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Sketch: Through the Looking Glass

“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die: Ever drifting down the streamLingering in the golden gleamLife, what is it but a dream?� -Lewis Carroll

The 2014 King George High School Literary Magazine

Credits Screening, Editing Layout & Design

Ms. Hand’s Creative Writing II: Genni Askin Katie Bailey Mackenzie Broderick Katie Cooke Caresse Hall Bria Howard Carley Johnson Lexi Scheerschmidt Morgan Shaffer Taylor Williams

We would like to thank: The KGHS Art& Craft Design Students for their amazing art-work, as well as all KGHS students who were brave enough to submit their work for all to see. You put your heart and soul into your work, and sharing it with the world is not always easy. We have some awesomely talented students here and we are so proud of you. We hope you are proud too. Ms. Amanda Snelling for taking on the task of spearheading the English Department’s Coffee House scholarship event for the first time this year. Your help has been invaluable! All those friends, family members, teachers and mentors who inspire, shape, and support us. We promise your efforts were worth it. And our readers, thank you for indulging us. Enjoy!


Contents The Time Has Come The Kind Doctor: Doctor Mortis……………………………………………....8 A Light in the Dark: Tristan Stoyanof ……………………………………..…9 From...To: Katie Cooke …………………………………………………….…12 Let’s Go on an Adventure: Victoria Lowe ………………………………….12 The Test of Time: Jordan Neave…………………………………………...…13 Better: Mackenzie Broderick………………………………………………….17 The Puppeteer: Doctor Mortis………………………………………………..17 Constructs of the Mind and Creations of the Soul: Abigail Ryan ……......17 The Burning King: Doctor Mortis………………………...……………...…..21 Something Important to Say Breathe: Bria Howard…………………………………………………...….....22 Older: Lexi Scheerschmidt…………………………………………………....22 Wondrous Things: Genni Askin……………………………………………...23 Finding Light in the Darkness: Amanda Padilla…………………….……..24 Land of the Free: Maddie Amos……………………………………...………27 3 Ways to Be Happier: Sidney Mrotek………………………………...…….33 3 Ways to Pass Math Class: Devin Reeves…………………………...……...34 Nine Things to Say When Someone Says ‘She’s Just On Her Period’: Shannon Baxter………………………………………………………34 Constellations: Luke Miler………………………………………………..….34 Marriage Through the Eyes of a Child: Elikah Wills……………………....38 First Love: Carley Johnson…………...……………………………………….41


Contents Chasing Cheshires: Nothing Is What it Seems Down the Rabbit Hole: Katie Bailey………………………………….…….42 Five Ways to Look at Lockers: Matthew Macaluso………….……………42 Untitled: Anonymous………………………………………………………..42 Heartless: Abby Johnson……………………………………………...……..43 Fighting the Current: Jessie Hill……………………………………...……..43 Happy Day: Jack Monteith…………………………………...……………..44 What Do I See?: Shelby Lindsey…………………………………………….46 Toddlers & Tiaras: Grace Wisslead………………………………...………47 Is It Real: Anonymous……………………………………..…………….…..48 Peace Day: Anonymous……………………………………………..……....48 Gallery………………………………………………………..…………….…48 Jabberwocky…………………………………………………….…………....58 Vortex of Insanity Mad: Caresse Hall……………………………………………...…………….66 Is It Love?: Shantel Harvey……………………………………………...…..66 A Father’s Stories: Doctor Mortis………………………………………...…66 Alternate Ending to the Hobbit: Bryan Yowler…………………………...67 I’m Just Me: Caresse Hall…………………………………...……………….74 We’re All Mad You See: Taylor Williams……………………………….....74 Money– A Found Poem: Riley Brown………………………………...…...74 Doctor Rigor Mortis: Doctor Mortis…………………………………...…...75 How to Slam Poem: Jaden Leal………………………………………….....76


Contents Untitled: Katie Cooke……………………………………………...………...77 Saint Anger Lives………………………………………………………….....78 Off With Their Heads! Discouraged: Elissa Davis………………………………………………...…80 Heartbreak: Elissa Davis………………………………………………...…..80 Dementia: Doctor Mortis………………………………………………...….81 Wings: Mackenzie Broderick………………………………………...……...81 Empty Dreams & Broken Souls: Genni Askin………………………….....81 Meeting Death: Gary Moore……………………...…………………………81 A Good Man is Hard to Find-Misfit: Jenna Wine……………………...…82 Loneliness: Billy Stevenson……………………………...………………….84 Clock Sttikes Twelve:: Katie Bailey……………………………...…………85 Confessions of the Black King: Doctor Mortis………………………….....85 Mirror Mirror Stupid Paper: Morgan Shaffer………………………………...…………….88 Chris- Father, Role Model, and Mostly My Friend: Aaron Goode…...…88 Breathe: Shannon Baxter…………………………………………...………..90 Thank You Mom & Dad: Vicki Shea…………………………………….....90 The Truth: Elissa Davis………………………………………...……………92 The Never Ending Shades of Grey: Anonymous…………………...…….93 How I Feel: Shelby Lindsey……………………………...………………….96 Dunn: Brett Farrell………………………………………………...…………96 Child’s Play: Lexi Scheerschmidt…………………………………………...97


Contents A Golden Afternoon Nature: Carley Johnson………………………………………………...……98 Joy: Carley Johnson……………………………………………………...…...98 Sonnett: Sam Fedak……………………………………………………...…...98 Beg: Chad Taylor……………………………………………………………..98 Young Love: Shantel Harvey………………………………………………..99 My Heart Sings: Carley Johnson……………………………………...…….99 Love: Carley Johnson…………………………………………...…………..100 5 Ways to Look at a Field: Billy Stevenson…………………………...….100 A Visit at My Aunt’s: Lily Huang Merrigan……………………………..100 A Corner Filled With Pages: Shannon Baxter……………………...…….101 Awaiting Fury: Morgan Shaffer…………………………………...………102 Childhood-Raised at my Second Home : Anna Kniceley………...…….103


Dedication We, the students of Creative Writing II & III, would like to dedicate this year’s magazine to those family, friends and teachers who over the years have inspired us, encouraged us, and helped shape us into who we are today. You have played an invaluable part in our lives and we are grateful for all you have done for and given us. Ms. Hand would also like to say just how proud she is of her students– Genni, First Katie, Mackenzie, Other Katie, Caresse, Bria, Carley, Lexi, Morgan and Taylor. None of this would be possible without you and you’ll never know how much you mean to me. It’s been a pleasure watching you grow as women and writers and I feel privileged to have been a part of your journey.


The Time Has Come The Kind Doctor Dr. Mortis It is the year 1368, and the Black Death ravages Europe. In the city of Venice a tall man stands in his black robes and his hollowed bird mask, he is a doctor, and the sight of them when you were sick during this time, meant death. Although to this doctor in particular death meant nothing to him.

He handed the woman her child as he collected some herbs and a portar.

"Medico,Medico!" A young woman with a child in her arms yells for him. He turns and looks at the woman through the silk covering the eyes of the mask. "What is the problem, Ma'dame?" He speaks in his Italian accent, but with English words recognizing the woman as a refugee from England.

"Ma'dame she is fine, just a little cold." The doctor processors to smash the herbs in the portar before tapping the crush material into a small glass jar, and placing a iron lid on it. "To make sure she does not grow worst, mix a pinch of this into his drink once a day at noon." He hands her the jar which she put in a sewed on pocket. "Let me pay yo-"

"My child, she is sick, we fear the worst." The woman speaks with dread in her voice.

"Sciocchezze, you need not pay me for work that is needed to preserve life."

"Follow me, my sister." He speaks like so seeing her cross she carries with her. "Set the child on the table please." She proceeded to set her young child on the table. The tall doctor walked over and opened the blanket and started to examine the child. During examination he began to speak Italian his base language, Nessun segno di peste , senza morsi da pulci .. hmm .. Eccellente!" He says as he wraps the child back up in her blanket.

"Um, sir?"


"Yes, Ma'dame, is there anything else you need?" "I was wondering how tall you are." "Semplice, I am 2.0066 meters to be precise. Why do you ask?" "It just I never seen anyone as tall as you. You stand over everyone by nearly a head and chest sometimes."

"That I do, now that you mention it." "Do you have any children?" she asks the tall Medico. "I have two actually. Both young adults." "Are they as tall as you?" "No, they are not, I have a head over my figlio (son), and my figlia (daughter), come up only to the middle of my chest right here." He presses a finger right below his sternum. "You seem like you would be a good, father being as friendly as you as you are." She turns to leave before the Medico, stops her, "Ma'dame, take these robes, it will start raining soon." He offers a white robe with a hood. "Thank you for everything Medico." She hurries home with the robe on and the child under the robes. The tall man looks up to the sky as he walks out of his building, turning around and locking the door to his work place. He walks slowly in the rain passing an old man who is suffering from the plague. The tall, slender figured stops and walks over to the man. "Sii forte fratello , quando il dolore è scomparso , sarà con Dio." The man looks at the Medico, as he pulls out a hand made iron cross, made with a chain it was melded to. "Si prega di .. prendere questa ... si potrebbe pensare , si


è dannato , ma Dio sorride a tutti noi." The Medico takes the chain and cross, and silently the man passes on. He lays the fresh corpse under a statue of Jesus Christ as he closes the man's eye. "Possa la tua anima passare nel cielo." The tall man stands up and puts the chain over his head and lets the cross hang from his neck. When he returns to his home a while outside of Venice, he can smell the burning of fire and the smell of meat. "Victoria, Victor, I'm back." He calls out as he hears Victoria's bare feet running on the floor as she runs to jump and hug him. "Hello my sweet angel, I have a wonderful story for you tonight." "Does it have a happy ending?" "That it does." The tall man laughed as he set his daughter down.

A Light In The Dark Tristan Stoyanof It is said that humans are perpetually afraid of the dark because when Hades donned his special helmet, he became one with the shadows. You can find out a lot about a person the moment you throw them in an environment where they can’t see what’s in front of them; control freaks lose their precious

notion of stability, warriors lose their courage, and family can change literally at the speed of light. What people fail to realize though is that light and dark are not only physical, but also emotional manifestations. These manifestations are all around us and even inside of us, yet humans never cease to be surprised when they jump down a hole only to find darkness. When I confronted my darkness it was cavernous, but the worst part was when I lost sight of the ones I loved. When I was younger, my family and I used to go on little day trips every couple of weeks or so. Some days it was to the beach, others to a farm, and occasionally we’d go visit a museum. These day trips meant everything to my sister and I; our family couldn’t really afford the extravagant Carnival cruises or trips to Hawaii, so these mini excursions were our vacations. Every new place was an unexplored paradise, a paradise whose mysteries were mine to be revealed. I was six years old when we decided we should go on a guided tour in one of the local mines near my house in Alabama. I was excited for this trip because this would be the first time I had ever been on a trip like that. In my mind, the cave held unimaginable adventures, beasts I might be lucky enough to glimpse, and wonders not possible on the surface world. The excitement radiating from me was palpable; the air was alive and charged with the energy of my


own imagination. The mind was already planning the possible destinations before the trip even begun. When we arrived at the mine entrance, we were given safety helmets and told to stay close to our parents if we were too young to be trusted alone. I immediately grabbed my mother’s hand and we proceeded through the entrance; onward towards the culmination of my desires and imagination, embracing the thrill of the unknown, and even the fear of becoming lost in the underground maze. It was a rush unlike any other I had experienced before. The tour consisted of a guided walk-through where the information was laid out like a museum: mannequins dressed up as miners, old mine carts, and even primitive mining equipment were all on display throughout the main tunnel. As we progressed further down the mine, the shaft emptied out into a giant cavern that was easily the size of a small house and lit by electric lights placed throughout. The sight was so stunning that everyone let out a collective gasp of wonder, and I was no exception. I let go of my mom’s hand and stared dumbfounded at the spectacle around me: the colorful quartz rocks inlaid in the wall, the stalactites and stal-

agmites protruding like teeth of a beast, the cool, clear water that reflected its surroundings more perfectly than any mirror could. Everything captured my attention and even sent my imagination off on yet another adventure as I saw myself exploring the rest of the cave to find other hidden wonders such as this one. Then everything went black. Sheer terror coursed through my veins as my perception of the world around me went reeling. Suddenly, I was no longer in a majestic underground palace; I was in my own tomb. Panic set in as I was no longer in control of my surroundings; my joy ride was over and the harsh reality of the underworld set in: I do not belong here. Desperately, I reached out for the familiar touch of my mother’s hand; my one safe haven as the world around me falls apart. I found her hand then held on for dear life until, just as suddenly as it had left, the light returned. The tour guide laughingly explained that he intentionally cut off the lights to explain what it felt like for the other people who got trapped underground or decided to explore further into the cave. Everyone let out a sigh of relief, including myself, and returned to observing the cavern. I was about to do the same thing until I looked up and realized the hand I was holding on to did not belong to my mother. I immediately let go and shyly recoiled; she just smiled understandingly and went on her way to see what else she could


discover. I later found my mom and we enjoyed the rest of the tour without a hitch. I never really thought too much about that day until later in life, where even the smallest things can be viewed metaphorically. I realized that, after looking back on it, my experience in the cavern showed me just where the twists and turns of life can take me. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the wonder and beauty of whatever it is we’re pursuing, whether it’s a career of something material, that we can lose touch with those we love. But when everything crashes down around you, you suddenly expect them to be there and you’ll reach out for anything that feels like love. That might get you through the hard times, but won’t be the “true love” you remember. All of this showed me that although it’s easy to lose sights of those you love when things get crazy, you have to hold on to those that love you.

You just can’t be afraid of the dark. Like the late Albus Dumbledore once said, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.”


and says, “let’s go on an adventure.” She doesn’t say how far, or what the fare, just that I’ll smile in the end. I get my coat, she smiles at me and says, “don’t worry.” She doesn’t say how long we’ll be gone, or if we’ll be back before dawn, just that I’ll smile in the end.

Katie Cooke From hidden to confident From wishes on stars and big, wild dreams

She grabs her keys, smiles at me and says, “let’s go on an adventure.”

From believing in lonesome to believing in love

She doesn’t say how far, or what the fare, just that I’ll smile in the end.

From one sweet surprise to another From loved to even more

I close the door and look to her, she smiles at me and says, “trust me.”

From being my best friend to being my girlfriend

She doesn’t say if her dad will wake, or if we’re going to get baked, just that I’ll smile in the From being my love to being the end. definition of She grabs the wheel, smiles at You stole my heart me and says, “let’s go on an adventure.” From being my girlfriend to my love

Let’s Go on an Adventure Victoria Lowe She grabs my hand, smiles at me

She doesn’t say how far, or what the fare, just that I’ll smile in the end. I fasten my belt, she smiles at me and says, “hold on.” She doesn’t say to take a nap, or when we’ll be back, just that I’ll smile in the end. She hits the gas, smiles at me and says, “we’re off on an adventure.” She doesn’t say how far, or


what the fare, just that I’ll smile in the end. I twiddle my thumbs, she looks at me and says, “calm down.” She doesn’t say which way we’re going, or if she also thinks it’s snowing, just that I’ll smile in the end. She grabs the brake, smiles at me and says, “let’s go on an adventure.” She doesn’t say how far, or what the fare, just that I’ll smile in the end. I blow a frosty breath, she smiles at me and says, “let’s go on an adventure.” She doesn’t say we won’t be gone long, or sing me a song, just that I’ll smile the end. She grabs a blanket, smiles at me and says, “let’s go on an adventure.”

The Test of Time Jordan Neave Mr. and Mrs. Mayweather had been married "fer as long as we kin 'me-mbar!" At least, that's what the Misses always told me. I’d been keeping an eye on the couple, as my court order entailed, so the two wouldn't be helpless if something were to happen to one of them. Though, my company wasn't much help when Mrs. Mayweather went to bed after a prayer and never woke up. lt had been one month, and


the old man’s previously jovial, lively form had become little more than a feeble, sad mass. Even his movements were slow and unmotivated; these gradual, careless strides that carried heavy footsteps across the hardwood floor. Mister Mayweather eased himself down into the metal frame of his wheelchair, tucking his old cherry cane across his lap. “I want to get out of the house." His voice was wispy and exhausted, his dulled grey eyes now rising to look up at me like a sad, old hound. Funny; I remembered his eyes being blue. With a curt nod, I'd whisked the two of us down the cracked driveway and to the rusted, metallic blue '67 Crown Vic'. We were at our destination in only a few minutes, listening to old, somber country songs, “Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie” playing just as the brakes squeaked in protest to needing to stop the wheels. The car halted on the hot tarmac and the motor cut, the sound now being the crash of the waves against the shore. We'd arrived at Brushid Beach, and while May was the ideal time for beachgoing, very few people were out due to the chilling winds. It was midday, the sky was blue. There was the vague threat of storm clouds

in the distance, the overcast weather leaving this bizarre feel of electricity in the air. The passenger door released a loud, metallic "clack!" as the handle released the door. We strolled along, still silent, the wheels of his chair occasionally thumping when they fell after climbing a stone. The rickety wooden boards gave little protest to our weight, and soon, everything but the rhythmic crashing of the waves against the smooth stone and beachhead were drowned out by Mayweather's voice. "Trish always loved the beach,” he let himself mumble, his empty eyes staring bleakly out at the sea. A long silence filled the air, and the man I'd been pushing heaved a heavy sigh to break it. “I know you didn't want to come out here and do this, Jordan, I know you have to. I just want you to know I really appreciate what you're doing for me here.” "lt’s no problem, really. You’re welcome." I tried to sound as sincere as possible, as the couple had been very kind and I didn’t really have to do much. They were independent enough to walk around the house, get their own food, and Mrs. Mayweather was even coordinated enough to drive. All I had to do was, well, make sure neither of them got hurt. There wasn't anything I could've done, but I failed in the only duty given to me. It felt almost as though he could see the weariness in my


guilty smile. After a while, the boardwalk had begun to both narrow and incline, my eyes turning from the distant when the wheelchair suddenly became harder to push. The sun sat a bit further to the west, the angle causing its light to glint against the waves that danced about each other as though each were free to enjoy themselves as much they pleased without consequence. If only this were true with more than just waves… Gradually, the sand receded and eventually the boardwalk sat only a few meters from a steep incline. The beach had turned to coastal cliffs, daunting and lacking of anything other than grass so overgrown that it grew between the boards. This walkway lacked the same lacquer and polish the beachhead had gotten, now rotten and rickety against the wheels that I struggled to get up the increasingly challenging climb. I'd adjusted, over time, to the rigorous uphill battle until the ground leveled off. Neither Mr. Mayweather nor I any longer felt the imposing threat of gravity to force us back to the base of the cliff side. The wheels creaked along and I looked about, the area surprisingly well-kempt

in spite of the overgrowth between the beachhead and summit. The area was practically a perfect plane, with the painstaking care and neatness that would drive even the most expert of groundskeepers mad with envy. In the center of the area sat a small reflective pond, and while I cursed the mid-day sun for its biting heat, I couldn't help but admit that the sparkling properties of its light, dancing on the surface of the waters could very well substitute for a Wonder of the World. "Just this way,� Mayweather said with a gruff gesture to the far right, swinging his arm with the littlest of care; though his otherwise stoic voice got caught up in his throat for the briefest of moments. I never knew the old man to take pause. The wheelchair's rubber was hushed by the grass beneath it, leaving little tracks where the treads had been. We approached a large patch of foliage, where upon I was directed to go around it in a tone that tried to hide how disappointed it was for me not having figured out how to do so myself. From this height, the crashing booms of the waves against the rocks were little more than whispers, grazing our ears only gently enough to be heard by me; being his age, Mayweather couldn't exactly hear with the same preciseness. Rounding the trimmed shrubbery, I had to part some of the stiff branches to get through a particularly thin sec-


tion. But when I did, my eyes were met with tragedy. This portion of the summit was unlike the rest, but not in a good way either. The beauty in this area seemed only like vague nostalgia, as traces of evidence were left behind: among the overgrowth was a wrought iron bench, though the intricate swirls and curves of the metal were an ugly blackish red, rust eating away at the remnants of the seat's matte finish. The surrounding ferns and various other bushes made what was practically a wall to the little niche, the only open section being the cliff's edge. The bench faced toward it, looking out over miles upon miles of calm, breath-taking seas. A shadow was cast over the tall, grassy area, by that of a gangly, twisted form. The old tree that caused this looked a willow, but the dark brown color of its rigid, chipping bark implied otherwise. I had to stop myself from admiring the bittersweet scene and squeeze the handles of the chair, as a deep sigh escaped Mayweather's 1ips. "You know,� he mumbled

only half coherently, as though the nostalgia of the scene before him was practically intoxicating, "I used to be able to carry her up those steps. Weddin’ style, just like in those movies she'd watch." I could only see part of his face, but the sudden tautness of his cheeks implied he was smiling at the thought. "She really loved it when I acted all romantic.” The handles of the wheelchair were jerked from my grasp as the broken, old man pushed with unprecedented strength at the wheels. Rolling over the grass, he struggled up from beside the bench and approached the old tree, which, as I got closer proved to not be lined with strips of bark, but carvings. Romantic sentiments such as "Craig hearts Julie” or "Steve + Irene” all blended in despite all the different handwriting, angles and carving methods used. Mister Mayweather’s hand rose with the kind of intent that told me what it sought out was unmistakable, the old man's stumpy fingers running over a particular portion of print before reaching in to his old tan blazer and seizing a little pocket knife. I could see, but I couldn’t hear the sharp grinding of metal against wood. Once it was apparent Mayweather had finished his work, he promptly stepped back, spun about, brushed by me and sat down, sinking onto the bench so very leisurely that the folds of the blazer shrouded his face. I was more observant than ac-


tive, so it was easy to not disturb the old man in his slumber. So with little else to do than take in the scenery, my aching curiosity got the best of me: I snuck gradually to the tree to see what he'd done. At about the center of the trunk, just above a knot in the wood’s pattern, “Trevor M. + Trish M., 1944” was scrawled crudely. Just below it was a simple message, "I miss you,” faded just as much as the prior, but in more elegant font. Drafted? I recalled seeing a medal hanging in a case on the wall in the Mayweathers' house. “I’ll be there soon" was carved just beneath with the same jaggedness as the first message, but the wood was a light shade, freshly cut. l felt my blood run cold and I rushed to Mister Mayweather, shaking him by the shoulders. The paramedics arrived, but from the looks on their faces, the ride to the hospital would only be obligatory.


over his shoulders. "Rebecca, I am trying to work here." As he

Mackenzie Broderick

stared at the TV he suddenly stood up straight. "Rebecca, I will finally have revenge for what they did to you."

I’m getting better but it’s in small steps in the morning I get out of bed I shower and brush my teeth I prepare for my day at night I come home I wash my face and brush my teeth and mentally prepare myself for the next day and the next that may not be much but it is a start

"Brother, where are you going now?" He walked over to a small pedestal. "Big Brother is going to take care of the mean people who hurt you."

The Puppeteer Dr. Mortis In the age of steam punk, there were plenty who wished the downfall of the current government but none as vile as the man known simply as The Puppeteer. A man whose face was never seen, but instead a goat skull was placed over his head. They said he could play people by saying the simplest of words. In an underground room. A man dressed in formal clothes, black pants, white shirt and vest, and a blue overcoat, stared at multiple TV screens. Behind him a small girl with a mask over half her face, and dressed in a black dress. "Brother, please rest your eyes for a while, I worry your vision will get worst." The man looked


He picked up a goat skull made for his head and slipped it on. "Rebecca, you can watch me work from the TV live, it will be a show for you." He stepped out of the room to go to the land above his hidden room. Rebecca soon took a seat in front of the TV, and on that TV was live footage of the Capital Hospital.

Constructs of the Mind and Creations of the Soul Abigail Ryan When one tries to think of a life changing or very influential and moving experience a million things might flash through their minds. For me? One of the most memorable and life changing moments of my life was when I created my first fictional character. When I was younger, some of my online

friends introduced me to something called role playing. This was a fantastic creative release for me; it only helped me further hone my writing skills. Role playing allowed me to put a little bit of myself in the characters I made. Doing this made expressing myself as an individual and conveying my emotions to be much easier. I created my first character and watched her develop throughout the years. Along with constant roleplaying; I continued to develop my love for writing and creating these intricate fictional individuals. Growing up I tended to be a quiet reserved young girl especially during my preteen years and beyond. I didn’t have many friends, was constantly bullied, and felt very much alone and isolated to the world outside. However I did have the internet: with the Internet came friends. These friends were met on a site where people enjoyed writing and expressing themselves when they couldn’t do so elsewhere. It was hard but I finally befriended a few people on said site. Of course, I had no idea what I was really doing. One day one of my closer friends from the site messaged me asking if I wanted to “RP” with him and his friends. Having had no idea what “RP” even meant I immediately expressed my confusion. He explained to me it was short for “role play”: that it is when you create a character (any character


you could possibly want or imagine) and then just write with them along with other people’s characters. Despite being hesitant, I assured him I would try and went on to develop my very first original character. Creating a character all my own was a bit harder than I expected it to be as I had never even heard of such a thing until now. The first thing I decided was that it had to be an animal. Since wolves were one of my favorite animals I decided that’s what it would be. Being the quirky individual that I am I of course wanted more than just a wolf: so I gave it three tails and a pair of feathered wings. Developing this character made me feel oddly less alone then I had been for so very long which inspired me to make it a very generous and loving character that hated to be lonely or even see others that felt alone. With my fingers twitching in excitement along the keyboard, I proceeded to give her a gender, a name, and an extensive back story that came to me one night in a dream. Thus, Luna was born. She was a hit among the other role players. As I continued to RP I started to fall in love with other people’s characters along with my own. My writing ability only got stronger as I role played with her more and

more. For once I didn’t feel so alone anymore. As the years went by and my character Luna became better developed, I began to develop other characters to role play with alongside her. Soon I was role playing seven or eight characters at once and keeping track of them all. As with many friendships, the ones I met on the website where I created Luna began to fade and disappear completely. My heart would hurt too much to even think of ever giving up on role playing, however, because I am always finding new people and creating new characters. It is just so incredible to be able to meet so many interesting individuals and express myself with the characters I love. Time continued to pass and my mind conjured up so many characters; each with their own intricate back story and personality. Sometimes I would even create entire families of characters. Having created such emotional stories with them I would often leave myself and those I was role playing with in tears. My family members supported me fully when I told them about my role playing and were so proud that I was writing so often and with other people too. This was such an incredible escape; to be able to dive into the world of roleplaying and character creation. I may have


made over a hundred or so characters to this day, but only about twenty are truly important to me. If I was forced to pick my top five most beloved characters the order would probably go like this; Lone, Sen, Caliban, Naori and, of course, Kentaro. Lone is my crazy, timid but fiercely loyal character. Sen is my Jekyll and Hyde inspired individual who trusts few and protects those he loves with his life. Caliban is my half demon always fighting against his inner demons and trials. Naori is the closest to me personality wise and is always helping others with their problems, sometimes neglecting her own. Kentaro is my healer with a fiery sense of loyalty and courage. These are the characters I have put most of my time into and who I have developed the most. These characters also have their own

to express myself through writing.

fan base among the friends I have role played them with and it is so fantastic to see others interested in my creations. It makes me overjoyed to create characters that not only I love but who others enjoy as well. I even have fan art of these characters. (In case you may be confused fan art is when someone draws a picture of something they really love that belongs to someone else.) It is just the most incredible thing to know that I am not as alone as I once believed so many years ago. Role playing has even led me to want to write my own novels; it’s basically just role playing with myself: That is how I usually write things so quickly. I imagine I am roleplaying and the words just flow from my mind into my finger tips and onto the keys. Role playing has been a fantastic advantage for me it’s a perfect way


Being so lonely and frustrated throughout my life left me with few things to escape to; discovering role play was a gift sent from above. Friendships were made, emotions expressed, and loneliness eradicated. Expressing my emotions and getting my frustrations out on paper became so much easier when I had someone I could use to express said emotions with. Role playing has become an escape for me and a way to meet people who understand me better than a lot of people I know outside of the internet. Creating Luna has changed my life for the better. Of course I know that I still have so many more characters just waiting to be created and shared with the people who love to see them. Some people may call it “nerdy” and “dumb”, but to me creating my first fictional character and then going on to role play has been one of the most important things to happen to me. The journey I have been through was long and sometimes rough but role play has always been that one constant in my life that I could always turn to. Expressing my anger through one character and my joy through another has been life saving; especially when I

barely spoke a sentence a day back when I was younger. Role play has helped me to flourish into the young woman I am today and I truly believe it will continue to do so throughout the rest of my life. Role play is not just a construct of the mind, but a creation of the soul.

The Burning King By Doctor Mortis Three years. It's been three years since her death, and it has been three years since I left this room, and three years since I have left my throne, which sits right next to hers. The morning sun finally arrives turning the sky a blood red, as it should be. Since her death none of my sons or daughters have seen me. Still images of that day ravage my mind, of her beautiful pale skin, her luxurious brown hair, and her ruby red eyes, impaled on the sword of an angel. My beautiful Victoria, how your face still haunts me, when I'm awake and the nightmares I suffer when I'm asleep. Long has it been since I've gone to our room, and long has it been since I smiled. Her laughter was music to me, because when she was happy, I was happy. When she cried I would comfort her. In the light of our moon,


her skin glowed with a radiance which was greater then anything I could gaze upon. From our wedding, to the birth of our first child we have been inseparable. I would do all to protect you. But I have failed myself. Now I plan to regain your soul and return you to me. After these three years we will be together. I finally stand from this throne and walk to the balcony we always would looked out at the world from. Before stands an army without end. Before stands the Angel's Holocaust!

Something Important to Say Older By Lexi Scheerschmidt There’s a rip in her fabric. As she dances around in her glittering dress I try to catch a glimpse of her beauty.

Breathe By Bria Howard Sometimes my brother asks me “Why do you breathe?” I know that it’s meant as an insults but it really makes me think. The biology behind it is that we breathe to keep ourselves alive. Our body intakes the oxygen in the air to keep our heart pumping and our brain functioning. When we’re born, we just do it. It’s almost natural But ignoring of all of THAT, “Why do we breath?”. Put aside the literal meaning. Suppose we didn’t have lungs or a heart, but we still needed oxygen to be considered “alive”. Would we still breathe? Would the purpose of life be as sophisticated if death was easier to grasp? Maybe breathing serves as a deeper purpose. Breathing too fast or breathing to slow announces to the world that we’re in trouble. Breathing is our way of telling each other that were not dead; we’re stable. We breathe as a way to remind us that we’re truly alive.


She pulls me in close, resting her head in the crook of my neck, holding me tight. I move my fingers to her sides brushing her revealed skin lightly. She dips her head, resting her forehead on my chest, looking down at our feet. I sway, feeling a wet tear soak through my shirt. This is her favorite dress, and it can no longer be mended. It’s falling apart from all the times we laughed and leaped about in her yard, in our youthful years. It’s worn and faded in color, shorter and tighter in fit, filled with ripped seams and noticeable patches. Her mother spent many hours mending this simple piece of fabric. This will be its last appearance on her matured


but rather,

No longer a little girl,

it’s an inferno

and I, no longer a boy.

fueled by the passion and wonder of awestruck souls

She collapses onto her bed in exhaustion

who caress their existence with curious fingers.

and I lay down beside her, savoring the last moments of our childhood.

Art is an expression of the entire being, conveying the messages that are too strong,

Wondrous Things

or weak,

By Genni Askin

to be spoken aloud.

The empty canvas

It’s the spinning maze that casts me into blissful oblivion.

screams with anticipation. It lets out greedy breaths,

One where time is not a commodity.

begging for its white surface to be embraced with creation.

One where there is nowhere to be,

A blank page is nothing,

and nothing to do.

and yet,

One where days are spent doing nothing other than

it’s everything.

chasing Cheshires.

An infinite amount of possibilities

Art is the telling of a million stories,

lie just beneath the grainy surface.

the lullabies that mothers sing to their infants when sleep is

It could be anything,

just out of reach,

but at the same time

the tender embrace of young lovers,

it could be nothing at all. And the unfathomable paradox echoes the thin line that

and the farewells of ancient bones.

humanity itself

It’s the kisses between space and time that are so deep the stars get

walks upon. Art is not simply a means to make the endless hours of mundane living


go by a little faster,


And it’s the fire that can be extinguished only after desolation is replaced with

were going to (being that it was far too expensive and the scholarship I was awarded wouldn’t be enough). My parents decided to instead send me to a less expensive school: Lutheran High School of San Diego. I wouldn’t know anyone -- this would be interesting.

beauty. Art can be nothing, but instead it chooses to be everything.

Finding Light in the Darkness

Yikes! I was nervous. However, my fear quickly dissipated after joining sports teams. A few girls somehow convinced me to join Worship Team: a group of students and teachers who sing and play instruments at Chapel. I was worried that maybe I wouldn’t quite fit in, but I soon found my place. The music wasn’t anything like choir music -- it was fun and upbeat -- as were the other people in Worship Team. I met this guy -- Nathan Smith.

Amanda Padilla For the first and best fifteen years of my life, I grew up in sunny San Diego, California. I lived in an ethnically diverse community handpicked by my folks, who believed exposure to different cultures is what makes a well-rounded individual. Our house was nothing to brag about; it was a modest two-story home with a green lawn and a cracked driveway. We definitely lived in a blue collar neighborhood -- it showed through in the educational system.

Nathan was a freshman, too. He, too was pretty popular since he was on the football team. He had glasses, blond hair, and brilliant blue eyes; and -- he was a tener. Nathan was the epitome of charm and humor. Although we sang together a few times, we weren’t quite friends. We hung out in different circles, so we didn’t know much about each other. All I knew was that he had a strong relationship with God; a relationship which seemed to be the center of his morality.

The public school system wasn’t very good, so my parents paid the extra money to send me to private school: a Catholic school. This is where I met some really great people, including my very best friend. However, when I was heading off to high school, I found out I wouldn’t go onward with my friends to the fancy Catholic school most of them


One winter morning the principal made an announcement telling us we were going to have a community service day in a couple of weeks. Our school often did things for the community, like pick up trash and volunteer our service to small businesses around the county, but this trip would be a little bit different. This time, we would drive to downtown San Diego -- the city with the largest number of homeless veterans in the country -- and show them a bit of hospitality.

others wrote words of encouragement. In preparing for our outing, we also collected lightly worn jackets and socks. Everyone was excited for the day ahead. Students boarded onto buses and piled into cars around 9am. None of us freshmen really knew what to expect when we came to our destination. Then I remembered my religion teacher telling us that we might feel moved to pray with the people we meet; however, I wasn’t really Jesus-y. Yeah, I sang on Thursdays for Worship Team, but that was just because the people were really talented and they were always cracking jokes. I didn’t even know if I believed in God. I was feeling pretty nervous when suddenly we came to a stop and a math teacher told us to get out and walk towards a broken down building he pointed to in the distance.

The morning of the big event was cold and dewy. The students all wore their class shirts: freshmen wore red, sophomores wore orange, juniors wore purple, and seniors wore blue. Immediately I spotted my friend who pulled me into a room where around thirty freshmen were making PB&Js and wrapping them up to send them to the juniors, who dropped them into paper bags. Then the brown bags made their way over to yet another table of sophomores who would throw in a bag of chips and a water bottle. When the lunches showed up at the senior table, upperclassmen would place a note written by a student into the bag. Some people wrote Bible verses while

Tables were set up with all of the goodies we had to offer to anyone in need. We were put into groups and I was the


leader of the jackets & socks table. I guess my oh-soimportant job was to ensure no one took more than one jacket. Luckily, I knew everyone in my group -- a few volleyball players, a guy in a few of my classes, a couple basketball players, and Nathan. Unfortunately, everyone in my group, except Nathan, was rounded up to go find anyone nearby who looked like they could use our help. There Nathan and I stood, quite awkwardly, with nothing to talk about; but we were prepared to help anyone who would come our way. Soon, people started pouring in. They were grabbing lunches and extra water bottles while they chatted with students and teachers to express their gratitude. A man came over to my booth. He was probably in his mid to late thirties; perhaps younger, but the sun had aged him. He told me that he had lost his job a few months ago and he was too proud to accept government aid. On his way to church, he saw us in our bright t -shirts and decided to take a gander. Next, he told us that he felt closer to Christ more now than ever before. I felt the urge to ask him something, but I was nervous. Finally, I asked him: “Will you pray with me?” He said he’d love to and we held hands strongly and bowed our heads. I thanked God for our encounter and asked Him to


bless this man on his journey. Suddenly, tears flooded down my cheeks. Because I had been somewhat stoic, I was just as surprised as the man holding my hand. Next, I felt Nathan grab my other hand and heard the man continue the prayer for me. He asked the Lord to watch over and protect us, and for the Holy Spirit to guide us in making good choices. He said he’d love to and we held hands strongly and bowed our heads. I thanked God for our encounter and asked Him to bless this man on his journey. Suddenly, tears flooded down my cheeks. Because I had been somewhat stoic, I was just as surprised as the man holding my hand. Next, I felt Nathan grab my other hand and heard the man continue the prayer for me. He asked the Lord to watch over and protect us, and for the Holy Spirit to guide us in making good choices. I learned a lesson that day: often we find direction, levelheadedness and persistence in the least-likely people facing the most draining tribulations. I didn’t expect the less-privileged people I met that day to be as cheerful as they were. They weren’t sure where they would sleep that night or even when they would have their next meal. When these people saw us and allowed us to help them, they looked ecstatic. Yeah, it

Land of the Free By Maddie Amos Night was falling on my small village, Marjah, Afghanistan. The heat of the day hadn’t died, but it had decreased. It felt pleasant inside my cool, concrete house. I had almost finished my math homework. Problems danced inside my mind, ‘x’ values twisting among numbers. I finished the problem and closed my textbook, yawning. My school, if you could call it that, was inside an abandoned building. Four other girls and I were taught by an Anglo woman from the United Nations. There was a constant threat of Taliban attack, but I couldn’t bring myself to acknowledge that going was dangerous. “Aiza,” my brother Aaban said, “you may want to hear this.” My seventeen-year-old brother became the male figure in my family after my father died. Aaban was the only reason my mother was allowed to continue to live freely, or as freely as a woman can in a Taliban area. “What is it Aaban?” my mother asked. She was sitting on the floor in a direct line to the front door. She had sat there every evening since we learned my father had died. Aaban looked away from the contraband newspaper and stated with a downcast face,

was just a bagged lunch, a jacket, and some socks to us; but to the people we met it was knowing that someone cared about them and their well-being. The man I talked to didn’t worry about where he would be spending his week -he had faith that he would be okay. He trusted in a being greater than himself to take care of him. He is more courageous than any person I have ever met. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” -Isaiah 40:28-31


There was silence from my mother’s corner. And then, “Fine, she will go. But get to bed, Aiza.” I kissed her on the cheek, and my brother waved at me as he walked out to the kitchen to burn the illegal newspaper. I crawled into bed with my two little sisters. In her sleep, ten-year-old Aara curled up against me, despite her position that she was too old to cuddle. Four-year-old Aileiah sucked at her thumb, a habit she hid during the day. I drifted off to sleep, anticipating school in the morning, with the comfortable heat of my sisters around me.

“There have been rumors of proposed Taliban attack on the school here.” “There are always rumors, though, aren’t there?” I asked, subordinate. “I do not believe you should go to school for a while, Aiza,” my mother said. “It is too dangerous.” “I have to go,” I said. “What is the point of having a school here if the students will flee at the first sign of danger? We live under constant threat, Mother, you know that.” “Aiza,” Aaban said, his voice hushed. My face flushed, knowing I had gone too far. “I must say that I agree with you, Aiza.” “Aaban!” my mother exclaimed her voice sharp and her face disbelieving. “Mother,” Aaban said, pleading, “If Aiza does not go to school tomorrow, someone will notice. She goes every day. The last thing we need is to be questioned by less than friendly neighbors.”

*** The next morning, the July desert sun beat down on me as I stood outside the abandoned building that had become my safe haven. I was always the first girl to arrive at the school, but the entire street seemed unusually deserted that morning. My mind flitted to the Taliban. It was foreign to me to think that someone would want to attack my favorite place in the entire world. I took small steps, cautiously entering the shaded doorway. The first things I saw were my teacher’s materials strewn about her desk in a state of chaos that she would have never created. The chaos extended to the rest of the room:


desks were demolished, textbooks lay open, pages crumpled and discarded like they were worthless. Most alarming of all was my teacher’s bright blue hajib, draped across the blackboard. Living in Afghanistan, my mind jumped to the Taliban in an instant. I fled, knowing that I was in more danger than I had ever been in by standing there. I passed one of my classmates as I ran to my house. “Go home,” I said. “Just go home.” My frenzied eyes and lack of breath discouraged protests, and she promised to tell our other classmates. Another thing about living in a Taliban country was that you learned to see the danger in the eyes of others. The difficulty was distinguishing who had seen the danger, and who was the danger. *** Moments later, I arrived back at my house. Aaban was out, and my sisters were playing in the bedroom. My mother sat in her usual spot, sewing. I rushed in, startling her with the sudden slamming of the door. The moment she set eyes one me, my mother could tell something was wrong. Tremors overtook my body, and I managed to squeeze out the words, “Teacher… gone…school...” My mother jumped up and wrapped her arms around me. I sobbed horrible dry sobs, gasp-


ing for pure air that was scarce in the dusty wasteland of my country. My head took itself on a journey through my worst memories. I saw things that I pushed out of my mind by day, but would creep back by night. I remembered my father dying, seeing girls who had been set afire, and watching my best friend, Bisma, murdered in the street. I saw the corpse of my teacher added to the piles of bodies created under the Taliban regime. I sobbed for what felt like hours, but it could have very well been only moments. I gently shook my mother off and stepped back, using the edge of my hajib to dry my eyes. My mother was looking at me when I was finished, her dark brown eyes full of worry. “I am…” I trailed off. “I am fine now.” My mother nodded. “You will stay home, now, yes? You can continue to learn from your textbook, alright?” I bit my lip and pressed my fingertips together. I wanted more. I wanted to learn, to be taught. “I can’t, Mother. I have to go somewhere where I can be taught in an actual school.” “There is nowhere here you can go. All of Afghanistan is like this,” my mother said, sadly. “I am sorry.” “Then send me to America. To the land of the free and the home of the brave. There, you

can be anything you want to be,” I said. Going to America was a dream of mine. There was no other hope I cherished more. I had only told this to one other person, Bisma. She had shared my dream. We had planned to go together. “I… I can’t do that, Aiza,” my mother said. “I cannot stay here, Mother,” I said. My mother shook her head a fraction of an inch, and walked back to her spot. She sank to the floor and stared at me, seeing something behind me. “I can’t,” she said. “Why Mother? It can be done, Aaban knows people who have made it to America…” I trailed off, already imaging the crowds of free people, walking about doing as they choose. My mother mumbled something. I looked at her, curious, for she never mumbled. She cleared her throat. “I don’t want to lose you, too.” “You won’t lose me, Maman,” I said. I hadn’t called her that since I was younger than Aileiah. I walked over to where my mother was sitting on the floor and knelt beside her. We sat on the floor for hours. The sun crossed the sky, sinking into the distant horizon. My mother and I didn’t talk, but the silence

was the beautiful, peaceful kind. Long after the first star had come out, my mother kissed my forehead. “I love you,” my mother said. “I give you my blessing. Go to America, and learn until you cannot anymore.” *** The airplane was cold. It was a cold I had never felt before, and something about it felt manufactured. The triangle logo of the plane was emblazoned everywhere. I looked out of the small window and into the night sky. I smiled because I was really going to America. The midnight flight was filled with people, a wonderful mix of diverse people I had never seen before. Craning my neck, I saw the endless blackness that I knew to be the Atlantic Ocean. Anxiety flooded through my body, a fear that had nothing to do with the water below me. The past month and a half had flown by. One of Aaban’s contacts had managed to secure me passage to the United States


as a political refugee. The contact had looked into the possibility of my entire family going, but my mother would not leave Afghanistan or, more importantly, my father’s grave. The travel from Marjah to Kabul, the capital, was long and hot. Dust had caked itself to the back of my throat, and I feared more for my life than I had ever been in my life. At that thought, I flattened down my hajib anxiously. I knew most people in America associated the hajib with terrorists. I had hoped I would be strong enough to stand tall through the mummers. I was secure in my resolve to never remove it, for it was part of my religion, but I wondered about the anonymity being bareheaded would bring. I would be seen differently, I was sure. With my hajib, I was a threat, a terrorist insurgent. Without, I could be any average American girl. I hadn’t slept well since I left Marjah, missing the familiar body heat of my sisters. The false cold of the airplane eventually induced a restless sleep. *** I came down the escalator into a window lit building roughly the size of my village. As I walked past security on the upper level, I caught many suspicious stares from


officials. Staring right back at them, I straightened my hajib. I looked down at the jeans and long-sleeve shirt Aaban bought me in Kabul the day before I left. I absent-mindedly stroked the soft cotton fabric of the shirt and remembered that had been just over twelve hours. Of course, time change made me tired, but it had been less than a day since I had been in Afghanistan. I saw a tall man standing next to two short women. I remembered them from the picture Aaban had shown me: the father, John Roberts, was clean-cut and serious, the mother, Erin Roberts, an extravagantly welcoming grin plastered on her face, and the daughter, Tyler Roberts, short, brunette, smiling wider than her mother. When I came to the bottom of the escalator, I saw Tyler peering out from behind a pink glittery sign that said ‘Welcome Aiza.’ I gathered my courage, and walked over to them. I thought my hajib was what let them know it was me. I later asked Tyler how she recognized me, and she said it was my eyes. She said, “I could tell that you had seen horrible things, things that we don’t even consider here.” “It’s her!” Tyler squealed. She dropped the sign, and enveloped me in the biggest hug I have ever received in my life. Her mother came over and gave me a hug to rival her daughter’s. Her father

stood off to the side awkwardly, but smiled at me with a smile that reminded me so much of my father’s it hurt. The hurt was gone within an instant, but it pierced me every second I saw John’s smile. “Hello, Aiza,” Erin said. “I’m sure you must be tired, so let’s go home.” It took me half a second to process that she meant her house in the suburb of Tierrasanta and not the concrete house in Marjah. “I am so happy you are here,” Tyler whispered to me. She wrapped her arm through mine and guided me toward the luggage area. Her parents followed us in a bemused manner, shaking their heads at their daughter. “I am happy to be here,” I said. There was a rumble, and I jumped slightly. “It’s okay- it’s just the suitcases,” Tyler said, sensing my unease. The small, mostly empty suitcase that was my father’s was the first piece of luggage to be spat out of the great silver beast. “Cool!” Tyler exclaimed. “Being the first is a first!” “Yes, the plane was exceptionally cold. I wonder if they are always like that?” I said. Tyler looked at me strangely. “Oh. Aiza, ‘cool’ means good.” “Doesn’t it mean not hot, but not cold?”

Tyler was still explaining the concept of slang to me when we walked out of the airport. John, Erin and Tyler plowed ahead, but I hesitated a moment. The same rising sun that smiled on me now was shining brightly on my family back in Afghanistan. The thought should have comforted me, but it only served to make me more aware of the distance. Shaking my head, I followed after my adoptive family. *** The bell rang, and a few giggling girls strolled in to the Algebra room obnoxiously. It was mid-September, so they had no excuse that they didn’t know the bell times. The ring leader settled into her seat, flipped her hair, and took out her phone. The teacher, Mr. Morales, said he needed to go to the teacher workroom for a moment, and to not kill each other while he was gone. The door closed behind him, and the ringleader, a girl named Taylor Sharpiro, glanced at all her friends. She stood up, checked her perfectly manicured nails, and said in a simpering voice, “It’s bad enough they let terrorists into our country, but into our math class?” Silence resounded, and the temperature of the falsely cold air dropped even more. I froze, my face flushed either shame or anger. I was disappointed in myself because I be-


lieved it to be more of the former. Tyler leapt to my defense. I had been put into all of her classes, my only problem being American History. Tyler stood up from her seat beside me, leaned on the desk and said in a deceiving light tone, “You poor, racist, xenophobic excuse for a person. Oh, I’m sorry. You’ll need to learn how to use a dictionary before you can figure out what that means.” Taylor gasped audibly, shocked that someone would have the audacity to challenge her. Tyler smiled sincerely. Much to my relief, the door opened and Mr. Morales walked in. Taylor sat down sputtering, powerless with a teacher in the room. Something inside of me said, “Be brave.” I stood up. “I have something to say. I am not, nor will I ever be, a terrorist. I am a political refugee fleeing the Taliban regime. I have known men who were stoned to death outside my house, and girls who were lit on fire. I watched my best friend die at the hands of terrorists. I am here for the same reason as millions of other immigrants before me: Here, I have a chance for a better future. I’m taking that chance. I don’t have anything more to lose, but everything to gain. In the silence that followed, Tyler sniffled and I saw her


wipe away a tear. Mr. Morales looked like he was debating saying something, but he just turned and wrote a problem on the board. I smiled, and watched the x’s fall into place.

3 Ways to Be Happier Sidney Mrotek 1 Ignore the world Those that matter Don’t mind And those that mind Don’t matter You are you embrace it 2 Be positive I know this is hard Since not everything is good Try to find the good Or make it better If you are positive Your life will reflect that 3 Be confident Own who you are You were made this way for a reason If you like to sing Go for it If you want to play a sport Go for it If you want to try a new food Go for it If you want to be happier Go for it

drowned out the small points of light scattered over the blackness. It looked almost as if someone had been trying to cover up a light bulb with a thick piece of black construction paper. The bright halo formed around the night, created by our urban surroundings. Nevertheless, my father stooped down to my level and pointed to the few weak points of light in the sky’s meridian, and asked me what it was. Immediately, I recognized it as a constellation. It was a cup that was spilling its contents onto the earth below. It was the familiar Big Dipper. This was a constellation we had learned about in school as it had significance in history. Thousands of escaping slaves who were going through Alexandria in the times of slavery looked for the famous “Drinking Gourd” for its brightest star on the crux: the Northern Star. This same star that guided slaves to the north and freedom became one of the


few my young eyes could make out through the city lights more than a hundred years later. After telling my father that I recognized the shape in the sky, he was quick to tap into his vast scientific knowledge and show me something I never knew: the Big Dipper was not a constellation itself but rather a part of a larger one. The Big Dipper was not just a giant ladle hanging in space as I had always known; it was actually the tail of Ursa Major, the mother bear. For the next half an hour, my dad had captured my rapt attention as he showed me the vast mural of heroes, animals, and characters that had been strewn above the horizon. For that short space of time, my father had shown me a vast and exhaustive story in the sky: the bear Ursa and her cub the Minor; the hunter Orion chasing them down with his dog, Sirius, hot on their tail; the woman Aquarius drawing water for her parched husband; and the scorpion Scorpio, which would rise to hunt the bears when Orion returned home to his wife. There was just one problem: for all of my dad’s vivid descriptions, I couldn’t make out any other picture besides that of the Big Dipper. My father said that when I was older and away from the city, I’d be

the celestial story woven into the sky in full, vivid detail. Also for the first time, I saw something other than the Big Dipper. I witnessed the rising of the hunter Orion, first with his shoulders – Betelgeuse and Bellatrix- and then the three-pointed belt that held up his tunic. When the whole picture rose over the tree line, I could see the hunter in his full glory, continuing his neverending hunt for the Ursas with his faithful dog. That night is what stayed with me for many reasons. The first of them is my sheer amazement that such a complex and layered story could be woven into the black cloth of night that drapes over our planet constantly. Rather than being struck with the fear of its vastness however, this comforted me. The knowledge of this story sown between the planets coupled with my own fledgling faith in God gave me comfort and reassurance. This meaning that despite the chaos that seems to surround us, life can still come into beautiful order. The fact that the constellations were hard for me to see initially became something symbolic in its own right. It occurred to me that when I was young and unaware, life seemed vast, complicated, and worthy of fear. It was then when I realized that all of the disorder and confusion in my life was a means for God to form an awe-inspiring constellation from my experience. Standing there in the back-

able to make them out. If I only knew at the time how true this would be. My mind then flashes forward to the fourth grade, when I had just moved to King George from Fairfax, and I was learning to adjust to both the quietness of a small town and the awkwardness of having two new stepsiblings and a mother. Things had indeed changed for me greatly at the time, and naturally my perception of the night had as well. We had been living in King George just a few months when my dad woke me up toward the end of summer in 2006. It was around two in the morning. “Get up,” he said, “there’s something outside I want to show you.” We went down the creaky staircase of our old farmhouse and into the heavy, warm August air where the sounds of crickets and cicadas often replaced the sounds of car horns and aircraft engines that I grew up falling asleep to. My father then told me to look up. For the first time, I noticed the night sky in a way I never thought was possible. The city lights of Alexandria had been hiding the beauty of the dark, studded canvas of night that hung over the landscape. My father then began to show me the constellations I had missed for most of my life. Absent of the ambient urban glow, I could experience


3 Ways to Pass Math Class

they matter. They matter whether I'm on my period or not. 5 I am not 'just' on my period. I am losing the lining of an internal organ and bleeding it out. Next time you do that, come talk to me. 6 Every time you say that, you're telling me to hide my emotions. Hide them deep, hide them well or they'll be deemed as insignificant and you'll be judged. You'll go to court and get a trial. The judge and jury will all be men and the verdict will be that no one cares about your feelings. 7 If every time a woman shows emotion, she's on her period, then when is she not? 8 Saying 'She's just on her period' says a lot more about you than it does about me. 9 No. I'm not.

Devin Reeves 1. Don’t be afraid Math is just And fair, always You can always find the answer Sometimes in many ways 2 Plus you’ll always have your calculator Just plug in your problem You’ll see it has no problem It’ll just give you the answer But if not you’ll have to find another way 3 If you always study And never wonder off into the Depths of your mind Math should be as easy as The long the division of polynomials

Nine Things to Say When Someone Says ‘She’s Just On Her Period’ Shannon Baxter 1 Screw you. 2 No, I'm not. 3 It's not okay to make me feel lesser for my bodily functions. We all pee but that doesn't degrade us. Neither does having a period. 4 My feelings, my words, my thoughts, my anger, my sadness

Constellations Luke Miller “Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” -Cassius, Julius Caesar Act I, Scene 2


It has been said that our fates lie in the choices we make, and that we are the sole pilots of our lives. The belief that we as humans have no control over our fate comes from our ancient, nomadic ancestors, whose comfort came from the belief that someone was in control of everything that took place in their lives. The basis of these beliefs came from the one thing they knew was consistent: the placement of stars in the night sky. Our ancestors could see a story and plan for life woven into the black blanket of night better than we-with our vast knowledge of science and the universe- could ever perceive. The stars told them where the herds of wild animals that were their livelihood would go, when to plant their crops, and even when it may be time to bear a child. Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe that some of our fate could be found in the stars. Now this doesn’t mean that I think I should follow herds of caribou or sacrifice goats when the constellations tell me to. Rather, I am still of the belief that creation was not an accident,


and that we are all part of the master plan laid out by the being that studded the night sky with stars, made Earth spin and experience seasons, and set the universe in motion like a perfect, celestial clock. This belief of mine started when I was very young. I was in first grade at the time, and my father had come to pick me up from my babysitter’s house in downtown Alexandria. “What did you learn in school today, Luke?” he said. He always asked me that. Somehow, with his long, arduous hours at the detox center in uptown and his second job at the nursing home just down the street, he still made time for my brother and me. Jumping at the opportunity to share all the things I had done that day in late September, I regurgitated everything I had learned in science hour at school. We had been learning about stars and planets, and I could rattle off all of them, albeit in the wrong order. Seizing the chance to show me something, my dad stopped on the way to his car, and told me to look up at the sky. I stopped in the middle of my babysitter’s front yard and looked straight up at the night. The stars were hard to see, as the lights of the DC area seemed to give the sky an ambient glow that

images that remain in your head from seeing that sunset. This pertains to everything in life. Something that people don’t consider is the view of your parents’ marriage from the child’s perspective. I know that I have a different opinion on marriages in general from viewing my own parents’ marriage as a child-- and now as a teen. From a very young age I saw tiny things that led up to the big event that happened when I was twelve years old. My parents have always had an interesting relationship to me. You don’t see them giving each other the “lovey dovey” look that you see parents give each other when they are actually in love with each other. I never knew about this look until I started hanging out with friends and having sleepovers at their houses. I saw how their parents were with each other and wondered about why I didn’t see my parents act that way towards each other. I always thought maybe I just didn’t see it or they gave each other that look in a different way until I heard them talking about divorce one day when Marriage: Through the Eyes I was about five years old. of a Child When I was five years old I Elikah Wills walked past my parents’ bedEverybody has different room and overheard my sister views about everything they Selah, who was 7 years old at look at in life. Whenever you the time, tell them that they look at a sunset you notice little weren’t allowed to get a divorce things that other people don’t. and that they need to work their There are different colors that problems out. Being five years stand out to you and different yard of that old farmhouse with my dad, I found out that everything I would face would have a purpose in forming my constellation. I knew then, as I know now, that it is God who is the artist and creator of the masterpiece he calls my life. However, it is up to me to fully realize it. And all it takes is the time and wisdom for me to connect the dots. This has become a lesson I can carry with me and pass on to my own children. Whenever I look up at the beautiful constellations of the night, I can remember that my own life will be as complex and extraordinary as the constellations are. And I can then know which stars connected, which can, and which might connect, but I will never know for sure what will happen from my current point. However, I know one thing: when God is done with my constellation, it will be beautiful. That is what I see in the night sky: a promise and a plan for me from the creator of time and creation itself.


old and not really knowing what it means, I let it go in one ear and right out of the other. I didn’t know how to process hearing that so I went on thinking that I had the picture perfect family and that everything was fine; in reality all of the little signs were adding up everywhere. My dad would every now and then get home at a late hour, I would walk past my parents’ bedroom and they would always be bickering about something small and silly, and my sisters seemed to act like they were trying to keep something from me, but I was too young to notice all of these things happening around me. The fall of 2008 is when everything broke down and started to fall apart for my family and me. I was twelve years old-in the seventh grade- and it was a Thursday night after my sister and my father had gotten home from youth group. I was lying in my loft bed trying to sleep when I heard my sister having the same type of conversation with my parents that she had with them when she was seven years old. She kept saying over and over again that they should be disappointed in themselves and that they need to work this out and get past whatever it was. That Saturday my mom told my dad to pack his things and she kicked him out of the house. When I asked why, she wouldn’t give me the reason; she would say that they were having “differences” or that “they needed a break”. After


I got tired of asking and mad that my dad was gone, I started to turn all of my anger into a hatred for my mother. I have honestly never been so cruel to a person in my whole entire life. After about a month of my dad being gone my sister Selah had heard enough of my hatred geared towards my mother, and asked me, “Why do people normally kick people out of the house?”. This question led me to the truth of all of the questions I have wondered since I was little and why my parents don’t look at each other the way I see other parents look at each other. My dad had been having an affair. It wasn’t just this one time; it had been going on when I was little too and my mom had finally had enough and kicked my dad out of the house. It’s weird because I can remember this very moment in my life very clearly. It was November 17th, a Wednesday or Thursday, and it was about 7:30 p.m. At this moment I started to analyze every moment of my life and come to conclusions about my parents’ marriage. I know people say that what goes on in your parents’ marriage isn’t your business but as far as I was concerned my parents didn’t really have a marriage. How I had viewed my parents’ marriage since I was little was the way it had al-

ways been. Nothing was perfect about our family and as far as I was concerned it seemed like my parents had never been in love with each other. From my perspective it seemed like it was all a big lie. My views on marriage, life, relationships, and falling in love changed completely after all of this happened. It especially changed when my mom let my dad come back after being gone for three months. I released all of the hatred I had had for my mother and aimed it at my dad. It also made me wonder how can someone let a person who broke their heart into a thousand pieces, destroy their self- esteem, and wreck their life before their eyes right back into their life again. My view on my parents’ marriage has changed a lot since then. I still think that there might be someone else out there for my parents, that they haven’t found their soul mates yet. Then I also think that they are good for each other and balance each other out. I also worry that after all of us are out of the house that my parents are just going to fall apart and break up. A part of me sometimes wonders what my life would be like if my parents were separated and if I would have liked it better, but then I think about how broken my family would have been and I realize I don’t


want that. My parents’ marriage may seem strange to me and I don’t understand how you can be in one if it seems like you aren’t in love with each other but I am very thankful for who my parents are and that they are both still in my life. Through everything I have experienced in my childhood and in my parents’ marriage there is one thing to be said about all of this; no marriage is the same. That is the reason why I don’t see my parents look at each other the way I see my friends’ parents do at sleepovers, because that is how they work in their relationship. Everything that goes on in their marriage may seem strange to me, but I will never understand the dynamics of a marriage until I have my own. Every single person on this planet is different from each other so that means every relationship will be different. Everybody has their quirks, the different ways they show love and affection, and how they work in relationships and my parents’ marriage has their different ways too. Just like how every sunset is dif-

ferent and appealing to each person, every marriage is different, wonderful, and sometimes confusing in its own way.

First Love Carley Johnson It’s powerful, Indescribable It’s a rush of butterflies inside It’s like a bud on a tree That blossoms in the beginning of spring It starts of little, Then becomes huge For a while it’s beautiful, The bees and birds buzz around it Tasting all of its sweetness, But as the seasons change The color starts to fade It starts to lose life It stops fighting to live The birds stop coming, The bees stop buzzing The beautiful flower is now dead Its color gone Crumbling away As it falls to the ground


Chasing Cheshires: Nothing is What it Seems Down the Rabbit Hole Katie Bailey Sweet little Alice – wide-eyed, innocent. Where have you gone? How have you fallen so far? Sweet little Alice tripped Over the past, fell down, d o w n, d o w n the rabbit hole. I fell, too, but I did not fall into Wonderland; I fell much farther, into my very own Neverland.

but are truly a clone army They are a clone army in the prototype stage. They still need limbs and brains.

Lockers have locks. Even though their combinations are closely guarded secrets some ugly, mobile, fat blobs know them. Lockers are too trusting and stupid. Therefore in their eagerness to be friends with people they are only misused as boxes.

Five Ways to Look at Lockers By Matthew Macaluso Lockers are blue as in sad. They are stuck where all they have been able to do is watch time crawl slowly by.

Untitled Anonymous You’re not worth my time, but you’re all that’s on my mind. I can’t pull away, even though there’s nothing left to say. My heart is torn, the pieces lit on fire. My world is ending and the situation is dire.

Look at lockers. How innocent they look. Sometimes if you put something in it doesn't come back out.

Don’t ruin a perfect thing, please don’t make me suffer through

They all look the same


the pain. Although, it doesn’t matter what I say, you’re gone, and I’m the one to blame.

Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m insane. But baby… you can’t have the sun without the rain.

Heartless Abby Johnson Gary dragged his comrade, Steve, into the trench on their side of the battlefield because poor Steve was shot right above the heart. “Medic!” Gary cried out to one of the new recruits, “Go get a medic!” “D-don’t bother,” Steve groaned as he coughed up some blood, “it’s too late for me.” “Don’t you dare give up on me, Steve, you’re safe now.” “Safe? On the frontlines?!” Steve coughed again, laughing, “war isn’t safe, son. If you didn’t know that before, then you wouldn’t last very long.” “The medic should be here soon,” Gary informed him, “Just hang in there. If you’re lucky, you’ll go home to your family.” Steve’s eyes darkened with despair, “I don’t have a family.” “Friends?” “Nope. Everybody has his own reason for joining the Army, son. That’s mine.”

“You joined because you’re lonely?” “No! Darn it, no! I joined ‘cause I needed to do something for my country.” “You could’ve been a lawyer.” “No, don. I’m not into all that lawyer stuff. I… I joined ‘cause I know how to use a gun. All these rookies are scared or arrogant. The Army needs… needs someone with experience.” “Sir,” Gary explained, “If you life, can you teach these guys how to use a gun like a pro?” He hesitated, “No, I’m afraid I won’t be around for that,” Steve said, reaching for his pistol. “Why,” Gary asked, perplexed. “Because I’m gonna go see my family,” Steve admitted before shooting himself in the heart.

Fighting the Current Jessie Hill The doors slid seat and claimed it as my own. open and I Caring little for my surroundings, stepped into the I pulled out my tablet and dueled metal pod. I never an unknown user at chess. understood the “Fancy game you have there,” an appeal of these unwelcome voice spoke into my potential death ear. Startled, I jerked my head up. traps. Just because Since when did people talk to each it got me to places other on quicker than any other form of transportation didn’t mean that it was the most ideal. I shoved my way to the nearest


subway? I glanced over sharply at the man sitting beside me. He was easily in his eighties, and judging by his weathered brow and worn hands, he had earned his years. “It passes the time.” I shrugged, brushing him off, and redirected my focus back to the glowing screen. “But it also wastes it, doesn’t it.” It wasn’t a question, and the man was staring at me expectantly. I sighed and locked the tablet. “Well, since its chess, it exercises my brain.” “Why do you need to play a game to exercise your brain when there are dozens of people around you?” “I obviously don’t know them. Why would I talk to them? It would be rude to bother them.” I said pointedly. He scoffed, “Why would you talk to anyone, then? Why take the chance to know people if you’ll just ‘bother them’?” “That’s completely irrelevant. You cannot make that comparison.” That’s when I noticed people staring at us. We were disturbing their silence. Embarrassed, I turned my attention

back to my game of chess. It wasn’t until three days after my unusual conversation that the old man appeared again; He was sitting in the same exact seat as before. I ignored the two empty seats beside him and nestled myself into the uncomfortable bench across the aisle. Just before the doors slid shut, a young man hustled into the bullet train. He huffed a sigh of relief and gripped an overhead handle as the train took off. I flicked my eyes back to my tablet, but soon got bored with my game. Why should I sit here silently while I am surrounded by people? I put away my device and picked my head up. I felt my eyes widen and a sense of unease washed over me. The young man had found the empty seats near the aged gent; and as soon as he sat down, the aged man began speaking to him. What nerve! How dare he? That was my old man. Then I shook myself. What was I thinking? He wasn’t the only person on this train. Granted, he might be the only one willing to talk, but I was determined. I did a quick analysis of everyone who was within hearing range, and noticed a young girl next to me reading a book. I found myself captivated by the leather binding and yellowed pages. Actual pages. “Fancy book you have there,” I said.

Happy Day Jack Monteith The trees rustled in a summer breeze. The only other sound was bees. Flowers waved gently as I walked,


The teacher was not in the room, Instead I found a sense of doom, And when I turned to ask the class, All of them were wearing... masks? No, not masks, I realized, But plastic faces, missing eyes. My classmates were replaced by dolls, The same, congruent, one and all. Their faceless heads all turned to say Happy day, Happy day. And wind and willow seemed to talk, And when they talked they seemed to say, Happy day, Happy day!

I arrived at school and saw my friend Down the hallway, at the end. As I walked toward him, the crowd made way, But when I got there, all he'd say Was Happy day, Happy day!

I turned to find the students gone, The hallway was clear as a summer lawn. They must have just all gone to class, And I did too. I entered last, And written on the board, in shade, Was Happy day, Happy day!

I noticed something then and there, As I sat down upon my chair. In the corner of my eye, Where no one in the world could scry, Lost in the folds of the world we see, In the missing space behind the tree, Something was missing on that day, That happy day, happy day.

I asked how could this happen to me? I could not, in my anger, see Why anyone would go this far For a joke this much below the par. I went to find the one to blame, to put this bad joke to the flame, But as I searched I could not find Anyone that might be behind The Horror my life had become. I stopped the search, the effort was dumb. I'd never find him anyway. I'd never have a happy day.

The trees loomed in a winter chill. No sound, but silence, graced this hill. Flowers froze as I trudged along, And all the world seemed quietly wrong. I realized I was, again, The only one on earth right then. There wasn't a living soul to say, Happy day, Happy day.

I lifted up my eyes to find, not the road I left behind, but a ledge atop an office space. Below was a dull white, empty space. Behind me was an open door, Filled with blackness, nothing more.


As I stood up there, I toyed With the idea of jumping into the void. The door, I knew, would now return To the life I had, the life I'd burned, But just beyond the building's edge Was a one-way trip beyond this dredge. I turned my back on my past life, and chose instead to end my strife. I stood upon the precipice, and, with no regrets, embraced the mist. As I fell, I turned and saw a mirror on the building's wall, And in the mirror I saw a thing, a sort of glob that was shape shifting. The thing looked all alone, and sad, and angry, scared, and slightly mad. The thing in the mirror looked my way, and screamed, Happy Day, Happy Day. And in that moment, I could see,

the thing inside the mirror... was me. Rushing up, the ground appeared. I shut my eyes in sudden fear. I prayed, then, for a second chance, to relive life's fantastic dance, to undo this day, this unhappy day.

I opened my eyes and saw only dark. I opened my mouth and missed my mark. But when I opened up my mind, I saw the world a second time.


Another door had opened up, For it was then that I woke up.

I rejoiced, It all had been a dream! The horror was not what it seemed! I had a chance to mend my ways! Happy day! Happy day!

What do I see? Shelby Lindsey you see a cardboard box, i see a tank, i see a racecar, i see a rocket ship, you see a box broken down flat, i see a stage to dance, i see a UFO, i see the world's largest frisbee, you see a box cut to pieces, i see a knight's armor, i see the remains of an alien city, i see so much more than i can say, possibilities are endless, so why do you refuse to see them?

Toddlers and Tiaras Grace Wisslead Toddlers and Tiaras started in 2009 and has over 6 seasons and over 85 episodes. It has increased majorly over the years and shocked the world at what extremes the girls go to just win a crown that probably won’t even end up fitting on their little heads. New girls show up every episode and are also considered the main character for that episode. There are usually 3 or 4 girls per episode. One by one you see the girl, her family, and everything that they do to get ready for the pageant. Like practicing their routine, trying on the dress, getting a spray tan, trying on their flipper, and getting their nails done. (Flippers are fake teeth similar to dentures) These are very important to have for the pageant. When the girls smile their teeth need to be perfectly straight and white as snow. Not having that factor will cost them major points. They seem to need to have even the smallest thing like perfect nails look good. These girls think that it is all about competition or winning a prize. While the girl’s mom or dad have to make sure their little girl is just right. They want her to win so badly that they spend as much as $500,000 dollars just for hopes that in the end their daughter wins something. Is spending all of this money really worth it in the end? The girls are being set up to think that they will get everything they want in their life. That beauty is the most important thing in the world. They probably think about competition being a good thing and beating another girl in

the pageant is encouraged. What will those girls be like in the future? Are they being set up for failure? What if those girls grow up and find out that their moms and dads had been living their dream through them. A lot of girls in the show seem to get really frustrated at having to practice and do a pageant. Sometimes later on the mom or day will say that her/his daughter wasn’t forced to do the pageant and she was just cranky. Seeing the girls in their outfits can be very upsetting sometimes. They will have outfits that barely cover their body and they will do a dance that seems inappropriate just to top that off. When they do their dance routines it is most likely because they are having help front heir parent behind the judges. And looks like a crazy person flailing their arms. Why does someone want to watch this garbage? I have absolutely no reason not to say this. This show is useless to watch. You don’t learn anything in it all you should do is learn is that you should not watch it ever again. I think this is true because, it consists of stressed mothers or fathers who are busy getting everything perfect for their daughter. Struggling to get their things to go right and mad the next second when one thing slips up. You can tell if


the parent has actually put effort into helping their daughter. There are those parents who do the dance moves for their kid(s). Then get mad when they find out they got points off because their daughter(s) did not look at the judges. If they wanted it that badly they would have figured out that they were the cause of their child’s mistake. In my opinion this show is fake. It has young girls who show the exact opposite of their true selves. I think they need to express their inner beauty. They should have the pageant with pretty dresses that cover their WHOLE body. No makeup should be worn and they should be judged on their appropriate act and walk. Their hair should be their real hair not an ugly wig that looks like a big poof on the child’s head. There should not be trophies or huge crowns as big as skyscrapers. That are ranked on how well the girl did. In the end everyone should get a ribbon or a badge. To teach the child that she is not better than anyone and nobody is better than her. This would definitely help promote positive things about the show. And in my opinion, create a better future for that child and a good influence to other little girls.

Is it Real? Anonymous I guess it’s not Or maybe it is How can you tell anymore? Is the world really real? Is the grass really green? Is everything not what it seems? Perhaps the clouds are cotton,


and people burst with love. Perhaps there’s something more to life, not just sky and birds above. Maybe I’m not real. I mean, aren’t we all dead? Just stardust driving skeletons, leaving a world that we once led. I guess not, or maybe I’m right. How can you tell anymore? Conform with the rest, disappear in the crowd, or at least, that’s what they deem. But what if I’m meant to fly away? For everything’s not what it seems.

Peace Day Anonymous Hurray! Hurray! Cheer! Cheer! For it is Peace Day! Take down the stars. Take down the ribbons. For it is Peace Day! No more fighting! No more death! One very special day set out for peace!

For it is Peace Day. Go play! Go have fun! Go swim! Go cheer! If only for one single day. Wait. What's that you tell me? That it isn't Peace day? No! For it is War Day! Like every other day! Where there is no hugs. Where the prime is to stay alive. Where there is no fireworks. Where bomb explosions fill the sky. But that's only for the lucky ones And I'll save you from having to know. So this is my question to you. Will there ever be a Peace Day?

Or is the whole world celebrating War Day?











Jabberwocky By Lewis Carroll ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. “Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!” He took his vorpal sword in hand; Long time the manxome foe he sought— So rested he by the Tumtum tree And stood awhile in thought. And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came! One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back. “And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” He chortled in his joy. ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.









Vortex of Insanity Not Quite Myself Taylor Williams I am not quite myself. I don’t really recall who I am Though You seem like yourself and they seem like themselves Why am I not what I am when I am my myself? I carry myself as a girl that is good And they carry themselves as people that could But you, Mad Hatter, carry yourself as someone who just should not should

Mad Caresse Hall You’re mad, mad I say all you do all day is play. No responsibilities nor selfrespect but so many flaws that you must correct Nothing like me I’m perfect as can be But you, Mad Hatter, you’re crazy and sad what you are is just plain mad

A Father’s Stories Doctor Mortis "Poison, venom, toxins?! What does he want?! He tells me every time that whatever I make isn't lethal enough! What am I to do?!" The tall doctor yelled as he slammed his fist onto the wooden work table. Without his mask and hood, his black hair dangled around his head, as he looked on with grey-blue eyes. "Papa?" The voice of a little girl no older than seven spoke. "Why are you screaming?" He got out of his chair and picked up his daughter, "I am sorry, that I woke you Victoria, papa is just a little frustrated with his work. Say would you like to hear a story to help you sleep?" "Will it have a happy ending?" she asked with gleaming eyes.

Is It Love? Shantel Harvey Not talking to you all day, makes me want to cry. I sit by my window at night and gaze into the dark sky. Looking at the brightest star, I start to wonder where you are. For instance, why haven't I heard from you? Could my thoughts actually be true?


"Of course my Angel nothing but the happiest for you. Let she would you like to hear about the legend of King Arthur?" She simply shook her head as he walked her to her room. "There once was a sword, that was stuck in a stone, and only the next king of Camelot could pull it out of its stone." He said as he closed the door to her room leaving the rest of the rooms empty, except for his study where a knife laid and a note for someone to pay.

Alternate Ending to the Hobbit Bryan Yowler Chapter 14: Fire and Water (Cont.) “……The dragon swooped once more lower than ever, and as he turned and dived down his belly glittered white with sparkling fires of gems in the moon— but not in one place. The great bow twanged. The black arrow sped straight from the string”------but straight to the dragon’s bare spot it did not fly. The arrow missed by inches, bouncing off of the dragon’s fitted armor of gold and gems. All those there were astonished by this phenomenon. Bard never missed, even when the wind was howling and a storm was raging. That day would be a day never forgotten in history. When Smaug realized what had unfolded in front of him, he seized the opportunity. With the people of Lake-town still stunned by the


happening, the dragon spat out vicious flames, incinerating the men on the front lines and putting fear into the minds and hearts of all who witnessed that day. The dragon proceeded to encircle the town, trapping the people inside and devouring any stragglers that happened to walk outside of the chaos. Bard was one of the first to die. Acting out of sheer anger and frustration, he blindly charged at the dragon with no fear in his mind. That bravery turned into an unnecessary early death as Smaug breathed fire directly at Bard, disintegrating him within seconds. All others would soon follow. The Master met a terrible, cowardly end. In his haste to run away from all danger, he slipped on a spilt pool of wine and fell, cracking his head on the hard ground and dying instantaneously. Many others, however, met much worse fates than the Master did. Some were enflamed by the roaring dragon and tossed around, burned to death by the ever-growing flames on their bodies. Others toppled over the edge, ending their lives as effortlessly as possible. Still others died in the rush to scurry away from the hasty dragon, accidently falling and being trampled by the ensuing mob. Within hours, all the defenders of Lake-town were dead, and those that had fled before the fight were either

being tracked down by Smaug or had already been incinerated by the mighty dragon. After the last few stragglers had been found and killed, Smaug had officially reached his goal and could now go home, ready to take down Bilbo and the dwarves. The air whistled past and the clouds seemed like blurs in the sky as Smaug raced back to the Mountain. Without warning, the dragon stopped in his tracks. He had sensed a peculiar smell, one that was rare in those parts and could only be found if a certain race of beings had traveled along that path. That special scent was none other than the smell of a hobbit, and it just so happened that Smaug had crossed the path upon which Bilbo and the dwarves had hurried across on their way to the Mountain. Smaug recognized the smell from his encounter with the strange invisible creature that had entered his bedroom and taken a piece of the dragon’s treasure from him, but up until Smaug caught the scent on his trail back to the Mountain he hadn’t remembered that the smell was not new to him. Many years earlier, the same sort of smell had whisked into his bedroom, leaving him bewildered as to what could possibly be the source of that scent. When the dragon had investigated the source, it had turned out to be a very small and portly creature. Genuinely curious about the


little creature, Smaug had played a game of riddles with the small one and won. The very last riddle stated by the being had been very intricate; from what he could remember. The answer to that last riddle: hobbit. The stout being had been very foolish and revealed his true identity to the dragon. Smaug also remembered the hobbit stating he had come on an adventure from the West just before the dragon ate him (who by the way had been a great juicy snack for the day). It was this meeting that changed the course of this tale. Seeking revenge against Bilbo for stealing one of his beloved cups, Smaug changed his course west and decided to destroy Bilbo’s homeland as punishment. One event on this dragon’s journey was the meet-up with the elves of Mirkwood. When the Elvenking had heard of the dragon’s attack on Lake-town he immediately jumped on the chance to destroy the dragon once and for all. He gathered up his best warriors and set out. It was a gloomy morning. Rain clouds drifted overhead and the rain pounded upon the earth as the elves trudged along the wellworn path to Lake-town. Without warning the rain stopped. Most elves were ecstatic about this, but it had one downfall. These were the perfect conditions for the dragon, soaring

above the elves ready to strike. He knew what they were up to; everyone and everything that went along that path hated Smaug, whether it was because he had destroyed their crops, eaten their livestock, or because he wouldn’t share his precious stash of gold, silver, and expensive gems. With the conditions set, Smaug wasted no time in his attack. The elves saw him just in time in order to move out of the way before Smaug blasted a jet of scorching-hot flames at the party. Much of the landscape was charred and destroyed in that fight. Smaug chased the elves for the longest time but was unable to even make a scratch upon them. The only reason the elves were caught and incinerated that day was because they became fatigued. Running around in circles being chased by a dragon tires one out, especially when one’s life is on the line. The elves slowly and surely began to slow down, allowing the dragon to rear his head and one by one kill off the elves. The only elves to survive that day were the Elven-


king and his closest protectors. The king had ordered his protectors to find a safe and hidden enclosure to hide him from the raging dragon. That is where the Elvenking watched his warriors die, see their bodies rise up in a volume of smoke, and drift off into the vast sky. Smaug, who had very much forgotten all about the king of the elves and, pleased with his work, whisked away to continue on his journey. Chapter 15: Trouble Will Come Bilbo and his companions were very much content with their position. Although they were always on the lookout for Smaug, Bilbo especially began to enjoy the luxuries of the life of the Lonely Mountain with no dragon. The dwarves further began to clean up the halls and rooms of the Mountain, moving the treasure to a secure location before polishing up each hall. “It’s a lot of work,” Thorin stated as the dwarves were taking a break from their task, “but when all is done, the Great Hall of Thror will finally be restored to its former glory.” Thorin, of course, had another task besides clean up the Mountain; he must find the Arkenstone. Everywhere the treasure had been, and where it was moved to, Thorin searched and searched but could never find his precious gem. He searched

over hill and under hill, but no matter where he looked the Arkenstone was still not to be seen. Thorin even tried waiting until night before searching, thinking that the sheer sparkle of the gem would give off a piercing glow that would shine upon the roof and reveal its location. Alas, this plan did not work either, and Thorin was forced to give up his search….for now.

of the history of the ancient ravens. “Beginning back in the time when we dwarves were the masters of the Mountain, the ravens were our allies.” Balin explained to Bilbo. “There was an ancient pair of ravens, Carc and his wife, that lived above the guard chamber. Ravenhill was named after them. Since that raven landed on Ravenhill, it must know the rock, otherwise the hard surface of the rock would not attract them.” With that, the raven once again lifted its mighty wings and rose up, flying over to Bilbo and Balin and landing softly on Balin’s shoulder. “Greetings Balin, son of Thudin, and Bilbo Baggins. I am Roäc son of Carc.” The great bird took a deep breath and continued his tale. “Carc has long been dead, so I am now the king of the ravens here at the Mountain. We are few in num-

The days passed by with little change. The dwarves continued their clean-up, while Bilbo helped them out as best he could, doing odd jobs and occasionally helping with the treasure. It was maybe two weeks until they suddenly saw a bird burst out of the clouds. This was no ordinary bird. It looked to be very old, and by the way it was flying you could tell it could barely fly or see. However, it kept going until it reached Ravenhill and, quivering and tired, sank onto the rock. “What is that kind of bird?” questioned Bilbo, perplexed at the sight of the decrepit and worn-out bird. “Is it a crow? It sure looks like one.” “That is no crow!” Balin cried out. “That looks to be a raven. It must be one of the ancient breed since it is perched on Ravenhill.” “Why would Ravenhill be so important?” asked Bilbo. Being from the West and having adventured little, he knew nothing


ber but strong in will. Many are abroad at the moment, but let me tell you something very interesting, both being very bad events.” “My messengers from the town of Men and from Mirkwood have told me some very disturbing things. First off, I have learned that Smaug is in fact not dead. He destroyed Lake -town without warning and slaughtered the elves that were coming to kill him and take some of your precious treasure.” “Good thing the elves were stopped, otherwise Thorin would have been quite angry.” Bilbo replied. “Yes,” squawked Roäc. “I am sad to say, however, that this is not the only bad news. Others of my messengers have seen the goblins making their way towards this place, with quite an army with them. It seems to me as if they are looking to take some of the treasure.” “Will Smaug be able to take the goblins before they get here?” questioned Bilbo. He definitely did not want a fight with the goblins, as he and the dwarfs were very much going to be outnumbered. “I’m afraid not,” said the raven. “However, the news that I am about to share will greatly disturb you Bilbo. It affects you directly.” Bilbo became very fearful of what the raven was going to say. What could possibly affect him


directly that wouldn’t affect the others? “I’m sorry to say that the dragon is heading west. If what my messengers relay is correct, his course will put him directly at the Shire within five days.” Overwhelmed by the news, Bilbo started to sob immensely. The Tookish part in him began to grow until he could no longer just stand there and weep. “I must go and save them,” Bilbo firmly stated. “I have made up my mind. I will leave today. I’m sorry that I can no longer help you and the rest of the dwarves Balin, but I must go.” “I’ll go with you,” Balin immediately replied. “No one should go around alone in these parts. The others don’t need me anyways. They’ll be fine. Thank you Roäc son of Carc for this important information. Without you we would have never known. You are a great friend to the dwarves and are welcome here anytime.” With that, Balin and Bilbo both left Ravenhill and Roäc soared high into the sky until he was lost in the smoky clouds. Balin and Bilbo told Thorin of the talk with Roäc, agreeing that Bilbo needed to go and Balin should join him. “I wish you both luck on your journey,” Thorin said. “Take what you need.” Balin and Bilbo gathered their

supplies and left that day. They did not have ponies, but within minutes they stumbled across some of the same ponies they had on their journey to the Lonely Mountain. With these ponies they would be able to travel much faster. If they journeyed through the night for several nights, they might have a chance of catching up to Smaug and somehow destroying him before he destroyed the Shire.

didn’t. So just after Dain and his 100,000-man army had been greeted by Thorin and his small company and established position under the Mountain, the goblins arrived and immediately started their attack. The Battle of all Battles had begun. Having the higher ground, it would seem as if the goblins would have the advantage and an easy win. The dwarves, even with Dain’s massive army, were still outnumbered 5 to 1. The battle started off very badly for the dwarves. Despite the fact that they were able to chip away at the goblins’ vast army, the goblins were able to take out one-fourth of Dain’s soldiers, and Bombur was slain. The goblins had strategically spread themselves out, surrounding the dwarves on three sides and using the Mountain to enclose the fourth side. After which, the goblins slowly but steadily drove the dwarves back until they were backed up against the side of the Mountain. Suddenly a shout was heard from within the dwarves’ company. “Look up!” shouted Fili with a wide grin on his face. “The eagles!” The fighting stopped and all eyes looked upon the skies as the eagles swooped down and began their vicious assault upon the goblins. Shrieks and cries were heard all about as the eagles dropped giant boulders upon the goblins.

After Bilbo and Balin had departed, Thorin had seen several ravens drop in. One of these ravens happened to be Roäc. “My companions and I have come to assist you, o Thorin son of Thrain,” Roäc had said. “Whatever you need us to do we will do it the best we can.” It just happened that Thorin did indeed need their help. Thorin had a cousin named Dain who lived in the Iron Hills. Dain would be well armored and staffed and would be of great use if a battle did occur. The ravens went to see Dain (only Roäc stayed), and the dwarves began making preparations for a great battle with the goblins. Chapter 16: Adventure’s Price Dain arrived just two hours before the goblins. It was very lucky that he did. If the goblins had arrived first, Thorin and the rest of the party would have already been killed. But they


The battlefield was a scene of chaos. Goblins were flinging themselves to the ground, trying to escape the rain of boulders. At the end of the eagles’ surprise attack, Beorn appeared out from behind the Mountain with an army of wild animals on the move. Beorn was already in his bear form, and he sliced through goblin after goblin as the combined forces of the eagles, the dwarves, and Beorn and his animals pushed the goblins back until all but a few were dead. Those few ran away, never to be heard of for a very long while. The dwarves rejoiced, singing merrily and prancing about. Thorin broke off and met with the eagle king and Beorn. “We cannot thank you enough for your services to us. Both of you have done an outstanding job. We would be happy to give you some of our treasure as payment for your services. I hope that is enough.” “Oh that is quite enough,” Beorn and the eagle king replied simultaneously. For the rest of the day there was much dancing and singing and a great bit of payment being distributed. The eagles would not stay, and so immediately after receiving payment they rose up and flew away back to their homes. Beorn too decided it was time for him to leave the company of dwarves. Thanking them for the treasure, he left

with his animals and returned to his lair, not to be seen around the Mountain for many decades. That is the end of this story, but there is one more left. Bilbo and Balin rode on their galloping ponies over lush green grasses. They had been on the road for five days, facing many evils on the way, but that is another story meant for another day. They were getting close to the Shire when suddenly a wave of heat flashed over them and they saw Smaug flying away from the area where the Shire was located. Bilbo, confused and startled, kicked his pony to go faster, and it responded with incredible speed. It was not long before Bilbo reached his destination, but what lay before him was a sight he would never forget. What should have been the Shire was nothing but a fire-filled wasteland. Hills had been set ablaze, and many dead hobbits lay on the ground. Smaug had destroyed the one thing Bilbo had loved the most. That was the day that Bilbo vowed revenge on the dragon.


I’m Just Me

So that means what we actually see isn’t or wasn’t or may never be. At least that’s what it seems like to me We all get a little bit crazy sometimes, so let’s all have a spot of tea; cause that’s what makes being mad not so mad at all you see? However, I’m afraid that I’ve gone completely bonkers and off my head times three! At least that’s what all the people who’ve come here have ever said to me.

Caresse Hall I’m not mad not at all you see I’m just me, something you can’t be. Since I am I and you are you I have every right to act like a buffoon. I’m crazy at times this we all know but really, who doesn’t love a good show? Drink some tea and catch your cool Be careful, soon you’ll too be a fool.

Money: A Found Poem

We’re All Mad You See

Riley Brown Things a tax collector never tells you : Thanks small we will fight to restore the balance (of my checkbook?) Money is no object Take away that amount, DISCOUNT! The best money-saving move is

Taylor Williams We are all mad you see. I am you, And you are me, And we are all mad you see, Because what we think we see might not actually be what it may be

Stop the madness! These Get-Rich-Quick schemes and Hospital and doctor bills piling on like never before. I’m not saying you should stop trying to pay stuff off It’s just I hate, I mean hate thinking about the things you always hear


So wait! And increase your Funny Power because I guarantee if you do that it’ll benefit you greatly

Doctor Rigor Mortis Doctor Mortis “They don't understand they never understand, but you understand. Don't you? I mean I am your papa aren't I, my little Angel? I did give you life, when God would not. I sewed your wounds up when those mean people hurt you for being different. I was with you every night when you had nightmares, and I tucked you in every night, leaving you with a kiss on the head. Then you grew up into such a beautiful young lady, yet they still rejected you so I gave life to another, a young man. Just for you, so you weren't alone. The three of us were a family, sadly unlike you my little Angel I was not immortal, I would age and weaken. Sadly that time is near and I ask you please, my sweet daughter bring me back, I don't want to be alone, in some perfect Heaven, with a perfect God. So I write these words to you my sweet Victoria, gather the parts and bring me a heart made of steel and bring me to life, so I may stay. - Forever your papa." Victoria folded the letter and put it on the table next to her,

where a heart made of steel gears rested, her brother Victor was across the room setting the mysterious device not known to man yet. And in the middle of this room full of gears, and devices on a solid metal table rested a body of a man in the tradition robes of a black plague doctor, and the telltale Bird mask on his face and the eyes of the mask were open. "Victor.." Victoria said as she placed the heart in the man's chest. "Flip the switch." "Yes sister." He obediently followed her order as soon green lightning filled the room and it courses into the body of the man. Soon after the switch was flipped into the off section the two siblings stood at the table. Not seeing any sign that it worked, Victoria fell to her knees and seeped, before a black gloved hand touch her head. "Why are you crying, my sweet angel." A voice of a man in his late 40's, early 50's asked. Victoria looked up to see the man's arm stretched out and through the eye hole of the mask she saw a dead white eye looking at her. "Papa!" She screamed in joy as she jolted up and hugged the still laying man. "Thank you my angel, I knew you would not leave me in the haven they called Heaven." "Of course father, we couldn't stand being without you." The doctor got off the metal table and stood like the giant he


was to his children at 6'7. "They thought to kill me by stabbing me with swords.. They cannot kill me.. I am Doctor Mortis, and you are my children, and we are a family."

How-to Slam Poem Jaden Leal We've all been there. English class. Poetry unit. Slam poem due tomorrow and you haven't started, or know how to start in the first place. What's a person to do in a dire situation like this? Well you've come to the right place to find out! With these simple tips, you will soon know what to, and what not to do, while writing and preforming a slam poem. Number one. Do not write a slam poem listing what to, and what not to do, while writing and preforming a slam poem. I'm taking one for the team, here. Number two. Overdramatize everything; give everything a deeper meaning than it has. Write about the time you ran for your life. Write about the adrenaline running through your veins. Write about the fear, the uncertainty. How running felt like trying to


escape from every demon inside of you; from every anxiety and every problem that ever plagued and clawed at you. Do not, however, mention that what you were actually running from was that squirrel you ticked off in third grade by throwing a nut at it. Number three. It is proven that the best ideas come to one while they are asleep. Some people have the ability to write as they're knocked out. You do not have this ability. Do not try this. Number four. Emotion is key. Writing a sad poem? Write about the time you cried over how the ice cream you bought was disgusting, and how you were upset you weren't getting that $4.99 back. Writing a happy poem? Write about the time your friend fell out a window and how you cried. WritingYou know what, actually? Just make the poem about crying. That should work. Number five. It is a law that if your poem contains tears, you must use some sort of strange anaology for it. Some choices are (but are not

limited to): Liquified drops of my soul being excreted from my tearducts. Eyeball urine and: grandma's watery soup from three weeks ago coming up the wrong way.

maintain eye contact with the person until their eyes burn out of their sockets from how hard your staring at them. Once this happens, select your next victim and move on with the poem.

Number six. Do not, under any circumstance, eat your poem.

Just follow these simple steps, and in no time you'll be your parents new favorite slam poet.


Number seven. Lacking inspiration? Hang out around highschoolers. It is scientifically proven that teenagers are made out of 82% teenage angst, 3% sarcasm, and 15% microwave reheated, day old pizza. (Warning: extact percentages may vary.) Number eight. When you are preforming your poem, bring a carton of eggs. Eat the eggs. Eat the eggs raw as you recite your poem. It'll make you stick out to the judges. Just do it. Number nine. Direct eye contact is key. Choose an unfortunate soul in the crowd and stare at them dead in the eyes. It doesn't even matter if you forget your lines;


Katie Cooke I try to justify what I see, But nothing makes sense, She lay on the bathroom floor, Motionless, Emotionless, Thoughtless, While I stare in awe What could have been said to make it stop? Was it truly the way for this to end? This way, Dead

Saint Anger Lives Doctor Mortis The man ran as fast as he

could barely stopping to catch his breath, because every time he started to he heard the sound of chains dragging. Damn those chains, he thought to himself as he ran. He couldn't stop now he didn't want to end up like Mike, hanging in a cell a rope around his neck. He quickly ran into a large hallway which ended in a dead end except for a door with a rusty lock on it. He quickly started trying to pull the lock off hoping it would break but the lock remained. The sound of the chains drew closer now. It was now or never he thought to himself as he backed up and slammed himself into the door breaking the lock and letting the door bust wide open. He fell into the prison yard which held little place to hide. He looked behind him into the darkened room he was just trapped in with whatever killed Mike. He started running again not wanting to see the wretched thing. He could only imagine what it looked liked. He didn't want to know. He ran as fast as he can across the


courtyard to the opposing building. The death quarters. The sounds of the chains echoed in this hallowed halls, but now he heard a sound far worse than the chains... Laughter. The damn thing was laughing! It enjoyed hunting him, the more he ran the better it was for this thing. He realized right then he had to escape. He ran towards a door without reading its sign. As he burst through the door he stopped where he was. He stood in the front of a chamber of an electric chair. He turned to run but stopped. His path was blocked by a large blackened figure. He moved farther away but the thing stepped into the light of the room. When he saw the thing's true form he wanted to scream in terror. The thing stood like a man but he looked like a soul from hell. His skin was a dark red, his eyes looked like sulfuric fire. His black hair shaggy and matted. His body scarred up. Dressed only in pants and boots, with the wretched chain wrapped around him. The man realized that this thing is what has haunted him. The man tried to run but as soon as he was at the door the grotesque figure gripped him by the throat flashing him a jagged tooth grin. The man

struggled as hard as he could but the thing just walked to the chair with ease. He threw the man down and wrapped the chain around him strapping him to the chair. The figured walk over to the switch and stood still the grin now turning to a sadistic smile. As soon as he flipped the switch he released a twisted laugh of joy.


Off With Their Heads! Discouraged Elissa Davis One moment they build you up Saying all the things you want to hear! You can do it, you’re strong enough. All things are possible if you just believe.

Until that one dream, the one goal dazzling in your eyes, brighter than the stars in the sky… wounded by the words you thought you’d never want to bare.

Impossible, you're a girl, you can’t do that! You're not strong, you’re weak, like the wind that’s not able to blow the dust.

The possibilities that were endless are no longer in the midst of the air… Thus, vanished away, like a tadpole in the water… No longer an achievement, but a dream that was bothered.

Heartbreak Elissa Davis Love, Love, love in the air, ‘til you realize what’s next, a lifetime of despair.

A lifetime of heartache, Hurt and crushed by the words that show no care!

a lifetime of pain. It feels like lightning has struck out in the pouring rain.

Heartbreak, yet still a mystery to all. If he can’t remain loyal, then why love at all?

Heartbreak hurts,


it will sometimes kill. But no one will ever know, how heartbreak made me feel.

Empty Dreams and Broken Souls Genni Askin

Dementia Doctor Mortis Sky turned black! Ocean turned red! Breath of Acid! Destroying you from the inside! Heart stopping slow! Body convulsing with pain! Sight going red! Mind shattering quickly! Demented and insane! You are me! I am you! I am twisted, and you are broken! You are well and I am sick! Pain is meaningless to the dead! Voices screaming at me! Make them stop!

Wings Mackenzie Broderick

how’d you expect her to fly after you went and ripped her wings apart?


Help me escape this empty dream. This desolate land where nothing exists. A black oblivion in which we are neither awake nor asleep, alive nor dead, just alone. Hiding from the nightmares that await us in the dead echoes of our sanity.

Meeting Death Garry Moore He hides beneath a cloak, shrouding himself from me. I'm the only other one in this room, and yet there's some sort of eerie feeling; an ominous wind blows my hair opposite of his. Underneath these dreary skies, I never could figure out exactly why he didn't like me. But, evidently, behind all our unspoken subtleties, there lie a curse, one unknown to me. The day he finally spoke to me,

after all these years, he said, "I don't like dead people." His words echoed questionably through my ears. What had he meant by that...? Within a matter of seconds, the murky outlook darkened, and I found myself dead. Crushed, by an airplane engine that had fallen from the unseen clouds. And, as I peered to my left, there rest a body next to mine. It was his. And that's the story of how we met.

but I cut him off, “Get in the car, both of you, we’re leaving.” “Ok, right after we throw the lady out.” “No,” I said. “But…” Bobby Lee started. “I said no! We have got to go NOW!” I yelled. The boys moved

nervously to the car and got in. I stalked to the driver’s side and started the car, leaving the corpse of the grandmother in the ditch. One of her children, I thought, I’m nothing like her. I didn’t want to admit it, but her words got to me. We drove the whole way to Florida in silence. The only time we talked was when we switched cars halfway.

A Good Man is Hard to Find: We finally reached a small Misfit house in Florida we use as a Jenna Wine hideout in the woods. We got out

in silence. “So, Boss, What’s next?” Hiram

“Some Fun!” Bobby Lee said. “Shut up, Bobby Lee,” I said. “It’s no real pleasure in life.” Bobby Lee started to say something,

asked. Bobby Lee quickly jumped up, excited, “Yeah, Boss, who’s next on the hit list?” I didn’t say anything as I pulled out the gun and shots rang out across the clear evening sky. I stepped over Bobby Lee and Hiram’s bodies as they slept in an endless dream, using their blood as blankets from the wind. I

walked into the house and went to the bedroom. There I slept till the morning. I woke up to the sun shining in my eyes. I caught a glimpse of some-


thing outside the window, so I grabbed my gun and ran to the front door and threw it open. Standing there was a young boy with a bag across his shoulder and a newspaper in his hand. He looked up slowly, trembling at the sight of the dead men on the ground. I didn’t give him time to blink before I shot him in the head, took the newspaper, and closed the door. I wiped off the blood on the paper and looked at the head line. “Elderly woman shot to

death on side of the road.” I threw the paper down then started pacing through the house. Everything the woman said came back like a flood. “Getting me

to pray…,” I muttered, pacing through the kitchen. “Why should I pray?! I’m just like Jesus! Why should I pray to myself?” I screamed, thrashing around and knocking stuff over. Before I knew what I was doing I was trashing the house, tearing everything that was in my path. I grabbed my gun and shot the windows, the doors, anything in sight. That’s when I saw myself in the mirror. Face red, tears streaming, gun in hand. I smiled then shot the mirror. Glass went everywhere. I

took a step back. I bent down and gathered all the big pieces of glass and stuck them in the walls. It was a nice decorative theme for a murderer, I


thought. I finally walked outside. I got in my car and drove to a mask shop. I got out then walked to the store’s entrance and peered in. I saw the alarmed look on the cashier’s face as my face registered in his mind. I casually walked in, “How do you do?” I asked, tipping an invisible hat. The cashier said nothing but trembled as I walked over to the racks of masks and tried them on. “How do I look?” I asked the cashier but he didn’t say anything. “Cat got your tongue?” Again, silence. I decided on a mask then looked at the cashier, nodded, and left. I saw him run to the phone and dial a number. Police, I thought. That’s not a good sign. I passed a newsstand and saw the headline once again. Stupid woman, got what she

deserved. I got in my car then drove to a

festival that was being held in the town square that day. I put on the mask that I had brought with me and got out, gun in pocket. I milled around till it was three. That’s when they would announce the new festival queen.

I waited and waited. They finally called her name. Such a pretty name. Such a pretty white dress that was soon to be stained with red. I took the stage, took off my mask, and watched the audience gasp. “I am the Misfit,” I shouted. “Thanks for coming to my show!” That’s when I put the gun to my head and pulled the trigger.

Loneliness Billy Stevenson Loneliness provokes being afraid, a cloaked figure in every crevice. Loneliness is being isolated in a cube in another whole dimension. Loneliness is a marathon spring, leaving you tired and lazy. Loneliness is sitting bored for what seems like a year. Sadness creeps at every corner of the heart. Loneliness encages you like a wild bull, angrily writhing Anger swallows me whole. I am more afraid as darkness consumes me, as I drown, sadness engulfs my


heart. It’s a black room with no end, isolated forever. Not a thought passes my mind, a boring torture. I close my eyes, my tired brain dozing off. I wake up, even more tired than before. Anger swells; asking why they left me, I am so bored; the walls become an enemy to battle. I stand afraid and shaking. A world with no people, isolated is my soul. Loneliness seeps deeper, my sadness ascends. Sadness brings tears to the eyes, I fall to my knees, tired to the point of nausea. I no longer remember what people are, isolation evokes amnesia. I throw things in anger with newfound energy. I see creatures in the dark; hardly even makes me afraid anymore.

sadness. Isolation kills me, of darkness I am afraid. I’m tired of having no one, and always bored.

Clock Strikes Twelve Katie Bailey Loneliness has set in and boredom hurts more than a knife. ‘Boredom kills’ is all I hear. Sadness burrows in my heart and makes itself at home, I am not afraid of who lurks in the dark; anybody would make good company. I am tired, but I need no sleep. My parents just abandoned me, how can I not be angry? Darkness is my isolation, the thing to which I am closest. To isolation I am closest, but to isolation I hate most. Boredom tries to hold my attention, gripping it tight with claws Boredom tries to hold my attention, gripping it tight with claws. Anger takes over every muscle, violently attacking anything in range. Sadness repeatedly stabs me in the heart ‘til happiness is a distant friend. I am tired of feeling anything more. I am afraid of what this is turning me into. I am angry at the amount of my


Cinderella is at her ball dancing, swirling, singing; she is laughing she is happy she is me. There are stars in my eyes and glittering glass slippers on my feet: carrying me through life, Beautiful, but oh so fragile. Cracks are appearing in the delicate glass. The clock is about to strike twelve; my beautiful illusion is about to shatter.

Confessions of the Black King Doctor Mortis I am a king of no name, no face, no kingdom anymore. I once set high above a world of wonder, before I ruined it all. Now I confess to ye, and please

heed my words. I was once a great king, whose name is forever gone. My kingdom was once the apex of man! Before I did the most horrible of acts. My sweet little girl, Isabelle was her name, she died of a most foul sickness. In my stress, and grieve, I wanted nothing more than to have her back in my arms, to hear her laughter. Unbeknownst to me I would get my wish, when one day a tall man in a black robe, who wore a mask that had a long nose, came to me. I was about ready to call the guards until he spoke in a grim voice, that sent a shiver down my spine. "I can bring your little girl back," was all he said. I hurried to him and grabbed him by the collar and pulled him down to look me in the eye. "How? How can you bring her back?" I asked with tears in my eyes, with the wounds of her death still hurting in me so.


"A deal.. You give me what I want.. and you shall have your daughter back." "Just take it and bring her back!" I yelled at him. He just laughed as the sound of little feet rang throughout the throne room. I turned to see my little girl, she looked like she did the day she died. I hurried over to her and as soon as I attempted to hug her, she was gone. I turned to look at the ma, my eyes now stinging with tears, "Bastard! You made a deal!" "I never said it was going to be permanent,� he let out a dreaded laugh as I heard the scream of my citizens, and hurried to my window. What I saw could only be described as one thing... Apocalyptic. Bodies covered in blisters, people screaming incoherent things as they fought enemies that did not exist, and many just dropping. I turned to look at him and noticed his shadow was that of a man on a horse. "Who are you?" I asked him, and I was answered with a horrible name that is known to all. "I am Pestilence, and your kingdom is mine." That was all he said as he disappeared into the shadows, leaving me with a kingdom of corpses. Now I write this letter in the

hopes someone will find this great kingdom in the future. Now I leave you this, I am know to history as the Black King, but my real name is- *A spot of blood covers the name.*

Haiku Mackenzie Broderick “Let’s be friends,” you said. I don’t know how to do that. I love you too much.


Mirror Mirror ing. It knows that it will never be loved. But still the paper waits, forever in the silence of hope. And forever it will stay, until someone opens their heart.

Stupid Paper Morgan Shaffer This stupid paper, so blank, so plain so boring and sad unwritten and unused But this stupid paper doesn't know what it's like to be loved to be hated to be created and destroyed No, this stupid paper knows nothing but of being crumpled and ripped. So this stupid paper just sits, waiting for something that might never happen. But still it waits, forever in hope. The silence is confusing and depressing. Yet still it waits, forever in silence. But Time has a mind of its own, and pencils scribble and scratch at its surface. The stupid paper is now noth-

Chris: Father, Role Model, and Mostly My Friend Aaron Goode “It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.� (Pope John XXIII) Growing up I always felt like it was only going to be my mother and me in a twisting nether of emotions. I enjoyed our time together but every boy deserves a father. Then came along Chris. He was tall and lengthy like a great big oak tree. As I stood up and look up at this giant of a man I noticed his gentle face and his brittle glasses. He reminded me of my favorite super hero: Inspector Gadget. Since he missed out on my first eight years of existence, we had to make up for lost time. Most father-son duos were into passing the football in the backyard or riding bikes around the neighborhood. My father and I built rockets. They were the highlight of my childhood. It takes around a week to finish one of these works of mechanical art. Cut, glue and repeat. My house


seemed like a miniature NASA space station. We were the mechanics and the pilots. Better yet we were the astronauts, flying these spectacular models. Each rocket launch was only about five seconds of total enjoyment, before the rocket comes back down to the full field of the Earths grass. My father and I would head down to our local hobby shop, and find only the best rockets for ourselves. They had big ones, they had tall ones, they had some with three wings, some with four. It didn’t matter what we got, our rockets were always the most extraordinary ones. The rockets got better and better every time. We'd giggle at the thought that some people would buy the tiniest ones. We always bought that one rocket that stood out and my father would smile as if he were a giant kid himself. The building of the rockets could be just as fun as the flight. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, without hesitation we'd race to the dining room table and rip apart the box. Inside was what most people would see as delicate and useless pieces of balsa wood. To my father and me, it was the next big adventure. My mom would often come into the dining area and notice the entire table in


disarray: glue, box cutters, wood, paper, engines, instructions. Too my mom it looked like a wreck. To us, it looked like a scrapyard at our disposal. We would follow the instructions for hours and hours, sometimes even a few days. The most boring part was also the most important and rewarding, waiting for the glue to dry. Now doesn’t that sound like fun? Of course not, but it was the only time my father and I really talked, man to man. He would tell me stories of when he was a kid and explain what life was and how it should be. Finally just as one of his stories would be at its climax, my father leaped out of his seat because as he would say “It's rocket time big guy.” “It's here! Finally!” I’d exclaim, “It is finally time to launch!” The big moment was finally here: my five seconds of complete euphoria. I would count every single second as if I, myself were a ticking time bomb of energy. One Mississippi: the button was pushed and the sheer excitement of seeing that rocket

take off was imminent. Two Mississippi: the engine ignites, and in a burst of blazing glory, the rocket begins to take off. Three Mississippi: the rocket is in full flight. It is accelerating at speeds I thought only possible by the real rockets. When you are gazing at the miraculous stream of smoke left by the rocket, you finally see the true power of these rockets. Four Mississippi: the rocket has reached its maximum altitude and in a blink of an eye the top explodes off and the parachute shoots out before the rocket can tumble towards the ground. Finally, five Mississippi: the rocket is floating back down to the new planet it has just discovered. However in our case it was just coming back home so that it may return to the skies in another flight. During the flight of the rocket, my imagination would take me out of this world and into space missions. Dodging asteroids, fighting alien space ships and even seeing all the stars around me. All of these emotions and adventures happened in five long seconds. Five seconds is all it took, for me to realize one thing about my dad. He was not another step dad, or my mothers’ husband. In those five seconds he had truly become the only thing I had ever wanted growing up: a father. His intentions were to involve me in something constructive instead of sitting at home and doing nothing.


He wanted me to see what hard work can provide. He wanted to show me that it is not what you do, or how extravagant it is. It is most importantly about what it means to you and what you make of it. And to me, building those rockets meant more than just a hobby or an activity to pass the time. It was an opportunity to get to know my father and understand what he was like. It taught me that working hard leaves you with more time to play and have fun later. It took upwards of three days to construct a rocket. It only took five seconds to launch one and enjoy it for all your hard work. My father Chris missed out on my first eight years, but he made up for it in five seconds of flight.

Breathe Shannon Baxter You can breathe fire with the heat of desire under sweaty sheets between sloppy kisses Or you can breathe cold with blankets of old under their empty pillow between your lonely thoughts

Thank You Mom and Dad Vicki Shea Hi, my name is Vicki Shea and I am standing here today to talk to you about parents. I am

unsure of how I am supposed to start talking about one of the most important things in my life, but I will do my best. I thought to myself, what is a parent? As we all know, a parent is much more than this, they are more than anyone will be able to speak. I can’t begin to describe what a parent is or what they are supposed to be, but I can tell you that all of them have shown us love and care to bring us forth in this world. Whether young, old, dying, famous, right, or poor, their love to us as parents is unconditional. In the last sixteen years of my life, I have come to a realization. Unfortunately, friends come and friends go. Friends change, interests change or ideas change. And unfortunately, some friends move far away. Our relationships and friendships change with life. But the love that our parents have for us does not change. No matter what we do, where we go, or what we think our parents possess an undying love for their children. They have brought us up in a world full of obstacles. When we stepped forth in each of these obstacles, our parents were right behind us, holding our hand or watching our backs. No words could ever repay them for all of the love they have shown us. But I would like to let every parent know that what you do for


us is appreciated. Mom and Dad, I love you. I have composed a letter to you trying to sum all of my thoughts and feelings. I do know that it will fall short of how I truly feel, but this is straight from my heart. Dear Mom and Dad, I came into this world depending on the love and care that you bring. I was helpless and needed you. To tell you the truth, very little has changed. I have changed and you have changed, but I still need you. I must tell you that I am scared for when I turn eighteen in a little less than two years. Just think, I will have to cook, clean, and dress myself. Scary thought. But, also, I will have to wake up each morning and realize that everything I do and every decision I make will affect the rest of my life. A pretty big responsibility if you ask me. But, I think I may be ready for it, thanks to

you. Since I was very young, you taught me responsibility and good moral judgment. No matter whom I was dealing with, or who I had to be acquainted with, you made me respect each and every person. You taught me to live with integrity and live with faith. All of these little issues have formed me as a person - a person that I respect and a person that I hope others respect. But, Mom, Dad, thank you. Because of you I know that my life is good. Because of you, I know everything will be okay. Because of you, I know that I have made it. In each of my memories I will think of you and in all of my memories to come I hope you are part of them. You have printed my heart with many values, but most of all the value of love. Thank you for everything you have ever given me, both materially and spiritually! You truly are amazing parents and I do not tell you enough how much I love you and how

much you have shaped my life. Without you, I would not be the person I am today. I would not have the drive or the determination to go after my goals and ambitions in life. You have given me a great example of how a woman can surpass all expectations and fully succeed in all aspects of life. Words cannot express the gratitude and appreciation I feel for you, nor can they begin to define the thanks that I would like to give to you for everything that you have done for me. You have always been there for me and have shown me the way. You have pushed me to be the best that I can and be and are the reason I stand where I am today. You are my guiding light, the lighthouse at the edge of the seashore, always calling me home. You have taught me everything I know and stand for and have raised me to be strong and independent, but I will always need you. Thank you for everything, and I mean everything. For teaching me to smile in the face of adversity and to believe in myself no matter what anyone says. So thank you, Mom and Dad, for everything you’ve done for me, and no matter how old I get, I’ll always be your little girl.

The Truth Elissa Davis You say one thing but you do another


you change your direction like the flow of a feather

always turning and wanting to know answers. I remember lying in my bed at night and questioning how someone in the sky could make a place as big as the earth. It just didn’t make much sense to me. Now I feel as if I was too young to be thinking about his abstract concept and I contemplate if any other young children spent as much time pondering the thought of an allpowerful God. I thought to myself, what was missing? As I started to get older and grew a more developed mind, the hole in my heart seemed to be getting deeper. I was scared and carried around a feeling of guilt and loneliness everywhere I went. I wouldn’t dare tell my parents or anyone in my family because I knew they all have a very strong belief in Jesus. Going to church every week, I started to gain more intellect on faith and I can remember the day I first heard about the eternal, fiery depths of Hell. My heart sank deep in my chest. I thought to myself: Do I truly believe in God? Time passed and this feeling sickened me because I wanted to believe to desperately, but somehow I just couldn’t wrap my mind and heart around it. This bothered me more than anything because I felt that I had nobody to reach out to. Having a family that seems like they have no doubt that God

And although the feathers fall like the mid-autumn leaves at least they stay truthful unlike how you were to me Yes how truthful the flow of it is gliding through the wind higher than the twigs although it sways like a boat in the water I know how it ends, to the ground it follows! To the ground it goes, again it may never flow though to the end of its last rise I knew it would never lie. At least I will always know how truthful it was… Unlike the ending between the two of us.

The Never Ending Shades Of Grey Anonymous In this small county of King George, during a snowstorm more than 18 years ago, I opened my eyes for the first time and took the first breath of my life. Growing up in a family that goes to church every Sunday, I quickly adopted the idea of a savior named Jesus Christ. As a young boy and still to this day, the gears in my mind are


does exist made the religious part of my life so much harder; it made me feel like I did not belong with them. I found myself talking to God at night and begging for him to help me find him if he was real. He never answered. I heard people talking about things God had done for them and I began to think that if God was real he had abandoned me, or maybe he just never cared about me at all. Was I being blind and selfish? Or perhaps I was overthinking this whole thing and needed to stop worrying about it and get on with my life. I came up with my own theory: religion was just something to calm the peoples’ minds so that they wouldn’t feel alone like I did. It gave them hope and a purpose to live—something that was missing from my life. The need to fill this void is ample but I just have not been able to accept God completely because of the never-ending doubt I encompass. If there is a God that loves his children so much, why is there misery and suffering? There are so many people on this planet that deal with things they don’t deserve. For instance, innocent children battle cancer every day. Where is God? Beautiful families lose their loved ones. Where is God? How could a God that’s so good let these things happen to these people? What about all of the starving people in third

world countries like: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Burundi, and Liberia? Where is their God? I find it strange that there are so many unanswered prayers in this world. If God loves his children so much why doesn’t he help them? Later in life, the doubt in my mind started getting worse. At schools, students are taught the theories of evolution and Big Bang. These theories did not go along with Christianity, but for me, they were easier to believe in. The first verse in the Bible states, “In this beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.” This verse baffles me because if God created God? The Big Bang theory states that the universe was in an extremely hot and dense state and began expanding rapidly. After the early expansion, the universe cooled which allowed energy to be converted into atoms. This made more sense to me than the idea of a creator. After I started to grasp this


theory, I told my parents what I had learned—they were shocked about what I was saying. I then realized that I had to keep these feelings and thoughts to myself from that point on. The ability to have free will and a free thinking mind is said to be a gift to the human race. However, I see it as being a curse in a certain sense. Having this knowledge of a heaven and a hell and not knowing if it is actually factual is a huge burden. If God is actually real, why can’t he just prove himself? That would make things so much easier not just for me, but for everybody. But then again, I guess that eradicates the whole point of “faith”. To this day, I struggle with the religious part of my life and don’t tell anybody about it. I go to church with my family every Sunday and I frantically want God in my heart, but part of me just can’t come to accept him.


Everyone is bound to an eternity in heaven or hell; at least that’s what it says in the Bible. I am petrified that I won’t make the more desired destination and the thought of an eternity of flames haunts me every day. I still pray to God every night before I go to bed. I ask him to help me find him if he is really out there and I ask him why I think the way I do. People say that seeing isn’t believing, but maybe to me it is. I fear the idea that maybe all of this is made up and maybe when a person dies, they just die. But where do I go? Is it just a big black abyss? Will I still be in a conscious state? Maybe reincarnation is real. All of these questions and thoughts constantly play through my mind without any relief. I have this yearning to know what’s out there. Forlornly, humanity still has not found answers to these questions or any proof of existence of any God, even in all these years. When people ask me what I believe, I tell them I believe in God because that is how I really want it to be. But behind what I let people see, there is a lost person who doesn’t understand what life really is. It is a distressing feeling and is part of me thinks I should forget it and live my life while I have it. The thing is: if heaven does exist, life is shorter than the blink of an eye compared to an eternity. So which is more important? At times I think I should

play the “better safe than sorry” card, but I don’t know if it works like that. To be saved, don’t we have to believe—with all of our hearts that Jesus Christ is our savior? Life has to have some purpose I think. Perhaps we are just on a destination to heaven or hell. But, what if this life is all we have?

How I Feel Shelby Lindsey that is the only question i have for you, why does everything matter so much? why is every little thing an absolute tragedy? why do you do such ridiculous things? i'm locked out of my Tumblr account! they didn't have any Peace Tea at the store! these pants aren't too tight, mom! my life is absolutely unbearable!

my friends accept me for who i really am, they like the real me, they believe in what i do, they don’t have any expectations, they may not even care about me at all… not… one… bit…


Brett Farrell She is a great teacher, always mom, this is the real me, listens, and doesn’t treat you this music is great, it's "metalcore", like a five year old. I can talk to i have about five self-diagnosed her whenever she is in her mental illnesses, room, and she will listen to c'mon guys, it's "avant garde", what you say and also give you good feedback on any situation i really do love him or her! you have. She lets her views be he or she is so amazing! known, and won’t let people they are so perfect and beautiful, change them. She sticks to what they "read books", she believes in. She is “a true G” and care about "current events", in her words. My friends and I and they just have so much in have gone to her with many of common with me! our problems to see if she could


give us any advice, and she does. IT’s usually along the lines of “stop being a little girl and tell them” or “stop being a little girl and shut up.” I can talk to her about almost anything. She listens to my problems, and many other people’s problems, and we all can trust her. She treats us all like her own children, and is like a second mother. I can’t even explain all of the stuff she has done for me and my friends, and I have no place to start. She is an amazing woman. We love you, Mrs. Dunn.

Child’s Play Lexi Scheerschmidt An old log sat by the path of gravel we were walking upon. You held my hand, dragging me along behind you. You sat atop the old fallen tree and I claimed the space next to you, you laughed at the thought of leaving as we sat alone in the woods, listening to the sound of incoming thunder. I played a child’s game with you, monkey see monkey do but you pointed out the flaws in my knowledge causing me to edit the rules. I was on my own, guessing at your thoughts, taking it one step at a time. You surrendered to my determi-


nation, I dominated you making you too weak to play along, So you called it quits. I looked at you after, wondering what to do I just had a new experience And I didn’t know how it made me feel. Granted I may have been a poor sport after you told me I didn’t play along right but I didn’t care much after we played again and I defeated you fair and square.

A Golden Afternoon Nature Carley Johnson The sun rises The birds awaken And teach newborns how to fly The trees stretch their limbs As the wind blows their hair The bees get to work As the butterflies glide through The deer run along To the meadow covered in dew The day goes by And flowers grow

The thought of losing just a little bit, Makes one question the point behind falling Lost in a daydream; stumbling through fog, Fighting their way out, hopelessly calling. Trying to clear the mind, one takes a jog; But eventually one becomes a aware, That it’s a feeling one cannot escape. One might face unhappiness or despair, However, that pain can’t be fixed with tape. This is a feeling you can’t get rid of. But no matter what happens, it is love.

Joy Carley Johnson His smile So perfect and white Lit up the room Making it bright Those big brown eyes Glistening in the sun You knew he was fun That laugh You could hear a mile away That laugh, it stayed with me all through the day Filled with joy Oh yes he was That was my little boy


Chad Taylor Sonnet A monster resides in everyone’s Samantha Fedak Why does it exist if it causes pain? heart One will say you cannot live with- I don’t know how it got there in the first out it, It tries to end your game before it But why is that if it makes one starts insane?


Funny how fast “best” can turn into “worst” A parasite that locks happiness out For minutes, hours, and days upon days Hard to succeed when there’s nothing but doubt A pallet of colors turned into gray You have the power, the chance to succeed But you have to want to, you need to try You’ve come so far, so plant just this one seed To win, to live, to not desire to die I’ve seen you do it, you’ve done it before So do it again, please just one day more The days are growing thin The nights have become

keys. People can say this and they can say that. My feelings will never change. From the first day you called, I knew it would be true. We may have twists, we may have turns; but neither one matters. I loved you then and I love you now, hopefully it will never go away. Now, I just wait for the day to come, where you appear to me with a ring. Getting down on one knee, taking my hand in yours. Then I'll know for sure, your heart has turned pure. When the day comes to say I do, I have no doubt in mind...... ......that will be the day I have finally made you mine.

Young Love

My Heart Sings

Shantel Harvey Every time I look at you, my heart locks, forget all about the

Carley Johnson These walls are closing My heart is breaking This ceilings caving, And our time is ticking This hole is getting darker The lights getting dim My hand is losing grip, Our souls have come unbound The skies are getting darker The sun is dying down, These cries are getting louder These laughs are growing apart, These tears are falling harder This heart is caving within, The days are growing thin The nights have become longer, The world is falling apart


The moon is floating awayThis is the song my heart now sings

Then feel the grass beneath your feet Embrace the cool breeze Accept the raindrops on your neck Watch leaves float around in the breeze

Love Carley Johnson It’s that spark you get when you’re together, That sensational feeling when your lips touch That rush of butterflies in your stomach It’s that sparkle in your eye when you see him, That fire that burns and blazes It’s the tears falling from your face, That hurt in your heart when he’s away It’s the arguing and fighting, The making up and breaking up It’s that feeling of him holding you close The sound of your hearts beating together, The sound of love

5 Ways to Look at a Field Billy Stevenson In the middle of a large grassland Outlined in paint The field is colored with white and green Sprinkled with wears and tears Ripped from hundreds of cleats Walk onto the pitch Smell the fresh green grass On a fresh spring day In the midst of a spring drizzle


The field is a home An outdoor house for athletes Where victories are glorified And losses are motivation This is a vast war ground Battles fought on the daily Shots fired from goal to goal Enemies brought to their knees This field is the best place I can be

A Visit to My Aunt’s Lily Huang Merrigan When, on rare occasions, after many years, I'll visit my beloved aunt. I'll take in the pure, clean air. As I sit on the patio, I gaze at the murky lake, too dirty to swim in, perfect to canoe on. The mountain scented breeze is perfect, making me mindful and clear minded. I'll lose myself in the beautiful song of the birds and relish the hearty, organic food. I look back on those days with longing and look forward to the day I go back.

It's a cold November morning, I woke up and pulled shorts and a shirt on. I packed my shoes and walked through the door. I was excited, but worried. It was a marching band competition, a weekend full of fun. I was to be with friends, when we perform. We sat together and talked. When the competition was through, we got ice cream and played laser tag. The next day we were off to Bush gardens. We rode the rides all day, some sat on benches or walked the day away. When the day was done, we headed to our beds. We slept and talked of the exciting days events. I can't wait till next year when we do this all again.

A Corner Filled with Pages Shannon Baxtor She finds peace here, this store filled with books. A pleasant murmur flows through the place, created by hushed, whispering voices. A rainbow runs across the shelves, painted by the bright book covers. The smell of the store is unique, indescribable, like the smell cinnamon can’t be described other than saying it smells like cinna-


mon. She associates the smell with the café in the back, and she remembers the taste of the coffee, the taste of the vanilla creamer and caramel flavoring. Her feet press into the wood floors through the thin bottom of her Chucks as she walks to her normal spot: the corner of the café, darker than the rest, but still bright enough to read. The hardwood chair is uncomfortable, but she’s grown used to it. After so long, she figured out that switching between slouching and sitting up straight made her back ache less and how to avoid hurting her thighs on the hard edge of the seat. Sitting in the sturdy chair, she watches the people: guesses their stories, their friends and families, their thoughts. She watches the raindrops cascade slowly down the window and

she watches the baristas work behind the counter, whipping up teas and coffees and lattes. She studies the browns and tans of the floor, walls, and shelves that surround the vibrant magazines and vivid book covers. She enjoys the low buzz of conversation, occasionally tuning in on a certain voice just out of curiosity. She sips from her paper coffee cup, the heat tingling her finger and scratching the roof of her mouth. The beverage leaves a slightly bitter after-taste, still noticeable under the caramel flavoring. She tucks her wavy brown hair behind her ear and taps her foot absentmindedly against the tiles of the floor. Sometimes she even hums, entertaining herself by switching tunes randomly. She does it all while leafing through pages, whether the smooth, shiny pages of a magazine or the rough, textured pages of a novel. Here, the atmosphere is calm and welcoming. Here, the books invite her to other worlds and dimensions. Here, in this hall of stories, she does her favorite


thing, surrounded by people who love reading too. Here, she absorbs page after page, chapter after chapter, book after book. Here, she finds peace, among the books. Sometimes she even hums, entertaining herself by switching tunes randomly. She does it all while leafing through pages, whether the smooth, shiny pages of a magazine or the rough, textured pages of a novel. Here, the atmosphere is calm and welcoming. Here, the books invite her to other worlds and dimensions. Here, in this hall of stories, she does her favorite thing, surrounded by people who love reading too. Here, she absorbs page after page, chapter after chapter, book after book. Here, she finds peace, among the books.

Awaiting Fury Morgan Shaffer They stand still, watching as the enormous dust tsunami rushes closer, devouring all in its path. The storm arches its back as it surges forward and topples anything that stands in its way, be it corn or cow or car. It possesses no emotions. It is apathetic, reproaching the mortals that dared to summon it, cackling at their puny attempts of appeasement. The thing is a monster, a demon sent from the depths of Hell to punish the ants sucking the life out of the once fertile land.

In front of them, the couple can hear the terrified screeches of man and child alike, the desperate calling of loved ones names, the shouts of ‘Hurry up and get in the goddamn house!’ and the hollers of ‘Oh Lord, please have mercy on our souls!’ The howling wind surrounds them, circling the man and woman like a wolf pack taunting a wounded deer before it is struck down. The voices soon become impossible to hear over the roaring air. The couple notices that they are now alone. The vague realization means little to them, for the knowledge that their neighbors have resorted to cowering in their houses changes nothing. There is not anything anyone can do to alter that fact. The monster still draws closer, regardless of how many people grovel underneath their blankets. They stand still, watching as the house of a relative is engulfed in dust, staring in awe as it simply disappears in a matter of seconds. It is there, and then it is suddenly not. The man squints his eyes, attempting to peer into the storm and see the house. It is useless,


and he quickly gives up. The monster inches closer. It would take nothing less than a miracle straight from heaven to stop the advance of the demon. But, regretfully, that was quite doubtful. It was very well possible that the storm was send from God, much like the Great Flood from Genesis 7, and its objective was to eradicate all sinners off the face of the Earth. The couple finally manages to tear their eyes off of the storm and glance at each other. The man says something, his lips rapidly moving to form words that are immediately ripped from his mouth by the wind. The woman also tries to talk, puzzled as to why she cannot hear his words, but nothing she says reaches his ears. They realize that words are drowning in the air as it rushes around them. They stand still, watching the others’ expression. They stand still, and then they do not. The man moves first, lifting his arm to offer a hand. The woman takes it and they pull themselves together, intertwining their fingers. They stand together, united as one. One person, One figure, One life. The woman looks over at the approaching storm, then back up to the man. The question is clear. Do they run? Do they hide? He smiles slowly and shakes his head. No. They will do neither. Her face falls, her eyes full of worry. Then we die? The man grins and shakes

his head. No. We will live. The monster is upon them, snapping and hissing and howling, clawing at their hair and clothes. It reaches out to grab them and opens its mouth to swallow them whole. The woman smiles. We will live. We will live.

Childhood: Raised at my Second Home Anna Kniceley Riding in “Rhonda”, my mom’s maroon 1996 Honda Odyssey, down route 301 towards the Harry Nice Bridge was how most of my mornings began. The majority of people’s childhood memories usually take place at their house, but mine took place at Mrs. Green’s house. From birth, till the beginning of Middle School, most of my time apart from sleeping and school was spent at my babysitter’s house. The number of children Mrs. Green babysat varied as the years went by. For a large part of the times I remember most, there were eleven of us: myself, my sisters: Sara and Melissa, the Wagner’s: Kelsey and Kyle, the Cloud’s: Rebecca and Andrew, the Carter’s: Joe and Wayland, Jacqueline, and also at times Devin. We all spent so much time at Mrs. Green’s that we felt like cousins. Kelsey, Devin and I all even went to the same preschool, Dahlgren United Methodist,


which Mrs. Green would pick us up from. During the school year my parents would drop my sisters and me off at Mrs. Green’s in the morning to catch the bus, then we would ride the bus back to Mrs. Green’s afterschool and wait till around five or six till mom or dad would come and pick us up. Mrs. Green lives on Roseland Drive, the absolute last turn before driving on the bridge that crosses over to Maryland, in a two-story, rather old white house. It was my second home. We all stayed on the main floor, which included four rooms: the kitchen, the living room, the backroom, and the bathroom. The kitchen is the first room you were in when you walked into the house. It has linoleum floor, the washer and dryer, dark wood shelves and a circular wooden table that was only supposed to fit four people at the table at once (we always had more circled around it). During the summer, meals at Mrs. Green’s were on a schedule—Mondays were chicken noodle soup and cheese toast, Tuesdays were Domino’s pizza, Wednesdays were hot dog and mac-and-cheese, Thursdays were chicken nuggets and fries, and Fridays were tacos. There were no surprises in our daily lunch ritual, and I always liked the consistency. This is probably a reason why I like sticking with

and making plans so much now. It was at Mrs. Green’s that I developed my love for hot sauce. I used to eat hot sauce with everything: mac-and-cheese, hot dogs, tacos, and even popcorn! I loved eating and snacking at Mrs. Green’s because she didn’t buy healthy food. Two snacks’ I’ll never forget are cheese toast and buttered bread. You see at my house my Mom bought healthy whole grain nutty bread, but Mrs. Green always bought the bright white Wonder bread; I found it delicious. Continuing down the unhealthy road, Mrs. Green would buy the giant brown County Crock tubs of butter that we would smother on the Wonder bread. Or, we would put the prepackaged American cheese on the Wonder bread and toast it in the microwave until cheese started getting just a little soft. I loved eating at Mrs. Green’s because it wasn’t focused around healthy foods all the time.


The living room was always extremely cold; because that was where the air-conditioner was mounted. Growing up I spent lots of time watching television in the living or back room; this is probably why I enjoy watching television so much now. The backroom was the game and toy room. Threefourths of the time when we were back there, the lights would be off and kids would either be playing Halo on Xbox on the big television, swarmed around a mini television in the corner playing or watching others play on the Nintendo 64 (Mrs. Green had the classics: Super Smash Brothers and Power Rangers), or everyone would be watching either a movie or television show. The rest of the time kids would be playing with play dough or some other random toy or game, depending on our age. Mrs. Green had great land for playing. We were constantly building forts. There was one area that was a permanent fort that was a cluster of three or four trees. You had to be careful around there though or else you could get covered in stain berry juice. Forts were also bui vines and trees. One time I even remember building a fort down on the beach. The guys were able to somehow create a little cave in the sand, so I brought in a large piece of foam that goes

down before carpet is installed. When we were building forts outside, we would be playing games. My favorite game was escape from jail. We would divide up into two teams; one team would be on offense starting from the plastic place in the front of the house, and the other would be on defense guarding the trampoline in the back of the yard. Trying to tag the trampoline without getting tagged by someone on defense, the team on offense would sprint and sneak around the house. The game was exhilarating because you would feel like you were running, weaving, dodging, and hiding for your life. It was that intense. Playing sports and other games at Mrs. Greens is a reason why I love athletic games so much now today. The fact that Mrs. Green’s husband, Mr. Ernest, was a fisherman and crabber provided even more opportunities for fun. Our summers would be spent down on the river shore fishing, swimming, playing in the sand, walking the shore, and building rafts. There was always something to do down at the river shore. During the summer while Mrs. Green would be up at the house preparing lunch, we would all fish. The majority of the poles we would use were little cartoon kids poles; my favorite fishing pole was the purple Scooby Doo pole. One of the older kids, or an adult would cut up a soft shelled crab and we


would all sit in groups in different spots along the dock and fish. Most of the fish that were caught were perch and we would save them for Mr. Ernest to put in his crab pots the next day. I can take a hook out of a fish, without squirming thanks to Mrs. Green’s. Mrs. Green’s was a great place to grow up, and the time I spent at her house definitely shaped me into the person I am today. However, some people might argue the fact that I shouldn’t have spent so much time with a babysitter. My parents did the best they could do. All the time my parents spent working forty-plus hours a week has resulted in more money and consequently more opportunities for the family. I have had the opportunity to go to many different places on vacation; for example, when I was five we went to Alaska, and that is all thanks to my parents’ hard work. The time we spent apart was made up when we would go on family vacations at least once a year. My sisters and I were always in at least one sport during every part of the year, and that doesn’t include camps my parents also let us attend. Most importantly, my parents started saving for our college educations very early on; they have always promised us that they will pay for four years of

college in-state tuition. These vacations, sports, camps, and college educations all cost money and with both my parents working, they have been able to provide for us almost every practical opportunity we’ve asked. Yes, there were plenty of times when I would wish my parents would hurry up and finally come pick me up, but I know that they were doing what they had to, to provide the lifestyle they wanted for their children. My parents had taken the time to make sure that they found the perfect babysitter to help raise us. Mrs. Green was a religious and loving women, and growing up I thought of her and Mr. Ernest as my third set of grandparents. In addition to all the extra love, I learned and developed several important life lessons there. I learned to be accepting of everyone, because there were only eleven of us and we all needed to get along. Being surrounded by other kids, besides my sisters, put the values of sharing and caring my parents taught me to the test. Additionally, growing up in a large group of kids, I had to learn how to standout and make people understand what I wanted. When the majority of kids were saying they wanted pasta on Friday, I was the one that made sure Mrs. Green knew that I thought we should have tacos! I learned not to conform myself to others or just

follow others around. Nevertheless, my childhood at Mrs. Green’s house made me a better person. The decision on whether or not a parent should stay at home with their children or send them to babysitter is a tough choice and the answer really does depend on what the parents want most for their children. I am happy my parents decided to send me to Mrs. Green’s house. Not only was I in a loving and caring environment, but her house was always a lot of fun! My parents did the best they could to raise my sisters and me; even though I might not have very many memories at my house, I have plenty at Mrs. Green’s, and I still had a great childhood.


A Handy’s Production



Sketch 2014: Through the Looking Glass  
Sketch 2014: Through the Looking Glass