Creative Writing




A Collection of Haikus by Elle Fortoul

posted May 30, 2018, 12:08 PM by Lauralee Richardson


Wood and Wind are one

When outside forces applied

Physics, not magic.


One day you’ll be gone

And I’ll watch you walk away

When will you be back?


Waiting, waiting--yes!

The clock ceases to detour.

Secrecy returns.


When life becomes large,

Perspective remains tiny.

Where has the scale gone?


I think to myself,

Is freedom all that’s required?

Stay stationary.


A Short Halloween Story

posted Nov 27, 2017, 9:07 AM by Lauralee Richardson

By Grace Tsai

Thunder cracked in the night sky, its echo filling every forgotten crevice in the dilapidated house.  I bolt upright in a bed and stared at the alabaster walls enclosing me into a bedroom.  It was inexplicable, but never before had a storm felt so sinister.

I looked left at the alarm clock.  6 AM.  I studied an unfinished mural adorning the wall.  The pencil lines of the preliminary sketches were dark but smudged.  Broken pencil points were strewn along the corners of the wall.  

I squinted more closely.  The mural had eerie potential.  A girl laughing on a swing set, about to fly off.  Next to it, a grotesque, winged gargoyle clawing at a piano.  A camera shattered in two.  A house in a forest, isolated from the rest of the world.  Whose work was this?  

Then I realize -- I can’t remember who I am, where I am.  What am I doing here?  Why are there bars on my window?  The storm sends fear coursing through my veins, but I cannot fathom why.   My mind was blank. Nothing came to mind.  Nothing was there.  

Heart hammering against my chest, sweat forming against my palms, I listened to the storm.  I hate thunderstorms.  I flipped my lamp on, but the light that illuminated the walls did not reassure me.  Instead, it danced over the mural, frenetically flickering, as if a warning.  

Suddenly, there was a din of thunder, though abnormally prolonged.  The thud of a falling tree could be heard from a distance.  My feet were lead as I wobbled out of bed toward the door.  The cobwebs in the corners of the hall are getting unruly.  I should clean them.  

In the bathroom next door, I stumbled toward the rusted sink.  I tried to wash my hands.  As a trickle of water fell into the sink, the faucet made a thin, high-pitched protest.  I glanced in the mirror above the sink.  I look like a young teenage girl.  Wait, was that motion behind me?  The wooden door hung on its hinges, but I felt that it was slightly bent towards me.  I saw my shadow cast across the curtains of the shower.  I snapped out of my trance.  I turned to leave, but suddenly, the lights flickered and dimmed.  I spun around in a panic.  On the mirror, a red streak splattered across the glass for a second.  But as suddenly as it had appeared, it disappeared, like nothing had ever happened.

Then, a girl’s scream pierced the air.  Terror laced my veins like a drug, but so did relief.  There was another person!  I was not alone!  I grabbed the nearest object--a curling iron--and ran toward the source of the scream.  In the dark, I made my way down a rickety staircase, around the corner toward a lit room.  I hate the dark, too.  Against a wall in the atrium stood a petite girl, hyperventilating.  Had she felt the same unseen force?

Our eyes met across the room.  Her right eye shone a pale blue.  Her left eye was a bright shade of green.  Her hands were shaking, bringing my attention to her inhumanly long fingernails.   Were my fingernails that long?  No, thank goodness.  The girl also had short ragged hair, burnt umber.  She wore a tattered Beatles t-shirt with torn jeans.  Although she was of pixie height, she seemed older than I was.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the girl from the mural.

“What happened?  Who are you?” I asked her.

“A creature came up from behind me…I ran, then it disappeared…” she faltered.  She shook her head and smiled uneasily.  “I’m Lucy.”

How could she be this collected?  I have no idea what’s going on.

My questions poured from my lips.  “Do you live here?  Who else lives here?  Are we the only ones?”

Instead of answering, she asked me, “What is your name?”

I hesitated, but responded truthfully, “I don’t know.”

I expected surprise, but, instead, Lucy put her fingers on her chin, thinking.  “You look like an Amelia, but I’ll call you Amie for short.”

I shrugged, impatient. “Did you see what the creature looked like exactly?”  Maybe a gargoyle?  

Lucy shook her head.  “It was dark. I could only see the eyes of it.”

That didn’t help.  I needed to catch the creature before it caught me...or Lucy, too.

“I did hear it run this way when you came downstairs,” Lucy remembered.  Without another word, she sprinted off down another nearby staircase to the basement.  I followed.

I joined Lucy at the bottom of the stairs and stopped.  I looked around at the abandoned boxes.  A single lonely light bulb, thankfully lit, hung from the ceiling.  More cobwebs.   Some knick knacks, a couple books, an old Christmas wreath, a broken mini-piano.  “What are we looking at?”

“Me,” Lucy said, staring at me with…was that hunger on her face?  “Do you know why you’ve here?  How long?  Do you remember anything?” she asked.  My heart nearly stopped.  “Do you?” she persisted.

“I-I…”  I faltered.  I really didn’t know anything about my life.  I could feel myself start to tremble.  The basement door slammed shut.  I couldn’t move, but I still jumped out of my skin.

With a wicked grin, she laughed.  It was not a pleasant sound.  “You don’t, do you?  Good, your kind taste best without all of the memories twisting the tissues.  The marinating process is complete!”

Through my horror, I was slightly insulted.  “Am I part of a recipe?”  

The light flickered out and the darkness swallowed everything but Lucy, who had taken on a purple glow.  Wings sprouted from her back, and her face twisted downwards with a disgusting crack of her neck, and the hairs on her head started to wither away.  Her fingernails turned to claws.  Such a dramatic transformation could not been painless.  

Her pale blue eye gleamed into vibrant green.  Her mouth were filled with pearly daggers that evoked the teeth of a Venus fly trap.

Lucy was now on four legs.  

I was paralyzed with revulsion.  The drawing on the wall did not do justice to this abomination.  What are you?, I tried to ask, but my mouth was dry.  Suddenly, everything was purple, then black.  

If there had been anyone outside listening, they would have heard an ear-piercing scream.  But alas, there were only trees.  If there had been anyone outside watching, they would have seen an ominous shadow dripping blood fly from the chimney.  But alas, there were only the clouds and the rain and the moon.


Epilogue:


Every town has their own boogeyman stories.  In the town of Newbury, however, a small community with Puritan roots, the legends are especially vivid.  Little children are especially frightened of the story of the demon with four claws, green eyes, and a purple aura.  She’ll eat all of your memories, and then she’ll eat you!, warn parents.  All young students go through a phase where they fear that the girl sitting cross-legged next to them is her incarnation.  Some edgy adolescents like to dress as Lucy for Halloween.  And the parents pretend that a story is just a story, but every night, they still check around corners and ensure that their memories are intact.

And for the most part, their memories are.  But of course, Lucy thinks as she flies through the night, she has learned to be one step ahead.  She can pluck away memories like grapes on a vine or apples on a tree.  And she can pluck children too, out from pictures and papers and bedrooms.  Even their parents’ arms.

Amie had been sweet, both in life and in soup.  The girl had enjoyed drawing the fragments of memories that she had lost not long thereafter.  Lucy passes over Amie’s bedroom in Newbury, which had years ago been converted into an exercise room by parents who wanted to work out more.  

Lucy stops to rest in a tree in a nearby park, waiting patiently for the hunt to begin again.  Perhaps she will try crème brûlée this time.

Dream

posted May 2, 2017, 12:15 PM by Lauralee Richardson

By Alex Stewart

I know I place of infinite adventure

A place with no leader

A place where mountains are made of candy

but the people are even sweeter

You can find a treasure chest

Or go to any other planet

You can do anything you want in this realm

Imagination is the only limit

This place is always open

It's a magical phenomenon

We try to find it every morning

But by then it is gone

A window to one’s true desires

With a shining and sparkling gleam

A place where you can truly be you

Inside of your own dream

000


000


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The History of Looney Tunes: Part I

posted Mar 29, 2017, 11:56 AM by Lauralee Richardson

    By: Jonathan Rudman

    These cartoons may be the product of another era, but they still entertain us today generation after generations of children and adults alike. This is Looney Tunes. Our story begins at the turn of the century. Animators, such as Oliver Wallace and Paul Terry helped prove that animation was more than single animation cels and pictures that moved, it was entertainment that children and adults alike wanted to see. An example, would be from the 1914 Paul Terry classic, Gertie the Dinosaur. The subject of Looney Tunes, however, began in the year 1927, in Kansas City, Missouri, when a young man by the name of Walt Disney decided that he was going to test his skill at animation. Disney worked as an animator for The Kansas City Film Center. Among doing that, he also had to hired some animators to work for him. One of these animators was a young man, (that would be a senior Looney Tunes director), that was named Isadore (Friz) Freleng. Freleng worked with Disney on his new cartoon series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and his life action cartoon series, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, with 4 year old Virginia Davis and 5 year old, Margie Gay.
    In 1928, Walt Disney, after losing his cartoon star, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to Charles Mintz and Walter Lantz at Universal studios, had to move to California with his crew and animators, (including Freleng), his brother Roy Disney, his child stars Virginia Davis and Marggie Gay and, three other animators that were named Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising and, Ub Iwerks. Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks then went on to create the first popular sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie, that featured Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse had made Walt Disney an overnight success. Pretty soon, everyone on the block was trying to create the next big superstar. But the end results always seemed to be a second cousin to Walt Disney's mouse.
    When Rudolf Ising made his own cartoon at Disney’s studios, the cartoon ended up being what would become the birth of the Looney Tunes. That cartoon was called Bosco, The Talk Ink Kid. Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising then went to studio after studio trying to get them to sell Bosco cartoons to theaters. Eventually, they found themselves on the doorstep of Leon Schlesinger. A producer at Warner Brothers who did not know what made a good cartoon, but who did know what made money. Leon Schlesinger decided to hire both Harman and Ising and Freleng away from Disney. But just 2 years later, after an argument with Schlesinger, Harman and Ising left Warner Brothers and they took Bosco with them since they owned the rights, because they copyrighted him right when they made him. Bosco never did turn out to be the next Mickey Mouse. But luckily for the Looney Tunes, change was just around the corner.
    What really changed Looney Tunes was the arrival of Tex Avery. Leon Schlesinger then had enough sympathy and went to hire four more important people that would contribute to the fame of Looney Tunes, he hired two talented musical composers named Carl Stalling and Milt Franklyn and two talented animators and a director, Robert McKimson and Charles M (Chuck) Jones. When Tex Avery arrived, change happened almost immediately. The pace of the cartoons got faster and they broke the fourth wall and talked to the audience. Tex Avery had little experience as a director, he was mostly an animator but he had just enough experience into lying his way into getting the job. What Tex Avery did was that he created Porky Pig. He made Porky in the first cartoon of the Golden Era for Looney Tunes, Porky’s Duck Hunt. In that cartoon, Tex Avery introduced a character that acted just as looney and wacky as his name, Daffy Duck. Leon Schlesinger then went to hire two more animators, a talented director named Frank Tashlin and a smart animator named Robert Clampett. Frank Tashlin was the first director experiment with speed. (Speed would be used a lot in his cartoon, Porky Pig's Feat. Where Porky and Daffy try to escape from a hotel because they can’t pay the bill). If you have ever freeze framed a Robert Clampett cartoon, you will see the characters, when running, they shift from place to place. Leon Schlesinger separated the teams of animators and directors. Leon Schlesinger put the boys who were making Merrie Melodies, like Freleng, in a nice looking building. While the boys making Looney Tunes, like Jones, McKimson, Avery, Tashlin and Clampett, they were put in an old shack that everyone named Termite Terrace. Termite Terrace was an old wooden cottage that was not in right shape for an animation team of 64.

If Money Can't Buy Happiness, Then Why Is It So Fabulous

posted Mar 28, 2017, 11:53 AM by Lauralee Richardson

By Nicky Zuino

If money can't buy happiness, then why is it so fabulous,”  sung Petunia with a sarcastic tone.

“You know that saying is as empty as a bedroom.”

“Hey don’t you get cocky with me, all you need to be happy is me.”

“Yea… cause parents love always pays the bill.”

“Well you’ll figure out something with your talent.”

Petunia ran out of her desolated trailer. Zooming by the lost causes which surrounded her. Petunia sprinted all over the city until she arrived at a department store. She ran into the huge Nordstrom surrounded by costly fashion. She stole all of her next month's food money to buy something, which would dazzle the judges at her audition. She was in shock to see all the lovely outfits. Petunia was in love will a long sparkly gown that out shined everything else in the store. She bought it in a matter in seconds. She didn't even try it on, so she could be on time.


She bolted to the front desk, looking hastily for someone to talk to. She looked around and saw hundreds of other people looking at her with their judgey eyes. She felt like she was shrinking from the criticism. She dashed to the nearest seat. She then realized that everyone else has the same kind of clothes she bought. Glittering gowns similar to hers surrounded her. It felt like she was gazing into mirror Everyone was like a carbon copy of here.. She hated her new dress with a deep passion. Hours passed by with people getting up, going upstairs to go to the audition. Everyone came down with a face full of disappointment. Everyone besides Petunia.


They called Petunia’s name to go upstairs. She was shaking while she walked up the steep stairs. She entered the vast recording studio. She had only ever dreamed of these equipment. Three men lurked in the shadows, and left the darkness.


“Hey…  Petunia if that's you name… start singing.” He said sternly. Petunia started to hum. Then she burst into her own song. The judges looked at each other with a strange look.

They stood in a strange sequence and told Petunia that she was perfect. She ran out of the room wit her heart's skipping a beat. She sprinted back home.  She didn’t realize that her getting chose was not the best opportunity but the worst.

Sock Puppet

posted Mar 7, 2017, 12:17 PM by Lauralee Richardson

By Alex Stuart

Hello, I’m Gabriel and I am with my favorite toy ever. My sock monkey. It is the best toy ever given to me and I will never ever stop loving it.

One day, we were out on the street just getting back from a restaurant. But then, this weird man came and told me. “There's something out there. Don't trust the one you love. They are coming for you.” I didn't know what he meant, so I told mom.

“MOM! There is this weird man right there who's saying somethings after me.

“WHERE!”

“Right th”… he was gone.

“Sweaty you're safe now come on let's go to the car.”

So we made it back to our house at around midnight and I put my sock monkey on my dresser and got to sleep. The next day, I woke up and my sock monkey was right in my bed with me, just where it's supposed to be. I grabbed it, got ready, and started my day. I put it on the couch and headed over to Dunkin Doughnuts. When I get there,I put my sock monkey on the counter and ordered my favorite donut. I walked out with my sock monkey, but suddenly it wasn’t in my arms. I panicked so I ran home.

There it is on my dresser just where I left it last night. I love my sock monkey. But then, I looked at it. It lost its buttons. Ehh, I can fix them later, I thought. All day for some reason I felt like someone was trying to tell me something. But what?

Then I had a vision. My house… night… a toy.. moving… weapon in hand… no… no!... NO! I wake up at midnight in my room. What is going on? I looked around the room. Where's my sock monkey?

“WHAT IS HAPPENING? MOM, DAD, PLEASE, HELP!”

No one answered. Wait, that weird man told me something. But what WHAT? Suddenly, I remembered.  He told me, “The one who I loved most was coming for me.” But who do I love most? Is it my mom? Is it my dad?…My sock monkey. (A weird, singing voice came from behind.)

Twinkle twinkle little star/ how I wonder what you are/ up above the world so high/ like a diamond in the sky./ Twinkle twinkle twinkle little star/ how would you like to be trapped in the dark… AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Love and Loss at Falcon Park: Part II

posted Mar 7, 2017, 12:10 PM by Lauralee Richardson

By Megan Liu   


    Beep beep beep. Beep beep beep. Sophie darts out her room, doll in hand, the other covering her ear. When she walks into the kitchen, she first notices the heavy and thick smoke coming from a fire on the stove. Her eyes drift downward to our mother’s corpse on the floor. She looks up at me, and then goes back to staring at our mother, noticing the sharpest cooking knife we own, in our mother’s hand. Mortal terror spread across the both of us, crying, pounding, screaming, yelling, anything to make it go away. Anything to distract us from the very thing, burning out our retinas. Me being the eldest, went to turn the gas knob of the stove off, and start to clear the area of smoke. The fire alarm eventually turns off. Sophie slowly falls to the ground, no more tears to give, just silent hiccups with squinty eyes. She sits on her heels, gently touching Mother’s face, hoping it would wake her.

   “Mommy…” Sophie let out so softly, I’m not sure she even spoke. I lay my hand on her shoulder, and she turns to face me in despair.

   Hours later I’m sitting across from the sheriff in a small and bare room. He asked us questions, but I can’t bring myself to respond. They tell me it was a suicide, but I didn’t hear anything else they said. Their words faded in and out. “It will be alright,” or “She’s in a better place now.” It’s all so fake. Mothers don’t just kill themselves. Especially if they have young to take care of.

   In the waiting room, I spot a girl with long brown locks. Her head is down, and tucked into her knees which were propped up on the chair. I grab the chair next to her, and lazily fall into it.

   “Do you mind?” I gesture to the chair I already sat down in.

   “Not at all.” the girl says without looking up. I nod, and start to tap my fingers on the armrest of the seat. “Please stop that,” she says, finally looking up. I glance up and around, wondering what she’s talking about. I continue to look for anything that would cause her distress.

   “You’re doing it again,” I glance over at her, and notice she is pointing to my hands. “Seriously, stop it, you’re freaking me out.” she says a bit cautiously. I had been furiously tapping the fingers on my right hand in a nonsensical pattern, at different speeds.

   “Uh, yeah, sorry about that, it just … it helps me think.” I said quietly, making sure that my lightning fingers had actually stopped.

   “What’s there to think about?” she asks curiously. I look down, wondering if I should tell her what had just happened to me, since we just met, and I didn’t want her to feel sorry for me. While I’m thinking, she waves her hand in front of my face to get my attention. “Hello? You never answered me, I’ve been waiting, like, three minutes.”

   “Oh, uh, my mother.” I say at last.

   “Your mother.” she repeats. She’s probably expecting me to elaborate on that, but I keep quiet.

   “You?” I turn the attention towards her, and why she was in the waiting room of a police office.

   “My sister.” she pauses, then hunches back over her knees. “She was killed in front of me. They’ve already caught the man who did it. I’m … just a witness.” the girl told me even more soft spoken as before. In the background, there is arguing, and phone ringing and chatting amongst the room, but where we are, there is silence. I tap my fingers, less forcibly than before.

   “Mr. Wallace?” One of the officers called out, interrupting our silence. I eagerly raise my hand, and get up from my seat. “You’re free to go.” I give a hopeful nod at him, and pick up by belongings from the chair. Before I leave, I turn back to the girl.

   “Hey, I didn’t catch a name.”

   “Allison.”

   “Odion.” I smile, and continue. “I will see you again, Allison.” She almost lets a smile escape, but when I leave and glance back through the window, she is back to a curling ball in the corner.

   “Odion, can you sleep in my room tonight?” Sophie tugs on the sleeve of my sweatshirt. I agree, and I get her ready for bed. I am on the floor, glancing out the fog covered window. The rain had been coming and going, not yet sure if it would want to stay. I get up, and walk over to it.

   “What are you doing?” Sophie asks groggily, rubbing her hands to her eyes.

   “I’m drawing,” I pause while I wipe little shapes on the window so it leaves an oily mark, “a dreamcatcher.” When I’m finished with my masterpiece, I sit on top of Sophie’s sheets. “When you go to sleep tonight, it will keep all the good dreams in the net, and all the bad ones will drip into the feathers to burn, and never return again.” Sophie watches in astonishment. She nods, and stirs around in her bed to get comfortable. I decide to get some sleep as well, so I return to my make-shift bed, and fall asleep.

   The next day, I wake up to find Sophie sleeping peacefully on her bed. I smile, and exit her room to my own.

***

   The next few weeks continued like this. Odion would tuck her in, and they would try to pretend that everything was normal. They tried, but whenever they entered the kitchen, they were silent. Occasionally their father would check in on them, but they were on their own for the most part. The police agreed to let Odion be the official guardian of Sophie since he was about to turn 18 soon, anyway.

   “Let me try one!” Sophie pointed to the sleeping pills Odion was holding.

   “Sophie, Mom had told me not to give you any. Just one and you’ll be sleeping through lunch.”

   “Pleaasee! It’s better than me having to wake you up from my nightmares all the time. You were right about the dream catcher, but different bad dreams come.” Sophie said the last part a bit more serious and softer. Odion let out a large sigh. He looked down, twisted the cap, and popped out a pill. He was tired of having to sleep on her floor all the time.

   “Just this once.” he said.

   Once Odion had put her to bed, it was a pin-dropping silent hour. The figure had creeped up again, and Sophie lay asleep, completely knocked out and unbeknownst to the madness that would come. The shadowy figure had all the time in the world, since Sophie had been put out with pills. However, it waited. And waited. And watched her sleeping like an innocent dog. It was as if He were contemplating on what to do. Finally, He heightened its unmerciful blade to a peak, and made a clean strike. Sophie didn’t have time to scream, for she was still asleep, and would never awaken. On the window, a water droplet condensated, revealing the faint dreamcatcher, and it dripped down to the feather. In a strange way, it was a peaceful death, and her soul had left in happiness. It had been quick, and soundless. Sophie had been dreaming that she was happily reunited with her faithful mother. And so she was.

***

   When I wake up, sirens are blaring from all directions of the house. My head is pounding, and a major migraine had begun. Three police officers burst in through my bedroom door.

   “Sir, put your hands up to your head!” they shout, pointing loaded guns towards me. But I sit still in confusion. “Do it now!” Not wanting any trouble, I put them up.

   “So you have no idea what happened?”

   “No. I didn’t even hear anything. I put her to sleep last night, she wanted a sleeping pill so she would be able to get some sleep. She’s been having bad dreams and waking up screaming.” I’m sitting in the interrogation room back at the police department. I had been there the entire day. The officer sits down and sighs in defeat.

   “You may go. But stay in this building.”

   A few other people were being interviewed when I walk out the door. I see Allison in the same spot as before, still in the same clothes, and still in the same sullen expression. I make a large gesture full of grandeur.

   “Here I am.” I say loudly as if I’m presenting myself in front of an audience. I try to maintain a low-key character, so I push away my grief. She immediately looks up, and sees me staring at her with my arms open wide. “So Allison.” I start up again. “Would you like to go for an adventure?”

   “Where are we?” Allison says as she looks around the field I’ve taken her. A warm glowing orange haze blends into the evening sky, where silhouettes of birds are flapping in the distance. The gentle breeze picks her hair up, and it flutters like a flag. We are standing under a large tree, a Northern Catalpa, which is one of the only trees in the area that is beautiful all year long. With sweet smelling waxy white petaled flowers in the spring, large and vivid green leaves in the summer, crisp in the fall, and large bare roots in the winter. It stands out, since it is the only tree in the massive field.

   “Falcon Field.” I say softly as I stare into the horizon. “I used to take Sophie here whenever my parents were fighting. We’d sneak out the back, take our bikes, and just ride.” Allison glances down, and tucks her unkempt hair behind her ear, although the wind puts it right back where it started.

   “How is she?”

   “Gone.” I hesitate.

   “That makes two of us.” Allison says after a while, taking the hint. She gives a small smile for comfort.

   “Do you know what makes me mad? The town cops? They can’t do anything. The police are slow these days. They can’t prevent anything bad from happening. They are just there for what happens after. Even then, they can rarely crack the case.” I say, recounting all that’s happened. “My family is officially broken.” I sneer. “And I thought it was bad back then.”

     “I can relate. My sister was the only person I had to live for. My parents married for money, and they couldn’t even keep track of us. They think she deserved her death. They had told her to get home earlier, but she was going through a hard time, and was letting loose at a local bar. So, she walked. Happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess.” Allison said with a blank expression. “But now that she’s gone… What’s the point of living if there’s nothing to live for?”    

     “I guess it’s for that satisfying ending. One where after it’s all over, everyone can be free from their troubles here on earth.” She nods in agreement, but then furrows her brow.

     “Whatever happened your father?” Allison asks, clearly missing a piece of information.         

     “Alcoholic father in debt, parents divorced? You get the picture.”

    We stay for a few more hours, sitting under the tree, just talking, until the rest of the world melted away. We decide to go back to the station, knowing all the trouble that lies ahead. So I take her hand, and we start to drive back from Falcon Field Lane.

    “I thought, I told you to stay in the building.” Officer Glen stands firmly in front of the door when we walk in, with his hands on his hips.

    “Oh com'on, we were just taking a breather. We didn’t go far.” I lie. Officer Glen fiddles with the toothpick in between his teeth as he speaks.

    “Yeah, right. Just know, I’m keeping my eye on you, Wallace.” he says as if he’s uncovering some grand conspiracy. “Oh, by the way, we think we know what happened to Sophie.” Glen takes the toothpick out of his mouth and holds it between his fingers. I’m staring at him intently, wondering what they’ve found. “You know John Wallace?”

    “Yeah, he’s my father, so what?”

    “Well, you know how he is. He’s in debt to a lot of people. One of ‘em was a real nut. Chased him down before. Threatened him a lot.” he adds.

    “So, this man.” I confirm. “He killed her?” I choke on my own words.

    “Well, we’re not certain. But there’s a big chance. We took ‘em in, he’s locked up right now. Funny thing is he doesn’t even admit it.” Officer Glen scoffs. “A real psycho.”

    “Yeah …” I stand there, waiting for him to continue.

    “John came to your house the next morning to drop off some food. Found Sophie’s corpse on her bed, you were out cold, sleeping. Panicked and called us over.” he stuck the toothpick back in his mouth. He sighs, and continues. “You can go home. Try to get some sleep, okay?” Glen says kindly.

    “Thanks. See ya Al.” I tiredly wave towards Allison, and she smiles at me.

    When I get home, the house is empty. Empty of laughter and joy, and family. I had been putting it off. Not wanting to deal with everything going on. The world continues around me, but I am still stuck in the past. Maybe it’s because I haven’t accepted it yet. Maybe it’s because I don’t know how. Or maybe I’m just driving myself mad. I look at my surroundings. Everything reminds me of my sister or my mother. I shrink to my knees, and cry. I feel something click inside of me, and I need to do something. So I get up, and take my bike out of the garage.


***


   “Why are we back here?” Allison is tired, and you can hear it in her voice. It’s the middle of the night, and we are back in Falcon Field. The sky seems dead, and lonesome clouds blanket the area with heavy greys.

   “Because everyone I love is dying.” I say frustrated, tears nearly spilling out of my eyes.

She is quiet. I pause for a long time.

“Which is why I cannot love you.” I think.

“Which is why you must die as well.” He says.

He holds out my hand to her. She doesn’t question anything, instead she tilts her head, eyes squinting, and after a long time, takes it.

   “I hope you’ll finally be free.”

After she grabs my hand, I embrace her and press my lips to hers. It’s a kiss of apology and acceptance. I pull the knife from behind my back, and grip it so tightly that my knuckles turn white. Allison shows no sign of fear. My arm shakes, but He forces me to impale the knife through her back. Out of natural instinct, she begins to scream. The sound gets lost through the field, but it lasted a century in my mind. Her shirt immerses in her own blood, and some trickles down to my hand. As suddenly as He appeared, He is gone. And Allison will be too. I shake my head like a madman, and look around for Him. It is too late, and He has escaped. The sky no longer has beautiful hues of orange and gold, and the birds no longer sing and soar. It is dark, and cold, and anything but beautiful.

    It had only took one swift moment before the screaming had ended. Now there was just the struggling and gagging for air.

   “Allison.” I gloss my fingers over the handle of the blade, not knowing whether to pull it out or keep it in. “Allison!” I shout louder hoping it would make her hold on a bit longer.

   “It’s okay. I’ll be back with my sister. This is my ending.” she takes her time trying to speak in gurgles and whispers. Her last breath is visible in the cold night’s air. Her head goes light in my arms, and my eyes widen in horror. Her glistening blood from the incision seeps onto me, but I no longer care. I sit there in disorientation. All I know, is that Allison is gone, and I cannot stop shaking.

    I feel Him taking over me again. I know this is my last chance to stop Him. I reach into my pocket, and sigh in relief when I feel the prescription pills. But then I stop to think, ‘is it fair that I get to control the vessel we share and not Him?’ I shudder, and gawk at the orange bottle in dismay, but bring the entirety to my lips. Before I can go through with it, He drops it to the grass, sending tons of little ovals to scatter through it. When I look at my reflection in the pond, I realize that He is already here. I cannot tell which direction He had come from, but He is here. Perhaps He always was. I had always been His target, and He has finally come for me at last. The very one who had slaughtered my mother. My sister. And now Allison. And through the rippling water, I am staring at the monstrous killer in the eyes. No-I am staring at my own eyes. And He is smiling.

Up In the Air

posted Mar 7, 2017, 12:06 PM by Lauralee Richardson   [ updated Mar 7, 2017, 12:11 PM ]

By Megan Liu 

  Soggy leaves clung to the pavement like plaster. I dragged my feet through them as I walked, and looked up at the sky. Clouds glided overhead, and rain came down on my shoulders like little bullets. I stopped once I got to the end of the path then hurried across the street. Continuing my aimless pursuit, I came across a park bench. Water droplets coated the edge of the seat but I didn’t mind it. The street lights awakened, and all the colors of the evening blurred together like an impressionistic oil painting.

    Everything seemed normal, like the world had forgotten about all the terrible things that happened. But I could never forget. Not after the pounding, the screaming, and the pain. It all came back to me when I shut my heavy eyelids.      

   “Please! Let me go with you! I can help!” The sounds of the memory echoed and rang in my head. I opened my eyes again, and remembered that the worst of it’s over now. I remembered feeling my heart pulsating and pumping harshly, but beating nonetheless. Now, all that’s left there is a piece of metal and glass. I thought of all the things that might have happened, if I had only listened. All the things that could have been prevented if I stayed. I know that I can’t change anything, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing. I rewinded the scene in my mind, but this time I let it play on.

    “Please! Let me go with you! I can help!” I cried with everything I had in me.

    “Nadia! I need to do this alone! You need to stay here with Terrence! He’ll take care of you while I’m gone. I can’t lose you sister, you’re all I have left!” he shouts from the airship, that was just about to take off.

    “But you’re all I have left!”

    “I’m sorry sister! I love you!” Allan shouted as the airship flew off. I stood there helplessly, watching until he turned into a small speck in the dismal sky above. The gusting wind stung my face, and left me gasping from the pressure.

    And that was the last time I saw my dear brother again.

   When the memory passed, a salty tear slipped from my eye and mixed with the fresh rainwater on my cheek. My ‘fixed’ heart makes the pain dull, and suddenly it’s not so bad anymore. I dug deeper into my thought.

    Once Allan was out of view, I fell to the ground, unable to process what had happened. That he was truly gone. And now there was nothing for me to live for. The scent of petrichor filled the air, and calmed me down. Terrence placed his hand on my shoulder.

    “Nadia, he’ll be back. Don’t worry.” Terrence’s words were comforting, but not bringing promise.

    I let out a large grunt of frustration. Why does Allan have to do everything on his own? He always wanted to shelter me, to protect me from everything. Terrence led me back inside the camp tent, and I cleaned myself up.

    I wanted to help. I wanted to fight. To die saving everyone rather than just sitting on the sidelines. Anything is better than waiting for someone else to get a job done for you.

   As the night rolled in, the air turned stiff and cold. I layed in bed, pretending to sleep until things got quiet, and until every lantern burned out. I gathered my things, and made my way to the exit of the tent. I looked back at Terrence who was still sound asleep, and wondered if I was doing the right thing. Right now he was all that I had left of my brother. Should I really give up all I had for a chance? Absolutely. So that’s what I did.

    I left the tent, and pulled the zipper back down. Once I made my way out, a light blazed from my tent, so I immediately took cover behind a large rock. Peeping out from it, I see Lula’s and Terrence’s defined figures, lit by candle light.

    “Where is Nadia?” Terrence shouted through a whisper. As soon as I heard him speak, I ran swiftly out of the camp grounds, so the only noise that could be heard was the wind I was cutting. No looking back. No resting. Just run.

    The dawn creeped up on me, and suddenly it was light out, so I could further tell where I truly was. I knew that Allan was on a mission to the Highlands, but that wasn’t the problem. The Highlands are ‘up in the air’, as I liked to call them. Everything would be uncalled for, or undecided. On top of that, you’d need an airship to get to it, which are difficult to come by nowadays. I stumbled  through the woods, marking the trees as I went. I heard rustling in a nearby bush, and stood frozen, unaware of what to do. There was nothing to cover me, and no where to go.

    “Hey you!” A man covered in green with a knife crept out, along with a few other menacing men. I put my hands to my head, showing that I meant no harm. “What kind of business do you have here in this part of the woods, young lady?” I keep my head up tall, hoping that it would deceive him into thinking I was strong.

    “Merely passing through.” I said as he scoffed and jeered with the other men.

    “Only people who pass through here are trying to get to the Highlands. I could help you,” he suggested. “The name’s Vance.”

    “Well, nice to meet you Vance, but no thank you. I must have made a wrong turn. So if you don't mind me-” I tried desperately to part with them.

    “You’re not getting off so easily princess. I think you could be of some use to us.” Vance smiled wickedly, and a shiver of fear ran down my spine.

***

    “Take her! Strap her down to the operating table, men!” Vance shouted with the wind talking over him. My outstretched arm was then latched with heavy belts to the table. The door, my only refuge,  sealed like a vacuum, and all the  pounding wind ceased.

    “No! Let me out of he-” I struggled in my seat, only to be duct taped down. I didn’t give up, but only muffled screams came out. A man in a white coat approached me with a sharp tool. I screamed through the tape, horrified of what might come next.

    “Ignore her. All patients scream at first,” Vance stated bluntly to the man, glancing over me before leaving the room.

    “I’m not going to lie, this is going to hurt. You might want to close your eyes.” he told me, and then suddenly there was darkness.

    Beep….Beep….Beep. Between an indistinct clamour of people arguing, I heard an electronic and steady ‘beep’.  It was like I was experiencing and seeing everything through a blurry lense, unable to make sense of the chaos around me. It continued on like this, until the furious beeping noise ran flat, and the darkness returned.

    Quite some time passed before it was replaced by a bright light that made me believe that I’ve died already. But the piercing pain in my chest tells me that I’m not quite there yet, and that I’ve still got to suffer through what little life I have left. I’m not sure of how long I was out, but I did know, that I was at the very core of the Highlands laboratory. I had to squint to see anything, but my eyes slowly adjusted. I noticed that all the weapons I used to bear on my person were missing, and that I had been changed into hospital scrubs. I wondered what happened to me during that time. The room was empty aside from some medical equipment and white sheets heavily stained in my own crimson blood. Using a ton of my force, I turned my head to face the other way. My eyes widened in horror at what I had seen. Only glass separated me from the countless other tragedies like my own. I wanted to shout but I held it in, not wanting to cause attention to my own room. It was like a factory for turning ordinary human lives into a mechanical mush. My heart now pounds at the exact time it was programmed to. It aches on its own without permission of my mind and soul. It grew a body of its own made of glass, metal and wires. Who knows what happened to Allan?

    I had been told of what they were doing to people. But being told something and seeing it for yourself, is much, much different.

    I peel my eyes open to see a technicolored day. Bright as ever. My memory had been cut off at that, with no more, no less. It’s like they’ve wiped my memory chip so that it cuts everything off with no explanation. The local news won’t even give us a proper explanation as to what actually happened but I guess it doesn’t really matter. I get up from the bench, and walk away as a survivor, taking it step by step through the puddles.

Love and Loss at Falcon Field: Part I

posted Jan 10, 2017, 12:52 PM by Lauralee Richardson

By: Megan Liu


I stare blankly in front of me. The television is blaring words that aren't being processed or comprehended. But I’m not missing out. It’s all just fake and scripted nonsense that make people hope for some false sense of reality. The light bounces off of my pale face, and I look around my room. It’s quite plain and normal, and everything is organized. From my neatly made bed, to the orange prescription pills, unopened, undisturbed and in orderly little lines on the desk.

   “Odion, get down here!” My mother shouts. I groan, and get up to turn the T.V. off.

   “I’m coming mother!” I call back exhausted and annoyed. I scooch out my bedroom door, and scurry down the stairs.

   “I thought I made it clear that you were supposed to walk your sister to the Myre’s house yesterday! You know that I had an early shift at work, and Sophie is only 7,” she starts. I continue to go about my business, and stay silent. “Did you take your pills this morning? … Are you even listening to me?” she advances.

   “I told you I don’t need them! The doctors said they weren’t even sure if I had it when they prescribed them! I’m just a normal person! And a normal person doesn’t need take medical drugs for… disorders.” I shoot back icily. My mother takes a deep sigh, and shakes her head.

   “Whatever. Whether you listen to me or not, at the very least, you should look out for your sister, okay?”

   “Okay.” I walk away, unphased, and head over to my sister’s room.

   “Knock knock, can I come in?” I say verbally. I peep my head through the door, and see that Sophie is sitting on the floor, playing with her dolls. She too, takes a deep breath, but nods, signaling me in. I join her on the floor, and pick up one of her dolls. “I’m really sorry about forgetting to drop you off, can you forgive me?” I say in a high-pitched voice, moving the doll along while I speak. After a while, she goes along with it.

   “Only if you promise to play with me the rest of the day.” She says with a pout.

   “Okay, okay,” I laugh back in my normal voice.

   “And hey, Mom sounded a bit bad. But it’s really okay though. The Myer’s house is less than a block from here, and I made it there okay. Mrs. Myre was just upset when she opened the door and only saw me there. She thinks you’re ‘irresponsible’.” Sophie adds without hesitation. Nothing held her loud mouth back. After that, I tell Sophie that I need to use the bathroom, so I get up and walk out the door.

***

   Odion’s mother was cooking dinner, a roasted ham with stir-fried vegetables and steamed rice. Its scent filled up the room in heaping amounts of smoke coming from the stovetop. The searing meat seemed to scream and sizzle, as she turned the heat up. She thought deeply as she worked. Odion’s mother had let him do whatever would satisfy his needs. She let him give in to his disorder and would blame it on herself. She started to chop the green onions.

   Chop. Chop. Chop. Slice.

   “Aggh,” she said, shaking her hand around in the air from the sting. The blood oozed off her hand like an old red paint tube. While turning her back to face the stove, a dark figure stalked up from the shadows, but retreated quickly when she turned back around. He waited a while, for the perfect chance to strike. Finally, He advanced on her, clutching a tarnished knife against her plush and creamy skin. She started breathing heavily, but stood still in place. Once she got a glimpse of His eyes, horror and confusion spread all across her face. His weapon had started to pierce the skin on her neck slowly, but she resisted little. She didn’t scream, or shout, or struggle. Instead, her horrified lips turned into a crooked smile. A sad one, but genuine. Her dark cherry blood splattered across the tile of the kitchen floor and she fell to her knees on the cool stone. She tilted her head up, looking with sorrow at the character in front of her. Before her body lost its life, she seemed to nod in understanding. She had done everything she could, to help. He took his knife, and placed it in her flimsy hand, and shrank back into the darkness, leaving no trace of ever being there, but a helpless mother, and a tough stain to clean. The stove lit a flame over the charcoal black meat, and the fire alarm had sounded.

Haikus

posted Jun 2, 2016, 11:58 AM by Lauralee Richardson

Very outgoing

Fantastic Bran Bran Muffin

Loves to eat muffins

Creating artwork

Running towards some new friends

Documenting life

Swims like a fishy

Very awesome, cool and smart

A very good friend

Painting the whole world,

Lost in the words of a book,

Rocking to music

Who are these people?

Come to News Mag to find them

That is where they hide.

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