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The Ridge A Literary Magazine from New Canaan Country School Vol 1. Issue 1 2017 Go Bold By Sophie Gribin........................................................................................................................1 Help and Hope By Megan Meyerson..................................................................................................................2 Colors By Julia Graham......................................................................................................................3 Thirteen Ways of Looking at Love By Eloise Morgan.......................................................................................................................4 The Unexpected By Himani Narayan...................................................................................................................6 Tale of Azure By Seth Yoo.................................................................................................................................9 180 By Emily Riccardi....................................................................................................................14 The Breman Town Musicians By Mary Duffy..........................................................................................................................15 Thirteen Ways of Looking at Society By Eloise Leclerc.....................................................................................................................21 Art By Taylor Mitchell....................................................................................................................22 The Lion’s Hunt By Megan Meyerson................................................................................................................23

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Editor-in-chief: Megan Meyerson Faculty Advisor: Mrs. Carroll Contributors: Eloise Leclerc Eloise Morgan Himani Narayan


The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 Mary Duffy Megan Meyerson Seth Yoo Sophie Gribin

Go Bold Sophie Gribin My time here at Country School will always be remembered, From the day I started in Kindergarten, back in September, The 10 years here will never be forgotten, The memories of time standing still won’t go to the bottom. I’ve had my friends, my time, and my fun, But what I have to remember is that it’s not done, We will stick through thick and thin together, And keep each other in our heart until forever. Country School will resonate in my soul ‘til I get old, Here, very different- you are treated like gold, So here at country school, go boldly To be bold.

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Help and Hope Megan Meyerson Anya shut the window, cutting off the phoenix’s song that echoed from across the sand dunes. Hands shaking, desperation clawing at her heart, her vision blurred with tears, she fumbled for a pale yellow stone lying inconspicuously on her bedside table. She fell to her knees, raised a trembling arm above her head, and brought the stone down with all her might upon the carpet. It smashed, and the air in the bedroom began to blow wildly, whipping her hair into her eyes. Just as suddenly as it started, the wind stopped, and Anya brushed the hair from her face to see an old man sitting on her chair and sweeping sand from his lap. “You’ve got quite a desert in this country of yours. The sand will be in my beard for weeks.” He did indeed have grains of sand turning his long, white beard a milky yellow. “That aside, why, may I ask, have you summoned me?” She raised her hands in supplication, but her words were too broken by her shaking voice to be coherent. “A-aid…M-man of Sorrows…please…” The old man frowned down upon her. “Dry your eyes, child. Gibbering Yibbits are more coherent than you.” With a great effort, Anya pulled herself together. She took a deep breath, and though tears still stung her cheeks, her voice was steadier as she recited the charm she had turned over in her mind a thousand times. “I invoke the right to plea for aid, granted to me by the Wishing Stone I broke upon this ground. By its charm I hold you accountable to hear me out and judge my cause and desire with the wisdom and honor accorded to you by your position. This duty I require of you, Man of Sorrows.” “I understand. You need not relate your tale; I know it well. What is your request?” “Erase every moment since the first of this year.” The Man of Sorrows started. “Unmake them? A most unwise behest, if I may say so. Why do you wish this?” “If you know my story, then there is no reason for you to ask that. There is nothing worth keeping from these past eight months, and much worth losing. I want you to erase it.” “Why would I do that? It is simply a darker chapter of your life. A chapter without which you would not be saying these things to me.” Anya stared. “That’s the point.” The Man of Sorrows shook his weathered head, smiling slightly, and said kindly, “You fail to recognize the value of your sufferings. You are not alone, there; it is a flaw that most I’ve encountered possess.” Anya glared at him. “What would you know about it? Your view is idealistic and impractical.” “Yours is pessimistic and dangerous. Never underestimate the power of loss, and what it can allow you to gain. Someday this grief will serve you far better than any joy ever could.” “If loss is so important, then why do you exist, if not to hear, judge, and heal grief?” “I do heal, but you look upon your troubles blindly, feeling but not seeing. I can only help those who look to the future and choose their path with care. You look only back, not forward: that is the first reason I cannot help you.” Anya opened her mouth to protest, but the Man of Sorrows held up a wrinkled hand for silence and continued.

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 “My second is this: every person calls upon me at least once in his or her life. Yes, everyone,” said the old man, seeing the look of disbelief on Anya’s face. “Everyone has a lowest moment, the moment where they feel that if they sink any lower they will fall through the bottom of Hell itself. This is not your moment; it is only the moment that will prepare you for a time you truly need me. You are not the first to make this mistake.” The old man drew from within his coat a small, yellow stone; identical to the one Anya had broken to call him. He held it out to her. “A second chance.” He said simply. “You mean I can…” The Man of Sorrows nodded. “I do not give this offer lightly, I’ll have you know, but when you reach the moment in which I am your only possible way out, summon me again. Until then…farewell. May you find strength in your sorrows and hope in your doubt.” With these parting words, the Man of Sorrows transformed into a cloud of sand that blew open the window and faded into the dying desert sun.

​ olors C By Julia Graham

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at Love Eloise Morgan I. Once upon a time a fairytale story never ending in sadness like a trophy full of glory II. High School lovers strong like a structure that will never fall apart odds not in their favor with separate futures about to start no matter what they will always have the key to each others heart III. She looks up to her the woman she wants to be kind determined smart knows the value of internal beauty loves her from the bottom of her heart her one and only mommy. IV. Looking into each other’s eyes the happiest day of their life promising to love each other until one dies he is now the husband she is now the wife V. Confusion corrupts the brain wanting to escape before going insane what fills the heart with warmth the calm after the rain? VI. Lust not love should have seen it from the start all it ended up doing breaking my heart VII. Unsure his eyes laid upon her the cure

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 reaching for her the petite hand squeezing his pinky sure his love is as large as hers is for her binky VIII. year after year begging for a best friend the kind with four paws will be loved until the end finally it all feels complete a special place for the puppy no one can compete IX. an embrace surrounding you tied around the neck with lace an old friend keeping you warm never was a part of a trend your favorite sweatshirt worth any amount there was to spend X. number one mission spoiling her never asking for your daughter’s permission amazing presents to make her chirr bought out of love she will never forget who you were XI. knew the kind since he was seven gave h ​ er a name sat down and was in heaven his pride and joy the most important toy XII. a special connection fuzzy and soft in her life since day one feels like protection like the cozy warmth of the sun XIII. love for a loss never ending not a sad story the heart will always be mending through all of the signs they send the end.

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The Unexpected Himani Narayan I smelled hand sanitizer. I hated the smell of the hospital. My watch was peeking out of my gray sweater; it read 3:09. It was late and everyone was tired. I tried calling out for someone. I was cold and shivering, but no one noticed me. So much had just happened. I looked over at my mom sitting in the corner, bundled up in a small blanket, trying to cover her feet and arms at the same time. There were so many feelings rushing through my head. Anger, sadness, fear, confusion. What was it? Was it all a dream? I expected an amazing Friday morning on December 21. Finally, the day I had been waiting for had come. Winter break! I glanced at the clock and started getting butterflies in my stomach. 4:48 am, two hours until my flight, 5 hours until I got to Florida, and 13 days till I got back. I was excited to leave the slushy, crowded, loud roads of New York City and not come back till next week. I had been feeling tingly since the day we purchased the tickets on June 28. “Xenia!” I heard my mother call me from downstairs. I grabbed my suitcases and swung my blue purse around my shoulder. As I ran downstairs, my suitcase banged against every stair. I rushed into the kitchen and was greeted by the smell of my mom making fresh pancakes. “Are you ready?” she asked me. “Yeah, let’s get everyone. Where’s Xuan?” I shouted my sister’s name. “XUAN, COME DOWNSTAIRS OR WE ARE GONNA BE LATE!” I called to her as my dog scrambled in. “I highly doubt we can even go,” my sister replied. She came downstairs in her pink bathrobe and bunny slippers. Her hair was a mess and her makeup was smudged. “There is a thunderstorm.” She explained. We all sighed. “Are the flights delayed?” my mom sat down and pressed her temples. “No, but I’m not going on a plane if there’s rain. We can just go in a couple of days.” “Honey, you’re 14, you can do it. But you know that the airport won’t give us a refund.” My mom got up and hugged her. Most annoying 14-year-old ever, I mumbled. “What did you say?” Xuan stepped closer to me as if she was about to beat me up. As the younger sister, I wasn’t going to let her win the argument. “I said, most annoying 14-year-old ever.” “Xenia!” My mom warned me that a fight was about to start. “Oh really? Well if I’m so annoying why don’t I punch you!” “Okay girls, that’s enough or else we really won’t go on vacation.” My mom pulled me towards her and whispered in my ear. “She’s older than you, respect her.” I really wanted to go on vacation, and I made sure I told my mom that. Ever since my dad died in a car accident four years ago, my mother hadn’t been making much money. We rarely went on vacation. An hour had gone by and we were still trying to decide whether or not we should go. My sister was too afraid to go on a plane in those weather conditions, but if we didn’t go we would have to spend another $1,000 for the plane tickets, and my mom didn’t want that to happen. I eyed the sky; it was getting lighter outside. I turned my attention to my clock. One hour until our flight; we had to leave. “Mom, we should just go; the storm won’t be that bad. If it was dangerous they would delay the flights.” My whole family stared at me, including my dog. If we started arguing again, I was going to burst. “Ok.” My mom and Xuan said in unison. I looked at them, shocked, and then came to a realization. ​We were going to Florida. I looked at my mom “We are going to Florida!” I squealed and ran

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 into my room to grab everything else. My sister packed up and we were out the door in less than 15 minutes. We arrived at the huge and loud airport just in time. Security wasn’t a problem and we just sat and waited for our plane. I gazed outside as I saw thick gray clouds get closer and closer, and before I knew it rain was pouring. There were occasional roars of thunder and crashes of lightning. I was surprised the flight hadn’t gotten cancelled. It seemed like ages until our flight was called. ​Finally, I thought to myself. We boarded and safely took our seats. People’s bags were falling everywhere from the overhead compartments and my sister and I fought over the window seat. I stared into the distance and saw cars stuck in traffic on the highway. I kept staring as my eyes shut. I woke to the sound of a ring. R ​ ing, Ring. I saw a flight attendant approach. “Would you like anything to—” The plane shook and tilted. ​“Please prepare for crash landing.” I heard over the loudspeaker. Oxygen masks fell from overhead and I put one on. Xuan looked at me, terrified, and about to cry. I felt the plane drop greatly and looked over to my mom. The soda cans were flying everywhere. I heard a crash in the cockpit. People started screaming and crying. I held on to my sister tightly, and dodged everything that was flying our way. We flipped facedown as I heard a crash of thunder. Turbulence was out of control. We were in free fall. And then, everything was a blur. I heard squeaking and felt something cold as ice on my feet. I observed the area. Orange boat, at least ten other people, cold water, and no land. We were stranded. I was wide awake by now; I couldn’t see my sister or my mother anywhere. I shivered. “Where are we?” A boy next to me tapped on my shoulder. He looked about my age, 13. “How would I know?” I replied as I laughed to lighten up the mood. I knew we weren’t going to be saved anytime soon. “W-where are my children? W-where is my husband?” A woman asked. She was in the front of the boat, already soaking wet. The thunderstorm was bad, the water was moving fast all around us, and we were being drifted farther and farther out to sea. The heavy rain soaked me like I was a sponge. The woman started searching the whole boat. She was panicking and many of the other people tried calming her down. The boat shook and the ice cold water started flooding the boat. People started screaming and shouting, trying to save themselves, but the waves were letting too much water in. I fell off of the boat and inhaled the salty water, scared for my life. I got back up above the water, gasping for air, hoping that people hadn’t left me. Soon all of us were just floating in the ocean, clueless of where we were and how we would get home. The woman that was shouting on the boat had disappeared along with the boy who talked to me. “I cannot believe this is happening,” a girl next to me broke out in a cry. I wanted to comfort her, but the size of my lifejacket prevented me from reaching out my arms and swimming closer to her. “It’s going to be okay.” I told her. She didn’t hear me, so I tried to say it a little louder. “It’s going to be okay!” I repeated, but she didn’t even acknowledge my existence. “I didn’t do anything wrong!” she yelled. We looked up to another plane flying by and wished that they could save us. Men started screaming for help but soon realized it was no use. Days passed by and no one had known to save us. My sweater was sagging and my sweatpants were soaked. I saw a woman afloat, upside down, assuming she wasn’t breathing. I shouted for help but no one heard me. I thought everyone was just in their own world, trying to think of what they would’ve done if they had decided to cancel their plane ticket. I cried insanely hard. All I wanted was my dog and my family. I didn’t care if we went to Florida; all I wanted was a little quality time.

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 I hadn’t slept in days, my feet were numb, and I was surprised the others were still alive. Our faces lit up when we heard choppers and boats. Everyone screamed for help and turned on the lights on their lifejackets. “Over here!” I heard a girl shout. “Please help us!” Rescue teams helped us into helicopters and ships. Everyone got immediate help but me. My feet were numb and I had frostbite on my fingers. “Can someone help me?” I called. Everyone was busy, so I decided to wait. I wasn’t in much pain anyways. Nearly an hour later we arrived at the hospital. Almost everyone was rushed into surgery or seated with a doctor. I ran around looking for my mom, but she wasn’t anywhere, not in the ER or surgical area. I was so frustrated. After 10 more minutes of searching, I decided to ask someone in the front. My soggy sneakers sloshed as I ran into the empty lobby. But right in front of me was my mom. “Mom!” I called to her. She looked up. “Xenia?” She looked around the whole lobby, her eyes passed right through me. I closed my eyes and ran into her arms but she didn’t hug me back. I opened my eyes and realized I had run right through her. I called her name out multiple times, I shook her hand like I would if I was asking her something urgent, I made a fuss, but she didn't notice. “Mom?” I said, holding back gallons of tears. She examined the lobby again. “Xenia--” she took a deep breath. “No, no.” My mom shook her head. “Xenia is dead.” She started crying. “Xenia is dead.” My heart stopped. Dead? Everyone was talking to me and interacting—I cut off my own thoughts. I was dead. I’m not alive? … The salt water, no one was noticing me. W ​ hat was it? Was it all a dream? I sat next to my mom. I watched her try and cover her hands and feet with her blanket. I called for help, but soon I just gave up. Death. A year later on December 21, my mom and sister set flowers on my grave, crying about how they wish we hadn’t gone on the plane ride. I try to reach out and touch them, but my hand runs right through them. I smell the flowers every time they leave and wish the same thing.

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Tale of Azure Seth Yoo Chapter 1: My Daily Life Flares of energy fired left and right. Explosive crackles of sheer power, and heaven-shaking shock waves radiated from the stadium. The huge glass dome vibrated with cheers from the crowd. The finals of the Red versus Blue games were happening, Jay on the Blue team and Mike on Red. Jayden delivered a rapid flurry of kicks that were immediately blocked as Mike caught Jay’s foot and sent a powerful kick straight to his gut. Jay cringed as he retaliated with an energy beam that hurled Mike across the stadium as it sent a jolt of electricity up his arm. Mike, beaten down and almost unable to move, tried to stand up, with his whole body shaking, but he dropped like an anvil a second after gaining his footing, like a house of cards in a tornado. “Team Blue is the victor!” shouted the referee as the whole blue team burst into excitement and the crowd roared with energy. As I watched my companions spar, I pondered how life would be if I was able to harness my powers and how much nicer I would be treated. Everyone always cackled as I hopelessly kept on trying to harness my inner energy. I just so happened to be born as one of the very few who didn’t have an inner energy to begin with. I kept on daydreaming about all of the alternative paths that my life could have taken, and after what felt like an eternity, the sparring session was finally over. We walked back to the academic area of our school, and there was a poster that read, “Irregular #99 defeats 98 overtaking the 98th spot!” The Irregulars were people with different colored elements like red wind or golden shadows. We continued walking, everyone talking to their friends and laughing, something I never dreamed of experiencing. As I walked along, I tripped on Derrick’s foot and fell to the ground as he gleefully grinned at me. Everyone died of laughter. All eyes were on me. I could feel the stares of everyone piercing deep into my soul, but even with this pressure, I simply brushed myself off, kept my cool and walked away as the whole crowd screamed insults at me. Even though I kept my cool, I had feelings of rage, hate, depression, and sorrow building up deep inside. This was the torturous abyss of death that was my daily life. I had to endure this all day, every day. Not only that, my academic capabilities were average, making me average at one subject and terrible at another. I was just garbage at everything I did. I really was a worthless idiot who couldn’t accomplish anything. This was the life cycle, or death cycle, rather, that I went through until that one day… Chapter 2: Destruction Blazing spheres rained down on the village. My cries of terror were tuned out by the screams of everyone else and the massive explosions caused by the meteors. The skies turned red as I saw dozens of hooded figures with bright red symbols on their chests fly into our village and massacre the people with blasts and energy blades as they fought back with terror in their hearts. As I watched in horror, I turned around to realize that there was a hooded figure ready to strike me with a massive blast. It was at that moment, the moment I thought would be my last, that I saw something incredible: a flash of green streaked past my face, knocking the hooded figure out. There was a grin on its face as it leaped up and punched a meteor with tremendous force, shattering it into pieces that were destroyed as he jumped to another meteor and smashed it as well. It was then that I realized, even though I don’t have an ability, if I trained hard enough, I could make my physical body as strong as his, and I decided to start my training right then. I sprinted out of the village away from the fireballs as I leaped over tree branches and knocked the burnt-up branches out of the way. I looked back as a massive explosion hurled itself

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 toward me, propelling me across the forest. I vowed to destroy the group that did this and that was the last thing I could remember before my consciousness slipped away as a flurry of trees zoomed by under me. Chapter 3: Bring it on, Me! I woke up in an abandoned village, with the autumn leaves falling gracefully off of the trees. Thanks to the fact that our race had evolved and gained the ability to survive without food for a few years, I was immediately able to begin my training or rather, self torture as I would soon discover it to be. My daily routine ended up becoming climbing 100 really tall trees, doing a 100-mile run with no breaks, doing 1,000 of all of the basic exercises, and punching a rock while attempting to shatter it like the green streak had. I went through this training each and every day; my entire body would feel sore and broken after each session, but gradually, time passed and it slowly got easier. Chapter 4: Irregularity The leaves slowly began to turn red again and the crisp morning air of Fall had returned. It had been a year since the village was wiped out. My body was now able to handle the training with ease; I flew up the trees with extreme amounts of speed, I sprinted the miles in around half an hour, and I did the basic exercises in record breaking times. I was stronger, much stronger. With this newfound power I had broken my limitations, limitations I thought I could never break. I ventured onwards hoping to find an adventure ahead of me but, before I set off, two cloaked figures leaped down from the sky and as they did I saw a flashback of the destruction of the village and I was filled with a blazing determination to defeat these figures. They had the same crimson red logo on their chests. One shot a blast that I slammed away with the back of my hand as if a jolt of electricity climbed up a tree, burning it to the ground. I sent a powerful kick at the other one and he tried catching it, but failed as he was flung back by the impact. I flew into the sky and plummeted down as I slammed the ground with my fist creating a massive crater and airwaves that sent the two figures flying. I quickly spun around and grabbed one of the figure’s heads as I slammed his face into the ground. The other shot a massive boulder that I easily spun around and punched with the back of my hand, shattering it into pieces. I felt a grin growing on my face; I now was able to understand the joy of a fight. The energy rushed through my blood. My heart raced with vitality; I could finally fight! As the figures both shot fireballs at me I caught the blazing spheres and hurled them straight back at the figures. They were both hit and one of them was unable to move and gave his energy to the other as the other made a massive ball of fire that would be enough to destroy ten villages. I was nervous, but I still leaped into the sky and sent a massive blow towards the meteor with my foot, but it only left a small crack on the massive meteor. Even so, I kept pushing forward. “Is this it? Am I really gonna lose my first fight? You gotta be kidding me!” I exclaimed to myself, but then I felt a strange power overcoming me. I felt my eyes widen as I let out an extremely loud scream. ​Whoosh! I saw blue flames climb up and engulf me from head to toe as they destroyed the meteor. They didn’t hurt at all; it was a strange sensation. They actually felt like a part of my body! I shot my blazing blue hand towards the cloaked figure, the punch sending him flying in a frenzy of azure flames. I had unlocked my energy. Not only that, but I was an Irregular; I was actually an Irregular! I was filled with joy and confidence in my powers as I looked down on my defeated enemies. Chapter 5: A Surprise Reunion “Hey… Aaron!” Both of them said. Those voices, one was Jayden’s and the other one was Mike’s! “Yo, what the heck happened to you guys!?” I asked.

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 “Well here I’ll show you,” said Jay as he shot a blast at me that made me lose my sense of vision. Suddenly, I saw the village and I saw Jay and Mike fending off the hooded figures as the meteors rained down. “I’ll take the back while you distract ‘em!” Said Jay as he sprinted behind a hooded figure and knocked him out with a Joltwire Destruction attack. Then Mike caught the hooded figure’s punch and sent bars of iron shooting up the arm and squeezing it as the bones cracked leaving the figure in deep pain. They held on using their abilities, Jay with his electricity and Mike with his iron and steel until finally the boss of the cloaked figures knocked them out as he said, “Take them alive; they would be good servants for the Demon Cry organization!” Then I was on the floor next to Mike and Jay with my senses returning. “Since that day, we worked for Demon Cry for the next year while you were out here doing who knows what in this abandoned village.” said Jay. “Demon Cry eh? Well I’m gonna burn that group of thugs to the ground!” I shouted at the sky. Chapter 6: Ryan of Demon Cry In the eyes of Commander Ryan: “Commander Ryan, Agents Jolt and Steel were defeated by an Irregular!” shouted one of my men. Why do all of these people get in my way? I just want to restart this terrible planet’s system! I clenched my fist and unleashed a whirl of crimson wind blades that cut chunks of my lair to pieces. I was an Irregular, the Irregular that lost his home, family, and loved ones to a “justice” supporting organization. I was framed! I was framed for assassinating a great man whom I looked up to! This world is so flawed! WHY!? My face flushed with rage remembering the ones I lost. I saw a flashback of my village and my friends being massacred, my parents, my friends killed right in front of my eyes. Chaos ensued in the streets. The news of Irregular #3’s death spread like wildfire and the Justice Department’s first suspicion was me. I looked up to the man above me and now I was standing in front of a bunch of “heroes” who thought I was responsible for his murder. I saw a man with his blade up and he swung it straight down and blood splattered across the ground. First my parents, then my friends, and I was up next...​Shing! His blade barely slashed my left eye as his earphone buzzed: “Suspect #1 isn’t responsible; he was poisoned by Iron Claw that was disbanded.” That was what happened to me and my family because of this flawed system and flawed world. I will rebuild this world; I will enforce freedom and fairness; I will save us from impending doom; and I will make it so no one has to feel the pain I felt throughout my life! Chapter 7: The Journey Back in the eyes of Aaron: After a vigorous amount of training I perfected my VoltChain and WindBlade attacks. We departed on our adventure, ready to take on Demon Cry. The rising sun was glaring down at us as we traveled. “​Let’s go!” I screamed to Jay and Mike, “We have to move faster!” Jay and Mike had given me the directions to Demon Cry’s Base as we breezed past hundreds of leafless trees. We were approximately fifty meters away from the base. I looked back and I saw Jay and Mike’s faces with hateful expressions growing quickly. Then we approached a valley with a river cutting through in the middle and Demon Cry’s Base on the other side. As soon as we arrived we saw streaks of bright red wind fly by and slice the objects behind us into pieces. We whirled our heads back at Demon Cry’s base to see an army of cloaked men and in front of them all, a man with dark red hair, a scar down his left eye, and millions of little red wisps of wind streaming off of his hand. It was Ryan, Irregular #4, The Crimson Breeze. He had gone rogue and this is what he’d been doing. Jay and Mike nodded at each

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 other and simultaneously fired blasts at the army that exploded in perfect harmony, cutting their numbers down to less than half. “ATTACK!” Screamed Ryan, and his army jumped towards us as Ryan dived down into the valley. Chapter 8: Arrival “We’ll take the hordes,” said Jay, “You take Ryan!” “Right!” I responded. I sprinted in and Jay and Mike bolted ahead preventing the army from reaching me. I gave one last thankful look to my friends as I leaped into the valley. “So, it’s you, huh,” I said “Yes, and I’ll be the end of this corrupt world!” he screamed back. “Your goal may be right, but your methods are disgusting! You’re just causing more pain to resolve pain!” I screamed back with rage growing. “Be quiet, you idiot! You have no idea what it feels like to get your friends cut into pieces right in front of your eyes!” he responded. We both glared at each other, and then we sprinted on the water, using our energies to run across it, straight into the center of the valley. Chapter 9: The Beginning of the End BANG! Our fists clashed creating a massive wave of water that splashed across the whole valley. I swung my foot at his face while planting my hands firmly on the water as he jumped back and fired a crimson wind blade at my foot which I smashed with a powerful heel strike as I got back onto my feet. I then sprinted at him and punched him in the face, but he blocked it and slammed me into the water then kicked me smack in the ribs sending me shooting across the river. I then scrambled back onto my feet and dodged a wind blade as I sprinted back unleashing a VoltChain attack and hit him with a million volts as I watched the blue strings of electricity scatter across the river in an explosive frenzy. He sprung back and while clutching his chest, he shot massive carpets of flames at me that covered the river. I used a WindBlade to divide the flames, scattering them away from me. I then let out a short scream as my blue flames engulfed me, multiplying my power by what seemed like infinite amounts. I focused all of the flames into my right hand as Ryan focused all of his wind to his left. We dashed into the river and collided fists creating a massive shockwave and crater in the valley. We kept on clashing with each other fist to fist, foot to foot, and head to head. He spun around and slammed me in my side but I caught his foot and shot it to the ground. I then tripped him and I fell in alignment with him and I grabbed his head and spun around, slamming his face into the ground. With my hand over his face I shouted, “Is this all you have, Ryan of Demon Cry?!” “I won’t let your shrouded visions block out the truth that I seek!” He screamed back. At that moment, he powered up while screaming. A massive bright red, slow, and mystical aura climbed up his body, his hair had gone from a dark red to a vibrant, bright red along with his eyes. “Call this Super Crimson.” He said as he fired two wind blades. As I was about to block them I felt the pressure and sheer power of the two wind blades and I couldn’t leap out of the way in time. Right then, Jay and Mike took the hits for me. With the last few seconds they had left, Mike said,“We’re sorry it had to be this way, but don’t worry, you will figure out a way; I believe in you.” “We did this because we know you could handle our village’s legacy!” said Jay in a pained tone, and with their last bits of energy they blew up the wind blades taking themselves out with them.

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 Chapter 10: Ascending “How could you!” I ragefully screamed at Ryan “You just caused me to feel the very pain you are trying to get rid of!” And with that, I snapped. “GrrrRRAHHHHH!!!” I screamed. I continued screaming as I ascended above and beyond my limits, my hair and my eyes became a sky blue color and I too was surrounded by the mystical aura, the aura of Azure. The rage, the feeling of loss, and my will to stop injustice drove me to reach this new form. “I will never forgive you!” I screamed as I flew straight at him using my energy. As a flew, I saw the drops of water floating in the air as we battled. We were moving so fast, so fast that even I couldn’t comprehend it. Ryan froze the water drops and shot them at me and I shattered them with energy blasts. We then flew up and clashed over and over in the air. I saw the clouds whiz past me as we went through them and continued to rapidly and forcefully kick and punch each other. I uppercutted Ryan straight up out of the atmosphere and into space where we collided and continued to fly up. We both simultaneously charged up massive energy blasts. I had a massive fireball in my right hand and he had a bright red tornado in his left. We then shot the blasts which collided with tremendous force blowing the both of us back, but even so, we kept on pushing. The amount of force and pressure behind the blasts was overwhelming. Ryan’s blast got stronger as he cried out, saying, “If I can just overcome this obstacle, I can finally fix this planet and finish what I started!” I cried back, “Well look what you did to my friends and my village! You called this world flawed! You should take a good look at yourself before accusing others!” With that, my beam of flames overpowered his wind blast obliterating him and shooting him all the way back down into the ground. We were both bloody and bruised, but I had won, and he had lost. I gave one last grin of satisfaction before falling to the ground next to Ryan, without an ounce of strength to spare. Chapter 11: Uniting and Rebuilding When I awoke, the sun was setting; A dim, peaceful, pink and orange light radiated in the sky. I thought about the last few years of my life, losses, gains, and lessons learned, but after these obstacles, I knew I could carry on the legacy of my village. Jay and Mike weren’t killed to save me; they were willing to sacrifice themselves to save me. I was more than I used to be. I looked back, back at the me who was scared, powerless, and unconfident and I wondered to myself, what universe this version of me was from. I got up, and I still felt the burning pain from my injuries as I slowly moved my body. I then looked across and saw Ryan, blankly staring up into the sky. “Where did I go wrong? When did I become one of them? Why did I do what I’m fighting against?” He quietly whispered to himself, “It’s time to fix this and rebuild what I have destroyed.” “Well I guess I’ll join you in that.” I said grinning “How can you forgive me after what I did? You said you could never forgive me!” he asked. “Because, you’re not a bad person, you’ve just done some pretty bad things” I said. “That’s an interesting way of putting it,” he said. “I guess you made me see the truth. Pretty ironic huh.” “Yeah, well, we have work to do. Let’s do this. We’ll rebuild my village, the village you destroyed.” I said. “You really have to rub it in like that don’t you?” He said With that we stood up and bumped fists. The wind blew in a peaceful way as we walked forward, ready to take on any challenge that mother nature threw at us. Loss, gains, allies, friends, and family, that is really what life has to bear. The losses may seem greater than the gains, but that’s because we are ignorant of how lucky we are to have what we have.

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After walking for a good hour, we saw a massive valley filled with life and vitality. There were trees, animals, birds, and a nice waterfall along with a forest at the end of it. We leaped into the valley and observed the wildlife and land. “This is a good spot.” I said, “It’ll forever remind us of our final battle.” “Agreed.” He replied. I then thrusted a stick into the ground, the first stick of our new village, the beginning of a new adventure, the beginning of my story, the tale of Azure.

180 By Emily Riccardi

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The Bremen Town Musicians A Retelling of a Grimm’s fairy tale

Mary Duffy CHAPTER 1: ​Jack Once upon a time many years ago, there was a donkey named Jack who worked diligently on a farm carrying around grain sacks on his back to his master’s mill. Jack’s days consisted of waking at dawn to start his day job of carrying sacks to the mill and then at dusk heading home to his beloved family at the farm. Jack had found his purpose in life, carrying sacks of grain, but he still felt his destiny had not yet been fulfilled. Jack had always had a mysterious yearning and fantasy to be a musician and have an audience clapping for him and his esteemed musical talent, yet the donkey’s busy days had little time for that nonsense. A year passed, then another, and another, and slowly Jack forgot about his fantasy. Eventually, even though the donkey had a loving family, he began to feel empty. The donkey continued his normal work days until one day he came home to find his family gone. Aware of the depression that was causing great debt to his master, fear crawled into the donkey’s soul. A whimpered ‘naaing” cry tried to escape his lips but was zipped inside when he saw his whole family caged at the back of a wagon heading to town where an auction was about to be held. Jack’s heart did not only break into two pieces but six, each piece for every family member, but his flabbergasted mind had its final puzzle piece put in when he caught a glimpse of his wife’s lips mouthing, “Go.”. The donkey knew that the fate of his family was soon to happen to him as well, so he ran away as fast as he could with only one focus: “Go.” After a day of running straight, Jack’s body refused to take any more steps. His body and mind had a huge debate until Jack dropped dead of exhaustion onto the soft grass underneath him. Slowly, Jack laid his head down on the blades of grass that were tingling against him. The last thing he felt was his head hitting the ground. The last thing he heard was his bellowing pant and the sound of chickadee’s call twirling in the wind. The last thing he smelled was the earthy soil beneath him. The last thing he tasted was the dry summer air. The last thing he saw was… CHAPTER 2: ​Ruffus Ruffus sprinted through the forest with the fear of death chasing him. He hurdled over boulders, swiveled around ancient pine trees, and ran by thorn bushes that caught his snow white and ginger coat. As he ran, his floppy ears flew behind his face and his muscles began to flounder. The smells of the forest poured into his overwhelmed nose. Risking it all, he glanced back to notice his owner was nowhere to be seen. Elated and relieved, Ruffus stopped and lay on the ground to groom his coat. He licked and nibbled off seeds that had hitched-hiked on to him and thorns that had skimmed his silky coat. As Ruffus cleaned his fur, he noticed the grey hairs that were streaked against his ginger and white hairs. He scowled at this, knowing that he was old. His days of tracking and retrieving game for his owner were over. Ruffus’s stomach gurgled up with hate when he remembered why he had just run for his life. His owner tried to shoot him as if he were game…did he have any sense of loyalty? “​My master might have given up on me, but I’m not going to.” Ruffus thought, building up his confidence. On that note, Ruffus strutted out of the forest having no navigation except for hope.

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 Ruffus’s paws seemed to slowly peel with each step he took on the hot pavement. His ginger tail was drooped between his legs and his tongue was hanging out of his panting mouth, which seemed to have a life of its own. The summer sun blazed on his glimmering coat. Ruffus started to agree with his doubtful conscience while ignoring his hopeful one. But all these complaints were washed away like the water droplets that are slapped away by windshield wipers when Ruffus caught sight of an old, limp donkey that was drawn upon the soft summer grass beside the road. Puzzled and with his head tilted, Ruffus warily approached the either dead or sleeping donkey. Once Ruffus gained his senses, he nudged the donkey with his nose. Nothing happened. He poked again, and again…and again. Nothing happened. Ruffus decided to bark, “RUFF!” Once he barked he received what he deserved, “BAM, NEEEEEYYYYYHAAAAA!” Ruffus was sent yards back after receiving a brutal kick to his chest by the awakened donkey. Ruffus scowled and whimpered in pain, censuring the donkey, “How dare you…you old donkey! You could of just whacked me with your tail! Do you have any sense of etiquette?! I don’t know if you know this, but most times when you meet someone you greet them with a nice ‘Hello, how are you,’ not with an inhumane kick to the chest!” Ruffus growled, cautious of another kick. “I’m sorry,” the donkey pleaded, “For the last day, I have been running straight, my senses having no sense at all.” Ruffus replied, “It’s fine…you are not the problem. I’m just a little upset and absolutely shocked. I am actually devastated. It’s because I’m old and getting weaker by the day. And since I can no longer hunt, my master was planning to kill me as if I were game. So I skedaddled! But how on Earth can I earn my daily bread now?” “You seem like a fine spaniel to me. And I hope I seem like a fine donkey to you because I was hoping that you could…that is it! You turned the light switch on for the lightbulb in my head. Sure, my life might have just crumbled before me in the last two days, but that was my old life! I can finally fulfill my destiny. How about if we go to Bremen together to perform as musicians. I’m going to play the lute and you can play the drums. We can start our own band. We will be our own masters. How does that sound to you, spaniel?” “You can call me Ruffus,” the dog said with a hidden-but-not-so-hidden smirk on his face. And with that, he headed down the road, along with the donkey trudging behind him. CHAPTER 3: ​Clawdia With the sun blazing on her back, Clawdia found herself pondering what in the world she could do now with her life. Her stomach filled with doubt again. She was old. Her mistress had just tried to drown her. Instead of catching mice now, she dreamed about catching them. To shake away her doubtful thoughts, she shook away the water droplets that were still clinging on to her fluffy grey hair. Just before Clawdia was about to take her recent sunbathing position on the stone wall she saw a peculiar sight in the distance. Coming towards her direction, she saw a donkey and a dog walking together. “​This can’t be true…I am not that old yet…or am I?” Clawdia thought, questioning herself. But as the two figures came closer, the more real the situation seemed to Claudia. “What in the world…” Clawdia exclaimed before she was interrupted by the ginger and white spaniel. “Well, hello there, kitty. What has brought you up to this stone wall today and why are you so sad on such a nice day?” The spaniel asked in a playful tone. Clawdia took a deep breath, glancing at the two puzzled animals beneath her. “How could I not be sad when I have just escaped a near death?” Clawdia replied, rubbing her neck adorned with water droplets with her paw. “Now that I’m getting old, my teeth aren’t sharp anymore, and I prefer sitting behind the warm stove and dreaming up fantasies to actually chasing mice. I am no use on the farm. And

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 guess what? My mistress even tried to drown me! Thankfully, I managed to run away, but now I’m left with nowhere else to go. So I ask, where on Earth do I go now!?” Clawdia ranted. “Come with us to Bremen!” the donkey exclaimed. “I don’t what music you can play but I’m sure you would be a great addition to our band. You could become a Bremen town musician with us. In no time, we will have an audience praising our music. So, cat, that is where on Earth I believe you should go.” Clawdia believed this was the best option for her so she replied, “Of course…but under one condition; my name is Clawdia, not kitty or cat.” “Deal. You can call me Jack and this is Ruffus,” the donkey trilled. On that note, Jack and Ruffus headed onwards. Ruffus glanced back at Clawdia, “Are you coming or not?” Clawdia leaped off the stone wall and swaggered beside Jack and Ruffus with the shadows of a donkey, dog, and cat trailing behind them. CHAPTER 4: ​Encounters with Nugget Soon enough, the three travelers came upon a farm, where a rooster was sitting on a gate crowing his lungs out. “Your screaming causes pain to my ears… and soul. What in the world are you up to that needs such awful crowing?” Clawdia asked in an annoyed tone. “All I was doing was predicting good weather,” retorted the rooster, “since today is the day my mistress plans to hang out laundry to dry. But tomorrow guests are coming for a Sunday brunch at our house, and my mistress has no mercy. She told the cook that she expects me to served tomorrow in the soup and to chop off my head tonight! So now I’m screaming relentlessly for as long as I can. Any other concerns, complaints, or comments, ​kitty?” Clawdia scowled while her paws sharpened after being called ‘kitty’ for the second time in one day. Just as Clawdia was about to finish the job for the cook, she was interrupted by Jack. “You know what, red head?” asked the donkey, not looking for an answer. “Why don’t you come with us to Bremen!? You may have a dreadful voice as of right now, but you seem to have a nice pitch and we need a vocalist. I’m sure being a musician is a better fate than death.” the donkey said. The rooster hopped down from the gate and answered casually, “Well, if we are going to be together for a quite a while, I assume that you should know my name, since I would prefer to go by something other than ‘red head’. You can call me ‘Nugget’. By the way Bremen is this way,” said Nugget, nudging his head towards the sun which was sinking below the horizon. The donkey, dog, and cat found themselves with their faces blank, but then shrugged and followed the rooster. CHAPTER 5: ​Lost in the Night The four wayfarers had had a long day of traveling but were still days away from Bremen. The sun had finally dripped behind the horizon leaving the refuges with only a twinkle in the sky to guide them. A tall sign was tower above them with an arrow saying ‘Bremen’ protruding out of it, pointing to the forest. Ruffus pranced into the forest not giving a thought of what the others would think. “Ruffus, are you sure you want to go there?” Nugget asked nervously. “What do you mean?” Ruffus replied, turning his head around to catch a glimpse of the others not entering the forest as if the forest floor was lava. “We should catch some rest. Don’t head into the forest…especially at night. Haven’t you heard the horrific tales of the beasts that wander behind those trees?” asked the donkey, nudging his head towards the forest. “Don’t be silly. Tales are tales. You have nothing to worry about except for you tripping over a root being the old donkey that you are.” Ruffus retorted with sass impatiently. “A cat is never afraid when a dog is.” Clawdia chimed in as she followed Ruffus.

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 “Me tripping over a root. Ridiculous. No forest can scare me,” mumbled Jack, talking to himself under his breath. “So are you guys going?” Nugget asked. “It may be easier to catch some rest right now. I think we should head out at dawn tomorrow, first thing.” Nugget uttered. “Sure, if you want us to call you Chicken instead.” Clawdia answered superciliously. Nugget’s face twisted like the roots of an ancient gnarled tree at the thought of this and immediately replied, “Why of course not, ​kitty.” “Hmmmmph.” Clawdia replied. And so, the four refugees headed into the dark forest not aware of what was ahead of them. Little did they know, the tales weren’t tales. The tales were true. Yellow eyes were awaiting them in the dark forest. “So this way has to be North since that is where we last saw the star. It is actually very easy, guys; all you have to do is use your sense of direction wisely,” said Ruffus. “No…the sun set over there,” said Nugget, pointing towards what was supposedly North at the moment, “So North has to be that way.” “Let’s just not argue and cooperate by looking for the North Star,” chimed in Jack in a calm tone. “If only we could actually see the sky, Jack. We’re lost, guys, in the middle of a forest at night. This is what happens when you listen to a dog. Sorry, I meant a d ​ umb dog.” said Clawdia. “That’s it! I have it with you, cat! Have you made any positive contribution on this journey? No. We have invited you and you have been an awful guest. See what happens when you’re nice to a cat. Sorry, I meant a…” Ruffus growled before he was interrupted by Jack. “Shhhhhhhh. For once could you both stop complaining. I hear something,” whispered Jack. “Where is Nugget? Oh no.” Clawdia asked nervously. “I’m up here you idiots. Away from that beast on the ground,” whispered Nugget, who was high in a tree. “I thought roosters couldn’t…” “What beast!?” asked Clawdia. “Come up here and you can see.” “No Nugget, we can’t all get up there so we must deal with the beast together. Get down here…unless you want us to call you chicken,” said Clawdia. “How dare you?” said Nugget as he hopped down from the tree. The four gathered in a circle to have a view from each direction. Suddenly, a loud growling noise came from the darkness. Green eyes became visible and pierced through the animals’ souls sending chills throughout their bodies. Clawdia made the first move. With a loud hissing “RRRRAYOEWWWW” she jumped onto the figure’s face, unaware of what it was, scratching at its eyes and stout. “It is a wolf!” Clawdia exclaimed. Then Jack joined the fight. He came from behind the wolf and sent him a harsh kick to his rear, sending both him and Clawdia into Nugget and Ruffus. Nugget hopped on top of the wolf and pecked at him. Ruffus bit right into the wolf’s leg, allowing Clawdia to scratch him more. Suddenly, the wolf shook the way the ground does during an earthquake, leaving Clawdia, Nugget, and Ruffus off him. He glared at them sending a horrific growl. Little did the wolf know, Jack was coming up from behind to give him his final blow. Aware of Jack’s plan, Clawdia, Nugget, and Ruffus positioned themselves, ready for Jack’s first move. And then, with a triumphant “NAAAAYYYEEEEHAEEEEHA,” Jack went on his hinds and charged at the surprised wolf. As the wolf glanced back to catch sight of Jack, the others made their moves. Clawdia gave the wolf a vicious scratch while Ruffus dug his fangs into the wolf’s limb. Nugget tried to attack the wolf by charging over, threatening to peck him, but he wasn’t fast enough. Jack delivered his final blow to the wolf. The wolf howled in pain. He limped away, whimpering, knowing he was not going to have dinner tonight.

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 “This is ridiculous. We are able to accomplish the hardest task of overpowering a savage wolf, but we can’t figure out where North is,” scowled Clawdia, hungry and impatient. “How about we just settle at this tree. We can spend the night here and wake at dawn to continue our journey. I can fly to the peak of this pine and have a good sense of where we are and make sure we aren’t in danger from any crueler beasts,” said Nugget. “That seems like a fine plan to me. I think Ruffus and I can sleep at the bottom of tree,” said Jack. “And I will climb midway and rest on a nice branch,” chimed in Clawdia. “See, we don’t make a bad team. I will see you guys in the morning.” cheered Nugget, as he flapped out his wings. Little did Nugget know, he was going to see Jack, Clawdia, and Ruffus in little time and much before dawn. CHAPTER 6: ​Is That a Light I See? As Nugget was sleeping he was suddenly awoken by the faintest sound of drunken laughter in the distance. Having had enough scare for one night, he decided to ignore the sound and tried to go back asleep. But Nugget’s feathers were ruffled when he heard the sound again. Perturbed, Nugget peaked open his eye and caught the sight of a light in the distance. “​Is that the North Star?” Nugget questioned himself, but then he noticed the light was coming from the ground. With curiosity over taking his senses, Nugget flew to the ground to find the others, hopeful of investigating the light. Nugget was tempted to ‘CockaDoodleDo’ to wake them up, but he knew he had to be as quiet as possible. Nugget gave everyone a sharp peck and gathered them together to share the news. “I have some news for you guys. And it isn’t another beast,” whispered Nugget. “Well what is it!” scowled Ruffus. “Quiet down,” murmured Clawdia. “Everyone be quiet. What is it, Nugget?” said Jack. “So a little while ago, I was awoken by the sound of drunken laughter and merry cheering. You can hear it. Just listen.” Said Nugget. Everyone listened and they heard the haunting sound. “See. The first time I heard it, I was too tired to lift my eyelids. The second time though, my curiosity took over. I peeked my eyes open and I saw a light. At first, I was hoping it was the North Star but it turned out to be a light coming from the ground. We would have to head straight this way,” said Nugget, dragging his feet in the dirt to draw a line, “we could reach there before dawn.” “I say we head out. We have nowhere else to go. I mean, we are lost.” said Clawdia. “For once, I agree with Clawdia. We have nothing to lose.” Ruffus murmured. “Well then, I guess we should start moving if we want to solve this mystery.” concluded Jack. With Nugget in the front, Clawdia in second, Jack as third, and with Ruffus as caboose, the wayfarers made their way. When they drew nearer, they realized that the light was coming from a house. They kept on walking, until at last, they stood in front of a brightly lit den, not a house. Since Jack was the tallest, he volunteered to go on his hinds and look through the window. “What do you see, Jack?” said Nugget. “What do I see? It is a robber’s den. Oh my, there is table in there decked with food, drinks, and money, with hairy old bandits sitting around it. I guess we have found our jackpot. Now we just need a plan.” replied Jack. So the animals debated how they might capture the den, until they finally settled on a game plan. Jack propped his front leg on the windowsill. Ruffus leaped on top of Jack. Clawdia nimbly climbed up on top of Ruffus. Finally, Nugget flew on top of Clawdia’s head. After they completed their pyramid, all four of them began their music. Jack neeee-hawed, while Ruffus gave a loud bark. Clawdia meowed and Nugget gave a proud cock-a-doodle-do. Then, all at once, the four charged into the robber’s den, shattering the window. Drunk and dumbfounded, the bandits ran away as quickly as possible, convinced that a ghost was upon. In their terror, they ran far from the den.

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The Ridge Vol. 1 Issue 1 2017 Exhausted but proud, the four sat down at the table and stuffed themselves and drank is if their stomachs had no bottom. After their victorious meal, they blew out the candles and found themselves a comfortable place to sleep. Jack settled down outside by the straw, which reminded him of home. Ruffus went behind the door, being a guard dog. Clawdia snuggled herself up behind the stove. Nugget decided to sleep on the beams of the roof of the den. All four of the troubadours fell asleep as quickly as the flick of a light switch. Meanwhile, the robbers gathered at midnight to recapture their den. “We are robbers. We are not cowards. How dare we scare so quickly,” said the leader, shaming the others. “You, go back and investigate. There are no more lights burning so you have nothing to worry about.” demanded the leader. “Why can’t…” pleaded the robber before he was interrupted. “Shoo! Now! We don’t have time for this silliness.” shouted the leader. So the robber trudged down to the den, hanging his head. Once he arrived, he noticed the kitchen was tranquil but it was pitch black. To get some light, the robber held up his match to Clawdia’s glowing eyes, mistaking them for coals. Exasperated, Clawdia leapt at the robber’s face, scratching him savagely. The robber jumped back in shock trying to escape Clawdia. When the robber jumped back to the door trying to escape, he instead trampled over Ruffus, leaving Ruffus infuriated. Ruffus went on his hinds and sank his teeth deep into the robber’s leg as if it were butter. Howling in pain, the robber scarpered at the door. But when the robber ran outside, he floundered into the straw, where Jack was resting. But before the robber could fall, Jack, aware of the intruder’s presence, gave him a nasty kick with his hind, sending the robber to the ground. Nugget, who had been awakened by the noise let out an ear cracking shriek from the rafters, “COCK-A-DOODLE-DO!” The robber bounced off the ground as if he were a bouncy ball and bolted away. By the time the robber was back to his leader, he was hobbling. The robber exclaimed to his leader, “Oh! There is a terrible witch in that house. She blasted her poison all over me and scratched me with her long fingernails leaving these awful marks on my face. See? And at the front door, a man was waiting for me with a blade. He stabbed me my leg. See?” he said pointing to the wound, which was now gushing blood. The robber continued, “And by the haystack, there was a black monster who clubbed me in my back with his wooden bat leaving me with this awful purple and green circle on my back. See? And up on the roof there was the master of the haunted den who shouted, ‘Bring me that rascal.’ I got out of there as fast as I could. It was absolutely horrifying!” blabbered the robber. So, the robbers never went back to the den. The four decided they were happy with the den and wanted to stay there. They soon became family. Although Jack lost his, he made a new family. To this day, some say you can hear their music at night if you go deep enough into the woods. And they all lived happily ever after.

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at Society Eloise Leclerc One side to another a hierarchy irreversible like lions to mouses to which people are labeled born into a class you’re all set friends since birth you’re accepted into the pack do you dare Stand up? Speak out? not part of the castle, you’re mute Unheard Silenced, even if you shout being cool is an occupation insults are jokes laughter echoes the hallways royalty is a temptation However, to the low whose light don’t just shine, but Glow considered now below? They will thrive the kings will see the 2​nd​ class will flourish the cruel won’t believe the mouses don’t know it they hide in a hole away but they will meet their dreams they will love someday though now it may seem like disaster unfair rulings from the unelected who gave them power? they were never my master But why did I follow? I wanted to speak Now, no one will ever silence me

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the classes are apparent but the future will come if I don’t believe in them then there will be none I’m a tiger now big as a lion Strong as a lion but with stripes Stripes Each coat different Each coat beautiful Stripes a tiger on the outside But a mouse at heart I keep my dignity and right But I share my light

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The Lion’s Hunt Megan Meyerson Yesterday morning, I set out from my lair; To locate my prey, I tasted the air The day was quite clear, And the scent of my prey Found its way to me On the wind of that day Behind me, at home, At Death’s Door, perhaps, My alpha lay sick In a feverish collapse The Pride, too, would crumble If our alpha did die. We’d scatter like leaves; Our strength would run dry I tracked down my prey In a small, woodland vale. When the elf turned and saw me, He called out in hail “What is it you want, Oh Lion?” Asked he, “I’m as skilled as they come, If you search to the sea.” “I need you to give me, A piece of the sun. I promise I’ll pay you, If the task is well-done.” The elf sighed and nodded, And took from his belt A pair of thick gloves, Of sturdy cow’s pelt He opened his hands, Raised them up to the sky, And a pure drop of sunlight Came down from on high

The drop of pure sunlight Transformed into a stone, With a crystal-white radiance Of a world lost and unknown The elf gave to me This gem of pure light, Then he turned and was gone, Disappearing from sight I picked up the stone Of the sun’s mighty gaze, And galloped away, My excitement ablaze When I laid the small stone Before my alpha’s great paws, I let go of my fear And re-sheathed my claws I knew that my task Now lay beyond my own paws, It was in the lap of the gods And the sun’s mighty jaws Yet I knew that somehow, With the help of the sun, My alpha would heal And my task would be done When our alpha rose at last, Just as the sun at first light, We roared our relief At his return to full might He roared in return, A roar of great might, And our joy shook the earth Until day turned to night

It glowed in his hands, With a light soft and warm. The elf held it close And murmured a charm

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The Ridge