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HEE Literary Journal

June 2011 Volume 2

A Collection of Narrative and Expository Writing

In this second edition of the HEE Literary Journal, we share with you an eclectic assortment of literary pieces written by students in the second semester of Kim Votry’s writing classes. From book critiques to fantasy novel excerpts, this Journal is packed with great summer reading. Enjoy! Air Wolves: Rise of the Hero by Alexius Rodriguez an excerpt from a novel in progress

This pup was picked up by his mother along with the other pups. The mother wolf dropped the pups in a color field and instructed them to keep their heads down. A female Air Wolf came to the unusual-looking Air Wolf pup. She leaned down to him and whispered in the featherless pup's ear even though she knew that he was to young to understand her. "Young one, you will bring greatness to this world and free us someday from Willfree." She wanted to say good-bye for the last time, as she was going off to battle, never to come back. All the pups’ mothers said that they would return to get them. But after three days none of the mothers returned. One by one the pups began to leave the color field, until the little featherless pup and his younger nest mate were left all alone. Finally the featherless pup's nest mate left also. Driven by hunger, the featherless pup left the garden. But he was so confused he wandered in the opposite direction of the caves that served as the home to the Air Wolves. continued on page 6

There is another world where life thrives, besides Earth, called K-9. It was all peaceful with the creatures that lived there until Willfree the black Air Wolf came. Driven by his greed for power Willfree made deformed creatures of his own. He used them to build an army. With this army he made all the peaceful creatures of planet K-9 surrender into slavery except for the Air Wolves who refused to give in. The Air Wolves fought for their freedom for over two years. But it was no use. Each time one of Willfree’s creatures died, a new one took its place. The only way to stop Willfree was to defeat him. But no Air Wolf had ever defeated him. While the battle was raging on between the Air Wolves and Willfree's army, the female Air Wolves were rescuing captured pups. One of the pups was different from the others. His wings were featherless and one of his eyes was different than the other.


Table of contents Air Wolves: Rise of the Hero, by Alexius Rodriguez .....................................................1 Lake Ozette, by Jayne Rudnick ...................................................................................................3 Don’t Start Smoking, by Lindsey Ernst ................................................................................4 Swimming, by Emily Ransom .......................................................................................................5 To Converse With Shadows, by Emily Cawlfield .............................................................5 Temptation, by Toni Adame ........................................................................................................7 My Experience, by Natasha Vederoff ........................................................................................8 Senses of the Past, by Esther Budai .......................................................................................8 The Tablets, by Ben Birchman ...................................................................................................9 Rainy Days, by Megan Ransom ................................................................................................11 Bob’s Highly Improbable and a Little Less Than Sane Adventure, by Devin Tideman .....................................................................................12 “Castaways of the Flying Dutchman,” by Anastasia Vederoff ................................14 Wings of Gold, by Nico Shorack ............................................................................................16 The Oak Tree, by Jonathan Owen .........................................................................................18 Writer’s Block, by Danny Guido ...........................................................................................20 Drop Dead, by Stephen Owen .................................................................................................21 “Saddled,” by Victoria Walker ...................................................................................................22 Lisle’s Great Adventure in Pavire, by Madeline Olson-Harris ...............................23 Another Day, Another Cookie, by Emily Hopf ............................................................24 Baseball, by Bryan Host ..............................................................................................................25 “Untitled,” by Lucia Guido .......................................................................................................26 The Story of the Crazy Cow and Sheep, by Madeleine Fakenbridge ..................27 Advancing, by Cody Cawlfield .................................................................................................28 2

Lake Ozette by Jayne Rudnick a true wilderness adventure I woke up at 4:15 a.m. ready to face the day’s adventure. I was going on a backpacking trip with my dad, my brother Nick, and two other friends, Kollin and Luke. In order to insure that we were at the campsite before dark, we had to catch the 5:30 a.m. ferry. During the drive to the campsite I played the slug bug game with Kollin. We also listened to music on the 4-hour trip to the trail head, which really helped pass the time. Before we could actually go to Lake Ozette, we had to stop off at the ranger’s station located in Port Angeles because we had to get more bear buckets and a pass to stay overnight. While at the station, someone let loose with a stink bomb that cleared the car and sent us all into hysterics. Once the car was drivable again, we travelled 3 hours to the trail head. The trail head was made mostly of treacherous boardwalk which was wet because it was located in a rainforest. When I stepped down on one place a plank popped up in another. The boardwalk was also very slippery. I found this out by innocently taking a step and finding myself slipping like I was on ice. I turned

to see if anyone had noticed. Unfortunately, this turn of my head sent me tumbling backwards off the boardwalk and into the vegetation. I was stuck on my back like a turtle stuck on its shell with flailing limbs and a gut full of laughter. It took both Kollin and Luke to pull me out of my predicament since I was carrying 22 pounds on my back, plus they had backpacks on too and didn’t want to fall.

Five minutes later, Nick took his turn. His left leg slipped south and his right leg slipped north. Fortunately, he caught himself before he did a face plant. This brings me to Luke. I was concentrating on not slipping when a heard, “Ugh,” and a few swear words behind me. I peeked over my shoulder just in time to see Luke face plant (more like nose plant) onto the boardwalk.


Once we reached camp, Nick created swings made out of rope we had found on the beach while I created comfy lounge chairs out of driftwood. That evening we visited Wedding Rocks where, in ancient times, Indians married. While searching for petroglyphs we climbed the rocks. We were climbing the shaft in between these two rocks when my nose detected a pungent fishy smell. Thinking that it was just the area, I kept climbing. A few moments later Nick and I heard a growl. My heart raced and I wanted to scramble down but my dad insisted on taking my photo at that particular moment because he was unaware of our imminent peril. Needless to say, when we viewed the pictures from the trip, that one didn’t turn out. While lying in my sleeping bag that evening, I heard rustling outside the tent and thought it was a bear which is why I cocked my head to hear better. The noise appeared again. Finally, I figured out that because I was moving around in the tent I created the rustling sound I thought I was hearing outside. I felt so stupid until my dad said he had done the same thing.

continued on page 14

Don’t Start Smoking by Lindsey Ernst a research paper Did you know that 1,200 people around the world die from smoking each day? Sure, many smokers feel like they are part of a “cool” group, however the “damage” factor outweighs the “coolness.” If you are considering starting smoking cigarettes or using any type of tobacco, don’t start! Smoking has consequences that affect smokers’ individual lives as well as society as a whole because of the toxic ingredients used in manufacturing cigarettes. Smoking cigarettes causes cancer and blackening of the lungs, which often leads to slow and painful death. Also, if ingested whole, there is enough nicotine in five cigarettes to kill an average adult. Smokers will die an average of over 12 years younger and take 25 percent more sick days a year than non-smokers. Additionally, when pregnant women smoke, the baby’s growth is slowed by reducing the amount of oxygen and increasing the amount of carbon monoxide that the baby receives. This happens at critical times when the baby’s brain and nervous system are developing. In conclusion, smoking is disastrous to your health and is a very bad addiction. Don’t start! Even though many people view smoking’s consequences as only affecting the smokers, it also affects society. At least 3 million adolescents are smokers. Also, about 3,900 kids between the ages 12 and 17 begin smoking every day. The reason this growing number is a concern is because the longer you smoke, the more damage you do to your lungs and the rest of your body. Currently, of the youth who live in the Western Pacific Region (East Asia and the Pacific), ¼ will die from tobacco use. In China, there are 300 million smokers who together smoke 1.7 trillion cigarettes a year or three million a minute. In addition to the physical consequences, smoking one pack of cigarettes a day would result in spending about $1,700 a year. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [estimates] that smokers cost the country $96 billion a year in direct health care costs, and an additional $97 billion a year in lost productivity.” Are you curious what ingredients are put in cigarettes that make them so harmful and disgusting? In cigarette manufacturing, ambergris, also known as whale vomit, is only one of the hundreds of possible additives used. Even though cigarette ingredients are approved as additives for foods, they weren’t tested while burning. Cigarette smoke contains 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which cause cancer. Some of these chemicals are radioactive lead, polonium, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hydrogen cyanide, and ammonia. After learning about the consequences of smoking for society, as well as for the individual life of the smoker, it’s surprising how many people still choose to smoke cigarettes. Perhaps it’s the billions of dollars a year that are spent by cigarette companies on advertising. Would you smoke now that you know some of the ingredients which are put into cigarettes? 4

Swimming by Emily Ransom a 5 senses poem

I feel my stomach turning into knots, i hear the crowds cheering, i realize that the tension's on, And the smell of the chlorine stings my eyes, I see the other competitors lining up, the taste of defeat is already in my mouth.

To Converse With Shadows by Emily Cawlfield a sinister dialogue As the two figures stepped quietly from the dark shadows, they started arguing. One of them, which had a womanly figure, began a heated argument, with a sharp retort of the other’s abilities. “I thought you said you would be able to dispose of them quickly!” she snapped, obviously very cross at his inability to do the task he had been given. “Well, the kids turned out to be smarter than you said they were!” a male voice retorted back to the woman. “How dare you imply that I would have given you false information!” she screeched, her voice shouting daggers at the man. She was about to explode again, but had the better sense to drag the poor man over to a more

sequestered location, before screaming at him again. “I might just give you one more chance, but if you fail . . .” She left the sentence hanging, intimidating him more with her voice than with the actual threat. “I swear I’ll get them this time! Please! Give me one more chance! I won’t fail you this time.” Then his voice lowered and he spoke ominously, “I will do whatever it takes. You won’t hear or see the little things again. I promise.” She seemed satisfied with this, and was about to leave, when something shattered nearby.


Abruptly, she turned to the noise just in time to see small feet disappearing around the corner of the secluded street. “Fool! I knew you could not be trusted to find a safe location!” she spat viciously as she turned back to the man, saying safe as though it were a rat in her mouth. “I-I ch-checked the p-place out, it w-was safe! They must have—” “I don’t care what they must have done! I don’t care how incredibly stupid you were, just go get them right now!” The unquestionably awful woman spat, her voice rising in both volume and viciousness. “Y-yes M-ma’am!” the small man stuttered. As he went off in search of the eavesdroppers, the embodiment of awfulness melted into the shadows. Just like that she was gone, like ashes in a breeze.

Air Wolves: Rise of the Hero continued . . . The featherless pup could feel his energy fading and did not think that he would survive much longer. As the pup came around a rock he discovered a strange looking creature on the other side. The creature jumped back. "What the-- What in the name of Rapoza are you!?" The pup was so surprised that he hid behind the rock. The creature asked the pup, "Don't be afraid, I'm not gonna hurt you. Do you have a name?" The pup peeked out on the other side of the rock and shook his head. "Well my name is Jowee. I think I'll call you . . . uh . . . Skibery! Come on then, Skibery, I know a place with lots of food and it’s warm and dry! Come on. It's okay." Jowee hopped a few feet away and beckoned Skibery to a long pathway. The pup newly named Skibery copied Jowee and hopped along with him. When Jowee and Skibery made it to a village the creatures there all liked Skibery. The creatures were called Rapozas and their leader suspected that Jowee had found an unusual looking Air Wolf. Jowee introduced Skibery to all the Rapozas, one of whom was Jowee's best friend named Maree. A few years later Skibery was all grown and had learned how to talk. One day Jowee, Skibery and Maree were up on a mountain playing, when they spotted Shadows. They were raiding the Rapozas’ village. The Shadows were capturing many of the Rapozas including Jowee’s and Maree’s parents. "We’ve got to do something," Maree cried. "No, they will capture us too, if we go over there," Skibery pointed out. "We are out numbered." Jowee said, "Let’s follow them. Maybe we can find some help along the way." Skibery, Jowee and Maree were about to turn and follow the Shadows when Skibery saw something. Skibery saw another Air Wolf that was infected with Shadow poisoning. It also had another Rapoza on its back. There was something familiar about the Air Wolf. Skibery wanted the Air Wolf to come down but he knew that it was hopeless. Then he felt a strange sensation of light coming from one of his eyes. Suddenly the Shadowed Air Wolf and Rapoza began to fly backwards until they were right there in front of Skibery. The Shadow poisoning started to bubble off the Air Wolf and Rapoza. The strange Air Wolf blinked and turned to look at them and said, "You saved me?! How? It's impossible to rid a creature from Willfree's Darkness once it's on you!" Then everything from Skibery’s past flashed back to him. "Dusky?" "Yes . . . ? Wait . . . you’re . . . YOU’RE MY BROTHER!!!!" exclaimed Dusky. "OH! We have to get back to the Air Wolves and tell them I found you!!!" continued on page 25 6

Temptation by Toni Adame a story prompted by these words: down, enter, scroll, shift, delete, and escape “What are you waiting for, you foolish child?” the head mistress hissed in my face. I trembled in fear but still tried to choke down my giggles as I watched her towering wig slowly slide down her face. “Get down there! Her majesty is without patience for a fool such as yourself!” she said, as she glanced behind her toward the dining room doorway. “And don’t even think of tasting it!” She pulled her left sleeve up just enough, so that I could see the blue dagger strapped to her thick wrist. Then she twirled around to face the entrance of the glittering dining room. She trampled out of the kitchen, and I have to admit she fit right in with those royal, rich, and fat people coming from all around this land. Shuddering, I trudged down the dark hallway behind me. I knelt down at the first painting and dropped all the money I had ever owned, which was about fifty-six cents, into the cracked Chinese vase standing next to it. The old painting shifted to the right to reveal a downward tunnel that was immersed in complete darkness. I crawled inside and practically fell all the way down.

I slipped until my bare feet slapped the cold metal floor. As I stood in the tiny wood room, a dim light from the ceiling shone on a safe standing directly in front of me. I crept forward, closed my eyes, and tried to breathe deeply. Reaching around the right side, I felt the large keypad that was supposed to open the vault. I searched my mind frantically, trying to remember the combination I had been forced to memorize seven years ago. Holding my breath, I typed in the keys: down, enter, scroll, shift, delete, and escape. I could hear clicking and unlocking inside the box. Suddenly, a fork popped through a hole in the door of the

safe. I smirked but grabbed the fork greedily. Then I slowly opened the door, and there it was! The most delicious cherry pie in the entire universe! It was made by the goddess Edesia herself. My hands snatched the still-steaming pie. Thoughts began racing through my mind faster than I 7

could even think them out. Just looking at that pastry made my mouth water. Her majesty is selfish and fat! Why should she eat this?!? Angrily, I held the fork poised above the pie without moving a muscle . . . No one appreciates how hard I work! I should eat it! . . . In that moment, my jealousy got the better of me. I started shoving bite after bite into my mouth. Let me tell you, I savored the entire thing. Once I reached the bottom of the pie plate, my world seemed to be some kind of dull, flavorless dream. I floated up the tunnel, along the hallway, and back into the kitchen where her majesty’s head mistress stood dumbfounded, staring at the empty pie plate. She grabbed me by the ear, although it didn't really hurt, and dragged me to a dungeon far below the castle. I was tossed into a cell where I lay on the cold floor staring up at the ceiling. There were many rules that I had to abide by while working for her majesty, and there were incredible amounts and forms of torture that would come about from breaking them. It didn't matter though, because that scrumptious cherry pie made it all worth the pain.

My Experience by Natasha Vederoff a personal reflection

I was trying to think about what to write for my final project in writing class and then I realized I could write about this: my experience at HEE over the past three years. It has been a wonderful time in my life. As a girl who was literally home schooled my whole life, I was shocked by all the people I was meeting and all the new classes I could take. Socially, it was a surprise. I made a ton of new friends almost immediately and I never felt lonely. But it wasn’t until my second year that I met the two people who became my best friends at HEE, Sienna Votry and Lucia Guido. Sienna, who has been going to HEE practically all her life, was able to show me all the fun things about HEE and Lucia, who is probably the most social person you will ever meet, introduced me to all her friends. My time at HEE would probably be much different without Sienna and Lucia and I’ll probably continue being their friends even after I leave. Academically, it was also a big surprise. I was able to take classes that I could never dream of taking at home such as Drama, Art, Sewing, Photography and much more. It was also new having different teachers for different classes. And of course I was introduced to the horror of homework. All of my teachers had a different impact on me such as Mrs. Votry, Mrs. Brown, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Latz many more. Going to HEE these past three years has changed me and the way I act. I’m so glad I was able to come here before going to public school. It was a taste of what it would be like without all the pressure of a public school. I will never forget this school and I hope to continue visiting once I’m gone.

Senses of the Past by Esther Budai a story excerpt As I think of past times -- memories, laughter-filled fields of friends -- a tear of pain, loss, and regret trickles down the length of an eyelash and alights on a wet pillow with a splash. So many times I had to enjoy, but just let them pass. Now everything I ever had is gone. I still hear the voices of loved ones in my head. You never know what you have until you have lost it. I stare at an aged portrait of everyone I’ve known and loved but it wilts as tears fog up the view and things go dark. It’s like my heart was slashed, and shredded out of my chest. All that’s left is a numb hole. I recruit my strength and go downstairs to find the aroma of cookies out of the oven. More dew fills my eyes as I reminisce all the times they came over and we devoured the warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies. Now it all tastes like arid, brittle, heartache. Nothing can change the past. The only ray of hope seems to be the future, whispering out a beam of sunshine. You never know what you’ve got until you have lost it. 8

The Tablets by Ben Birchman an excerpt from a novel in progress Prologue Hello, my name is Carter. At age 13 in Texas, my life is going nuts. For some reason, my parents left me at a very early age, and I’ve been living in a foster home. It’s hell’s twin. I’d like to say I have a normal life, and normal friends, and go to a normal school. But that would be a lie. My life is the opposite of normal, and I actually have barely any friends. You’re probably thinking how my life is so awful, but you just keep on reading. It goes way back to that one day.... Chapter 1 Hey, Carter here. Feel like putting the book down? Go ahead. After all, you don’t want to hear my boring autobiography, do you? . . . Oh, thanks for staying. This story starts on a very average day, just like any other day. I was walking to school, when I spotted him. Max, who was the coolest kid at school, was walking across the street with his “band" of guys. Max was the boy who thought he was the smartest and best looking boy at school. He glanced over and saw me staring, so he brought the others across the street with him. Now you’re thinking, oh, how nice! Max is coming over to hang out with him! Nope. Did I mention that Max was the roughest kid at school also? Well, now you know. “Hey Carter, staring at your dream band? Well, you better stay away from us, or you’re going to get pounded. Understand?” Believe it or not, I was not very afraid of Max and his group, and I don’t really think before I talk, so I said, “Max, you really think I’m afraid of you? Every day you and your band walk around acting so cool, but you all are just losers.” Max pounced on me and started punching me in the face. I kicked him off as the kids started to chant, “Fight! Fight! Fight!” I hit Max with a blow to the stomach, followed by an attempt at an upper cut. Instead, he grabbed my arm and spun me onto the ground. Then he stamped on my face several times. He and his band walked away laughing. I wiped the blood off my face and stumbled to school. My teacher excused me to go bathe my head which “had gotten hit by a softball.” Not many people liked me at school. I had a few nerds for friends but that was about it. My grades often were quite low because I had trouble paying attention in class. Thankfully, my nerdy friends helped me with my homework a lot. OK, back to that one day. I was going to second period, math class, when I saw this guy with a black hoody covering his head staring at me. I kept on looking at him until I ran into a wall. When I got back up, he was gone. Weird, I thought. After math class, I headed to my locker to grab my PE clothes, only to find they had been replaced by this weird electronic thing. “Great, now I just need this thing to bring back my freakin’ PE clothes,” I said jokingly. I closed the locker, then remembered to grab my water bottle. But when I lifted the water bottle, my PE clothes were underneath it! Wow, how could I miss that? I wondered. Oh well, I better get to PE now, I thought. continued on next page 9

The Tablets continued . . . As I ran to the gym, the strange guy in black was staring at me again. Freaked out, I ran into the gym. I peaked out through the window and saw that he was gone. Strange, I thought. PE seemed to be extremely easy that day. I even scored the last basket in basketball, which is the sport I am totally awful at. At least my luck is turning, I thought. Boy, did I not see what was coming. Chapter 2 Hey, this is Caitlyn. I’m 13, I live in Utah, and I actually have a normal life. Well, that depends on what you would call normal. On Mondays, I have school of course, then violin lessons, then soccer practice, then two hours of homework. Tuesdays through Saturdays are even busier. One day at school, I was walking along when my friend came up to me. “Hey Carlin, you won’t believe it! You know how we were jokingly telling Caroline to try out for American Idol?” “I think I know what’s coming!” “Yup, she tried out and made it! She even wants us to come to every one of her concerts!” “That would be awesome, except I won’t be able to go because I can’t pay for my ticket.” “That’s just it! She is paying for our tickets!”

“In that case, I’ll gladly go!” After that, I happily went off to science class. When I was almost to class, I saw some guy with a hoody staring at me. Strange, I thought. After class, I went to get my backpack, except it wasn’t on its hook. Instead, this weird electronic thing was hanging there. I picked it up and thought, I wish this stupid electric thing would bring back my backpack.

After school, I was walking to violin lessons when I saw the weird guy with a hoody staring at me. I ran to class and took out my violin only to find the case was empty. With the teacher almost here, I needed to figure out what to do. I wished so much that the violin teacher kept extra violins, but I knew she didn’t. Then something caught my eye. A violin on the shelf looked just like mine! I gladly got it down right before the teacher walked in. The teacher was surprised that my piece was ready for a recital. I was surprised too. Little did I know what was coming.

I was on my way to history class when this strange feeling crept over me that made me want to go get the electronic thing. When I got back, my backpack was lying on the ground, and the electric thing was still hanging. “I can’t believe I didn’t see my backpack there!” I said aloud. I grabbed it and headed to history. History was my least favorite subject, but that day, the lesson from my history book was a breeze. I finished my homework in class and was relieved to know that I wouldn’t have history homework that night. I headed to cooking class. For some reason, when I cut up unions, my eyes didn’t water like they usually did. They were perfectly fine. Strange, I thought again.

Chapter 3 Hi, Carter here again. It’s not like I’m going to let a girl tell most of the story. So now let me think, where was I? I got up, I ran into wall, oh yeah! After school. So after that weird day at school I started walking home. It was all normal. I got home and did my homework, watched some TV, and then around ten, I headed off to bed. As I was brushing my teeth, I remembered about the weird electronic thing I had found at school. Once in bed, I took it out and studied it. It looked like some sort of motherboard tablet ripped out of a computer, with a few little gadgets added to it. Strange, I thought. I hung it on my bed post and went to sleep. continued on next page


The Tablets continued . . . I was floating over everyone at the airport, heading for boarding platform number 6. I floated through the wall and onto the plane. What a weird dream, I thought. The plane took off to who knows where. Then when the plane landed, I floated to a nearby hotel. There, I plopped into the bed. Weird, I thought. Then I fell asleep in my dream. Then I woke up in real life. “Wow, that was a funky dream,” I said as I walked into the wall where my bathroom door was supposed to be. Then I realized that this was not my room! I ran out into the hall. There was a girl holding the same electronic tablet that I had, but she was tied to a chair. Then I was thrown down into a chair and tied up by the weird guy in the black hoody. This all was happening so fast that I had barely any time to think. Then a second guy with a hoody walked into the hall from what I guessed was the girl’s room and walked into my room. When the guy came out, he gave me my electronic device. Finally the two strangers took off their hoods. I was surprised to see that one was a girl. The guy said, “Hello there, Carter and Caitlyn. What a nice way to start a formal meeting, huh?” Boy, what a wacko, I thought. “Both of you probably want to know the reason you’re here. It’s because of the tablets.” Oh, I thought. That’s what they’re called. Tablets. But tablets for what, I wonder? Don’t worry, I wasn’t stupid enough to say that out loud. Good thing I didn’t say anything, because the guy explained. “You see, my friends (yeah right, I thought), we have come for these tablets of yours. They are of too great a power for the likes of you. Though we will offer a bargain. We have two pills and two needles filled with an unnamed substance. The pill will bring you to the Alliance, the needle will make you forget all about these tablets and go back to your normal lives. Now, if you choose to join the Alliance, which is too classified to explain to you right now, you will not only learn about the Alliance, but you will be allowed to learn about and keep the tablets. It’s all your choice. You have 12 hours to decide, and if the 12 hours run out, we’ll give you the needle, no questions asked. Have fun.” TO BE CONTINUED . . .

Rainy Days by Megan Ransom But those same tears that fall to the ground

On rainy days I don’t feel free

Let flowers and plants and trees abound.

Trapped inside with a cup of tea.

They water the earth and fill the seas

The gloomy clouds that block the sky

Giving us water so we can make tea.

Make me feel like I could cry.


Bob’s Highly Improbable and a Little Less Than Sane Adventure by Devin Tideman a ridiculous story that will have you rolling in the aisles Bob’s Highly Improbable and a Little Less Than Sane Adventure. Ahhhhh, I see you were drawn in by the lengthiness of my story title. I thought you would. Well now I have you! And now you are far too interested to stop reading and so you will be forced to read THE ENTIRE STORY! BWAA HA HA HA HA! Even as I speak, you are becoming glued to the paper and you will not be able to pull yourself away and . . . hey, don’t get distracted! I was going to get to the story eventually. This is just the introduction. Don’t you ever read the introduction of a book? You don’t!? ACK! Fine, I’ll hurry things along. This story, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, is about a guy named Bob. It’s short for Robert, so I’ll just call him Bob. Bob has an adventure that is highly improbable and a little less than sane. The End. What? You want more details? Well, okay. Hah, my plan to further get the reader interested is working. Huh? No, I wasn’t talking to myself just now, heh heh. Once upon a time, to start off with a cliché, there lived a man named Joe. I mean Bob, just checking to see if you were paying attention. Bob was a nobody. Actually everybody liked him. In fact too many people liked him. Bob would lie awake in bed many a night and then shout out every so often, “WHY DOESN’T ANYBODY HATE ME!?” Bob had problems. Despite that, he was relatively normal. At least by comparison. You see, Bob lived in a town where everybody was unusual or down-right crazy. The name of the town was Insanity Fair. Sounds like something from Pilgrim’s Progress doesn't it? It was located just a mile away from the small town of Eureka where everybody is a genius. But that’s another story. Actually, it’s a SciFi television series to be more specific. Anyway, Bob was never really content because he felt like he wasted his life. He spent practically his whole life working at the paperclip factory. His job there was to take the little pieces of wire and bend them into the familiar paperclip shape. He would do that over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. (Repeat.) Bob was the best in the business. Not because of his mad paperclip shaping skills, but because he was the only employee who could do that job every day for several years and keep his sanity intact (more or less). Everybody living in Insanity Fair had that job at one time. Bob’s very best friend was . . . well, his name isn’t that important. What? You want to know his name? Fine, but you asked for it. His given names were Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irving John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus. His family name was Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffvoralternwarengewissenhaftshaferswesenchafewarenwholgepflegeudsorgfaltigkeitbeschutzenvonangereifenduchihrraubgiriigfeindewelchevorralternzwolftausendjahresvorandieerscheinenbanderersteerdeemmeshedrraumschiffgebrauchlichtalsseinursprungvonkraftgestartseinlangefahrthinswischensternartigraumaufdersuchenachdiesternwelshegehabtbewohnbarblanetenkreisedrehensichundwohinderneurassevanverstandigmenshlichkeittkonntevortpflanzenundsicherfreunanlebenslamdlichfreudeundruhemitnichteinfurchtvorangreifenvonandererintlligentgeshopfsvonhinzwischensternartigraum. continued on next page 12

Bob’s Highly Improbable and a Little Less Than Sane Adventure continued . . . There, that was his full name. He was named after a German immigrant. I didn’t make this up, this is the actual name of a person who lived at one time! The computer didn’t even make me spellcheck it. Anyway, Bob’s friend Adolph Blaine Charles -- you know -- was an inventor who well, liked to invent things. His dream was to make an unnecessarily complicated machine that could make the perfect cup of coffee. So far he had made the machine, but he needed an energy source powerful enough to make it work. Bob, who was tired from an extra long shift at the paperclip factory, went over to Mr. Long Name’s house. No sooner had he knocked on the door when his friend opened it up, pulled Bob in, and said, “Ah Bob, just in time. I have something I need you to do.” “What is it, Adolph?” asked Bob. “Behold! My latest invention!” Bob looked at the device. “It looks like a VCR with a blender taped to it, with a lightbulb on top.” Adolph replied, “When you’re a genius, you can make almost anything from common household items. All you need is a brain, ingenuity, and a writer who says that it will work.” “OK then, Michel Weston. What does this do?” “When I push this unusually large red button, the device will produce the most perfect cup of coffee ever made! But it’s not finished yet. I still need the power source. I need something that can generate approximately 819,000,000,000,000,000 joules.” “That seems like a lot for a cup of coffee. Some would even say that it’s impossible. Where on earth would you find something that could generate that much energy?” “That’s where you come in Bob. Here, let me show you something.” Bob’s friend with the really long name walked over to a shelf and pulled off a really old looking book. “What’s that?” asked Bob. “This, my friend, is a book.” There was a very long pause. “Okay,” Bob replied, “but WHAT’S INSIDE THE BOOK!?” His friend answered, “In this book is an ancient text that I found at an old dig site in Wisconsin. It’s written in an old Arabic text. Luckily, I just happen to be fluent in the language.” “Wisconsin? Arabic text? This doesn’t sound very consistent, Adolph.” “Shhh, don’t interrupt. Let me read it. Ahem. ‘Once in the age of sarcasm their existed an evil magician who had created a magic gem called the Gem of Labyrinthine, which he would use to take over the land of Nod. The magician would have succeeded in his goals had not his license to do magic expired. Enraged, the magician hid his Gem of Labyrinthine in a labyrinth somewhere in the Pacific Northwest and then spent the rest of his life in a retirement home.’” “That story didn’t make any sense, Adolph. I highly doubt that’s even a real ancient text. Do you even believe in that magician story?” continued on page 15 13

“Castaways of the Flying Dutchman” by Anastasia Vederoff a book review

This story is based on the legend of the Flying Dutchman, which is a ship that while trying to travel around the Cape Horn gets caught in a storm. In the legend, the captain refuses to turn around and instead continues into the storm. The crew members refuse to work and hide in their cabins, leaving the captain to sail the ship alone. During the storm the captain starts cursing the sea, the crew, and even God. An angel of God then descends upon the ship

and curses it to sail the seas forever, with its crew never to grow old. In this story, before the curse a mute boy, whose name was Ben, accidentally ended up a stowaway on the Flying Dutchman. He than befriended a dog named Ned, who snuck aboard while the ship was in harbor. The angel who cursed the ship forgave the boy and dog because they were the only innocent and pure ones aboard. It then cast them off the ship and gave them the ability to talk to each other with their thoughts and it also gave Ben the ability to speak other languages. This part of the story takes place in the 17th century. The book then takes a new twist. It continues several centuries later when Ben and Ned have been together for a while. They visit a small town called Chapelvale. While Ben and Ned are there, they discover the town is in danger of being demolished for the limestone under it. The only way the town can be saved is to find the deed that was given to an elderly lady whom Ben was

staying with. They find that all the townspeople are unaware of the danger and so are not doing anything to save their town. Later Ben and Ned meet a brother and sister, named Amy and Alex, who are aware of the danger and want to help. Throughout the book Ben and Ned are visited by both the Flying Dutchman and the angel through their dreams. The angel visits to tell them important information and the Flying Dutchman visits when danger is around. This book ends with Ben, Ned, and the townsfolk finding the deed just in time to save the town. Unfortunately, since Ben and Ned never grow old, the angel visits them and tells them they have to leave the town and go back to the sea before anyone finds out. This book series has two other books in it, “The Angel’s Command” and “Voyage of Slaves.” I read this book when I was twelve and I liked it. I think it is a good book for eleven and up. The author’s name is Brian Jacques. He was also the author of the popular Redwall series.

Lake Ozette continued . . . The next morning we ate, broke camp, and began searching for the other trail head which would lead us back to our car. After two hours of searching we found a sign that said, “Area Closed.” We thought this sign was a silly mistake. We trekked through the vegetation not realizing it was stinging nettles until my hand brushed against it. We found the real trail head 10 minutes later. While on this boardwalk, I led the way because I was setting a good pace. Nick was behind me. We were traveling along when all of a sudden I felt myself flying through the air. Nick had stepped down on a plank that catapulted me. Fortunately, I landed on my feet. The trip home was uneventful and I rested peacefully in my own bed that night because I knew that no wild beast was out to get me. 14

Bob’s Highly Improbable and a Little Less Than Sane Adventure continued . . . “Of course not! I like to take a more scientific point of view on things like this. This so-called Gem of Labyrinthine is really an unusual crystal given to the ancients by extraterrestrials. This crystal has a highly unstable molecular structure which causes it to produce very large quantum fluctuations, which would cause strange distortions of space time, which to the ancient mind would appear to be magic.” “Oh yeah, I totally believe that. What does this have to do with your invention?” asked Bob. “I believe the Gem of Labyrinthine would provide enough power to run my machine. That’s why I need you to get it.” “Me? Why me?” “Because, Bob, I’m obviously the brains here so by process of elimination you’re the under-achieving lab assistant who gets the stuff I need. So here’s a map I just happen to have that will lead you to the gem. Now GO!” “But -- ” “Please, Bob, no more dialogue. We need to hurry this story along.” Adolph kicked Bob out the door and slammed it shut. Bob took a look at the map. Just then the map sprang to life and started singing. “I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the -- ” “NOOOO! Not THIS map. No singing! Just tell me where to go.” The map replied, “To get to the Gem of Labyrinthine, first you need to cross the Bridge of Debate; next you have to go through the Forest of the Insultants; then you go into the Labyrinth of Movie References. Bridge, forest, labyrinth: say it with me.” “NO thank you map, I got it.” Bob grabbed the map and stuffed it into his pouch. “I bet the writer is just making this up as he goes along. I swear if Swiper shows up I’m suing.” After a long while of walking and cursing, Bob came to the Bridge of Debate. There he saw a strange hairy man standing in the middle of the bridge. “Hello there,” said Bob. “State your business here,” said the hairy man in a very professional way. “I need to cross this bridge in order to find the so-called Gem of Labyrinthine.” “What is the reason you need to find this gem?” “My friend Adolph needs it for his invention.” “What does his invention do?” “It makes the perfect cup of coffee.” “That sounds like a waste of time. Going on a long journey to find a gem just so your friend can make himself a cup of coffee doesn’t sound very constructive. And in my opinion you’re easily manipulated.” “Look, can you just let me cross?” “First, tell me where you stand on the Sliced Orange vs. Peeled Orange debate.” “What if I just paid you to let me cross?” “You’re very persuasive, my friend. You may cross.” Bob went across the bridge and traveled about a mile before he came upon a large forest. “This must be the Forest of the Insultants. I don’t even think Insultant is a real word.” Bob walked into the forest until he came across three men. One of the men spoke to him very boisterously. continued on page 17 15

Wings of Gold by Nico Shorack an excerpt from a novel in progress Laurem walked through the small town Argana. He was going to the town fair at the center where the great wizard Arkindor would choose his apprentice. He had been practicing without success, so he had probably no chance at all. Plus, to put things into the frying pan, his life-long enemy, Jukoff, was also wanting to be the next wizard apprentice. He arrived in the town center at noon. The contest started at 12:02, so he had to hurry or he was going to be late. He arrived at the testing area in a hurry. “Hurry up boy. The great wizard will not accept late contestants,” snapped the wizard’s secretary. “Now line up over there, you pesky rodent.” From somewhere in the line Laurem heard Jukoff snigger. “Here's how it will go: once I call your name you will go behind this curtain, and there the great wizard will test you on your magical capabilities. After everyone is tested, the great Arkindor will come out and announce his apprentice to-be. It begins now. Kareem, you are called forth,” said the secretary. A thin boy of pale complexion came forth and walked through the curtain. Three hours passed. “Jukoff,” called the secretary. Jukoff gave a sneer as he walked past Laurem and behind the

curtain. An hour passed as other names were called. Then finally, “Laurem,” announced the clerk. Laurem trembled as he stepped through the curtain. The first thing he saw was an oriental rug laid out, but then he heard a rustling and a snort. He looked up. Whatever he had been expecting it wasn't this. A rugged, red-bearded man with a beech staff looked at him with cold blue eyes.

“Sit down,” he snapped. Laurem sat down wordlessly on the floor. “Now, can you do magic at will?” “No sir,” Laurem replied. “Well then, what can you do?” “Nothing at all sir.” “And yet you come here all the same,” the sorcerer muttered. “All right, try to lift this rock,” he said. Laurem tried with all his willpower to shift the stone but nothing happened. “Hmm . . . all right, let’s try to make this twig move,” said the sorcerer. Again, Laurem tried with all his strength but still to no avail. 16

“Hmm,” the magician mused again. “All right, you are dismissed.” Laurem walked out with a sinking feeling in his chest. He was the last one to test. As he walked through the curtain, certain that he was not going to be chosen, Arkindor stepped out from behind the curtain and said, “My new apprentice will be . . . Jukoff.” Laurem, with the rest of the gathering, groaned in disappointment even though he knew he probably wasn't going to be the apprentice anyways. And, like many others, he walked dejectedly out of the building. But then he heard in a clear voice: “Laurem!” Laurem turned around. Arkindor stood right behind him. “I know that you do not have the skills needed for my teaching. However, I know of another magician who needs a new apprentice. His name is Harennolo, the great sea mage. He lives in a hut by the sea. He has great magical knowledge and and if he agrees to teach you, will teach you well. If you agree, I will transport you to him and there you will begin your knowledge of ancient arts.” Laurem had no parents so he replied, “Yes, but what do you want in return?” “Me? I just want your death,” he said in a joking tone, but his eyes were cold and flinty. continued on page 19

Bob’s Highly Improbable and a Little Less Than Sane Adventure continued . . . “I am Mr. Stu Pid. This is Mr. Eddy Ott. And this is Mr. Morris On. And we are the Insultants. And you are a foolish excuse for a wanderer.” “Why would you say that? Oh I get it. You’re the Insultants, so you insult people.” “Of course we do, you cheese-eating buffoon. We just told you who we are. You must have an IQ equivalent to that of a chimp!” “You know, you guys should really think of some clever insults. Why don’t you try quoting Shakespeare: ‘Thine forward voice, now, is to speak well of thine friend; thine backward voice is to utter foul speeches and to detract!’ The Tempest.” The Insultants gasped. For this they had no comeback. Bob walked by them and said before he left, “You know, you guys should really get a life.” One of the Insultants said to his companions, “You know what guys? Maybe we should get a life.” “Yeah,” said another one. “I always wanted to take up tap dancing.” Bob continued on his quest to the Gem of Labyrinthine. “Apparently the final place on the map is the Labyrinth of Movie References and that’s where I’ll find this accursed Gem of Labyrinthine. Why is the labyrinth called The Labyrinth of Movie References?” Just as Bob spoke these embarrassingly obvious words, he saw the labyrinth. “Great Scott!” yelled Bob. “Look at the size of that labyrinth! . . . Well, I better go inside and get that gem so I can move on with my life.” Bob went inside and was immediately lost. “Well, this is just great. I’m LOST! As previously stated.” Bob stumbled around the labyrinth for several hours and started going mad. “I blame Adolph for this. I blame all of Insanity Fair for this. I blame the writer for this! They did it. They finally actually did it. DARN YOU ALL TO HECK! And I still don’t know why this is called the Labyrinth of Movie References.” After his momentary bout of insanity, Bob looked up and noticed that he had found the Gem of Labyrinthine sitting on a pedestal right in front of him. “There it is. One gem to rule them all.” Bob picked up the gem and to his surprise the gem was made of plastic. “What!? Plastic!? What is this!?” Bob looked closer at the gem. “Made in China?! This is a toy? YOU . . . ARE . . . A . . . TOOOOOOY!!!!!!!?????” It was in that moment that Bob realized the treasure he was seeking was really the fun that he had in making the search -- ACK SQUACK GAG! . . . . . . . “Sorry readers, this is Bob speaking here. The writer is a little tied up right now, so from here on out this story will be narrated in the first person and I’m going to make just a few changes. Thank you.” First of all that gem I picked up wasn’t plastic, it was the real thing and after I grabbed it a boulder started rolling after me. “EIGHTY EIGHT MILES PER HOUR!” I screamed as I ran out of the labyrinth. continued on next page 17

Bob’s Highly Improbable and a Little Less Than Sane Adventure continued . . .

“Man, that was close. This gem sure is shiny . . . My Prrrrrecious. Whoa, I better hurry up and get to Adolph’s house.” Several hours later when I got to Adolph’s house . . . “Adolph, (pant pant) I got the gem.” Adolph replied, “Oh, sorry Bob. You see, I got tired of waiting for you, so I went on e-Bay and purchased twenty pounds of antimatter. I think that will be enough to power my machine. Bob? Bob? . . . Bob? Hello? . . . Bob?” Well readers, this is the writer again. I’m back. I was able to escape from my bonds. Well, Bob finally snapped, and it wasn’t from working at the paperclip factory. I hope my story wasn’t a complete waste of your time. I realize that most of you probably lost interest while reading Adolph’s full name. I’m not sure how to wrap this up, so I’m just going to say . . . The End

The Oak Tree by Jonathan Owen writing about a favorite place I am sitting under an oak tree, my back against the trunk. I look up and see its branches spread out wide, like I am sitting under a huge umbrella. There is a vast lake in front of me, teeming with life. I suddenly see something from the corner of my eye. I look at it for a while. It is an eagle, gliding with the wind, in one spot. It stays in the same spot for a while, then the wind shifts, and it glides over a hill out of view. The sun is setting. It is half under the horizon, as if the sun were floating on the water. Every evening I like to come here. I close my eyes and listen to the water hit against the shore. I hear the birds sing and the eagle cry. I fall asleep and dream of all the things I saw. When I wake up it is dark. I look at the sky and see it littered with stars that glitter, big and small and everything in between. I hear crickets and see fireflies as they flash themselves on and off. This is why I come here to enjoy life, nature, and its sounds.


Wings of Gold continued . . . “Well, what do you want in return?” Laurem asked again in an uncertain tone. “Oh, nothing of course. It’s just one friend giving another a favor.” Laurem had no idea he had been a friend to the great Arkindor until now. “So, do you want to go?” Laurem thought about the consequences of going and finally said, “Yes.” “Stand still!” the sorcerer commanded. “ZELLARACH RANEM!” he shouted. Almost immediately a sort of mist surrounded Laurem so that he couldn't see a thing. Then there was a gigantic boom and he landed sprawling on a white porch. “MRROOOOWWWW,” a black tomcat shot from the porch he had been napping on and rushed into the house. “Is it another one of you hooligans?” A powerful wave of energy hit Laurem in the chest, knocking him backwards. “Scat, ye nasty rogues,” said an old and weathered voice. “I'm tired of you nasty-skinned varmints. I'll tan your hide -- see if I don't. “ An old man came out of the weathered house and said in a surprised sort of way, “Who are you, ye figskinned ectoplasm!” “Who me?” Laurem asked in exactly the same tone as the old man. “Yes you, me laddy buck,” answered the other. “Well,” said Laurem, “I was sent here by the great battle mage Arkindor,” replied Laurem. “Arkindor, that buck-tailed rogue, what does he want with me?” “He sent me here to try out as your apprentice,” Laurem nervously stammered. “An apprentice!” Harennolo exclaimed. Hmm . . . I will think upon the matter. But in the meantime, I will first examine you to see if you have any magic in you at all. Sit,” he said. Laurem sat down, and Harennolo did likewise. “Hmm,” said the sorcerer. “Yes, you do have potential enough to become a wizard. I will accept you as an apprentice. However, you will do exactly as I say, as certain things in wizardry are dangerous. “I have a spare bedroom where you can stay. From now on, you will be living here. You will be up and about by 5:00 and you will go to bed at 9:00. Your training starts tomorrow. “Now make yourself at home, but I expect you up at 5:00, like I said. And so, as it is 8:50 already, I advise you to get some sleep. Your room is right into the house and take a right.” Laurem went inside to his room. It was a nice little bed with an elaborate headpiece and patchwork covers. He fell asleep as soon as his head touched the pillows. Next morning found Laurem with Harennolo on a seaside bluff doing yoga. “Head back, knees apart -- and stay steady,” was apparently Harennolo’s watchword on yoga. After an hour or so, Laurem's muscles started to ache. “Can't we stop?” he complained. “No, you've barely done anything.” “Barely done anything?” replied Laurem angrily. “I've been doing thrice dang-blasted yoga for two hours.” continued on page 21 19

Writer’s Block by Danny Guido a Rap is best read aloud Sitting in my lab with a pen and a pad, they say I got nothing left. I’ve been taking a break trying to work things out -- no, not identity theft. It’s been a while, my office door chain lock is rusted. Opened the door seeing microphones, cd’s, and plaques undusted. It’s been a very long time since I jotted down a line, or stepped in a booth. They say I quit, cause of writer’s block -- but let me tell you the truth. I got distracted, off the road. I’m sorry for my misdemeanor. But it gives you no right to say I quit, you’re running my meter. I can still hear the voices of my peers ringing in my ears all through my head saying, “I wish you were dead. You’re useless to us now, you’re a mess and you disgust all of us.” These words are painful, uncalled for, and unjust. It doesn’t matter anymore, I’m tired of these thoughts. I’m gonna shock myself back to life 3,000 watts. You call this writer’s block, well, I wouldn’t disagree. But when I break through you will all admire me. Brush off the mic and hand me those monster beats. I’m gonna start from the beginning, where it all meets. I have grown prone to have hip-hop as a way of life. I guess that means I’ve been dead, but I’m back now tonight. The game didn’t raise me to make friends, she raised me to make history, so making that my extra curricular activity. Standing on the throne I’m crushing the competition. Haters trying to recover -- I fill them with a new prescription Summer is nearly here, my flows are hotter than June cause I’ve spent most of my days with the man on the moon, and in my room, or on the Mac for a while. You always call me a loser but now you’re in denial. Cause the time I put in is sharper than knife lines. My beats and verses you couldn’t create in two lifetimes. Writer’s block for sure, I run this town like a lottery. No one else is, but I’m proud of me.


Drop Dead by Stephen Owen a scary story One day I got out of bed and had a feeling that it would be a good day. So I got ready for work and did the same routine as always. After I came home and ate lunch, I went to the park and let my dog run for two hours and then left and got back at around 7:00. I ate dinner and went to bed. In the morning I woke up and something was different. I couldn’t quite make out what it was, but somehow I knew

something was going to go horribly wrong. So I tried my hardest to push that aside, but the feeling stayed there, as if it were floating right above me. I went outside and past the park when all of the sudden I dropped my keys. I picked them up, and everybody around me dropped dead! I paused for a moment, looked around, and froze there with sweat beading down my face and millions of thoughts streaming through my head. Then I knew what I had to do. I ran as fast as I could! I ran to the nearest Naval computer, hacked into a satellite, and looked at live streaming pictures from all over the world. They confirmed my worst case fear: everyone was dead. I walked a little while down the street until I saw half a leg going past a wall that quickly disappeared behind the wall. It

Wings of Gold continued . . . “Amazing how the young generation of this age is remarkably fragile.” “All right, what's next?” Laurem asked. “Archery,” said Harennolo. “You know,” Laurem said, “can I just call you Hairy for short?” “Harry?” “Yes, Hairy.” “All right then, I'll get the bows, you stay here.” In a flash of purple fire Harennolo (also known as Hairy) disappeared. How did he do that? Laurem wondered. “Well, he probably won't be back for a while, so I'd better find 21

was weird because it was black like it had beetles on it. I ran over to the wall as fast as I could, only to find nothing behind the wall. I turned around, and there it was. The “Black Out Plague.” I then knew what to do (again). Earlier I had read a book in the library about the “Black Out Plague,” which is caused by a beetle that gives off bad things. The ONLY way to kill it is to freeze it. I rushed to a fire station to get a fire extinguisher, and doused the plague with the extinguisher chemicals. The beetles fell to the ground and began coming toward me as I extinguished them. They finally stopped coming after I killed them all. Then everyone got back up, as if the whole thing had been a dream. Suddenly, everything went black. I woke up to the sound of Mom yelling, “Breakfast is ready.” continued on page 24

something to do.” Laurem wandered back into the forest looking at the exquisite nature. There were some rabbits that playfully hopped across his path. He made a lunge for one but ended up with a mouthful of dirt. He shook it out and continued on his way. Soon he made his way to a glassy pool surrounded by a number of certain mosses. “Diiiiiiiiiiiiiie. Diiiiiiiie.” A creepy voice made Laurem turn around. The last thing he saw before passing into blackness was a winged serpent launching itself and sinking its fangs into the side of his chest. TO BE CONTINUED . . .

“Saddled,” by Susan Richards

stranglehold. Thankfully, some people nearby called the police so Susan was OK. That was the beginning of end of their marriage. With her grandmother’s money Susan had bought the farm in Lake Placid and put just about everything she owned under both her own and her husband’s name. Because of that, her husband claimed everything that Susan had once owned, and it took a very long time before Susan was finally able to get Georgia and the other animals from the farm. Unfortunately for Susan, Georgia was the last thing she got back from her husband. With the last of her grandmother’s money, Susan bought her own little farm in Olivebridge, a small town far from the Adirondacks, where she could hide from her dangerous exhusband. It was agonizing for Susan to be away from her horse for so long, but they were finally reunited. What a relief. After the separation from her husband, Susan began to bring herself together and be herself in front of people instead of hiding behind a fake smile and alcohol. She quit drinking and discovered what it was like remembering things and waking with a clear and healthy mind. Owning horses forced her to get a job and start living her life. After a few years of sobriety, Susan started going to AA meetings, which helped her see that she wasn’t the only one who felt and thought as she did. Susan later went to school and got a job as an AA councilor helping others with their problems. After ten years of abuse and alcohol and two failed marriages, Susan’s life was finally coming together. Through her dream of owning and raising horses, Susan was able to put herself back together. The book had an appealing story line, but Susan was not able to smoothly transition and organize her stories as a child to stories about her present, which made it difficult to follow at various points. In addition, I found that she was quite repetitive throughout the story about certain things.

by Victoria Walker a book critique This book is a true story about how the author, Susan, struggled her way out of a bad place in her life and found peace because of a feisty Morgan horse named Georgia. Desperately, Susan spent a year trying to find her dream horse that would give her the same happiness which she had found in her childhood pony, Bunty. After the death of her parents, the only comfort she found was in that little white Shetland. Patiently, after driving a long way to a Morgan breeding farm, she discovered her Georgia. As the breeding owner said, the mare was full of heart, and was definitely the strong-headed diva of the barn. Susan didn’t listen, or rather didn’t care. She was sold on that feisty horse the minute she saw her crazily half gallop away with a cart back to the barn. She took her home to Lake Placid, which is where Susan and her husband lived. Lake Placid wasn’t really home for Susan, but it was where she lived. It was up in the Adirondacks where she had spent her childhood summers at a horse camp, the only secure, happy place she had back then. But now, in her adulthood, it was where she spent every day as an alcoholic with her husband, pretending she had a good life. To this world of hers she brought in Georgia, who turned it all around for Susan with her strong spirited nature. Eventually, after nine years of existing hungover and drunk everyday, Susan finally faced the fact that she was an alcoholic. She cared deeply for Georgia, which made her realize she had to take responsibility and take care of herself because she wanted to take care of the animals she loved. One night during a business trip, she brought up the idea of separating with her husband. That conversation ended with him gripping her neck in a

continued on page 26 22

Lisle’s Great Adventure in Pavire

After they were killed two or three times, though, they actually died. Vampires can reproduce, like any human. They just choose not to. They are also capable of special abilities. Most vampires can read minds, and some can even share their thoughts telepathically. The one thing we all have in common is our enemy. Back when we were created in Pompeii, another species was being created too. They are known as the Dark Ones, but they call each other the Sinisters. They first became our enemies when they came into the world. We had just discovered our skills. They had just been created. We fought for a while and we would always have the upper hand, but they were cunning, and even now they are growing stronger. This is just the beginning of our history but it is a lot. You are probably wondering why I have decided to tell you this story. Our race is dying. We are all going to die. And we need help. It started when the Sinisters told us we were all doomed. At first we took it as one of their pranks to trick us into submission. But the threats kept coming. And one day, they left. We haven’t heard anything from them since. It has started to worry us. They normally stay and fight things off. But whatever is coming, they were scared, and that is bad news for us. This is just me trying to tell humans about our race so that in the event of an emergency, we are not forgotten. This is my story. Like I said, I was eleven when I found out we were doomed. And when I say eleven, I mean eleven. I was fresh and ready for the world. It was my first time as a vampire.

by Madeline Olson-Harris an excerpt from a novel in progress I was just an ordinary girl when it started. I was eleven at the time, but I was smart for my age. I was strong and I was more of a soloist. I knew people, but no one ever wanted to stick around with me and hear my “crazy talk,” as people called it when they though I was out of earshot. At school I was always “her,” the girl everyone knows and is nice to, but gets made fun of when she isn’t looking. I knew this because it was true. I wasn’t normal. But not in the way they thought. The truth was, I was a vampire. Not the kind in the stories that drank blood, died in sunlight, and slept in coffins. No, our kind created those rumors so that we wouldn’t be found, so we could hide in plain sight. We don’t even bite our prey to create more vampires. In fact, most vampires find that disgusting. This is the story of my life as a vampire. I will even give you a background on vampires. We were created back in the time of ancient Greece, when that volcano erupted, the one in Pompeii. We were what was left after the ash. Lots of us died, but the humans that lived took in so much ash, a transformation began. They grew stronger instead of weaker, they started eating more and more meat, and they got a lot better at smelling, tasting, seeing, hearing, and even feeling things. But the weirdest thing was that after a couple of years, they realized they weren’t growing the way they should. First of all, they were living way longer than anyone even today lived. They were living to be over 200 years old, but they never looked a year older than forty-five. When they reached the end, they turned right around to when they were younger. They could usually decide when to begin again, but if they were killed in a battle or something they went all the way back to when they were just infants.

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Another Day, Another Cookie

don’t have to settle for just making them; we can blanket our wrong-doings with the way we overcome them. That is more powerful than any difficulty you could cause and will make a mark on each and every being that comes across what you defeated. Time is never on our side and one day our breath will abandon us. At that very second are you going to wish you had stopped thinking twice and taken the risk? Are you going to regret not doing the things you should have done, or the words you didn’t speak but should have spoken? In each moment take the good and bad, embrace them and make them into something beautiful. If this life has anything to gain at all, treat it like it means nothing to you so that you don’t loose perspective. Keep the vision of home always in your heart. Run and keep running until you reach the finish line, despite the jumps you might stumble on. Brush the dirt off your shoulders, and show off the scars that make you who you are. Like I said, you never know if there is only one cookie sitting at the bottom of the jar. So wake up, and get going. I dare you to live like you’ve got only one last breath.

by Emily Hopf inspiring insights for a great life You know, life is like a jar full of cookies, each cookie representing a day we have to live our lives. I believe that God gives us life, and He has never been obligated to do so. He has never been forced to bake another batch of cookies to add to our almost empty jar. We never know if we are going to get another couple days to live or even one day. Doesn’t that motivate you to take advantage of every moment you have left, to make sure that you have given your heart and soul to all that you stand for? I’m always thinking about whether I’m living my life well. Am I doing things right each day so that my mark will be unforgettable when I’m out of here? I want to be remembered for the way I emptied my jar when the cookies are all finished. Some people reminisce about all the great possessions they have owned, but that is not the least bit important to me. Everything concrete is not going to have any significance when I pass away. People are going to forget about those super hot pair of shoes I once owned, or wish I owned. But if I cultivate traits like compassion, courage, tenderness, patience, zeal, and understanding, those will be what people remember of my life story. Sometimes its not as easy as it seems, like when I’m continuously soaked by the rain that never seems to stop pouring, as if I’m standing right underneath a waterfall. But I can’t let the rain keep knocking me over. I’ve got to face it fearlessly, accepting the negativity and adjusting it into something positive that I, or someone else, might benefit from. Not one person has existed without making a mistake, but we

Drop Dead continued . . . I got out of bed and headed down the stairs. I sat down as my two younger brothers came racing down the stairs excitedly. My mom said, “Weirdly, I don’t remember what happened yesterday.” My brothers both said they didn’t either. The thing is, all of this happened in one day. 24

Baseball by Bryan Host writing with 5 senses

screaming with joy! We have won. We have won because of me. Baseball for me is like candy to a child. It’s a treat to be able to play. It’s something I hope to do for the rest of my life. To be on that mound with my family around me, with fans in my sight, playing the game that I love is a dream come true.

I smell the smoky dust in the air and taste that sweet Vitamin Water I have in each game. I see my teammates in the field, ready to do whatever I need them to do. But these people aren’t just my teammates, they’re more than that. They’re my family. And then I look in front of me and see the enemy with a bat in his hands and an attitude that shows he’s ready. He sets up in his stance next to the plate. I feel the shiny leather baseball in my hands. When I am pitching I am the commander because the game is in my hands. And before I know it, I hear the fans

Air Wolves: Rise of the Hero continued . . . Skibery was filled with joy now that he remembered when they were put into the color field and . . . "And by the way, this is my rider Sockee." Dusky nodded to the Repoza on his back. "Let's get going!" said Maree. "If it means we're going on an adventure, count me in! And Jowee!" As they flew out to the way where Skibery's family was, they all stopped to rest and Sockee went to find some rainbow trout

for dinner. Jowee made a fire, while Maree picked berries. Dusky said to Skibery, "Do you even know why your wings are like that?" "No." Skibery looked down at himself and noticed how different he was compared to his brother. "And you have the legendary Dragon’s Eye. Air Wolves say it is the most powerful weapon against darkness. I don't know all the powers of the Dragon’s Eye but I know one thing." Skibery leaned closer to Dusky, eager to hear what powers his Dragon’s Eye had. Finally Dusky said, "The one Dragon Eye power I know is that if you stare into someone's eyes you can see their entire past!"


Skibery thought looking into someone's past was not much, but it was a start! So Skibery stared into Dusky's eyes. For a moment he doubted he was going to see anything. Then something began to appear in his brother's eyes, and Skibery saw Dusky as a young pup sleeping, and he was sucking on some sort of animal's tail. "Wow, I never knew you liked to suck on animal tails when you were young." Dusky blushed and replied, "I never should have told you that you could do that."



So why don’t we all sit down? Listen to the tale

by Lucia Guido This poem is a mash-up of two of Eminem/Slim Shady’s songs Beautiful and 8 Mile

I’m about to tell. We don’t gotta trade our shoes, and you don’t gotta walk no thousand miles.

Lately I’ve been hard to reach, I’ve been too long on my own. Everybody has a private world where they can be alone. Are you calling me? Are you trying to get through, are you reaching out to me, like I’m reaching out to you?

So I’ve decided to pick this pen up, and try to make an attempt to vent. I’ve got every ingredient, all I need is the courage, like I already have the beat. All I need is the words. I am no longer scared now, I’m free as a bird.

Sometimes I just feel like quitting, I still might right now. Why do I put up this fight, why do do I still write? Sometimes it’s hard enough just living life. We’re a lot different, never on the same page. Try to be in my shoes, just to see what it’s like to be me. I’ll be you, let’s trade shoes, just to see what it’d be like to feel your pain, you feel mine, go inside each other’s minds. Also to see what we could find, look at

Suddenly a new burst of energy has occurred. Time to show these free word leaders the three and the third. To the rest of the world, God gave you the shoes that fit you best, so put ‘em on and wear ‘em. Be yourself, and be proud of who you are Even if it sounds corny, don’t ever let no one tell you that you ain’t beautiful.

a mess through each other’s eyes. Don’t let ‘em say you ain’t beautiful, they can all just hate, but be true to you.

“Saddled” continued . . . For example, Susan often wrote about how Georgia was the key to changing her life around. Since that is one of the main points of this book, I feel that it wasn’t necessary for Susan to bring it up as often as she did. Also, it seemed that Susan strayed from the main story often and left me wanting to skip pages to get back to it. Despite these unwanted qualities of the book, Susan achieved her purpose as a writer and conveyed her story well. She brought emotion into her writing and gave the reader feelings for the other characters in the book. I would recommend this book to a very specific audience because it is primarily about horses and alcohol which are things not everyone can relate to (I can only relate to the horses aspect). Overall, the book was a good read but I wouldn’t say it was amazing. There were unnecessary parts that I could have done without, and the book could have been better organized, but other than that it was written well. 26

The Story of the Crazy Cow and Sheep by Madeleine Fakenbridge a silly barnyard dialogue “Hey Bobby, can I have some of that hay?” said Marty the cow. “Yah sure, but on one condition!” said Bobby the sheep. “What do you want?” `“I want one gallon of your fresh milk!” “Why do you need one whole gallon of my fresh milk?!” “Why, I thought you knew!” “Well, obviously I don’t so say it again!” “OK fine, I’ll tell you the whole story. One warm summer day, when my sweetie had just been put into the pen as a new goat, she didn’t know what to do so I walked up to her and -- ” “Hahahahaha!!!!!”

“Please Marty, shut up! I’m trying to tell a story, thank you.” “OK.” “So, as I was saying, I went up to this pretty goat and asked if she would like to have dinner with my parents and me . . . She finally gave up arguing and had dinner with us. I stared at her the whole

night dreaming that one day we would be married and have children. And look, I was right, so the reason I need the milk is because the farmer keeps forgetting to give us our water.

My little boys are getting sicker and sicker every day so please just give us some of your milk!!” “Well, how sick are they?” “Very. Let’s just say that.” “OK, but can I just have that hay I wanted like an hour ago?!!” “Yah, here you go!” “Hey, what’s up with that?” “What do you mean?” “That’s one piece of hay. I thought maybe just a bit more!” “Nope. One gallon of milk for one piece of hay,” said Bobby, satisfied. “WHAT? That’s a rip-off totally!” “Well, too bad. You already gave us a gallon and I already gave you your piece of hay so too bad!” “We can’t fight, we’re best friends. I love you!”

Lisle’s Great Adventure in Pavire continued . . . Oh, and I should also mention that people can turn into vampires. It happens when a vampire shares what they are with a human. Then the transformation begins. That’s how I became one. My best friend, Lucas, had been with me all of my life. We practically grew up together. Little did I know he was a vampire. Things had been rough with him for a while, but I had no idea why. We were alone when he told me. At first I thought he was just being funny. But when he told me that he was a vampire, I was enveloped with a bright light. It felt good, like swimming when you can still breathe. I floated for a while, and when I came back down I was a vampire. Lucas had been ashamed of his secret, and I was afraid of the life I would lead. At first it had been hard because I was used to the stories you read about the vampires that want to be good and not eat people. Lucas had told me the basics: vampires eat meat, we don’t sleep during the day, and we don’t bite people.

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Advancing by Cody Cawlfield

I close my eyes Listen to the soft rumbling sound of music Start tapping my foot to the beat Then gradually go to sleep The increasing sound of an engine wakes me I can see we are almost there Maybe ten minutes or more Slowly I look around See the giant semi-truck Then sit up straight and wait Finally, we arrive in the so familiar driveway It's time to go inside my soft and warming home

Lisle’s Great Adventure in Pavire continued . . . This will not go down well with my parents. How will I leave them? Will I run away in the dead of night? Or will I fake my death and then escape, never to see them again? Lucas can help me with that decision, which will be the most difficult one of my life. Real vampires are different from the ones you read about in stories. I know because my best friend is one and now I am one as well.



Expo journal vol 2  

A collection of stories, articles, and poetry by home schooled students.