“Winter” by Leo Russell and Sophie Alzona

Summer had lung cancer.  Why?  Why did this happen to me?  Why me?  I loved her.

“Hey,” she said, reaching for my hand. We were in the hospital; I was sitting on the cot in the white room while she was tucked into the covers.

I pulled my hand away with tears in my eyes. She looked so innocent lying on her hospital bed, she was barely able to breathe, probably. “I love you but,” I said as a tear rolled down my cheek, “I can’t be with you. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. I’m sorry.”

Summer looked defeated. Guilt swelled up in my chest. It was the right thing to do. I loved her, but I didn’t feel the love anymore.

I quickly exited the hospital room, exiting Summer’s life as well.

Soon after, a girl named Spring walked into my life.  We had met in Science class, when these girls were bullying her.

“Omigosh, she’s so gay!  No girl in their right mind would like her back!”  one of them taunted.

“Stop,” she said calmly, but I could see tears forming in her eyes and barely spilling onto her cheeks, as one of them shoved her against the wall.

“Admit it,” another said.

Tears were now streaming clearly down her face.  “Shut up!” I yelled.  The group turned to look at me.

“What is your problem?” I cried.  “Why would you do that to her?”

The girl, who had stunning green eyes, looked up at me once the girls were gone.  “Why did you do that?” she asked, with quite a lot of courage.

“U-uh, I know what it’s like to be homosexual,” I stuttered, feeling my cheeks heating up.

“Okay,” she says, pulling me into a hug.  Once she pulls back, she says, “It’s okay.  I’m Spring, your average high school gay.”

I stick out my hand in what I hope is not a nerdy manner.  “I’m Winter.”

“See you around, Winter,” she says, shaking it.  She then turns and walks away, leaving me with a shocked expression on my face and a blush creeping up onto my cheeks.

A couple weeks later, I was with my friends at Starbucks.  Suddenly, the bell rang, and that same girl walked in.  The girl with dark mocha hair and bright green eyes.  Spring.

“Hey,” she said, noticing me, speaking in a loud voice.  “Aren’t you Winter?”

I made a shushing motion and then pointed to my friends.  “L-let’s go somewhere else,” I said quietly.

“Sure,” she drawled.

“Hey,” I said to my close friend, Ann, “I gotta go to the bathroom.”

“Sure,” Ann responded.  “Go hang with your girlfriend.  Just leave us here.”

“Thanks,” Spring said, either not understanding or not caring.  She grabbed my hand and pulled me over to another table.  “Stay here,” she said.  “I’m gonna go get an iced tea.”

She then left me standing there, staring at her skinny, black ripped jeans that hung super low on her waist, Fall Out Boy shirt, and stylish pinstripe scarf that she wore almost like a jacket.  Just staring.  Again.

“Hey,” she said when she got back.  “Want something?” She handed me five dollars, and I shoved it right back at her.

“N-no,” I said, trying to hide my stutter.  “Y-you don’t need to, uh, pay for me.  I can, um, uh, pay for myself.”

She just grinned, shoved the money back in her pocket, and sat down next to me, a little too close for comfort.

“U-uh,” I stuttered.  “I, um, like F-Fall Out Boy, too.”

“You wanna hang out sometime, other than now at a Starbucks? I mean, if you want to,” she rambled on.  “We can just sit and listen to music or something.  Only if you want.  I don’t want to make you come over, but if you want to?”

“S-sure,” I said.

A few months later, we met up for the fifth time, at my house.  My parents weren’t home.  As soon as I told her that, she started screaming and running around the house, throwing her stuff all over the floor.  We laughed and played around until she stopped suddenly, staring at me with those bright green eyes that I had grown to love.

“What?” I screeched, tossing a pillow at her.

“Nothing, nothing,” she said quickly, turning away.  Her phone buzzed and she looked down at it. “Huh.”

“What?” I asked, softer this time.

“I-I gotta go home,” she said.  This was the first time I had seen her flustered.

“Okay,” I said, understanding.  She didn’t want to hang out with me anymore.  Of course I had to blow it.

“It’s got nothing to do with you!” she said, reading my face.  “I really, really like you, Winter!  My dad just got fired, I’m really sorry.  Maybe you could come over next week, just not right now.  We could do something fun!”

“Sure,” I replied, weakly.  I had known her for a while now. Something was wrong, really wrong, but I still let her go.  “Okay.”

“Thank you so much,” she said, her voice tone changing.  “I’m so, so, sorry that this had to happen right now. I mean, I’m sorry.”  She looked down at the ground then kissed my cheek quickly.

“Bye!” she said.  She grabbed her stuff and left.

I couldn’t help worrying about her.

The next week, we didn’t meet up at all, unlike what she had suggested.  She barely looked up in the hallways, and when she did, she just sighed and looked down again.

When we got to Science class, all she did was take a seat as far as possible away from me and pull her knees up to her chest.

She was wearing an oversized blue sweater and a very short galaxy skirt that probably broke the dress code, along with white high-knee socks and black high-heeled loafers.  She had on a dark grey scarf that was almost black, that was styled in a double-knot, something she had shown me but I had never gotten.

In other words, she looked absolutely stunning.

I slowly walked over to her, holding my breath.  She looked over at me when I sat down in the seat next to her, dropping my binder onto the shared table with a clatter.

“What?” she said, turning away.

“N-n-nothing,” I responded, trying not to let my stutter show.

“It must be something,” she snapped, “if you walk all the way over here to sit next to me.”  She said her name like it was a dirty word.  I instantly felt bad for her and felt my madness fading away.

“I just wanted to see if you were okay,” I said, leaning in to wrap my arms around her.

“Go away!” she said.  “You’re already dating Summer and now I know it!”

I was shocked. “What?!” I cried.

“I think we need to talk this out,” she said without a trace of regret.  She tugged at my sleeve and pulled me outside.

“Sure,” I said, reluctantly.  She dragged me through the hallway, carefully drawing no attention.  She pulled her arm away after we had gotten outside.

“Follow me,” she said.

“Sure,” I said, “where are we going?  What are we doing?”

“The bench, skipping class.”

“Do you do this every day?”  I asked, scared for the answer.

“Nope,” she responded.  “You’re special.”  She tapped me on the nose and I reddened from her touch.  After I giggled, she recoiled, as though remembering something.

“Oh, y-yeah, about why you’re so cranky,” I started.

“I’ll talk to you about it if you listen.”

 

 

 

 

“A Monkey’s Nightmare” by Lucia Gutierrez

There was monkey who lived in a tree

He was very authentic and weak

He had bananas for breakfast and Bananas for lunch

And you guessed it, for dinner too

He lived in a tree high above

Alone but happy he had a great life

UNTIL

One-day poor monkey came home from his walk where he found tall men by his tree

One cut, two cut then there were three

No more was monkey’s tree

He felt lonely he felt depressed

He wanted to feel all better again

He smelt the cruel gases from the equipment of the men thickening second by second

Monkey tasted the sweet, tender taste of bananas in his mouth that was no more

Monkey was terrified of what he would have to do now

But all he did know was that he felt dead

 

 

“A Sound from Above” by Lucia Gutierrez  

There was a sound from above creeping every night

Louder and louder it grew

Annoyed by its presence

Angry for its returns

The sound was not kind

Everyday aggressive it grew

Stronger and infuriated

It rubbed of frustration,

Confusion,

Emotion and

Anger

Until one night it disappeared

High in the sky

Lost in the world

The sound that was once horrific became

MISSED

When the realization was that the sound

Was what made the peace

 

“The Bad Feeling” by Lucia Gutierrez  

The fog drifting from all angles was blinding me like a deer in the headlights

Every breath I inhaled filled me with a dark feeling of desperately

I could feel walls around me caving in slowly like a sloth reaching for his dinner, a leaf

I heard loud sirens whirring all around me

I could smell the grueling and murderous smell of gases lingering

I could see darkness from miles away

I thought I wasn’t thinking straight, unsure of what I was doing or where I was

I felt eager to get out of this world

Then I woke up

 

“MY SIDE OF THE SUPER STORY” by Rachel K. Carter        

RING! RING! Went the last bell of the day. “Finally!” I whispered to myself as I headed out the door of my 6th period health class. Health class was my least favorite of all my classes, and I think EVERYONE agreed. At least I didn’t get stuck with clean up job this time. I left class in a hurry, and by the time I got to my locker on the 3rd floor I realized that I left my library book on my desk in health class on the 1st floor. I groaned and headed back to health class with my backpack that said, “Girls rule! Property of Sid,” resting on one shoulder.

By the time I got to the 1st floor I noticed that everyone had already left for home. “Great!” I thought to myself, “Nothing like being the creepy kid who stays after school just creepin’ around.” When I got to the door of my health class I heard a voice coming from inside. I stopped and stood under the door frame.

“Ugh! Why can’t the janitor just do her own job and clean up the classroom, and why did the teacher have to assign me clean up job on a Friday afternoon when he could have done it perfectly fine by himself?!” Oh yeah, the teacher had given the new girl the clean-up job.

I felt kind of bad for her, so I decided to ask her if she wanted some help. I mean she was the new girl after all and that’s hard enough itself. I was about to walk in when I saw the weirdest thing in the entire world . . .

I SAW A BOOK FLOAT ACROSS THE ROOM BY ITSELF!!!

I was so shocked when I saw this that it took me a second to realize that it was my library book (I could tell because it had a green flower on it). I leaned against the cold wall just outside of the doorframe. I was terrified, stupefied; I didn’t know how to react. Then I remembered, the new girl was in there. I wanted to run but I knew there was no way that I could let her get attacked by some floating book! So as quietly as I could, I leaned my head into the classroom. I saw her in the corner facing away from me organizing some books, oblivious that I was even there. The floating book was traveling toward her now only arm’s length away. I was about to warn her, but then the second weirdest thing I’ve seen today happened, she held out her hand and the book landed on it! A few seconds later the new girl started singing quietly, “It may be hard keepin’ my secret but when you got powers it be a treat oh yeah!” Suddenly, I blurted out a very loud, “WHAT?!”

The new girl whipped around, the terror on her face that matching mine. “How much did you see?” she asked me trembling.

“I didn’t see anything,” I lied, wanting nothing more than to be far away from here. “How much did you see?” she asked, this time with more force. I didn’t answer her. I just ran.

 

*****

 

PART 2

I breathed hard. I sweated like I never had before in my life. I was also pretty sure I was going to throw up. I was running down the halls lost trying to find an exit. I rounded a corner and nearly screamed. It was the new girl. I quickly turned around and saw an exit at the end of the hall. I bolted toward it.

“Wait! Please!” the new girl cried. I turned around briefly and yelled, “NEVER!”

While I was turned around I saw her stick out her hand and suddenly my left foot wouldn’t leave the ground.

“AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!” I screamed as I hit the ground with a hard thud.

“Oh my gosh!” cried the new girl as she came closer to me. “I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you!”

“GET AWAY FROM ME!” I yelled at her. The new girl took a step back with shock. I realized that I probably sounded really rude.

“I’m sorry,” I said to her.

“It’s fine,” she said. “I’m used to it. Are you okay?”

I just realized that I couldn’t feel or move my left foot from my ankle down. It didn’t hurt. I don’t feel like I went into shock like when you break a bone. It was just stiff, really stiff.

“What did you do to my foot?” I asked her while trying to move it side to side. “I’m not really sure,” she replied, “but whatever I did I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay; it doesn’t hurt. I’m Sid by the way,” I said holding out my hand.

“Jaylin,” she replied and helped me up.

“Can you walk?” Jaylin asked me as I tried to get my balance back.

“Not really,” I answered her as I swayed back and forth. Jaylin held onto my arm so I wouldn’t fall over.

“When do you think the shock will wear off?” I asked.

“When do you think the shock will wear off?” I asked.

“I don’t know; I’ve never done this before,” she answered.

“What have you done?”

“Well so far I have been able to move small objects with my mind,” Jaylin answered me as she picked up my backpack that fell on the ground when I “tripped,” and started walking to the door, her arm around my shoulder so that I could stand.

“Wow, that is so cool!” I exclaimed.

“It’s okay,” said Jaylin, “So when is your mom or dad coming?”

“I walk home. Both my parents work,” I said. “Although I do have a fifteen-year-old sister who is probably celebrating me not coming home.”

“Hey, at least you have someone to hang with, my parents also work and I’m an only child.”

“Do they know about your powers?” I asked.

“Yes, but they don’t act all weird about it. They actually ask me to use my powers once in a while which really helps me gain control.”

“Hey do you think your parents will let you come over to my house?” I asked. “My parents said it was okay for me to have up to three guests at my house and go to friends’ houses once a week as long as none of them were boys,” I said. We stood by the car pick up lane.

“I’ll have to ask first, but I think they’ll be okay with it,” said Jaylin as she took out her phone and called her dad. I heard the phone ring and then heard the bits of the conversation that Jaylin was saying, “Hi dad, I was wondering if I could go over to a new friend’s house… she lives, um one second. Where do you live?” she asked me. I told her my address and she repeated it to her dad.

“Okay, Dad, I’ll be careful… she, uh already knows… okay talk to you later. Love you. Bye.”

“Can you come?” I asked hopefully.

Jaylin smiled. “Yes!” she said excitedly.

“Great! Wait a minute, do you have my library book?”

“The one with the green flower on it?”

I nodded my head.

“I, uh, I left it in the classroom,”

I stood silently for a few seconds then said, “Okay come on let’s go get my book, but seriously if I see Wonder Women I’m going to lose it!”

“More than when you saw me?” said Jaylin with a grin from ear to ear.

“Maybe,” I replied as we both headed for the school Jaylin still supporting me.

*****

PART 3

“Are you hungry?” I asked Jaylin as I went through the refrigerator drawers, in the kitchen at my house, still balancing on one foot from when Jaylin stunted it.

“I’m good thanks,” replied Jaylin, “Hey, do you think that I could try to un-stun your foot?”

“I don’t see why not,” I said hopping over to where Jaylin was with a water bottle in my hand.

I sat down facing across from Jaylin at my family breakfast bar with my stunned foot resting on the seat between us. Jaylin extended her hand a little bit in front of her concentrating on my foot. Suddenly Jaylin got a weird look on her face and started going, “Ah . . .  ah . . .”

I was about to reach for a tissue at the end of the counter but it was too late.

Jaylin let out a loud sneeze. Then out of the blue, the top of my water bottle shot off and water started squirting everywhere!

“I’m so sorry!” said Jaylin reaching for a paper towel, “That happens sometimes with my powers.”

“WHAT THE HECK SID!?!” screamed my older sister Martha as she came downstairs looking for the source of the loud sneeze that came from Jaylin a second ago.

“What happened? Where did all this water come from? What powers? Sid you are in SO much trouble if you don’t answer me!”

“How can I when I don’t know what you want the answer to?” I said hoping she forgot about the super power question.

“Fine then! First I want to know were all this water came from,” demanded Martha.

“I spilled it, sorry, I’ll clean it up,” Jaylin answered.

“I also want to know who the heck this stranger is!” yelled Martha

“I’m Jaylin, Sid’s friend,” said Jaylin then looked over at me with a ‘was it okay that I said that?’ look on her face. I smiled in return.

“Really? I didn’t think that Sid would ever have any friends,” said Martha, “Especially if you knew that her real name is-”

“DON’T YOU DARE MARTHA!” I yelled.

“Sid’s not your real name?” asked Jaylin.

“Sid is my nickname,” I said.

“SECOND OF ALL!” Martha started again, “What was that obnoxiously loud sound?”

“That was also me, sorry again,” said Jaylin.

“Also what powers? What are you talking about?” asked Martha.

“What are you talking about? Powers! That’s ridiculous!” said Jaylin convincingly. Wow Jaylin is a great actor. She would have totally convinced me that I was hearing things if I hadn’t seen her powers with my own eyes!

“Fine then! I guess I’ll just check the Cat Cam!” said Martha.

I gasped. Jaylin looked confused. Martha saw the confusion on Jaylin’s face and explained, “The Cat Cam is a hidden camera in the kitchen that used to be for Captain Fluffy, the cat we had a few years ago, and we never took it down after Captain Fluffy went to live with our Grandma Sally.”

Now it was Jaylin’s turn to gasp. Martha turned to leave the kitchen when she stopped dead in her tracks nearly falling over, “What the heck!” yelled Martha, “I can’t move!”

I looked over at Jaylin who had an extended arm and a smile on her face.

“Please lets me go! I won’t tell anyone about your powers! I promise!” Martha begged. I looked over at Jaylin. Jaylin said, “Okay fine, but seriously you need to be way nicer to Sid! She’s super nice to you-”

“Trust me I’m not,” I said to Jaylin.

“Okay, I’ll be nicer to Sid,” said Martha giving us a half smile, “and your secret is safe with me.” Then Martha left and me and Jaylin let out a sigh of relief as we started to clean up the spilled water.

“Hey, I can feel my foot again!” I pointed out happily to Jaylin.

“That’s great!” said Jaylin. Suddenly I heard a buzzing sound come from Jaylin’s pocket. Jaylin pulled out her phone and told me her parents wanted her home now, “Bye!” I said.

“Bye,” Jaylin echoed and left.

Well, I thought, all’s well that ends well. That is unless you now have to delete all of what just happened off of the Cat Cam and do all of your homework before Mom and Dad come home. I’m going to have a busy night ahead of me.

 

 

“The Cloak” By Grace Zhao

She was running for her life, again. She quickly turned a left then faked a right, shaking them for a bit, but she knew that they wouldn’t stay fooled for long. She headed to the streets where a small sign, rusted from time, but still recognizable pointed to Alpha Peak street. She had wandered the past for a long time, but this time she wanted to change it. A risky choice, and a usually fatal one for most people, and Shana was warned it would be risky and dangerous, but not as fatal as it turned out to be.

All she had to do to escape from the past was to twirl her new cloak once, but she needed, wanted to save her father. She darted quickly through the streets, turning right at Bradsby and approached the pristine white building with a sign that said “Medical Research Center for All Diseases” or MRCAD. Shana paused for a moment, remembering how she used to joke about it, before quickly snapping out of it. “Don’t get distracted,” she muttered to herself.

“Run!”

She headed toward the back entrance to not disturb the strict security inside. Suddenly, a rough hand burst through the wall that circled the lab and snatched her cloak, hollering, “I got ‘er! I got ‘a wretched girl!” Shouts quickly arose, and the sounds of heavily thumping feet quickly started town.

“Abort mission, and leave it to enemy hands, or lose her life . . . Those were the most sensible choices, but Shana, being a rebellious one, chose neither.

She tugged with all her might at her cloak, praying it wouldn’t rip. She had originally imagined the cloak slipping out of the man’s hand, but his grip was so tight, that he stayed on. Shana heard a thump from the other side and the man’s grip reasonably loosened. “He probably hit the wall,” thought Shana “I didn’t realize I improved so much.” Footsteps were nearing with the owners not bothering to hide their sound, so she gave another quick tug, and the unconscious man’s feeble hold let go. She had no time to fight them, she was on a tight schedule. So all she could do was hope the reinforcements would arrive.

She dashed into the dimly lit entrance, hoping she could save her dad.

“A Small Village” by Dhruv Raghavan

“A Small Village”
By Dhruv Raghavan

Chapter 3

The dormitory, if one could even call it that, was a small, cramped, dingy little building, with dirty rooms and molding walls. As soon as we entered, the policeman gave us each a toiletry set, sheets, blankets, a uniform, a scrubber to wash clothes, and some sandals. We were to wake up at 4 am each day, take a bath in the well, eat our morning meal, and report to the courtyard by 5 am. Then we would train hard until 1 pm, and eat our midday meal. We would then resume our training and then go to our dorms at 7:30 pm. We would then have 15 minutes of recreational time, and then we would eat dinner at 7:45. Then we would do our homework, which apparently would take over one hour. Then we would go to bed. Any slackers would be whipped, or they would clean the latrines. The policeman left after giving instructions, and we entered the dorm.

My first thought was that the place was crowded. There were so many peasant boys like us. And I’m pretty sure they’re all from different states. They were just sitting on their cots with solemn looks on their faces. Some had friends, while some were sad and alone. At least I have many friends. “So, what are we supposed to do now?” I asked. To my surprise, somebody answered in Tamil.

“I see you speak Tamil,” he stated. “It is 7:30 pm now. We have recreational time. Oh, and I don’t know how there are teachers who speak every single main language in India! But anyway, welcome to the New Delhi Soldier’s Camp. We all live a tough life here, and you’ll eventually learn the ropes. In fact, I already know some Hindi, because they teach fast. Once everyone’s here, we all have to speak Hindi. I’m Vineet, and I’m from Coimbatore.” He shook each of our hands as we introduced ourselves. Soon it was dinner time, and we all walked to the mess hall. We were given some chapattis and subjee (flatbread and curry) which we ate fast. As we finished our food, a middle-aged man with a uniform walked up to us.
“Welcome to the New Delhi Soldier’s camp. Or as I call it, the Military Institute of Idiotic Peasants. I am Professor Das, and I took the time to learn your silly languages, but I won’t have to remember them for long. Because you will learn Hindi faster than any school will teach you. Though I bet you didn’t understand a word I’ve uttered so far. Because of your stupid peasant education.” He frowned and walked away.

“What a rude guy!” I yelled. “Does he know who we are? Though we are peasants, we are strong. We know every single trick to survive! If that grumpy, stinky old man ever shows his face again, I will bury him in a heap of cow dung!”

“Ravi, be careful,” Somu whimpered. “Professor Das will p-punish y-you.”

“P-punish y-you,” I imitated. “I already told you what I will do if he comes.”

“Really?” Professor Das suddenly asked. I spun around, but he had already grabbed the edge of my shirt and lifted me up. “I DO NOT TOLERATE THICKHEADED STUPID IDIOTS LIKE YOU!!!!!!!!” he thundered. “YOU SHALL PAY DEARLY!” he laughed. Then he raised his fist and punched me in the face. Blood spurted out of my nose like a gushing fountain, and the pain was unbearable. Spots danced in front of my eyes, and I screamed as loud as a cockerel in the morning. “SO, LITTLE PEASANT,” professor Das shouted in glee, “YOU TOLD YOUR FRIENDS THAT YOU WILL BURY ME IN A STINKY HEAP OF COW DUNG! THOUGH I WANT TO INFLICT THE SAME PUNISHMENT ON YOU, I WILL BE KIND TODAY.” Then he calmed down a bit. “Instead you will clean the dormitory toilet! So go now!” I got up and started walking to the dorm. I looked back once and saw the sorry looks of my friends. But professor Das had a permanent sneer on his ugly face.

I reached the dormitory toilet. I first washed my nose and put a cloth around it to stop the blood from flowing. I swear that I will someday punish that fellow. But I would have to do it tactfully. I looked at the toilet. It stank so badly and the area around it was covered in dirt and garbage. I took the mop and began to wipe the floor. I put the dirt and garbage in a bucket and went out towards the garbage can. On my way, I saw professor Das.

“Back so soon punk?” he sneered. “Looks like I need to give you more work!” And he kicked the bucket and all the dirt, water, and garbage spilled on the floor. “Looks like you’re going to clean the floor too!” He laughed and walked away. Cursing, I ran to the closet to get more supplies. As I cleaned the mess, I realized that this was how my life was going to be.

While everyone else was doing homework, I and my friends went to the initiation booth. We pledged allegiance to India and got many papers to do as a start. We then went back to the dormitory and started working on it. The papers were printed in Tamil for us, but I noticed that Vineet’s was in Hindi. I remembered that Professor Das had said that we would learn Hindi very fast, so I looked at my stack of paper for Hindi Homework. Sure enough, there were some basic translations that we had to learn. I immediately started working on it.

When I was done, I handed it to a teacher to check it. The teacher looked at it and gave me an F, which was the worst grade. I sadly slunk away to my bed and curled up on the sheets. I fell asleep in no time.

“Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” went the alarm at 4:00 am. I grumbled and groaned, but managed to get up. I took my bath and went to the cafeteria to eat my morning meal. Today it was some rice and khadi, which was a curry with yogurt and spices. I gobbled it up and went to the courtyard for roll call. Luckily, professor Das wasn’t there, but I saw another man. He was tall, gaunt, and slim. He smiled at me and introduced himself as Doctor C. I didn’t know what his real name was, but I didn’t ask.

“OK,” he stated in Hindi, “I will call your name, and you will say here. Understood?”
“Haan!” we all exclaimed, which is “yes” in Hindi. So he started calling names. He said my name, and I replied saying “jee shreeman,” which is “yes, sir” in Hindi. When he called Swami’s name, however, there was no reply.

“Where is Swami?” professor Das, who had just arrived asked. No one knew, so he sent someone to go get him. He was sleeping, apparently, and the other student had to drag him to the courtyard. Professor Das stood there with a plastic whip. “Those who do not wake up in time will skip their bath and meal, and receive 25 lashes.” Saying so, he whipped Swami 25 times, and each time Swami screamed.

“Sorry sir,” Swami whimpered, “I will wake up on time tomorrow.”

“Good!” professor Das exclaimed, and he walked away. Doctor C just stood there with a sickly look on his face. He resumed roll call.

Chapter 4

After roll call, we were divided into groups and were sent to the gym. Professor Das stood nearby with a whip in his hand. He was trying hard to find the slightest opportunity to use his brown, 6-foot long, leather whip, with a needle at the end. I saw as he whipped a boy for talking to his friend, and he screamed clutching his bloody hand. He didn’t get whipped again because he probably would have lost his hand. Professor Das smirked as the boy walked on. As I passed him, I walked in a straight line and faced forward, hoping he wouldn’t notice me. But he did anyway.

“Well well, look who is here!” sneered Professor Das. “My little friend, I am not done with you yet. And I’ll be keeping an eye on you. Or two eyes, or three. Now off you go.”

Phew! That could have been worse. Much worse I thought as I saw the boy who had been whipped before; an expression of contorted rage and immense pain shown clearly on his tear-stained face.

As I walked into the gym, I could hear the gym teacher screaming, “Oho little maggots. Time for some fun. In this gym, we train hard and no one ever has fun. So in this time for fun, you won’t have fun, which means you will feel terrible and sweaty and you’ll wish you were dead. And that will happen soon. For if you don’t sweat hard, I’ll be scraping your brains off the ground. And also I’ll have to buy a new weight and a new peasant to replace you. And we all know how much a peasant’s worth!” He doubled over laughing maniacally. It sounded more like seven walruses who had just caught the black death.

I fumed in rage and was about to say something when Vineet walked over and shushed me. “Trust me,” he whispered. “This guy makes professor Das sound like a sweet little puppy. He was a dangerous robber, and yesterday he had been put to work training peasants. Most say he likes to drink blood. Yesterday he was going to whip a boy, but the boy ran out of the gym. The gym teacher ran after him, and in a couple of minutes, came back. The boy was not with him.” I shuddered fearfully. I glanced around at the other kids and they were all looking as scared as me. One of the kids’ eyes moved to a leather sack beside the gym teacher. My eyes followed his, and to my horror, the gym teacher opened the sack. There was a metal whip in it. Professor Das’ whip looked like it was made from butter compared to this whip. It had spikes all over it that were long and sharp. The whip was 10 feet long and flexible. I watched as a stray chicken entered the gym searching for food. The gym teacher saw the chicken and brandished his whip. I gasped and he stared at me. “Do you like the whip, pretty boy?” he asked. “Well, I’m going to show you how beautiful it truly is.” And without another word, he brought the whip down on the chicken. It clucked once. Then it split in a half and blood gushed all over the gym floor. “Time to drink up boys!” he called out. And he bent down to drink the chicken’s blood.

After the chicken incident, we were made to do push-ups, weightlifting, and shooting. After lunch, we went to Doctor C’s classroom and learned Math, Hindi, Science, and India’s History. Then came the rec time, in which I started my homework (due to the advice of Vineet), and talked with my friends about the day, and the two idiots running around in the school. Professor Das, and the gym teacher (we called him “Chicken Splitter”). We ate a dinner of Naan bread and curry and went to the dorms to do homework. After that, I slept. I dreamed that I was a chicken and that Chicken Splitter was chasing me with the whip.

“Colors” by Christina Xiong

“Colors”
by Christina Xiong

The darkness was all I could feel and see. Everything was blurry without touch or feel. Plain and
broken as the dark shards of my mind. “What is red?”

“Red? Do you mean what red looks like?”

So I asked, “What’s it like?” I could hear her laugh, but didn’t understand why.

She paused for a moment and continued, “Well, it’s um… how do I describe it?” Now the question didn’t seem so dumb.

I just sat there and said “It’s fine, I’m blind.”

“Oh . . . sorry.” I heard that a lot, sorry, sorry, and sorry. Everyone felt sorry for me but they don’t understand how thankful I feel to be able to hear sounds. From listening to sounds, I felt that I could imagine colors but I don’t think I understand what colors are. What truly is red, orange, blue, green . . . what are colors? I fumbled with my hands, I knew the shapes of almost everything, I was told I have silky, long brown hair. I could feel its softness but what did it mean. There were days when I would think too deep, to the point, where I’d cry tears, big wet tears, but what was the color of tears? I’ve heard that it’s clear like glass, but how could I know what glass is like?

I sat on my bed, I reached out for my computer, it sat on the night stand, where it’s always stood. I opened it and felt the bumps below each key, I’ve gotten used to the position of the keys for the password but even then I mess up. Only if I had eyes. Round objects, that are supposed to be on each side of our noses and under our eye brows. Everyone tells me, “You have green eyes.” Sure they were green, but green was just a word to me. I opened the speakers on the computer and asked for and opened a Google doc. I began to type. A letter. I remembered my teacher wanted me to write this. She told me that writing could help me let out my feelings. But that was a year ago. I don’t know why I was doing this now. Out of nowhere I began to type, clicking and tapping on the buttons I wrote about colors.

Dear teacher,

Remember last year? You wanted me to write, so it could help me set myself free. I know you could see how lonely I was in class. Nobody would talk to a strange girl living her life in a colorless world. Even when they tried to explain colors to me, I couldn’t understand. But I wanted to write, to tell you how I feel about colors. To be honest, I’ve never seen colors, ever. I think that sounds have colors. I know it seems weird. I was listening to a song the other day. It had a sweet melody. I was always told yellow is a soft color, so I thought it sounded like yellow. Just last night, I heard thunder outside my window, and the rain beating down, I swore I could see black, dark blue and purple, maybe even dark red. I mean, usually red doesn’t have anything to do with rain, but I’ve heard that red is a color of violence, and the sound of thunder is very violent to me with all it’s terrible stories too. I can hear my neighbor’s dog right now, he’s really loud, I can see bright, bold colors. I think of bright yellow, orange and a tint of red. I’m usually asked what my dreams are like, my answer to them is I dream about my colors. But only if I could truly see them then I would laugh, scream, cry to my colors. I would react to each shade and each voice. Maybe one day in heaven, I’ll get eyes. Do you think that’s possible? I would probably laugh, scream and cry about normal things with the normal kids. I’m crying right now, just thinking about it but they’re tears of joy. Because one day I’ll be able to see my tears. And my eyes, my skin, my hair, me. That’s all I have to say about my colors but I wonder if other blind people feel the same way I do. That’s a question for tomorrow because i just want to live today to the fullest.

Sincerely,
Your colorless student

“The Alpha” by Christina Xiong

“The Alpha”
by Christina Xiong

A hazelnut brown deer pranced around in the quiet melody of the forest, the golden sky glistened above the sweet green trees. A man stood in the open with a rifle in his hands aiming straight at the deer. The deer continued to eat the lush grass, not noticing the man with the rifle. The man took a step crunch! The deer turned and looked him in the eye as it began to run.

“Get back here!” the man shouted, pulling the trigger in a misleading direction, the bullet taking a spiral into the opposite direction while the man tripped over a branch. Ivory black ravens flew from the trees, screeching their lonely cry and a faint scream was heard from a distance. The tall man pushed himself up from the ground, dirt clinging to his pants, shirt, and hair. He ran toward the sound of the scream, searching for the source. He spun around in a hurry to find a little girl lying down on the ground.

“It’s fine little girl! You don’t have to be afraid of a gunshot, don’t you know the forest is full of hunters these days?”

The man smiled as he moved toward the little girl, who laid on the ground, without moving. “Little girl, please talk.”

Sweat began to trickle down his neck and a chill was sent down his spine. His face grew with an expression of fright and terror as he looked at the puddle of blood that splattered over her blue dress and seeped into the ground around her. Her eyes were crystal blue and lifeless, her soft skin felt cold, her whole body limped on the ground, motionless. “De…de…dead?” the man stuttered, his voice was crooked and broken. The blue eyed girl looked at him with those misty eyes that were stuck in his head, forever. The thought, that he had just killed a little girl, flowed through his body, sending chills and panic everywhere. Run. His long legs ran as fast as a leaf traveling down a rapid stream. Run. Ka-ta, ka-ta, as the leaves crunched under the flying feet. All he could think about was running, as the town was coming in view. His frantic eyes drew left to right, left to right. He felt as if a presence or spirit was watching him, or maybe the Devil. He began his run again as sweat covered him.
The markets were busy today as people walked along the road, the carts were pulled up and down with fruits and exotic foreign items, as people talked and bought. Through the crowds, he ran, people turned to look at him, with disgust written across their faces. His rifle hung to his side, bumping around at a steady pace.

Instantly, in a flash, a silver object flew across the sky and struck the man’s arm. It stood strong and firm as blood gushed out of the open wound. The crowd grew around him as confusion spread. Whoever had been there was gone but left one clue for the man. Slowly he grabbed the knife and pulled it out, blood dripped as he gritted his teeth with intense pressure. A lady from a clothes shop ran out quickly with some mauve cloth which she handed to a man who began to help wrap his wound.

“Who would attack the mayor’s son?” a lady asked.

“Richard, are you ok?” a man asked. Richard turned and looked at the wrapped wound as someone handed him the silver knife which was stained in blood.

“Oh no!” a woman gasped. Others stood and watched in shock. Richard took the knife and turned it around to see a symbol. It was an “A” with a sword crossed through it. But this symbol wasn’t just any symbol, it was the symbol of the Alpha.

“Why’s the Alpha after the mayor’s son?” the crowded turn and looked at Richard.

“I don’t know,” he whispered, as the face of the little girl flashed in his head.

“Were you running away from him?” a man asked.

“Does he want your money?” another asked.

When Richard got up and he looked at the confused muttering crowd, “What if he’s here to kill us all!” an old man shouted.

“We should tell the police immediately!” a man cried. The police, Richard knew what would happen if the police got involved, just the thought of it sent the little girl’s blood drained body and cold pale face into his bewildered head.

“Everyone calm down!” Richard’s voice rang in everyone’s ear as they turned to look at the young man.

“I’ll tell my father about this and we’ll will improve protection around the town, but tonight, he might strike, so men, get your guns ready and protect your families!” The crowd cheered and one by one rushed off, leaving Richard to walk off along the small narrow road.

*****

The rain casted across the stormy night as thunder roared in the silence. The street was damp and large puddles formed on the ground. Bu-bump! Bu-bump! A man in a heavy black coat rushed down the bumpy road of uneven rocks, passing the small plump townhouses. He panted as he reached the front of a brick house with a pointed roof and a tall, lean structure. He reached out his hand and gently knocked on the door.

The door opened, “Richard why did you come?” a man in a green sweater and tan pants asked.

“I was attacked, by the Alpha,” Richard replied with a sorrowful look.

“The Alpha?” the man looked back aghast. Richard nodded as the doctor welcomed him in. “Can I see the wound?” he asked.

As Richard lifted his sleeve to reveal the wrapped wound, suddenly there was a knock on the door, a heavy loud knock. “P-please wait!” the doctor said with a stutter. As soon as the doctor finished his sentence, the door burst open.

“I’m afraid I don’t have time for that.” A man walked in, he wore a black wolf’s head covering his eyes as the rest of the wolf dropped down like a cape around his furred clothing. His evil grin spread out across his face like a demon, sending a chill in the room. Richard jumped up, the wrappings on his wound fell off as the wound dripped with velvet blood.

“Run, run, run . . . HAHAHA! That’s all you can and will ever do!” The man started to draw closer to Richard. Lightning flashed from behind the man, the light piercing through the room. “A man shouldn’t hunt if he can’t tell the difference between a deer and a little girl.” The man’s voice was rough and angry as it echoed through the room.

“I . . . I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was her.” Richard’s stomach began to tangle and throw itself around while his head ached and his whole body began swell as the wound continued to bleed.
“Some say an eye for an eye but I say a life for a life!” In an instant, as fast as sound itself, a knife pierced through Richard’s heart and blood splattered everywhere. Richard’s soulless body fell into the night’s cold end.

The man stepped on the lifeless piece of flesh as he approached the doctor. His hand reached out with a folded piece of paper at the doctor’s direction. The doctor flinched at the large hand as he reached out his, shaking one, grabbing the folded piece of paper. He turned to look at the body, and the rifle that laid next to it. A tear streaked down his wet cheek. With massive strength, he grabbed the rifle and contorted it in half. A loud metallic sound filled the room when the pieces landed and the man ran into the dark tempestuous night. The doctor looked down at paper, “This won’t be the last time we meet. – Alpha.”