds!” Andrew argued, “If you think you are so smart, why don’t you try coming up with a good idea?” Alex had not thought of this before. He tried to think clearly, but nothing came to him. “How about we just go outside and play? We can do something for Cassie later.” “Are you crazy? I want to make Cassie something.” Finally, an idea popped into Alex’s head. “We could make a cake for Cassie out of all the things a dog likes.”


“She would love it,” agreed Andrew. And so, the two intrepid heroes set off to make a birthday surprise for Cassie. Andrew explained, “Mommy makes all her tasty cakes in a big grey bowl.” Alex got a large, silver mixing bowl out of his mother’s baking cabinet. They immediately decided to put ice cream in the bowl, because they thought that since they both enjoyed ice cream, Cassie would like it as well. The second thing the two children put in the mixing bowl was dog food. Although neither of them particularly enjoyed dog food, they decided to add it anyway, since Cassie ate several cups of it every day. Cassie also ate one jar of smooth, fluffy peanut butter every few days, so Alex and Andrew decided to throw several spoonfuls of it in their already mixed-up recipe. Although Alex argued against it, Andrew also froze a full, six-inch long carton of grape jelly. This went in the center of the cake so it would surprise the poor dog. The next ingredient added in the horrific mess that was becoming Cassie’s birthday cake was two strips of uncooked bacon. Although both children would have liked to have put the bacon in a large, black box they only knew as “the microwave,” neither of them knew how to operate it, so they did the next best thing and threw the raw bacon in the mixing bowl. Finally, to top it off, Alex placed a candle on top of the unshaped, amorphous blob for good luck. With this, they thought the surprise was officially completed, and took it outside for Cassie to enjoy. The young golden retriever was basking in the hot summer heat, unaware of the storm that was about to hit her. Alex placed the cake on the ground. Cassie smelled the mess inside the mixing bowl for a few minutes, taking in all the rich smells. She then started to quickly lick away at the ice cream. She slowed down when she hit the frozen jelly, but after a few minutes of persistent licking, she finished that as well. Finally, ten minutes after the cake was first placed on the ground, it was finally gone, candle and all. The good luck candle must have brought good fortune to Cassie, because she matured into a calm dog during the following year. And Alex and Andrew Longo could sleep, assured that they had done their duty and made sure that Cassie was appreciated on her birthday. ♣



MSR Middle School Literary Journal

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