Bonnie Ventura

The building had a gothic feel to it. The windows had black soot stains from years of enduring rain and neglect. The whole place was a dreary sight, not to say that all gothic buildings were dreary. In my book, gothic buildings were the best types of buildings, compared to the square ones that looked like a four-year-old’s Lego experiment. I observed this from my car, of course. The rain poured down in sheets outside, and folks rushed from awning to awning, attempting to get to their small offices in buildings similar to the one I would soon enter. I checked my watch, 8:22 A.M., and sighed begrudgingly. It was just about time. Opening the car door and walking across the street, similar to the folks I had mentioned before. I now had a chance to see if the interior was just as inferior as the exterior. It was.

A secretary sat at a small desk with her ear pressed to a flip phone, the type of over-the-counter phone that drug dealers use. I guess these types of people couldn’t afford nice gadgets, like iPhones that recognize your fingerprints. She talked with a New Jersey accent and looked like she was straight from the eighties with puffy, curly blonde hair and bright blue eye shadow. In short, she looked like a washed-up celebrity.

The rest of the lobby was like her: outdated. A grandfather clock stood in the corner, the hands not moving. The retro waiting chairs were an off-color yellow with flowers embroidered in them, and the coffee table was covered in white chipping paint. Overall, it felt like your grandma’s living room. Cheery.

“No, I already told you I can’t do that for you, Mikey!” the secretary’s voice whined. “It’s above my pay grade!” This was spoken with a sharper tone than before, and without hesitation, the woman slammed the phone shut and placed it on her desk, robotically, shutting her eyes like a jaded schoolteacher.

“Cheery place you got here.”

“You think so?” she asked.

“Sure. If you like nursing homes.” She rolled her eyes.

“Do you happen to know something of an Arlo White?” I said, taking out my cigarette pack and plucking one out of its tightly packed box.

“Can’t you see this is a bad time to run your mouth?” she asked.

“It’s always a bad time to run your mouth.” I flipped my lighter open and the tobacco blazed.

“You can’t smoke in here,”she said. Slowly, I lifted my eyes so that I was looking at her from under the brim of my peach-colored fedora and snapped the lighter closed.

“This is the 21st century, you know, the only folks who light up nowadays are shady bums,” she said.

“Is that so?” I asked.

She pursed her lips together and glared at me with hatred that I wouldn’t think you’d be able to gather after a 10-second conversation.

“Yes, it is.” The room began to fill with smoke.

“Look, ma’am, do you have a particular reason for being here, or did you come here in the rain to be a pain in the neck?”

“Well, as I mentioned before, I‘m here to see an Arlo White.”

“Arlo White?” She had a snarky voice.

“That’s what I said.”

“Sounds like a fake name to me.” She slowly turned around to the wall of names behind her and scanned the rows passive-aggressively.

“It may be as far as I know,” I said.

“Arlo White, eighth floor.” She snarled, “You’re welcome. Suite 821.”

Without glancing back at the Madonna wannabe, I made my way to the elevator and pushed number eight.

“Some lady you are,” she half muttered to herself before painting her nails with the half-used bottle of Wite-Out on her desk.

The elevator dinged, and a girl wearing all Forever 21 clothes and false pink pastel nails stepped out, staring at her phone, out of place in comparison to the gloomy retro vibe of the building. As she walked, her Kate Spade boots clicked on the tile floor. Inside, the elevator was like any elevator, the buttons a pale yellow and the numbers up to 12. For some reason, someone thought it had been a good idea to install a stereo system.

“On 99.5, we have the hottest hits.”

“And the hottest men. Have you checked out Tyler Smith’s new album, Casey?”

“I have, and soon will the listeners with the song, ‘All I Know’ coming right up.”

Lucky for me, the elevator dinged just as the song started. Though from what I heard, it was decent. It wasn’t painful, but at the same time I wouldn’t listen to it on my own time.

My shoes squelched on the bland, red carpet, still soggy from the rain. Suite 821 was a bit down the hall, the door made from a cheap oak knockoff and the window from frosted glass with the words, “Arlo White, defense lawyer. ‘Call A. White if you want a fair fight!’” written in 50’s font next to a pair of cartoon boxing gloves. I grimaced, grabbing the knob and thinking of how sad Arlo White’s life must be, before opening the door.

Inside was an empty desk that should’ve belonged to a secretary, and a set of maybe five red-cushioned waiting chairs. No one was in the chairs, either. The whole place was as empty as a shut-in’s funeral. Wearily, I walked inside and observed the desk. On it was a white telephone, and next to it was a stack of papers with a sticky note. The sticky note read, “Out sick, Real Housewives marathon today. Will finish work Monday.” Today was Tuesday, which suggested that the Real Housewives marathon would be going on a whole week. It also suggested that Mr. White ran a loose establishment, but reading the note wasn’t necessary to prove that fact.

I pulled my off-white Polaroid out from my jacket pocket and snapped a shot. I prefer Polaroids because, like the secretary downstairs, I don’t have enough money to buy an iPhone. Plus, I got the pictures straight away and didn’t need to find a place to develop them. Maybe Mr. White and I weren’t so different after all: we both were in a tough racket and ran probably not even four-star businesses.

I checked my watch and decided I should knock on the second fake oak door, since I was supposed to have met Arlo five minutes ago. No response. The whole office must have slept in, except it couldn’t have since I had called the guy fifteen minutes ago on my way here. I pushed the door open to find a long table. On that long table was a hand clutching a pencil, a suit, as cheap as a McDonald’s breakfast combo, and atop that suit, a head. A head with a hat on it, a bowling hat. The kind they used to wear in the old mafia movies. It didn’t have the Godfather-type chicness, and yet, it didn’t seem like you’d buy one at a neighborhood garage sale. A piece laid a little bit down the table, a polished one, much nicer than anything else the sap had on him.

In the other room, there was a sound: a click. In the waiting room, the door of Suite 821 clicked open. I reached for my gat and peeked through the crack of the door. A man in a suit leaned over the secretary’s desk and sighed.

“There’s always some show on. She can never just do her goddamn job.” He talked in a New York accent and had light brown slicked back hair, a goatee, and a grey briefcase. He looked even more dead and cheaper than the sap in the office. Resting his face in his hands, he looked at the floor, and then, walked slowly up to the door. I hid behind the door frame, and he walked in, coffee in hand.

“Jesus H. Christ.” He stared ahead not in fear, not in sadness, but weariness.

He said, “Dennis, they got Dennis.” I walked out from the shadows.

“Who’s Dennis?” The man instinctively took a step back. Unfortunately, out of fear, he didn’t check where he was stepping and stumbled into Dennis’s lap, screaming and falling over, dropping his three dollar coffee, and spilling it all over his lap.


“Who’re you?” I laid the piece on the table next to Dennis and helped the guy up.

“Me-me? I’m the fella who runs this fine establishment. Who’re you?” He sarcastically wiped the coffee off his pants.

“Bonnie Ventura. You Arlo White?”

“No, I’m Vito Corleone. I mean, come on, look at me, do I look like a threat?”

“The saddest looking people are the ones to look out for.”

“Gee thanks. I appreciate the compliment, but that ain’t the case with me.” He sat down, looking at the pool of blood surrounding Dennis. Then he sighed, shaking his head wearily.

“I could really use a drink about now.” He said.

“How about some coffee?” I said.

Arlo looked from Dennis to me.

“You didn’t kill ‘im, did you?”

“I’m a private detective, not a cop, killing ain’t my line of work.”

“Okay…okay.” He sighed. “But you’re paying.”



The diner was Slim’s Pancake House, and it was straight from the 50s. The lettering of the sign was that of the words on Arlo’s door, and the prices were cheaper than his outfit, a true gem.

“I like it. These types of places are rare,” Arlo said. “Nowadays, coffee is six dollars, pancakes fourteen when it tastes like a hotel breakfast. I say fuck that. I’m not paying for a five star dinner. I’m paying for scrambled eggs, no garnishes, no cheese imported from France, no long-range, all natural, low-fat milk. If I wanted that, I’d go to a vegan cafe in Brooklyn.” A waitress came to fill up our mugs.

“Thank you.” He took a long sip. “Nowadays, people are so picky. They only eat what the New York Times reviews.” I shrugged.

“All that’s true, but when it comes right down to it, some people are diner people and some just aren’t.”

“Are you a diner person?” he asked.

“I don’t see why people eat any other food.” I took out a cigarette from my coat pocket. “They don’t mind smoking in here, do they?”


I flipped the lighter open, and Arlo watched the tobacco light.

“Could I have a light?” he asked.

“Sure, why not?” I handed him a cigarette and brought the flame to it. He leaned back against the classic, red-padded booth we both sat in.

“Now, are you ready to talk about Dennis or not?” He squinted.

“What’s your play here?”

“I don’t know what’s going on half the time, and I certainly haven’t figured enough out to make a play.” I took a sip of my coffee. It was black, but watered down, so the bitterness wasn’t nearly as bitter as it could’ve been.

“Isn’t it your job to know what’s going on half the time?” Arlo pointed his cigarette at me.

“My job is to figure out what’s going on, not to know it.”

“And how’s figuring stuff out going for you?”

“Not too great.”

“Not too great.” He leaned back in his seat and looked at me, relaxed.

“Well, my day hasn’t been going too great either. Dennis was an old…client of mine. Came to me for advice.”

“Advice on what?” He shrugged.

“Money stuff. Guy had a gambling problem, a serious one.”

“Serious ‘cause he was winning too much or losing too much?”

“I hired him when he was losing. A couple hours ago, he was winning.”

“And that’s something you pride yourself on?”

“The man’s dead. In my book, that’s nothing to be proud of.”

“I hope that in most people’s books, it’s nothing to be proud of,” I said.

“I can think of someone who may be proud of it.”

I raised my eyebrows at Arlo, and he smiled, not with smugness or happiness but with fatigue. The man didn’t have the impression of someone who prided himself with most things, or even cared about most things. I liked it. People who are too enthusiastic have too much to hide. In my theory, that’s where the enthusiasm comes from.

“Mikey Devant,” Arlo said finally.

“Mikey Devant? Sounds faker than your name.”

Arlo took a sip of his coffee.

“Well, I can assure you my name’s 100% real.” He smiled.

“Is that a fact?”

“Yes. Yes, it is.”

“The secretary in your building didn’t seem to think so.”

“Who? Loretta?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t eat breakfast with her.”

“Did she have curly blonde hair and a lip on her?”

I nod.

“That would be Loretta.” He sighed. “Girl’s a real piece of work.”

“How so?”

“She’s got a champagne taste on a beer budget.” Without elaboration or pauses, Arlo continued. “Could be useful in your case here, though. See, when Dennis was my client, sometimes, we’d go to this casino on 14th, named Mirage – ”

“There’s a casino called Mirage?”

“Yeah, I know. Counterintuitive. Anyways, Dennis used to go there, and I’d talk to him about gambling, coach him on it.”

“So, you taught him how to cheat?”

“Nah, he taught himself how to cheat. I just tried to figure out what made it so addicting for him.”

“And what’d you find?”

“Nothing. I’d make a bad detective, but what I did find was that Loretta works there every Tuesday night, and Dennis had a thing for her.”

Uck. What kinda thing? Could she’a killed him?”

“I don’t know. My job is to figure out what’s going on, not to know it.’” He said, mocking me.

“No, my job is to figure out what’s going on. You’re a lawyer. Your job is to know what’s going on.” I paused. “So I take it that knowing stuff hasn’t been going too great for you?”

“No, it hasn’t. It hasn’t been going too great.”

I took out a flask from the inside pocket of my trench coat.

“You like rye?”

“It’s – ” He checked his knockoff Rolex. “8:57 in the morning. Don’t you have a job to do?”

“Ar, I’m a good detective, because I follow my intuition, and half of the time, what my intuition is telling me is that I could use a drink.”

“So you’re drunk on half your cases?”   

“More than half, and I wouldn’t say ‘drunk.’ ‘Drunk’ makes it sound like I don’t know where to put my feet. Drinking is what helps me solve my cases and gives me ‘moments of clarity,’ and if that bothers you, I don’t really care. All I know is that I’m too sober to solve this case, and I can see you could use a drink yourself.”

“Huh.” He studied me as I poured the rye into my 50s mug and swirled it around with a coffee spoon. Then he rubbed his eyes with his hands, exasperated. “I like rye as much as any other liquor.”

I filled his mug to the brim before tucking the flask back inside my coat. He sat and watched the liquids blend for a moment before drinking it all in one swift motion.



Since Arlo was evidently a not-so-great lawyer, and didn’t know what the word was with Loretta, we decided to pay her a visit wherever she lived, since when we left Arlo’s sad office building Loretta was not in her usual place in the lobby. We took my car, a pitch black ‘67 Chevy Impala. It used to belong to a moll who had a real thing for cars. So much so that she killed her husband in it after he tried to cut off her allowance. My sister, Ariana, worked on the case and managed to pull it out of evidence for me. Ariana was a good detective. Sure, she could be unenthusiastic, annoying, offtrack, and uncaring, but when it came down to the real tough parts of the job, she was a right on, smart girl. We would need her help.

“Ariana!” I put her on speaker phone.

“Bonnie, did you finally come to your senses and accept my offer?” She wanted me to join the force.

“You know, just as much as I’d do that, I would never stoop down to a cop’s level.”

“But you would stoop down to a con artist’s level.”

“Private investigators are not con artists.” I paused. “Except for maybe Archie.” Archie was a private detective and a con artist at that; the man had no real talent and spent his days hypnotising frantic victims of crimes who detested cops.

“Archie! Well, when you have a change of heart, you know who to call. Speaking of which, why’d you call this time?”

“You have any info on a Loretta Capman?”

“Hang on for a minute – I’ll see what I can do – ”

Arlo turns to me, “Your friend?”



“Two year difference.”

“Who’s older?”


Arlo and I went back to sitting in silence. He emptied his cigarette ashes into the Mikey atop my dashboard, as the rain tapped gently on his window. The storm was letting up now, though to be outside you’d still want an umbrella. Miserable weather. I preferred sunny days over rainy ones, but I preferred thunderstorms over sunny days.

Ariana got back on the phone.

“Well she’s not in the system, but the last charge to her credit card was at Lenny’s Lodge, a motel just outta town.”


“3932 Jameson.”

“Thanks, Ariana.”

“No problem.”

I hung up and started the engine. The streets were drawn weirdly throughout the city. Luckily, I knew where Jameson was because of its frequent use. If you wanted to go out north of the city, Jameson was the road to take. With that being said, whether Loretta killed Dennis or not, she was almost certainly guilty of something. Jameson was a long way from Arlo’s building, so going to a motel there meant you intended on skipping town, and skipping town after a murder meant there was some kind of connection. I turned to Arlo. I doubted it, but he might have known something about Capman that was important.

“So what was Loretta like?”

“What? As a secretary?”

I glared at him, “No. As a driver?”

Arlo sighed. “Well, I didn’t give her much thought.”

“Yeah. Makes sense, considering she didn’t know who you were.”

“She knows who I am. A while back, when Dennis and I were at Mirage, he was flirting with her, and when she asked who I was, he said a lawyer. She said something about how it was strange for a lawyer to be at a casino, and then said that if she ever needed law advice, she’d call me. About a week later, she called and asked me to dinner.”

“And you’re only mentioning this now? What did you say?”

“I was busy.”

“Doing what?”

“I don’t know. On a case.”

We stopped at a red light, and I shook my head, “You know, for a lawyer, you don’t seem to pay much attention to detail.”

“And for a detective you don’t seem very sober.”

“Being sober doesn’t factor into the job requirements.”



By the time we pulled up at 3932 Jameson Street, the rain had nearly stopped and it continued only as a misty drizzle. 3932 was on the outskirts of town, and pine trees nearly surrounded it. A rehabbed, one-story cabin had been transformed into a “luxury get away,” or at least, that’s what the sign read. The structure would’ve made a good log cabin if it was in a different place, at a different time, with a little fixing up. In front of the lodge was an American flag atop a relatively tall pole, the flag tattered and dirty. The whole building, flag and all, looked like it could’ve been a filming location for Twin Peaks.

The two of us walked inside.

“Jesus.” Arlo gazed at the walls.

He said “Jesus” in reference to the animal heads mounted on the walls. It’s the first thing anyone would notice when they walked in. There were so many that it looked like a taxidermist’s. Deer, elk, moose, fox, bears. A real nice place to stay if you liked dead animals watching everything did. It didn’t bother me per se; what bothered me was when hotels hung up motivational travel quotes to seem unique, when you could buy them at Macy’s, Kohl’s, or any retailer near you. Aside from the animal heads, what was noticeable was the smell of gasoline.

I approached the front desk. A man was sitting, reading the newspaper. He wore thin wired glasses, and looked like he was in his late 60s with a long white mustache, and a cowboy hat that made him look like a sheriff from a western.

“Excuse me, sir?” He sat next to an ornate golden bell, like Hector Salamanca. The man slowly raised his head.

“Yes ‘m.”

“Do you have a guest here by the name of Loretta Capman?”

“I wouldn’t know, ma’am. I don’t ask the fellas their names. I just give them their room keys.”

I took out a badge. “Well, could you check? It’s important.”

“I suppose so.” The man kept no computer, and instead had a big book with tourists’ names. His frail fingers flipped through the pages slowly until he stopped to squint at one page.

“Room 104.”

“Thank you, sir.”

We walked through the hallway to the end. As we walked, the smell of gasoline grew stronger.

“Jesus Christ. What’d the gal do? Light herself on fire?”

“I certainly hope not. That would destroy our one lead.” When we reached the door, I took out my gun. “Po-lice, open up!”

“I thought you said you weren’t a cop?” Arlo whispered, staring at the badge I still clutched in the palm of my hand.

“I’m not. I bought this on Amazon for 76 cents.” It read B. VENTURA. “It was name customizable.”

The loud sound of an engine growled from outside of the building, and I charged into the room, the doors unlocked. We ran to the open window. A rickety old 60s Cadillac leisurely passed the window. The car’s paint had chipped away. It was faded red with one of the doors being another color entirely, which you could only classify as a mix of blue and grey creating an unusual pastel metallic color. If the vehicle could be described as a person, it would be the weird quirky kid that no one wanted to play with at recess in elementary school. But it was not the vehicle that was important. It was the driver.

In the front seat sat Loretta Capman; in her mouth sits a lit cigarette; next to her, a duffel bag full of cash.

She batted her long eyelash extensions at Arlo and said, “Aw, look who’s playing games with the detective, sore loser honey. You’re missing out, 50 thousand in cash and you turned it down,” before speeding away in her convertible.



I sat in my office across from Arlo. He rubbed his eyes with his hands and then looked around. I had a small office, smaller than and slightly nicer than his too. It had a respectable vibe. Furnishing the room were several plants, like ferns and cacti, but the room was overall minimalistic: how I liked things. The carpet was white, the walls were white, and the desk was oak along with the chairs. On the desk was a gold plaque with my name, “B. VENTURA, Private Investigator.” It looked fancy, but you could buy it online for twelve dollars, similar to most of the knickknacks in the room. The most expensive thing was the liquor that I kept it in a cabinet behind me at all times. I checked my watch and poured the man facing me a drink of scotch.

“It’s not even 10:00 yet, Ar, this may be the quickest case I’ve ever solved.”

“You sound like a cop.”

“Fuck you. Now talk.”

“Why? Am I under arrest?”

“No, but you will be if you don’t cut the crap.”

He sighed, looked me dead in the eyes, and then threw the whole drink down.

“Fine. I lied when I worked with Dennis. I didn’t try to figure out what made gambling addicting; I helped him gamble. We’d go every Tuesday night, which happened to be the same night Loretta worked. The manager, Mikey and Loretta figured out we were cheating pretty quickly and had a talk with us. Dennis was dead set on the idea. He was the real mastermind; I just helped him a bit. So you know how I said she asked me out to dinner? Well, she did. She asked me to kill Dennis.”

“I knew she wouldn’t date you.”

“Don’t gloat over it. Anyways, she said Mikey, the manager, would give me 20 of the 50k Dennis and I stole if I could take it from him.”

“And you didn’t take it?”

“Of course I didn’t take it. Taking it from Dennis meant killing him, and I may cheat at gambling, but who doesn’t? I needed money. Being a lawyer doesn’t exactly buy a Rolex.”

“But it does buy a fake one.”

“That it does. But just because I’d prefer a Rolex and a fridge that works, that doesn’t mean I’d kill a man, especially a man I know; I couldn’t live with myself.”

“So, what are you thinking?”

“Right now, I’m thinking I could use another glass.” I poured him one. The light from the glass reflects onto the ceiling painting’s different hues of brown and orange.

“Loretta. I’m guessing Mikey promised her 20 of the 50k Dennis stole. She flirts with him, then they go home, but he catches her stealing the money. She shoots him.”

“Leaves it in your office as a warning.”

“Exactly.” I lit a cigarette.

“Lotta work to send one message.” Then I paused. “You ever think of quitting the law business?”

“To do what?”


“I lied to you; I cheated at gambling. Why would you want me to work for you?”

I shook my head and exhaled the smoke, blowing it into the air and leaning back in my chair.

“It’s the people who admit they lied that you can trust, not the ones who claim to never have.” I paused a moment to let it sink in.

“So you’re not going to arrest me?”

“We don’t need another person locked up for years for a minor crime.”

“Is that why you hate cops?”

“Is what why I hate cops?”

“You talk about how all cops do is kill people. You hate them because you hate the justice system? And if you hate the justice system, my question is why are you working in bringing people to justice?”

I sighed and lifted my chin up slowly to look him in the eyes.

“I don’t hate cops or the justice system, and I do what I do because I’m good at it. I dislike both because of the power we give them and how strict our prison policies are.”

“In China, you can be put away just for talking about certain things.”

“Well, this isn’t China, and we’re not communists.”

“It’s more of a dictatorship,” he said under his breath.

“You like politics so much? Be a politician.”

“I thought you wanted me to be a detective.”

“I do.” He studied the ceiling before glancing around.

“Not a lot of room in here for another desk?”

“Then make room.” He sighed and leaned back in his chair, lighting a cigarette.

“I’ll work with you part-time, but I’m still a lawyer.”

“You get 10% of all profits.”

“10%? What am I? A slave? No. 50.”







We shook on it.


Houses on May 28th

Mary went upstairs later that night to check on Jamie. She knocked on his door quietly.

“Jamie… are you there? It’s Mommy.” Mary jiggled the handle and the door was locked.

There was no sound. “Jamie… I’m sorry I yelled at you earlier.”

Still, no reply came.

“Jamie, listen. How about we go to the arcade? You and Lisa would have much more fun there than picking out a toy from a store.”

Mary went downstairs and got the emergency key they kept in case somebody accidentally locked themselves in a room. She unlocked the door and the room was empty. Everything was completely untouched. Peter’s books were all in order by genre on his shelf and the globe he got for his birthday was in its regular spot.

“Peter!” Mary yelled.

Peter came running up the stairs.

“Mary, what’s wrong?” Peter was out of breath, although lately he’d been trying to work out more.

“Jamie’s gone! He’s not in his room!”

“I’m sure he’s in the house somewhere. You check the bathrooms and I’ll check Lisa’s room.”

Minutes later, Peter and Mary met up again in front of Jamie’s room.

“He’s not in the bathrooms!”

“Lisa’s gone too!”

“Where do you think they went?” Mary asked.

“The arcade!” Peter replied quickly.

“No, you ass! They wouldn’t be able to get to the arcade by foot.”

“Maybe they went exploring. You know how much Jamie loves exploring. And how courageous Lisa is.”

“You get the car keys and I’ll get some flashlights and we’ll go!” Mary said.

Together, they left to find their children.



“Jamie, are you sure this is a good idea?” Lisa asked.

They were walking in the woods behind their house, and it was about half past one. A slight breeze blew through the air and the sky was clear.

“I think it’s a great idea.” Jamie answered.

“We’re gonna get in trouble.”

“No, we’ll be home before Mom and Dad wake up.”

“Are you sure,  Jamie?”

Jamie paused. Lisa’s flashlight was flickering. The bushes were rustling and a small figure stepped out from behind them.

“Good morning, kiddos.” It was a boy about eleven years old, the same age as Jamie. He had blue eyes like the ocean and chocolate colored hair.

“I’m the same age as you, Scott,” Jamie said.

Scott laughed. “It’s a figure of speech.”

Lisa looked grumpy. She reminded Jamie of the floating rainclouds over grouchy people’s heads in cartoons.

“Why the long face, Lisa?” Scott teased.

“Scott, I’m eight years old. Don’t call me kiddo.”

“Alright. If it really bothers you guys that much, I won’t do it.”

“Scott, where are we even going?” Jamie asked.

Scott smiled and his eyes lit up.

“It’s this old house that I live next to. It’s really cool and I wanted to explore it with you guys.”

“I’ve got two water bottles, my flashlight, a pack of batteries I stole from the kitchen cabinet, and a box of Girl Scout cookies.”

“Yep, that’s everything we need to survive,” Jamie said sarcastically.

“What kind are they?” Scott asked.

Lisa looked inside her yellow backpack.

“Shortbreads,” she said.

“Goddamnit. I wish they were Thin Mints.”

The kids continued walking to the house. They approached train tracks that smelled of rust after rain, which was strange because it hadn’t rained that night or the day before.

“Jamie, please don’t go on the train tracks,” Lisa said.

“Why not?” Jamie said.

“I don’t want anything to happen. I have a really bad feeling.”

“What do you think, Scott?”

Scott froze. “I think you should listen to your sister. For some reason I think she’s right.”

“Are you really sure, Lisa?”


Jamie got off the tracks and they continued to walk along them. It had been about five minutes when Lisa turned around and they noticed a light in the distance.

“Jamie, do you see that?” Lisa asked.

“What?” Jamie said and then turned around. He saw the light.

Scott saw it too. “It’s a train. And it’s getting faster.”

Scott was right. The kids could hear the sound of the train huffing and puffing. The train whisked by them.

“Lisa, if I had stayed on those train tracks, I don’t even want to think about what would have happened,” Jamie said.

“You made a good call,” Scott said.

“Are there trains on this track often?” Jamie asked.

“Not usually… ” Scott said, and trailed off.

The house was the size of a mansion with tiles coming off the roof and a mailbox practically grasping to hang onto its pole. It was covered with vines and the bushes were overgrown. On the porch was a cracked light and a wooden rocking chair. There was also a small driveway, which was strange, because the house was in the middle of the woods.

“This looks like a shack,” Lisa said.

“Scott. What. Is. This?” Jamie asked.

“A house.”  

“You know, I never really noticed that.”

“Are we gonna go in or what?” Lisa said.
Together they walked onto the porch, and Scott opened the door. The first thing they saw were crimson colored stairs.

“Where do you guys wanna go?” Scott asked, with a grin.

“Let’s go into the bedrooms,” Jamie said.

Scott led them upstairs and there were three bedrooms. The first one they entered seemed to be a guest bedroom. It was pretty bare and simple with only a bed and a dresser. The second room was a child’s room. There was a small bed with pale, pink blankets and pale, yellow pillows. There was a shelf with books, dolls, and records. Jamie reached up and picked one up off the shelf.

“Scott, do these still work?”

“When I found this place two weeks ago they did.”

Jamie went up to the record player on a table and put on a record. It was jazz music with a man singing about how he missed somebody.

Scott picked up one of the dolls. It had a crack in its cheek. The doll had green eyes and brown hair. It had on a dark blue dress with lace falling off. Its eyes seemed to glint in the flashlight’s beam. He shuddered.

Lisa looked at the books on the shelf. A Wrinkle in Time, The Wizard of Oz, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Secret Garden, and Peter Pan. Lisa looked around, and she got a sickening feeling.

“Let’s go into another room,” Lisa said. They went into the next bedroom, which must have been the parent’s bedroom. There was a bed with green covers and white pillows. There was a table with old makeup products, and the mirror above was chipped. There was also a large wardrobe with a drawer hanging open.

“Hey, guys. Look at this,” Jamie said, and pulled out a large book from the drawer.

Scott frowned. “That’s strange. When I was here, that drawer wasn’t open.”

Scott hesitantly sat down next to Jamie and Lisa did the same. The book happened to be a photo album. The first picture was of a young man and woman smiling. The man was a sailor. The next photo was with the same man and woman, but she was kissing his cheek. Another photo was their wedding and there were many photos of what must have been aunts and uncles and cousins. Another photo was the house. The next one was the couple sitting by the fireplace in the living room, and the woman had a rounded belly. The photo after was a baby. The next photo was the couple playing with a female toddler. There were no other photos after that.

“You know what’s weird?” Lisa asked.

“What?” Jamie said.

“None of the pictures are labeled,” Lisa said.
“This is really creepy,” Scott said.

Lisa looked at the mirror, her eyes widened in fear.

“Lisa, what’s wrong?!” Jamie cried.

“Did you turn the record player off?” Lisa asked.

“No. Why?”

“Because it stopped playing.”

They all went silent.

“We should leave,” Lisa said.

“Yeah. Make sure you have all your stuff,” Jamie said.  

Together, the kids got up and closed the door behind them. They quietly walked down the hall as though they were trying not to disturb a sleeping dragon.

Suddenly, there was a thumping sound coming from the child’s room. It was getting louder and louder.

“Guys. Quick. Go!” Scott cried. They ran as fast as they could. The thumping sound got louder. When Jamie and Lisa got out of the house and into the woods, they stopped to relax.

“Where’s Scott?” Jamie asked.

“Scott! Scott! Where are you?!” Lisa yelled. But no matter how loud they yelled and how far they searched, Scott was nowhere to be found.



“Where’s Mom and Dad?” Lisa’s quivering voice came from upstairs.

Jamie and Lisa had arrived home after running all the way through the forest, back to their house. As soon as they got to their lawn, Lisa was filled with a burst of energy and she ran through the door, all the way upstairs. She quickly realized that her parents weren’t there.

“I don’t know!” Jamie said. “Maybe they went shopping?”

“Why would they go shopping at five in the morning?” Lisa asked.

“Right. Alright,” Jamie said, trying to calm himself down.

The front door flew open loudly and in came their mom and dad.

“Jamie! Lisa! Thank God. We’ve been looking for you for hours!” Peter said.

Mary hugged both of her kids. “What were you doing out this early in the morning? We were going to call the police!”

“Mommy, Scott’s gone!” Lisa cried.

“What do you mean?” Peter asked.

Jamie began to explain. He talked about his plan to go exploring with Scott and the house he took them into. He described the fright they got and how they left Scott. Jamie hung his head low.

“I’ll call the cops,” said their dad. “He’s probably still stuck in there.”

Jamie and Lisa were sent to their rooms as a punishment. They fell asleep with hope in their heart because they knew their dear friend would be found.



The police went and searched the house, but they found nothing. Scott’s parents were devastated. So were Jamie and Lisa. A giant search was led to find Scott. They searched for five months. At the end of the fifth month, a scrap of paper was found in the house which was believed to be in Scott’s handwriting. It said: May 28th. Nobody could figure what that meant.

A funeral was held in Scott’s name in November. Jamie and Lisa thought that the date meant something, and that Scott was still alive somewhere. They kept this between themselves.



I see you all. All the different people. Running around like ants in a farm that has been shaken too hard. You get angry at the little things — your coffee when the barista gets the order wrong, the weather because it always seems to be raining, and the jammed printer in the back of the office that never seems to work. I see you. But you don’t always see me.

I am a cloud hovering over everyone, waiting for the right moment to let all hell break loose. To let the lighting surge through your heart and the thunder burst in your eardrums. I start with a drizzle, small warnings that I am close, but you put up an umbrella and curse the gods. Oh, but you are so wrong. I am no god, wait till you see the eye of the storm. But you never look up to see my raging clouds.

I am the monster hidden under the bed, the one you always get a glimpse of but can never catch. I have fangs and long hair that drips to the ground like a willow tree. My eyes are black and inky and always watching. You see the glimmer of light in my fangs as I scowl. I slowly crawl back under the bed but you never go further than to pull your covers back over your eyes.

I am that one guy waiting in the wings. I watch the show as you sing and dance and run around the stage. You look so happy, so naive. I stare at the production lights through my thick glasses. No one notices me. I am the theater geek who can ruin the show with a push of a button. I see the makeup plastered onto your faces and and your mouths frozen in smiles, but your eyes don’t match the scene. You look to your left as you gallop across the platform, only to watch me close the curtains one final time. You see me, but you don’t stop my actions. You don’t even bow for the wonderful show you put on. Honestly, you fooled us all.

I am the cat waiting to pounce on the mouse. Licking my jet black paws, I imagine devouring the small creature. The mouse doesn’t notice me. It scampers back and forth, creating some sense of order in its life. And when it finally glances at my sleek fur and long whiskers, it does nothing more than wait eagerly for its demise.

I am confused. Why don’t you run? I predict it is because you know that I am only a part of you. A mere shadow, changing shape every day. You created me. With every one of your actions, you give energy to my storms and you pump blood into my veins. You give me life, only to have me destroy yours. You see me in the scariest of your nightmares and in the shadows where no one bothers to look.

I create tornadoes that wreaked havoc through your neighborhood, tossing your life into a pile waiting at the garbage dump. I take your bed sheets, the ones you used to cover your eyes, and I wrap them around your fragile neck. I take the air out of your lungs and you lie limp in my arms. I close the curtains and break the props, smiling as I go. I eat the mouse, its tiny bones crunching on my sharpened pearly teeth. I am made to be remembered. And yet I am still the forgotten piece of your soul, the memories you chose to leave behind. I am your worst enemy. I am you.                       

I am fear.




Earbuds vibrating inside my head

A barrier from those who leave me dead

They park their hearse outside my weary skull

Emotions bubble but my face remains dull


The hearse takes out a coffin so grandiose

It takes my childhood and starts to close

Wonder swells from within its closed walls

I try to defend, but the noise made me fall


The feelings start to invade

and the hearse, it drives away

with his soul


It was life; I could not deny that fact,

But something sacred persuaded me to act,

So I began to conquer the edges of my mind,

I could tell it was hiding something deep behind


My attack reigned,

new thoughts reclaimed

I could make them

happy again


And then I noticed

a bit of cold

as a cave dared to unfold

I saw within it

a strange glow

the cold increased

as I went to go


And then I saw

with tearing eyes

a gun held up to my pride


My attack reigned,

new thoughts reclaimed

I could make them

happy again


And then I noticed

a bit of cold

as a cave dared to unfold

I saw within it

a strange glow

the cold increased

as I went to go


And then I saw

with tearing eyes

a gun held up to my pride


Within the cave I saw a face

reflected from this creature

it was mine


Earbuds vibrating inside my head

as I try to clean up what I have just bled

my doubt of myself has ended its decline

I have confronted it; now I can climb


My derelict soul then sees the truth

naivety seeps from us

as we live


Melt Away


You watched your grandfather die.

I believe you were 7 years old at the time

But the strangest thing was even though he wasn’t blind

he refused to acknowledge your face.


It was strange; he acted like it was a game

He would just close his eyes when they fell on your frame

Even when you were trying to keep him away

From the trance he was making his grave.


You could tell his mind was dying

while his shrink was simply trying

to keep the thoughts clumped in his brain

from falling right out of his head


But his childish actions receded

As the doctor, he then treated

him with a little too much of the drug

that started his demise.


He seemed to have a moment,

“The Surge,” I think they call it

during which his eyes were full of

such a sudden recognition!


“Please, grandson,” he called out, desperate,

and you rushed; your eyes, they met his

but he simply held your gaze

unlike anything before.


“I will leave this Earth in sadness

and in hatred of my madness

for I have stopped myself

from seeing your beautiful face.”


And with that, his vitals worsened

a stench filled around his person

and you could tell by his face

his soul had left while incomplete.


Clinophobia: Fear of Sleep

It has been six days now.

6 days.

144 hours.

8640 minutes.

518,400 seconds.


The days are getting longer. The nights, an eternity. Have you ever noticed how slowly the sun moves? I have, I’ve watched it. For 12 hours. Sunset to sunrise.

It doesn’t just disappear below the horizon. It doesn’t just emerge in one fluid movement. Beautiful hues of cotton candy pink and baby blue don’t just place themselves in the sky. The sun takes its sweet, precious time, like it has no care in the world. It will never have to leave its family. It will never die of old age.

Time, to it, is meaningless.

I’ve been counting the days, counting the hours, calculating the minutes and seconds. I write in my pink, leather notebook I got from Christmas. The tally marks, scribbled onto the page. The numbers and equations etched in the thick, off-white canvas. They are the only convenient ways to fill the empty space.

One hundred forty-four tally marks later, I remain seated on my quilted comforter, staring aimlessly out the fogged window.

I think I have a problem.

My eye bags are darker today. The thin, muted gray shadows under my eyes have become a concentrated purple, like a bruise left after a punch in the face. It aches and stings. It begs for sleep — sleep to heal the wounds. But I cannot. I will not. My complexion, once fair and peachy, is now pale, yellow, and sickly. My pink lips are chapped and peeling. The exposed skin stings every time I touch it.

I have done the impossible. I have aged 20 years in six days.

Maybe it’s the coffee. The dark, strong caffeine rushing through my body. The sight of it makes me shake. Maybe it’s the yelling. It rattles my bedroom door, twists the wooden knob and smashes itself into my room. Or maybe it’s just me. Me and my restless mind. Always racing, like a never ending sprint to the finish line.

My heavy eyelids droop, lower and lower, but I refuse to close my eyes. I cannot. The conformation, the acceptance. I will not. If I close my eyes, I will conform to the rules of time. The rules we all follow blindly, unwillingly, unquestionably. If I let my heavy eyelids cover my eyes, if I lie my head on the pillow and pull my sheets over my cold, nimble legs, I will accept the average patterns of time.

I am not average. I cannot, I will not.

I am not afraid of the darkness. In fact, I think it’s quite nice. I enjoy not being able to see anyone or anything around me. The shadows and the blackness reminds me that I am different. I refuse to be average.

The blinding red beams of light illuminate from my digital clock. 7:00. I reach over to grab my pink, leather notebook and my dull #2 pencil. The book opens to a page full of meaningless dark dashes.

My brittle pencil makes a heavy black line, snags on the rough paper, and snaps.



Milo fingered the the small trinket he had brought to life: a small, funneled hole isolated in a scratched piece of black plastic,  leading directly to a platform with a risen, rusted steel rod that carried a corrugated paper wheel. A mess of wires was connected to the end of the rod, which led to a circuit box hoisted on another rod. This was the generator, and out of its back end was a series of small holes with distinctly colored wires protruding out of each one to a platform of respectively colored LEDs. He merely blew a weak breath into the mentioned hole, and the lights went off in rapid succession in a dazzling array of eye candy — or at least to the best abilities of LEDs.

He sucked in the amount of air sufficient enough to blow into the spot he knew would create the most friction. The LED lights went off for the 176th time this evening — it was a result of the many sighs he’d blown throughout the course of the day, locked in his basement bedroom, trying to make his parents think he was still stewing about what had gone on in the kitchen earlier. He was biding his time until dusk, trying to keep his mind focused and clear, yet nagging thoughts still clouded the corners of his mind. They were all jammed up by the very thing that instinctively wanted to liberate them: his mouth. He channeled his words through his inventions, letting them speak for themselves. But this was important. He could not let any other event distract him from his precisely planned schedule.

With that in mind, he instinctively glanced at the timer at the foot of his pullout mattress, noticing a reminder of reality — one minute and 24 seconds had immediately a burned a hole in his mind, and through there he could clearly see written: You are an entire six seconds off schedule. You were already supposed to have escaped through the back window into the streets, and begun to bolt at a pace of approximately 12 miles per hour towards the hyper-generator. A brilliant failure.

As his thoughts chastised each other, his body was trying to give them direction. He did distinctly what they were telling him to put into action, except the whole escapade was completely offset. He still found himself sprinting for his last clinging hopes, knowing that there was a way the contraption could hold out for a few more seconds — unless it overheated. It came into view shortly as he bolted towards the first story of the tallest apartment building his neighborhood knew. Milo’s soles slapped the slick blacktop, barely gripping the surface. He reached the first step of the steel fire escape in exactly 58 seconds. Maybe there was a chance.

Milo flew up the grated metal platforms, exasperated by its design that prevented him from taking a direct path to his only objective in thought. He normally would’ve taken caution about the gaps between the steel bars, but his foot glided mindlessly across the surface, unheeding the fact that it could easily trip him and create more of an obstacle than there needed to be. Ironically, Milo almost did fall face-flat to the ground if it had not been for one more inch of blessed air. He caught himself, sputtering with sudden bewilderment, and made no hesitation to get up to his feet without learning his lesson whatsoever.

And then he was simply there — he almost stopped for a harsh intake of oxygen at the sight of the city skyline that was somewhat refreshingly beautiful in its own way. Almost. But his lungs would still burn and know no relief until that very machine was up and running on terms he could be satisfied with. He made haste in throwing the protective plastic cover that was draped over the mechanism, immediately connecting the AC power supply to the main body, and watched with immeasurable satisfaction the whirring lights, signals, and wheezes emitted from it as it managed to start up experimentally with some mechanical miscalculations somewhere in the process.

Just as it seemed as if everything was coming perfectly into place, with an entire four seconds left on the timer located on his wristwatch, Milo observed a shadowy figure with rather large pants in what seemed to be a uniform-esque, collared shirt strutting along the unmistakably same rooftop as himself, not fifteen yards away from where he was positioned in a crouch. He muttered a string of unintelligible half-swears under a cloud of chilled breath, as every sinew and muscle of his body strained to put itself into a temporarily permanent position. The figure absently grunted, scratched something indiscernible on his roughly six-foot blob of a body, and seemed to question what the suspicious darkness behind him held. He stared in raw stupidity — at least it seemed so when you were looking at him from the perspective of Milo — at the multi-shaped object looking as if it were going to collapse at any moment. He made the decision to advance towards it, and Milo would’ve half-sweared many more times, except the man would hear it and the whole plan would teeter past the brink of destruction. It looked as if the whole scenario would be ruined as the man advanced, each step marking an interval at which Milo gradually grew increasingly insane. He dared not to make a move, but the man made every one he could. He lumbered with a flat-footed swagger over to the hulk in the night, and then the figure seemed to clarify its purpose.

“Alrighty, whos’ere?” Milo kept still. Accent lumbered closer and placed a hand upon the intricate pipes and gears, interconnecting with each other to create a productive whole. Milo cringed, not three feet away from him and barely managing to conceal his own teenage figure. “S’rsly, mistah o’ missas, ya’lls bettah reveal yo’self o’ else I’s gonna start t’ invest’gate.”

Mistah was torn. He could conjure a not half-bad lie if he were to reveal himself, and Accent didn’t exactly seem to be the brightest person to set foot on his grounds. Then again, there was everything about the situation to be suspicious of, and it wouldn’t be the most difficult option to simply steal off into the inky darkness, leave this all behind, and start anew. Mistah also did not have very much time to process his options in the first place.

“Okays, here’s I’m comin’, ‘n don’ say I did’n’ warn ya.”

Milo chose the more physical situation to play out and broke out of a Usain Bolt-esque mold towards the rooftop’s hazy edge. He was inhumanly determined, straining his eyebrows together like he never knew he could, and doing his best to ignore the barking cries chasing his heels. He was praying, just praying, for some sort of fire escape in the direction he was going — and then he tripped.

It was a nondescript, capped pipe heavily thickened with paint, a subtle stalagmite, and it had rendered his entire conquest utterly unsuccessful. Milo sputtered in disbelief. His abdomen slapped the rooftop, and the other way around, causing him to hurt all over. He gritted his teeth. He should be concerned about his personal safety, but all that engulfed his mind was the looming fear of the generator completely failing without him to man its many operations. Accent swaggered over to Milo’s failure of an escape, cocked his brows and brought them together simultaneously to create an expression of complete misunderstanding. It didn’t look like Milo was ever touching the control panels of his creation with a build like Accent’s never budging from its standpoint.

“So, mistah… ya’lls wan’ t’ tell me what youse is bein’ up here f’r?” Accent questioned with an undertone of accusation.

Milo reluctantly turned his face to the man and just stared in utter confusion. He squinted in the dark of the night. What he saw was not a face that you passed by on your way to the usual bus stop, but a cobweb of skin that stretched from his left ear to rightmost side of his lip. So, that was where that ever-so distinct drawl came from…

He stared. He knew he shouldn’t, but something in his mind just wouldn’t allow him to pull his field of vision away from this exotic character who still seemed somewhat approachable. This attitude swept over both of the rooftop members at the moment, and neither one nor the other dared to speak a word for a very long few seconds.

And then Accent penetrated the thick silence with his rowdy dialect. “Look, kid. I knows youse ain’ g’ne t’ b’lieve me, but… heres we go. T’is warse all just an act- ‘n y’r g’ne t’ have t’ come with me t’ somewheres ya’lls has nev’r b’n t’ b’fore. Youse is g’ne t’ have t’ leave all dis b’hind- ‘n n’vr come back. ‘N-”

Milo’s voice found its home in the pitch-black air and broke through. “I… I don’t think you understand… sir. The machine behind you is highly unstable and is bound to go into its automated meltdown phase any second now, soon in milliseconds. So either we make a bolt for it, or you let me man my own invention — and your future doesn’t look so bright if you don’t make a decision in about 13 seconds.”

Milo drew a sharp sigh, and made one for himself, not caring to brush his sooty experience off as he returned to the structure from which he had came from, now using it for its intended purpose — an escape. He heard the rumble, deep like a vintage car engine starting up for the first time in many years, then the wheezing pops (imagine an amplified version of the pressure applied upon your ears at high altitudes), and the clanks and clatters, the most disappointing sound of all.

On the fifth floor’s platform, he suddenly halted.

He thought about how he no longer had to run, how the destructive shame was over, and that he should be worrying about the poor man with the deformed face who he had left to burn in an explosion that would have never happened if he had never listened to his stupid aspirations that were never going to make a difference at all in his tiny, little town on the edge of nowhere, and how he must help the man the best he could…

He turned on the ball of his foot, preparing to ascend the stairs once again.

Out of all the possibilities, Milo was staring directly into the same chest he had faced just a few moments earlier, and he began to reel back in utter horror. The man should be dead (and Milo didn’t want him to be), yet here, in the living flesh, he stood. He acted like it was normal too. Milo swallowed the saliva down a throat that burned as if he had swallowed a spark from one of Pa’s summer weldings.

“Heh… kids.” And that was all Accent contributed to the situation in his gruff undertone prior to dragging Milo towards the palm of his hand, which let out an insignia of pure energy, drawing every neuron in his mind towards that one location rooted in a place where Time and Space fell easily at the hands of Mentality and Power… And then they vanished with an adrenaline-fueled sweep of sound. Without a doubt, he must join Them.

Keep in mind that this was all before the Collector.  


Cigarette Story

“It wasn’t me, it was her.”

My mom found cigarettes under my bed and I had to make up an extraordinary lie so she wouldn’t think they were mine. The extraordinary lie I came up with was that they were my sister’s. So great, I know. I swear I’m not that bad of a liar. I have to do it quite often. My mom sat me and my sister down at the dining room table as though we had killed someone.

“Mom, you really think I would do something like that?”

“Yes, actually, I do,” she responded.

“Wow, good to know how you think of me.”

“I didn’t mean it that way.”

“Yeah sure,” I responded sarcastically.

“Mom, you know I would never do something like that,” my sister said emphatically.

“Yes, I do know that honey,”

“Are you serious Mom?!” I shot back at her.

“Yes I am serious. Your sister is the good one in the family,” my mother said slowly, each word stinging a little.

“Why the hell do you think I would have cigarettes when my father died of lung cancer from smoking?! Violet wasn’t nearly as close with him as I was, so it was obviously her,” I snapped, thinking how good of a lie that was.

“Mom, please, how could you believe that?”

“Come on, Violet, you obviously hid them under my bed so I would take the blame because, after all, you are the good one in the family,” I exclaimed, storming off to my room.

“Sage, get back here right now.”

I moved a little bit quicker up the stairs. I began to think that I couldn’t live in this house anymore. I went to search for information about my mysterious older brother. My mom had him way before me and, when my parents got divorced, he moved in with my father before he passed so now we aren’t sure where he is. According to my mom, he has adopted similar habits to my father, including a lot of drugs and alcohol. But screw it, I’d go anywhere rather than staying here.

I searched my mother’s closet and under her bed, where I saw a box with a lock on it. This has got to be where it is, but how to do I get into it? I thought of all the important dates and valuable numbers. I tried everything possible. Then I realized I’d forgotten to try my birth year, and to my surprise that was the code. I felt kind of better, because at least my birth was worth putting on a lock. I found so many interesting things in this box, like pictures of my father and a mug shot of my mother. Wow, that was quite a shock. What could my goody-two-shoes mother have done to get a mug shot?  After a few minutes of searching, I found a letter with his address. I packed up my stuff and planned to leave the next morning at dawn. The night was long and dark and I laid awake, waiting for the sun to rise. I gathered snacks, soda, and candy–all I needed to survive on my journey.  



It was cloudy and sad outside, which wasn’t helpful for my mood at the moment. My older brother’s house was about a five-day walk away, which I was definitely not doing, so I just needed to walk to the nearest train station. I checked Google Maps. It was a two-day walk.  Crap. That’s a long time. Whatever. I began walking towards the direction of the train station, and what do you know, I ran into my best friend Isabel driving her car to school. Ugh, this is the worst possible time to run into my over-protective best friend. I put my hoodie over my head and walked quickly past her car. She flew by and I think, Phew I’m good, she didn’t see me. Next thing I knew, I heard a car swerve around and Isabel was pulling up on the side of the road next to me. Damnit. My entire run away plan is screwed.  

“Sage, what are you doing? Shouldn’t you be going to school?” she said, intimidatingly.

“No, I don’t have to go if I don’t want to.”

“Oh wow, you’re feeling salty.”

“Yeah I am, so you can leave me alone now.” I said, getting really vexed.

“Okay, but only if you tell me where you’re going,” she responded, acting like my mother.

“The train station. Now I’m not saying anymore.”

“I’m coming with you,” she responded.

“No you’re not.”

“Yes I am.”

“Please Isabel, now is not the time. I’m really not in the mood to be arguing with you. I need to be alone right now.”

“If there is a serious reason, you need to tell me. And I can either help you or come with you.”

After minutes of her pleading for me to tell her, I finally gave in and explained the whole situation with the cigarettes and my running away plan.


“It’s fine, I got it under control. I blamed it on Violet. I mean, she didn’t believe me, but still it’s fine.”

“Oh god Sage, we’re screwed. Did they find the weed?”

“Of course not. I hid that a lot better, because if they saw that I would be in a whole lot more trouble.”

“Okay, at least they didn’t find the weed. Cigarettes aren’t that bad.”

“Yeah, I’m not that stupid.”

“Because of the circumstances, the cigarettes and your mom’s bullcrap again, I give you permission to run away,” she confirmed, acting like I cared if she gave me permission.

“Glad to know you approve. I must be on my way now,” I responded with a pretty rude tone that made me feel bad after saying it.



I finally arrived at my brothers wrecked shack at the end of a long sketchy road. My heart was racing as fast as a subway car as I walked up the creaky, wooden steps. I knocked at the door and took two steps back. A tall, drowsy, drunk guy opened it. My heart sunk to my toes as I realized he was just like my father before he died: a crazy, drunk, guy. He looked at me with a confused face as though I meant nothing to him. I looked back with a longing desire for him to recognize me.

“Sorry, I must have the wrong address.”

“Get out, kid.”



His harsh words were not helpful to my lingering feeling of neglect. My sister, my mother, and now my brother. I turned around with an aching heart, dreading my upcoming journey back home. I felt tons of different emotions as I walked up to my driveway, nervous for how my mother was going to react, happy that I would be in the comfort of my own home, and just generally confused about how I felt. What do I do now? I never wanted to come back here.  

I pulled out my key and adjusted it to fit into the hole. The tension I felt vanished.


The Bomb

Chapter One


I had five minutes to defuse a bomb that would destroy everything. It was located in the left wing of a hospital, but I didn’t have any other information. I was not given a defusal kit. I was only given the resources around me, but they would do just fine. I raced down the hallway, visually checking every space possible to place a bomb. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, so I kept going. I ran into a waiting room filled with people in chairs. I looked around but could not see anything suspicious, until I saw a small flicker out of the corner of my eye. I raced to the suspicious spot and looked under the chair occupying the location. A small, black bomb was fastened to the bottom of the seat with tape. I ripped the tape off and grabbed the bomb. The bomb was completely black besides a small, green light that gave off the flicker. I flipped the bomb over to reveal a panel connected by two screws. I scanned the room and spotted a screwdriver on a desk in the corner. I grabbed it and unscrewed the panel to uncover a mess of black wires with a battery underneath. This might be a challenge for most bomb defusers, but I was not most bomb defusers. I separated the wires from each other and singled out the two wires that would disarm the bomb. The first wire connected the battery to the rest of the unit, and the second wire powered the timer. I grabbed a pair of scissors from the desk and cut both wires at the same time. The light on the bomb turned off, and my surroundings morphed into a white simulation room. My commander walked toward me and grinned.

“Congratulations Agent Alpha! You’ve set a new record: one minute and ten seconds.”

I smiled. I knew that I would set a record as I located the bomb, but I didn’t think I completed the trial that fast.

“Thank you, Commander! It’s nothing much. I only want to serve my country!” I replied warmly.

Agent Cayes, a good friend of mine, shook my hand.

“I knew that you would beat the record! I expected nothing less from an agent as talented as you!”

I nodded and smiled.

“Good luck on your test! Even though I make it look easy, take your time. I easily could have failed this trial if I didn’t study hard last night.”

Agent Cayes nodded and walked out of the room. I left the room and entered the elevator. I swiped my ID card, and the elevator took me to the top secret floor.


Chapter Two

The top secret floor contained the apartments that every agent lived in. I exited the elevator and walked into a small, white room. The room was completely empty, besides a retina scanner and a keypad. The keypad controlled which room you would arrive in, and the scanner was simply for security. I keyed in my room number, 302, and placed my eye against the scanner.

“Eye approved. Agent Jonathan Alpha,” The scanner deadpanned.

A tube came down from the ceiling and vacuumed me into the complex of tubes. I took a series of lefts and rights and landed in the center of my white apartment. The tube retracted and became flush with the ceiling. I exited my room and entered my white living room. It contained a tv on the wall, a simple sofa facing the tv, and two doorways, one leading to the kitchen, and the other leading to the bathroom. I slept on the sofa, and thus, a bedroom was unnecessary. The bathroom contained a sink, shower, and toilet. The entire room was also white. Noticing a trend? The kitchen contained a refrigerator, microwave, sink, shelves, and stove. The room, and everything in it, was white. White is the theme of many things in my life. The suits we wear are white (when we wear them), and the rooms and furniture we have are white.

The material we use for everything is able to camouflage itself into anything. For example, if our base is infiltrated, we can disguise it to protect our organization. Also, our suits can appear differently to suit our missions. The material is strong enough to be used as walls, and it can be thin and malleable enough to be comfortable to wear. I prefer my room to be white, though. It represents purity and peace to me, and it helps to balance out the stress from my work. Anyway, I sat down on my sofa and turned on the tv. A news program was on, but a more sinister message interrupted it.

“There is a huge bomb in this city. Find it before it’s too late! HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!” A masked face said.

Immediately I got a call from my commander.

“Agent, come to the briefing room, immediately!”

I rushed to the teleportation tube and was taken to the elevator. I pressed 13 and began a rapid descent. The door opened with a soft ding, and I rushed into the white room. My commander was at the front of the room, and many other agents sat in front of him. I grabbed a seat in the front and nodded to the commander. He nodded back.

“Agents, we have received word of a criminal who calls himself Boom Boom. As you may know already, he broadcasted a message just a few minutes ago stating that there is a bomb in the city. Each of you will cover a district to maximize efficiency. Find this bomb,” the commander said.

Every agent, already having a preassigned district, left the room except for me.

“What district am I covering?”

“You will cover the district where we think the bomb most likely is since you are our best agent. Go to District 12.”

I nodded and opened a map. District 12 was Times Square, the busiest place in New York, and the easiest place to hide things. I groaned and gathered my bomb materials.


Chapter Three  

People pushed past me as I desperately pushed past others. The voices of thousands distracted me as I tried to focus. Times Square was the worst. I needed to search every nook and cranny to find that bomb. I ran to a large statue and poked around. It would be impossible to put a bomb inside the statue, but it could be hidden in the base. I took out a flat, metal prying tool and pried off the metal plate on the base of the statue. I let the plate drop and examined the newly uncovered part of the statue. Nothing out of the ordinary. I bent down to retrieve the metal plate and saw a small crack in one of the tiles beneath me.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out the flat, metal prying tool. I inserted it into the groove in the tile and pushed down. The tile begrudgingly pried loose and revealed a deep hole with a rusty ladder leading down into it. I put away the prying tool and gingerly clambered down the ladder. My feet slipped a couple of times, but I managed to make it all the way down. I pulled out a flashlight and turned it on. I was standing in a huge room, filled with wires and mechanical stuff. A huge timer was mounted on the wall, and it read 5:23. I had enough time, hopefully.

I looked around and spotted the main circuit board. I walked up to it and paused. It had ten wires instead of the normal two. This was highly uncommon and very difficult to deal with. I could rule out four wires that weren’t connected to anything, but the other six were difficult. Upon further inspection, I could rule out four wires that weren’t connected to the timer, but the last two completely stumped me.

One of them connected to each circuit board, and the other one connected to all but one. I quickly glanced at the timer, and my heart started to race. I only had one minute left. I ran to the circuit board in question and examined the back. Fake circuit boards would be slightly yellowy on the back, and sure enough, it was. My training prepared me for things like this. I ran back to the main circuit board and cut the correct wire. The timer turned off, and I sighed. I exited the secret room, making sure to replace the tile, and hailed a taxi. My mission was done.


Chapter Four

The crazy man frowned. His plan had failed, and that made him upset. It was supposed to go boom, but it didn’t. Someone had messed it up. He didn’t think anyone would actually find the bomb. He only wanted chaos, death, and destruction. Maybe he should have refrained from announcing his plan to the entire world. They will try to find him now to stop him. His base was deep underground, and he thought nobody would be able to find him. But they can find anyone.

A drop of sweat dripped down his forehead and splattered onto his red jumpsuit. They were on to him. He took off his white mask and contemplated his future. He knew that he would die soon, but he accepted that. Ever since he was a child, he was bullied because of his red hair. His real name was Charlie, but he never cared much for that name. It was burned up in the fire that he set in his school. In his rage, he ran away to live underground. He became unstable and violent, craving destruction and anarchy constantly. Boom Boom, enraged by the memory of his bullied self, grabbed a pack of explosives and began his ascent to the surface. His death was imminent, and he wanted to make one last boom before it was all over.



“Congratulations again, Agent Alpha! You defused the bomb!” My commander said.

I nodded mutely. I was used to compliments by now. I’ve been exemplary my entire life. I had an innate ability to learn and memorize everything since I was born. Just as I was about to leave, the emergency siren went off.

Warning! Boom Boom is in the streets with explosives. Warning! Boom Boom is in the streets with explosives. The siren repeated.

My commander handed a high quality defusal kit to me and gave instructions.

“We have snipers on the rooftop. Try to reason with Boom Boom and defuse the bomb. I have given you tools that can be used to disarm the bomb at a distance. Be careful, lives are on the line! Do NOT kill him, or we will be forced to eliminate you!”

I hurried to the express elevator and rapidly descended. The doors opened, and I ran outside. A man in a red jumpsuit, with a crazed look in his eyes, stood in the middle of the square. I walked towards him slowly, making sure to be at least 10 feet away.

“Boom Boom.” I said as I circled him carefully, trying to get a glimpse of the bomb. “You don’t have to do this. We can let you walk out of here freely if you just disarm the explosives. Nobody here wants to die.”

Boom Boom’s expression turned wild.

“You’re lying! They’ll kill me!”

I peeked over Boom Boom’s shoulder and saw a single wire. It would be hard to cut the wire without injuring Boom Boom. I hate hurting people. I became a bomb defuser to save lives, not take them. It goes against everything I believe in. Human life is sacred to me. I smoothly slid a small throwing knife out of my wrist and carefully aimed at the wire. Sweat pooled on my forehead as I intently watched Boom Boom, waiting for an opportunity to strike. He turned slightly and I threw the knife, cleanly severing the wire and disabling the bomb. Or so I thought.


I blanched. I had never failed in my life. I was never taught to accept failure. I couldn’t deal with it. My vision turned red, and I threw another throwing knife at Boom Boom’s throat. He gurgled on his own blood, his eyes welling up with tears, and collapsed. I stepped back in shock, realizing the horrible thing that I had just done. A shot rang out in the streets, my demise. My body hit the ground, blood already pouring from my head, and everything went black.



Chapter Five

I woke up with a headache. My entire body felt numb. I was strapped down to a metal table by heavy leather restraints. I was in a white room, some kind of subterranean lab. I could tell by the test tubes and equipment that was scattered around the room. I bent my chin down to my neck and saw a doorway right in front of me. A man in a white lab coat walked into the room with a filled syringe in hand.

“Who are you?” I asked.

The man didn’t reply, but instead, injected me with the syringe. I felt a weird sensation in my feet and passed out.

I woke up in the same room. This time I was not restrained. As I sat up, my body felt weak, and my vision started to go fuzzy. A masked man walked into the room and stood in front of me. He pulled out a syringe filled with a different liquid than before and tried injected me with it. I drunkenly tried to twist out of the way, but the syringe hit its mark anyway. I wished that the man would go away. Suddenly, he went flying across the room and crashed into the wall. A guard stormed into the room and knocked me out before I could do anything.


When I woke up, I was restrained to the table again. Another masked man walked into the room and injected me with a needle. I urged myself to escape the restraints, remembering the last syringe I was given, and the restraints magically snapped in half. The man panicked and tried to run out of the room. I urged him to stop, but the powers seemed to fail. The serum must’ve only been temporary. I assumed that they would continue modifying the serum and injecting it with me, so I didn’t resist as the same guard from before ran into the room and knocked me out again.

This time when I woke up, I was in complete darkness, and a machine was attached to my head. My thoughts were fuzzy, and my coordination was messed up. I could hear metallic footsteps coming from somewhere around me, but I couldn’t tell the direction. I braced myself for the pain of an injection, but no pain ensued. Instead, the metal man did something with the machine on my head. It pressed into my head, and the pain of a thousand fires coursed through my body. The man walked away, his footsteps becoming fainter with every step, and a door slammed shut. My body started to float, and I lashed out with my mind, sending a shockwave of energy through the room. The machine shattered into hundreds of pieces, and light flooded the room. My entire body was glowing, and I felt powerful. Those scientists should have restrained me more. Nothing will stop me from destroying them for the pain that they caused. I focused on the door, which I could now see was in the back of the large room I was in. It went flying off its hinges and hit the back of a wall far away. I flew out of the room and into a huge area filled with scientists and computers. They took one look at me and ran away screaming. I grabbed one and lifted him off the floor.


The scientist quivered in my hands and started crying.

“The government wanted to cr-create a s-super soldier. This project is run b-by your com-mander. You’ve been given p-powers. Please don’t hurt me!” The scientist said between tears.

I tossed the scientist to the floor and flew out of the room. The next room was filled with vials and syringes of different liquids. I unleashed a shock wave, not wanting anyone else to suffer the same fate, and destroyed every single serum in the room. The liquid poured out onto the floor and flowed out of the open doorway towards the computer room. The sound of computers being destroyed filled my ears as I ran into an elevator. I pressed the top floor and started the ascent to the surface.


Chapter Six

The doors opened into a small room. A lone computer sat in the back on a table. I started to walk past it, but a name caught my eye. My name.

Project #22: Super Soldier. Agent Alpha was transferred to the lab after his faked death on Monday. He was given a sleeping serum to allow the doctors to modify him. He was given a prototype serum on Tuesday and reacted positively. He was given a stronger dose on Wednesday and realized that he would be given a stronger dose each day. On Thursday, he was given a serum to activate his modifications. He destroyed the lab and experimented with some of his powers. Then he found the computer that held documents of him. He explored…

The computer continued to type as I moved, but no one was typing on the keys. They moved on their own. I walked up to the computer and started to explore the documents. They said things about my history and the project. I looked back at the Project #22 file. The computer had typed more, foretelling my death somehow. It said that I would leave the room through a trapdoor and get killed by soldiers that were to ambush me.

“How does this computer know what I’m about to do?” I asked, thinking out loud.

The computer typed, “I can predict the future. I know everything about you. You will die today if you leave this room.”

No, that can’t be true! I won’t die today. I can’t. I could easily use my powers to stop the soldiers. But if the computer said it, then it must be true. It has predicted everything else accurately. But what if I don’t exit through the trapdoor? What if I go through the ceiling? I used my powers to blast a hole through the ceiling, and daylight streamed into the room. I flew out of the hole and immediately heard a shot go off. There were soldiers all around me. They must have known that I would go up. My last thoughts were of my life. If I had not killed Boom Boom, maybe I would still be alive. I plummeted through the air and breathed my last breath as I hit the floor. In the corner of my eye, I saw the computer delete the ending and replace it with something else.


World War C (Part One)

I was over at my house when it started. It was something that I’m sure nobody in the entire world was expecting. Nothing, not nukes, not machine guns, nothing could stop this.

My name is Jake, and this is the story of how I survived the Great Purge of 2017.

But it is not the type of purge you would think of. People who spoke spanish called it, “las vacas de los muertos.” If you know spanish, you know what that means. It sadly means, “the cows of the dead.” Yep, this is the story about the zombie cow apocalypse. So let’s get into it already.



I was driving home from my normal day routine. I would wake up, drive to the animation organization, animate some videos or video games or something like that, get a paycheck, feel good about how much money I had just earned, realize that it wasn’t a lot of money, drive home, go to bed. But I was stuck at the second to last one on my list. I was sitting in my car, on the highway, stuck in complete traffic, but I did not know why. I turned on the radio to pass some time, and I heard something that would start a whole new phase of my life.

“If you do not get outututut, the-e-e-m leeeeeave!”

The whole station was staticky and messed up.

“Heeeeelp! Moooooooooooo!”

Now it sounded like a sick cow had gotten into the station. Well, that was weird, but the traffic had started moving again, so we were getting somewhere. An hour later, I was walking through the front door of our two story house with my normal end-of-the-day face on. As I turned the knob to the door, a couple of ambulances rushed past my block with their sirens blaring, driving around 60 miles per hour.

There must have been some pretty big mess.

I shrugged and went inside, but something was definitely wrong. Things were misplaced, and that was something that my mother would never approve of. The vase with our new roses was on the floor, broken, instead of on our dinner table. Pictures and paintings on the wall were on the floor or dented. But the weirdest part was how the entire kitchen was completely destroyed. Pots and pans all over the place, the counter was flipped over, silverware was everywhere. Almost as if something big ran through here.

“Mom!!!” I yelled, now suddenly alarmed. “Dad!!!”

What is going on?

I ran upstairs to my parents bedroom, in hopes that they might not have heard me. But as I ran up, I noticed that it seemed like something big had come through here as well. As I ran to the bedroom, I saw that the door was smashed open and in pieces. I slowed down to a walk as I heard screams dying off within the room. As I closed in on the room, I saw something moving around in it.

Then I screamed as I saw what was inside the room, a messed up looking greenish cow chewing on two people who looked familiar.  

My mother and father.

The rest of that day for me was all a big blur. I remember the creature looking over at me and snorting. But if I could remember one thing from that time, it was the way the creature looked. The cow-like thing’s eyes were dead, instead of full of color, blank of expression and dark gray. Its skin was greenish black with rips and tears, and some of it was falling off, as if the creature was shedding its skin.

I remember sprinting out of the room, down the stairs, and out the door as fast as I had ever run. And I kept running, till I couldn’t run any more. I collapsed on hard concrete, on a street I didn’t know. Wiping tears off my eyes, I realized my knee was bleeding like crazy.

I didn’t care.

Just then I passed out.



When I awoke, I was greeted by strangers rushing me on a stretcher through the halls of what looked like a hospital, but it wasn’t. I knew this when I saw a truck speed by, to my left, carrying a rather large bomb, which looked to be nuclear. All of a sudden, they shoved me into a room with medical supplies everywhere, and they lifted me onto a bed. Just then, one of the people carrying me took a syringe off a table and stabbed it into my neck. Everything around me started spinning, and my insides felt like they were on the loopiest roller coaster in the world.

I passed out again.

I woke up, this time, to find I was still in the bed with tons of wires and tubes strapped around my body.

I didn’t know what was going on, where exactly I was, what that thing in my house was, or if there were more of them.

But I did know one thing. I was going to get revenge for what it did to my parents.


Spilled Milk (Part One)

Ever heard the expression, “Don’t cry over spilled milk?” Well, sometimes, you should cry over spilled milk. In this story, you will learn how the spilling of a glass of milk set off a chain reaction that destroyed the entire universe in a matter of days.



It was April tenth. A normal day. It all started at breakfast. I had just woken up, and my family was still asleep. I was eating pancakes. They were very good pancakes (especially considering that I made them) and just as I was reaching for more, my arm moved, and I knocked over my glass of milk. As the glass was falling, I caught it mid air. However, this threw me off balance, and I fell off my chair with a thud and, in the process, dropped my glass of milk, which spilled all over the floor. This may seem insignificant, but we lived next to a construction site and a nuclear power plant. The construction site was so loud that if one more decibel was emitted, the power of the sound waves would destroy the plant. The whole neighborhood was forced to wear headphones to block out the sound. The sound emitted, when my glass fell to the ground, added that extra decibel. You can probably guess what happened next. In the few seconds that followed, I ran down the stairs to my family’s basement and threw on my gas mask (everyone in the neighborhood was given one in case of this situation.) Sweat poured down my face in the rubbery mask. I started hyperventilating, just thinking about how many people I had just killed. Suddenly it came, like when you know you’re just waiting to throw up, but it still comes somehow unexpectedly.


I was thrown against the wall and the ground at the same time. Everything hurt. When I finally gathered enough energy to look up, I saw that the roof of the basement had been obliterated, along with just about our entire city.  When this completely dawned on me, I fainted.

I woke up about 13 hours later. It was becoming hard to breathe. The air was very stuffy. It was like sucking on a sweaty pig. The filters on my mask were starting to fill up. I wasn’t sure where we kept the spares. If they were upstairs then I was screwed. I might as well look for them. I began to grope around the basement. Black smoke had clouded the sky, and the lenses of my gas mask were fogged, so it would be hard to find the extra filters. I crawled along the floor until I reached a door. I stood up and fell down. My legs were shaky and weak. I slowly heaved myself off the ground. I leaned against the door and felt for the doorknob. The supply closet! If it was, I was saved. If not, well, let’s just say I was already having trouble breathing. I slowly turned the doorknob. I peered through the lenses of my mask. I could make out an oddly shaped thing in the middle of the room. I walked in. As I felt for a wall, I stumbled and fell into a tub of some sort. Of course! This was the bathroom.

I was doomed now. I had almost no air left. I struggled to stand up in the tub, and then I fell again. I hit the edge of the tub with my chin and bit my tongue. I could taste blood. I carefully crawled out of the tub and slithered out of the bathroom. I began to feel around in a last attempt. I collapsed from a deprivation of oxygen. My head clunked against a box.

I turned around and saw a cardboard box with nuclear stuff scrawled onto it. I remember writing that! I flung off the lid. Yes, the filters! I quickly exchanged my mask for a new, less fogged one.

I then folded myself into a ball and cried. I cried and cried for my family, for my friends, for everyone that I killed.


The Adventures of Melon

Once upon a bork, there were three incredibly stupid characters in a spaceship in between Earth and the moon. They needed a quick way to escape. Their names were Walter Mellon, Olivia the Moon Squirrel, and Richard the Talking Baby.



“Welp, the ship broke down. We’re screwed,” I said, after checking the ship’s engine and hull in the engine room.

The engine was destroyed because of some guy I’d seen in the past before, but decided not to kill. Bunko Mob or something like that, driving in a strange van made of dirt and random debris. I stole his shotgun once–he seemed very annoyed–but he eventually got it back from me. Maybe he wanted revenge and decided to try to kill me. How he managed to ram into us and completely destroy our ship, I will never know. Heck, I’ll never know how he was driving a van through SPACE, but this wasn’t my biggest concern. But we needed a way off of this ship, now. The hull would collapse on itself soon. I didn’t know how we would get off, I was only with a baby named Richard and a squirrel from the moon named Olivia.

“What do we do?” Richard said, and I yelped.

I had no idea Richard could speak perfect English.

“How are you speaking?!” I asked. “You are barely even two years old!”

“So?” Richard said.

He sort of had a point, so I left him alone.

“Ok, I don’t have time to argue about this. We need a way off this ship now. Can you drive an escape pod or something?”

“I can drive one,” a new voice said.

Richard and I both yelped this time. I turned around and saw a tiny, pale-grey squirrel with a fuzzy tail staring at us. We had no idea a moon squirrel spoke English as well.

“I would ask how this is happening, but in this story, all of this is probably considered logical,” I said. “After all, I’m a freaking human-melon with a gun.”

Richard didn’t seem to care. He was busy trying to snap Olivia the Moon Squirrel’s legs.

“HANDS OFF DA SQUIRREL!” I yelled, picking up my rifle and aiming it at Richard, momentarily forgetting he was just a baby.

“But… it’s squirrel!” Richard whimpered.

I was starting to wonder if Richard was mentally stable.

“A few moments ago, you were a mature talking baby. Now you can’t speak one legitimate sentence. Care to explain?” I accused.

“I have a medical condition called… uh… Superlegitdiseasethatmakesyoukillsquirrelsrightnowitis.”

I believed him, I’ve seen victims of it before. There was one problem, though.

“My good sir,” I said.


“A human body should only be weak enough to catch Superlegitdiseasethatmakesyoukillsquirrelsrightnowitis at the age of 50.”

“How would you know? You’re only a watermelon shaped like a human.”

I wondered how he was so educated. I was about to ask, but I decided that I didn’t want to know.

“Okay, everyone, let’s go to the upper deck. Maybe we will find some kind of airlock and escape.

“Fine by me,” Olivia said, trying to get away from the deranged baby.

I found some stairs and began to climb. I eventually made it to the top and pulled a hatch open. Outside the hatch was open space protected by a force field keeping oxygen on the ship. We were on the upper deck. I then began to search for an escape pod, and Richard chased Olivia around, trying to pull her torso in half. Olivia occasionally screamed for help and tried to shoot Richard with my rifle once or twice.

The upper deck had no airlock, so we went back downstairs, into a corridor. There were three doors in the corridor: the engine room, the living quarters, and a door leading to another corridor. I chose the second corridor and found an airlock after what seemed like days (although I tend to exaggerate, so let’s just say it was about 10 minutes.)

“Hey guys, come check this out!” I said and waved the others over.

Olivia ran over to the door, and Richard followed her, still trying to break her legs. I opened the door… and…

Found a hatch. I was about to open the hatch, until I noticed a gigantic sign that said: TOTALLY INCONSPICUOUS GIANT SIGN THAT TOTALLY DOESN’T HAVE A SHOTGUN BEHIND IT OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

I got the sign off, looked behind it, and…

There really wasn’t a shotgun there. I hate stupid signs like that. I went back to open the hatch, until I noticed another sign in front of it that said “Airlock.” The airlock it was gesturing to led to nothing but space.

“Wait a minute. Wait. A. Minute.” I said.

A minute passed. I finished waiting.

“Who tried to trick me into opening an airlock into space?!” I said.

“Uhhhh, totally not me or anything like that, hahahahahahaha!” Richard said.

“Are you telling the truth?” I said.

“No, I mean yes!!!” Richard replied a bit too quickly. This (of all the absurd things in this story) didn’t seem right.

I squinted. Richard sighed.

“All right, all right, I tried to kill you.” he said.

“Why?!” I asked.


At this point, Richard’s head fell off, and a tall, fully grown man with a potbelly and an almost bald head somehow pulled himself out of Richard’s head. The man was wearing a weird gold jacket and jeans (the jeans seemed to be about five sizes too small). I instantly recognized him and reached for my gun.

You!” I yelled. “You tried to kill me!”




I became a little confused.





“I SAID STOP!” I yelled, as I grabbed my rifle, aimed it at his head, and fired. A moon squirrel slammed into his face.

“Olivia, why were you in my rifle?” I asked.

“Hiding from that hideous creature–oh, it’s just a human,” she replied.

“AAAHH! OUT OF THIS HOUSE, VILE DEMON!” Uncko Bawb yelled and threw a piece of melon at her that he was keeping in a jacket pocket that may or may not have had a wormhole inside of it (don’t ask how I know that.) Then realized he how much he just screwed up.

“Aw, shoot.”

“You killed a melon! Die!” I yelled and repeatedly shot at him.

Because of my rage, I missed multiple times.

“SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT!” he yelled, and tried to run to the airlock. Because of his ridiculously small pants, it was more so like waddling than running.

“TIMMY, GET THE VAN!” he yelled.

“Okay!” a voice that sounded like a teenage human (I’m guessing it was Timmy) replied, and a van made of dirt and trash somehow drove in front of the airlock.

“Haha, so long suckers!” Bawb yelled and tried to throw the airlock open.

It wouldn’t budge.

“You gotta be kidding me,” Bawb said. “Since when does an airlock need a key?!” He pointed at a keyhole seemingly made of wind. “I swear, this story gets dumber every second.”

While he was distracted, I aimed my gun at his head. Before I could fire, Olivia got my attention by looking at something past the airlock. It looked like it was made of something frozen.

“Iceberg, dead ahead!” Olivia yelled, as we crashed into it, sending a huge crack through the steel roof of our ship.


“You can’t be serious,” I muttered. “I think the author of this stupid story is running out of ideas.”

Just then, the roof tore open.

“WE’RE SINKING!” Bawb yelled.

He was right. You could see space pouring into our ship.

“Find the key for that airlock!” I yelled. “Olivia, check the engine room! Bawb, you-”

“Oh heck no, I’m outta here!” Bawb yelled. He then screamed “TIMMY, I’M COMING!” and jumped out of the ship and landed inside his trashy (pun intended) van.

The van started up and flew towards Earth. I could hear a distant “SO LONG, FREAK! WOO!” before the van disappeared from sight.

“Well, this isn’t good,” I muttered, as space kept pouring in, covering the nearest objects in the ship and blocking off the engine room and our living quarters.

“What do we do?!” Olivia yelled, before some of her pale-grey fur was almost engulfed by the incoming space.

She yelped and ran towards me. I didn’t know what to do, and I had to hurry and think of something, fast. I could see the vastness of space outside the ship, and there wasn’t much air left, since we were sinking. That was when I noticed a green object fly through the door to a nearby corridor. I grabbed Olivia, and followed it into a hallway with the door to the engine room in it. I wondered what the object was, but I couldn’t waste time searching for it. We needed to leave. I remembered there was a secret spare escape pod there, but at first, I thought it would be completely wrecked like the engine was. I thought it was worth checking it out now.

We burst into the engine room, and I braced myself for what came next. In order to get to the pod, we would have to move the entire engine, without making it explode. So, naturally, like the genius melon that I am, I picked up my rifle and unloaded an entire magazine of bullets into the fuel tank.

The engine exploded, sending shards of scrap metal into the walls next to me and Olivia. After the explosion cleared up, three things happened:


  1. We saw a hatch leading to a fully-functional escape pod, blown open.
  2. We heard an automated voice: “Attention: Lack of fuel. Gravity set to 0%.” We began to float in the air.
  3. A few seconds later, the voice game back: “Emergency: Primary systems offline. Self-Destruct Sequence initiated. All inhabitants evacuate. Self destruct in 30… 29… 28…”


At 28, I realized the seriousness of the situation and grabbed Olivia, stuffed her in the empty magazine of my rifle, loaded her in, and shot her into the pod.


26… 25… 24…


“OLIVIA, START THE ENGINE!” I yelled, as I kicked off the steel wall of the ship. It broke off and flew into oblivion. More space was pouring in. I heard her scream something like, “okay!” But I had no time to focus on her words.


23… 22… 21…


I missed the pod but managed to throw my rifle inside as I heard the engine charging up in the pod. I then kicked off the other wall, did a 180 degree flip, and flew right through the hatch, landing face first in the pod, 15 feet below me. Thank God for no gravity. I quickly bounced back up and pulled the door on top of the escape pod. I looked around. It was a circular pod with a control panel taking up much of the space. There were windows on all sides of the pod.


20… 19… 18…


“How long until the engine is fully charged?” I asked Olivia.

“10 seconds, I think,” Olivia replied.

Her fuzzy tail was twitching nervously. Wait, scratch that. Her entire freaking body was twitching nervously.


17… 16… 15… 14… 13… 12… 11… 10…


The engine stopped charging and made a tiny beep. Another computerized voice turned on saying, “Welcome. All systems online. Preparing thrusters…”


It took us exactly 3.57372619539284759372739487482817383482738 seconds to prepare the thrusters. We then took off really quickly. And emphasis on the really. We flew through space so fast, I hit the back wall of the pod and nearly broke through it. I could barely hear a faraway computerized voice say, “3… 2… 1… 0,” before I turned around and saw a massive explosion, with bits of our ship flying everywhere. One massive piece almost hit us, scraping the top of our pod. I turned in a full 360, surveying the scene. On my left, I saw an intercom fly by us, saying, “Thank you for cooperating. This was directed by Michael Bay,” before it got caught in the orbit of the moon.

“To Earth!” I said happily, amazed that we survived that massive ordeal.

“Aye aye!” Olivia said, obviously just as happy.

As we headed to Earth, I saw something amazing and grinned. Uncko Bawb’s van’s engine died, and he was stuck in the middle of space. There also happened to be a pile of sniper ammunition and explosives by the side of the pod. I think you know what I had in mind.

I was about to put him through the hell of his life, but I heard him talking on a radio. “Yeah, Michael Bay, I need some help. Can you get me outta here? ‘Kay, thanks,” he said.

I was filled with rage once I remembered what the intercom said. Michael Bay put Bawb up to this?I hate Michael Bay! He tried to shove a stick of dynamite into one of my sniper rifles once. I unloaded all my explosives by throwing them at the trashy van. They stuck to it for some reason. I then picked up some ammo, took aim, and fired.

The explosion that took place there was unbearable. I could feel the heat from inside the pod. Somehow, the van didn’t explode, just spiraled into the next galaxy with a very angry, fat, baldy yelling, “I WILL AVENGE MY TRACKSUIT!”

We then got caught in Earth’s orbit and flew into a place called New York. We ended up crashing through a building and landing on some guy. His name was Adam or whatever. When we climbed out of the pod, there were three very surprised people sitting on couches with computers, staring at us.

“You saw nothing,” I said and climbed out of the place where I landed, running away through a broken wall and scaling a building.

Getting out of the place where we crashed wasn’t much of a victory. The police would be here soon. But at least we could get back home, to a secret base I owned. There are secret pathways to get there, one of them being in Bitchfield, UK (no lie, that is a real place.) These pathways are portals to another alternate reality, where normal humans don’t exist (yep, this just turned sci-fi.) In order to get there, we would have to find a way from New York to Bitchfield. That would be pretty tough, since we didn’t have any means of transportation, and we just crashed our escape pod on a male human in a weird place named Writopia (I read a sign as we ran from the building.) I thought I heard sirens, so I decided now would be a good time to run faster. I eventually found my way to a nearby museum. I thought it would be a good place to hide, so I was about to go inside, but something stopped me. This “something” was a van made of dirt, falling from the sky with a very angry, bald guy inside wielding a shotgun.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Uncko Bawb crashed into the street, completely demolishing it. A wave of dust flew out from the ground where he landed, blinding me. When the dust cleared up, there he was, standing with a severely pissed off teenager, wielding dual pistols, to his left. To Bawb’s right, there was a man with brown hair in a blue shirt, holding a rocket launcher and wearing a belt of grenades… wait, no. The belt was made of grenades. If these people were who I think they were, I was probably about to get my melon bits burst open.

Michael Bay and Timmy Bawb raised their weapons, aiming them at me. Bawb did the same.

“I told you I would avenge my tracksuit, Melon Boy!” he exclaimed.

“Dude, where are your pants?” I said.

Bawb looked down. He was wearing no pants.

“They got uncomfortable, so I took them off.”

“How did you get back here?” I said.

“Michael Bay,” he replied, motioning at the dude with the rocket launcher.

I forgot he called Michael for help. Speaking of him, why did Bawb put him up to this? Was it because Bay found out that Bawb wanted his tracksuit back and blamed it on me? Huh, that may have been what happened.

While I was thinking about it, Bawb distracted me by yelling, “Michael, shoot him!”

And the sound of a rocket fired towards me. I had no time to run, so I held my arms up in defense and braced myself for the end. I heard the explosion as I flew backwards. After groaning in pain, I looked up and saw my escape pod on the ground where the rocket was.

“Wait, what?” Bawb said, as a kid climbed out of the broken pod.

It was the kid I smashed, somehow not dead. He took a computer out of the pod, typed something in it, looked up, and flicked his hand towards Bawb. Bawb and Timmy flew backwards and crashed into a tree. The boy then typed something else, and Michael Bay froze in time. He then began to glow and dematerialized right in front of us, turning into a pile of dust and explosives, and blew away in the wind. The boy turned to us.
“What’s up, Walter?” he asked as Bawb curled up into a ball, groaning in pain.

I squinted at the boy.

“Who the heck are you, and how do you know my name?” I demanded.

“I’m the writer of this insane story, but I had no idea this story was actually happening in real time,” he said. “I’m guessing the pathway to your home in Bitchfield is real too.” He snickered. “God, I will never say that without laughing.”

“Hold on, hold on,” I said. “You wrote the story we are currently in?”

“Yes, but as I said before, I had no idea this was happening in real time.”

“Can you somehow send us home?” I asked.

“Us?” he wondered.

Then he saw Olivia, who I didn’t notice was trying to hide in my gun. Her bushy tail was stuck in the barrel.

“Oh, right. Absolutely. By the way, here are Bawb’s pants.” He tossed me Uncko Bawb’s pants (I never noticed when he took them out.)

While I was wondering why the author gave me the pants, he took out his computer, typed a few words, and clapped his hands.

Poof. Suddenly, we were above a hidden hatch in Bitchfield (I don’t think I will ever say that without laughing either.) Olivia was still in my rifle, for some reason. There were female dogs on the ground, writhing around (I guess that’s why they call this place Bitchfield.) Anyway, we climbed underground, through the hidden hatch, and stood in front of a five-foot hole which led to a portal.

“So, you live in a portal?” Olivia asked.

“No, this portal leads to my home. You go first,” I said, and after putting up a huge fight (Olivia is apparently trypophobic), she reluctantly leaped headfirst into the portal. I jumped in after her.

After I felt a quick, cold, tingly sensation (I usually do when I go through a portal), I landed on my face, in my underground hideout, in front of my rifle rack. Olivia was staring at my other rifles in wonder and was probably thinking about how I connected a metal weaponry rack to a dirt wall underground. Or how I got it underground in the first place.

I walked over to a hatch in the ground, which I used as an entrance and exit. I opened it and looked outside. The hatch was hidden by trees, since I lived near the edge of a forest.

It was raining out. I could see a field nearby, the wet grass glistening. I looked at a nearby house (which happened to belong to a fat man named Bawb.) I had nothing else to do, so I went up to his house. Hey, maybe I could find the rest of his tracksuit and hold it for ransom.

I peeked through Bawb’s extremely dirty window. No, literally. His house was made of dirt and random debris too. I have no idea where or how he found this place. Bawb was sitting there, watching TV with a scowl on his face. The author must have sent him and Timmy home after me and Olivia were sent back. I guess I’m not going to take his tracksuit right now.

As I turned around to leave, I saw something a little odd. Not like “Justin Bieber is running around naked” odd, but more like “HOLY CROW, THERE’S A TIME VORTEX OPENING IN THE SKY” odd. Which was exactly what happened. Also, Justin Bieber was running around naked. Forgot to mention that earlier.

I watched the weird time vortex open in the sky… no wait, two time vortexes. A second one opened up inside the first one… and another… and another… and another… and inside that one, there was a bottle of Mountain Dew… no wait, that was a time vortex shaped like a bottle of Mountain Dew… oh, inside that one was the Mountain Dew. But inside the Mountain Dew was another time vortex. I’m pretty sure opening infinite time vortexes inside of time vortexes at the same time (vortex) shouldn’t have been possible, but while that was happening, pieces of the ground around me began to get sucked inside. And then I was being thrown inside one time vortex, and then into another one, and another one, and another one and another one, and another one, and hey, there’s the bottle of Mountain Dew. And another vortex, and another one, and another one. This went on for many hours, but I still tend to exaggerate, so let’s say ten minutes again. I saw Bawb pass me, screaming, and landing inside the bottle of Mountain Dew. He made a big swoosh and was whisked back in time. I, on the other hand, wasn’t sure if I should’ve been be scared, utterly terrified, or confused. Suddenly, I heard a big explosion and saw bits of me vaporizing. I thought now was a good time to be utterly terrified.

As bits of me vaporized and flew away, the time vortexes I was passing through rapidly cleared, and I saw the ship that Olivia and “Richard” and I was on a while ago. Far away, I somehow knew Bawb popped out of a bottle of Mountain Dew and threw himself (and Timmy) into his van. He then drove off into space, and I could see him coming from Earth to annihilate our ship. I could see him ramming the wall in the engine room. He then popped into a tiny, fake baby suit, and jumped onto the upper deck (by the way, this is an actual ship, not some crappy spaceship. Why else would there be an upper deck?) A few minutes later, I could hear myself saying, “Welp, the ship broke down. We’re screwed”.

Wait… I could hear myself? Maybe it was because I went through infinite vortexes and Bawb fell into a bottle of Mountain Dew, so Bawb actually went back in time, so he ended up actually going back in time, and I didn’t. I was just watching. Or as an experienced scientist would say, I was stalking them. But this wasn’t my biggest problem: How in the world do I get home? Well, actually, not in the world, I was at least 300,000 and a half miles away. So,how around the world do I get home?!

“What’s up?” said a voice behind me.

I quickly turned around.

“Wha–How?!” I said to the author, who was sitting directly behind me.

“I have a name,” he said.

I forgot he did.

“Anyway, yeah, you’re sorta screwed right now.”

“How do I get out of here?” I asked him. “I sorta wanna go home right now.”

“Oh, to Bitchfield?” Adam completely lost it. “Sorry, I had to. Use Uncko Bawb’s pants.”

“What?” I asked.

He motioned for me to look to my right. I turned and saw Bawb’s pants, glowing.


“Touch them,” Adam said.

“Can’t. Sorta got vaporized in a freaking time vortex.”

“Oh, right.”

Adam took out a computer (where is he keeping that thing?) and typed something in it. Suddenly, I had an arm.

“Okay, now touch it.”



“You put Michael Jackson’s face on my shoulder. There’s no arm.”

Adam smirked.


He typed something else, and bam, I had arms. I was about to touch the pants but thought of something.

“How come you didn’t just tell me about the time vortex to begin with?”

“Didn’t think of that,” Adam said, clearly trying to lie.
The little jerk.

“Why was there a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex shaped like a bottle of Mountain Dew inside of an actual bottle of Mountain Dew inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex inside of a time vortex?”

“Justin Bieber running around naked caused the universe to cringe and try to kill him,” he said.

“Oh, okay,” I said.

I could agree with that answer. It sounded believable. With all this in mind, I touched Uncko Bawb’s pants and heard a loud beeping sound. Suddenly, I was back at the portal in Bitchfield. I jumped through, and the first thing I saw when I climbed out of my home was Justin Bieber in a field, dancing around naked. I shot him in the head. I could swear the universe was yelling thank you at me. As I was going back into my home, I could then swear I heard the universe yelling “I WANTED TO DO THAT!” at me. I turned around and there was Uncko Bawb, with his shotgun. Nope, that was him yelling that.


I looked down and realized I was wearing Bawb’s tracksuit.

“Um… do I need a reason?” I asked, a bit awkwardly.

“TAKE OFF MY CLOTHES!” he replied, a bit angrily.

“I’m not taking them off right here,” I said, a bit weirded out that I was wearing these clothes.

“THEN GO TO WHEREVER THE HECK YOU LIVE AND CHANGE, MELON BOY!” he yelled, a bit antagonistically.

“WILL YOU PLEASE STOP YELLING! I’M RIGHT HERE!” I yelled, also a bit antagonistically.

“NO!” he yelled, also a bit antagonistically.

I was beginning to get antagonized to my limit. I was about to antagonistically antagonize his antagonistically antagonizing antagonization because it was so antagonistically antagonizing, but I decided not to antagonistically antagonize his antagonistically antagonizing antagonization for some antagonistically antagonistic reason. I just went back home.

When I crawled through my hatch, I was greeted with a moon squirrel and a paper to the face. After Olivia’s greeting, she explained how she found the hatch after I left, and she ventured out to a nearby town and found out that Uncko Bawb had a reward for whoever found his pants. I began reading the paper Olivia threw at me:








Once I finished reading, I looked to the right,and saw a grinning moon squirrel (can moon squirrels grin?) staring me in the face. Instantly understanding the grin, I quickly changed into my old clothes, which consisted of an old leather jacket, black shirt, and black jeans (no, I am not emo. Or goth. Or anything of the type. Go away.) Anyway, I changed out of my clothes and prepared to go give Bawb the clothes and take his money. I opened the hatch to get outside, and…


Wait, what?

Why was there another melon person staring at me? While I was trying to find out who this melon person was, and why he was stalking me from about 15 meters, he called out to me.

“Walter, is that you?” he yelled.

“Who the heck are you?” was my reply.

I climbed out of my home and came closer to inspect him. He did the same.

“Walter, do you really not recognize me?” he said, sounding a bit hurt.

“Um…b no,” I replied.

“Does the name Salter Mellon remind you of someone?” he asked.

I tried to think of who he might be, but didn’t come up with anything except a small amount of recognition.

“Wait, are you…” I tried to say.

“Yes, Walter, it’s me, your brother.”

Dun Dun Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun.


To be continued… maybe… eh, forget it. (Nah, there’s going to be a sequel.)




I watch the little spots of color

Dance around the night air

Like lightning bugs,

Twirling into the night sky

And disappearing from sight.


Sitting there, beside the stone circle,

I feel as if a heavy blanket

Is draped over my shoulders,

Warding the encroaching cold

From sinking beneath my skin.


I lean back, hair splayed over grass,

Listening to the snaps and crackles,

Watching the almost lightning bugs

Race upwards,

Mimicking the specks of stars,

And trying to be them.


Life is Beautiful


life is soft and serene when you let her

when you wake up too early and you sit in the living room

the sun hits you and you hear ocean waves

you don’t live by an ocean

take everything slow

appreciate the life you have

and life will smile upon you

and she’ll make it easier to appreciate

because I woke up at 6:30

and I sat in my living room listening to the sounds

watching and smiling

it felt like a Blank Banshee music video

but deeper I felt hunger

because I never want life to stop giving me those moments

but I’m not sure she will


The Stone of Shadows


Chapter One: Elf in a Tent


It was the crack of dawn, and the evergreens were standing proud and tall by the small river. The trees stood twenty-seven feet tall, making plant life on the forest floor almost impossible. But these trees were surrounded by roaring hills, standing so tall that they could not be measured. In response to the rising sun, the birds had gone as wild as a tiger in the radius of fire. The bird’s chirping had echoed off the forest with the response being confused as real.

A small, leather tent stood by the fast, running river. Within the tent, a dark elf, by the name of Alexandra, awoke to the sounds of dawn. Poor Alexandra laid sick from the cold, for today was the second day of winter, and she was unprepared. It wasn’t that she lost her winter coat or anything like that. Alexandra intentionally left it. She had escaped her sanctuary during the winter solstice and didn’t bring her coat. But her lack of warmth was not the main issue (her race was known for having a small resistance to the cold), it was the amount of damage done to her body that showed. Scars and bruises went from her face to her ankles, and they were not going anytime soon. Besides that, Alexandra’s appearance had cloaked her true age, for she was a twenty-seven-year-old trapped in the body of a fourteen-year-old. But for a dark elf, she was quite tall, standing five-feet and eleven inches, three inches above the average height.

Alexandra, looking up while lying in the tent, had to figure out what to do. A town had settled not too far away from her location. But her wear had consisted of a completely black shirt with sleeves going to her elbows, pants that went to her knees, and a hooded linen cloak. With damage all over her arms and legs, she could not go to town. Alexandra wanted to avoid questioning and suspicion from the town.

An hour later, Alexandra was squatting outside the tent by a small fire. She stood close by the fire to keep herself warm. Unfortunately, it did not provide much warmth. At a nearby tree, a deer was sniffing the ground for whatever he could find. Although it was the second day of winter, it had not snowed. Therefore, the ground looked like that of a steppe. Alexandra looked at the deer’s fur with envy. The deer looked up and saw Alexandra squatting by a fire. Suddenly, the deer wiggled his ears and galloped away. Alexandra looked confused. She did not move a limb, but the deer ran away. She looked behind herself and saw a man standing high above her. The man had a fur cap and wore a fur coat going down to his knees. The man’s face, in addition to his rough beard, was quite frightening. Slowly, Alexandra stood herself straight in front of the vicious looking man. Although she was tall, the man had stood around a foot taller. Alexandra slouched herself to show the man he was more powerful. The man didn’t seem to care. In a deep voice, he began to speak.

“What are you doing near my tent?”

Alexandra did not know how to respond to the large man. She began to straighten up.

“I use that tent during spring, summer, and autumn,” said the man. “I am a hunter, so you understand why I don’t use it during the winter.”

Alexandra nodded her head.

“Usually, I find runaway slaves and traveling prostitutes staying in my tent. But you’re different.”

The hunter observed Alexandra with his eyes and hands, with no intention of hurting or sleeping with her. She stood frozen in awkwardness. The hunter noticed her long, pointy ears, longish black hair, yellow eyes, and blue skin color. It was not common to find a dark elf running about, but the hunter was unimpressed. He then noticed the damage on her naked arm.

“Well, you have a story,” said the hunter. “But, I know you’re not a slave because you’re not wearing ragged clothes.”

The hunter observed Alexandra again.

“And you’re definitely not a whore. So, if you are neither of those two, what are you?”

Alexandra relaxed herself and spoke in a calm tone. “My story can’t be explained in one word. And I don’t title myself as any sort of class.”

The hunter looked surprised by Alexandra’s voice.

“You are obviously older than you look,” he said. “Follow me, you can tell your story by a warm fire.”

The hunter walked away, beside the river. Alexandra needed warm asylum, but the hunter seemed sketchy. If he did try something on me, she concluded, I can fight back. Alexandra followed.



The fire crackled loud while Alexandra sat in comfort and warmth. She took a drink from her warm, pine tea. The hunter was in another room, fixing a solution for Alexandra’s scars. Alexandra looked around the fireplace and saw the display of bows and arrows. These bows were not just a simple stick and string. These bows looked very powerful and expensive.

“You are obviously very wealthy,” Alexandra yelled to the hunter.

“Yes. I am the only hunter in town, so I tend to get a lot of customers,” said the hunter, walking towards the fire.

Sitting next to Alexandra, he handed her a bowl of crushed herbs.

“Here,” he said. “This should get rid of those scars.”

Alexandra rubbed the solution on her scars.

“What’s your name?” asked the hunter.

“Alexandra. And yours?”


The two stood still while the fire cracked.

“Are you hungry?” asked Bjor.

“I’ll be alright. I don’t want to take any of your product.”

“Well, of course you’ll pay me,” said Bjor.

“Well, I’m sorry, Bjor, but I don’t have any money,” said Alexandra. “And I’m not paying any other way.”

“How about your story?” asked Bjor.

Alexandra felt bad for judging Bjor. He was not the perverted freak she expected.

“Alright,” said Alexandra, putting her tea on the ground. “Now, listen closely, because this is very important.”



A day before the winter solstice, Alexandra was with her two sisters in a dressing room of her family’s castle. The room had a mirror and a small window looking out to the black, oak forest. It was near the end of the day, and a large glare had entered the room. Fortunately, the mirror and window were right next to each other, so the glare did not hit the mirror.

Alexandra and her older sister, Anna, were in front of the mirror, trying out clothes for tomorrow’s party. For dark elves (and other elves as well), the winter solstice was a very important day, for it signified the end of life. Usually on the first day of winter, Alexandra’s father, Mallekath, would host a large party. The party would consist of other families within the region of Mirewood. It was a very large gathering, over a hundred and seventy people or so.

Anna looked at herself, wearing a white dress, in the mirror with Alexandra standing two inches taller than her.

“Alex, do you think this is an excellent dress?” said Anna, posing to the mirror.

“Why would it not be?” asked Alexandra.

“I feel like it would bring too much attention.”

“But isn’t that good?”

“Yes, but last time, I felt like the main attraction of the party.”

Anna took another glance at the mirror.

“I think I’ll give it a second try,” said Anna. “What are you going wear, Alex?”

“Just the usual black cloak, shirt, and pants,” answered Alexandra.

Anna stuck her tongue out at Alexandra in disgust. Alexandra looked at her little sister, Krosna, sitting in the corner of the room. Krosna was only twelve but was very intelligent. However, she was also shy and tended to hide in her room during the winter solstice parties.

“What are you going to do this year, Krosna?” said Alexandra.

“I think I’ll pass on the party this year,” said Krosna in a soft voice. “I’m worried about father. He’s been acting very strange lately. I think he’s getting too close to the Shadow Stone.”

The Shadow Stone was one of the many ancient artifacts that granted absolute power. Each stone provided a special attribute to the user. The Shadow Stone allowed the user to create an army of shadows, if handled by the right person. However, if the Shadow Stone (or any other stone in general) was handled without caution, it would be catastrophic.

“Krosna, that’s silly,” said Anna in a minorly frightful voice. “Father knows what he’s doing.”

Krosna silently shook her head.

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” said Alexandra.



At midnight, Alexandra was lying in her bed looking at her toes, which were uncovered by the blanket. She looked up at the ceiling and saw how extremely tall her room was. She then looked at her large window and saw the moonlight streaming into her room. Alexandra got out of her bed and walked towards the window to draw the curtains. Suddenly, she heard a crash. The sound came from the main hallway, the room where the Shadow Stone sat on a large column.

“What could that be?” Alexandra said aloud.

She left her room and quietly ran towards the hall. When she entered, she saw her older brother, Michael, trying to clean up a vase he broke. Michael looked up at his sister with an evil eye. Michael didn’t have a good relationship with Alexandra. He usually tried to take control of things. But Alexandra tended to resist.

“What are you doing?” Alexandra asked.

“None of your concern,” answered Michael in a rude tone.

Suddenly, their mother, Elis, entered the hall.

“What is going on here?” asked Elis in an annoyed tone.

Michael looked at Alexandra, then at his mother.

“It was Alexandra. She intentionally broke the vase and tried to frame me,” cried Michael in an accusing voice.

“That’s a lie!” yelled Alexandra. “I was in my bedroom when…”

“Alright, alright, I don’t want to hear it,” said Elis. “I don’t care. Just let the servants get to it and go back to bed.”

Michael left the room, not looking at anyone or anything. Elis turned around, walking towards the doorway.


“Go to bed, Alexandra!” yelled Elis.

Then, Alexandra’s mother had left the hall. Alexandra did the same, but she was more frustrated. As Alexandra walked towards her room, she ran into Babastian, the Venorian servant. For those of you who don’t know what a Venorian is, they were basically a cross breed between a lizard and a human. They usually lived in the deserts, wetlands, and mountains, and they originated from the continent of Maltopia.   

“Master Alexandra, why do you walk the halls at midnight?” asked Babastian in a concerned voice.

“Why do you ask?” said Alexandra.

“It is my job to make sure you are well, and lack of sleep can turn a man insane.”

“But I am a woman, am I not?”

“It applies to all,” said Babastian.

Alexandra walked on. She then remembered her father.

“Babastian,” she said turning around. “Has my father been acting strange lately?”

“Oh, my dear,” sobbed Babastian. “Your father has truly gone mad. He always stumbles his way to bed, yells out rude things to your mother, and talks to himself all the time.”

Alexandra looked worried. Her father was usually not like this at all. Maybe Krosna was right.

“Do you think it’s the Shadow Stone?” said Alexandra.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” said Babastian. “I saw him stare at it for over half an hour. Just the other day, little Krosna suggested destroying the stone itself. Although she presented a solid argument, your father was outraged and ended up throwing a cast iron pot at her.”

Alexandra was shocked by the story. She could not imagine her father doing something like that, especially to his daughter.

“Anyway, I must be on my way,” said Babastian. “I wish you a good night.”

“Goodnight,” said Alexandra as Babastian walked away from her.



In her bedroom, Krosna was deep asleep with a pillow over her head. Alexandra entered the room and quietly walked towards her sister. She then kneeled beside Krosna and softly shook her.

“Krosna, wake up,” whispered Alexandra.

Krosna opened her eyes and removed the pillow from her head.

“You were right about father.”

Krosna was now wide awake. She rubbed her eyes and took a breath.

“We have to destroy the Shadow Stone,” said Krosna.

“How do we do that?” said Alexandra.

“The stone is pretty easy to destroy. The hardest part is acquiring the stone without anyone noticing. But I have a plan for that, and you would be very useful.”



On the night of the winter solstice, around twenty families had shown up to the party. Alexandra stood at the edge of the main hall, seeing the Shadow Stone towering over the crowd of people. The stone was a cube shape and medium size. Alexandra wore her usual wear with a necklace hanging from her neck. The necklace held a blue, transparent, diamond-shaped gem. She remembered the exact instructions her sister gave her. If anything goes wrong, break the gem in half.

Alexandra felt nervous. It was almost time to do her part of the plan. She needed to create a distraction while her sister snatched the stone. Suddenly, the time had come. Alexandra found a position where she could see most of the party. She cleared her voice.

“Excuse me, everyone, I have an announcement to make.”

The party paid attention to Alexandra (with all eyes looking away from the Shadow Stone.)    

“I am happy to say that this is the fiftieth winter solstice party that my father has hosted.”

This was not true. It was actually the twenty-first. But the crowd applauded anyway.

“Because of this special event, let us celebrate to our fullest.”

The crowd was in uproar. Their eyes were still pointing away from the Shadow Stone. Mallekath came out of the crowd and walked towards his daughter.

“You usually don’t speak up like that,” he said. “What gave you the motive?”

“I just found a reason to celebrate,” said Alexandra, hesitating.

“Well, you should have probably waited twenty-nine years, but no harm done.”

Mallekath turned around, and his eyes gazed at the balcony above the left doorway.

“What is your sister doing up on the balcony?” he asked.

Alexandra saw little Krosna on the top of the balcony, gripping a rope. Suddenly, she jumped off the balcony and swung across the great hall, grabbing the Shadow Stone on her way. When Krosna got to the other side, she grabbed onto the ledge with her right hand, her left arm wrapping the stone and holding the rope at the same time. “That little bitch!” yelled Mallekath in anger.

Without hesitance, Mallekath pulled out a crossbow from his left belt (which he always carried for safety purposes) and shot it at the little girl with the stone. The bolt sped through air and hit Krosna in the leg. The little girl let go of the ledge and rope, dropping around twenty feet or so. Krosna hit the ground with a thump, the Shadow Stone beside her. The party had completely stopped and looked at the little girl lying on the floor, unconscious and damaged. Elis came out of the crowd, in shock, and cradled her daughter in her arms. Then came Mallekath and Alexandra. Then Michael, Babastian, and Anna. All surrounded Krosna.

Elis looked up at her husband with an evil eye.

“How could you do such a thing to our daughter?!” she yelled.

“She tried to destroy the Shadow Stone!” said Mallekath, picking up the stone.

“She did it to save you,” yelled Alexandra. “She knew the stone was consuming you, so she tried getting rid of it for good.”

Mallekath stared at Alexandra like a wolf staring at its bait.

“And you. You helped her,” he said in a monster-like tone. “You will pay for this!”

Suddenly, Mallekath pointed the stone towards Alexandra and a great beam of light, coming from the stone, blinded the crowd. Without delay, Alexandra ran away from the stone. But a great blast came from behind and pushed her out of the hall. The main hall behind her was consumed by a blinding light of death. The walls cracked and broke while she sped through the air. In a second, she ended up falling off the outside balcony. Alexandra was speeding down with the rough terrain beneath her. With no time to think, she took the gem from her necklace and split it in half. Alexandra disappeared from the scene.    



The fire crackled as Bjor stood in shock from Alexandra’s story. He gave her a piece of venison.

“You’ve obviously been through a lot,” said Bjor as Alexandra was munching on her venison. “You said you were from Mirewood, right?”

“Yes. I was in the northwest. On the border of Morrisland and Mirewood.”

Bjor let out a strong sigh.

“Well, if you’re planning on heading back, I suggest staying ‘till the end of winter.”

“Why?” asked Alexandra in an anxious voice.

“Well, this is Red Pine.”

Alexandra sighed in frustration. Red Pine was a region in the Orcish kingdom of Red Rock. This mostly human area was more than two-thousand miles away from her home. Why did the gem bring her here? It must have been a mistake from the gem. The destinations were sometimes random.

“You can stay here till the spring solstice,” said Bjor in a kind voice.  

“Thank you. I’ll try not to be a burden.”


iPhone 7, Yes or No?

You just bought the new iPhone 7. Super wow. Maybe you should rethink your choice. The iPhone 7 might look really cool, but it’s missing things and has many flaws. During the course history, even the very first iPhone way back in 2000 had a headphone jack. Now, I know a lot of people are saying, “it’s about time” but if you buy an iphone 7, you also need to buy $200 earbuds. No biggy. Secondly, the iPhone 7 is supposed to be waterproof but it’s NOT. Thirdly, the iPhone 7 fails to impress. In the past, we have had big upgrades from phone to phone, but the iPhone 7 just doesn’t do it.

For a long time, the iPhone has had a headphone jack. Recently that has changed. With the release of the iPhone 7, there came the removal of the headphone jack. This was a huge mistake. Now, not only do people require wireless headphones, but Apple doesn’t supply them with the phone. So you “might want” to buy 200 dollar headphones with your 1,000 dollar iphone (if you don’t know any better.) In addition, wireless headphones are tiny, many people fear that they will lose them instantly, although there is a charging case to put them in. Apple has estimated the dimensions to about 0.71 by 1.59 inches at its longest and widest. Also, the AirPods may not fit well in everyone’s ear, according to Andrew O’Hara, who has bought these earbuds. They may be too small or too big. And finally, the AirPods don’t have better sound or clarity than normal wired headphones.

Plooof. “NNNOOO,” goes the teenage boy. “Oh wait, my phone is waterproof.” He fishes it out and tries to turn it on. It doesn’t. “Ya know,” says a voice from the heavens. “It’s not waterproof, it’s water resistant.” This is an example of a scene that might happen if you don’t know that the iPhone 7 is water resistant, not waterproof. That’s right, water resistant. The people at Apple keep saying waterproof, but the 7 won’t survive underwater for very long. Although the iPhone 7 will survive a splash or a quick dip, it will not come out functional after a full swim.

Wham. Steve Jobs comes and invents the iPhone. The public explodes. No one has ever seen something like this before, and 10 years later, the iPhone has barely changed. Where has the hype gone? Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but from the iPhone 6 to the iphone 7, not much has changed. When the iPhone 6 came out, everyone loved the new size and shape and 3D touch. From the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5, Siri was added. I wondered what Apple would come up with from the iPhone 6 to 7, but barely anything has changed. They’ve only removed the headphone jack and made it water resistant.

So now what? What phone do I get? Will the iPhone come back? Although I cannot answer these questions, I can say the iphone has rarely disappointed before. Hopefully, the iPhone 8 will have an amazing new feature. But even if it doesn’t, Apple will still be one of the top phone and computer companies in the world for a very long time.


Unified Separation


Once there was a sun and moon

The sun circled the moon, like a dog racing to catch its tale

They were Unified

Stronger together

The light and the moon

The same

But separate

The light and dark’s appearance

The sun’s shining face blared down on the moon’s darkness

The shining sun tried to overshadow the moon, they didn’t know the moon was a star

But the moon struggled to shine, as it reflected light off the sun,

As the moon attempted to appear in the same shimmering sky


The sun will outshine the moon, but there are still thousands of moons.

Years Later

The sun

Shines over all the land

With little reminiscence of black moons.


Blood Stains

Pierre Gusteau was a different child. Not in a bad way. He always wanted a legacy. Everyone wants a legacy. Everyone wants to be remembered. But Pierre. Pierre lived for a legacy.

In school projects, while others collaborated, Pierre would work alone. He wasn’t antisocial. He could make friends very easily if he tried. He just didn’t want to have such burdens. He just wanted a legacy. He wanted to be remembered. And he wanted to get full credit for his work. So in the late hours of the night, when no one was up, he would turn on the candles and hunch over his desk like a vulture. And he would furiously dab his pen into the ink pot. His face was inches away from the paper, and every so often, he smiled. He was playing a game with himself. He was trying to squeeze as many words as he could into one line. As a child, he had always stayed at school later, helping around the classroom. After about an hour of slow-paced organization of school supplies, Pierre would decide to walk home. As he entered, there would be silence, and if you listened closely, you could hear the suppressed sobs of his grandmother. Sobs that wanted to be released but were held inside. And there, on the creaking bed, lay Pierre’s mother. She had died of the disease known as Tegrofy. She looked like a scared infant who hung coldly and loosely in a fetal position. Pierre, who was crumbling with disappointment and sorrow, didn’t know how to show it. As he lay down next to his mom, and as he wrapped the grey strands of her hair around his finger one last time, he made a vow.

He promised himself that he would find a cure to the disease that unjustly stole his mother. He only studied the sciences from that point forward and treated it as the only thing of importance in his life. It was the only thing he lived for. His grandma was always asking questions about his relationships. She tried to be sneaky about them, but it was apparent that she wanted him to marry a nice girl. At the mention of marriage, however, Pierre would merely roll his eyes and softly grunt, which was a sign that he couldn’t be bothered.

Grandma finally found “the perfect girl,” and they were married in a humble ceremony at the local  church. For the first time in many years, Pierre smiled. He smiled as the sun beat down on his face. He smiled as he saw his wife-to-be. He smiled as his wife-to-be became his wife. He smiled at his uncle’s repetitives jokes. And at the end of the night, he smiled one last time, remembering how great the day had been. But the smile quickly faded as he remembered his mother. How he wished she were here. And then, again, his urge for making something of himself overtook his life, and he started wondering about what he would do tomorrow in the lab.

He explained to his wife, Amelie, that he was working on this cure for a disease. And he explained how this meant everything in the world to him — to help the lives of people similar to his mother.

And so, every day after the marriage, Pierre locked himself in his study, which had become his lab. As he closed the tall brown doors to his lab, he felt a sense of pride, and he stood a little straighter. He worked alone, by himself. He always daydreamed peacefully about unveiling his cure before a crowd of people. He dreamed of being surrounded by wealth, and by glory. He dreamed of winning awards, and he wished for people to clap as he waved to them. He wanted fathers to bring their children up to him and, with a kind smile, say, “Son, this man is a hero!” He worked alone so that he wouldn’t have to share the glory. He didn’t want to have to share the award. He wouldn’t consider himself selfish, though. He would argue with passion that it was human nature to want the best for yourself, and that it is only natural that some people were better than others.

Meanwhile, his wife had nothing to do. Amelie had come from a modestly rich family, so her father provided enough money for the two of them. Amelie had nothing to do when she wasn’t meeting with the ladies of her club. And so, she made it her duty to clean every inch of the house in the morning hours. So, after a breakfast of oats and eggs, Pierre would lock himself in his study, and she would clean the house. She especially enjoyed cleaning the smooth marble tiles of the kitchen floor. She would crouch on the floor, with rags, and would wipe the floor. Every few minutes, her knees would start aching, and she would have to switch positions. She took each piece of dirt by vigorously wiping the crevices in the tiles. One day, her husband decided to go on their honeymoon, even though it had been two years since they had married. They both took a break from their work and enjoyed it. Pierre was laughing again. But often, he thought about how the break would soon end — and he was for the first time scared of the work that lay ahead. He decided that relaxing breaks were not for him.

However, in that time, his wife became pregnant, and nine months later, she bore a pair of twins. They were two baby boys, with wide smiles that stretched across their faces, and they had such dense patches of freckles that seen from afar, darkened the entire pigmentation of their face. And so the children grew up, their freckles disappeared, and they no longer shook when they sneezed. Amelie, now much older, still cleaned with all her strength.

And Pierre was on the verge of the cure — though he didn’t know it yet. The work had taken a toll on him. Deep wrinkles were now engraved in his forehead, thanks to all the reading and writing he had done hunched over a candlelight. And his skin was sickly pale. Often, late at night, when his family was asleep, he would take midnight walks, where he shivered in the cold, and where he kicked trees to take his anger out. If only my mom hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be obsessed with this stupid disease, he would think to himself. He beat himself up for the time he had wasted. He beat himself up because he could no longer remember where his uncles lived. Or whether “the uncle with the repetitive jokes” was still alive. But he hoped he was.

Amelie now had a purpose to clean every morning, because by nightfall, thanks to the boys, the kitchen was in careless ruin. With all of this work on her plate, you could find Amelie on her knees, wiping with her dirty white rag from morning ‘till sundown. The boys had no supervision, and the family was not wealthy enough to afford a nanny. So after school, the boys would do whatever they pleased. They didn’t become bad kids, but they became more daring. Every few days, they would both get a mischievous look. Their eyes would stare off into the distance, and a sly grin would slowly appear on their faces. With no words spoken between the two of them, they would run off on their next adventure. They would not return until nightfall sometimes, and if Pierre noticed, he would get quite angry. That is what kept the boys in line — the fear that their father might catch them. Even though, most of the time, Pierre was so consumed by his work that he forgot the faces of his children. At night, he would look at their sweet, innocent faces in bed. And he would smile, and try to make a picture of his children in his head that he could remember. He would kiss their cheeks five times each before leaving, but by the next morning, his work made him forget his kids’ faces once again. And so, the cycle repeated.

One day, when Amelie was meeting with friends, the boys brought a friend of theirs over to play. They decided to use knives to replicate the sword fights they had read about in fantasies. They used the kitchen knives, and started slashing the blades in the air. They started fighting each other slowly, and then the fighting became faster. The sound of the metal knives clashing in the air was like a gong, and with each hit, their senses awakened even more. Pierre heard the fighting from downstairs, but decided not to be bothered, as he had found something interesting in his test results. And as he examined the test results, one of his son’s knives was thrown off course and plunged into the chest of his other son. The other son froze for a moment, and in that split-second, the knife of their friend plunged into his stomach. The boy joined his brother on the floor, and they limply lay in the puddle of blood. Their friend, angry and distraught by what he had just done, balled up his fists and ran away, sobbing.

And as the last breaths escaped the clutches of the two boys, upstairs, in the study, there was a joyous scream of, “Eureka, finally, finally.” He ran down to show the test results to his family, but only found a streaming flow of blood coming from the kitchen. And as he saw the two boys on the floor, he dropped his papers and ran to them. He picked their flaccid bodies up into his arms and whispered, “I should have been there for you…”

He let the bodies slide back onto the floor, and he kissed each of the boys’ foreheads one hundred times, to make up for the times he wasn’t there for them.

As Amelie returned, she, too, was filled with sadness and wished she could have been there for her children. She stopped her cleaning for a few days as they prepared for the funeral. Pierre looked to see if he could find the address of his uncle to inform him of the loss. He found it, but was informed that his whole family had died from Tegrofy, like his mother. If only he had worked in a lab with more people, instead of just himself. Maybe he could have saved them earlier.

Days passed. Pierre became famous, but once again, he felt empty. He didn’t know what he needed. But he lived every day with regret. He was regretful that he saved everyone’s lives — but he let his own children die.

And Amelie, after falling into a deep depression for months, once again picked up her cleaning rags and continued her unfulfilling life. She would clean every single inch of the house — except for one part. She let the blood stains dry onto her beautiful marble tiles. And from that point on, she no longer enjoyed cleaning the kitchen. She cleaned around the bloodstains. As a reminder that both of them paid for a legacy.


An Old Friend

The castle had remnants of grandeur, of beauty long forgotten, now hanging in rubble and ruins over the cliff of the violently churning sea. Perhaps once it had been glorious, but now it lay in tatters, much like the man who claimed residency there. Torn and ripped apart at the edges, his gloom hung heavy upon the castle, echoing in every cracked mirror and shattered window, hauntingly beautiful in its demise.

His shouts were etched in every stone, carved into the very fabric of the castle, for to separate one from the other was surely impossible. Years of mindless madness had ruined him, now only a shadow of what he once was, a mere flicker of humanity trapped inside an empty, bloodied shell.

Stumbling blindly over the cracked, ancient marble, chasing the figures that tormented him so, the nameless man ran ragged through the ballroom, following those who had broken his mind, crumbling it down until it had turned to dust. Breath flowed harshly from his parted, cracked lips, hands scrabbled for grip upon the cold, unforgiving walls. Yet those he hunted so perversely were never caught, steps echoing upon the floor painted with tales of centuries past, the scream falling from his tongue before he had a chance to catch it, to stop the sound of pure, unforgivable hell filling the room like a chorus of demons, their faces savage as they ravaged his mind, their hands upon his shoulders, forcing him down upon the ground, and yet he could not feel them. Only his eyes could find their grotesque forms, the sunken orbs frantically searching from beast to beast, fingers scrabbling at the moonlit shadows that cast paintings upon his pallid, translucent skin, the unforgiving years hallowing his frame until only a small, pale ghost of a man remained.

He could hear the laughter ringing around him, their mockery agonizing him until his palms bled, the ugly crescent marks staining the whiteness of his hand vivid red, blood pooling under the fragile surface. Blood was not new to him, in fact, he welcomed it with familial affection, glorifying the way it spilled from every vein his demons ruptured, venerating each drop as if it was life itself, and in a way, it was. Yet as the blood spilt upon the floor, it proved a painful reminder of his greatest tragedy: the feeble beating of his wretched, forsaken heart. Each beat thrust against his ribcage as he was brought abruptly to his feet, the hair on the back of his neck prickling as he felt the undeniable feeling of being watched, of being hunted, the figures that had eluded him so suddenly gone in a moment of terrible clarity, vanishing into smoke and ice as he was left alone in the banishment of his solitude.

Staggering to ripped, aged curtains of ravished velvet, the unwelcome solace of the horrendous truth slowly building in his decaying mind, swelling like the great rise of a revolution destined to fall. The hunter had nothing, now stripped away until only the prey remained, weak and trembling, gripping those curtains as if they could save him from the ending of his story, the last inkblots staining the crumbling page. But even as the air filled his lungs, as the pain of life fell so heavily upon his weakening shoulders, he felt a gloved hand upon his neck, belonging so clearly to a being more than merely smoke and shadow, finding the chilling comfort of an old friend as his hurried whispers dissolved in one last moment of finality.




Yellow is the bright color of sunflowers and sunsets

Then the sun goes down and the sunflowers are forgotten

I whine when I can’t see sunlight

I write my feelings on a white substance called paper and

Infinite numbers of people say goodnight to the beautiful sun

Trees go to sleep when the moon says hi friends  

A cow says its goodnight with its pristine white underbelly

Contacting the moon with my long sighs and loud cries

A downpour of rain begins while wishing the sun to return

Sun comes up and the day starts again


Geneta-landia (Part Two)

16 April 5042

Central Breeding Center

New Johannesburg, UNoA (United Nations of Africa)

A doctor in white scrubs progressed among the tanks. He took a look at the cardiographs for each patient and saw that they were running steadily. Beep, beep, beep, beep. He saw a nurse and said, “Are the new ones ready for inspection?”

“Yes, doc,” was the reply.

A cart full of screaming babies, suspended in a fluid, rolled on its own accord, and a robot hoisted a baby up to the light, staring at it intently with one electronic eye. The robot then said, “Not suitable.” It killed the baby with a laser and threw it down a garbage chute. It then picked up another and said, “Suitable for second-stage testing.” Another robot, whose arms ended in a giant bassinet, rolled by and the robot dropped the baby into it. He then went back to surveying the rest of the babies.

The robot with the bassinet rolled down hall after sterile hall. Eventually, it came to a door. The door slid open with a chuff and the bassinet robot was admitted to a room containing hundreds of thousands of individual cribs. The robot with the bassinet dropped each baby into an individual crib, which was then sealed by a glass top. Another robot pressed a button and a cool computerized voice said, “Pain test, level one.” Electrical volts shot out of the side of the crib and the baby began to scream and cry. After five seconds, the computer said, “Results are being sent to doctors for analysis.” Then, “Endurance test, level one.” A wheel shot out of a crib and an arm pushed the baby into it. The baby began to crawl faster and faster. Then, the baby stopped. A cool computer voice said, “Overwhelmingly negative results. Disposal process initiated.” A needle punctured the baby’s thigh, and a clear fluid shot down the needle. The baby’s face seized, it began to shake, and, suddenly, there was no movement.

Three rows over, a baby had completed that task and was moving onto the next test. A cool computer voice said, “Cardio resistance test, level one.” A lamp came over the crib, and the crib began to heat up. A screen next to the crib read the temperature. The temperature jumped from a comfortable 70 degrees, to 90 degrees, to 112 degrees, to 190 degrees, and the baby began to pant. The cardio monitor beside the bed began to go crazy: beepbeepbeepbeepbeeeeeepbeepbeepbeeeeeeeep. The beeping was no longer steady; it was getting higher and higher. It climbed to incredible levels before being replaced by a flat monotone: booooooom. The line on the screen was flat. Again, “Disposal process initiated.” There was a flash of light and the baby was gone. Simply disintegrated.

Meanwhile, upon completing these tests, those who had passed them successfully were sent in for actual testing by a human being. In this new room, babies were subjected to visual inspections of all areas. They were tested for genetic compatibility and, if the results were unfavorable or average, the next procedure was the sterilization of the genitals, which was done by simple x-rays. If the genetic combinations were extraordinary, then that particular human being would be allowed to reproduce sexually, which was a long-lost luxury for much of the world’s population. Upon the completion of this simple procedure, the babies were subjected to yet another visual inspection. When this was completed, the babies were transferred to a holding pen, while genetic makeup was analyzed. This was done by a combination of a computer and a human reviewer. The computer would perform initial analysis and then the human would finalize. Upon the human finalization, the babies were transported to an adoption center.


17 April 5042

Central Adoption Area

The completion of the genetic tests took a day, but, when that day was completed, the babies were transported to the adoption center in the morning. In the adoption area, babies were kept in rooms according to one of four races, each of which was carefully curated by those who combined the genes to make the babies in the first place. The only four races which were allowed to live on were Caucasian, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Black. All other races and their minorities were exterminated by simply not including genes to produce them anymore. At precisely 9:00 AM on the 17th of April each year, the public was admitted to the viewing rooms. If a couple or single spotted a baby they were interested in, they would take the baby into a playroom to have a trial. If the baby had the desired genetic characteristics of that particular family, the baby would be taken home. If not, the baby would be returned to the main adoption center. The adoption center would be open for twenty-four hours, seven days a week from the 17th of April until the 24th of April. Any babies who were not picked by that time would either be exterminated or called to complete early army training.


18 April 5042

Sana’a, Yemen

People bustled in the streets. It was sunny, and above all lay the symbol of the Genetic Covenant. The supreme leader/Dontar of the Genetic Covenant was the leader of the world. This began years earlier, when ISIS was vanquished in 2025. In order to prevent the entrance of any more extremists, it was decided that they would simply stop breeding extremists. From then on, all reproduction was tightly controlled by the Genetic Covenant to ensure that no more terrorists were bred into the world ever again. People were still allowed to worship as they would, but their loyalty was above all to the Genetic Covenant, by genes. The Genetic Covenant was created with the Genetic Accords in Yemen in 2011. They would come into effect when Al Qaeda/ISIS/other Islamic extremist groups were vanquished from the world. The Genetic Accords were signed in secret by all of the great powers, spearheaded at the time by President Obama. Then, the Minuteman strike paralyzed most of the terrorists. This meant that the Genetic Accords could now go into effect. The first Breeding Center was opened on June 5, 2025 in New York City. To the creators of the Genetic Accords, it was important that one of the world’s most powerful cities would be the first to adopt the program. President Trump did not agree with the Genetic Accords entirely, believing that there should be a limit on Muslim genetics as well, basically eliminating Muslim genes from the world. However, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson stopped the measure behind the President’s back. This saved a race. The United Nations set about directing nations that were not on the Security Council to begin using the program.


19 April 5042

122 Freedom Street, New Johannesburg, UNoA

Jane and John Petersburg played with little baby Yohan without knowing what her true purpose was. Yohan was one of the New Ones — a race of superhumans under genetic modification at the United States Genetic Labs in Washington D.C. in the United States of America. The superhumans not only combined the perfect genes of humanity, but also the strongest. There was a plot.


23 April 5042

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20500

White House, Oval Office

President Alex Sarappo LXX stared up at the portrait of President Washington, which sat right alongside the portrait of President Obama. He could have sworn that President Obama winked at him. He stared down at the briefing once again and sighed. There were anti-geneticists. But how could there be? The human race was so perfect with the genetic modifications. How could anyone be opposed to such a perfect society? He left the office, shaking his head.


700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20408

National Archives, Rotunda

President Sarappo LXX walked into the Rotunda, accompanied by seventy guards who all wore suits with earpieces and dark glasses. He stepped up to the Declaration of Independence and the guards stepped aside. The doors parted and the Declaration of Independence was exposed. The President read for an hour and then he ripped the Declaration down.

“But, sir!” yelled one of his guards. But it was too late. The president took out a cigar lighter and set fire to the Declaration of Independence.

“Let it be known that I am the top. In the name of the people, I choose that I should dictate to the people. I order the destruction forthwith of the Constitution and the undoing of all its principles. Now, I briefly declare martial law to have you do one thing: knees, now.” And everyone kneeled.

The president stamped a foot and said, “Now, hail me.”


24 April 5042

New Johannesburg

The CNN broadcaster finished his report with, “This report has been approved by the new IPG and Sarappo the Great. I will not be executed for broadcasting this material.”

Jane put a hand to her head and said, “So this is how freedom dies. This is how the world’s greatest democracy falls. They told us it would be perfect. They told us the world would remain a democracy. They told us that we were beyond all of this. They told us that genetics would make our world perfect, but purity in genetics leads to dictatorship. The Dontar remains democratic so that the entire world is not a dictatorship, but absolute power always corrupts absolutely. It never goes as it does in the movies. It never goes completely. It begins with the slightest rot in one organ of the machine.”

Her husband sighed.


25 April 5042

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20500

White House, Oval Office

The Speaker of the House entered the room, thumping his fist on his chest before extending his arm and bowing deeply. “Mr. President, sir.”

“No one call me President. Execute this man immediately.” A secret service guard in suit and tie and dark glasses ran in. He had a needle at the ready and the man was executed on the spot, his last expression one of bewilderment and his last words, “Why?” It was in this way that the United States was “cleansed.” The developments in the United States were reported to the Dontar, and he attempted to make a change in the United States. He ordered the President executed by the United Nations immediately. It was set to occur on the occasion of the President’s first address to the people. The President would then be replaced by an interim leader, until fully democratic elections could occur with the only person prohibited from running being Alex Sarappo LXXI, because it was considered that Alex Sarappo LXX would be dead.


27 June 5043

1600 Me Avenue, Sarappo City D.M., 20500

Imperial Palace Lawn

Alex Sarappo LXX emerged from the palace gates. He was in a black car, which was surrounded by motorcycles, on which rode guards in military fatigues bearing assault rifles and other automatic weapons, including even a tactical nuclear missile launcher. He stepped down from the car to an ornately decorated podium where two men and two women bowed to him. He waved his hand and, all of a sudden, a silent maid gave him a bowl of fruits. He tossed one into the pyre beside his throne and took a bite out of another, feeding the rest to a monkey perched on his right shoulder. He said, “Citizens of the Empire of Sarappo. 3,000 years ago, when this country was still a democracy known as the United States of America, my great ancestor Alex Sarappo worked at an organization called Writopia Lab. This organization was a think tank which provided quiet, uncensored writing spaces for free speech. This is what I have eliminated for you. Things are better when I make decisions for you. My great ancestor would never have wanted what I have done, but I have done what I have done, and I have risen this family to a position of power unoccupied by any other.”

As he began his speech, citing references such as “budget,” he said, “Why do you need budget when you can work for me and only have a pay of honor?”

In the rear of the lawn, two soldiers stood guard. One of them fell forward. The other, startled, said, “Jacobs!?” He too fell to the ground as three people in black military bodysuits rushed across the lawn. Darting between the revellers, who stood in fear and happiness before the emperor, they attempted to move unseen. They soon reached, however, a line of imperial guardians, which they darted past, but the guardians began to fire at them. One of the men fell, blood spurting from a hole in the back of his balaclava. The other two attempted to continue, as people around them yelled wildly, “For the empire!” and tried to grab them for the soldiers to shoot.

Emperor Sarappo grabbed a pistol and shot one of the remaining two through the skull so that blood and pieces of brain splattered through the hole in his head. Meanwhile, the remaining person attempted to shoot Emperor Sarappo, but failed as he was shot three times in the back and three times in the head simultaneously by Emperor Sarappo and an imperial guardian. The Emperor said, “Send the Dontar my withdrawal notice. We are coming after them. We can defeat them!”


20 July 5043

Central Breeding Center

New Johannesburg

Yet more babies were undergoing tests as the robots brought them through the Central Breeding Center. One of these babies was a baby named Jonathan. To be more specific, Jonathan Bletchley Smith II. He was just an innocent babe in those times, but he would grow to pass the tests and save the world from the tyranny of the United States. A buzzing robot came to take him to the Central Adoption Center, and this was the beginning of a new life.


21 July 5043

The Mansion, Sherwood Dr, Bletchley Milton Keynes MK3 6EB, UK

Bletchley Park

Jonathan Bletchley Smith II sat in a sitting room at Bletchley Mansion. This was his mansion now. He had a staff of over 1,700 people to take care of his every need. But this was truly his base of operations to focus on something larger: the maintenance of the genetic system and the rescue of his Yemeni relatives.

Sun filtered through a gap in the velvet curtains. He stared at a computer screen as though willing all the work he had to do to go away. But it wasn’t budging. If you got in this business, you had to do the work that came with it.

Yemen had fallen to the anti-Geneticist rebels, but, again, why would anyone rebel against such a perfect system? In most situations that are dystopic, there’s a restriction of personal freedom, but there was no such thing in this system. Everyone was allowed to live as they would, with undesirables executed at birth, with nothing more being heard.

Suddenly, as he pondered this deep question, an air raid siren sounded. At the same time, his computer began to go crazy, popping up with an alert that there was a nuclear bomb attack inbound. Jonathan was curious: had the rebels really gotten this far already? If they had gotten this far, he himself would have lost confidence in them long ago. He got up from the chair and strolled leisurely to a massive door with seven wheels on it. The door swung open as he stepped inside of it. He retreated down a stairway as the alarms followed him, watching flashing sirens on the walls. A voice came through the alarms: “Under attack. Warning. Under attack. Please seek shelter immediately. You will be alerted with a blue alert tone when everything is all clear.” The voice repeated this over and over again as he hurried down dark stairway after dark stairway. Upon reaching a dark concrete room, he assumed the proper hunkered-down position. He watched what was going on above on a television screen and wondered exactly why they sounded the alarm.

Suddenly, the voice came through again, “Drill. Drill. Personal message: ha ha, I’ve got you thinking you almost died!”

Jonathan asked, “Who are you?”

The voice replied reverberatingly, “You shall never know exactly who I am, but you may refer to me as the Harvester, the Protector, the Seeder. But you can call me Joe. I have come to your planet to play practical jokes because I’ve got nothing better to do after the first war three millennia ago. I can control all of your systems and humans and animals like they are rag dolls. So you are basically a giant, I believe you call it a ‘Lego,’ set. I shall be playing more jokes on you later. Goodbye.”


22 July 5043

Sarappo City D.M., 20392

1 One Guy/Girl (depending upon the gender of the Presidential Regent) Less Powerful than Me Circle (formerly 1 Observatory Circle)

Presidential Regent Joan Alchmire looked out the window. She wondered, “What is my place in all of this? What is my place in Emperor Sarappo’s regime? Am I supposed to be his secretary, something for him to parade around and put on display? But he has given me the power to do this.” The Regent suddenly called a number of the Imperial Marine Corps officers to stand. A number of officers arrived. “Now, officers,” she said, “Do jumping jacks!” They did jumping jacks. When they were finished, she said, “Grab a random person from the street, arrest them, and bring them to me now.”

When a poor looking man in a jacket who smelled strongly of cocaine and heroin arrived, she said, “Knock him in the head.” One of the officers obediently grabbed his pistol and slammed it into the side of the poor man’s head. “Now, shoot him.”

“Of course,” said a Marine. There was a silenced shot that sounded like a polite cough, and then there was a sickening crunch as his shoulder bone shattered and his arm hung limp. The man screamed.

“Shoot him in the mouth,” screamed the Presidential Regent. There was another polite cough and blood poured from the man’s mouth as he fell to the floor. He was unable to make any sounds, but his eyes conveyed a world of pain. “Now shoot him through the top of the head.”

“Of course,” said the Marine sergeant. He pressed the gun against the small of the man’s head, and there was the sound of an even more muffled polite cough, as the man adopted an expression of shock and fell forward like a stone. She turned away, feeling satisfied.


12 December 5043

Sana’a, Yemen

Unknown location  

On a street corner in clear, cool Sana’a a stone building sat abandoned. A dilapidated, illuminated sign said, “مقهى سياحي! نحن نعرف اللغة الإنجليزية جيدة! رخيص! رخيص!”

Another sign next to it read, “Tourist Cafe! We Know English Good! Cheap! Cheap!” It buzzed on and off with the frequent power outages. The last occupants of the building had forgotten to turn it off, but the power failed so often in Sana’a that it was like it was off permanently. Inside, there was a 3092 year old layer of dust covering everything. Since the building had gone unoccupied, there were rumors that it was haunted or occupied by hermits. As these rumors were proven to be untrue, squatters had moved in and out again. However, there were some lasting fixtures, such as metal tables and chairs. Impaled in one of the metal tables was a fragment of paper yellowed and degrading with age. It read:


A man sat and stared at the paper. A light briefly flashed as he took a picture with his phone.


8 November 5044

Sarappo City D.M., 20392

1 One Guy/Girl Less Powerful than Me Circle

“Do you know what this is?”

“No, I don’t,” replied Emperor Sarappo.

“This reads: ‘Will you kill me?’ Forensic analysis has confirmed our suspicions. It’s from over 3,000 years ago, in 1951. We believe that this is our trail to the elusive Jonathan, and that Jonathan is, in fact, the great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandson of Jonathan Bletchley, founder of Bletchley manor in Milton Keynes in the state of England. Jonathan Bletchley II is one of the greatest supporters of the Dontar, but if we turn him to our side, I believe he will be amenable to assisting us, because he thinks that the Genetic Program will lead to great things. Now we know the last name of this early instigator, and we can look through civil records from that time to determine his personal details.”

“Then go ahead and do it,” screamed the emperor. “What are you talking to me for? In fact,” he yelled, “someone get in here and shoot her!”

A sergeant ran into the room and read as fast as the fine print in a car commercial, “You have been charged with direct treason against the state. Under penal codes 5420 & 541204422, you are sentenced to death.” There was another polite cough as though someone had a question, and the Presidential Regent fell to the ground, her eyes glassy.


9 November 5044

Libreville, Gabon

Gabon was one of the few countries in the world poor enough to not have a long-range spaceport, which catered to destinations such as New Congo on Ganymede V. The only transportation fixture was an airport, dubbed Libreville International Airport, or “the place of the steel birds” by native people. Jackson Dueter got off of a flight on a supersonic Concord XVII from Bangkok. It reached cruising speeds of around 17,000 mph, which was escape velocity for chemical rockets back in the 2000s. This meant that the flight took 22 minutes. Upon arrival, he was waved through Customs and Immigration, because even in those days, authorities were easily bribed to ignore the fact that there were 100 assault rifles and a small number of tactical nuclear missile launchers in his suitcase. He stepped out into the heat and briefly contemplated holding a taxi driver at gunpoint before deciding it would be more productive to pay. He jumped into a dilapidated GCM (General Communist Motors) Eagle, which was made in the Soviet Union in 1998. He practically screamed at the driver, “Get me to the city center! Now!” The driver was tanned and wore old camouflage fatigues. The car stank of urine and years of having just enough care to keep it working for thousands of years.

When he arrived in the city center, he jumped out of the car and bounded toward a door. He pounded on it with a brass knuckleduster three times, rap rap rap. He then did two quick taps: taptap. A voice came through the door, saying, “Kodi inu bwenzi kapena mdani?”

To this he replied, “Palibe ndine wosakwatiwa.”

The voice came through the door again, barely audible over hysterical laughter, “No, you idiot. You just said you weren’t married! You were supposed to say, ‘I am not a foe!’ or ‘Sindine mdani!’”

“Fine, fine. Just open the door and don’t make a big scene for the police,” whispered Jackson. The door silently swung inward, as someone within stepped aside to allow Jackson in.

“Now comes escalation!” said Jackson as he slammed his fist on the table at which they were sitting by the fire.


14 November 5044

Sarappo City D.M., 20001

148 Lack of Freedom St.

A black hover vehicle touched down on the tarmac. Its windows were tinted, and inside it was lusciously appointed. But its luxurious appearance hid a far more sinister purpose. This was a car which was converted into a tank with assault rifles and grenades. A police officer walked by and got a faceful of acid paint that started to melt his skin and skull, as he screamed ever so briefly before falling silent because his mouth had melted away. Soon, the car drove away, as the heap of police uniforms and bubbling acid fizz sat on the ground. Beside it was a post-it note: “We are coming.”



I walk through Times Square at 7:16 A.M., and a lady dressed in an MTA uniform stops me.

“We’re interviewing people about their experiences on the subway.”

“Uh… I’m in a hurry. I have to get to school.”

“This will only take a second. We need some information.”


“Just a survey.”


“How would you describe your experience on the subway?”

“Each day, I commute to school. The subway, in my case, is the fastest way to get around the city.”

“Interesting, I’m glad that’s working out for you. Continue.”

“Every weekday, I commute to Astoria to go to school. People think, ‘Woah! Astoria. It must take you hours to get there.’ And, if I feel like educating them, I usually say, ‘Well, it’s not as bad as it seems. It’s only 35-40 minutes from the Upper West Side.’ My trip begins at 100th and Broadway, where I walk down to the 96th Street station. From there, I take the 2 train down to Times Square so that I can transfer to the N, W, or R trains. These trains take me to only a short walk away from school. Frequently, I get questions such as, ‘Is it weird being on your own for so long?’ Inside my head, I roll my eyes and wish I could ask, ‘Isn’t your commute to work the same?’ What I say is, ‘Oh, it’s alright. You get used to it after a while.’ Anyway, I’m not really alone. After having done the same commute for more than half a year, you start to see some patterns. There are certain people I see every Tuesday going to the shuttle at Times Square, or that man who walks really slowly on the stairs at 36 Avenue on Wednesdays. Of course I don’t know any of these people’s names, but I can guess.”

“That’s great, sweetie. I just need to know more about YOUR exper-”

“Of course, but I’ll just say a little bit more about this. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll find it amusing.”



The Lady In The Pea Green Coat

One of my favorite everyday people is the lady in the pea green coat. No matter how hot or cold, she wears a heavy, green coat with fluff around the head. I’m not too sure but I think she lives on 97th and Amsterdam. I always see her turning the corner onto Broadway at 97th. She wears shoes with big, loud heels that send the message, “move or I’ll stomp on you.” She always has her metrocard ready at the station and swipes it flawlessly so that she can run down the stairs. Her frown is always apparent, and she’s always grumpy. We both know exactly where to stand so that the train car opens right in front of us. If I’m standing where she wants to stand and I was there first, she rolls her eyes and shoves me over. When the train comes, the lady always mutters rude remarks under her breath toward anyone who enters before her. At this point, I always wonder what her job is. What kind of person would want to work with a grump like this one? I bet she works in an office all day, slouched by a computer, muttering comments about her coworkers, and complaining about her life.

Once, when we got onto the 2 train, there were two seats next to each other. One of the seats was half-occupied by a man, who was spreading out his legs so much more than he needed to. This day I got onto the train before the lady, and I got the whole seat. I didn’t think that she would decide to sit next to me, but she did. She sat right down on my leg and pushed down until I was forced to squeeze over. Then she stuck her elbows out into me. I had to sit like this until Times Square.

At Times Square, the lady in the pea green coat MAKES SURE she is out of the train car first. When the train driver starts to make the announcement, “This is Times Square, 42nd street. Transfer is available to the… ” the lady stands up and positions herself in front of the door. On her way to the door, people roll their eyes at her and say things like, “You’re not the only one getting off.” She ignores these comments and pretends she is. I wonder if she wears earplugs to block out all the people who are commenting about how rude she is. As the doors open, the lady stomps out, elbowing anyone in her way. Her heels make loud clacking sounds as she stomps up the stairs. I follow behind her with sneakers, not making that much noise. Once she reaches the main part of Times Square, she holds her purse tight and sprints through crowds of people and into the downtown N, Q, R, and W. As I walk by to the uptown N, Q, R, and W, I see her train leaving the station and wonder how it gets there right as she walks in every day.


The Lady Who Paints Her Nails

When I’m at the N, Q, R, and W station, there are multiple people I see every day. There’s one lady who wears so much makeup and has her hair dyed a different color each week. She gets on the train at Times Square and stands near me. I’m not too sure where she comes from, but I know it isn’t the 1, 2, or 3 trains. I think she comes from the opposite direction, meaning that she takes the A, C, or E trains to Times Square and comes to transfer. She could live in Far Rockaway or as close to my house on 96th and Central Park West. She stands, gossiping to her friend in Spanish, a language she thinks no one understands. She would be surprised how many people can understand her. Or, maybe, she doesn’t care and just wants to pass time by talking to her friend. You never know with these people.

When the trains come, she only gets onto the N or W. This means she needs to go to somewhere into Astoria. She gets off the train after me. Similar to mine, her time on the N or W is longer than most people. To me, this is a good time to study vocabulary from English class or listen to music. To her, it’s a good time to put on more makeup and paint her nails. Once, I made the mistake of sitting next to her. She smelled so strongly of makeup that I had to hold my nose and breathe through my mouth. Only two stops in, she took out a bottle of bright red nail polish. The smell was so strong that as she opened the bottle, people slowly began pinching their noses. Then she sat there, intensely concentrating on her nails and elbowing the person to her right every time she stroked her nail with the paint. After this day, I never made the mistake of getting into the same train car as her.


Miss Bao

If I’m early, and I leave my house at exactly 7:00 A.M. like I’m supposed to (instead of the usual 7:05), I sometimes see Miss Bao. She knows exactly where to stand so that the N or W train leaves her right in front of the 36 Avenue train stop exit. I wouldn’t really mind Miss Bao, except for the fact that she’s my Mandarin teacher and advisor. She lives in the Bronx and takes the D or B trains, then transfers to the A train to get to Times Square. Miss Bao doesn’t speak English particularly well, but she does tell us that she grades our tests and does work on her long subway ride to school. Is that so? I see her reading Chinese newspapers and watching television programs on her phone.

She wears a large coat, and I suspect it might be helpful to cover up what she’s doing. I’m not sure how much warmer it was where she lived in China than here, but it doesn’t seem she’s quite adjusted to the cold weather. She wears this grayish coat and when she sees me walking down the platform, she discreetly pulls her hood up and zips the coat all the way. The first time I ever saw her, I was really happy to see someone I knew. I waved at her and said hi. This was a mistake because she just waved her hand back and when the train came, she walked away from me so that we wouldn’t be near each other for the subway ride. Now, when I see her, I just ignore her just like she ignores me. My mom says I should walk up to her and say something in Mandarin. If I walk up to her and say 你好吗?, she’ll probably just say 我很好,谢谢 and walk away quickly. I don’t think Miss Bao likes to mix her commuting life with her teaching life. Another suggestion from my mom is to start singing one of the catchy Mandarin songs from the internet. My argument against this is that then the other people on the subway will think I’m crazy. The Miss Bao, who I see on the subway, is completely different from the woman who teaches me Mandarin.


The Guy Who Wears A Suit

Although there are so many different people on the subway, the average man in the morning will have a briefcase and will be wearing a suit. I don’t think the specific man I’m going to write about is any different from any of the other Wall Street guys you see randomly on the street. He gets on the express 2 train at 96th Street and is super tall. This height has some advantages because he can push past people–even the lady in the pea green coat–to get onto the subway car. If he’s running late, he can skip two or three steps at a time to get on the train. I envy this greatly because I absolutely hate the feeling of missing the train. The one time the man almost missed a train, he stuck his arm into the train car and made the conductor open the door for him. Although it must be cool to be really tall, I can tell it also has its disadvantages. Once, the man tried to get onto the train and hit the top of his forehead on the door of the subway car. Now, I notice that he always seems to bend down while getting onto the train.

This man’s lifestyle is really easy to predict: he wakes up in the morning, drinks coffee, and gets ready. Then he packs his briefcase with some important papers and his computer. He gets on the express train and transfers at Times Square. From there, he takes the R or W down to Rectors street so that he can walk to his job on Wall Street. Once he gets to work, he probably sells bonds all day and has fancy work meetings with clients. His commute home is just like his commute to work. He gets home at promptly 10:00 P.M. and sleeps, just so he can wake up at 6:00 for another day full of work.



I’ve finished my story, and the MTA officer is just staring at me. Then she laughs and stands up.

“Thank you for your feedback. I enjoyed it.”

I laugh to myself, knowing I didn’t really answer her question. I see her walking away, turning her head back and forth. Honestly, I bet she’s searching for the people I told stories about. I start walking to N, R, W, and Q, but then, to my amusement, I see her stopping the four people I just told her about. I decide that I could be a little late to school.

The MTA officer sits them all down. She turns to the lady in the pea green coat first.

“Tell me about your experience on the subway. Why do you use the subway? Where do you work?”



I’m a teacher at a French school Downtown. Class begins at 8:20 A.M., but I like to get there early to help my students. I teach English and some of these students need all the help they can get. French is a beautiful language, but let’s face it–English is more helpful in New York City. Most of my students are already proficient in English, so I teach them one curriculum, while the children who are from the foreign exchange program get another.

I live on 97th and Columbus and dislike germs. Some people call me a germaphobe, but I disagree. I take the train to school every day, and any germaphobe wouldn’t stand for that. They would probably spend a fortune on taxis or buy a car, which is a pain in the city. My commute to school is a 35 minute subway ride, but I can do it in 30. I’m an exceptionally fast walker, and I know my way around the subway better than almost everyone. After having been teaching at my school for four years, I’ve mapped out the perfect places to stand so the subway doors open right in front of me. I don’t think anyone–even those who have done the commute with me– has realized what I’ve been doing in previous years. Usually, I’m the only one standing in the perfect place. The 2 and 3 trains are extremely crowded at seven in the morning, and I take pride in myself for getting a seat. When taking the subway, there are two very important things I do to keep as many germs off of me as possible. The first one is to always get a seat. By doing this, I don’t have to handle the polls, which are one of the dirtiest parts of the train. Second, I usually wear my big and heavy green coat. It’s not particularly stylish, but it makes due. No one can touch my skin directly, even on a crowded subway car.

This year, someone’s giving me a run for my money. There’s a girl, who can’t be more than 13, who always wears a straight face. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t notice her, but recently, she’s been standing where I stand. Sometimes she even beats me into the subway car. I wouldn’t consider her rude, because she apologizes to the people she bumps into, but she isn’t easily pushed. Most kids her age will move out of the way if a grown up shoves them. This girl stands her ground and sometimes uses that push to angle herself closer to the subway door. She apologizes like she means it, but I doubt she does because she doesn’t let the person she hurt beat her into the car.

At Times Square, I need to be the first one out of that train car. If I don’t run across Times Square, I’ll miss the W train and then have to wait who knows how long. When I get off the train, usually people shoot me dirty looks–unhappy that I beat them off. The girl contributes to those looks, although I bet she also understands my dilemma. I wonder what train she transfers to at Times Square. I wouldn’t know because I’m always the first one up those stairs at Times Square.

“Thank you, Margaret. You may go.”

She turns to the lady with the nail polish and asks the same questions.




I’m Lucia, owner of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Astoria. It’s on 34th and Broadway. We cook mainly Mexican food, and we cook it all fresh. If we have the ingredients for something a customer wants and if it doesn’t take too long, we’ll make it. The restaurant opens at 8:30 because we serve breakfast, so I leave my house at about 7:10. I live on 50th and 8th in Manhattan. When people ask me why I chose a location it Queens, my answer is usually because I don’t love all the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. At my restaurant, I have my usual daily customers who I look forward to seeing each day, but I also have new people who I can always greet happily with a smile. In the city, my restaurant might be too busy or my customers might be in a larger hurry. I wouldn’t be able to greet them personally.

My commute to the restaurant consists of only one stop on the C train, and then I walk through Times Square to the N and W. I get off on Broadway and walk two blocks. It isn’t too difficult, although I like to make the best time I can because I’m NOT a morning person. The later I leave my house, the better. I know I have to get ready for my job and show people that I care about this work, but I can’t get up any earlier than 6:30 in the morning. This means that I’m not completely ready when I rush out my door at 7:10. I have found a way to fix this problem by just doing my nails and hair in the subway car–it isn’t really crowded. The problem is, I feel a pang of guilt each time I do it in one of the subway cars that has the poster that says “The subway car is not a dressing room.” But I have to do what I can to look and feel my best for my customers.

Once, the girl who usually stands a little farther down the train station didn’t make it to where she usually stands. Maybe it’s because she’s younger, but I would have assumed someone would have taught her that it’s common etiquette not to show someone you don’t like the smell of their nail polish. She had her nose pinched the whole trip, but now that I think about it, so did everyone else in the train car. Usually this doesn’t happen, so I assumed it must have been the nail polish. After this experience, I always make sure to buy more natural nail polish so that the whole train car doesn’t smell like chemicals.



After she’s done, the MTA officer shoos Lucia away. Lucia hurries to the train–she doesn’t want to be late to work.

The MTA officer turns on Miss Bao, who looks a little impatient. “And you?”



I’m a Mandarin teacher. I moved to New York from China when I was 27. Throughout my childhood, I studied English and thought I was pretty good. I was so wrong–people actually speak very differently from what the textbook says. When I first moved, I practiced English even more and then started teaching in Astoria. I enjoy teaching, but I suspect my teaching style is extremely different from the other teachers. The other teachers joke with the students, but I get straight to the point and don’t push to make them comfortable with me. I guess this distances me from my students, but shouldn’t it always be this way? In China, my teachers taught this way, and my friends had fun with me. Here, you can also have fun with your teachers. Weird.

Another thing that is very different from where I lived in China is the subway. I lived in a smaller town, and we drove or walked everywhere. I’ve adjusted to the NYC subways because it’s been part of my commute to work/school for a while now. People always seem to be in a hurry. I try to blend into the crowd, and I think I’m getting pretty good at it. Recently, a friend told me that the reason people don’t talk to anyone on the subway is because if you show weakness, someone will try to mug you. Also, a couple years back, one of my students had his iPhone out, and someone just grabbed it and ran out of the train car. He never got it back. These events have made me wary of people on the subway. My commute to school is not an easy, short one, but it isn’t as terrible as it seems. I take the A train down to Times Square and then the N or W from there. Certain days, the A trains are delayed and I get to Times Square slower than expected. When this happens, I have to wait for two trains to pass before the one I need to take comes.

On these days, I see one of my students. This makes me relatively uncomfortable because I have my “commuting life” and my “teaching life.” I prefer to keep them separate. I act similarly in both modes because at school, I talk to those I’m teaching and meeting with, but not anyone else. During my commute, it’s the same as at school except there’s no one that I’m teaching or meeting with, so I can just act like a person who doesn’t care about the rest of the world. No one will know what type of life I have–except for my student.



After she finishes speaking, she gets up from her seat and hurries down to the platform, where she just barely makes her train. I consider getting up, but I have one more story to hear.

The MTA officer looks at the guy in the suit. He’s sitting in a chair much too small for him.

“You know the drill,” says the MTA officer.

The man begins to speak.



My life is work. But that’s not a bad thing–I don’t say it negatively. I don’t know where I would be without work. I went to college at the Wharton School of Business, and stocks have just interested me all my life. The only thing I’m mildly interested in is basketball. I’m always up for a good game of basketball. Once a month, our office holds a tournament, and I’m the 8-time champion. My officemates say it’s only because I’m so tall, but I think it’s because of the lack of competition. When I was younger, I lived in Pennsylvania, where we had a basketball hoop in our garage. I have practice shooting. The people I work with now sit in front of a screen or make business calls all day. Most of my officemates grew up in New York City, where you would have to walk to the park to play. I bet most of them thought this was too much work and just stayed inside learning about business or doing schoolwork.

Among others in the city, specifically males, I fit in perfectly with the crowd. In the mornings, the only people up that early work at schools or on Wall Street. Why would anyone else need to be on the subway that early? I think I’ve almost mastered using my height to my advantage. I can walk faster, and I’m stronger than others on the subway. People perceive me as some guy who’s important and shouldn’t be messed with. This detracts some of the usual paranoia that someone may feel about the subway. To work, I wear my striped shirt which is always neatly tucked into my dress pants. I wear a tie of varying colors and my usual black shoes. I leave my house at 7 A.M., but always make sure to wake up at 6:00 so that I can look suitable for the day. My commute consists of two simple transfers, but all the trains I take are crowded. I walk from my house to 96th Street, where I take the 2 or 3 trains to Times Square. From there, I take the shuttle to Grand Central and the 4 or 5 trains down to Wall Street. While taking the train, I can tell that I behave very differently than when I am at the office. Although there isn’t a large chance I get robbed, I still walk surely and keep me head held high. My arms swing by my side, and I make sure they look completely natural. I barely notice anyone on the subway and pretend to be a stuck up businessman. After all, am I ever going to see any of these people again?



The MTA officer stands up. She’s amazed for a couple seconds, and then her face returns to its normal expression. She proceeds to interview other people.

I start down to the platform. I check my phone. Only 7:28. I can still make it to school on time.

I rush into the train and get a seat.

People are so different on the subway. Some of us realize it, and some of us don’t. We can choose to completely ignore others, like James, or we can think about others, but put our best interests first. Most people think that no one remembers anyone they see on the subway. This is true, unless you see them more than once. I didn’t realize that some of the people I noticed have noticed me too and know as little about me as I know about them. People are so different when they think no one notices them. They can turn into their worst selves. Because of this, the relationships between people who take the subway together is not good–but it does make for an interesting story.


A Town with Nowhere to Cry

I woke up with a deep, solemn feeling. Opening the drapes to see the gray sky didn’t help my spirit, nor did it help that it was a Sunday. I put on my slippers with a slow creak of the floorboards, each screech giving off a sound of desperation. As if someone were calling for help on a depressing day. If only I could make that sound.

I decided to go downstairs to have breakfast. I tampered with the word “breakfast” in my mind. Breakfast. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Three times a day, every day. Sow the needle, weave the thread. Why waste all that food on a depressed person? Why? I got out of my mind zone, disturbed by the sounds of my two adolescent children coming downstairs and starting their daily complaints. For now, I’d have to leave my question unanswered. They sat down, confused about whether they wanted to eat cereal or eggs, and I just stared at them. I watched them move their mouths in silence. I looked at them and felt something that was a long time overdue. But it seemed as if I couldn’t quite get a hold of that feeling, as if I couldn’t hold on. The feeling so many people yearned for. Love.

 All of a sudden, they turned to me, as if asking me a question I hadn’t heard. Then the interrogation began. They asked me if I had signed their school papers, gone to the store to buy them what they needed, and washed their clothes, but I just simply shook my head and said no. Then they just stood up and threw themselves like a bunch of parasitical people on the couch.

I got angry and frustrated but not because of them, mostly because of my depression. Thoughts raced through my mind, voices telling me wrong and right, making me feel like a crazed lady. I was having a war between mind and feelings inside my head while my children argued with the least of care. I was overwhelmed. I screamed inside my head for everything to stop. And just as suddenly, everything did. Everything was silent, even my children. I had screamed out loud. My children looked at me with stunned faces. I excused myself, got my coat and purse, and walked towards the door. I got up because I didn’t want my children to see me cry, and I didn’t want to seem like the sensitive mom who always needed attention. I didn’t want to make them feel bad. I kept on walking towards the door while my kids asked what was wrong. I denied their care and said I had forgotten something at a friend’s house.

I went to the car and drove. Then I burst. I just started crying. I asked myself, was it because of me? Did I do anything wrong? If not, then why’d he leave me? Alone. I was crying so hard, taking quick hiccuping breaths to at least manage a constant flow of air. But my throat was just so clogged up with a feeling, that my stomach had a bunch of tears just waiting to flow through my eyes. My stinging, burning eyes. My throat stung, but I kept on driving. I drove and I drove until it was too unsafe to drive with such emotion. I parked myself randomly. I didn’t know where I was, norr did I care.

After time had passed, a policeman came up to me. At first, it was with hard emotions, which then softened after seeing my tear-stained face. He said that he had been called by the house’s owner saying that there was a suspicious woman parked at their house. People during this time period were dangerous and cautious in my country. He asked me what had happened, and I told him I wanted to be alone and cry. He continued to ask why, but I just shook my head. And I just kept replying that I wanted to be alone. The policeman got tired of me and got straight to the point. He said I could do anything I wanted, just not here. I would have gone to a park, but the policeman advised not to. He said to go to a church.

I looked at the time with a slow bob of my head, noticing that all churches were closed at this hour. Was there no place to cry? Was there no place to feel sorrow? Already embarrassed and with no more options, I went home. My children were at the table playing an old card game that I had shown them. Beuda. That’s when I decided that I wanted to show my children more than just a card game. I asked if they just wanted to have a nice Sunday. They smiled, grinning ear to ear. Then I felt that feeling again. But this time, I held on.


Going up the Stairs


Going up the stairs. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Foot up foot forward foot down. Take a breath. Then you’re at the top but uh oh you fell down. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Foot up again foot forward again foot down again. Take a breath again. Then you’re at the top but uh oh you fell down again. But then you remember that you didn’t leave your dentures upstairs you left them downstairs. So you go downstairs but uh oh you fell upstairs. At this point you go in the kitchen and eat chicken soup without the chicken because you don’t have your dentures to chew it. You walk into the dining room but uh oh on your way there you fall down the stairs again. You are now laying in a pool of chicken soup without the chicken and at this point you’re fed up with life and decide to never move again. You lay there marinating in the chicken soup without the chicken.


Geneta-landia (Part One)

12 April 1959

Sana’a, Yemen

Unknown Location

Jonathan stepped into a doorway– above which a sign read, “مقهى سياحي! نحن نعرف اللغة الإنجليزية جيدة! رخيص! رخيص!”– murmuring, “Hello?” He was quickly met with a sheet of paper reading, “ من أنت؟ ما أنت” هل ستقتلني؟”. He responded by writing a single line of text on the paper: “انا صديق”


2 May 2011

Washington, D.C. 2202

The Pentagon Situation Room

President Obama put a hand over his head and sighed. “It is done.” He repeated this over and over in a whisper, “It is done. It is done. It is done. My God. It’s done.” He ran out of the room, taking the stairs at a run. The Marine sentries nodded as he ran out of the West Wing lobby, toward Marine One. The stairs of the helicopter were down and he jumped inside, followed closely by his two daughters. A car would be arranged for Michelle, he knew. He yelled at the Marine sergeant at the door, which was totally outside his usual custom, “Get me to Andrews now!”

“But sir,” a Marine sergeant, whose nametag read “Johnson,” exclaimed, “you are not scheduled to go anywhere, and you have a meeting with Queen Elizabeth tomorrow!”

“I don’t care,” yelled Obama. “Get me to Andrews now. That’s an order. A direct order!”

The Marine sergeant snapped to attention and closed the door, yelling, “All clear!”

Obama sat in his chair. “Thank you Johnson,” he said, before sighing. “This is a matter of utmost importance that only a few know. Only Secretary Clinton knows the true intent of my visit, and I’m afraid that a sergeant’s security clearance does not warrant my telling you anything. Just please get me a bottle of water, and alert Air Force One to fuel up. We’re going to Yemen.”


Five hours later…

President Obama sat aloft on Air Force One, sipping his coffee. He looked at a folder, which lay on the desk. It said, “TOP SECRET: OPERATION ULTRA (Uni Lateral Tactical Robust Attack).” This document is protected with a radio seal that is monitored by the Pentagon’s Central Document Recording Office. If the fingerprints left on this folder do not match those of the president, the folder will immediately self destruct. President Obama pressed his thumb to the folder and pulled it open. The top document was labeled, “Vacation.” The document under that was labeled, “Possible Trajectories for a Nuclear Missile Strike of 30 Minuteman III missiles on Syria and Northern Saudi Arabia: A Study by the Global Strike Command.” He looked at the map. In 21 days, pending Congress approval, the entirety of the Libya/Syria area of Africa, Yemen included, would be a radioactive wasteland. This was part of a mission, a mission to save the human race.


Garrett Tropical

Finally, I was shipped to a store, a deli in Brooklyn. The first day there was boring. I was stuck in a pack with my cousins, and they were really big pains. I watched customers come in and out, grabbing the Cinnamon family and the Strawberries, where my best friend Joey was. Then came those from the richer parts of Gumville, where the Spearmints and all the other mints lived. From the town next to us, more shipments came in to the same deli. This went on for a week until a boy came in and picked my pack up.

“How much for this?” He asked.

“$1.75,” the owner said. The boy handed him the money and left.

I was carried uncomfortably for a while into a loud area. Then a train, which I have seen in Gumville before, came roaring in. On the train, he opened up the pack and grabbed my parents. I screamed, “No!” but of course only my cousins could hear me. The whole day, I was worrying about what happened to my parents. Later in the day, going back the same way we came, I remembered my last moments with my parents. My cousins, all of them at the same time, were picked up next. I was horrified that I was the last remaining member of the Tropicals. That night, I was put in the boy’s mouth and chewed for two hours before he spat me out of his window. It was very uncomfortable.

I was on the ground for about twelve hours. I could not sleep thinking about what had happened to me. I got stuck on somebody’s foot, and I couldn’t believe my luck. His shoes seemed brand new because of the smell. Then I saw the logo. They were Jordans. They were my first pair of shoes. In Gumville, I had won them in a contest. They gave me a forever-colored ability, too, so I wouldn’t look like tar in a couple months. I enjoyed my new life for a couple of days until he found me while he was showing off his new shoes. Horrified, I started to scream. It turned out he was big on not littering. He put me in a tissue and carried me into a school. There, he put me in a urinal. This experience was terrible for me. I had yellow liquid sprayed all over me for what felt like years, even though it was only a couple of hours.

A janitor, whom I knew from my studies at school, had come. He scrubbed and scrubbed until I was unstuck. Then he threw me in the trash. Right then, the garbage truck came and tossed the trash, including me, into a giant open space. A gatorade bottle started talking to me about how a really famous basketball player named Carmelo Anthony drank his insides.

We exchanged our stories, and soon we were best friends. We traveled for about thirty minutes until we were all picked up in our bags and carried to an unknown destination. I was sick of being handled like this. I said goodbye to Gator and slipped out of a little hole I was sitting next to. I used my telepathic powers to ask my old friend Wendy to blow me to a truck. Once there, I relaxed until the truck started moving. It stopped by the water and I inhaled the fresh air. Suddenly, I wasn’t stuck anymore. I felt around and, in moments, I was already stuck again–this time to Skechers.

“Crap, Skechers!” I said in an exasperated voice. The person sat down on the grass, but then noticed me and started to pick me off. Thank god, I thought.

This thing came bounding towards me. It was actually extremely cute. I think it was either called a Don or a Dog. It licked me, which kind of tickled and I laughed, but then I realized that it was trying to swallow me. I struggled with all my strength and put a hole through myself. Relieved, I started to relax. Having a hole through you isn’t as bad as you would think. My rest was soon interrupted when Skechers man picked me off with a plastic bag. He carried me over to another trash can, which wasn’t too bad. The plastic bag introduced himself as Plas Ticbag. I told him my name was Garrett, and we soon started talking about our journeys to the trash. We made our journey to the sanitation department. As we got close, I peeked out of the truck and spotted my friend Gator. I felt overwhelmed with joy. He looked like he was in pretty bad shape. We hopped out and made our way over to him.

We asked if he was okay and he responded, “I just haven’t slept in a couple of days.”

The next day, when we were all rested, I explained my plan to them. Then, I texted a garbage alert to the rest of the garbage in the US. Gator, Plas, and I saw our first target. It was a young worker at the department. I went towards him with my friends. Plas quickly jumped onto his back and enclosed his head. He started shouting. Gator hopped in and crammed his mouth. Then, I stretched myself across his nose. He quickly couldn’t breathe. Two minutes later, we had killed him.

“Good job boys, we can take these humans,” I said. “Here is where we go next. There is a garbage convention in Nepal. We can get onto the flight in someone’s luggage and stay with them until we are in the place they are staying. There are cardboard boxes over there. We will hijack them and roll to the airport. This particular airport is about ten minutes away.”

At the airport, we looked at the screen and saw that there was a flight for Kathmandu leaving in twenty minutes. I saw a man heading towards security. We could get in his open briefcase and get to gate G5. We made our way over to it and climbed in. I glanced at the papers inside and realized they were nuclear codes.

“We have to steal these,” I told them.

This would cause national devastation. Five minutes later, we were through security. We hopped out of the briefcase with Gator hiding the codes inside of him. We walked to the gate and spotted a kid with an orange suitcase.

“This looks good,” I said to them. We snuck in and made ourselves comfortable. About thirteen hours later, we arrived. We stayed inside until we approached what sounded like a hotel.  Then the suitcase got opened up and we were spotted.

“Back to the trash for us,” I said. We were put in a trash can, but almost as soon as we got in we were out in a dump truck headed to the convention. Perfect, I thought, already on our way.

At the convention, I recognized a lot of my former friends. I then took an old mic and yelled my plan out passionately.

“We have to stand up to these humans! They treat us terribly and murder our families. GARBAGE FIRST!” I screamed.

Then I got the biggest round of applause I had ever gotten. A couple days later, we owned Nepal. Next stop Beijing. In Beijing, the humans put up much more resistance, since they had heard what happened in Nepal. They were armed with garbage spray. This was a deadly weapon used in the first garbage war back 371 years ago. We will succeed where our ancestors failed, I thought to myself. My great-great-grandfather was the leader back then. Then I thought, This is for GG Grandpa. Suddenly, I snapped back to reality just as a human was spraying Gator with garbage spray.

“No!” I screamed as everything went into slow motion. Gator was dead. “Revenge, revenge!” I screamed, rallying the new recruits. I jumped up on the man who had killed Gator, almost instantly stretching myself out to wrap around his neck and choke him to death.

This was a turning point in our victory in Beijing. We lost thousands of soldiers but defeated Beijing. Our quest to take over Asia had just begun. We paraded through the city, the streets now filled with our superior kind showing off human heads. Humans feared us. We came to new cities and villages sparing some human lives so we could test out new weapons in death camps. I did have a soft side in me. I spared all kids.The kids worked for us in return, spying on the humans, relaying to us vital information about the humans’ weaknesses. Every place we came to we destroyed, leaving devastation everywhere.

The one place I decided we would leave wholly normal was the USA. We would settle in across the country. When we finally arrived back in NYC a couple months later, I started to settle in Brooklyn. The humans had already evacuated the city upon hearing that we were coming. I then thought to myself that we had done it; we had conquered the world.  I started to pass time by joyriding around in Lamborghinis. Eventually, this got boring and I started taking employees. We were starting to recreate the world.