“Dawn of Rebellion” by Maddie Shavitz

My eyes flashed open my body flooding with sweat. I looked at the clock and it read 3:30am. I felt fear crawl through me, and I took a few deep breaths to calm myself down. Tomorrow was the day—the day I will get chosen. I will find out the job I will have for the rest of my life. I have been dreading this day since I could remember. I look around to see the other kids sound asleep. They are also 15. The age you will learn your fate.

Again I wake up, but this time it’s from the morning bell. My friend Kaia came over to me she said, “Tough night sleep?”
“Yeah,” I replied with a simple nod. We got dressed and headed down to the cafeteria. I ate my food slow, for it’s the last meal I will eat before I stand in front of the decision makers and learn what I will do for the rest of my life.

Together all the 15 year olds walked down to the podium in the center of town square. The podium was used only for the day of the decisions, unless a decision maker died and a new one was elected.

The ceremony began and kids learned who they will see who they will never see again.

“Emma Gust,” the announcer yelled. The sound of my name rippled softer and softer into my ears.

“Farmer,” yelled the announcer. I shut my eyes and a single tear ran down my cheek.

One by one kids got chosen until there were none left.

“Tomorrow, you will be transported to your respected areas. Have all your personals ready by then.”

For the past month all the 15 year olds have stayed in an old college dorm dating back to the 2000’s. Thousands of imbecilities ago, in a simpler time, where people were able to choose their own path. We learned in school of that world, the place we are today was a country called America, the land of the free.

I collected all my things, so did my roommates. Kaia who was my best friend was leaving to cook for the decision makers, the leaders of our land. While Jade my other roommate was a designer. The only person who became a farmer with me was a small girl who slept on the other side of the room. She never talked to me in the entire month we were here. However, I knew her name was Ginger. The boys on the separate floor had been chosen for different types of jobs. My friend Jeff was going to be a teacher in town. I probably would never see him again.

The next day came, and I hugged my friends goodbye as I stepped into the cold white van that is in front of me. The other kids on the bus were not strangers to me. Mia was in my apartment building, but not in my dorm. The boys that are here look unfamiliar to my eye, they must have been shy during communal events.

“Um . . . I’m Jasper,” said one of the boys as we all gathered on the bus. He was a bigger kid, 5’10” at least. He had the body of someone they would want working the fields. The other boy whose name I later found out was Jeremey didn’t say anything.

I turned my head and looked out the window as the town I spent my whole life in vanished before my eyes. Since there were only 5 kids in the van we decided we should get to know each other. “I’m Emma,” I said. “My parents worked in town as tailors. We were a middle class family.”

Then Mia said, “You’re forgetting we spent the last month together in the apartment building, being watched to find out which job would suit us best.”

I wanted to say that I knew I wasn’t meant for this job, that I knew I should have been a soldier. I knew from the beginning of grade school girls never could fight, but my gut was disagreeing with everything. But still, I didn’t speak. That was just my mind making up excuses for why I shouldn’t be a farmer.

“I think we should get some sleep. The ride to the countryside is pretty far and we don’t know what the farm has in store for us,” Jasper said.

We agreed and feel asleep on the bumpy road rocking us to sleep.  Later when we got to the farm a middle aged man in overalls came and greeted us. He said we had until 6:00pm to unpack our stuff and get situated. He showed us the housing. There was one mansion for the adults and one medium sized house for the teenagers. The 16 and 17 year olds helped us with our stuff knowing what we had been through the last few days.

“I’m Gunner,” said one of the teens. “2 years ago I was in your spot. Scared and not knowing what’s ahead. But, the farm’s not that bad. We have the freshest food in all of the country and we have land expanding 1 mile. Tess over here will show the girls to their rooms while I got the boys.”

I looked over to Ginger who was biting her nails violently. Me and Mia talked along the way with Tess. She seemed kind enough. Inside the house there were 2 hallways—1 for the boys and 1 for the girls. They met in the center where there was a bathroom with 5 toilets and a communal shower. Downstairs there was a kitchen along with a living room with a TV. I haven’t seen a TV since a field trip we took to a museum back home. Also there was a hangout area with couches and games.

As soon as we got our stuff unpacked we took a tour of the work fields. You get to choose whether you want to work in the sun picking weeds and harvesting food or with the animals. Either milking cows, collecting chicken eggs, or butchering the meat. I choose to work with the animals because it seemed the least labor intensive. The thought of working here was like a knife was cutting through me.

The next day we start our work, the beating sun coming down on us. As soon as the day finishes all of the teens in our house hang out and watch TV. Ever since being chosen I couldn’t get the thought I didn’t belong out of my head. Therefore, I said, “I have an idea. It’s risky and we may not make it out alive.”

“What,” everyone said with sudden interest.

“We need to rebel,” I continued. “The decision makers shouldn’t decide our fate for us. Long ago when our ancestors lived people chose their job, and I feel we should be able to do that, too!”

After a few more days of working and all of us being miserable word spread of my idea. A man who looked about 30 came up to me. I recognized him from the van he was the driver. He said, “I have heard of your rebellion and I want to take part. My hatred for this job is like a wildfire that can’t be contained. I can transport you to town square, then you can attack the decision makers. Get your crew together because tomorrow we leave at sunrise.”

Ginger, Jasper, Tess, and Gunner decide to come while everyone else worked double to make sure the head farmer didn’t realize we were gone.

The ride was long, the perfect place to come up with battle tactics. We decided the only way to win was to defeat the decision makers in a mind game that we have used for generations to decide important topics. We would challenge them to a game of rock paper scissors. Thousands of years ago the thought of this game being important would be ludicrous, but in our society today it is said that the winner automatically gets the item or idea that was bargained for. Also, you can’t back out of a challenge or you are thought of as defeated for the rest of your life.

After a few hours my old life comes into view. “Emma,” Gunner says, “in order to make sure the decision makers are unaware of us coming we must go slowly and quietly. Their work day ends in 1 hour so we have until then to get past security to the main office.”

“Okay,” I reply waving everyone over to the entrance. “Jasper, create a distraction while we roll past the security and get in the elevator.”

Jasper sprinted in and started yelling that he lost his parents and he needs their help finding them. This gave us the perfect amount of time to make a run for it. Jasper found random adults and told the security thanks for the help because those were his parents. Annoyed, the guard walked back to work while Jasper stayed outside.

Soon after this we walked into the office room while the decision makers are having a meeting. “Why are some puny teens here!” yells the decision maker. “You should be working for another 20 minutes.”

As my heart races faster than a sprinter, I bring up enough courage to say, “We challenge you to the ancient game of rock paper scissors. The winner gets to decide what the new regulation is. And just in case you were wondering, the cameras are rolling and nobody will trust you if you say no and we have evidence.”

“I haven’t heard a threat like this since I was inducted into this job, but I cannot disrespect my people and back out.”

Rock! Paper! Scissors! Shoot! The commands flashed through my mind like a rocket flying to space, and I throw my fist in a rock.

“Oh my! I lost!” yelled the decision maker with rage, holding out a scissor.

Now that I was in charge I demanded to be placed as a soldier. Also, I called everyone to town square to spread the news of freedom in picking what job you want. This is something most people never thought would be true. But now freedom would range over all people, the rein of the decision makers was over. There was a new time for freedom in what we want to do.

 

“The Avengers” by Sabine Ocana  

“I don’t want to ruin your moment, but you two against a whole army of Frost Giants seems a little unbalanced,” said Fury.

“He is right,” said Sabine. “It would be 1000 to 2.”

“Luckily for you,” continued Fury, “I have a couple people in mind.”

They all went back to the control room, as Fury took out 3 files.

“Here are the three people who will make our team complete,” he started. “First, there is Captain America. He has gone into battle before and is a great warrior,” said Fury. “We can trust him. His true name is Steve Rogers. Second, Hulk, he is not known by everyone. He is mostly known as a scientist. he has incredible force, which turns him green if he is mad. He can destroy anything. He is as strong as ten men and as long as we don’t get to his nerves, we can work with him. His real name is Bruce Banner. Last is Iron Man. I don’t personally know him, but I knew his father. He is a very intelligent man with great fighting skills. Sabine, I know you will not like working with him, but his is indispensable for the team. His real name is Tony Stark.”

“The billionaire. The one that thinks he is a god. The one I hate more than anything in the world?” asked Sabine.

“The one and only,” said Fury.

“I’ll be fine. I will finally get a chance to tell him how I feel about him, and in person. How will we get them to meet us?” asked Sabine.

“I have texted each and one of them to meet us in that building. We got on all those years ago, do you remember, Sabine?”

“Of course, I remember that is where we first got into the Helicarrier and I met Phil,” said Sabine.

“Exactly Sabine. And Phil is exactly who will be waiting for them at the building.”

“Shall we go?” asked Fury to Sabine and Thor. Sabine nodded her head.

Thor said, “Of course, but just a question. What is ‘texted’?” he asked.

“Oh god,” said Sabine covering her face. “We will explain to you later.”

Fury then took control and started flying towards the building.

As they landed on top, Sabine opened the ramped and said, “And that is a full explanation of texting. Do you get it now?” she asked.

“No, and what is a phone?”

“Ahh, never mind, you’ll never get it,” said Sabine.

As the three of them walked off the ramp, they saw Phil standing in front of three men. Sabine ran off the ramp and hugged Phil very tightly.

“Phil, I haven’t seen you in ages, not since Fury went to New York and you had to babysit me.”

“Ha, I remember that. It really was a pain in the neck, you were as annoying as a little kid, just kidding. I missed you too Sabine, but you were actually so anxious, it was really cute,” said Phil.

“Here are the new recruits,” said Phil to Sabine and Fury pointed to the 3 men. “Good afternoon everyone, my name is Fury, and I am the chief of the organization that called you. This is Sabine, another member of our organization,” he added as Sabine raised her hand. “And this is Thor,” he continued pointing to Thor. “He is the brother of the guy, Loki, who is in charge of the army we will fight.” He started introducing the men to Sabine. Since they are lined up, he starts with the one on the far right.

“Sabine, this is Bruce Banner, also known as Hulk.”

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Banner,” said Sabine as she shook his hand.

“Please, you can call me Bruce.”

“This is Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America,” said Fury.

“Very nice to meet you,” said Sabine.

Finally, they arrived to the last of the three men, who stood there as if he is the owner of the world. Fury then said, “And here is Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man.”

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Stark,” she said barely looking at him.

“Oh please, call me Tony, Love” said Tony.

“Sure,” said Sabine in a sarcastic voice, “Just don’t call me Love.”

Fury and Sabine walked back in front of the three men and Fury said, “Please follow us back inside.” When they were all inside, Sabine closed the ramp and Fury took control of the ship. He raised in altitude until they were a little above the clouds, then he put the ship in automatic mode.

“According to what we know, Loki is going to attack Earth with his army of Frost Giants,” started Fury. “His goal is to destroy Earth with his army so he can hurt Thor, since he loves the planet very much. Loki then plans on destroying Thor. We are not going to let either of them happen. For that, we need to stop Loki. To stop Loki from coming to Earth, we need to get his staff. His staff is what teleports him. All we need to do is be ready when Loki attacks. Any idea where that might be and when Thor?” asked Fury.

Thor then said, “Well, he would start in a big place, where there is a lot of people and a lot of buildings to destroy.”

“The only place I can think of is in DC in front of my building,” said Tony.

“Why are you always so selfish?” said Sabine.

“No, Sabine, he actually makes a point. DC is where Loki has made an appearance before and that is the perfect place to do that, in front of Stark’s building,” said Fury.

“Thank you, Sir,” said Tony, looking at Sabine with a look that clearly stated, “I told you so, Love.

“But, when will he strike though?” asked Fury.

Just as he says that, Sabine points at the TV that is on and says as she raised the volume “Look!” On The TV you can see a portal open right in front of the Stark building and Loki coming out of it.

“Well, let’s move people,” said Fury as he took control of the ship and started heading towards DC.

Fury landed his ship on the ground, leaving all four of them and went back up in the sky to leave them the terrain clear. As Sabine was going to say something to the men, two enormous monsters came out of the portal.

Sabine said, “Okay people, we need to move fast. Thor because you know him better, why don’t you go and try take the staff from Loki. Stark, go with him.”

“Yes Ma’am,” said Thor.

“As you wish,” said Tony.

“Bruce, Steve, and I are going to deal with the monsters. Now go!” finished Sabine. Tony and Thor go up to the Stark’s building to defeat Loki. Meanwhile, Sabine and the others walked towards the monsters.

Sabine said, “It would be a great time for you to turn green, Bruce”  He then became huge and green.

“Wow,” said Sabine. “How do you do that? I thought you could only do it when you were angry.”

“You want to know my secret?” said Hulk. “I’m always angry.”

Then Hulk hit both monsters really hard in the nose and they fell on the ground paralyzed. Captain America and Sabine then put a sword through their hearts. The Frost Giants then came after them and started fighting Captain America and Sabine. Hulk grabbed one of the Frost Giants and twisted his neck, killing him. Captain America then put a sword through the other Frost Giant, who got distracted by what Hulk did to the other Frost Giant. With that dealt with, they brought their attention to Tony, Thor, and Loki. The three of them were fighting in the balcony of the Starks’ building. They were fighting really hard, but Thor and Tony had the advantage of 2 versus 1. Finally, Thor got a hold of the staff and took it away from Loki. Then Tony grabbed Loki’s hands and flew back were Sabine was with Thor. Sabine then put handcuffs on the hands of Loki as Tony still kept a hold of him.

Thor then said, “My brother and I have nothing to do here anymore. We will go back to Asgard.” Thor then opened a portal with the staff and left with Loki back to Asgard after saying, “Goodbye, Sabine. I will never forget you and goodbye to you all, thank you for helping me stop my brother.” Then, they all go back to the Helicarrier and they all say goodbye.

Captain America jumped off the ship to get back to his house; of course, he had a parachute. Fury left for his room to rest. Now the only ones left in the control room were Sabine and Tony. They just stand there for a moment awkwardly with their heads down until he said, “Sabine?”

“Yes,”

“Would you go out with me?”

She kissed him. She had fallen in love with him and had to admit that he was really hot. She loved how he wanted to save people. He wasn’t that bad after all. They were made for each other.

 

“The People in the Past” by Emilia Moberg

Jerry Butler left college early to make more time for his photography. He never actually kick-started his career and one could call him a “struggling artist.” Monica Thomas was a model. She had gone to modeling agencies all over the country. But she settled in the small town of Saratoga, California, when she got engaged and married Jerry Butler.

As you would assume, they were an attractive, happy couple, and they thought they had their lives set and stone. They were at about a year through their marriage when this all started. They woke up every morning at precisely 8:00. But for about a month, the alarms would go off at 7:59, 6:20, or even 1:00 in the afternoon. They tried to fix it, but that didn’t work. They bought a new clock, the same thing happened with that one, too. This was a little conspicuous to them, but they didn’t speak to each other about it.

Until one day, Jerry was quite extremely late. Extremely late. He had his first meeting with a new photography group, who were interested in his art. Luckily, he had laid out his outfit and made breakfast the night before. He was positive he did. He even sent a picture of it to Monica. But they weren’t there. He burst through every door of the apartment. He even looked on the porch, in the lobby, and the washroom. But his clothes were nowhere to be found.

“Slow down, Jerry!” Mrs. Jenkins called after him, but he could not, would not slow down. He had to get to the meeting. He looked through his drawers again, and then he stopped. He stopped for a second, and then, as though his brain was being controlled by something else, he looked up. And there they were. His clothes. Above him. Floating . . . in the air. He did not know what to make of it. But there they were, his tie, shoes, cufflinks, everything.

The next day, while Jerry was in the middle of his (rescheduled) meeting, he got a call from Monica. He declined it and kept talking to the group, but in the span of 8 minutes she called him 7 times. He finally asked to be excused, and answered the call.

“What could be important enough for you to call me in the middle of my meeting?” He asked, as fierce as a lion. He waited for a response, but only heard the faint trace of the local news playing in the background. “Hello? Monica?” After a couple seconds he heard the phone move, and Monica’s voice responded.

“Hello? Who is this?”

“Monica? It´s Jerry . . .”

“Oh. Hi honey. Is your meeting over?”

“Did you butt-dial me?”

“No, my phone has been on the kitchen counter . . .”

“Not again.” Jerry responded with a groan. You see, these kinds of little things have been happening to Monica and Jerry for a long time. They have had little oddities happening multiple times every day.

The couple went to people everywhere, and they found out that (by the sounds of it), they were being haunted. This actually angered them quite a bit. But they wanted this to stop, because this is obviously no way to raise a family.

Not too long later, Jerry and Monica went to visit Jerry’s mother Mary Grace, in a small town in California. There, she had anything that might give them a clue as to what might be going on with the whole haunting catastrophe. Mary Grace had the diaries and scrapbooks of almost all of their family dating all the way back to the 1500s. The most promising ones to Monica were the ones dated 1692, from the Massachusetts family members. They were on the verge of giving up, calling it a day, and content with living with ghosts, when they find a box of books that were incredibly helpful. There were some diaries and notes that were written focusing on just the Witch Trials in Salem! These diary entries that seemed to help the most, and they were dated all the way back to February 23, 1692.

 

Dearest Diary,

 

Dear Abigail’s burning is today. If only there was a way to cover up the truth. If only the pendant was strong enough to take out the whole town. If only. Then we could escape, we could get out of here. Clarissa gave the pendant to me when I was young, when I just began my studies. She says it brings good luck, but if I use my power incorrectly, it will let the Sisters know, and they will punish me. I think it’s insane. Maybe enough so that if I use the power to save Abi, I won’t get punished by the Sisters. I’m saving one, so they should not punish me for it. Well, I will do it. I hope that nothing unfortunate happens.                            

 

Wish me luck,

Bridget Bishop

 

There was another one after it, but it looked like it had gotten wet. The only words that Monica could make out were “salvage”, “punish”, and “curse,” so she is guessing that it didn’t go all that well. “Oh, yes. My father told me that the Massachusetts family always made things up, but they do tell a superb story. And they gave neat gifts, too.” Mary Grace left the room while Monica showed what she found to Jerry. When she walked back in she held a reddish-blackish stone with bronze twine, twisted to resemble a tiny tree, as small as a grape seed, wrapped around the stone, hanging from a long, thin, bronze chain. Mary Grace smiled and put it around Monica’s neck. The moment that it hit her chest, it started glowing. It was not too noticeable, at first glance, but if you are studying the design and every little scratch, looking for a clue, any hint to make the story unfold, you would see it eventually.

“So may I interest you in a glass of water? Or a brownie? You two have been working as hard as dogs, are you looking for something specific?” Mary Grace asks. A moment of silence fell over the three adults, and then Mary Grace broke it with “Brownies it is!”
A couple days later, after continuous research, Monica found a website that spoke of an Adams family, including a John Adams Jr., Chelsey Adams, and Abigail Adams. There was also a Theodore Bishop, with his wife, Eleanor, and their 6 daughters, May, Hayley, Ava, Therese, Gennie, and Bridget. Adding on, there was a talk of the governor’s wife, Clara Burton. The article said that the whole Adams family was burned at the stake for accusation of being witches, and that there were also theories against a couple of the Bishop girls and Mrs. Burton. One of these girls (being Bridget) went on, stake-free, to marry a David Butler, and start a family of her own. She was later charged for murder of her 3 youngest and 2 oldest children, and nobody knows for what reason. She was known to be a trickster, as well.

“I don’t know about you, but I think that this might be our ghost.” Jerry told his wife.

“I think so . . .” she replied, trailing off at the end. “Oh my goodness, Jer, I think I know what to do.”

Monica’s plan was to write back to Bridget. Killing her own kids had to mean that there was probably something incredibly wrong in her life, so she thought that writing her back could settle her soul. She didn’t know if it would work, but she wished that it would.

So, once Monica and her husband decided on what to say, they began to write.

 

Dear Bridget,

           

I am married to one of your very, very great grandson, Jerry Butler. My name is Monica. I have been being (I know it sounds crazy), but, haunted. I have been reading about your family and I thought that it might’ve been you? I’m sorry if that’s offensive, but I was hoping that at least you knew who it was. If you do, please ask them to stop. I would really appreciate it.

                                   

Thank you loads,

                                    Monica Butler

 

As soon as she finished signing the note, the ink seeped into the paper. She was quite confused, for nothing happened. She flipped the page. There, words were appearing on the page.
Young Monica,

           

So, you have probably heard of what I have done. It wasn’t my fault. After using the pendant to save my best friend, I was cursed, as a punishment. The Sisters made me as crazy as a june bug until my dying day, when I was, in an asylum for killing my children that I was not even completely aware I had. Everything was unknown to me. I want my life back. But since I know that won’t happen, I decided to wait for a completely euphoric couple, and I’d mess with their lives. So I chose you. Anyways. I mean I could always stop . . . If you do me a favor. If you bury the pendant next to my grave.                                                                

 

Kisses,

             Bridget Bishop

 

“Okay then, honey. I guess we’re taking a road trip.”

They found Bridget’s grave after a little over 8 hours of searching. This graveyard was a dark ocean of graves, with moss-covered hills and different levels of tombstones. Bridget’s was partly covered by other graves and it was obvious that there were other people buried above her. But there it was “Patient 223, Bridget Bishop, Mother, Daughter, Wife. 1688-1739.” Monica pulled out the necklace from her jacket pocket and set it aside the grave. She pulled out the diary, flipped to the next blank page, and saw that two words were written.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Ferry Boat Scrub Caps, Tumors on the Walls, Post It’s and Houses of Candles” By Emily Mitchell

“Mer . . . Mer . . . Mer can you hear me?” Alex yelled, like I was about to walk into an exploding volcano.

“Alex what do you—”

“Mer.”

“Yes, Alex”

“She’s lucid. Someone get Bailey. NOW!” Alex seemed like he was in a race against time.

“Alex, would you like to tell me what’s happening?”

“Mer, I missed you so much, and I’ve been here every morning. We’ll explain when—”

“We’ll?” I was so confused and didn’t know how I got into a hospital bed.

All of a sudden I saw Bailey come into the room, along with my kids who seemed to be

older but all of a sudden I saw Christina.

“Christina?” I wasn’t sure if it was really her or if someone was messing with me.

“Yeah Mer, it’s me,” she seemed sad but still cheerful.

“Can someone explain what’s going on?”

Bailey stepped forward and said, “Meredith, you have Alzheimer’s. You’ve had it

for 5 years and it’s very advanced. We don’t—”

I cut her off before she finished, “You don’t know how much longer I’ll be alive.” Everyone looked very upset and not sure what to say. They looked like a deer caught in

headlights,” that’s why Christina is here and all of you came to my room, because I’m dying.”

Everyone still didn’t know what to say, didn’t know if they comfort me.

“We all just want to spend as much time as possible with you,” Christina whispered loud enough for everyone in the room to hear.

“Can I just talk to Alex and Christina for now,” I exclaimed.

Everyone but Christina and Alex left, they looked shaken but excited to see me and talk to me.

“So,” I said, “what’s been happening? What have I missed?”

Alex started to walk closer to me and talk, “Well me and Jo got married, Keppner and Avery are back together, Callie’s back and I think her and Arizona are back together and Megan and Riggs are together,” Alex seemed nervous, scared about what I’ll say or do.

“Alex, I’m fine. Riggs should be happy, I’m glad he didn’t wait 5 years for me to get lucid,” I immediately changed the topic to make things less awkward, “Christina, how’s Owen?”

“Well,” Christina stepped forward,” he wasn’t sure what to do when I first came because as I started walking up to him, he kissed Amelia. Then she walked away and he saw me.”

“Wow, well what did he do? Where’s Amelia, I didn’t see her. Is she in surgery?”

“Mer,” Christina seemed upset, she couldn’t finish the sentence.

“Amelia overdosed, she died 5 years ago,” Alex said with despair.

“But I would’ve known 5 years ago, I was lucid,” I didn’t understand what they were saying.

“Mer, when I came she knew that I was Christina, Owen’s ex-wife. She freaked out and went super dark and twisty, like when you told the shooter to shoot you, or tried to drown, or put your hand on an explosive bomb dark and twisty,” I could tell she was trying to tell me what happened by not saying what I needed to hear.

“So basically, she went to dark and twisty and overdosed so she’s dead,” I couldn’t hear any more of it, “So, how’s Owen?”

Alex and Christina looked glum, not for Amelia but for me. They could tell this wasn’t the news I’d want to hear after basically being dead for 5 years.

“Were together and Mer I know this is weird coming back but I hope you’re cool with this.”

I knew what Christina needed to hear, “Christina, I’m fine. I’ve gotten through all the crazy stuff,” Alex and Christina were baffled, ”I’ve gotten through meeting my boyfriend’s wife and then him choosing her, putting my hand inside bodies with active bombs, almost drowning, growing up with my mother, watching O’Malley die, watching my husband get shot and then telling the shooter to shoot me, being stranded for 3 or 5 days after the plane crash, seeing my sister die out there, having Mark die because of the crash, almost losing the hospital and then buying it, the storm where I almost died giving birth, when Christina left, having Derek die, almost dying again giving birth, losing Callie to the doctor who killed Derek, being attacked in the hospital, when Alex was almost sent to prison and watching the hospital blow up. I’ve been through it all, and I’m glad everything is good here but tell me about my kids. Derek will like the good news and will want to hear about Zo, Bailey, and Ellis,” Alex and Christina didn’t understand what I was trying to say. “I’m going to die and it’s ok. I’m going to see him. I’m going to see Derek.”

Alex and Christina looked so upset and seemed like they’d forgotten about the fact that I’m dying. Alex started talking to comfort me,

“Well, when you see Derek tell him everyone says Hi, I have to go so if you’re asleep when I get back just know we all love you, but for now why don’t we have Zola, Bailey, and Ellis come in for a while to keep you company?”

Alex looked excited and upbeat, he’s the only one who’s looked happy today. All of a sudden Zola, Bailey, and Ellis ran in. They all looked as if a pot of gold was at my bed side. It was the best thing that had happened that day, they told me all about their lives, school and what I’ve missed.

“You’re mom’s gotta get some sleep now, grandma Avery is with Harriet and Sofia, she’s gonna take you guys home. Ok?”

I recognized the voice but couldn’t remember the name.

“Hey Mer, we’ve missed you,” I realized who was talking, it was Callie. Jackson, April,

and Arizona were all behind her.

“Who are you people? Do you know where Derek is? I have a name for the,” I stopped talking and couldn’t hear anything.

“She’s in b-fib, get a crash cart in here, NOW!” Jackson was screaming, Callie was trying to help but April and Arizona knew what to do and realized they didn’t have good odds.

“Guys, she’s too far gone,” April couldn’t get anything else out, Jackson went over to comfort her.

Callie finally said, “Who’s gonna call it?”

All of a sudden Alex walked in with Jo behind him. Alex took off his scrub cap and said,

“Time of death, 8:52 pm,” He immediately left the room, Jo ran after him so she could calm him down.

After I woke up. I was in front of Joe’s Bar but I didn’t know how I got there. It was like a movie where you switch scenes, very quick and sudden. I walked in hoping to find out what happened to me or where I was. As I walked in I saw Lexie and Mark playing darts, they looked so happy together and I was happy that after the plane crash they found each other. I walked over and sat at the bar, looked around hoping to find Derek. As I turned back around there he was, he was smiling, and I was falling in love again. He looked over joyed to see me and I was thrilled to see him. It was like two peas in a pod that were back together.

“What’s your story?” I knew what he was doing.

“I’m just a girl in a bar,” I replied but all I could do was smile.

“Well I’m just a guy in a bar,” his face lit up in a smile.

I missed that smile and his eyes. I knew where I was, I was in a world of ferry boat scrub caps, post it’s on the wall, tumors on the wall and houses of candles. I was in a world of happiness, a world that would last forever.

 

“A Lesson for Life” by Javier Laveaga

It was another bad day in school for me because of those two stupid kids, Julian and Jake. They don’t have anything else to do, but to bother people; they would always laugh at me and say, “Hey Diego, have you found your mommy yet, so that she can protect you?” I regretted the day when I told them that I was going to tell my parents that they bothered me.

Heading back home, I could feel the cool air slowly coming through the window of the bus touching the tip of my nose. As I was walking towards my house, I noticed something very unusual. Two police cars were parked in front of my house and I thought that there must be something really bad going on. I was so nervous that, without thinking, I quickly went up the stairs, reached into my left pocket to get my keys, and opened the door.

I saw two policemen talking to my parents, but I suddenly felt a horrible feeling that almost made tears come out of my eyes, because I saw my mom crying as she had never cried before. When they heard me coming, they slowly turned their heads towards me and stopped talking.

“What-what happened?” I asked in a weak voice. At first they didn’t answer but then my father, Gael, walked quickly towards me.

“He doesn’t need to know, Gael,” my mom, Charlotte, said crying. But my dad pretended like he didn’t hear.

He lowered his head and said to me, “I’m sorry you have to hear this, but your brother Carlos was killed yesterday.” I looked in my dad’s wet eyes to see if he really meant that and I just couldn’t believe it. A feeling that I had never felt before struck me right in the heart and I kneeled on the floor and started crying covering my eyes.

The next day it was Friday afternoon and I heard my mom slowly opening the door of my bedroom and she whispered, “Dieguito, are you awake?”

“Get out of here, Mom. I don’t want to talk,” I said in an angry voice.

“Dieguito it’s 2pm and you haven’t got out of bed.”

I did not answer.

“Come on, Dieguito. You can watch TV if you want?”

“You heard me mom” I said angrily. She closed the door violently and walked away. The following 2 days I did not get out of my bed and of course my mom would get angry at me and tell me that I need to eat something at least. Because I wouldn’t get off my bed, on Sunday night, my dad came to talk to me.

“Dieguito, I know you are sad about your brother but you are not the only one. Mom and I are really sad, too. And you being here in your bed all the time doesn’t help us at all. You have to understand that in this situations you have to stay positive and keep living your daily life. You can’t just give up and stay in bed all the time. You understand?”

“Mhmm,” I murmured. The next day, Monday, I had to go to school, because I knew that was the right thing to do. On Monday, I felt as if it was a normal day of school and everything was going good so far until I saw Julian and Jake.

“Oh Diego, where were you on Friday,” Julian said in an interested voice. And then Jake said, “Were you with your mommy?” They laughed. An angry feeling rose inside my body and I noticed there was no one in the hallway. I slowly formed a fist in my hand, and I suddenly punched both Julian and Jake in the face and ran away carrying my binder. After school I felt proud of myself, because I had given those kids a lesson. When I got home after school, everything turned dark in my mind as I remembered that my brother, Carlos, was dead.

We used to hang out together every day and talked about what we did in the day, what we liked, what we wanted to do when we grow up . . . pretty much everything; he was my best friend. As I was doing my homework, I saw a policeman coming towards our house and I wondered why he was here for.

“Dieguito come!” my mom said in a loud voice. I slowly walked towards the door and my mom said, “He is here to tell us about the investigation of Carlos.” I nodded to indicate that I understood.

The policeman stood straight and said clearly, “Your son’s killer has been identified and detained by the FBI. He was a terrorist. He has a life sentence which means that you won’t have to worry about him, because he is going to live the rest of his life in jail. This is the official paper from the judge.”

“Thank you so much officer,” my mom said weakly.

I was angry at my brother’s killer, but on the other hand, I felt good that he would spend the rest of his life in prison. Days passed and I was starting to live my normal life again which made me happy, but I still felt bad for the loss of my brother.

“Mom, I really miss Carlos.”

“It’s ok Dieguito, I miss him too. You know, Carlos will be always inside you, dad, and me. He will be watching over us. Don’t worry about it, he will be there for you always. You have the same blood as him. You are connected to him Diego. Don’t worry. As your dad told you, live your daily life and stay positive,” she said happily.

“I love you Mom,” I said sadly.

“I love you too Dieguito.”

We hugged each other and tried not to cry. Since my brother died I’ve learned that when a loved one dies, then you have to stay positive and live your daily life.

 

“A Trap” by Jonah Feuerstein

Michael Pruitt was hanging out downtown with a group of his friends. The whole area had seemed rather empty before he had heard a faint, suspicious noise coming from afar.

“Hold it right there,” announced an assembly of people. They were carrying some modern weaponry, specifically shiny, black tranquilizers.

“RUN!” Michael shouted. He literally carried Charlotte across the blacktop and into the woods before she finally realized what was going on. The rest of the pack followed suit, trusting Michael and his instincts.

“I think we lost them,” Michael whispered. “I hope,” Leyla and Calvin replied. Soon, everyone’s phone almost simultaneously receives an anonymous text message saying, “Don’t return to your house, only trouble awaits.”

“If my memory serves, I’m pretty sure downtown is forward and to the right from here about 100ft,” noted Eli, one of Michael’s best friends.”

Michael said, “Okay, let me text my mom about doing this and make sure the text we all received isn’t a scam.”

His mom soon replied, the text message said, “Oh, I’m sorry, Honey, but it’s all true. You gotta get out of there quick.”

They were thinking about heading for the block with Wild Wings ‘N Bears and ChiSlawGo, but before anyone had even thought about making their mind up, everyone had been shot down by a tranquilizer, without anyone having much of an idea at all for what had just taken place.

“Where… are … we?” they all asked. “And what time is it?” inquired Katherine.

“Well,” said Michael, “my watch says it’s 1:15 in the afternoon, on Wednesday. It’s been almost a full day since we were last conscious.”

Soon after, a screen pulled down from the wall, and a person in a robot costume and an extravagant cape appeared on the screen. “Welcome to the death chamber.” he said in a robotic voice. “I, the one and only, magnificent, Jeb, created this masterpiece of memorabilia. Using teamwork, cooperation, and wits, you must complete 3 different challenges within each of the restricted time limits, no ifs, ands, or buts.”

The ceiling and part of the floor opened. Jeb informed everyone about the first challenge. “This first challenge is the giant’s ladder,” he said. “All participants must buddy up with someone of the opposite gender and complete the challenge together. Harnesses will be provided to everyone before the task officially starts, or you could say that’s where it starts. Mwah hah hah hah hahhh. This obstacle is a series of ropes with large distances apart. Both people must ring the bell at the top of the ladder to pass. Failure to complete this task by within 85 minutes will result in a twelve-hour suspension from leaving.”

Now Michael knew he had to get out of here as quickly as possible, since he had to be there to represent Windy City High School’s football team in their rivalry game against Springfield High. He decided to partner up with Leyla, Eli partnered up with Katherine, and that left Calvin to team up with Charlotte. Slowly but surely, all three groups figured out how to best this first obstacle, by using their upper body strength to propel themselves up the initial step, and then helping each other up (quite literally) every step of the way and everyone had completed in a matter of only 67 minutes.

“Great job, everyone,” Jeb sarcastically expressed in the robotic voice. “The tasks only get harder from here. Your next challenge is a high speed, high agility obstacle course, and trust me when I say the obstacles could be softer. Failure to complete this task in 20 minutes will result in a minimum of 5 extra days spent in the death chamber, but don’t worry quality meal service will be provided.”

“Okay guys,” Calvin said while huddling everyone up, “We must get through this obstacle course. I know it may seem tricky, but the key to completing this with as little injury as possible is jumping and twisting when there are two obstacles side by side.”  “Sounds great!” Katherine agreed.

Immediately everyone noticed this wasn’t your typical obstacle course on a moon bounce, but far more similar to what you’d find from American ninja warrior. Nobody made it out fully clean, everybody got at least slightly dinged up from the portion where you had to stay in a tiny path between a boulder and a sharp thorn bush. The path was very narrow, causing the boulder to scrape all of them, and unfortunately for Michael and Eli, the thorn bushes got them so hard it caused both of them to start bleeding. The section where they had to swing across a 300 ft. area where dropping out early would leave in turn for some serious injury from 185 ft. down was also a pain creator, but for a not so obvious reason. The work was strenuous enough to the point that the rope created a serious rug burn on everyone’s hands. All of them made it out, but only with 31 seconds to spare.

There was no screen this time for Jeb to give more information. He actually came to them in person, and with some goodies as well. He announced, “I have provided you with a break, so here are some snacks before you guys attempt the final challenge.”

“I’ll take it,” Michael replied, “but do you have anything like a Band-Aid?”

“I’m sorry my kind sir,” Jeb responded. “Joy will have its time, but you must battle the pain every step of the way, or if you want to spend an extra month here, step right up, be a coward.”

Michael gritted his teeth strongly. He knew he must not quit right now, but first he treated himself to mega-stuff oreos, but something seemed a bit off

“Like what I did?” Jeb asked. “I put a drop of poison in each of the Oreos.  Well, not actually, but there’s a lemon tint sprinkle in it.”

 

“The Right Decision” by Ben Conover

He stared blankly at the TV. Ever since he was fired, Roy had nothing to do but count down the minutes until each meal and each unemployment check, staying in the same place for hours on end, molding his very own figure into the cushion of his cheap couch. His apartment was filled with the humid smell of mold, and the only light came from one window in the very corner. Next to him was Jackie, his Aussie Shepherd, still a puppy, and Roy’s best friend and “partner in crime” as he liked to call him. He could call his mom, but she was already disappointed enough. He knew he couldn’t keep it up for long though. His money was draining like water flushing down the toilet. It was time to check the help wanted ads in the newspaper. He looked over them carefully until falling asleep at his desk.

He woke up and groaned, he slept on his arm again. It ached like an elephant had slept on it as well. He slowly got up and put the same jeans he’d been wearing for days on, and grabbed his coat. He got into his car and drove down to the store for the week’s groceries. All he got was essentials, eggs, milk, bread, and a bag of dog food for Jackie.

“Will that be all for today?” The cashier chimed in the same flat tone as she did to everyone.

“Yeah, that’s it,” Roy said. “Say, are there any jobs avail-”

“It looks like your card didn’t come through, Sir,” she said, cutting him off. “You can get everything here but the dog food.”

“Alright,” he said despondently. Roy grabbed his groceries and left the store.

As he walked up to the door of his apartment he saw a red slip of paper pinned to the door.

“EVICTION NOTICE,” it said.

“Hey there, Jackie,” he mumbled as he walked into his cramped apartment. He could barely look at her, ashamed of himself, not even able to afford food for his best friend. All of a sudden, he knew what to do.

“If this doesn’t go well, Jackie, then I’m so sorry,” he rasped. He ran into the bedroom and lifted up his mattress, pulling out a revolver, fumbling with the bullets for what seemed like an eternity when attempting to load it. He put on a hoodie and got back into his car, it was time he showed the bank that he wasn’t gonna be pushed around by them anymore. Because he walked in calmly, and waited patiently in line until he was up. No one had any idea what was going on. Roy pulled out his revolver and fired a shot into the air.

BANG

“EVERYBODY GET ON THE GROUND!!!” Roy yelled vehemently. He shoved his bag to the teller and turned around to watch the door, when all of a sudden, he felt a tug on his leg, and next thing he knew, he was on the ground. He scrambled to his feet, panicked, and shot randomly, hitting someone in the leg.

“AHHH,” they screamed, “THAT GUY JUST SHOT ME!” Roy immediately fled, grabbing the money and sprinting out the door, as fast as a rocket ship.

“So Mr. Anderson, what did the criminal look like exactly?” asked Louis Parkins, the local police chief.

“6 feet tall, brown hair. And just call me Jim,” Jim Anderson replied, “and let me know when you catch this guy.”

“Well, I hate to say it but chances are that we won’t. These things don’t always turn out successful, but we’ll let you know,” said Louis, glumly. As soon as Louis left the white, sterile hospital room, Jim pulled out his phone. “Hello is this Gabriel Robins? Yes, I have a job for you.”

Roy stumbled on through the woods. What had he done? He had single-handedly ruined his life even more. He stopped. Roy could hear the vociferous sounds of a helicopter nearby, and only growing louder.

“Oh no,” he muttered to himself, “that can’t be good.” Roy began to run.

Gabriel squatted down to the ground, there were footprints in the mud from last night’s rain, he wasn’t far behind. Apparently what happened was some guy got shot by some burglar, and now they wanted revenge. He was happy with his job. He enjoyed it. It may not have been praiseworthy, yet being a bounty hunter had good pay, and he was certainly doing a better job than the cops.

As Roy trudged through the forest, his mood began to change. Maybe this thing wouldn’t be the worst for him after all. He could start a new life, make a new name for himself, but to do that he’d need to do a few more robberies to get just a bit more money . . . or a lot . . .  definitely a lot.

Louis sat in his seat, perched on the edge of the helicopter with his binoculars in hand, scanning the forest, if this case went well then it could very well mean a big promotion for him in the future. He was determined to catch this guy.

He’d done it! Gabriel watched Roy intently, it looked like he was sleeping. Gabriel did a little victory dance in his mind and began to approach him. Gabriel walked slowly, but didn’t pay enough attention, and stepped on a stick, breaking it. Roy snapped awake and stared at the figure standing a mere foot away from him.

“Wh-Who are you?” Roy mumbled.

“I’m a bounty hunter, you’ll be coming with me.” Gabriel started to close in more, but, without hesitation. Roy shot up with inhuman speed and broke into a sprint, but got tackled immediately. Gabriel pulled out a baton, about to knock him out when he heard him.

“Please,” Roy whimpered, “I know I messed up, but there was no other way, my life was in ruins, I just needed a little bit of money . . . ”

Gabriel stopped. He didn’t know why, but he saw some of himself in this guy, he as well used to be like him, but then he got his stuff together and really started to work.

“Listen, kid, I feel a bit bad for you, so I’m gonna cut you a deal,” Gabriel said. “Okay?”

“Yeah,” Roy mumbled.

“Here’s what we’re gonna do. I’m gonna let you go. And you’re gonna turn yourself in, that way, your sentence will be shorter, and as soon as you get out, get your life together. I used to be just like you, until I actually did something,” commanded Gabriel.

“Yes sir, I will.” Roy got up and dusted himself off, and began the long walk towards the road. Gabriel smiled, it felt good to help someone for once, maybe it was time for a change

As Roy sat in the back seat of the police cruiser, he contemplated his choice. He was happy, he’d made the right decision, and when he heard the loud buzz as the prison gates opened after his 10-year sentence, he was a changed man, and within weeks he had a job and was living with Jackie again in a brand new apartment, all because of Gabriel’s kindness. If it weren’t for him, he could’ve gotten a life sentence, and who knows what would’ve happened to him then.

 

“Distorted” by Carolyn Catan

It was 2 months ago that everything changed. It is hard to believe that one event completely changed 15 year-old Carla and Greg’s lives. Before the event, Carla and Greg had lived like regular teenagers, doing homework, hanging out and being students at the miniscule, J. R. Woodson High School. They dreamed of doing important things for others. They wanted a more interesting life. They received a used digital camera as a gift from one of their friendly neighbors, Mr. Capewell. After receiving the camera, Carla and Greg dreamed of being professional, world-famous photographers. They planned on making their own photography business and touring the world. They thought they could finally get the chance to do something important. This many seem kind of far-fetched after receiving what may be perceived as an old, dirty camera, but hey when you’re young, you have a lot of imagination.

Carla and Greg are 15-year olds with such imagination. Greg is intelligent, brave and curious. Carla is bold, confident and also curious. They are great friends and do a lot together. They decided to go to a local rock concert after taking some pictures beforehand. Nothing appeared strange or out of the ordinary with the photos they took of themselves. But they wanted a real chance to take pictures of different people and a rock concert was the perfect place to do it. During the concert they were taking pictures of people dancing, singing, and having a fantastic time. After taking many photos, they realized that some of the photos of particular people came out distorted. Now this would seem expected for the photos to come out distorted, for it was a used camera. The only thing was, with these photos, there were people in the background that weren’t distorted and only maybe one or two faces came out distorted. It was quite obvious that the distortion was on a particular face and it wasn’t just a general distortion of the photo. It was exactly on or not on a particular persons face. Carla and Greg were baffled by this; this didn’t seem like a problem with the camera.

The next day, Carla and Greg went back to Mr. Capewell to ask if the camera was still working ok. He said he had taken it to the shop countless times to make sure it was ok and he had been using it since it was new. Same issue. He said he thought it could have had to do with how camera was made and not to worry about it. Greg and Carla were still not so sure. And this is where their adventure begins . . .

It was late afternoon on a Friday and Carla and Greg decided to hang out. They decided to take a stroll down the neighborhood, but ended up going farther than they thought. As they strolled, they came upon an old, vintage-looking house. It was made with wood and stone and was enormous for the time that it was built. It was probably built during the 1920’s. Even now it could be considered a mansion.

“I don’t like the look of this house . . . something about it is just creepy. I mean look at those lanterns at the front, all sticky and filled with cobwebs,” Carla said.

Greg couldn’t disagree. He thought the house had a powerful and majestic aura about it that one cannot help but to wonder about it. It was creepy and it seemed that it was filled with the supernatural. Something about this house seems abnormal like the house hadn’t just had humans living in it, Greg thought.

“Ah . . . but it is so intriguing! I am going to do some research about it when we get home. What’s the number? Ah, 1327 and where are we now . . . right, Greenhaven road. Got it!”

Greg wrote the number down on his notepad that he brings with himself everywhere.

“Can we leave now? This house is making me nervous.” Carla looked pale.

They began to trudge home wearily as the walk had been long.

2 more months went by. Carla and Greg were astonished. It was hard to believe the camera was found in the house. They had no idea the camera and the house were related.

After countless hours spent at Greg’s house, drawing, researching and interviewing, Carla and Greg found out the people that were distorted in the photos all said they had visited the house. Although Greg and Carla had only interviewed people they knew, every single one of them had been to the house. Something was off about the neighbors and others Greg and Carla were friends with. Beforehand, Greg told Carla to pay attention to how they act during the interview and in everyday life. One of their neighbors, Mrs. Manson, had been one of the people distorted in the photo. She was a bright lady. During the interview however, she seemed distant and glassy eyed. It wasn’t completely discernible though. Greg and Carla had to pay real close attention to her. She was able to answer the questions fine though. After all the interviews they conducted, everyone seemed more distant with less emotion, as though they were having their intelligence sucked out of them. Every one of them had said they didn’t remember how they got into the house but there was a strong aura about it. Some force was pulling them in. No one could account for what had happened.

At about 8:00 pm, Carla and Greg had just gotten home from all the interviews they conducted. Fortunately, it was a Saturday and there was no school.

“There must be some source, attracting all of these people into the house. Something hidden deep. Something that is making the supernatural stir to life,” George muttered

“I think we ought to go to the house,” Carla said.

The next few weeks were spent preparing in between schoolwork and homework. They got iron, flares, and weapons like iron. It seemed peculiar for kids to be walking in a store getting iron and flares, but they were able to convince the store cashier they were buying it for a science experiment. Yes, they were of course doing it with a parent!

“Whatever is in this house we will need to get all the possible weapons we can get,” Carla exclaimed.

“I think it is time we go. Tomorrow at 8:00 pm we leave, sneak out of this house, say we are meeting some friends for the night to our parents, my parents don’t care!” Greg had a glint in his eye, you could tell he was excited. He was jumpy and his blue eyes were shining with intelligence. All their life, Carla and Greg dreamed of doing something to help others, although it wasn’t their initial thought of becoming world-famous photographers, now they were doing something that could save many lives.

The next day went by slowly. It was Friday and school seemed to drag on. Time passed like a snail slowly sliding towards its destination.

Greg and Carla gathered their belongings and left promptly at 8:00 pm.

Finally, they reached the house. It looked even more spooky at night.

“You ready for this?” Greg asked

“I don’t know but I am confident we will survive this!” Carla replied.

They got to the door and opened it, the door creaked and the creepiest night of their life began.

Misleadingly, as soon as they entered, everything was quiet. There was so little sound, the quiet was ominous.

“I think we should stick together. Because this place is huge! We could wander off and not be able to find each other.” Carla whispered.

They started in the main hall, to the right was a large kitchen which looked it hadn’t been used for at least a few months. To the left was a living room with antique furniture. There were 2 stairways on either side straight ahead. The only light sources were Carla’s and Greg’s flashlights and the moonlight that shone through the house like liquid silver, seeping down the walls, creating spots of illumination. After a couple of hours, nothing happened unless you count the constant, anxious tapping of Carla with her fingers and the cold spots.

They had surveyed the whole house. Some spots felt chillier than others. The basement had a bar and was paneled with wood. There were 3 bedrooms upstairs and on the 4th level there was a small library/ study area. They went back to the main level. All they could here was the constant tapping of Carla.

“Carla the tapping is getting annoying now,” Greg exclaimed.

“What?! I wasn’t tapping I was just sitting here with you . . . oh I hear that,” Carla said with confusion.

The tapping got louder and louder.

Suddenly, a shape appeared in front of them at the top of the stairs.

Greg and Carla were speechless. It was beautiful. A silhouette of an amazing woman, her hair blowing. They suddenly felt a gust of wind. The wind came as soft as silk. The women stood there. Her lips like red apples. Her eyes blue like the sky. Carla and Greg suddenly felt the need to follow her.

“Follow me,” it whispered.

Carla, being a female, wasn’t as compelled to go toward her but Greg, mesmerized by her, stumbled toward the lady. No that was not a lady! Suddenly, Carla came to her senses. She rushed forward with the iron, angry at the woman for trying to steal her friend! She slashed at the women, and in a second she was gone. Carla turned back to Greg.

“Alright, stop with the tapping already,” Greg said dreamily.

“Do you know what just happened?!” Carla was angry for she had just saved his life. She slapped him hard.

“Right! Sorry about that, it was so compelling.” Before he could finish there was suddenly a loud banging, like footsteps coming up the stairs slowly getting louder and louder.

Bang!

Something rushed toward them out of nowhere. A flash of light!

“Come to me now!” Something said that. Carla and Greg are still unable to recall what it was.

All Greg could do was slash the iron and . . . Bang! The thing had disappeared.

“We must find the source of this!” Carla yelled. “Now!”

They noticed both of the phantoms came from a certain place, so they ran toward where it looked like the phantoms had spawned. They ran down the stairs, all the while screams were filling their ears, echoing the treacherous past of the house. Down they went.

They finally got to the lowest floor. They saw a wooden box. Something about it seemed eerie like it held the past in it. They ran toward it. As they ran, they could hear footsteps following them. Something was following them starting from upstairs they could hear walking on the level above them.

“We got to get rid of this quick! Come on! Hurry!” Greg could hear the screams of Carla. Wait! They weren’t able to open the box. They slumped there. Carla knew they couldn’t stop now. The . . . things that were pursuing them were coming quickly. What could they do now? They felt helpless. The box would not open. Then, Greg was the hero this time. He remembered they didn’t need to open the box, they just needed to destroy it.

“Come on we must destroy this. Now!” Greg screamed.

They threw all their supplies on the box and slashed it up with the sharp iron. Throwing all their flares at it. Destroying it completely. Greg looked back just in time to see it. The phantom chasing them, extending its hand toward him. Bang! Everything went silent. You could only hear the panting of Carla and Greg. They ran out of the wretched house and didn’t stop running till they got home.

Weeks passed by. All the pictures of the people that were originally distorted now looked fine as they took their picture with the same camera. Life seemed to return in Mrs. Manson and all the others that had visited the house.

Everyone was very thankful for them. Carla and Greg never forgot their crazy adventure.

 

“The Lost Soul” By Addie Bounds

I took a step closer to the doorway but keeping enough distance too that I was sure I wouldn’t be seen.

“Thank you so much for coming” I heard my mother say to him. “I’m sorry Marian couldn’t be home to meet you, but if you’d like to court upon her again in several days I know she’ll be available.”

A low grumble followed, speaking these words, words that I knew from that moment on would be incised in my mind forever.

“I look forward to telling her the news of the engagement.” Mr. Mackle’s low voice reechoed with pride. I stumbled back into a plate knocking it to the ground. A loud crash shattered through the house.

“What on earth” my father said. “Who’s there?” I sprang up and sprinted out of the house, only turning back to see my parents running out onto the porch. I saw my mother’s mouth moving, but I heard no words.

I ran until my breath was sharp and my stomach was on fire. I fell. The grass was wet with dew and it prickled my legs and hands. The grass buried away some of the fear that was quivering inside of me. When I looked up I saw the gray sky, the clouds that would carry me up to heaven one day, and the one strand of sunlight dangling down on the world as if us humans where the idiotic cats who couldn’t figure out how to catch it. That one ray of golden light seemed to be bragging to me about how it got all of the freedom it wanted.

First I sat up from laying on my back and second I twisted over, so that I was face to face with my house. The estate that had protected me my whole life, the one where my mother and father were most likely apologizing for my absolutely mad behavior. I didn’t want to be married, but my parents didn’t care, for Mr. Makle was rich and loyal to the government. That house could not ever have looked so pale and rotten, so weather and old.  As I looked at the tattered roof and the paint-less porch I saw the memories of my childhood, the times my sisters and I shared on the swing and in the kitchen, laughing and playing. Then my thoughts were drowned an image of Mr. Makle’s sharp black eyes, his brown hair and long sideburns. I saw his plump calves and his fat head. That plump, prehistoric, pig would take me with him in a week’s time and I would have no say. When I realized that my alluring house was now a memory destroyed by this man, I couldn’t take it anymore. My arms trembled and my eyes burned. My rib cage broke and my elbows snapped. My sobs catapulted me to the ground. The grass started to itch and now in the moment of utter pain, each and every fragment of grass was a needle stabbing me till my body was numb. I sealed my eyes and prayed for a different life.

 

*****

 

As the Sun plunged into the hilltop, I started walking towards my house. I was not letting my family marry me off so that they could live in riches again. I had always been stubborn, and people always judged me because of it.  Each step I took was one closer to my freedom. Each time my shoe made an impression in the grass I was making an impression on my future.  While I walked I lost track of my thoughts. I started wondering how my life would be if I had grown up in the city, in the noise and music. Maybe I wouldn’t mind a husband if I had lived there. That’s when the ideas besieged my head. I could move to the city! My uncle lived in the city, so I could stay with him until I got on my feet in the new environment. I had to. That was the only way to prove to my parents that I could live alone and still pursue my life. When I realized that I was actually going to carry out my arrangements, I realized that conversing with my parents would be even more impossible now than before.

 

*****

 

I held my breath as I knocked on the door. All I could think of was the face my mother would have plastered on.  Knock Knock Knock.  The sound of my bones on the wood echoed in my head, then tingled all the way down to my toes and back up to my heart, sending a shiver up my spine. I was snapped back to reality by the voice of my dear father.  “I’m coming.”

“Okay I’m here.” It was my classic entrance comment

“Marian! Is that you?” from the sound of my mother’s voice I couldn’t tell if she was completely static with rage or so overwhelmed with pleasure that I had come home safely.

“Yes mother. I’m home.”

“Oh thank God I’m so glad your back. We were so perturbed when you ran out.”  My mother embraced me in a hug. So she was pleased.

“I can’t get married Mom. You know that don’t you? I’ve been telling you that for the past year.”

Next my dad walked in seeming as calm as a sweet spring afternoon, “I knew you would come back. Uou would always run away as a little girl. You would run all the way to the creek and stay there for hours on end.” After a hug from each of my parents we all went into the kitchen. “Honey I know that marriage isn’t your top choice but this is what you are going to have to do to save your family. Your sisters all made the sacrifice. I think you can too.” My mother was smiling a serene smile but I knew that she wasn’t in the mood for backtalk.

“I’ll get a job in the city. There are other solutions.” I pleaded but she simply said, “That’s not enough. We need Mr. Mackle to help us. You’re lucky we even have this opportunity after all your horseplay, running off and not showing up when he courts. You need to prioritize darling. This marriage is crucial.”

I looked her in the eye, “No.”

Twenty minutes later I was in an Attic clutching my suitcase and my clothes. “YOU BRAT!!!” my mother was not taking my decision. “All I have ever done for you is good, and now when it’s your turn to replace the favor, you run off!” Her red face and shaking hands made my close to speechless.

“Mother I am sorry. I am really very sorry. However I must leave to the city. I cannot be married to a man 30 years older than me!” With that I escaped from the shouts of thunder. My blue satin dress caught on a loose nail and I tumbled to the floor, smashing my knee on the stone staircase. As I stood back up I saw a puddle of red. Cinderella got to leave a glass slipper in her escape and I had to leave I splatter of blood.

 

 

“Wake” by Archie Achesa

The teens assembled at the old high school basketball court with its caved in floor and small broadleaf weeds unaware why. The five completed mastering their powers oblivious of each other’s own motivation. Steve, the confident, handsome, and well-built athletic senior began the conversation, “Does anyone know what we are doing in this dump of a court?” Steve said in an acerbic manner.

The others replied with a slight shrug and giggle. Even though no one knew each other, they began a discussion about how life is at the shady and boring Trenton high going on until they realized it was that time of day where crime erupted like a volcano in the neighborhood. Murders and robberies was a usual thing that happened. It was a day to day livelihood for the people.

Instantaneously, a white, bright, blinding light burst in the middle of the teenagers causing an awestruck feeling for the figure that appeared from it. Torn toga robe, and sandals-all white with a gold lining, it appeared to be as if heaven had come down to Earth. Everyone’s eyeballs moved from side to side leaving their bodies at a complete freeze. The being sat on the hard concrete as he struggled to breathe. He signaled for anyone to come closer but no one dared, until Steve’s audacity overcame him and he reached out to touch the man. In an instant, Steve vanished to dust.

Terrified of this, everyone took a step back in stupefaction. As a result of this, Neo scrubbed off his glasses in utter disbelief.

“Was it possible? Were all the legends true?” Neo cut off from his deep thinking due to the wrinkly sage man screaming out in horror, “War is coming!” he screamed till it all came to a slight gentle murmur that swept away with the gentle breeze.

Everyone’s mind puzzled around what had happened. Truth be told, instincts activated as a large purple being lunged at the teens. It was almost twenty-feet-tall with large muscles which bulged out of its chest and arms. Calling to address it by name, Titan Trax. Swinging from side to side in its hands was the senior star Steve, he was unconscious as Theo lashed out with his enchanted fire sword and death shield which had appeared with the snap of a finger to try to get to his new companion. Gianna rolled into battle alongside him with her magical enchantments that had no effect on the Trax.

Meanwhile, Neo stood to the side as the same questions ran through his mind. Luckily, Aria was beside him to snap him out of his long and blank thinking before he got hit by a gigantic frozen boulder. She encouraged him to try anything he could to help. “Bang!” another so-called Titan popped up, accompanied by the dark sky and the hard rainfall. Water drenched the young teenagers. Theo’s fire sword came to be smoke as the first raindrop hit the tip of its sharp iron blade. Theo defenselessly was throttled with large fireballs and rocks from the two titans. The newest of the titans called himself Xtra which was kind of odd considered it was uttered as “Saxtra.”

Defenseless and unprotected, the small group ran to the nearest cover they could find, the school’s large tree plantation. Neo got knocked out cold when he stopped to stare one more time at the titans and got hit by debris. Tired and slow, outnumbered by the doubling titans, they had no choice but to come up with a plan that would help them to win this odd experience of a war. They all sat there in anticipation of either someone’s life saving plan or the large, life ending foot. Whichever would come first would be destiny. Gianna suggested they outflank and try to attack the titans from the sides but it was soon overrun. With time running out and ideas falling short, it was concluded that the main aim was to rescue Steve and keep any civilians clear of the area. It was a long hard fight which resulted in the injury of Trax helping even out the battlefield but costing the heroes all their fighters apart from Theo and Steve. He was able to escape as the final blow struck to put down the twenty-foot-tall giant. Xtra was unfortunately able to injured all but Steve and Theo who ended up looking like they had just walked out of the city dump.

Blood dripped down Theo’s swollen lip, small specks of stone lodged in his legs and heels, Steve was no different. Standing side by side surrounded, the two fought to the death. All his wit, Steve went in for the kill, getting to all the Titans apart from Xtra who whacked him away like a pesky fly with his unattractive, wrinkly hands. It was the end, bodies were scattered all over the school upper field, covered in blood wounds and battle scars that left scars in the soul, nobody moved apart from the rustling wind that passed through the grassy fields. Xtra overlooked the scene with his fellow Titans celebrating the victory. Theo rushed to Steve’s side, he coughed blood like a pump machine.

“Wake up, Wake Up!” his voice rang like a church bell in the vast mountain plain of his mind.