The prompt: “Boxed.”
“Everything is boxed up and sent away in this city. From piles of books, to actual living humans. The city itself is boxed in inside a weather cube that was put in place to preserve the humans inside it. We aren’t allowed to leave this place. We never were, and never will be. The overseers and the shippers just keep us inside.
Nobody knows if they’re just trying to save us from the horrible things outside, or if they’re farming us. Letting us grow healthy and strong and then take us away.
That’s another thing. When you turn 25 in this place, you’re taken away. Taken to somewhere that normal people can’t see. Everyone thinks that’s where the overseers and shippers come from.” The girl stopped talking and sat down, brushing her long unwashed hair out of her face. She sniffed. She seemed to have a cold.
“Jesus.” Said Bill. “And you’re not scared?” He asked.
“No.” The girl replied. “I’m not 25 yet.”
“How old are you?” He asked.
“Seven.” She replied.
“This is unreal.” Bill said. “We have to get you and everyone else out of here before those overseer people take you.” Bill had wandered into the city from a place far away. He didn’t know how he passed through the weather cube barrier, he just stumbled around some corridors until he got there. He was an outsider, so he didn’t know shit about what was happening.
“We can’t do that.” The girl said, standing up again.
She walked over to a big crack in the wall and looked out of it. “The things outside will kill us.” She said. “I’m surprised you never saw the Horror Terrors.”
“Horror Terrors?” Bill chuckled. “What are you talking about? I just came from the outside. There’s nothing terrible out there. Just cities and towns and hills and trees and people. Nothing horrible.”
“Which side did you come from?” She asked.
“South side.” He said.
“Then of course you didn’t see them. You realize there is no south side, right?”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“There’s a wall between the North side and the South side. I’ve been to both. The north side is its own cube all of its own.” The girl turned to him and stared into his eyes. “You’ve been fooled.” She said.
“That’s impossible!” Bill got up from where he was sitting. It felt good to stand. “I’ve even been out of the city!”
“Memory implantation.” The girl said. “The overseers do that to make you think that this place is normal.”
Bill shook his head. “No…”
“Face it, guy. You’ve been living in this city your entire life.”
Bill shook his head again. “That’s impossible. I’m 39!”
“Are you really?” The girl walked up to him and put her hand on his forehead. She shut her eyes, and when she opened them again they were glowing bright orange. “Name: Bill Sullivan. Father: Walter Sullivan. Mother: None. Age: 24. Mind Status: Un-awakened.”
Bill stepped back, horrified. “How did you… How did you know all of that?”
The girl closed her eyes and sat down. “Phew. That was tiring.” She opened her eyes. They had reverted back to her normal silver-blue combination. “How do I know all of that?” She turned around and lifted up her hair, revealing the back of her neck. On it, was a plug. “I’m their master computer.” She said.
The prompt: “Staying home sick.”
The prompt: “Dreams.”
Every single dream I’ve ever had has been in purgatory. I’ve only had about about one good dream, and about one to two nightmares, I don’t really know why this is. Considering how much I write about superheroes , or at the very least superpowers, its surprising the lack of my own influence in my dreams. I’ve had occasionally, a dream were I possess some sort of power, like super agility or whatnot, but about two seconds in, I kind of drift to the logic that superpowers are not possible, this usually makes the powers go away, then I drop the toaster or fall off a house and either die or have my mom yell at me about me dropping a toaster on the science room floor because it might angry the sharks.
The reason for my lack of dream enjoyment is my dreaming style, there are subconscious dreamers, who’s subconscious maintains complete control, a stranger in there own mind. The other type of dreamingis lucid dreaming, when the dreamer has complete control of the dream, even if they are not aware they are in it. I call my style of dream uninformed dreaming, when you make decisions but you don’t know what your saying is subsequently controlling your environment, essentially what you think about , happens, so if I think I couldn’t have superpowers, it goes away. Needless to say this style of uninformed dreaming is awful, because, if you tend to drift into pessimism, like myself, your dreams seam realistically sad.
Because of the established Melancholy of most of my dreams, I tend to be in school, with my friends, failing class. The class failing has been a new addition, simply because finals were this previous week, and I was worried about the circumstances of my grades, and all the dream was, was me getting a 23% in science. This was made worse, because the previous week, I had an A+++ , so you can imagine my frustration.
Calvin Hipolito, 10th grade
The prompt: “Mississippi.”
“I love you”
I didn’t quite know how to respond. I had thought about that word for a
while. Love. What a crazy word.
“I know. I don’t quite know how to respond. I have thought about this,
and what I would say to you, but now that you actually said it, I don’t
know… it just isnt what I thought it would be.”
” What are you saying?”
” I’m saying that you confuse me. You’re are the most amazing woman I have ever met, and the way I feel when I look at you, I cant explain it. I’m saying that I hate titles and I hate milestones. I’m saying that I don’t need some word to express how I feel about you. If I love you now, how is that going to change anything? How is it going to change the way I feel about you, or the way you feel about me?”
“I… I guess I just thought… I don’t know. I know how I feel about you and want you to know how I feel about you. You dont have to say it back, just know that’s how I feel.”
Wow. Now I really didn’t know what to say. At that moment in time, I loved her. I loved her more than anything I could think of, but what if that changed? How could I say it now if I didn’t know how long it would last?
“Whats holding you back?”
“What makes you so strong?”
“My overwhelming love for you.”
“I’m holding myself back. I’m always changing.”
“I can change with you.”
“I cant ask you to do that.”
“I want to.”
“What if that changes? What if the way you feel about me changes and you cant change with me anymore?”
“When I look into your eyes, when I see the way you smile when I wake up next to you in the mornings, I know that my feelings for you will never change. No matter how much you do.”
“What if I love you, but it changes?”
” Look around you. This street is always changing, but I still love it here just as much as I did when we moved here. Even with all the changes.”
“I love it here too.”
“I love it here, and I love you, changes and all.”
“I love it here too.”
The prompt: “Corduroy”.
7 1/2 minutes.
“Corduroy reminds me of denim.” James says boredly, hands in his pockets as he glances at a huge, distasteful sign with uncomfortably-big letters in block text “CORDUROY” above our heads.
“Wh-what?!” I exclaim. “They have nothing in common!”
“Well, they’re just an uglier fabric to use to make pants. So, like ugly denim.”
“Yes. If I’m ever of any power or importance in this world, I shall rename corduroy ‘Ugly Denim’ Or maybe something shorter like ‘Ugdem’.”
“Ugdem? That’s even worse than corduroy!”
“But corduroy is such a pleasant word…” He stares blankly at the rack of unnaturally brightly colored clothes. “The fabric cannot live up to the name.”
“You’re such a freak…” I punch him lightly in the shoulder. James has always been a weird guy. He’s just…different, y’know? I dunno how ‘ta explain it other than just…”Odd”. As a kid he was fascinated with roadkill, fruit, ink, milk and anything you could pop. I remember being…what, six? And asking him why he liked those things. He replied;
“They all leave marks and have the most interesting smells.”
Sometimes I still catch him crushing a fruit in his big, bricky hands, or lazily crouching by a crushed cat, tugging lightly on some barely attached limb until the tendon snaps off, and the flesh falls back onto itself with a unsettling squish.
Ivy Sullivan, 10th grade
The prompt: “Welcome home.” 20 minutes.
“Welcome Home” the tattered banner proclaimed, leftover from a long ago past. What had happened here, and who had participated? The photographer wandered from room to abandoned room, moving furniture and debris as he saw fit. A pastel blue dress left hanging, an empty broken bed frame. Evidence of recent squatters proved he wasn’t the only person to see this disgusting beauty. He stepped over the broken beer bottles, careful not to land on any rusty nails. Braving the rotting stairs, he found rooms untouched by desperate eyes. A bathroom cupboard with dried up cosmetics. What had caused the people to leave? Why was one shoe deemed more important then the other? Finished, he put away his camera, and carefully climbed out a glass-less window. The cooling breeze swept his clothing, and he realized how stale the house had smelled. He’d cut himself somewhere, and would now have to get a tetanus shot. These things people would not think of when viewing his art. They would talk about depth, contrast, composition… To him these were just byproducts. The fun was in obtaining a subject. The subtle scar he would have on his left palm, the stain on his pant leg, these lasted longer then a photo. They were his memory.
Anaïs Liston, 12th grade
The prompt: Write about whatever the word “luscious” makes you think about. 20 minutes
Green pineapple pineflower fruit of the green yellow orange shining smell. Some far off glade of the sharp luscious mango peach sent envelopment. Pain of joy, green tender young juice of flowing nectar. Sweet sent ambrosia of far off isle of white gold orange passion.
Diving blue gold ecstasy of the darkened soft billowing opiate dream. Little tinkles and bifocal movement synergies. Insentious incense, world of orange blue pink green gold silver red. Inside the waking lust of dream. Speech as droning harmonic pasture of the stagnate past. Deft raging spirit machines. Mechanized motion of enlighten interventionary passion of thoughtless carnage waking at the dawn of relentless waiting. The sorrow. Shamed repast, the forgotten future lies ahead, a bogus real construction of his face.
Luscious flat coat man. Walking fast the dark rain reflected off dull gray choky street of rain. Meek fright and passing glow drop to harsh glare of darkness.
Ray Kennedy, 12th grade
Rhone Geha, 12th Grade
Excerpt from short story, “Archer”
“Burning, freezing, wild mind, broken body. Henry Irons was being pursued. The streets were empty, swathed in the dead light of dawn. Ten thousand things, trapped in terminal slumber, refusing his frenzied cry for asylum. Alone, chased by a demon, Henry ran, driven by instinct and fear. He had lost consciousness of time and direction, letting his mind cave under the impulses of love, hate, fear, and oblivion that had erupted from the depths of his subconscious, consuming his focus and perception. The concrete heart of the city loomed above him, a reminder of his insignificance, but he refused the temptation of weakness, forcing his body to carry him onwards.”
Zaji Cox, 12th Grade
“The ashes were still falling inside the house, looking like snow. It fell on everything, sometimes being pushed by a gentle, ghostly breeze that came in through the shattered windows. The couches and cushioned chairs have faded to a sickly gray, their edges black and decayed. The old grandfather clock stood forlorn and burnt, never to work again. The dishes, cups, and silverware, intricately and beautifully designed, were now dull and caked in soot. However, the top hat and cane, still lying on the cracked table, were the only things that remained normal looking. They just sat there, always waiting for the day of use that never came.” -