SCS Voices Magazine Vol. 3

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VOICES

THE ARTISTS AND AUTHORS OF SANTIAGO CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

Cover artwork by Sophia Rogers
VOL. 3 | 2021 2022
CONTENTS INTRODUCTION PAGE 1 EDITORS’ NOTE PAGE 2 VIGNETTES PAGE 3 SPANISH WORKS PAGE 12 NARRATIVE POETRY PAGE 16 MIDDLE SCHOOL WRITING PAGE 20 LITERARY COMPETITION PAGE 26 ARTWORK BY

INTRODUCTION

Voices returns with its third issue since the inception of the magazine. Students returned to classes after two years of online learning, allowing for the presencial creation of art and literature. A selection of art and literature has been selected from the secondary student body for this edition of Voices. We would like to thank all of the featured students for their efforts as well as the English, Spanish, and Fine Arts teachers who helped throughout the year. Enjoy!

Artwork by Johanaly Rodriguez 9
VOICES | PAGE 1

SCS students and staff returned to school following almost two years of online learning

Although anticipated and welcomed, the return created a reminder of the period prior to the pandemic which changed the lives of all people across the globe Through these mixed feelings and emotions, SCS students created wonderful expressions of artistry through fine arts and literature

Voices is the literary magazine which showcases the talents and abilities of the authors and artists of Santiago Christian School You will see examples of literature

Editor’s Note

from students in grades 7 through 12 through poetry, short stories, and vignettes Some expressions are written in Spanish to better communicate the emotion and personhood of the author Photographs of artistic work are from students in grades 7 through 12 The addition of a 3 dimensional design course allowed for artists to create in a different manner using recyclable materials In addition to 3 D designs, there are student drawings, paintings, jewelry and traditional clay pieces.

We are pleased to present and hope that you enjoy Voices: The Artists and Authors of SCS

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things Philippians 4:8 ESV

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V I G N E T T E

“Ice cream, soda, cherry on top You’ve got a boyfriend and I forgot A, B, C ” Every day trying to beat the previous record Mine was probably 5 Life was all butterflies and rainbows, not a single worry to be found. The jump rope was a snake and you had to avoid its bite.

I remember waiting in class for those twenty minutes of joy Recess, recess, recess The most anticipated moments of the day. Waiting felt like decades, but when it finally came, it was worth it. I remember trading snacks and timeouts for our parents not signing our agendas I can recall our class being united No matter who you were or whether you were in class A or B No drama, no problems No worries about who’s dating who or who betrayed who. Counting 30 seconds, waiting for your turn on the swinging wrecking ball in the field, or going on adventures on the pirate ship I remember the bright blue water, the clear skies, and the smell of the ocean, even though it wasn’t actually a boat but a playground. This was the most fun I had ever had in my life, but it was so momentary.

I just remember life doing a 180 degree turn Middle school was so different No more fun, no more friends. Life lacked laughter. That essence of childhood just disappeared and I was left stranded by myself. At least that's how I felt. The room could have been filled with thousands of people, but I’d still feel “alone I remember that overwhelming anxiety I’d feel when trying to have a simple conversation and how different I felt compared to my classmates. Years went on and I learned to get used to it. Years went on and I no longer remembered

10th grade was hard, but I managed to push through. It was just another English class, but it was different. We were told to look back and tell the stories of the times when we realized we had grown up It had been a while since I had looked back on my childhood, since looking back made me regret becoming the person I had become. Growing up was my biggest fear, and its inevitability was even scarier. We all jumped the rope Some stories were funny, some were sad, and some were happy. I volunteered to tell my story.

S“Here Gabriel, have the rope,” said Lucy. I told my story and there were suddenly streams of water dripping out of my eyes I tried my best to laugh it off, but the memories just kept flowing in I was drowning in my own embarrassment until Marina approached me, gave me a hug, and said, “It’s okay ”

“I’m just embarrassed I wish I wasn’t so emotional all the time ” I said crying “You shouldn’t be embarrassed, we understand Gaby,” she replied. Marina made me feel comforted, but I could not stop crying. I walked around trying to calm down. “Ice cream, soda, cherry on top You’ve got a boyfriend and I forgot A, B, C ” I heard the familiar tune for the first time in what felt like centuries. All the memories came flowing back and I was crying once again. Not sad tears but happy tears I remembered I remembered all the happy moments, all my friends, and all the fun Reflecting back on these memories with my class made me realize how much being at this school has shaped the person I am today.

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It’s the last day of school. All year we’ve been paired up with our advisories and today is no different. Everyone wants to be home and begin their summer but there is one more thing to do before that The competitions all year between advisories come down all to this. None of the people in my group are too excited because we’re in last place by quite a bit My friend Hugh and I, however, are ready to try our best even if it only means finishing not in last place. We look across the expansive grass of the soccer field, all green and shiny from the dew like one giant piece of candy, ready to just have a little fun one more time before we all leave for three months. There are different stations with challenges that we have to complete to gain a clue as to where the big trophy is that gives one hundred points to whoever finds it first, thus vaulting their chances of winning significantly forward. That right there is our only chance, if any at all, to go out as the champions.

Ring design by Young Kwang Lee 11

As we go throughout the day completing challenges, we get closer and closer to the trophy, and I think we’re one of the closest I feel the excitement in the air around us as we realize we could have the greatest come from behind victory in history. “Guys! We could actually do this,” says my friend Mike. “I know. Let’s just keep working at it.” Finally we get the last clue and sprint toward where we now know where the trophy is A different group sees us running and follows us, seeing that we know where it is. But we win the footrace and grab it out of the principal’s office first

At the award ceremony their principal, Mr. Bofa, announces the third place, then the second. I rub my nervous, sweaty hands together wildly because this is it “And in first place, Las Habichuelas!” The trophy is ours, and it immediately jumps straight up from the amount of people trying to grab it We all know this will go down in history as the eighth place to first jump to win it all from Las Habichuelas.

Ring design(left) byCarlos Cabrera 12

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My parents always wanted me to love reading. I’ve been told that ever since the day I was born, my dad read a bedtime story to me every single night. When I was about four, I learned to read on my own. It became a pleasant pastime. When I was about five, my dad bought me a copy of a novel called Charlotte’s Web. I immediately loved it and adopted a habit of not eating pork since I wanted my own Wilbur. When I finished that book, a lady at Barnes and Noble suggested that I read a book by this guy named Roald Dahl. This was the summer before first grade. There was a wide selection of books written by him, but I chose one named Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Reading that book was an eye opening experience where a whole new world opened up to me; a place to belong, a place to go to whenever I felt alone, a place that was always welcoming, an imaginary place to call home.

Shortly after I finished the book, I started first grade. My passion for reading continued even though at that current age, I wasn’t supposed to be at the reading level I was at. The next book I read was called Matilda. Reading that, it felt like I was looking in a mirror. Not with the abusive household or the neglect, but with the longing to belong, the feeling out of place because no one understands you, the finding a home in the books you read. Matilda understood me in a way that I felt no one else did. I continued reading Roald Dahl’s stories, enjoying every minute of them. While most people in my class were learning how to read, I was getting lost in an imaginary world created by a complete stranger that I grew to love and appreciate. After Matilda, I read many of his other books including: The BFG, The Witches, George’s Marvelous Medicine, Fantastic Mr Fox, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and The Twits. With most of his novels, there was a common theme, specifically with the characters Matilda and James; feeling alone in the world and wanting a specific place to belong to. I felt alone in my first grade class. I had friends, but I didn’t feel like they understood me the way that Roald Dahl did through Matilda and James. Both of these characters found their real place that gave them a good sense of belonging, but mine was still confined to my imagination.

Artwork by Randy Fuñez 12 Artwork by Justin Marte 10
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“3 2 1 Ready or not, here I come!” I saw her searching for us I was hiding behind a bush along with another friend She looked and looked along every alley and hiding place on the playground Her tight curls bounced up and down as she skipped along the gravel during her hunt for her hiding classmates. She had tan skin and dark eyes. I remember her first day here. She was new and a little shy but I could tell she had a big personality hiding under her skin. I became friends with her soon enough and I learned a lot about her. Things you never expect to hear from an innocent girl.

“3 2 1 ready or not, here I come!” Her father was extremely young and her mother was older One or both were imprisoned I listened attentively as she told her tale She knew her parents but she had been adopted by an older woman I saw her adoptive mom at school, she had even tutored me once Back in her old home she had an older friend I noticed her face changed to a powerful one Her friend met up with someone she met online I wasn't given details as to who the person was or if they were together but in the end her friend was killed. We were in P.E when she told me this shattering story. I urged her to come and play to change the subject and she followed me, she had no other friends other than me. “3 2 1… ready or not, here I come!” I noticed that she tended to get excluded usually by other kids but I never really knew why . One time I saw one of our classmates fight with her on the way to class and she yelled at her saying that she ruined her first year at the school by being her “friend” She only wanted to interact with more people, she was never the problem I felt horrible because we slowly grew apart and she left the school I never got her contact or anything so I never really had a way to talk to her again She most likely left this place feeling like she had no friends “3 2 1… ready or not, here I come!” is what she would say at recess. Each day with less and less kids to hide. In the end only I was the one hiding. Then she tagged me and we ran through the playground as she pretended her life was worriless. That's what I named now, a ruined childhood.

Design (above) by Shannie Gomez Lajud 9 Design (below) by Yamely Batista De Los Santos 10
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BOOOOOOOM!

We all shriek with laughter. Probably too loud. Micha is already dead, again. He drew an exploding kitten already. It’s like the exploding kittens are magnetically attracted to him because he always seems to draw the first exploding kitten. He slams his cards on the table.

“What the hay! This had to be rigged”

I laugh Gotta focus My hand isn’t great, but it could be a lot worse I munch on some fries that I bought from the cafeteria They are piping hot, with a nice crispy texture My sole purpose for the next 15 or so minutes is to avoid those terrible exploding kittens Amanda is paranoid She thinks that she is about to draw an exploding kitten I don’t think so She lays a shuffle card “Lando, will you shuffle?”

I’m the designated shuffler of the group Shuffling is like my superpower I grab the deck and split it in half I start shuffling, oh how sweet that “thwoop” the cards make as I shuffle I smile I love playing exploding kittens with this group We play every lunch period Amanda draws the new card She is safe It’s my turn Do I draw? What if it’s an exploding kitten? Calm down, I tell myself What are the chances it would be an exploding kitten?

Apparently pretty good

I sigh Ughhhhhhhhhh I lay down my defuse My precious defuse, the only thing that protects me from blowing up It’s gone now I’m in danger, like a gazelle getting chased by a lion Hopefully, I can outrun it I gotta get into the zone, no more playing around. I’m no longer safe. I decide my goal should be to take a defuse from someone else. I work towards it, slowly gathering cards, waiting for the best moment to strike.

I see that Chris only has four cards. Good. “Chris, I’d like to steal from you,” I say. “Me?! Why me?”

“You still have your defuse, and I have a good shot at getting it!”

He nopes me. Straight up denies me. He has a small little smirk. A haha sorry not sorry smirk. He doesn’t see what’s coming. I’ve prepared for this. I nope his nope. The table erupts.

OOOOOOHHHHHH!!

Chris looks at me with a sad look in his eyes I reach for his hand and manage to grab his defuse, his best card

The table erupts again, somehow louder this time I’ve done it, I’m back in this game Now I draw, less worried because I have a defuse Eventually, we get to only a few cards left Amanda, Chris, and Laurel have been eliminated It is now a showdown between me and Bill Bill only has a few cards left I, on the other hand, could survive for a while, I should beat him He avoids the exploding kitten a few times, but I decide enough is enough I lay my favorite card, the curse of the cat butt card Bill can no longer use his hands Bill is devastated At this point, I can taste the victory Once Bill draws that card, I win He draws it, slowly, disappointed with himself. Boom.

I won!

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My name is Stephanie Levy. I am the daughter of a woman born in a land of lakes and volcanoes called Nicaragua and by a polyglot man who speaks eight languages. I am the product of a strange combination. I lived for 15 years in my native Nicaragua, a fertile land whipped by caudillos and corrupt men like a day without sun I am the only daughter of my parents I never thought I would leave my sweet home forever, but one sad April afternoon passed by, and my mom told me that we would move to the Dominican Republic A sigh of sadness crept into my soul. We started preparing for the trip, sold our house, and shipped our furniture to our new home. The parting was sad My friends said goodbye to me with a strong and tender hug, a huge stuffed animal, and the promise that I would write to them every day The journey to the Dominican Republic was long We had to stop over in several cities and finally, after 20 hours of flight, we reached our destination The beauty of the Dominican Republic left me in awe. Its beaches with crystal clear waters, its iridescent sunrises, the warmth of its people, the playfulness of its jokes, its majestic valleys dotted with stars. Everything seemed perfect to me, however, the litmus test was still to come: the first day at my new school in the study center known as Santiago Christian School I remember that day I woke up very early The day before, I had barely closed an eye I woke up anxious and worried I didn't know how they would treat me I got dressed quickly and barely had a bite of my breakfast My mother noticed my nervousness and told me: “Everything will be fine. You will see that you will integrate soon,” she said. I got into the car that would take me to my new school, but the journey seemed long like a hurricane in the middle of the ocean Upon arrival, I was surprised by how clean and elegant the place was Very soon I saw myself in the classroom, while my guide teacher introduced me to my classmates She asked a girl to sit next to me and accompany me at lunch time to get to know the facilities well Her name was Alaia Alaia was tall, with brown eyes as deep as a bottomless pit.

"Hello, my name is Alaia" "I'm going to take you to see the whole school. You're going to see that very soon you'll feel comfortable here, Stephanie", she said.

"Okay” I nodded my head Very soon I felt led to the courts, the cafeteria, the bookstore, the different rooms, the health office, the music room, and the gym of my new school Alaia was the typical Dominican with a cheerful face and diaphanous eyes. She was sweet as honey and so talkative that very soon I knew everything about her. She was tall and had a snub nose. Her long black hair fell over her shoulders like a waterfall. She talked and talked non stop as if moved by a motor that gave her an unsuspected vitality I quickly felt comfortable She introduced me to her group of friends, and soon I felt like one of them That day they told me that I could sit with them to have lunch and avoid being alone

“Where is Nicaragua located?” one girl named Nailea asked me. “It's in Central America,” I said

“Your accent is really nice,” another girl named Maddy said. “When I heard it for the first time I couldn’t recognize where it could be from,” Brooks said Today I feel one more at school I have several friends (including Alaia, Nailea, Maddy, and Brooks of course) and the teachers treat me very well Little by little I have been learning the humor of these Caribbean people who laugh at everything, even at their misfortunes. I have also joined several extracurricular activities, and volleyball, learning literary appreciation, art, and gym class stands out. Although the transition from one school to another has been somewhat difficult, since the educational system in Nicaragua is quite different from the educational system in the Dominican Republic, little by little I have been adapting to the way of grading and studying And although I keep in touch with my friends in Nicaragua through social media, nowadays I feel part of my new educational community in the Dominican Republic, SCS.

VOICES | PAGE 8

It was the first day of 7th grade, my first year in Santiago Christian School. Many things were running through my head, excitement, fear and much more I was finally going to be back in school, with friends, teachers, clubs and sports Being homeschool for two and a half years isn't what I would call fun, the opposite actually Those years were full of misery Finally it was my time It is my time to have friends again and join clubs, sports, anything I can manage to do. I arrived at school, with my khaki pants, a royal blue short sleeve polo and with my sparkled pink skechers At first all I wanted to do was hide behind my sister, but once I saw some familiar faces I finally had the guts to go on my own Marina, that was the name of the girl who I had the same schedule with. I went with her everywhere, we had everything together so it worked out We became friends right away, there was also another girl, Elizabeth, she was very nice, she was actually the one who originally showed me around the school when I first visited Elizabeth was in the states at the time though so it was just me and Marina the whole day The day was going well, Marina and I sat next to each other in every class, we got to every class on time and everything Except for this one time, It was time for the attendants Mr Nicom, our history teacher, started to take attendants. “Liam, is Liam here?” he asks With a shy voice Liam replies “Here” “Oliver” states Mr. Nicom “Present” repliesOliver

Mr Nicom goes through the whole list, and suddenly we notice that we are in the wrong class. Marina and I looked at our schedule wrong and we actually went to our history class when we were supposed to be in the bible With no hesitation Marina and I look at each other with humiliation and terror

“Did anyone's name not get called?” he asks “Yes” Marina and I say with a embarassed tone. “What are your names?” He asked “Marina and Holly”

We couldn't help but notice that Mr. Nicom starts to laugh. He suddenly says out loud that we are in the wrong class and that we should open our eyes and check our schedules better This causes the whole class to laugh, leaving us in embarrassment For the rest of that week, we had to listen to Mr Nicom asking questions like if we are sure we are in the right class at the right time. The rest of the day went by very simple, we had lunch and then a few more classes and that's how my first day of school went by, embarrassing but great.

CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! It was all I could hear for the next 30 seconds. My teammates were Noah and Oliver. Both of them chugged their drinks in less than 5 seconds Me on the other hand, I was not even close to being one fourth done with my can. People say you need to keep your throat open so that the soda will just flow through, but that wasn't quite working “You suck!”, Oliver repeated.

“I’m trying, but as you can see, I CAN'T CHUG!” I said I could feel the pressure building around me I was the only one left to finish my can. Oliver kept telling me to chug faster, to squeeze the can I just couldn't so I kept repeating no, over and over again I wasn’t even halfway and it had already been 5 minutes. I didn’t even expect it to happen Oliver’s hand was reaching for my can and in the blink of an eye, CRUNCH! He had squeezed my can in my face. The soda gushed out, spilling on my clothes, and mostly on the ground The tangerine flavored soda was pungent and I couldn’t shake it off

I gave the rest of my soda to Noah and he finished it. My stomach wasn’t too delighted I felt queasy after all that soda, as if my stomach was a sea and there was a whirlpool in progress. I couldn’t even walk straight, but we quickly moved on to a second game

This game required us to dig out 10 mints from a plate filled with flour with only our face. I was still a little queasy but I knelt down and looked at the plate in front of me I asked myself, how do I begin? Oliver, who was sitting next to me, told me to blow. He was clearly joking as he quickly chuckled following his “advice” I, however, decided to blow into the flour A huge white cloud surrounded me that turned into a ring of flour surrounding my plate on the concrete floor The dust got in my eyes which made them water Two mints were in sight, I reached for them with my teeth, but the flour that went into my mouth turned into a disgusting paste It was flavorless and overall just unpleasant After a few more blows and mint grabbing, I got all 10 mints. We went down to Ms Birdcage’s apartment to clean up As I walk up to a mirror, I see that I look like James Monroe’s powdered wig. My clothes that were once black, were now completely white The flour was everywhere

The things I do for TNL.

VOICES | PAGE 9

I woke up really early that Wednesday morning, I could not bring myself to fall asleep the night before My nerves were out of hand, I had never felt this way before. Afterall, I had just moved to a new country I knew nothing about, and now I was starting third grade a month late. I went into my mom’s room, my ponytail holder in my hand along with my favorite black and white mustache bow I had my uniform on already, but the belt was on wrong, for I had never used one before. My mom fixed the royal blue polo shirt so that it was tucked in correctly and she put my belt on how it was supposed to be. I then put on my hot pink Nikes and stood in front of a white blank wall where my first day of school picture was taken with my two other sisters I always hated taking these pictures but I knew they meant a lot to my mom so I rarely ever complained As we left the house to go to a brand new school I began to wonder just how my day would go. I had already met my teacher and seen my classmates but I didn't know any of them, I didn’t have any friends The car ride felt like an eternity as we stopped for what felt like a million red lights and traffic jams My mom and dad dropped my sisters and I off at the entrance that read Santiago Christian School, and at this point my stomach felt as if it were full of

butterflies, I was so nervous My oldest sister, Amanda, took me to my classroom where Mrs Miller showed me to my desk and allowed me to set all of my supplies inside. She also introduced me to a girl named Bella who was supposed to show me around Bella seemed kind, and I was sure I had met my first new friend here at SCS, but this would change As the eight o’clock bell rang the students all lined up outside the classroom ready to come in for morning work I could hear faint chatter, but it was all in Spanish, and I didn’t speak any Spanish. I heard my name thrown around a few times but had no idea what was being said about me Mrs Miller walked outside and told the students that the new student, which was me, was joining them today and that they were to be as welcoming as possible to me on my first day as this could be scary. My classmates walked in and all stared at me intensely. I felt surrounded by hawks, I felt like an outcast. Bella sat across from me in the same table group, but just across the room a girl with dark brown hair and brown eyes that looked like the bark on a tree smiled and waved at me, I wondered what her name was We went to art class, the hour before lunch. When we entered art class I had nowhere to sit, but Miss Doron sat me next to the brown haired girl who had earlier waved at me “Hi, I’m Mila,” she said “Hi, my name is Molly,” I replied. “What is your favorite color?” she asked “Mine would have to be purple,” I told her “Oh my gosh, me too,” she said excitedly. Although a simple favorite color wouldn’t mean a lot to many, it meant a lot to me that I had something in common with Mila, the first person who seemed to care about me

We had a lot in common, and throughout my whole first day she was ultimately the one who helped me the most Bella didn’t really talk to me, she didn’t help me. When she was with her friends I heard laughter as they all looked at me, I knew they were talking about me They made me feel like I didn’t belong at this school almost as if I wasn’t wanted During lunch my day took a turn for the better when Mila and I discussed everything imaginable, and we had so much in common Before I met Mila I felt like an outcast. Most of my classmates ignored me or stared at me as if I had ten eyes. The one girl who was supposed to help me left me and I had nobody, but Mila made me feel like I belonged here Although Mila and I were often ignored or looked at as different because we didn’t look like or act like the others in the class because we had different interests than the rest of the class, we had each other and we were going to be best friends. This is all that mattered to me.

Design by Miranda Santana Eloy 9
10
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S P A N I S H W O R K S

Eres bella como el sol, bailas con un folclor, me encanta tu color, con todo mi corazón.

Pareja ideal como una vieja y un don, no me dejes pues quedaré con dolor, me encanta tu olor, bajita como una flor.

Tu dolor es mi dolor, te abrazo si tienes terror de dejarte yo sería incapaz y tu nombre es Topaz

La investigación inició, llamadas, visitas, preguntas, dudas, se trabaja sin descanso Todavía no se sabe cómo había sido, ni con exactitud dónde fue El avión cayó al mar, viajaban hacia Florida, ella, su secretaria y mano derecha, más el piloto. Algo no me encaja, Antonio confirma que el avión tenía 2 años de ser adquirido y era revisado periódicamente Me comenta que para la tarde tendrá la grabación de la torre de control, desea que la analicemos los dos juntos.

“Hace una semana, el avión donde viajaba la presidenta se había estrellado y su cadáver estaba dentro, en lo profundo del mar, acompañado por dos empleados cercanos a ella, su secretaria y el piloto”. Esto es lo único con lo que contamos, que está en el expediente”. Le dijo Christa a Antonio Esperemos que el FBI logre encontrar el avión y la caja negra

Los dos detectives estaban trabajando juntos en un caso, hasta ahora el más importante de su vida, tenían que averiguar cómo la presidente falleció en un avión con su secretaria y piloto dentro

Inmediatamente suena mi celular: “Buenos días detective Argüelles, ¿ya supo de la tragedia?” Me llamaba el encargado de la seguridad presidencial Requieren de mis servicios y el de mi socio, el detective Antonio Cruz. Apenas lo vi en la TV, no lo pude creer, contesté al General retirado Phillipe Pie, quien labora en el Palacio Presidencial hace más de 4 años. Nos vemos en minutos, General. continued right… by Christa Arguelles 8, Antonio Cruz 8, y Amberly Gutierrez 8

Sale el sol, lunes 6:30 a.m., enciendo el televisor mientras preparo mi café… “Noticia de último minuto, muere presidente de Haití mientras viajaba a Estados Unidos”. Y sigo oyendo la noticia, pero como si estuviera lejos, me quedo en el aire, no lo puedo creer!!

La secretaria grita fuerte, la Presidente le contesta que se calme, ella sigue gritando y Luis activa el avión en piloto automático, se dirige a los asientos que ocupaban la Presidente y Joshlynn para saber qué ocurre y por qué tanto alboroto “No te metas”, se oye hablar a la secretaria, ¿Qué haces con esa cuchilla? pregunta el piloto, y siguen los gritos de la secretaria y ahora también de la presidente. \ Por favor, Joshlynn, guarda el cuchillo , rogaba su presidente estamos en pleno vuelo, esto lo podemos resolver No te esforzaste lo suficiente, por ti se murió mi padre, no me ayudaste, fue lo último que se oyó en la grabación dicho por Joslynn.

Los detectives tenían muchas preguntas e inquietudes, entonces decidieron llamar a algunos familiares de la Presidente y su secretaria para así poder obtener más información. Antonio y Christa interrogaron a la mamá de Joshlynn, se enteraron que perdió a su esposo hacía dos semanas a causa de un cáncer de hígado Gracias a la presidente pudieron obtener tratamiento y cirugía a bajo costo, pero aun así el cáncer crecía día a día, muriendo a los 6 meses Le preguntaron por su hija Joshlynn, ella dijo: ha estado muy triste,

VOICES | PAGE 12

La misteriosa muerte de la Presidente! continued

no quiere aceptar la muerte de su padre y culpa a su jefa, la presidente, que según ella pudo hacer más. Mi hija no entiende que esa enfermedad es ¡¡fatal!!

Camino a la oficina Antonio le preguntó a Christa, si estaban pensando en lo mismo Antonio, este misterio ya se aclara, contesta la detective. Antonio continúa la conversación: ¿tanto dolor o tanta tristeza pueden acabar con 3 vidas así, tan fácil, en minutos? La detective le responde afirmando que solo se necesita 1 minuto o menos para destruir vidas, relaciones o proyectos Le comenta que Joshlynn debió buscar ayuda y no hundirse en su dolor, el cáncer es una enfermedad que muchas veces no se cura, las cosas a veces no terminan como deseamos Y ella culpó a la persona que más cerca tenía y quien tal vez más la ayudó

¡Ringgg, Ringgg! (suena el teléfono). Christa, ¿recibiste la llamada del general Phillipe Pie?, pregunta Antonio; sí, Antonio, nos vemos en su oficina Buenos días, General, aquí nos tiene a su orden, dice Antonio ¿Saben por qué los mandé a llamar? Ya tenemos la caja negra donde se confirma la pérdida de altura brusca en pleno vuelo que hizo que se descontrolara el avión. El cadáver de la presidente presentaba herida de arma blanca en el pecho, y el piloto quien fue encontrado en su cabina con una herida en el cuello, y cerca de la presidente, el cadáver de Joshlynn

Los felicito, como siempre hacen un excelente trabajo en equipo, gracias por mantenerme al tanto, e investigar a los familiares Los datos de la caja negra confirman todo lo recolectado por ustedes previamente

Gracias General, siempre a la orden, contestó Christa, y Antonio responde: nos vemos en el funeral.

Ayer nublado hoy soleado y si Dios quiere mañana a tu lado.

Siendo abogado a tu lado y humilde como Ronaldo Te enamoraré con la clase de Zidane la magia de Ronaldinho y con mi cariño, amor mío.

Con mi fidelidad sinceridad y con mi amor incondicional.

Todo el mundo solo quiere ser billonario pero yo solo quiero estar a tu lado.

Vi las hojas caer cuando nos dejaste. Los mismos árboles han sido reducidos a cenizas. El dulce aire primaveral que respiramos juntos, el mismo aire ahora huele a pólvora y azufre. Nuestro mundo es un cementerio sin ti.

Tal vez nuestra violencia te asustó. Tal vez fuimos demasiado descuidados. Tal vez nos equivocamos sobre lo que pensamos que eras.

Ahora vivimos en un mundo lleno de fuego. Luchamos bajo tu nombre, para honrarte.

Debimos haberte cuidado mejor. Debimos habernos dado cuenta de nuestra arrogancia. Debimos haberte escuchado. Debimos haber confiado en ti.

Te lo ruego, por favor, vuelve y rescátanos de nuestro fracaso.

VOICES | PAGE 13Design by Carolina Feng Nie 11

Mamá es hogar

A veces hogar es una persona no sabes lo que harías si te abandona mamá es y será hogar a donde siempre puedo retornar.

Aunque estés lejos de nuestra casita, siento el calor del hogar al pensarte. Mas solo quiero amarte, bella como eres quiero recordarte.

Tu mirada bien reconforta mi alma, si no estás conmigo pierdo la calma mi amor por ti crece como una palma ¡Ay!, te amo con el alma.

Mamá, eres el compás que bien me guía sin ti locamente me perdería aún no sé cómo me haría, si no estuvieses en esta vida mía.

Mamá

Eres el mejor amigo del mundo yo siempre me voy a quedar contigo porque tú eres mi mejor amigo mi hermano segundo.

Mi vida contigo es divertida contigo quiero vivir, ser feliz eres el único en quien me puedo fiar sin ti sería infeliz.

Sin ti yo ya no estuviera aquí mi vida sin ti sería aburrida gracias a Dios que no te has perdido contigo siempre sonrío.

Quiero que siempre te quedes conmigo eres el único que necesito sin ti mi vida no estaría escrita tú eres mi amigo.

La Escuela

Cada vez que lo escucho mi corazón se hunde es un amor profundo lleno de incertidumbre lunes por la mañana, es una relación sana que llegará más lejos que Cap Cana.

Cuando me levanto escucho un llanto cuando llego caen destellos cuando salgo, ¡Ay!, mejor me callo cuando termino, no hay copas de vino.

Design (above) by Catalina Pena
VOICES | PAGE 14
8

Tú, yo y ambos

Violín que pinte rosa y piano que cante un bello folclor bailando con las zapatillas rotas tal vez esto que siento sí es amor.

Tu melodía con cuerda brutal, la mía con cuerda de obsesión nuestra música es nada natural suena tal gran pasión.

No tengo idea de cómo funciona violín lleno de corazones rotos no me olvides o al mar arrojaré miles de nuestras fotos.

Ámame mi cariño, ámame bien cuando sea tiempo, iremos en tren quiero vivir contigo vivir hasta que seamos más que amigos

Luz (Ami abuela fallecida)

El amor de mi vida ya no está, con todo mi dolor te digo adiós. Siempre lo negaré, imposible creer ¿Cuál será la respuesta? ¿Dónde estarás? Me lo pregunto yo, ¿pero… responderás? El canto de olas ahí estará, ¿y si no estás, a quién escucharé?

Eres mi luz en momentos de llanto y mi resplandor en una mañana desde que te abro por mi ventana sí, mi ‘santa’ cercana.

Me da pena decirlo y duele expresarte esta pena con mi pena escucho la sirena siempre viviré con esta condena.

Lo que deseopor ti

Ojalá vivir contigo por siempre y que la muerte no nos separe. Pero hasta aun mejor quisiera que tú encuentres el amor.

Mereces un amor con muchas risas y nada de lágrimas me miraste y me diste un beso el cual hasta el día de hoy recuerdo. continued right

Recuerdo mi corazón al abrir así como las flores floreciendo quiero que sea abril como un ángel bajado del cielo.

Nunca te voy a querer ver infeliz un amor por siempre, un final feliz yo espero que tú nunca olvides que mereces las flores.

Design by Young Kwang Lee 11
VOICES | PAGE 15

We sip on Piña Coladas under the palm trees and the gold on our wrist gleams like the sun The afternoon breeze hits my face as we shout, “Hole in one ” We don’t worry about tomorrow, but only today We worry whether to eat lobster or steak, we worry whether to wear gold or silver, we worry whether to take our Maserati or Lamborghini I seek admiration through my Rolex; my red bottoms to draw envy I spend for others but not for Others The sound of our engines roars over their begging for money The sparkling clothes blind us from their despair The blindness that affluence brings, the despair that coins cause This is Our Biggest Fear

N A R R A T I V E P O E T R Y

Artwork by Miranda Santana Eloy 9
VOICES | PAGE 16

Here comes the truck, ready to take me away ready to prevent me from finding the progress I longed for throughout my stay Here comes the truck, I can already feel the cold touch of the metal on my skin as I watch my brothers getting in. Here comes the truck, in which the men in green will throw me inside while the rest of my family hides Here comes the truck, will I ever see them again? Here comes the truck, I was not able to bid farewell Here comes the truck, why me? Here comes the truck, how will this end? Here comes the truck, not the one from my childhood dreams but the one that, to people who look like me, had made scream Here comes the truck, coming for me

Help Help

These words are whispered in my ear

The acrid sound crawling through my skin

But I have nothing that will quench their thirst

Help Help

Once upon a time I was hopeful

Unaware of the real dangers present

I was optimistic about what I could do And how I could help

Help Help

Once upon a time I was naive

Never really at home

Lost in the unknown

The unknown of a more humble home

Help Help

Once upon a time I was found again

In the presence of amity and solace

Unknowing of the imminent danger of change

It’s claws nearing closer and closer to my flesh

Help Help

Stripped from my new home

Brought into a world with malice

The hot concrete creating a mirage of the ongoing horizon

Pain was distorted like a reflection in a flowing stream of water

Help Help

The whispers are now screams

The screw of helplessness being driven into my heart by the sight of sorrow

I know what I had to do

But my strength withers with every breath

Help Help

Design (above) by Miranda Santana 9
VOICES | PAGE 17

I have had a rough week, the difficult courses remained intact as I struggled, like an overwhelming weight on my shoulders. As I avidly waited for Friday to arrive, I realized: Today is simply Wednesday.

I took the pages between my fingers, analyzing the ink plasmed on the paper. As my eyes speculatively skimmed the letters, I effortlessly completed what I had left unfinished. The negative thoughts had disappeared.

A rush of relief ran through my veins. My eyes repeated the previous actions. My effort paid off as the desk began getting emptier. I looked outside my window, admiring the comforting environment surrounding me.

No matter how stressed or bothered I am, the trees will flow at the same direction, and the clouds will disperse like they always do. Overstressing does not lead to success, effort, persistence and hope do.

Through papers and conversations, finding strategies to find solutions is now an easy task. Focusing is a must in all areas, patience is a work in progress, and hope is now a priority.

Not all days will hug you like Fridays and not all days will punch you like a Tuesday. Through hardships I came to realize: There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Now, I am avidly waiting for another Monday.

Is it really worth it?

To sacrifice the lives of millions?

To solve your petty problems?

To give up dreams and ambitions?

To win the battle but lose the war?

To lose lives in order to gain power?

Is it really worth it?

At the end of the day

We all want to be happy

So let's stop fighting

Artwork by Arturo Fernandez 11 Artwork by Arturo Fernandez 11
VOICES | PAGE 18

The smile, the contagious laugh, the happy facial expressions, Are they true? No one knew. The deep feelings, tucked in behind my smile, Were never revealed.

Was I happy? Was I sad? I did not know, Yet hope I had For an authentic smile.

Authenticity, support and love Are needed for a true smile. One is not superior than the other, Yet people's malignant actions Said otherwise.

Inauthenticity was my poison, My low self esteem, My untrue personality My smile was like a mask, Hiding my true self.

Not having support, Keeping in my feelings, Prevented me from emotional solace

Faith, Philosophy and identity Were draining me. Not knowing who I am, What I believe, What my future will be.

The challenges gave me strength To fight for myself, To see the world in a different light And to have a true smile once again.

My empathy, My amities, And the gift of life, Gave me strength to not lose hope.

Always value yourself, Always love, and always be yourself

To have that gleaming smile.

“Should I hate Him?” Asks my mind. “Why would you?” responds my heart.

“He made me. He has shown His ludicrous character”.

“You know that’s not true,” says my conscience.

“Prove me wrong,” I respond intensely.

When times were somber, when there was no hope, He was there. “Watching from His throne,” I say entrenched.

“Extending His hands towards you,” she says.

“He made me cry like a baby who was taken away from her mother,” I declare.

“He has no guilt for that.”

Inexplicable suffering, pain, deception. “He is not responsible for that.” “But He created us,” I proclaim. “You said it ‘He created you’, not the evil that lives inside you.”

I reflect, impacted I still see no way out. My anger doesn’t allow me to. I believe I will, at some point, and maybe I will realize that the answer was always on my knees.

Design (above) by Noelia Camacho 11
VOICES | PAGE 19

M I D D L E S C H O O

Handle with care

I'm a small little vase, in a small little room. Just standing on a table with nothing to do.

I have yellow flowers right on my head, but nobody waters them so I cry instead

I wait all day for someone to pass by, but no one comes in, no one even looks me in the eye

I hear noises outside all day, but no one will come in and play

One morning I was resting in my water when I heard the door jiggle, a human but smaller.

A kid was standing by the doorway, but it looked like she had nothing to say.

She walked towards me and reached for the table, but it seemed to be she was clearly unable.

A larger person walked in whom she called mom, she seemed very kind and she was very calm

She walked towards the child and lifted her by the hip, now I could see more than just her lip

The child grabbed me unsteadily, but the feel made me more than happy.

I was suddenly in the air and I had not a single care.

Even though I am old and ugly all I needed was someone to hug me.

For some reason the hands started fading and I felt a feeling that I started hating

I was falling to my doom after years of sadness, and I suddenly felt this wave of horrible madness

In my last moments I had been dropped and I let go of my final tear drop

VOICES | PAGE 20
L Artwork by Ava Bautista 7

Fear is a fright

Feels never ending

It takes over us never stopping

Trying to take over Lurking in us fear is in us

It turns you inside out

It will stop at nothing until you are afraid

The way we prevail is God

God will be with me when he is near fear hides in the shadows

Fear is an Anchor it holds me back

I found what overcomes fear Gods love just as he broke my chains

He broke the Anchor he has given me freedom Free from the hold of fear.

When God is with me fear is destroyed in me

God is my protection fear has no hold on me

He gives my confidence to overcome what is my Anchor

As I wonder, shall ye increase in might, Shall thine offspring be thy saviors today Enough! Lest ye be snared like Canaanites; Sometimes we make mistakes! Follow the way.

Shows He the way to life, accept it now; Shall David write another Psalm fourteen, Lest ye neglect it! Ye little of faith Don’t waste much time! Repent before you’re seen!

Repent! Rough winds do make from thee despair. Repent! Art thou Pharaoh? Soften your hearts. Repent! Shall ye worry Jesus longer. Repent! All thy worries could be in care.

Unto the sky goes He, love to set base. Repent! All thou need to ask for is grace.

Design by Ashley Grullon 8 Artwork by Maria Elima Sosa 10
VOICES | PAGE 21

As a glass cup I'm considered delicate, but if I break I'm considered dangerous

Everyday I'm taken out of a cupboard and I'm drowned in different sorrows.

As the time passes and I die of cold or heat I reflect while being drained by the giant above.

What would happen if I ever died, if I fell and my throat was cut in shards

What if my thoughts were too much to bear, what if one day I fell.

What if the great giant dropped me and my life ended just like that

What if during bath time I were to stay with lather

What if I ever just fell on my own

What if no one is there to pick me up.

What if my shape is too large for milk, what if my body was awkward to hold.

I know one day I'll fall I just don't know which of them all

I am sure my days are numbered I am sure the giants don't care.

They can just replace me and throw my beautiful glass away

But from now on I've decided not to worry, to think of something else;

Think of something new, think of how I would be better as a plate.

Think of how in another life carrying food would be a more useful purpose

To this day I think of how one day I'll know How one day they'll all get to see how beautiful I can be as a tiny glass cup.

Captive, continued

“Coming, your ladyship!”

I hurried to the quarters and handed the damp cloth to the mistress. She smiled at me and slowly dabbed it on the master’s head He moaned in his sleep and the worry lines on her forehead grew deeper He looked miserable; very pale skin, sweang super heavily, and a weird red rash all over his body. Good. Let him die, for all I care.

Master is a presgious general in the Oragean army Oragea and Niadra had been at war for almost twenty years now My family was a farmer family on the outskirts of Niadra A few months ago, Father and I were out working in the corn fields, when Father looked up and saw mounted troops charging toward our farm

He scooped me up and ran me to the stables, where he mounted me on Arla, our only horse I sll remember the last words he said to me, “Go! Save your brother!” Then Father grabbed a pitchfork, turned around, and charged at the soldiers

I spurred Arla and she raced across the fields to the farmhouse Arla used to be a horse famous for her speed all over Niadra One day she broke her leg, so she couldn’t really run anymore. Her previous master was going to kill her, but Father was in town that day, selling our products in the market, and he asked if he could have it That day, Father came home from the market having sold lile, but leading a beauful chestnut horse. Father took good care of her and eventually mended her leg, and now Arla can run as fast as any horse in Niadra 26021

I heard a cry behind me, and I turned my head back just as Father fell to the ground with a spear in the chest.

Chapter 1

Another cloth Master came down with a fever yesterday, which considerably increased my workload. I jogged to the kitchen and snagged a ray cloth from the sink, dipped it in a pot of water, and made my way to the master’s quarters “Avezar!” came the mistresses’ frail voice from the master’s quarters

“Father!” I screamed, “No!”. My vision nted red and I whipped Arla’s reins around in my hands to fight those dirty cowards, when I felt a sharp pain in my leg, and it flared up my spine. It was too much to bear. I felt my arm brush Arla’s flank as I tumbled to the ground. I was aware of the dull pain flaring up my leg again Arla’s whinny as she stopped abruptly and turned around to stand beside me Hooeats from the enemy soldiers coming closer

VOICES | PAGE 22

Captive, continued

I looked down at my leg and saw an orange feathered arrow scking out of my calf I looked behind me Fiy soldiers in heavy army were charging directly at me The soldier in front wielded a huge spear and the other soldiers waved an assortment of bows, swords, and clubs A soldier near the front held up an orange banner with a red bear on it Oragean soldiers Uh oh

I turned back to Arla, “Go! Save my brother, Marinth!” Arla recognized the name of my lile brother. She leaned forward and licked my face, then turned around and sprinted toward the farmhouse I looked back at the soldiers geng ever closer I tried to stand up, but pain flared up my leg I needed to find a weapon My gaze fell on a sck lying a few feet in front of me. I half crawled, half dragged myself over to it and picked it up. I managed to get onto my knees and prop my good leg up I gried my teeth, reached back, and tore the arrow out of my leg I screamed in agony and almost passed out from the pain.

I steadied myself and waited as calmly as I could for the soldiers to come Ten nine eight , I could hear them yelling now Seven six five four , I turned back to try to spot Arla, but couldn’t see her Three two one

The lead horse raced paced me. Suddenly, I was surrounded by horses. I started whacking wildly around me, but to no effect The last thing I saw was a giant club swinging toward my face, and then everything went black.

Triumph, continued

The villager breeder was working as intended, my trade values with the clerics, cartographers and farmers were still the best they could be The chicken farm’s chest was full with the food that would take me to my final destination. My inventory and ender chest were meticulously prepared with everything I could possibly need during the encounter I checked my equipment, perfectly forged from ancient debris and enchanted to its maximum potential. Everything was perfect, and it was only a matter of time. The minecart trail I had built over the course of 3 days was waiting for me, and it didn’t wait for long I set off on my trip, thousands of blocks away from everything I know, into the stronghold I nearly died here several times in the attempt at clearing the area of monsters, and walking into the cleared underground fortress filled me with determination Torches lit the path to the portal room, where I slept and checked the chest with extra supplies I approached the portal, the infinite abyss of darkness staring right at my soul. I ignored the lingering thought in my mind to turn back, and I jumped in “This is it,” I thought to myself, “the End ”

Everything I have done up until this point has been riding on this exact moment. The universe itself is cheering for my victory, with the pounding voice in my head making me more and more nervous. Before I go into detail, let’s rewind a bit.

Thursday, November 26, 2020. I checked over everything to make sure everything was ready and in order, so it could be perfect in the event that I can’t come back to fix it. The villager breeder was working as intended, my trade values with the clerics, cartographers and farmers were still the best they could be.

I emerged from the darkness into a giant floating island in the middle of nothingness. Thousands of Endermen call this place home, and so does something else I looked around and I saw 10 giant towers with some sort of floating crystal on the top, emitting a beam of energy to the beast that everyone has dreamed of slaying, but very few have actually committed to the grueling endeavor that is the preparation, let alone making it here I looked up, and saw it’s magnificent wings spread out, it’s purple eyes staring directly at me and my drawn bow “The Ender Dragon.” I aimed and fired several volleys of tipped arrows, and the dragon dodged almost all of them as it was flying above me in giant circles I concentrated my next shot onto where the dragon will go instead of where it is, and I landed a shot on it It barely did anything to it, as it’s health was still full, and that’s when I stupidly forgot about the pillars, which heal the dragon. I carefully shot the towers from a distance one by one, as the explosions from them can kill anyone too close, whilst avoiding the dragon’s fire breath and charges The last crystal was destroyed,

VOICES | PAGE 23

Triumph, continued

and the dragon was vulnerable. It had to come down to the center of the island to rest, and that was the perfect chance to strike I went under it, drew my sword, and swiped at it’s maw repeatedly, as it roared in agony “60%.” The dragon recuperated enough strength to get back to the sky, knocking me back several blocks into the sky and taking a huge chunk of my health. Falling at an alarming rate from such a ginormous height, I scrambled for the water bucket in my inventory and braced myself

“3,” “2,” “1,” SPLASH!

Out of pure luck I placed the water bucket just right enough to break my fall, saving me from a humiliating death I drank one of the 3 potions of healing I had on me and ate a golden apple, reinvigorating my health and bringing me back to the fight. I took aim once more, repeatedly hitting the dragon and lowering it’s health even more “40% ” The dragon came down once more, and this time, to finish the job, I took out a single white bed I made for the fight I placed the bed under the dragon, took cover, and tried to sleep in it (in certain conditions this will make the bed blow up and deal tons of damage.) KABOOM! The bed made a huge explosion, instantly wiping out the remaining health the dragon had left It levitated up into the sky, erupting into light while it’s body slowly decays It went higher and higher until it exploded into thousands of little exp. orbs. “I DID IT!”. After a few seconds of pure joy and celebration, a portal and a black egg with purple spots appeared in the center In triumph, I jumped into the portal and while I seemed to be traveling back home I heard 2 people talking about me. I woke up in my bed, back home from the journey of a lifetime, and celebrated.

Trauma, Perspective,Revenge, continued

Many of my children died in the ‘bloody’ massacre, we were tortured, brutally killed and many of us are disabled because of those monsters Well I’m not scared of them why would I ? Anyway, I have no idea why God created humans

JJ: Ants... I always wonder why God would create such disgusting, creepy, horrifying, dreadful creatures I know I know, I’m using some harsh language, but I’m NOT the villain here! If you were in my shoes, you won’t be any different from me. I’ve had several traumas because of ants and these ants have been haunting me ever since. I’m not afraid of anything I’m not scared of spiders, cockroaches, bees, lizards, and I can catch them right away before thinking twice, but when it comes to ants Uhm nope. See, this is what I have become.

Anthony: Now let me tell you about the environment where I live I live in this huge ‘house’ Actually, it’s not my house It’s the human’s house one of the heartless humans I was talking about. You may think, ‘this ant is crazy! Continuing to live in his enemies house?!” Don’t you worry, there’s a reason. It’s for revenge Revenge for what a small, weird looking human girl and an older looking human woman did to my sons and daughters

Anthony: Humans they are heartless creatures Giant murderers with two arms and legs Wait, but don’t misunderstand me. I’m not the heartless, rude creature who talks bad about others. If you know how much me and my descendants have suffered from these humans, you’ll understand

JJ: Let me tell you one of the traumas a suffered because of the ants at home I’ve had ant traumas outside of home too, like in the car and suitcase, but neither of them can beat the ant trauma I suffered at home. Our family had just returned from the resort after 3 days. As always, I wanted to change right away into comfortable pajamas and read a book in bed, so I opened my closet drawers I started digging my clothes when I suddenly saw ants coming out big ants First, I was startled and thought, ‘maybe there is something sweet down there and some ants got to it.’ But then, I noticed that there weren’t just 4 or 5 ants, but dozens were coming out I had a bad feeling that it wasn’t going to end at dozens of ants, so I slowly took out my clothes to check And there they were... my worst nightmare. I can’t clearly recall, but I think there were about hundreds of ants in my closet drawers! And I’m not even exaggerating It was an unforgettable memory

VOICES | PAGE 24

Trauma, Perspective,Revenge, continued

Apparently, one of the creepy (intelligent?) ants had laid eggs while my family and I had been at the resort The warm, comfortable closet drawers was the perfect place to laid eggs and it was more perfect since there wasn’t anyone to dig through the drawers for 3 days. When I saw hundreds of the horrifying ants coming out of my closet drawers like a fountain and some even crawling up my arms, I screamed at the top of his lungs After I brushed off all the ants on my arm, I rushed out of my room and sat down on the sofa blankly as my mom took out the closet drawer full of ants and went outside. From what my mom told me, there weren’t hundreds of ants, but thousands My mom was brave and nice enough to get rid of the ants by freeing them outside even when they crawled up her arms. (Honestly, if I was my mom, I would’ve killed all of them with bug spray with feeling sorry... That doesn’t make me a bad person...right?) Then mom put my clothes in the washing machine and washed it to get rid of the rest of the ants hiding in the clothes After that, for weeks, I had a hard time opening my drawers and had to check the bottom before digging through my clothes. From then on whenever I see ants, even a dozen of them, the hair of my skin stands up and I have flashbacks of that traumatic day So please understand me when I kill an ant without thinking twice It’s not revenge. Frankly, I just can’t stand seeing them crawling around...

Anthony: Well, I think it’s time I told you the terrifying massacre me and my children faced It was just a pleasant day The weather was perfect, and I hadn’t seen the humans for a day. So, I asked myself, “How about breeding ants and bringing them to life in this wonderful day when no one bothers?” And so, my fellow ants and I found the perfect, warm, comfortable place for me to lay the eggs and after a few days, I was surrounded by thousands of beautiful, adorable children. Things were perfect. I was comfortable on the cloth thingy, I think it’s called “clothes” but then, I heard something or someone approach Then there was a massive earthquake as the little human started taking out the clothes After that, things got blurry I think I got smacked into something hard when the human girl shook the clothes I was on. There was a loud scream and in a blurry distance, I saw a large woman running over this way

She took our nest, and it shook violently as she moved Soon, the sun shined on me, and we were outside I was kind of expecting the human to drown us or spray us with the dreadful 'ant killer', but she shook the nest and let us free well she smacked my children with something, and I was furious, but I knew she was trying to not kill us, but free us instead which was surprising Seeing the gentleness of this human, I began to think, ‘maybe not all humans are monsters’, but that thought didn’t last very long. I was on the ground waiting for all my children to drop down and flee, when suddenly, the human stopped shaking the nest and the clothes and put the clothes in a huge white box! “But my children are stuck in the clothes! They’re still in there! Let them go!” I shouted, but of course the human couldn’t hear me. So, I hurried up the white box thingy to try to save my children But just as I arrived at the top, the human closed the thing shut! And through the clear lid, I watched as water filled up the box little by Little by little, my sons and daughters were submerging in the water, and I couldn't do anything. My heart ached horribly At least one fourth of my children were gone At that moment, I only thought of one thing Revenge I hated myself so much for thinking that some human could be different. I hated the woman who drowned my children, but I hated the human girl who found me and my children and destroyed our nests even more Does she know my pain? Is she even sorry for me? Probably not And I certainly don't feel sorry for her Whose side are you on? Whose fault do you think this is? It's okay to take revenge, right?

Design by Maria Blanco 11
VOICES | PAGE 25

L I T E R A R Y C O M P E T I T I O N

I live in Chicago and am in 5th grade. I was a quiet boy who always got along with everyone. I didn’t have any temper issues; some might have said I was one of the nicest kids around But that all changed when Damian came along I can only describe Damian as the worst type of person, worse than the trash you see thrown in the dump He’s tall and broad with crooked teeth and the most annoying smile you’ll ever see I truly despise him.

One day during recess I was eating my favorite snack, my precious treasure, my holy grail, a pack of Oreos I used my fingers to immediately make an incision in the wrapper, and then tear it apart This action revealed the sweet, sweet, black, chocolate and milk cookie that had been hidden inside it I wanted to eat them slowly but I couldn’t hold it I shoved one of them deep into the bowels of my hungry mouth. My teeth made quick work of the sugary goodness. In the process I entered a state of ecstasy, pleasure like nothing else, pure bliss But that wouldn’t last The devil himself came and snatched it all away from me My passion, my love, my pleasure; he took it all away

Right after I finished one of my amazing treats, I proceeded to grab another one to gobble down in the same manner. Just as the tips of my fingers came to reach the sweet, sweet, goodness, I was taken out of my trance. It had all been destroyed. A hand came down from the heavens to reduce it to smithereens I entered a state of shock; I could not believe it; I could not comprehend what had just happened That demon, Damian, came up from the Netherrealm to ruin my joy He had completely obliterated all of it The Oreos were on the ground, laying there. Tainted by the impurities of the Earth. It was gone; my sweet, sweet love was gone.

After an eternity of processing what had just happened, I came out of my shock My first thought was, “I need my revenge ” I needed to return the favor; give him a taste of his own medicine. I wanted to make him suffer like he did to me. My heart became a flame of destruction; it became pure lust for retaliation. I walked over to him at lunch with the intention of pure malice. My malevolent plan had been to flip over his lunch, completely demolishing it After taking 20 paces, I arrived at the table he was sitting at My fist raged with anger, my heart roared with wrath; I was set on doing it I did not think it through, my body moved by itself In a matter of seconds his food was in the state my Oreos were in, laying on the floor, tainted. I was confused. Instead of great satisfaction unlike nothing else, I only felt tremendous fear. Damian’s face etched itself onto my soul; his angered face is something I'll never forget to this day The pure anger that he showed was unlike anything I'd ever seen I was in big, big trouble

My palms were sweaty; my knees were weak and my arms were heavy. I cannot describe the dread in my heart at that moment. Suddenly, his fist came from the Netherrealm to give me an uppercut unlike anything I'd ever seen before. I was instantly knocked out My body presumably came down to crash on the cafeteria floor Ironically enough, I was now laying on the floor like my Oreos and Damian’s food, tainted as well

I don’t know whether it was the right decision. I got him back, but at what cost? For petty reasons I got justice, but I got knocked out cold because of it. Maybe I should think twice before striving for my own retaliation

VOICES | PAGE 26
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Artwork by Sophia Rogers 11
VOICES | PAGE 27

It was December 5th, I stepped out of the car, and took in the fresh smell of snow I locked my car and entered the coffee shop “Ding Ding Ding” I looked up and saw the dangling bells on the door The sound immediately put a smile on my face. It took me back to the small shop near my town my dad used to take me to get hot chocolate before he passed. That happy smile I had was no longer there and replaced by a sad one My shift was about to start so I walked to the back and opened the closet doors I took one of the aprons and put it on. I soon realized there was one minute left so I rushed to the counter to take orders.

A few minutes passed and I saw 3 customers enter the shop. “Ding, Ding, Ding”. The man looked up and smiled at the bells, weirdly just like me They took a seat at one of the tables The man set his things on the table and then walked to the counter. His brown hair fell to the top part of his jaw, and his eyes were as blue as the sky I asked myself if he’s admiring me the same way I was admiring him As soon as he approached me, the sharp scent hit me I soon realized it was his cologne.

My thinking was interrupted when he said, “Excuse me” I looked into his beautiful eyes and said, “Welcome to Costa Coffee, How can I help you?”

“Hi, can I have an Iced latte please, and my friend will have a cappuccino,” he said.

“Oh, of course! Would you like anything else?” I replied “ No, its fine,” He said.

“ Name please,” I replied “Masen,” He said “Alright, that will be 7.00 dollars,” I said.

He paid and got back to his table They both opened their computers and started working on something that looked like an essay I started to make both of their drinks when suddenly this feeling of anxiousness and pain rushed in. I stopped and took a quick second to breathe I looked around but nobody was near me so I got back to the drinks. I wrote the name Masen on the cup and served the drinks I took the drinks to the counter and yelled out his name. I’m not entirely sure why I yelled if it was just them and a middle aged lady in the store

About a minute later he stood and walked over to the counter to take his drinks. I went to hand the drinks but quickly spotted this black shadow behind him It looked like it's swallowing him whole. I screamed in shock and fear and dropped the drinks on the floor

The glass shattered and the drinks spilled. In fear I asked him, “Ca Can’t yo you se see that ?” He looked at me like I'm crazy and said “ No what’s wrong with you!” I was shocked at the response I suddenly snapped out of it and realized I just spilled his drinks so I rushed to clean it up. I picked up the pieces of glass from the floor one by one. I noticed my hands were still shaking and it darkened outside already I jumped at the sound of his voice when he said, “ I’m leaving Just keep the money lady!” Suddenly something clicked in my head The shadow behind Masen is the same I saw behind my dad before he died. Something told me to not let him leave

He neared the door and just as he was about to open it, I grabbed him by the hand and pulled him back I stared into his eyes and begged him not to leave. He just looked back at me and completely denied my request.

He yanked his hand out of mine and said “I’m leaving ”

“No please, you don’t understand,” I said I saw him spot his car on the other side of the road. Finally I turned back to cleaning the mess I had made, feeling defeated and hopeless CRASH I quickly turned around and looked through the window I ran out of the shop, “Ding Ding Ding”, unfazed by the sound. I looked down and saw him lying there in a pool of his own blood. I took his hand and he looked at me.

With all the energy he had left he said, “I’m s sorry” “It’s okay just stay with me” I replied Soon he’s gone and I was left alone again just looking at his lifeless body. I let go of his hand and went back inside the shop “Ding Ding Ding”, I looked up to the bells that no longer make me smile It’s as if I flipped the switch in my brain to no emotions My Dad died when I was young and my mom, well she left and never came back so I was left alone with my grief and my pain and no one could ever understand me. It's like I'm numb to the feeling. Death doesn’t just happen near me Maybe I've always been followed by it, or maybe I call to death and it calls to me I guess that I'm The shadow behind you.

VOICES | PAGE 28

She understood what it meant to lose a person. Not in the meaning of dying or ever seeing this person again, but losing someone whom she encountered everyday.

Her eyes turned back to the TV. She played the Disney princesses Wondering why the princesses always had a bright smile.

“Why wasn’t I a princess?”

But then high school hit. “Stretch marks are hideous.”

“You ruined your body.”

Being a girl in the Dominican Republic is not easy.

She found myself looking at the Disney princesses once again.

All she saw was their perfectly long straight hair and skinny bodies. They were beautiful and everyone thought so.

“I, however, was still not a Disney princess.”

She was just a girl But she found myself skipping dinners. She then often forgot to eat as the days went by.

“Why am I not beautiful?”

She wasn't beautiful So she stopped trying. She hid with the filters of the world, With laughter and masks.

All around her were Disney princesses. She felt so empty. Her sparkle was gone. A lost soul longing for love. But don’t we all want love at the end of the day?

So she became beautiful She became “perfect” But she wasn’t enough. Her heart was still empty Yet she was now a Disney princess.

With you my love, I have life because your love is my temple you cure my soul from the wound that bleeds in my heart.

You are all I aspire

To you I have consecrated my being, like a temple without symbols, without gods, solely deities of our love.

It is where I preserve the doctrine that you and I teach, like a divine prayer that we devoutly preach

Like a nation that flaunts its pride in its flag I too will proclaim our love like an anthem over the world.

It was a Saturday morning, and I had just been woken up by the smell of fresh coffee and bacon on the stove I jumped out of bed and put on my exercise clothes so I could go on my Saturday morning run. As I walked down the stairs I heard the whistles of the football game my dad was watching.

“Morning Ellis,” he said “Hey dad!”

My dad never asks me where I was going anymore, because he knows that I go running every morning As I walked past the kitchen I saw a note that my mom had left on the counter She told me to take the meat out of the freezer. My mom worked at the hospital every weekend, so she was very busy I rarely saw her anymore After taking the meat out of the freezer and putting it in the sink, I knew it was time for my run As I walked out of my front door, the sky was cloudy, almost as if it were going to rain Chills ran down my back right as I began to run down the street This was strange, because normally it was sunny outside every Saturday morning. The neighborhood was quiet, and nobody was outside Did I miss something? Surely not, my dad would have told me The sky grew darker and darker The wind whistled, and blew against my face This was a very unusual start to my Saturday, but I didn't think

The Tree continued anything of it. The weather wasn't going to stop me from doing what I loved the most I always ran to a specific tree about 20 houses down from my own. It was next to a beautiful pond, and there was always this one family having a picnic under the tree As I got closer to my destination, it didn't seem as if this family was under the tree, and the pond was still I was now standing directly in front of the huge oak tree. Something wasn't right. All of the leaves were brown I picked up a brown leaf, and focused on it. The leaf felt hard rather than smooth. As I crumbled the leaf in my hand, the wind picked up and sent chills down my spine, and the leaves in the tree began to fall on the ground. They were all dead, nothing about this tree was alive The tree had a strange smell about it Almost a sweet smell, as if it hadn't been dead for long. I passed by this tree everyday and it never seemed as if it were dying “What is going on,” I asked aloud.

This dying tree made me think about our world One day, it was alive and full of color, and today it was dead. I had never thought about death much, but it seemed as if reality had hit me. We are dying, our world is dying! I stepped away from the tree in complete shock It seems perfectly fine, but in all reality it wasn't This tree was dead, and nobody seemed to care. Nobody tried to save it. Then it hit me, I didn't even realize the tree was dying either This didn't just happen overnight, but over a long period of time Maybe this could mean that we don't see the problems in our world until they are irreversible. Nobody can reverse a dead tree, it doesn't work like that Our world is dying and nobody notices until the solution is out of reach. Just like this tree, I never realized it was dead until it was too far gone I had to get home and tell my parents about this. Why had death always seemed surreal to me before today? Was it because I had never seen it before, or what is because I had never cared to look out for it? I thought to myself for a minute Death seems so wrong and imperfect But, was it a thing because we live in an imperfect world? When I returned home, I realized that I had only been gone thirty minutes I saw my mom’s car in the driveway. As I walked into the house, my mom was making lunch, and my dad was yelling at the television “Hey mom,” I said.

“Hey honey, how was your run,” she asked “It was great,” I replied

As I walked away from the kitchen and up to my room, I looked at my parents, and I saw life We were still alive and in that moment that is what mattered. Death may seem unreal, and made up, until you actually experience it “I love you guys,” I yelled from the stairs

We may never know when death will take us too, but it isn't unreal

VOICES | PAGE 30

There It sat on the mantle by the window, overlooking trees Through winter, spring, summer, fall It sat by the window and looked ugly

It had long and thick branches extending outwards and rough ridges with sharp turns. It had holes in the bottom and cracked paint wearing distasteful browns and greens

When it rained It looked funny When it was sunny It looked deformed Regardless the setting or the light It looked like an ugly mistake

It was objectively the ugliest thing ever made but something about It drew me in Everyone who saw it said “How ugly” but it made me see the beauty in the world

The stars above us remain ever still They watch over us forever more So close, but yet so far apart They appear so small, but yet so big. They watch over us forever more In their ghastly thrones above us all They appear so small, but yet so big They lead us all with their signs.

In their ghastly thrones above us all Forever out of our reach They lead us all with their signs But what if we don’t want just signs?

Forever out of our reach Forever impossible to claim But what if we don’t want just signs? What if we want to reach them all?

Forever impossible to claim So close, but yet so far apart What if we want to reach them all? It doesn’t matter, the stars above us remain ever still.

Design by Liv Michelle Cortinas 10
VOICES | PAGE 31

When the world came to be, it did not start with a bang or a roar but with an endless sea and a solitary mountain The sea covered most of the world’s surface, its waves pushing and pulling against each other. Massive whirlpools, capable of sucking entire countries into their bellies, spawned in seconds and raged for hours, only to leave as they had erupted. Large tides swept all over each other in movements that switched between caresses and fights for dominance If one side of the globe curled itself into frenzied storms, the other would lie deadly still and await its turn

It was always cycling between moods, almost as if the Sea could never decide which to choose and instead lived between the two; furious and kind

The sound of its crashing crests was deafening, but it was also its only comfort, offering protection against the silence there would be without the collisions to hide behind. Perhaps this would explain its excitement when it felt the point of one of its mounds breach the surface

Many of them had tried before, opening their fissures and expelling their magma with the excitement only the newly born can have, but it was rare that any of them made it They would trip over each, destroying themselves in their haste to reach the top The Sea even found it amusing at first and, a long time ago, would reward their eagerness with calm waters that allowed for easy emergence, but it had gotten bored of their excursions by this point, and the lack of results only hurt its mood and deepened its isolation

That is how it missed the growth of its new friend, too preoccupied with its pain to notice how the small trench had carved a small nook of the world for itself, spending all its time growing, without once looking towards the rest of the trench for council or even for leverage on its path to freedom. So it was only when its tip peeked over the waves (in the middle of a hurricane, mind you) that the Sea even noticed its presence When it did, the hurricane ended And, for the first time since the beginning, the Sea was still. It stayed that way as the small peak pushed itself further and further upwards, encouraged by the Sea’s rarely experienced serenity, until the top of its body was now free of its bound It stayed as the rest of its shape arose and formed into a small hill. It stayed as the hill pushed its bounds and spread, becoming a mountain It stayed as it became tall and coned, its tips dyed gray by the fire burning inside it, but its base lush and green with pride at what it had accomplished.

The Mountain and the Sea, continued

It was only when the mountain joined it in stillness that Sea found itself able to move again, only to realize it did not want to

There had been nothing but silence throughout the Mountain’s birth, and it was only now that it had stopped that the Sea realized it did not mind it It did not feel as lonely with its tides brushing against the edges of a new friend

They stayed in that same silence for a while, unsure of how to proceed now that the hard part was over, but the Sea could not hold itself back for long, as an eternity of loneliness made it desperate for any sort of connection So its waves brushed against the Mountain’s shores, hesitant but willing, every rise of the tides a call to the Mountain to come forth

The Mountain, however, did not respond. Not out of distaste, but out of bewilderment

It had spent all its life alone, secluded in its ambitions with little desire for conversation. It had built its home in content solitude, with a single goal in mind and a single way of completing it There had never been a desire to open its shores to guests, so it never had. It was happy to rely on molten rock and splitting floors to live, and had never even had the opportunity to ask for more

The silence progressed, only interrupted by the soft sounds of waves kneading against the rock, which soon became sand, softened under the Sea’s gentle touch With them came the same question, the same call. Come forth Join me

The sound of it was soothing, and, for while, the Mountain didn’t understand why. It was only when it felt its stomach ignite, ash rising to its lip, that the confusion melted away It had spent so long in this rigid and unbending form, it had never gotten the chance to learn how to break Eons of watching the Sea unleash its moods in furious gusts and it had never once allowed itself to cave. To unleash its own sort of fury.

So the next time the waves came with their gentle call, the Mountain answered Ash spilled out of its lip in a dark whirlwind, followed by granite that exploded out of its mouth and into the sky, raining down like hailstones All of it is just a warning for the blazing liquid that poured out in a continuous flow.

Lava

It was silky and smooth and frantic in its escape, both dripping and bursting out with a fury that could have never been matched underwater It slid down the Mountain’s coned body, igniting everything in its path until finally, it reached the Sea.

VOICES | PAGE 32

The Mountain and The Sea, continued

As it did, the Mountain worried, scared that the burn would force the Sea to pull away, but instead the waves embraced it Enveloped it, consumed it, shaped it The water and the lava merged until it had become one solid shape Rock

The Mountain’s eruption had been cradled by the Sea and shaped into rock Into land Into an extension on its island, an extension on itself, just with the soft sand shores that the waves loved to move against It was a mix of both their beings created by their dedication

By their connection

That eruption led to others, which led to more and more land, all surrounding the Mountain, who watched as its insides made beauty and growth

But while the Mountain rejoiced in their creations, the Sea could not, as the ever growing expansions only increased the distance between it and its companion Every time they came together, they ended up further and further away from each other, and the Sea feared it would all end with it far away from its partner, left to be alone again. The Sea tried to focus on what they were building but the more it tried to put this thought to rest, the more it resurfaced, and the more it could feel itself be overcome with unrest Areas that had now spent years in tranquility, swirled violently. Soft shore tides meant to love and caress became incensed, beating the land over and over until it carved into it.

continued

The land they had cultivated together was now caved in, cracking under the pressure of the Sea’s ire Years and years of work and love and trust, all marred by fury True, rabid fury

Through all of this, the Mountain just watched

It did not understand the Sea’s pain, nor what had led to it

It could not move as freely as it, expressing itself in the movements of streams. It could not rage, tearing the entire world with it All it had was its inflexible walls and burned lip

All it could do was watch. The Sea kept pommeling it, begging and begging for it to split its walls again and burn as it had before, but it refused When the land it had cultivated was completely divided and the Sea begged it to connect it, it refused When the land grew fruits and animals and man, and the Sea pleaded with it to take care of them, it refused. When the world had expanded way beyond its need for it and its fire was cooling up and the Sea asked for it to live, it refused.

It did not matter how strong the hurricanes that the Sea made were, or how hard its waves slapped against shores

It did not matter how big its whirlpools were or how many times it fought against itself It did not matter how hard it screamed and curled and roiled and begged and grieved The Mountain lost its fire and fell into a deep sleep.

And the Sea was alone again

And it is alone now still

Design by Ximena Gonzalez 9
VOICES | PAGE 33

Under the heated blanket that wrapped Valley of Ashes on a typical summer day in New York, I woke up at 3:30 AM after an arduous Sunday night I sat beside our shared bed and stared at my wife’s pale and exhausted face resting on the old pillow made out of rags. Witnessing her slender and weak body lying motionless on the mattress always reminded me of the endless pain that kept her on the bed every day.

“This disease has taken so much from her It’s been years since I last saw the radiant and sweet smile on her face I still miss walking around on silent streets and counting the stars at the coast during our young age ” I thought while opening up the Bible for my daily devotion, reflecting on what I was thankful for and the new challenges that I had to face in the following days

After that, I quickly washed and put on a full suit I ran past the kitchen, grabbed some bread and water, and made my way towards Gatsby’s mansion

While walking the deserted road, I reviewed the tasks that I had to do once I arrived, they overwhelmed me, but the responsibility of keeping my wife alive kept my feet moving

After two hours, I finally arrived at my lord’s house The sun was starting to rise, yet everything was quiet I opened the small door behind the residence, where the industrial kitchen would be, and greeted my co workers with gestures; their bodies were still exhausted due to last night’s party Countless dishes and glassware accumulated on the sink located at the hot scullery, the workers’ hands were left dry and irritated after hours of being in contact with soap and water; it was painful to watch. Others carried heavy buckets of water and mobs throughout the house, while someone else held a scrubbing brush trying to remove wine stains from expensive and delicate pieces of furniture. Meanwhile, I grabbed some tools and went to the backyard garden to assist the gardener Once again, he was trying to make the enclosure look presentable after guests estroyed the vegetation while dancing last night Upon arriving, Mr Gann immediately saluted me, and I responded with a signal that suggested contentment. After that, I began inspecting the fence and started thinking of how I could quickly fix the hole Mr Gann then approached me and said: “Looks as if there is a lot of work for you to do ”

I then pulled out a small notebook and marker from my pocket and wrote: “Yes and I should start cutting some wood if I want this to be ready before tonight’s party ” “I will help you as soon as I finish with my work,” he said I smirked, then both of us focused on accomplishing

continued

our respective chores beneath the flaming rays coming from the blazing summer sun. After a couple of minutes, I already felt the droplets of sweat running down my wrinkled face My back was starting to hurt, and I began growing thirsty too. Unfortunately, I could not afford to take a break since I had to finish this by the afternoon before guests came back from the beach

By the time I resolved this problem, the doorman informed me that a body of caterers had just arrived I nodded and went inside to assist them

Several members of the crew began installing enormous buffet tables These were later garnished with exotic flowers and the glistening light of fragrant candles

Moreover, exquisite and luxurious canapés started dressing up the counter, as well as spiced grilled pork, which was surrounded by a number of fresh harlequin salads. I then placed puff pastry pigs filled with high end meat while sumptuous turkeys with a dark gold coating were situated adjacent to the remaining dishes that executive chefs around the world prepared for this specific occasion

Once I finished, I inspected the main hall, where an extravagant bar, similar to those that hotels located in Yorkville offered, was assembled Bottles of alcoholic drinks whose predominant flavor derived from juniper berries and other luxurious distilled spirits saturated and decorated the lounge, waiting to be savored by visitors

At seven o’clock the orchestra arrived Harmonious melodies played by oboes, trombones, saxophones, violins, cornets, piccolos, and drums transformed the atmosphere within the mansion into the one that would make you feel as if you were in a royal palace. Later on, as the sun began to set, golden strips blended with a soothing blue painted the marvelous sky and were now being reflected on the broad sea. People then started coming back and went upstairs to change into flamboyant costumes complemented with ostentatious jewelry

Subsequently, the scent of alcohol became dominant in the bar area as a walk around the residence offering champagne and cocktails The moon is rising and the environment is gradually impregnated with laughter, chattering, and interesting interactions between women that will remain strangers to each other Thus, once again, the party begins

During the last days, I started perceiving the development of several changes that were taking place in the surroundings of the chateau. Other members of the personnel also noticed this, and so during lunch one of the maids commented: “Perhaps the lord must be in an ecstatic mood lately.”

“He is indeed much more ecstatic,” I wrote in my notebook and indicated others to read it

VOICES | PAGE 34

Voiceless But Not Speechless, continued

“I believe that is because of the lovely girl that visited him during the past few afternoons,” another maid added. “Yes I ”

Suddenly, a foreigner opened the door using excessive force and announced: “According to Mr. Gatsby’s orders, each one of you is to depart from his mansion within the following ten minutes. All of you have been dismissed.”

At this instant, everyone grew dumbfounded for no one could figure out the reason behind this unexpected mandate from our master, which we have served for a considerable amount of time Soon, the stress started rising and spreading across all members of my body Concerns and questions regarding how I was going to compensate for the mortgage, bills, and medical expenses started flowing throughout my neurons as I went back home

Once I arrived, I changed into some more comfortable clothes and sat beside my wife, who was sleeping I grabbed her emaciated hand I studied her thin limbs Her body was in a skeletal state with an apparent absence of fat and muscle I then looked at her face while reviving the scene that occurred a few hours ago After a moment of silence, a voice inside of me urged me to read the Scripture Clear images of three verses emerged from the ocean of thoughts that filled my consciousness. I then proceeded to look for Matthew 6:25 16, which advised me to not worry about our future. Next, I read Matthew 11:28 30 and Jeremiah 29:11, immediately experiencing comfort. After that, I closed my eyes and quietly had a conversation with God. I could not find the right words; my heart was aching, and tears began flowing until night came.

The next day, I woke up as early as usual. I took a train to the big cities hoping to acquire a job I was nervous since I knew that my disability would significantly limit my opportunities, but I could not give up because my wife’s life depended on me

When I arrived and began walking through the crowded streets, my biggest fear became true As I entered the different establishments and presented my notebook to address my interest in applying for the job to the owners; they would deny my proposal by saying that a worker unable to talk was inconvenient Each time, I walked out with a distressed face I kept strolling around like a vagabond until six o’clock to find myself at home at 7:30 PM

I ate some bread and sat at the dining table. I then began reflecting and commenced composing diaries outlining how I envisioned my future taking into account our current social status. Suddenly, I heard someone knocking on the door; it was Mr. Ward, one of my old friends who worked as a journalist for a newspaper company in New York City. He came as he wanted an update concerning Mildred’s health condition

continued

I wrote the following: “Nothing has changed I prepared some soup, gave her some pills, and then put her to sleep ”

Disillusioned, he then asked: “How is work?”

Not wanting to talk about the incident, I handed him the records while I heated some soup for both of us.

As he was reading it, his face revealed how each written word painfully touched his soul “I am sorry know that after all these years, the same way you were there for me when Magdalene passed away, I will support you and stay by your side,” he said with a slight smile noticing that I was tearing up, “and for this reason, I will take these journals and publish them in the newspaper and then see what we can do from there.”

I thanked him and grinned. However, days passed and I still have not heard anything from Mr Ward One more time, desperation and stress started circulating within my blood vessels, so one day I decided to travel across the country looking for solutions only to return with empty hands

That same night, Mr. Ward enthusiastically came to my house with a check on his hands. “We made it! Your story had a major impact on many Americans!”

I stared at him with an astonished face, not being able to fully process what was happening “Friend, your voice has been heard by hundreds of citizens, including numerous non profit organizations that are willing to investigate this case and provide any form of assistance to you and the others involved in this conflict. In other words, shortly, Mildred can now be professionally treated at hospitals, and your co workers will eventually enjoy manifold privileges. All of this and more thanks to your anecdote,” explained Mr Ward

At the end of the month, everyone's quality of life increased My co workers labored in institutions that were founded on ethical bases Additionally, I also witnessed how Mildred quickly started to recover In the meantime, Mr. Ward and I were busy administering our new non profit company, which focused on providing jobs to those with disabilities and supporting other congregations that fought against oppression and those that were going unnoticed in society Whenever I contemplated my new life, I always thought about how God made a way even though it seemed as if there was none; and that trusting Him and faithfully holding His hand even at the difficult times was just another testimony of how He can transform lives.

VOICES | PAGE 35

Before the world, her smile does not cease. Happy she seems and everyone believes. Spoiled is the girl, No reason to complain.

White and shiny teeth, Revealing a dazzling smile, Before the very eyes of the world it is always there, It expires nevertheless; In solitude, it faints.

A snap of her finger, And her wishes will be fulfilled. She snapped them, But the sadness was still there.

Her gaze fixed on the vast ceiling, As oceans from her eyes arise. Of this futile life, Tired is this one.

More painful is the sadness, That after the joy had a place. That empty and hollow feeling, Brings up the desire of breathing one’s last

Do you scream

In the dark of the night? Do you get drunk on dreams Hoping that they’ll set you free? Do you try your best Till you can barely breathe? Are you lost in the world? Who tells you the truth? Here all lines are gray

For we are the lost youth Who are befuddled with grief It's forever clouding. For we are drunk on tears

Weeping for our wasted years We sing for the lost And fight for the weak. Yet we stumble through our days Weakened from our victories And tired of our grief That weighs us down Like anchors at sea.

Design by Gabriela Checo 11 Design by Isabella Breton 8
VOICES | PAGE 36

To play together is to play alone, Each other’s presence only through the phone, The lonely darkness consumes you whole, Drives you insane until you lose control.

Each other’s presence only through the phone, Empty words are all you’ve ever known, Drives you insane until you lose control, And takes over your entire soul.

Empty words are all you’ve ever known, The spoken sound turns into stone, And takes over your entire soul, Thoroughly achieving it’s only goal.

The spoken sound turns into stone, Leading you into the great unknown, Thoroughly achieving it’s only goal, And giving you an important role.

The spoken sound turns into stone, To play together is to play alone, And giving you an important role, The lonely darkness consumes you whole

The boy in question looked up from his book and I instinctively grabbed the first thing off the shelf and pretended to read it. I sat down on the couch across from him and continued to leaf through the random book Every once in a while I would look up and see him smiling to himself or reacting to whatever was going on in the story

All of the sudden, he got up and left, leaving his graphic novel on the reshelving rack Only then did I realize that I was “reading” a book about dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The next day, I sat in the same spot as I had the day before I wasn’t even twenty pages into the book I was reading when he showed up

He grabbed a comic off the shelf and plopped down on the bean bag. We sat there reading our books for a little while Things weren’t looking good in the story when a voice interrupted the silence

“Let me guess: Bianca just got smashed by the big statue?” I looked up to see the boy had gotten up to get another comic and was now looking over my shoulder

“She makes it, right?” His eyebrows furrowed ever so slightly, giving me an answer without saying anything, “She was my favorite character!” He chuckled, “What did you expect? Bianca was going up against a metal titan. Everyone knew she was going to bite it the minute she approached it ”

“Well ” I grabbed the book he was holding “Rengoku dies in chapter 67.” He gasped in fake shock and snatched it back, I know. I’m re reading it ”

With that, he sat down next to me, put in his earbuds, and started reading. I went back to mourning Bianca as I finished the chapter.

Since he was sitting closer, I could hear what he was listening to It appeared to have been the soundtrack to Mario Kart Wii I chuckled to myself.

“What’s so funny?” he looked at my book, then back at me with a confused expression. “Nothing. I just find it odd that you’ve been listening to Coconut Mall on loop this entire time ”

I wiped my hands on the leg of my jeans before I pushed open the double doors that led to the cafeteria. Immediately, I was met with a cacophony of voices I looked across the cafeteria, readjusted the straps of my backpack, turned around, and left Instead, I made my way to the library, where I could eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwich in peace

I strolled over to the comic section and picked a few books. Pretty soon, I had finished my stack of comics and wanted to find something else I was browsing through the different sections of the library, occasionally taking bites from my sandwich, when I saw him

He was curled up on a beanbag chair reading the latest installment of Demon Slayer. I could faintly hear him humming along to whatever was playing in his headphones From what I could tell, he was doing the same thing I was, hiding out in the library until lunch was over continued right

“So? The people who composed this song knew what they were doing. Wanna listen? "He offered me his earbud. I put it in, took one listen to the computer generated music, and burst out laughing, “How can you listen to this with a straight face?”

“How can you not?”

“Are you just going to answer my questions with more questions?” “Is that a problem?” He flashed me a playful grin The corners of his eyes crinkled a little bit, and I noticed he had a freckle above his lip

His red hair fell across his face like he hadn’t had a haircut in a while; it didn’t look messy though In fact, it was kind of cute “No,” I smiled, “I just think you need to change your music taste Here I’ll show you my profile.”

I took his phone, opened his music app and typed in my account information “Go ahead and put your number in while you’re at it,” he muttered. I stopped for a second to process what I had just heard, “That was smooth, man ”

“Thanks ” I handed him his phone, “Give me your phone too ”

We exchanged numbers and then the shrill ring of the bell snapped us back to reality I checked out my book and headed to class My phone buzzed with a text

It read, “library jerk :P: same place tomorrow?”

VOICES | PAGE 37

THE ARTISTS AND AUTHORS OF SANTIAGO CHRISTIAN SCHOOL VOL. 3 | 2021 2022

Santiago Christian School Autopista Duarte 5 ½ Santiago, Dominican Republic

VOICES
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