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The Magical Murdering Unicorns Absolutely Slayed

22 Jul

The fifteen rising seventh- and eighth-graders who comprise the Magical Murdering Unicorns brought tremendous energy, humor, and talent to our Badgerdog Camp at the Magellan International School this year. No matter what I threw at them, they handled it with hilarity, thoughtfulness, and imagination. They wrote ekphrastic pieces in response to classical art; they wrote stories and poems based on a series of emojis they’d created themselves; they authored tales imagining the end—or the beginning—of the world; and they crafted monologues from real and fictional characters.

They even played a group-wide game of Exquisite Corpse, a sort of Mad Libs game in which we created sentences word-by-word without seeing the previous word—and then wrote pieces explaining the crazy sentences that ensued.

These campers at the Magellan School always surprised and delighted me, and often knocked me out with their insight and descriptive power. The week flew by. I bet you’ll see a few of these names on the covers of books one day.

Katherine Catmull
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Waking Dream

It was too early to be at school.
Beep • Beep • Beep
Goes the broken alarm.
The smell of smoke and metal fills the hall.
I can feel his presence behind me.
He’s gurgling, ready to pounce.
I could stand here and let him kill me
Or run, but eventually be trapped.
I wasn’t scared, I couldn’t be.
Drip • Drip • Drip
The blood pooled in his mouth slowly dripped off his chin, and fell to the floor.
He was always so persistent, no matter
Where I ran to.
The alarm stopped.
Now, I could clearly hear his fingernail-like claws clacking on the marble floor.
Now it was just me
And him.
Something wet touched me.
I looked down
Deep crimson blood, sticking to my bare feet.
He was closer now.
I turned around and yelled through gritted teeth,
“LEAVE. ME. ALONE!”
But there was no one there. . . . 

Lila Boyd

 

Escape

I leap over a boulder and land running. The creature is still chasing me. I push things behind me to slow it down. I can see the exit up ahead. I reach my hand out and push the door open, run through, and slam the door. I hear the creature bang its body against the door. The cold, bitter winds stab my face like needles.

My horse, Frost, a pure white horse with white eyes, stands waiting for me. I hurry over to her and mount. I ride all the way to Whiterun. I am on a mission for the Jarl of Whiterun. I open my bag, and the small moonstone with something in the center seems to look up at me. It looks a lot like a cat’s eye. I close my bag and ride on.

I leave my horse at the stables and follow the path up to the gates. Since it is night, the guards unlock the gate with a key. I walk up to Dragonsreach when a man stops me.

“Have you seen this man?” he asks, holding up a sketching of a man.

“No,” I said. “But I’ll keep an eye out.”

I continue on. I open the doors to Dragonsreach and close them behind me. I walk up to the throne.

“Do you have it?” Jarl Balgruuf asked.

“Yes,” I said, reaching into my bag and pulling out the moonstone.

Dalia Chachanashvili

 

The Murder

– an exquisite corpse piece

The awesome library murdered the mourning noodle. The headlines were everywhere. The assassination took place when President Ned Noodle was getting a book called Suicide: A Wonderful Thing. The library then started to launch books, computers, CDs, and chairs at him. One of the CDs sliced him in half, and he died.

Everyone thought of the library as a hero; in fact, he didn’t even get arrested. Everyone loved Ned Noodle when he was first elected, but then his wife and kids died tragically. He became angry because he knew they had been murdered but did not know who had murdered them. Ever since then, he hated everyone and everything, so he made a bunch of terrible rules that affected the people greatly. So when they found out he was going to commit suicide, they were all excited. They had been waiting for days, then weeks, then even a few months.

They found out he cancelled the suicide because he missed his wife’s funeral. He sat at her grave mourning for three weeks. He finally left, and went to the library to get a book about suicide. Even the library was tired of him because he made a rule that you were allowed to talk in libraries. The library noticed that Ned Noodle was checking out a book about suicide, so he decided to get the job done.

The library is now a hero. He is known as the most awesome library that ever lived.

Bonnie Daywood

 

My Day in Emojis

– after an emoji collage

As I did a handstand, I smiled fakely, sad my crush hadn’t come to the party. My friend told me a joke, and I smiled, still sad. I looked toward the door—there he was.

My heart surged with joy and happiness! He was sticking out his tongue and winking at me? No, at his girlfriend. I wish I was her, I thought. As he walked over, my heart burst out; my eyes became little hearts. I looked down as he passed with his dog . . .

Then I wished that I was a magical sea unicorn with a glittering horn, more beautiful than everyone. In my fantasy, my crush’s girlfriend was a devil. I laughed so hard at this that a tear ran down my face. I saw my friends making funny faces, sticking their tongues out and squinting their eyes.

Suddenly, Death-Devil Girl left my crush. He walked over and brought me a Topo Chico; I took it shyly, my eyes being hearts, golden ears on my head… He asked me out. With a huge smile, I said yes, not caring that his girlfriend had just left him.

Maisy Duncan

 

The Mother of Stars

– after an etching by William Blake

In a clearing between two trees, the Mother of the Stars sits with her arms outstretched. The tangle of branches above her forms the platform, and the thick, luscious green canopy forms the ground.

The Star Children play in this world above ours. Orion and Taurus fight in the inky blue heavens. Virgo and the Seven Sisters dance through the curtains of the sky while, down below, Old Father Time sleeps unawakened in a deep slumber. His hand on his scroll, surrounded by the living dead, a ribbon of frolicking spirits.

A book older and frailer than the Web of Life sits upon an oaken chest, just as aged, illuminated by the radiant glow cast by the Mother of the Stars. A lamp that never burns low reveals a text that no mortal man can read and would retain all the knowledge in the world if he did. Golden crocuses give the space a warm presence, and the whole scene is covered in the cloak of darkness.

Gabriella Erb

 

This Is the Way the World Ends

This is the way the world ends, vacuuming the light out of an old, pasty sky, pasty because it was sick of looking at the same plastic world, fake and scripted. The women are in gray dresses, pristine with no stains, and the men walk beside the women wearing stern expressions only of important business. And the children never shine with joy, are just obedient and fake.

The sun gives up shining slender beams of joy to a fake prison of a world, and the moon quits showing soothing-shaped light on the silver mist. They are no longer needed. Although the world has not ended and there is no slavery here, the universe has given up on our plastic, scripted lives. It seems all the beings have been handed to us and all the beings on the planet have been stolen from—their joy and happiness gone, just gone, as a fox takes eggs from a loving mother hen. Gone, never to return. And this seems to me like the most pain injected into all of our Barbie-like bodies, as the world has ended—shut off from life, real life, a loving life, joyful life.

Ryan Honza

 

The Sun

This is how the world began. The Sun. She burned a dark crimson color, slowly circling the universe, a black space of infinity. She had no end or beginning; she went on for eternity.

The Sun by herself got lonely, so she turned space into its canvas. Using a brush of life, she painted stars like herself. The stars danced, sang, and laughed with each other, later returning to their own space in the universe.

The Sun got lonely again. She took a brush and painted unique new objects, nothing like her. Some were small and rocky, others were large. They didn’t dance, sing, or laugh. They walked around the Sun, watching her every move, never to leave.

The Sun got bored, so she got her brush again; she painted trees with leaves of dark green. She painted water that glistened and glowed under her watchful eye. Then she made animals, some big, some small, some red, some blue. All were different. Then she made all the foods.

Finally, she made us: eyes to see with, mouth to talk with, hand to hold, feet to kick, and a brain to think with. Now we sing, dance, and laugh with Sun watching us all for eternity.

 Zaina Jafri

 

Waking Dream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was in the middle of dismissal when I heard a loud bang. Everyone from my class looked outside. There was a man outside with a shining sword connected to his back and two giant guns in his arms.

I started running back to my house from school. As I was running, I saw all of the brick houses with creepy dolls sitting on the doorsteps. All the dolls with the long hair and ragged clothes were staring at me. It seemed as if they were looking straight through me.

I started sprinting down my street up the hill, past the dark, mysterious cul-de-sac, all the way past my creepy neighbor’s house to my house, home sweet home! I was back at my house, the white house that was almost at the top of the hill. Being home made me feel safe from all the chaos that was behind my back.

Lucas Li

 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the end
I’ve dreaded this exact moment
The more I think
The faster I forget.
The more I look
The less I see.
This is the end.

Naomi Melina Raab

 

The Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My feet dangle in the water,
My fishing line waiting for a bite.
The trees sway with the wind,
The sunset’s rays illuminate the pond,
The smell of fresh pine fills the air.
I close my eyes,
Slowly falling asleep,
Dreaming, dreaming.
All is calm.
I awake with a flash,
Unable to breathe.
I look up,
The sun’s rays shrouded by murky water.
I’m drowning, I realize,
Drowning, drowning.
My instincts kick in,
I arise to the surface.
My grandpa’s laughter
Echoes across the pond.
I smile.
All is
Calm.

Thomas Mazzurana

 

The End of the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the way the world ends… As I wake up, I feel a cool breeze of frost, but why? It’s summer. A feeling of loneliness sinks in slowly, like black ink sinks into my skin. As I walk outside, all I see is dust, with ashy grey skies and trees all burned into sharp ridges. No one outside. You may yell, but it only echoes back.

I run inside to seek help. No one. It’s pitch black inside the house with no electricity. All the water is cloudy grey. No food to feed my starving bones. So I lay quietly on my hard bed, slowly sinking into darkness.

Chloe Pence

 

The Glittery Zebra’s Revenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– an exquisite corpse piece

The glittery zebra honestly killed the poopy unicorn. The glittery zebra was glittery because he ran into the poopy unicorn. The poopy unicorn farts rainbows and poops glitter. They were both in the forest and the zebra was walking behind poopy unicorn, and… well, you can guess what happened. The zebra’s least favorite color was glitter (who knows when he became such a cold soul?), and he was really angry at poopy unicorn. The glittery zebra was so mad that he drowned the poopy unicorn in the glittery lake.

Sahana Sudarsan

 

Supergirl Monologue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a dark confession. I have had a huge lie—I have lived a huge lie. No one knows what I really am. I was born on the beautiful planet Earth, in the Milky Way, not on Krypton. I was born with abnormal abilities. My parents put me with my adoptive family because they had sheltered Superman before and wanted me to have a good life that they could not provide.

They told them I was from Krypton, that I was an alien. They told me that, too. Always, deep down, I knew that I was different, but overall I was the same.

I have been fearing this day my whole life. But I never imagined that I would ever care for my family and friends so much, that there would be so much at stake.

Now, I am asking you, please help me figure what I am, who I am. I need to know. If you guys don’t ever want to see my face again, just say it and I will disappear.

I am just Kara. Being Supergirl is part of me, and I can’t, and won’t, stop doing what I am doing. I just want you to know I am still me, Kara Danvers, and that, my friends, will never, ever change.

Alia Thompson

 

The Giant Octopus

The Giant Octopus had giant teeth,
Also big chompers on his four feet.
To defeat it was a huge feat.
Huge flames out of its arms,
It can do you great harm.
The Giant Octopus was so great,
But it was evil and got lots of hate.
It is evil because it was raised in the fiery pit of a volcano.
Luckily, it doesn’t have a bow.
And the evil octopus couldn’t grow.

Sakthivel Vijayakumar

 

This is the Way the World Ends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the way the world ends. I see the flash, brighter than the sun, that lasts long into the night, then more—the terrific burning. I see these things from space, because I am an astronaut on the ISS. Asteroids are killing our planet, like bullets to a human heart.

The Earth starts to crumble, then splits. I can see the lava spilling out onto the surface of the Earth.

Then, like a bomb, the Earth explodes.

Mateo Wells

Ms. Rachel’s Cheesy Writers

21 Jul

Never have I met so many young people so in love with writing. Each day, one of these third- and fourth-graders had a new idea about lost children running into a ton of money, Mexican pit bulls, curses, unlikely friends, vegetables, and more. These Magellan School campers’  enthusiasm for writing and sharing new chapters, plot points, or acrostic poems energized everyone in the room.

Over the week, we explored all kinds of genres and styles. The campers developed character sketches about sushi, a potato, and a man who lives on Mars — to name a few! They wrote stories about characters fighting to attain their desires, make friends, and find new families. We read poems by William Carlos Williams, Pablo Neruda, and contemporary poets. Students practiced making observations for their own poems, and they wrote love letters and apologies to people and things that could use them (chairs, Spanish posters, soccer teams with poor defenders, evil fish in a fish tank).

Parents, thank you for enrolling your children in Badgerdog’s Creative Writing Camp this summer. I think we can all learn a lot from encouraging our young people to explore their empathy and imaginations. These students left camp full of dreams of re-writing the world and getting published as soon as possible. Watch out for these kids. They’re game changers.

Rachel Gray
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Spanish Signs

I’m sorry Spanish signs for only
Some people can understand you
I’m sorry Spanish signs
For people have to learn you
You deserve to be understood
But only some people can

Stephanie Gearing

 

My Voice

I hate my voice. Ugh.
My voice is annoying. Ugh.
I hate my voice. Ugh.
Listen to my scream. Ugh.

Kavya Gupta

 

The Snacks (Spicy Banana Chips)

My father gave me a snack.
It was yummy to my tum.
My nose can smell the smell.
It was spicy like hot peppers.
My stomach gets a burn from the
spices like a sunburn. Yum!
But I still love Spicy Banana Chips.

Eesha Vishnu

 

The Curse of the Ghost

an excerpt

It was a stormy night. Everybody knew about the ghost in the bathroom, but nobody had seen the ghost. It was in one stall in the corner of the boys’ bathroom. Nobody was brave enough to open that stall because it had the curse. The curse of the ghost.

One day, a boy named Nick told his friends that he was going to go into that stall. He opened the stall. It was old and filled with spider webs and other haunted stuff. It looked like it was one thousand years old. Then he saw a chair and an A/C vent. He was scared, but he had to do it.

Then he heard a sound! It was the ghost.

The ghost said, “If you take one more step, you get the curse.”

The boy took one step, then stepped out of the stall.

Avaneesh Nadarajan

 

From Tears to Smiles

– an excerpt

I have a disease called Epiderma. It affects my legs and makes me limp. Every time I go out on the streets, people look at me like I’m a crazy duck. I’m from Korea, and it adds more suspense to my problems because when I say that my limping doesn’t worry me, I guess my accent causes strangers to make a face. The only person I trust is my brother. He gives me comfort when he speaks and tells me to stand tall like a soldier.

One day at school, the principal got on the loudspeaker and congratulated the kids who participated in the scholastic chess tournament the week before. I felt a little jealous. I’ve always wanted to do something people would admire me for. After school, I asked the principal if I could join the girls’ team. He said yes, and I was so gleeful.

But then he added, “Although you have to ask the girls.”

My jaw dropped and pulled down my eye sockets. It was so dramatic. I thought the principal was joking.

I blurted, “What? Why ask the girls? Aren’t you the boss of the school? If you say yes, then it’s yes. It’s all from you!”

Then, the principal raised his voice. “Genja, you don’t understand—”

“Oh, yes, I do,” I quickly replied.

“No,” the principal said. “I didn’t start this chess club. The parents started it. The only thing I did was approve it.”

My face turned red, and I stormed out of the room. I didn’t dare go ask the girls. They, of course, would laugh at me and say I was a coward. The only thing left for me to do was to practice myself.

Kalia Wang

 

The Mexican Pit Bull

Once upon a time, a long time ago in Mexico, a ferocious pit bull that everyone feared was looking for a game at the village.

One of the hunters saw him and shouted, “It’s the Mexican pit bull!” And he came outside with his spear.

But then the pit bull bared his teeth, and the hunter, scared out of his wits, ran into his hut.

The pit bull just smiled darkly and continued walking. He was happy but felt a stab of sadness. Even though he was at the top of the food chain, all he wanted was a friend.

He started walking home. He stopped in his tracks and saw a big old tree. It was shimmering with its frog-green leaves. Scared but anxious, he went inside the tree through a big hollow hole.

Inside, he saw sticks, and to him it looked like parkour. Pit bulls can’t do parkour, but he tried and he did it!

Up in the tree was a clean, young squirrel being chased by a fat bulldog. The pit bull bared his teeth and the chubby bulldog ran away.

The squirrel thanked him, and they became friends.

The bulldog whimpered and asked to be friends. The pit bull said yes, and soon they had lots of friends.

Arnav Maskey

 

The Evil Year

She woke up in the middle of the night. Her dad told her to go back to sleep, but she went downstairs and it was Easter. Then she came back upstairs and it was Halloween. She noticed that she was lost in the year.

(She was cursed, but in a good way.)

She went to her friends’ house. Her friends were in their garage, and it was Christmas. Then there was a shoosh and she heard, “You have a curse.” Then she was gone.

The girl didn’t know that her friends were evil, and she did not know which curse she was in, but then she noticed that her friends were evil. She tried to use the curse and make them uneasy, and they were nice. They changed and killed the father.

Parisha Acharya

 

Once Upon a Curse

an excerpt

Once upon a time, in a tiny town in France, there lived a girl named Cat. She was very poor. She lived in the woods with her mother. Now, her mother did not know that her child was put under a curse. But one day, her mother was told that her child had a curse: if Cat went to go ask for money and tried to kill the king, she would die the most painful death of all. So her mother told Cat very nice things.

So, Cat went for money in the town. The king said, “No, no.” Cat tried to kill him, and the king said, “You foolish child. You had a curse on you when you were born.” So, he locked her up. She sat there for the rest of her life, and she died the most painful death.

But years later, there was a girl named Kitty, and that Kitty was haunted. Kitty had a best friend. Her name was C, just C, so she was teased. Even sometimes Kitty teased her. So C did not want to be friends with Kitty.

So Kitty had an enemy. C was just like her long-lost dead mother, Cat, who had a child, C. C did not know her mother, but C was evil.

That night Kitty was pulled to the underworld. There, Cat, the evil one, lay. Her bones were there, but her spirit wasn’t. Kitty was locked in a tower that was haunted. C was power hungry, so she brought Kitty back and got an axe and cut down Kitty’s back and a demon came out. That demon was Kitty.

C was very proud of herself, but the town was very scared. So they built a wall, and if you touch it, you will be sorry.

Zoey Latson

 

Lucky Day

Rose was a poor child from a poor family. She was ten, and she didn’t have enough money to go to school. She wasn’t smart because she didn’t go to school. She was homeschooled. Her mom, Abu, was teaching her. Abu didn’t go to school either, so she was teaching Rose the wrong things.

One day, Rose had a delivery sent to her door. She saw that it was just in an envelope. Rose opened the envelope and saw fifty dollars. She called, “Mom, Mom, we have fifty more dollars!” Rose and Abu quickly walked to the store. They went to the lottery station, and Rose bought the fifty-dollar lottery ticket. When they got home, they turned on their cheap TV and watched the lottery channel. The reporter said, “Today’s code is 1562354789.”

Rose said, “We have 9,999,999,999 more dollars!”

Rose asked Abu if she could go to school, and Abu said yes.

Rose went to school and became the most knowledgeable student in her fifth-grade class. Everyone loved her. She became famous for her knowledge when she was twenty-two. Abu was so happy for her.

Leah Bao

 

Ninja Wolves

Once there were two wolves. Their dad told them to be ninjas. Five years later, their dad told them to wake up at five o’clock.

They asked why.

He said, “You will see when you wake up.”

The next day, they were training… to be ninjas! It was fun. The rest of their lives. Kapow! Dun dun dun!!

Arhann Jafri

 

The Living Cupcake

Once, there was a girl. She ate a cupcake, and the rest of the cupcakes came alive because the girl kept eating the army. There was only the King of Cupcakes left, and then he would fight the girl. The cupcake won because it tasted bad.

Ruby Chalupka

 

Fat/Skinny School

John was fat. In the fat/skinny school, all the fat kids were treated unfairly. John was also treated unfairly, but the fat kids were smart. The skinny kids were dumb. So, John and his fat friends were hatching a plan.

John thought about eating all the food there. John was very mean, so he was always trying to kill the teachers. John also liked to eat. That’s why he was fat.

John’s friends said they wanted to execute the teachers. They needed to borrow things for that, so they needed to be nice. John and his friends didn’t like being nice. None of the fat kids liked being nice. So they practiced over and over again.

Finally, they borrowed a chainsaw from Potato.

The chainsaw wasn’t able to cut through the teachers because they were too fat.

This time, they tried to be nice to the teachers. They tried this and found that the teachers still didn’t like them.

The fat friends had to be smart. They made these costumes and tricked the skinny kids into wearing fat kid costumes. The teachers were confused and took the skinniest kids, which were John and his friends, and showed them the biggest chainsaw ever that could kill all the fat kids.

John and his fat friends took the chainsaw and killed the fat teachers. Then they realized they liked being nice. They still thought that the teachers deserved to be killed because they were so mean. There were no teachers left, so the skinny kids and the fat kids partied!

Anirudh Rao

 

The Write Stars

18 Jul

The second-, third-, and fourth-graders at the Magellan School this summer are dreamers and thinkers. They wish for dogs, cats, and even colorful frogs! They dream of cats in a Candy Cane Hotel. They pretend that they are dogs who go crazy when the doorbell rings. Have you ever imagined that you were sucked into a mirror? Have you ever dreamt that you were a fire alarm or a great white shark? Well, they have. Have you ever tried to console a pig with no tail or stop an angry cow from saying moo? Well, they’ve done that, too! We all know someone who refuses to clean their room, but have you ever seen the piles stretch across the United States? Although we had our share of laughter, these students also wrote serious pieces about war and losing beloved pets. In one short week, these thoughtful children explored their imaginations and shared heartfelt stories.

I am so proud of the time and attention they’ve given to their craft. I see a bright future when I observe these students playing piano in the mornings, revising pieces with their peers, or reading books until their hearts are content. It is a future filled with dreams, wishes, and the words it takes to explain them all.

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

The Cat Problem

cats

One day I told my mom I wanted a cat.
My mom said, “I will think about it and I will tell you
after we go to San Francisco.”
So, we went to San Francisco and saw my cousins,
Jonah and Kegen.
Then, we went on a road trip to Disneyland
and stayed at the Candy Cane Hotel.
Then we went back home.
Then I asked if I could get a cat and she said
she would think about it.

Eileen Do

 

I’m a Dog

dog

I am a dog.
I like to be petted, and I am white and brown.
I go to the park and play fetch.
I’m well-trained.
I see people, wet grass, and other dogs.
I chase the tennis ball.
I could dream about my owners petting me all day.
I am scared of coyotes.
I don’t like it when my owners leave me,
but I like it when they come home and pet me.
If someone rings the doorbell, I go crazy.

Sajan Gupta

 

Dream Puppy

puppypaws

My name is Anjali, and I want a puppy like this:
It will have fur, but I won’t be allergic to it.
The puppy will be small and adorable.
It will live forever, and I will name it Kenzie.
Kenzie will be my girl best friend.
She will be as soft as a blanket.
Kenzie will be playful and won’t like cats or kittens.
When dry, she will smell like lavender.
When wet, she will smell like chocolate.
Kenzie will eat and drink everything, even chocolate, and won’t die.
She will bark as cute as a puppy can.
When she comes running into my arms, it will sound like little raindrops.

Anjali Mahajan

 

Through My Mirror

mirror

Last night, I went through my mirror.
It was quite a sight to see my hand go through the mirror.
It was a delight when it was morning.
I screamed, wiggled, and shouted.
It seems I could not get out.

Sydney Nelson

 

Fire Alarm

firealarm

I am a small, red fire alarm.
I live in schools, classrooms, homes, and buildings.
I smell smoke.
When there is a fire, I make a really loud ring, ring sound that kids hate.
I say, “Fire! Fire!” on the outside.
I am as big as an ant, but as small as a book.
Through the day, I sense fire to keep people safe.
I smell smoke and I hear people.
I feel safe and I see rooms.
I feel the wall.
I taste fire and smoke.
I am afraid I might drop and shatter.
I dream of saving people’s lives.
I like seeing kids learning.
I hate smoke detectors.
I do not like it when kids cry or take me off the wall.
I have had a great life.

Sophia Nikazm

 

I Wish I Was Anything

glitter

I wish I was a bird that was blue
and I could fly so high.
I wish I was a dog that was a boxer
so my owner would follow
my command.
I wish I was a great white shark that
could eat lots
of prey.
I wish I was a queen,
so everyone could
follow my command.
I wish I was
everything.

Prajna Parajuli

 

An Army

sword

An army shields yellow like the sunrise
Armor shining like the stars
Feet stomp the ground like drums
Swords gleam like diamonds
An army in the Persian Gulf of Alexander
Against the army of Persians

Nathaniel Rostvold

 

Calysta Would Not Clean Her Room

garbage

-after Shel Silverstein’s “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out”

My sister Calysta would not clean her room. She played games, did puzzles, danced, sang, and did everything but clean her room. So trash, dirty clothes, and toys filled her room. You couldn’t even sleep or open the windows, and you couldn’t even walk in the door!

Nobody even talked to her or played with her, but they did say, “Clean your room!”

But she did not listen. The pile got even bigger. The pile filled the whole United States. Nobody could move or anything.

Then she realized that it was bad not to clean her room, so she cleaned her room. Now she always cleans her room every five days.

Miralei Storer

 

The Frogs in the Rainforest

frog

Once upon a time, there lived a rough frog. He was red and green. One day, he met a red and blue frog, and she was soft. They both liked each other.

One day, the red and green frog named Phillip took the red and blue frog named Sophie to the beach.

Sophie met her father there. She never knew she had a father.

Sophie asked, “Who are you?”

He said, “Sophie, I am your father.”

Then, Sophie and her father went to go to a party.

Phillip was all alone. He said, “Sophie, congratulations on finding your father.”

Sophie said, “Come with us to the party.”

Phillip said okay. And they all lived happily ever after.

Simone Strong

 

Begging My Dad for a Dog

dachshund

I am eight years old. I begged my dad to get me a dog, but he said no.

I’ve been begging for a dog since I was at least five years old. When I was seven, I got a trial. If I could take care of a puppy, then I could keep it. But I failed.

Then, my dad promised me I could get a dog when I turned eighteen. I complained to my dad that this was too long to wait, that I wanted a puppy now.

Right now, I still beg my parents to get me a puppy. I did research on a dog that I want. It is called a dachshund. It’s a long dog, and it can be flexible. I still think that I can get another type of dog besides a dachshund if I beg my dad hard enough, but I try not to push it. I still really want a puppy.

Amanda Tang

 

The Bad Day

cow

I was angry, as mad as a bull,
and also sad as the color blue
because they dared me
to stop a mad cow saying moo.

I was as blue as a water bottle,
I was red as an angry face
and then I just saw the mad cow gaze.

I was disappointed as a cat,
I felt heartless as a person would be.
I am angry now,
that you can see!

Elise Josephine Tjiptadjaja

 

Norman

guineapig

One Sunday after church, when we got home, I started to clean up the living room. My dad went outside to feed Norman, our guinea pig.

But when he went outside, guess what he saw? He saw that Norman was dead!

After that, he came in to tell us. My mom and I started crying. That night, my dad was so sad that he did not even eat dinner.

Also, when he found Norman, my sister, Iman, was asleep. The next day, Iman asked, “Where is Norman?”

I said to her sadly, “Norman, he… he died.”

Then she asked in a really surprised voice, “What?”

Norman was a nice guinea pig. He was white, brown, and dark brown. We loved him a lot.

Ian Xu

 

No Tail Pig

pigtail

I am a pig. I have a great life.

One day, a male pig in my pen said, “I have no tail!”

When everybody realized this, they all went away.

He said, “When people pick me up, I feel like they are going to eat me. I don’t feel good having no tail. It feels very weird. I look like a hot air balloon without a tail. I tried to make a tail out of hay, but I do not have hands. When I roll in the mud pit, I get a little happier. When I wash off, I see my back, and all my happiness goes away. I am a pink pig with a little bit of hair on my back. My nose gets bigger every day. I see green grass. I feel rough hay. I smell fresh air. I taste tasty garbage. My hope is not to get eaten. My dream is to have a tail. My fear is becoming bacon. I dislike having no tail.”

Iman Xu

They Call Themselves John

11 Jul
During one amazing, writing-filled week, “John”(as our group dubbed itself) created work that ventured boldly across the wide range of storytelling. These bold, young writers (all high-schoolers) invented their own cities, wrote poetry, horror stories, romances, tales of sibling rivalry, and the beginnings of what could be their first novels.  While their body of work is diverse, they are all united by their devotion to and exploration of the character “John,” who took many different forms in their writing. This group of writers crafts tales with precision and passion. They are undaunted by the hard work and courage it takes to sit down and put pen to paper, and they are also willing to constantly revise in the name of creating a better experience for their readers.
Over the course of our week together, we explored the “Seven Cs” system of story structure, read Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and learned how the elements of motion, status, and time can be used to create living, breathing characters. The students also embraced unstructured writing time and were free to use their own writing templates. Oftentimes, they would bring their notebooks on breaks to hone their latest work. It was a pleasure to teach them, even though it was only for a short while. I know every member of John will be writing great things well into the future.

William Glick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

My Latest Invention

My latest invention is to fix the mess I already made, but it might be too little too late. We will find out sooner rather than later.

I see a dark cloud. Now the man is approaching. I scoop up my tools and break into a run. Just two more bolts, and the invention will be done. I collapse behind a tree, panting, and try to screw in the bolts as fast as I can, the dull rumbling getting louder as I work. Then there’s a small whirring, and my invention slowly lights up a dim electric glow, illuminating my face as it slowly starts to spread, encapsulating my body.

The vitality of my youth comes flooding back in a raging torrent, and now I know I can win.

A loud, audible bang and a flash of bright light. My first invention finally works, but as my second invention slowly melts and scalds my skin, I know it’s too little too late.

Roan Alonzo

 

Northern Lights

I dreamt I saw the northern lights with you
and the moonlit sky was ours.
Your face lit up brighter than any star I’d seen
and you laughed.
In that moment, it wasn’t so bad to be human.
To be so, so small,
but to feel all too much.
Now I see it.
Everything.
The small things I didn’t pay any mind to are flooding my mind
and they feel like regrets.
The sunlight cutting through the trees over the stream.
That was a truly beautiful day, wasn’t it?
It was a shame I couldn’t quite see it.
It hits me in my reminiscing
I don’t want to leave this unlikely paradise or birdsongs and pain.
I can only hope I’ll be back someday.
I guess that’s what this world does best.
Hope.

Jordan Busby

 

The Woods

9:30 AM

Bill was packing his clothes into his suitcase, and his family was doing the same. He was getting ready for his family camp trip. Finally, they were on the road.

3:10 PM

Bill’s family finally arrived at the camp. They were just moving into their campsite when they met a stranger. He told them the campsite was haunted because an evil samurai master was buried there, but they decided not to listen.

3:30 PM

The family got everything into the campsite, and they started setting up their tents. Just when they finished the first tent, Bill’s dad, John, said that he could go run around and take a break.

4:05 PM

Bill was running around the open field when, all of a sudden, he caught a glimpse of what seemed to be a really faint person in heavy armor looking straight at him. He decided to go check it out, but when he got close, the person disappeared into thin air. He got a little bit spooked and decided to go back to camp and take a nap.

6:30 PM

Bill woke up to the sound of meat patties being grilled. He quickly got up and realized he was going to have hamburgers for dinner. After dinner, it was getting dark, so they decided to call it a day.

11:30 PM

Bill was sleeping when, all of a sudden, he heard the sound of footsteps outside of camp. He slowly got out and saw nothing. When he was just about to head back, he saw the same ghostly person again in the woods. He decided to go check it out again.

12:00 AM

Bill was running towards the person to investigate, but he disappeared again. He got really spooked and ran back, but a huge tree fell down, blocking his path.

12:45 AM

Bill tried to get over the tree, but then he heard the sound of a Japanese kurikata being taken out of its sheath.  He quickly turned around and saw nothing.

Justin He

 

My City

In this city, there are many houses, houses of all different shapes and sizes, houses with towers and spires, houses with thatch roofs and one window. There are modern houses with chic lighting and unique layouts, houses a kindergartener might draw with the triangle roof and the two windows. These houses are grouped together, layer upon layer, ascending the slopes of a giant pyramid.

These houses are all black. In fact, everything in this city is black. There is a giant canopy above this city that blocks out any sunlight. There are no parks, no forests, no lawns. Only houses, houses upon houses, in no particular order with no particular purpose. The people living in this city are the same. They wear black clothing, and hide their faces behind long black hair. They stay inside their houses all day, big and small, simple and complex. There is no sound of cars, nor traffic. No wind or rain. No sun or stars. In fact, the only color that is anywhere in this city is a bright, bright red rose planted next to a singular gravestone on the top of this pyramid. The only time of year anyone comes out of their house in this city is always in the beginning of the year, when the air is sweeter.

A lone girl with long, straight black hair down to her waist, wearing a black dress, comes out of her house.  The parents can usually be seen with their faces pressed against the window, grief and sorrow clouding their eyes. The lone girl slowly makes her way up the pyramid. As she goes, she sprinkles seeds onto the ground around her. When she reaches the top, she reaches down and uproots the rose, dark and wilted. She crushes the dried up petals in her hand and releases them into the wind. She then reaches down and plants a single seed that she has been saving for a long, long time.

Amy Huang

 

Papama

The city of Papama cannot be seen from above. Low-hanging clouds of smoke shield the withered land within the city. Oily canals sit static, breaking up the ground into a grid. Workers dressed in dull jumpsuits hack away systematically at the wilted trees along the water. The brittle, lifeless trunks are tossed into the sickly canal and bubble briefly before sinking out of sight.

One man, bones jutting against his pale skin and hair thinning at a rapid pace, stumbles around in the darkness. John, that’s his name. A name no one will remember after he falls into the water this very same day. His bones will meet all the rest that sit comfortably at the bottom of the canal. Short, square houses sit along the waterline, triple locked for fear of the skeletons that may crawl out of the depths.

A city covered in smoke and fear. That is Papama.

Adison Lampert

 

The City Underwater

The small submarine dived into the vast ocean. Radar on the ship had picked up a signal there, and the signal said it was huge. When the submarine dived down, they saw something. They saw a city. The city was sitting on the bumpy ocean floor with tall structures. But something didn’t seem right. It looked as though it had been abandoned.

The scientists found a docking bay, and got off into the skyscraper-like building. Water was dripping everywhere. Chunks of stone cracked off the wall, and even some scorch marks were visible. They did some searching and found a guide to the city.  Every year, the so-called “citizens” would modify their DNA and mutate themselves into something that was described as an evolution. When the scientists looked at the picture, evolution didn’t come to mind. It was more like a monster. This got them worried. The picture seemed to show a creature that looked like the devil with brown goat-like horns, the feet of a horse, and yellow shining eyes that looked like it came straight from the abyss of hell.

The scientists were sweating all over, and hugging each other to stop their trembling. They grabbed the guide and started heading back to the ship. That’s when they saw a red hot fireball flying through the dark, blue abyss. It hit the submarine straight in its fuel tank and created a massive orange-white explosion. The scientists stared in fear and awe. Then a citizen’s head popped up from the middle of the explosion. It looked like the one in the book. It spoke in a language the scientists had never heard before. The scientists were now confused and scared, the worst combination of feelings. Then the creature charged forward, raised his hand and said a terrible word in his language. A ritual-like circle of energy popped into his palm, and the scientists blacked out. Before that, a scientist named John saw a sign. It said Xylophen.

Austin He

 

Love Triangle

Meet three best friends — Dylan, Robert, and John.  Robert is tall, dark, and handsome. Dylan is the quarterback for the football team. He is smoking hot and has hair like Fabio. John is the cool guy who looks like Dally from The Outsiders. 

Three best friends who tell each other everything. But Robert has a secret. Robert is gay and has feelings for Dylan. He can’t tell John because John has a big mouth. John is also gay and has feelings for Dylan. Dylan is not gay though. One day, Dylan borrowed notes from Robert. As he was flipping through the pages, it made him sick to his stomach. It said Robert + Dylan = Love.

He didn’t know what to do, so he went to John’s house and told him. John told him to stay away from Robert. A few days later, John confessed he liked Dylan. Dylan was shocked. He thought about everything and realized he liked him too, so he went to John’s house and, without saying a word, he kissed him. However, Robert was watching. As he watched, tears fell from his face.

Tina Elizondo

 

The End of a Friendship

Once upon a time, there were two brothers named Rutherford and Samuel who lived in Detroit, Michigan. The two brothers were friends the first years of their lives. They would play hide-and-seek, they would play board games, and they enjoyed each other’s company. However, when Rutherford was eight and Samuel was six, Rutherford came home with a new friend named John. John was impolite and rude. He went into Samuel’s room and destroyed his toys. When Samuel complained, John punched him in the face and ran out of the house. When Rutherford was trying to find John, Samuel punched him in the face.

When Rutherford was thirteen and Samuel was eleven, they would not look at each other anymore. Their rooms were on separate floors and separate sides. Each had set up locks to their doors plus booby traps along the halls to keep the other away. Each of the boys ate their own breakfast and went to different schools. Their parents had the boys put locks on their doors, but when they would come out, one would punch the other and shove them into their room and board the door shut.

After five years of fighting and yelling, the parents eventually had company over. Dinner started very pleasantly with good conversation and peaceful understanding. However, when their mother mentioned their darkest secret, fighting, the brothers were outraged and ran away from home in two directions. They had nowhere to go. They only wanted to be free of their horrific home life.

They never met again, not for fifteen years, until they each spotted each other on the Brooklyn Bridge. Samuel tried to say childhood was over and that it was only one day that ruined it. Rutherford was saying it was Samuel’s fault that he punched back. Rutherford tried to shove Samuel off the bridge, but Samuel tripped him with his left leg, and Rutherford, unable to swim, plunged into the dark, cold water, never to resurface again. Samuel was so horrified that he had killed his only brother that he kissed the world goodbye, plunging into the water. His hand stretched out to the last light of the world until it vanished, and his life, as well, vanished into the water.

Dashiell Kostka

The Champions

11 Jul

I am always surprised by student work, particularly when it comes from young children. But what struck me most about this group of lower-elementary writers at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church? From the first day, they demonstrated an inherent curiosity in one another and a sincere interest in each other’s opinions, writing, and ideas. The grace my students exhibited when listening to each other helped to propel each student’s confidence and voice so that the work they produced garnered a new importance and creative authority.

At sharing time, after each student read a poem—or perhaps a story she hadn’t finished (so that part of the story was spoken from memory, in front of all of us, eyes wide with anticipation and the wonder that comes from performance)—hands shot up from the inquisitive audience, and their responses to each other’s work (which ranged from quoting the funniest line of dialogue to appreciating the story’s tension and mystery) were thought-provoking and remarkable in themselves.

When I first started writing creatively, I wasn’t much older than the girls in my class, but I did not have a community like this one to encourage me to write and to think about what I was writing. I believe this community they so easily and automatically fostered will help not only their writing but other experiences as they grow and enter the world, making them better prepared to embark on their own potential realities and yet-unwritten futures.

Rachel Gray
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Buttercup’s Family

I went downstairs and opened the door. No one was there.

Then I heard a meow.

I looked down and there was my kitty, Buttercup! She had something in her mouth. I took it. It was a… Before I could tell what it was, she took it right back. Then she meowed again. Then a whole alley of cats appeared.

I dropped my mouth open and looked down to see Buttercup, but she was with her family.

Story Rogers

 

The Writer

Every day, I see a lady sitting on a bench with a piece of paper and a pencil, writing day and night. I wonder:  what is she writing?

The next day, I notice one piece of paper lying on a bench. I read it. It doesn’t seem like it’s finished yet.

I look up. On all the other benches, a single piece of paper sits on each. I soon read all of them and it makes one big story.

Emily Piper

 

The Other Side of Oz

So, you’ve met Dorothy, but have you met her twin sister? I don’t think so. She’s from California, but she is the bad twin.

Oh, no! Another tornado is coming toward us!

Are we back over the rainbow?

Yes! But we need to go back.

No! I never want to go back. I want to see that wizard. So, which way to the Wizard?

Well, you have to follow the Yellow Brick Road.

Fine, I will do that.

So, they did. Until the road became two different roads. There was a red road and a yellow road.

Oh, yeah. I don’t care about the Wizard now. I want to see where that road goes.

So, they went.

Then they saw a sign. The sign said they had reached the Haunted Forest.

I don’t want to go in there, said Dorothy.

Well, I do, said the sister. This will be so cool. Come on.

So, they went.

Then they saw a wolf! It was growling and barking.

It’s trying to bite us.

It’s trying to bite you, not me. I’m going to pet it.

No. Don’t do that.

Why not? It’s not going to bite if you do it right.

Catalina Elizondo

 

I’m Sorry

I’m sorry I had lunch with
you and I didn’t offer you any.
I’m sorry that I tried to pop
you. You just make such a satisfying sound,
and I’m sorry that you are dragged
around every day just to be forgotten.
I’m sorry that I let you go. I
just love the way you gracefully float
up to the ceiling.
Please forgive me, balloon.

Vivian Moore

 

Horses

One day, Eva and Story were riding horses. Story’s horse was Cozy. Eva’s horse was Crystal. There were racing over jumps, like Cross Rails, Oxers, and Verticals. They were in a big field full of emerald green grass and trees with perfect green leaves and chocolate-colored trunks. They jumped for hours after dinner and lunch. They rode forever.

One day, a fox arrived. Eva’s horse Crystal got spooked and ran. Eva fell off, but luckily she landed on a soft patch of grass. Her horse Crystal slipped and fell. She twisted her ankle.

Story had a ranch. Story offered her one of her horses from her ranch. Eva was riding Good Night.

The next day Crystal, was all better. Eva rode Crystal. Story rode Cozy.

They were all BFFs. Best Friends Forever.

Eva Texcucano

 

Little Pink Riding Hood

Of course you’ve heard of Little Red Riding Hood, but have you heard of Little Pink Riding Hood? No, no you haven’t? Well, here’s the story.

Once upon—okay, let me back up. If I don’t tell you this, you’ll be totally confused. Okay, Little Pink is Little Red’s twin sister. Back to the story.

Once upon a time, Little Red and Little Pink were playing Rocket outside. Their mom came out and had a long present and a basket of candy. It was their grandpa’s birthday. “Little Pink, can you get these two presents to Grandpa, please?” said Mom.

“Okay,” Little Pink said with a cheesy smile.

“Why can’t I?” asked Little Red.

“Because,” said Mom. “Last time Grandma almost died when you delivered the gift! I’m still so mad at you. Plus, I want to give Little Pink a turn.”

Little Red wasn’t sure of this, so when Mom went back inside and Little Pink went in the woods, Little Red Riding Hood followed her with her Mom’s phone so she could videotape it.

Before long, Little Pink went off the path into the woods.

“Oh, oh!” said Little Red, and she followed her sister while videotaping.

Little Pink went into a cottage. Little Red followed and quickly hid where she could videotape when she got in the cottage. There were The Seven Dwarfs and Snow White.

Okay, of course you didn’t think Snow White would be in this story, but she is. So, yeah. Anyway.

“Dwarfs, why do you have this cane? It’s a piece of junk,” said Little Pink.

“We have a sticker to put on his car!” said one of the Dwarfs.

“Silly! He ain’t have a car!” said Little Pink.

“Good. We made it into a saddle. It extends,” said Stinky. “That will hurt his butt!”

“You guys are useless,” said Little Pink and left.

No one saw Little Red go. Wow, she’s awesome at this, Little Red thought.

Anyway, Little Pink went to Grandpa’s house, and do you know what she said? She said this: “OMG, Mom and Little Red are terrible. Grandpa will only like my present.” Little Red did not know Little Pink was sassy, but apparently she was. Back to the story.

Little Red took a shortcut so she could get to Grandpa’s first. Little Red said this to Grandpa: “Happy Birthday. Me and Little Pink’s present will come in a minute, but Little Pink is a bit slow.” Grandpa laughed.

When Little Pink got there, Little Pink was confused. She said Happy Birthday strangely.

P.S. Little Red stopped the video after Little Pink said happy birthday.

Grandpa opened his presents. He liked both of them.

When they headed back, Little Red took a shortcut, so she got there more quickly. She immediately showed her mom the video. Mom was mad. Little Pink got home. Mom showed her the video, and Little Pink got in trouble.

“Little Pink,” said Mom. “As long as you live with me, Red does the delivering.”

To Pink, that wasn’t much of a punishment, but it still was.

Okay, so I’m only telling you this now so you don’t think I’m lying. Little Pink’s the mischievous and bad twin.

Well, to be continued… because it’s not the end of their lives. Or is it?!

No, to be continued.

Leela Menon

Butterscotch, the Mighty Ocean Attackers

7 Jul

The stories and poems collected here were composed by a group of incredibly talented and creative young authors who call themselves “Butterscotch, the Mighty Ocean Attackers.” During the course of our week-long Badgerdog Creative Writing Camp at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church, this phrase kept popping up over and over again—like a refrain in a catchy song that you just can’t get out of your head—and the more I ponder it, this strange and unexpected title actually fits this group perfectly. The writing these middle-school students have produced is a lot like butterscotch: smooth and rich and extravagant and deliciously exciting. But it is also—like a mighty group of ocean attackers—fierce, determined, wild, dangerous. You’d better watch out and take cover, because you are about to come in contact with Butterscotch, the Mighty Ocean Attackers. Their stories and poems will assault you with the power of ocean-deep emotion, suspense, beauty, and humor. They will knock you over and leave you completely transformed.

Allison Grace Myers
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Inspire

I saw her sitting under a tree, chewing at the end of her pencil. Her eyes were full of concentration. She looked broken and angry, as though her own mind had failed her. I approached the girl, and her everlasting beauty overtook me. I tapped her on the shoulder, snapping her back to reality. She looked up at me with thought and praise in her eyes. I took her hand and helped her up to her feet. Her skin was smooth, pale, and perfect. I whispered to her in a soft voice, “Follow me. Great ideas lie ahead.” She smiled and we ran off to the forested line at the end of the sky. I showed her my place, my hideaway. The cherry blossoms fell gently to the forest floor. We just sat and talked for hours. Every once in a while, her eyes brightened more than usual. She would whip out her notebook and write something down. The sun began to fall behind the horizon, and as she headed back to her place by the tree, she hollered to me, “Next time, I’ll show you where my ideas grow.”

Gibson Hof

 

Grandfather

I never got to meet you
But mom tells me about you
I wish I could see your smile in person
Instead of in black-and-white pictures
The antlers of an eight-point deer you shot
Still hangs in our kitchen
Mom tells stories of how
You would bang them together to attract deer—
The sound they would make—clack, clack
And you didn’t let any of the deer go to waste once you got one
I wish I could have met you.

Sylvia Schwartz

 

Viola’s Perspective

We play the harmony of a piece and stay in the shadows of the melodious violins. Of the orchestra, we are the least important, but we’re there. Our voices are deeper than that of our shrill cousins, but our notes mirror those of the cellos. Our voices are clear and velvety. Our parts in pieces are significantly easier or less ear-catching. and we all know it. We joke about our “easy” parts, but it’s only funny if the one making the joke is one of us. We’re overlooked, deemed “a cheap copy of a violin.” That may be true, but it doesn’t make it any less insulting. We still play beautiful music.

Alice Guo

 

The Little Corsican Boy

I’ve missed you, my friend
You’ve changed so much
Since we met that fateful winter
Snow gently falling on our noses
It was the first time you saw snow
And you hated it
You were the little genius with the foreign accent
And they all hated you for it
We would all look twice
When we saw what you became
I watched you rise
High
Higher than the tallest steeple of Notre Dame
But how would I know what goes on
In your head?
You’ll never be what they molded you into
Not to me
Now I stand beside your grand tomb
Your coffin
Here I cry
Cry that they had smothered you in grandeur
And I remember the little Corsican boy
And I vow to introduce him
To the rest of the world.

Ellie Fitzpatrick

 

The Fox in the Woods

We moved silently down to the small creek. We could see our campfire up the hill, but only barely. The only light we had was the moon. The five of us stared at it, silent, listening to the water flowing and the bullfrogs croaking solemnly every so often. Everything we could see was tinted blue like sunglasses by the moon in the night. Then we saw the fox. It trotted within five feet of us. I have to say, it was smaller than I would have expected. As it finally scurried off into to the woods, we hiked back up to the campfire to find everyone else waiting. They missed out; they hadn’t seen the fox like that.

Beck Williams

 

Tasting Victory

We all have one goal. We all want victory. We all have one thing in common: volleyball.

We will always fight like there’s no tomorrow because we know we want it most. We will always support each other and make everyone feel welcome, so we can connect like the pieces of a puzzle.

When we fight back, we can almost smell the victory of our hard work. To us, that is the best kind of victory.

We know what we have to do: pass, set, hit.

We know how to win—we simply smile.

If our team breaks apart, winning is futile—sports is a mental game. We know we have to shake off our doubts and begin anew.

Even if we lose, we won’t give up. Giving up is for those who don’t want to taste victory.

But after we win, we know we’ve achieved our goal. We can taste the victory. After all, we are a team.

Eliza Lord

 

Hero: A Novel

– an excerpt

She lay on her back on the metal framed bed, necklace clutched in her hand, the bed creaking as she breathed. She let go of the necklace. Free from her clutches, it slid onto her amber-colored hair, which seemed just as eager to escape the bed as the necklace. The alarm clock beeped. I guess it’s time to get up, she thought.

She sat up in bed, pulled on jeans and a purple hoodie, stared in the mirror for a minute, and then Kat Ruben left the apartment. She headed down to the coffee shop on 22nd Street and said hello to the waiter.

“Hiya, Kat! What can I get you?”

“My usual. To go. Thanks, Gary.”

She glanced at the TV on the wall: WINGED GIRL SAVES BOY FROM KIDNAPPERS.

Kat pulled up her hood. That was a side of her she would rather not think about. Fortunately, for her, there was Gary. He had her breakfast ready—a big blueberry muffin.

“Her ya go, honey!”

“Thanks.” She gave him a five dollar bill.

Kat took her muffin to the park, where she ate half of it, but then gave up and fed it to the squirrels.

Fall was her favorite time of year. Cold, but not enough to snow. Perfect for New York and hoodies.

Bored, she looked over at the man sitting next to her. He was holding a newspaper. It had a picture of her on it. She had huge bug-like wings. She was lifting a car. Her mother had entrusted her with her wings. She told Kat to use them well. Kat would rather not. A superhero? An alien? How absurd!

Suddenly, she heard a voice from behind. “Hey, stop that!” Kat turned around. In the alleyway, there was a girl, no more than twelve, leaping up to catch a tattered book, but she was failing.

“Whatcha gonna do about it?” the boy asked.

“Hey!” Kat stood two feet above the boy. “Stop it!”

“Oh yeah? Why?”

Then, Kat made a decision. Was this worth it? She looked into the girl’s eyes. She saw pain, hidden by confidence, and stubbornness. She saw herself.

Kat snapped her wings open. They glistened, huge and powerful. She flapped them quickly enough to get about four feet off the ground.

“I said LEAVE. Now.”

“You said it, miss.”

Kat turned to look at the girl, but she was gone. The alleyway was empty, except for one page torn out of a book. “This diary is for the eyes of Quinn only.”

Quinn. She’d have to get to know her.

Claire Moore

The Dank Hollows

7 Jul

Three friends rob a bank and battle the military. A museum night guard evades ghostly possession and death. A cat trips off Coca-Cola and cruises its neighborhood via out-of-body experience. These are just a few plots of the story excerpts and poems you are about to read, tidbits and musings from the minds of thirteen dynamic and imaginative upper-elementary kids who attended our one-week Badgerdog Creative Writing Camp at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church. The breadth of their writing reveals diverse perspectives on various topics, such as home and family, duty and heroism, solitude and self-reflection, and reality and dreams. Over the course of our week together, they thought about the world differently and discovered news sources of inspiration, each student utilizing his or her own writing style to create works that resonated with the entire class. These young writers were greatly in tune with each other’s creative work; they listened intently, provided constructive feedback, and asked loads of questions. By the end, they were developing characters and entire stories as a group. This proves that writing doesn’t have to be an individualized, private process restricted to the confines of one’s study or bedroom. Writing can bring people together and establish commonality and solidarity. I think, because of this, there is an odd cohesiveness to the pieces below. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but maybe you can. Hope you enjoy!

Patricia Marquez
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Escaping the Lighthouse

“You better come back here this instant, young lady!” cried Lilyth’s stepmother, Ruby. You see, Lilyth was escaping from the lighthouse she lived in with her unloving father and evil stepmother. Lilith had been miserable since her mother died. When her mother was still alive, Lilyth was perfectly happy. True, she had known her father didn’t care for her or her mother, but she didn’t care as long as her mother was there.

But then Lilyth’s greatest fear came true. Her mother died. She drowned swimming in the ocean. The waves looked like a smooth surface of a lake that day, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that her mother was too beautiful. So beautiful that a shark spotted her and swallowed her whole. But, to make it worse, her father didn’t care one bit. He actually seemed rather happy. One month later, he had a new wife. So, Lilyth was escaping this once beautiful, sparkly, lighthouse home, not a dreary, dim, miserable house.

She set sail almost immediately. One week later, she saw a storm in the distance. It was blowing towards her quickly. She tried to turn the boat around, but before she knew it, the storm was upon her. The waves turned from five feet tall, to ten feet, to fifteen, until eventually they were forty feet tall. Then she saw it. A hurricane. A few miles from her. She could already feel the boat being pulled towards it. Even though she knew she was nowhere near land, she shouted into the distance, “HELP!” No response, except the thunder. “HELP!” She looked at the hurricane. It was a few feet from her. Now she was in the hurricane, heading towards the eye.

Rosemary Grace Poe

 

Museum

My name is John Baker. I’m a museum night guard. Well, not anymore. In fact, I’m never going to be a museum night guard again. Do you want to know why? I’ll take that as a yes.

It was in 2000, seventeen years ago. My partner, Rick, was working in the World War II exhibit. I was in the dinosaur exhibit. It was 11:16 p.m. The only lights on were the ones in our office. Lately, stuff had been strange around there, like reported whispering, and stuff falling off walls. I was walking by the pterodactyl statue when I heard Rick scream. I ran to his exhibit. It was quiet. I thought I heard voices. I whispered, “Rick… ?” No answer. I began to freak out. However, I stayed calm and looked for Rick.

I was about to turn a corner when a picture of a group of miserable soldiers fell off the wall. This picture was quite creepy. Well, more creepy than the others. Hands shaking, I hung it back up. It suddenly fell out of my hands. A sharp stabbing pain in the back of my neck had me falling to the cold floor. I couldn’t move. Familiar-faced, ghost-like soldiers stepped over me. I blacked out.

To this day, they don’t know what happened to Rick. That museum closed two years ago because of a ghost named Rick.

Link Pruner

 

The Bank Heist

“Hurry! Get the money now! We have two hundred grand on our hands, so get it done!” said Trevor, holding a huge case. We had fourteen minutes left. I went to the safe and put a sticky bomb on it. The sticky bomb exploded in front of the safe, and I took the money.

“Hey, Trevor, I got the money. Let’s go!”

He responded, “Okay, we have twelve minutes.”

I ran to the exit of the bank with my friend, Brandon. When we got there, the door was locked. “We’re trapped!” I said.

“There’s no sticky bombs?” Brandon asked.

“No. Hey, Trevor, you have sticky bombs?”

“Why do you always ask for my stuff?!” yelled Trevor, shooting the cops that were charging into the bank.

“Hold on. I might have some picklocks,” said Brandon. He took out the picklocks and tried to open the door. Trevor killed all the police and rushed to us. “Can ya hurry up?! We got three minutes left until the alarm starts and even more police start coming!”

Brandon opened the door with the picklock and gasped. “Oh no, oh no!” said Brandon. We were too late. The whole Merriwether Military was there. Tanks, helicopters, and thousands of police cars.

“It’s all right. Don’t say a word,” whispered Trevor. “You wanna know why I’ve been holding this case the whole time? It’s because of this.”

John- Paul Fernandez

 

Trump and the Chimpanzee

Donald J. Trump and Bill-Bob the chimpanzee were talking. Donald Trump said, “We need to build a huge wall from Mexico to China.” The chimpanzee could not reply because he could not talk over Donald Trump saying, “I like young women, especially when I can bribe them with huge amounts of money.” Right then, Donald Trump left to go to the White House and make ties.

Lincoln Evans

 

The End of the World

Where am I? Why is it so dark? What is this? The paper reads: The world will end on June 24, 2017. Oh no! That’s tomorrow! Wait, there’s another paper. It reads there are seven things that will happen until the end of the world. First, the floor will start shaking… Do you feel that? That’s the first stage. The second stage is no lights. The lights started flickering. That’s the second stage. The third stage is no water. Speaking of water, let me go to get some… Oh, no! No water — that’s the third stage. The fourth stage is the food going bad. Let me get some. I’m hungry. Wait, that’s the fourth stage. It has already gone bad. Wait, what time is it? It’s going very fast. It’s 12:00 p.m., and it says the world will end at 2:00 p.m. We only have two more hours. The fifth stage, lots of tornadoes. Wait, do you hear the sirens? That’s the fifth stage. The sixth stage, lots of people dying. Whoa, there goes the ambulance. That’s the sixth stage. What time is it? Oh, no. We only have fifteen minutes. We need to get these people on a rocket. It won’t take that long — it’s a small town. Okay, everyone’s on. Let’s go to Venus. Oh, no. Hurry! Let’s go now! The world is breaking in half! Okay, everyone is safe. Wow, what a dream. Wait, where am I? Why is it so dark? What is this?

Sarah Elizondo

 

Coke

I came bounding home over the tree log and right onto the front porch. I scratched and mewed at the door as my boy, Eric, answered. As soon as the door opened, I scrambled in to find my water bowl. It was right next to the food bowl, but something was different. The liquid was fizzy. I didn’t care. I was way too thirsty. As I drank the liquid, it stung my tongue and throat.

Eric said, “How’s that Coke?” That must be what it is. In my thoughts I noticed that I was not on the ground anymore. I was floating up and up and up. I tried to scramble down, but I kept on going and — oh, no! The skylights were open, and I went up out into the open air. I saw a tree. It was a pine. I frantically tried to get to the tree, but I couldn’t do it. Then, all of a sudden, an unpleasant warm breeze that ruffled my fur brought me over to the tree. I clung on for all my life, and way down below I heard Eric calling my name. “Coke, Coke.” So that’s why he fed me Coke. When I made this realization, I let go of the tree. Luckily, there was another pine, so I reached and grabbed one and I stayed on, so close that I thought the sharp scent of pine would kill me. I started climbing down the tree and touched the ground. Whoops! As soon as I let go of the tree, I flew up. I thought with melancholy that I wouldn’t even touch the ground, at least for awhile. But at least I was safe for now.

I finally got there. And I started to run faster than the wind, straight home to Eric.

Anna Schneeman

 

The Timeturner

The last thing I knew I was home, tired and hungry. I ate a small sandwich and went straight to getting ready for bed. Then it was pitch black, and I was lying in my bed peacefully…

Wham!

I got up with a jolt of anxiety in my bones. One minute I was sleeping peacefully within the darkness of my room, and what felt like a second later, the rays of the sun hit me. Normally, I would go back to sleep, the light never waking me in the first place. But this place made me feel like I never needed to sleep again. That’s when my senses hit me. I had no idea where I was.

“Where am I?” I said in awe. This had to be a dream, in a plain room with light streaming in. That’s when I saw it — the rays pointing at the golden object. A necklace… a Timeturner!

I hit myself in the face, and it didn’t hurt. I was dreaming. I went up to the table and took the Timeturner. It was cold, despite the fact that it had been in the sun.

As soon as I put it on, I woke up. My room was not dark, for it was morning. I got up and went to brush my teeth. Then I saw the gold glistening on my neck. How is that possible? Somehow I seemed to get ready in two seconds because, before I knew it, I was inside a museum. It looked empty. In fact, the world was silencing the humans. I could only hear a small breeze.

Uma Menon

 

Battling the Oslarbs

I shot my arrow at the Oslarb, piercing his eye, causing him to scream, and blinding him. He stumbled around, then I heard something behind me. I whipped around, and then silently cursed under my breath. They had tricked me!

I unsheathed my sword, slashing the blade at the creatures. They were fast, but not fast enough to block my blows. Three lay motionless on the ground, but the other two were Elite Oslarbs. They were bigger, faster, and very agile. I cringed in fear just looking at them. I knew I couldn’t take on both at once. I saw a tree with a slanted trunk, so I dashed towards it, running up to shoot them from afar. The Oslarbs couldn’t climb, so they took their axes and started chopping the tree. I aimed at the Oslarb’s lungs so the poison would stop him from breathing.

The tree started to drop, so I jumped towards a second tree hanging on by a finger. He pulled himself up, using all his strength. The Oslarb grabbed his throat. At the last second, he threw a knife at me and hit my right side, and I yelled in severe pain before he fell to the ground.

Asena Gursel

 

Voyage of the Freseke 1

“We are just importing some cargo to Barbados.”

“It’s still a long ways away,” Johanna said. “My first mate.”

“Thanks, honey. I love you,” I answered.

As I walked onto the giant tanker, I peered back to see Johanna. She was waving at me. It was a soft, gentle wave, a wave a man can never forget.

I entered the ship to see the Captain. He had a proud look on his face. He had on an all white uniform with a little gold sprinkled in places. On the captain’s head was a fancy Captain’s hat. “Welcome aboard, first mate!” yelled the Captain with excitement.

I walked through the halls of the ship, which were covered in rivets and screws. The halls all looked the same.

Alex Edmondson

 

The World’s Secret

Drip! Drip! Where am I? Why am I not in bed? Why is it dark? Questions fill my head. “Wake up.” I hear a man’s voice. His voice is gritty, yet pleasant.

“Who’s there?” I say shakily.

“Look in front of you,” says the man. The light turns on. When I look in front of me, I see a black stone table. On it there’s a folded piece of paper with the words TOP SECRET on it.

“What does it say inside?” I ask.

“The date that our beautiful home, Earth, will end,” the man says.

“Can I open it?” I ask.

“If you please. But just remember, if you do, you will have the most important piece of information the world will ever have. Are you ready for that responsibility?”

“Yes,” I say without hesitation. I rip the piece of paper in half.

I’m falling.

I black out.

I knew this day would come.

Lucas Jesser

 

My Name

My name is Sydney Piper
I really don’t like vipers
My favorite color is green
I think it’s really keen
I really like to cook
Even if it involves a book
I like much more than this
But I’ll stop, though
I have a longer list.

Sydney Piper

 

Summer

Sweet ripe melons sitting on the hay.
Big cruise ships sailing on the bay.
Sun shining down on the ocean blue,
Cows in green pastures saying mooo.
Flowers blooming up high on cliffs,
Smelling fresh baked pies in sweet strong sniffs.
Wheat stalks swaying in the gentle wind.
This is summer, my sweet friend.

Grace Rogers

 

Poem About Me

I am me
And me am I
When I was young
My eyes looked like the sky

Me am I
And I am me
I’m happy with my family
As happy as can be

Elliot Brown