Greenburgh Arts And Culture

         "We celebrate the creative arts!"

Sarah Bracey White, Executive Director. Advisory Board: Kevin Morgan, Town Board Liaison;  Gwen Cort, Carolyn McNair, and Barbara Mohr

   

An e-zine celebrating the creativity of young writers in Greenburgh's Kids Short Story Connection. September, 2017 edition. All rights to these original stories and poems are retained by their creative young authors.

                            

About the Kids Short Story Connection

          In 1994, the Town of Greenburgh’s Arts and Culture Committee initiated the Kids Short Story Connection (KSSC), a series of writing workshops for children 9-12 years old. The only prerequisites for participation were a love of writing and the prior completion of at least two short stories. News of these workshops spread and they quickly drew young writers from throughout Westchester County.  At first, only one class was held at the Greenburgh Library; however, it was soon necessary to hold several classes, divided according to maturity level and writing ability. Today, three workshops – each composed of eiight to twelve writers between 9 and 18 years old – are held each fall and spring at Greenburgh Town Hall. Across a twelve-week period, these students meet on six Saturday mornings from 10 am until 12 noon. In each workshop, an established writer/teacher discusses the technical components of good stories, helps these students explore their creativity, has them write new stories, and read aloud ones they've already written.

          Throughout the workshops, students get feedback from fellow participants and revise their stories based on that peer critique. Periodically, we publish a group anthology of original stories by KSSC participants called “Short Stories by Me.”  Parents and children continually laud the importance of this project in developing skills and providing a setting where children feel empowered as writers.

          This project is made possible by the Arts Alive Program of the Westchester Arts Council, with funding from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts.

           Sarah Bracey White, Executive Director of Arts and Culture, KSSC Founder

Teachers: Kate Gallagher, Diana Spyropulos and Cindy Gazis

—————————————————————

 

Current writing from participants in the 2016 & 2017

Kids Short Story Connection Workshops

 

      ABC Poem

                               by Sofia Larrea

A little story is all

By words you express your feelings

Can you write 26 lines

Doing it now I am

Echoes through the room

Fainted by a bad stench

Go find out

How did it get here?

In the room is a 15-foot long stinkbug

Jojo the exterminator we called

Kool-Aid he drank then ran to the bug

Laura screamed like a whistle

“More bugs? Oh no!” screamed Laura wanting to fly away to Canada

"No more buuugsss!" Shouted Jojo, killing every one of them

Overly exaggerated Laura cried happy tears

Powerful Jojo triumphed

Quietly creeped Jojo away

Raged Laura cried in agony

Sadly, Jojo returned

Together they ran away

Undecided love, we thought

Victorious they were in love

Where they settled down?  A cottage!

Xyla was the name of their firstborn child

You like this story, right?

Zigzagging paths they took.


 

     Bird and Boat

                                     by June Lee

               (inspired by painting by Marjorie Schlosberg)

     A sliver of deep crimson pigment streaked through the ashen grey veil of vapor hovering over the horizon. A salty, bitter breeze whipped around my hair, casting shadows on the ghostly white sand. 

     Shards of shells were scattered along the shore line, stained with the song of the waves in every crease. A shiver slithered its way down my spine making me cringe. The sound of waves thrashing against the shore swallowing the sand...letting it sink into the depths. The sound of gentle footsteps could be heard, through the deadly silence as the people turned to gaze at the sky...waiting. But the sunrise was never seen...but it was there, hidden behind the ever so slowly moving ghostly shapes reflected into the sky.

 

 

     Peacock

                        by June Lee

Feet balanced on a wooden hand gnarled with arthritis.

Vines with buds blossoming with velvet flowers

creep over the lumber.

A king of golden plumage looks over his land.

Ringlets of indigo circle his eye edged with pale dandelion.

The white of the eye carries a golden hue.

The iris a deep cerulean.

The pupil carrying a marble of ocean.

The eye has a brother, a sister.

It has a million siblings.


 

      Untitled

                        by June Lee

Feet bathed in ocean tide

May he stand alone

On a beach 6 miles wide

Heart a heavy stone

Reflection glazed in salty mirrors

He thinks he's got a companion

But from a mile away you see

Only a lonely bird, though inside

He's far from alone.

 

 

     River

                  by June Lee

Where the water runs loose,

the young deer sips from the river,

the birds bathe, and the trees by the banks of the river

thread their long stubborn roots toward me.

Where the jagged rocks lay, my swollen streams feed the grass.

I feed the humans quenching their thirst with the sweetest water I supply.

I live again and again until the sun bleaches my waters and my river runs dry.


 

     Morning Light

                                    by June Lee

 

(inspired by the painting, Morning Light, by Cathleen Cea-Gupta)

 

Light leaked through the tightly intersecting branches that had weaved their splintery arms together. A statue of a young girl stood in the clearing. Brush and thin vines slithered up her body engulfing it in nature's twine. A shallow pool of water pooled around her stone shoes, dew dripping from the heavy vegetation.

Bark had been stripped from trees leaving a raw crimson layer beneath, bleeding sap. A single bird rested on the gnarled finger tips of a young birch tree.

It was a strange place. The lone twitter of the single bird, the quiet emptiness of the forest that had once been filled with the music of nightingales, the rippling of grass and the sweet breeze that carried the seeds of flowers, responsible for the birth of color in the now oddly swampy and dull forest that stood in the middle of another forest that stood in the middle of nowhere.

 

 

      Untitled

                         by June Lee

 

I lay under the tree, watching as the branches caught the warm beams of sunlight in its mass of bramble. Between the thick vegetation, only a sliver of gauzy sky was visible.


 

     Tree

               by Sofia Larrea

 

I am a tree.  I know that isn’t the most exciting thing,

but being a tree is more interesting than it is thought out to be. 

Trees can see the past, present, and future.  Only select humans

have the right to be able to talk to our kind. 

One day, a boy was running tirelessly, tears streaming from his eyes,

his knees scraped and blood dripping from a spot

where a tooth had been supposedly purposefully knocked out. 

He looked up at me.  He said, “Mister Tree, I do not know what to do. 

You have advice for me?  Do not be scared, for I can talk to the trees.”

He laid his head against my bark, and his memories came rushing into my mind. 

His mom had kicked him out of the house.

And told him to find a good life, and he went on his way.

Trees can do much more than you can imagine.

Maybe you also have the blessing of the trees.


 

     Read!

                  by Sofia Larrea

Your first look

At a book

Opening

Words here

words there

words

words

everywhere

Look  took

cow, meow!

The stories

consume you

in a land of sentences,

phrases, pronouns

And all there

in one tiny book


 

     Moonlight

                           by Leah McLean

 

The moon is such a beautiful sight

Shining through the dark night

Its glow lights up the sky

I love the way it twinkles in my eye

As I look at the sky with a smile

I can't help but think for awhile

The moon is my favorite part of the day

Even it when it begins to fade away

 

 

     Princesses

                             by Leah McLean

Princesses come in all different kinds

Each one with their very own minds

Some are rude and snobby

While others have kindness as their best hobby

Some wish they weren't what they were at all

And could be a normal girl getting lost in the mall

Some no longer wish to stay in a castle

But perhaps an apartment in New York where they won't be hassled

All princesses have something in common that makes them the same

They'll always be a princess and that'll never change


 

     Children Sleeping

                                            by Leah McClain

 

10 children lay asleep

9 frogs begin to leap

8 children are sleeping now

7 crickets make loud sounds

6 children lay asleep in bed

5 spiders crawl near their heads

4 children are still asleep

3 holes begin to leak

2 children are asleep now

1 mouse begins to crawl about

0 children are sleeping now

For they have all left the house


 

     Emily’s Wings

                                     by Julia Moser

I spread my wings and jump from the mountain ledge...  The wind ruffles my feathers as I swoop through the sky.  Below me, a stunning scene unfolds: majestic snow-capped mountains, fields of golden wheat swaying gently in the breeze, and the twilight colors reflecting off the smooth surface of a lake.  I twirl and leap, curtseying to the clouds and swaying with the wind.  I am free, and I will- and then I woke up.

“Emily!”  Someone was calling me.  I sat up, and groggily rubbed my eyes.  I was sitting in my bed; a wrinkled mass of dusty sheets.  A tiny ray of light filtered through the small window: almost the opposite of my glorious dream.  I sighed.  “EMILY!”  The voice called again, piercing the air.  She was agitated today.  I pulled myself together and called back, “Coming, Ma’am!”  I struggled out of bed, and tiredly ambled over to the small chair, over which were draped my simple white dress and apron.  I put them on quickly, and rushed down the hall, past the room where my friend, Rose, slept.  She worked in the kitchen, so she shared a cramped room with the rest of the kitchen staff.  I lingered in the hallway for a moment, opening the door a crack and peering through.  None of the scuffed-up wooden floorboards were visible, because of the piles of sleeping bodies and patched-up quilts.  My eyes scanned the room for Rose; finally resting on a figure with a tired face, framed with wispy golden curls and propped up against the hard stone wall.  I sighed.  Poor Rose.  At least I had my own room, no matter how tiny it was.  It was possibly the only good thing about being Lady Esmeralda’s personal maid.  As I slowly and carefully closed the door, I saw Rose’s eyelids flutter for a moment, revealing her bright blue eyes.  I started down the marble staircase, lifting my hand from the shiny brass banister to stifle a yawn.  I envied Rose her light, gold locks and cheerful blue eyes.  My hair was bright red and unruly, my skin covered with tiny freckles.  My eyes, however, were a deep forest green, and I considered them my most pleasant feature.  My father always said I looked exactly like Mother, but it couldn’t have been true.  My mother was the most beautiful person in the world, and beauty was the opposite of what I saw when I looked in the mirror.  Not that I had much time for mirror gazing; I had quite enough to do around the palace.   Slowly, I stepped up to the large wooden door that led into Lady Esmeralda’s room.  I knocked.

“Come in,” called the voice.  I opened the door, and saw the familiar pale skin, long wavy auburn hair, tight, rosy lips, and piercing blue-green eyes.  “Emily,” said Esmeralda, “You’re late.”

Many years ago, I had lived with my family in the countryside.  I had had a little sister, May, and my two parents.  We’d been pretty poor, but we were happy.  Until one year, when May was five and I was seven, we couldn’t pay our taxes.  My father and mother didn’t know what to do, so they just pretended nothing was wrong and never mentioned it to May or me.  Then, the king’s messenger came to the door.  I was only seven, so I didn’t know what to think.  I hid with May in the room we shared in the attic, listening to the conversation downstairs with trembling hands.  I’ve forgotten most of what they said, but I remember my father coming upstairs, and telling me to come downstairs.  My mother was sitting, teary-eyed and shaking, on a small wooden chair I’d helped my father make when I was five. My father explained that the king had come because we hadn’t been able to pay him enough money. He had said that if we couldn’t pay the money in a week, we’d have to leave our house. So, he and my father had made an agreement.  (At this point my mother was crying hard, and didn’t seem able to face me.)  I would go and work as a maid for the king’s seven-year-old niece, Esmeralda, so my family wouldn’t have to leave our home. I would be free to return once the king felt the debt had been worked off.  There were many tears and hugs, but in the morning I packed my few possessions and left for the palace.  I remember marveling at the grandeur of even the carriage that took me to the grand estate that would be my home for the next several years.  When we finally got there, I was so exhausted I didn’t even look around me as the guard led me through the enormously long entry hall and up several flights of stairs that are so familiar now.  I gratefully sank into the pile of blankets that I was presented with, and sank into a dreamless sleep. 

  I’m eleven now, and my parents and May are only faint pictures in my head, but I still imagine going home someday.  Every morning, I go to help Esmeralda with her gown, brush her beautiful long hair, and escort her down the stairs.  However, today something seemed different.

“You’re late,” Esmeralda repeated, as she paced around her well-furnished bedroom.  The room was large, with a big, warm bed in one corner. The bed had a violet canopy to match the soft comforter and bedspread. There was a huge closet on the other side of the room that I was very familiar with; and daily ventures into it searching through the dresses it contained for the one Esmeralda needed had not made me overly fond of it. I had been prepared for another, similar ordeal, but Esmeralda had already begun preparing to go downstairs.  It was odd; this morning she was already out of bed, with cosmetics sitting ready on her bedside table.  I cleared my throat politely, stepping onto the soft red carpet. 

“What can I do for you today, ma’am?” 

“Emily, Emily.  Today is an important day.” Esmeralda stopped pacing and stood facing me. “Lord Leonard, the son of my father’s friend Duke Edward, is coming for the weekend, and I want everything to be ready.”

“Err, yes ma’am.  What can I do to help?”  Esmeralda scoffed. 

“You could start by making me presentable.  Help me choose a gown.”  We went through several grueling minutes of frenzied selection, and trying on different dresses.  Finally, we settled on a sky blue gown, with a skirt that twirled out when Esmeralda spun, and a sapphire necklace on a delicate silver chain. Next was the make-up. Esmeralda insisted on trying every single shade of eye shadow she owned, and at least five different kinds of lipstick. We were ready at last. 

                                                       To be continued…

  

     Heart

                  by Julia Moser

 

Fragile as a glass figurine

With ridges and valleys

Carved into its surface

By the trials that come hand in hand

With being alive.

Held close,

Hidden away,

Or shown proudly for the world to see;

But belonging only to one.

 

You make the choice.

 To take a risk;

Give your heart away

To the one you trust the most;

Or to keep it locked up

For fear of having to

Gather up its shattered pieces

From the unfeeling ground.

Heart

Much too delicate

Yet turns to stone at times.

Much too trusting

Yet too suspicious.

Not perfect.

Nothing really is.

But holding the love that

Lets us truly

Live


 

     Blue

               by Julia Moser

As endless as the sky

As bright as a songbird

As clear and reflective as a peaceful lake

As mysterious as the ocean

As dependable and consistent as the rain


 

     Your Time

                            by Arushi Parekh

 

you lie there

hopelessly,

with your life

drifting away.

your young eyes

flutter

for the last time.

my heart shatters

as the last moment

arrives.

your life is gone.

it has been taken

to the sky.

you fall into

an everlasting sleep.

everything turns

invisible.

your delicate life

has disappeared.

your time has

vanished,

into thin air…


 

     Art

             by Laura Mujica

(Inspired by paintings from The Westchester Artists Guild)

Art is water flowing down a silent stream. Fish swim gently and a summer breeze is pushing a boat along.    (Anchored, Anthoula De Knatel)

Art is birds that are perched on the branch of a cherry blossom tree, a long necked Herron looking into the water, and he is comforted by the grass beneath his feet. (Joel's Herring, Fred Raphael) (B &W Warbler, Joyce Cruffari) 

Art is a forest of white birch trees and lively animals. A blue bird leaps into the air, and flaps his wings. He chirps a happy melody. (Morning Light, Kathleen Cea-Gupta)

Art is a bouquet of purple flowers and droopy green leaves. Petals fall out of the jar, and an open window welcomes a beam of light. (Marjorie Schlosberg)

Art is not just a painting made by simple brushstrokes. It's not just something in a golden frame that you admire.  Art is an open portal, ready to transport you into another world. A world where you decide what the world will be like tomorrow.


 

     Koi Fish

                       by Laura Mujica

The river flows, like light through a burning lamp. The waves splash, as if they were trying to engulf the moss-covered rocks on the shoreline. Suddenly, a gentle ripple. Look down, little fish. Swimming freely. Its orange scales shine against the sun’s embrace.

Splash. The fish’s delicate, nearly silky tail, emerges from the surface, woven together so smoothly. Disappear.

It is like a puff of smoke, rising from a miniature flame that sparks in the dark night. The water, underneath your soft touch, feels delicate and pure. The soft current slaps your fingers, softer than the feeling of glass. A vibration, so soft and delicate.

The orange fish reappears, his fin splashing the water. He swims towards a little entrance inside of a cracked rock, the water bleeding through the boulder’s wounds.

The tail fin disappears, the soft, wet mud tickles underneath your bare feet. The long, curvy claws of the green plants embrace you, as you escape to the tiny house, on the massive hill.

 

     Cat   

             by Laura Mujica

Leaping from chair to chair so gracefully, you’d be watching a swan dancing in the water. Cat’s eyes gleam playfully as she unsheathes her sharp, shining claws, which twinkled in the sunlight.

As quick as thunder, and as quiet as a feather, she dashes to another room, you on her heels. Her white, thick fur ripples in the wind. She looks up, sniffing the air. She senses you.

Just like lightning, she darts under the couch. The darkness starts embracing her. You turn your head, thinking she’ll stay there. All of a sudden, catching you off guard, she sprints towards the stairway, you chasing her. But you cannot keep up. Why, you are chasing a creature with the energy of one-thousand volts of electricity.

Try to grab her scruff, she leaps away from your reach and scrambles towards your bedroom, a messy area where she can play with whatever she wants.

“No!” You scream as she gets her hair all over your new prom outfit; the stench of fish replaces the scent of cherry blossoms.

“No!” You shriek as she gets her paws all over your new memory foam mattress; what a tragedy! It cost at least $1000…

Suddenly, she eyes you carefully, so mischievously, so mockingly. She lets out a meow of delight.

Everything seems to go in slow motion as she puts her paws on your new Hatsune Miku poster, white, little specks of paw prints getting everywhere. Your jaw drops open as her tail brushes against it. And suddenly, she meows as she puts her fuzzy chest over her little white paws, and closes her eyes as she purrs, as loud as a motor.

While she is all happy, you're wondering whether getting this cat was a good idea…


 

     Who has seen the Wind?

                                                           by Arushi Parekh

(The title is from a poem by Christina Rossetti.)

who has seen the wind?

is he hiding behind the gloomy, frozen mountains?

is she travelling deep towards the core of the Earth?

who has seen the wind?

is he becoming invisible to the curious eyes?

is she rising higher towards the mysterious space for eternity?

why has the wind left?

were the people too ungrateful for his refreshing touch?

had the people of her land accomplished too many wrongs?

why has the wind left?

was the sun showing him disrespect?

had the rain tried to drown her? 

was the wind every coming back?

who will protect the people, the children from disasters instead of him?

who will defend the villagers instead of her? 

could anyone replace the wind?

his duties, her responsibilities

the wind,

has become one of us.

feeling from our problems.

but as one of us,

the wind must be found. 

who has seen the wind?


 

     A Puzzle

                        by Arushi Parekh 

no piece is out of place

in this breath-taking beautiful puzzle.

like a mosaic, everything fits in a spot.

the soft yellow of the stone,

becomes the beginning of love.

hiding the lush green scenery behind it.

pale shades of pink and violet flowers

leading to blood red ones

tell the finest memories of love.

drops of rain stain the mustard flooring,

proving that hatred and jealousy can overtake

the purest of hearts.

leaving only droplets of rain

to remember the

forgotten

past.


 

     Dirt

          by Arushi Parekh

dirt

piling up, adding to the

heavy weight on my shoulders.

the noises that take over punishing me

for what i did. digging and moving the dirt on top

of me. hoping that one day, i’ll break and be trapped by it

all. stuck under piles of sadness that i’ve caused. forcing me to pay

the debt and endure my outcomes. while hiding under piles and piles of dirt.

 

 

 

     the great big world

Arushi Parekh

 

trying to find my way,

in the darkness

for eternity by myself.

with no one to guide me,

along the empty,

lonely path.

no one to help me,

or make me feel safe.

just me

and the pitch black

emptiness.

forever unsafe

and alone,

in the great big world.


 

     Your Time

                            by Arushi Parekh

 

you lie there

hopelessly,

with your life

drifting away.

 

your young eyes

flutter

for the last time.

 

my heart shatters

as the last moment

arrives.

 

your life is gone.

 

it has been taken

to the sky.

 

you fall into

an everlasting sleep.

everything turns

invisible.

 

your delicate life

has disappeared.

 

your time has

vanished,

 

into thin air…

 

     Waiting

                      by Arushi Parekh

 

the tapping of her shoe,

followed by the shaky breaths.

a pounding sound,

trying to break out of her chest,

is oblivious to the world.

getting soothed by the

rich, warm

coffee going down her throat.

the clatter of the cup

on the saucer,

and the laugher from the kitchen,

shake her out of the flying thoughts.

anxiously, waiting

for the calming feeling

knowing it will all be over.

anxiously, waiting

for the darkness

to leave her alone.

waiting,

to close her eyes and

pretend it’s a dream.

while falling into a

deep, peaceful slumber.

waiting.


 

     Her

             by Arushi Parekh

 

she just sits there

shielded by darkness.

unaware of the curious eyes

who see her glorious colors.

underestimating her own beauty

she doesn’t realize her importance.

all are awed

by her beautiful features.

all are waiting to free her

from her hidden castle

as she wanders away

her gorgeous years.

unaware of her beauty

seeing herself as a nobody.

not realizing that she

is the key to her own

happiness.

her black and white vison

of her own image.

the second she accepts herself,

her natural brilliant looks,

she will be saved.


 

     D-LZ 129 (Hindenburg)

                                       Antonina Pessin

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

On the ground.

People flock from all around.

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

You quickly get full

As people march into your bulge.

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

Full of air.

You’re light as a feather and without a tear.

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

Off it goes!

People cheer without remorse.

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

In the sky,

Calls the mountains and moors goodbye.

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

Over the sea,

Light shining like amber on a murky beach.

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

Wingless bird.

A head like a bullet without a turn.

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

D dash LZ.

A dark blue star upon your lid.

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

1,2,3.

Right across Washington D.C.

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

People see.

In turbans, caps, their cheering “Yippy!”

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

Oh, so free!

Forever will you be-BOOOOOOOOOOSH!!!

 

Zeppelin…

Zeppelin…

On its side.

Red flames flowing from its eyes.

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

Air letting go.

Yellow threads of smoke, blow.

  

“Zeppelin!”

“Zeppelin!”

People scream.

Inside and out the falling beam.

 

Zeppelin.

Zeppelin.

D dash LZ.

Forever not to fly again

 


                      The Light

                                          Nina Pessin

 

                   Whooshing.  Slooshing.  Flapping

            Eyes paint a blur, like a blind man with pastels

   Confusion in my aching head, injury strains my open wings.

                         Turning.  Flipping.  HIT!

As e' world spins, and my body aches in pain, thy eyes see a light.

                        Burning bright like a sun

                      A shine that could envy god

                      A heat of a welcoming home.

           Besides th' stretched out wings, and weary legs,

                  The land felt better then observed.

New 'light' land, feels like sun kissed sand, burning off the hairs on my scarred feet.

                        The light burns my sight.

                       only one image can be seen.

               In the image, there are many men like I,

                          Burning.  Aching.  Dieing

                             But now they’re  

                       Shriveled.  Burnt.  Dead

        I thought I met a man that looked like I, I asked

                    "Woh!  Old man!  Where's us?"

            He looked half gone, but he could still say,

"We?  We nobody.  You n' I lye in The Light.  All us go here when we feel achey, Light burns it off, But for our confine' is our gift, cause Light gets hungry too".

                         Light is a greedy beast.

      It was made by man, set off by man, controlled by man,

                             It can kill man.

Light made me wary wings gone, my blurry eyes blind, and the aching head blank.

                               I want more.

                           I hugged the light.

                      Burning.  Shriveling.  Dead.


 

     Lunacy

                     by Antonina Pessin

A moon, blue and grey, hits the top of the midnight black sky.  Stars blinking like jets.  Usually, the stars stay hiding from lights and life, still inhabiting the houses down below.  But the lights have died down, leaving the stars to take reign.  The moon at these hours, due to its position, can never shine its light into the compact windows of the houses down below, but one special house atop a hill was in just the right position for such a happening.  The silver silk moved down the midnight stairs, clutching the window’s glass, shining its silver gleams, like burnt-out sunlight into the bedroom.  This happened precisely at 3:00, the exact moment when the silence becomes even more silent.

The bedroom was large, being a master bedroom.  A bed stood in the corner. Inside was a slow breathing, lonely man. Beside it was a dark maple wood dresser, and a stool to rest his reading glasses and book. There was also a desk with a humming computer, surrounded by pencils and doodle-covered printer paper.

All was quiet, except for the humming computer blowing air on a stray piece of paper, only ever swaying, until a final shot of air parted it from the desk to the floor.

The man wheezed, head atop pillow, and covers covering his small frame.  No sound ever touched the room other than that.

The floor squeaked as the kitchen door opened, footsteps walking around downstairs.  The quiet of the moonlight drained the noise, only leaving a sense of uncomfortable movement.  The noise walked quietly up the stairs, off to the hallway.  The being waited.  The humid air of the solitary room blowing through his dark body, making him breathe heavily, his body moving up and down like a dresser being opened.  The night sky was slowly clearing when the second noise appeared.

It started in the guestroom, as an object seemed to fall on the carpet.  After much silence there was a scratch.

Tickity, click

Tickity, click

Tickity, click click

Tickity, click

The Shadow didn’t move, and the cold claw came closer.

Tickity, click

Tickity, click

Tickity, click

Click, click, click

The noise stopped by the door.  Nothing moved. Like a hungry pack of wolves, the night waited for the next move.  The man turned to the cooler side of his left.

Tack, tack, tack

Beat the visitor.

The Shadow stood, like a nonexistent ghost. He waited.

After short time the visitor tried again.

Tackity, tick, tickity, tap tap

 The Shadow continued standing still, until finally the visitor waited no longer, and clumsily grabbed the doorknob.

Scratch, scratch, click!

The door screeched open.

Tickity, click

Tickity, click

The visitor walked in.

He was of small stature, about the size of a small parrot, with stone colored, gray legs, and feathers of tired blue and silvery black that captured the night so well. His body seemed to disappear into the house.  His legs were long, and his head was tucked into his fuzzed neck feathers, but his face was that of a something killed once, and then again.  He had a long, drooling grin, covered in small jagged canines, hiding under a crooked moon nose, and beady eyes that cried blood and lust.  The creature walked towards the Shadow in a peg legged bounce, and looked up; he licked his dry, lipless mouth, a wet red snake tongue smudging across his teeth.  After the moment of silence he said in an unpleasant, raspy tone,

 “So you wharr nice enough to open a window, but yu left the door locked!”

The Shadow, as most in these occasions, stayed silent, not moving a limb.

The bird creature shook his head. Seeing there would be no reply, and probably no proper conversation, he hopped over to the corner of the room, near the door and sat.

As the minutes passed, a ‘tack tack’ at the window yet again broke the silence.

 The Shadow (by best observation), looked at the source of the noise, and then, like rustling silk, got up, slid to the moonlight-concealed window and opened it like a physical man.

Piece by piece a rusty red creature walked in, with hands and feet like paws, but skin like a wild man.  The creature crawled on the floor.  His eyes like astute cats flashed at the Shadow, who nodded in respect.  The horned, red skinned creature then clutched his plastic bag, put one claw into it and pulled out a large bottle. It smiled.

 “I bought the Champagne.”

The Shadow nodded, and with that the horned beast walked to the edge of the room near the bed, and placed the bottle and the bag at its foot. Its eyes then looked curiously around at the room, his cow-like ears twitching at the wheezes coming from the bed. 

Noticing the horned beast’s strange behavior, the bird demon moved closer, and asked cautiously,

“Know thiss place eslthwhere?” 

The horned beast looked at the demon, then back at the bed to where the man lay.  The creature replied with a purr,

“No, never.  I haven’t ventured this mortal cage before.”  He clambered up the bed leg, and then sat at the top, like a painted gargoyle or large owl.

“It’s acrylic, though, reminds me of a house at last years past.”

“Was it nice?”  asked the demon, his voice letting out a sigh of relief for a conversation. He didn’t seem like one who enjoyed silence.

“Quite!  The maiden was very rich, and wore lace in bed. Her skin was soft, and hair like dried wheat. It was a joy to be in her presence…”

“I meant the house.”

“Oh.”  The horned beast, or more commonly known as an Incubus, halted.  “It was nice too.”

After this, there was a pause, one of the long ones that pass through time unnoticed.

It was like this for a while; the bright silver moon almost seemed to wait with them, hanging down like a looming old oak at fall.  The wind was non-existent.

At this point, the demon could no longer take these awkward pauses and belted out,

“Who, in the dark father’s name are we waiting for!”

The Shadow just stared, waiting for nothing in particular.  Wanting to break what would be the end of a sullen night, the Incubus spoke up.

 “I believe we are waiting for our cards.”

The demon’s unblinking eyes faced the Incubus.

“We can’t have Champagne without cards.”

The Incubus’s response was then chosen reasonable, and the bird demon turned his large head away, and ruffled his wing feathers.

It was at this time that there was a tick tap upstairs.  The spirits looked up.

‘Tick tap, tick tap’ it went again.

The noise fell silent, but soon there was a squeak, and clump.  The attic door had fallen, followed by the faint noise.

Tick tap, tick tap

The spirits in the room stayed silent, ignorant of the eerie sound, even as it got louder.

Tick tap.

Louder still.

Then, an unphysical body moved into the room through the door without a flinch.

She was the color of an old washcloth, fading from use and moths.  Her dress was like that of a washerwoman, or English maid, but her hands shook like she was experiencing a great fright, and her eyes were dull like clay marbles. Her hair stood at ends in her lace bonnet; it was probably the color of hazelnut at one time.

“Well, well,” acknowledged the Incubus, an impressed chuckle creeping up on his face.  “I didn’t know you lived here EndyIm!”

EndyIm looked at the Incubus, her face still solemn.  She moved toward the Shadow, her nonexistent wooden shoes taping on the floor.

Tick tap

Actually, she didn’t seem to walk, but instead, her legs seemed to fly through the air, like a lunar moth in a dark woodland. Yet this flying was still restricting, for her dress moved like a live walking woman, and she could only go so far off the ground.

She curtsied to the Shadow, who looked down at her like a warm partner, and showed her to his seat.

She lowered herself down, but knowing her skin was so frail, and she would with no doubt fall to the floor, she instead floated above the chair like a hummingbird does with a flower of its pleasure.  Once she was comfortable she started digging into her apron pocket.

The demon’s beady eyes looked at her curiously, like a crow to a silver necklace.  He spread his small wings and fluttered closer to the ghost.

“What ya got there?”  he asked, his tongue smothering across his dry mouth again.

EndyIm didn’t reply. Once her hand found the item she slowly pulled it out and showed it to the demon.  He pulled his head up in rushed inquisitiveness.  His long smile left his face slowly, his nose sniffed once, and then he asked in a rude manner, “what iz it?”

It was a small box, but large enough to hold in two hands.  It was made out of nickel-bought cardboard, and a dull green, worn-out ribbon, that wasn’t making the box look any more pleasing, hung around it.  The bird demon’s reply seemed to make her hands shake even more violently, that EndyIm placed the box on her lap, so not to drop it while opening.  But her hands still shook so much that while undoing the frayed ribbon the box fell from her lap and upside down on the deep blue carpet.

The demon went to inspect.  “Oh, yes!  Cigarettes!  Ai so needed one!”  He quickly grabbed one from the pile, and stuck it in his carnivorous mouth.  “Iz there ah lighta’ ere?”  he said, saliva flinging from his preoccupied mouth.  No one seemed to acknowledge until the Shadow elevated his arm towards his head, lifting his index finger up to his face.  Confused, the creatures only stared until the Incubus, understanding his miming, turned to the demon and said sternly, “Keep your voice down, there’s a morty in the room!”  The demon turned to the bed; lifting his head up best he could to see the snoozing man.  He turned towards the Shadow, pulled the cigarette from his mouth with a free claw and asked,  “Why’d cha choose the room with the mortal?”  The Shadow stood silent, and the demon angrily stuffed the unlit cigarette back into his mouth.

As to cure the un-lifted tension, the Incubus turned to EndyIm and asked in the most gentlemanly fashion, “ EndyIm, dear, do you happen to have some playing cards with you?” 

EndyIm stared at the Incubus for some time,  when suddenly from the upstairs attic, a thrash and wham was heard, and then the slam of a door, and immediately afterwards the commotion, a small, silkworm eaten set of playing cards appeared in her hand.

The Incubus grinned, not at all bothered by the otherwise frightening incident. He jumped from his perch and took the cards from her skeletal hand.

“Here we go then—.”  “Whatabout Scaly?”  asked the demon, moving towards the middle of the floor.  “We shouldn’t worry much about him, he’s always late anyway,” remarked the Incubus, throwing cards out to each creature.  None seemed to be worried much about the missing guest anyway. The Shadow and EndyIm moved closer to their share of cards, so the demon shrugged, and hopped closer.

“Any eights?”

“Go fish.”

The demon drew his claw into the batch in the middle.

“Your turn.” The Incubus beckoned to the Shadow. He looked down at his batch of cards, turned to EndyIm, she shook her head, and the Shadow’s chest then heaved outward, as if giving a big, grievous sigh, and placed his luminous hand into the deck.  EndyIm looked at her collection now, and opened her mouth, revealing a collection of yellow rotten teeth; her tongue was in such a decaying mess that to speak she had to moan and hit her teeth together. 

“Yeaaaaaa  ‘ave aaa ‘ooow?”

“Yes,”  replied the demon, a disgusted expression on his face once he looked up and saw the insides of her mouth.  He handed her his two, and as she placed them in her deck he admired, “Gee Endy, you could win this ‘ere game, wadya think?”

The Incubus looked over his collection, and nodded, “Yes, she could…” He looked down at the demon’s upturned cards.  Once the demon hopped back to his position, and hid his cards from view, the Incubus looked at him and smiled.

 “Can I have a six?”

The demon snarled, his eyes becoming red with fire.

 “Curse the god of you!” he yelled, grabbing his two and only paired cards, and handed them to the Incubus, in a tense, contracted claw.  The beast laughed at his vulnerable competitor, and gracefully put the pair into his stash.  The demon breathed some loath full remarks that if I were to write them down on paper, would bleed the eyes from your sockets.

 Just as the demon was about to take his turn, a knock was heard at the door.

 Knock

Knock

Knock.

 All was quiet again, the man grumbled, and twisted in his sheets.  The knocking came again only more impatient.

 Knock- knock

Knockity knock- knock

Knock- knock.

The Shadow brought himself up irritably. He loomed towards the door in a flash, unlocked its interior and opened it wide.  He lifted his index finger violently to the guest and pointed at the disturbed man, turning in his covers.  “Sorry spirit,” laughed the guest, entering the room.  “I didn’t think you’d choose this room.”

Unlike the other beings in the room, Scaly was taller, about as high as a regular mortal.  He wore a white-buttoned shirt and black trousers, his hair was a dusky brown, and eyes a light blue.  He looked all-human except for two, small, black goat horns atop his head, and a long, spiked tail extending from his rear.  He sat down crossed legged on the floor, revealing the goat hooves that were hiding under his long pants.  He grabbed the deck left for him and looked at the others.

 “Okay then… What are we playing?”

 “Go fish,” replied the Incubus. “It’s Mr. ‘Spirit Man’s turn now.”  He pointed a thumb at the Shadow, who was locking the door.

 “Oh… Go fish…,” Scaly said curiously, looking at his cards with squinted eyes.

 EndyIm had been staring at Scaly since he walked in, her dull black eyes emotionlessly gaped. Scaly soon took notice of her, looked back, she didn’t stop.  Scaly continued with his business of shuffling his cards, though he snatched occasional quick glances to see if she finished, and seemed to fidget in his seat more than the others.  Finally the Incubus exclaimed, “Oh, EndyIm!  You never met Scaly, have you?”

 She didn’t reply, so he gulped and continued.

 “Scaly’s just a friend of ours.” He switched a glance with the demon.  “He’s been thrown out of Heofon just two days ago. We thought it would be nice if he met some people like him, you know.”

 EndyIm stared back at Scaly. The Incubus’s reasoning seemed to please her; she relaxed herself, and went back to looking at the floor.

 “Don’t worry ‘bout ‘er Scaly,” said the demon. “She’d always like this, haven’t trust a thing since I’ve known ah!”  He stuffed another cigarette into his mouth, and offered one to Scaly.  He took one, and pulled from his pocket a lighter, to which he lighted his and the demon’s.

All continued much like before.  Once the Shadow sat back down, Scaly caught up with the speed of the game. The Shadow and the demon were close to losing, EndyIm was winning to the others by thirteen, and the incubus kept on cheating.

The moon was lowering now, and while it was still dark, the night sky was changing from a black to deep blue, and some of the early dawn bats were awakening, and flapping their leathery wings.

The demon looked over his cards, he seemed to be on the verge of a question, so everyone subconsciously waited. He finally asked, “So Scaly, how do you like it ‘ere?”  Scaly grabbed a card from the pile. “Fine,” he answered, licking his new sharp canines. “Personally, I thought I’d look uglier once I announced it to everyone, but I don’t look so bad. I should of denounced the lord years ago!”  The two demons chuckled, EndyIm made a gurgling sound that could have been a laugh or a bad cough, and the Shadow continued with his silence.

The Incubus went on with his turn, “Got any sevens?”

“Yeuuuuuuu,” moaned EndyIm, handing him her three sevens.

“What about after all that?”  asked the demon. “What’d ya think of hell?”  Scaly shrugged, “It’s alright, I guess, but I kind of want to stay more above ground, mess around with morty’s you know?”  “Believe me, a’ do,” smiled the demon. He looked at the Shadow. “Six?”  The Shadow shook his head, growling. The demon pulled another card from the deck.

Most of the game was silent after that.  They finished Go Fish, and moved on to Old Maid, but they went only so far before the man in the bed broke the silence.

“Uuurg,” the man stretched, the covers falling from the bed and to the floor. The startled creatures watched with tense expressions until the man loosened, and held his pajamas for warmth.  This was followed by more silence until the Incubus asked,

“It’s about five right?” They stared at the computer on the desk. EndyIm looked too, and carelessly the table lurched upward, as if it were hit by a small bump, and the screen awoken. It read 5:52 am.

“Oh, sorry friends but I must be going. An Incubus has to sleep sometime!”

“I’d go which ya,” added the demon. “Fun as iz, wev’a got to do this again!”

“Next time I’ll invite my brother; he’s quite the Blackjack player!”  said the Incubus, in just as much enthusiasm.  He jumped to the windowpane and pulled it open with his long boney arms.  The demon wobbled off to the door. He looked over his wing, “You’ll wait fur me righ’?”  “Aren’t you coming with me?” the Incubus asked in confusion.

“From da window!”

“Is there any other suitable way?” replied the ever so perplexed beast, scratching his smooth leather-like skin.

The demon jumped up and down in a cross manner, flapping his wings violently like a frightened chicken.

“If ya ‘avn’t noticed.  Ah can’t fly!!”

Noticing his mistake, the Incubus laughed, and replied between snorts, “Oh, I’ve forgot.  Sorry.”  He continued chortling as he followed the demon, who licked his teeth bitterly, to the door.

The two creatures left the room, their faint conversations and the Incubus’s chuckles getting quieter and quieter.  Soon, the faint sound of claws scrapping wood disappeared as a second door closed from below, leaving the house silent again.  The cool morning air flied in, unsettling EndyIm’s figure into faint ripples, like a reflection in a clean lake.  A small songbird was heard chirping outside, and a branch from the tree outside hit the house’s wall.

Scaly looked at the two characters left in the room, and got up to his feet in a lazy huff.  “Guess I’ll help you two clean up then.”

The Shadow started to pick up his and EndyIm’s stacks, hitting them on the desk to regain them to order.  Scaly handed the Shadow his group of cards, along with the two other demons'.  The Shadow nodded his head, as if mouthing a reply. Scaly smiled, revealing his cat like canines.  “No problem, I always enjoy a party with drinks!”  He looked over to the foot of the bed, and picked up the half empty Champagne bottle.

“Hey!  What do you know; our polite little friend forgot to take home his Champagne le daux 1806.  Guess he drank too much to ask for more!” 

 Scaly looked up eagerly, awaiting an applause for his readily bad joke.  Since no one was laughing, the comedian cleared his throat nervously, and said, lifting up the bottle, “So who wants to have it?  I’ve already drank too much.”  Still there was no reply.  “You want it?”  The Shadow shook his head. “Ok, how ‘bout you En—“ but before he could even ask, EndyIm lurched forward and grabbed the bottle from the devil’s hands. She stood floating, grasping the alcoholic drink in her bony arms, like a mother does to her child. 

Scaly stood dumbstruck for a few seconds, his pointed ears turned backwards in surprise. After a few moments he awakened, and waved.

 “I’ll see you both around then,” he grabbed the doorknob, and added in a whisper,

“Remember, just give me a call.”

 And with that he closed the door, the pitter-patter of his hooved feet soon disappearing outside.

EndyIm was still for a bit, her claws caressing the bottle quietly in soft, painful, scratches.  The Shadow handed her the playing cards and empty box of cigarettes, his index finger to his face, reminding her of the unaware mortal in the room.

EndyIm stared at the Shadow, her dark eyes burning right through his black form.  She gurgled quietly, her body turning from the spirit.  He tipped his hat and watched the ghost float from the corner of the room to the door.  Her speed was so slow, a sloth would laugh, but the Shadow waited, until the last of her ragged dress disappeared through the door.

Not a sound entered the room after that.

The Shadow stretched his non-existent bones.  He walked towards the window that was still left open by the intoxicated Incubus.  The morning air was fresh and crisp.  Some birds were singing, and a faint crow was coughing from far off.  A couple of cars were driving by, their engines growling on the asphalt until they disappeared down the road. 

The Shadow closed the window. The silence of the house regained, he walked towards the door, opened it. He stared at the man, who wheezed and sneezed as he lived out his dream.  The Shadow closed the door; his footsteps descended the stairway, and entered the kitchen. A door slammed.  The room was quiet.  The computer hummed, and the paper on the floor only occasionally stirred. 

The moon’s light left the window of the small house, and the sun flew in from behind.  All of outside buzzed with exited life.  The moon will return soon, but only to the Shadow will it be seen.

 

      ART

               by Corinn Ries

 

Art is a brain’s oasis

Where creativity thinks for itself

Where the heart speaks a million words with families of colors from shelves

Where people paint pictures of hope and their versions inside. 

So take a look at every angle

Because art shows every side.

  

 

     Patience

                        by Corinn Ries 

If you could smell patience it would smell like space

waiting for you to come back to earth.

But you can’t hear patience because there is nothing to say.

If you could feel patience, it would feel like a force holding you back.

But you can’t taste patience because your mouth is dry with emptiness.

If you could see patience it would be a clock

counting down every second of silence you have to wait.

     Winter

                  (a class poem by Julia, June and Laura)

 

Apple pie 

Blossoms die

Soft, snowy night

White birds in flight

Small, crackling fire

Friends I desire

Earth is laden with cloaks of white

Soft and freezing winter night

     Spring

                    Sofia and Laura

Carpe diem!

Pink blossoms

Birds chirping

Fall is now green with envy

Yellow forsythia

Arms of wisteria

Time to play

Enjoy the day

Trees will sway

Brown leaves decay

Green grasses grow

And the cheery, happy winds blow away the snow.