Tag Archives: Middle school

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

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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

Write Wild: The Demon Girl

2 Mar
Eighth-grader Keziah Myers joined us last month for our very first Write Wild! workshop at the peaceful and rustic Writing Barn. Surrounded by trees and quiet and deer wandering the periphery, we spent the morning exploring the art of storytelling — how to think about characters, force them into problematic situations, and keep our readers on the edge of their seats. Keziah’s story was anything but rustic! And all the better for it. Here, she offers an excerpt of the story she created that day, ” The Demon Girl.” There’s plenty of drama going on behind the scenes in this tale, as the narrator seems to have fingers in many pies (and a few bottles).
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The Demon Girl

– an excerpt
Diana’s drinking glasses shattered when she growled. She really wished they wouldn’t do that. It was a pain to clean up the shards. Not to mention that she had to replace her glasses often. And, of course, if Martini, her cat, was in the kitchen when they exploded, he would bolt out of there and claw his way up her back to sit on her shoulder. So yeah, Diana tried not to growl.
It was hard because she really didn’t like yelling too much either. Yelling splintered all the wood in her flat. But… yelling didn’t run the risk of shattering her shot glasses. Because, really, with all the complications the demons had been making, she needed a drink every now and then. She normally had these after a failed negotiation with some big name down there. She really wished she could have them during, but the demons didn’t like it very much.
It was ironic, she would muse (normally over a cup of coffee or a shot of whiskey), that people thought drinking was a devil’s game. They actually hated it. Of course, not that there weren’t guys down there (there was only one lady who had powers she wanted, and Diana didn’t have the money to get to Scandinavia) who couldn’t drink her under the table, but those guys, the ones who she could negotiate with in a bar, they wanted things from her. Things she wasn’t willing to give. Yeah. Things were complicated.
Keziah Myers
Murchison Middle School, 8th Grade

To Be Fearless

9 Aug

Athena confronts the idea of fear in this reflective vignette. She offers commentary on an imagined reality in which one is free of social pressure or distractions. Her writing cleverly balances the daily fears we might carry alongside the freedom of relinquishing these anxieties. Her final lines ring with confidence and challenge her readers to explore this question for themselves. What would you do if you had no fear?

Katelin Kelly
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

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Shadows

What would I do if I had no fear?

I would skydive from above cotton candy clouds, and I would swim side by side with dolphins against the harsh waves. I would trek through a mossy rainforest and ski down the steepest slopes. I would shout my beliefs to the world.

And I would do so without having a sinking feeling in my stomach, without having slippery palms.

I would do everything I want, and there would be no looming prospect of death, no possibility of humiliation shading my vision.

I would have the ability to live in the moment as it is, instead of feeling flames tickling my cheeks. I would feel brave and alive. I would feel adrenaline coursing through my body, and the claws of a strong wind digging into my face.

If I had no fear, I would be free to accept my life as it is laid down before me.

Athena Luo
6th grade

Poem of Many Questions

3 Aug

Julia’s call-and-response poem is truly a haunting echo. Originally inspired by an image of a dolphin, the poem now omits the nature of the subject and object, and what began as dolphin becomes universal memory. This poem could be about any person we once knew and once questioned, or it could be the voice in our mind, speaking to our own lost inner self. Julia’s poem “Why?” leaves every possibility open, allowing the reader to see what this mirror shows them.

Katrina Goudey
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

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Why?

Why do they treat you that way? Why? Do they do it on purpose?
Why do you hide your feelings? Why? Are they the reason for that?
Why do you let them treat you that way? Why? Do you want to be treated like that?
Why have you become like them? Why? Was this your goal the whole time? It’s better to be hated than loved for what you’re not.
Why did you choose them over me?
Why?

Julia Cramer

Blue, Bluer, Bluest

22 Jul

Sohpia’s  color poem speaks to the nature of blue balance: what is the sky to us, the ocean to us, and what are the sky and ocean to each other? At once symbols and literal forces of nature, their perilous and wondrous influence on the drama of human history is gently recorded in these short lines. At the end of the poem, it is clear that one cannot live without the other.

Katrina Goudey
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

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Color Poem: Blue Mirrors

The ocean mirrors the sky.
Storms rush in the depths of one and the heights of the other.
The sky is reflected in the ocean.
One is wisdom, one is freedom.
Both can be deadly.
Both can pull someone away and engulf them.
Both give and take.
Both can bring wonder.
Both can bring adventure.
One is a reflection of the other.
The sky is seen in the ocean,
And the ocean mirrors the sky.

Sophia Newmark

Curious and Curiouser

20 Jul

What is creative writing? Why is it important? Over five days, these Badgerdog creative writing summer campers answered those questions with thoughtful discussions and craft exercises that brought their imaginations to life on and off the page. Each day was packed with literary expression that yielded craft essays, creative nonfiction, fiction, fantasy, science fiction, horror, screenplays, and poetry. Even our daily breaks centered around fun word games like Bananagrams and Haiku Deathmatch. As you read their work, notice the detailed images that build new worlds in prose and the attention to line structure and form across their poems. It was a joy working with such curious writers who enjoy writing, came to the page with a playful spirit, and committed to showing up and writing it all down.

Amanda Johnston
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

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Game

Life is a game.
Everything is based on one
Good or bad decision taken.
Whether you will be the richest of
The world, wearing gold bars
And eating without making a choice about
Who to feed
Or if you will be not
As privileged, wearing
Rags and choosing who
To feed in a family.
It is based on one
Important decision.
Make your decision a
Good one.

Chaitanya Bokka

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A World Away from World

At a secret set of coordinates in the ocean, there are eight portals that open up right at the crack of dusk and dawn. Every night, a different portal opens up. If you don’t make it out to the real world at dawn, you will be lost there (where you are) for a year and a week until the portal opens up again.

Once you exit the different world, you will end up in, another portal of the same color, not the portal you came from. Every Earth day (about 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 months in portal time), the portal opens up in a different spot in its world. There are four portals you can enter and four portals where you will exit. Each portal opens up a different world, and one earth night is about 2 ½ – 3 weeks, so be prepared or you could die there.

The first world is full of life and color and friendly animals. This world is meant not to be touched by the greedy and maniacal souls of the world. You may only enter if your soul is pure. You can get here through the green portal. The second portal, the blue one, is a world with five moons and never-ending night. You may think that without a sun, there’d be no light, but the moons are little individual suns themselves, not shedding pure white light, but blue moonlight, and reflecting off each other. These moons do not revolve normally, but stay the same distance from each other in pentagonal prisms.

There is one world that is up in a sky with beautiful hills as far as the eye can see. This world contains a naturalist civilization that lives in harmony with nature. No pollution, no buildings, but rather large huts and underground passageways. It is said that every single traveler or adventurer to ever visit this world has never returned. It can’t possibly be the civilization that took them out, but the journey one must take to get there. The journey has steep cliffs and large plateaus and one must simply know where they are going or, like I said, you will get lost in the orange portal.

And the last world through the red portal is unseen and untouched by anyone. It could be the portal to hell or a passage to immortality or heaven. No one knew until now.

An explorer by the name of Elario decides to go in and explore. Elario is in one of the few families who know about the portals, and one of even fewer who have explored the portals and came back alive. He lives in a two-story, three-bedroom, and four-bathroom house. He is an executive foreman at an underground construction company. He gets paid $20,000 a week, so he has a good life. He spends his vacations visiting the green world.

The families who know about the portals are part of a secret society (not like the one in the orange portal). It’s a society as old as time, and shrinking in numbers. It began when one Mexican family, one African family, and the last American family got lost in the orange portal.

Elario lives with his parents, his wife Maria, and his son and daughter. His son and daughter are the best of friends. Their names are Serina and Rodrigo. When Elario is traveling, his brother Arturo helps Maria with the kids. As for the African family, they stopped exploring the portals because they felt it was becoming too dangerous and risky. Keep in mind that traveling through these portals is like time-travel because one day on the other side is almost two weeks in the portals. The last of the American family is one single man by the name of John. He is the one aging as we speak in the orange portal.

The only way to get to the portals is by boat. As Elario prepares, he rents a fishing boat from a boating service and has his brother take him. Now, they are at the location and Elario is saying his goodbyes. For the first time in the history of the society, someone has jumped into the red portal.

Vince Guerra

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Icen

I lived in a place called Icen. It was so cold that the water froze. Not many people lived there. There was only one building.

Once, with the class, we went outside. If you don’t know, there is a legend in Icen. A long time ago, there were two people. When they were living, this place was warm, though it had to be hidden from other people. The two people went to the outside world and told them about Icen. They were sent back to Icen and turned into two stones that would keep Icen from getting too cold and from being discovered.

Our class went outside and climbed the mountain and talked about the two stones.

“Will it be big?” Jin asked.

“I don’t know,” Sana said.

We decided to find the two stones to save Icen.

The next day, a girl named Icen came. She looked like she had a secret. What could it be? After school, we climbed the mountain and talked about the two stones.

“I think I know where it is,” Icen said. “There’s a hole at the top of the mountain. Inside, there’s a box that holds the two stones together.”

“OK! Let’s go!” Sana said.

We went to the very top of the mountain. There was a lot of smoke and it was hard to see. The wind was blowing, and it was hard to move.

“It’s there!” Icen said.

We got the two stones and then everything started to melt. Everything was green. A happy green! Then the ground started to melt. It was starting to melt Icen. Ahhhhh!

Nahyeon Park

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The Witch’s Spell Book

I saw her, the witch       her face full of rage
She cut off his fingers       because he ripped off a single page
She knew he would not last        there were no spells she could cast
She threw him across the room real fast        then her spell book started to blast
She ran away and left us to die        then we heard her evil laugh
We got scared and started to cry        when I found my brother he was cut in half

Michaelian Trachtenberg

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Rainbows

It comes after sadness
After rain pouring down
With the perfect amount
Of rain and sun
It forms
Red: like the big beach ball bouncing at the beach
Orange: like the adventurous animals aiming to get attention
Yellow: like the sunny seaside sand
Green: like the wet weeds waving under the waves
Blue: like the sky soaring safely on a summer’s day
Indigo: like the ocean observing over all the octopus
Violet: like the umbrellas of the underwater people
All shining next to
The sun and clouds
Calling for attention
Creating happiness

Anusha Razdan

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My Body

My eyes, a map to guide me.
My mouth, a speaker calling out for all to hear.
My ears, a vortex sucking in sound.
My arms, a weapon to defend me.
My hands, a masterpiece creating works of art.
My back, a strength for me to rely on.
My legs, a cane to keep me steady.
My feet, a possibility to roam the earth.
But my brain, wisdom beyond compare.
And my life, a beacon of hope.

Thomas Mazzurana

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Literature

Read me like an open book,
Break my spine and throw me away.
In between the lines, you took
My path to our yesterday.

My tears pool a waterfall,
Rivers on these dead pages.
Run me an ocean of grief. You call,
I’m willing to drown.

Every bitter thing you said
Imprisoned, caged within my head,
Left it typed in black and white,
All your hate and all your spite.

All of it there, in black and white:
All of your shades of gray.

Lily Sayre

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Happy

Out in the cold, cold thin air
Between two tombs where you … despair
Under the ground where your loved ones sit
Six feet under they shall not shift
You want to be with them
You want to be dead
A million thoughts go through your head
The cold is rushing
The wind is strong
Suddenly you realize what is wrong
You lay on the ground you remove your coat
Now you feel nothing but you see a boat
It drifts down the River Styx
And your mind’s thoughts begin to drift
You don’t care so there you lie
You are happy to go, happy to die

Amira Mckaige

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Time

The grass glows green
The sun shines light
The sky is blue and bright
Full of life and air
A cool breeze through your hair
The fluttering of butterflies
How fast time can fly by

The leaves fall fast
The tree is bare
Too cold to last through the night

The flowers bloom
The birds all sing
Now it’s time to go back to spring

Lauren Larracas

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Bored T.V.

sitting there                  still as a stone
staring at people         writing and laughing
coming and going       never moving
never on                        always off
this is                             no feelings
a sad T.V.                      a bored T.V.

Abram Smith

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Sisters

“Does this even count as a house?” Ivy scoffed, her eyes circling the Victorian-looking house like a hawk stalking its prey. Her mother, Grace, gave Ivy a little punch on her shoulder from behind. “Ow…” Ivy said, turning around, meeting her mother’s eyes.

“It’s the start of our new life, Ivy,” Grace said with a hint of sadness in her voice. Ivy knew how much her mother liked their old house, but the memories of her dad were horrifying.

Ivy gazed up upon the house, observing its surroundings. The Victorian-like house stood on dead grass, surrounded by leafless trees. Ivy looked back toward her mother again, observing her face, slightly full of regret.

Suddenly, the back door of the gray minivan slowly lifted up, and her older sister, Raven, tumbled out of it. Ivy wasn’t surprised, since Raven had always been accident-prone. Raven quickly got up and sprinted toward the house, her long, jet-black hair bouncing up and down. Her quick movements broke Ivy and Grace out of a daze, making them speed walk toward the front door.

After a few failed attempts to open the door, they finally got into the house. The house was sparkling clean, looking as if someone had cleaned it every day. “This house hasn’t been touched in six years…” Grace said, confused. Suddenly, Ivy heard a skittering sound upstairs and saw Raven sprinting to her room–or, well, what Ivy thought was her room. As her mother picked up the phone to answer a call, Ivy hurried upstairs to find out which room Raven had chosen.

Ivy softly walked down the hallway and found a slightly opened door, figuring it was Raven’s room. She reached for the doorknob and opened the door, making a high-pitched noise that echoed down the hallway. A sudden blast of cold air shocked Ivy, giving her unwanted goosebumps. Creeped out, she closed the door, not wanting to go back in. Suddenly, she saw Raven at the end of the hallway, her hair covering her face. “Raven?” Ivy asked. Raven didn’t reply. Curious, Ivy slowly tiptoed toward her. Raven didn’t move. Ivy groaned, hating her sister’s attitude. “Come on Rav…” Ivy started “Who’s Raven?” it answered.

Olivia Fisher

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The Barn

One day, there was an ordinary barn. Or so you thought. The barn was big and red from the outside. Mysterious things would happen in that barn. Animals would vanish, food would disappear, and people would leave the barn crazy and obsessed with it. After these strange things occurred, the government sent people to destroy it, but they too came back super crazy. So then the government locked the barn doors. Years after that incident, a strange man with red eyes convinced John that he should enter the barn. John thought that the man was very weird. He had red eyes, didn’t know his name, and would only talk about the barn. But John still listened to him. When John went to ask the government if he could enter the barn, they said no in an instant. John wouldn’t give up, so he went to buy a chainsaw to cut open the lock. He went into the barn, and the doors shut behind him. When he looked around inside, there was a table with four chairs around it and six pieces of paper on it. John tried to unscramble the letters, but was too late. His eyes turned red suddenly. He left the barn crazy, looking for someone to bring to the barn.

Lucas Li

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Wakeboard Camp

When I arrived at the building to sign-in for my wakeboarding camp Monday morning, I knew it was the start of a great week. When I got inside, I recognized two people: Andy and Matt, a.k.a. Bear. (Bear says he got his nickname when he was “eaten by a bear.”)

Later, when we got on the pontoon, I didn’t notice Charlie or Katy. Charlie and Katy had been there every year I had gone to that camp. When I asked about them, Andy said they had gone to college. There were three guys I hadn’t seen: William, Wilson, and Cullen.

That day, every time I got on the wakeboard, I just practiced jumping the wake. On Tuesday, I asked Matt to double with me so I could practice my 180. By the end of that day, I had almost nailed it, but I had also face-planted at least four or five times. Wednesday I doubled with Andy, Wilson, and Cullen. I wanted to do an exit 180, which is a 180 in midair, but first I needed to learn how to clear the wake. Each of them gave me some good tips. I doubled with a kid named Gage, but we accidentally collided. I also doubled with William’s brother, John Henry. When I was by myself, I went by the dam.

I was trying to clear the wake when the front tip of my board caught. I face-planted harder than I had that whole week, but I kept going because I didn’t want to give up. The next day, we were going to have a show at 3:00 p.m. when parents could come watch you show off. I was jumping off the top of the pontoon when they called me and told me it was my turn. During the show, I did three 180s and cleared the wake a few times. After camp was over, we thanked the counselors and left. I can’t wait to go back. I had so much fun!

Bonnie Daywood

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Carpet Factory

Born to a river, raised by the sea
Life’s simple passive pleasures flow by me

The Force of Fire
Stolen by flames
Away from my village
Heading towards pain

Mountains and blue jays
Fill me with rage
Why am I here
Trapped in this cage

Thrown out of the robot
With circles for legs
Into the building
I think that’s how it’s said

Threading and threading
My family is gone
Under over under
No break until dawn

No laughter, no smiles
Only the work that consumes me
I want to escape but I’m stuck

In their circle
Their circle of greed
I miss life’s simple treasures
Like planting a seed
But I am forever stuck in the
Carpet factory

Anika Chokhavatia

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Memory Tree

Lilac walked up to the tree and looked up at its many branches. She thought it was amazing how one tree could have so many limbs, so many segments that made up one huge tree. There was the trunk, sturdy and strong, like a father you can rest against. There were branches, comfortable and reliable, like a mother who will hold you in her arms. There were the roots, holding the tree in place, growing and discovering like a sibling or friend, supporting you. And then there were the petals.

There was a special feeling that connected Lilac to this tree and she intend to find out what that was. She sat and leaned against the tree. She looked up at the branches and watched the swirling petals. There were so many different petals. They weren’t all perfect, but Lilac thought that together they made the tree even more beautiful. She stood up and felt one of the petals on the lowest branch.

Slowly, the world around her melted away and was replaced with a familiar place, one she hardly remembered. She realized it was her room, but back when it was a nursery. She glanced down at the crib, where her bed usually was. In the crib a baby girl was looking sleepily up at the mobile hanging above her crib. With a jolt, Lilac realized the baby was her.

Baby Lilac started crying and Lilac went to comfort her, but in this place–a memory she was reliving, Lilac guessed–she couldn’t be seen by the baby or by her parents, who walked in a moment later. Her parents went over to the crib, picked up the baby, and rocked her back and forth, trying to calm the crying.

The scene melted away, leaving the teary-eyed baby and Lilac’s slightly younger parents behind. Unsure of what she’d just seen, she brushed her hand through the other petals and saw glimpses of her earliest years, scenes of crying and sleeping and a few precious baby laughs.

She reached higher for the other branches and felt the soft petals. These were of her toddler years. She soon discovered that the higher she adventured the newer the memories became. She had soon climbed to the highest reaches of the tree and, feeling the petals nearest, recognized a memory from the previous week.

The sky darkened when she looked up from her memory tree, and Lilac decided to leave, but resolved to come back as soon as she could to relive more memories. She was sure she would never tell another living soul about this place she had discovered.

Sara Sagues