The Hidden Truth
Magazine Cover by Kathryn Brown, Grade 8
Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School
We, the writers, spent our time writing at school, furiously drafting ideas on documents, revising - over and over until we had the perfect pieces. That is, until March hit. We can say with certainty that things took a bit of a turn, for you and for us. But you know what we decided to do? We decided to keep going, because writing is what we know. We continued to write furiously, draft ideas on documents, revising and revising, - and revising, but this time, from home. We made do, and we're excited with what we've created for you. This year, a year different from any other year, exposed all of our truths, from our homes to yours.
As you read our words, believe that we sprinkled bits and pieces of our own lives into our stories. See if you can find them. See if you can pick a part each writing piece to determine where our hidden truths reside. Did you notice, for example, that the hidden words on our magazine's cover are from "Space!: The Universe as You've Never Seen It Before?"
If you did, then maybe, just maybe, within our hidden truths below - you'll find your own.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!
We invite you to share what our magazine cover means to you.
Let's start with this:
"THE WHOLE TRUTH IS OFTEN HIDDEN FROM VIEW"
So that's why we want to make sure we share the message with you that the full truth, and nothing but the truth, just might always remain hidden.
Keep that in mind as you read our stories.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK! - THE PAWN AND THE KING
We invite you to share what this chess image means to you.
"A Pencil's Diary"
by Cecelia Bolton, Grade 6
Dear Myself (aka, the most lost object),
September 4, 2019 - 8:50 PM
Today was the first day of torture. THE FIRST DAY OF (*GULP*) SCHOOL - the day I knew someone would just randomly lose me. I always thought to myself things along the lines of, “Oh, you don’t want to write with me. You just want to destroy me!” Of course, as predicted, I ended up in the garbage with my family members, half eaten. At one point, I had escaped and rolled to the nearest cracked space and hid until the next day. I seriously have the worst luck when it comes to getting lost and (almost) thrown away in the deep hole (gulps again) - the garbage (*drum sounds*). I am going to sign off now.
Dear Myself (aka, now the most annoyed object),
September 5, 2019 - 8:10 PM
Today was the day I’d be with my new owner, Gracie. She had just purchased a fresh new box of all my new brothers and sisters, and had picked me up from that cracked space. We were all dripping with eraser shavings as we were all shaking in fear and nervousness. My family (consisting of 16 yellows) was moving from left to right as we got bounced around in probably the biggest backpack of the century. I felt filthy next to them. We finally stopped moving around in the backpack, so we all knew it was almost time - the selection would be coming soon.
The pencil family was very worried, as they didn’t want to be plucked out of the perfectly sealed box. At the end of the day, they knew they were either guaranteed to get lost, or to actually end up being in the pencil case. Only time would tell. It was about 12:00 PM when I heard Gracie reach into her backpack. There we were, shaking our erasers off, hoping we wouldn’t get pulled from the box. Why couldn’t we just keep the peace? We felt a very fierce motion as Gracie’s fingers feathered through us. Before we knew it, I was getting pulled from the box - of course. But, I made it back into the box by the end of the day. Turns out Gracie is a good keeper.
From your dear friend,
Dear Myself (aka, the most nervous object),
September 6, 2019 - 9:01 PM
Do you know what it feels like to be threatened with life or death situations by someone taking a pencil out of the case? You either get lost or get chewed, and I didn’t want my beautiful sharp tip and hot pink eraser getting CHEWED! So my day was going amazingly and the last thing that I wanted to happen to me was to get eaten or lost and never see my family again. I came to trust Gracie, though. She held me by my very sharp head, and almost dropped me with every step we walked. Until finally we made it into the very chilly classroom. I felt like my pencil shavings were going to freeze onto my yellow stomach! Gracie was writing with me, and to be honest, imagine how that feels to get your head rubbed against a paper every minute of every hour of every day. But alas, I made it, unfrozen.
Dear Myself (aka, the most tired object),
September 7, 2019 - 4:16 PM
My beautiful sharp pencil tip gets scratched straight onto a bathroom pass. I fear the bathroom - the things I’ve seen in there. I can’t even begin to tell you. The bathroom pass; my worst nightmare. My worst nightmare is to get (*gulp*) dropped down the toilet - I bet you don’t even think about how many times my former family members got flushed down the toilet. Gone - and there’s nothing a fellow pencil can do to save any of them.
As Gracie finished signing her name on the bathroom pass, she still had my beautiful pink eraser tip in her soft hand. I was petrified about Gracie dropping me in the toilet, despite my trust in her. I hadn’t been to the bathroom in so long. She arrived there at 2:27 PM; I can still remember the time etched on the wall clock. She was rushing so she wouldn’t miss her bus. Rushing - that couldn’t be good for me. At 2:30 PM, it happened. She dropped me and I was diving point-first into the toilet. My shavings were beating off of my chest! All I heard on my way down was the huge whirl of the flush! I started saying my goodbyes until suddenly, Gracie caught me.
Alas, I live to see another day. Tomorrow I will etch some more. If anyone finds this diary, please - think of that pencil you're holding the next time you casually use it; that could be my family member in your hands!
From your almost-flushed friend,
by Erin Roarke, Grade 6
I was basking in the sunlight when it first happened. It was a late summer day, and I was simply dangling on my branch, talking to my best friend, Kayla, when I heard a slight whoosh. It startled me, and I opened my eyes to see a leaf named Betty slowly falling to the grass.
“No, no, no!” Betty sobbed, her anxious wails becoming nothing more than a whisper as she slowly fell to the ground.
Suddenly, I couldn’t hear her anymore. I was on the tallest branch though, so it wasn't much of a surprise. I did hear her mother, Ms. Kak screaming and crying as the other leaves tried to comfort her: “My baby, my baby! I need my baby back with me! Ms. Kak sobbed hysterically.
The other leaves were in a frenzy.
“Fall’s coming. It’s coming!” Ms. Kak said grimly before continuing, “I will die soon anyways. Right now I need to be with my baby. Goodbye.”
Screams erupted from nearby leaves as Ms. Kak fell to the ground, landing right next to Betty. Not even a minute later, a boy playing football with his friends crushed them both. The gossip started, and soon it was known to all leaves the first deaths had happened, and now it was officially fall. Every fall, millions of leaves die. You were lucky to even make it to winter, but you would never survive past that. Now, this is my first ever fall, because I was born in the spring of last year. In leaf years, I am 16 years old. I was terrified for what would happen, so I said a quick goodbye to Kayla, before turning to my family and anxiously whispering to my mother and father about the horrifying tragedy that happened this afternoon.
At night night, there was a huge storm, and fifty leaves didn't make it, and were assumed dead. Once they landed on the grass, they were whisked away in the wind, probably never to be seen again. My cousin had died with my uncle. I was shocked and filled with grief. I didn’t get a single wink of sleep last night. What will happen to me? I thought anxiously, before finally letting sleep take over my tired body.
When I awoke, I saw other leaves staring at me with sympathy in their eyes. I was confused. What else had happened when I was asleep? One of the leaves, Mr. Berry, the father of my best friend, Kayla, spoke up. “Crisp, we are sorry to tell you this, but your mother has fallen to the ground. She was crunched on by a little girl, and according to the leaves on the bottom branch, she is dead. We are so sorry for your loss.”
My mother? Crunched? I held back a sob and was about to thank the leaves for the sympathy when a strong wind picked up. Kayla, who I didn't know was there, screamed as she was picked up. I was about to scream, too, but suddenly, I heard a snap, and I was flying. Now, I really did start to cry, and I heard leaves screaming all around me and saw more than a thousand surrounding me from trees all over the park where we lived. I shut my eyes tight and didn't open them for the two hours as I was in the air. I was too terrified about what would happen next.
When I landed, I opened my eyes and saw myself in a huge pile of leaves. Strangers. They were all noisily talking and minding their own business. They looked different than me though. I was a leafy green color, while they were all shades of lilac, purple, gold, amber, and brown. As I looked around, I saw the surroundings looked different as well. It was chillier here, and there were not many leaves on the trees. It seemed like most were in big piles, like the one I was in right now. Crash. Suddenly, I felt my spine crack a little, and I looked up to see a young girl jumping around happily in the leaves. Many of the leaves that the girl had jumped on were now dead. The girl then lept out of the pile and moved on to the next. I heard many wails of sorrow erupt from my pile and the one next to us.
“Cindy,” an older man yelled, “Help me pack these leaves into the truck!”
The girl, Cindy, got big brown bags from the truck and started raking up leaves. I heard excited yells from the leaves. Soon, it was my turn to go in the bag. It was hot and I felt squashed, but I had a feeling that I was going to be heading somewhere good.
It was a very bumpy ride in the back of the truck, and it was filled with exciting chatter for the other leaves. Finally, after about a half hour, the truck stopped, and the older man got out. He lifted up the bags, and dumped them all in this huge, olive-colored dumpster. There were already thousands of leaves in there, all peacefully talking. It was the first time I had seen leaves not worrying about fall and winter. Soon, it was my bag’s turn. It was a bit unpleasant to be dumped, but when I landed, I immediately felt safe. I knew I couldn't fly away because there was a big black roof over the dumpster. I would definitely survive the fall and winter! After about five minutes, the older man left, and the new leaves started chatting with other leaves, asking lots of questions.
I also turned to the leaf right next to me. “Hi, I’m Crisp. What’s your name?” as cheerfully as I could, although I felt a bit nervous.
The leaf looked startled. “It’s me, Kayla!” she replied, looking at me with excitement. I squealed in shock. It was Kayla! I barely recognized her because of the small tear in her left side.
I started crying with happiness, pulling my best friend close. I knew life had a way of working itself out, and for now, I was safe. I found happiness is the most unexpected of places.
"I'll Pass on the Bathroom!"
by Abigail McMahon, Grade 6
Oh, thank the plumber! Gerald has been in this stall for what seems to be a billion years. Of course, I have to sit and watch this spectacle every time. I won’t get into details, but I can say that it really smells. Really smells. Gerald scoops me up and leaves the bathroom without washing his hands. This unfortunately is a common phenomenon (the lack of hand washing), and let me just say it is gross. Gerald hands me back to the teacher and bounces back to his friends.
Ugh. Yet another day of being touched by disgusting, dirty hands.
I would keep a chart of how many kids don’t wash their hands, but (a) it would be too long, and (b) I’m a bathroom pass! I have no hands or arms. All I can do is be touched by the grimy fingertips of others.
Lunch-time just ended, and that means a lot of kids need to use the bathroom. I wish the students could just get personal bathroom passes, but of course I have no say in the matter. What I will say it, someone needs to clean me...and their hands...
"A MEETING OF THE MINDS"
by Erin Roarke, Grade 6
Scritch, scratch, snap!
These are the sounds I hear from my fellow co-workers as they write the essay Mr. Bing assigned today. The students (each one of them is assigned to a pencil) were not excited about this assignment, but us pencils do the most work anyways, so I really don’t think they should be moaning. Anyway, sorry for my little rant…these students can be a handful sometimes!
My student’s name is Violet, and she has been my student for two months now (a personal record of mine). She’s very kind to me, and doesn’t chew on me like some of my friend’s students do - ew. Also, just so you know - my name is Nibbles. I got the name ever since my first student, Charles, used me as a chewing toy, which was disgusting, as you can imagine. That was two years ago though, so I hope most of the spit germs are off my skin by now.
A screeching sound blasted through the room - ah, the bell. When it went off, Violet started packing up her stuff. I waited patiently for her to put me in her neon pink pencil case, like she always does, but suddenly, a boy named Henry came over to her desk and started chatting with her. What is this? Who does this Henry think he is? Violet belongs to me. I noticed she was talking and laughing, and suddenly she picked up her book sack and walked out of the door, still talking with this Henry. This couldn’t be happening. She left me! I wanted to scream or shout, but I was too shocked, and well, physically incapable of making human sounds!
The seconds ticked by, until another bell rang: the lunch bell. Kids screamed, stomped, ran, and shouted through the hallways. All their stomping made me roll slowly off my desk, Violet’s desk - my home. If I could cry right now, I would. As I fell to the floor, my lead raced with fear (it’s like a heart to you humans). I landed with a quiet thump, and all the other lost items heard it.
“Ahh, Nibbles...never thought we’d see you here. Violet was so loving and caring!” the highlighter named Harry said with a little sass to his voice.
He was always this way because he has been missing from his owner for three years - an eternity. I heard that his student graduated without him. Frankly, I felt kind of bad for him, even though he could be so rude.
“No, she’ll come back for me. I know she will.” I said quietly but firmly, swallowing the bits of fear I had. I knew Violet would never forget about me. Right?
A kind scissor named Raspberry announced, “I’m sorry, sweetie, but I don’t think that will happen. We all thought that too, but nobody came for us. It’s the sad truth.”
Raspberry was the “president” of lost items - for she was sweet, stoic, and of course, sharp. She had been here the longest, five years, and was the slickest and sharpest out of everyone.
“Meeting! All lost items!” Raspberry called out. Every item you can imagine came out of the nooks and crannies in the classroom. We would plan our revenge, and boy, would we show them!
The life of a lost writing utensil would certainly not be for me. I would not be forgotten...
by Shreya Raman, Grade 7
As winds grow harsh, one little leaf clings onto the tree.
Its beautiful green dress turns yellow, red, and brown day by day.
It clings on as if the tree is its last life line.
I am the leaf.
The tree creaks and groans bittersweet farewells to the other leaves.
They fall on the ground and are stomped on by passers by.
I am the leaf.
Summer is over, winter is near; it is time to fall to the ground.
Humans pull rakes to collect the leaves in piles, pulling grass as well.
I am the leaf.
For the first and last time.
Falling: a moment you are weightless, not held by the tree.
I hit the ground, onto the lush grass under the tree.
For one moment I feel at peace,
No longer worried about when I fall,
I am the leaf.
Recording #1: “The Murderer”
by Lily Rubin, Grade 7
The p-police don’t treat me like a lost person, and well...I suppose I’m not. All I really am is a pair of headph-phones, a junky one. To be h-honest I don’t like calling myself lost, because that would imply I have a place to get back to...and that is anything but true. Do I wish it was true? Nope. The p-p-person who owned me is the r-reason I’m broken in the first place! Let me set the scene.
My previous owner, a human by the name of Jack Riddlin w-was using me to watch videos, until an a-ad came up. Even though it happened so long ago, the w-words are still p-played back perfectly. I wish they weren’t perfect...in fact I wish they were so corrupted that they were unusable...but why would life be fair to me? So anyw-ways, the ad was advertising a “bluetooth implant.” Apparently, those are surgically implanted into a human’s ears so they won’t ever require a bulky pair of headph-phones like me. As soon as Jack saw that he wanted them, and he was willing to do anything to get them...and I mean that.
Jack shoved me into a s-sink.
Jack had let his d-dogs chew on me.
Jack had taken it upon himself to R-RIP ME APART!
I remember what he did so clearly, and even now I am still haunted by it. His destruction only required a knife. He messily chopped off the padding, stabbed the speakers straight in the middle and he cut straight into my wire. I so wished that I was a human in that moment, or at least a robot so I could’ve fought for myself, but nope...all I could do was stay quiet. Pain erupted within my body, but I wished that I could have screamed.
His m-mom easily gave into the lies that spilled from his mouth, along with his dad. His younger brother Dimitri protested greatly, but to no avail. His mother threw me into the garbage, and all I saw for a week was dark-darkness...and then a dump with broken electronics littering the g-ground, none of them as ad-ad-advanced as me.
I have been sitting in the same place I was thrown for a year...with nothing to do but write these recordings...until I’m used for parts. W-wonder if that’s as painful as what Jack d-did.
Lis-sten here: the next time you want someth-thing new - think of m-me. Destr-royed, sad, and ob-bsolete. Stay tuned f-for my next recor-rding, that is, if I'm still whole enough to r-record one...
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK! - THE ICEBERG
We invite you to share what this iceberg image means to you.
by Lily Rubin, Grade 7
If you wanted to travel dimensions...there’s a chance you could. All you would need is a mirror, a candle, and a cup.
It doesn’t matter what cup you choose, nor if you fill it, and no...the scent of said candle does not boost your chances. There are percentages, set by Gods like me, and they only change every thousand years. Humans, like you, who attempt this can get one of four possibilities:
- 65% chance of death.
- 25% chance of being trapped between worlds.
- 5% chance of entering another dimension.
- 5% chance of allowing another to enter.
I am not here to convince you to test your luck, nor am I here to warn you not to do it. I am only here to tell a story. A story that involves a candle, a cup, and myself. All you need to know is the ending, in which I become a God, though technically I’m not the first God to come about from...this place.
A man of thirty-three years (myself [though much, much younger]) stands in a dirty convenience store bathroom, a cheap candle and a slurpee cup in hand. His body stares back at him through the mirror with his messy red hair, a neon sweatshirt with black patches in various areas, and a rather skinny type of body reminding him of how his life crashed and burned - the red hair representing the blood he shed recently due to the fact that he was unable to afford hair dye; the neon sweatshirt representing the spotlight he once had control of; the black patches representing the many times he had tried to pick up the pieces of his now failed career. His skinny body reminds him of the many times he valued items over his own health, just to keep up looks. To make it worse, even with his weight, none of his “followers” cared. Now he stands there, the last of his money used on that slurpee and candle, about to do something that would alter his life, forever.
He wasn’t going to do anything stupid like burn himself using the slurpee as the starter, that wasn’t even possible. No, today he was going to leave his fate up to the Gods and test his luck. All he had to do was hold a cup and candle, look directly in a mirror, and say a few words. The words were never completely specified, but each speech had to follow the vague guideline set. All it had to be was a genuine plea to the Gods, that they would deem worthy of succession. There was a 65% chance that he would be deemed unworthy of succeeding…and be killed, but he carried on anyway for it was his only choice, and with that, the words flew out.
Words that no one besides his mind had ever heard. Words that not one of his followers would deem valid. Words that would have sent him straight to therapy if he was younger, but now he could say them. He wasn’t entirely sure if the Gods were more merciful than his followers, but again, he was willing to risk it, and eventually...the first part of his risk ended.
The bathroom was once again filled with a silence, a deathly one. There was the sound of no one, not even the clerks ringing up shoppers outside, and at first..he didn’t notice. So many thoughts consumed his head that he still believed they were actual voices, telling him that he wasn’t good enough, that he deserved to die, but eventually those went quiet too.
And waited, until he simply gave up. With two simple tosses, the slurpee’s innards spilled out into the trash, dispelling whatever flame the candle had shortly after and walked towards the door...or at least, where one should’ve been. Instead, there was a large, door-shaped hole leading into what could only be described as the abyss, but with one of those large-spinning wheels you’d see at a carnival and a...carney?
The carney was...weird to say the least. Where normal fingers ended, its fingers continued, but they still looked proportional when compared to its long, long legs which had multiple knee joints. It looked like a mix of some generic horror movie character and a tourist, complete with a Hawaiian shirt and large straw hat. The man just kind of stared at it as it kept doing jazz hands and motioning for him to come in. It even patted the ground once to show him that there was in fact a floor.
“Do you need a hand to hold, because I think I can more than compensate for that!” it yelled in an overly cheerful tone as it extended its arm all the way to him, “Hop on...or grab on I guess? Whichever one is your fancy, Micah!”
(Still not entirely sure how he knew my name, or well - my human name.)
Micah kind of just stared at his arm, which became about 80 feet long somehow and the carney just patted the abyss near Micah to make him feel safer, but it didn’t work. If anything, it just made him feel like a dog.
“Okay, Micah, clearly you don’t understand me so I’ll just grab you!” the carney said as he hastily grabbed Micah and retracted his arm back to his body.
It took about ten seconds for Micah and the carney’s arm to get to his body, and once he was there, he was faced with the fact that this being was about...twenty feet, which he figured would make hearing it almost impossible.
“Oh, I get why you couldn’t hear me! Whoopsie, lemme fix that real quick!” the carney bent its multiple knee joints until he was at about Micah’s level.
“Um...who are you?” Micah asked, his eyes trying to ignore the pure uncanniness of his legs.
“Oh, right! My name’s Cyprus! My favorite color is yellow, and I became a god when I was...hmm...about 29...”
“Wait...a god? Uh...did you do the candle thing?” Micah cut him off swiftly.
Cyprus smiled, “Why yes, I did! Why? Did they never mention you could become a god?” He chuckled, “They never mention the cool stuff, do they?”
“...Am I god now?”
“No, no, no, no! Well..not yet at least. It’s up to the wheel to decide what happens to you, Micah!” He pointed to the wheel with one hand and did jazz hands with the other.
“I thought the gods decide where you end up…?” Micah looked severely confused.
“You’re way too smart for your own good..aren’t you Micah? Of course the wheel doesn’t actually choose where you go! I do. It’s mainly there for aesthetic purposes.”
“Um...do I still have to spin it then?” he asked.
Cyprus just kind of stared at him for a moment, giving him a better look at his eyes. They could’ve passed off as normal, if you ignored that the colored-bits were constantly swirling around. Eventually, his look was cut short and replaced by a giant god named Cyprus almost dying of laughter.
“Do you have to spin the wheel? Did I hear that right Micah?” Cyprus unintentionally paused to let out more laughter before continuing, “Do you have to spin the wheel? Well let’s see...I did make it myself Micah. It’d be a shame if my work was simply ignored..so I suppose, yes...you have to spin it.”
Cyprus picked up Micah by the shirt and dangled him, hoping that Micah could get a better look at his wheel. It was...colorful to say the least, definitely perfect to burn the eyes of anyone who looked upon it. It also had symbols, well...less of symbols and more of crudely drawn doodles which he could not decipher.
“So, what do you think? I redrew the doodles recently, hope you don’t mind that I used your likeness by the way,” Cyprus looked as though he was beaming.
“Um..looks great. Absolutely great…..buddy?” Micah replied, adding buddy in at the last second. (It could’ve been better.)
“Oh, we’re buddies now! Usually people hate my guts by now Micah! Maybe that’ll win
you some brownie points? Nah I’m kidding, you definitely get brownie points with me!” Cyprus was definitely happy now, “Anywho, can you spin the wheel now Mica- er..buddy?”
“...Sure.” Micah wasn’t entirely sure why Cyprus’s mood made him happy, (and well, I still don’t either) but, it definitely made him willing to spin his useless wheel and so, he did.
With two hands gripped firmly on the bottom to compensate for its side, he tried to spin it...and while he couldn’t, Cyprus made it so he felt like he did. Of course, with Cyprus’s applied strength, the wheel took Micah with him, for multiple rounds actually. It was kind of like a Ferris Wheel with the added danger of if you let go, you might fall to your death, but for some reason...it felt safer than the challenges he had to do during his career. Those were bad. (Still haven’t found a way to disregard those.)
Eventually, the wheel stopped and Micah ended up flopping face first into the floor or the lack thereof and after a few seconds, Cyprus poked him.
“Y-You’re not dead..right? I mean, I sure hope not because I didn’t choose for you to die. Oh god...did I accidentally choose death!?” Cyprus’ started to sound a bit nervous.
“Well, I don’t think I’m dead…?”
Cyprus immediately picked him up and showed him the wheel, the little pointer centered perfectly on one doodle in particular. Micah still couldn’t decipher this one and Cyprus just kindly waited for him to say something, but he eventually caved.
“Welcome to godhood, Micah!”
You could stand in a mirror with a cup and candle and your wildest dreams might come true. Or well, whatever dream you happen to get based on a list of four things - well, four with a secret fifth.
1. A home in death’s cold arms.
2. A home between worlds.
3. A home in a world unknown.
4. A home with someone else from another.
5. A home in yourself, literally. Did you know gods get to make their own planes of existence?
Whichever one you get, the location and life you get may or may not be affected, but there could be people who can affect it. Whether it means becoming buddy-buddy with death him/her-self, gathering a caravan of people to fight through the world in between, learning the teachings of one from another, or ending up the roommate of a god named Cyprus whose anatomy still confounds you.
Speaking of which however, Cyprus says hi! He also says that I should’ve been nicer about his drawings, and maybe I would’ve been if I was Micah, but hey, gods get to change their name and so, I’m Indigo now. Cool guy Indigo who wishes that godhood meant that all the stupid decisions he made when he was younger would simply erase themselves. Cool guy Indigo who helped Cyprus make a new wheel. Cool guy Indigo who has gained newfound happiness and hey, maybe we’ll see you around one day.
All you got to do is stand in a mirror with a candle, cup, and hope. Okay, maybe that and have a slurpee ready for Cyprus - but more importantly, have hope.
"VIEW FROM BEYOND"
by Alyanna Dennis, Grade 7
I got up from bed to hear my mom's stuttered screaming, “Anya?Anya?”
I expected the sun to burn my eyes like every other day, but it didn’t. When I woke up it felt like magic, when just yesterday, and well every day, I usually woke up sluggishly. My mom and my step-dad came into my poor excuse for my bedroom. They stared deeply at my bed, and I heard my mom’s voice over and over, frantic. My step-dad covered something with my sheets.
I stood in front of them, asked what was going on, but they didn’t answer.
“Mom, what are you doing?"
Still no response, almost as if they didn’t see or hear me. Wait, could they not even see me? Hear me? This must be a nightmare. Or a dream? For if I became invisible, the possibilities could be endless. I suddenly felt free of the invisible ropes that chained me to my home. Now I could leave, just like that, if I wanted to.
I pinched myself - it felt like nothing. Strange, I thought. The sky was gray as I looked out the window, the grass was green but unkempt, and the midnight crows plucked worms from the ground one after another.
“So, you’re just going to leave me now. After this?” my mother wailed, tears pouring down her face, screaming and inaudible at the same time. I thought she was talking to me and could see me now, but it turns out this wasn’t the case. Her face was red with exhaustion.
“Yea,” my ex step-father shrugged. “I found someone new and richer than you a while ago, I just was waiting...” his voice trailed off.
I felt sorry until I remembered what my mother did - and had been doing - since my real father passed. I ran outside, and the bumpy sidewalk felt unfamiliar like soft pillows under my feet, each step squishier, softer, and bouncier as I walked. Hazelnut-spotted rocks that used to be dull and lifeless now glistened like a ruby glistens to a customer.
A dog barked and came to a sudden halt; this ginger pup stared at me. It’s black pearl eyes shot into my soul. It all of a sudden looked fearful of me. It looked dirty, with dried blood on its fur, like it had been scavenging other animals or something. More likely it was abandoned, or it’s possible that it ran away from its owner. Who knows how long it was on the streets? Alone. Forgotten. Was it looking at me? Or maybe just at a squirrel behind me? Even if it could glance at me, why can’t anyone else? I was brought back to the realization that if my mom couldn’t see me, then this dog probably couldn’t either. But why? Is this a joke, a prank? A dream?
I decided to turn back and head to the place I dreaded - home, always filled with misery and sadness.
As I got towards the house, I heard, “Why is this happening?” from what sounded like my mother’s mouth. “Where’s my happy-ever after? Why me?
It really is funny. I’m seemingly gone, my ex step-father is leaving, and all she can think about is herself.
Why did I walk myself back? This place feels like there’s a parasite that roams the land looking for a purpose. I remember every second of the misery, the injustice, the hatred that filled that place, especially once she brought home my step-dad. When I’m asked how everything is doing with the family, I force myself to lie; I grit my teeth and lie. I don’t know why. One day, I just stopped crying, I stopped caring, and even worse - I stopped trusting. My step-dad is a lazy soul who only causes harm. I made my way up the driveway to the old wooden door. The metal handle was rusted from time, and of course, no one even attempted to repair it. Sometimes I ask myself am I living in a barn or a house? Maybe an odd mixture of both.
I didn’t understand why my mother married a guy like him. It couldn’t be for money. How much financial support can you get from a man without a job? He was nice at first - I’ll give him that. He acted like a prince in shining armor. He hid himself real well.
I dragged myself upstairs in our two-story home, only to stop myself mid-way. I saw my mother at the top of the stairs, and she didn’t grunt, squeal, yell, or anything. Did she fall asleep with her eyes open? It didn’t happen often, but she did do that from time to time. It seemed like she was looking at me now, as if she could see me, but it looked more like she was looking through me.
I saw a smashed picture of my father laying on the good-for-nothing carpet. Pieces of glass were everywhere. It felt like my father was looking at me from that picture saying, “Anya! It’s me, Dad. Are you coming to me now?” I had a sudden flashback to a hospital, but I couldn’t tell who was in the hospital bed. Was it my father, or was it me? I saw lights and heard sounds that I couldn’t understand. Beep. Beep. Beep. The monitors continued singing.
Before I knew it, my eyes shut and then I woke up. I must have fallen asleep right? Right? Was this whole experience a dream? My mind was racing, yet, I didn’t feel my heart pumping. I heard, “Anya, please d-don’t go. I-I nee-ed you. Don’t let c-cance-r take y-ou like it t-ook your father.”
Was it? No, this couldn’t be happening. Mom, what’s happening? Tears formed in my eyes, speechless. My mom couldn’t hear me - only I could. Then it came to me. '
My body faded into mid-air as my soul went to the world above knowing what my purpose was on this earth, as all my feelings and hardships came to this one emotion, peace.
THE HAUNTING (A PARODY OF "IT")
by Daniel Yamin, Grade 7
The Beginning - September 1984
In a town so quiet with lots of tall buildings that stood high by the sun, something bizarre started happening to all of the town’s little children. It was 1984 - September.
With a soft tune, a little girl riding her tricycle sang, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!” arriving towards her house. Whoosh! She heard something behind the drying rack outside. Whoosh!
Lilly headed towards it. “Hi-hi. Who are you?” she asked, soon seeing the face of a horrifying monster.
“Hello there!” said a voice behind the drying racket, when suddenly the little girl’s mother came outside: “Lilly time to come back to…”
Moments later, the police came speeding towards the scene, seeing the body of Lilly’s mother on the floor, and the body of Lilly herself - gone!
The Kids - June 24, 1985
“Ah! Please no. Don’t do it, please!” screamed Maria. She popped her head off of her desk in a cold sweat. It was just a nightmare.
The whole class was hysterically laughing as they heard Maria scream. She fell asleep in class! Ring! And there went the bell, the last one of the year.
“Wah-hoo! Finally! No more school!” screamed Rickey.
All the kids ran out of school, happy - with the best days of summer waiting ahead.
Dylan was talking to Bill, Caleb, and Rickey, saying, “So now here's what happened. I read from my book and then Maria…”
“Hey. What's happening?” Ann came running to the boys.
“Dylan was just saying what happened before the final bell rang!” screamed Rickey.
“We are still hanging out today guys, right?” Ann asked.
“Sure! Yeah!” screamed the boys, all running home.
Bill saw the new girl Maria on their way back. He approached her and asked, “You’re the new girl, right?”
“Ya. Nobody likes hanging out with the new kid,” Maria answered. Maria had just moved to town, even though the school year was ending.
“Can I sign your yearbook first?” asked Bill. Bill took her yearbook and went to the signature page. Nobody signed her yearbook. Have a good summer, from Bill.
“Bye. See you soon,” said Bill, smiling.
Maria smiled back, and it trickled all the way up to her ears.
A Nightmare Come to Life - June 25, 1985
The first day of summer.
“Please no. Don’t do it. I’ll do anything, anything!” Bill screamed as he woke up. Another nightmare. Bill got out of bed and got ready. He and his crew of friends were going to hang out.
As the sun grew brighter in the sky, Bill went to his friend’s house. “I had the scariest dream...ever. A ghost was chasing me and then just like that, I woke up!”
“I had a dream like that too, actually,” said Dylan.
The whole gang had the same dream, which sounds impossible. But is it? Suddenly, gusts of wind came running towards the gang.
“We should go to the lake like we planned now,” Bill suggested. An eerie feeling filled his body, and those of his friends too. None of them knew how the other felt, though.
“We don’t want to be by the wind. Do we?”
“Bye mom! I’m going to the lake!” said Maria leaving her home, not realizing she’d have company at the water.
The boys walked to the top of the hill, and Dylan questioned, “Why are we on top of the hill? Wait. Are we jumping?” Dylan shrieked.
“Gee, of course not. Just getting fresh air before we go back down,” explained Bill.
“Hey guys,” a somewhat familiar voice casually stated. “You gunna jump?” It was Maria, walking towards the boys.
Everyone jumped. “Hey you’re the new girl!” said Rickey.
“Yes, that is me. Watch out. I’m gonna jump,” yelled Maria, running to the edge of the hill.
“Great. Now we have to do this!” Dylan said, scared.
“On a count of three,” said Bill. “One...two...three!”
“Yes! This is awesome!” screamed Rickey.
“Yes it is...” said a voice nobody knew.
All the kids were in the water splashing around, and when they heard this strange voice, they stopped, and suddenly the water made a thundering, splashing noise. The water began rising up and up, and then it began to swirl around the kids!
“Everybody...swim away!” screamed Rickey, with panic in his voice and terror in his eyes. Nobody mentioned the voice in the midst of their panic swimming.
The water was trying to surround Bill now, who was in the back of the pack as they swam.
“Bill!” screamed Maria, swimming towards him. She grabbed onto Bill and swam as quickly as a storm could come and go, to save Bill.
They made it to land, out of breath.
“Ha ha! You think you got away, but this is just getting started!” the voice slithered again, quietly.
The group froze.
“Did you hear that?” asked Caleb as Dylan frantically questioned, “Am I hearing things?”
“No!” answered Bill. “I heard it too!”
“Maria, thank you for saving my life!” said Bill, giving Maria a big hug.
“Hey, Maria. D’you want to be one of us?” asked Bill.
As soon as Bill asked Maria to be in the gang, fireworks went off in Maria’s head. “Oh my gosh! Yes! Er, I mean whatever!”
“Yeah! Woohoo! But now about that voice…” said Dylan, concerned.
Rickey looked at Caleb’s bag on the ground and something caught his eye. “Hey, what are these pictures in your bag, Caleb?” asked Rickey.
“Come on, Rickey! Get out of his bag, geez,” yelled Bill.
“It's okay,” said Caleb. “They’re pictures of the town in the olden days. I have more at home. Want to see? You can all come look. You know I collect that type of stuff, ” said Caleb.
The group raced down to Caleb’s house on Neibolt street. Nobody responded to Dylan about the voice, but it remained in the back of his mind. He wondered why the water swirled so harshly around them. And he wondered why his friends didn’t seem to think anything of it.
“Mom, I’m home and I have friends with me!” yelled Caleb.
He then opened the door to his room for his friends.
“This looks like a museum,” said Rickey, exploring the room.
“Hey Caleb, can I borrow this map?” asked Bill.
“Sure, how long?” replied Caleb.
“For about maybe two days.”
“Yeah, okay sure. What do you wanna do with it?” As Caleb asked this question, the conversation got interrupted by Dylan, pointing at an object with a face that held a horrified expression.
“Hey, what’s this?” asked Dylan.
“I...I...don’t know? That wasn’t here before,” replied Caleb.
“I saw that in my dream...” Bill slowly got out the words, and started to get scared.
“I had a dream with that object in it...it had that face...coming to grab me...” shrieked Maria, her skin turning white.
“Guys, we have to go to my house, now!” screamed Bill, over everyone else’s noise. And they ran.
The Map - June 25, 1985
“Put up the map guys,” said Bill, taking his dad's projector. It was a map of the town. “This is where we were when the wave hit us, right.” Bill pointed to another spot, “And this is where the little girl from the news a while ago disappeared along with more kids. Who heard the voice say, ‘You can try to catch me, but I’m stronger?’ at the lake?”
The room grew silent after Bill asked the question. Everybody was looking at each other.
“It was just me?” Bill questioned.
“I heard the voice say, ‘...abandoned house,’” remarked Dylan.
“I heard it say, ‘Go to the…’” said Ann.
“In my ears, I heard the voice say, ‘On Autumn Street,’” said Rickey.
“I heard a voice say, ‘You have been warned!’” said Maria.
Bill sat there and thought. He thought harder than he had ever thought before. “That's it! Combine it all and we know the voice said, ‘Go to the abandoned house on Autumn Street. You can try to catch me, but I’m stronger. You have been warned!’” Bill screamed in a frightened tone.
“There it is on the map! The house on Autumn Street! We just need to follow it. Everybody get your bikes! Come on let's go!” And just like that the group rode their bikes towards the house.
Home Sweet Home - June 25, 1985
“Are you sure you want to go in?” asked Dylan, concerned.
“Yes. I have to. Now, who wants to come in with me?”
Nobody wanted to go. They shrugged their shoulders with panic in their eyes.
“I’ll go,” said Ann, suddenly feeling brave.
“Me too,” said Rickey, even though he was horrified. The three entered the house and started the journey. Inside, the house was trashed. The lights kept flickering, and each step you took came with a loud creek. A table was broken, and there were cobwebs everywhere. You wouldn’t be able to last a night in there.
“Help! He got me!” a voice was screaming.
“Uh...what was that?” screamed Rickey. He was horrified and wondered what he was doing in the house, having almost an out-of-body experience.
“Let’s go upstairs. Maybe that’s where we should start off.
The stairs moaned with each step, and the three of them went in, scared and full of fear - legs shaking, teeth chattering.
Rickey screamed when he heard a tapping sound. “Bill I’m leaving. I’m sorry but I can't stay here much longer.”
“No, don’t leave us. I want to keep going - please, stay!” screamed Bill.
“I’m leaving Bill. I’m sorry. See you out-siiiiiiiiddddddddeeee!” Rickey was screaming. Something kicked him down.
“Rickey! Are...are you okay?” screamed Ann and Bill.
“We have to help him!”
“My head!” yelled Rickey in pain.
“Fee, fi, fo, fum. I see something in pain! I warned you already, but you didn’t listen, so now you pay the consequences! Three! Two! One!”
“What was that?” screamed Bill.
The steps creaked.
“Come here, and pay the consequences! Ha! Ha! Ha!”
Outside, Dylan said, “I don't want to, but I think we should go inside and check on the rest.” So, they went inside - just to see their friends getting...attacked.
“Leave my friends alone!” yelled Maria.
“WHAT, WHAT WAS THAT YOU SAID!”
“I said, leave MY friends…….ALONE!”
A terrible sound followed Maria’s words. It sounded like life and death combined. The voice’s face appeared, and it was that of a horrifying evil monster - that of the object on Caleb’s bed, that of the face in everyone’s nightmares...
The Final Battle - June 25, 1985
“You shouldn’t have done that!”
Soon the voice’s whole body was beginning to show.
“Ha, ha, ha! I warned you loud and clear, but you decided not to listen. You will pay!”
“Okay, how much money do you want?” asked Rickey, trying to make this a funny moment.
“You fool! I don’t want your money. I want you!”
Maria found a brick and a bat, and with the monster looking towards Rickey, she took the brick and bat and made it into a hammer.
“Eat this you monster!” Maria said, smashing the hammer on his head.
Bill found a stick and shredded it into a big pointy spike and hit the monster hard.
“I hope you don’t try to mess with this fighter's club again!” yelled Bill.
The whole group hit the body of the voice, and soon the monster was by a hole to the end of the universe.
“Any last words?” said Ann before pushing the monster down.
“Back will I come, to get you, soon.”
The voice soon fell on his own, not to be seen again.
End of Summer - August 1985
“Well I guess this is goodbye, summer,” Rickey said sadly, with a deep pit in his stomach.
“Remember when we went to that house and defeated that monster? That was tough...and scary,” said Ann.
“Maria, you were brave out there,” said Bill.
“Thanks Bill, I love, err, um, loved what you did too.”
“Guys, before we all break for school soon, tell me...if the monster comes back, we come back together to get it, right?” asked Dylan.
“We all will, and we promise,” the club said.
They all said their goodbyes and went home, as the low, warm sun glimmered its rays down upon the town.
Home - June 24, 1985
Bill closed his eyes at home and pictured a lovely garden with beautiful flowers. In his thoughts, the garden turned dark, and a monster’s face appeared!
“Please, no. Don’t do it!” he screamed loudly! He popped up, sweating.
What a dream, Bill thought as he got ready for the last day of school.
He thought he heard a voice outside, saying “I will come back to get you soon, la la la…” but he figured it was all in his head - it had to be.
CHAPTER 2 - TO BE CONTINUED.
by Shreya Raman, Grade 7
United States Of America
Vulcan’s Lair, California
13 May 2475
“Sergeant Ulysses, please report to the head office in an hour,” the large announcers blared.
Ulysses put down the large barbell, got off the bench press, and walked to the locker room. There was a sharp, pungent stench that wafted from the lockers - probably the axe deodorant, he decided, as he walked into the showers. The cool water slipped down his cream-colored skin. He toweled off and put on his uniform, combing his hair to perfection.
He walked down the long hallway. The only noise was his shoes squeaking on the ground. He knocked on the door, and the answer was a grunt - the usual way to respond to people in Vulcan’s Lair. Ulysses opened the door to an old man perched behind a desk. His floating monitor showing his mission.
“Yes sir!” Ulysses exclaimed.
“Sergeant Ulysses. You know the night terrors? We created a drug back in the early 2400’s to make people unable to see them. Remember? Well, some children died in the early stages of the treatment, and so parents sometimes had gone of their way to make sure their children did not receive the treatment.”
Ulysses stayed attentive. He knew this already.
“As you know, the treatment was made so that humans did not see or hear what was happening around them at night when these night terrors first began...an extra step to human-proofing our world,” the old man said, his ancient voice croaking the words slowly and dramatically. “D’you recall how I told you some parents made sure that their children did not get the shot? Well, it’s hundreds of years later, as you know, and it appears that we have a group of teenagers who call themselves “The Silver Moon,” and these teenagers supposedly are unvaccinated. We don’t know how, and we don’t know why. But we know they know. They know the night terrors, and they know the cause of them. Needless to say, your mission is to chase them down and neutralize the threat. Can I trust you with this?” His voice was noticeably more stern and colder than before.
Ulysses lifted his head, worried and filled with anger. He knew this would happen one day.
“Yes sir!” Ulysses exclaimed.
Rose blocked her ears.
The screams woke her up for the third time that night. The children around her were fast asleep. The moon soberly shined over Mrs. Dinakey’s home for orphans.
Screams rang out, and for some reason tonight they were louder than ever. Rose rocked herself forward and backward saying a phrase over and over again. It is all in your head, all in your head. Or at least that was what Mrs. Dinakey said. In the hallway, shoes clunked up the stairs. Rose acted as if she were asleep, she did not want to get into trouble. Mrs. Dianakey opened the door, checked if they were all sleeping, and left.
An hour passed and still Rose could not sleep when she heard shoes silently squeaking up the concrete stairway. No, these weren’t Mrs. Dianakey’s big high heels. These clunks sounded like the old converse sneakers that Rose had gotten from the charity.
Rose silently crept to the door and saw a group of teenagers slowly creeping up the stairwell. They were not the usual teens who lived downstairs. She had never seen these kids before in her life. Then she made eye contact with a girl. Rose closed the door and acted like she was sleeping when she felt light creep into her vision.
“Aye’ little girl!” the oldest boy whispered. “Can you hear us?”
She shook her head no.
“Liar!” he smirked.
The eldest girl came to her and carried her six-year-old body towards the group.
“What is your name?” she asked, tousling Rose’s hair.
“Rose,” she muttered.
“I was going to have a sister named Rose, but she died right when she was born.”
“How old are you kid?” asked the smallest boy.
“Six,” Rose replied curtly.
“So you can hear the night terrors, then,” the boy mused.
“That was what those screams were?” Rose questioned in a gentle, surprised voice. At that moment a terrified shriek ripped through the orphanage.
“You get used to it after some time,” the boy said just as big boots clunked up the stairs. A man Rose had never seen before was checking the room. He picked up the walkie-talkie that was on his utility belt.
“This is sergeant Ulysses. The gang is not here. I repeat The Silver Moon is not here.”
He left the room and walked outside, and out of the neighborhood. Rose turned, appalled, to the teenagers hidden under her cot.
“We need your help!” the eldest girl rushed.
“I can’t help bad people!” Rose responded.
“We aren’t the bad guy here kid. We are The Silver Moon. We did not get the shot that makes people not see the night terrors. And they want us to get it. It’s them - the military. They conduct experiments at night, creating the night terrors,” the eldest boy said, his British accent thick but understandable. “They don’t want anyone to know what they’re doing, and they’re after us now!”
“We are all being hunted. We need food. Please!” the eldest girl pleaded.
Rose did not move; she sat criss crossed on the bed, and put her head down, afraid.
The teens stood up and left walking down the long staircase.
“Wait!” Rose quietly yelled. The Silver Moon was on the last step when Rose came down. She held her blanket and some food in a tote.
“Take me with you. Please,” Rose urged. She had nothing at the orphanage.
They nodded, and before Rose knew it, she was walking out of Mrs. Dianakey’s orphanage into a world she never realized existed.
Stay tuned for Chapter 1.
by Lily Rubin, Grade 7
I’m done. You’ve done quite enough damage to other types of birds already, and I’d rather escape before my murder count is higher than yours. One is already enough. I thought having to cut a feather would’ve been the worst of it, but it wasn’t. Seeing that...scene was enough to make me leave, and perhaps it was for you. Perhaps when you first started this, Pied, you had remorse, but couldn’t deal with it or perhaps you were a monster all along. You had always said that I was just like you..that I could one day run the gang all on my own, but I’d rather waste my life away at Chickdonald’s than have to see another die, because at least I felt at home there.
At least I had a life when I worked there during my earlier years. I had a crush, a friend - heck, even a boss who genuinely cared for my well-being! Sorry Pied, but you failed. Failed to meet even one of my needs. In fact, I would argue that all you did was hurt me! I went against you once, you made me feel pain. I went against you twice, I felt blood. I went against you three times and I met a Raven named Grim for the first time and even then, even as a bird of Death, it seemed nicer than you! Grim took me on a quick journey eerily close to the light and I saw a Dove and his many compatriots. They all stared, deciding that I still had time to redeem myself...and I’m pretty sure Grim saw that too! Maybe that was just a near death experience talking, but it convinced me - convinced me to return to the old Rook.
The Rook who wanted to be an astronaut as a kid and a poet when he was a bit older. The Rook who got a scholarship, which he wasted to become a poet. The Rook who was in poverty and saw even a small amount of help in you. The Rook who was an idiot to ever join you and your Murder. The Rook who’s righting this wrong and coincidentally writing a letter too.
So yes, I suppose that this is a letter to you, Pied, for you see however you see fit. If you see it and decide, “Maybe everything I am doing is wrong and I should seek help,” then that’s great. If you see it and think that this is an invitation for you to harm me as soon as I get to my mom’s place - well, that’s not as great, but I’m ready...ready for anything. Ready to give you assistance towards becoming a better person or ready to bring you down further than before, even if it means getting harmed in the process. Just...try the first option at least, Pied. I know you can. It’s not like you’re allergic or anything. Anyways..see you around, or not.
P.S.: Cape says hello, too. I met up with him recently. We’re starting a little therapy place in my garage, and you’re welcome to come. Just know that all your tools must be kept outside.
"THE ORIGIN OF AUTUMN"
by Abigail McMahon, Grade 6
Many years ago, in the Kingdom of Gildham, there was a King and his beautiful daughter, Princess Autumn. The King was very old, and Princess Autumn had to help him rule his vast kingdom. Princess Autumn was known far and wide for her love of nature. She often visited the royal gardens just to see the sunlight glimmer on dew drops that hung on the plants’ leaves. Her favorite plant was the tree with branches that penetrated the golden sky at sunset. It’s leaves glowed in the light and danced in the wind every time it blew, all year round. The princess loved to sit in the shade of the tree and read stories of princesses and princes finding their one true love. The tree adored Princess Autumn and would occasionally whisper words of warmth and comfort to her when she was feeling blue. For the tree was really Autumn’s first true love.
Years passed by, and it was now nearing the end of summer. The Princess was wandering in the lovely garden when she noticed her tree was looking sorrowful.
Princess Autumn stroked her tree with three fingers and asked, “What is wrong, my tree?”
The tree’s leaves shook as it bent down to whisper in her ear, “My child, your father has gone to join the great kingdom in the sky. I am so sorry.”
Princess Autumn looked up at the tree with sad, hazel eyes, “So now I must rule without the guidance of my beloved father?” she asked.
The tree did not respond, but Autumn knew that it would say, yes, my dear.
As summer came to an end, the Princess could not help but feel sad and alone. Even her beautiful tree could not comfort her. The warmth of its voice had made her feel as if she had drifted away, as if she entered a dark world where no one could find her. One day, she was sitting by her tree when a snake slithered near her.
“Sssso, I understand you are the Princessss I have heard sssso much about,” the snake hissed. “The one whose beauty sssssurpasses all othersssss.”
The Princess looked at the snake and said grimly, “That was before my father passed. Now I am as beautiful as a haggard old lady.”
The snake knew some tricks, and he had a bargain in mind to make the girl happier. “How about thissss? I will bring your father back for a pricccce. Your own life,” he suggested, his tail wagging.
Princess Autumn thought long and hard about this. “Yes,” she decided after a long pause. To the Princess, the kingdom needed her father.
“Good...now ssssstand ssssstill, my dear,” the snake said as he opened his jaws wide and sank his teeth into the Princess’s leg.
Immediately, her eyes closed and a cold wind blew throughout the entire kingdom. It shook the tree, and in their sorrow, they began to fall - the Princess, the tree’s leaves, all members of the kingdom. Years passed before a new generation filled the land and the tree’s leaves grew back.
Naturally, the King never came back, for the snake had lied. Now, every season after summer, the leaves on the wise tree fall, as do all leaves on all of her children, following in this tradition summer after summer, year after year. And thus came to existence, autumn.
RECOGNIZING OUR (SUPER) ESSENTIAL-HEROS
You’re staring at the sky through a small window taking up space in an even smaller room. Accompanying you is a slightly soft bed of a silent nature, a monitor constantly speaking in a language you’ll never understand, and a pain that you could swear is secretly a beam sending a signal to Grim Reaper himself. It’s been like this for approximately five minutes now, but it already feels like an eternity and...perhaps it is? Perhaps you have already passed away and you’re now dealing with whatever punishment you think you deserve, but...this is not the case.
The case right now is that you have a novel virus and you’re hoping for the best. You did nothing to deserve this, and you just hope a cure is coming. All you see from your window now is desolate streets shoving fear into full affect, but...soon enough, or rather as soon as many hours pass by, someone walks into your room.
It’s a man, specifically a man dressed in the standard doctor attire known as gloves, a stethoscope, and a mask, but that isn’t important. What is important is that he has wings. Large wings that seem to match perfectly with the glowing halo above his head, letting you know through literal or figurative means that he is your angel, specifically one who brings you peace for however long he can, and that idea brings you one feeling and one feeling only - comfort.
It might just be a fever dream caused by the illness or whatever medicine is within your body, but hey, whatever it is, it’s pretty good at being symbolic. This doctor would be an angel, even without the halo and wings for he is the one who’s determined to make you better. He is sacrificing himself and his whole family just to treat you right now, and he’s going to do everything in his power to make sure you walk out of the hospital doors. You think of this, and with these thoughts come a long list of words you wish to say, all to thank this person you barely know.
Thank you’s and other such phrases come pouring out of your mouth, with little to no control from yourself. This guy deserves the money he receives and more, all the thanks he gets, and even more than that - but your brain can’t really think of anything since the pain is still there, so, you just repeat something once again.
“Thank you,” you say, this time feeling as though it’s a silent chorus of voices other than your own. Now it’s a chorus made up of your family, your friends, and perhaps even people you don’t know. Teachers, students, that one guy you saw a few hours ago, and perhaps even the author of this, from her home in Cliffwood, NJ - all expressing gratitude, all saying thanks. It doesn’t matter who says "thank you," just as long as the doctor knows that from the bottom of everyone’s hearts we all thank him - and the entire hospital staff, and maybe he’ll feel better after the wild hours and time put in, knowing how appreciative everyone is of him, and those in his profession. Thank you - you are the hero we should have realized existed all along.
by Shreya Raman, Grade 7
In this image, the graphic artist created a collage of classic superheroes - Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, etc. - bowing down to our real, living superheroes: nurses and doctors helping treat those with COVID-19. The comic book superheroes stand on either side of a hospital hallway as nurses and doctors walk down the center, a sign of respect and deep admiration.
This image represents how superheroes might not just be in comic books and movies, after all. The real superheroes are our hospital staff, pharmacists, grocery workers, truckers, and more - all people who deserve applause and our love. All people who deserve acknowledgement and support. The people in this graphic image are vital to our survival, as they are on the front lines and are fighting hard, and risking their own lives.
From us all in Matawan, Aberdeen, Cliffwood, and Strathmore - we thank the essential workers who are risking their lives (and the lives of their families), for us - strangers who they don't know but want to help. Thank you.
by Cecelia Bolton, Grade 6
Many people recognize superheros from their capes. But now we recognize superheros from their masks, scrubs, and gloves.
A lot of people do amazing things that really help the world, but it doesn’t mean you’ll see them in a cape. That’s because our real-life superheros don’t wear them; as a matter of fact, they don’t need them.
In the photo above, superheros are bowing as healthcare workers pass by. Healthcare workers are so important, and some of us will never realize how much they put on the line for the public. They are so important to society because they help us stay safe and alive, and help us if we become sick. Their superpowers are their skills and kindness. They give us life, and they give us hope.
Thank you, healthcare workers, and all others on the front-line! We owe you.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK! - OUR ESSENTIAL HEROS
We invite you to share what these "essential hero" images mean to you.