The Girl Who Could Unite Them All, Part Eight

“So,” grinned Max. “It’s sort of a thing to change your name once you join.” He looked as if he were keeping a huge secret.

“What are all of your real names?” Vali wondered.

“J’s is Julina, Storm’s is”—Storm shot Max a look—“classified, and mine is . . .” Max’s face reddened.

“I didn’t even know you had a fake name!” Vali laughed.

“His name is Weasel,” J said, smirking at her brother. Max looked miserable. “Ha! Our names are Julina and Weasel.”

“Shut up, J,” Max grumbled. “It’s a family name. My great uncle was called Weasel.”

Vali attempted to stifle a laugh but failed.

“What would you like your new name to be?” asked Storm.

“I think I’d like . . . ,” Vali thought for a moment. “Ember.”

Oh, great. She was now juggling two fake names and a weird story about how she was a flame that had dyed her hair purple. Of all things, Vali hated to lie.

“Well, Max,” Storm said. “Take Ember to her new room upstairs.”

Max and Vali got on the elevator. “Well, there are only three rooms, so you’ll have to share with someone, or someone could move,” Max explained.

“Who has the biggest room?” asked Vali.

“J, obviously. She needs the extra space for her ego.”

“Well, how about I move into her room?” Vali asked defiantly.

Max’s face turned confused for a second. “Uh, okay,” he said. “Whatever floats your boat.”

The Girl Who Could Unite Them All, Part Six

“All right, all right, Harriet!” exclaimed Storm, flashing a wide, fake smile. “Come on down to the kitchen! We’ve made some fresh garlic-and-herb bread!”

Vali followed the three of them down a hallway, and then to an elevator that arrived at the floor below in three seconds.

Sure enough, at a long, wooden kitchen table, there was a plate of cheesy, green-flecked bread that made Vali’s stomach growl.

They all sat at the table, in the center, with Vali and Max at one end and Storm and J at the other.

“So how long will you be staying with us?” J asked, flipping her hair and digging into a piece of bread.

“I . . . don’t know,” Vali hesitated. “But I would like to know why you are hiding. You seem as if you are on the run.”

“So do you,” Max laughed, and he giggled until Storm gave him a warning look.

“Well, I’ll explain it to you,” Storm said. “Well, Max and J were caught doing something illegal to Lazen law, and I was caught doing something illegal by Lorian law. And then we found each other, and then we hid in this house, and we were never found. That is the shortened version.”

“Uh, what’s Lazen?” Vali asked, though she suspected it was the name of the Other Place.

“Oh, child. So full of questions,” Storm muttered.

“Here. It’s the name of this country,” Max explained.

“And what did you do that was against the law?” asked Vali.

“It is your choice to tell her,” Storm said.

“Well, we, uh—” Max started.

“Shush!” J exclaimed through clenched teeth. “We are not telling her!”

“Yes we are,” Max said, nostrils flared.

“Oh my,” Storm sighed.

“We made robots!” Max quickly yelled. “Illegal robots.”

“How were they illegal?”

No more,” J scowled.

“They were equipped,” Max paused mysteriously, “with guns. Lazer guns!”

“That’s it!” J exclaimed. “You’re in for it!”

J got up from the table, and darted after Max, who was just getting in the elevator. The elevator shot up, and on the floor above them Vali heard shouting and yelling.

“I always try to control them, but it fails,” Storm said, putting her head in her hands.

The Awakening

Part 3

Every single day is the same. Wake up, eat breakfast, work, eat lunch, do more work, eat dinner, sleep. The only mystery is what God forsaken hour they will wake us up at.

I don’t know the exact times because they don’t give us clocks, but I know they woke up at least an hour apart each day. Each day when they woke the Glaciers up, it was a little bit lighter outside than the last day. But I know their game, that are trying to make us fall for a pattern before that rip it away. I’m not going to fall for it.

They don’t give us clocks so they can end and start up new schedules as that please. We don’t have a set time for anything. Here at Hammond if they wake you in the middle of the night to polish their shoes or clean one of their uniforms, you have to do it. If you refuse, they’ll send you to the Pit. The Pit is a fate worse than death.

2 years ago it would have been possible to ask any of them, they would tell you that I was very outgoing and nice with the other Glaciers. But that changed because of my naivete.

 

The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

Cover of The Tell Tale Heart

“The Tell-Tale Heart” is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe first published in 1843. It follows an unnamed narrator who insists on his sanity after murdering an old man with a “vulture eye”. The murder is carefully calculated, and the murderer hides the body by cutting it into pieces and hiding it under the floorboards. Ultimately the narrator’s guilt manifests itself in the hallucination that the man’s heart is still beating under the floorboards.

It is unclear what relationship, if any, the old man and his murderer share. It has been suggested that the old man is a father figure or, perhaps, that his vulture eye represents some sort of veiled secret. The ambiguity and lack of details about the two main characters stand in stark contrast to the specific plot details leading up to the murder.

The story overall displays the effects of guilt on a man and how it drove him into a mad man. This story is great if you are looking for a short interesting read on a short car ride.

I am Annalia: Part Twelve

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“Thank God I wore sneakers today,” I huffed to myself, trying to focus on the beating of my footsteps rather than the mob chasing me down. I could feel myself kicking up dust behind me as I entered the opposite side of the castle, which was much, much different than the luscious lavender forests I had arrived in.

I spun to the side at the last minute, my body skimming a scrawny tree that was leafless and had green skin and thorns instead. I dove my head forward and kept running, squinting my eyes at the ground. I can do this, I can do this, I thought to myself. I just need to outsmart them.

When I meant outsmart them, I did not mean trip over my shoelaces and have them catch me and rip me to pieces. No one would ever think of doing that, right?

So my feet decided to do that instead.

I got a face full of the rough, dusty ground, powdering my dark skin. I groaned as I looked down in disgust at my right shoe, gloriously untied before my eyes. Trying to get rid of my fear, I shook out my shoulders and took off, wiping off my glasses as I ran through the wind.

I glanced back over my shoulder, a mob of guards and unimaginable creatures emerging from the dust. Okay, I thought. I need a plan. I tried looking around at my surroundings, but all I could see before me was dust, dust, dust, sand, and more dust. And another tree cactus up ahead.

I wriggled my jaw, feeling the crisp breeze sting my raw skin that was opened from my fall. “Dang it,” I tried to mutter, only for it to come out as a sharp breath.

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw a flash of blue zip by me. I adjusted my glasses mid-run and whipped my head back at the mob. Nothing seemed to have changed.

That is, until I looked in front of me. Towering before me was a midnight black wolf, snarling at me as its blue lightning strikes on its sides gleamed at me, tinting the ground below.

I yelped out in surprise and stopped dead in my tracks. The wolf lunged at me with its mouth, shooting drool on my face. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God” The wolf lunged at me once more, throwing its entire body in my direction.

“Gah!” I dove to the side at the last minute, sending myself tumbling into the side. I scrambled myself to my feet and glanced back, the mob getting closer.

The wolf started strolling up to me, practically smirking. I tightened my lips and balled my fists. “Oh boy,” I muttered. “This is going to be fun.” Once the wolf took another step, I decided it was my turn to attack.

I thrust out my hand at it half-blindly as I tried shielding my face from it. I tightened my chest as my stiff hand landed down on something cold and wet, bringing whatever I hit down with me.

I heard a sharp whimper from in front of me. I opened my eyes fully and saw the wolf cowering back. I knew in that moment I needed to take my chances.

I launched myself forward, slapping the wolf in the eye as I went by. Oh gosh, please don’t come after me yet. I had collectively decided at that point that I was no longer going to look back, since every time I did, it only made things much worse.

A few minutes went by, more like an eternity for me, and my strength was beginning to run low. So much for doing cross-country all those years. The sweat beads dripping down my face refusing to blow away in the weakening wind that ran behind me as I began to decelerate. I tried to press on harder, my legs turning to lead, but they refused to move any faster. But, my feet could manage to step on my loose shoelaces every five seconds.

And if things already didn’t seem bad enough, I could hear paws and feet thudding on the ground behind me.

They won’t kill me, I thought. They can’t. This must be some sick game of Viallanne’s. She didn’t even tell me why I was to be chased by everyone! She just sent me out here to die.

I glanced up hopelessly at the bright blue sky, wishing Tessa – no – Liku or someone would just appear next to me and at least lend me a hand. As I squinted up at the sky, I noticed something shooting across it, like a jet leaving a trail of smoke or fluff behind it.

But it wasn’t exactly like that. Something was off about it. I don’t know whether if it was because I was running, if I was hallucinating, or maybe the fact that I was in an alternate dimension. All I knew was that it wasn’t fading into the sky. It was coming towards me. Fast.

But that was the least of my problems, considering the ground below me then vanished into thin air.

 

Memory-Bound Chapter 2

There’s a sound. Almost like a clock ticking, but too loud and too close to be a clock. Maybe it’s a metronome keeping time with the beats. But there’s no musician. And what beats?

I crack my eyes open and the light pores in. The same beige-yellow walls and the same window. And that weird, annoying sound! I look to the right of my bed to see the heart monitor keeping beat with my heart. Oh, right, I knew that.

“Ah, Miss Julie, Welcome back,” says the short doctor who’s name I have forgotten. I continue to stare at her until she gets too uncomfortable, and starts ruffling through her papers. “So it seems that your temperature is normal, your pulse is normal, you’re all good!” the doctors smiles. I don’t smile back.

A nurse comes in–the same boy nurse as yesterday or whatever day it was when I passed out or fainted or whatever they want to call it.

“Miss Julie, it–it’s–um time for examinations,” the nurse stampers.

I look at him like he just said the sky was black. Why does he seem so scared? What exactly happened?

“It’s alright, Tyler. Just go slowly and talk to her the whole time,” instructs the short doctor.

The nurse walks over to the side of my bed and tells me to roll over so he can check my heart beat. When he is done, he goes to reach for my arm but pulls back with a look of guiltiness. “Miss, may I please see your arm? I’m must draw blood for a blood test.” I hesitate before giving him my arm.

After he is done with the examination, both the doctor and the nurse leave, however, they look more like they were two mice scurrying away from a cat.


“Good afternoon, Margie!”

“Well hello there Tyler. Do you finally have the blood samples?”

“I do,” says Tyler, “she has finally woken up–again.” Tyler hands the patient’s blood samples to the doctor. “She looks scared but brave at the same time. You know what I mean?”

“Yeah, well she probably just has Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder. Her blood is normal. Good luck,” snorts Margie.

“Thanks as always Margie!”

“Whose that?” a patient, near by, asks his nurse.

“Tyler,” the nurse answers. “His patient was in a coma when she came in and she has only been awake for an hour or two combined.”

“Really? Wow. What happened to her?” the patient asks.

“No really knows exactly. We just know that the police brought her in and she was in a coma with a few bumps and bruises.”

“Wow. Um… What’s her name again?”

“Huh?” The nurse distracted by the papers on his clipboard. “Oh his patient’s name is Julie.”


“Miss Julie?”

The terrified nurse is back. Is he here for more “examinations”? Or more tests? Or is he here to just be in the way?

“I have your blood test results back.”

Oh

I slowly sit up and face the nurse. He looks almost nervous and like a five year old little boy that did something wrong and is scared to be punished.

“So um… Miss Julie… your results came back normal,” the nurse stampers out.

I squint at him. Why is he so nervous and scared if my results came back normal? Did a different test come back with a concerning or bad result? Am I contagious with something?

I start to feel a little dizzy and weak from sitting up. I start to close my eyes but then suddenly pain spikes up my back and I scream. Everything around me goes black.

The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe

Image result for The cask of amontilladoThe story is told in first person, so we don’t explicitly learn the narrator’s name until near the end. Until then, we’ll call him “the narrator.” Here we go.

The narrator begins by telling us that Fortunato has hurt him. Even worse, Fortunato has insulted him. The narrator must get revenge. He meets Fortunato, who is all dressed up in jester clothes for a carnival celebration − and is already very drunk. The narrator mentions he’s found a barrel of a rare brandy called Amontillado. Fortunato expresses eager interest in verifying the wine’s authenticity.

So he and the narrator go to the underground graveyard, or “catacomb,” of the Montresor family. Apparently, that’s where the narrator keeps his wine. The narrator leads Fortunato deeper and deeper into the catacomb, getting him drunker and drunker along the way. Fortunato keeps coughing, and the narrator constantly suggests that Fortunato is too sick to be down among the damp crypts, and should go back. Fortunato just keeps talking about the Amontillado.

Eventually, Fortunato walks into a man-sized hole that’s part of the wall of a really nasty crypt. The narrator chains Fortunato to the wall, then begins to close Fortunato in the hole by filling in the opening with bricks. When he has one brick left, he psychologically tortures Fortunato until he begs for mercy – and we finally learn the narrator’s name: Fortunato calls him “Montresor.”

After Fortunato cries out Montresor’s name, he doesn’t have any more lines. But just before Montresor puts in the last brick, Fortunato jingles his bells. Then Montresor finishes the job and leaves him there to die. At the very end, Montresor tells us that the whole affair happened fifty years ago, and nobody has found out.

Overall this book is a 10/10. It really has so many twists and turns for such a short story.