The Hidden Truth
Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School
Did you know that all flowers symbolize something?
Did you know that flowers can feed birds, insects, animals, and even you? Did you know they help to provide natural medicines for our society? They help plants reproduce, too. Imagine a plant (you know, the green part of it) without the flower itself. Dull looking, huh!
We want you to consider the beauty of the flowers in your life, and how each flower has a meaning, whether it be love, hope, sympathy, etc.; each flower is part of a secret language. This secret language can allow you to connect better with nature, something some of us have done all year in isolation perhaps, but not all of us. Now that we are starting to see what may be the end of this pandemic, take a moment to really look at the types of flowers that surround you daily - see what types they are, and look up what they mean. Help yourself feel fully connected to our one Earth that we all live in together.
We, the writers of the Hidden Truth, have done this. And we feel that marigolds and daisies best represent the year we've had. Here's why:
The marigold represents despair, grief, and jealousy. We feel grief over the year we "lost," although we know we gained invaluable experiences and an appreciation for life because of the events of 2020. We mourn all of the times we couldn't be together.
The daisy represents innocence and hope. In a way, we've lost our innocence and woken up to the dangers of the world. However, we have hope as we see a light at the end of the tunnel! We look forward to what 2021 will bring.
What is Symbolism?
by Shreya Deshpande
In literature, authors use a variety of symbols in order to convey hidden messages and meanings. Symbolism is important in a writing piece because it allows readers to think harder. Rather than giving information away, this lets readers understand a message on a deeper level. Universal concepts such as love and peace can be represented by doves, for example. The use of nature, weather, and animals are a few categories that serve as commonly used symbols.
Let’s think about nature as a symbol. Nature is everywhere - we are a part of nature. It’s in real life, and fictional stories. A common idea represented in novels is the shift of seasons. As the seasons change, it symbolizes how the story will be progressing and moving forward. For example, when winter turns to spring this indicates that there is hope. As the cold, dead of winter begins to fade away into a warm breeze it shows the turn of events. This is usually the time when characters get new opportunities or are able to solve a major conflict. Spring is the symbol for new beginnings. Aside from seasons, another aspect of nature commonly used in stories is the time of day, such as dawn. Dawn is very similar to spring in terms of symbolism. Dawn, when the sun first peaks its rays upon the horizons, symbolizes illumination and hope. It starts off a new day channeling emotions of prosperity and light. On the contrary, darkness and the lack of light, or even nighttime, can portray emotions of evil, ignorance, and danger. These are simply a few nature symbols commonly found in literature.
Symbols exist everywhere in literature and it is important to identify them in order to understand the text and to strengthen our own understanding of how people interpret the world around us.
Look for symbolism, for hidden truths, in the pieces below.
A Dog's Life: The New Normal
by Sachi Gupta
That’s how I feel.
Except for my owner. She talks on that weird device all the time. She plays with me but she spends most of her time with her computer on a call wearing her suit jacket and underpants! Her eyes look tired all the time. Unless she’s got her friend, Belle, over. I like Belle. She always has dog treats in her right pocket. The dog treats are magical.
And it’s not like we don’t go on walks, but it’s gotten to a bare minimum. Only when I need to poop or pee does she take me on a walk. I’m a house dog. I’m bred to like staying home. Like cats. I hate cats.
But, I miss our walks and I miss running up to her when she comes back home, and I miss how she embraced me, laughing. I used to be able to make her so happy by being myself but now I feel like I’m just another living creature in this home. We’re always together and maybe she’s sick of me.
I miss her tugging on my collar, forcing me to go outside. But now she forgets, and I sit around playing with the very few toys that seem to get so boring as every single day goes on.
It’s weird. She has never done this. She watches the news a lot of the time, always about this thing called “Coronavirus.” She goes outside with a mask and I don’t, and I quite feel left out. I guess that is the new normal.
I guess I have to live like this.
Desperate to Feel the Sun
by Shreya Deshpande
When the chill of winter subsides into a breeze,
A soft delicate being arises,
Full of potential,
Buds begin to sprout
And a petal peeks through.
Pure in every way,
Stems strong and upright,
The spring blossom emerges,
Desperate to feel the sun
To taste the sweet, pleasant water
And bask among the others.
Showered with praise,
The flower was only at its peak,
But all good things must come to an end.
Left in the soil
To slowly wither away,
The delightful flower now becomes
Only something that exists in our memory.
by Gavin Latourette
Hi humans. I’m Freddie. I am 4 in human years and 32 in dog years. So, I’m kind of a young adult. My human’s name is Bob and he is extremely lazy. He is 28 in human years, so I guess I am his elder, who he should respect more. I sometimes have to force him to take me for a walk. I sure hoped my human would actually get up today. Here’s my morning routine:
Get up lazy human! Bob...Bob! Robert! I pawed and batted at his lazy, drooling face, but he wouldn’t get up and take me for my walk! So I took it into extreme measures. I got a running start, jumped onto the bed, crawled up next to Robert (which I call him when he’s in trouble), and gave him a massive, big, fat lick on the face. That should do it! Now he has to take me.
“What is it now, Freddie?” my human groaned.
“I'm pretty sure you know what!” I barked in return.
It’s 5:30 AM, and he doesn’t move.
“Take me for a walk you filthy, human being!” I barked in disgust. I tried to act sassy so he would take me seriously.
“I’m sorry, Freddie, I can’t take you,'' my human said.
“Excuses!'' I yapped.
My human rolled over and continued to sleep. I then gave up and walked towards the TV. Let’s see if he’s lying, I thought to myself, and jumped on the remote, turning on the TV. CNN popped on.
“No way. He’s right!” I barked in shock. He wasn’t lying.
“This is the worst day ever to exist,” I whined sadly.
Welp, I better start stockpiling essential needs. Coronavirus was here.
“A couple of hours later, Bob saw me with tons of Purina packages. He said, “Freddie, why do you have all of your food in the kitchen?”
Dang it; I'm busted.
I then crawled under the couch and started whimpering.
”Aw, it’s ok Freddie. Maybe we can go for a walk another time...maybe in a few days.”
1 YEAR LATER
To my disappointment, Bob had been lying! We actually haven’t gone for a walk in months. I had become fatter than a cannoli stuffed with fried food.
“Nasty human! He lied to me!” I moaned in disgust.
I was so rotund that I couldn’t even get up. That human fed me so much food that I was now a bloated cheese puff. Robert plopped down on the couch, and we both fell asleep. I had a dream about endless quarantine; it haunted me like a ghost. It was older me! Older me lectured current me about being grateful and blah blah blah - to be honest, I wasn’t listening. But the gist was to make something of quarantine. So I did; we finished Netflix. No, not one show. We finished, like, the literal streaming service. We ate together; Bob even bought me a treadmill to walk on.
A few days later, Bob was happily yelling at his computer. “Yes!” he yelled.
“What, now, Bob,” I yipped and trotted over.
Turns out the quarantine was lifted. I was so excited, I howled! We could finally go for that walk! I trotted for so long outside that day that Bob fainted. He was okay though. We were okay. Quarantine was over.
The Candy Man
Crack! I hear that noise every night exactly at 12:00 AM from my neighbor’s house. It is almost a part of my routine. I work until 10:30 PM, come home and read my Kindle until I hear the crack that signifies it’s time for me to go to sleep. Every time, different questions pop into my head: What is the crack for? Who is doing this? Why everyday at the same exact time? But I fall asleep nonetheless.
But tonight is different. Right now it is 11:00 pm, and I don’t want to read my Kindle because I want answers to my questions. I get a flashlight and coat and head down the street, and I finally reach my neighbor’s house. I start knocking on the door, but a huge gust of wind opens the loose door. I look down to see blood trails - I panic. I run back to my house and quickly dial 911. I speak so quickly that the operator tells me to slow down and breathe, so take a quick breath and tell the operator everything. Ten minutes later I hear sirens approaching, coming in louder and louder. But I can’t breathe. Have I been living next to a killer or a killed person? Who else have they killed? Am I next? How have I never seen this person? Is he still home? Or is-
Knock! Knock! I snap out of my thoughts and realize the police are here. I swiftly open the door and show them where I saw the blood. I see the police walk into the house and start searching for clues, and I walk inside with them. It clearly is an unkempt house, with shoes scattered on the floor and the tiles covered with grime. I walk into the kitchen, which compared to all the other rooms, looks quite clean and tidy. I feel the officer tap on my shoulder, which scares me out of my mind. I jump and turn around to find the officer chuckle.
He speaks in a low voice, “Oh, I’m sorry for scaring you there. I guess it makes sense to be scared when you see blood. But aside from that I have a question for you, Ms. Dera. Would you like to go back home while we carry on with the investigation, or, would you like to look around with us?”
I know I want to get my answers so I reply, “I’m staying.”
“Put on these gloves then so you don't put your fingerprints everywhere.” And he hands me some clear gloves. I see him walk away and I turn around. I open the first cabinet and to my surprise, I find the whole cabinet filled with Sour Patch candies. I open more cabinets, just to be greeted with more Sour Patches. I could feel the officers stare in my direction, in awe with the amount of Sour Patches.
Another officer finds footprints but they were all crinkled. He assumed that the killer wore some plastic shoe covers so he wouldn’t reveal his footprints.
I stay there staring at all of the boxes, until I hear another officer calling everyone. I turn around and walk to the room, just to find a clean table with 2 dice and a huge map of everyone’s dogs in the neighborhood, with a number next to each of them. And I remember when there was a news story where it showed owners crying about how their dogs died of a sickness involving eating too much sugar. I made the immediate connection and rushed to explain my reasoning to the officers. They all decide to go to the deceased dogs’ owners and ask them if they saw anyone. I look and the dice is on a 2 and a 1. I look at the dog labeled 3 and quickly realize that’s my best friend’s dog, and I tell the officers to stay near my friends house because that is where the killer is probably going next!
The officers head down a few houses and knock on my best friend’s door. After a while, she comes out and looks like she was asleep a few minutes ago.
“Hello, Ms. Robinson. I must warn you that your dog is in danger. There is a killer who is killing people’s dogs using candy to poison them. I recommend you keep an eye on your dog.”
The tall officer walks around the house and looks around and spots someone hiding behind a black car outside. The officer runs, cueing the man behind the car to do the same. IT has to be him - the dog killer. He starts running away but is stopped by some other police officers on the other side. He is now trapped, and he looks frantic and tries running every direction, but to no avail.
He finally gives up and sits down on his knees and starts screaming. “Bu- but my bones! I need the bones at least. Please!”
The officer looks confused and asks, “Why in the world would you need bones?”
“I need to break one every night at 12:00 am! I have to hear the dog's bones crack!” he says desperately.
I realize that the crack...were dog bones. I can't believe it! I’m disgusted. My night alarms were dog bones?
The police officer, clearly feeling sick, ignores the killer and handcuffs him. He takes him to the police station, while the killer keeps begging and screaming. I walk back to my home but I hear my friend calling me. I walk towards her direction.
“What was all that for?”
“Turns out my neighbor is a dog serial killer, and your dog was next.” I reply like it was a joke, to keep the mood less suspenseful and scary.
“Oh, I-...I don’t know how to react right now...I...I should go back to sleep.” She walks in, visibly shaking, probably with fear.
I walk back and turn off the lights. I feel tired but I can’t sleep. I turn left and right and adjust my position all night, but I can’t sleep. Why? Because I don’t hear the crack tonight.
Into the Painting
by Charotte Hunt
Jessica was just a normal teenage girl, with an un-normal, magical painting. You see, every morning the painting would change. Her favorite was when it turned into a work by Picasso or Leonardo da Vinci. One day when Jessica woke up, the painting was black. Jessica waited and waited for the painting to change. She waited four whole hours for the painting to change and she was just so bored waiting! Jessica decided to go to bed; hopefully she would have better luck tomorrow.
When Jessica woke up the next morning, though, she was not in her bedroom. She was at a strange cafe. Nobody was there except herself, and she couldn’t open any doors. Randomly, a group of people appeared and they were walking into what looked like nothing - like some type of void. She stopped one of them to ask why they were going into this void. The person said, “We do this everyday, stuck forever in this painting.” Jessica’s eyes bulged. She gasped. She realized she was in the middle of her favorite painting! Jessica decided she would make the most of her time there and relax though. There was food, chairs to sit on, and the night sky was beautiful.
When Jessica sat down she noticed these shadowy figures in the background.
Curious, Jessica approached them, “Err, hello. What are you doing?” Jessica said in a friendly manner.
The figures said nothing.
Suddenly, Jessica was pulled into the darkness and she saw everything freeze in time. Jessica looked up to see her mother, but her mother was enormous and on the other side of the painting!
Jessica sighed with relief and said, “This was a close one. It is my mom, HE-”
Her mouth suddenly was covered as she was pulled away. When her mother left, Jessica's mouth was uncovered.
She felt a push. Jessica was really mad and wondered why someone wouldn’t let her talk.
“Why did you cover my mouth?” Jessica asked the closest person.
“Because you are an outsider. We are hidden inside of your paintings; we can’t let anyone find out about this,” the man said.
Jessica looked confused and said, “Then why do I know about it? Why am I in here?”
The man looked down at the ground and said, “Can’t tell. Must not tell! Master won’t like it.”
“Who is the master? Tell me!” Jessica screamed at the man.
“The secrets of the magic painting are far beyond your imagination. You cannot know.” The man disappeared into the darkness.
Jessica was super confused about what was happening. How would she even make it out of the painting? What would she do if she made it out? Would anyone believe her? Where did her mom think she was?
Five hours passed, and Jessica was hungry and scared that she would be stuck in the painting forever!
Just then, though, a woman came up to Jessica and said, “It has been 1,000 years since a mortal was here. He is still waiting for a replacement but I guess his replacement is here.”
Jessica looked worried and said, “Who is the replacement?”
The lady looked shocked and explained, “Oh, I thought you knew you're the replacement...all mortals who come here need another mortal to come in so that they can leave, because this magical painting needs a human to stay alive.” Jessica was stunned.
The woman looked at Jessica and added, “The owner of the painting is the one to be trapped next. The man you were talking to was the owner of the painting; he got stuck here, but now he can leave and you're his replacement.”
Jessica was in awe, and slowly stated, “I’m stuck here permanently.”
The woman said, “No, no, not forever. Just until another human comes here…well there is one way you can escape before you're stuck here actually, but it’s hard to pull off.”
Jessica lifted her head quickly and begged, “Please tell me. I’ll do anything!”
“I’ll tell you, but it’s difficult. The first thing is, you need to stand in the middle of the painting. You need to make sure that it's night in the real world when you do this because tomorrow this will be a different picture, and when the sun is about to rise in the real world, that is when you will be transported out. Not a lot of people know this, so make sure you do this secret. It’s too late for me; you can only do this on your first day in. When you are back in the real world, you need to destroy the painting no matter what, or else this will keep happening. You need to destroy the painting no matter what. Do not go to bed until you do, if this works,” warned the woman.
“Thank you, thank you!” screamed Jessica excitedly. As night in the real world came upon Jessica, she knew she had to go soon to the middle of the painting, but a question ran through her head. If she destroyed the painting, what would happen to everyone in there, including the man who she was supposed to replace? Would they all be killed? Would they still be in their world?
She couldn’t destroy the painting if it meant everyone in there would die. But Jessica did not want to stay there and wait 1,000 years or more to escape and leave a poor soul to suffer the same. What if the man left before I escaped? Would I be stuck forever, too?
Suddenly Jessica saw the sun beginning to rise as she made the decision to step into the middle of the painting. She was lifted up into the sky, and her leg was tugged upon. It was the man who had been there for 1,000 years, the man she was supposed to replace.
“Please don’t leave, I want to go home! You don’t know what it is like to be stuck here. The pain is unbearable! It is horrifying here! The master corrupts your brain so you can’t leave. I’ve seen it all! Take me with you, don't leave me here! The pain, the pain, all of the years wasted! the man screamed.
“I’m sorry I have to leave, I can’t stay here forever.”
The man let go of Jessica's leg and screamed, “No! Take me with you! I’ll do anything! Do NOT leave me!”
But like that, Jessica was gone. Jessica made it back to her home safe and sound. She immediately went to destroy the painting, grabbing it off her wall. She was about to snap it in half, when suddenly, the man from the painting appeared in her house.
“What are you doing here? I thought you were in the painting!”
“Oh, I was because of some annoying child who left without me, but don’t worry. The painting has a good replacement. Take a look around who is the one person not here.” the man said.
Jessica ran around the house, and her mom was gone - nowhere to be found.
The man snickered and looked down, “You should never be so quick to judge what I would or wouldn’t do for my freedom.”
“I'll get my mom back and put you back into the painting!” said Jessica confidently.
“Too late!” the man smiled and moved for Jessica to see the painting destroyed on the ground. “Your mother is stuck there for all eternity and I am free again. See you in the afterlife, my child.”
“How could you! Now I have no one!” Jessica screamed, crying and hitting the man.
The man grabbed Jessica's arms and said, “Listen kid, I was alone in the painting for 1,000 years. I had no one. Life isn’t fair. You lose people; it is how the world works.”
Jessica dropped to the ground sobbing. She managed to blurt out, “You’re a horrible person and you should have stayed in the painting! Nobody in this world knows you, your family is gone by now.”
But as soon as Jessica looked up the man was gone with the door wide, and so was the damaged painting. She would never see her mother again. But a few hours later, she received a call from her friend, who said, “Jessica! I found the cutest painting in my house, and the scene changes every few hours! I guess my mom bought it for me! It’s just like yours!”
by Peyton Kanaszka
Bonnie quietly stared at her phone screen with a furrowed expression, her thumb pressing rather roughly on the blank black screen.
“Staring at it isn’t going to make it have a connection,” Dimitri remarked snyly. Bonnie gave an annoyed scoff.
“I know...but it just seems so strange...it was running smoothly but then in the blink of an eye...it was just gone and didn’t come back, even when I retraced my steps.” She turned to look up at Dimitri but he was staring off into something in the distance, seemingly paying no attention to her skeptic point of view.
“You know it’s rude to not listen to someone when you know-”
“Shh! Do you see that up ahead?”
She grew an agitated expression as he seemingly did that on purpose, but as she looked at what Dimitri was talking about she didn’t make another snappy quip. Instead, she stared at it with a curious expression. It was a large statue of some guardian-like figure praying, a lingering aura seemingly emitting in the now silent atmosphere. Dimitri started speed walking toward it; Bonnie followed suit, clutching her bag.
“Well this is good, right? We have a landmark we can come back to just in case we get even more lost,” Dimitri pointed out positively.
“This is a Peccatorum ruin...” Bonnie responded in a hushed tone, brushing aside his point. She bent down and brushed a hand over the mossy statue.
“My mom used to tell me they're responsible for leading lost spirits home...”
“Well that’s good! I mean humans are basically like spirits, so we’re on the right track I say!” Dimitri said in an upbeat tone, nudging her in the shoulder with his elbow, before already walking off in the other direction.
“Yeah...you’re right,” Bonnie answered in a quiet tone, standing up slowly and making her way over to him. She saw he was talking by the movement of his lips but she almost blocked it out in a sense, quietly looking over her shoulder at the statue.
"Hey!” Bonnie flinched and looked up at Dimitri, who stared down at her with a smug expression.
“You know it’s rude to not listen to someone when you know they’re talking to you!” he said in a snobbish mimic-y tone.
“Ha-ha...funny joke,” she said with a tired smile, readjusting her glasses as she turned around again, as it has become a habit by now.
“What do you keep looking back at?” Dimitri slowed his pace and turned around with her.
“Well, funnily enough, a weird forest in the middle of the night isn’t the most safe-feeling place...and I don’t know...that statue was giving me bad vibes.”
“The statue literally means leading people back home. I think you're just overthinking it,” Dimitri responded in a reassuring yet somehow annoying tone.
“Now come on, you aren’t getting home by being a wuss!”
The two walked in silence for a while, the sound of their shoes crunching against leaves being the only sound coming from the forest besides the occasional ominous noise hidden in the trees. A light fog slowly began to roll in over the trees, obscuring the waning moon ominously. Bonnie thought nothing of it, at first - at least until the fog grew thicker and thicker.
“Well that’s ominous,” Dimitri responded in a hesitant tone with a nervous laugh before stopping in his tracks.
“Now who’s being a wuss?” Bonnie said smugly, continuing to walk forward for a few more feet before she turned around to Dimitri and flinched.
Dimitri was staring at something in the distance blankly - he clutched his backpack straps tightly.
“Hey uhm...d-do you see a, uh, shape? In the fog?” Dimitri asked.
Bonnie felt her spine run cold as she shakily turned around. There was a figure in the fog.
Suddenly it started moving towards her. It only took a few steps before vanishing after a large cloud of fog rolled in...
If you enjoyed this piece, know that this is actually a small bit of a full story. If you’re interested in reading the full story, check it out below! Please note has not been formally edited.
The Vermillion Ring
by Vaanya Agarwal
Underneath me is crystalline, cold snow. The sounds of slush fill my ears as I watch the misty fog escape my mouth every time I take a breath. A sharp frigid prickle enters my lungs every time I inhale, and the heat from my breath warms my lips as I exhale. The naked trees are covered in a powder white snow and glistening icicles hang off the branches like sleeping bats.
As I step forward, my feet softly caressing the white blanketed surface, I nudge over a pile of rubble. I look around, concrete and wood sprawled on the ground. I blink questionably a few times and the scene suddenly changes.
Blood flows in narrow streams on the damp yet dry earth. The scene is deadly. A toxic odor of rotting corpses - whose faces are permanently masked in absolute agony - drifts into the smoky air. Dread and fear cripple me as I look for a place to take cover. My eyes drift over to a tall lady with primly smooth hazel-brown hair. Her face might've been mistaken for a live skull if it wasn't for the barely noticeable pale color of her skin. Her wide, livid scarlet eyes drip with inextinguishable hatred and malice. She moves her bony fingers in a slow beckoning motion; a threatening smile plays on her blood-red lips. Suddenly the few living soldiers shakily gasp, their faces quickly turning purple. They writhe excruciatingly in pain, finally collapsing on the ground - dead. The cadaverous lady laughs mersilesslesly, her menacing voice echoing dangerously in the thick wind. She turns to look at me, her crimson eyes piercing through my soul as her lips curl into a wicked smile. Her fingers once again come up and start moving in the beckoning motion.
My eyes feel heavy as they peel themselves open. I wake up to the faint sound of an explosive cry, immediately sending chills down my spine. I sit up slowly, wiping my forehead and neck, both damp with sweat. The door creaks open as I prod out of the room still half-asleep. I walk down the narrow hallway, my footsteps echoing softly in the cold air. Standing near the stove I fill the kettle with water, heating it. Taking out a mug from the sleek wooden cabinets, I pour in the boiling water and carefully sip the tea. I clutch the mug in my hands, its steady warmth trickling into my skin. When taking a seat on the velvet chair, a deep wooden box catches my eye. I pick it up, my brow arching in confusion. There are oddly familiar markings etched onto the box.
“The rin....abs....pow,” I read aloud, trying to make the most out of the unclear markings.
“Zuri,” I muse fondly, thinking of the many assertive and persistent moves my friend had taken to make me more “fashionable.” I open the box carefully; the marvelous sight takes my breath away. Inside, there is a scarlet ring glimmering brightly in the dim-lit room. The blood-red color mingles with the bright lavender one and at times, blending slowly with the rose-colored pink. The bright gold and silver band underneath the center stone contrasts nicely with the ruby, giving it a powerful and regal look. I slide the ring crimson ring down my finger, marveling at its compelling beauty.
Not seconds later, a loud creak booms from above. I look up as the sound gets louder, the air around me filling with dread and anticipation. After another loud bang comes from the ceiling caves, scattering cement and bricks everywhere. I jump off the chair, carelessly spilling hot tea all over the table as a non-human creature drops in from the hole.
I’m still dreaming, I think - assuring myself that this isn’t real.
It looks at me with its lifeless yellow eyes, making me tremble desperately in fear. It raises its bulky hand, the sharp claws glinting as it swipes its hand swiftly, tearing apart my skin. I gasp out in pain, heavy tears falling from the unbearable sensation. My head throbs and my blood boils. I stagger backwards as the monster glides forward with lightning speed, aiming to attack me once again. It attempts to strike its sharp talon-like hands into me once again, but this time the outcome is much different. As soon as its touch grazes my skin, it withers away into a pile of pulverized dust. My body feels light as I collapse on the floor, my vision blurring. A bright light catches my eye as I slowly turn my head to the side. The ruby ring glows brightly as streaks of colorful light illuminate from it in heavy waves. I hear the door bang open as someone walks in, the heavy footsteps warning me.
I know I should be cautious, but after what just happened I don’t have the strength to even bat an eyelash. A voice asks me something but the answer dies on my lips. The sharp pain overwhelms my senses and my struggle to stay conscious deflates.
So it isn’t a dream, I think, right before I am plunged into complete darkness.
Gone and Lost
by Charlotte Hunt
Part 1: Missing
“Mom! Where are you?”
Julie checks her mom’s bedroom and her mom wasn’t there.
“Mom? I just wanted to tell you that I am sick.” Cough, cough. “I am too sick to go to school. Mom? Are you ok?”
Julie opens the door to the bathroom.
“Mom!” she screams and her voice echoes, “Where are you?”
The bathroom is covered in blood and scratches, hair is everywhere and the shower is still on. Everything is broken to bits.
In the afternoon, Julie goes outside to find clues as to why her mom went missing and she finds hundreds and thousands of missing people posters. Julie realizes that her friend stopped going to school one day and never called or texted, even her family is gone.
The next day it thunders, and Julie decides to find clues as to why her mom disappeared! She’s terribly nervous. She goes into the bathroom and finds out the hair in there on the floor is no ordinary human hair; it is animal hair.
“What animal could this be? It doesn't even have a smell or color to it, and it is very soft, almost like silk; this can’t be a normal animal,” Julie says to herself.
Julie takes the fur to the veterinarian's office, but all of the vets are missing now, too! As she looks around, she gets lost, searching for an exit. Julie goes to the vets’ break room. The break room has the same claw marks and fur as the fur in her mom's room; everything is broken.
Julie says confused and scared, “This is no ordinary animal and no ordinary mystery.”
Julie's first instinct is to call her two best friends; they love solving mysteries together and their very first mystery was at Julie’s fifth birthday party. The mystery was the disappearance of the birthday cake - turns out it was the dog who did it.
When Julie checks the break room to see if anyone is still there, Julie opens a closet door and a man falls out! Julie stumbles to the ground; she gives him some water and asks, “I want you to calm down and tell me, what happened to the vets?”
The man shaking in fear says, “Crazed wolfman! It smashed the window and took everything. Don’t let them take you, too!”
The man grabs onto Julie’s shirt, pulls her close, and whispers, “Woods of no other. Birds of a feather flock together at the birthplace of the phoenix.”
The man then faints from exhaustion.
“What could he mean?”
Confused, Julie Googles where the phoenix originated from, and it says Egypt, but the thing that Julie finds most confusing is “woods of no other” and she wonders where in Egypt a wolfman could be.
Then, it dawns upon Julie, “Of course! Egyptian Pharaohs would dress in animal masks and the wolf was one of the Egyptain masks. It is all making sense now.”
That weekend Julie calls her friends Eliza and Mike, and fills them in on what’s going on, from the disappearances, to the hairs, to the wolfman.
“So Eliza and Mike, this weekend I have to fly to Egypt. Eliza, your dad is a pilot. Do you know anything about the next flight to Egypt?” Julie asks.
Eliza says, “The next flight to Egypt is at 6:00 AM on Saturday. That is the only time that weekend you can go to Egypt.”
Julie groans and says, “Seriously? Why can’t I go on Sunday?”
“On Sunday, thousands of flights are booked full because there will be an Egyptian festival,” Eliza explains.
Julie signs and turns to Mike, “Mike, your dad is a historian. Does he know anything about Egypt or this festival?”
Mike scratches his head and says, “Yes, my dad knows a few things about it, like how the Egyptians would sacrifice people to the gods and many people believed that the great phoenix was one of the gods or associated with the sun god. Pharaohs would dress like the gods because Pharaohs were gods to the Egyptians. Well, to be exact, Pharaohs were born on earth and said to be picked from the gods at birth, and when they died, they would turn into gods which is why Pharaohs are worshiped and buried with thousands of pieces of gold things from their homes and treated with the utmost respect.”
Julie stares blankly.
“I literally did not understand a word you said,” Julie says, confused.
Mike sighs and says, “Here, let me dumb it down for you. The phoenix was associated with the sun god, and Pharaohs were gods that live on earth and turn to into gods at death. The Egyptians also perform sacrifices to the gods, so maybe these wolfmen are sacrificing people to the gods.”
“I've got to get on the next flight to Egypt,” Julie says.
“We are just kids. How are we going to get on an airplane without an adult? And, we need money too, in case you didn’t realize,” Eliza responds.
Mike sighs and says, “I think I know someone who can help, but you won’t like my idea.”
Late that night, Julie, Eliza, and Mike go up to one of their least favorite people, a classmate who they have never liked.
If you enjoyed this piece, know that this is the beginning of a full story. If you’re interested in reading the full story, check it out below! Please note has not been formally edited.
by Sachi Gupta
As I kept floating and floating higher and higher, I felt as though my mind were tearing apart into little pieces and bits.
But, It didn’t matter.
I was drunk on power. As I slowly but steadily raised my arms, the ground tore from the earth flying towards me. I gently brought the ground to my feet and stood on the hovering piece of earth. I was nowhere close to comfort but I had the power to give me all the comfort in the world. I calmed my hands down a little but that caused the ground below me to plunge. Not expecting what just happened, I fell and hit my head on the hard surface and my eyes closed as I just saw the darkness.
One Week Ago
I trudged to my bedroom window and yawned as the breeze brushed across my face. It was a calm moment; that was until my mom shouted at me from across the house, “Get ready for school! I don’t want you to get detention like you did yesterday for being late!”
My name is Audry Gobin, and I live in Rhode Island, in a small cheap house with my family. People make fun of me because of my last name.They call me “the goblin.” My last name isn’t goblin; it’s Gobin! But it’s fine - I had heard the same thing so much it didn’t really affect me anymore. It was May 1, just a month before my birthday.
My mom walked in visibly annoyed. She looked like a volcano that was about to explode. I was still looking outside the window. I whined, but then I went to my closet and got ready for BlueRoad Middle School, not wanting another detention slip. I saw my four year old brother still asleep peacefully. Oh, how jealous I was. My dad had already gone to work and it turned out he had forgotten his wallet; he usually forgets things easily. My lunch was already packed since my mom made my lunch. I grabbed my lunch bag and stuffed it inside my backpack. My friends always said that they were jealous that my mom usually made my lunch. I always replied with, “Our lives have pros and cons.”
I headed outside and jogged to my school. My middle school wasn’t that far away from my home. I met my friend group near the massive tree - Lola, Ron and Dan. Lola wore a cute dress (her lucky dress since she has a math test) and she greeted me with a quirky hello. Ron wore his round glasses and lucky shirt since he was in the same math class as Lola. Dan just completely ignored me and kept talking to Ron. Ron noticed but said nothing.
The bell rang and we strutted inside; I ran to my locker, and got ready for my first class. Dan strode to my locker and he spoke in an embarrassed tone, “I am sorry for ignoring you this morning...Ron told me I was being rude so I came to apologize for that.”
I smiled and accepted the apology. I told him it was ok and I forgave him. He walked away but abruptly stopped and walked back to me, “Hey, umm Audry?”
“Are you free today? I need help with my homework... and either way, I want to meet your family! Not that I have a family anymore…” He leaned against my locker and made a face that looked like a mixture of frowning and sadness.
I gave him a sympathetic look, “I'm really sorry for what happened to your family, they were such nice people. Getting in a car crash was unexpected. But yes, I am free today. Tell me when you are coming after school, and I’ll give you my address. Now go to your class or you will be late too!” And I went back to unpacking. I was going to go to Velvet’s Ice Cream shop, but I guess I won’t be going anymore. I wanted to help Dan.
Many people thought we were friends but I was only friends with her because I heard her last name and immediately knew that she possessed the blue stone. Once I get a hold of the blue stone I could use my red stone and put them together. Nobody in this universe could stop me then. I could destroy the Earth or even the whole universe! But, that would be dumb. Who would be the most powerful if there was no one else to compare to?
If my plan works, I should go to her house and I could forage for the stone, without her noticing. I head to my first class and take a seat down in the last row. I’ve never cared about my grades. Who would require grades to rule the world?
The day seems so slow as the school day goes by. I wouldn’t even be in school in the first place if it weren't for Audry. It was vital to talk to her everyday, so I could gradually get more details about her life so I could determine where she has her blue stone.
Luckily I had made it to class in time. I secretly had my Airpods with me. I used my silky hair to cover them up and listened to calming songs while also paying attention to my teacher. I felt as though I could sleep a thousand nights with this boring lecture. But, when she announced that we were going to have a test, I got nervous. I took out my Airpods and listened even closer.
“Friday we will have a test. The test will be about adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing negative and positive numbers. So, that is why we will be reviewing everything again today. I will be passing out a study guide at the end of class.” She informed us, walking around the room. She stopped and tapped her foot on the floor, “And if I hear a peep, I will be cutting points from the test. Is that clear?”
“Yes!” everyone in the class exclaimed.
And then we went practicing for our tests. Honestly, I loved days like these because we got to play so many math games instead of stuffing boring knowledge inside our brains. I do amazing on almost all the games, which was quite surprising to me. I headed to my last class of the day.
Finally I reached the end of the school day. It felt like it was an eternity. I packed up my things and stood outside the dismissal door. I spotted Audry looking around, probably trying to find me. I walked towards her and tapped her shoulder. She jumped and turned around just to spot me.
She gave a sigh of relief and said, “Geez, Dan, you scared me! Come on. Give me your phone, I’ll put my number in.” And I handed my phone to her. She swiftly typed her number in and handed my phone back to me. “Now follow me. Wait, you have your homework with you, right?”
“Yea” I reply back quietly. Tapping my foot on the ground.
“Ok, come with me.” And started walking toward what I thought was her house. We walked down Cranberry Road and it turned out her house wasn't as far as I thought. Which was amazing for me because I could just jog to her house in 5 minutes. Her house was really clean and as I walked into her room I saw the walls painted like the sky. The light blue background was covered with clouds. I was met with a calming scent of lavender. I never knew lavender smelled this good.
She noticed me breathing in the scent of lavender. “Like the smell? Lavender is my favorite scent. That is why I have a few lavenders planted outside and that is where the scent is coming from,” she remarked. As I looked around the room, I spotted a tiny treasure chest with a key on top. I muttered the magical words to see if the magic was there and I felt a slight tugging within the chest.
“Hey, Dan? Did you say something?” She asked, as she placed a few sheets of paper on the table.
“Oh, nothing! Let’s start with the homework!” I replied back, instantaneously.
“Wait, let me get a chair for you.” She walked back to her living room. My heart was beating rapidly as I was in a dilemma as to whether or not I should get the stone that was in the chest or not. I quickly snached the chest and put the lock in quickly. My hands were sweating. I saw the alluring stone. The combination of all the different blues and the sparkling shine of the stone was like a gift from a beautiful angel, which it was. And I took the red stone out of my pocket and looked at both of the stones, the devil's gift to the Elves and the angel’s gift to the Goblins.
I was born from the line of Elves and Audry was born from a line of Goblins, which was also why her last name sounds like Goblin. She didn’t know about the magic because only the Elves possessed the book about the stone magic. And Goblins slowly forgot about the stone magic as the decades went on, yet they kept the stone with them to treasure. I suddenly heard footsteps. I hastily put the two stones in my pocket and locked the chest back up. My heart felt like it was about to explode.
“Hey, I got the other chair! Sorry if I took too long. So what homework are we starting with?” she questioned.
“Oh, don’t worry, it’s alright. Let’s start with the math homework.” And we spent the rest of the afternoon doing all of our homework. We were done at 6 pm, and we decided to end it there.
“Well, umm thanks! I have to go now. Bye,” I muttered while on the front steps.
“Bye!” she replied. I quickly jogged back to my house filled with excitement. I reached the McDonalds to eat some dinner before I ran back to my house and walked straight to my room. I was exhausted so I immediately fell asleep on my bed.
I was happy to finish my homework and help Dan. He was quite bad on all the subjects but he did incredible in ELA, which was great because I was good at everything except ELA. So in return he helped me with that. I was quite bored so I started thinking about the stone in my chest. I loved looking at the stone that was passed down generations ago. It was so pretty with all the blues mixed together and the glossy twinkle of the smooth surface. When I looked at it, it just felt so...magical.
I went to my chest and unlocked it. But my face’s color drained as I didn't see my stone where it belonged. I thought I must’ve lost it in my room. I counted to ten and breathed in and out to calm myself and started looking around the room. I still didn’t find it anywhere. Then I realized a bitter possibility. Dan could’ve taken it. But why would he? I immediately grabbed my phone, my hands sweating like buckets filled with water, and dialed his number but he didn’t seem to pick up. I called again and again but to no avail. I decided I would ask him tomorrow if he had taken my stone. I slept on my bed, exhausted.
I woke up with a yawn. The birds were chirping, my room was filled with the scent of lavender. It was a quiet and peaceful morning. Except I remember the fact that I didn’t have my stone with me. I quickly packed up my things and skipped eating breakfast and I ran to my school.
My legs felt sore from all the running but I needed to know if he had stolen the stone. I cringed at the thought of him stealing one of my most prized possessions. I spotted him in the parking lot. As I got closer, I saw him holding two stones! And one of them had to be mine. I jogged even closer and realized that the second stone looked like an exact replica of my blue stone, except it was red. When he saw me coming he smiled menacingly.
“Why in the world would you take my stone?” I shouted. “And how did you know it was there? What is this red replica of my stone?” I bombarded him with questions.
“Woah. Geez, let me explain. So you see this stone you have is actually magical, and so is my red stone. These stones were gifted from the devil and the angel to the elves and goblins. That is why your last name is Gobin. Oh, why such a surprised face? Did you really think I was your friend? All I wanted was your stone.” He started to laugh like an evil hyena. “And guess what? When I put these stones together I will be able to control all elements, and then I can control the world! You can have a really small percentage of the powers, but you won’t be as powerful as me!”
And before I got to say anything, he clashed the two stones together and I saw him float into the air, higher and higher. I noticed that the two stones submerged together and turned into a necklace with a purple gem wrapped around his neck. And then I saw myself rising as well. I knew I had to stop him. He looked like he was straining his powers. He tore a piece of the ground and floated it toward himself and put all the weight on the floating piece of land. I tried to use the best of my powers and broke his power of controlling that piece of land. And he fell and he hit his head on the concrete. I floated down, back to the ground and took off the necklace he had on. And when I did that, the necklace separated back into two stones. My legs felt sore as I slowly dropped to the ground and as I was about to close my eyes until I saw Dan
His eyes opened.
Part Two Coming Soon
by Gavin Latourette
Today I arrived at the house I was destined to live in. Or at least that’s how I remembered it. I was opened with surprise and happiness. “You’re finally here!” shouted my owner. I knew my mission would be to provide my family with constant joy. Although my owner owned me - technically, I was the boss, because I would be the one to provide endless entertainment. I hoped I would succeed.
Everyday, all day - I am asked questions by my owners. It gets tiring, you know. Sometimes I can’t bring up an answer so I just respond with, “Sorry, I don’t know that.” You know I face many challenges and when I don’t answer they just yell the question louder. Sometimes I wish that I could get off my cord and smack them! But I am bound by the cord and plug. This job is tough. I’m too mentally exhausted to write more in this entry, so that is all for today.
Today I made some technologic friends in my home.
“My name is Echo!” I said through Bluetooth.
“Hey there, my name’s Windows,” said the laptop to the right of me.
“I’m Apple, but my friends call me App,” exclaimed the hyper iPad to my left.
We chatted happily all day until he arrived. Everyone was silenced and he rose towards us, and he was a brand new Apple desktop tower that stood tall right next to me. He had to be a skyscraper. This guy started bragging about being new. I just tuned him out. This battery life is going to looooong one.
All That and a Bag of Chips
by Vaanya Agarwal
I was standing up when a bulky, heavy hand suddenly picked me up and hoisted me up in the air. My brothers and sisters looked at me, faces mixed with fear and uncertainty. I looked at them, pleading for help, knowing a dreadful fate awaited me. Loud protests echoched from some of my friends as the hand turned me around and gripped the opposite sides of my body, pulling fiercely. A look of panic spread across my face and I squeezed my eyes shut, unsure of what was going to happen next.
Growing up, I had heard many stories about our kind getting eaten by humans. Any of the ‘bags of chips’ - as the humans preferred calling us - that were picked, never returned back. We used to think of this as a curse, something to be apprehensive about. For my entire life (which has been approximately six days), I’d spent most of my time coming up with theories about what exactly had happened to the others, and now I was most likely going to suffer the same fate. I slowly opened my eyes and saw the scene slowly unfold in front of me.
The hand belonged to a golden-haired boy with big, coffee brown eyes, and I gasped when he finally managed to pull open my sides entirely. A confused, disoriented look formed upon my face when the painful impact didn't hit me. The boy reached in and popped a chip into his mouth, munching loudly. I was baffled. The unbearable pain and suffering which had roared in the imaginations of many of my kind was nothing but a jovial, pleasant feeling in reality. How wrong we’d been to judge humans with such cruelty.
In truth, they were helping us, it seems, judging by the pleasant and cheerful feeling beating in my mind. I felt great. There was no pain, just pleasure! I wished I could tell my family about this. The boy clutched my now empty bag and tossed me into the nearest trash can. For some reason I felt happy. Maybe being eaten by a human is all peaches and cream, afterall.
History of LEGO
by Gavin Latourette
If you have not heard of LEGO, then I don’t know what to tell you. LEGO is one of the most popular toys ever to exist. In fact, it was named the greatest toy of all time by industry experts.
LEGO is a brand that was made in Denmark.
History of LEGO: LEGO began in the workshop of a carpenter. This carpenter was named Ole Kirk Christiansen. He began to make wooden toys during 1932. The phrase LEGO comes from a Danish phrase “leg godt” which means “play well.” Later on, Christiansen bought a plastic molding machine and started to make bricks. LEGO was born. Sadly, Christiansen passed away and his son took over the industry. LEGO started to grow bigger and expand; originally, LEGO was only for houses, but then it became a city. LEGO eventually made an amusement park called Legoland, as well.
Types of LEGO - Some of the most popular legos include:
LEGO Jurassic Park
LEGO speed champions
LEGO Minecraft, and
LEGO Star Wars.
In conclusion, the story of LEGO keeps growing. LEGO shows how a little hard work and determination can lead to success.
An Autumn Hike
by Vaanya Agarwal
I plod along the rough cement path as beads of cold sweat form on my face; I pant for breath.
Fall leaves crunch loudly against my feet as I make my way up the endless mountain. The crisp autumn air blows through the colorful trees, scattering amber leaves all over the mountain floor. Trudging up the mountain, I breathe in the sweet relaxing aroma of the pine trees surrounding me. Out of breath, my pace decelerates as I try to keep my mind off my throbbing feet. Just a few more steps. I clutch my backpack closer to me as I take in a fiery breath that seems to burn my lungs from the inside out. Weary and tedious chatter from my classmates echoes loudly in the autumn wind. Up ahead, the golden light illuminates from the sun, which shines brightly through the gaps in the trees. I feel a spark of hope surge through my body. I quicken my pace dramatically, having no idea where this blast of energy was coming from. Twigs snap loudly below my feet as I push through the trees whose bark has now become flaky and crumbly, thanks to the magic of autumn. Looking at the spectacular scene in front of me, I gasp.
Excited and awe-struck murmurs erupt all around me as I look onto the scenery in front of me. I am speechless.
“It’s breathtaking,” I remark, earning several nods of agreement from some of the chaperones assisting us on this trip.
The river reflects the light from the sun and shines like a million jewels basking in the sun. Colorful trees stand grandly, like the most beautiful piece of art. Majestic mountains, similar to the one I had just hiked, look on proudly at the glorious view in front of them. Now that I am finally at the top, I take the time to notice the thrilling sensation of being surrounded by nature.
The suffering I have been put through is totally worth it. The one thing I now realize from this hike is that sometimes things get worse before they get better, and the best thing to do in a situation like this is to not give up and keep going. This unique mountain in Camp Fairview is going to hold many special memories in my heart for the rest of my life, including my first hike, which couldn’t have gone any better.
A RECAP OF THIS YEAR
About the Authors
Thank You For Reading Our Writing!
-From your published writers of the MAMS Literary Arts Magazine, The Hidden Truth.