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Inkwell The Literary-Art Magazine of West Hills High School
Featuring work by
West Hills High School Student Body at Large Published in conjunction with the
West Hills High School Readers & Writers Club Cover Artwork Christina D. Hurtado, Grade 12 Student Editors Christina D. Hurtado, Grade 12 James Waterford, Grade 12
Faculty Editor Suzanne Sannwald, Teacher Librarian
Inkwell POETRY Masquerading Cookies You Don’t stranger. This Darkness of Mine FLOWER (the gardener) Requiem From Life To Death Seasonal Cycle sugar sweet Senses How to Tell You're Not Over It Reminiscence Lost and Found Carpe Diem Looking at my World Year by Year, Step by Step
Alina Leholm Alina Leholm Anonymous A Anonymous B ff9966 s.c.n Bridgett Babbitt Raven McBride Avi J. Stinson Anonymous B Anonymous B Jordan Holmes James Waterford Anonymous A Anonymous A Arthur D. Kane Alina Leholm
1 2 2 8 10 11 12 13 15 16 16 17 18 19 19 23 24
FICTION Rewind Crooked House, Crooked People A Selfless Cyborg Named Cyan
Auna Anonymous C AeverHeart
Starset Volleyball Vision My Biggest Accomplishment Mercy Powerpuff Girls Drawings Adam Adam Scribbles Explicit
Jay W. Minh-Huy Pham Christina D. Hurtado Jyleer P. Martinez Sierra Britton Ashton Streno Amy Manahan Darla Schaefer Katnip Kai Homan
4-6 9 20-22
VISUAL ART/PHOTO 1 2 3 7 7 7 8 8 9 9
VISUAL ART/PHOTO (continued) The Weight of Greed Bound to the Moon Going Home A Fisherman’s Sunset Old Woman Nature’s Sunset Peonies Darkness in Color Jelly Welly Fish Stardust Rapunzel My Fashion Design Determination Til' Death Do Us Part Pensive Characters Eclipse Untitled Parting Gift CONTRIBUTORS
Minh-Huy Pham Minh-Huy Pham Auna Kirsten P. Fraga Olivia M. Jyleer P. Martinez Baylee Hix Baylee Hix Baylee Hix Darla Schaefer Jyleer P. Martinez Jyleer P. Martinez Drawbridge Isaias (Junior, Hunz) Cruz AeverHeart Jay W. Christina D. Hurtado Minh-Huy Pham
10 10 11 12 13 13 14 14 14 15 18 18 18 19 21 23 24 25
Masquerading Alina Leholm, Grade 12
My alarm goes off and I rise from my bed and The sun rises too.
Flowers line the sidewalk as I walk around the town as The sun beams down on my shoulders.
An air-conditioned room surrounds me and I want to go outside where it’s warmer and The sun extends its rays to find me.
The people continue to talk as I continue to shiver as The sun continues to wait outside.
Sunken eyes and sour expressions dominate and I see the clock ticking rapidly and The sun sinks lower in the sky.
Seats are emptied as I pack my bag as The sun slips down.
The sidewalks and rooms are empty and I am finally outside and The sun has disappeared.
Next week’s weather is cloudy as I anticipated as The sun decided.
The sky no longer hosts the sun and I only see rain and dark clouds and The sun stopped waiting for me.
My alarm goes off and I rise from my bed and The clouds rise too.
Starset Jay W., Grade 11
It’s time to put on a new masquerade. You see, The last few didn’t work. I wonder why.
Alina Leholm, Grade 12 Cookies for sale! I shout as my friend rolls the wagon with cookies. She was a girl scout. Do you want to help me sell cookies? She asked me with her eyes full of hope. I was her best friend. How much for a box? A person asks us and we eagerly respond. He never bought a box. I think this park is beautiful. I told my friend but she was busy counting boxes. We never went back to the park. I think we should go. My friend's mom suggested to our unhappy faces. We only sold a quarter of the boxes. Remember the time we sold cookies together? I asked my friend four years later but she did not remember. She used to be a girl scout.
Anonymous A, Grade 10 You don’t ruin friendships, Or prevent them from happening, You don’t create arguments, You don’t start a fuss. Everything they say you do, Always is their fault, Never believe the crap they say, It’s malarkey at best. Every time you tell a lie, The truer it becomes, And these lies they’ve told a thousand times, Are just the exception. No matter what they say, You don’t cause the problem. You don’t hurt anyone but yourself, And everyone cares for you, You don’t not matter. We don’t not care.
Minh-Huy Pham, Grade 12
My Biggest Accomplishment Christina D. Hurtado, Grade 12
Excerpt from longer work by Auna, Grade 11 Chapter 1: Presentation The room felt hot. Too hot. Everything was burning. Aaron was burning. His skin felt hot to the touch and he felt the dizziness that almost always came before fainting. Didn’t Mr. Rominski say that the air conditioner had been fixed? Is it even on? These thoughts, among all of the others that scrambled for his attention, circulated in his head as his partner, Andrea, suddenly turned to look at him. Focus, Aaron! He thought to himself. The Savior’s Men, Act 2, Scene 1. You can do this. You only have three lines. Aaron was performing an excerpt of the satire they were currently studying in class. He would be graded on their performance. Andrea would be the one carrying this scene. She-er, Calico-was the group’s leader in the Savior’s absence. Aaron’s character, Pilot, was hardly even asked his opinion on anything. Andrea looked strange without brown hair, Aaron realized. She had dyed her hair black and pink over break for no reason other than she could. Her uniform hadn’t been spared either (much to the school’s annoyance), the maroon and white clothes having been dyed black after school on Monday. “What say you, Pilot?” Andrea says with a stereotypically British accent. “What is to be his fate?” She gestured toward the ground in front of them. Aaron looked at the mannequin lying on the floor in front of him, meant to represent Ickuool, a captured magician. He had been illegally selling magical medication to the peasants that couldn’t afford the trip to the capital. Aaron shifted his stance, knowing that eyes were truly on him now. Death. That’s what he was meant to say, but the words refused to leave his lips. He opened and shut his mouth, all muscles tensing under his classmates’ scrutiny. All eyes were looking down on him. All 113. Aaron looked upward, and not for the first time, he wished that the lecture hall hadn’t been built at an angle. How could anyone do this? With so many people looking down on him, there would be no way to calm his nerves. Especially now that the panic had set in. Aaron resisted the urge to run a hand through his hair. Aaron was suddenly hyper aware. He could hear the teacher clicking his pen as he observed the amateur actors. He could smell the TA’s vanilla perfume, even though she was on the other side of the room, scrawling the homework on the whiteboard. He could see and count the wads of gum underneath the desks in the front row. Aaron could faintly hear someone’s pencil roll off of the desk and onto the carpeted floor. Evangeline, recognizing her classmate’s nervousness, demonstrated her most picture-perfect smile, flashing him an encouraging thumbs up (even though he couldn’t possibly see her past Clarissa, the 6 foot 4 wall of muscle). “Death.” He managed to squeak out, too quiet for the audience to hear. Moslow spoke up, “Death, Pilot? Do you really think King Clyde would be okay with such a harsh punishment?” He had slightly altered the line to make up for Aaron’s stagefright, but the meaning was the same. “We cannot forget; while we are out of the castle, we must mimic his actions. We are the Savior’s men, after all.” Although his tone betrayed nothing, he sent Aaron an annoyed glance. Calm down, Aaron. He thought to himself. You can do this. “Ah, but you forget, Micah.” Andrea says, moving and speaking as if she truly was Calico. “We must ensure order and loyalty to our Savior and his laws. One must shed blood to have peace!” Would King Clyde be so foolish as to show criminals mercy? That was his line. Aaron would speak it, if the inside of his mouth was not so dry. What is wrong with me? Aaron asked himself, though he knew even then it was not the first or last time he would think these words. Mr. Rominski sighed impatiently, reaching for his pop and raising it to his lips. Aaron opened his mouth, “Would Clyde-King Clyde, I mean- be so foolish as to show mercy to criminals?” continued on next page
Inkwell Rewind (continued) The line was wrong. Andrea was practically bristling in anger. Her hands, while clasped behind her back, were shaking from both rage and annoyance. If she was a cartoon character, Aaron could easily imagine steam pouring out of her ears. Moslow opened his mouth, ready to try to pick up the slack when Mr. Rominski’s voice interrupted them, “I’ve seen enough,” he declared, “Return to our seats, you three. The class will read the rest of the scene independently.” He screwed up. Aaron knew it, Andrea knew it, everyone did. While some, such as Evangeline and Moslow understood and forgave it, it was clear that this fumble did not go unnoticed. This fact alone might have sent Aaron spiralling into a panic attack if the world didn’t seem to collapse inwards on itself when he took his seat. Aaron expected his chair to feel cold from his absence, but he didn’t expect the entire room to dip in temperature. Really? NOW the AC decides to work? He asks internally as he rubs his arms to warm them. Dust particles flew through the air, causing Aaron to sneeze. He looked around, expecting to find his peers burying their noses in their books to avoid the dust. Instead, he found that everyone in the room had frozen in place. No. That’s not possible. They’re probably just sitting really still. Aaron knew how dumb that sounded, but what was he supposed to think instead. Aaron looked behind him, looking for Clarissa, who could keep still if her life depended on it. Hoping to see her leg bouncing in place, Aaron was both disappointed and shocked when he saw that, she too, was unmoving. The dust particles whirled around, catching the windows’ light as it formed a funnel-like shape. Aaron stood up abruptly, smacking his knee on the chair, which was unfortunately bolted to both the floor and his desk. The dust began to move faster, the resulting wind catching Aaron’s half-shaved hair. Aaron looked around, despite knowing what he would see. Why aren’t they moving? This isn’t normal! Aaron protectively places his hands over his eyes, hoping to shelter them from the dust’s relentless assault. The dust whirled at even greater speeds, the wind knocking him back into the wall with a slam. Despite not believing in gods or spirits, Aaron prayed internally to every entity he could name. Suddenly, it stopped. … And he was on stage once more. “What say you, Pilot?” Andrea asks, as if nothing had happened at all. “What is to be his fate?” She gestured toward the ground in front of them. Aaron responds nervously, “Death.” What. The. Hell?! “Would King Clyde approve of such a punishment?” Moslow says, looking pleased, “We cannot forget; while we are out of the castle, we must mimic his actions. We are the Savior’s men, after all.” Andrea smiles, “Ah, but you forget, Micah. We must ensure order and loyalty to our Savior and his laws. One must shed blood to have peace!” Did I doze off? Am I daydreaming? Did I die? Or… he thought, did I go back in time? Before he could test this theory, the dust picked up once more, much quicker than it had before. Oh no. Aaron reacted quickly, running from the room and abandoning his motionless classmates. Though he could run quickly, faster than most his age, Aaron did not have the stamina to outrun it. … “What say you, Pilot?” Andrea asks for the third time, not remembering the previous two, “What is to be his fate?” She gestured toward the ground in front of them. Crap. continued on next page
Inkwell Rewind (continued) Chapter 2: Revelation “Hey, is there a game scheduled today?” Peri asks, pulling her hair back into a ponytail. Hamko, curious why she was asking, turned her head. She found a large group of boys, all of them in jerseys. Hamko figured out pretty quickly why this was. “It’s spirit week, remember? All of the teams are wearing their uniforms today.” Peri facepalmed, “I am literally class secretary, how did I miss that?” “Having a blonde moment?” Hamko asks. Peri glared at me, “Stereotyping? Two can play that game.” “Okay, okay. Simmer down. You know I was just kidding.” Hamko says, knowing that her friend was too hot-headed to let it go. Peri takes a deep breath, “Okay. I’m good now.” A frisbee flies over Hamko’s head, sailing toward the group of jocks. “Watch out!” She yells, causing a jock to turn his head in her direction, only to get nailed by a Neon Pink frisbee. “Ow! For the love of-” The guy’s eye throbs as he looks up. A nimble Asian girl runs toward him. “Oh my gosh, are you okay?” Hamko worries, “How’s your eye?” She reaches toward his face to try and get a better look, only to freeze up at the sight of his jersey. Fourteen. He’s the one Madame Mill told me about. Hamko might have smiled then, if the boy didn’t smack her hand away, “Just take your frisbee and go.” “Wait, it’s not mi-” A short girl (somehow even shorter than Hamko herself) shoves the frisbee into Hamko’s hand, “Just go.” No. No. No. This is NOT how this was supposed to go. “Wait! Can we just, rewind or something?” The girl froze, as did 14. … “Okay. I’m good now.” Peri says, a smile on her face. Hamko stands abruptly. Peri’s smile falls, “Hey, everything okay? I didn’t mean it, I promise.” Hamko looks around. The frisbee flies overhead. Panicked, Hamko yells, “Rewind!” … Peri smiled, “Okay. I’m good now.” Hamko said quietly, “Oh my God.” “What?” Peri asked, “Is somebody embarrassing themself?” Peri looked across the lawn, searching for something noteworthy. Hamko jumped up, catching the frisbee before it could reach 14. Oh my God. How? “Nice catch.” Peri nodded in approval, “I didn’t even see it coming.” Hamko looked down at the frisbee in her hand, frozen from shock. Did I do that? Did I somehow rewind time? “I…” Hamko breathes, still trying to recover. When did this start? Surely I’ve said that word before, why is this only happening now? Hamko thought, turning to look at 14, who was laughing with his friends. Is it because I’ve finally found him? What am I supposed to do now? “Hamko, are you okay?” Peri asks, squatting down a little to look her friend in the eye, “Maybe you stood up too fast?” Hamko had just barely mustered the strength to raise her head before she heard a boy call out, “Hey!” He ran toward the two girls, “Sorry about that, my girlfriend sucks at aiming. Nobody’s hurt, right?” Hamko weakly held out her hand, and the boy happily accepts it. Peri wraps her arm around Hamko as the boy walks off, “Hey, why don’t we go somewhere less hectic? You seem a bit overwhelmed.” You could say that again. Hamko settled for something to the effect of, “Yeah, okay. Sounds good.”
Ashton Streno, Grade 9
Jyleer P. Martinez, Grade 9
Powerpuff Girls Sierra Britton, Grade 12
Anonymous B, Grade 10 You cannot cut out your tongue If there are no words to say You cannot deny it If it never happened So why will you never meet my eyes? Why am I a stranger in yours? Why do you see me as a foreign country? My body something you have never encountered for My lips a new language My hair a new substance A culture of its own Formed from my fingertips Why do you not attempt to learn me? I cannot blame myself. You cannot blame me. I tried to meet you I tried to see your perspective I tried to conform to your standards I contorted myself I changed my mouth I tried on uncomfortable skin I was unapologetically myself I hid myself I conformed to society I turned away the mocks I hid from everyone I laid it all on the table. You did not spare me a second glance. Who’s to blame?
Amy Manahan, Grade 9
Darla Schaefer, Grade 9
Crooked House, Crooked People
Anonymous C, Grade 12 I grew up in a crooked house. A crooked house full of crooked people. A crooked man and his crooked wife, and their two bent children. And in this crooked house full of crooked people, nothing ever went right because everything always went left. The stove never worked, the heater didn't get hot, the bath never stayed full and on went the list of left things. I thought once I got out of the crooked house full of cooked people and left things, I would be able to blend in, but I was a bent child and once something is bent it can never be unbent. However, on I went living a straight and narrow life, hoping to one day forget my crooked upbringing. I lived in a house with an umbent man and made many unbent children. The stove always brought the water to a boil, the children never got cold in the winter, and the bath held its contents. I didn't realize that though no matter how hard I tried, a bent thing can never be unbent. I had my very own list of left things in my house. The roof always leaked, the sink always squeaked, and the third floorboard to the right never laid flat. I had created my own crooked house full of crooked people. I had a crooked husband who came home every night smelling like tobacco and perfume, and I had raised two beautiful bent children just like my mother before me and her mother before her. A bent thing cannot be unbent. A broken person cannot be unbroken. And on I lived in a crooked house full my own of crooked people, living a crooked life like my mother before me.
Kai Homan, Grade 11
Katnip, Grade 11
The Weight of Greed
Minh-Huy Pham, Grade 12
This Darkness of Mine
ff9966, Grade 9 Rushing like water Flowing like rain Small pains make me numb Panic sinks in my veins It gets harder to breathe every day These thieving four walls. Will you cave in on me, stall? Just so you can trap me, and raise your cold claws To the flesh of my neck like a tightened noose And rob my body of breath till i fall? Oh bittersweet thoughts WIll you leave me alone in the darkness to rot? Visit me every hour until im distraught? Claw at my brain stem, and when i bleed send me off? With the forgotten past of those who don't even remember my name? And then leave me to die? I don't mean to be dramatic, but it's hard to stay fine, When every night, there's no closure, no safety to hide, A permanent battle where i'm forced to reside Where when I pull the trigger, the face behind the guns mine And it burns like a fire, tells my stomach to ache Beat my skin till it bleeds, throw my heart till it breaks For the darkness won't stop, it continues to take Yanks my heels from the earth, then claims it as fate And says this is all for the better But if i live through the darkness The light will find its way through And breaky me of my starry prison And then i'll survive, through the safety of light Until the darkness of mine is forgiven
Bound to the Moon
Minh-Huy Pham, Grade 12
I am a flower
Beautiful and wondrous People stare at me when they walk by And I stare back They’re amazed at my petals They compliment my shape Feel my softness
s.c.n, Grade 10 And avoid my thorns They always think I’m beautiful until I make them bleed
I am a gardener
I plant roses in the flowerbed of my being Water myself, hoping to become something beautiful I try to appreciate my petals My shape My softness Even my thorns Because every flower starts as a seed
I was once a seed
Something so small
and delicate and fragile
I was hidden underground People walked over me without a second thought Left scars on my shell I wasn’t beautiful yet so they didn’t care
I, the gardener, water myself every morning Hope to grow into the rose i was meant to be Hope to make myself known Hope for something Anything. There are moments when I prick myself and I start back at square one I forget to water myself one morning and I am picked from the soil I call home and make residence in someone else’s hands
Going Home Auna, Grade 11
A stranger holds me roughly A stranger has his hands wrapped around my neck A stranger says I look better dead A stranger pulls my limbs from the corpse in his hands and stuffs them in his pockets
He says I look beautiful
And I am no longer a gardener no longer a flower I am just a body Just a shell Sitting in the palm of a man's hand Eyes pleading and begging for him to stop He never does But I still grow for myself.
Last. Last word Last thought, Last breath. Stone men are built From the frigid bones of those they have lost. But still, Their hearts beat within their bittered chests. Is your heart still beating? I’ve always believed that hearts beat With more than blood alone. Magicians vanish, Submitting themselves to nothingness. But as you navigate the void forsakenly, I still sing your requiem.
Bridgett Babbitt, Grade 9
Requiem for a life monotonously liven. How bright is the light of passing? Does it shock your soul, Like a reckless sun blazing? Or entice you, A ray of hope for a ship lost in a pitch sea? In an attempt to understand spirits You fell into the underworld. Tumbling fast in the realm of the living towards rock bottom, Until you tripped south of hell. They surround you now, Corroded men and women with little light within. But do you belong among them? Your eyes were dark and thoughts blank, But does life still shine? With a flicker of copper in the eye, A burst of joy among torn lips, How could I have known? I. You. We. We sailed through a storm of your creation. How ignorant I was to think the wind whipped my face alone. Salt spilled through your teeth, Drying out your lungs. Suffocate. I drowned in my sorrow but you, Your breathed was shattered. Drawn from your shell and thrown to the earth. No one can save a lost soul. Drifting through the valley of indifference. I find myself taking strolls through the flowers you have stepped on Only when I think of you. Then I catch myself at the river that runs white And think to myself how I’d like to sleep there, But you lived there. In the valley of indifference Where the river runs white And you stepped on the flowers before their bloom. So I crawl back upon my hill The valley an option for when the earth caves in.
A Fisherman’s Sunset Kirsten P. Fraga, Grade 10
From Life to Death Raven McBride, Grade 9
Life is, in words, complex The ones that you love can disappear in the blink of an eye, There are bumps, There are bruises, And there are inconsistencies, And deaths curiosity of the unknown, Gone. Never to be seen again, Never to feel your love Sent from the depths of your heart And forever end bliss, And will never return, From where there is no light. So, child, hold people near. For they will never tell you, How much they care, For the rest of your days, Where you are unaware, Blindly wounded, Life is, in words, An enigma.
Olivia M., Grade 9
Nature's Sunset Jyleer P. Martinez, Grade 9
Darkness in Color
Baylee Hix, Grade 12
Baylee Hix, Grade 12
Jelly Welly Fish Baylee Hix, Grade 12
Avi J. Stinson, Grade 9 A summer breeze fair and warm Lightning cracks through silver storm A canvas of elusive hues Indigo muaves, orange ambers, cerulean blues Painting the first petals of spring Through crystal sunlight birds’ song rings But alas, Summer breeze must turn cold Calming rain vanish into thin skies of old Colorful canvas shift to grey Iridescent paints no longer at play Petals of spring close and slumber Chirpy sparrows cease their number For nothing can stay, no matter how light Because as day is most wonderful, The world must always sink back to night.
Darla Schaefer, Grade 9
Anonymous B, Grade 10
it’s a mystery to me how you affect me so
Anonymous B, Grade 10 There’s something about you A untouchable Pure place Within you Gentle, caressing love Flowing from this Foreign spout A fountain I have yet to find There’s a way about you Becoming gentleman Unweighted shoulders I love your way I can’t quite Put my finger on you A feeling Dancing on the edge of my tongue Words yet to have been Invented You have taken over my entire mind Captivated my lungs My body held hostage I have begged Pleaded I don’t know if I’m asking for space Or more of you You have provided safety Unreachable serenity Incomprehensible peace A calm so deep I feel it in my veins You have captured me Engulfing me in your flames A slow burn Removing my skin Shedding me of my senses
how you change the colour of the sky and mold the rhythm of my heart how your words drag along the softest part of my chest where your lips leave marks you’ve created my most favourite memories with your fingertips you’ve challenged my thoughts creation feasible with your breath
how you symbolise life love hurt comfort the most intimate emotions you’ve reserved my body nerves speak your name electrified patches of skin
you have enthralled me captured the most sensitive part of my brain locked away my thoughts and replaced them with you
your hands your lips your eyes your smile sunday candy your hair curls tightening around my finger your neck your collar your arms your hands supporting weak knees and a numbing mind your fingers your hips your mind beautiful fascinating joyous creation creator
every part of you captivates me
How to Tell You're Not Over It
Jordan Holmes, Grade 12 1) If you can't delete their pictures from your phone 2) If every time you think about them, the word "love" slides through your brain 3) If something makes you laugh, and then you think about how they used to laugh, and then your laugh dies 4) If you, at one point or another, will play Taylor Swift, and catch yourself singing along with passion 5) If you try and paint them in a negative light, but you can only think of positives 6) If you enjoy "hanging out as friends" more than you do hanging out with your friend 7) If you go on a date with another person, and you think, this is me moving on, but all you see in their eyes is the lover that broke you 8) If you listen to the songs you used to listen to together 9) If you avoid the songs you used listened to together 10) If weeks, months, later, you still feel something in your chest still missing 11) If you look at your bed, and you stop seeing a bed, and see the place she used to lay, filling you with too many emotions to handle You don't know whether to worship the spot, or burn the sheets 12) If you hear that they've moved on to someone else, and you spend more than half a second thinking about it Thinking about how he makes her smile Thinking about their first kiss, as if he doesn't deserve it Thinking about them holding hands, and laughing in the way, you thought that only you could make her laugh Thinking about them embracing each other And for whatever reason, you imagine they're cuddling in your bed 13) If you ever mention her, and you hesitate putting the "ex" in front of the girlfriend ... If you ever felt any of these, you're not over them yet If you ever felt any of these, you're not alone
James Waterford, Grade 12 I was looking through my phone When I found an image of you It chilled me to the bone And it felt like there was nothing I could do My finger hovered over the image But I couldn’t swipe it away I just kept on staring at you And let nostalgia fill my brain When I remember our past I just recall all the good moments And I think “maybe we’d be able to last” And I wish I kept those thoughts dormant It’s dangerous to separate The good and the bad It’ll make you dissipate How she made you feel so sad I’m looking at the image of us Forgetting the pain that felt like a bus The smiles on our faces But I’m recalling now the traces And my heart, now it races I remember why I ended it It's because you hurt me so deeply And there was no option for mending it Because you only wanted change me I can’t delete the photo But really that’s okay It sticks as a reminder Of what you took from me that day
Jyleer P. Martinez, Grade 9
My Fashion Design
Determination Drawbridge, Grade 11
Lost and Found
Anonymous A, Grade 10 I’m stuck in a cage of emotions. It’s dark, but there’s a light, She is my light. I can see the exit now, it’s in reach. She helped me, She found me. Like a lamp, she helped me to see, Not to read, to see what I’d been missing. She lifted me out of the pit and into reality. From the cage and the pit, I found her, She found me. In a blizzard, I see her, At a concert, I hear her. When the day is gray, She’s my color. She turns night into day, Storm to sun, Winter to summer, All with her smile. Yet… I can never guide her, Never be her light, Never show her what she’s missing, Never lift her from the pit, Guide her through the blizzard, I’m not loud enough for her to hear me, I don’t give her color anyday. I don’t turn her night to day, Her winter to summer. But… I still let her, Guide me, Show me, Lift me, Change me, Find me.
Anonymous A, Grade 10 Carpe Diem! Try, try, and try again, but sometimes, seizing the day causes more pain than glory. I ask for love, but I only recieve pain. A dread beyond belief, the sorrow of the century. A girl that’s a close friend, an admission of love, awkward fate leads to loneliness. She says nothing to my words, an okay and a grin, what else? Silence fills the air, staring creates a dire stretch of stinging doubt. So all ye lonely lads, Carpe Diem! Seize the day!
Til' Death Do Us Part Isaias (Junior, Hunz) Cruz, Grade 11
A Selfless Cyborg Named Cyan
Short story and “Pensive Characters” artwork by AeverHeart, Grade 10 I paced nervously down the hall, her feet slapping the floor. I readjusted my jacket, trying to find comfort in its stiffness. It dug into my back, correcting my posture. The floor was cold with my frayed shoes. A shorter, sickly thin human walked my way, green eyes low and hoodie pulled up over her head. "Ryli?" I asked, my voice shaking slightly, but Ryli didn't look up at me, just trudged on. "Ryli, what did the doctor say?" She didn't look at me, just continued on walking, her head low. "I have five units left of Energy, and if I don't get it soon, it's over." Her voice was low, fuzzed over, sounding dull and monotone. We both lived on Energy, the essence that was created to feed machines like us. When a machine began to run low on Energy, it wasn't good. I was definite that I had some units to spare. "I have fifteen." I lied. "I'll bring you some." I offered, trying to be helpful. For the first time, Ryli looked up at me. "But it doesn't work the same way for you. I know you only have ten." Her green eyes flickered to me, and I held back a gasp, her eyes were paling into gray. When that happened to a machine, it meant they were close to powering off. "Is everything okay?" She frowned. I laid a hand on her shoulder, forcing a smile. "Everything is fine. I'll be in contact with Alix about your situation." I nodded, but Ryli's dull green eyes widened, and she grabbed my hand. "Cyan, please don't. I highly doubt that he'll listen to you. He refused to sell you anything else unless you agreed to meet him in person." She reached out with her hand, clasping my arm, looking into my flat lifeless blue eyes. "Alix is not to be trusted." I scoffed, "Oh please. He's a welder. How bad could he get? If you think I'm intimidated by a pair of welding goggles and a blowtorch, you've got another thing coming." "Well," she said, crossing her arms and letting go of my arm, "It's your Emery, not mine." Emeries were our form of communication. I always used them, but to send them, you had to pay one unit of Energy. Luckily, my suppliers paid well, but as a cybernetic messenger on the lower side of the food chain, it wasn't a good job. I shifted in my jacket, it was too tight to bear. "Yeah. I think I'll just go send him an Emery now…" I looked over Ryli's head, watching a doctor with a bright orange prosthetic limb walk into a room. "Let's get out of here first." Ryli shuddered, and I couldn't blame her. It wasn't fun hanging around in the place where you were told you were going to die. So we decided to go to my house, which was nothing more than a glorified lean-to. We planned to take the shortest route but was a long walk, and luckily we made it across the city within minutes, thanks to Curtus, my cousin. He drove a hovercraft, with dark blue panels that caught sunlight and threw it back at us, sailing on air. We were lucky when he pulled up next to us, smiling broadly. "Need a lift?" He asked us, twirling a finger around a coppery blue lock of hair. "And a message sent," I grumbled, helping Ryli into the vehicle. "Thanks, Curtus." He grinned, showing his straight brass teeth, and we flew across Parvus within a few minutes, passing over labyrinths of coding and smoking factories full of Energy Producers. I leaned out over the edge of the vehicle, like the feel of the wind brushing against my metal and flesh. "What's the message?" Curtus yelled over the sound of the wind. "It's to Alix." I said without looking at him, but I felt his gaze. "Eyes on the sky, pal." "Why? Seriously?" He continued to look at me, his purple eyes boring holes into my skin. "The guy's nothing but trouble." "What is it with you guys against Alix?" I asked, pursing my lips. Ryli didn't look at me. "He's strange." "We're strange too. What's the difference? Granted, Alix doesn't work honestly, but he keeps us alive." I think that snapped Curtus out of his train of thought, because he shook his head. "Give me the Emery, I'll send it." He pressed his lips into a thin line, reaching around to take it from me. I bit my lip and opened up the bag that hung around my waist, pulling out something that looked like a metal snake with wings. It coiled around my wrist, clinging to me. It looked at Ryli and chirped softly, for some reason she was good with them. I smiled softly, and held the Emery up to my face, preparing to transmit the information.
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Inkwell A Selfless Cyborg Named Cyan (continued) "Find Alix, tell him I need more Energy. Tell him I won't go see him in person, too risky. Tell him I need three weeks worth of units," I whispered to the Emery, and it chirped again quietly before I handed it over to Curtus. It squirmed in his hand before he set it down on the dashboard of the vehicle. I found myself smiling softly. "You know, I think I might just drop you off." Curtus's fingers hovered over a pulsing red button on the dashboard. "I'll still send the Emery." I shook my head. "Alright thank you-?" The next thing I remember happening is the floor dropping out from underneath me, and hearing the whistle of wind, and surprisingly landing on my feet, hand pressed against the ground, mechanical gears shifting. Smoke fumes leaked up in plumes of purple and green, and wires ran along the ground in huge snake-like shapes. A huge glowing building loomed in front of me, pulsing with orange light. I stood up, brushing a hand through a plume of smoke, and it dispersed, winding away into the air. I would have continued all the way to the orange building, where I knew Alix and the other welders lived if I hadn't run into Karter. He was Alix's rival, I believed they secretly were supplying each other for business reasons, a faerie with cybernetic parts, with huge solar panels arching out of his back like metal angelic wings, and a scar trailing down the left side of his face and curling around his jawline. He landed next to me, tucking in his wings and curling his legs in underneath him. He leaned against a lamp light, the pale yellow light turning blue from the reflection of his wings. "Hello, hello," he beckoned to me, and I didn't come, just brushed past him and continued on my way to Alix's fortress, he walked after me. "Aw, Cyan, are you still mad at me short-changing you? It was an accident, I swear," He grinned playfully. I often asked Ryli and Curtus why they hated Alix so much but didn't ever judge Karter for being annoying. "Yes, I am. Please leave me alone. I still have messages to relay," I lied, curling my lip. "And Energy to collect, I'm sure?" He was shorter than me, looking up slyly at me with his watery green eyes. I frowned, pushing him away from me, extending my arm to its full length and shoving him away. "Whatever Alix is selling you, I can triple it," He promised, walking back over to me. I was almost at the gates to Alix's fortress. The metal gates, composed of iron and bronze and magnets, used to ward off faeries like Karter, and cyborgs like me. Once inside, I wouldn't have to deal with this pest. "Karter, leave me alone. You work no more honestly than Alix," I fumbled with my words, making it come out sounding stupid. "What I mean is, I don't trust Alix, but I trust him more than you." Karter pouted, "That's not very nice." continued on next page
Inkwell A Selfless Cyborg Named Cyan (continued) I smirked, pulling out an Emery. "I know." I loved my Emeries, if I wanted to, they could bend weaker beings to my will. "Tell him to leave me alone." The Emery coiled around my fingers, before flying at Karter and wrapping around his neck in a loose silver chain. "Hey!" He protested, pulling at the circle of silver, but it was too late. The message had already taken over his head. His eyes stopped shining, and the grin slipped off of his face, and he droned like a computer, "Alright. Goodbye Cyan." He walked away, before extending his wings and lifting up, the smoke plumes curling around him as he ascended. "Goodbye," I said firmly. I kept walking towards the gates, and slipped inside of the metal bars, making sure my metal skin didn't touch the bars. The gates lead into a courtyard, where lanterns hung above a pond of tar, casting eerie orange light over the tar, making it look like poison. I stepped carefully over the smooth cobblestone ground. A tall tree twisted over the pond, its metal leaves drooping towards the tar, glistening purple and green. A labyrinth of coding and firewalls arched to my left and a tunnel filled with clanking echoes of laboring welders branched off to my right. The tunnel sounded more promising, and I turned on my luminescent lights, running down the hall. I ran into someone, literally, head-on collision. We sprawled on the floor, and I rubbed my head, looking at my assaulter. "Dude…" I groaned, rubbing my head, squinting at my attacker. "Sorry," came a low voice, and my eyes widened. With a gold CPU print peeking out from the collar of his shirt and from underneath his hair, curving over his cheeks and winding down his arm, and molten gold eyes that seemed to try and read my coding, "Are you alright?" The fair-haired stranger helped me to my feet. "Ah, I'm fine. Thank you." I smiled. "Well. You seem lost. Are you looking for someone?" The stranger smiled, showing his teeth, and I couldn't help notice that his canines were crooked. "I'm just looking for someone. I'm Cyan, by the way." I held out my hand, and I brushed my black and blue hair out of my face. "Fitting," He noted my hair and my dead blue eyes. We shook hands, and I noticed he had a welder's hands, coarse and strong. "I'm Alix. I believe, the person you're looking for…" he chuckled, and the smile slid from my face with a drop. "Is me." I snatched my hand away. "You received my Emery?" I questioned. "I did. Three weeks supply of Energy. For you and your friend," he said stiffly. "Just flew in a few seconds ago." He held up his right hand, to display a limb little Emery curled around his fingers. I held out my hand to take back my Emery, but Alix's hand retreated. "First we discuss prices." He smiled and gestured for me to walk with him. He was okay to walk with. The air was warm from the plumes of purple gas, and Alix seemed comfortable to talk with me. We settled on a price, and he led me into his office. Before he handed me my Emery, he requested, "Do not pay me anything. It was payment enough that you sought me out in person." I frowned. "Everything comes with a price." By helping Ryli, I was put in danger. By getting rid of Karter, I lost an Emery. By sending me here, Curtus might get into trouble. By being my friend, Ryli might die faster. "You've paid enough, dear new friend." I shrugged, and he held up a little bag. Glowing through the fabric, I could see small Energy squares jangling inside. I reached up to take it from him, and he placed it in my hand. "Thank you, Alix." I bowed, touching my forehead with my hands. He smiled genuinely. "Anytime." I hurried out of his fortress, darting through the eerie courtyard and slipping past the gates, to find Curtus waiting for me in his hovering vehicle. Rylie was on there too, looking pale. I ran out, jumping and leaping for joy. I climbed in and pressed the bag into Ryli's frail hands. She looked up at me hopefully. "I can live forever with these!" I laughed. "You can." We took off, deprived of our honest reputation, of our necessary homes, of our families, but we had life in our hands, and life was all that mattered in Parvus.
Looking at my World
Arthur D. Kane, Grade 12 Ask for the moon, just don't tell me which one. I want to get you the entire galaxy and wait for you to open your eyes to witness the surprise. The beauty of it all, The sight of the cosmos, Overwhelming you, As you take in the everlasting depth of its presence. Stunning really, and I want you to experience how breathtakingly epic it is Because the same feeling is felt when I look at you. Creator Note: One night, I remember just staring at the sky. It was soothing really, beautiful, and helped me think. The piece written in this instance, is the shared feeling of peace and love that I feel towards the one I love. I hope what people will take away from this is the symbolism of one's love and one's love.
Eclipse Jay W., Grade 11
Year by Year, Step by Step
Alina Leholm, Grade 12 One Two Three, you’re a little baby. Tiny and small, everyone is smiling. Four Five Six, school sometimes has you feeling in quite a fix. But you love when your family takes out the lemonade mix. Seven Eight Nine, you fly on your first airline. You take the time to dance in the lovely sunshine. Ten Eleven Twelve, you begin to develop a love for books you shelve. And into those fictitious worlds you so often cannot wait to delve. Thirteen Fourteen Fifteen, you wonder if maybe you’re too old to dress up for Halloween. You resort to reading an article about new scientific advances in a magazine. Sixteen Seventeen Eighteen, you’re now finally graduating! Taller and wiser, everyone is clapping. Creator Note: What inspired me to write this piece was me thinking about how I am going to graduate in a few months. Time has really flown by, and I wanted to write down my thoughts about how the years pass by so quickly.
Christina D. Hurtado, Grade 12
Minh-Huy Pham, Grade 12 25
Contributors AeverHeart Alina Leholm Amy Manahan Anonymous A Anonymous B Anonymous C Arthur D. Kane Ashton Streno Auna Avi J. Stinson Baylee Hix Bridgett Babbitt Christina D. Hurtado Darla Schaefer Drawbridge ff9966 Isaias (Junior, Hunz) Cruz James Waterford Jay W. Jordan Holmes Jyleer P. Martinez Kai Homan Katnip Kirsten P. Fraga Minh-Huy Pham Olivia M. Raven McBride S.c.n Sierra Britton
20-22 1, 2, 24 8 2, 19 8, 16 9 23 7 4-6, 11 15 14 12 3, 24 8, 15 18 10 19 18 1, 23 17 7, 13, 18 9 9 12 2, 10 13 13 11 7
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