“It’s Personal” by Gabe Higbee

“Greed, Sloth, Pride, Gluttony, Envy, Lust, and especially you, Wrath, please, please behave yourselves, just for today! I can’t have you messing up my presentation!”

“With a persona as boring as yours, we can’t help spicing up your life. Though I dare say it’s just yours!” Pride mocked in his usual, teeth-grindingly, snarky voice.

“Don’t worry about me, Skyle,” Sloth assured me, “I’ll try not to take over.”

I sighed. I must look like a crazy person right now, a small, brown-haired kid, who looks too short to be an 8th grader, talking to myself like a madman. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had multiple split-personalities. They’ve plagued my life since childhood:  taking over my brain at random, and making me do stupid stuff.  

The first one of them to appear was Wrath, who acts like the demon on my shoulder. Then came Sloth, the lazy version of me, and Gluttony, the extreme version of me who acted like a daredevil on energy drinks. After that arrived Envy, the cry baby; Greed, the rude uncle version of me, who also acts like a cowboy; Pride, the snarky personality who thinks he’s a prince; and finally Lust, who’s trying to get me a girlfriend. I’ve never told anybody this, however, but everybody notices how much of a weirdo I am already, so telling them I have a mental disorder isn’t too helpful.

“Hey, Twitchy!” Greed alerted me in his cowboy accent, with his usual rude nicknames, “The bus is coming in four minutes.” I grabbed my backpack and ran out of the house.

“Forget the bus! Let’s run it!!” Gluttony suggested, as I sprinted to the bus stop.

“I’m never going to have a normal day, am I?” I muttered to myself defeated.

Luckily for me, Gluttony took over my brain, and I was able to race to the bus stop on time (he was not only extreme, but had more endurance than my regular self). When I finally made it to class, Sloth crying in my brain, I collapsed into my seat. I sat through that and an hour and a half of Math class, almost getting a detention when Greed started judging my teacher’s fashion choices. Finally, it was lunch.

I sat down at a table by myself, until a kind girl my age decided to join me at the table. It was a nice thing to do, but it was the most painful lunch of my life, as I trembled in my seat, hoping Lust didn’t make a move.

“You are truly a majestic being,” Lust said, taking over my body as I struggled back.

“What?” She asked back, taken back by surprise from my sudden change of mood and terrible pickup line.

“You are like a beautiful crimson rose, drifting among the ferns and weeds; a true spectacle of beauty!” I winced in my brain at the cheesy poem.

“Oh, um . . . ok . . .” she startled, as I (mentally) slammed my face into the table. Lust, seeing he had failed to get me a “perfect soulmate,” gave up, and I took control of my body; but it was too late to do anything.

The girl got up awkwardly and left the table, leaving me alone there again, Envy made me slam my face into the table (but it was alright, I wanted to do that anyway). I felt my lip quiver, but not from Envy and sadness, from rage at Lust. But then I stopped as I felt Wrath starting to wake up.

I know the feeling of him waking up very precisely: it felt like a longing in your stomach, a long ancient longing for destruction, for justice, like a volcano brewing. I always felt Wrath, even before he was an actual personality of mine, he was wound into my soul, along with everybody else’s; he was a curse in the truest of ways. Wrath has always been the most extreme of my personalities, a spirit of unending rage that slept through months (if I was lucky) until eventually, my anger wakes him up and he takes over my body. I fear for not only myself, when he takes control, but also for people around him. I only had a little while ‘till Wrath took over. I got up hurriedly and ran out of the lunch room through the hallway. I felt Wrath about to wake up.

“Hey! No running in the hallway!” A random kid said, grabbing my arm. I knew this kid. The kid’s name was Peter; Peter always was one of those snotty kids who always gets on your nerves, and I especially despised Peter! That was enough to wake Wrath up. As Peter began to tell me off for running, Wrath took over.

“What did you just say?” Wrath asked Peter, as I watched in horror, and maybe a bit of satisfaction (I wasn’t Peter’s biggest fan after all), but mostly horror!

“I . . . uh . . . said that,” Peter stuttered back, fear so thick in his voice you could cut it.

Unlike the other personalities, Wrath doesn’t retain my regular stature and characteristics. When he takes control over my body, he changes my voice to that of a demon’s, and my body takes a frightening form: my eyes become a cloudy black, my skin turns a tone of purple (equivalent to what happens to a dead body’s skin), and my joints become crooked. So he had a reason to be scared, seeing a random kid turn zombie-like. I lost consciousness as I watched Wrath approach Peter.

I came to in control of my body again, and instantaneously jumped up to my feet. “What did Wrath do?!” I asked my other personalities. “The kid ran away before Wrath could do anything, so Wrath trashed your locker instead. Hopefully Peter doesn’t tattletale on you.” Pride informed me. I breathed a sigh of relief: Wrath had fallen asleep again.

“I’m sorry to bother you, Sir, but it’s time to get to class!” Envy whispered in his usual shy, sad voice. I rushed off to get to my next class. This is the worst they’ve been for the past month, and on the one day I need them to be normal, like a curse of annoyances I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life.

I made it to class, and sat down at my seat. I then waited through the other kids’ presentations, which all seemed so much better than mine. I started to sweat I was so nervous! Until finally it was my turn to present. I walked up to the front of the class and got ready to present. I felt Envy crying in the corner of my brain as all those eyes stared up at me.


Me, Skyle.

Me, the weirdo.

Me, the stranger.

Me, the kid nobody knows.

Me, the person plagued by seven annoyances in secret.

Me, Skyle, Wrath, Greed, Pride, Gluttony, Envy, Lust, Sloth.

Me, the person about to be publicly humiliated.

I felt Pride giggle as I stuttered announcing the title of my presentation “The Election of 1800.” The faces of the audience stared at me judgingly. I felt myself beginning to cry. But then, I stopped. I felt a surge of calmness, like somebody telling me that everything was going to be alright. I smiled nonchalantly, and began to give my presentation, and explained the first slide.

The presentation was going swimmingly; but then, my worst fear happened: Greed took over my body. I freaked out! Was he going to mock the teacher?! Is he going to ruin my presentation?! All I could do was listen to him. I hated them! They ruin everything! If I’m happy, they come to destroy it! Do they take some satisfaction in my tears?! They drive me insane, and there’s nothing I can do about it . . . even now, all I can do is watch Greed ruin everything. Watch them ruin everything.

“(Country accent) Dat Thomas Jefferson! He acts like he’s royalty here in ‘merica! Sorry to break it to ya, ya Francophile, but this is a democracy! I’m vot’n for dat Aaron Burr!” He said in his country voice. To my surprise, the class laughed!

“But Aaron Burr is even worse! He has no opinion on any subjects! Voting for him is like voting for a shoat in an allurement tournament! Thomas Jefferson has my ballot!” Pride added in a classy tone. The teacher smiled!

“Hey guys, what about that John Adams? Ain’t he running for re-election?” joked Sloth, before returning my body to me.

“Out of the question!” Gluttony hollered jokingly. This was going, but then, I felt Wrath appear! But to my surprise, he ranted,

“They’re all sorry excuses for candidates: Thomas Jefferson is a croissant loving, blockhead who pretends to be royalty; Aaron burr is an opinion-less toddler who wants to be president, just so he can be president; and John Adams, don’t get me started on John ‘Moron’ Adams! He’s out of the question!”

“Those were the opinions of the American citizens,” I lectured, feeling a surge of confidence. “Aaron Burr found support in the poorer, while Jefferson the richer…”

I finished the speech with flying colors, supported by the comedic remarks of Greed, Pride, Gluttony, Sloth, Lust, (surprisingly) Envy, and even Wrath! When I was done, I was met with applause; and not just the normal applause given to every other speaker: the five seconds of polite clapping as they left the stage. No. It was real, true to the heart applause: people were smiling as they clapped loud as they could, some even cheered, and it went on and on and on! After school ended, people congratulated me, gave me high-fives, patted me on the back! I felt Pride doing his happy dance. I went home, as school ended, and sat in my room, thanking my personalities.

“We thought it was finally time to help you, after all, you are the master of our body; and we’ve been nothing but a pack of freeloading parasites to you.” Pride responded to my thanks, in the warmest tone I’ve ever heard from him.

“Not our body, my body. You’re part of me too!” I replied, smiling. “All of you are part of me!” I added.

And for the first time in my entire life, I felt Wrath smile.


“Summer” By Elola Eckford

Sunshine bathes my face in light,

All the trees in bloom!

I can’t help feeling upbeat,

But the autumn’s coming soon . . .


Grass is lush green in the meadow,

The flowers are a sight!

Days are long and joyous,

And there’s barely any night!


On the beach you can have fun,

Bathing and relaxing!

Seagulls swooping overhead,

While ice creams for brill snacking!        


The pool looks cool and inviting,

Compared to the scorching sun!

Little one’s paddling in the shadows,

While avoiding their mums!


“Eliza Smith, Broken Witch” by Elola Eckford

Ok, I did look like a witch. My jet black hair billowed down to my waist. One of my irises was green and the other one was blue, and I was unnaturally small. But that didn’t mean I was a witch. However, my opinion didn’t count—it was the village elders’ that did—and they said I was a witch. Was to be sentenced to death. At the age of 14. And my parents didn’t even get a say in it. Well that was usually the way, since they were dead, another of the reasons I was particularly “witchy”—they had died the second I was born. But against all odds, I had survived up until now. I had kept a low profile. I had made sure I was nowhere near anyone when they died. I had made do all by myself.So it was a real shame when the lord’s idiot, slimy son had died of an unknown cause, or, that is “curse.” A real shame when one of the servants had let slip that I was the maid that had served him his soup that very day. And a huge shame that I was sitting in a jail cell a few hours after that unfortunate incident, waiting for my death day . . .

That is exactly when I decided I wasn’t going to die on that day, or any other day soon. In fact, I was going to live up to a ripe old age, though how I was to accomplish that amazing feat I didn’t know.

I bashed my fists against the cold, grimy stone slabs that made up my lovely cell. Finally looking around at my surroundings, I realized that there were sharp little cracks running all over the walls where bigger, stronger prisoners had evidently tried to break themselves free. The ceiling was made of metal bars crisscrossed against each other widely, so you were let loose to the weather but weren’t able to get out. Weren’t able to get out, that is if you were the huge, heavy figure that the town elders had to wrestle into the prisons usually. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t that huge, heavy figure but unnaturally small. Small enough to fit through the bars. Small enough to escape.

Hurriedly, as I didn’t know when the guards were to take me to one of the numerous death machines that they used on witches, I scaled a cracked wall, being sure to avoid the slippery moss patches that speckled the cell. The simple effort of hauling my body up toward the ceiling brought whole rivers of sweat cascading down my brow- my usual job as a maid didn’t require this amount of personal strength. Just as I reached upwards to one of the metal bars, I heard the heavy stomp of my guard, the jangle of my cell keys and the screech of the knob being turned on the cell door. My time was up.

The guard slowly dragged his feet into the cell, sending huge clouds of dust billowing upwards with every footfall, as he bellowed at the top of his voice (an unnecessary feat) “Alri’ you ‘orrible witch girl, today’s your lucky day! We’re sendin’ you ta the gallows!”

He stayed there for a few painful seconds, grinning around madly with an expectant look to his face, as if he was used to prisoners jumping up merrily and saying back to him in the happiest tone ever, “Oh thank you so, so much for getting me the gallows, it was the nicest thing you could have done, I’ll go there right away!”

If that was the case, which I suspected not, then this certain jailer was in for a surprise. I was not wasting my life or the excellent hiding place that I had found inside an air vent in the corner of the cell by answering, just to please an evidently delirious prison guard!

This certain prison guard was apparently not pleased. He sent his fists the size of sledge hammers crashing against the wall violently while yelling with utmost fury ,“Thas’ it, I gave you your chance! I was nice ta you! You will pay! You will be tortured! You will get out here right now! ***!!??!?!>@£$&%!!!??!?***” (That was too much of rude language for your ears).

Finally realizing that I wasn’t going to come to him willingly, he squinted through his tiny, beetle-like eyes around the miniature cell. I was nowhere to be seen. As his seemingly miniscule brain apparently couldn’t handle any more intolerance, he bellowed out at the top of his lungs, “EMERGENCY!!! EMERGENCY!!! PRISONER ESCAPEE!!!! CELL 201!!! I REPEAT CELL 201!!!” With that, he strode merrily out the, rather a bit too tiny for my likings, room!

I needed to act quickly: I knew that the other guards wouldn’t come in here straight away. They would probably check the courtyard first. That would have been a dead end escape route if I had somehow gotten out through the door. However, they would eventually realize that I had somehow fooled the exceedingly stupid guard they had given me.

As quick as a flash, I popped my head out of the air vent and reached up to one of the bars to try and get a firm grip. I slipped and my hand came off the bar black and encrusted with rust. I was going to have to tackle this certain problem differently.

Ripping off one long strip of material of my grubby, jail smelling shirt, I tied this on to the bar, and a much better result came out of it. I was able to cling on to this while swinging back and forth, back and forth gaining speed and height. The second my toes touched one of the bars, I wrapped my legs around the bar, getting as tight a grip as I possibly could. Squeezing my slender, miniscule body through the gap, I gasped in the fresh air around me and felt the icy wind whip up my hair.

For a second I thought I wasn’t going to make it. My hips had got jammed in a tight spot and I couldn’t seem to be able to budge them. But then, with a mighty heave, I was able to make it through the bars and out to freedom. Or so I thought.

My first thoughts were, “Oh no” and then “Just my luck!” and that was exactly the case: it was just my luck.

Just my luck to have escaped out of my cell when a whole troupe of the very soldiers who were looking for me strode past my cell, just far away from the wall to see me. Yep just my awful flippin’ luck!

It took a moment for the highly astonished guards to realize what on earth was happening. Thinking back on that moment, I realize that moment probably saved my life—so thank heavens that I used it wisely! My head of wiry, black hair had just ducked back into the cell, my hands gripping onto the strip of shirt tied round the metal bar as the bullets started zipping over the roof and around the prison block.

It was a miracle that only one of the guards on the scene got killed by the rain of sharp, metal bullets that was probably coming from behind him. The rain of bullets that was meant for me. One of the guards yelled, “You idiot, Corban!” (evidently the man they thought had killed the other guard). “That’s a crime, you killed one of your own kind—the punishment is death!” Sneered the speaker, with a tint of anger in his voice. All of the jailers laughed and jeered, then the speaker announced, “Danny, you kill ‘im, your the best shot. The rest of you, scrapper: get to the witch girl’s cell!”

I only knew that another man had been killed by the short, sharp, guttural, almost animal cry of pain that escaped his lips before he took his last breath. That and the loud bang that came from the rifle, and the cloud of smoke that drifted over the prison.     

I shook myself free of the trance that I had been held in. The guards would be closing in by now. Swinging my legs up to the metal bar, I squeezed my body through the gap again and came up on the roof of my cell. Hauling my ever-tiring muscles up, I started to jump from cell top to cell top, making my wobbly way towards the fence that marked the end of the prison and the start of the forest that encased our little village. I urged myself onwards, making bigger and bigger leaps, not letting myself think about the horror that had just occurred.

Shouting and cursing coming from the direction of my cell (that was a few hundred yards away now) informed me of the fact that the guards had—once again—found an empty room. I felt so sorry for them. Well I would, if they weren’t out to kill me.

When I did reach the end of the line of cell blocks, I realized that the gap between the last block and the fence (20-meter-high, brick wall) was larger than I had expected. Well, every day seems to come with surprises. Especially this one. Thinking hard, I tried to come up with a plan of how to get over that darned wall. Nothing happened, so, as carefully as I could, I leaped off the cell and made my way toward the wall.

Halfway there, I stopped dead and stared. I couldn’t believe my luck. And—this time—it was my good, splendid, amazing luck! There was an average sized hole that had evidently been broken into the bricks, as there was a pile of rubble next to it, just in front of me. A hole just large enough for me to fit into. A hole just perfect for me. I stepped forward eagerly, delight giving my footfall an unusual spring, as I thought to myself: I might actually make it through this awful, painful nightmare! I let a smile slip onto my face -just a small one mind- to express my feeling of accomplishment!

Then, again, I stopped dead—though this time it was out of horror. A human head—a man’s head had just rolled out of the hole in the wall. It’s eyes where glassy and staring at me, a look of utmost pain mixed with terror was fixed on the face and blood -probably it’s own- was splattered across the whole head and encrusted into the hair.

My mouth opened in a scream that never came out. Without thinking, without knowing I ran as fast and as far away from that hellish hole as I could. It had, now I think about it, been some kind of grisly, pain-inflicting death trap that had fooled other desperate prisoners that had tried -and failed- to escape. Had fooled other prisoners- and me. I squirmed to think of what my head would have looked like decapitated, what would have happened if that other one hadn’t gone astray.

My mind swirled as I realized that I was going round in a circle, left here, right here, left, right. I hadn’t realized that I had collapsed into a small, unnoticeable gutter opening until the huge wave of tiredness hit me. It was like being punched in the face by a brick wall: my head spun wildly, I kept whizzing in and out of consciousness and my stomach growled like an angry tiger, trying to escape from its cage!

The stomp of guard’s feet woke me from my restless slumber I didn’t even know I had fallen into, my body was plastered in sweat and my head was filled with images of the faces of the guards that had been shot and the beheaded one that had rolled out the wall. They had been taunting me, saying, “We died, we died because of you. You murdered us. You will pay. You will pay with your life” in hoarse, malice filled tones. And to back it all, the guttural cry that escaped the soldier’s lips before he left the earth still ringed in my ears even when I had bravely decided to haul my tired body out of the gutter, even when I had actually found my way out of the dreadful maze of a prison, even when I crept silently to a huge metal gate at the edge of the wood—at the complete opposite end to which I had been yesterday and even when I waited patiently at that gate for my chance to escape.  



“My Dear Sister Veronica” By Megan Chen

“No! Don’t touch me!” I shrieked. 

The hideous black snake lunged at me as fast and as vicious as a tiger. It’s only one inch away from me when I suddenly heard a voice.

“Alya, wake up! You’re having a nightmare!” said Veronica.

I jumped up with beads of sweat streaming down my face. I was on the verge of tears. Veronica hugged me right away, and I was immediately comforted. She was my older sister, and I looked up to her. I loved her, and I was able to call her my best friend.

“Thank you so much, Veronica,” I said with great appreciation.

     “What was your nightmare about?” she asked.

     “There was an enormous black snake chasing after me,” I replied.

     “I had the same exact dream,” she said, looking bewildered.

I looked at her with a speck of envy in my eyes. She was able to control herself so well, and not have a reaction to such an event when I still needed her help. Veronica started to lead me off my bed, grabbing my hand. I rolled my eyes at her because she’s always bossing me around. Suddenly, a glisten shined through our fingers, and the whole room started shaking. Startled, we let go frantically.

     “Woah, what happened?” I said.

     “I don’t know, let’s hold hands again to see if the same thing happens,” suggested Veronica.

I nodded my headed and grab my sister’s hand. Once again, the same thing happened, except we made the room shake even more than it did before. In a flash, we magically fell into two clear tubes. I was alone in one tube, and Veronica was in the tube right next to me. The space around us was as dark as the night sky. My heart beat a million times faster, and I started breathing without a stop. Not only was I trapped in a tube, but I also didn’t know where I was going. I swiftly glanced at Veronica. Her face was neutral, and it looked like she was not scared at all. I clenched my fists until I felt a warm liquid roll on my hands. I looked at them, and they’re smothered with blood.


We crashed into the ground at the same time.

     “Alya, are you okay?” asked Veronica.

     “I’m fine,” I whimpered.

She wrapped her arms around me, and I was instantly soothed. I looked around, and we were somehow in a miraculous place. It had rainbows, green grass, unicorns, and beautiful cottages everywhere. It also smelled like cotton candy.

    “Welcome to THAAD. I am Lucy, the queen of this planet,” saed a voice beside me.

Veronica flung her arms off of me, and we turned at the same time to see who is there. An angelic lady stood beside us. She was so pretty that I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She had blond hair, blue eyes, and a small nose. Her lips were red like blush.

“Who are you and why are we here? Why are we here, and who are you?” asked Veronica in a tight voice.

“I’ve already introduced to you guys who I am. You guys are here because I am fond of both of your personalities, and I’ve chosen the two of you to help me stop the evil villain Jack. He is trying to steal THAAD’s magical love stone to do evil deeds. If we don’t stop him now, he’s eventually going to become too powerful for us to stop.”

Veronica and I looked at each other doubtfully, a smile on our faces. We loved adventure, and this seemed like the perfect mission.

“We are in,” I said.

For the next few days, we spent our time training and developing new skills. Within three days, we were ready.

     Lucy said, “I have to go visit my friend today, so I’ll trust you two to guard the love stone.”

     After she left, Veronica said, “You can continue training, I’ll guard the keystone.”

At that, I was furious. I was mad that Veronica always considered herself better and stronger than me.

     Out of anger, I said, “Why do you always act like a brat? You are not better than me, alright?

Shocked, she glared at me and turned her back to me. My hands trembled with guilt. Five minutes later, a guy walked toward us. He has a thin, sleep-flushed face and a wry mouth. He was so striking that I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  

   “Hi, my name’s Vincent, and I’m Lucy’s assistant,” he said.

    “Hello, why are you here?” asked Veronica.

     “I’m here to work with you guys, because I will be fighting Jack along with both of you,” he replied.

My stomach filled with butterflies, and I can’t help but smile shyly. He smiled back, and immediately shivers went through my body. Over the next hour, the three of us worked on our flying skills.

     When Veronica left to go to the bathroom, Vincent said, “You’re doing great!”

     “Thanks!” I responded with a smile.

     “You’re also really beautiful,” he said.

I glanced at him with mesmerized eyes. He stared back at me, and I have a twinkling feeling on my shoulders. He leans in, and within a minute, I felt his soft lips against mine. Not knowing what to do, I gently placed my arms on his broad back. The kiss lasted for a minute, and I enjoyed every moment of it. After the minute’s over, he leaned away, and we continue to stare at each other.

     “Do you want to be my girlfriend?” he asked tenderly.

   “Of course I do!” I said a little too happily.

When Veronica came back, she’s confused about why Vincent and I have a close connection.

     “Why are you two so touchy?” she asked finally.

     “It’s none of your business, you brat,” I replied.

Her eyes lower to the ground, and her shoulders droop. A single tear streams down her face. Over the next few hours, we’re exasperated by each other. While Vincent went to his room, Veronica and I each stood on the opposite side of the love stone.

Suddenly, the wind started howling, and a wizard-like human appeared above us. He zoomed down as fast as lightning and grabbed the stone. It all happened too fast for us to react. On the way out, he snatched Veronica with him, and she screamed like a lunatic. I panicked and pace back and forth.

     “What happened to the love keystone, and where’s Veronica?” asked a voice beside me.

I turned around to see Lucy walking towards me.

     Chokingly, I replied, “I think Jack stole the love stone and took Veronica along with him.”

Her face turned white, and I know that I have to fix this.

     “I can go fight him. You told me that I was strong enough to do so,” I said loudly.

     She said, “No, you don’t understand. You will only be strong enough when Veronica is with you. That’s the reason why Jack had to take her. Now, you have no way to stop him.”

Tears streamed down my face, and it soon drenched my shirt. I really missed Veronica, and I’ll do anything to get her back. I swallowed hard to prevent any tears from coming back.

     “I still have to go. Even if I fail, I’d have at least tried,” I say.

Not waiting for a reply, I zoomed out of THAAD using my wings and make my way to Jack’s home in the icy mountains. When I arrived, my heart is racing. All I wanted to do is curl up into a ball, and wait for someone to tell me that everything is alright. I knew that’s not an option, so I troed my best to walk into his mansion confidently.

     “Welcome, Alya!” said Jack.

     “Give me back my sister and the love stone,” I said with a quivering voice.

     “You’re so demanding for a young girl! Well, you’ll have to fight me before you can claim any of those things,” he replied.

Suddenly, he puts his hand over his face and rips off his mask. I fall back when I see Vincent appear in front of me.

     “Vincent, why are you here?” I asked.

     “HAHAHA! You must have never guessed that I was pretending to be your boyfriend!” he exclaimed.

     “What?! I refuse to believe this. I swear that I felt a connection in between us!” I insisted.

     “That was all fake!” he shouted.

I choked back tears. Just when I’m about to give up, I thought of Veronica. I quickly stood up and launched a ball of fire at him, but he made it disappear with a bucket of water. We continued fighting like that for a few minutes, and I started to get tired. When I’m not paying attention, five sharp thorns of ice flew at me. I moved away as quick as possible, but it was too late. All of them stabbed me right in the stomach, and I fell to the ground. With a mocking laugh, he continued to shoot ice thorns at me. I felt the sharp pains enter through my body, and I saw the blood on my arms.

I couldn’t feel any part of my body anymore, and I knew that I couldn’t make it. I started thinking of Veronica, and how much I loved her. I recall the times when she protected me from the mean girls in my school, and how she always knew what to say when I was sad. Hot, burning tears form in my eyes. Suddenly, Jack is no longer able to shoot anything at me. A lightbulb clicked in my head, and I knew what Lucy meant when she said that only Veronica and I together can be powerful. It was the power of love that can last forever. As long as we loved each other, no force of evil could defeat us.

     “Oh Veronica, I love you so much!” I said loudly.

Jack fell to the ground. My eyes watered as I think of her kindness and patience to me throughout the years. I continued to try to express my love.

     “STOP!!!” Jack screamed as he is dissolved into dust.

Veronica appeared with the love stone in her hands. I ran up to her and gave her a big hug. I now realized how much my sister meant to me, and I promised myself that I would never hurt her again.

     When we released our arms, we say in unison, “I love you.”


“I Come From” By Tara Davoodi

I come from rainbow-splashed saris

From chadors and hair covered up.

From seas of emerald tea leaves

Rippling in perpetual waves, but

Also grapes in grassy greens and rich purples

Tumbling into the mouths of hungry children.

I come from rice and curry, blended spices

The flavors that taste like home.

But I also know crispy tadig, hands

Scrambling for the mouth watering rice

Scraped from the bottom of the pot.

I am comforted by the sight of sparkling sapphire seas

And mystical majestic mountains.

I come from Christmas mornings,

From midnight mass in the Colombo church.

But also early morning praying

And visits to the mosque in the town of Shahrud.

Or easter baskets filled to the brim

Or the seven C’s laid on the Nowruz table.

I come from two ancient stone cities

One’s power from its young freedom

The other’s power from its long-lasting religion.

I come from two cultures

From two worlds

From two religions

But one life.