Stories From The Calendar
by Nina Young
It's hard being the oldest. Every year, I have to wake up my siblings from their winter sleep. Tell them to start preparing. After all, I'm only in charge for one month, then it's off to February, March, April, and before you know it it's May 1st and there's still snow everywhere.
July is always the worst about it. All she ever wants to do is chill on the beach in some tropical part of the world. Meanwhile, the spring months are scurrying to get the snow melted and the flowers blooming so these lazy summers can just bump up the temperature and chill until their month is up. And don’t even get me started on December. He’s the youngest, but everyone says he should be in charge. Just because he gets all the cool holidays, snow days, the second-longest break, and New Year’s Eve, doesn’t mean he’s even remotely qualified to lead. He’s inexperienced, lazy, cold, and he never gets ANYthing done. If I’m like, “Ok, December, November is brewing up a bunch of rainstorms for the end of her month. I want a cold snap and icicles on the roves for your grand opening.”, then on the 1st it’ll be 60 degrees and sunny.
Seriously, I think he’d be better as summer. Most days he doesn’t even snow.
All right all right all RIGHT! Enough! Who said January could go first? I’ll bet it was September. He’s the worst. All obsessed with order and stuff. Well, Sept, I’ve got a word for you. Just cuz Jan is the first and the oldest, doesn’t mean he has to be first at EVERYTHING. In fact, I think he gives a rotten first impression of us months. Like, July isn’t lazy. She just doesn’t have a huge need for structured days. And December? He may not always adhere to January’s strict rules, but he makes a mean cup of hot cocoa.
Having ranted already, I can now proceed to tell you about myself (like you’ve probably guessed, I am WAY unorganized). I’m August. The coolest month. Except September always cuts into my time slot. He has this thing he calls school, which basically means that no matter how much we snow, rain, or crank up the heat, no one’s gonna care cause they’re locked in a building learning about, I dunno, the 57th president of Lithuania, or whatever.
That probably makes me sound like I don’t care about anything, which is NOT true. I care about lots of stuff. Such as swimming and not caring about things. Well that’s all for now. Since September is the month right after me, he’ll probably insist on going next. Brace yourselves. There will be pop quizzes.
POP QUIZ! What is the capital of Scandinavia?
WRONG! Scandinavia is not a country. You obviously didn’t study.
I am September. S-E-P-T-E-M-B-E-R. And you’d better remember that, because it will be on next week’s test. While I’m here, I thought I would give you a little background knowledge on where we months originated. Open your history books, everyone, we’re going to page 79.
So Humans came up with the months and their names, right? WRONG! You puny little shrimps just happened to come up with the same names and lengths for the months as our parents did. In truth, it started long before you disgusting land snails ever crawled our beautiful earth. It started with the embodiment of winter. Her name was Winter, because back then everyone was a lot less creative with names.
Well, on the first day of the first year EVER, Winter had a child, somehow all by herself. If you are confused at this point, feel free to reference your Anatomy of the Months and Seasons textbook.
Anyways, Winter named her son January and immediately proclaimed him the King of all Months. He would rule not only the calendar, but a roughly thirty day period, stretching from his birthday, until the expected due date of her next sons, whom she would name February.
You can see where this is going. When each month was born, they were given a short time to rule over lasting from their birthday until when the next month was born. But Winter was not the only season to create the months.
March was the daughter of Winter and Spring. June was the daughter of Spring and Summer. September(a.k.a. me) was the son of Summer and fall, and little December was born to Fall and Winter. For whatever reason, the months with two parents are now the minority.
Well that will about wrap it up. For homework I expect you to answer questions 4-18 on the creation of the months.
Now get to your next class!
Nina Young, 14 is an aspiring young author from Florence, Massachusetts. She enjoys the abstract expressions of her deepest darkest thoughts and secrets that is her writing. She also loves sloths and cheesecake, although it rarely shows up in her writing.
Of the barren
Of the frigid
Of the hazy
Of the wood
And of the fire,
Or of the lake
And of the briar?
From the ground?
Without a sound?
Is it soundless?
Is it loud?
Is it not the absence
Of a crowd?
Of the rowdy?
Of the overflowing?
Of too much,
Just too much growing?
Is it solidarity?
A chain, or else a rope?
Is it full of hopelessness?
Is it inspiration of hope?
Can’t we finally see each other
Outlined by the snow?
Even in the darkest nights
Can’t we still find peace in the stars’ glow?
Can’t the clearness
In the air
Let us breathe?
Breaths, you know, are rare
Does not the ice
Give us somewhere to stand?
Everything needs a requiem
Even the leaves and the land
Lest we cease to sing,
Our hearts need kindling for their embers
Thus we find it in the desperation,
Clarity, and hope of December
Leo Wurgaft, 13, is from Amherst, Massachusetts. He has enjoyed writing for the majority of his life, and has loved Woven Word and the Woven Word family for the past two years.
by Bryan Perley
Editor's Note: "Mont Corbeau" is an excerpt from a project Bryan is working on, tentatively titled If I Only. The story imagines Dorothy Gale returning to Oz fourteen years after the events of The Wizard of Oz, accompanied by a enigmatic journalist who is keen on investigating the lives of the Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow. The tale is presented in interviews, journal entries, news paper articles and letters. It draws inspiration from the 1939 film. The excerpted section involves the journalist, Birch Mayhew, detailing his first encounter with the Scarecrow.
April 16, 1953 –
We were forty-five miles from Munchkin Land and it was really starting to show. Gone were the marching bands and the pie merchants. All the sugary excess – stripped away. Here the Land of Oz unfurled in golden sweeps of grain. We are in the breadbasket, my driver informed me. There are no pamphleteers or elegant displays promoting the re-election of President Gumwomp. No sickeningly over-colored banners bearing the rouge of his dolled-up face. Here men, women, munchkins, and winkies worked the land. In these parts we passed carts brimming with burlap sacks of ground wheat and sorghum drawn by strong mules and oxen. The only banner we saw hung above the fields and farmers, stretched between two towering poles. On this mighty canvass black upon white: the word COURAGE writ large.
This would be my first interview following my arrival, an event that had developed some fledgling controversy. I was nervous. I had spent two weeks buried in books and news archives within the libraries of Munchkin Land. The more I read, the more I knew reading alone would not be enough.
My driver was a Munchkin. An affiliate of the Emerald Police. The current administration had taken a liking to me immediately. In light of recent events, my position allowed for a unique vantage point. I was an outsider, untainted by the squalid grabbing of the historical record. They were eager to see what I made of the strange beings they mockingly referred to as the Triumvirate or The Big Three.
As we neared the village of New Florence, young children with dirt caked limbs ran alongside our automobile, marveling at the contraption as it sputtered and spun along the yellow brick road. I had come to learn there were very few cars in Oz, and nearly all of them could be traced back to the Tin Man’s plants north of the Emerald City. The current model was something they called the Chevalier II, a design and a name somehow influenced by the figure I was soon to meet.
“He’s in the big house on the hill,” the driver said as we neared the village. He made the tactical decision to avoid the busy heart of the settlement, where curious locals would surely disrupt our journey. So we took the farm roads on the edge of town, kicking up large clouds of dust in our wake. I could have been back home.
I recognized the outline of Mont Corbeau straight away. Scarecrow’s house was the most salient structure of the hill lands. The surrounding acreage was unimpressive: a dilapidated spread of barns, animal pens and cottages. I assumed many of which belonged to Scarecrow. The house itself could be described as a sort of neoclassical work of grey mudbrick with a roof comprising of robust layers of thatching. Highly symmetrical from afar, the manor most likely had been designed with advanced knowledge of geometry. However, as our Chevalier II chugged up the hill, it became more apparent that the execution of the grand design was highly flawed. The first word that came to mind was lumpy. A lumpy straw-covered Monticello.
I exited the vehicle at a small cul-de-sac at the top of the hill. No one seemed to be around. I could hear some sound of discord coming from down the hill a way. Scarecrow looked to be in some sort of rhubarb with the local farmhands, gesticulating animatedly at a mule-drawn plow and occasionally stepping away with his hands on his hips shaking his head or kicking up clods of dirt. It appeared to be quite a virulent lecture. A black hat, green shirt and brown pants. Physically, he looked the same as the prints in the books represented. Once he noticed me, he abandoned his tirade and began to trudge up the hill of his fabled estate.
“You’re the writer, the Kansas man,” he said, catching his breath at the crest of the hill.
“Birch Mayhew,” I said extending my hand.
“Scarecrow,” he replied. I expected his gloved hand to give like a sack of straw, but instead was met with something firmer, more dynamic, as if thousands or maybe even millions of individual grains were densely pressed together, or meshed into fibrous sinews.
“Welcome to Mont Corbeau.”
Scarecrow was set on getting right to it. He steered me straight into the kitchen, plowing through a staccato set of chambers, all equally unremarkable. There was a considerable coldness to the kitchen. I noticed first the decanters of whiskey, the vases full of straw and other grains, the heaps of literature. Even in the kitchen he had piles of dissertation drafts on the land ethic and the body politic. Heavy leather-bound volumes were laid open for reference on the kitchen counters, a couple chairs, and the center table. A makeshift podium had even been dragged into the room by the kitchen sink. I spotted Virgil, Sophocles, Rousseau. For pleasure- Twain and Melville. All thoroughly bookmarked with dyed strands of wheat.
We were not alone. A gaggle of cats were playing a gambling card game at a tea table in the corner, indulging in a small feast of treacles and fish tartars. One of them was wearing a monocle, all were seated in little canvas armchairs. One of them said “How do you do?” raising his tea cup in my direction.
He offered me one of two rocking chairs by a desolate looking hearth at the far side of the room. He sat in the other, fussily stitching together a real shoddy looking quilt (horrific color scheme- lots of bile looking greens and yellowy browns) – a quilt he described as a woven testament to the development of pre-classical irrigation and drainage systems. I asked him if I could record the conversation on my Ampex 200 tape recorder (with an agreement to edit out any segments he requested). He told me he does not mince his words.
“They didn’t assign you an attaché? Did they?” he asked.
“I wasn’t so lucky.”
“Indeed,” he replied with a skeptical glare.
“I suppose you want me to get right to it.”
“I wish it weren’t thus, but I have a legal matter to attend to regarding some infringed upon apple trees in the midlands.”
“You’re a lawyer?”
“I find jurisprudence to be satisfying on some level.”
“You’ve set wide ranging legal precedents, drafted bills that have become legislation, you’ve defended the public, preserved land, argued for-”
“Oh, dear crow, just ask me what you came here to ask me already,” Scarecrow interjected.
“How would you describe your first interaction with Dorothy Gale?”
As I ask this question the needling hand quits its hurried work. Scarecrow takes a minute to collect himself and then smiles curtly, straightening up.
“I’m assuming you haven’t read my prose detailing the encounter? Or Bucolia: Volume Four, the eight canto? Or perhaps the third chapter of my memoir of The Fall, ‘A Seed in the Wind’?”
“I am looking for a less filtered account.”
Scarecrow drops the sewing instruments and crosses his arms.
“My my, are you sure you’re not from the administration? I have corrected the public record on numerous occasions. Are you looking for some alternative narrative?”
“I apologize if my forwardness has created any friction here. I have read your works, thoroughly. I merely am looking for an account less steeped in the literary canon.”
“Well, if the tired work of my pen is to be relegated to a supplementary status, I can safely assume you are doing the same with Lion’s odious memoir, correct?”
“I’m not here to pick favorites.”
“Very well then.”
“Shall we proceed?”
“It was three months after the Wizard had implemented his latest produce price-fixing plan, this time they called it the Agricultural Output Act. Piles of corn, tobacco and cotton were burned in black pits by the federally condemned. Heaps of fresh vegetables became rotten fly acropolises. At that time the wastefulness of it all soured my sorghum. I lacked the wisdom to comprehend the logic behind it, to form a coherent rebuttal. Back then, I feared the hunger these policies would bring about so I chose a field at a well-traveled leg of the yellow brick road, instructed my comrades to fix me to a wooden pole, and began to fast. My hunger would hang over the road, spelling out the consequences of this crooked scheme. Or so I thought. My so called comrades were bought off by the new farming administration, lured in by the uptick in corn prices, and I was left in the lurch in that God-forsaken field without food, and more significantly without water. In that wretched sun-scorched heat, my dehydration mutated viciously into utter delirium. The red curtain of madness was lowering when she came upon my wreckage. The crows sought to murder me in vicious increments. Such exquisite anguish… the Promethean nature of it all has not been lost on me. In fact, I meditate quite heavily on this allusion in several of my writings. Well, she was just asking for directions, and in my impoverished mental state I could barely orient myself much less this girl. She helped me down. I only remember certain portions of my baked ecstasy upon being relinquished from that horrid crucifix. She said I was jolly… in a drunken sort of way.”
“What did you think of her when you met?”
“I was struck by her kindness. She was very polite, I suppose. Her wit, even for a girl that age, was remarkable… She found me quite funny. She’s perhaps the only person who I really don’t mind being a fool for.”
“Do you keep in touch?” I asked him. I clenched my fist. I knew I had miss-stepped here. I thought it was a banal enough question.
“Well, we’re all good friends, you know.”
“She writes often?”
“On occasion. We’ve all been dreadfully busy.”
“What do you think her return means for Oz?”
“For Oz?” he laughs, slapping his knee affectedly. “My dear boy, what is Oz anymore?”
“I guess in terms of the election?”
“Well there are certainly many who’d like her endorsement,” he chuckles and then he is up in a loft somewhere again. “Allow me to hyperbolize. She is everything. She’s our hopes and dreams. They want to parade her around. They want to build monuments of her. Every fifth girl born after the year 691 has her name. You enter a classroom and it’s Dorothy Ann, Dottie Jay, Dorothy Tulia. She’s bigger than the Wizard ever was.”
“What does she mean to you?”
“To me?” He fiddles with a loose straw. “She remains a true friend. I’m as inspired as the rest.”
“Surely she’s more human to you?”
“If you’re looking to debase her, you only disgrace yourself, and I’ll be forced to terminate this dialogue.”
The cats pause their mumbled banter and ten yellow eyes are upon me.
“The stooge has sharpness, but no mettle,” the fat one whispers to the others.
“Only a stooge,” mutters the black cat.
“Pass the field mouse tartare, Sinclair,” says the tabby.
“A beard does not a philosopher make,” grumbles the gray cat with the monocle.
“Obliti privatorum, publica curate,” says the black cat before sipping his tea. The rest of the cohort nods their heads in accordance and continues on with their game.
“I’m sorry,” I told the Scarecrow. “I seek no such offense.”
“She’s a woman now,” he stated. “It’s been fourteen years. A lot has changed.”
Bryan Perley is a writer from Hadley, Massachusetts. He is currently enrolled in The Writing Program MFA at Columbia University. His work has appeared in Web Surfer Magazine and is forthcoming in the Argentinian Anthology: Todo el Mundo en un Libro. Bryan began his journey as a writer in the Woven Word Young Writers Workshop, which he attended for ten years.
Picking up a Pencil
by Leo Wurgaft
When I’m picking up a pencil
I feel it in my fingers
As I smell the brittle wood
I feel its tip blend with my thoughts
A graphite fingernail
LIke a wizard takes his wand
Like a knight draws her sword
The words spoken by internal lips
Leap out and enchant the page
The scratch of my pointed pilgrim and pioneer
Is filtered through my inner ears
And the scratching turns to letters
And the letters pour from my fingers
Like the little creek you discovered in the woods
When you were little
Writing is making something out of nothing
The only reality is your mind’s eye
And the glittering blood
You’ve let stain the paper
When I’m picking up a pencil
I hear the voices of my creations
I feel their pain
And I lose myself
In that reality
And the joy of who I am
Dances on the lines.
Leo Wurgaft, 13, is a rising eight grader from Amherst, MA. He has enjoyed writing for the majority of his life and has loved Woven Word and the Woven Word family for the past two years.
By Lucia Kan-Sperling
Something about the hazy suede summer heat made you want to explore. The way every object wore a thick coat of sun and when this cloak was left on too long, metal would burn the bottoms of your toes and make you want to jump and run and be wild. Henry and Leslie felt that way, two boys in the warm, melting air who wanted nothing more than to escape, if only to their backyards.
That’s how it all started - one fading afternoon while avoiding his mother’s call to come inside for his four o’clock bath, Henry decided to run away. His ninth birthday had just passed, signaling it was time for a rebellion, and with his profound new sense of self-importance that came with the arrival of a shiny new number, he packed an olive-green rucksack with twelve stolen ginger snap cookies and was on his way.
Not wishing to reveal his ingenious escape to anyone unnecessary, Henry dove through the bushes and over the white picket fence while the gardener wasn’t looking, landing in Leslie’s mother’s stiff purple petunias. He endured a few scrapes, but those were nothing compared to the heroism he felt as he chucked a pebble at his best friend’s window.
Luckily, Leslie was in, spending the afternoon poring over his world atlas and learning the names of all the countries in West Africa. Henry’s wild gestures and attempts at mouthing the plot points of his plan were understood immediately. The skinny blonde boy disappeared momentarily to pack his things; then, in an act of determination that left Henry in sheer disbelief, Leslie threw open the second story window and promptly jumped out, atlas first.
It was on this quiet afternoon that the two boys found the tree house in the woods behind their houses. It was not, in reality, an actual tree house, but christened as such because at first glance, it just looked like a tangled mass of branches and shrubbery against some sort of rock formation. However, upon further inspection, it was revealed that behind the ivy and dirty leaves was an opening to a small cave, damp and utterly perfect. Henry and Leslie were at first speechless at their luck, open-mouthed in wonder as they tested their way into their otherworldly discovery. Feet first, then grass-stained knobby knees, then shining faces, blissful with awe. They noticed everything - the moss on the smooth rocks dyed several shades of prehistoric brown and grey, the darkness, the musty smell that seemed miles away from the antiseptic, floral odor of their mothers’ kitchens and four o’clock baths.
Carefully wrapped cookies and an old atlas lay forgotten as, in the sparkle of their own shadows and the fresh yellow of exploration, two boys found a best reality.
It was the kind of day where if you sat still for too long, when you got up you felt like an insect caught in molasses. The sky was low-bearing grey felt that sat on your shoulders and fuzzed up your brain so all you could clearly remember was how sleepy you were.
Henry’s limbs felt heavy as he looked out his bedroom window, arms resting on the sill and back hunched. Each finger felt dipped in syrup as he lifted his left hand to rub his eyes. Reaching for the polished window latch with the other, he soon realized that outside was even more claustrophobic than in. He found himself taking in air in short, shallow breaths. Still, he kept his head out the window, listening to the creeping chirps of crickets and cicadas, as he was convinced that any discomfort couldn’t be worse than what was happening inside his manicured home.
Not more than an hour into Henry’s twelfth birthday brunch had utter chaos taken over the large, proper living room his mother had hired a decorator to furnish. Propelled by the glass of brandy he had insisted upon having to “wake himself up”, Uncle Charles had launched into a fourteen minute, one-sided argument insisting that if Henry had an ambition at all, he would have asked for a set of neckties and a Businessman’s Almanac rather than a chess set and a book of poems by Edgar Allen Poe (neither of which he had received anyway). While his aunts started a shrill, passive aggressive discussion about how much his mother should pay her cleaning lady, Henry’s father loudly ushered him to a corner where he explained to him that, as Henry was to be starting secondary school in the fall, he would have to leave behind his “fluffy hobbies” and start focusing on a future. After all, he was soon to become a man, and it was time to start preparing to take over the business. Henry had slipped upstairs unnoticed a couple minutes later, leaving his relatives and the sickly-sweet birthday cake with orange icing.
Hearing a loud rapping noise, Henry was torn out of his heat-induced reverie. Looking over, he saw a blonde head poking out through a window with blue trim. Leslie and Henry’s bedrooms were both on the second-story back wall of their respective houses, so that if Henry craned his neck far enough out his window and looked right and Leslie did the same but turned his head left, they could see each other and have conversations without leaving their rooms.
Henry smiled as he saluted his best friend, blocking out the high pitched cackles coming from his family below. With a matching grin, Leslie jerked his head in the direction of the trees, then disappeared back into his room. Meeting by the petunias, which drooped and sagged under the weight of rain coming, the two boys greeted each other quickly and hurried, almost ran, across the lawn (so green it looked artificial) as they had done so many times before. Here the air was clear and cool. They spray paint grass had faded to give way to the welcoming summer color of the trees and Henry felt as though he were walking through the emerald city he had read about when he was younger. The familiar shrubbery and dirt that hid their secret refuge was pushed aside and the dark welcomed them, freedom.
“Here.” Leslie grinned, unfolding his arms to reveal not an atlas this time but a gift clumsily wrapped in newspaper and wax paper stolen from his kitchen. It was a chessboard, with pieces carved in shapes of knights and queens that looked like a fairytale.
“I couldn’t find Edgar Allen Poe,” the blonde boy murmured and handed over a small book sneaked from his mother’s library.
“My mom says Mary Oliver is boring, so I thought she wouldn’t mind.”
Henry met his friend’s eyes. Brown on blue. And smiled wide in response.
Soon, chess instructions and foreign words replaced the Businessman’s Almanac and the blurriness in Henry’s head slowly started to wipe and wear away. It had started to drizzle outside, warm.
In the dark, thick water pooled on every surface. Even inside you could feel the moisture, the dampness in the air that adhered itself to your skin and clothes. It was warm, heavy rain; the kind that, if you stood in it with your eyes completely closed, felt so familiar after a while that it became part of you. You barely noticed how the rhythmic drumbeat of raindrops on your head coincided with your heartbeat. The trickling water felt like a layer of your skin.
There were no lights on in Henry’s room as he watched each drop hurl itself against his windowpane, blurring his view to the outside. He had planned to sleep for a while but had also known he wasn’t going to. He knew himself too well. The moon gave a dull light that made everything one shade lighter than black and kept him awake.
Out of the corner of his eye, Henry caught something moving outside his window. Through the sheet of water he saw a boy whose blonde hair seemed illuminated in the dark; his hand was blocking rain out of his eyes, peering up to where the second story window was. Quickly, Henry slid out of his desk chair, shelved away the book of Mary Oliver poems on which he had been failing to concentrate, and flicked his overhead light on, then off again. His footsteps were a whisper, almost inaudible as he slipped out of his bedroom, down the stairs and through the front door.
Outside, the rain was louder than he’d imagined. Engulfing his ears and soaking his eyelashes. He blinked twice, three times, adjusting to the scene. The petunias on either sides of the fence were drowning, struggling to swim in little warm rivers.
“Hey,” Leslie said, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. “I thought you were sleeping, your lights were off.”
Henry looked up at his window as if he’d just noticed. “Oh, yeah ... no, I wasn’t.” His awkwardness was lost on Leslie and they started off across the lawn, now squishy and loud with their footsteps.
“I invited some other people, I hope you don’t mind.” Leslie smiled. “Man, I need to unwind - this year has been crazy.”
Henry nodded in silent agreement. They had just finished their freshman year of high school, and he’d tried to explain to his parents that two A’s, one A minus and three B pluses were the best he could do. Unsurprisingly, they had brutally rebuffed this statement, deciding he would take summer tutoring until he was “up to standard”.
Slowly their footsteps became softer and the sound of rain was beginning to thin - or maybe Henry had just gotten used to it. Tree branches hung low, weighed down by the water, and it was dark, dark and darker as they neared their destination. Leslie switched on a rusty flashlight with one hand as his other fumbled to find the entrance, fingers getting caught among the leaves. Finally they were inside the small cave, hands slick in old pine needles and dirt and hair cold, plastered to the side of their faces from the rain. The flashlight and its dull yellow glare shone the on the chessboard that was still sitting in the back corner, pieces knocked over and rolling slightly on the checkered wood.
“Damn, this place is getting small,” Leslie muttered as, without hesitation, he started placing his pawns in their correct spots - he always played white.
“Yeah, crazy,” Henry murmured, rescuing the black queen from a puddle.
“I gave the others directions so they could find us.” Leslie moved a white pawn two spaces forward. Then he laughed a little. “We should also probably stop calling it ‘the treehouse’, by the way - they were pretty confused when I was telling them about it.”
Henry, lost in thought, was slow on the uptake. “Oh. Haha. Okay, cool,” he nodded, advancing his knight.
They played in wide open silence, groaning whenever a piece was taken.
“Dude, my queen is eviscerating your half of the board,” Leslie grinned, the little figurine knocking over Henry’s second black bishop.
Henry laughed a little. Then he paused, glancing upwards, eyes wandering around the dark corners and soft moss irradiated by Leslie’s flashlight.
“Remember when we found this place?” Henry’s eyes met Leslie’s. A pause.
“Yeah.” Leslie said quietly, smiling. “Best day ever.”
Their faces were also illuminated eerily by the yellow glow of the flashlight as they looked at each other amidst the hypnotic sounds of summer rain.
“In a couple years we’re gonna have to leave for college,” the blonde boy’s voice echoed softly between the rocks.
“Yeah.” Henry looked down. “I’m going to miss it.” Then again their eyes met, noses bare inches apart. Leslie’s face was half shadow. An infinity of deafening silence, then -
“Checkmate,” Leslie murmured. His hand slid his queen to a square directly adjacent to the black king with a thud. Closer. Henry’s dad had always said if you got a girl this close, something good was bound to happen.
The space between them grew infinite within a second, both turning quickly to see three teenagers pushing their way through the entrance to the small cave.
“Dude, this place was impossible to find,” one boy said as another came in, feet knocking over some chess pieces as he sat down next to Leslie clumsily.
“Haha. Sorry, man,” Leslie grinned, hand punching his shoulder in greeting. “Did you bring it?”
The second boy nodded, gesturing to a girl Henry didn’t know. She was just entering, smiling and carrying a glass bottle of what looked like water but Henry knew wasn’t.
He felt hot and his head was fuzzy. All of a sudden he didn’t want to be there; he wanted to be out and swallowed by the rain and away. What did he do?
Henry felt like he was spinning and he hadn’t drank a sip. Outside, thunder broke in his ears.
The heat was wild. It was a day that wrapped itself around you, cracked eggshells on your head as you sweat. The sun infiltrated your eyelids and filled your mouth; it splashed down your neck and crawled under your fingernails. If you couldn’t find shade, your head would soon start to pulse, feeling as though it were expanding under each ray of sun it absorbed.
Henry was lying in his room again. He was on the floor, his back on the ground and eyes examining a fixed point above. Every once in a while they’d close; blink once, two, three times and then return to staring.
He was looking at his ceiling fan. The way it moved so fast - a blur, the way it whirred hypnotically, almost making him forget everything. Almost.
The house wasn’t air conditioned and the sun outside had slowly wormed its way in, filling up Henry’s room drop by drop, until his black cap and gown felt like they weighed tons. He had closed his eyes again now, covering his face with his hands to ensure darkness. Unfortunately, even without the sunlight tinting his vision, he still couldn’t block it out, and couldn’t understand himself.
That morning at graduation, Henry had told his parents he was deferring college. He couldn’t figure out why. He didn’t know what had made him blurt it out in front of his whole family and he didn’t understand how he’d known in that second that it was what he wanted. He wasn’t even entirely sure anymore it was what he wanted.
The look on his father’s face had made Henry turn around, leave because in that moment he didn’t know what else to do.
Henry didn’t get it. He’d spent the last four years, hell - his entire life studying; being taught, tutored and spending every spare minute he had trying to make them happy. Them - everyone. Why stop now?
Henry sighed, sitting up. He felt dizzy, having moved too quickly.
He didn’t know who he was kidding - no matter how hard he tried, he would never be what they wanted him to be, and it wasn’t for him to decide. Henry couldn’t help that he’d lost his brand-new Businessman’s Almanac the day after he’d gotten it for his fourteenth birthday. He couldn’t help that when his parents had sat him down and asked why he didn’t have a girlfriend yet, he just stared out the window blankly. And he couldn’t help that after every time he and his best friend got closer and closer and closer than his parents would ever know, Leslie would laugh and pretend it hadn’t happened but Henry wouldn’t be able to focus on anything for the next week.
He stood up, breathing hard. He’d forced himself to stop thinking about it for too long and he couldn’t help it now. Beads of sweat adorning his face let on that the fan was doing nothing to cool him down or blow away his thoughts.
With a swift, desperate motion, Henry knocked his graduation cap to the ground, rubbing his tired eyes. Now at least his parents would understand why he hadn’t wanted to write the name of his soon-to-be college on the hat.
He pushed open his bedroom window. He was hot, too hot, hotter but he didn’t take off his gown. Sticking his head out of the window, Henry felt his breathing slow as a breeze stole through his hair. Looking to the right, he wasn’t surprised not to see a familiar blonde head poking out to meet him; he hadn’t spoken to Leslie in four months. He’d told himself it was because of finals and college but even Henry, master of self-deception, couldn’t fool himself.
Suddenly he heard his front door open downstairs, his father’s voice echoing through the foyer. Without thinking, Henry pushed himself through the window; arms, then shaking knees, then feet as he fell to the ground.
His landing wasn’t awful but it wasn’t good either, and as he stood up in the bed of brown, dead petunias, he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder.
He entertained no second thoughts as he ran across the dried-up lawn his mother had been watering daily, to no avail. Finally Henry was among the trees and closed his eyes as he walked, feeling breeze and dark green shade. He neared the rocks much faster than he expected, though he supposed he wasn’t surprised; he knew the path better than he knew anything.
Henry noticed a thick brush of ivy that had taken over the entrance to the cave. Without thinking he tore at it, hands desperate for comfort and solitude, and was so invested in the task that he didn’t notice the two people in the familiar hideout until he was almost completely inside.
Two blonde heads pulled apart and he saw him, Leslie, Leslie with a girl Henry had known too well ever since he’d seen her for the first time in the summer after freshman year, her and the bottle, ever since his chessboard had been cleared out of the cave for more ‘interesting’ ways to pass time.
For a minute the two boys just stared at each other. Brown eyes on blue. And Henry couldn’t register anything else. They tried desperately to read each other’s minds, to figure it out, but as was the case all too often, Henry couldn’t understand. Until he heard a girl clear her throat and a blonde boy cry, “What the …, man? Get out.”
Henry’s limbs unfroze, then melted; they were on fire as he ran out and away, trees bending apart to let sunlight engulf his body and blur his vision with wetness. Everything sparkled, glittered.
He had slowed down to a walk now, gasping for breath. The air around him was silent. It was soundless. It was quiet, dry paper heat drowning everything away.
The sky was blue.
Lucia Kan-Sperling is 15 years old and lives in Northampton. She likes writing because it takes her mind off of everything else.
The World In The Sky
By Leo Wurgaft
The room sank of smoked gum leaf. The heat and humidity was almost too much to bear. It was crowded, and hard to tell one person from another. Near the roof a cloud of smoke was forming and the floor was blanketed in mist. Fast music was playing. The lively, but somehow eerie sound of a trumpet, double-bass, and violin filled the air. And among it all, a cry could be heard.
“My satchel! Where’s my satchel?” The countless people glanced around, nervously.
Suddenly a figure hooded in light, but dirtied grey popped up in the middle of the crowd. It strode toward the exit, skillfully sweeping the crowd out of it’s way as if it were water.
“Stop! Theif!” The figures pace quickened, nearly into a run.
The room became filled with red, the sound of an alarm silencing the music. A rusty steel gate lowered slowly in front of the door. The figure leapt, like lightning, upon a the shoulder of a panicked man, who yelled in alarm above the siren. The figure sprang from shoulder to shoulder, leaping across the sea of people, and sending frightened yelps through the crowd like ripples.
It arrived at the door in seconds, the gate halfway to the ground. Then the figure turned to face the crowd, and pulled off his hood, revealing a young man of about sixteen, with a joyful expression and hazel eyes containing a brilliant, mischievous spark. A faded scar was on his right cheek, and he had unkempt, wild brown hair. He smiled and waved.
“See ya’ blokes on the other side!” He jeered. And with that, he slid through the open door just as the gates met the floor with a satisfying clang.
By Leo Wurgaft
The window is opposite the curtain
The shield is opposite the sword
The period is opposite the exclamation point
The star is opposite the cockroach
The moon is opposite the color brown
The boulder is opposite the water
The river is opposite the ocean
The glitter is opposite the shine
The shimmer is opposite the wood
The genie is opposite the hammer
The poem is opposite the….nothing
The spine is opposite the pole
The heart is opposite the battery
Art is opposite the world
The rainbow is opposite the reason
The chalk is opposite the teen
The warmth is opposite the hunger
The heat is opposite the content
The loneliness is opposite submergence
The rules are opposite love
The tree is opposite the still
The dragonfly is opposite the human
The eye is opposite the soul
The dirt is opposite the tomb
The thrill is opposite utopia
The open hand is opposite the clenched jaw
Rot is the opposite of death
But they all sit on the same round table, which is opposite the throne.
Leo Wurgaft, is 12 years old and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. He loves the freedom of writing, and the creativity and imagination and stories you can bring into the world with it.
Woven Word Young Writers Houseboat Summer Camp
By Noe Perry-Greene
Chapter 1: Hickory
It was midday and the sun’s soothing rays touched the forest with it’s soft warmness. Hickory the squirrel was conked out in the pine tree that was her home. The tree was so old that literally every branch was green with moss. It was like an oddly shaped doughnut, dipped in liquid plant life.
Hickory slept peacefully, dreaming of walnuts. Ooh, and chestnuts. Her bushy tail was wrapped around her legs, with the end of it lightly brushing her cheek.
A voice cut through her treenut fantasy like a rock through warm pine sap. “Hickory, wake up! You need to move!”
It was her mother Alyssum, frantically shaking her daughter awake. “Hickory!” All fantasy vanished and Hickory sat bolt upright. “What, mom?”
Her mother’s face contorted with worry. “Your father is...” Hickory couldn’t believe her tiny squirrel ears. “He better not be dead.” Hickory said, incredulously.
“No, he’s not dead, he’s just... warning the other animals of the forest fire.”
Hickory’s eyes grew huge like she was hypnotized or something. “FOREST FIRE?”
Alyssum nodded gravely. “Yeah. We need to get to the pond.”
Chapter 2: Thomas
Thomas was in the middle of his workout routine. He was doing mouse pull ups on a bent over flower stem. Then he would do mouse push ups, planks, and situps. After that he would weight lift with a pine needle. Finally he went towards the creek for treadmill time.
Thomas strapped four tiny leave to his four tiny feet and tied them closed. As he neared the creek, he began to hear the rushing sound of water tumbling over rocks and soil, tossing, turning, eroding, splashing.
At the creek he found the treadmill eddy immediately. This eddy was milder and the rocks that cut it off from the main flow of the creek were padded with moss and leaves in case a rodent slipped and hit the rock. The water was moving gently along, carrying more mice floating on the surface, running atop the water with leaf shows like Thomas’s.
He stepped onto the water treadmill off the bank by his moms, Raine and Eliza, who were soaked to the tiny bones in mouse sweat.
After about half an hour of running and talking to Thomas’s friend Bailey, it became uncomfortably hot. “Oh my god.” Eliza said, terror spreading across her tiny face, which actually looked rather adorable.
“EVERYONE RUN! FIRE!”
Chapter 3: Bailey
Bailey was at his favorite patch of raspberries and munching like crazy. It was one of the hotter times in the day, and Bailey was roasting. HIs long ears were fanning up and down rapidly, trying to cool him off.
His nose twitched and smelled out some wild alfalfa, which he promptly ate. His nose sniffed out some fallen fruit, which he promptly ate. He finally smelled some other bunny’s hidden-but-not-hidden-so-well stash of clover, which he promptly-you guessed it- ate. Bailey was full now. I mean, bunny’s stomach’s aren’t super big.
Bailey felt lazy. He plodded back to his burrow and climbed inside, sliding on his stomach through the little hole. It was too hot in there. He climbed back out.
Bailey finally went to the creek, where he talked to Thomas the mouse who was on the treadmill. They chatted about weird forest animal things which you probably don't wanna hear about. Yeah, those were some weird conversations.
Heat spread over Bailey’s body. He saw bright, dancing, glowing wisps of color. He saw fire. So Bailey did what bunnies did best. He ran.
Chapter 4: Jasmine
Jasmine was flying, circling the pond, and watching. Simultaneously. Her keen sparrow eyes saw her friends Hickory and Thomas, and Thomas talking to a bunny she didn’t recognize. She saw the forest alive with animals.
Jasmine saw a pair of twin chipmunks arguing and an old tree that was home to a snoring owl family. She saw a happy grader snake and a sad frog. She saw a hawk helping a star-nosed mole and a rat stealing from a squirrel. Jasmine saw it all.
Jasmine heard the cheeping of birds, rustling of snakes, and the chatter of chipmunks. She heard cries and laughter. She heard snores and screams. Jasmine heard it all.
Jasmine smelled fresh berries, wet grass, and rotting wood. She smelled dead bugs and a newborn mouse’s tears. She smelled old fruit. She smelled a rabbit in serious need of a bath (ew). Jasmine smelled it all.
Jasmine tasted the woodsy scent of the air. SHe tasted the thick vanilla pina, the hot humid wind, the fresh hint of berries. She tasted last night’s dinner and this morning’s breakfast berry burrito. Jasmine tasted it all.
Jasmine felt the wind rustling her feathers and blowing at her eyes. She felt the blood rush into her feet as she lifted and dropped them. She felt the breeze below her feathers like a bubble.
But even seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling so much, she still didn’t sense the fire.
Noe Perry-Greene is twelve and she currently resides in Northampton, Massachusetts. Noe loves all the different places you can go with writing. She also loves cats, mysteries, and theatre.
The Third Installment in the Grimmlandia Series
e Third Installment in the Grimmlandia series
By Faith Roy
WARNING: This is an extended version of the original story. Some extra things are added that I wanted to include before but didn’t see how they could work into the story. Also, some references are made to Donald Trump and a handful of shows that I enjoy. I am sorry if I offend any Trump lovers, and know that I support him and not Clinton. These are just jokes that I think others will enjoy, and again I am sorry if I offend anyone. Finally, this is the first half of an already completed story.
If you’re not familiar with the land of Grimmlandia, then here is the rich (and totally canon) history that started many centuries ago.
The world was run by turnips. I’m not kidding on this one. Actual, anthropomorphic turnips created a magical fantasy land and then ran it communist/dictator- style. Soon, the humans and animals of this newfound land formed a rebellion that ended the turnips. Soon, both the people and animals alike created different kingdoms, led by those whom which the inhabitants voted upon.
There were multiple kingdoms, including Cleve, Hotako, and Kedelig, but the largest and most popular of them all was Mäerchen, where many famous and not-so-famous stories were born. Mäerchen was a monarchy that had a long line of kings and queens that helped improve the lives of others. It was also a kingdom of firsts. The first to establish trade. The first to hold peace meetings with other leaders. The first to have a judicial system. And the first to allow gay rights for the inhabitants.
But not every first was a good one. They were also the first kingdom to have a death toll of approximately 45 a day. This was courtesy of Queen Abbaline, Mäerchen’s most recent human ruler and descendant of the Evil Queen that nearly killed Abbaline’s famous step-sister with a poisoned apple. The girl turned the kingdom towards its communist/dictator roots and prevented many of our destinies from occurring by discriminating humans and animals and building physical walls around the kingdom. Hopefully nobody will ever build walls ever again, even if it were an eternity from now. Luckily, one animal was able to escape to Cleve, only to return on his own to aid his sick sister.
One day, she sent out Officers Red and Robin Hood, along with their troops to search the kingdom of any rebels. Instead of rebels, they found a scared immigrant whose home was invaded. While most of the kingdom was in the courtroom to spectate the event, nobody witnessed Queen Abbaline’s murder. During the case, soldiers from Rinocerotis made their way into the Queen’s castle and found her asleep in her bed. People don’t know how she was murdered, but they do know what happened afterward.
The daughter of Marco, the unicorn ruler of Rinocerotis, was proclaimed Queen by her people, and was sent to court where she heard that a little girl needed help. When she arrived, she fell in love with the court judge, named Otto. To get the case done and over with so she could talk to him about things non-court related, she convinced about 98% of the room that the girl was not guilty. After the case and learning the truth about the little girl, she married Otto, had three ferretcorns, arrested the girl, and let the family that lost the case live with them in the castle.
But even after Abbaline’s rule and the kingdom slowly returning into a rich place were the inhabitants can live and love however they choose, was there still an evil hidden in Mäerchen?
Yes, yes there was. And I should know, because I’ve gone through a traumatizing event even when the land of Grimmlandia was at peace.
Nunzio was the name of a polar bear who went through hardships but found his happy ending.
Otto was the name of a ferret that married and became king.
Gretel was the name given to me at birth because my parents were expecting a girl.
But it’s not Gretel. It’s Greg. At least that’s what I wish everybody would call me.
I grew up in a small house in the Mäerchen woods. My home was formerly owned by a polar bear, and is now worth several times it was worth when we purchased it. And even then it was worth more than when was first purchased. I lived there with my twin brother Hansel, my father Chrom, and step-mother Erica, because EVERYBODY’S MOTHER HAS TO DIE IN THIS KINGDOM!!! Honestly, I don’t know much about her because my step-mother gets angry whenever Mom’s brought up, but what I do know is that her dying wish was for my father and I to keep my name as it is. It gives me a guilty feeling and all, but seriously, couldn’t you have just chosen a boy’s name?
At least my mom wasn’t cousins with the late Abbaline, like Erica is. Seriously, how come she’s not in prison? She’s just as evil as Abbaline was!
Being growing boys and all, we ate everything and anything, Hansel more than I did, and Erica didn’t like it all. So one day she decided that the whole family would go out on a ‘nature walk’. I knew what her true intentions were, being related to a woman who nearly destroyed a utopia of wonders. And apparently at the time it was the latest parenting fad. Before we left, I grabbed as basket and filled it to the brim with pebbles that I would use to create a path that would lead Hansel and I back home.
Erica decided that she and Chrom would lead, and have Hansel and I in the back. I was hoping that she would do that, so I could create my trail without being caught.
And with that, we were off.
Our walk lasted a few hours long. Whenever neither parents were looking, (and they rarely did), I’d drop a pebble from my basket. Soon, it became dark outside, and our parents had the two of us make a fire. By the time the flames were bright enough for us to see, they were gone. I saw it coming, but Hansel didn’t.
“Oh my gosh, Gretel, we’re going to die out here! Or maybe we’ll have to live with the squirrels and have acorn pie every night for supper!” Hansel panicked, grabbing the collar of my shirt and pulling me close to his tan, freckle-covered face, his sky blue eyes bulging out of fear.
“It’s Greg,” I corrected him, feeling a twang of guilt in my stomach for breaking my mom’s promise out of habit. “And besides, I made a trail for us to follow back home. We’ll be fine.” I gestured to the ground behind us, not even bothering to look at it.
“All right! I can’t wait until home so that way I can put away my new rock collection!” Hansel exclaimed, holding up his own basket to show off that his was filled up all the way with pebbles. The same pebbles I used to create the path home.
“You idiot! That was the trail! Now we really are going to die!” I yelled.
“Or live with the squirrels and be forced to eat acorn pie!” my brother wailed as he pulled his shirt over his head and squatted onto the dirt. Above him, a squirrel poked her head out of a treetop condo. “That’s racist!” she screeched in her tiny voice and chucked down various nuts onto his body.
And that’s another thing. How are we even related? I mean sure, we’re identical twins and all, but he’s fat and dumb, and I’m skinny and intelligent. At least he has a guy’s name.
I sighed heavily as I pulled Hansel up off the ground. “The best we can do is keep moving forward until we can find someone who can help us.” I turned to the squirrel above us and told her, “I think he gets the message.” After he adjusted himself, Hansel and I set off onto a new journey.
“And good riddance!” the squirrel yelled before retreating back into her home. “Stupid kids.”
My brother and I ignored her remarks and walked onwards until the next morning, where we came across something extraordinary.
It was a house made of candy, what did you expect?
“Oh boy, food!” Hansel and I yelled in unison and ran towards the house without thinking. Oh crap. I was turning into my brother. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Hansel took a bite out of one of the cookie shutters. “Blech!” he spat out the cookie. “Gluten-free? What kind of candy house is this?” Hansel grabbed a pebble from his basket. “This is what I think of gluten-free-flavored houses!” he yelled as he chucked the pebble through a lollipop window. I wanted to correct him by saying that gluten-free wasn’t a flavor, but I was interrupted by a small cry of pain. The pebble hit someone inside. Crap.
The victim of the pebble incident came up towards the window where Hansel threw the pebble. It was an old woman, with yellow eyes, withering pale skin, disturbing facial features, and to top it off, a giant mole resting atop her long and pointy nose. “Stupid hooligans! Explain yourselves before I alert the cops! This is not a threat, I really will!” She yelled, her shrilly voice echoing through the forest.
“Sorry, ma’am,” I apologized. Then I proceeded to explain to her what happened to us, trying not give her our personal information, especially our names.
“Mmm, I see.” She nodded. “Well at least somebody around here has manners. And what about you, boy?” she asked Hansel.
“That’s some mole!” he gasped, pointing at her nose.
Remind me again why we’re twins?
The woman cringed and chuckled awkwardly. I glimpsed at her eyes, and saw the darkness within. I knew what she was plotting in that twisted mind of hers. She was going to kill Hansel when she thought we stayed at her home long enough.
And no, I’m not psychic.
To Be Continued…
Faith Roy is 13 years old and lives in Granby, Massachusetts. She likes the workshop because of the people she gets to write with.
By Candance Smith
Introduction: In Contact is about six seemingly ordinary girls who will be best friends to the end. Their names are Sunee, Muna, Starr, Sanny, Reese, Sanny Zeta, and Eco (lipsa). Somehow they are special, but they just don't know it yet. Here the start of the story.
Honestly, how couldn’t I know he was coming? He just comes. He always ruins the almost fun days that I have. And today, he just so happened to use me as a cheat sheet for the astronomy test I had been studying for for weeks! Now because Mr. Minoa is mad at me about yesterday, he’s going to probably fail me again. Well, wish me luck! (I’m gonna need it.)
That astronomy test was harder than it looked. But hey, I might have passed. Anyway, Grandma Moon came today with the most wonderful gift, a Russian Blue Shorthair Cat! And I named it Luna Eclipse. But I swear, when no one was looking, the pretty thing jumped up in my lap and winked at me! And for some reason, the cat looks almost exactly like the cat in one of my room paintings with the star shaped mark on its eye! It’s like there’s something I need to know.
Today we had an astronomy test. It definitely stressed me out. Today I’m sitting on the couch with my still unopened chest. I shall list the possibilities of what could be in there:
· Something rare
· Lots and lots of cobwebs
· A collection of jewelry
· Gold ribbons
Why, the possibilities are endless darling.
A broken glass, A weary night,
And kick a ball into a goal…
Wait, what? Okay, I wanted to make that perfect, but I failed miserably. Mom is—again—trying to help me with writing poetry. She should just admit it. I’m better on a field than I am on a pencil. And, unlike my annoying excuse of a sister I don’t get what the big deal is about fashion. At least I’m lucky that my box has a key and hers doesn’t. Except the only thing I saw in there was a bowl of shimmery, powdery grain. How exciting.
Today Nebula came by with another trendy outfit. Oh, I’m really happy to have Nebula as a friend. I wish I could be like her. Strong, beautiful, trendy, outgoing…I just couldn’t bring myself to talk like she does.
Right now I’m sitting on my couch with the hooded cape Mom got me for Christmas. Here’s part of a poem I’m working on for poetry class:
The road to heaven winds,
Forever in his debt.
The drowning merchant finds.
(To be continued...)
Cadence Smith is a weird girl at the age of 11 currently. She loves to sing, think of fashion, be around other nice people, sew, draw, and write. She wrote this story because it was the first story that she thought she would continue.
Poem About A Book
By Pearl Shread
I’m full of words and phrases, syllables and letters.
They tumble through me.
I’m full of comparison and characterization.
They stroll through me.
I’m full of conflicts and climax, themes and settings.
They cartwheel through me.
I’m full of irony and poetry, similes and synonyms.
They swim through me.
I’m full of metaphors and point of views.
They leap through me.
Open me up for a world of wonder.
Open me up for a world of joy.
Open me up for a world of adventure.
Open me up for a world of tragedy, dreams, drama and tears.
Open me up for a story.
Pearl Shread is in 6th grade and lives in Northampton, MA. She likes writing because it is a way to make fantasy real and anything you want can happen. “I like the workshop because it gives me a structured time to write and without it I wouldn’t just write by myself. I also like hearing the other writers’ stories.
A Series of Embarrassing Events
By Fiona Warnick
“If I can’t see the world soon, I swear I’m going to turn into a living cow pie.” Or at least that’s what I announced to my parents, as flopped onto our grubby couch in a pretend faint. Now, I guess you could say that I have a bit of a flair for being over-dramatic. But what can I say? At that moment in time, I really, truly, 100% felt that if I did not get off this boring excuse for a farm, I, Winnie Jackson, would become just another one of those lovely cow pies that littered our fields.
How was I to know that this one measly statement would cause them to ship me off to my aunt’s place in NYC, all the way from Middle-of-Nowhere, Hemmington, Ohio? Even if I had known everything my words would bring about, I still would have said them. After all, it was better than being a living cow pie!
The troubles really started in the airport bathroom. Seeing as I was 15, my parents had decided that even though I’d never left Ohio before, let alone been on a plane, I would fly to NYC by myself.
At first, I was excited about this. Then I was scared to death. Then I was thrilled. Then I was back to being terrified. We’ll just blame my mood swings on teenage hormones, and hope I wasn’t becoming bipolar.
Anyways, there I was in the airport bathroom. I’d survived security, found the gate my plane would board from, and really had to pee. I’d located the ladies’ room without difficulty, and was feeling pretty accomplished. I was a natural at navigating airports!
Before I explain what happened next, I must make it clear that though I could milk cows, muck stalls, and feed the bulls without getting gored, there was a whole lot of the world hat I’d never seen except in the movies. Automatic flushing toilets of the kind they have in airports, for instance.
I’d sat down on the toilet, done everything I needed to, and was just standing up when suddenly... “Floooooooosh!”
That rude toilet flushed itself before I even had my pants up!
Never having seen this kind of high-tech toilet before, I was majorly startled. I jumped so high into the air that I probably could have waved “hi” to the woman in the next stall if my mind hadn’t been on other things.
Once I had both feet firmly back on earth, I turned around and slowly backed away from the toilet the way you step away from a rattle snake. The red light on the motion sensor blinked menacingly at me. I took a deep breath. It was just a toilet. It was nothing to be afraid of. I took another deep breath. It was, in fact, something one should be embarrassed to be afraid of. I rolled my eyes at my own stupidity, unlocked the stall door, and washed my hands with my head held high. But if I’m being honest with you, it took a good 5 more minutes for my heart rate to return to normal.
The next of my airport adventures took place at Starbucks. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
When I had mostly forgotten about the toilet incident, I realized I was thirsty, and also a little wiped out. I required coffee. A quick glance at my watch assured me that I had plenty of time to find some.
I swung my backpack over my shoulder (the rest of my luggage had been checked), and headed off down the terminal. Soon enough, I saw a Starbucks, and knew that was the place for me.
This may sound strange, but I had never been to Starbucks before. My town was probably the only one in the U.S. that didn’t have one. Plus, my parents had this thing against chain stores. But somewhere along the way, I had gotten this idea in my head that you couldn’t really say you were American unless you’d been to Starbucks. So I was going now.
There wasn’t a line, so I walked right up to a counter before realizing it was the pick-up counter, and the place to order was different. I quickly pretended to have been just getting a closer look at the menu (even though I hadn’t read a word of it) and hurried over to the other counter.
When the cashier asked me what I wanted, I told him, “Just a large coffee please.”
He gave me a funny look. “What kind of coffee?”
What kind? What in heavens name was he talking about? Back in Hemmington, we just had coffee, plain and simple. If you wanted milk or sugar or anything fancy like that, you could add it yourself. Obviously, things were different at Starbucks.
The problem was, I didn’t know how they were different. They clearly had multiple kinds, but as to what those kinds were, I hadn’t the slightest idea. What was I supposed to say?
As luck (of either the good or back kind, I’m still not sure which it was) would have it, the person standing in line behind me came to my rescue.
“The girl wants an iced latte. Can’t you tell? She just has that iced latte look to her.”
I didn’t know what an iced latte was, but it was suddenly my favorite kind of coffee. Why? Because of that boy’s glorious voice. I swear that when he spoke, angels didn’t need to sing, because it already sounded like they were.
“Yeah, an iced latte would be great!” I squeaked at the Starbucks employee.
“Name?” he asked.
Why did he need my name? Whatever. “Winnie.” I whispered, and slid a $10 bill across the counter before turning to discover that the looks of the guy behind me completely matched his voice. In other words, he had a handsomeness level of positively biblical proportions. And he thought I was the kind of girl that would want an iced latte, whatever that was!
Now, I’m tall. Taller than 5 out of the 6 boys in my grade at Hemmington High. But even though this guy looked only a year or two older than me, he was taller, by like, a lot. And he was standing kind of close to me, so I had to crane my neck to look up into his face. But trust me, it was totally worth whatever aches and pains it would cause me the next day.
He gave me a quick grin, before looking above me to the menu on the wall. I didn’t move. Looking back on it, I probably was acting a lot like that lady in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, who just freezes when this man (her future husband) walks into the restaurant.
So anyways, there I was, frozen in Starbucks, making a complete idiot of myself. The guy glanced down at me and graced me with another smiled, but this time it was a “You’re really weirding me out” type smile. It jolted me out of my daze. I could feel my face begin its transformation into a bright red tomato. I hastily stepped away from the guy, but bumped into the counter, so then I sort of awkwardly turned and used all of my remaining brain power to walk over to a little cafe table instead of running away as fast as I could.
I collapsed into he chair before realizing I had yet to get my coffee. After a couple breaths to steady my heartbeat, I got back up and went to the pick-up counter.
There was a cup sitting on it. Was it mine? It had ice in it, so I was prepared to bet it was an iced latte. But on the side it read “Jimmy.” That was not my name. Was it possible that the Starbucks cashier had thought I’d said “Jimmy” when in fact I’d said “Winnie?” I had been speaking quietly, but I didn’t exactly look like a Jimmy. Did I? I hoped not. Whatever. I grabbed the coffee and returned to my table. I tentatively tasted the drink. Given who had recommended it, I had high expectations. I regret to say that it was a long way from meeting them. Coffee was supposed to be hot. Putting ice in it was pretty much the stupidest idea in about 3 centuries.
But it was still coffee, and I was still thirsty, so I drank it.
I was almost finished, with just a few sips left, when a shadow fell over my table. A very tall shadow. My heart rate approached the speed of a train, hurtling towards train-wreck. And then that voice, that voice, said, “Winnie?”
I looked up at him, and he glanced at my cup. “Or should I say, Jimmy?” he chuckled.
“Mhm?” I tried to say. I say tried, because it came out sounding more like that noise cows make when they’re being stubborn. A sort of, “Nuhhmphurnug.” Real attractive, I know.
“Here’s your change, you left it on the counter.” He said.
Had I? How embarrassing. “Oh, thanks.” I mumbled.
Only after he was gone did I realize that he had given me a whole $10. He had paid for my iced latte! I dropped my head onto the table. If things continued the way they were headed, I was going to have heart failure before I could legally drink alcohol.
I don’t know how long I could have stayed there with my head on the table. A long time. Maybe I would have fallen asleep and missed my flight! But that didn’t happen. Phew! I don’t know if I could have survived any more humiliation right then.
What did happen is that they called everyone on my flight to come to the gate, because we were boarding. I pulled myself together, dumped the dregs of my coffee in a nearby trash, and headed back up the terminal.
When I reached the gate, people were already lining up, even though they were only letting first class and people with babies on at the moment. I joined the queue and surveyed my fellow passengers. I hoped none of them were terrorists.
In front of me, a woman dressed in a business suit crisper than bacon talked on her cell. A man argued with his wife about where to go for dinner behind me. And a few people in front of me... Oh, no. It was the guy from Starbucks. For the first time, I wished I had never left my wonderful farm full of cows.
I had thought I was ready for the big outside world, but in just the first few hours I had been scared by a toilet and made a complete and utter fool out of myself in Starbucks. This was going to be a long trip.
But that was no way to think! I was Winnie Jackson, and I would not let a few minor mishaps keep me from a fantabulous adventure in New York City. Correction: a few slightly larger than minor mishaps. Thankfully, nothing had quite qualified as major. Yet.
I considered my options. I could run away from the plane and the Starbucks guy, miss my flight, go back to the farm, and turn into a living cow pie. Well, that was a big fat NO. I was going to have to get on that plane, be brave, and pretend not to notice ol’ Starbucks Guy. Or better yet, I would pretend to have forgotten him! I mean to say, the Starbucks incident was almost an entire 10 minutes ago. That was around 600 seconds. He was ancient history!
This little mental pep talk had gotten me to almost the front of the line. I had a momentary freak-out when I couldn’t find my boarding pass, but then it appeared in my pocket, and all was once again well in the world.
The stewardess ushered me on through the rickety tunnel which led to the plane itself. I was on a plane! A real-as-a-charging-bull airplane! For the first time in my life!
A flight attendant pointed me towards my seat, but she failed to get me all the way there. I needed seat 22A. But where were the labels? Oh, there, just under the overhead compartments. There was row 18...19...20...21... Aha! Row 22, and there was my seat, 22A, only... Someone was sitting in it.
He had blondish hair, looked around my age (though a little on the short side), was reading a book, and wasn’t nearly as handsome as Starbucks Guy, who I luckily hadn’t spotted yet. But none of that was important. What was important was that he was in MY seat. At least, I was 90% sure it was my seat. And if it wasn’t, oh well. I’d already embarrassed myself twice today, surely I could do it again.
I gathered my courage, and confronted this intruder.
“Excuse me, but you happen to be sitting in my seat.” I told him.
He glanced up. “Oh? Yes, I suppose I am.” He went back to reading. This boy was just begging for a good old fashioned slap across the face. I restrained myself.
“Well, do you think you could move?” I asked in a tone that was perhaps not as polite as my my mother would have wanted.
The boy ignored me. I reached forward and plucked the book out of his hands. “Listen, buddy. I don’t know who you think you are, but you are in my seat, and you need to move. I can’t very well sit in your lap!”
He looked at me very seriously. “No, I agree. If you sat in my lap it would make it very difficult for me to keep reading that wonderful book you just stole from me.”
“And it would be even more difficult for you to read if I went and dropped it out the window. So move!”
He shook his head. “The windows on planes don’t open.”
Some interfering woman behind me tapped my shoulder.
“Your blocking the isle, miss.” She explained.
I glared at her and flopped into the seat next to the one I was supposed to have, and then turned to the boy.
Before I could say anything, he spoke. “And now you’re in my seat.”
I groaned. “Perfect. So let’s just switch seats. I’ll give you your book back, and then we can ignore each other for the entire flight.”
He pretended to consider this. “Or, we could not switch seats, you could give me my book back, and then we can ignore each other. See, I want the window seat.”
“Well, I also happen to want the window seat!” I informed him. Never having flown anywhere before, I wasn’t entirely sure if this was true. On buses, I actually preferred isle. But it was my seat, and this boy was being infuriatingly ornery, so at this moment in time, I did want the seat. I’m stubborn that way.
“Anyway.” I continued. “Seeing as it seems like you’re just going to read for the whole flight, I don’t see why you want the window.”
“Whatever.” He rolled his eyes, and we switched places. Somewhat awkwardly, I might add. There isn’t a lot of room in the non-first class sections. With that settled, I stuffed my backpack under the seat in front of me, buckled my seat belt, and waited for take off.
Finally, the flight attendant stood and gave a whole spiel about where the emergency exits were, how our seat cushions could be used as floatation devices in the event of an emergency, and how she hoped we would enjoy our flight.
“That’s not going to happen, is it?” I whispered nervously to the seat stealing boy next to me.
“What, that we’ll enjoy our flight? Not if you keep interrupting my reading.”
The nerve of him! “No! That we might crash!”
He raised his eyes to the heavens. Or more accurately, to the “no smoking” sign above our seats. “I thought we were going to ignore each other.”
I frowned, and stared out the window. Suddenly, the plane began to move. Slower than I can jog, I’ll admit, but it was moving! I gripped the arm rests tightly, and watched intently as people on the ground waved flags and things to direct our plane. Soon enough, we were on the runway, building speed, and then the ground was getting smaller, and it really hit me.
“We’re flying!” I whispered to myself in awe.
“Good work, Sherlock.” The boy next to me muttered.
“Ignoring you!” I replied in a sing-song-y voice, without taking my eyes off the window.
Cars below us were ants. Warehouses were no larger than a chicken’s toenail. But as interesting as the view was, everything gets boring after a while.
I turned my attention to the people around me, carefully avoiding the one in the next seat over. The couple who had been arguing about dinner in the airport sat in front of me, her head on his shoulder. And across the isle from them... Starbucks Guy, listening to music from and MP3 player. I froze, then quickly unfroze myself. Why did he have to be sitting so close? Why did he have to be on this plane, for that matter? The world was an evil place.
I tried to focus on the other passengers, and then the view, and then a sudoku puzzle I had found in the seat pocket in front of me. But my eyes kept disobediently flicking over to Starbucks Guy. This was bad. I didn’t even know his name and I was already half stalking him.
It’s funny. Whenever I’d read those books where a girl goes completely goo-goo over a guy, and her brain short-circuits and stuff, I’d always just laughed at the characters for being so insanely silly. I’d never expected I could one day join their ranks. And here I was, obsessively watching a guy listen to music. Something was wrong with this situation. I seriously needed something to take my mind away from Starbucks Guy, and Sudoku%
A Short Story by Louise Kendrick
Violetta grew old in the absence of the moon. Sunrise bleached her, the rivers that were her bones trenching dry under skin. Her hair white as the princess in the coffin.
Violetta was born of a flower, but it was not a violet as you might expect, or even a bluebell. Nothing that came from the garden or the meadow, and a dappled sunlit forest would strike her blind. Violetta came sprouting from the rust-and-rubble mosaic of the old car dump. Her eyes dull as scratched paint. Her lips stained as if from blackberries. To touch her skin you feel vines underneath, their thorns curving upwards and catching on that thin expanse of snow. Press too hard and she’ll bleed. Violetta’s screams remind you of metal rusted shut.
Coming from the junkyard jungle she throws off iron easier than most. Every night she peels a coat off her, thin membrane like glue, like snakeskin. To the others she is toxic, her body a dolphin, poisoned and hot.
When the moon rises, Violetta crawls from between a flattened corvette and a mess of tin cans. Her skin is scored from her insides and tetanus. Her mouth squeaks open and closed, ceramic teeth like a little boy’s drawing, but she makes no noise. Her mothers had howled for wolves and raided villages for babies and jars of honey. Violetta digs nails from the shells of destroyed cars and lays them in patterns on the freeway: ping, ping, ping. From the scene of the accident she takes bottles of aspirin and cigarettes, which she burns in the woods like incense. Her ancestors had danced in smoke and flame, their forms appearing droplet by droplet in the campfires of mortals. Violetta’s face glows in the light of the tiny blue coal, the shadows reflecting patterns of lace up her arms. Ash fills her lungs but she was born without breath. The aspirins she crushes with the base of her thumb. She spits into the powder and injects it into her veins.
Someday Violetta will die. Living only at night like she does will shorten a lifespan beyond recognition. Violetta has been waiting for a hero, a white knight who will capture the foul beast and make it prophesy for him. And when that happens Violetta is immortal in a song, a ballad of true love, a romance novel sold for a quarter because the cover was torn off long ago. Her veins snarl around her bones like burns; she could read the future in them if anyone ever asks, but no one ever will. A pocketful of posies form a matted crown for her head. With every bloom she destroys another parent, but it will be worth it, won’t it, when the children come to clamor around her?
Violetta has spider bites up her arms where the needle has entered and marks around her throat from the dust of all that iron. Bruises catch under skin from the pricking of the thorns against the wall of her stomach. And flowers that never see sunlight grow salley and ugly-spindly, damp sick creatures from the caves of our mouths.
Violetta has flower blood in her she swears but right now it is thicker with aspirin and the sour smell of nicotine.
Tell me: Do you believe in fairies?
Louise Kendrick wrote this on a houseboat during the summer session in 2011. She is sixteen, and has been attending Woven Word's afterschool workshop since fourth grade. She thinks it is way cool. Louise likes to knit, read, write, and stare off into space thinking of reading and writing while looking disturbingly glazed. You can check out more of her writing at her Figment page. But no pressure.
I will not tell you what was on my mind.
I mind you asking, so don’t.
Just mind your own business.
Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t mind me speaking my mind.
Would you mind that?
After all, I should speak my mind.
So, it came to mind that…
I was mindlessly wandering
And I changed my mind about a mindless task.
I put it out of my mind
And took a load off my mind.
I was losing my mind
And it was the last thing on my mind
That it was all in my mind.
It was on my mind, that mindless task.
And I should mind my mind
Since a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
It then suddenly sprung to mind
That a mind is a thought mine,
Not a land mine, heaven forbid,
Nor a gold mine,
But a thought mine.
It slipped my mind before.
By the way,
I have half a mind to give you a piece of my mind if I hadn’t found peace of mind.
I should really make up my mind.
Should I speak my mind,
Or should I keep thoughts in my mind?
I’ll put my mind to solving it.
Jordy Perry-Greene was born on March 19, 2001, but for some reason he is 36 years old. He likes games and language, and particularly language games. Sometimes Jordy writes in the third person.
Children of God
The times I feel the most alone are when I am near the greatest of friends. We make little jokes and I throw them up in the air like confetti to distract from what I keep secret from them.
Aversion of the eyes, slight of hand.
I am a licensed magician. And being as good as I am, I sometimes mix my tricks and reality, I get lost within the illusion, and I hide behind the smoke and mirrors once I look into them and see a disfigured creature. I hide behind them and I feel so alone hiding behind my own reflection.
No one can stand being alone.
We start out as two, back to one and sometimes back to two if we’re lucky.
Some people start out as two and end up as 72.
Now, I don’t believe in God, maybe I just don’t like the idea of some bearded guy, eating potato chips in the sky, calling all the shots. I don’t trust that easily.
But for the first time in a long, long time I am beginning to see God’s gorgeous ears. They are big and spherical and ugly as hell, but they can catch all your troubles like a well-used baseball glove.
And sometimes I need to play a little existential game of catch.
So maybe I’m not pretty, maybe I’m not smart or nice or talented, maybe I’m just plain old different. But if that has kept me all alone all my life, I’m sure my imagination is twice the mass yours will ever grow because mine grew to accommodate the holes your expectations ate into the garments of my being like vicious little moths.
And maybe I don’t believe in God, but we all started out as two and we are all cut from the same cosmos, and we all came prepared with our notes and highlighters, why are we only allowed in so many sections of this heaven-shaped sphere of mortality?
I thought we all came from two.
I thought we all were cut from the same cosmos.
I thought we all were the children of God.
Annalise Cain, 16, is a student at a Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School, and is hoping to pursue theater and creative writing. One of her favorite lines she's ever written: 'I am the designated Benedict Arnold of my family.' One of her favorite lines she's ever uttered: 'For that, it is not night when I do see your face.' Over and out.
My mom said that we could buy some flowers. When we got to the flower store she saw roses and she saw sunflowers and by the roses a sign read, “Roses are read, violets are blue, I will be back in an hour or two.” My mom started laughing so hard that it sounded like she was going to cry. Then after she stopped laughing, she took a picture of the sign by the roses and the same sign by the violets. By the time we got home we had so many flowers we might have had to make a new garden, but we did not have to, we just had to put them very close together. Then we had to weed the whole garden and weed, and weed, and we had to weed around the plants. When we were done with out work my mom let us have some ice cream. It was the best day of my life.
Annalise Cook is nine years old and lives in Hadley.
Leaves rustle and whisper in the breeze, telling secrets that no one else will ever hear. Posing against the bright blue sky, wisps of clouds form hats over the treetops. Grasses bend as short gusts of wind get pulled through the sky. The silhouette of an abandoned barn is clear against the cotton ball sky. The barn’s rotting wood is slowly being pulled down by the ivy that has already taken over half of the barn. Sloping hills stumble and trip toward the horizon. I came across this forsaken, peaceful scene long ago. I believe that I am the only person that comes here now though once it was probably bustling with activity. Sometimes I sit on a stump or a boulder and watch.
I see many different things here: geese in their Vs, robins building their nests, and trees that change colors in the blink of an eye. Sometimes I sleep, smelling the sweet grass in my dreams. I wake up stiff and sore but always more rested than if I were sleeping in a feather bed. Today is not the same. I shiver, wrapping my thick coat around me. I look around at the place I have seen so many times, knowing that I would never see it again. If anyone were there, they would see pearly tears slip down my face. Finally I turn away and trudge onward, trying not to look back, trying to resist the urge to run to the place that I had always thought of as home.
Clouds of dust rise up around me and badly graded assignments flutter to the ground. Coughing, I wave away the dust to reveal the faded colors of my childhood. Shelves and shelves of toys and books that I hadn’t touched in years fill the closet. Each one brought back a memory. There was Theo, the zebra who went with me to the coral beach where I met my first and last shark, he was inflatable with red eyes and plastic skin. There were my American Girl dolls, Kit, Felicity, and Molly, who accompanied me to my missions to the moon (A.K.A., the tree house.) There was Go Dog, Go, the first book I ever read, it’s cover ripped and torn and faded from so many readings. I looked at all the shelves that lined the forgotten closet. Then I look at my box. The cardboard walls might just be two feet high and its width could barely contain just one of my old dioramas for the science fair.
How was I supposed to fit my whole childhood in a tiny brown box? I start with Cloudy, a miniature grey cat that came with me to dreamland every night for about 12 years. Making sure she was comfortable I start on the next thing. My mother’s agitated voice rises up through the floorboards. “Lydia! Are you almost done? “ I look at the lone cat in the box and yell, “Just a little more time, Mom.” Finally the box is packed to the brim. I caress Zookie’s knotted mane, the horse that danced with me on the ocean floor (under my bed when the blue quilt was on it) and gently place him on the top of the box. I close the lid and carry it to the basement. I slowly place it in the section named Lydia’s stuff an the dust settles onto it and the fresh box just becomes one more box. Slinging my duffle bag over my shoulder I get into my car and head off to a new adventure. But this time, no toy can rescue me.
Linden Wicinas age 12, did the writing workshop for over a year and absolutely loved it. She is in seventh grade at PVPA now and can't stand that the school lets out after the workshop starts and therefore it's impossible for her to do it. Besides writing Linden loves to read curled up in odd places, cook, doodle intensive doodles on scrap paper, and embroider pillows.
The Lucky Rock
I was sitting under my favorite place in the world. It’s a place where I can let my thoughts run, a place where I can be whatever and do whatever. My favorite place was the cherry blossom tree in the meadow behind my house. Under the tree were rocks and soft grass. I was lying on the soft grass, staring at the clouds. My thoughts and my whole mind fell onto the rocks and disappeared. I felt like I was lying on one of those clouds, like nothing was going to stop me from lying there. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something sparkling. It was a rock! It had gold specks in it and was gray in color. I picked it up and it fit perfectly in my hand. My mind and thoughts jumped back into my head as I walked back to my house.
Every day I would run back to the meadow and try to find another rock. I was never successful. Each time I went, I visited my secret world in my head. One day when I was looking behind the cherry blossom tree, I heard a rustling sound. I moved toward the sound but I couldn’t see anything. I walked closer to the rustle. I was in a part of the meadow that I had never been in before. Finally, I could see what was making the rustle. A beautiful lake with ducks and swans stood before me. I looked into the water’s surface and saw my reflection, along with some fish in the background! I remembered that I had a bathing suit under my clothes, so I dove into the lake. The warmth of the water hit my face as my hands touched the sandy bottom of the lake.
I was eating breakfast as fast as I could because we were going to move away from the cherry blossom tree, the meadow, and the pond, which had become my second home. Most of all we were moving away from my secret world. We were going to move by the ocean in Maine. Maine is my favorite vacation spot, so I wasn’t too sad. I put my lucky rock in my pocket. I could feel its magic spreading across my leg. I brought my suitcase to the car and went back to the cherry blossom tree to say good bye. I heard the engine of our car roar so I took one last glance at the meadow and hurried outside.
I jumped out of the car to stretch my legs the minute we got to the new house. I felt excited but I was already missing our old home and my wonderful backyard. Our new house was a big two story home with sage green siding and beige shutters. My new room has green walls and a full sized bed with a window seat that looks out onto a garden. I moved my suitcase into my room and peered out of my window at the view of the flowers below.
I walked slowly to the kitchen, examining the bare walls. The smell of roasted chicken led the way. My parents asked me how I liked the new house. I just shrugged. After everyone had settled in their bedrooms for the night, I crept past my parents’ bedroom and tiptoed through the living room to the back door. I wanted to explore the garden that I saw from the window seat in my room. I stepped outside. The cool breeze brushed my face. I could just make out the woods in the darkness. I slowly walked towards the garden. It was filled with wild flowers, tulips, sun flowers, geraniums, roses, daisies, and marigolds. Another paradise, I thought. I walked back inside and into the living room. I fell into a dreamy sleep with the warm of a dying fire on my face.
Excerpt from Maeve Story
The forty minutes it took to drive to Meath was a very long, uncomfortable forty minutes. Day drove steadily, his grey cap pulled down over his eyes, casting a grim shadow over the top half of his face.
At first, Maeve, in as subtle of a manner as she could manage, stared at Day as he gripped the steering wheel. His eyes never strayed from the damp road stretching ahead of them. What Maeve was trying to do was analyze him, which was a hard thing, considering the fact that he had spoken about five words total in their time together, so far.
Actually, she felt slightly let down at the sheer unreadable normalcy of the guy. She was looking at someone who drove an ancient pink car with teapot decals. Maeve felt it was fair to harbor some hopes that he would be even just a little eccentric. Apparently not. So far Day just seemed like an antisocial person lacking any character whatsoever. And, as she had soon learned, there was nothing to be gained from looking at him.
After a while Maeve settled into the same tired position Tariq had taken behind her—head leaning against the window glass, eyes vacant. Outside, the scenery of Ireland slipped quietly by through a screen of soft rain.
During the rest of that drive, Maeve had had only a few thoughts, which were Ow the suitcase is hurting my legs, Are we there yet, and Bluuuh I feel so weird, all of which passed through her mind as she leaned, mostly asleep, on the plastic of the car door.
When Day finally slowed and made a turn into a little dirt road, she lifted her head, grimacing as her cheek ripped off the black plastic where it had been stuck for the past half-hour. (Ew, Maeve thought, was I asleep and drooling?)
Tariq had sat up too, and was leaning forward to try to catch a glimpse of the house they’d be staying in before they left for Co. Cork.
It was Maeve, though, who saw it first.
In a tangle of overgrown plants, hiding behind some squat apple trees that had dropped green apples all over the driveway, was a very large house covered in flaking white paint, with a huge lion’s –head door knocker hanging from the battered door.
There were two thumps as some apples on a low branch hit the car roof, and they pulled to a halt.
“Well,” Day said. “This is Caddigan house.”
By Ava, age 12
Ava lives in Hadley and enjoys writing, drawing, and eating popcorn very very much.
How can they stand such a strange time?
the trees I mean.
The time when everything is gray.
Only just a while ago the air was alight with red, orange, and gold leaves floating around,
But then the rakers came, busy as bees and took it all away.
And now you stand, just a skeleton painted on an evening sky
Waiting, for the first few white flakes to come, dancing
To rest upon your heavy branches.
Branches filled with memories, or sights.
Sights of what has passed by your magnificent roots
that stretch under the shadow of your proud figure.
You stand tall and mighty as the newly born wind rattles your dull twigs.
How can you stand the cold, tension, waiting, -for what?
How can you survive the grayness?
Lark Wicinas, written at age 12. Published in Silkworm 3
There once was a man from Peru
Who put all his kids in a zoo.
He said to the bear
now that they were there
that he could eat them whenever he choose.
By Nathan Baron Silvern, seventh grade
Sophie and the rich girls
Chapter 1 A.S.A.P.13 year old Sophie was sitting on her king size bed watching Icarly on ONE of her double size flat screen televisions. “We’ll be right back on nick” said the television. Then an ad popped up and said “did you know that on your average hard wood floor has about 3 million bacteria on it and 4 bad odors but with the help of the all new oxydent floor cleaner your hardwood floor can be as 100 bacteria and no odors what so ever. So call now 1-800-CLEAN and be one the first 100 callers to g to 5 bottles of the all new oxydent floor cleaner delivered to where ever you like for just 6.75. Sophie clicked of the television and started to throw thing on the floor so that she could walk on the floor without touching it she kept throwing stuff until she was downstairs where her mom was “mom (gasp) we need to get the all new oxydent floor cleaner A.S.A.P.
THE END (FOR NOW)
Hillary Atkinson is nine years old. Her birthday is in Feburary. She has been in this workshop for a year and a half and enjoys it very much. She has 3 siblings, 2 brothers and 1 sister. She enjoys mostly music.