798 could still feel the scalding breath of Krohn, his landlord, on the hairs of his neck, but he was a Sentien, so he could be hundreds of feet behind him without 798 ever knowing. In the cramped apartment, he ran, though the possibility of such a distance was barely even possible. Sentiens were one of the many beasts from the surrounding landscapes that were forced into an urban environment due to pressure from governmental resource agencies. They were one of the better-off species, but you couldn’t say they were doing as well as most.

798 didn’t have the will to look back either, and it wasn’t just because there wasn’t going to be any aesthetically pleasing sights there. After his escape, Krohn would be glad his building at least had insurance, if nothing else. Row upon row of microchips barely poking out of hulking rectangular boxes, known to the world as Digimail receivers, blurred past 798 in a neon frenzy. They funneled him towards the once-ornate Portal to the outside world, and his ScanChip couldn’t have been more tightly gripped.

But there was a scrape. And then a claw. A thick ooze began to cover his leg, unmistakably coming from Krohn’s coagulant-producing pores — an intoxicating, dripping, suffocating ooze. 798 cursed himself for not remembering that evolved Sentiens never forgot their primitive ways. He trudged through the alien slime, but the more that he tried, only greater amounts seemed to appear. His face poured perspiration, and his throat became a dry, heaving pipe. The Portal was so close — and then he felt Krohn’s three ugly fingers descend upon his leg. 798 stopped. There was no use in fighting, but he didn’t want to look behind him at a face that said, Guess how high next month’s rent is going to be. He didn’t need to. The face came to him, or what Sentiens regarded as a face. It was as ugly as his failure of an escape.

Krohn heavily inhaled, and his grasp turned into a grip that demanded attention. “Seven.” A raspy exhale, followed by a rather desperate intake of air. “Nine.” The scales felt as if they were sliding into his skin, constricting his calf and making 798 wonder how such a feat could even be possible. He groaned in pain as Krohn released the full power of a Sentien’s morning breath upon him. “EIGHHHTTT.” It sounded like some sort of curse, the way he put it. “Your rent will always catch up to you, and so will your good buddy, Krohn, you Kirdral-”

798 was just as astonished as his landlord was, yet he was still too paralyzed to even say a word. A stop in the middle of such a sentence was something no one did just because they felt like it, especially not an angered Sentien. The malicious grin disappeared from his face, and his tight hold on 798 went completely slack. He began an obnoxious stroll down the dark halls of his high rise. Krohn looked back on his shareholder with a distaste that was anything but pitiful, and merely said, “Have a nice time getting yourself out of that.” And then he disappeared.

He did get himself “out of that” (with some improvised scraping), and now he was in a slightly better position (lying on his mattress, staring up at the Feels 2.3). The square machine had created a mixture of mostly conflicting deep scarlets and throbbing blues, and a rich violet where they met. 798 sighed with annoyance. Why did he ever spend his money on such a poorly-manufactured piece of marketing? He flipped to the sweaty crater his body had made in the cot, where the only color was darkness.

Just like the visual display engulfing his illegally-zoned Cube, though, 798’s thoughts persisted in a dance of deception. His income rudely side-stepped in front of his location, which was having a passionate argument with his horrible job, and his lack of knowledge marched in front of them all, trying to prove its superiority. But Krohn’s surprising behavior from earlier that day stole the show, doing cartwheels and leaps at the very tip of the stage, crying out to be seen. It was a disaster.

798’s mind decided to file through all of the possibilities of what the morning’s rather odd conundrum could have meant. Krohn could have just choked on a piece of something that had contributed to his usual mouth stench, or maybe he didn’t want to offend his delicate relationship he had with his tenants. Almost immediately, 798 pushed away those thoughts, though — Sentiens were widely known for their ability to digest mostly anything (something that particularly disturbed 798 from time to time), and Krohn cared about his tenants about as much as his diet. As long as Bits were being handed to him at regular intervals, he could be almost as happy as he was back in the wilderness. 798 forced the nagging thought into the back of his mind. He secretly hoped that one day, Krohn would be as irrelevant as the Feels 2.3 itself.

798 slogged his way through the morning routine. He shouldn’t have been, of course, for he was already going to be late to the factory. There was still a few sick hours on his side, though, and 798 was willing to sacrifice them even if it meant being demoted. The closer to being kicked out of the system altogether, the better. It meant a lower employment ranking in his Status, but not as detrimental as quitting.

798 had already gone through the high-rise’s facilities rooms earlier that morning, leaving him with nothing to do but stuff his DigiCard into his pocket, grab his Serellian knapsack, and head onto the balcony. There lay his Board, concealed from the public by an InvisiDome. He had had an InvisiFilm installed in his retina, making it so that only he could view inside of the Domes he placed. His sneakers, one by one, gripped the polished metal. 798 braced himself. The Board’s straps automatically connected, securing him to it and revving up the mechanical components. And then he was off, floating into the cavernous depths of the great web of a city. 798 didn’t even take note of his balcony entrance, wide open to the world.

The civilization of Krenst couldn’t be described in one word. It was the home to not thousands, but millions of intergalactic species, sprawling with their own unique types of homes, businesses, and entertainment (the last one usually required an extra amount of searching.) Bridges spanned from sector to sector, providing various modes of transportation for wherever you were going — but it wasn’t as if there were no questions asked. Not only Krenst, but the entire galaxy as well had one go-to policy: no ScanChip, no cigar. Virtually anywhere or anything required the small, easily forgotten piece of technology to be had.

798’s city made anywhere or anything look small, though. With its limitations, Krenst made almost anything that a five-year old could imagine possible. Among the many topics that the metropolis advertised were skyscraper-high travels above it via glass tubes, buffets of alien cuisine that you could swim in, and even a chance to challenge another city goer with the latest MechSuit. You would often find this out through the gargantuan holograms spanning the height of a high-rise, or the occasional shady character down on what Krenst inhabitants liked to call the “forest floor.”

All of the sudden, 798 had arrived. Speaking of advertising, he had to get back to his job: essentially a delivery boy/salesperson for the exotic snack company widely known as Kekutama, nothing even subtly impressive. Their company bore the mascot of an all too-happy human, put into a caricature that blushingly held out a pile of their popular kekutens. 798 despised it. He easily folded his Board into a pod no larger than his head, having arrived at the docking place for employees no less than a few krenektiks ago — Krenst’s way of tracking the time. He easily dropped the Board into his bag, which suctioned itself around it. 798 approached the welcome desk. It shone with a dull office light, but a startlingly bright pink face appeared via swivel chair in front of him. The face’s name was Yannik, and 798 had always dreaded the day when he would be greeted by her.

“Hi! And who are you then, young man?”

The condescending tone was dripping with cheeriness and an overdose of high-and-mightiness.

“Rayn Herron, Yannik.” 798 made sure to stress the last two syllables.

“Ohhh. Why it’s the delivery boy, isn’t it? Well, you can just head on over to the SpecScan as usual, honneyyy…”

798 visibly cringed at the end of the remark and barely nodded his head as he relieved himself at the nearest SpecScan. He held his ScanChip at the ready, glad that he at least didn’t have to exchange conversation with the grim face of one of Kekutama’s minimally-paid guards. The assembly line made its way into 798’s vision as he dodged the other workers around the bends and in the hallways, eager to receive the best deal he could get for the afternoon’s handouts.

A sharp left revealed the dull, low-ceilinged expanse of the Kekutama factory. For all of its public glory, there wasn’t much else to say about the company rather than the eccentrically toxic taste of its most popular snack. Two red signs hung by chains as low as they could go without hitting any of the employees: Shipments and Deliveries/Promotions. Several identical kiosks stood beneath the second one- each with its own cheery, bubbly vendor that gave you about as much attention as any passerby on the forest floor did. Just like Yannik, 798 thought. But that was what he always thought.

After he had received the kekutens and all of the sales promotion they could stuff in his face, it was a quick trip for 798 out of the factory. He had a suggested order for deliveries, but when he saw that the first one was nearly out of his sector, it immediately delivered itself to the nearest incinerator 798 could find without getting off of his board. He hugged the barely wrapped box next to his ribcage. It was lighter than his payroll.

His first destination, he decided, would be Trenkle — only a quaint, tucked away district like itself could cheer him up and out of the mood he was already in. It was an easy ride on the Board, one that made him wonder why the others didn’t get one themselves. It was a queer thing in itself, but today he particularly wondered about it. As he made his way through the entanglement of manufactured metal that was Krenst, 798 thought more deeply than he ever had about it — why did the other workers seem to just drone about, delivering their packages along the same route every day that he worked with them?

He was reluctant to push something else to the corner of his brain, but he couldn’t avoid the pressing reality of his job. He felt as if the thoughts were ready to burst out at any moment of their hiding places, if he didn’t get around to actually considering them sooner or later. 798 rarely spaced out on his delivery trips. They required a lot of attention, and a single wrong turn could mean anything from a head first crash into a building window to one into another Boarder. Neither was pretty. Yet here he was, the recent haze of his thoughts beginning to dissipate and give way to the immediacy of his location. 798 recognized the travel-by-air sign to Trenkle, but not his surroundings. The buildings were still towering, the bridges continued to be long, and the people around him ceased to be polite in the given way that Trenklites are. None of this should even be remotely true, 798 thought. Then again, he had never taken the time to explore the district as much as he could. More InfoScreens appeared, in many manners of size and importance, and they all unmistakably told the same story. 798 could be no closer to where he needed to be. With a sigh, he swooped down below to the avenues of the supposed Trenkle, but this was one more thought that begged not to be pushed away. He paced towards the nearest gold-printed set of letters he could find. More often than not they meant a Unit building, and 798 prayed that his mentality would be saved. He brushed through the grim crowd, and peering into the shining doorway the hopeful words Trenkle 879 illuminated his eyesight. He nearly whooped in excitement. The Portal guard looked strangely at 798, and inquired with a stony face, “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to show me your ScanChip.”

“Oh! Um, I mean, here it is… sir.” 798 awkwardly reached into his knapsack, struggling to produce the square card in a fashionable manner. “Here it is, sir, I mean, here’s my shtipcan… ” he blurted nervously, then mentally scorned his stupidity.

The guard raised an eyebrow that managed to peek above his opaque glasses. For a second, 798 wondered why the guard would even need them — only one of the planet’s three suns was visible on an overcast day like today. Then again, maybe it was just another one of those strange “security measures” Krenst buried the authority in.

“Mmmm… a satisfactory. Well, it’s viable. Reason for entry?” the guard pushed.

“Well, sir, I’m a delivery boy for, um, Kekuten, you see.”

798 held out the grubby packages and tried to glorify them as much as possible, but he would have to find a better title than delivery boy sooner or later. The age label suggested by Kekuten’s workers annoyed the Krong out of him.

“Okay then.”

798 wondered what those mysterious eyes were doing behind the film of the glasses.

“Proceed to entrance.”

He confidently inserted his ScanChip into the scanner and waited for the light of the translucent box to flash green. But the ScanChip just stayed there. It was almost as if it was frozen in time, transfixed in the machine, never to be processed. 798 waited for the comfort that the access of his ScanChip gave him, but none came.

He scratched his neck nervously. “Huh.”

He looked at the guard for consolation, but only received a harsh and suspecting glare, if sunglasses could be harsh and suspecting. 798 gulped, and the saliva almost refused to go down. And when the scanner made the buzzing denial of a defect, it didn’t help his look when the saliva went the other way up, sending him sputtering and red-eyed in front of the guard.

“I-I’m so s-sorry-”

The guard cut him off. “Get out. Now.”

“Sir, p-plea-”

“I said get out!”

But before the guard could practically push 798 back onto the sparkling, well-kept streets of a so-called Trenkle without his delivery boxes, a magnificent lady appeared in the Portal.

“No need, sirs. I’ll be taking the boxes.”

She had on a flowing sapphire-and-ivory dress and was wearing heels that 798 could’ve sworn were cut from pure jade. She had a deep black complexion, darker than the pure of midnight, and milky white eyes with perfectly piercing, green eyes set in the middle. Her hair was a bush of perfectly manicured, springy curls just as black as her skin. 798 was lost for words. He blinked a few times to see if maybe he was in some sort of haze, but every time he did so, he was only more taken aback by her beauty. She looked at both of them with pursed lips that twisted into little upward corners at their ends. The guard saluted her.

“Miss Moise.”

She was royalty, except she didn’t even need the crown. The lady returned the greeting with a nod.

“Robert,” she said curtly, then stooped down to pick up the boxes.

For a second, 798 thought maybe he was staring at her for a little too long, because she stole a glance directly at him, and her pupils seemed to slice into his soul. But then she went back to the boxes, and almost stepped through the portal, but halted in front of it.

“Oh,” she said. “And thank you, Rayn.”

It was like 798 had fallen off of his Board in the midst of a Channel, tumbling down to the city’s common streets with a sudden lurch. She’d said it as plain as day, too — his very own first name. 798 would’ve run after her, babbling like a madman. But he wasn’t sure he’d ever have the words to do so. Out of the corner of his eye, though, he did notice one more thing about the mysterious woman. On her ebony heel, just as it was lifted from the jade of the sandal, he saw three ivory numbers inked in stern contrast: 346.

798 ran from the establishment with a ripping ferocity, tearing through the throng of supposed Trenklites and onto the Channel release dock. He practically threw the Board on the metal and immediately commanded it to hover. He stepped on the machine before it could even analyze the order. Without thinking, he headed to the nearest restaurant entrance, pushed himself onto the landing pad, and laid down. He breathed, once. Twice. And then three times. 798 was about to indulge in what all this could possibly mean for the meager four years of his life he remembered, but the monotone voice of a Zitza employee greeted him from the Channel-Serv speaker behind him.

“Hello, how can I help you today? Don’t forget our newest special, Zitza Twirls. They come in flavored packaging!”

Startled, 798  spoke the first thing off the top of his head. “I’ll… um… I’ll have a Zitza Pie Special.”

798 was so frazzled that he forgot to even say please. He could almost imagine the anonymous employee raising her eyebrow behind the customer speaker.

“Mmkay, head to the Zitza-Serv counter and pay 15.5 Bits. Thank you. Next customer?”

798 sighed. Did he even have the money to pay for such an item? He scrounged his pockets, producing 10.2 Bits in a heap of multicolored squares, circles, and triangles. He could use his ScanChip account, but that would cut into his meager savings from his Kekuten income once per krenek. His job. He did have to get back to that, didn’t he? 798 was startled by the blaring voice of a customer behind him. The voice seemed to barrel towards him in boastful rage.

“Hey, c’mon, man! There’s more in this city than you!”

Taken aback by the throatiness that accompanied the statement, 798 didn’t have to force himself to move forward to the Zitza-Serv counter. A hologram of what was probably the woman behind the speaker appeared in a grimy Serv’s uniform. “Produce method of payment into receiver, and wait for order to appear.”

The lady’s hands seemed to be working at something unseen beyond the holoscreen, and 798 guessed that his pie hadn’t exactly been receiving the most thought before he had come to the counter. Oh well. The holoscreens gave Servs an eternity to work on the actual meal and talk while they didn’t have to appear in the flesh, probably causing for some “You’re fired!” worthy material.

He glanced at the rectangular edges of the Scan Chip and thought about what he would have to make up for using it for the pie. He shouldn’t even be buying food during work hours, especially not when lunch had already passed. He reluctantly inserted it into the receiver, wincing as the numbers were displayed boldly in red lettering on the display. He hadn’t even known that he’d already had a negative amount due in his account, and this sort of deficit wasn’t exactly helping.

Before the machine could lock onto his ScanChip for further examination at the counter, 798 ripped it out of the receiver with blood rushing to his ears. They couldn’t find out, not now, not now, not now. Suddenly, a steaming sack of extremely low-grade Zitza appeared at the counter.

“Thank you for your business. Sir, could you insert your ScanChip?” The Serv pushed in an assertive voice that 798 was nearly taken aback by.

But 798 had already snatched the bag, hopped on his Board, and zoomed out of the filthy building, not stopping to be reprimanded by the Zitza-Servs. He didn’t stop until he was out of what he thought was Trenkle, the business of the city behind him, and only the barrier between him and the Outlands. His heart rate began to slow, and he stopped near an unoccupied fence of a Registrator. He finally tapped the Board with his foot once, lowering it to the ground. 798 stared mindlessly at the bright, glowing screen of the Registrator.

“Registrate yourself today and enjoy a spectacular wilderness safari filled with wonderful animals and experiences in the Outlands!” the speaker below the Registrator’s screen blared out, amplified by the silence of this part of the city limits.

On a day like today, only a few schooling groups would come out here on some city-sponsored trip, but other than that, there was barely anyone that could find the time to come into the Outlands during the Krekten. During the Krektend, however, the Registrators were practically glitching out because of everyone that was pushing in front of one another to get to the next Outlands transport. What the Registrators didn’t tell them was the surprising percentage of animals that were illegally imported and didn’t actually live in the Outlands, nor the nearly abusive tactics that were used to keep them from wandering off into the wilderness.

798 suddenly remembered his Zitza Pie and, without thinking, scarfed it down. He hadn’t noticed how cold it had already become, or how hungry he had grown during his incredible escapade away from his work. Remembering what he had really set out to do in the first place — actually deliver Kekutens — he checked the CNow on his wrist. 3:46. He nearly choked on his Zitza. He immediately stuffed down the rest of it the best he could while rushing his Board’s reboot system, and was zipping past Trenkle’s limits in record time. Not that he’d ever tried to before. He’d never been this late for the daily collection of unsold Kekutama boxes, which also heralded him being passed through the SpecScan again, which didn’t spell out satisfied for Yannik and the rest of the employees at the Kekutama facility. When one of them was the unlucky one to have to stay behind just for a single worker that wasn’t on time, there was no doubt that they would report it to the head managers immediately. 798 was already 46 Krentiks behind.

“Hey! Where do you think you’re going, mister?”

That was just one of the many retorts that whizzed past 798 as he broke every speed limit ever to exist on Krenst’s many Channels. There were only twelve more of them to pass before he reached the main drag that the Kekuten facility was located at, and he didn’t want to see himself waiting for a stoplight anytime soon. Almost like karma, a flashing red strobe appeared immediately above 798’s head, but he took no notice of it, not wanting to think of the consequences. But as soon as he heard the wailing siren behind him, and the authoritarian voice of a Channel Surveyor, he knew his wrong.

798 quickly surveyed his surroundings. From here, there were a few alleys he could duck into, but they would only stretch out his escape from the Surveyor, not prevent it. And then he remembered. Left on Krenst Main, three Channels forward, a right on Fourth Street, and then another six channels forward. There’s a cove for the Outlandish, an old bar that the locals go nuts for. Go in there, where the cops won’t. 798’s mind was still hazy and unfocused with the memory of the employee he had met so long ago, and struggled to remember his name. A red nametag flashed across his mind. A light turned green. The Surveyor’s voice got louder, and louder, and louder, until it seemed that they were shouting directly into 798’s ear. Hi, my name — 798 started in the direction of the Outlandish, blankly. Is Ris — a turn on Quick Street. A honking vehicle in front of 798’s face. — Car.


Hi, my name is Riscar.

There was a blinking Outlandish sign in front of 798’s in jagged, unruly letters. The Surveyor was practically mectometers away from 798. He dashed inside without thinking, blending in with the outside crowd, and then disappeared into the dark, dark, alleyway.  

The Outlandish wasn’t actually in the alleyway itself — it was to the side, with the identical logo sprawling above a decrepit door frame. 798 entered and wondered immediately if the Outlandish was even an actual place. There was nothing where he was standing. Just nothing. It was nearly pitch-black inside, save for an actual candle standing on the simplest nightstand 798 had ever seen. The candle burned with authenticity and not the harsh glow produced by the blaring displays of the outside world. It held down a curled, burnt piece of what looked like parchment, which was halfway covered in a puddle of wax. There were some names on the parchment, none of which 798 knew. A voice came from the midst of the darkness, startling him and raising the hair on his spine.

“So you want to get into the Outlandish, punk?”




As a corpse might recall

fingers of moonlight tangling gossamer

heavy with silence


the rapture of her hair,

its sleepless flow


How the dusk so idly threw its shadow on the terrace of water-rose!


making a cathedral of her mouth


fine spatters of sapphire draw hosts of young and orphic roses

like a god with vast indigo eyes


I would speak of idyllic flesh

how my masochism is bliss!


Insolence forever bordeaux

Familiar against silk throats


The Masked Player


Without discernible misery

The masked player strides in


Confidence exuding in wavering streams

The curtain lifts to uncover

So many gleaming faces


Staring, focused, and joyful

The masked player does not move


Bewilderment tightens the air

The excitement bottled and compressed

The masked player waits


Knows the power he holds

Over the still crowd

The grand flourish!

And the excitement frees!
Laughing, they are relieved, the mirth is released

To the masked player’s silent satisfaction


The hot lights shine with an intangible force

Following and revealing

The masked player subtly flees their gaze


And the play begins

The crowd marvels and coos

Then gasps and sighs

They are pushed and pulled

The audience draws in a ragged breath

Gasps once more and falls to tears

A tale of heartbreak unrivaled

The masked player grins


The audience weeps — such sorrow and pain!

What a godforsaken man!

The masked player basks in the emotion


Then the curtain falls

The tears are dried and left in the theater

The play is now a play

And nothing more

A point for a study

And nothing more

An abstract fabrication

And nothing more

And nothing more

The masked player bows his head


The spell has been broken on the crowd

As they now critique the fiction

The masked player pushes away backstage


Relieved of the visceral sadness

Gone from the immediate pain

The crowd’s melancholy is allayed

A smile turns the corners of their mouths

And they wish not the play’s tragedy

Upon their worst enemy

Glad the clever actor had simply worn a mask

The masked player leaves the theater


He does not remove his mask

In the darkened night


He does not remove his mask

Arriving at his dismal house


He does not remove his mask

Shuffling up the crumbling stairs


He does not remove his mask

Passing pictures of dead friends


He does not remove his mask

Staring disgustedly in the grimy mirror


He does not remove his mask

For there is no mask to remove


Without any discernible misery

The masked player shuffles off


Moral Transformation


He was no longer lost in space

His childhood gone at life’s behest

As he grew, a change in pace

To grow, to make money, to beat out the rest


And so the chuckling cherubim

Fluffed their wings and smirked

Persevered, or so it seemed

And refused to slack, refused to shirk


And soon he reached the shining heights

And the suited angels stopped and stared

He had achieved his goals and reached the lights

And taken all that he once shared


For a fight was raging, hard and long

And a moral split between

Who is to say which one was wrong?

Simple white against alluring sheen?


But the fiery one emerged aloft

Blood-red trident reached overhead

Plunging into snow white wings, soft

But draining, now, and dead


And as the man revealed himself

Tentatively, unsure, uncertain

Locked the loser in a shelf

Hid behind sanguine curtains


But the cherubim all simply smiled

Luscious wings began to shrink, gnarly horns began to rise

Anger rubbed off caution, corrupted and wild

All had made the transformation, and each one dropped their guise




You know that feeling when some days, we wake up and we just don’t want to get out of bed? So bedridden that sometimes, it even hurts to breathe.

What’s the point of all this?

Why do I have to get out of bed and put myself out there into a world that doesn’t feel?

But the feelings are strong. We can all feel it.

Or can we?

Maybe the person to my right can feel it, but not everyone is so lucky. Only some of us know what pain feels like. When somebody sticks a knife through you, or better yet, fifteen. But you don’t see what’s on the inside, because you are not me. It’s a constant battle inside. Like your mom, brother, sister, cat, dog died, but it doesn’t go away. It can’t go away.

When the stigma says “get over it.” It’s like a joke or even worse, a tease. Don’t you think if I could, I would?

I’m sorry I don’t want to do anything. Just leave me alone. I’m tired of it making me get the image of jumping off a bridge.

It’s always like you have to be happy, you know?

Do I need to if I can’t? Is that how it works? Can I just decide to be happy?

Like it’s my choice to feel this constant pit of emptiness inside of me?

The fact is, I don’t even know why I’m angry. I just am. I’m sad not because I want to. It’s because I just am. It’s like when somebody turns on and off a light switch.

Because, the word ‘’stigma’’ defines us as some little kid’s entertainment. You know: on, off, on, off.

We need help, but you just don’t see it. You’re so caught up in this fog, that you are blinded by this stigma that makes me feel worthless. I need help.

Or do I?

I hadn’t noticed these cuts and scratches on my body. Have you ever looked at them as anything  besides disappointment? Have you ever just thought for a second how much pain one can be going through? Really, look at them. To you, I may just seem as one who is “attention seeking.” No.

They may just look like random lines and scars, but they tell a story. They tell my story.  A story that I could not put in words. I just couldn’t, and why can’t you understand that?

Remember that day when I didn’t come to school and I told you I was sick?

You didn’t ask why.

Maybe it was better that way, to ask absolutely nothing, to stay completely silent.  Because depression is not always obvious. Nobody walks around with a tag around their neck that reads, “Hello, I’m OCD.”  I don’t walk around saying that my name is Anxiety. And you most certainly do not walk around with a name tag that says, ‘’The World’s Prettiest Girl.”

Remember the day you asked if I was okay?

Well, when I went home that day, you texted me a heart. I think we both knew what happened or what had happened, already happened. What gave it away?

Was it the letter, signed with my name? Or was it the knife on the kitchen counter?

I bet you thought it was just a “phase.” I bet you thought it was just a “mood.” No.

It’s a freaking disease that requires help. When someone has lung cancer, are they crazy? So why should we be labeled in that category?

I didn’t choose to be depressed or angry.

Did you see my footprints in the snow as I ran home as fast as I could? I was alone through every bit of it.

“Why me?” I ask myself everyday as I stare into that filthy mirror.

I tried to kill myself.

But, something, someone inside of me whispered, “don’t.”

I don’t want this “thing” to define me. Will I ever get better? Fifteen years too long. Fifteen years too young. More than a precious life ahead of me.

I am too young. I can’t go back to where I was before. It’s not pretty or happy or in any way, shape, or form easy. It’s not easy.

But I’m doing better. And everyday that’s ahead of me, I continue to do better than the day before. But I’m going to need some help. And now, I’m not afraid to reach out, because I know that I am just like every other person in this world. Normal and unique.

I hate the word “schizo.” It’s not nice. Are schizophrenic people crazy to you? Is that what you think?

Whatever happened to being a “leader” rather than a follower?

I hate that depressed people are labeled as losers, emo, or crazy. I hate that when you ask someone what’s the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word “mental hospital.” Why is it “crazy people” or “the addicts”? “Drug dealers” or “the insane”? Like in the movies, “insane asylum.”

I hate that we are called names that are so hurtful in ways that you can’t even understand. You just say them like gunshots heading straight for the target.


Do we look different? Because last time I checked, depression is not always obvious. Maybe it’s how society labels us as: disgusting freaks.


God damn, why?

Why us?

Guess the main question is: how did we end up as outcasts or “not important?”

And most certainly, taking medication does not mean you are weak.

And how come this stigma targets eating disorders as well?

If a girl is thin, is she anorexic?

Why put labels on our backs of the LGBTQ community too? So, to you it’s different? It’s different, right? Different, right? Different, right? Right?

Oh wait, sorry. It’s my OCD again.

They are not labels or adjectives, so stop!

I’m pretty sure it’s because we’re different? Is it?

If you can’t explain it, then keep your mouth shut.

We are tired of running and dreaming of getting hit by cars. We just want to wake up happy, but sometimes we don’t even want to wake up. Poor mental illness is a killer, but you make it worse due to your actions. Yes, you. Don’t look away, and don’t stop and stare. Don’t take a picture and post it on the media, labeling me as “mental.” Don’t freak out when you see scars on my arms. Don’t leave me when you have seen me at my worst of times.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not real. I don’t want to be another statistic for suicide. I don’t want to be labelled. I want to wake up and be myself. Go out into the world and not be ashamed of having depression or bipolar disorder or any other mental illness.

So, if this has to be said, it has to be said…

I am not the stigma, and I no longer want to be.

So break the silence and stop the stigma towards mental health.


The Savior

I realized that this world isn’t lasting forever. In 48 hours, this world would go crazy and end.


Suddenly, I realized who had saved me from the falling bridge. Yesterday, I was jamming to my favorite song, and suddenly, everything fell. I flew out of my car. Holding onto the cracking piece of the bridge, questions flew across my mind. A warm hand grabbed me. He pulled me up, and I was deeply breathing on the side of the bridge. I turned around. I was going to thank him and give him everything I had. But when I turned, I just saw a suspicious figure, tall with long, straight, brown hair, running away faster than the speed of light.

The wind was blowing in my face. I got back up and just replayed everything of what happened in my mind. So unexpected and fast.

I was slowly walking back. I heard the loud, scary ambulance sound and police officers calling and reporting damages. There was CNN at the corner of the bridge, talking into a big speaker. I walked past them, looking around, searching for my savior. I saw many black figures, and I didn’t know which one it could be.

That day, I ran back home, and I started to think about how I could find him.

The next day, I went to Central Park to cool off. I never realized until hours later that there was a girl next to me. She was the exact height and width that I saw that day. The hair matched perfectly.

I started to talk and start off easy, until I mentioned what happened. She was shocked and took her bag and ran away. That was the last time I saw her. I guess she wasn’t the savior the day I died. Neither was anyone else.  


The Rebirth Cycle

It started again. The rebirth cycle started again. Once a month, I change into another person. Different age, different height, different me. And now I am a girl, Maria, sixteen years old and living in Ohio. High school called something like New Ohio High School. I’m scared. Whatever happens, love or friendships, after a month, it’ll all go away. What did I do to deserve this? Anyway, I’m tired of this cycle. It has ruined my life in every way. I have to go, go and start this new life of mine.


On the way to school, I tried to avoid everyone I could. And everyone did. I looked down and never looked up to anyone. I pulled my hoodie over my head, and I sat down, silent and invisible. Feeling invisible felt good, no friendships and no love ruining my life.

“Hey, are you new?” asked someone over my shoulder.

The voice sounded sarcastic and scratchy. I turned around, and all I saw was a body full of glitter. The earrings, clothes, and lip gloss. I laid my head back into the fold my arms were in. I sat there, not moving for long enough, until she asked me again in an angry voice. I lifted my head, trying my best to keep my anger down and not let my anger make my magic out of control. The lights went out, and the teacher locked the door, assuming this was some lock down. But I knew it was my powers that turned off the lights. After my anger fled away, the lights started to flicker back on. I looked up, acting surprised so that no one assumed it was me. We all went back to our seats.

Ms. Johnson pointed to the board and started to gabble about science and chemistry. I looked back because I felt something hit my head. I heard snorts and giggles from Ms. Glitter Girl. I looked behind me, and I saw a lined paper crumpled up into a perfect, round ball. I opened it up, and there it was, written in pretty, pink cursive.


Don’t think I don’t know it was you who made the lights go pitch black. Have a bad day. Sincerely, The Best.


I ripped it up and threw it into the trash can. This boy walked over to her. I noticed his beautiful, short, curly, black hair. His blue eyes matched his precious smile. I looked down, and my hands fidgeted on my desk as I overheard his sweet, angelic voice.

“Why would you do that? I know what you wrote. You don’t even know her!”

I quickly turned my head, trying to hide my smile as the girl gave me this ugly face and rolled her eyes at me. The boy whispered something too quiet. I couldn’t hear. When he was finished, he looked at me. I wanted that moment to last forever. Our eyes met. He smiled. I smiled back. It felt special and unique. There were so many words I could put into this moment.

Ring! Ring! I stood up, as everyone else did, and I grabbed my stuff. I quickly ran to my locker. I shoved all of my chemistry books into it before they could fall out. I had to get home before anyone saw me. I went outside, and I hid behind the thin pole at the far corner of the school. I opened my backpack, and I whispered into it, “Bring me home.”

As I started to fade, I overheard his voice again saying, “You dropped your–”

He stopped and stared at me as I started to fade more. I closed my eyes as I hoped he would forget about this tomorrow.

As the next day began, I wanted to forget him. I hoped he would definitely forget too. I looked down and pulled my hoodie over my head. I went to my classes and glanced at the normies on the way. Folding my arms tight, side by side, I couldn’t stop but stare at him one more time. I tried to avoid any questions from anyone who came my way. I went into class and put my bag down. I looked around. Everyone was staring at me and the boy’s empty seat. I was scared and shocked, but I didn’t let it show. Halfway into class, he came rushing in and stared at me, not talking to me but just staring at me. I stared back at his dreamy eyes.




A large, clean, white box sits in the middle of a deserted, gray street. It lets out a wail, and my hinges squeak towards it. I open it, and inside is a wailing child, but where a second tiny arm should be, a clean stump is there instead. I turn away. The government will hunt and kill her for her imperfection. It is a crime to be less than perfect. You could pollute others. I run the calculations through my computing system. Her chances without me lie at 0.06%. It isn’t worth it. I could be stripped for spare parts if I’m found! I take one last look at the box, and my sensors pick up a tablet. I pick it up and read.


This child is Lilli Morris. If you take her, you will receive a payment of 1,000 sars a month. At age 14, deliver her to lab 3.51. At that time, she will be perfect as a test subject for our weapons. Make sure she is fed and raised the way a rebel child is. This will be immensely helpful to your beloved government. Failure to do so will result in death. A tracking device has already been planted deep into your system C-13. Remember the reward will be extensive.


Jessica and Harry Morris, Chemical Weapons Department


I do a scan of my anatomy and locate a tracker right next to my motherboard. Any attempt to remove it would cause me to shut down. I do a second scan and find that the tracker has explosive content, a kind that could be remotely controlled. Well it seems I have no choice. I scoop up the child, and the box and creak away to my workshop.


Chapter One

She peered out of the open window, looking down at the uniform, bleak buildings. No one would notice a girl leaning out the window of an abandoned church. Maybe before they would, but not now.

It was rare to see anyone looking from their screen, treacherous even. With each country’s government controlling all media and personal devices, there were hardly any independent thinkers left. And those few were forced out of society, usually they formed some sort of underground society, but those never lasted for long. She sighed and slipped on a pair of worn leather gloves and slung a bag with many pockets over her shoulders. She climbed out of the window and jumped down onto the neighboring roof, landing on practiced feet. She sprinted as if afraid of something towards the horizon. She stopped on one roof and ran to the side of the building. She grabbed the handle of the fire escape like she had done a thousand times. She swung down and climbed wearily down the metal ladder. She slipped off one of her gloves, revealing a robotic prosthetic. A metal device clicked out of her arm, and she inserted it into the lock. The window slid open. Catlike, she crawled into the drab, gray apartment. There isn’t much risk of getting caught here, she thought. At this time, all the inhabitants would be enthralled in social media, sucked into a world of machines and pixels so distant from reality that there was hardly need for sneaking. They were all so enveloped in worlds of celebrities and surveys, game shows and contests that they were hardly human anymore. However, the government cameras could be anywhere, so one could never be too careful. She snuck into the kitchen area and opened the fridge. She had to take small pieces of different things, lest the inhabitant should notice. She checked to make sure everything was in its proper place. Then she slipped out of the window, unnoticed, using the silver instruments to lock the window again. She ran along the roofs and went down yet another fire escape, this time to ground level. Checking over her shoulder, she loosened a pothole cover on the street and went down a rickety ladder and called out “Independent.” Suddenly lights turned on throughout the dark hallway, and a door slid open. The creak of hinges echoed through the hallway.

“C-13,the girl called.

“Hello, Lilli Morris, how is your prosthetic arm doing?” a robotic voice responded.

A robot stepped into the light. The robot had a metallic body dotted with rust, and as it walked towards the girl, it was clear its joints were the cause of the creaking.

“Fine, fine. How many times do I have to tell you, just call me Lilli!” the girl protested in fake annoyance, “and grease your hinges, they’re all creaky!” Suddenly, Lilli’s voice turned serious. “Have you received any information about them?”

A hint of desperation was in her voice.

“Lilli Morris, are you 100 percent sure that you want to hear the information I have received?” The robot paused. “All indicators show that they did abandon you,” C-13 said, a hint of compassion crept into his robotic monotone.

“No, I want to hear!” Lilli declared stubbornly.

“If that is what you absolutely want, then come on,” came C-13’s reply.

A sliding door opened onto a makeshift garage of sorts. An entire wall was crammed with monitors and keyboards and complex hacking equipment. C-13 flicked a switch, and with a buzz, the monitors came alive.

“Here is the information I have on the whereabouts of your parents.”

Lilli held her breath.

“They are working for the government in their secret base located in sector 15, Lab 3.51. They are both working as scientists, developing chemical weapons and poisons for the conflict between the United confederation of 50, and the Rebels.”

“Wait, they’re working for the government?” Lilli exclaimed, shock embedded in her words. She knew of the horrors the government had inflicted upon anyone who was different. “No, that can’t be! They’re probably being held against their will,” she said defiantly. “I must find them!”

“My calculations indicate that due to your stubbornness and desire for human contact, I cannot do anything to stop you,” C-13 pronounced sadly. He handed her a nano display. “The coordinates are here… Goodbye, Lilli Morris,” C-13 said sadly.

She ran out, and C-13 looked at her, a flicker of regret crossing his robotic gaze if that was possible. She ran to the fire escape and swiftly climbed up. She ran along the roofs and slid down into the open window of the abandoned church. She shoved a few belongings and some food into a bag then picked up a small hologram. She fingered it gently, running her fingers along the display disk, staring down at her parents. Lilli slung her bag over her shoulders, ran up onto the roof, and broke into a steady run. No one cared enough to see the girl running across the horizon.

She stopped for a moment, taking a break from the steady jog she had maintained for the past hour. She leaped down into a alley and a voice greeted her.

“Another useless human lifeform. What a waste of space.”

Into the light emerged a faded, gray humanoid robot with aperture eyes and a disapproving frown. One of the robot’s legs was longer than the other, and the resulting limp echoed around the alley. Step, thunk. Step, thunk. Step, thunk. To Lilli’s surprise, the robot flickered. Noticing the look of shock on Lilli’s face, the robot explained.

“I used to be able to turn invisible. However, I am in low power mode, so it comes on and off. The human who made me didn’t put the right protection on my motherboard, so I caught a virus and have a personality glitch. Apparently, I’m an ‘Insufferable Pessimist,’ and I have a ‘misplaced sense of superiority.’ So this genius decided ‘let’s chuck him into the not yet finished garbage chute,’ which is basically a free fall,” he gestured to his creaking leg. “Anyway, my name is P4-94. What’s your name? It’s not like it really matters. It’s not going to delay the inevitability of the pathetically imminent death that is the fate of all humans.”

“Lilli,” Lilli responded cautiously, annoyance seeping into her voice. “Hey, do you have hovering capabilities?” she asked, a hint of an idea wandering into her mind. “Oooh, and do you have GPS?”

“Why would you care?” the robot responded.

“Oh, well, that leg looks like quite a drag.”


“Well I think I just might be able to fix it.”

The robot scoffed, but the apertures of its eyes widened with hope.

“You see I’m fairly confident I can fix it but only if you promise to take me to a location I have interest in going to.”

The robot scoffed again. “Fairly confident?? I doubt your imprecise human fingertips could handle a task half as difficult as my leg.”

“Have you got any better options?”

“Well, I suppose not. How far away is this ‘location’ of yours?”

She pulled out the nano display.

“That’s quite a destination. I have a deal for you. If you fix my leg, then I will take you to your destination. However, if you leave me in worse shape than I’m in, I get to strip your nano display for parts. Does your tiny human brain comprehend?”

“Yes and deal. What model are you?”

“I am a T-498jh_ladfnvK humanoid model. Roughly 367.492% better than the average human.”

“Alright, P4-93, let’s fix you up.”

She rolled up the sleeve and adjusted her prosthetic. She wiggled her metal fingers and opened her bag. She laid out an array of tools. She grabbed P4-93’s leg and sprayed it with black liquid. She adjusted and readjusted, drilled, and turned. When she finally stood up, the robot’s leg was gleaming.

P4-93 sighed. “Well you managed not to implode the entire block, so I suppose that’s an accomplishment.” The robot took skeptical steps. “Well it does seem to hold up,” P4-93 admitted.

“So,” Lilli pushed. “We had a deal.”

“Ah, well, we are only blips in history, less than milliseconds in the time of the universe so I suppose if this implodes and becomes a disaster of epic proportions, it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Insert your nano display here.”

Lilli’s heart leapt, but she remained calm. She carefully inserted the nano display, taking care to memorize the coordinates to her future.

It had been three days since they had first met.

“How long till we’re there?” Lilli asked.

“I told you five minutes ago! Is your tiny human brain so miniscule it can’t retain a simple thought?”

“Oh be quiet,” Lilli responded halfheartedly, but she was used to P4-93’s constant criticism of her human functions.

It was hopeless arguing with him. She might as well rest while she still could. They were flying through deserted streets, and there was hardly any chance troopers would find them.


I laughed.

“This device is not meant to produce laughter,” C-13 said as a small, feathery machine tickled me.

“It’s tickly,” I laughed, practically rolling around on the floor in mirth.

“Come on now. It is time for sleep. You know it is scientifically proven that having 10 hours of sleep will help you function at your best.”

“Okay, okay, I’m coming,” I said, my eight-year-old face scrunching in annoyance.

I jumped into a small bed pod and landed on an old mattress.

“Night C-13.”

“Have a good night, Lilli Morris.”


“Lilli, Lilli, wake up.”

“What?” she said groggily

“Troopers!! Lot’s of them!” P4-93 screeched.

“How did they find us?! We haven’t had troopers on our trail this entire time, and you scanned this neighborhood!!!”

“The only possible explanation is a tracking device. Oh well, your miserable existence will finally be ended, and your soul will float aimlessly through the cosmos for all eternity.”

“Shut up! Nobody’s dying! Quick, turn invisible!”
“It will do us no good. Woe. WOE!”

Lilli watched as a net fell over her and P4-93.

“Any attempts to resist will lead to immediate incineration,” a trooper shouted through a megaphone.

Lilli stared at the net encircling them and rolled up her sleeve, revealing her prosthetic, gleaming wickedly in the gray light that mingled with the flashing lights of the troopers vehicles. Shink. Blades zipped out of Lilli’s arm, and she grimaced. A certain determination filled her, and she slashed through the net in a singular motion. She advanced towards the guards.


She kept going. She leapt forward, memories pushed themselves up from the darkest parts of her mind, kindling the already roaring fire that consumed her.


“GO AWAY! STOP! DON’T TOUCH ME! You’ll spread your imperfection. Don’t you see you’re ruined.” the little boy yelled.

I crumpled. I just wanted to be friends. I looked down at the stump that had always been a part of my life. The little boy said I was ruined. Am I ruined? Am I diseased?”

“Lilli! I told you stop trying to play with other children! They’ll only hurt you,” C-13 chastised.

“Okay,” I sniffed, and I let myself be led back to the only place remotely like home.


Lilli stared down at the red stains on her arm and then shifted her gaze to the trooper on the ground before her, a halo of blood framing what used to be a face. She froze, shock running through her. She felt a net enclosing around her once more, this time feeling the cold, metal links that made up the nets for those who were dangerous, rebel imperfects. The bulletproof links showed who she really was. A murderer.

She stared at the bars encircling them. She sighed. She had only made their situation worse, and P4-94 knew it too. But underneath her anger, she couldn’t stop thinking about the trooper’s wide, surprised eyes, disbelieving, not comprehending her blade slicing through him.

“What is it with you humans? Always killing each other!!” P4-94 said half-heartedly.

“Not now, P4-94,” she murmured, both menace and defeat in her voice, and even the robot knew to back off.

“Alright, on your feet,” a trooper yelled, smacking the bars of their cage. “You are being transported to a laboratory to be tested upon. Any attempts to resist will lead to sedation.”

She sighed. She couldn’t do anything. They had bound her arm, so she couldn’t use any of its features. Lilli and P4-94 were shackled and led in a line of other shambling convicts. They were led onto a transport plane and were placed in cold, metal seats with built in shackles. The plane lifted off, and the prisoners sat in stifling silence, the only break being the shift of bodies when the turbulence got bad.

It went on like this for hours when finally, a voice called, “Alright, get up!” and the seats lurch forward, causing yelps from all of the human passengers. Lilli could tell P4-94 was scoffing at their “weakness.” Troopers quickly filed in, each one taking a prisoner and leading them in strict lines.

As they walked outside, Lilli finally realized it. She might never meet her parents. She stared sullenly at the brick building she was being marched towards, and she glanced up. There she saw it. Large pristine letters reading Laboratory 3.51. That was her parents’ laboratory. She really was going to see her parents! But why was she going there from jail? It didn’t matter, she concluded, and she gestured discretely to P4-94. He looked up, and she could tell he recognized it. She marched forwards happily. She couldn’t wait to see what was inside those doors. Her parents! Someone who understood her. People who loved her. The doors opened smoothly, and she craned her neck, trying to get a good view. She was marched towards a long line of people in front of a large glass tank. Their grimy faces and angry eyes gave them away. They were rebels. They looked terrified, but she hardly noticed. She stood in line, her eyes seeking out anyone who looked remotely like her, and then she saw them. A man and a woman, with the same charcoal black hair as her, in immaculate lab with ID cards. Dr. Jessica Morris and Dr. Harry Morris. They walked up to the tank and opened it. They gestured for the person in the front of the line. A young boy, no more than ten.

“No need to be afraid,” Lilli’s mother cooed as the boy took a few shaky steps towards the tank. “There we go,” Lilli’s mother said, and slammed the door shut.

Lilli heard a lock clicking into place.

“Clear. Release the gas.”

Lilli’s father pressed a button, and green gas filled the tank. The boy screamed in agony, and through the cloud of gas, she saw his skin melting off of his bones, his blood bubbling, and pooling at his feet, his voice fading into gurgling. What used to be a human body was flailing around in a desperate attempt to escape this horror. Lilli couldn’t watch. Why weren’t her parents doing anything? This was clearly some horrible mistake. She turned to them.

“Great results, the increase in acid is definitely working!”

“Yeah, this is a sure success.”

Lily gawked. She had been frozen, but now she jerked into motion. She sprinted towards her parents.

“MOM! DAD! It’s me, Lilli! what is going on?!” she exclaimed.

“Troopers, get her back in line,” her mother ordered, recognition flashing through her cold eyes.

“I’M YOUR DAUGHTER!!” Lilli screamed.

“You’re no child of ours,” her parents spat.

As troopers dragged Lilli back to her spot in line, Lilli’s eyes filled with hatred. Her mind was racing. White hot rage consumed her.  

“P4-94 get ready to run,” Lilli hissed, and with one quick motion, she ripped off her prosthetic, revealing a small button. P4-94’s eyes widened. Lilli pressed it and threw it towards her parents. She grabbed P4-94 and ran, glancing behind her to watch her past go up in flames.


Diary of a 1700’s Girl




Today is my birthday! I’m turning 12! My name is Elizabeth Port, but people call me Beth for short. I got this diary from my mom for my birthday. My family is the middling sort. My father is a blacksmith. My parents’ names are Mary Port and James Port. I have two older brothers. They are named Joshua, who is 17, and Tomas, but everybody calls him Tom, and he is 14. I’m going to write this diary like it’s a story and explain everything about my life because sometimes, I think that someone might read this in the future.

My father inherited the house that we live in from my grandpa. It is made of brick, and it has actual windows! The inside of the house has a downstairs and an upstairs, and it has open fireplaces in almost every room. It has one in the kitchen, the living room, the bedrooms, and the dining room. The upstairs has three bedrooms, one for my parents, one for me, and my brothers share a room. The middle floor has a living room with a couple of chairs and a small table in the middle. The dining room has a big table in the middle and chairs all around it. We eat ham, fish, apples, peas, beans, lettuce, onions, carrots, potatoes, squash, and corn. We drink tea, milk, coffee, wine, apple cider, and beer.

The bedrooms have soft feather beds and curtains around them. There is a necessary bathroom behind the house. My mom has a kitchen garden, and I have to weed, water, and plant in it. I also have to chase away the rabbits that come. We grow peas, carrots, corn, and lettuce. Also, we grow herbs and some plants that she thinks are good for medicine. Remember, my father inherited this house, but we didn’t have the money to buy it if it wasn’t ours. Girls and women wear a shift, stockings, stays, petticoat, pocket, outer petticoat, and a frock. It takes a very long time to get dressed. Almost every morning, my mom and I go to Market Square. There are fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, butter, crabs, oysters, sheep, pigs and chickens, and also pottery. We pay for it all with Spanish silver. There is pence, shillings, and pounds. Sometimes after we go to Market Square, we go to Chownings (CHEWnings). Chownings is a tavern.

I used to go to school, but I had to stop because the teacher said, being a girl, I had learned enough. But my mom still teaches me a little bit of something every morning. She taught me how to read and write. My brother, Joshua, is going to William and Mary next year. My dad wants Joshua to be a blacksmith like him, but Joshua wants to be a lawyer. By now, I’m sure you are wondering if we have slaves. Answer: we do not. My entire family thinks slavery is wrong. So that’s pretty much my life. Oh, and one more minor detail, the war has started. A couple of years ago, in Boston, they dumped all of their tea into the harbor, and it was called the Boston Tea Party. And a couple of years before that was the Boston Massacre. I’ll explain more later.




So, people have been growing more and more restless and annoyed because of taxes and other things. So, we started a war! I didn’t do a very good job of explaining that, but I hope you have the general idea. I’m going to Market Square soon, so I am going to write this quickly.  Yesterday, we got invited to my friend’s birthday party, and it was amazing. She is very rich, so they had all sorts of food and things to do. There were six different kinds of meat and apple cider. Then, for dessert, there were pies, cakes, candy, and a thing called a trifle, which is a rich cake made of a jelly roll, custard, cream, rum, and wine. Also the children sat apart from the grown ups. It was so fun. Well I have to go.



Today, when we were in Market Square, I saw a slave auction going on. My mom steered me away from it. I asked her why anyone would be so cruel as to sell human beings.

She said, “Beth, I don’t know. Most people don’t think the way we do. When you grow up, I want you to fight for what is right. I want you to become an abolitionist. And the best way to tell other people that slavery is wrong is to become a teacher.”

And now that’s all I want to be.




I have heard about unrest in different parts of the thirteen colonies. I heard gunshots! I was in the garden, and I heard them! It’s really scary. Joshua went to William and Mary today to see what it was like. He really liked it, though I don’t know if we can afford it.



My mom bought me some clay at the market, and I can draw with it. Here are some of the colors: red, yellow, green, light blue, magenta, and blue. I have already drawn something with them. Anyway, I have big news. Joshua got into William and Mary! We are so happy for him. I saw another slave auction. I HATE THEM!!! Tonight, my mom and I are going to make a huge dinner for Joshua. We are going to have: (drinks first) beer, tea, and apple cider. And then to eat, we are having: peas, ham, carrots, corn, and potatoes. But right now, I’m bored. I think we (my mom and I) are going to a tavern today for lunch. I’m really excited. I haven’t been to a tavern in years! We stopped going when taxes went up. But today, we decided to go. I need to go now.



Right now, I’m in the cargo part of a ship.

Here’s what happened. It’s close enough to Christmas that there were Christmas trees and wreaths all around the tavern. We went to the tavern and walked inside. It had candles all over the place and Christmas trees in the corners. We got led to our table and sat down. In taverns and homes (like ours) they have metal cups, plates, and silverware. A waitress came over and asked us what we wanted to eat.

“I would like ham, and cornbread, and peas as one side, please,” I said.

“I don’t want anything,” said Mom.

The lady nodded and walked away.

“Mom, why aren’t you getting anything?” I asked.

“Because I’m not hungry, and I want to talk to you,” said Mom. “Your father is going to Great Britain with a couple of other people who are going to ask the king to lower taxes. He is going on the ship that leaves tomorrow.”

I gasped. “Why?” I asked.

“Because the taxes are really getting to be too much, and it doesn’t seem like it’s affecting us, but it is, and it’s going to be very dangerous because of the war.”

I stared at her. The waitress came up to our table and gave me my food. I felt sick now, and I didn’t want to eat anything, but I didn’t want Mom to feel bad. Suddenly, we heard a gunshot! We looked around and saw Redcoats (Britain’s soldiers) walk in. A waitress walked over to them and asked if they wanted a table. They waved her away and walked into the tavern.

“Is James Port here?” asked the leader.

I looked around at Mom, but she wasn’t there. I looked back over at the Redcoats, and I saw her talking to them. I walked over to them and heard what they were saying.

“There is no James Port in this tavern. But I do know where he lives. He lives on…”

I moved away from them then. I couldn’t believe it! The Brits were looking for my father! I wonder why? When my mom came back, I asked her why they were looking for him. She said it was none of my business, and I should eat my food so we could go home. So I did. When we got home, Mom went straight to my father’s workshop to talk to him. When she came back, she was extremely pale.

“We have to go,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because your father is in trouble. Get your things together.”

I went to get my clothes and saw a gun pointing into the room. I screamed and ran to Mom.

“Mom! Mom! There is a gun pointing into the hallway window!”  

She ran to the window and stared.

“Quick, get ready to go. Now!”  

I ran to my room and grabbed a couple of cloaks and a bonnet, and a bag with some of my toys. I ran to Mom, and we ran out the door.

“What about Joshua and Thomas?”

“They will be fine. They are in school.”  

We ran to my father’s shop and found him packing some things.

“Are you ready to go?” he asked.

We nodded, and we ran out.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“To the ship that your father was supposed to go on.”

As we were running, we heard a crash of thunder, and it started to pour rain. I groaned and started to run. When we got to the port, I was muddy and wet and really cold. I realized that only my father had a ticket! I was going to ask Papa about it, but he waved me off. I was silent for awhile. He looked at the ship. When he waved for me to follow, I walked over to him.

“Where are we going?” I repeated.

He put his finger to his lips, and we walked over to one of the guards. We waved, and he nodded at us. Papa looked around quickly to see if anyone was around, no one was. We ran up into the ship and went down as far as we could.

So now I’m in the lowest part of a ship headed for London. Then we are going to go to France to get away from the people who are looking for Papa. I’m really scared.



We’re here! London. It smells like wet horses, and I saw someone empty a chamber pot onto the street. I saw a man, who had an eye patch and a crutch, stagger towards us and ask Papa for money. Now we are in someone’s house. Papa says that it’s a family who he knows from college. They don’t have any kids, so they were very happy to see us.



I slept in the guest room by myself! I was so scared! I don’t like being by myself. We left the house today, and we went to an inn for lunch. When we left, I saw a person talk to a soldier in a red coat and point to us! I told Papa that, but he waved me off, and we kept walking. We went to another person’s house. This time, it was my grandma! I saw a picture of someone on the mantelpiece, and it looked like Mama. I asked Grandma if I could have it, and she said yes.



We are in France! We took a boat a couple of days ago! We are looking for a house to stay in right now, so we are staying in a old, dingy abandoned house. But I love it here! Everything is better. And Mama thinks we will have a house by Christmas! I’m so excited. It’s beautiful here. It started snowing yesterday, and Mama and I had a snowball fight! It is getting cold in the abandoned house, though. We got baguettes at a cafe once, and they were so good! I loved them! There is a really big place where people are selling Christmas trees! When we find a house, we are going to buy one! I found this letter stuck in one of the floorboards in the house. Here is what it says:



To my dearest Ana,

I miss you more than words can say. I will come home soon, once the colonies have calmed down, but for now, I am stuck here in Virginia. The revolutionary war is keeping me here. But, there might be a way to end it soon. We are planning a surprise attack on Boston in ten days. Then maybe I will be able to come home.

Well, I firmly clasp and kiss your hand. Keep well, cheerful, happy. Work, leap, let yourself be carried away, sing, and, if possible, don’t forget a humble soldier, your zealous admirer, Charles.


I have been thinking about what it says, and I think they are going to do the attack on the 27th, which is in six days! I haven’t told anyone about it yet, because if it means nothing, then, you know, but I really do think it means something! I wonder who Ana is, and if she lived in this house.




We own a house in France! Oh, I forgot to mention where in France we are. We are in Paris! The house we bought is tiny, but very comfortable. You walk in, and there are stairs leading up to the bedrooms. Then, you turn left and walk into the living room. It has a little fireplace and a mantle. The person who sold us the house left all the furniture and stuff in it, so we have everything we need. Once you walk past the living room, you walk into the dining room. It has a little table in middle, and then you walk into the kitchen. There is a little counter, and in the corner, there is a fireplace with a cauldron hanging on a iron rail. Then you walk back through the dining room and the living room, and walk up the stairs. When you are upstairs, you can go into two rooms. One is my room, and the other one is Mama and Papa’s room. My room is fairly small, but I love it. It has a little window overlooking the Pont Neuf. I have a big bed, and then there are my clothes (which we bought in Paris), and then there is a little desk, and on it, I have a couple of books and my drawing things. So that’s the house that we are staying in. I love it! The person who we bought the house from was very rich, so there is a ton of fancy furniture, and plates and cups and so on. There are curtains by the windows, and little cushions on a bench by the windows.



I am really worried about that letter. I told Papa about it, and he is going to give it to a French officer that he met when we were looking for a house. It is Christmas Eve! We are going to have a feast tonight! We got a tree and put some decorations on it. It is not perfect, but I love it. I have a stocking over the fireplace.  



HA! I was right about that letter! They are going to attack the Brits tomorrow before the Redcoats can attack Boston. I am really glad I found that letter. Today is Christmas day! I got some grapes and oranges in my stocking. Under the tree, I got a doll, some dresses, and a couple of little toys. I also got a letter kit! It has a couple pieces of paper, and a quill and ink, and a seal!



They got them! They ambushed the Brits before they could attack Boston! I sent Joshua and Thomas a letter each, and I hope that they write me back. Papa has to find a job. I think he is getting worried. He definitely wants to be a blacksmith like he was in Williamsburg. I really miss it there! I miss my friends, and I really miss Joshua and Tom. I haven’t gotten a response from them. I kind of hate it here! I miss everything and everyone in Williamsburg. And I don’t have any friends here.



I got a letter from Joshua and Tom! They said they missed us, and that they were going to come to France and find us! I can’t wait to see them! I have a new friend! Her name is Anna. She is my age, and her birthday is right before mine. It is November 12th. I am going to go to her house tomorrow. I can’t wait.



I had a great time! I played with her for an hour! I am going to see her in a couple of days!



Anna is sick! I think she will get better, though. I am praying for her every night. I am so worried. I am kind of liking it in France now.



She is dead!!! I can’t believe it! I feel so bad for her parents. I am so sad. I am going to go to her funeral. I hate France. I really, really, really want to go back to Williamsburg



NOOOOOOO!!! We just got a letter that said that Joshua and Tom got shot! By a Redcoat! I can’t believe this. I am an only child now! I am so sad! Mama and Papa are very sad. I don’t know how we are going to hold a funeral. I can’t… ugh. I can’t contemplate what has happened.



We got Joshua and Tom’s bodies today. They have dried blood all over their chest. I threw up all over them when I saw them. There are three bullets in Joshua’s chest and one in Tom’s. We have put up a bunch of black cloth on our house, and all the furniture has black cloth on it. We are not going to be following the French funeral practices. We are going to have it the way we would have it in Williamsburg.

We are not going to give out gifts, because we don’t have enough money. We are going to hire two boys to carry them, and I am making rings and sewing gloves for everyone who is coming. We are inviting a couple of friends Mama and Papa made when we moved to France and Anna’s family as well. This is going to be very expensive. The coffin is 10 shillings,  and there has to be lots of wine beer and liquor, and all of that is about 20 shillings, and we need to pay the boys who are carrying the coffin five shillings each. So in all, it is about 40 shillings, which is about two pounds! I don’t know how we are going to get all of that money.



OH MY GOSH! I had a great time at the funeral! So the boys that we hired, one of them is seventeen and the other one is thirteen. So after they carried the coffin, the thirteen-year-old grabbed my arm and pulled me into the shade of a tree.

“Do you recognize me?”

“William?! Yes!”

I realized that he was an old friend I had known when I was really young.

“Good! I moved here a couple months ago.”

“Me too!”

“I am sorry that your brothers died.”

“I am not going to say that it is fine, because it’s not, but thank you.”

We stayed behind the tree the entire funeral and talked.



We are going to a fair really soon! I can’t wait! I have seen William three times since the funeral! I am going to a market tomorrow, and it is, like, the most expensive market in the world. I can’t wait! I am going to a newspaper place with Papa because he wants to write newspapers. I am really excited for him. I don’t think that’s the job he wants. He wants to do something. I’m scared for him. I don’t want him to do anything stupid and get killed.



OH MY GOSH! We are going to move back to Williamsburg!! I am so excited! I can see my friends again! I am kind of sad that we are going to leave this house. But I am actually really excited! I am kind of scared though. I don’t want to get killed. But I really want to do something! For George Washington! I am so jealous of the people who can actually fight! Which means only the men. So stupid. They could use the help of women! Aside from, of course, washing and cooking and cleaning and all that stuff. Outrageous! But I am really excited to move back!



We are leaving tomorrow! I can’t wait! I am so excited to see all of my friends again! But I am also kind of scared. There is a war going on after all. I still don’t know what my dad did to make us have to leave. I am going to ask my mom about it. I think he committed a crime against the British. I’m worried about when we go back. I don’t want to have to leave again.



We are home! I am so happy! I have seen all of my friends again, and I am so happy! HAPPY! HAPPY! HAPPY! But I’m also kind of scared. I don’t want to move away again. EVER! We have moved back into our old house, and we are going to have a party! I am going to invite all of my friends over, and we are going to have so much fun! But, I am kind of afraid that the British will come and try to stay at our house, like they did with my friend, Molly. She said that it was really scary, and that they threatened to kill her and her family. She said that she would stay in her bedroom for most of the time because she didn’t want to see them.



I am really bored with life here. I thought that if we moved back I would be really happy, but I actually hate it here. Oh, and I asked what Papa did, and Mama said that he offended a general for the British. I want to DO something! I want to be a spy.



AHHHH! The British are at our house! They are staying here for a week! I am so mad! It’s actually not as scary as I thought it would be, but they are eating all of our food! And we don’t have enough rooms for them, so they kicked us out! Now we have to sleep in the living room, on little mats! But, now is my chance to run away and spill everything that I hear. I am going to listen in on their conversations. They have all been talking about how they are really excited to kick George Washington’s butt. I think that is rude and vulgar, and I would like to kick their butts. I have learned a lot, though. I am not going to write it down here because I don’t want anyone to find it. But I have learned a lot! I am very proud of myself.



I am going to leave in a couple days. I am not going to tell anyone, but especially not my parents. They would freak out! I can’t tell anyone about this. And I have to make sure to hide this diary, so nobody finds it. Because if they do, then I will be in so much trouble.

I have a little problem. I don’t know where to go! I am very lost. I think I am somewhere in Virginia. (I mean obviously, because Williamsburg is in Virginia.) Somewhere else in Virginia. Right now I am in a big hole I found in a tree trunk. I have run out of water, so I am looking for a river or stream. I have been practicing hiding from people, so I can practice being a spy. I also have to practice being a boy. I have no idea how to act. What would a boy do? I am having some second thoughts about this. I am really scared. I don’t really know if there is a punishment for girls and women if they get caught in the army. But I really hope there is not. I have to keep going now.



I made it! I found someone to take me to their camp, and I am now a spy for General George Washington. I don’t think he trusts me. He keeps looking at me strangely. I think he may think that I am a spy for the British. I have to be very careful about what I do. Nobody likes me. I feel very lonely, and I wish I hadn’t run away. I feel like crying. I am not meant to do this. I have seen a bunch of slaves in the camp. They have to do a bunch of manual labor. And they get whipped. It is terrible. I went to their part of the camp, and they barely have any food or water or anything like that. They don’t even have good blankets! They are going to freeze! I feel so incredibly bad for them.



I am going on my first mission! I have to find out when and where the British are going to attack. I have to go to Charleston because General George Washington thinks that the British are going to try to take over the seaport there. Charleston is of course in South Carolina, so it is going to be a very, very, very long trip to get there. I don’t really know why they didn’t just send someone else to go. Someone who is closer! It is going to take days to get there! From what I hear, there is a small American force there already, but they need someone to find out the following:

Commanders: how many and who.

How many guns, men and ships they have, and when they are planning the attack.

And I have to do it all in two weeks. It’s like they want me to fail. How am I going to get all that information in two weeks?! I have to gain the Commanders’ trust, and then I have to figure out everything they want, and then I have to get away! That’s the part I am worried about. The getting away part. I don’t know how I am going to do that. I have talked to some people about it, and they have been no help at all.

It’s just been: “Well I don’t know, you are supposed to be the spy, not me.” Or “Don’t ask me! I don’t want to talk to no spy! Good for nothing slinking about slimy lowlifes!”

When someone says something like that, I usually walk away from them as fast as I can.



I am almost to South Carolina. I can’t really write right now because the carriage is bumping so much. But I am going to try my best. Right now, my schedule is: get to South Carolina, get to the camp, learn as much as I can,  then get away, and tell them what I learned. I am really nervous. I CAN NOT GET CAUGHT! If I do, I will be put to death! I am going to meet the men at the rebel camp there, and then I am going to go into the British territory. I am really scared about this.



I have talked to the people in charge at the camp, and now I am getting ready to go. I won’t be allowed to bring this diary, so this is going to be my last entry for a really long time. I have to go now.


Little did Elizabeth know that that would be her last entry in her diary. When she got to the camp, everyone started to get suspicious of her, and soon found out that she was a spy. She was put to death the next day. When her parents found out, they held a big funeral service. All of the Ports children were killed by the British. The Ports moved back to France and lived there for the rest of their lives.


The End      


Province of Darkness

The Gathering

In the early morning, the large waves were crashing against the thick sand. The beach was shadowed by a small, grass covered cliff, which was shadowed by a large mountain. The top of the mountain was an open crater, and inside the crater was a large fortress. The fortress was made of light brown stone. The walls were made of large, square stones with battlements on the top. Tall, circular towers soared over the wall. In the middle of the fortress was a large, square building with four towers.

This was not an ordinary fortress. It was the Hall of Concord, the official meeting place of the Universal Congress. The hall was located on an island south of Maltopia. Although it was within the boundaries of Maltopia, the island was owned by all the nations of the world.

Today, the Universal Congress would meet in the Hall of Concord. It had been two years since they’ve met. There were many reasons for this meeting, many proposals. But one proposal was heard to be appalling.

In an open space shadowed by the main building, a Venorian maid, wearing her long, brown dress, was sweeping the leaves off the stone floor. The space was a circle, with four entrances and seating on the edge. In the middle of two entrances was a statue. The maid brushed her scaly forehead and looked up at the statue. It was a large, marble sculpture of a Dark Elf woman holding a sword in one hand and an olive branch in the other. The maid looked down at the engraved label that lay on the base of the monument. It read:

This monument is dedicated to Queen Alexandra of Mirewood.

Founder of the Universal Congress and Co-signer of the Great Law of Peace.

The maid let out a great sigh, and shook her head in grief.

From one of the entrances came a human boy. He had white skin. His straight, brown hair grew from the top of his head while the rest was shaved off. The boy stood straight beside the maid.

“Boy!” said the maid, towering over the boy. “What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be cleaning the garderobes?”

“I did,” said the boy in disgust. “The housekeeper told me to help you.”

“Well, it’s about time,” said the maid. “I can’t sweep these leaves all by myself.”

The boy got himself a broom and began to sweep the leaves.

“So, what’s the commotion this time?” asked the boy.


“I mean, why is the Congress meeting after all this time?”

The maid put her broom down and let out a breath. “Well, there are many things being presented, from what I’ve heard. Queen Andrea of Mirewood’s proposal is apparently the most shocking.”

“What is it?” asked the boy with wide eyes.

“I don’t know,” sighed the maid in exhaustion. “But a nobleman fainted when he heard it.”

“My lord,” gasped the boy in excitement. “I want to hear it now!”

“Whatever it is,” stated the maid, “it probably won’t be as good as her mother’s proposals.”

The maid stopped her work and gazed at the statue.

“I remember when I started working here. I remember seeing Queen Alexandra’s face for the first time. It was ten years ago, and she made a proposal to build better roads connecting all the cities of Lavonia and Kanaida. A proposal so basic and genius, even I, a maid with the knowledge of a peasant, could understand its benefits. Like many proposals, it had a great opposition. The rivals were overly wealthy humans who would spend a coin on nothing but themselves. Every word they spoke made me angrier and angrier. No one called them out for their rudeness that day, except Alexandra. She did not give those men respect. After a long while of arguing, the proposition to build better roads was passed.”

The maid turned her head to the boy who stood still, leaning his broom on his shoulder.

“You see, boy, those were the days. Back then, the Universal Congress met every month! But alas,” sobbed the maid, “Queen Alexandra is dead. And now her daughter, Andrea, is Queen.”

“Well, who knows?” said the boy in a high-pitched voice. “Maybe proposition-making runs in the family.”

“Let’s hope so. I haven’t seen a good proposal since Alexandra’s last meeting.”

The next day, the maid, the boy, and the housekeeper, who were the only people living in the Hall of Concord, stood waiting for the members of the Universal Congress. The housekeeper, who was only an inch taller than the small boy, stood nervously, sweeping his balding head and twitching his pointy ears. Usually, the housekeeper was much calmer, but this was different. It was Queen Andrea’s first meeting, and he wanted everything to be perfect. He didn’t know Andrea, and due to her being Alexandra’s daughter, he did not want her to leave the Universal Congress.

Every once in awhile, the housekeeper would turn towards the boy and maid and ask if all the chores were done. Every time, they would answer yes.

As the sun was almost in the middle of the sky, the housekeeper saw the first ship enter the harbor below. He quickly went to the entrance of the fortress, the maid and boy following. When all three were there, they waited anxiously to see the first arrival.

Without surprise, it was King Eremurus of Maltopia. With two guards beside him, the lizard king walked forward. His golden rings reflected the light of the sun, as his dragonskin gauntlets blended with his turquoise scales. The housekeeper looked up at the tall Venorian and saw his bare chest, his abdomen which was guarded by an iron corset, and his pelvis area which was clothed by a thick, blue, linen-wrapped skirt.  

“Derik!” said Eremurus. “It has been so long. How are you?”

“Patricia and Jonathan have kept me company,” said the housekeeper, waving his hand to the maid and the boy, still looking up at the lizard king. “Have you heard of Andrea’s proposition?”

Derik always spoke to royalty in a formal manner, but always talked to Eremurus normally. Eremurus was much friendlier to the housekeeper, unlike the other leaders, which allowed Derik to speak in an informal tone.

“Ah yes, I’ve heard,” said the lizard king in excitement. “I only hope it’s better than one of Dido’s proposals. Ever since Alexandra’s death, she’s manipulated the whole continent of Lavonia to do her bidding.”

“Yes, but not Mirewood,” smiled Derik.

“Oh please,” sighed Eremurus angrily. “Andrea is only sixteen. She’ll probably be kissing Dido’s feet in no time.”

When the sun hit the middle of the sky, another ship entered the harbor. The longboat was more narrow and had wooden swan heads on both points.

Through the entrance came a six-foot tall Orc wearing a seal hide over his ice-blue skin. His thick upper body was clothed by a necklace with two walrus tusks on both sides.

“Greetings, King Ukmar of Ek’da,” said Derik. “Shall I take your coat?”

“No need,” said Ukmar. “The heat is soothing.”

Another ship entered the harbor. This longboat had steel platings on the bottom, used for tearing through ice. Through the entrance came Chief Karnok of Pangona, a black-haired Orc wearing brown bear fur.

Over time, more ships arrived in the harbor. Through the entrance came Chief Toure of the Apocalypse, a dark skinned human wearing a black, hooded shawl and gray clothing. After him came King Lumos IV of Morrisland, a moon-skinned Elf with dark blue eyes and golden hair. He was followed by Lord Demeter of Silver Coast. Her long copper hair was braided on the top of her head as her sparkling green dress glittered the light of the sun. Soon after her was Chief Pocatowa of Indie, a muscular human dressed in a wolf pelt and leather pants.

The leaders were scattered across the entrance area, talking and waiting for the other members. Karnok and Ukmar, who were the only Orcs there, were plotting for tomorrow’s meeting.

“So, when Grognar states his case,” said Karnok quietly, “we’ll come in and demand retribution.”

“Do you think we can convince the whole Congress?” asked Ukmar.

“Trust me, at their state, the Venorians would not want another conflict.”

As the two went on, another ship had entered the harbor. Through the entrance came King Grognar of Red Rock. Grognar was thinner than the other two Orcs, and much taller, rising seven feet. His jet black hair grew all the way to his chest. His rose red skin glimmered in the setting sunlight. He wore a sleeveless leather shirt with a silver neck guard, and a bronze armband on his upper left arm. Unlike other Orcs, his fangs were small, and his nose, the most attractive part of his face, was thin and curved. Its nostrils were almost unnoticeable, and its bridge was dented like an arch.

After being greeted by the housekeeper, Grognar walked up to Karnok and Ukmar, who stood silently.

“Fellow Orcs,” greeted Grognar. “Tomorrow is the day. The day justice is finally served. After many painful years, the scars will be healed.”

“Yes, Grognar,” stated Ukmar sadly, “but unfortunately, nothing can heal the damage the Venorians brought upon our people.”    

“I disagree,” said Grognar in a hopeful voice.

But Grognar’s optimism soon died when another leader came through the entrance. He recognized his brown skin, his hooked nose, his black short hair and shaven face, his pointy shoes, his golden sparkling cape, and his white turban with a diamond in the middle. It was Sultan Ahmad of Gold Coast. Grognar looked at the young Sultan, walking proudly with his small Goblin servant, as rage swarmed the young Orc’s insides.

For twelve years, Red Rock and Gold Coast were at war with each other. During the war, Alexandra (who was not queen at the time) took Red Rock’s ancestral Fire Stone and gave it to Gold Coast. Soon after, the Orcs declared peace and gave a heavy payment to Gold Coast. Grognar and Ahmad were not ruling during the war or the peace treaty, but because of Ahmad’s refusal to give back the Fire Stone, the two were enemies.

“Keep close to me, just in case,” said Ahmad to his Goblin servant as he walked up to Grognar.

When Ahmad stood straight in front of him, Grognar looked down at his purple pointy shoes. He then turned his head and noticed the small Goblin beside him.

“First, you disrespect and persecute our culture, and now you’re enslaving Goblins?!”

“I can assure you,” stated Ahmad, “that this Goblin is paid more than the amount of money stored in your vault.”

Grognar was boiling with rage. He growled, clamping his white teeth, until he heard someone yell.

“Everyone, quiet!” yelled Derik. “She’s here!”

Through the entrance came four servants carrying a gold draped sedan chair. When the servants lay down the chair, two guards on each side stood in front, facing each other. From the chair came a tall Elf woman in a long, white dress with a small crown on the top of her head. Her braided, black hair and gray eyes blended with her white skin. She walked slowly out of the sedan chair as the others stared at her. Derik walked up to the woman and greeted her.

“Empress Dido of the Fifth Vergimin Empire and Chairman of the Vergomon Council. Welcome back to the Hall of Concord.”

Dido looked down at the housekeeper. “Is my room clean?” she asked.

“They are very clean,” said the housekeeper loudly so all the leaders could hear.

Through the entrance, a human dressed in a violet fur cape and a golden crown stomped on the stone floor.

Before Derik could greet him, he yelled, “Hello everyone!”

As the rest of the leaders greeted him back, he gave a big grin, covered by his short orange beard. Finally, Derik was able to greet the fat man.

“King Charles of Galdoria. Welcome back.”

Standing beside Charles was another human dressed in a white and gold robe. His brown hair was balding at the top, forming a halo on his head. The monk walked up to the short housekeeper.

“Hello, Derik.”

“Brother Martin!” said the housekeeper, looking up at the monk. “How have you been?”

“I’ve been well. Are we waiting for anyone else?”

“Well,” said Derik nervously, “Andrea is the only one left.”

“May the divines carry her safely to this island,” prayed Martin. “Come, let us pray for our safety tomorrow.”

Brother Martin was the head of the Universal Congress. His job was to keep the peace amongst the members and break ties during a voting session. Although he was supposed to be in a neutral position, he was secretly sided with King Charles, who was sided with Dido and Lumos.

As the sun finally set, the leaders stood with excitement, waiting for the new member. They were all silent. Jonathan, looking over the wall, saw a caravel, with a black sail with a diamond and an eye in the middle, docking in the harbor. He ran towards the housekeeper, who stood near the entrance.

“She’s here! She’s here!” cried the boy. “The Queen of Mirewood is here!”

The housekeeper and leaders all stood frozen with their eyes fixed on the entrance. Their hearts raced at the same time, creating a quire of heart beats. After a long suspense, the quire of heartbeats turned into applause. Through the door came the new member of the Universal Congress. She walked casually, almost like a commoner. But she received the applause of a divine hero.  

She was a thin, tall girl, rising five feet and ten inches. She had bedraggled, blackish-indigo hair that went to her jaw. Unlike other Dark Elves, her skin was a lighter shade of blue. Besides that, she had pointy ears and yellow hawk eyes. She wore a black, satin shirt, which draped over her black, knee-high leggings. Her sleeveless shirt was choked at the waist by a brown, leather belt. Covering that was a thin, black cloak going to her ankles. Unlike the other leaders, shel did not wear any gold or silver.

Derik walked up to greet her, but everyone else beat him to it. A quire of cheers and hellos filled the entrance area. The girl, in reaction to this madness, gave a surprised but frightened smile. Finally, Brother Martin shushed the leaders and walked up to the girl.

“Queen Andrea of Mirewood. Welcome to the Hall of Concord. We are proud to have you in the Universal Congress. Your mother would’ve been proud.”

Andrea gave a silent “Thank you” as the members of the Universal Congress, except Grognar, clapped their hands.


Don’t Make Prank Phone Calls, Kids! (Excerpt)

“Hello?” six-year-old Fate said into her mother’s cellphone.

“Oh, ah, hello, Porro! My house went down in a fire today, and the firemen are extinguishing the flames, but my son, Terry, is still inside. The flames are getting bigger and bigger, and I’m getting more and more worried. I just wanted to tell you because you’re my sister. Also, do you have a cold? You sound different. How are your twins doing?” She didn’t sound worried at all.

“Uh, I don’t know what the words you just said mean,” Fate said, picking her nose.  

“Oh, ah, yes, you’re new to the English language!” Fate’s Aunt, Carry, said. “Well, the point is, my son is in a fire and is probably going to die. Anyways, that’s not important right now. How are Cake and Fate?”

“My mommy isn’t home,” she then took her slimy finger out of her nostril and stuffed it into her mouth.

“Oh, my! Fate? Is that you? Or is that Cake? You guys sound just alike. Anyways, forget all the stuff I just said to you. Everyone’s fine. Heh. Heh…” Carry said, and on the other line, she was shrugging off the topic as if it were troublesome dirt on her shoulder that she was sweeping off.

“My mommy went grocery shopping with Cakey. Also, my daddy doesn’t like you!”

“What?! I thought that we were friends! He said that he did and now he is being such a liar! Why? Why? Why?” she said, including some words that may not be written.

“I don’t know no words you said just now. My daddy still doesn’t like you.”  

“Well, I DON’T LIKE-” Fate hung up.

“Fate? Cake? Where are you? Where did you put my phone?” Porro’s voice was rising now, getting angrier. “You two are going to be in so much trouble when I find you!”

“Cakey, c’mon! Stop standing there like an idiot! If mommy catches us, we’re dead!”

Fate grabbed Cake’s shaking arm and practically dragged her into their closet. Fate put the cell phone in a little box that was supposed to be for shoes, but she had thrown those away when they were three. “Don’t tell Mommy where I hid this! Okay?”

Cake nodded, cowering in the corner. Fate quickly opened a little hatch in the floor and jumped into the hole.  

Cake’s eyes widened. “T-the bunker?” she said. “I thought we were saving that for the zombie apocalypse!”  

“This is the start of the zombie apocalypse! Now get down here before that zombie bites you!” Fate yelled from down in the bunker.

“O-okay…” Cake said, and jumped down, closing the hatch as she went.  

She landed on her butt on a mattress with a little ‘oof.’  

“Now, shush,” Fate said. “Mommy will be coming very soon.”

“You mean the zombie?”

Fate grinned. “I mean, the zombie.”