Essay/Book Reviews
























Short Story






















Untitled 1

The evils of this world consume all of us
Evil prevails over us
no matter what good we do
evil is always lurkin in the shadows
watchin, waitin for a vulnerable moment
where it can jump in and take over
We're all doomed
Doomed to walk in this mortal life
like a bunch of zombies
oblivious to what is real and what is not
monotonous lives we live
chalked full of activities we fill them with
to break the monotony of this surreal existence
but in the end its worthless, at the end of the day
evil rises....from the depths of our souls
it penetrates thru all that is good
it breaks free, free from its entrapment
the mechanics of everyday life
gradually lose grip on reality 
thus evil rises......

11th grader
I'm 16 years old. and am in high school. I really don't think i write that well but have been told that this is a good peice...so i wanted to submitt it...i play volleyball..dance...luv music..and hangin out with my friends...but ttyl~jess

I sit alone all by myself,
Like a broken toy on a dusty shelf.
No one to chat with as I sit,
Not even small talk, not one little bit.
Alone with my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams,
In tune with myself, or so it seems.
I write small and illegibly to avoid embarrassment,
I sit and write my poetry, the way in which I vent.
But one day maybe I'll have a best seller, flying off the shelf,
One can only hope and pray, as long as I'm happy with myself.
So this is my day to sit and reflect, of not one specific thing,
Maybe not anything important at all, just leave my brain to sing.

8th grader
Suwanee, GA, USA
About the author of Alone. Lindsey  is 14 years old and will be in the 9th grade this upcoming school year. She enjoys writing, drawing, hanging out with her friends, and listening to music.
Untitled 2

fall against the toilet
too dizzy to even sit
eyesight blurred
and my words become slurred
my body is staved
torn and carved
stumble to the ground
my stomach is screaming yet not making a sound
i collapse hitting my head
so weak i feel dead
everything starts to spin
bones break because they are too thin
my throat is razed
the vomit made me fazed
delirious i still manage to rid some more
i vomit my food like weight is my war
but I have grown pale
my body continues to become frail
no matter what I do
i can't win the war I pursue
i try to be perfect
but here is a secret
i am no where near
despite how things appear
by doing this thing
pain and suffering is all i bring
dead and pallid i try to quit
but i can't do it
it controls me
so i continue on and let things be
each time repeating the feeling of death
slowly until one day i won't take a breath
the pallidness won't be from the vomit
and the emotion of wanting to be fit
i'll be dead

Littleton, Co

I see you standing by me,
The feelings rise inside me;
Love and passion in my eyes.
I feel like I'm falling from the sky.
Your blue eyes, blond hair,
Your longing stare.
I can't go another day, alone without you
So I'll say:
'I've got something to tell you.'
'What?' You'll say.
I'll answer: 'I love you.'
'Love you too,' You'll say.
9th grader
London, England
The Clock

It's a very plain, neat clock; a plastic red circular frame protecting a beaming white face and defiant, rectilinear, thin coal black hands. It's the kind of clock placed on the wall in your nine-year-old brother's bedroom, a very simple object, nothing spectacular. Just there for doing its job, telling you what time to get ready for school, what time to get ready for football practice, what time to run to the television, East enders is on! It's just a timepiece not something you would sit at and gaze at in amazement for hours on end, nothing so sensational or breathtaking or terrifying. Or is it?
You may laugh when you read this, I know I would, I find it funny myself, I would cackle and giggle and chortle to my heart's content, at just how inapt and uninteresting this story is, I mean "Wow! It's a clock! I'm so amazed! I'm so frightened!"
However, I cannot find the power to laugh, the circumstances are too solemn, too grave and as The Man said 'critical'.
I'm lying in a hospital bed, the smell of flu and vegetable soap around me. A 'beeping machine' to the right of me, a tall erect reddish-brown wooden cupboard to the left of me. Two cards, 'Get well soon' and 'You're a star!' are placed on the table, along with the usual hospital patient gifts, green grapes and chocolates.
The room is so unattractive, so plain, dreary and painted in a complete sandy color. No pictures on the three walls, no soft homely carpet on the floor; not that I can arrange my eyes to view the floor but I remember the day The Man bought me into this room. I recollect seeing the floor, cream and shiny and so clean.
Pushed me slowly in a wheelchair, my mother to the side of me, slowly walking along, appearing fatigued and despondent, my father out of my view, I expect he was walking behind the man, pain in his heart and distress on his face. The Man had told my parents devastating news, one word had said it all but the man had proceeded, telling them more and more information. Cancer. One word, the one word, Cancer, said it all. Their radiant, energetic fourteen-year-old daughter had it. Cance
As I lie in this saddened room, two months later, a tube in my nose, The Man said something about it helping me to breathe. The tube leads to my left arm, then separated to lead to my right arm, stitched down in two places with a round material, which reminds me a lot of masking tape.
As I lie here, a million thoughts scurry through my head, but the one thought remains, the memory of The Man, "Jenny you will have to stay in hospital now, for good, your cancer has taken over your body and we believe you don't have enough energy to survive".
As I lie on this comfortable bed, I have visitors every few hours. Uncles coming to tell me jokes, granddad's coming to tell me long stories, little brothers coming to stare, gawp at how fragile and ill I must look, parents coming to give me hope but I can witness it in all there eyes, hope is nearly dead.
When the visitors go, when I lie here on my own, I close my eyes but trepidation and panic take over, what if I fall asleep?
So I keep my eyes open, I keep them open and occupied, give them something to look at, trouble is the room is so dull, so boring, so grim, apart from the glistening red plastic of the clock.
I watch the clock.
I watch as the minutes tick by, the hours tick by, then another day is gone, lying hopelessly in this bed. I want to get up, leap and run, dance and prance straight out of the room and straight out of the hospital. But The Man is stopping me. Cancer is stopping me. A million thoughts are stopping me.
Which leaves me here again, in the room, staring at the clock. A simple, uncomplicated, fundamental object. An object which seems to be 'tick tocking' my life away.
12th grader
united kingdom
Hello :) i am 17 years old and from England. I recently wrote this short story- i hope everybody enjoys it.
 Untitled 3

Ok, so I saw it.
And I saw you.
I saw you watching.
Waiting for the last wisps of rose
To melt from the sky.
You watched it.
You saw the burning disc
Then slip away
Unseen by many
Seen by millions
I saw it.
I saw the tangerine scarlet clouds
Hover and vanish
I saw the bruised sky
Elegantly turn to shade from hue
And I saw you
You were there
Only at dusk.
Only at twilight, your favorite time.
You're gone, but you were there.
I saw you.

11th grader
East Yorkshire, England
 When Pen and Paper Meet

On a good day when I have something to say
about how I feel and why I feel this way,
and when life seems like such a defeat,
I seem to calm down when pen and paper meet.
When it seems like my world is coming to an end
and there's no one around, not even a friend,
and the one's you think are your friends are full of jealousy and deceit,
I feel I have everything when pen and paper meet.
When my whole world falls apart around me
and I can't even hardly speak
and the only thing that can cheer me up, is a treat,
a lot is said when pen and paper meet.
When you meet the one that you can share your world
and he always makes you feel like a little girl
he gives good love from the top of your heart to the bottom of your feet,
love is all around when pen and paper meet.
Dedication, Frustration, Information,
Insubordination, Multiplication equals a nation.
In my mind, there's peace & harmony where everyone can greet,
and with an imaginative mind like mine, is why
Strong, Arkansas USA

How can people say that pain
The thing I hate is to my gain
Am I dead or do I just wish
Life would be handed to me on a silver dish
Life is hell and love is a flame
An evil demon coming to claim
Lives and hopes dreams and thoughts
It stole from me although I fought
Give me strength to endure the pain
The thing I'm told is to my gain
8th grader
Bedford, pa
About the author of  Pain
I have always written and thought maybe it was time for me to try and be published

I've a box of ribbons in my closet
And they never see the sun
I don't want proof like that around
Of all the things I've won
The sight of all those ribbons
Is one I cannot stand
They mock me from their hiding place
And snicker in their hands
I shouldn't feel ashamed of them
I hear it constantly
But people see these ribbons
 Instead of seeing me
Those haunting ribbons of royal blue
Remind me of all the days
When I could try again and fail
And love it anyways
9th grader
this is completely true. i really do have a box of ribbons in my closet.
A Book of Me

If you're going to read me like a book
At least tell me what you see
Speak my words, breathe life into
What I'm supposed to be

I've searched forever for this tome
To see what I've become
To read the chapters, to remember
Everything I've done

My little demons are described
With fresh ink along the page
To stand and glower all alone
A darkness on my stage

The small things that made me cry
Could be finished in a part
A part on how I could stop
And laugh before I'd start

That last page, please don't read
I'd like to be surprised
For when I reach that holy number
I'd like to know I tried
9th grader
 Jake's Closet

Jake looked grimly at the ground. Another missed game, he thought. This would make the fifth game in a row that his parents missed. He stared disinterestedly at the sidewalk that lie in front of him. It seemed to go on forever. If only his parents would put him first instead of their jobs. He knew they had bills to pay, but overtime? Wasn't it a bit extreme? They had only come to one of his soccer games so far. They promised to come to the tournament next Saturday, but that seemed like an eternity away and he wanted them at this game. He was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't even notice the rain start to fall. It started gently and then poured. He was drenched by the time the babysitter called him in. Up in his room, he sulked. He felt the world was an unfair place, and he plotted revenge at his parents. He tried to think of what horrible thing he could do, but nothing came to mind. He stared into his closet, and finally an idea struck him. It was bold, but h!
e figured it was worth it. Even his tiny seven-year-old brain knew what would worry his parents most. He could disappear for a few hours, and that would teach them. He immediately began making preparations. He packed cookies, chips, a frozen pizza that he cooked in the oven, pop, a few comic books, and a couple of video games. He didn't think he'd need a pillow or blanket, so he didn't take any. He quietly sneaked into his closet and shut the door without his babysitter noticing. Ten cookies, one pizza, fifteen chips, and seven sodas later he heard his parents arrive. Good, he thought. They're right on schedule. Now the fun begins. He smiled as evilly as a seven-year-old can and turned off his closet light. He waited for the discovery. He heard the Jessica, the babysitter, leaving. All right, how long will it be until you realize that I'm not there?  He was getting frustrated. Things were taking a long time and his legs were cramped. He heard someone approaching the door to !
his room. He lay very still. The door opened. He heard nothing, and he knew they were looking around for him. The door closed again. He lay back and relaxed. Now they would go ballistic. He was surprised at hearing nothing. His parents just went about as if nothing was wrong. He was puzzled. Did this mean that they really didn't care about him? Was he not important enough? What happened? He was about to cry. His parents didn't even remember to look for him. They probably just looked in to see if his room was clean. They didn't love him anymore. He thought, I know how orphans feel now. He started to cry. It wasn't one of those loud bawling cries that you use to get a teacher or parent's attention; it was a bitter cry. It was so sad that he made no noise. He just sat there and tears ran down his cheeks and he almost couldn't breathe. His head ached and his stomach was mad at him for the last six pops he drank. He felt sick to his stomach and wanted to embrace his mommy, but she doesn't love me anymore, he thought sadly. I'm just an attachment to this family. I don't count. So he stayed in that cramped little closet space for several more hours. Finally, it became his bedtime. He glanced at his light up watch. It was almost bedtime. He didn't want to face his parents. He hadn't brought any pillows or blankets with him. Now he would have to sleep in his closet without a pillow or anything. He was just about ready to try to go to sleep when the closet door opened quietly and his mother smiled down at him.
"You'll get awfully cramped if you stay in there. Here's your pillow and favorite blanket," she said softly as she handed him his pillow and blanket. He stared up at her with innocent eyes of wonder and amazement. He hadn't given away his position. How did she know? His mind said to be wary, they didn't love him after all, but his heart overruled that vote. He sprang out of his closet and gave her a huge hug. He got changed into his pajamas and got into bed. A few minutes later she came in to tuck him in. He said his prayers and then he asked her one question.
"Mommy, how did you know I was in the closet?" that question had been puzzling him from the moment she opened the door. Mommy smiled. She said, "Jake, I was a kid once too."

9th grader
Danville, IL
About the author of Jake's Closet. I like to write alot. I plan to be an author or a journalist when I grow up. Either one would be lots of fun. I also play the piano and the flute.
 Untitled 4

Golden girl, pretty girl
To the world you have no flaws
The weight of your crosses;
Unseen to the uncaring world

Raw, blood gashes
Hidden behind a charming, deceiving
(A curve of sarcasm, dripping with

Contorted features,
Dark and sinister,
Writhing, diffusing into
A labeled heart of plastic

Tainted revelations
Unfold in shadows
(Misery and confusion gnawing
Incessantly in the wearied mind)

Outside they see you easily
Conquer (What seem like the world)
With such ease and confidence                             

Inside you crumble,
falling to every adversity
(Straight into the grinning depths
Of depression)

Breaking undaunted spirit,
Breaking lingering hope
A painted picture,
Each hue a different mask,
Each one that was never you

Golden girl, broken girl
With your hidden teardrops
And bleeding soul (Strip)

Strip until each hue is no more
Strip until your soul is bared
(Let all the world with its misconceptions

Strip until your heart bleeds no more
Strip until you are golden girl no more

9th grader
Tampines, Singapore
Untitled 5
best friend is someone you can trust,
When you seem to be lost.
Whenever you feel down with all your worries,
Your best friend always cheers you up in a hurry.

When your heart is in the state of rending,
Your best friend is always there mending.
Weaving the broken pieces together,
To make your pain and sorrow all better.

They are the person you can depend
To help you solve your problems that don't seem to end.
They are our partners in crime,
And lend us money when we don't have a dime.

A best friend is the one you are fond of
By that special bond.
So don't lose it all for a silly mistake,
That can cause you guys to break.
12th grader
Tucson, Arizona
The Dreamkeeper

He drifted along the walls, and through the cold-hearted city.  He looked down at the passing strangers as he floated high above their heads.  He was the Dreamkeeper.  He belonged to the night.  He was a creature of death, torment, and sadness.  He paused by an open window, and listened to the soft, quiet breathing of a sleeping child.  He slipped inside the bedroom, as quiet as a whisper, and leaned over the peaceful child.  The Dreamkeeper swirled and broke apart.  He became one with the night, then moved back together.  He became darker, like a shadow.  He swept down and through the child.  As he passed through it he got flashes of peaceful dreams; of ponies and lollipops, cars and toys.  The child cried and started to toss and turn in its sleep.  With its dreams stolen, it was now left with a nightmare.
The Dreamkeeper looked on sadly.  He wished that there was something he could do, but stealing dreams was a part of him, just like the stars were part of the night.  As he heard the child's parents hurrying down the hall to comfort it, he slipped out the window and on to another child.  He found that the dreams that children dreamt tasted sweeter than those of adults.  Their dreams were unmarked by the worries of everyday life.
He crept into the next bedroom and stood stock still with shock.  He had been so sure that a child was in that room.  He had felt it, but instead a sixteen-year-old girl lay sleeping soundly in the bed.  Her auburn hair spilled over her shoulders and fell in cascading waves across the pillow.  Her dark lashes curved softly against her cheek and her full pouting mouth looked like it had been kissed by the heavens.  She was an angel; beautiful and innocent.
 The Dreamkeeper moved closer to get a better look.  The coldness that radiated form his heart touched her and she moved away from the cool air.  He quickly moved back and towards the window.  It wasn't that he was ugly when he chose to take his human form.  No. it was more that he struck a deep, primal fear into the human heart.  It was a dark, unreasonable fear.  They were afraid of him the way a child was afraid of the monsters under the bed.  They couldn't see it, but they knew it was there.  She stirred again and he disappeared through the window.
He drifted down to the street below and took his human form.  He leaned against the hard, brick wall behind him, and hooked his thumbs into the pockets of his jeans.  His hair was a dark brown, almost black, and incredibly thick.  It had a bit of a wave to it and curled over his neck.  His eyes were a dark brown, like rich, liquid chocolate.  His lips were sinful.  Full and sensuous and one taste of them could make your knees weak and your mind go numb.  Right now they were curved in a sullen smirk at life in general. 
He wore a black t-shirt that outlined his muscles and clung to his skin.  He wore faded jeans that hugged his narrow hips, and left his running shoes unlaced.  The few women that walked the street at that time of night turned to give him a second, admiring look.  Women were attracted to him because of the danger that he emitted.  He had a ruthless spirit that drew them like flies.  He smirked and moved away from the wall.  He walked across the street without bothering to look for cars.
He was heading for his apartment down the street.  He lived in a tall, ugly building.  The paint was peeling off, and a couple of the windows were broken on the first floor, but he wasn't worried about intruders.  He could easily handle them.  The thieves and murderers usually stayed away from the building; they could sense that a dangerous man lived inside.  He slammed open the door with the flat of his hands and stormed up the stairs to the third floor.  He opened the door to his apartment and stepped inside.
He was angry with himself for having a moment of weakness towards a human.  He couldn't believe it.  He couldn't feel this way about a mere human; not after he had managed to become so powerful.  Mighty kings shook in their beds when they saw as much as the hint of his shadow on the wall.  He threw himself into his armchair and shook his head to clear it of his disturbing thoughts, but her face remained to haunt him.  He put his feet on the coffee table, not bothering to take off his shoes, and turned on the TV.  He flipped through the channels and settled on a news station.
One item caught his attention.  The TV showed a group of people gathered around a bloody corpse lying on the street.  The reporter was white as a ghost and was reporting how it looked like the victim had been stabbed repeatedly with some sort of knife.  The Dreamkeeper leaned forward and studied the area behind the reporter intently.  It was definitely Eric Verkov, his rival.  Eric was a human, but the most powerful human that he had ever encountered.  The thing that made him so powerful was his obelisk.  It was made of a magical stone that an Egyptian queen had given him.  The stone made him immortal and gave him magical powers.  The dagger had the power to suck the souls out of the still warm bodies, as their hearts slowly ceased beating.
The Dreamkeeper couldn't stand Eric because of what he did.  When the souls were taken the humans didn't have peaceful dreams.  The relatives and friends were often plagued with nightmares for weeks afterwards.  The Dreamkeeper couldn't steal nightmares.  They weren't of any use to him.  He needed the pleasant dreams to survive.
He ground his teeth in anger as he stared at the picture of the twisted body.  He stood up and turned the TV off with a quick movement of his hand on the control.  He threw the remote onto the coffee table with a loud smash.  He turned around and rubbed a hand over his face.  He was so tired of chasing Eric.  The Dreamkeeper had been after him for three years now and still had not succeeded in killing him.  He wanted to see Eric suffer.  Any other death would not be half as satisfying.  Slowly, Eric's victims began to grow in numbers and with it, the Dreamkeeper's hate for him.
He strode into the kitchen to get a drink of water.  Suddenly, the silence erupted with loud, shrill ringing tones.  The Dreamkeeper turned around and grabbed the phone.  "Hello."  He said, shortly.
"Ah yes. The Dreamkeeper himself."  A soft chuckle slid through the phone lines and echoed through the Dreamkeeper's mind.  "I have something that will help you on your hunt for Eric."
"Who is this?"  The Dreamkeeper asked, stunned that anyone knew who he was.  H liked to blend into the shadows and stay hidden.  He didn't talk to anyone unless he had to. 
"Someone who can help you.  Meet me in Stark Alley in an hour."  With that, the unknown caller hung up.  The Dreamkeeper dropped the phone back in its cradle.  He thought for a second.  He could get to Stark Alley in forty-five minutes if he used the shadows.  He could check out the surroundings from the sky.
He concentrated his powers and thought of the shadows; the way they leapt and quivered.  His human form dissolved and melted into the night.  He would have to hurry back or he would be trapped in the golden cage of daylight.  The dark shadow that looked almost human slipped out of the window.  He sped along the walls, drifting with the darkness.  He took the curves with graceful skill, and hugged the corners.  He made it to the street in forty minutes.
The Dreamkeeper hung in the air and looked around the street.  Nothing.  No one was there.  He slowly began to slide to the ground.  The minute his feet touched the ground, the world exploded into light.  His molecules shocked, he was forced back to his human form.  He knelt on the ground, trying to shield his eyes from the blinding light.  He looked up, straining to see through the light.  He couldn't identify the silhouette that was walking towards him.  Suddenly, the light disappeared and he was left with dazzling spots in front of his eyes.  When his vision cleared he saw that, to his surprise, the person that stood in front of him was an elderly woman!  The Dreamkeeper 's eyes widened in surprise as he stared at the woman in front of him.
  She had a wrinkled face and a crooked nose.  Her black eyes flashed with intelligence and her wispy, gray hair floated around her head.  "Ok, who the hell are you?"  The Dreamkeeper asked angrily.  "Is this some kind of a joke?"  He had been expecting someone powerful.  How was she supposed to help him kill Eric?
"That does not matter, and no.  This is definitely not a joke."  The woman's voice echoed off the buildings, and bounced back.  "All that matters now is that you kill Eric."
"Why?  Why do you want to have him killed?  What's in it for you?"  The Dreamkeeper asked suspiciously.
"The real question is, why do you feel the need to ask so many questions?  If I want to tell you the answers, I will.  Be patient."  The old woman said, lifting her arms.  All of a sudden, a knife lay in her hands.  At the top of the dagger lay a stone that glowed eerily in the night.  "You can kill him with this if you stab him directly through the heat.  Afterwards destroy his knife so that no one will have his powers again."  The woman disappeared and the knife fell to the floor with a loud clatter.  The Dreamkeeper carefully moved towards the knife.  He bent down to pick it up.  He let out a cry of pain and dropped the dagger.  It was as hot as fire!  He reached toward it again and carefully touched it.  That's funny.  It wasn't as hot as before.  It was rapidly cooling down, and soon the Dreamkeeper was able to pick it up.  The stone at the top of the knife was as white as bone; Eric's was midnight black.  
The Dreamkeeper looked up at the sky as the sun was reflected in the knife's surface.  The Dreamkeeper swore under his breath.  Now he would have to take a taxi like normal humans; the morning sun would have chased away all of the shadows.  The Dreamkeeper tucked the dagger into pocket and walked out onto the busy street at the end of Stark Alley.  He looked around and found a taxi waiting at the curb.  As he walked up to it, he pulled out dark sunglasses and put them on to shield his eyes.
He reached out and opened the door.  He slid into the passenger seat and gave his address to the taxi driver.  The Dreamkeeper glanced at the driver out of the corner of his eye.  Good, no sign of fear.  The Dreamkeeper used the sunglasses to hide his eyes from humans.  If they couldn't see his eyes, they weren't as afraid of him.
The Dreamkeeper turned and looked out of the window.  All of a sudden, he yelled, "Stop!  Here's the money, I'll walk from here."  The Dreamkeeper dropped the money into the surprised taxi driver's hand, and bolted out of the taxi.  He looked around and caught a glimpse of beautiful auburn hair before it disappeared behind the corner.  The Dreamkeeper followed, and saw her.  He caught his breath.  Her Beautiful brown eyes sparkled with the joy of life.  She was wearing a breezy, black skirt with red roses on it.  She wore a red tank top and red jangling bracelets.  Strappy, black sandals and a black purse, slung over one shoulder, accented her outfit perfectly.  Her hair was loose and fell in waves across her shoulders.
She stepped onto the road and began crossing the street.  All of a sudden, her cell-phone began to ring.  She bent her head and looked through her purse, trying to find her phone.  The Dreamkeeper looked on with horror as a red sports car careened around the corner and straight towards the girl.  He didn't think.  All he knew was that he had to save her.
The Dreamkeeper raced towards the girl and pushed her out of the way just in time.  Her purse had fallen off her shoulder and lay where she had been standing just seconds earlier.  The car barreled on and ran over her purse, silencing the phone.  The girl turned pale and hid her face against his chest.  She trembled all over, but she didn't cry.  "Ssh. it's ok.  I've got you."  The Dreamkeeper said soothingly.
When she felt a little calmer she sat up and said, "Thank you so much.  If you hadn't been there in time."
"It's no problem, really.  Can you stand?"  The Dreamkeeper asked when he realized they were still sitting on the pavement.
"Yes."  She said, with a nod.  "Thank you again."  The Dreamkeeper gently helped her to her feet. 
"What's your name?"  The Dreamkeeper asked curiously.
"Cathleen Sajhoir.  Do you have a name, or are you an anonymous knight in shining armor?"  She asked, staring at him intently.
"I think I'll stay anonymous.  Maybe I'll tell you someday."  The Dreamkeeper answered, mysteriously.
"You know, you have beautiful eyes."  Cathleen said.
The Dreamkeeper looked at her in surprise.  That was when he noticed that his sunglasses had fallen off and been broken by the speeding car as well.  Why wasn't she afraid of him?  She had seen the dark, bottomless depths in his eyes.  Weren't the eyes supposed to be the windows to the soul?  His soul was definitely evil through and through.  "Um. thank you.  Are you sure you can make it back to your house by yourself?  Would you like me to take you to the hospital?"  The Dreamkeeper asked with worry.
"No, I'm fine."  Cathleen said, brushing her hair out of her eyes.
"Ok.  Well, I'd better get on my way."  The Dreamkeeper said, excusing himself.  He was unsettled by the direct stare of her warm eyes.
"Oh.  All right.  Thank you again."  Cathleen said.  The Dreamkeeper nodded and began walking away.  He couldn't stop himself from giving her one last glance.  With surprise, he saw that she was also looking after him with a thoughtful look in her eyes.  He gave her a last smile and then turned the corner.  He gave a sigh of relief that he was out of sight from her prying eyes.  It was as though she could see right through him and to his heart.  He had to forget about her before someone got hurt.
The Dreamkeeper knew what could take his mind off of the human girl. killing Eric.  He would finally be able to get rid of him for good.  He walked faster, pulling out the dagger at the same time.  All of a sudden, he knew exactly where Eric was.  He walked faster and faster, almost running.  He could feel Eric's blood running through his fingers.  In a half an hour, keeping up the same pace, he reached his destination; a run-down hotel near the water.  The Dreamkeeper tucked the dagger back into his pocket.  No one tried to stop him, no one cared that he was running up the stairs to the hotel rooms.  Somehow he knew exactly which room Eric was staying in.  He shoved open the door of room 323 and entered.  The Dreamkeeper didn't stop to wonder why the door was unlocked.  All he could think of was getting to Eric. 
"Ah.  Here he is, my dear.  Right on time."  Eric said, stepping out of the shadows, holding a stopwatch in his hand.  "Exactly 35 minutes and 54 seconds.  Did you know that you can make it here in half that time with a sports car?  Isn't that right, Cathleen?"  Eric asked, pulling a chair into the light.  Cathleen sat, bound and gagged, on a desk chair.  Her eyes were wide open with fear.  "See, I knew that you would fall for those pretty, innocent eyes, so I used her as bait."
The Dreamkeeper was horrified.  He lunged towards Eric with the knife, but at the snap of Eric's fingers, two well-muscled men stepped forward to restrain him.  "You can come out now, Mother." Eric said. A curtain parted and the old woman, that had given him the dagger, stepped out.
"You?  What?  Why?"  The Dreamkeeper stammered. He had not been prepared for this turn of events.
"Yes.  Quite surprising isn't it?"  The old woman said mockingly.  "Who would have guessed?"  She rested her hand on the back of Eric's neck.  All of a sudden, she grabbed the letter opener off of the desk and stabbed her son through the heart.  Dark blood pooled out of the wound, and Eric fell to the floor. dead.
"You're an animal!"  The Dreamkeeper yelled, shaking off his captors and lunging forward.
"Just a second.  Not so fast young man."  The old woman said, holding the letter opener to Cathleen's neck.  Cathleen shook with fear and her eyes pleaded with the Dreamkeeper to do something.  Suddenly, he remembered the dagger.  He took it out, but he was too slow.  The old woman threw the letter opener at him, and it pierced his body.  With surprised detachment, the Dreamkeeper stared down at his own blood as it stained the floor.  The old woman laughed and turned back to Cathleen.  The Dreamkeeper fell, but with his last strength he charged and stabbed the old woman with the dagger.  She screamed and disappeared in a flash of smoke, as the Dreamkeeper's heart stopped beating.

A month later, Cathleen walked down the street with her two best friends, Alexandra and Juliana.  "I'm so happy you agreed with us to come see the fortune teller!  She's supposed to be really good!"  Alex said excitedly.
"Yeah.  It's about time you got out of the house more.  Ever since the police got you out of the building you won't do anything except sit inside.  I was really worried about you for a while there.  It's not healthy to hide from everything."  Juliana said to Cathleen caringly.
"I know, but it was so hard to face my fears and finally just walk to the grocery store by myself again.  I'm happy I can finally be semi-normal again."  Cathleen said.
"Me too."  Alexandra said warmly and wrapped a friendly arm around Cathleen's shoulders.  "This is going to be tons of fun.  I've never been to a fortuneteller before.  This could also help you to accept and look forward to the future."  Alexandra suggested.  Juliana snickered and Alexandra hit her on the arm.  "What are you laughing about?"
"It just sounds so deep.  'You must accept your future.'  Where did you get that from?"  Juliana asked teasingly.
The three girls reached the door, to the fortuneteller's house, laughing.  They rang the doorbell and waited nervously outside.  Suddenly, the door swung open and a beautiful, oriental woman answered the door.  Her ebony hair hung, luxuriously down to her waist and was pulled back with tortoise shell combs.  She wore a red tank top and a pair of blue jeans.  She ushered them inside and they took seats in the living room.  "Ok, which one of you would like to be first?"  The fortuneteller asked.
"Um, I'll go first, if that's ok with you guys."  Alexandra said.  The others nodded, and Alexandra followed the fortuneteller into a separate room.  It was bare except for a small table and two chairs.  On the table lay a deck of tarot cards.  The fortuneteller began to set up the cards.  "Hm. I see a close friendship that will help you through all of the bad times.  A fascinating story will wind itself around your life and lead you to find a new love.  A mystery will uncover itself and you will strive to find its answer."  The fortuneteller went on to tell her a few other things and then Alexandra thanked her and entered the living room.  Her friends were waiting excitedly for her and Alexandra promised them that she would tell them all about it later.
The next one to go in was Cathleen.  Nervously, she sat down across from the fortuneteller.  The fortuneteller once again set up the cards once again.  "Your friends have helped you through a terrifying ordeal, but it is not over yet.  You will meet someone that will be who he appears not to be.  You will try to figure out who he really is, but you will get tangled in a mass of lies.  Only you and your friends will be able to untangle the spider web of lies that you are surrounded in."  Shakily, Cathleen got up and went back to her friends. 
"What did she say, Cathleen?"  Juliana asked, when she saw Cathleen's face.  Cathleen shook her head and said she would tell her afterwards.
Juliana was the last to enter the room and sit down.  The fortuneteller looked at her cards and said sadly, "You are the only one that will have to face her fears without the strength of her friends.  You will be in a new place, where you know no one.  You are sad and lost.  You will believe that you have found new friends, but don't trust them too quickly, or you will be lost.  A young man will enter your life and set you back on the right track.  Together you will have wonderful times, and it will make the pain of leaving your friends less."  Juliana and the fortuneteller left the room and joined the others.  The three friends paid the fortuneteller and began walking home.  For once, a heavy silence hung over the girls as they thought about what the fortuneteller had said.

9th grader
About the author of The Dreamkeeper.
I'm absolutely crazy about reading and writing.  Ever since I could hold a pen, I've written short stories.  When you pick up a pen and sit down to write a story, it's like the rest of the world disappears and you're lost in a fantasy where you can do anything.  This is what my next short story is about.  A girl receives a magical pen that writes by itself.  It tells the story of an author that had her work stolen and someone had sold as there own.  The girl that is in the story is Alexandra from the Dream keeper.  I will also be writing a story about Cathleen and Juliana.  I hope you enjoy reading my work!
 Untitled 6

I'm going across country, and all I can think about is your face. All I see is me getting out of the car, and having that feeling of composure that I have finally saw you after all this time. See, we've gone though some hard times, and have some long lasting memories. Only the both of us could possibly account for the moments our hearts will let us share. You might be my soul mate. I might be meant to be your wife. We might be the two people that hearts want to share each other's life. I know we are young and not yet do we choose our future. But my heart longs for you so eagerly sometimes. And almost doesn't want to go on without you. My love for you is more than an accomplishment. Others I have cared for so frivolously. Something I wanted that I couldn't have. Having attachments to people who don't care. That is my own stupidity. But you, you are real. You are hard work and suffering. But along with those you bring happiness and joy. I've taken everything slow, and therefore everything we're shared has been as special as it could be. I can't explain this crazy feeling that makes me feel we should be together. Today on my way up to see you, I cried. Because of all the ways to be with you have all been tried. I can't believe I will see you in a day. But I want to cry because I'll always know you live thousands of miles away.  

10th grader
  Fight to Overcome

When I look up I do see,
the truth in your eyes that will never be,
a heart that has yet to be freed,
a troubled boy that seems obscene,
with a will to fight that can't be seen,
a struggle hidden behind the face,
his heart stuck in a forbidden place,
a soul hurt by treachery,
someone cursed by destiny,
with love for one who only knows hate,
pain in you that shouldn't be fate,
the binding blood that hides the truth,
from the bruises to the missing tooth,
the reason you run and stay alone,
never thinking of going home,
hiding behind your eyes so cold,
running away from what you're told,
wishing for just his love,
wanting help from the heavens above,
to cease the hits and catch you when you fall,
an angel to help you through it all.

8th grader
Los Banos, CA
About the author of Fight to Overcome:
I am 13 and in the 8th grade, I have been writing poetry seriously for the last year or two, I love expressing my feelings through poetry.
 Untitled 7

Hey sweet pea!"
"Hey back, stranger!"  Emily Matthews grinned at her boyfriend, Peter.
"It's been a while."
"It's been too long!" Emily replied to Peter.  Emily was 17 years old, and was still in Sixth Form College.  Her long-term boyfriend Peter Stone was 19 years old and had began university earlier that year.  He went to a university in Scotland, and therefore had to live there.  Emily hadn't seen him since last September.  Now it was April, which meant spring break - and which meant the young couple not only got a break from school/university, but also got to see each other at last.
"So how's it all goin'?" asked Peter.
"Okay.  Nothin' exciting been happening, but I guess that's what ya get livin' in Northern Ireland!"
"Believe it or not, I've really missed Northern Ireland.  But even more than that, I've missed you."
"Aw I've missed you too.  Let's get you back to my house, and I'll make ya a special welcome back tea."

"You're a great driver!"
"Well I just remembered everything you taught me when I went into the test.  Now it all comes naturally!"  Emily turned the steering wheel and glanced at Peter.  His handsome eyes were staring back at her.  She smiled.
Then, suddenly and without warning, a horn screeched angrily at them, and they turned just in time to see a large lorry coming right at them.
"TURN!  QUICK!" screamed Peter.
Emily grabbed the steering wheel, but it was too late.  The lorry didn't seem to be able to slow down, and it seemed to take forever for Emily's small sports car to turn.  The next thing the couple knew, there was loud sound of crunching metal and they were thrust forwards.  Then everything went black.

"Where am I?"  Peter slowly opened his eyes.  His surroundings slowly began to focus, and the slim figure of his mother came into view.
"Oh Peter!  Thank goodness you're okay!"  She ran forwards and wrapped her arms around her son.  "When I heard you'd been in a car crash."
"The crash."  Peter suddenly remembered everything.  "Emily! Where is she? Is she ok?"
Mrs. Stone took a deep breath and opened her mouth to speak.
But before she could speak, Peter quickly sat up straight and alert.  "No! She's not.?"
"No!  Of course not. although I'm afraid Emily came off the worst in the accident.  She's still unconscious."
"Will she be okay?" Peter asked, a worried expression on his face.
"I'm sure she will. the doctor's aren't sure when she'll wake up."
"Can I see her?"
"Not today - the doctors want to wait and see how she's doing before she gets too many visitors.  Only her mother is with her at the moment.  Wait 'til tomorrow."

Emily wore a peaceful expression on her face.  Peter leant down and kissed her on the cheek.
"What exactly happened, Peter?" asked Emily's mother.  She looked extremely tired - large bags hung under her eyes.  It seemed that Mrs. Matthews had been sitting, awake, with her daughter the whole night.
"All I can remember is a big lorry coming near us."
"Didn't you both see it coming?"
"Well Emily might have taken her eyes off the road for a second, but."
"I knew I shouldn't have bought her that car!" interrupted Mrs. Matthews.
"When's Em gonna wake up?" asked Peter.
"The doctors think she may be going into a coma," replied Emily's mum, tears forming in her eyes.  "I'd better not lose her. I've already lost her father. I couldn't bear to lose my little baby too."

A week later, Emily still hadn't woken up.    The police had talked to the lorry driver, who stated that he had lost control of the lorry.  Peter and Emily's mother had spent most of their time sitting with Emily.  The doctor's said that Emily was in a coma, and they weren't sure when she would awaken.  It could be a day. or a year.

"Mom. why did we hafta move to this place?  I don't know anyone and I'm feeling so lonely."
Lucy's mother affectionately patted her daughter's head.  "Lucy - I know it's been hard moving to New York.  It's been hard on all of us. We all loved Florida.  But we had no choice - your father was told that he could either transfer to here or lose his job."
"Well maybe he should have."
"Darling, we need the money.  You know I can't work with my bad back.  It's just because you're so shy - you'll make new friends eventually."  She slowly pulled herself up and made her way to the kitchen.
"Fat chance." muttered Lucy.

Lucy made her way through the busy dining hall.  Crowds of teenagers chatted and laughed.  Lucy walked past all the packed tables, to her usual seat - alone in the corner.  She suddenly stopped as she noticed someone seated at the table.  A girl was sitting at the table, picking at her lunch.  She looked up as she noticed Lucy.  The bored expression on her face turned to a friendly face.
"Hi!" she said with a smile.  "Are you new too?"
Lucy returned the smile, grateful that she was actually talking to someone.  "Yeah - we moved here a few weeks ago but I still don't know anyone."
"I arrived in New York just the other day.  I was adopted by these two really nice people. I don't know anyone either."
Not wanting to pry into the girl's life in case there was a sad story behind it, Lucy asked the girl's name.
"Amy.  Amy Phillips.  And you?"
"Lucy Anderson."
As the bell rang, the girls rushed along to their next class, both grateful to have found each other.

"How was school, honey?" asked Amy's adoptive mother.
"Great!  I met a really nice girl.  She's called Lucy.
"That's great, dear," said her adoptive father.

"How was school?" asked Lucy's mother.
"Great! I made a friend at last!  Amy - she's really cool!"
"That's wonderful news, dear," said Lucy's father.  "I think we'll all be fine now!"

"Hi there, beautiful eyes.  Wanna dance?"
Amy smiled and nodded her head.  "I'd love to!"
It had been 11 months since Amy and Lucy had became friends.  Since then, they had spent all their time together, whether it was doing homework together, shopping, or talking about boys.  Tonight was the school dance.  Amy and Lucy had been dancing, and now both girls were dancing with boys.  Amy glanced across to where Lucy and her partner were dancing.  Lucy caught her eye and winked.  Amy smiled back, and then moved her eyes back to her partner.
"So, what's your name?" she asked him.
"I'm Tyler.  And you, sweetheart?"
Amy told him her name, and then the two of them danced and talked for the rest of the night.  By the time she got home that night, Amy felt like the luckiest girl alive - she had the best best-friend a girl could have, and now the had found a wonderful guy.

"He is so nice!  He's amazing!"
"So's Ryan!  He's so romantic!" replied Lucy.
It was the following day, and the girls were talking together on the telephone.
"We all hafta do something really special together!"
"Yeah!  Like a double date!"
"We could go to that new restaurant in the city centre!  It's real posh - it'd be real special!"
"You know, Lucy, I'm so glad we're friends."
"Me too!  I'm so glad we came to here from Florida."
"Well, I better go, but I'll see ya tomorrow in school!"
"See ya!"

"I can't wait to see Tyler again!" whispered Amy.
"Yeah, I can't wait to see Ryan.  What are you gonna wear?"
"I dunno - wanna go shopping tomorrow after school to get something new?"
"Girls! I've already told you, be quiet and get on with your work!" their Math teacher called out.
As she went back to marking, Lucy whispered back to Amy, "Yeah! I'm gonna buy a new top, and a new."

"Okay, I'll see ya tomorrow!"
"Yep - half six at the Chop House Inn! Can't wait!"
Amy and Lucy waved goodbye to each other at the bus stop, arms full of bags of clothes.

"Ryan!"  Lucy ran towards Ryan, and embraced him in a tight hug.  Then she noticed Tyler standing beside them.  "Oh, hey Tyler!  I take it Amy's not here yet?"
"No, you're kinda late, but she's even later!" laughed Ryan.
"Don't you guys know that it's fashionable to be late?" Amy laughed back.

It was an hour later.  And still no Amy.
"Okay, fashionably late is one thing, but this." said Tyler, trying to joke, but sounding quite impatient.
"She really should have been here by now. I don't understand," replied Lucy.
"Maybe something's turned up," suggested Ryan.
"I'll try phoning her again," said Lucy.  "Her mobile's off, but I'll try her house phone."
Lucy dialed Amy's home telephone number on her mobile phone, and waited.
"Hello, Amy?" came the voice of Amy's adoptive mum.
"Um, no, this is Lucy."
"Oh." she said, sounding disappointed.
"I was just wondering if Amy was there, because she should have met us an hour ago?"
"No, I'm sorry Lucy, but Amy didn't come home last night.  I tried phoning your mobile phone but it was switched off, and I couldn't find your home number.  I thought you might know where she was?"
"Really?!  But I said bye to her at about six thirty last night, when we got off the bus.  She went straight home."
"God, if something's happened to my baby."
After saying goodbye, Lucy told the boys about Amy's strange disappearance.  "I just don't get it. this really isn't like Amy."
"Maybe she wanted to get a break and spend sometime alone, you know, walking or something?" suggested Ryan.
" At night?  No - I've known her for a year - in fact, it was a year yesterday - and Amy just doesn't do stuff like that.  Something must have happened to her. my best buddy."
"Look, don't worry yet," said Tyler, "She'll probably come back right now with some excuse.  She'll be fine!"

But she didn't.  Amy didn't come home that night, or any other.  Although police searched high and low and all over New York City, they could not find a trace of Amy Phillips, or come up with any explanation as to where she had went.  For those who cared about Amy, it felt worse than if she had been dead.  It was not knowing where she was, alive or dead, that caused Amy's loved ones to be so distressed and upset.

"You know, Emily, it was exactly a year ago that the car crash happened.  A year without you, a year of sitting with you every day.   I never missed a day - not one.  And I've had endless conversations with you, even though you can't answer back."  Peter stared down at his girlfriend.  She looked as peaceful as she had done a year ago.  He felt proud - Emily's own mother had even given up on her.  She had visited her daughter every day, until a few months ago when she started coming less and less.  Now she didn't come at all.  As far as Mrs Matthews was concerned, she had lost her daughter, as she felt her daughter was as good as dead.  And now all she could do was mourn.  Peter, on the other hand, hadn't given up hope.  Sometimes, he felt that he would never speak to Emily again, but he made himself be strong, for her sake.  If he didn't believe she would wake from her coma, then what hope did she have?
Peter slowly moved his eyes away from Emily, towards the window.  In the distance he could see a young couple walking together, hand in hand.  He sighed.  Then he heard a noise.  He looked around, wondering where it was coming from.
"Emily!"  Peter looked at Emily, and noticed that her mouth was moving, just a little bit, but he was sure of what he was seeing.  "EMILY!" he yelled again.
And then her eyes opened.  "Peter."
"Em!"  Peter bent towards her and kissed her on the forehead, before embracing her with a deep hug.
"Peter. where am I?"
"Shh now darling, don't tire yourself out.  You're fine, it's all gonna be just fine."
"I had a really weird dream Peter. I was adopted. New York. my name was Amy Phillips."
"Shh now darling."

So, a year after the car accident, Emily was back.  Everybody was shocked and surprised especially Emily's mother.  Peter felt like he had been given a blessing.  He was determined to take care of his girlfriend, and never let anything happen to her again.
"Emily." he began, a few years after the miraculous recovery.  "I never want us to be apart. ever again."
"I feel the same, Pete."
"Will you marry me?"  The words were out of Peter's mouth before he had even realized he was saying them.
"Really?!" Amy asked, after a speechless moment of silence.
"Well yeah. it makes so much sense!" said Peter.  "We're in love, we have to always be together!"
"Of course I will!" said Emily happily.

And so it was arranged.  Emily didn't even have to think about where she wanted her honeymoon.
"It's the one place was always in my mind, since the accident, Peter. New York."

"New York, here we are!" cheered Emily merrily.
"Indeed we are, Mrs. Stone!"
The newly wed couple walked down the street, hand in hand.
"I feel like I know this street." said Emily.  "Like I've been here before."
Then suddenly, Emily saw something that made her gasp in shock and stop suddenly.
In front of her, was a restaurant.  At the front of the restaurant, large letters spelled out 'Chop House Inn'.
"You okay, darling?" asked Peter, sounding concerned.
"My dream. that was in my dream."
"I'm sure it's just a coincidence, dear."

Emily soon forgot about the 'coincidence'.  She was too busy enjoying herself, with her new husband.
A few days after they arrived in New York, Peter took Emily shopping in New York City.  As they walked through the streets, Emily continued to feel that she had been here before.  But she dismissed her thoughts, and tried to enjoy the shopping spree.
As the couple came out of a large shopping mall, Emily saw something that really did make her stop dead in her tracks - standing in front of her was. no, it couldn't be. it was just a coincidence. it looked like the girl from her dream, Lucy Anderson.  After overcoming the shock of seeing a replica of the person in her dream, Emily started to walk again, assuring Peter that she was fine.  But, apparently, the girl recognized her, because the girl ran towards her, with a look of disbelief on her face.
"Amy?  Amy Phillips?"
"Lucy Anderson?" asked Emily slowly.
"Yeah!  Amy, what happened to you?  We all thought you were dead!  You just disappeared!  Your parents. adoptive parents, I mean, were so upset.  We all were."
"Look, I'm afraid you seem to have got the wrong person," interrupted Peter.  "This is my wife, and her name is Emily Stone, not Amy whatever."
Lucy seemed to notice Peter for the first time.
"Who's this, Amy?"
"She's NOT Amy!" repeated Peter.
"Peter. I know this sounds strange. I don't get it. but this is the dream I've told you about. the one I had during my coma."
"What?!  A dream?!  What're you on about Amy?" asked Lucy, half-smiling and half looking confused and surprised.
Then Amy noticed that two men had appeared beside Lucy.
Lucy noticed this too, and quickly said, "Oh!  This is my husband, Ryan!  You remember Ryan, right?! And this is his best mate."  She stopped.
Standing beside Ryan (whom she recognized from her dream), was TYLER!
"TYLER!" she exclaimed.
"Emily, what is going on?" asked Peter.
"Amy. you got someone else. is this why you left?" asked Tyler.
"No, I."
"What's going on, Em?" asked Peter again.
"Amy, why did you leave?" asked Lucy again.
"I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING!" screamed Emily, and everyone became silent.  "I'm sorry for whatever has happened here." she said to Lucy and the two boys, "and I don't understand it any more than you do. you know I'm okay, but I really do have to go. I have a life already, you know."  And she grabbed her husband's hand and walked away quickly, with Lucy, Ryan and Tyler watching her with a look of puzzlement and confusion on their faces.

Back in the hotel room, Peter asked, "now will you tell me what's going on, Emily?"
"I can't really explain it." she began.  "Peter, something really weird has happened.  I don't know how.  But while I was in that coma, I somehow appeared in the USA. and lived here for a year. and then, as I woke up, after one year, I disappeared from here, and appeared back with you."  Amy sighed in confusion and frustration as she finished her explanation.
Peter simply sat there, silent, for a while, obviously thinking.  Then he said, "That's. weird."  He looked baffled.
"Yeah. weird."
"Well, I guess hat just shows ya. strange things do happen!"

12th grader
Belfast, Northern Ireland
 Waking Up from Consciousness

Her eyes, in a captive moment mirror,
The screaming veins of thousands.
Surrounded, claustrophobic, alone.
In the hooded darkness who can hear you scream?
'Stay with us child'.

Take the next hit,
Can't fly any higher, couldn't feel any lower.
Things couldn't feel much worse.
Dive into her bloodshot eyes,
Tell me, do you see me?

Is she dreaming or still awake
Because the pain seems so far away, now.
Its so much easier to sleep, to dream, now
'Stay'....please just let me go.


About the author of : 'Waking Up from Consciousness'. Basically, I know it may not be of any standard but I wrote this poem about the way I feel. I sit listening to 'The Cranberries' in my room and it seems that so many people feel the same as me...most of the time I don't know what I'm doing or where I should be 'Ever had the feeling where you're not sure if you're awake or still dreaming?' kinda thing. Anyway, this is for anyone who's ever felt alone when they're surrounded by people.

Everything  I feel, you express
You alleviate all my stress
With you I can explain
I'm glad you found me; with your help
I maintain
Before you I had no voice
Therefore I had no choice
But to suppress everything inside
Eventually pain became hard to hide
 Now I flow
You water me down
And like a tree I grow
There's no end to what we can be
Like a soul mate you console me
When I am down, you pick me up
You are the only thing
in my life that isn't corrupt
Oh poetry
Oh poetry
You are the only one
Who Seems
To know me

Untitled 8

Everybody talkin 'bout heaven
aint goin' there
why not son?
'cause you aint got no good?
'cause you don't believe?
cause you a negro?
"what kind of negro's?"
I'm talkin' bout old-fashioned negros!
The kind that run a tub of water
"i'm going to run m e a tub of water up to here!"
Lord, have mercy, aint the living gall!
Why? Why?
"why you always arguing with me?
'cause everybody talkin' bout
heaven ...and I aint going there!
Your living under my roof
You believe in my god
talk about old fashioned negros

10 grader
Seattle Washington

I am 16 years old. My name is rain

Ladies and gentlemen welcome
It's going to be an electrifying game
All the seven footers stand like domes
The stars are getting all the fame
The contest is only sixty minutes of sport
You got to play your heart out all the time
Leave everything you got on the court
But remember don't sip on the hatred
Draining three's from the corner, straight up
Take it into the lane for a hook shot
Remember it's all for one thing the cup
Post up and just throw it down on the spot
In the end it's just a short story
It's sticks and stones for the glory.
9th grader
Seattle, WA

Ah, for only a smile fleeting,
Among slaves of the wakened sleep;
For even the most solemn greeting,
Where emotion lies skin-deep.

None should I find, nor should any find me
In all the mindless hordes, the bell their master
But a lone man treads the peopled waters,
And my heart pounds all the faster.

Do not mock me, fair stranger, pray
I am a mouse among behemoths of vibrant personality-
Else I should sigh and turn away,
To scurry for the nearest classroom-hole.

Remembering, I remember
The music in your voice, the laughter in your eyes,
As we, two lonely isles of existence found
A friendly entity in flesh's crude guise

Enlightened sophomore, novice freshman
But time stands still at our meeting
Cautious smiles, my questioning eyes-
Are the sum of our greeting

Wherefore, then, should I begin?
Torrents of confessions reside
In lieu of awkward silence, but
For fear of myself, remain inside

9th grader
Greenwood Lake, N.Y.,U.S.A.
About the author of Hello, Again
I am an eccentric, absent-minded teenager, and I write poetry on occasion, when the words pound at my skull to be let out. The guy'll probably never know.
Untitled poem

Life is full of ups and downs.
Smiles and frowns.
It only matters how you deal with it.
Don't let others influence you,
and do what you want to.
Others aren't supposed to make your choices,
so just listen to your inner voices.
Life is full of ups and downs.
Smiles and frowns.
It's how you deal with them
that changes tomorrow.

10th grader
Louisburg, NC  USA

Fallen Star

The newspaper headlines on that glittering Sunday morning read, “Georgianna is gone; family and friends are at loss.” But these words would never be seen by the 16 year-old high school Jr. who was most commonly known as “Gia”. She would have never guessed that the night she had been anticipating for many months, would be her life’s finale.



In the bathroom of Anthony’s restaurant, Gia glanced at herself in the mirror and smiled.

Thanks mom, she thought to herself. I really am beautiful.

The hours that were spent before she left had been worth it, she decided. Gia’s mom had done her makeup and after all the sitting and primping, she was grateful. Her eyelids had a dusting of cream champagne that brought out her deep brown eyes. Natural dark hair swept up like it was, showed off a beautiful smile, which she thought was her best feature. On her lips shone a subtle amount of strawberry lip-gloss, never being one to wear lipstick. The dress was her favorite of all the ones she had worn; but then again this was Prom, it had to be the best. The white-silver of the silky fabric was covered with small shiny sparkles, so whenever she moved she twinkled.

Leaving the bathroom she sat down with her group, across from her prom date. She remembered how long she waited to be asked. Then one day a boy she barely knew walked into her classroom smiling and holding a dozen roses out to her. He bent down next to her chair and asked her to make him smile, by being his date to Prom.

She sat across from Bret now and although there were many other people in the room, it was as if no one else mattered. Their group of friends had decided to go to dinner after they appeared at the dance. Prom that year had been held in a beautiful old building near the water in downtown Edmonds. The decorating in the halls seemed to go with the night, everything was perfect. The dancing was slow and it seemed like all the pairs of feet dancing on the floor were in love. Balloons decorated the walls as she floated around the room on her date’s arm. She had only been good friends with Bret but the second he asked her to Prom she knew that it could become more.

After eating the wonderful meal and laughing with all her friends, they stood up leave. Exiting the building she felt so special. All eyes on her, glowing in all this beauty. She knew this would be a night to remember forever.

The night was dark and deep. There was no moon to cast a shadow and soften the thick darkness. It had seemed romantic to Gia in the Restaurant, but now outside she was thankful for the light shining from the Anthony’s sign. Standing by the door with the rest of the girls, they waited for their dates. The group had driven in a large van so there would be enough room for the eight. But her date was not one of them who held his hand out to his girl. Bret was missing from the vehicle.

She smiled as the little horn on her new white mustang beeped and Bret pulled up behind the rest. At the last minute the two had decided to take Gia’s most prized possession on this memorable night. Bret jumped out and took her hand. Leading her around to the other side he did not loosen his grasp on her. Gia smiled as he opened the door and helped her in. She pulled her belt over her shoulder and Bret ran around to the other side to jump in. He pulled away from the curb, closely following the others.

            “How was your dinner?” He asked when they got going. The two were headed to a hotel to visit with other friends before going home for the night.

“That was the best salmon I think that I have ever had. Thank you so much for bringing me here.” Laughing she looked over at him. And she meant it. Gia was glad to be here with Bret.

Turning on the radio, Gia heard a widely known trio and it reminded her of the events that had happened the week leading up to this night. A member of TLC had died. The group was one of Gia’s favorites and she was saddened by this loss. Only months earlier, another established artist had lost her life. Aaliyah’s death had been the result of a plane crash that had killed her along with several others. As these events had happened so quickly, Gia couldn’t help wonder, who would be the next star to fall? She sadly sighed and popped in a CD.

A few minutes later the two, still singing along to the music, were passing a sign that read,






As the sign grew smaller behind them, Gia noticed that the belt was missing from Bret’s shoulder.

“That’s 86$ right there.” She gently pointed out to him. He smiled at her and reached up to pull the belt down over his head. He handed the buckle to Gia so she could fasten it for him.

            “Thanks,” he said, “I am always in such a hurry, I never remember.”

            “It would just be a bummer if you had to pay for something that could save your life anyways.”

            Bret nodded in agreement and turned onto the four lane, two-way highway. He cut quickly into traffic that was moving at 55 mph. This road they traveled on now was thick with vehicles. Lights extended as far as they could see. So many of them that they no longer looked like they belonged to individual cars, but as though they were single lines of red and white lights that bent around the corner to the left.

            The speed at which the events happed next is immeasurable. The two never saw it coming and didn’t even have time to react. While on the gradual bend to the left, a Ford Expedition came barreling out of his lane after illegally passing over a double yellow. The huge vehicle sped into oncoming traffic and swerved head-on into the right side of Gia’s much-loved mustang. The blaring headlights of the Ford blinded Bret and there was no time to turn the wheels in an attempt to miss the collision. The passenger side, where Gia sat, her lips smiling for the last time, was crushed.


            Thankfully, there was no pain for the girl in the white Mustang, her life had been taken instantly. The driver of the other vehicle walked away with small bruises and a heavy conscience. He had been involved in a case of road rage with another vehicle before passing illegally over the double yellow. Gia’s date’s side of the car was merely scratched, a little banged up. Bret, thanks to his shoulder strap and the airbags, suffered only a broken nose and a few bruises, but he would carry scars of this night forever. The last memory he had of his prom date was holding her lifeless body in his arms before the car door was ripped open and he was torn from his seat and away from her forever. I’m sorry to say Gia, but the next star to fall turned out to be you.


10th grader
Duvall, WA / USA
About the author of "Fallen Star"
    Tori is a sophomore and enjoys reading as well as writing. She lives in Duvall and plans to attend collage at the University Of Washington.

I guess my mother had wished she had taken more pictures when I was growing, but she couldn't.  My mom has been a recovering alcoholic for as long as I can remember.  She used to refer to herself as a "recovered alcoholic who happens to drink a lot," but when she saw Henry Kiddiler, the man from down the street that always had a dopey grin and wore a black fedora no matter what time of the year it was, die of liver damage after a long night of binging, I guess she decided it was time to kick the stuff for good.  I never quite took Henry Kiddiler for much of a drinker, but then again, anyone who actually chooses to wear a black fedora day in and day out is slightly off their rocker to begin with.  But still, he just grinned all the time, he was the kind of guy you could walk right up to and say, "Henry, that damn hat is about the stupidest thing I've ever seen in my life," and he'd thank you for your concern or something like that.  Anyways, when my mom decided to stop !
drinking, the little things that she had for years neglected in her state of drunken oblivion began to really bother her.  Her first week sans alcohol, she reupholstered all the chairs in the living room and hired a kid named Jimmy that wore fake leather jackets and chewed on a toothpick to replant the small garden outside our trailer.  But what really bothered my mother most about our life wasn't puke green chairs or the weeds that grew thick and overpowering through the dead and yellowed blades of grass, it was the photo albums given to us for random birthdays, Christmas's, Cinco de Mayo's, and Easters that lay vacant and unused on shelves that lined our living room.  We had about a million of them because apparently a photo album seemed to everyone to be a highly appropriate gift for a drunk and her daughter.  We didn't even own a camera, and even if we had, my mother couldn't have operated it anyways, so years slipped by undocumented, and when our memories of special events faded, it was almost as if they never had happened at all. 

I remember the day my mother decided to clean the living room, I came home from school to find her in tears on the floor, flipping through the empty sheets of photo paper and commenting on what photos she wished she had taken.  She wished she had taken a picture of my 5th birthday, when she had dressed up like Barney (she duct taped pillows that she herself has dyed purple all over her body, and created a horn out of cardboard) all because she couldn't afford to get a clown or anything like that.  She wished that she had taken a picture of when my first tooth had fallen out in the middle of a petting zoo, and a duck bent down and ate it right off the ground.  There were so many pictures that my mother didn't have the chance to take, so to rectify this problem for the future, she immediately ran out and bought a small camera, nothing fancy, just a 35 millimeter that she could use to photograph me as I "shot up like a weed" as she liked to phrase it.  Pretty soon, she had fill!
ed up all the scrap books with some photos of me doing significant things with captions such as "Lela sings in choral concert," and lots of pictures of not so important events, with captions such as "Lela eats bowl of cereal," "Lela watches television," and her favorite "Lela throws up after eating bad Chinese food." This last picture pissed me off.  I mean, when she came home at two o'clock in the morning and ran to the bathroom having had one beer too many, I sure as hell didn't photograph her, I held her god damn hair back, I didn't stand and watch it happening through the lens of some stupid camera.  Don't get me wrong, I love my mother and all, but she sure as hell goes to far with that camera. way too far. She photographed everything, and I soon resigned myself to the fact that she would wake me up most mornings with a little flash bulb and a meek 6-am smile.  "Priceless memories" she would say as she sauntered out of my room, quite pleased with herself.  She always loved to capture me in my "natural state" as she put it, and I guess that was because I wore so much makeup everyday that I didn't look too "natural" for most of the day.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not ugly or anything, my skin's just not the greatest, and so I refuse to leave the house with nothing short of a pound of concealer on my blotchy pepperoni face. 

A few days ago, I took moms' 35 millimeter (or 'Petey' as she lovingly refers to him) to school.  I didn't really want to take any pictures with it, but ever since my mom had become some photographer, she had tried so hard to get me interested in her craft.  She said that photography saved her life (which kinda depressed me, 'cuz isn't your kid supposed to be your inspiration for not drinking any more, not some dopey camera?!) She said that it would mean everything to her if I would just "add to the memories" or something nostalgic and soap opera-y like that.  So I told her I would bring the damn camera around with me, try doing a "day in the life" piece or something. whatever makes her happy.  I felt the little thump-thump against my chest as I walked into school with Petey dangling around my neck.  The Navajo pattern strap my mother had bought for him coiled around my neck, and I could hear the delicate glass lens jingle like a little bell with every step.  The lens was my!
 favorite part of the camera. it was just delicate and beautiful, it wasn't bulky or anything like the hunk of junk it was attached to; it was kinda like a butterfly sitting on top of a mound of garbage or something, blissfully ignorant of its surroundings, it just jingled like a little god damn bell, that's what always got me.  Trish, who I guess you could call my best friend since she was my only friend strolled up to me when she thought no one else was looking and cringed at the sight of Petey. "What the hell's that?" she spat as it I had come in wearing a garbage can around my neck.  Trish had always been more superficial than I had. She was one of those really pretty girls that could be popular if she wanted, but for some reason chose not to be.  We both knew that all Trish had to do was ask, and she would be admitted without a second thought. She was that pretty.  I'm not quite sure why she hung out with me, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it was pity 'cuz my mom wa!
s a drunk.  I hadn't told Trish that my mom had quit drinking, I couldn't bring myself to just in case she thought that now I didn't need her anymore or something, and it would be fine for her to just slip away when my eyes were closed or something, and then there would be nothing I could do about it.  We both knew I was a doormat, and if she chose to leave me, it's not like there was much I would do to stop her.  She looked at my camera with shock and total disgust.  "Say cheese" I said faintly as I clicked the small button freezing Trish's blind rage at my fashion blunder onto a little square of film.  No one else seemed to notice, or if they did notice, they didn't seem to care that I had come with an old 35 millimeter strapped around my neck, and I had no intention of taking it off.  "It's my mom's camera." I muttered faintly as I stared down at the new black leather boots I had bought last weekend.  I used to wear Converse, black ones with thick laces and doodles all ov!
er the sole.  Trish hated my Converse.  "Strictly trailer trash," she called them.  She was always worried about me looking low class.   So I bought these boots, they cost me damn near one hundred bucks from some fancy store at the mall.  That was my entire years allowance, but Trish said they made my toes look "just ever so cute."  They weren't bad I guess, they made my feet hurt all over, and I'm not really a fan of killing animals for shoes, but Trish let me be seen with her more often since I had bought them, which was good, 'cuz I hated being alone in public.  I stared at my shoes, and she was practically screaming now,

"Did you even realize how trailer park that camera looks? Its' lens is practically falling off! Did you even realize?"

"Well Trish, I do live in a trailer park."  Trish always acted like she forgot that I did, and feigned this little "oops what a faux pas" smile every time she referred to something of mine as "trailer park."  Trish didn't live near me, she lived on the other side of town "Strictly Uptown" is how she referred to herself. and boy don't you forget it.  Normally, I would immediately take off the offensive item of clothing and stuff it in my locker before another soul could see me with whatever fashion sin I was committing.  But something really ticked me off about Trish insulting Petey. It wasn't that I necessarily wanted to walk around all day toting him around my neck, but it was just that Petey was my mom's savior in a weird way.  This stupid little camera meant more to my mom than anything else in our little "trailer park" existence.  "Trish, I'm not taking off the god damn camera. so take it or leave it."  Well, I knew what would happen before I said the words. she left it.!
  She could stand my little fashion "quirks" up to some point, but my denying her supreme authority over my closet? That was unacceptable.  She stalked off and left me and the stupid camera standing like jackasses in the middle of school.  I wasn't supposed to stand up for stupid stuff like that, I wasn't supposed to care if Trish told me that I looked trailer trash, but for some reason, I did.  She stomped off, and people turned their heads to look at me, the demented friendless loser with some stupid camera strapped around her neck.  But I guess it didn't matter, I didn't really care, and I turned and walked out of school and back to my home. my trailer. 

My mom was sitting on the floor of the living room exactly as I had left her, writing little captions under random pictures of me playing with the neighbor's cat.  She looked up at me, and her blue eyes pierced my own dirty brown ones.  I looked at her, and I could feel my heart fill with blood, her blood, our family's blood, the blood that was thicker than water, friendships, beer, or a better photo lens.  It wasn't the camera that had saved my mother, it wasn't Petey that was her savior; it was the person standing right in front of the lens.  For weeks, I had been jealous of a god damn camera, the one that had photographed me playing in my one and only soccer game before I realized that I had no foot-eye coordination, the camera that had greeted me when I woke up in the morning, and the little flashing bulb that flashed in my dreams at night.  Those eyes, my mothers eyes, were why I wouldn't let Trish take that stupid camera off my neck.  I was never ashamed of my mother, !
even when she came home from bars and couldn't form sentences, I wasn't ashamed, you gotta understand that.  I was never ashamed of my "strictly trailer trash" wardrobe or of Petey and his little butterfly-on-trash-heap lens.  I was never ashamed, but when I stood in the halls that day, I felt pride. I was proud of who my mother was, and who she had raised me to be.  My mom didn't ask why I wasn't at school; I guess the rivers of mascara running down my face were enough to tip her off.  She dropped the photos that she was holding, and just held me in her arms.  She rocked me the way she would have if I were five.  She rocked me like she should have when I was five.  I guess she wished that she had taken more pictures of me as a child, and I guess without pictures once we forget about them, the memories might as well not have happened, but when my mom rocked me in the corner of my little trailer park existence, it didn't seem like those memories were really gone at all.  And w!
hen we were sitting there, I did something strange; I reached out my hand and felt the cool strain of metal against it.  Shaking, I brought Petey to my face. "Smile," I said between tears and gasps for breath. But by now, my mom was sobbing too, sobbing and laughing and holding me, as if funerals and Christmas' and birthdays had been rolled into one solitary moment.  I clicked the little button over and over again, each time capturing my mother in a state more intoxicated, more beautiful than I had ever seen her before.

9th grader
Los Angeles, CA, USA
About the author of Petey:
Sarah lives in California and will be entering her sophomore year of high school this fall.  In addition to writing, Sarah is a team captain of her schools varsity equestrian team and will play Junior Varsity field hockey next year.   One day, she hopes to attend Stanford University.
Learn to Love

Learn to love what you can get
The family you see, all the people you have met

Learn to trust those who seek
To bring you back from being mild and meek

Learn to see the world around
View the beauty, hear its sound

Learn to care about the earth
It gives you far more than your worth

Learn to accept what has to be
That fish must swim, and birds fly free

Learn to speak your mind on things
Let your thoughts run wild, in fact, give them their wings

11th grader
Hingham MA  USA
About the author of "Learn to Love". My name is Angela. I am a 15 year old from New England who loves writing, reading and Technical Theatre.
Untitled 9

Night falls
As dew settles on the grass
The last bird calls
Twilight soon will pass
Stars twinkle as the moon rises
And animals of all shapes and sizes
Come out to play
And all have their say
When the humans are not around
There is no sound
As dawn breaks
The whole world wakes
And life starts all over again

11th grader
Berkshire, England
I have been writing for the past six years or so and I appreciate comments. I wrote this a while ago and my writing style has changed a little bit.
Untitled 10

Why give in and eat?
For one moment of bliss
Look in the mirror
Before the deadly kiss.
You don't need it
In order to survive.
Without it,
You'll feel more alive.
The words are false,
They only teach you lies.
You eat the fat
And you'll be the first who dies.
Don't listen to your "friends"
When they tell you to eat
They just want you to lose
And see your defeat.
You don't need them
When you have me,
Do what I tell you
And you'll be what you want to be.
I'll never leave you
I'll stay by your side,
Open up your thoughts
And let me inside.
I'll help you to
Finally reach your goal.
The less you eat,
The more you feel full.

9th grader
A Child Called It

A Child Called It is a gripping biography by David Pezler.  David Pezler had a terrible life as a child, and had to fight for survival.
As a young child, he was beaten by his mother. He was treated very badly, unlike his brothers who were unharmed.
He had to sleep in the basement, and had nothing to keep him warm for when he went to sleep, so he had to keep himself warm with his own body heat.
It is an amazing book of his horrific childhood, and has 2 sequels, of 'Lost Boy' and 'A Man Named Dave'.
It is terrible to think that there are some people who could do such terrible things, to innocent children, and these people deserve to be put away.
I think that David Pezler was a very brave and strong man to have been able to live with it for such a long time.
I would definitely rate this book a book, a 5/5.

9th grader
Hertfordshire, England
 Untitled 11

Perceived your alluring Facade,
I'm breathing in your vacant aura,
Movement revolves around us,
But you'll never observe mid-focus,

Walking absent from you, walking away...

Redistribution steals you away from frozen ground,
I watch as it takes you from lost to found,
The foundations in our space are shifting,
And I'll in no way look upon your drifting,

Walking absent from you, drifting away....

10th grader
Too High

"Justin, can't you drive any faster?" I asked, with as much patience as a three year old.
"Yes, but what makes you think I will? This isn't the auto bond, and I haven't gone completely crazy yet. We won't be there any quicker anyways, Lea. It takes days to get to Colorado, especially from New Hampshire. Besides I've been driving all day. Why doesn't someone else take a turn?" Justin searched the car for an available driver. Seeing David asleep he said, "Noelle, next stop you're driving. I've had enough of that back seat driver."
 "Whatever, I like to drive! We'll be in the Rockies in no time at all with me behind the wheel!" Noelle answered with a grin.
"Yeah, you and your lead foot." I said.
The car ride there was basically speechless. We had the music going, and I guess it just lulled us all into a trance. Kansas seemed to go on forever. You could see a tree, and it appeared to stay in one place. Besides that, Kansas was very flat and long. Contours in the land began to appear somewhere once we got into Colorado. Snow is only found on the white-capped peaks of the Rockies in the summer. So naturally it was the place for us to go. We were adventurous and loved cold weather.

Salvation! Civilization! We finally arrived on Thursday evening, just in time for sunset. Rays of brilliant light spread across the clouds. Majestic colors spread over the horizon, with a little patch of sun shining between twin peaks. I looked over at my companions; the sunlight was beaming on their faces, illuminating their smiles as they watched the sun as it slowly crept into the mountainside. When the light had faded away we turned to each other. All we could do was smile; there was no other explaining this natural phenomenon we had witnessed.
"C'mon guys we better go find our condo." David said suddenly. He was always the most organized and time wise.
"Yeah, good idea, I think it's this way." Noelle put in.
"Up that staircase?!" I said shakily. There was no way I wanted to go up over the stairs; I could see through the gaps in between the stairs.
"You want me to carry you?" Justin offered.
"Sure. Thanks a bunch!" Grateful would be an understatement; he had my gratitude.
"This way she can close her eyes! Ha ha." David laughed.
"Eh, shut up David!" I retorted.
"But I'm right, aren't I?" David said. "You're horrified of looking over the edge. If he carries you, you won't have to look over, or through the stairs." Then he stopped when I looked away ashamed.
 I managed to ignore him until I caught a glimpse of the condo. Mountain view, hot tub, it was great! We were all ready to stay the next two weeks. It was well worth the fearsome climb.
After the first night at the Arapahoe basin, we climbed out of bed and into the car. The morning was full of smiles and wide eyes as we gaped at the spacious and breathtaking mountains. The slopes flowed down the side of the peak into a basin. At the bottom of the basin there was a menagerie of stores, lodges, and ski shops. And just to think this would be our temporary home! The conditions were going to be chilly with some gusts of wind, but I guess it's as good as we could have expected.  The Rockies are always a bit chilly and windy. Lift lines were short and the slopes weren't crowded. We whizzed down the curving mountainside, flying over the stumps and moguls. Morning snow had settled on the pines, making it look like Christmas in July. Deep greens from the trees enveloped the basin. And the wide white expanse stood at our feet, begging us to ski down. The tracks from previous skiers and snowboarders guided us down to the bottom.
We ate lunch at the local eatery that other tourists suggested, and to our surprise it was quite small. It reminded me of one of the restaurants that you would see in the old western movies: pleasantly plump waitresses, and an older gentleman serving at the bar. While drinking coffee, we mulled over the plans for that afternoon. Playing it by ear sounded perfect; it was vacation. We departed the diner with smiles. Somehow a small place like that is just the place to keep a good day going.
Later that day, Noelle and I spent some time away from the guys. We ventured to a different part of the mountain, the summit. The East side Gondola was the only transportation up. It was also the highest cable. I hate heights. My knees quake and my forehead beads with perspiration every time I even think about high places. I've never even gone on a Ferris wheel without flinching. Noelle has no problems with going on stairs with spaces in between them: I did. I was envious of her for that, but I felt secure with her there. Noelle was my best friend so she would comfort me just by being there. Maybe I could've thought the gondola traveled on the ground or something. Like a mind game and I could imagine it was a train. Still, the gondola didn't come near to being "low". My imagination didn't go that far. Neither of us had ever been on a gondola. We probably wouldn't be going on another one for a long while.
There was one other person in the car. Her name was Hannah. She was younger than both Noelle and myself by about two years.  However, she looked like a professional. She was a native Rockies girl. We talked to her while the car waited for passengers. Knowing the mountain well, she told us about the gondola. The gondola was made with strong cable and steel brackets. She reassured me that nothing could ever go wrong.
"There's nothing that could go wrong Lea. Don't worry!"  Noelle said, trying to comfort me by repeating Hannah.
"Are you sure, Noey? You've never been on one of these things either!" I replied, gripping tightly to the side rail.
Hannah turned to me and said, "Eh, don't worry, these things are sturdy and reliable.  Like I said before, around here things are all right."
"Well it's too late now, Lea, we're moving," Noelle answered me as the door mechanically closed.
"Oh God!  Why did we have to come to the Rockies?! Why weren't we satisfied with the slopes back east?! Couldn't we've just skied in the winter?!" I squealed.
"Settle down! We'll be fine! Ahh! You're so nervous." Noelle said to me, a bit irritated.
That was the end of the quarrel with my nervousness. My eyes scanned the interior; four plain walls with wide glass panes didn't catch my attention for very long. Two fluorescent bulbs lit the car. I saw the small heater attached to the side, just large enough to heat the 10 by 12ft space. My eyes were stopped on my companions' faces. Noelle was the kind of person that took everything softly, and wasn't afraid of much of anything. She always looked the world in the face with her navy blue eyes determined and almost black hair cropped around her chin. Hannah had bright blue-green eyes that seemed to say, "I'm coming through, so watch out!" Sitting side by side they looked like an antithesis of one another, Noelle with the dark hair and light complexion, and bright-blonde Hannah. Both, however, were smiling which made them separate from myself.

In the midst that daydream the lights flickered a bit and went out. I backed to the wall, groping for a rail. Oh my God, oh my God we're gonna fall- No we can't. It'll all be fine, it's just practice. The cables are strong. My mind was arguing with itself, to be apprehensive or to be calm? I thought.
"Noey, where are you? Are you okay?" I cried.
"I'm right here, I'm fine. The lights just went out, I'm sure we're still on our way up to the top. We'll be fine, just be quiet!" I know she said this to help me, but I could sense she didn't completely believe what she was saying. Her voice was shaky and I could hear her boots scratching the floor. Besides that, she didn't really help by shutting me up!
Hannah was cool, humming an unrecognizable tune. Maybe these things do happen all the time. How would I have known? The gondola lurched to one side groaning eerily.  A creaking sound came from the bracket attaching us to the cable.
"I don't think we're moving to the summit anymore!" I whispered, afraid any sound might disturb our secure position.
A little light in the corner came on indicating emergency procedures. It said to duck low and move to the center. I moved as cautiously as my bulky skiing gear would allow. But it didn't seem to help any; we lurched further and further to the right side. Hannah's humming stopped, and I glued my face to the floor window. I watched the skiers below on the slope, all looking up as if to warn us of our inevitable fate.
"Do you think this a drill? Do they do these things often?"
"I don't know, Lea. I really don't know. I've never been here before. Remember?" Noelle hissed.
I heard something snap. It was more of a cracking noise, but I knew it must've been the cable. We were weightless as the car flew closer and closer to the slope below. There was nothing any of us could do but to hold each other.  A whistling sound came through the small cracks in the walls and floor of the car. As we got faster, the sound got louder, until it was unbearable. The sound wouldn't go away. It just kept growing and growing in volume. I'm going deaf, I thought, but that was the least of my problems. We were going to fall forever, if it weren't for the slopes below.
The ground rose quickly. We had hit the ground and were sliding down the mountain. We were flying over the terrain and the powder. Fortunately slopes out there weren't very icy; the snow formed a cushion for our fall. Unfortunately, falling out of the sky makes a hard impact. As the gondola, our only means of survival, ripped down the mountainside, a little light streamed through the thick layer of snow that had coated the car. I saw Noelle's face anguished and she was just about as frightened as I was. I grabbed for her hand, but we hit something.  My body was jolted away as I flew backwards into the interior of the car. Hannah soared weightlessly across the car, her eyes wide with fright and her arms flailing. I could hear screaming, it had to have been all of us because that's all I could hear-screaming. The whistling was inaudible. Anything else I can't remember.
"Lea! Noelle! Is anyone here? We're here to help you! Answer if you can!" I heard the voice but I couldn't make any sound.  No sound would come out.  I felt my throat tighten as I tried to speak. My head began to spin. Immediately I worried about Noelle, where was she?  Was she okay? How was she doing? I heard a moan; it wasn't Noelle's moan.  Then I remembered Hannah. Was she okay?  I couldn't see either of my companions. It was pitch black all except a strand of light on Noelle's eyes, and they were closed.  Everything in my mind was mixed together, but I heard a muffled barking. Everything I could see became blurry. There was a scratching sound coming from above me, but I blacked out again.
Five days later in the hospital I awoke to David and Justin's faces. That was the happiest I've ever been to see anyone, and seeing good friends was even better.
"Where's Noelle?" I asked.
"Right over there. She's sleeping. She asked about you too," David said with a smile.
"You're ok!" Justin said, rising from his chair.
"Yeah, I'm okay."
" 'Okay'? How can you possibly be 'okay'? You just fell like a thousand feet out of the air. I'm surprised you're not dead!" David said; trying to make me laugh- it worked.
"Guys, you're great!" I said
 "Hey, is Lea up yet?" came a voice from the other bed.
"Yea, I'm up Noey. Are you up, or are you talking in your sleep again?" I said succeeding in making her laugh. I was so happy she was okay and that she was still there to talk to. "That had to be the scariest thing that has ever happened to me before," It was true. Nothing scary ever happened to me.
"Yea, but at least you weren't by yourself! Although I might not have minded missing that blessed event," Noelle smiled. Smiling is always a good thing right? It means her face wasn't broken.
"Do either of you guys know what happened to the other girl that was with us? Her name was Hannah," I asked, just as I saw her shuffle towards the cafeteria.
"In the fall she must not have been too bad off, Hannah had me as some extra padding. She fell on me when we hit that last bump." Noelle put in.
"Oh, that's always a good thing."
"Lea, for Hannah it was a good thing. But not for me."
"Good point; I wonder what condition she's in though."
I sat up to wave at her passing figure, and she waved back. She came over to the doorway.
"Hey girls!" Hannah said, "How are you doing? I'm not doing too badly. Just my leg and my tailbone are broken."
"That's great!" I answered, "My leg is broken and I have a few bruised ribs. Oh yeah, I also have a concussion."
"Not too shabby, I hope you guys have fun the rest of the time you're here!" Hannah said to us.
"Thanks Hannah, maybe we'll see you before we leave." Noelle said.
"Yup, hope so! Bye!" Hannah said, shuffling out the door.
 "Oh, guess this cuts our vacation short though. You know, our injuries."
"Yeah well, maybe the Rockies weren't ready for us yet," Noey said meekly. I knew she'd always wanted to come here, just like the rest of us. It must have broken her heart for our accident to happen.
Her injuries were horrible: sprained neck, bruised ribs, broken ankle, and fractured wrist. We must have looked real good going out of the hospital the next day. What a bunch we were, her being wheeled and me on crutches. We had two very healthy guys escorting us everywhere. People looked at us strangely, two hurt, and two quite all right. Justin carried Noelle once, but that didn't last too long because we were afraid of damaging her neck further.
Days after we were back in our condo, Thanking God for letting us live to see another day.  Our drawers were again empty because we had re-packed our belongings. We went out for our last dinner in Colorado, and as we drove back to the condo, we took in the scenery for the last time. We all moved in a cluster back to the condo and went inside. It was a quiet night of thought and remembering all our good times. We would all be going back to college in two months, two months! The thought of our distance was hard to swallow.  I had to get a breath of air; someone else had the same idea.
As I ambled over to the sliding glass door, I realized I couldn't open it while holding both my crutches. Justin gazed over and saw me struggling and helped me. He set my supports against the wall and held my hand as he guided me outside. He put a blanket over my shoulders, and he realized that we were in frosty weather.
"Ooh! It's cold, I'll let you hang out here with David," Justin said shivering. "He's already out here."
"Guess you'll never conquer your fear of heights, will you Lea?" David asked as he gazed at the scene of the fallen gondola line, now dusted with a soft blanket of snow.
Flakes elegantly settled on the banister and on my blanket. I could hear the soft buzzing sound of the machines fixing the gondola. A group of skiers moseyed past the balcony. I leaned over the railing and looked down to wave. No trembling came to my legs, I wasn't short of breath. I grinned because I finally knew I answer with a smile. "I don't know, maybe you'll come with me next time and we'll find out."
He just gave me a weird smile because he couldn't believe me. "Yeah Lea, I guess I will, won't I?"

9th grader
Hudson, NH / USA
About the author of Too High: She is a freshman in high school, that enjoys writing as a hobby. Writing, soccer, and volunteering with Special Olympics are among her favorite things to do.
Galaxy Breakaway

Two pillars of stars rise from the ground
Connected at the top by the Milky Way
Two goals separated by a vast sea of green stars
A net a ball
Tension as thick as starless darkness

Dribbling though space and stars
Meteor at feet
A bending ball around Jupiter
Bounces off the post towards infinity
A pass from majestic mars
A bicycle kick past the keeper

From the roof fifty full moons shine down
A vast stadium of open space
Fans more numerous than the stars
A cheer a roar
Painted chests
An exclamation of expectation

A solitary bead of sweat
It glistens on the athlete's face
Steals the ball
Takes off toward Pluto
A takeaway breakaway
Up the middle
Across Saturn's ring
Step fake
Scissor step
Nutmeg through Orion's legs
Rainbow past Andromeda
Strikes the ball far post
Towards the upper v
Draco the dragon dives

The crown rises as the meteor ripples the net of stars
11 grader
Seattle, WA, USA
Monster (Cookie)

Life is a phantom,
The moon in the sky,
Like cookie?
No a big pizza pie.
11th grader
Seattle, WA

My heart is beating faster
My legs are getting weak
My voice is getting softer
Am I still able to speak?

My stomachs tying knots now
My eyes fill up with tears
How can you say good-bye now?
After all these happy years?

Your standing right beside me
You ask if I'll be okay
But I simply ignore your question
And turn the other way

You tell me that it's not me
And that you just need some time alone
But that only hurts me more
I now feel cold as a stone

You walk away and leave my life now
And I almost scream your name
But instead I stay silent
And watch my love walk away...
Las Vegas, Nevada
My name is Mia. I'm a Junior in High School. When I'm not getting myself into trouble I like to read and write poetry.

What is that horrible ringing in my ear
how can it be so near
For I know the day will come
but will it take me before the day is done
So far away is tomorrow
as I hope it will not bring me sorrow
Like all the loves I've known before
this one shall be no more
How do I show to you
a love that is forever true
Tell me once more what I mean to you
because I need to know if you feel it too
An empty feeling and lack of trust
and nothing what so ever of lust
For what I feel for you now
I can not even explain how
For we have grown so apart
I don't even know where to start
The first day we started with "hi"
and now I'm leaving you with "goodbye"

10th grader
Houston, Tx, US
About the author of "Distant". I am 15, and I wrote this poem right before I broke up with my boyfriend. I love writing poems in my free time. It is something that just relaxes me.
When It Hurts to Live

I always thought life was simple. I'd read books about kids growing up in the perfect life, having the perfect family. But when I grew up, I realized that life wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Isn't it funny how books and TV shows can be so misleading sometimes? Maybe that was one of my problems when I was at Waywewhy High; I watched so much TV and read so many books that I expected life to be something that it wasn't.
I moved from Waywewhy High to St Catherine's, a private Catholic school near the banks of the Clarance Rive in Grafton, after putting up with Lileta Bethine, a dominating control freak who moved to Waywewhy High after a year at Welsh Cathedral School- sometimes I think she moved back just to make my life miserable. She turned all of my 'supposed to be' friends against me; everything and anything that I did turned out to be a joke. Even my best friend, Mackerel Emli, was sucked in (and what I can't believe is that she and Lileta are still really close friends), and from then on I felt her drifting away from me.
I guess I should mention that I have a disability; Cerebral Palsy.  It's only mild, I bob as I walk, and one leg's shorter than the other but, hey, it shouldn't be a big deal. The one thing I hate is that people pity me so much that I hardly ever get a chance to prove that I can do some things that other kids can do. I mean, OK, I'm obviously not going to win first prize in a Track and Field event, but, hey, it's not that important. But it made me a great target.
Because of my disability, Lileta loved to play practical jokes on, like shaking up a soft drink can and spilling it all over me, or undoing my bra, right there in the playground. The problem was, I was a sucker. Mum called me a sucker for pain, but that wasn't it. I hadn't begun to grow up yet. Everyone around me had grown out of Sweet Valley High books, and Disney movies and were now busy perving on boys, and (my group would have been the only one, with Lileta as it's ring master) talking about sex. But I was still stuck in those times. My favorite movie was Beauty and The Beast, not Titanic. I was still reading Barbie magazines instead of Girlfriend. My hero was my uncle, instead of Tom Cruise. I preferred Sabrina, The Teenage Witch to Charmed (though now Charmed is my most favorite TV show apart from Buffy, The Vampire Slayer). I was a late bloomer in everything. Because I hadn't left those little girl stages, I didn't know how to put up with bullying- I'd never, before now, been faced with it.
When I moved to St. Catherine's, I had high hopes of starting anew: I wouldn't be the freak I was at Waywewhy High: the butt of every joke. But I can plainly remember those fourteen faces of the girls I met two weeks ago, as if it was yesterday. I can still feel their eyes, sizing me up; deciding whether or not I was good enough to join their group. I sit with them now, but whether that is because I am good enough or because one girl I met in the Jacaranda quest two years ago encouraged them to let me sit with them, I have no idea. All I know is that it's taking me quite a while to feel comfortable sitting with them. But I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I? When I looked around at the girls Andrea Ross (the girl I met in the Jacaranda introduced me to, I felt my heart sink. They didn't look at my smiling face and return the smile. They looked at my in-turned feet. It had happened again; they had judged me before they even knew me.
It's now two years since I moved to Waywewhy- and neither years were that great. Sure, I met two great friends- Sarah Belden and Holly Radcliffe- but my grades were poor, the other girls in my group barely knew I existed...But my 2003s New Years Resolution for me was to let go of everything in the past. Because that's what it is, the past- right? But how come, no matter how hard I try, I CAN'T let go? I want Mackerel back; no, I want Primary School back, because all my problems started the day I started High School. No, actually- I tell a lie: all of my problems started the day Lileta came back. When you're life is in ruins, when you feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel: that's when it hurts to live.
But I've told myself that it was up to me to change people's perspective of me, by not being a crybaby I once was, of the self-pitting girl who walked around with a sour expression. Who was going to like me when I was like that? So I'm trying to change- I thought it was hard, but it actually isn't. I just have to realize it was up to me.

10th grader
Grafton, Australia
I am 16 and I love to write. I have been going through hard times and I'm always told that the best stories come from the heart. I want to be an author when I grow up.
 Untitled 12

He was stupid
He was the worst writer ever
I'd rather eat a dead battery than read him
Language class was just fine before he came along
He ended fun in school
He tried to get us to care about Puritans, but we wouldn't listen
They were boring anyways
He talked about the Puritans from early America
Like he was there and hung out with them
He tried to be friends with other authors
But they told him to get lost
He thought he was friends with Melville
But Melville said, "He's a weirdo"
"He's not my friend"
"His mom's his only friend"
Then Hawthorne went crazy with dementia
He once said, "easy reading is damn hard writing"
Yeah, we can tell.

11th grader
Seattle, WA/king, US
Tastes Like Teen Spirit

boil till it hits a rolling peer pressure
add insecurity
lower heat and pour in a keg of Budweiser
fold in a spontaneous kiss
set aside and let cool
mix in a pinch of rock and rap
stir in heartbreak
then grind #2 pencils until crumbly
bake for the best four years
sprinkle on swear words
toss in MTV, car keys, and pimples
then, with spatula layer on prom dress
decorate with eighteen candles
garnish with freedom
and dig right in
11th grader
Seattle, WA/ USA
Follow me

Follow me.
Down to where the Japanese flowers grow.
Where I was born amongst the ferns, and baptized in the swamp.
Follow me to where the sky colored my eyes blue
And where the gashes ran bloody when I fell from
Trees too high to climb.
Follow me down to where the brook
Taught me to laugh.
See where I began,
You who love me so well.

Stand with me.
Here, where I dance in the
Ever-pulsing rhythm common with adolescents. .
Stay with me a minute-
Watch how I work, and
How I tuck the golden strands of
Hair behind my ears.
In step, in time, in easy sway
With the others of my age.
Feel my fervent desire to be like this,
Like wet clay,

Follow you.
East to where you stand on guard.
East to where the maples are.
And take a small rest to see the burnished chestnuts on the ground.
East to where the valley winds,
And where your voice will
Touch me with your ideas,
Mold me with your passions.
Change me.

Follow you.
Up until we can go no further.
Up until we reach our future. 
Where straighter, higher apple trees surpass the beauty of the flowers, the maples.
Up to where I am sculpted,
By wild swamp grass-
By steps in common-
By words in echo---
By you--
Into someone complete.

10 grader
Mamaroneck, NY, USA
 Untitled 13

BANG!" A large tranquilizer dart hurled through the air just missing a man's neck.  The man fell to the ground in shock of the dart just missing him.  He then got up and kicked the gun out of another man's hand.  The man with the gun had a big round nose, bushy hair and extremely big shoes.  When the gun hit the ground, it fired and shot the big nosed man in the chest. He passed out. The mysterious man who kicked the gun into the air ran out of the room and went to the street, where a black car was waiting for him.     
This man was no criminal; he was I, Mark Lexington, head detective in the investigative wing at the Cleveland Police Department.  I had just found a lead in a case I am working on. Someone has kidnapped Chunkers, the talking monkey of the Amazon, who was on exhibit at the Cleveland Zoo. The man I fought was a clown named Buttons. He worked at the Handy Brothers Circus, where I think the monkey is. Giovanni Handy is the ringmaster of Handy Brothers Circus, and he is the leader of an organized crime group, the Handy Brothers Circus. When I shot Buttons with the tranquilizer dart, he was about to smuggle 20,000 pounds of the purest, whitest, and most potent clown makeup found on this side of the Mississippi. The reason I was fighting him was that he knew my secret.
My secret is that I am working undercover as a clown. I had to go to clown college and get a masters degree in clownology before I could go on assignment. I make a pretty decent man with red nose.  I can juggle, dance, and I can even make those cool little animal balloons.
The first couple of weeks being a clown, I had to do the best job I could, so no one would be suspicious of me.  I spent most of my time doing errands for Mr. Handy. One time I had to bring a letter to a man in New York City, and I almost got killed. I was driving in this daunting neighborhood and I saw a man standing at the side of the road. He looked hurt, so I offered to give him a ride somewhere.  I was stupidly wearing my clown costume. He must have been afraid of clowns because he freaked out and grabbed me by the throat while I was driving.  I passed out at the wheel and woke up tied to a chair in an abandoned building.  The building belonged to a man named The Man. The Man is the leader of the New York City Mafia.  He is the one who the letter I had was supposed to be given to.
The Man held a gun to my ear and yelled, "Where is Chunkers the talking monkey of the Amazon?"
"I..I.. d-don't know sir," I said in horror, "this is only my first week on the job. Handy doesn't tell me anything."
"For some reason, I believe you. Don't ask me why I believe you, but I just do."
"Okay," I told him with no plan to disagree with him.
"Kip," he said to the man that I had picked up in my car earlier, "untie him and let him go." Kip did as he was told and I was let free.
Now I know that Mr. Handy does have Chunkers and all I have to do is find where he is being held. I must go back to the circus and find him.
The circus is a happy environment, let aside the fact that everyone is involved in some type of crime.  All the people treat me with respect and I do the same back to them. I've done some research on all of the circus folk. Betsy the Bearded Lady, who has taken a great liking to me, is involved in the buying and selling of illicit women's wigs made in sweatshops in Indonesia. Manny the Mexican Mime is a master assassin. He has killed such people as Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy's), and Bill Clinton. Susie and Donald, the married trapeze artists, steal expensive jewelry and sell it.  Lawrence the Lion Tamer uses his lions to eat people Mr. Handy doesn't like.  With this information, I thought I might want to start asking around about where Chunkers is.
I started with Betsy since she already liked me. I walked to her trailer and said, "Do you know anything about a talking monkey?"
"Yes," she answered, "why do you want to know?"
"I don't know, I just heard somebody talking about it."
"Oh okay," she said not really caring that I was interested in the monkey.
"Do you by any chance know where this monkey is? I really like monkeys."
"Yes, he lives with a family in Canada. We dressed him up and told the people that adopted him he was a boy. They believed us and took him in."
"Okay, thanks Betsy."
This was great. Betsy and I talked all night and I found out that Chunkers lives in Franklin, Ontario. All I have to do is go and get him.
When I arrived at the address Betsy gave me, there was nothing but burnt ashes and large wooden beams on the ground.  I decided to investigate. I found a large shoe, half-charred by the fire.  Someone knew I was coming and took Chunkers away, and I think I know whom it was.
The next day I left Ontario and went back to Cleveland.  Buttons the clown has been reported missing. After the disappearance of Buttons, I noticed that Mr. Handy was acting unusually tired and pale.  I decided to ask around, if any one knew about Buttons or the location of Chunkers. I asked everyone, except Manny the Mexican mime, and they had no information. The only choice I had was to ask Manny.
"Hey Manny," I said, "how's it going?"
No answer.
"Manny," I said for the second time, "how's it going?"
"It go'n gret," he said with poor English and in a heavy Mexican accent.
"That's good to hear. So do you know anything about Buttons?"
"Yeah man, he's in Kenya with some monkey named Chunkers."
The next day I flew to Kenya to find Buttons.  I found both of them at a local elementary school. They were playing soccer with the children in the school. They all seemed to be having a good time, including Buttons, who was no longer dressed as a clown, but as a normal human being.  As I walked toward them, the sun was setting.  The sunset was bright red and deep purple.  It was most beautiful thing I had ever seen. As the sun disappeared, I realized something.  Buttons wasn't an evil clown criminal, he was a kind and sensitive person with feeling like any other person. With this realization, I left that elementary school and went home.  Chunkers is happy and that's all that matters.

9th grader
Hudson, New Hampshire
My name is Keith. I'm a 9th grade student at Alvirne High School where Mr. Miller is my English teacher.
My World

I saw you for the last time,
You said, "see ya later" but,
I said you wouldn't.

I was right I haven't seen you since then.
It crushes me cause I have realized,
You are everything I want.

You make me laugh:
Smile, giggle.
You made me happy when i was sad
and I don't have you anymore.

I'm crushed
Nothing matters anymore.
I stay up at night wondering,
Do you feel the  same way?
I guess I'll never know.

So I smile and "laugh",
Make jokes and pretend that nothing is wrong:
So people wont notice and don't seem to anyway.

But truly inside I'm crushed.
Secretly screaming to get out!
Get out of this world;
A world of pain and tears

10th grader
Abilene, TX United States
About the author of My World
I'm a 14 yr old sophomore at cooper high school. I run track (Varsity), sing in choir and play the piano.
 Untitled 14

I have a friend; we'll call him Joe.  Now Joe is a nice guy.  He's great to be around when you're with him and friends.  But then some girls show up, and he transforms.  All of a sudden he has to be the center of attention.  He's telling jokes, flirting with girls, doing anything to attract more attention.  Usually, Joe's a quiet, more-or-less calm guy, however now he's all over the place, bouncing from person to person.  You and your friends exchange glances of disbelief as you watch a person you thought you knew act completely different than ever before. 
Why am I annoyed by falseness?  Fake people frustrate me.  I try to be genuine and it's irritating when other people aren't.  It's the price people pay for popularity.  I can't figure out why people would compromise their integrity for something as unimportant as status.  When people act fake, they try to be someone they aren't.  They do this for different reasons: to gain popularity, to try to change who they are, any manner of motives.  But why do I care if people act hypocritically?  Honestly, I don't know.  Why can't people just be themselves?  Why can't I be myself?  Yes, I too suffer from hypocrisy.  How can I both exhibit such a trait and be so against it?  Is it insecurity or overconfidence or legitimate self-criticism?  Is it wrong to act a certain way to be accepted?  I believe that it is.  And, when I act this way, it makes me annoyed.  If you are looking for friendship or acceptance or whatever it is and you feel that you need to change who you are, you're wrong.!
  I've always said that if someone doesn't like you for who you are then they don't deserve to be your friend.  I think that mass media has had a hugely negative effective on integrity.  Everywhere one looks on television or in movies, you see new trends, attitudes, and beliefs.  When people see these new things, they think that they will be cooler or more popular if they act or think that way.  This has a domino effect throughout society and soon everyone is doing things the same.
So what should people do?  People need to be themselves.  They should not be afraid of what they like and dislike; what they really like, not just what they pretend to like to seem cool.  I have another high school friend, Rick.  He's a big guy, great athlete.  He plays football and baseball and excels.  Unlike most other athletes of his kind, Rick is also in choir and is going to pursue a future in opera.  Now most male high school athletes would be afraid to do this because it's often viewed as uncool or feminine, but Rick is following his passion; he is being true to himself.  That is the most important thing.  Also, people need to be honest with each other.  I would love to see a world where, when people disagree, they let the other know about it and the other isn't insulted by the disagreement.  If this actually happened more often, then people would have less stressful situations to worry about.  This would let people live happier, more carefree lives.
But how can you get rid of falseness?  Here are a couple suggestions.  First, determine what things have value and what things are important and why.  The Golden Rule states: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  This can mean many things but can serve as a good guide.  For example, this may mean befriending people with special needs.  To most people this isn't the cool thing to do and it's certainly not as cool as hanging out with a star athlete or a pretty cheerleader but it is the right thing to do and you'll feel good about yourself.  Next, you need to decide who you want to please: yourself or others.  If your sense of self-worth depends on what others think about you, you will always be insecure and insincere.  If you care too much about what others think about you, you will be a poser and false.  Finally, you need to re-define what it means to be cool.  I'm going to do what I think is the right thing to do; I will then have self-respect and self-confident!
ce, and that is cool.

11th grader
Verona, Wisconsin
Untitled 15

Look over the horizons,
past the sand dunes and
over the swollen, pregnant.
The sweltering heat
rises in lines over the desert
where the enemy stands, never blinking.
His cold heart bleeds with the sands of time.
He never stumbles, never quivers,
and never doubts his reasons for standing
on the front lines.

The allies stand, all in a row
like marble chess pieces
polished and admired.
The younger ones, not boys, not yet men
stand at attention as the wind whips the sand
into their eyes.
Their sturdy bodies do not sway as the
hurricanes and waterless gales tear at their calloused skin.
They do not falter;
these boys are like machines, built only
to obey on command,
but they trust their instincts like a fox on the hunt.

The price cannot be paid in
money or in rations;
it is paid in the lives of the innocent,
the screams of the wives, and in the
cries of the hungry orphans
who live upon the sight of things most humans
can only imagine.

There are no rules, and there are no winners,
only those who fall, victims to their worst nightmares,
acted out in brutal genocide and hate.

10th grader
Elyria, Ohio
Kristen  is a high school student who thoroughly enjoys writing and reading. She was first interested in creative writing during the sixth grade, but did not pursue it until her seventh grade English teacher encouraged her to join Power of the Pen. Power of the Pen is a writing competition in which students are given prompts and an allotted time spot to complete a story. She made it to state and ranked in the top 100 of those attending. Kristen is currently involved in the Page, a creative writing magazine at her high school, in which students may submit original works for school publication. She is also active in her high school's marching band, as well as many other extra curricular activities. Kristen hopes to become either a journalist, lawyer, or crime scene investigator, however she is open to any career field that comes her way.

Ella was a beautiful child.  She had an aura about her, an aura that made perfect strangers walk up to her, smooth her golden hair, admire her sparkling blue eyes and dazzling smile, and say to her proud father, "What a beautiful, happy looking child."
      Her father would always hug her, beam at me, and reply, "Oui, we are very proud of our darling Ella," and would apparently fail to notice the tightening of my mouth as I smiled back.  You see, Ella was delightful to everyone, except those who had to live with her.  Ella's father was taken in by her charm, but he was the exception.  In short, darling Ella was a spoiled little monster, who had been taught that she could scream for anything and get it, lie her way out of any trouble and get away with it, and do whatever she wanted to do.
     Her father explained to me why he felt obligated to give Ella anything she requested (and plenty that she didn't ask for).  It seems that her mother had become gravely ill after Ella was born.  Her last words to him, uttered with the last of the strength the sick woman could summon, were, "Make her happy." And so, hearing this, Ella's father, who had plenty of resources, being one of the wealthiest men in the kingdom, vowed to obey his wife's dying wish.  He named his daughter after her dead mother, and brought her up as best as he could; however, being a man of business, he had little time for her.
     For seven years, he hired tutors and governesses for his darling, but all of them left within six months, probably because it is impossible to teach or discipline a child whose father does not allow her to cry, or even look upset (G-d knows, I've tried).  Then he married me.  I loved her, and she and my twin daughters, Priscilla and Elizabeth, seemed to get along nicely in the beginning.  Then she showed her true colors.
I had brought up my girls alone since they were three, when their father had been killed while fighting bandits that attacked our village.  However, none of my daughters could ever be mistaken for spoiled children, like their stepsister Ella had turned out to be.  I believe that rules and discipline provide a child with a sense of security that cannot compare to the so-called love exhibited when all one does is give in to a child all the time.  All spoiling does is render a child unfit for life, because he'll think that anything he does is fine, while in the real world it doesn't quite work that way.
    Unless, of course, the child is blessed with gorgeous golden curls, dazzling blue eyes, a charming smile, and a knack for lying convincingly. . .
     In any case, I'm getting ahead of myself.  At that point, when I married her father, Ella seemed to be a wonderful happy young girl who excitedly welcomed us to her family.  She and the girls played outside together quite cheerfully, and when I called them in for dinner, came willingly.  I noticed that Priscilla looked a little angry, but I decided not to ask why until after we ate, if she was still upset.
     She was.  So after dinner, I called her aside, and asked her what the problem was.  Priscilla was very indignant.  "That Ella," she began heatedly, "she pushes us around.  She thinks she owns the world, and we have to do everything her way.  Elizabeth and I wanted to play tag, but she insisted on playing hopscotch! And when we said fine, because you told us to be nice, Maman, she made a big fuss about being first.  Elizabeth thinks it's nothing, but I think that Ella is no fun to play with!  If she does this type of thing every time, I won't play with her!"
     I calmed Priscilla down, and told her not to worry.  At that point I thought she was exaggerating.  Surely, I thought, Ella wasn't as bad as Priscilla thought she was.  There had to be a simple explanation.
     I got my explanation the next evening.  Throughout the day, Ella's behavior was exemplary whenever I was watching, but Elizabeth came to me around noon with the same complaint Priscilla had had the night before.  I resolved to talk with Ella when I had a chance.
     I didn't have time that whole afternoon.  People kept calling on us to welcome my daughters and me to the neighborhood.  After an entire afternoon of introducing my daughters to everyone who came to visit, and hearing the same comments over and over again ("They look so alike; how do you tell them apart?" and "They're the same age as Ella? How cute!"), we were all exhausted and ready for dinner.  It was after dinner when I finally had a chance to speak privately with Ella.
     I walked up the large marble staircase to her room, and tapped lightly on her door. "Come in." 
I opened the door, and saw Ella lying down on the bed, her skirts spread out over the pink satin sheets.  She was holding her doll that was specially made to look exactly like her.
     "Ella," I said.
     "Oui, Stepmother."  Was there a sarcastic edge to that seemingly innocent reply?
    "Could you look at me, Ella?  There is almost nothing I hate more than talking to someone's back."  She sat up, and there was a definite look of contempt in her eyes.  I opened my mouth to speak, but before I could get a word out, Ella began speaking vehemently. "Before you tell me anything, listen to me.  I don't need a stepmother.  I don't need stepsisters. I never wanted you.  My father always gave me everything I needed, and he and I are fine without you.  Besides, I am the boss of this house."  I stared at her in shock, repelled by the hatred she emanated.  How could it be that Ella, who had so happily welcomed us to the family, who had excitedly played with my daughters all afternoon, who delighted in everyone's love, attention, and sincere admiration could be so deceptive?  I had honestly thought she loved us as much as we loved her.  It occurred to me that if she could be so misleading, she could be dangerous.  I quickly left the room with the resolution that I w!
ould never forget that Ella wasn't as perfect as she seemed to be. 
     The rest of that week, I learned that Ella was the boss of the house.  Whatever she wanted, she got.  Her father did not allow her to be punished.  When I tried, he defended her, and she herself lied so convincingly that if I had not seen her misdeeds with my own eyes I would have been sure she was innocent.  She was an angel when my husband was near, but when he was out of sight, she tormented Elizabeth and Priscilla, and treated me like dirt.  It was almost impossible to stop such behavior, because of her father.  Even though he himself knew he should intervene and put an end to his daughter's bad habits, he felt constrained, because he didn't want to deny his wife her last request.
     I pitied her, I really did.  I thought that one day, poor Ella would not be able to understand life.  One day, she would just realize that the world doesn't revolve around her.  That would be a shock, I thought ruefully, because now, the world does revolve around her.  Everything around her is done for her. People she has never met come over and hug her, and listen to her talk. Even animals are taken in by her charm; normally shy creatures do not mind if she touches them.
    Every once in a while, Ella's father would leave Paris for a few months on business, and in those times, when her father was not there to encumber my efforts, I tried to teach her many things.  I made her attend the lessons my daughters were attending, I gave her chores to do, and I forced her to learn embroidery.  Though she did do everything I made her do, there were many tantrums and tears along the way, and when her father would return, she would always run out and shriek, "I missed you so much, Papa," and he would hug her with tears in his eyes and say, "I missed you too, chérie," not realizing that more than missing her father, the only thing that kept her going during the months he was away was the fact that she knew he was going to return and rescue her from the obligations I forced on her.
    Only one time he didn't.  My husband was never away for more than three months, and when he was away for more than double that time without a word of explanation, we all got nervous, but Ella was really agitated.  So when, about four years after I remarried, we received the news that pirates looted the ship my husband was on, and killed everyone aboard, we all mourned, but Ella cried for weeks.  And when we discovered that all his assets were stolen, and we had to sell the house and most of our possessions to pay the creditors, that was a crushing blow to my stepdaughter.  It wasn't so bad for me, because I'd lived through poverty, and Priscilla and Elizabeth knew the feeling of scrimping and saving, but Ella was unused to not getting what she wanted.
    We moved to a decrepit section of the city. Our house was not big, pretty, or even warm, but at least it was home. The girls had only three dresses each, and we only ate meat once a week.  To make money, I cleaned clothes at my house.  I saved ten per cent of the money I'd earned for the girls' dowries, which I knew I'd have to pay soon.  I was a little nervous about whether or not the girls would find friends, but almost immediately, Priscilla and Elizabeth met a couple of girls they liked. Ella made friends with the mice, birds, and other animals in the neighborhood.  She also told stories to the children and enraptured her audiences.  She made up most of them, and I noticed that they all had one thing in common - the villain was always a wicked stepmother.  The rest of the time, she sulked.

* * * * * * * * * *
    Four years passed.    I woke up one bright sunny morning in February to hear the birds chirping in the trees.  "Happy Birthday, Ella," I declared, excitedly, yet cautiously.  We all had to be cautious around Ella.  At any second she could fly into a towering rage despite the fact that she was fifteen years old.  However, that didn't keep her from having chores, lessons (I taught), and punishments if she deserved them. I didn't treat her one iota differently than I treated my own daughters.
Now, on her fifteenth birthday, I thought about Ella.  She hadn't changed much in the four years we'd been living on this side of Paris.  She was still beautiful, though she'd grown considerably, people and animals still fell for her charm, and I still thought she was dangerous.  There was something about her that worried me, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  She continued to tell the children many stories that included evil stepmothers, and there was usually the component of magic drawn in somehow.  When I mentioned to Ella that there was no such thing as magic, she laughed and said, "Children will believe anything.  So will adults, if they're told convincingly."  I couldn't help but feel this was a warning, even though that was ridiculous.  But I shook off the feeling and laughed with her.
     In any case, on that gorgeous February morning, we all wished Ella many happy returns of the day, but before we could say much else, we heard the distant horns of the King's criers, indicating that the King had a message for his subjects.  We rushed outside to hear more clearly.

By order of our illustrious and glorious Majesties:
Every maiden in our impressive city of Paris is hereby formally and royally invited to participate in a grand ball in celebration of the eighteenth birthday of our noble Prince Louis, heir to the throne of our glamorous and powerful France.  The maiden who finds the most favor in the eyes of our royal Prince he shall wed.  The ball is scheduled for March first.  Failure to come will be perceived as rebellion against their auspicious majesties.

     "Oh, Maman!" Elizabeth exclaimed as we reentered the house. "I'm so excited; I can't wait for March to come!  Do you think the Prince will choose me?"
    "I don't know, chérie," I said. "We'll see."
     Priscilla eagerly began planning.  "What are we going to wear, Maman?  We'll have to buy materials and sew dresses for everyone."
     It was hard not to get caught up in the excitement.  We enthusiastically discussed different ideas to save money to be able to afford enough material for four new dresses.  Only Ella was quiet.
    Two weeks later, our house was filled with feverish activity.  We made do without our once a week meat dinners, and I did as much laundry as I could find to do.  The girls all found jobs repairing dresses for the ball.  I also took a third of the money I had set aside for the girls' dowries (if one of them married the Prince, we wouldn't need that money anyway), and we finally had enough money to buy material for the four dresses we wanted to make.
    We went to the marketplace two weeks before the ball was scheduled.  Venders hawked their wares and encouraged everyone to buy.  When we found a place that sold cloth, the girls stood around admiring the different materials for a full hour.  Finally, Priscilla and Elizabeth picked out light green satin, which would bring out the green color of their eyes, and complement their light brown hair.  I chose black material.  And Ella selected blue silk with tiny gold flowers imprinted on it.
    After I paid for our purchases, we wandered around the marketplace a little bit.  I had a small sum of money left, and I told the girls that if they wanted to buy anything else to wear to the ball, they could, if it was within my budget.  Ella found white fur slippers almost immediately.  They fit her perfectly, and the vender said they were the last ones in her size.  "Please may I have them?" Ella begged.  I looked at her, startled.  I couldn't remember another time when, with no prompting, Ella asked me for something civilly.  She usually demanded or had a derisive edge to her tone.  Either she really wanted those slippers, or she was growing up, I thought.   "Oui, you may have them," I answered, smiling at her.  Ella glowed.
     Priscilla and Elizabeth saw pearl necklaces that looked beautiful against their green material.  They cost just the amount of money I had left.  I didn't need anything, so we went home.
     As we walked to our house, I explained to the girls that they had to make their dresses alone.  If they would not finish in time for the ball, they would wear old dresses or stay home.  The three girls agreed.  The next two weeks, I thought, I would be living in a madhouse with everyone in a frenzy to finish their dresses, but I had no doubt that everyone would complete their gowns before the ball.
    A week before the ball, I sewed my last stitch.  Priscilla finished her gown two days later.  Elizabeth completed hers three days before the big day.  I reminded Ella to hurry, so she could finish her dress on time.  She gave me a cold look.  I left her alone.
   The night before March first, at about midnight, I awoke, shivering.  I had had a dream in which all of us left for the ball, and Ella went in an old party dress that was too small on her.  I lay in bed for a long time thinking of her excitement for this ball.  I thought of how disappointed she would be when Priscilla, Elizabeth, and I went to the ball, while she wore an old dress or stayed behind.  I thought of the damper that would put on our merriment.  And most of all, I thought about the fact that I loved her.  Why should someone I loved so much be so saddened when it was in my power to dispel her sadness?
    I got up and went to the other room.  Ella was sleeping in a chair, a candle burning next to her.  Her half finished gown was draped on the table in front of her. A needle and a spool of thread lay in her lap.  She looked distressed even in her sleep.  I carefully moved the gown to my side of the table.  I lit several more candles, and gently took the needle and thread from Ella's lap.  She stirred, and I had a sudden thought.  I went to her room, grabbed her blanket, and tucked it around her.  Then I started to sew.
    Six hours later, I put down the needle.  I was exhausted, my eyes were tearing, and I couldn't see straight, but I was elated.  I had finished Ella's gown.  I ran to bed before any of the girls woke up.
    About an hour later, I awoke to a shriek of delight.  "How did it happen? It's perfect, just perfect!!"  Apparently, Ella likes my handiwork, I thought, getting out of bed.
We began to prepare for the ball right away.  I heated up water for baths, and we all scrubbed our skin till it was raw, and washed our hair like it had never been washed before.  It was not every day we went to the palace or to a ball honoring the Crown Prince.  The girls put up their hair, and put on their gowns.  Ella slipped into her fur slippers.  Elizabeth and Priscilla put on their necklaces.  Finally, we were ready to go.
We arrived at the ball at seven o'clock.  There were already hundreds of people there, but in the enormous palace, it did not feel crowded.  It is almost impossible to describe the beauty of that palace!  Crystal chandeliers, plush carpets, and velvet hangings surrounded us everywhere.  The brilliance of the gold and silver displays was blinding.  Magnificent marble sculptures decorated the room.  Three spectacular dazzling thrones were situated on a balcony on the other side of the room.  The King's coat of arms was carved into the wall above them, and a French flag was flying on either side of it.  There were refreshment tables with all sorts of delicacies laid out elegantly.
    All this was forgotten, however, when a herald entered the room crying, "Their Glorious Majesties, King Francis Louis and Queen Yvette Marie, and his royal Highness, Crown Prince Louis," and the royal family entered.  We all knelt down in curtseys as they made their way across the huge room to their thrones.  And the music began.
    As is the custom, the royal couple led the dancing.  Other people began to dance as well.  Prince Louis danced with one girl after another, but he found no one with whom he would dance for more than ten minutes.
    Until he danced with Ella, that is.  As soon as he started dancing with her, any onlooker could tell there was a difference between the way he danced with her and the way he had danced with the other girls.  Elizabeth said to me, "Well, I'm glad someone in our family was the one chosen to marry the Prince."  Priscilla agreed, and they both went off to dance.  I watched the Prince dance with Ella.  They both looked happy.  All the people around me were admiring Ella's beauty.  They declared that they had never seen a finer looking couple.
   They danced for hours.  The clock began to ring the chimes of midnight.  Suddenly, Ella froze, and anyone near her saw the fear in her eyes.  What is she afraid of? I wondered.  Meeting the Prince's eyes one last time, she broke away from his embrace and ran out the golden doors of the palace and down the marble stairs, losing a slipper in her haste.  Wondering if there was anything the matter, I darted after her, closely followed by Priscilla and Elizabeth.  When we got home, panting from the strenuous run, we found Ella stretched out on her bed, fast asleep.  Being exhausted, we decided to go to sleep as well.
    However, I had a hard time falling asleep.  I couldn't help remembering how fast Ella had always been able to change her expressions, and her power of deception.  Could it be that Ella had faked the entire demonstration of her flight in fear?  Why would she?  On the other hand, why would she run away, specifically at midnight?  Questions swirling around in my mind, I drifted off to sleep, resolving to keep an eye on Ella.
     I didn't really have a chance.  It seems that the Prince loved Ella so much that he decided he would marry no other girl.  However, he didn't know who she was, and the only clue he had to her identity was the white fur slipper she had lost while fleeing the palace. So Prince Louis sent out men with the slipper to make each girl try it on.  If it fit, the girl had to present the other slipper in order to prove she was the girl the Prince danced with.  Of course when they came to our house, we knew whose slipper it was, but Priscilla and Elizabeth tried it on anyway, just for the fun of it.  After they took it off, they called Ella to try on the slipper.  Ella slipped her foot into the slipper, and took its match out of her pocket.  The Prince's servants were so excited, they almost jumped for joy. Ella, my daughters, and I were brought to the palace.  The royal family was very happy to meet us.
And then. . . 
   Ella told her story.  She told the story just like the way she used to tell stories to the neighborhood children, and just like the children were mesmerized, here too she enthralled her audience. There were other similarities, too.  In this story, the villain was an evil stepmother, and magic was rampant, just like in her children's tales.  Only now, it was dangerous.  I was right to be wary all those years.  For Ella's story could kill.
    She began with her relationship with her father.  She explained that when I married him, I tried to take away his love from her.  That when he died, I treated her terribly, and made her do all the work in the house.  That the only friends she had were animals.  That we beat her and made fun of her.  That we called her Cinderella, because one job of hers was to clean out the ashes from the fireplace, and she would become covered in soot. (I don't think she ever cleaned the fireplace in her life!) That we tried to forbid her to go to the ball, because she didn't have a dress to wear.  That the reason why she didn't have a dress to wear was because she was busy making our gowns.  And that after we left to the ball, she sat and cried, and a fairy godmother appeared and enchanted her dress to look beautiful and gave her white fur slippers to wear on her feet, and warned her to be home by midnight.
    Oh, she was cunning.  She knew no one would doubt her, and the evidence was on her side.  After all, everyone had seen her leave the ball at midnight.  Not a soul besides for us had ever seen her throw a tantrum or do anything undignified.  Her word would be trusted over ours.  There was nothing we could do.
   The King let us return home on condition that we would not leave Paris.  He explained that we would be called to trial soon, and until then we would be safe.  But he hadn't reckoned on the impetuousness of his citizens.  When they heard about the terrible suffering her evil stepmother and stepsisters inflicted on Cinderella (her new name - everyone calls her that now), they decided to take revenge for her sake.  Priscilla and Elizabeth were out blueberry picking one day, when I suddenly heard noise and shouting.  I looked out the window and stared in shock.  There were mobs of people wielding pitchforks, knifes, and other weapons, marching toward the house, shouting, "Death to the oppressors of Cinderella!"  They were coming on all sides.  There was no way to leave the house.  I would just have to try to keep safe till this was over.  I barricaded myself in my room and prayed for my daughters' wellbeing.  Then, I started to write.  I wanted to write down the truth, so that after the world would hear Cinderella's version of the story and hate me, maybe someone would find this manuscript and know the truth.  Maybe someone will understand what really happened, how much I loved Ella, how I did everything good for her, and how little she loved me.
The mob has looted and vandalized the house.  They have taken any valuables they could find.  They caught Elizabeth and Priscilla on their way home, killed them, and brought their bodies into the house.  Then they set the house on fire.  It is wood, so it burns fast.  This manuscript will be safe though, because I shall wrap it up well and lay it under a loose stone in the floor.  I can hear the crackling as the flames eat up the walls.  The stench of smoke is thick in the air.  The fire is coming closer.  It is only a matter of time before it crashes through the door and consumes everything in this room.  Au Revoir, world.

11th grader
Passaic, NJ
About the author of Ella: Liba is almost 17. She is the middle child in a family of five children.  Ella was written as a school assignment.
 If only you Knew

Look into my eyes,
You will see the way I feel inside,
If only you felt the way I do,
I really love you.

I just want to be with you,
Why can't you feel this way too,
I can't stop thinking of you,
I wish you felt the way I do.

If only you knew,
How much I love you,
Oh, I really do,

8th grader
Untitled 16

Some one left the window open
I did.
The bird flew around,
free of it's cage.
Looked for a way out.
Found the open window
Filers taped to telephone poles
We were eight
Hopefully he will soar,
soar back through the window
But, he has not come home, yet.

9th grader
Seattle, WA
 Untitled 17

"Hi!  Welcome to United Airlines!"  I looked up from my ticket into the face of a United Airlines flight attendant.  It was like a sea of Rembrandt-white teeth and blonde-from-a-bottle hair.  "Hey," I distractedly responded.  Besides flight attendants and the fact that I get slightly airsick, I love airplanes.  I love the cool pressurized feeling you get when you step onto them and how the temperature drops like fifteen degrees.
I glanced around the cabin and thought to myself, "Everything is so neat and clean on airplanes. It's kind of cute".  Every seat had it's own SkyMall® Catalog, emergency directions, and the notorious barf bag.  " I wonder how people actually have to use those?" I asked myself, eyeing the white bag. 
I headed down the aisle. Row 21.Row 22.ah ha!. Row 23.  Luckily, there was no one there yet, so I stashed my bag in the overhead bin and after confirming with my ticket I took my seat by the window.  Since I had no one to talk to, at least I had a view to look out on (if you count endless clouds as a view).  As I pondered the pathetic view I was going to look at for the next four hours, I thought that maybe if I was lucky I would get someone cool next to me.  After a few minutes, a man settled into the aisle seat.  He looked like one of those--Whatever I'm working on is more important than you so shut up while I type dull-as-dirt proposals into my new high-tech laptop, kind of guys.  Sure enough, after about half a nano-second he had his laptop whipped out and was furiously typing away. (I guess I could cross him off my list of prospective people I could talk to).
When it looked like people had stopped boarding, I began to think, "Hey, maybe I got lucky and no one will sit next to me!" (Uh oh, should have knocked on wood!).  Just then, this huge guy who must have been 6'4" stopped on the plane.  He must have been an extra for the sopranos or something.  I mean this guy was perfect, all the way down to the shaved head and trench coat.  My row was pretty far in the back of the plane, but every time he passed up a row I scrunched down a lower in my seat.  The minutes passed like hours as he neared my row.  Eventually my worst thoughts came true. he stopped at my row and was attempting to squeeze between "Mr. Important Business" man and me.   I looked back and forth between the mafia man and the seat and thought.  "Geez, this guy has got to be kidding!"  He finally squished in after lots of squeezing, and sacrifices by Mr. Associate to put his dumb laptop away.  When he finally got settled he turned to me and said in the nicest most fatherly tone, "Sorry about that, the SlimFast thing hasn't really kicked in yet."  I almost fell off my chair (and I probably would have, but I was so smooshed I couldn't even move). 
Still, I was a bit skeptical of this guy.  He reached into his bag (one of those mysterious duffle bags) and I seriously would not have been surprised if he pulled out a gun or a safe filled with diamonds and money.  Instead, he pulled out a book.  Curiously, I leaned over trying to see the title, half expecting to read "How to Be a Criminal" or "The Best Guns" or something like that.  However, he amazed me once again when I saw that the title of the book was "Moby Dick".
This knowledge hit me like a thousand pounds, I felt kind of guilty for judging a book by its cover (ha-ha).  I realized the truth in the saying "Appearances can be deceiving".  Also, by the end of the flight we had had a good talk and I realized what a sweat guy he was after all.

10th grader
Murrieta, CA  USA
Hello.  My name is Sarah Harding.  I am currently a sophomore in High School.  I am ecstatic about writing and do everything I can to get "out there", including be involved in my school's newspaper.  Also, I play the flute and play tennis for the school team.
Untitled Essay

When I was ten years old, I stole a candy bar from Stop & Shop and then lied when my mother questioned me about it.  It was the third time that month that I had gotten in major trouble and my parents were at a loss.  Having already confiscated my stereo, phone and TV, my barren room left them with the challenge of how to punish me.  When they asked what I thought my punishment should be, I shrugged my shoulders and said nothing.  They could take what they wanted, and I wouldn't care.  While other children would have been distraught with the loss of such items, I was indifferent.  Everything they took in hopes of punishing me were luxuries, simple things that I used to amuse myself when there was nothing else to do.  Life without my stereo, phone and TV was certainly more boring, but not unbearable.  I didn't care about the things they were taking away from me and so it wasn't a true punishment.  Just as I began thinking that I had finally outwitted my parents, my mother gave me a small triumphant smirk and walked slowly around me. 
Intrigued and more than a little alarmed by her smile, I turned and watched her.  Instead of walking toward the few remaining luxuries, my stuffed animals and dress up clothes, she passed by them without a so much as a sideward glance, instead heading straight for my bookshelf.  Realizing her intentions, I began to panic. 
"No Mom!  Please don't do that, I promise I'll be good.  Don't' take those, I won't ever steal or lie again, I promise.  Just don't take them away from me.  Please, please, please!"  I begged her.   
For the next hour, ignoring my pleas and sobs, she proceeded to remove every single book from the shelves.  Row by row, she stacked them in brown paper bags.  The Secret Garden, A Tale of Two Cities, Moby Dick, Gulliver's Travels disappeared into those brown monsters along with Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Harriet the Spy and Encyclopedia Brown.  Roald Dahl and E.B White were among the victims.  In the end, bags filled to the top with my books sat on the floor while my bookshelf lay naked and bare.
The next month of my life was bleak to say the least.  Without any books to read while taking my baths, the water bill went down considerably.  Without any books to read on the toilet, my time spent in the bathroom was split in half.  Without any books to read, I came home from school, ate dinner, did my homework and went to sleep immediately afterward.  Suffice to say, in that one bookless month, I learned my lesson.  I have never stolen or lied to my parents since; it just wouldn't be worth the punishment.
As long as I can remember, I've been able to read.  Perhaps this is because I can only remember my life since kindergarten, but I think it's because before books, there was nothing special enough to remember.  In first grade, while my classmates were struggling with Dick and Jane, I was begging my teacher to let me move on Claudia and Jamie from The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  In second grade, my classmates had moved on to chapter books while I was itching to move on to novels.  My hunger for books did not go unnoticed and in third grade I was invited to join an accelerated reading group.  Looking back, the books that we read weren't especially hard, like James and the Giant Peach and Number the Stars, but I still loved every minute of it.  Not just because I could read more advanced books, but also because I was finally surrounded by people who had the same voraciousness for reading that I did.  No longer was I taunted with names like 'Bookworm' or 'Librarian'.  I was with people who both loved and needed books as much I did. 
Every so often, my school would have a book drive, which forced me to go through my bookshelves and clean it out.  I can't remember any of these books that I donated which is precisely the reason I gave them away.  The books that didn't survive the selections were ordinary and simple with too little imagination for my taste.  While reading them, instead of being transported to the world of the characters, my mind stayed trapped within the four, blank white walls of my oppressive room and this was their ultimate failure.  To the book drive they went.
The books that were not sacrificed to charity remain on my shelves today.  More so than any scrapbook or photo album could do, they capture the essence of my childhood.  It is these books that inspired me and gave me something that my normal, monotonous, suburban lifestyle could never give me.  There's no single word to encompass how I felt curled up on the leather armchair in my family room, with a blanket covering my legs and a good book in my lap.  It all depended on the book de jour.   When reading The Diary of Anne Frank, I wrapped my arms around my legs and squeezed them tight to my body, feeling my heart pound every time the Franks heard a knock at the door.  I imagined myself crouching in a tiny cupboard along with Anne, both our bodies sleek with nervous sweat as the heavy thud of a German soldier's combat boots came closer and closer to our hiding spot.  I felt in my very soul the pain and despair they must have felt upon learning that former friends had betrayed t!
hem.  I would do my best to keep the tears from rolling down my face as I read just in case any of my family walked in, afraid that they would make fun of me, because who cries while reading a book? Honestly. 
When reading The BFG, the Big Friendly Giant, my body relaxed, no longer taut with fear, free from anxiety of Nazi discovery.  My legs hung down loosely over the edge swinging slightly as I imagined myself riding on the enormous elephant-like ears of the BFG.  I shivered as I felt the wind whizzing past my body as we ran together through dark, deserted streets of England, but I warmed as I thought of all the stories I would hear while perched high up on his ear.  Stories filled with whizzpoppers and snozzcumbers and dream catching.  Stories about the horrid giants he had to live with like Bonecruncher, Meateater and Skullcrusher.  Imagining these stories made me so happy that I didn't' try to hide my smile from my family, not caring if they thought I was silly or not.  Books made me glad and I didn't care who knew.  A few weeks ago, I found out just how much of my happiness was dependent on them.
Two Saturdays ago, my boyfriend of eight months told me that not only did he not love me and didn't want to be with me anymore, but also that he liked another girl.  In one sentence he broke my heart and shattered my dreams.  After he said that, I turned around without saying a word, walked straight to my room and called my father and told him to come get me.  While waiting the hour and fifteen minutes it would take him to get from my house to Exeter, I curled up into a fetal position and rocked back and forth with Ducky, the stuffed dinosaur Marc gave me for our sixth month anniversary hanging loosely in my arms.  I didn't think about Marc, I didn't think about us, and I certainly didn't think about Mary, the girl to whom he had moved on.  For an hour and fifteen I rocked back and forth staring blankly at the bare white wall and thought only of one thing: the Southborough Public Library. 
When my Dad finally arrived, I climbed weakly into the front seat  and said,
"Marc broke up with me.  He doesn't love me.  I want to go home.  Can we go to the library?" 
Having never heard my voice so flat and devoid of happiness before, he asked no questions.  Turning the ignition, we started the hour and fifteen-minute journey back.
Pulling in front of the modest two-century-old building, I quietly turned to him and told him that I would walk home.  That's the one good thing about living in a small, rural town like Southborough; just about everything you need is within a ten-minute walking distance.  I was fortunate enough that the library fell into this radius and when I still lived at home, I took advantage of it every weekend.  My ritual was, and still is as follows.  I get up early on Saturday morning before anyone else is awake, pack a lunch consisting of two peanut butter sandwiches with raspberry jelly, a small bag of Salt and Vinegar chips, and chocolate chip cookies that I bake the night before.  The food goes into a plain brown paper bag, which in turn goes into the front pocket of my backpack.  I leave the other pockets free for the ten or so books that I'll be checking out.  After completing this ritual, I walk to the library, my excitement and anticipation growing with each step.  Once I get there, I lose myself for hours walking down each aisle, reading the back covers of books, not limiting myself to any one author or genre.  Any book that seemed interesting I put in my pile.  Eventually, once the room begins to darken as the sun sunk below the horizon outside, I head to the circulation desk and proudly set down all my new books saying, "I'll take all of them please."      
Walking into the library on this Saturday, the same comfortable, content feeling came over me.  I headed down the stairs to the basement where the children's section was, just as I had done for the last ten years of my life, before Exeter, before Marc, before I knew what if felt like to lose everything.  I sauntered through the aisles, looking the books over.  Little had changed about the selection and I wasn't surprised.  Small town libraries rarely have the budget to acquire lots of new books, and Southborough was no exception.  I didn't mind though.  These were the titles of my childhood; they were what I had grown up with.  They were comfortable, and just like they had always been, they were there for me. 
After a bit of browsing, I make my selection.  The BFG by Ronald Dahl.  I sat down in one of the leather armchairs they had.  My legs hung loosely over the edge swinging slightly as I imagined myself riding on the enormous elephant-like ears of the BFG.  As I imagined stories of whizzpoppers, snozzcumbers, horrid giants, I smiled, not caring who saw me.  I was back home. 

12th grader
Southborough, MA, USA
Senior at Phillips Exeter Academy
Love Reading
Love Writing
If You...

If you expect the unexpected,
Is the unexpected what you expect,
If you believe that something is wrong,
Is it wrong or is it bios,
If you are sickened with a disease,
Is it wrong to wish so on others,
If you believe justice,
Is it wrong to state your case

8th grader
England, Cumbria
About the author of If You.....
I am a young writer and I hope that you will enjoy this poetry,
I have experienced dreadful things and this is my view of my life!
Paradox of Normalcy

The contradiction of normalcy resonates in my subconscious.
Only conceptually can it exist,
And therefore is given reign to invade my thoughts.
To exist meaningfully is to live in society
Providing a place to dwell in harmony.
Yet the essence that makes one stick to the engulfing web of culture
Is the masking presence of normalcy
where all dark flows light
And immorality turns to right
And glimmers in the eyes of mass acceptance and advancement.
Absolute is the appearance of the normal
Which causes life to pass as the wisp of a dream
Left dangling long after a climactic rise of continuous encounters
And echoing through the hollow chambers of the mind,
In search of past glory and repetition in time.
Unnatural is this guise of common perception,
A defense,
An offense
Against the populace of the mediocre and adequate.
Spectacular and unrivaled matches ring untrue in the muddled hearts of the ignorant,
The unenlightened.
Those who cannot see have not been freed.
It is the mind not the body, spirit, or soul which is held captive at the highest premium.
The genius is perceived as insane.
Insane not by his own standards,
But by the values held in the community surrounding him.
This is an inequitable form of judgment,
Too harsh for the one enchanted with knowledge it can become
And thus lead him into a murky path of deception and demeaning
His own intelligence to disguise his true colors from the rest.
Why must the superior bring himself down to normalcy?
It is the strange calming nature of the idea,
Which contradictory in character dictates that dissimilar is negative
Because the rigid structure of the normal allows for nothing to grow.
Normal stifles all change with the blanketing presence of a boundary
On understanding and appearance regardless of wisdom.
Raped is the progression of time, the revolution of epic dimensions
And normal cannot change itself.
Its internal struggling plagues it at every turn.
Normal denies upgrading ourselves
Until we are caught in a rift of time and thrown up into the ever repeating cycle
Of the immense wheel of life
Where we finally come to realize that normal
Has refuted itself by maintaining a standard into a new era
And therefore keeping races the same while the cosmos all around
Develop and reinvent their ways of existence.
To define a normal standard at any given point in a period is impossible
For time must be repeated in order for the concept to exist at all.
If normal cannot be altered then basic human traits will never change
And a pattern of evolution will commence
Moreover supporting the qualifications of the essential as they would dictate circular motion
In a strict path of repetition.
If normal never changes by reaching a beginning or conclusion
Then the anima of all actuality must be based upon this inconstant nature
Of structured ideas which we create for ourselves
And build entire societies upon
To prove to each other that normal must imprison us in the orbit of the universe.
If all experience is shared then all normal is still ordinary
And always will remain standard.
Thus the universe has never begun nor ended and will continue to rotate
Upon this axis of lateral continuation
For lack of the possibility of ever seasoning a transformation.
This melancholy proof bears with it the understanding
That being superior as well as inferior defines the true prodigies of life,
By allowing an eccentric nature to introduce a new idea.
It is those deserted in the trenches of the average
That are captivated by the always repeating, redundancy of inadequacy.
Thus making those who are normal the poorest creatures of all.

11th grader
Wynnewood, Pa
Jason  is a high school student at Harriton High School in Pennsylvania
Movie Star Looks....

I was watching Mission: Impossible over the weekend, and every time I saw Tom Cruise, I was reminded of my incredibly good looks.  I know I must sound over confident and cocky, but come on, we all know I'm dead sexy, that's why all the girls come running after me. I first realized how gorgeous I am when I was in kindergarten.  The girls would always follow me around, just begging for another glimpse of my beautiful body.  This continued all through elementary school and into middle school.  In middle school, all of the girls, and even some of the guys (freaky), would constantly remind me of how hot I am. Everyone agreed that I would someday become a model or movie star.  I reached high school and the girls went crazy.  They all wanted a piece of my super-duper-good-looking bod.  I am now surrounded by gorgeous girls, telling me how badly they want my strong abs, and slender thighs.  I just hope that my dashing good looks stay with me over the years, so that I may continue to be the sexy beast that I am.  
11th grader
Concord, CA
Andy is currently 17 years old and lives in Concord, California.  Andy is currently working on his first full-length novel, which is yet to be named.  Andy would like to end this description with a quote "life is like bowling, don't take the trip down the lane, unless you are going to end it with a big bang."
Untitled 18

He and I practically grew up together. We both began exploring the world together, we both began getting in trouble together (although my parents always believed that I was the instigator) and we both began learning about life together. In our younger days, we were nearly inseparable.

When I was a kid and I needed someone to play with, he was there and ready for anything. My parents accused me of talking back to them, so he would give them twice the attitude (and four times the trouble) as I did to make them forget about my conduct. I broke the lid to the cookie jar, and he managed to sit himself right in the middle of the mess without a second thought. He was like a second brother to me, and I loved him just as much as my first.

He wasn't just someone who got me out of trouble. When I felt sick, he could tell before anyone else. When I was scared, he stayed with me until I felt safe again. I hugged him and I could tell that he cared about me. I laughed and he was happy with me. I cried and he was the first to comfort me. And when I left, he was the last to say goodbye and the first to welcome me upon my return.

I thought that he and I were supposed to be friends forever; I even somewhat convinced myself at a young age that he would never die. But a few months ago, I learned differently. He was diagnosed with cancer, which eventually spread to four locations. Of those four, two proved to be fatal.


In his last days, when he didn't feel like doing much at all, it was my turn to be the stronger one. It was my turn to comfort him when he cried. It was my turn to make sure he wasn't scared. And it was my turn to make sure he didn't feel any pain. In other words, it was my turn to finally return the friendship he'd shown to me throughout my life.

I stayed with him as much as I could during those last days, although I didn't know exactly what would happen to him or when. I saw the emptiness in his cold, gray eyes looking at me as if he couldn't see me anymore, and I wondered if that was because he didn't want to see anything at all.

I tried not to let him know that it hurt me to see him in pain, as I was sure he had enough to worry about on his own. But when I saw the blood run from his mouth, I lost it, and he knew. I cried when I stopped lying to myself and realized that he was, in fact, mortal.

And he was still there to comfort me.

On his last night, although I didn't know then that it was the last, I tried to make sure he was comfortable before I left. When I hugged him that night, he seemed to have little response, but much gratitude. I know that he knew I thought of him as part of my family, and I'm glad that he could be a part of my life.


"We call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence." -Joseph Roux


The next morning, I knew when I woke up. It didn't take my mother's shaky voice or saddened features to tell me. I already knew. For the first time in my life, I cried not for myself nor for my own loss, but for his loss. I cried for the pain that he had to live through, and I cried because I couldn't do anything about it.

That day I didn't do much of anything: I stayed in my pajamas, slept and cried. I couldn't move on with my day knowing that I had no one to move on with. For once, I felt like there was a huge hole in my life that has yet to be filled.

The week following was the hardest time of all. I experienced several nightmares about him, cried still in mourning and failed to comprehend the pain that I was feeling. I was, in short, lost.

At the end of the week, I attended his burial with my mother. I stayed composed throughout the entire process--the drive to the cemetery, walking across the grass to his burial plot, looking at the freshly-dug ground--until I saw the casket. When I saw his casket laying in the ground, the tears poured from my eyes harder than ever before. When I dropped my flower into the ground with him, my tears followed the falling blossom and were buried with him. I had lost a friend that meant more to me than ever imagined.

I cried on my mother's shoulder because he wasn't there to comfort me. This time, I was the last to say goodbye, and I know that no one will be there to welcome me upon my return.

12 grader
Walnut Creek, CA

Flowing from the faucet
That is my mouth,
Sometimes in spurts,
Sometimes in long waves.
They get me into trouble,
And miraculously
I am out again
Because of these
They tell emotion,
They describe my moods,
And yet
They can't tell
Or describe
Anything at all.
These words
Can sometimes hurt me,
Only to turn around
And make things better.
But sometimes
They're just there,
Objects cluttering my thoughts,
In the way,
For no good reason at all.
These words.
They're all I have,
But they're nothing at all.
They can say nothing.
They can tell nothing.
They can feel nothing.
She is gone,
And all I have
Are these

12 grader
Walnut Creek, CA
The Deep

My mind is an ocean.
Layers of thoughts,
Some hidden underneath
the rocks
at the very bottom.

At the top, clear and sparkling
is Laughter. Bright and happy,
it covers what is underneath. Laughter
calms the mind, sometimes making it forget
the things it would rather not remember.
Always the best medicine,
Laughter is relief.
It is escape, if just for a moment,
from all the cares in the world.
It surrounds the mind and keeps it sane.

Still near the top lies Caution. Though the water is not so clear, it is
always watching, always careful
of who to trust.
Believing that risk is necessary, while
staying alert through the murky water for any sign of danger
that could arise. Hidden under laughter, yet always watching.
Making mistakes when it lets down its guard.
Mistakes that sometimes leave a mark.
So near the top,
yet sometimes not near enough.

The third layer is Hope. Although the water gets less and less
clear as you get deeper, Hope is still strong because
of what is underneath.
Without it there is emptiness
without hope there is nothing.
Hope for strength,
hope for a second chance, or any chance.
It never gives up or gives in.

At the bottom there is Strength, holding
everything together with its solid grip.
The water here is cold and dark, but it is pure.
Strange things are swimming
so far beneath the surface, through the dark in the
bottom of my mind. Things I don't understand,
and some I don't want to.
At the very bottom there are rocks.
And lodged securely between two large
at the very bottom
a box of hand grenades.
10th grader
Seattle, WA USA
About the author of "The Deep":
My name's Liz, and I am a sophomore at Ballard High School. I reeeally like volleyball, but I never really liked writing until a local writer came to work with my class and made me a lot better. His name was Jared and he was so TIGHT, it was really cool.
Senses of Death

We've all touched it
 but we always pull away
when your heart skips a beat
when you fall in your sleep
that moment when everything is out of sync

We've all tasted it
but we never swallowed
when your heart breaks
and you can't think
when you take a hit
and find it hard to breath

We've all felt it
but we always seem to shake it
when your stomach drops
and you become numb
when your breath is taken away
by a moment in your day

We've all smelt it
but we hold our breath
when you hug someone
who smells of erosion and death
when your blood boils
and outputs a scent

We've all seen it  
but we close our eyes
when the moon turns a blood red
when childhood scenes
flash through your head
sooner or later we will all be led
to our death bed
11th grader
concord, California
My name is Sara and I am currently in a creative writing class and our teacher has encouraged our class to submit at least one piece for publication. I love writing but I am not sure how good I am at it. I have been trying to push myself creatively and I feel this is one of the first pieces I have written that really just flowed out of me and that I really enjoyed reading afterward.
Untitled 19

The urge to tie a poem
To a chair with rope
And torture a
Out of it
Weakens when
Poetry awakens
To a new day

10th grader
Concord, CA United States
 i am 16 years old  and I live and die for baseball, I play baseball round and it is one of my many hobbies.  I wrote that piece of poetry foe my creative writing class.  My teacher inspired me because we always talked  about what poetry really was so this poem tried to help describe that

Wreaking havoc
On my brain
Unable to speak the words
I try so hard to say

It's a crazy way of living
Your brain in
Constant turmoil
Your tongue caught
In your throat

Powerless and weak
How so unlike me
Normally I speak my mind
Trust my gut
And nothing can stop me

What about you?
Our situation?
My life?
Gets me so frustratingly
9th grader
Concord, CA/USA
A Girl Called Me

What it is like to be me
The little Asian girl known as Ito
I laugh at the smallest things in life
I love to make other people laugh
When I am in pain or feel scared
I always hide my tears
I fall asleep with wishes and dreams on my mind
And wake up and hope that it will be a good day
I go to school and do enough to get by
I go to work feeling positive and with a smile on my face
Hoping that I will see that special person in my life
I never eat breakfast
I always look forward to Mom's home cooked dinners
I try to always say what's on my mind
But always try to spare other people's feelings
I try to watch what I eat so that I can hopefully achieve that "perfect" body
But eventually will end up eating tons of junk food
I tell me two best friends everything, even Mom too
But I try to forget and hide the things that would disappoint her too
I miss Dad
I know he misses me too
I care about my family
Especially the two people that I live with and support me the most
I try to let go of the people that aren't true and real,
The ones that surround me in my high school quad
I have fears, I have disappointments, and I have wishes
I have hopes, I have dreams, and I have wishes
 I want my Mom to let me go
So that I can finally have the chance to grow and become a woman
I'm not sure where my life will lead me
But one thing I do know for sure
That in the end
I will be stronger and more independent then ever
But still the same little Asian girl, known as Ito

11th grader
Concord, CA, USA
About the author of A Girl Called Me. I have always enjoyed writing short stories since I was a little girl, I even use to type them on my mom's type writer before we got a computer. However, I never really appreciated poetry because I was taught that it was all black and white, had to rhyme and it always had to be written a certain way and had to have a certain ring. That is until I walked into my creative writing class earlier this year. I have now grown to love all sorts of genres and I fell in love with poetry. It always feels good to write a new piece, and it always seems helpful to me when I'm stressed out or upset or even happy, it just gets all of my emotions and feelings out.
Untitled 20

What I would not give...
Not...for a tender kiss
Not...to gently caress your cheek
But only this, to gaze...
Softly into your eyes and find myself
Hopelessly lost to forever wander
The beauty contained therein.
As a calm sea mirrors a sensuous moon...
So too, your eyes reflect the kindness in your soul
And the passion in your heart.
You are an oasis of beauty in a desert of despair...
Were you but my love...
I would drive away the clouds
Of unhappiness that overshadow you...
Take you in my arms...
And forever bask in your sunshine

12th grader
Auburn Hills, Michigan
Untitled 21

Traveling alone,
A single soul
Lost at sea.
Searching for a path
Leading home
Wherever it may be.
Broken hearts,
Shattered dreams
Continue as I walk alone.
A shadow appears
As I fall
Into arms unknown.
My strength is gone.
Yet faith arrives
With my journey's end.
What was one
Now is two
For I have found a friend.

10th grader
Beloit, WI, U.S.A.
I am 16 years old and have been writing poems and stories for as long as I remember.  Poetry is a way for me to release any feelings I have that I feel like I can't talk about.  I've always found it easier to write things down rather than talk about them and poetry is my way of solving some of my simplest to most difficult problems.
Untitled 22

There you are
the only door
but you're locked shut
You're spinning fast
rejecting my scream
my cry for something beyond normality
and now recognition is too far for you
Who took over your heart?

Convenience pushes feelings aside
to the dusty library shelf
neglected and forgotten
held up by an unstable wall of logic
well you don't have to shout the answers anymore
because I heard you yesterday

The pastels are bleeding putrid colors
My canvas eyes are ripped at the seams
Thread me back together
This muzzle is getting snug
These lips are paralyzed


This sweet melody is burning up
The gray ash stains my skin
The stairs are floating higher
but I'm afraid of heights
Allow the tears of crimson to fall
because I don't want congealer

10th grader
Springfield, Vermont, USA
I am a singing, laughing, free-spirit with lots to say. I appreciate the hills, the sky and everything around me. My home is Vermont and I love it here.

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