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LO N TA TH E CHAPIN HIGH SCHOOL LITERARY MAGAZINE 2011-12


The Talon is a student featured and student produced literary magazine. All original work is submitted during the school year by current Chapin High School students. It is the policy of this magazine to accept and evaluate the submissions for inclusion based on the appropriateness of the material and its general quality. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be produced or transmitted in any form by any means now known or to be invented, whether electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by use of any information storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of the adviser. Colophon The Talon is printed by JS Printing based in Birmingham, AL. Press run 500 copies of 64 pages including cover. Paper is 80# Matte and 80# Gloss cover. Binding is . Ink is a four color process. Body copy ranges in font style and size. Adobe Indesign CS4 was used for design and layout. Contact: Mr. Scott Compton Dept of English Chapin HS 300 Columbia Ave. Chapin, SC 29036 scompton@lexrich5.org

We aRe Chapin 1


Literary Magazine Staff Editor: Mary Efird Assistant Editors: Kelly and Olivia McCammom Advisor: Scott Compton Cover art by Phillip Allen Drook III Special thanks to the Fine Arts Dept., AP Art students, Mr. Funk and his creative writing students, and Mr. Mewborne

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The ‘Losers’ Have More Fun By Magie Moncure **Disclaimer***I’m not here to write the regular popular kids suck

huge part of life, they always will

and the ‘losers’ are cool story. I’m

be. Why do they matter? Image is

writing about high school the way I

not everything. Being the prettiest,

see it. From the eyes of a ‘loser’.

most popular girl with the most friends in high school won’t matter

The Beatles said it best:

after graduation.

le ryone) p o e ve ol P oes e

“I’m a loser, and I’m not what I

Co

appear to be”. Social classes, rankings, and

now You k

hierarchy follow us wherever we go. We all know that’s a part of life. We can’t ignore it (unless we become anti-social recluses). What causes the social status standings we live by today?

who

are you

(so d

Who are the ‘losers’? They’re the kids who laugh with each other, not at.

Sem

i Po

One word: Image. “Image is

Peop

everything”.

but n

That’s a lie. That is what separates us- not beauty, money, not connections. Although the other factors make a difference, they’re not the final say. Cliques are a

3

r Pe

le wh

ot AS

They

pula

cool

o are as th

cool,

ople

e ‘co

ol’

wear the clothes they want, not clothes that ‘everyone’s wearing’.


Not everyone who isn’t a ‘loser’ is The losers have more fun because

an arrogant, pompous-headed jerk. It’s just that they care more about

they don’t care what other people

looks and who they hang out with.

think of them; they don’t care

We all experience different social classes of high school, we see

because they know it doesn’t

things differently, and we deal with

Average/Middle Kids

other things in high school.

. ese are your everyday

Largest class, th

dents.

e High School stu Makes up most of th matter.

Do you ever think about what it’s like to be somebody else? Look around, what do you look like

I’m a loser. I have loser friends.

to them? Picture

“L

We know it. We’re proud of it.

how they see han Sma g o lles ‘lo ut t c you. What ser w las s’ ith s, wh or pe o h ho opl ave w t e w ‘no hey ho d l Th dif frien ook on ’t c ere fer ds to enc ’, b oth are w are e. eca ers ho 2t us . (N th ype et e so her ot y f e i the do they sa think of you?

os

Because we’re different. This is the great part about being a loser: We don’t care. When you don’t care, you can goof off with your friends without worrying about what other kids think. You’re friends with people because you want to be, not because they’re ‘cool’. We don’t worry about image, We can be ourselves. We don’t worry about designer handbags or wearing tons of makeup.

ers

‘lo

ser s’

By now, this has dragged on, and sounds like every other loser who writes about being a loser. But here’s the great

We can be happy with ourselves the way we are, and we’re satisfied with it.

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thingI know I’m a loser, I don’t care.


HOPE

By DJ Flannery

I see my momma smile, that’s a blessing. I have seen the greatest message; the message couldn’t have been more clear. Seeing this message has given me hope. I woke up today.

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Artwork by Victoria Shuler


Artwork by Brooke Horton

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An excerpt from Falls, Death, and News by Cody Lambeth Earlier that morning…..           ...Jon Anders is one of the most depressing people on planet

earth. Just by looking at him you know that it would be a tragedy to be in his situation. Every morning he wakes up at six o’clock sharp. Takes a shower in exactly five minutes and then brushes his teeth in a repeated up-down motion from front to back. He then brushes his tongue for thirty seconds. He dresses in a specific order: underwear then socks, undershirt, button up shirt and finally pants. He tucks in his overly extended stomach (big enough to rest a plate on) in his pants with his button up shirt. He puts on his leather belt and leather shoes. For the finishing touch, his blazer goes on last. While he does all this he shows no emotion. He waddles down the stairs and out his door into his car. When he steps into his car, the left side dips. He drives down the road in silence, with only the thought of how he may kill himself today to keep him company. He arrives at work at 7:15 precisely. He works at the bank until two every day. Then, he walks down the street for lunch. As he galumphs down the sidewalk, his thoughts teeter over whether he should kill himself today. He gets to Subway and orders, still thinking. “What would you like on your sandwich sir?,” the employee asks. “Roast beef, ham, turkey, chicken, and razorblades.” “Um, sir did you say razorblades?” “Oh, I’m so sorry. I meant mayonnaise.”

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He walks out and begins his short journey back to work, making sure he does not step on a crack in the sidewalk to insure he keeps his balance. Jon is six blocks away from his work when he realizes that he is the only one on the street. It gives him a weird feeling, but he ignores it just like he ignores everything else that is weird in his life. He rounds the corner while sweat runs downs his back and sides like Niagara Falls. Two blocks away, and still no one. “Hello”? Jon yells. He hears something, something yelling. “What is tha…………

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Artwork by Victoria Shuler

The employee makes his sandwich and Jon eats alone, again. He takes a bite and chews three times, then another bite followed by three more chews. This continues until the sandwich is added to Jon’s boulder of a stomach.


Artwork by Robin Avery 9


I would care”

But he was struck with how long She stood there, As if waiting for a signor a message from heaven That would never come. And as if on cue, The world shifted a sigh, And the woman let out a pleading cry.

By April Epting

The river felt her as she waded in, He felt her feet on his Forsaken stones, He felt her tears, and heard her cries, that no human would ever hear.

And to the

He heard the hysterical way she asked, “Who would even care?” And He saw as she climbed The tower of rocks,

earth she plummeted, He witnessed as she fell. He was there to greet her

That none ever dared.

When she ran out of air.

He saw the way she struggled, as she made her way to the top. And would forever remember the look of her silhouette as it was eclipsed by the sun.

And as the river held the woman close, He whispered in her ear Words that she would never hear, “I would.

He could hardly view, The way she bent her knees and raised her too-thin arms.

I would care.” 10


It’s the Small Miracles… By Kenzie Foster

I believe in small miracles. I have witnessed small miracles and I know small

miracles exist. A miracle can be personal or shared with others as well. A miracle is a “work of God.” I can believe in these miracles because I have experienced them.

The small miracles are the miracles that have a huge impact on a person’s life,

a true gift. They are those smiles that brighten a day when nothing else could, a best friend who is always there and will always listen, or the ability to take a deep breath and relax with friends in a hectic world.

A small miracle may not even be apparent. I know a small miracle. Without my best friend, I wouldn’t be able to stand here today and say I am happy with myself. She has helped me to come out of my shell a little bit and let me be myself. A friend can be a small miracle.

The slightest notion, such as a smile, can brighten someone’s day. A smile is contagious. A smile is courageous. We all have a reason to frown in the world around us, but it only takes that one smile to start a trend. With one smile, a person can affect many people. That smile can help others to see the light in living as well.

A smile can be a small miracle. No matter how many times one fights and screams with brothers and sisters, moms and dads they are going to be there for you. Families are people set apart from the rest of the world. They are always going to love you and are always going to want the best for you. No matter what comes your way, you can always know that someone has your back. Family can be a small miracle.

I believe in small miracles because I have witnessed them and I know them.

A miracle is defined as “a work of God.” Everything in a life happens for a reason. There are small miracles to help people to see the light along the way. Whether the miracle is a friend, a smile, a family, or something else, the miracle is there.

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Photo by Carly Bouknight

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Life after Tragedy

W

By Jessica Ervin

e have been wandering for a year now. All that is left of my family is my brother Jhad. Our village was burned and my mother died. Now we are trying to survive. I am Amondi. I will tell our story. I lived a normal lifestyle before what happened my family. My papa left us when I was just a baby, so I never knew him. Me and Jhad helped Mama around the house a lot. We cooked and cleaned. Sometimes we were able to go to school. We had to wear a blue skirt and a white shirt that always got dirty before lunch! When I was able to go to school, I felt really special. I really liked school. I got to learn to read and write and do math. When we couldn’t go to school, I watched Jhad because he was only three years old at that time. Life was ordinary. And that’s how we wanted it to stay. It did stay that way for a while at least. Then we knew something different. The rebel forces were starting to take over the southern part of Africa. We did not know why they were destroying villages and taking people’s lives, but we knew they were ruthless killers and we had to be very alert. We heard of the rebels taking adults and children to work as slaves. All they cared about was money. We heard on the radio of villages going up in flames and people fleeing in terror. We hoped and prayed that the Rebels did not approach Boxahuku. On one fateful day our worst fears came true. The Artwork by Alina Huffstetler

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rebels were coming to Boxahuku. They came while everyone was at home. I was fifteen at the time and Jhad was only six. Our family was petrified. Mama tried her hardest to gather the few valuables we had in a sack so we could have a few things if we had to run. There was not enough time. Bombs were going off all around us. We heard the horrified screams of people trying to get away. Flames were eating the town. Jhad was howling. Mama shoved the sack at me. “RUN! RUN!,” she screamed. “I’ll come!” She never did.

Artwork by Sklyer Sullivan

Gunshots blasted past us and rammed into her chest. I shrieked as I tried come to her side. I could

not. The flames finally started to begin their race to devour our house. I frantically turned around. I sprinted to Jhad, who was wailing on the floor, and scooped him up in my arms. I made sure to keep a tight grasp on the sack my mother gave her life to give me. I had to get out of there. It was gut wrenching, to see my family, my life, my home, shattered in front of my very eyes. “Come to your senses, come to your senses” I kept repeating to myself in a soft voice. Jhad had worn himself out crying until he ran out of tears. I knew what I had to do. I had to keep strong for Jhad and for myself. I scanned the horizon from underneath the tree where we were sitting. Nothing. Boxahuku was a secluded village, and now that it was gone we were in the middle of nowhere. The rest of the villagers who managed to survive had gone off into many different directions. Some even stayed to go through the ruins to find anything worth saving. A sudden cough startled me. I looked down to where Jhad was lying. He looked fragile- more fragile than he’s ever looked. We sat there until the next morning, sometimes sleeping sometimes crying about Mama and Boxahuku. Finally, I knew we had to get it together. I tried to think of places we could go, people we knew. No one was there to help us now. Finally, we had to get up to find some source of food and water. We started to head 14


west. After we walked for a few minutes, I wondered if this really was the best idea. It was a long way to this far off village and I knew that there were dangerous animals. It didn’t look like we had enough water to even make the trip. We only had one bottle of water for the both of us and that did not do much to ease my nerves. We started walking again. I held on to Jhad and to the sack that Mama gave me. e trekked on as much as we could through the night. I couldn’t see much and I relied greatly on instinct. Suddenly, I got a sinking feeling. I heard a slight growling right behind me. I was carrying a sleeping Jhad, so I tried my best to turn around as calmly as possible. I prayed for the best. I got the worst again. There were two wild dogs lurking behind me. I did not know what to do. I stayed turned around bracing my muscles to start to run. The dogs started to circle. One started to groan. I looked at my feet and saw a large rock. I shuddered to think about what could happen if this went horribly

W

Artwork by Austin Reid

wrong. Adrenaline kicked in, I grabbed the rock, and I threw it at the biggest dog. It hit him right in the face and he screamed in pain. It whimpered and tried to dart off but fell. I screamed when the other dog jumped on my back. I tried to get the dog off without hurting Jhad, so I slammed down onto my back. The dog howled in pain, and then went silent. I looked around in horror. I finally realized what I had done. I picked up Jhad again. He was still sound asleep. We kept walking. was still frantic about what happened last night when we finally made it to the village. The walk wasn’t as long as I originally thought and I was grateful. Jhad was awake and I finally set him down so he could walk on his own. My arms were burning from holding him for so long. We were so excited to finally reach civilization, even though we were both exhausted. I longed to find a place that Jhad and I could

I

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just sit for a second. I scanned the crowd and saw what I was looking for. It was a simple, unoccupied bench. It was close to a cart selling fruits and a small plug in fan. To me and Jhad it looked like heaven. As we walked to it, it felt like we were moving in slow motion. We finally sat down. My muscles sang praises to finally be resting. Jhad was sitting next to me, nestled in my arms. knew this journey would not be complete without a few minor crimes. I had to get some food into myself and into Jhad. I stood up and told Jhad to stay on the bench. I walked up to the food cart and scanned it. Everything on it looked so delicious. My mind strayed to Mama cooking dinner. She could make a mouthwatering dish out of any of these fruits. I was overcome with emotion. I missed Mama so much. I shook those thoughts out of my head. I grabbed some mangos and oranges and quickly put them in my bag. I looked around. No one saw me. I sighed in relief. Then, I grabbed some more and more and more until my bag was full. I looked around. No one saw me. When I got back, he looked at me with those big brown eyes that melted my heart. I took his arm and we walked out of sight of the cart. Sitting down next to each other, leaning against an old rickety wall we started to gulp down the oranges. We did not care we were eating the peel or that we were getting it all over our face and hands: our stomachs were content. hat was six months ago. We Artwork by Emily Perry made our own shelter out of scraps of metal and wood. I knew this journey would be long and hard, but so far we have made do. I tried to make some money by doing people’s hair or cooking and cleaning for them. Jhad has been growing; it astounds me every day. Everyday we think about what happened to Boxahuku and Mama. I think about what I need to do to try to stop the rebel group. Jhad and I are growing stronger and smarter. One day, I will try to continue my education. I know that Mama would be so proud of us.

I

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Photo by Alexis Bouknight 17


DARKNESS By April Epting

und? ed, o r f e e d b n o sh to ned i ever w ards? w u y o e y ave ackw sn’t the ntil th you questio vil? b U s a w f it ave ly e ss wa u H e r n t k r s i a that If d ness t k h r , a g y d u o m f h I ene ts, ver t he victim e e r c u e o s y ave nly t er of aster? H o r a s e i b sun, e h d is e d s The z p f a a r o Perh ttention c tion? omen ought that a r i n a m d a r O eks a ed f an er th e victim e v O s e y u l t o onstan ever wonder my, Have y e is only th sun, c o h W e u sh zed ave yo asn’t the en Perhap ttention cra ation? H ir a ts, ss w e e r n c k e r s Of an ks only adm oned a If d er of aster? r i e a t e s e s b e u o Wh The f dis o ever q y evil? n u e o m y ed, o r e n d a n Have ess is trul o r O vil ver w s? e e n k e r u b a o d y If Have is backward uld he stows o c w o If it For h he who be e h t f o If it is s upon those spell d? g n i p e Sle worl evil e b e uld h o c w o For h t is he who s in If i y a w a n ap ru curity r w l l i W f obs o k a o l His c

HI

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no delay. We stand upon the wall and look down at the valley; the climb is denial never bothering to look up at the m o u n t a i n . and actions quick and speedy with

But convince yourself to salvage the time

It will be brief and painless, And gratification will be far more defined. No point in putting today off on to tomorrow For yesterday is fast approaching Better to have nothing to do Then doing nothing when there is stuff to be done. 19

by Cody Singletary

No time to lose Instant gratification outweighs helpless regret knowing now and knowing then, but no action time is endless in the procrastinater’s mind


Artwork by Savannah Frick

If We Were in Charge of the World Parker and Griffin If we were in charge of the world, We’d cancel wimpy kids, Bullies, Brussels sprouts, Wasps, gnats, spiders and mosquitoes. If we were in charge of the world, There would be NO terrorists or jerks. If we were in charge of the world, We wouldn’t have hunger. We wouldn’t have mean teachers. We wouldn’t have homeless people, Or taxes. If we were in charge of the world, JV sports would be able to go to State. All high school students would have naptime. And a person who sometimes forgot to mow the lawn And sometimes forgot to do their homework Would still be in charge of the world.

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Photo by Brooke Bauer


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WINNING by Cody Brundage

C

ompetition is about winning. People who tell you different are lying. No one remembers the second place team or the team that placed one hundredth for that matter. Competition isn’t about feeling good about yourself for trying or just doing your best. It’s about pushing yourself to be first and to win. If your goal isn’t to be a

That’s not to say that the relationships I forged meant nothing because they are still very important but our goal was to win and we failed. Americans grow up in a society where not winning is okay and where our kids are taught that having fun is all that matters. We aren’t

preparing them for the real world by doing this. You are not going to get into a great college just because you had fun trying to do Calculus. You are not going have a good job just because you have high self-esteem.

champion, then you might as well quit because there is no reason for you YOU ARE NOT A WINNER JUST to be on a competitive team.

All of life is a competition and those

that push themselves to be the best will always come out over those that are happy with just average or mediocre. People telling you that it’s okay as long as you have fun aren’t entirely right. I am speaking from personal experience that doing your best or having fun isn’t what it’s all about.

Losing is losing and it sucks. I know because my team and I lost the wrestling AAA state title two years in a row. My team did their best. We never went out there thinking we were about to lose. Nevertheless, we lost.

It sucked then and it sucks now. I formed lifelong friendships with my teammates and we became a family we had so much FUN and always tried our BEST for each other. All that being said, we won’t ever be state champions.

BECAUSE NO ONE EVER LET YOU FAIL. Winning should be at the forefront- fun and effort in the background. Winning is what separates people whether it’s getting that promotion over a co-worker, getting hired for that job, or being accepted to your first choice college. So is giving every kid a diploma just for showing up a good plan?

C

ompetitiveness is everywhere and only the winners make it. Therefore, the countries that produce kids with a winner’s mentality will be by default winners. If everyone in America strived to be successful instead of taking handouts and being okay with it, America would be a more successful country. We need to start teaching our kids that it’s okay to be competitive and to want to win and to want to be the best. Stop telling students that having fun and feeling good about themselves is all that matters.

In reality, it isn’t.

We did not accomplish our goal- the goal. 23


Dreams By Nick Stewart I believe in following your dreams. Dreams are what drive me to get through each day and try my best to succeed. Everyone has a dream and it is everyone’s right to follow it. Dreams- everyone has had one such as playing a professional sport or becoming a doctor or solving a world problem. No matter how big or small, people enjoy their dreams and trying to make them come true. Dreams can give people motivation to get through a tough day and they can teach people lessons. Even if you don’t succeed in making your dream come true, you still get the enjoyment and you still learn from your experiences. I have a dream to play college basketball somewhere. I want to get a good education and play basketball. To succeed, I have to train and work to become the best player that I can be. I enjoy following y dream and trying to make it come true. My dream has already taught me some tough lessons like perseverance because if you work hard enough you will succeed. I have already worked hard for my dream and have already improved and experienced some success. No matter how impossible you think your dream is you can always try. Everyone has the ability to succeed and everyone should believe in themselves. I am fortunate to have people that support me, which is a huge blessing. If you have people that love and support you, you will be able to enjoy and learn from your dreams. Believe, work, and succeed. The three steps of your dreams. No matter how difficult or impossible you think your dreams are you always have the ability for success. Follow your dreams and you will learn to enjoy life.

Artwork by Brooke Horton 24


HOPE By Kelly McCammon

H

er name is Hope. At a glance, she looks like a typical, young, twenty year old girl. She has medium length, light brown hair and green eyes. She is neither fat, nor skinny, but average. If you look closer though, you can see the truth behind Hope’s eyes. She is a sad, lonely person. Her eyes have dark circles under them from many nights of restless sleep. They are also bloodshot from stress, and from nights when she cried herself to sleep. Everyone has a story, but Hope tries her hardest to keep hers hidden. Hope was good at keeping her feelings locked away for no one to see. She was sixteen when she started pushing her feelings to the side. Little did she know that those feelings would eat her up inside. It was like she was fighting a monster deep inside her, forcing it to stay in when it needed out. Hope was going somewhere. She was going to get help, something that she desperately needed. She was tired of pretending that she was ok, because she knew it was a lie. Something that happened a week ago in downtown Atlanta made her realize how much help she truly needed. Hope paused when she got to an old black door. She looked down at her smart phone to make sure she had reached her destination in the cold evening. She entered the building. Almost immediately, the scent of apple cinnamon reached her nostrils. The room was nicely warm and cozy, comforting in a way. There were three soft chairs and two big couches. Nobody else was there, so she decided to sit down and wait. Barely five minutes had passed when a door to her left opened, and a tall lady poked her head to the side. She was the therapist that Hope had decided she’d talk to. “Hi there. I’m Dr. Jones,” said the tall blue eyed blonde woman. “Hello. Um...my name is Hope, Hope Richards.” “Pleasure to meet you Hope. Why don’t you come on in.” Hope hesitantly stood up. She walked through the door into the therapist’s office. “Take a seat wherever you’d like.” Hope looked and saw a two cushioned, leather couch and a big antique looking chair. She sat down on the couch, and Dr. Jones took a seat right across from her. Hope just stared at Dr. Jones. She didn’t know how this was supposed to work.

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“Take a deep breath, and relax. I understand that you’re nervous, but you need to tell me what’s going on. I’m here to help you, and whatever you say is completely confidential. Ok?” Hope just sat there, fidgeting. She opened her mouth to respond, but nothing came out. Instead, tears started streaming down her face. “Hope, it’s ok. You can trust me, just relax, relax Hope....relax.” Hope closed her eyes and went back into her past. All of a sudden, she was sixteen again. She was back in high school. She didn’t know that this was going to be the worst year of her life, a year that would change her as a person. Hope, Leslie, Ava, and Dawn became best friends two years ago, their freshman year of high school. Hope couldn’t have asked for better friends. “Morning Hope!” said Leslie. Hope’s face lit up. “Hey you. Didn’t know you knew how to get to school on time.” “Thanks, love you too.” Leslie smiled and gave Hope a sideways hug as they walked to Chemistry class together. Hope had no idea that this would be the last time they walked to class together. Images flashed forward in Hope’s mind to 3:15 pm, when school was out. She walked over to Leslie. “Hey, you need a ride home?” “Well, I kinda need to stay a few minutes to talk to my math teacher, but I wasn’t going to because I’d miss the bus. But if you could stay and give me a ride home when I’m done, that’d be great.” “I don’t mind. I just need to text my mom and let her know that I’m staying.” “Ok. Thanks.” Ava and Dawn walked up as Leslie and Hope turned to head towards the math hall. “Hey you guys,” said a very enthusiastic Ava. “Hey. Do y’all need a ride home? I’m taking Leslie home after she goes to talk

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to her math teacher.” “Thanks for the offer, but I have an orchestra rehearsal at five, and need to have time to freshen up before. So I can’t stay. I’ll just take the bus,” said Dawn. “Yeah, I can’t stay either. I have an eye doctor appointment, and my mom’s picking me up.” “Oh, ok. Well, see y’all tomorrow!” They all said bye to each other, and then Hope and Leslie walked down the math hall. When Leslie was done, she and Hope walked to Hope’s car. “Ahhh...don’t you just love my beautiful silver Hyundai?” “It’s pretty cool. I can’t wait to have my own car.” “Yeah, it’s nice having one of my own instead of borrowing my mom’s.” They got in, and headed out of the school’s parking lot. Leslie turned the radio up blaring to Boys like Girl’s “The Great Escape.” “Seriously? Could you get that any louder?” “Actually, I can!” Leslie acted like she was going to turn it up even more when Hope gave her a death glare. Leslie busted out laughing, and so did Hope. They were having a great time. That was when it happened. Hope hadn’t been paying attention; she was too busy laughing to notice the red light. She ran the red light, and that’s when the blue pick up truck slammed into the passenger side of the car where Leslie was sitting. Everything went cold. Hope opened her eyes that felt like they had been glued shut. The light in the hospital room blinded her. She shielded her eyes with her hand that ached. She saw her right hand wrapped up in gauze. All of a sudden she felt a sharp pain in her forehead. It felt like someone was slowly cutting into her head with a recently sharpened knife. She felt a stitched gash there where the pain was coming from. “Take it easy Hope.” Hope could tell that was her mom’s voice. She tried to sit up, and her mom came over to help. She could tell that her mom had been crying. She couldn’t remember what had happened. All she could remember was laughing in the car with Leslie. “What happened? Where’s Leslie? Is she ok?” “Hope...” Her mom’s eyes filled with tears. Hope had a horrified look on her face and shook her head.

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“No, no, no! Leslie!” She screamed and tried to get out of the hospital bed. Her mom tried to calm her, but she was in too much shock that everything went cold once again. This was the first funeral Hope had ever been to, and it was all her fault. How could she have killed her best friend? What was she going to do without Leslie? She was the best person Hope had ever met. She’d never meet another person like Leslie. She still had Ava and Dawn, but she couldn’t lose them too. She couldn’t even look at them now. She never wanted to feel this pain again. Hope opened her eyes and looked back up at Dr. Jones with red watery eyes. “So you cut yourself off from everyone because of what happened to Leslie?” asked Dr. Jones. “Yes. I had to. I couldn’t deal with going through something like that again, and causing people pain. It was all my fault, I was so irresponsible. I killed my best friend.” “Hope, it was an accident. We all make mistakes, even if they’re tragic ones. But we have to move on and live our lives. Do you think Leslie likes looking down on you and seeing how miserable you are? Wouldn’t she want you to be happy, to see you smile and laugh?” “No! That’s how I killed her, because I was laughing and having a good time!” “It was an accident. You didn’t do it on purpose, now did you?” “Well, no, but..” “But nothing. It was an accident. I know you miss Leslie, and feel guilty for what happened, but you have to move on and let go of the past.” “But it’s not fair, that I got to live, and Leslie didn’t. It should’ve been me.” “Hope, why did you decide to see me now? What was your sudden change of heart in seeking help?” “Well, last week I was walking in the downtown part of Atlanta, and I saw some Labrador puppies for sale. I stopped for a minute to pet one, and this man walked up too. He asked me if I wanted one, and I told him I was just looking at them. He told me that earlier this year, his old lab had passed away and he missed him. He said he’d been looking for a puppy for the past few months. I asked him how could he replace his other dog and forget about him. He told me that he’d never forget his beloved dog, but he needed to move on, that his loyal companion would stay in his heart forever. I know that this kind of life style, being so distant from people, isn’t good for me. I want to be able to move

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on, but I don’t know how. I feel so guilty.” “I know Hope. But the first step to getting better is realizing you have a problem, which you have done. What happened with Ava and Dawn?” “I talk to them maybe every three to four months, but I only see them one weekend during the summer.” “They’re your best friends too though. You avoiding them isn’t helping anyone. It’s not right to them.” “I don’t want to hurt them. I never really talked to them about Leslie after she died. I don’t know if they blame me.” “Not talking to them isn’t going to give you any answers. You need them, and they need you. You all went through the same tragedy. So are you going to try to get better Hope? It’s your choice. I can help you, but you have to really want my help. It’s going to take time, but we’ll get you back on your feet.” “I’m willing to try.” “Ok, well I think you should come to talk to me three times a week until you start to improve. Never believe that keeping everything inside is helping you, because it’s doing the exact opposite. You have to learn to be strong. I know you can do that.” “Please help me,” Hope cries.

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Artwork by Kelly Cichon

b Ro

Artwork by Deseray

Artwork by Taylor Hillier, Emily Epting, and Christian DelPino 30


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Artwork by Bernie Godoy


Artwork by Johnny Denise 32


Sirens Song By Carr Lockwood The murky shoreline rears

Her lips are stained from the hearts she’s broken And from them lies of love are spoken

And echoes of deaths, melodies draw near

But to deceit I am awoken My heart dies upon the waves

She is but a siren in disguise

Drowned and dragged to the grave She waits for you where the water falls

By this harpy that stole my heart

And dares you just to hear her calls

And then sung to me as she tore it apart

And with feelings lost love she mauls And into the night she goes

She speaks to you with notes she sings And as an angel light she brings But dreaming brings you round to find The demon neath the masks she hides

Learned too late With bitter fate And rocky shoal in sight I see no light In my hour of plight

Artwork by Ashley Graham

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Gorgon by Mr. Michael Mewborne

The beauty, the horror The waiting for tomorrow A church pew, please ignore The awful earned sorrow The fault and the credit The blame and the arrested A victim, the merit The vision we contested The anger, the fire The cold and distant luster A serpent, a liar The truth we try to muster

The coral dried unyielding The mineral unforgiving A tale that's retelling Desire to keep on living The sisters, the sharing The warrior menagerie A look in that glaring The mirror, the coming injury The silver, the swift sword The blood on the sandy shore A delay on the chord Avoiding what we're looking for Look at me, not me through me

Artwork by Jesse Lindler 34


The Days By Taylor Rister I miss the days when the only things my friends were blowing were bubbles.

Don’t you remember smoking Smarties instead of pot? You weren’t such an idiot

When coke meant Coke-A-Cola.

When you were done with the Smarties?

When parties meant balloons. Not booze. When our idea of a date was animal crackers and a trip to the swing set,

Do you remember what it feels like to be innocent or do you just recall how to act innocent? We bought candy bars not condoms, at Wal-Mart.

The best gift you could get was a dandelion,

We hadn’t buried our childhood in the sandbox yet,

Second base was holding hands, When we got chased by boys on the playground instead of the cops after a party.

And there was no shame in wanting to grow up to be a princess or an astronaut.

Do you remember tripping because you were clumsy, not because you were drunk?

There was no shame in not wanting to grow up at all.

I miss the days when spin the bottle was the most risqué thing we partook in.

Maybe it makes me “immature”

I will testify that my Batman pajamas were a lot more comfortable than anything you can buy in Victoria’s Secret.

Artwork by Dreher Shuler and Bre Stone

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Maybe it’s a bad thing,

But I like kindergarten a lot more than high school.


Artwork by Jade AndrewsJones

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The Piano by K. Lee Graham

I

remember walking through a narrow door and briefly traveling through a small, dark corridor before coming into the grand room we were to be waiting in. The rows upon rows of plush red chairs sloped from the back of the room in a downwards motion to the front, and little pathways were gently illuminated by footlights which casted a glow between rows. What held my attention most was the great red velvet curtain housed in the front of the room, secured shut by golden tassels that dangled from another thick golden cord. I remember wanting desperately to throw open these curtains and, to see what could possibly be so valuable that it had to be, temporarily withheld from my vision. Instead, I filed in quietly with the rest of the students to a seat which was situated perfectly center with the closed opening of that great red wall. As I sat there, my eyes roamed around the room until I became bored hearing the same teachers say the same warnings to the same troublesome students, threatening to never again bring them on a field trip to ‘such an elegant venue’, and it was then that I begin to block out my surroundings. The noises of high school students teasing each other, and teachers who were only more stressed with the prospect of trying to keep all 300 students safe and accounted for while temporarily out of their prison, no longer held my attention. It was not a surprise that I didn’t notice the slightly older than middle aged, but not quite old, lady emerge from off the left side of the big red curtain. She was wearing a matching suit and skirt set in a red almost identical to the curtain behind her. Little pearl earrings dangled from her ear lobes, and she was a little plump with some crinkly edges, like a fancy pastry. I also didn’t notice her introducing herself as a benefactor of the theater, and saying she was so 37

glad the high schools of the Pee Dee area allowed some of their students to attend this special performance of local high school pianists that were selected for a special program for talented performers throughout the state. It was only when the lights began to dim and a wail of excited student voices rose before they were hushed into silence, and when the red curtain was drawn open from each side of the stage did I awaken myself from my half conscious state of mind. There, standing proudly on that stage illuminated by lights above and level with the stage, was a shining black grand piano, its strong structure and elegant appearance gaining my full attention. I was enthralled with this object, this treasure found behind the curtain. And when a boy dressed in a matching black suit and bow tie stepped into the light from this time the right side of the stage, my once short attention span became 10 times longer I recognized this person. I knew exactly who he was. The boy made a short staccato movement to the audience that was supposed to be a bow before taking his place at the piano. He took first one breath, then another, and spent a few moments cracking his knuckles and stretching out his fingers until I thought they would break one by one right off his hand. It wasn’t until this ritual was completed did he begin to play, his long fingers gently glided along the ivory and ebony keys until they became a rhythmic blur in my mind. As I watched him my ears opened as well, and they were met with the sounds of the piano singing along with the pianist’s smooth movements, creating harmonies so rich they felt as weighty and smooth as liquid gold. I settled in my seat and made myself comfortable with this music swirling all around me, invading my thoughts as I


allowed it to take me to another time and place. I am sitting on a beach. I feel the sand sticking to the sunscreen on my legs and arms and stomach, and the sun is beating down. It is the summer before freshman year starts and my last day of vacation before my family heads back home to begin busily preparing for the upcoming school year. Right now, mom is frantically scurrying around the drafty rental house, trying to extract every grain of sand tracked in by our feet, towels, and clothes, even though as soon as I walk back in all her efforts will be wasted. The whole house is filled with the sounds of the vacuum, kids screaming, and clothes tumbling in the washer. To escape the chaos I had come back out to the public beach access just two houses and one left turn down from the house we were staying in. It was here that I would be able to think without being interrupted every few seconds to scrub yet another tile of the kitchen floor spotlessly clean. Out here, if you walk far enough down the shore, away from the Boardwalk, and tuck yourself up close by the dunes and sea oats, you’re almost invisible. No one is there to yell at you or point you out. It’s just you and the sand, sun, and water. I pull my legs up closer to my chest and wrap my arms a little tighter across my knees. I just sit here and let my mind go blank, until I see a red dot out in the water towards my right, moving left and perpendicular to shore. As it gets closer I realize it’s a person, not just any person, but Riley. He’s on a surfboard. I met Riley 2 weeks ago, our first day at the beach house. Mom sent me to Piggly Wiggly to get some hot dogs and supplies for making s’mores for supper. The grocery store was only two blocks away; we were in one of those small towns where the main attraction is the ocean and Jake’s Fish Market. I strolled down the street and made my way through the electric doors, finding the food I needed easily. I went to pay at one of the self serve express counters, but for some

reason the marshmallows wouldn’t scan. I stood there for a whole 3minutes, continually sliding the bag back and forth across the glass surface, causing the line behind me to back up and frustrations to build. For another 2 minutes I continued, until I was just going to give up when behind me I hear someone say “Here, let me help you with that.” I guess a mixture of embarrassment and surprised compelled me to swing around a little faster than I expected, and I must have forgotten that I was still holding the marshmallows in my left hand because the next thing I knew I was smacking a teenage guy in the face. My hand went up to cover my gaping mouth and I could feel my cheeks illuminating to a bright pink, my eyes widening. I tried to say something but nothing came out, only a slight wheezing sound. All I could do was stand there, just wishing I could disappear. The guy was still standing there too, but he was laughing. He was tall, taller than me by a good 6 inches. He had eyes that were a swampy green color and was tan like he didn’t care one thing about proper skin protection. I noticed when he was laughing that his nose would scrunch up and he had a little gap between his front teeth, but in a cute way. “Umm…..I’m sorry…Riley,” I said, looking down at the nametag on his dark blue polo shirt that was the Piggly Wiggly uniform. It was one of those awkward moments like when your stomach decides to growl abnormally loud during the prayer at church. “It’s alright, at least it was just marshmallows,” he managed to make out after his laughter faded. He had a terrible sense of humor. I spin back around on the heel of my foot, intent on ignoring him until he disappeared, but no. Stubborn as the pink tinge on my face, he stayed, until he swiftly grabbed the marshmallows from my hand and in one sweep managed to successfully scan it through the register and drop it in the plastic

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Artwork by Bethany Jagielko


grocery bag. He politely pushed me to the side and finished scanning the rest of my purchases, until I was left with three plastic grocery bags of food items. “Here you go…” he trailed off. Oh, Right. He was trying to get my name. “Izzy,” I blurt out the nickname my sister gave me, the one she hasn’t used since I was six years old. He gives a quick nod and a smile and disappears off to the cereal aisle, and as soon as I made sure he was gone and out of range of the marshmallows, I stumble out the opening door, desperately wanting to reach the safety of that crazy beach house. As soon as I pass the corner of the sidewalk, I start to half jog, my little rubber flip flops smacking the pavement and making the same noise as my little sister when she smacks her gum. Finally, I reach our street, never so glad to hear my little siblings’ squeals. I went back to Piggly Wiggly a few times after that. Every time I told myself it was because Mom might want some more cereal or milk for breakfast, or we were almost out of Doritos, even though we had never bought them in the first place. The real reason was I wanted to save face with Riley. I made sure to spend just enough time comparing different bread brands so by the time I checked out Riley would be working the register. The second time I went he remembered me. “Hey, marshmallow girl!” he said. Of course I said hey back, but it came out quieter than I thought it would, and my head ducked down a little. After I was done checking out, I grabbed my groceries and waved on my way out. He waved too. And every time I went we would say a little more to each other, small talk like “How’s the vacation going?” (On the third trip he asked if I was from around here and I said “No, just on vacation”) Eventually I worked up the nerve to tell him where we were staying and he responded that he like to go that beach to surf some39

times. That was last Saturday, and sense then I waited up there every day at four, when the waves were supposed to be the best according to the new surfing app I so conveniently acquired on my Iphone. And here I was now, sitting here on the sand while he is out in the water, and as I think back on the two weeks, I realize just how pathetic our little friendship is. For all I know he thinks of me as just another customer, but at least that’s better than some creepy stalker fan girl. This thought is still tumbling through my head when I spy Riley riding a wave into shore, hopping off his board, and start to walk up towards my little spot on shore, shaking his hair free of the salt water like a big shaggy dog, and focusing his eyes on the little billows of sand his footsteps create with each step. On a sudden impulse of desperate anxiety, I hop up to my feet, causing Riley to slightly trip over the little mound of sand in front of him built up by the wind and rough waves that beat up against the shore at high tide. He looks up at me with a surprised expression. I could see in his face that he didn’t recognize me, but then I saw something click and he smiled. “Hey,” I said. “Oh hey Izzy!” he replied, “I forgot you said you were staying on this beach.” “Yeah,” I trailed off, “I’m really going to miss it.” “So does that mean you’re leaving soon?” “Yes, tomorrow.” “Oh.” For a few minutes we just stood there trying to act as casual as possible, but it was one of those fake moments that happens because they have to. So I just kind of stood there looking out to sea. “Hey, since it’s your last day and all, I’m actually on my way to this bonfire Brad is having. There’s going to be tons of people. You want to come along? It’s just a few houses down that way,” he breaks off as he points


left, away from my beach house. The thought of being invited someplace, anyplace by this boy was exciting enough, and he invited me to a bonfire nonetheless. It seemed like he genuinely wanted me to come too. But it was getting dark. Sunset was signaling the approaching night, signaling that my parents would be frantically calling down the street for me. I could go for just a few minutes. That wouldn’t hurt anyone. It’s not like I’m going to go and drink or smoke or anything. Riley is too nice to take me somewhere that might happen. He looks so nice standing there with his arm around his surfboard, looking down at me. Yeah, it wouldn’t be wrong if I went, but mom would flip…but I don’t have to tell her do I? Surely if I was back in an hour or two, I mean I know they would be mad but maybe they would understand… “Alright. I’ll go.” And then we run hand in hand off in the sunset together, with dolphins jumping out of the water and fireworks exploding in the now dusky dark sky. But it didn’t happen that way. I went to move my feet forward towards Riley, but instead they keep going backwards, taking me away from my freedom. While inside, my heart was screaming yes my mouth was politely declining. My conscience was winning this tug of war. Applause shatters the room and cracks through the air as the last note of the sonata resonates throughout the building. They boy with the blonde shaggy hair and tanned skin stands tall and takes a little bow once more before briskly walking off the stage, much like he did that day on the beach. As I watched Riley disappear behind the wings of that great red curtain I knew I wasn’t going to make the same mistake I did last summer. I wasn’t going to let him get away again. I sat through the rest of the concert, not actually listening to the music performed but thinking up a way

to approach Riley afterwards. By the end of that excruciating 45 minutes I knew what I was going to say and how I was going to do it. I was ready. After the last performer the little pastry lady came back out to thank the performers, as well as dismiss the audience. Even though we were supposed to be calmly filing out, the whole audience lifted as one and oozed out the double doors so everyone was mixed around and had no idea where they were going. Everyone just wanted to greet and congratulate their friends from the neighboring schools that performed, everyone except me. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I squeezed out that crowded door, and practically ran down the corridor to the lobby with a new determination. For once I was going to make something happen. I could see Riley in front of me, standing taller than the anyone else in the room, and I opened my mouth to call out but“Riley!!!” Wow, my voice is much higher pitched than I remembered. And then I realized it wasn’t my voice, but a girl behind me, running almost as fast as I was. Riley swiveled his head where we were standing, and smiled. For a moment I wanted to believe that he was smiling at me, but of course he didn’t call out Izzy’s name, or even Isabelle, he said instead “Madison!” The blonde hair and overly painted face flew by me and joined Riley, where he then slung one arm over her shoulder. I had to admit. They made a cute couple. But my body was frozen. My stomach clenched and knotted itself in two before falling on that floor. And that’s where I left it, because now I couldn’t pick it back up. My feet were too busy moving me backwards instead of forwards, and even though my heart was still screaming I gave up, and let my feet scurry me back away from freedom.

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What If... ?

O

By Maggie Miller

ne night, leading to a week spent together, and before I knew it you were listening to twinkling eye can mean many things. everything I was saying, and we were The one that is twinkling at me right now, well, saved my life. The talking about everything. From reality to fantasy. Every morning I'd wake up twinkling eyes looking at me at this and you would be right there for me. moment are those of my 'new love', my Every night I could always count on 'boyfriend', whatever you want to call it. I just call it 'him and me'. It sounds you to listen and help me. And all the time in between, no matter what we cliche, but you don't realize how much did or where we went, every day you're somebody means to you until you look twinkling eyes never left my side. And back and realize that they were there by your side, holding your hand, holding by the end of it all we had created an amazing, passionate bond, friendship you and wiping away your tears, there and relationship that gives me reason for you every step of the way, every single day, through one of the hardest after reason to keep moving. times in your life. hat twinkle in your eyes kept me alive, and I can never repay you omething special about the for what you did and are still twinkle in his eyes, the way he made all the pain and worry dis- doing for me to this day. After all this time, I still love us. And with that, to appear, just by simply looking at me. By simply taking my hand or laying next my life saver... I'm so glad I can now to me. Now I'm not saying by any means say I have a meaning to put behind your that it was 'love at first sight', but I twinkling eyes. But maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself... am saying that now every time we look at each other, it's like nothing I've ever he house was empty, it had been felt. It's the twinkle I see in his eyes for a little over a week now. It's and the sparkle I know he sees in mine. quiet in my room, and the only The feeling he gives me and the one I thing I hear is the fan. I contemplate know I give him. And that right there, getting up and taking a shower or saved my whole life. maybe eating, but something just keeps me frozen. Lately I can't seem to find the point in doing anything.

A

T

S

T

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I

guess it's late in the day because when Adriana calls and tells me she's leaving Tanner;s soon and coming over the sound in her voice when I tell her I'm just waking up is a little surprised. Adriana is my best friend, and Tanner is her boyfriend. I finally pull myself out of bed, let the dogs out and throw on some make up.

supposed to happen. But now as we're laying here talking about everything in the world there is to talk about, I realize maybe I'm just looking at a sad little boy who's just as lost as I am.

S

he walks through the door and immediately goes into the kitchen. "How are you doing today?" she asks me before I even get a chance to tell her not to ask how I'm doing. "Have people over tonight." I expected that too, only because she has it in her head that being around people is going to help me, but every night I have people over I just realize how temporary it is. "I'd planned on it." A lie.

A

s I'm getting ready she comes in the bathroom and asks me if Tanner and Justin can come over. Justin is Tanners best friend since fourth grade, and doesn't have the best reputation, but it's not like I care if they come over. "Do not hook up with Justin, Maggie. I don't want him to hurt you. He lies and cheats and is NO good for you." Those words play over and over in my head that whole week. It wasn't 42


The Sandbox by Colin McCawly Ever have a moment in your life that you wished would end but it kept dragging on?

When I was five and my family and I lived in our old house, I used to play in the sandbox we had out in the backyard. Every day I would go out and sit in the sandbox and play with my toy construction trucks. I would spend hours digging in the sand with the excavator truck and then filling the dump truck up with sand to be dumped. It was the most fun I could have all summer. But this was the year I started school and all school year it seemed I never had enough time to play in the sandbox. After school I would go to daycare and after daycare I would come home to eat dinner but by then it would be too dark out to play in the sandbox. For the rest of the school year I would wish I was at home to play in my sandbox. I waited for school to end. Day after day, it seemed like years but finally school was let out and summer started. All I could think about was the sandbox. I got picked up from school and taken home to enjoy summer, and finally reunite with my sandbox. when my dad pulled up to the house I shot out of the car like a bullet ran straight for the backyard fence and climbed it so fast it was as if I hurdled it. I ran through the backyard faster than The Flash. And was at the sandbox with my shoes already off from running so fast. There in front of me was my armada of construction trucks trucks where they had ben siting since last summer, waiting to e used I stepped in the sand which felt so cool even on a hot summers day. The sensation of the sand squeezing between my toes feeling so wonderful. I reached to grab my excavation truck to start digging. I had moved it an inch when a nest of spiders poured out running in different directions out running in different directions. Some making it on to me, and climbing up my legs and arms. I could feel each one of their hairy legs as it landed on my skin. I panicked. All I could see were spiders. I ran to our back door flailing my arms trying desperately to get the spider off. I pounded on the door hoping someone would help me get me away form this nightmare. My brother opened the door and I rushed in arms still trying to knock spiders off. I fell on the floor feeling tears building up. My sand box I had waited for all year was no longer mine; the trucks I played with since I was a toddler were never touched again. And the spiders that took those things

from me I still fear today.

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Artwork by Haylie Crocker 44 44


Daddy’s Girl? By Jessica Howard

Some of us are “daddy’s little girl” and have “daddy wrapped around our finger”, but then for the rest of us, you know, the ones who don’t meet their “sperm donors” till they are already out of the childhood years, face a life altering experience when meeting the man whose blood runs through their veins. The day I met my father was nothing less than horrifying. I was seven and my mom was pulling out of a Waffle House in Pensacola, Florida. I hear a grungy, long haired, scary looking man yelling to me that he was my father. My mom tells me to roll the window up, but of course, being a seven-year-old I yell, “In your dreams old man!” I asked my mom who he was sand she told me that she didn’t know, it was just some creep. That was the end of the discussion till five years later, when she got a letter in the mail demanding my father wanted to see me if he was being ordered to pay child support. My mom finally cracks and tells me everything. She explains that the old man at Waffle House was, in fact, my dad. I told her that I wanted to meet the man who went twelve years without ever once trying to be my father. We met at the same Waffle House I had seen him at five years before. When I walked into the doors I was on an emotional roller coaster. I was scared out of my mind, but I wore a smile and laughed at his wise remarks. I was holding back so much anger. Here, sitting in front of me, is the man that left me at infantry and never paid a dime of child support, yet I had nothing to say. This man, who owed us thousands of dollars worth of being a father had nothing to say. This man, who never even bothered to give his only daughter a simple phone call, was sitting in front of me apologizing. All I could do was sit there silently and let him continue with all of the pathetic babbling. I tried to talk a bit, but I felt a knot in my stomach that made me want to vomit. I knew I had to hold back the tears, I had to be strong and act like I didn’t care, and so I sat and listened. He told me of the brother I had that was only seven months younger than me. The brother, who was conceived by another woman while he was engaged to my mother. I gave my “dad” all my contact information, so if he actually wanted to be a father he could at least attempt to call me. To this day I will get a call at Christmas, and a call on a random day of July that he hopes will be the right day to say, “Happy birthday.” People never change. At seventeen about to graduate from high school, I realize the father I never had as a child was never going to be a father. 45


I Believe By Michelle Kienzle

Choices. Everything you do defines the person you are to everyone else around you. Choices are all we really own as individuals. Everything is up to you, whether it’s what clothes you want to wear today or how you confront your parents that you’ve done something wrong. My stepmother just left my Dad, and he thinks he will never find someone again. But this isn’t what fate has chosen, or how it’s just “going to be/” It’s the decision he made. If he sits home every weekend and has the same attitude of never meeting someone, then that’s what will happen to him based on his decision. But if he decides to go out and make a difference, there will be a difference. I told him this and a month after visiting the bar every weekend, he met someone. This is just a bit of proof that you make your own decisions. There are things you can’t control in life, like the fact that my stepmother decided to leave without any explanation. How I decided to handle this situation affected every other step in my life. Your decisions are your own- no matter who said what or what the consequences will be. Everywhere you turn, life just seems to be a series of choices. All choices of which belong to you. The tougher decisions you make, the tougher you become

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The Buck stops here BY RYAN SANDERS

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the ball. My height gave me an advantage in lots of sports now that I was in better shape. If Will had never come along I wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard- but back to the story. It started as a normal day, my dad throwing the football with me and my cousin. “HUT!!!!!” my dad would yell and off we went. Then all of a sudden it started raining. Will and I went in and were getting ready to play some “Back to Baghdad” when the doorbell rang. We got up but I realized I had no shirt on so I let my stepmom answer. It was our neighbor. Betty, my stepmom, told me “Buck is gone.” Buck was my favorite dog in the whole world. At that, I didn’t care about my shoes or the fact I had no shirt. I just had to get Buck back. I was out of the house and roaring up the street. My dog was gone was all I was thinking. I have to get him back. I still have no idea what possessed me to run after him the way that I did but as I ran I went to another world, one where pain and hot and cold no longer existed. I didn’t need to breathe. There were only three things in the world, me on the far side running with all my might towards the other side where there were only Buck and millions of drivers looking to run over my dog. So

Photo by Macy Koon

Despite how this story ends let me clear something up. My cousin saved the day not me. Before he came along, I was the geek at my school. I had glasses, I usually stayed in my room playing my PS1 or N64 but Will changed all that. He was a star in all the sports: Basketball, Charlie Ball, Soccer, etc.. His coming to live with us upgraded me from “geek” to the smart kid at school. I still played video games but much of my time was spent outside with my cousin. I met all the kids on the street, who I never knew lived there. At first when we played football, we would both start running and I could never shake him. I could never keep up. In hide and seek and tag, it was a closer game because I could pick good spots and creep around, but he was still way faster than me. I could never catch him. It was frustrating and my competitive nature wanted to be better than him at everything. So every time we played any sport or game, I gave it a hundred and fifty percent. Slowly I started shaking Will; I began to get tagged less frequently. It seemed that Will was already the best he could be at running and playing sports, while I had lots of room to improve. Finally, I could keep up with him long enough to run a route and keep him from catching


but the car is still there. He is three lanes away. There is an SUV. The lady is on her cell phone. She doesn’t see him. I come to my senses and sprint. I sprint as fast as my bloody feet and soaking body will carry me. I cross the first lane I’m focused on nothing but Buck. I’ll either save my best friend in the whole world or get run over with him. I’m determined as I cross the second lane. I leave the new world behind. Now it’s just me, Buck, the lady’s car and nothing else. As I cross into Buck’s lane, I notice the car out of the corner of my eye. Got to keep going is all I can think. I grab Buck. Take two steps into the last lane and launch him, will all my strength to the grass. I hear the squeal of brakes. I fall to my knees and collapse on the sidewalk, my chest is heaving. Then Buck comes over and licks my face. His eyes are telling me “thank you.” I just lay there hugging Buck until my family arrived. Will gets there first and gives me a huge hug. “Dude, the SUV missed you by this much.” He holds his hands up about a foot and a half apart. I’m too exhausted to understand what this means exactly. The lady kept apologizing to my dad. I didn’t care what all they were doing, I was just hugging Buck. That’s all I can remember from the day I out ran the rain.

Photo by Alexa Ussery

I ran faster than the cars, ran faster than the rain. I outran the cold that day. “Please don’t hit Buck you unseen drivers. I know you can’t hear me but please hear my thoughts.” In this new world, time was something of a paradox. On my side, I was a speedy snail outrunning all the sluggiest slugs but on Buck’s side everyone was race car drivers speeding at 400 m.p.h looking to run him over. Buck does 1000 things before I move an inch. I’ll get there. I have to get there. My adrenaline surged, my feet pounded the asphalt. It didn’t matter that they were bleeding or that I was soaking wet in the forty degree weather. If I could get to Buck, it would all be worth it. I ran for what felt like hours in this new world through forests and streams, through valleys over mountains. I’m getting closer. I’m almost there. It’s just over the next hill. I gather all my strength for this last leg of my excursion through the new dog killing world. I start up the hill- feet slapping the ground so fast it sounded like someone was playing drums. I top the hill. “There he is. Buck is right there but so is that car. I’ll never get there in time.” I think desperately. Then I snap back to reality. I’m not on a hill. I’m not on a new world anymore. I’m just at the end of my street and Buck is in the four lane highway

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Photo by Savanna Fuller


ool ty Sch t i B y t Out Itsha Davis e By Din

Our itty bitty school In this itty bitty town The ants on the hills The mounds, the mounds. The booms- the bangs Like gun shots that sang Like ants how they move. Taking our pride For a new school to come Trying to thrive The outsiders praise them But do they really know Howthey’reactuallymakingusgrow? Our itty bitty school In this itty bitty town Has no place for anyone Whowantstoexpressthemselves

If Chapin is trying to keep up With the times, Why is the Fine Arts Where they draw the line? Do they know this Iswhywefighttocometoschool? To express To escape To the arts that we love. Sowefightfortheauditorium Never to come. Lettheantsbuildthestadium. Work hard and work long. Let them hear the choir Singing,thestringsstrumming,theband playingandtheactorsperforming. Letthemseetheydancersdance,flagsspin, theartspaint,andtheycadetsmarch. Thenletthemworkonthehills. Thehillsthatweknowaren’tforus.

In futures to come What will they do When they realize how much Chapinneedstoexpressthemselves through the arts? Theymusic,thedance,thestrings,the gurad,theart,theacting,thecadets Wherewilltheygoafterthis?

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Artwork by Quinn Frontz


Artwork by Jesse Lindler

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Unexpected Love By Addy Schelble

Photo by Brook Bauer

I tried making something out of nothing I was wrong because love wasn’t working But now I see my eyes are opening True love is found when its least expected You woke me up in the middle of life Like finding the bright sunshine in the night I was headed left but now going right Love is not true when you search Desperation is searching for true love If you search for love, you won’t find it soon Expected love is like seeing a blue moon You’ll never find it in the night above I’m not genie but my advice will fit True love can’t be found if you look for it

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The Tide Pool

By Mary Efird

Through a veil of salted water I watched my toes curl, my feet becoming quivering mirages under the clumsily bouncing liquid. As the bones bent at their natural hinges, sand bunched between the furls of skin, pale despite its recently excessive exposure to the sun. I stood in my isolated spot and once more contemplated the inhabitants of the tide pool, entranced by the surprising array of life its minimalistic decorum managed to house. Amongst the clouds of disturbed sand were fetid sea creatures and sad fragments of disintegrating vegetation, transplanted unsuccessfully by the tides.

forceful

Photosynthesis had ceased in the drifting particles. As they whimsically promenaded about my ankles, I called their bluff. I knew no autonomous life remained beneath their slick exteriors.

Artwork by William Burke

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What My Sister Taught Me By Grace Johnson

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rowing up with a schizophrenic little sister isn't exactly what people think about when they envision themselves having a little sister. I was five when she was born, now I’m twenty four and still resent her every day. I never got to have a normal childhood because of her. I never got to have friends spend the night without her freaking them out. Franny was a burden to my life and she still is. Everyday I watched her as she went around her room, redecorating everything, or never being able to watch TV because it would trigger an attack. She loves me with all her heart, and it's funny because I can't muster up enough love in any part of my body for her. I guess she makes up enough for the both of us.

I

remember when they first brought her home, I was in kindergarten. I always was a step ahead of the kids my age and I always will be. Even when she was a newborn baby you could tell something was wrong. I was replaced by some freak. I was forgotten all about by my mother and father for the first couple years of her life. Granted, she was a baby and needed every ounce of attention they gave her, but still. They were my parents first. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of seven. It set in real early and nobody in our family could figure out why she had it. Normally, someone down the family line has schizophrenia but no one on my mother's or father's side had it. Guess she was just special that way.

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t's Christmas vacation and I'm going to stay with my mother, father and Franny for the next two weeks. Every Christmas was the same, me and mom chit chat while we cook, Franny and dad did whatever they did and by the time dinner was ready no one wanted to talk. That's how every Christmas was but, to be honest I was tired of it. Maybe I didn't have such a great childhood but she is still my little sister. I came to the conclusion that maybe I should grow up, and put those rough memories aside to make room for new and better memories. A feeling came up that I haven't felt in a long time before: excitement.

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I

brought my three bags of luggage out into the living room of my small two bedroom apartment and looked around for my keys. I made my way into the kitchen to see them sitting on the counter. I picked them up and hit the unlock button a couple times until I heard it beep, then I hit the trunk button. I slipped my keys into my back pocket and picked my luggage back up, opening the front door, and walked outside towards my car. I yelled at the stray cat on the roof of my car, telling it to get off. Every day that cat was lying on my car. Everyone thought it was my cat, but truth be told I don't like animals, especially ones that pee everywhere. He jumped down off the roof of my car and scurried away across my yard. I shook my head and sat my luggage down, grabbing the bags one by one organizing them in my trunk to fit. The truck was sort of small, so you had to maneuver things to fit. It was perfectly fine with me because I loved my little Honda accord. nce I had all my stuff gathered in the car, I headed out of town for my four hour drive home. I have to admit I hated this ride. I had four hours to think about anything in the world and the only thing I could think about was starting new with my sister. Hopefully she'd be just as fed up as I am and want to make it better. Four hours later I pulled into my neighborhood. It wasn't too dark outside, just after sunset. As I pulled onto my street, I noticed red and blue lights dancing around in the yard of my childhood home. Oh no.

O I

parked my car sloppily in the yard, not caring about anything except for what might of happened to my family. My mother noticed me pull in and came running towards me before I could even get myself out of the car. Her face was red and blotchy and she could barely take a breath through all her tears. Her words came out sloppy, "It-It's Frann-Franny." My first instinct was to find Franny. What could she have done? I ran up the yard near the paramedics, my vision already getting blurry from wanting to cry. Franny was laid out on a stretcher and I ran up to her, grabbing her hand. "Franny, it's Troian, please stay." Her eyes were closed and they stayed closed, I panicked for a minute but then noticed her chest rising up and down with each breath she took. Good, she was still alive. That meant there was still room for hope. I had to let go of her hand so the paramedics could put her in the back of the ambulance. I kissed the top of her hand before slowly letting our hands break apart. "Franny, 56

Artwork by Jessica


I’m sorry!" I yelled before they lifted her into the truck.

I

looked around for my dad, noticing his bald head past the crowd of nosey neighbors in our yard. I walked to him and started to cry, before even reaching him. He held his arms out to me and cocooned them around me. "Dad, what did she do?" I looked up at him, barely being able to see straight because of the obnoxious tears in my eyes. "This is the third time she's tried in the last month and a half. She wouldn't talk to us or any of her counselors at school." He replied, staring hard at the ambulance, trying to keep his composure. He wanted to cry, I could tell. But he didn't. Mom walked over to us and told us she would ride with Franny and we could follow behind in the car. She kissed both of us, giving up short little hugs before hurrying into the ambulance. The crowd left not long after the ambulance left. Some tried to talk to us but dad told them to go away, we didn't need their fake sympathy. Since I just drove for four hours he agreed to drive us to the hospital. We got in the car and headed to the hospital. A few minutes of silence went by before I spoke up, "This is my fault. If I wouldn't have acted like she was such a horrible monster, she wouldn't have felt like nobody cared." Dad grabbed onto my hand, squeezing it tightly. "Troian, it's not your fault honey." He said, trying to make me feel better. It didn't work. "How can you say that? You know I treated her like shit. The whole family did except for you and mom. The only love she ever got was from you and mom!" I started to raise my voice as we pulled into the hospital parking lot. I unbuckled my seatbelt trying to calm myself down. I never yelled, or raised my voice, especially not at my parents. I didn't wait for him to completely stop the car in front of the barricade before I got out and ran inside the hospital. Mom was waiting by the doors for us, so we could find Franny's room. I hugged her tight, hoping my hug could take it all back, but it can't. "This is all my fault. Where's her room?" Mom was silent as she raised her finger, pointing to a door on the back of the hallway. This main floor was the critical care unit, it was quickest to reach when the nurses got people off the ambulance. I looked at Franny through the window. She was all bandaged up and couldn't have a hospital sheet. Mom and dad walked up behind me, putting their arms around me. Mom spoke first, "She stabbed herself. Not deep enough to instantly kill her but they said she wouldn't last but a couple of hours." I slammed my fist into the window before breaking down, sliding slowly 57


onto the floor. Why now? When things seemed like this vacation - things would get better. We wouldn't be such a broken family any more, but now it'll just get worse if she doesn't make it. A nurse came by, telling us if we wanted to visit we could, but only one of us could. Mom volunteered me. I walked into Franny's room, hearing her faint voice call out my name. "Sh, sh. It's okay don't talk." I walked over to her bedside and grabbed her hand, holding onto it tightly. "I'm so sorry Franny, I did this didn't I. I never showed you how truly strong you were as a kid. I just always put you down. Just please stay. Be strong, we can all get through this. I promise." She gave me a weak smile. Her body was tired and so was she, but she couldn't give up. Not when I needed her to be strong most. "I understand Troian, and I love you. You'll always be my older sister but I can't do this anymore." The grip she had on my hand loosened, and her eye lids closed. "No, Fran! No. Don't go yet. Please stay." The machine by her bed side flat lined and nurses came rushing in, pulling me away. "No! Franny stay strong!" I started screaming and crying more, trying to push the nurses off me. My parents grabbed me and pulled me out the room, telling me to let the nurses do their job. I watched through the window. Why did I have to be so mean? Five years later. Today is the anniversary of Franny's death. That summer I moved back home and we to college closer to home, to help my parents out. We took it day to day, trying our best to cope with it. My parents tried their best to make sure I wasn't still blaming myself. We went to weekly therapist sessions until we were all content and in a good place about it all. The family is a lot closer, I see my little cousins, my grandma. Just family I never got to see before because they never came around. I met a boy, two years ago at my college and we recently got married and had a child together. She's two and her name is Ariel. She's just like Franny. Ariel herself is also schizophrenic. I feel like Ariel is my second chance, my second chance to not mess things up. My husband and I are very dedicated to each other and Ariel. If Franny could see me, I would hope that she's proud of the changes i've made. One day, I will get to see Franny again. It's a shame that it takes someone dying for people to open their eyes and realize what they have. Franny made me who I am today, Artwork by Kara Durant and I couldn't thank her enough. 58


Adding to the Family My family is not that big. It is just me, my mom, dad and sister. We have always been big animal lovers. Having a houseful of animals, is just a normal thing for us. Unfortunately, in the last couple of years we have had to say goodbye to our beloved dogs Max and Girly-Girl. Max was my dad’s black Lab and Girly-Girl was the beautiful, Yorkshire terrier, my sister and I shared. Losing two dogs that were so important in the everyday life of my family had a great impact on us. Even though we had other animals, things were just different. It just was not the same. That is when a brilliant idea suddenly occurred to my sister and me. Because my sister and I were extremely attached to our Yorkshire Terrier, Girly-Girl, we decided to talk to our parents about getting another Yorkshire (yorkie). While at first, they just nodded and went along with our pleas and hints, they did eventually give in and that’s when the fun began. It is not easy searching for a dog that is similar to one you had in the 59

past. You already have in your mind, a picture of your deceased dog and comparing anything to that is hard. We turned down many promising dogs, because at first we were trying to replace Girly-Girl. However, you cannot replace a lost loved one no matter how hard you try. Once we finally go passed that and opened up to more options, we immediately saw several dogs that seemed perfect. They had adorable names such as Cupcake, Dixie, and Tipsy. The one that really stuck out to us was Tipsy. She looked a lot like Girly-Girl and she was even around the same age as Girly-Girl was when we first got her. It seemed like it was meant to be for us to see her. The rescue group that was taking care


By Olivia McCammon of her, East Coast Humane Society, was located in Georgia. So, my mom and dad planned a trip to Georgia for us to go see them. The humane society also had an adorable, yorkie puppy up for adoption, along with Tipsy. I wanted the puppy more than my sister did because I felt having a dog that reminded me so much of Girly-Girl would be hard. What was hard was having to decide which dog to choose! When my family and I went to Georgia to see the dogs, I, of course, fell in love with the puppy and my sister, with Tipsy. While we played and held them, we argued about which one we would choose. Neither one of us would give into the other and all my parents said was the decision was ours. The woman who brought the dogs for us to view watched us struggle over the decision, so she pulled my mom aside and made a deal with her. She said if we adopted both dogs, she would only charge the fee for the puppy, which was $450. The woman had a kind heart and she felt like we would be the perfect home for them both. My mom talked to my dad about it first, because sometimes he can be difficult but he also agreed that we should adopt both of them. It was truly an amazing day. We never dreamed of coming back from Georgia with two dogs. We took them both home and we wound up naming the

puppy, Demon. It was not because we felt he was a bad dog; the name just fit him. One would think with us already having three other dogs, a bunny, and a squirrel that adopting two more dogs is crazy, which to be honest it is. However, that is how my parents are. They feel you can never have too many animals! It is crazy at our house all the time. If you do not hear our dogs bark, then they are probably chewing on our furniture. If they are not running around the house like maniacs, then they are spread out on the floor and in our way. But I would not have it any other way. Recently, my family has also added a rooster and eight chickens to our little, big family. We will always be adding new animals to our family. In life, you loose things. You cannot always replace them, but you can help the sting of a loss, by adding more things in your life to love. Our many animals certainly keep us busy and they require a lot of love. But everything is just how it is suppose to be, and if it were not like how it is now than it just wouldn’t seem right.

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Photo by Madi Pfaff 61


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Photo by Hannah Singley and Alexis Bouknight


Profile for Midlands Technical College Literary Magazine

The Talon  

The student produced literary magazine of Chapin High School

The Talon  

The student produced literary magazine of Chapin High School

Profile for scompton
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