Friday, May 22, 2015

"All a Dream" by Cadence Sinclair

It was just another day. Another Tuesday was passing as casually as a spring rain shower, the ones that last no more than a blink of an eye, the ones that sometimes you never even notice because they come and go so swiftly. This particular Tuesday was as unremarkable as any other, neither harmful nor harmless. Or so it seemed.

I was riding my bike along this wooded path in the late afternoon, deep enough in that the sun’s intense rays could only faintly penetrate, and I was oddly calm. I even began humming gently, nearly imperceptibly, feeling compelled by the serenity surrounding me and my pale blue bike. The pleasant airiness that coursed through my veins could have been pinned to a multitude of things, such as finally landing that highly coveted job at the movie theater, earning a halfway-decent midyear report card, and becoming an aunt to a beautiful baby named Alice, but in retrospect, it had mostly to do with this fuzzy but distinct premonition in my brain that something amazing would soon unfold.

Forward, forward, curve, curve: my legs propelled the bicycle along the path without any direction; they just somehow knew exactly where to go. I’d never traveled this route prior to then, so while my body surged deeper and deeper within the woods, my mind was blind to all sense of direction. Yet I never willed myself to halt and return to the familiarity of my neighborhood’s beloved Goodman’s Creek or the comforting busyness of the forest’s roadside outskirts. I was lured by an unspeakably powerful something- the problem was that this “something” was unknown to me at the time.

Forward, forward, curve, curve: my legs were aching and head was spinning. Suddenly I caught a glimpse of a grand, stunningly ornate house ahead to the right, exquisitely plagued with both abandonment and time’s wearing effects. Its neighbors were mere trees, but that wasn’t anything I’d ever complain about. Off of my bike immediately without any moment of fear or hesitation, I made a beeline straight to the rectangular hole that must have contained a door and peered into a house not truly empty but rather filled this eerie energy of endlessly preserved memories- everywhere, everywhere. But then those memories collided with the essence of me, purely, unmistakably me, in a mirror that hung above a grand piano with a crack straight down the middle. I faced the reflection head-on and the crack began to fuse together into an image that still ultimately bore a mightily heroic scar.

I realized that the most beautiful things are speckled with flaws, adorned with cracks, but then glossed over with a humble sense of confidence, gently thrumming a heartbeat that belongs not to any single person but to the universe in its mysterious entirety.

My body jolted to a disorienting start. I’d been sleeping. It was all a dream. The house was my past, the mirror was my present state of being, and the wooded path beyond the entrance was my sparkling, open-ended future.

"The Mark" by Adrenaline

The mark appeared five minutes ago. She was alone in her room, thankfully. She knew  that she was completely alone now. There was no one who she could trust. She put on a long  sleeve shirt to cover the mark, but it’s dark outline could still be seen under her thickest sweater.  She wrapped her arm in cloth, tried to apply makeup to it, nothing worked. She understood that  her time on earth was ending. 

Just that say she had gone to class. Laughed with her friends. Smiled in the hallway.  Worried about homework. “I’m only 15!” she thought, “I’m not supposed to die yet!” But the mark  on her arm was proof that she was wrong.

Years ago a horrifying creature descended to earth. He called himself the Grim Reaper.  He explained to the people of earth that there were too many people to manage anymore. If  they didn’t help him, then no one would die anymore, unless they were murdered. This sounded  good to the humans, at least until the Grim Reaper showed them what a future would be without  natural death. 

The overpopulated world would be made only of cities; no natural landmarks or history  memorial would be spared by the overbearing humans. Governments from every country would  desperately try to find a way to sustain the population uptake. They would try the hardest to  achieve life in space, but they would fail, and many many people would die in the process.  People would begin to starve in mass numbers, because the world cannot produce enough for  this amount of occupants. But death would not take them, because the grim reaper had made a  promise to not take their lives. There would be chaos. Pollution would be worse than ever with  factories trying to provide enough for everyone and the government having bigger problems to  deal with. The rain would turn to acid and the air would be poison. People would increasingly  want to die. The suicide­­self­murder­­ rate would skyrocket. 

The humans watched in horror at what the grim reaper had shown them. A future so  terrible, and they would be there to experience it. They begged the hideous creature to save  them. The creature had not come unprepared. He offered a solution. “When it is time for  someone to die, I will leave a mark on their arm. It will be able to be seen through any layer of  clothing, makeup, or tattoos. not even the removal of the skin will hide the mark. However, once  I place the mark on them, the other humans must kill them. It doesn’t matter if the person is a  world leader, a man of peace, a pop star, or a nobody. The person must be killed.” His last  words echoed as the world leaders who were called to make the deal stayed silent. The calm,  grumbly, but powerful voice started again. “Millions of people should be dead now. We are  wasting time. What is your decision?” “We will take the deal” stated the North Korean Dictator.  “As will we” said the president of the United States of America. The rest of the leaders  agreed too, never wanting their future to be that the Grim Reaper had just shown them. After the  last world leader agreed, the Grim Reaper was gone. 

Annabelle sat down and cried on her bed. How she loved her bed with the pink and  white checkered bed spread. The pictures she had taken lined her wall. A painting from when  she was in the first grade still hung, framed above her desk. She thought about  Julie, her best  friend, Sammie, her sister, Jacob, her crush. Annabelle thought about her mom and her dad,  and how much they loved her. She eventually realized that there was no other option. Now was  her time. She took a deep breath, and stepped out of her room.

Friday, May 15, 2015

"National Breakfast Day" by William Shakespeare

To my fellow Americans,
I propose to you… National Breakfast Day, a whole day where all the foods eaten are only breakfast items.  Pancakes, waffles, cereal, eggs, fruit, yogurt; every meal is dedicated to the delectable foods we eat in the morning.   I want people to know how important breakfast is, that it’s the most important meal of the day.  I just want to emphasize the greatness of breakfast and the impact it can have on a person.  After all, a big, hearty breakfast is the key to a great day.  Scheduled right before the school year, this holiday would happen annually.  This holiday is to let students and even adults know the importance of having a breakfast before starting their day.  In 2011, it was reported that a whopping 31 million Americans skip breakfast every day and I’m proposing this holiday to decrease that number.  A common excuse for skipping breakfast is the little time people have in the mornings, but if people knew all the health benefits of eating a hearty breakfast, they would surely find time in their schedule.  A nice healthy breakfast has the benefits of energizing people and getting them ready for the day, supplying many nutrients, and increase brain activity in people.  And, if that isn’t enough to convince people, maybe hearing the health risks from not eating breakfast will persuade them.  By not eating breakfast, people have no energy and are less productive; it can also bring health risks such as obesity in children, and can bring increased heart rate, body mass index, and a chance for diabetes.  Though the need for everyone to eat breakfast is important, it is especially important for young children and teens to be eating breakfast.  No doubt children are growing and I know that we wouldn’t want to impair their growth because they don’t eat breakfast, so why not show them how important it is.  This proposal isn’t asking for much, just to glorify the importance of breakfast and the foods it comes with.  Hopefully, if National Breakfast Day is enacted, it will live on to keep people healthy and teach the importance of breakfast.
Your fellow American,

William Shakespeare

"The AP Test" by Lavender Li

Welcome to your first AP test. I will be your proctor. Don’t be nervous; you have just been preparing the entire year for this three hour block. I hope all of you are well. Listen carefully to these instructions. If you do not obey each and every one, you will be disqualified.

Did you eat something? If you did, great. You are going to be well nourished and ready to take the test. Your brain needs food to function properly.  If you did not, great. There is less of a chance of throwing up and disrupting the testing environment.

Do you have all your pencils? They must be yellow, number two pencils. No, not that shade of yellow, the other shade. You are disqualified. No, not a number one pencil, only number two. You are disqualified. It is important to have the right pencils to complete this test. Us AP people are very specific.

Did you put your phone in your locker? I hope you did because phones are a very serious testing violation. If you are found with a phone, the entire room will be disqualified. Do not be that person. If that happens, everyone sitting in this very gym will hate you because their tests will not be accepted.  

Do you have your pens for the essays? You may only use blue or black ink. Do not switch the colors in your essays. Do not even think about using a red pen. If your pen runs out of ink halfway through the test, I hope you have another one. If not, there is nothing I can do for you. Your test is over.  

Do you have your photo i.d.? A driver's license will suffice. I hope your pictures are good. If we cannot tell the picture is you, you will be disqualified. I’m sorry, rules are rules. A proctor will be around shortly to examine your ID. Have it out on your table.  

Did you learn anything this year? Was your teacher good? Do you even remember a minute of the class? This late in the year, I cannot do anything for you; it’s all on you. All the hours, days, and months have led up to this very moment. My only piece of advice; don’t screw up and when in doubt, pick “C”.

At this point, you may open your test booklet and silently freak out. Do not cry as that would disrupt the testing environment. Be sure to fully bubble in your answer and keep an eye on the clock. You will not be permitted any more time. Breathe in and out as you pick up your pencil and you may begin.

Friday, May 8, 2015

"Oceanic" by Mercedes Benz

Neck-deep in homework, my energy had been drained entirely. Instead of soaking into the blueness of the situation, I decided to dive into a refreshing novel at the library. Completely swimming with knowledge, the library is full to the brim with students. Casts of crabby characters, shivers of sharkish souls, and a vast assortment of pretty birds float about the cool room. After coasting in along with the waves of teenagers, I find a fishy situation. Upon the coral reef shelves, there rests a lack of fictional troves. Utterly shipwrecked, I collapse into a soft bed of cushions. Nearby, the top predators of the school, the librarian and an administrator, whisper words of suspicion. The keeper of such treasures, had sandy blonde hair and dark blue eyes. The other was the king of our school. Nobody had ever even thought of attacking this marauder of criminals, let alone manta-raid his treasures. Feeling a tad out of my depth, I left the cavern, drowning in a whirlpool of disappointment. I sailed through the hallway, weaving between the teeming wildlife until I spotted a familiar face with a watery complexion. Floundering and as winded as a fish-out-of-water, he relayed to me a spectacular sight. The valley of sports had been torn apart by an aggressive lion fish. The pirates had lit the soft bed of land with a volcanic eruption, creating a murky blaze of light. 

"GFL" by Victoria Lemmings

I suppose I’ve always been sort of a feminist. Even when I was in elementary school, I’ve always wholeheartedly believed that anything boys can do, girls are perfectly capable of doing, too (and usually, girls can do it even better). In fact, nothing frustrated me more than in fourth grade, when I was told I couldn’t play with the guys in their football game at recess. They played every single day, and I always watched and observed the plays they ran. Now, I was no stranger to football. My dad taught me how to throw a wicked spiral, and I often threw around the ball with my brothers in our backyard. I could throw, I could catch, and I could sprint pretty fast. I watched the Redskins on TV all the time so I knew all the rules and positions. However, when I asked the boys in my class if I could play with them, they laughed and said no.

This made me furious. They hadn’t even seen me play; they just refused because it would be weird for a girl to play with them. Not only was I angry, but I was also hurt, because I was friends with many of the boys in my class, and I expected them to treat me as an equal with respect. So I did the only thing that I could think of- I created my own football league for recess play. It was called GFL, the Girls Football League.

I recruited girls in my class whom I thought would be a good addition to the GFL. I organized the group into two teams for scrimmages, assigned people positions, and made up plays for the girls to follow. We practiced for weeks. I must admit, I didn’t have much talent to work with, and at first it was nearly impossible to execute a simple pass to one of our wide receivers. Despite our rocky skills, I had a blast proving to my classmates and to myself that girls could play football if they wanted. We actually got much better with time; by our final few days, we scored multiple touchdowns per practice by throwing passes and running the ball.

After a month of solid practicing and scrimmaging during our thirty minutes allotted for recess, we decided that we were ready for the big leagues- we were ready to play against the boys’ team. I’ll spare the details on the actual match (it wasn’t the best game ever, and we lost by about 30 points), but I will say that it was an empowering experience. Though we were less skilled compared to the boys’ team, just the fact that we were trying and holding our own was the most important thing for me. I scored a touchdown, which was a real “in your face” moment to the boys who wouldn’t let me play with them before. Through GFL, I realized that I am proud to be a girl, and despite the inequality we may face on the playground or out in the “real world”, I am happy to prove the incredible capabilities of females.

Friday, May 1, 2015

"Road Patrol" by William Shakespeare

In the year 2052, the god of darkness, Tenebris, came down to earth and poisoned the night. He cursed the world by making darkness a physical appearance; he wanted to take over the world and put it into eternal night. His main goal was to isolate the cities and take over earth one city at a time, his only problem was it had to be done at nighttime. Tenebris made darkness deadly to the touch, one moment of contact and an innocent person would be completely consumed by the blackness that the dark brought with it. His soul would be ripped from his body, consumed by darkness, only leaving the body that whose insides were turned completely black. Society went into a frenzy, freaking out and rushing into the brightly lit cities such as New York and London. Humanity crowded roads and created days of traffic to enter into cities. As nighttime came, lampposts located on the streets were too weak compared to the power Tenebris gave darkness. Darkness swept over roads and highways, easily burning out the lamppost lights. Millions of people died on their journey to survival, only bodies left as evidence. While people were rushing into the cities, political leaders and scientists started producing new and powerful LED lights that shine all through the night and managed to keep darkness out of the cities. Once in the cities, people never left; they stayed within the safety of their home and rarely went out except for food and work. The government began to worry, knowing without travel the economy of the world would be seriously hurt. So, they began to construct lights that would make it safe for travel. The newly built roads had beaming LED lights located every twenty feet and high power generators to keep the lights on all through the night. But, to ensure that the roads are safe, there has to be someone to monitor it.

They’re called road patrol. Their job is to patrol the highways and make sure the lights are all in order. It may not seem like a big task, but the image of the lights going while people are driving can create fear amongst drivers. Ever since the invention of road patrol, they’ve never experienced a problem in all their years of service. The workers are equipped with light up vests, pants, shoes, and hats. If the lights were to go out, it assures them enough time to get the emergency lights running before darkness completely consumes the drivers. Road patrol has made their message very clear that their main concern is keeping the public safe. They put their lives at risk every day and constantly look for any signs of danger. Road patrol may not be as popular as the president, but they’re a vital part to society. They’re like the security blanket for children; they ensure that nothing will go wrong while they’re out on the roads doing their jobs.