By: Varsha V.
By: Kiera K.
I sat up groggily and looked around. I was in. . .a forest? No, that didn’t make sense. Yet. . . it was true: I was in a tiny clearing.
“Why am I in this clearing?” I wondered.
I tried to remember the last place I had been, but despite my struggles, I couldn’t even remember my own name. Wow. . .
My stomach painfully ached for food, and I wondered how long I’d been passed out in a forest without food or water. My throat was dry and swallowing hurt.
The girl next to me stirred. She had wavy, jet black hair and tan skin. She was incredibly thin, probably from spending days without food like I had.
“Where-where are we?”She croaked in a scratchy voice. “And who are you?”
“I can’t even remember my own name. I don’t know why we’re in this clearing,” I answered in a gravelly voice.
Suddenly, the girl gasped and pointed. I followed her gaze, and I had an equally surprised reaction.
An unconscious, pale, dark-haired boy lay on the opposite side of the clearing. He had four red scars and a deep, bloody gash along his arm.
The girl stood up slowly and stared up at the sky with a smile. I looked up to see thick clouds and smiled as well. The clouds meant rain!
The girl grabbed some blueberries off of a few nearby bushes, and we devoured them in five minutes. Then, we collected a pile for the boy.
“Yes, rain!” She cried.
I guess a drop had hit her.
“Why can’t I remember anything? What is my name and where do I come from? NO, I can remember!”I thought, determined.
The girl weakly leaned back against a tree.
“D.. D.. Dest… Destiny?”
“What?”She stared at me. I had simply said it out loud without thinking.
“Destiny,”I repeated. “That’s my name. I don’t know how I remember that, but I do.”
“Okay, then,”she nodded slowly. “Well, we’ve been here for three days at most, since most humans can only go three days without water. Wow. . . I remember that, but I can’t even remember my own name.”
She appeared to be in deep thought. She was mumbling something, so I barely heard anything. “L. . .Lyla. . .Luise. . .”
“Lua!” She exclaimed. “I managed to remember my name,”
As it began to rain harder, Lua and I happily gulped down the water..
Then, I looked down into a puddle. I saw a girl staring up at me; she looked as if she hadn’t seen food in weeks. Then, I realized that girl was me. I had ratty, mouse brown hair and a scar on my cheek.
“There are secret tunnels that run through this forest!” Lua blurted.
“How do you know that?” I questioned, intrigued.
“I… I don’t know,” She admitted with a helpless shrug. “I. . . I just do.”
“Well, hopefully we can find them because I heard a growl and I don’t wanna wait to see what made it,” I told Lua.
Lua examined all of the trees around us. We were silent; the only sounds were the boy’s faint breathing. Even together, Lua and I were so weak that we had trouble holding the thin boy.
“We’ve probably been in this clearing for longer than three days,” Lua broke the silence. “Someone must’ve given us water during that time, ‘cause we all look far skinnier than three days without food.”
I nodded slowly; I could see that both Lua’s and the boy’s clothes hung off of them loosely. I found it unlikely that we’d all been this thin before now.
Lua stumbled from the weight of the boy, but I managed to lay him down gently.
I jumped at the sound of thunder booming. Lua pulled the boy away from the trees, and he finally woke up. He looked at both of us in surprise.
“We’re the first people to ever escape,” He breathed. “Destiny, Lua, we have to make the world know our story.”
Lua and I shared a confused ‘What is he talking about?’ look.
“What did we escape from?” I wondered
The strange boy glanced at his arm and scowled. “These stupid cuts won’t do anything. . . why doesn’t he get that?!”
“We don’t know, but what did we escape from?” Lua said.
The boy visibly shuddered. “You two are lucky that they erased your memory. I’m stuck with the horrors of it, haunting my dreams,”
An arc of lightning flashed in the sky, and I gasped. I bolted towards the tree, but the boy grabbed my arm.
“We’re in the middle of a storm, and your first idea is to run into trees?!” The boy scowled.
“Do you have a better idea?” I glared at him before remembering that he’d been passed out when we’d discussed the tunnels.
“How about NOT run into trees!? You know, something logical?” He suggested sarcastically.
“I know it sounds crazy but just trust me on this one, we think one of these trees has a secret tunnel.” Lua said quickly.
“How can I trust you? You just tried to charge into trees during a thunderstorm! Honestly, if that’s not illogical thinking, then I don’t know what is!”
Lua drifted to the tree and pressed her hand on it. I stared at the tree while wondering how she could tell. The tree split, leaving a small opening. As thunder rumbled in the sky again, Lua climbed in. And, promptly disappeared.
“LUA!” The boy and I shrieked in unison as we bolted to the tree.
Lightning struck again, and I heard a tree crash to the ground, fairly close to us.
“We’re safer if we don’t go into a tree. We should just back up and—” The boy started.
“NO!” I screamed, somehow gaining the confidence—or stupidity—to shout and attract whatever creatures were near us. “Lua is our friend and she just fell into a tree! I don’t know about you, but I’m cold, scared, and angry! And I’m gonna do something about it!”
The boy stared at me before nodding.
“I’m just saying, this is a really dumb idea. If we get sent back to that place—” The boy scowled as he said ‘place’—“I’m blaming you two,” He climbed in, and I followed.
I was immediately engulfed in darkness. The thin sliver of light let in from the opening only revealed the metal chute the boy was already sliding down.
I heard a clang, then Lua called up to us. “Prepare for a hard landing. . . I think I sprained my ankle.”
“Are you hurt?” The boy asked.
“Oh, yeah, I’m fine. I sprained my ankle, but I’m not hurt at all,” She answered sarcastically
“Hey, what’s your name?” I asked.
“I already told you! It’s Lua!” Lua answered.
“Not you!” I snapped.
I hit something padded, and the chute changed direction. The dim light of wherever we were going allowed me to barely see the boy’s silhouette.
“Mylo” the scrawny boy answered. “My name is Mylo.”
I heard the clang of Mylo hitting the ground.
When I landed, I twisted my ankle.
“Aww, my shoulder,” Mylo groaned while clutching his shoulder.
Lua balanced on one foot a few feet away from us and stared at a blinking light. I looked at the light, but I didn’t see what was so interesting about it. Mylo frowned at the light, then gasped.
“It’s an S.O.S. message!” He cried.
I glanced between the two of them, then at the blinking light.
“How is that light an S.O.S message. . .?” I wondered aloud.
“Morse code,” Lua answered. “Someone needs help!”
Mylo pushed himself up with one arm and walked to Lua. He supported her so she could walk, but they both looked back at me.
“Aren’t you coming?” Lua said.
“I twisted my ankle,”
“Really?” Lua arched an eyebrow (and, no, she did not say ‘really’ in a caring way. She said it as if she really meant ‘seriously? Your excuse for not walking is that?!’). “Suck it up; you can walk.”
As they turned their heads away from me, I glared at Mylo’s wavy, dark hair. Neither of them even helped me up. They hobbled to the flashing, red light while I pushed myself up.
“Well, thanks anyways!” I added as I caught up with them.
“You’re welcome!” They responded sarcastically.
They inspected wall around the lights. Lua tapped something on the wall in what I assumed was morse code while Mylo felt the wall for something.
“What are you guys doing?” I asked, hoping I could help.
“Feeling the wall for a crack or hidden switch or something else that could lead us to whoever needs help,” Mylo answered.
Lua had stopped tapping and was feeling the wall like Mylo.
“Maybe you have to touch the light. . .?” I suggested.
To show them what I meant, I walked to them and stood on my toes (the majority of my balance was on the toes of the foot that hadn’t been injured). I could just barely reach the light with my fingertips. Lua showed me how to tap S.O.S. in morse code, and I tapped it on the light. To my surprise, a doorway opened up in front of us.
All three of us glanced at each other. I was the first to enter, and Mylo and Lua followed. I heard them quietly whisper to each other and laugh. I could barely hear any of it, but I got the feeling they were talking about me.
“. . . a wimp. . .”
“. . . annoying. . .”
“. . .ankle. . .acted like. . .broke her leg,”
I grit my teeth and glared at the ground.
“Aah!” I shouted as I tried to take a step and the ground wasn’t there.
I felt myself start to fall, but someone grabbed the back of my shirt.
“Don’t worry,” Mylo told me reassuringly.
He pulled me back, and I stated,”Whoever wants help is making us go to a lot of trouble.”
“Yeah,” Mylo muttered.
“So. . .do we stay in here or go back?” I asked.
Instead of an answer, I found some kind of cloth in my hands.
“Don’t let go of this, no matter what,” Lua instructed.
“Lua? What are you doing?” Mylo questioned.
“Don’t worry,” She responded.
I squinted and could just barely see Lua hobble to the edge and drop down. I felt her weight and held onto the cloth like my life depended on it. After a few seconds, I no longer felt her weight on the cloth. At the end of those seconds, I heard the clang of Lua hitting metal.
“Guys! Drop down! There’s a metal platform!” Lua explained.
I helped Mylo get down in a way that didn’t require the use of his injured shoulder. I dropped down and stumbled.
I could see a faint blue light in the distance. It was flashing the S.O.S. message from before.
Without a single word, all three of us were charging towards the light. We found that it was at the entrance to a room. We all entered the room only to be grabbed immediately. I screamed as cold hands grabbed me.
I found myself against a wall with Mylo and Lua in the same situation on my right as blinding lights went on in the room. I heard cold laughter.
“What does it feel like to go all this way, just to realize that you walked into a trap?” A steely voice chuckled from somewhere behind us.
I heard Mylo mumbling. “No, not this. Anything but this. We’ll disappear, just like everyone else who tried to escape,”
“We left you each with specific memories to lead you here.” The voice explained.
So. . . whoever owned that heartless voice was responsible for my memory loss.
“No! I refuse to be forced to do your evil work again!” Mylo shouted.
The memories slowly returned. Mylo, Lua, and I used to be lonely orphans. Luckily, we’d found each other. We never really knew where we were going, but we traveled together and became inseparable. One fatefully horrible day, we met Dr. S. He’d offered us a job to get money and a home. All three of us were absolutely ecstatic.
The home? It was a large cell. The job? It forced us to steal from people. We unwillingly took almost everything from people. Except for their lives.
After years of horribly harsh treatment, the three of us had to escape. We ran away about 4 months ago. We attempted to make our horrible past known, but no one believed us because Dr. S is supposedly the head of a largely popular technology company. And Dr. S.—the hateful, heartless man I knew was somewhere in the room—was nothing but an evil, lying creep who probably had someone else running “his” company.
“That project is done,” Dr. S. told Mylo. “For running away, and telling people about this place, you three will be punished. You didn’t really think we didn’t know about your escape, did you? We caught you, erased some of your memories, and put you in the forest. We fed you three so you would live and suffer in our little maze, but your deaths awaited you.”Dr. S. nodded to the men holding the three of us against the wall. “Take them to the execution room. They have no use to us.”
By: Varsha V.
I first figured out that
Life’s a fight
The moment I stepped
Into this world
The moment I saw people being
Because of how they look
The number that the measuring tape reveals when it’s pulled around your waist
The layers of cosmetics applied onto your face
Skinny and stunning
The magic words that have changed us since kindergarten
We think we have to squeeze ourselves
Into those standards,
Be what everyone expects out of us but
Who created those expectations?
We’ve hit rock bottom at the pool of originality.
Ugly. fat. hideous.
Where did these words come from?
Who forged negativity into them,
Those words that cause thousands of tears everyday.
We need to know that what seem to be our weaknesses are our greatest strengths
Stop pointing out the flaws
And embrace the beauty.
You glow with something that
no amount of miracle cream can give you.
Forget the mirror.
There’s no better you than who you are
And don’t let the bars of conjecture subdue you
Stunning and skinny
Are nothing but words
By: Pineapple Blueberry
“That’ll be $4.50, ma’am” The barista in the coffee shop spoke with a smooth, hippie voice that begged me for money.
“Oh, and we don’t take credit cards.” The barista smiled, but I wanted to tear her face off. What type of coffee shop doesn’t take a credit card? I was never coming back.
I fumbled in my bag desperately searching for that last quarter. The customers behind me yelled impatiently. This is New York after all; its citizens were incredibly irritable.
“Screw you!” I shrieked back into the crowd of blood-hungry Americans. My hands fumbled for a quarter, that final 25 cents. They were getting louder and louder, and I was getting more furious as ever. The only quarter in my grasp was sewn into the lining of my purse, and I wasn’t going to give it to some desperately bankrupt hippie with freaking dreadlocks.
One of the neanderthals behind me saw the quarter. His barbarically inflated hand reached for the quarter. My heart stopped. No one besides me had touched that quarter in five years.
“You have ten cents here; get something cheaper and leave.” He shouted at me, though it was mainly spittle. The idiocy in his words were astonishing.
I wiped the spit off my face, though the pure anger in my eyes could have made it evaporate.
“That is a quarter, you fool. It’s twenty-five cents; the American school system has truly failed you, you unbelievably stupid sasquatch. Scientists should study you; we can use your brain cells on the enemy.” My words flowed out of my mouth. It felt so good to argue again. Screw my therapist.
I snatched the precious quarter from his meaty hands. Taking great care, I wiped the quarter gently trying, and failing, to erase the barbarism now imprinted on the coin. I’m going to have to boil it now. A futile expression still hung on his simple face– even though it had been almost three minutes. Finally, my words had dawned on him. His face got crimson; the blood poured into his brain– destroying the few air molecules up there.
“What’d you say to me?” He said in a drunkenly slurred voice. His fat fist drew up. The scene was too funny; up until the part where he punched me in my face. I blacked out. Chivalry truly is dead.
I woke up in the interrogation room. The classic one in all the great cop shows, and movies. It had the double sided mirror/ glass window. As an incredible “cop show” fanatic, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. However, as a trained specialist in this area with my experience in watching all 15 seasons of CSI, I professionally deduced that I screwed up.
The detective walked into the room with a commanding gait. His badge was the old model; they had updated it eleven years ago. He was an old one. With more than eleven years in his arsenal he had to have either been a captain of a precinct, or– if incredibly useless– at least a head detective. Since Captains don’t conduct interrogations, I can glean that the man in front of me was the head detective of this precinct. Thousands of hours watching crime shows weren’t all for nothing; plus it said his title on his mug in his hand.
“Are you.…” He looked up. “…Sarah Zhou.” He said those words looking right at her.
“I refuse to say anything without a lawyer. And you haven’t read me my Miranda Rights, so I can say anything without being prosecuted.” I said those words proudly. The detective looked fatigued.
“Calm it right down GI Jane.” His irritated face glared at me, and I shut right up. Maybe he wasn’t useless. “We just want to ask you a few questions about the fight.”
“Fight? What fight?” Questions surged inside me, but there was too many to say.
“After you passed out, a fight broke out. People started throwing chairs, and punches. Eventually the cavalry was called.” He said these words annoyingly, like it was all a waste of his precious time. However, for me it was devastating; it was all my fault.
“Was anyone hurt?” I sighed. I never thought that it would become serious. The detective’s face softened when he realized that I had a conscience.
“No,” he said. Thank God. “But… witnesses say that you started it…” he looked at his case file, “… over a quarter.” The disbelief was clear on his face; he thought I was an idiot.
I put my head between my hands and laid down on the table. I couldn’t lose that quarter. The day I found those 25 cents was the day my life started.
The coin was just sitting there in the snow surrounded by the dying trees. It glistened and shined surrounded by all the reflective snow. I just thought that it was pretty, so i picked it up. And, my life changed forever.
For fifteen years the quarter stood with me constantly finessing good luck. It was my goodluck charm. Now, the minute it gets taken away I get arrested. My life depended on that quarter. When I was without it the paranoia immediately sets in. The claws of perils reach for my soul; everyone around me is an enemy waiting to ruin my life.
As I sat in that room, without my coin, the fear has settled and seeping into every nook and cranny of my paralyzed brain. Sweat coated my face, the same expression sat dumbly on my face. I needed my quarter.
“Take me to my quarter. Please.” I begged.
I knew the detective could tell the story of my quarter without me even having to say it. He knew everything, and I didn’t have to say a word.
“Fine,” he said. “It’s in our tech lab downstairs. Our technician, Amanda, has it. I’ll take you to it.”
Relief washed over me as a wave washes over a seabed; it takes the worry, and shells away.
I hesitantly stood up; the effect of the missing coin still lingered in my head. But, I would soon be reunited.
We arrived later down in the basement.
“Hi,” their lab technician was chirpy and happy. I liked her. With her around I felt more at peace. She gave some spiel about some science thingy; I understood nothing. Her face looked grim; as if it were coated with bad news. Something was coming.
“I understood none of that.” I told her. “You’re avoiding something; I know it. Just talk.”
“Okay,” she said. “This quarter used to belong to… Hitler. It was what was in his pocket when he died.”
Disbelief washed over my mind. A numbing feeling paralyzed my thoughts and stabilized my face in that clueless, idiot face. She gave me five seconds before talking again; I was grateful for every last moment.
“I’m not done,” she continued. “17 years ago, a pawn shop was robbed. This quarter was one of the prized possession belonging to the owner. It was a partner job. They killed the owner, and one of the robbers turned up later, dead, frozen into the ocean. The man who robbed the store has been wanted for nearly 20 years. This coin….” Her voice trailed off.
She didn’t need to finish. This coin, my life, was witness to murders. With an “s”.
Book Review By: Molang B.
This story receives a
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
This society is divided. The Reds are regular people, just like us; the Silvers have powers that are out of this world. They think that Silvers are superior just because of these “superpowers,” and the Reds won’t disagree. They would get killed if they disagreed, but one night, working as a servant for the Silvers, Mare Barrow showcases her surprising Silver-like abilities. Hiding in plain sight, Mare is stuck as a pawn in the Queen’s game.
I really enjoyed this book, and one of the things that made this book memorable is that there was THE biggest PLOT TWIST. Seriously. You have to read it, and when you get to the plot twist, you’ll be FREAKING OUT. It is just that good. I didn’t see it coming, and I read a lot of books with a lot of plot twists. When (not if) you read this book, you can rant to me about the plot twist.
Also, there are many other components to this book… romance being one of them. I think that there is a love square, but there is definitely a love triangle. What is with all these books have love triangles? Every single time I read a book, there is always a love interest, but it’s cool in this one because it makes the story more interesting.
Now for the quotes….
“The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen
These quotes are almost as good as The Fifth Wave’s quotes. Almost.
“It’s our nature. We destroy. It’s the constant of our kind. No matter the color of blood, man will always fall.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen
It is also depressing…. Anyway, you should totally read this book, AND the best part is that the second book came out THIS FEBRUARY. THANK YOU, VICKY. Yep, I call the author Vicky. We’re tight like that. NOW GO BUY THE BOOK.
Red Queen series:
Glass Sword (Feb. 9 2016)