Once Upon a Pine

Prompt: Once Upon a _______.  Fill in the blank with any word except the word “Time” to complete your story.

The scent of pine was overpowering, delighting me with a nose full that smelled just like Christmas.  Evergreen trees towered over my head on both sides, leaving me feeling very small and very alone.  Those feeling were new to me, though this place was as familiar as my backyard.  I come here every December to pick out our Christmas tree, this was the first year without the laughter in our family and the happy images of our tree strung with lights and dripping ornaments.

This was also the first Christmas without my sister.

I remind myself that it could be worse, that my sister could be sitting in a hospital instead of in a classroom.  But I hadn’t been ready for her to leave for college; I had counted on having another year to brace myself for the loneliness of being an only child.  As I pulled my puffy jacked tighter around me, I pictured Molly reacting to my glum mood, “Oh stop complaining Anna! It’s Christmas! You’ve always been such a crybaby!”, she’d laugh and poke me in the stomach earning a smile from me, too.  Tears dripped down my wind-blown cheeks, and I wiped them away before they froze, hoping my red nose could be passed as just cold.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, silently promising Molly that I would try to be joyful in the holidays, even without her.

Surprisingly, happiness flooded through me as I imagined her running her hands over the pine needles of the tree next to me.  But as quickly as the feeling came, a cold, dark pit opened in my stomach replacing the warm memories.  I concentrated on last Christmas, holding the thought of my sister in my mind as we scoured the tree farm looking for the perfect tree.  I imagined what my sister would say about each tree we passed and I only stopped at an emerald pine tree sparking with ice crystals.  This one was it.  It was beautiful and the right height and width for our living room.  (The Molly side of my brain told me that, she had always been the mathematician of our family.) My dad, noticing my expression of pure joy, nodded to the clerk who was showing us around.  I turned to look at my sister and start the argument of who got to put the star on top, but I was greeted only by a forest of pines surrounding me.  My mom pulled me into her warm arms and our coats crinkled as we thought about our absent family member.  Her tears plopped on my hair, but my cheeks stayed dry.  Molly may not be here, but she’s always in our hearts and memories of when she was with us, once upon a pine.

 

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Love is a Battlefield

Prompt: The setting for your narrative is a battleground.

Hypnotic lights flash orange, red, green and blue, their neon hue blinding in the darkness.  Jack Douglas clenched his teeth and rolled to cover under a stone overhang.  He heard movement behind him and tightened his grip on the trigger as he spun around. “Bro chill, it’s just me!” Chaz Shapiro took cover under the structure next to Jack, his bright blue vest symbolizing he was on Jack’s team, an ally.  Jack opened his mouth to say something, but Chaz beat him to it by yelling, “Duck!” and Jack dropped to the floor quickly, his gun slammed into his chin.  He heard Chaz’s gun fire with the artificial “spew” sound and peeked behind him to see an orange-vested boy get shot.  “Dude, so not fair!” Alex, the enemy, wailed to Chaz as his vest lights went out, symbolizing his turn was over, he had died.

“Sorry dude, but blue’s gonna’ win this laser tag war!” Chaz bellowed a battle cry that sounded like dying geese as Alex sulked away.  “Hey, ” Chaz said turning back to Jack, “Luke said he wants you to stake out orange territory to try to pick off a few guys.”  Chaz peeked over the block and fired into darkness.  Jack’s heart skipped a beat, “b-but, Rebecca could be in there!” He stammered, his heart swooning at the sound of the name of his one true love or at least his middle school crush. ” I know bro, ” Chaz patted Jack’s arm, “But it’s Luke’s party, and we do what he says.”  At that, Chaz sprinted away, and Jack was left alone, staring at the orange fortress.

Jack pushed past a stone blockade and stumbled into an area flooded with orange light, but empty.  He let out a sigh of relief, but his ears pricked with a sound behind him. Before he could turn to fire at the enemy, she said, “Not so fast Jack, I think you should lower your gun.” Jack froze.  He knew that voice, at one point sounding like music, but it was amused and sinister now.

He slowly turned, and Rebecca’s eye-lined eyes met his.  Jack’s mind rushed to think of a conclusion: he could drop his gun and get shot; or he could shoot at a girl, which is very un-chivalrous, especially when she is his heart’s desire.  He was too busy going over his options, he didn’t realize Rebecca’s foot had left the ground and struck his hand until pain shot up his arm and his gun clattered to the floor.  “There, now we can talk properly. ” Rebecca darted across the room and grabbed Jack’s gun from the ground before turning to look at him. “Isn’t it interesting how Luke invited me to this party even though it’s a guy’s party?”  she asked, her tone dripping with sarcasm and her green eyes evil and bright. “I wondered why, until he told me it was in service to a friend.”  He eyes clicked to Jack when she spoke that last word. “All this time, I had thought that “this friend” was just being nice and kind to a girl, but he has an ulterior motive, I should have seen coming.”  Her tone was like ice as she spoke to Jack, who had frozen to his spot as she talked about his motives. “No, I-I just _” Jack tried to fit a few words in with his seemingly disabled tongue, but Rebecca cut him off.  “I don’t care, and I’m not interested.”  She had walked closer to Jack and they were now face to face.  “Goodbye Jack,” she whispered and kissed him on the cheek, but not in a loving way, in a malicious, evil-queen manner that gave the impression that she knew she was causing pain.  And she did.  A “spew” echoed around the room and  Jack’s lights sputtered out, a feeling that was mutual to his heart.

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The Scholarship Guide to Staying Alive

Prompt: The trend, create a new one that others begin to follow.

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul.  If that’s true, then I would think green pupils symbolized mystery, knowing a secret that no one else does; brown eyes could mean warmth and kindness; and blue eyes would stand for innocence and purity, much like the water they resemble.  But it’s not true.  How do I know? Because Julia David’s blue eyes pierce me everyday, and if they resemble water, her’s are seriously polluted.

I noticed this pollution the first time I set foot in Emerson’s school for Women.  Well, not at first, at first the only thing I noticed was the cold globs of milkshake running down my face, thrown at me from the 3rd floor balcony.  Her aim was the second thing I noticed because she had thrown it.

Julia David had started the trend of hating scholarship students, those of us who aren’t rich, but can still come to this prestigious school because of our academic abilities.  This all started when a scholarship student out-shined Julia at homecoming 2 years ago.  But why does she have to take that out on me?  In my four months of being an Emerson girl. I have had my shampoo switched for hair removal cream (don’t worry, I smelled it before it caused any damage), spiders put into my closet, and multiple untrue rumors spread around school.  When I confronted Julia, she just glared and whispered, “you just made it worse” and threw yourself on the ground and started screaming, landing me in detention for “beating her up.”  (See what I mean by untrue?)

All this bullying led me to a revelation.  I would make a handbook for all scholarship students filled with do’s and dont’s about Julia David’s little “trend.”  Maybe this book will become a trend too, passed down from one scholarship student to another, eventually becoming the scholarship bible.  So sit back, relax (but not too much, always watch your back) and take a page out of my book.  Wish me luck, I’m going to need it and so are you!

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Why I Like Fantasy

My favorite books are all fantasy, ranging from the magical twist of twilight to the full on new world of Eragon.  There are many reasons why I love it, but to narrow it down to my choice few, they are…

1.  My life is no adventure, actually it’s quite boring.  When I read fantasy, I transport to a whole new world where nothing is real or believable, the way I like it.  I like not being able to relate to my books, not being able to say “that brings back old memories of when I traveled through middle earth with Thorin and Gandalf.”

It’s fine that I don’t think, ” HaHa, I reacted just like that when I fought my first dragon!”  Because even though I haven’t done these things and can’t relate like I might be able to in other books, I don’t care.  I feel like I’m there doing those things with the character, I feel like I’m watching Cedric Digory die through Harry’s eyes or skipping down the yellow brick road wearing Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

I still get all the emotion, sometimes even in a stronger form than if I had done it myself.

2.  The fact that nothing in these fantasy books is something I’ve done makes me enjoy them more.  In other books, I tend to skip over words because I know how it feels to sit in a cafeteria in school or go to the mall for a new outfit.  But since I don’t know what it’s like to fight a goblin or sit in the presence of a king, I tend to hang onto every word, not wanting to miss a detail.

There really is no way to fully describe the joy I get when I pick up a fantasy book, even if I’ve read it 4,000 times, but I’ve done the best I can.  Another genre just won’t do it for me anymore.  While I still enjoy realistic fiction and Sci Fi, my heart will always be in Forks, Hogwarts, half-Blood Hill, Capricorn’s Village, The Emerald City, Farten-Dur, Middle Earth,  and the thousands I have forgotten to name or have yet to visit.

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Friends of the Fog

Prompt: Fog

In San Francisco the small strip of stores and shops across the shore of the Pacific Ocean was a hot-spot for international tourists.  European business men taking a break from their stiff chairs and gray computers to take a swim in the cold, sparkling blue sea, and Asian bikini clad interns with large Gucci sunglasses starting volleyball matches.  Things have changed after the freak fog front.  No one traveled to that part of the coast.  No point in swimming if you can’t see your arms paddling through the cool blue water, not knowing if some fish is gliding right below you or if you are going to bump into another blind swimmer.

The sea-shore has been barren, uninhabited these last few weeks, except for two kids.  The children lay on the beach now, looking up at the fog infested sky, night was falling and the most beautiful sunset adorned the misshapen sky.  Even through the fog you could see the hues of light orange and magnificent yellow, painted across the heavy canvas of sky.  The chocolate skinned boy looked at the sky in amazement as he did every night.  He had been in America for two weeks now far from in the diamond mines of South Africa, where his eyes were to accustomed to dark and choking soot.  He could not fully absorb the beauty scrawled against the heavens.

The little white girl watched, not the sky, but the boy, his eyes widened in amazement as the colors exploded slowly above them.  She had seen this sunset everyday since she was a baby and the boy’s reaction to the scene fascinated her even more.   He also seemed excited about the fog, jumping and prancing through it and grasping out with his fingers to try to grab it.

It seemed to him that the world was perfect that there was no poverty or slavery, he should know better, he was there himself.  But the girl never interrupted his dreaming and happiness, only laughed as he kicked up the sand and choked on the grains.  If he was happy, so was she.  As the light faded, they walked hand in hand disappearing into the fog.

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Ancient Greek Contributions

Ancient Greek inventions have influenced western civilization in more ways than one. Ancient Greece had great warriors, leaders, and philosophers that made some of the greatest discoveries known to man.  A few of the major discoveries were in the areas of democracy, geometry, the Olympics, the Hippocratic Oath, and architecture. Without some of these, our world would be very different and not in a good way.

Probably the least known contribution, but a very important one is the Hippocratic Oath. It is named after Hippocrates, who was called the Father of Modern Medicine. It is used by doctors, who swear to be truthful and kind to their patients while not issuing harmful medicine to them even if asked. A few sentences state, “I will follow that (treatment) which, according to my ability and judgment, I will consider for the benefit of my patients. I will abstain from whatever is (harmful). I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such (advice).” (Doc. 4) If we didn’t have the oath, our doctors might not be as moral as they are today.

Another important Greek invention is democracy.  This is considered to have had the biggest impact on American society and without it, our country would be run very differently. Democracy is a big part of our lives. It ensures that every citizen can equally participate in voting and public service. It was first founded in the city-state of Athens which was ruled at the time by Pericles. His support of democracy helped it grow to what it is today. In an adopted excerpt from his funeral it states, “Our plan of government favors the many instead of the few: that is why it is called a democracy.” (Doc. 3) The word democracy came from two ancient Greek words, Demos meaning people and Kratos meaning power. If Pericles and the people of Athens did not believe in democracy, it might not have flourished and today we might be ruled by a dictator.

Another impact was created by Euclid.  Not many know of him, but I bet they are familiar with his creation: geometry. He had the theorem that if two straight lines cut one another, the vertical or opposite angles would be equal. (Doc. 5) Euclid was the father of geometry, but many others helped build it into the complex math that it is today, which is why geometry is fully developed and why we are able to fully understand it.

One of the world’s biggest athletic events also has Greek beginnings.  It comes every four years and takes place all over the world. Yes, it is the Olympics. The Olympics have changed through the generations, but its mission is the same: to unite countries from all over the world. (Actually, in the beginning, the Olympics used to be just for city-states). All wars were stopped temporarily during the time of the Olympics to assure safe travel to the games, which shows they were very important. In Ancient Greece, only citizens were allowed to participate in the games, and men were the only citizens. The women were allowed to participate in a similar contest to worship the goddess Hera. One thing the Greeks thought was very important was glory.  They thought winning was everything, so they sent their best athletes to compete in the activities. Also, they thought the human body was the most beautiful thing in the world, so all contestants competed naked in the games. (Doc. 8) The Olympics traveled through the ages to western civilization, and they are still a very important part of our world today.

A very noticeable impact from Greece is in our architecture. Much of the architecture in our world is based upon Ancient Greek buildings. The buildings constructed during Greece’s Golden Age are some of the greatest works of art in the world. One of the finest examples of these is the Parthenon. (Doc. 7)  The Parthenon is the shining glory of Greek architecture which has taught us so many things.  Columns are adapted from Greek Architecture: Dorian, Ionian and Corinthian being the most common. Also, the importance of having a stable structure without something supporting it from the inside is adapted from Greece. Even the geometric shapes of our modern buildings were learned from Greece. Our buildings and structures would not be as strong, stable or as beautiful as they are if not for the Greeks.

From the smallest corner of a building to the way we run our Government, the Greeks have impacted us in more ways than we can count. It’s difficult to imagine how weird and undeveloped our lives would be without them. This document is dedicated to thanking the people of Sparta, Athens and ancient Greece.

 

 

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Hatred

Prompt: The symptom, develop a narrative based on this word.

Hatred, the feeling boils up in you.  Slowly churning at your stomach until you reach your breaking point, until you explode.  That’s what you feel when your friend goes out with the cute new guy just to get back at you; when you’ve gotten your final report card and see it is a D, and you know the teacher had it out for you since the beginning.

I guess I should’ve seen this coming, a friend is the last thing I was to Brook.  I get kind of caught up in the glory once the spotlights on me.  Probably talking to her like that wasn’t right, and hitting on Lucas just to cause steam to blow out of her ears was going too far.  But did I deserve this?  No.  I would get her back for this.  The prank I pulled on her step brother was harmless, just some fun, she didn’t have to blow her top and rat me out to the police.

I mean really.  Maybe it was kind of serious that hospital with 4 broken fingers, but that was his fault entirely.  He didn’t have to attack me and cause me to hit him with that wrench.  What was I supposed to do? Stand there and let him tear me to pieces?

Anyway, that prank was golden, how could Brook back out of it?  Being in this dank waiting cell has given me some time to think ,and I am guessing she has a thing for him.  Ga-ross!  Her own ‘kind-of’ relative?  But that is not important right now, what I have to think about is how to stop this feeling I have.

The non-stop twisting of my gut has me groaning for revenge, and the other symptoms are worse.  A scream inside of me builds up until I rattle the iron bars of this cage, bellowing all the foul things I know.  Anger inside of me leaves my body rattled with rage as it tries to find a way out.  And the worst is when I just sit curled in a ball shaking with tears as they stream down my face.  I never feel remorse, I never really feel anything at all.  But right now, at this moment, I feel something stronger than a triple whipped choco mocha.

Hatred.

 

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