June 2016



Trigger Warning, Part I

By: Cristina Port

1.
You're going to see a mango and remember
when you were younger you would sit on that limestone wall and shuck the skin of the mango off with a little knife stolen from the kitchen
with your best friend Sydney
you accidentally fell in love with.

2.
You're going to read a book about a man whose wife left him in the dust on a holiday
and be reminded of Thomas the brother you never had
who moved to Arizona
and had a shitty boyfriend that walked out on him
Christmas morning.

3.
You're going to be shopping in the mall with your new boyfriend you cheated on with Michael and see your ex best friend's younger sister Jenna shopping for a pair of fake Birkenstocks
realizing you hadn't talked to her for years and she's three times taller and three times prettier than you remember. And then how you screwed up her older sister Cristina’s sense of trust
because you stole her boyfriend you knew she didn't really like.

4.
You're going to see something blue and silver and remember the school you abandoned
because abortions aren't only for the body
and being ejected from everything you knew into a new small town
because a reputation is something written on a stone tablet.
If you run far enough away from it, it’s irrelevant.

5.
Every time October 27th rolls around you think of Sydney and Michael (your childish boyfriend at the time who you didn’t really like, mostly because he had a dick) because on that day a few years ago you went to school and held your tongue throughout all of chemistry and didn't cry a single tear because you know damn well

people don’t change.

 

Cristina Port is 18 and lives in Rochester, Minnesota



Morals, The Tree, Life Smells like Candy and Newspapers, The Last Summer

By: Leia Hannum

Morals

My identity be dragged through mud
But I swear to you I’m clean
The idealistic prospect of pure intention
Isn’t always as it seems

All for the good of the world
All for tomorrow’s better day
And I mean well, but only you I’ll tell
For the rest I’ll dearly pay

I do it in the name of my country
And I do it in the name of pride
Is a lie truly a lie if the act is justified

My body be dragged through mud
But I swore that I was clean
I thought I’d try, for cause I’d die
But it was nothing as it seemed

 

The Tree

When I was once very young
My eyes blind, but I could see
I remember playing skip
By a single old oak tree

Tall, withering, and ancient
But not truly ancient
For time is only an agent
To those who age and cannot change it

This I told to the tree
Who’d seen tenfold years more than I
Pacing, praying, watching, waiting
He wanted no more than to die

“I once wanted to be free,” said the tree
To forests with freshwater tears
Not the gray, deserted, empty street
It had lived for all those years

Time had washed away his wish
This was the thought he had conceived
I said we are only as old
As old has told us to believe

The sky faded lilac as the tulips closed
“I’ll return tomorrow,” I say
But my promise, it proved, to somehow slip through
I would forget the very next day

Days, weeks, months into years
Each hour devoted to me
Only the night before I left the town for good
Did I remember that old tree

I drove to the place, to the gray, empty road
The air thin, quiet, and dead
I kneeled by the stump where the tree had once stood
And these were the words I said

“When I was once very young
I was blind but now I see
I remember playing skip
By the single old oak tree

Tall withering and ancient
But now truly ancient
For I have wronged, the tree is gone
And nothing I can do will change it”

 

 

Lies Smell like Candy and Newspapers

Let us be born, but never born free
For freedom’s the branch that arose from the seed
Which grows a heart and a soul
But ideas turn cold
When deemed dangerous, outrageous, just do as you’re told

Clocks upon clocks host their prisoners of time
Those who’d sell their souls for just a little more time
Or their bodies for a dime, but no, that’s a crime
Address only the issues that we’re willing to climb

We are told what to think and taught how to feel
But never taught to differentiate what’s fake and what’s real
Our history is a story and our story is the now
But God forbid a single person question who, why, or how

Let us die old, safe in the slavery of our chains
Numbed by pills upon pills to drive away our pains
“What more” they would ask
Upon tipping the flask
Filled with misery mixed with whiskey to harden the final mask

 

The Last Summer

The last Summer I would see was brilliant,
An ever-growing symphony of nature
Perfectly orchestrated by the tidings of blissful nothingness

The last Summer I would see was a violet gold,
Colors too bold to describe as the sun rose in silent motion
Driven by something so very unseen

The last Summer I would see was warm,
And unmoved by the winds that surrounded
For she shone so brightly that the snow sparkled
As it melted from the fingertips

The last Summer I would see was beautiful but timed,
The tick-tock of a clock that no one could hear
The sky was too lovely to recognize such a sound

The last Summer I would see was truly the last,
For the cold rose higher than she could climb for air
The relentless pursuit finished before it began

The last Summer I would see was ephemeral
By the mast of a boat, she set sail when she left
Her rays of sun just barely melting the snow 

 

 

Leia Hannum is a 15 year old attending The Woodlands College Park High School.



"Did-You-Know" Sam

By: Sarah Margaret Ritch

This Sam will tell you many things of happiness or woe.

Sam's most famous question is a simple, "Did you know?"

"Did you know that sugar makes your body not alright?"

"Did you know to tie a string you have to tie it tight?"

"Did you know that lizards are like snakes, but with four feet?"

"Did you know that drowsiness will often make you sleep?"

"Did you know that seaweed is very much like kelp?"

If you want to find out something new, then Sam won't be much help.

 
 
Sarah Margaret Ritch is a 10 year old attending the Westminster School at Oak Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama.


The Sun

By: Sofia Wendell

If you decide to take a spaceship to the sun, be prepared...

It is hot, just like a summer's day but scary like the dark,

It looks like a giant fiery ball that never stops spiraling towards you,

Your nose cringes at the smell of the dirty, chalky fumes,

You can hear crackling and bursting, just like an open fire in the mountains.

Before you leave, try a piece of the sun.

It tastes like over cooked bread, crispy with fumes and rocks.

Yum!

 
 
Sofia Wendell is a 12 year old attending Casey Middle School in Boulder, Colorado.


Unworn

By: Ginevra Davis
Unworn 
 
My new dress is white with roses. It was made just for me, stitched precisely to the lines 
of my body. Each rose is hand painted with pink fabric paint, no fewer than five crystals 
painstakingly glued to each embroidered petal. White satin ribbons criss­cross the open back. 
Most figure skating dresses are polyester blend, but mine is pure silk, airy and fragile. The skirt 
ripples around my hips when I spin on the ice; crystal roses catching light with each turn and 
change of edge. Right now, the dress hangs outside my closet door, waiting for me. 
 Sometimes, I hate that dress. 
I am four years old, more snowsuit than child. My ankles wobble in dirty tan rental skates 
as I shuffle around the tiny outdoor rink. The other kids lean on stacks of plastic crates to keep 
themselves upright, but I refuse the crutch. I will skate on my own shaking ankles, and someday I 
will dance on ice like the skaters who smile through my television set. I push my blades against 
the ice harder and harder until velocity forces me down to my knees. I skate backwards and 
forwards, on two feet, then gliding on one. Later, I beg my parents for lessons, then a coach. I 
get real white figure skates with clean laces and two crystals on each toe. I am in love.  
Like all serious figure skaters, I have a dressmaker. My dressmaker’s studio is a shrine to 
the creative process — bolts of rich fabrics stacked high in the corners, uncapped tubes of 
crystals spilling onto tables stained with fabric paint. I know what I want, a white dress with pink 
roses and ribbons lacing up the back. I tell her my vision, and together we sit hunched over a 
sewing table with a piece of paper and a pencil, planning and erasing, saying this goes here and 
that goes there and, “Oh, wouldn’t these look lovely with pink crystals.” Each creative whimsy is 
11701134 
etched onto the page until my dream has been realized. Afterwards, I clutch the sketch, smudging 
my fingers as I trace over the graphite roses and ribbons.  
I am nine years old and I am ecstatic. I have landed a double jump for the first time, the 
youngest at my rink to do so. My coach gives me a hug and an approving smile, and my parents 
buy me a T­shirt that says “I landed my axel!” from the local skating store. This new jump 
makes me competitive, a “real skater” instead of a kid who goes to the rink sometimes. Two 
months later I will wave goodbye to my old coach and make the long drive to the storied Skating 
Club of Boston.  The old coach is replaced with four fancy new ones: one for jumps, one for 
spins, one for choreography, and one to manage the other three coaches. I skate everyday, I 
skate until my legs ache and my feet chafe and the tips of my fingers turn purple in the cold.  
It takes months to sew a skating dress, to take a roll of fabric and shape it into art. It is 
painstaking, exacting work, a skill so rare that most coaches have a single dressmaker deemed 
competent enough to create costumes for their skaters. Each piece of my dress is cut to my 
measurements, 18.9 inches from knee to hip, 24.6 inches around the waist, then threaded 
together with tiny white stitches. My dressmaker cuts the bodice from lycra before lining it with 
silk, then sews more silken fabric onto my hips to create a delicate skirt. The silk is expensive, 
but we use it anyway. You work so hard, my parents say. You deserve this. The uncut silk is soft 
as I hold it up to my body, and I wonder if I could ever be sad wearing something this beautiful. 
I am thirteen years old, long and bendy. I am a beautiful spinner. I can grab the tip of my 
left blade with my opposite hand as I spin, then straighten my knees until my legs are extended in 
a full split, my back arched at an impossible angle. I spin like this at the beginning of each of my 
routines, soaking in the jealous stares from my rivals, the high marks from judges.  Other 
 
 
 
Unworn 
 
My new dress is white with roses. It was made just for me, stitched precisely to the lines 
of my body. Each rose is hand painted with pink fabric paint, no fewer than five crystals 
painstakingly glued to each embroidered petal. White satin ribbons criss­cross the open back. 
Most figure skating dresses are polyester blend, but mine is pure silk, airy and fragile. The skirt 
ripples around my hips when I spin on the ice; crystal roses catching light with each turn and 
change of edge. Right now, the dress hangs outside my closet door, waiting for me. 
 Sometimes, I hate that dress. 
I am four years old, more snowsuit than child. My ankles wobble in dirty tan rental skates 
as I shuffle around the tiny outdoor rink. The other kids lean on stacks of plastic crates to keep 
themselves upright, but I refuse the crutch. I will skate on my own shaking ankles, and someday I 
will dance on ice like the skaters who smile through my television set. I push my blades against 
the ice harder and harder until velocity forces me down to my knees. I skate backwards and 
forwards, on two feet, then gliding on one. Later, I beg my parents for lessons, then a coach. I 
get real white figure skates with clean laces and two crystals on each toe. I am in love.  
Like all serious figure skaters, I have a dressmaker. My dressmaker’s studio is a shrine to 
the creative process — bolts of rich fabrics stacked high in the corners, uncapped tubes of 
crystals spilling onto tables stained with fabric paint. I know what I want, a white dress with pink 
roses and ribbons lacing up the back. I tell her my vision, and together we sit hunched over a 
sewing table with a piece of paper and a pencil, planning and erasing, saying this goes here and 
that goes there and, “Oh, wouldn’t these look lovely with pink crystals.” Each creative whimsy is 
11701134 
etched onto the page until my dream has been realized. Afterwards, I clutch the sketch, smudging 
my fingers as I trace over the graphite roses and ribbons.  
I am nine years old and I am ecstatic. I have landed a double jump for the first time, the 
youngest at my rink to do so. My coach gives me a hug and an approving smile, and my parents 
buy me a T­shirt that says “I landed my axel!” from the local skating store. This new jump 
makes me competitive, a “real skater” instead of a kid who goes to the rink sometimes. Two 
months later I will wave goodbye to my old coach and make the long drive to the storied Skating 
Club of Boston.  The old coach is replaced with four fancy new ones: one for jumps, one for 
spins, one for choreography, and one to manage the other three coaches. I skate everyday, I 
skate until my legs ache and my feet chafe and the tips of my fingers turn purple in the cold.  
It takes months to sew a skating dress, to take a roll of fabric and shape it into art. It is 
painstaking, exacting work, a skill so rare that most coaches have a single dressmaker deemed 
competent enough to create costumes for their skaters. Each piece of my dress is cut to my 
measurements, 18.9 inches from knee to hip, 24.6 inches around the waist, then threaded 
together with tiny white stitches. My dressmaker cuts the bodice from lycra before lining it with 
silk, then sews more silken fabric onto my hips to create a delicate skirt. The silk is expensive, 
but we use it anyway. You work so hard, my parents say. You deserve this. The uncut silk is soft 
as I hold it up to my body, and I wonder if I could ever be sad wearing something this beautiful. 
I am thirteen years old, long and bendy. I am a beautiful spinner. I can grab the tip of my 
left blade with my opposite hand as I spin, then straighten my knees until my legs are extended in 
a full split, my back arched at an impossible angle. I spin like this at the beginning of each of my 
routines, soaking in the jealous stares from my rivals, the high marks from judges.  Other 
 

Unworn

 

     My new dress is white with roses. It was made just for me, stitched precisely to the lines of my body. Each rose is hand painted with pink fabric paint, no fewer than five crystals painstakingly glued to each embroidered petal. White satin ribbons criss-cross the open back. Most figure skating dresses are polyester blend, but mine is pure silk, airy and fragile. The skirt ripples around my hips when I spin on the ice; crystal roses catching light with each turn and change of edge. Right now, the dress hangs outside my closet door, waiting for me.

     Sometimes, I hate that dress.

     I am four years old, more snowsuit than child. My ankles wobble in dirty tan rental skates as I shuffle around the tiny outdoor rink. The other kids lean on stacks of plastic crates to keep themselves upright, but I refuse the crutch. I will skate on my own shaking ankles, and someday I will dance on ice like the skaters who smile through my television set. I push my blades against the ice harder and harder until velocity forces me down to my knees. I skate backwards and forwards, on two feet, then gliding on one. Later, I beg my parents for lessons, then a coach. I get real white figure skates with clean laces and two crystals on each toe. I am in love.

     Like all serious figure skaters, I have a dressmaker. My dressmaker’s studio is a shrine to the creative process — bolts of rich fabrics stacked high in the corners, uncapped tubes of crystals spilling onto tables stained with fabric paint. I know what I want, a white dress with pink roses and ribbons lacing up the back. I tell her my vision, and together we sit hunched over a sewing table with a piece of paper and a pencil, planning and erasing, saying this goes here and that goes there and, “Oh, wouldn’t these look lovely with pink crystals.” Each creative whimsy is etched onto the page until my dream has been realized. Afterwards, I clutch the sketch, smudging my fingers as I trace over the graphite roses and ribbons.

     I am nine years old and I am ecstatic. I have landed a double jump for the first time, the youngest at my rink to do so. My coach gives me a hug and an approving smile, and my parents buy me a T-shirt that says “I landed my axel!” from the local skating store. This new jump makes me competitive, a “real skater” instead of a kid who goes to the rink sometimes. Two months later I will wave goodbye to my old coach and make the long drive to the storied Skating Club of Boston. The old coach is replaced with four fancy new ones: one for jumps, one for spins, one for choreography, and one to manage the other three coaches. I skate everyday, I skate until my legs ache and my feet chafe and the tips of my fingers turn purple in the cold.

     It takes months to sew a skating dress, to take a roll of fabric and shape it into art. It is painstaking, exacting work, a skill so rare that most coaches have a single dressmaker deemed competent enough to create costumes for their skaters. Each piece of my dress is cut to my measurements, 18.9 inches from knee to hip, 24.6 inches around the waist, then threaded together with tiny white stitches. My dressmaker cuts the bodice from lycra before lining it with silk, then sews more silken fabric onto my hips to create a delicate skirt. The silk is expensive, but we use it anyway. You work so hard, my parents say. You deserve this. The uncut silk is soft as I hold it up to my body, and I wonder if I could ever be sad wearing something this beautiful.

     I am thirteen years old, long and bendy. I am a beautiful spinner. I can grab the tip of my left blade with my opposite hand as I spin, then straighten my knees until my legs are extended in a full split, my back arched at an impossible angle. I spin like this at the beginning of each of my routines, soaking in the jealous stares from my rivals, the high marks from judges. Other coaches come up to me after competitions, saying, “I wish my students could spin like that.” I spin like this every day, tip my head back and spin around and around until I get so dizzy that everything goes black and stars dance across my eyes.

     My favorite part of my new dress is the ribbons lacing up my back. The lacing starts just under my shoulder blades, ending in a small bow at the nape of my spine. There is just something so romantic about a corset back. I took the idea from a book called The Bronze Horseman, an epic novel with the pretense of Tolstoy and the substance of Cinderella. A Red Army soldier comes home to Russia. He sees a peasant girl in a white dress with ribbons lacing up the back and falls madly in love. It is a silly book, but reading it, all I wanted was to love something as much as those characters loved each other.

     I am fifteen and my back hurts. It hurts when I jump, when I walk, when I sit at my desk in school. This is bad, this is wrong, I want to scream. I’m a teenager and my bones ache like I am already worn. When I grab my leg to spin I feel vertebrae rub and crunch, a dull knife sawing at my spine. I stop spinning.

     “Not today,” I tell my coaches. “Tomorrow, I’ll be better.” But tomorrow comes and it hurts to get out of bed. So I stop skating. The doctors tell me what I already know: my back is broken. I am broken.

     My back brace is white plastic. It squeezes my ribs and pinches my waist, it encases me day and night. If you hit the plastic hard enough through my clothes, I sound hollow.

     The most expensive part of a skating dress is the crystals. They are costly in themselves, but one mostly pays for the labor of applying them. Thousands of these tiny jewels must be glued onto the dress by hand, arranged in intricate patterns in order to reflect light and dazzle the judges. My dress has 1,300 stones: clear crystal for the bodice, matte opal for the ribbons, and three different shades of pink for the roses. I pick them out myself, holding each sample up to the fluorescent lights in my dressmaker’s studio, squinting as I try to discern the difference between a 6.2 mm Indian Pink and 4.0 mm Vintage Rose.

     I am sixteen and miserable. I am back on the ice, but after being of for months, my knees ache and my hips pull and my weakened ankles wobble like I am four years old again. I must skate slowly now. I must jump close to the ground. The brace is gone, but the knife in my back still saws with each landing. I watch the younger kids land their double jumps for the first time, hopping up and down on their toepicks and shouting “I did it!” with each twirl and trick. I watch my old rivals land triple jumps, watch them fly of for the National Championships and come home with new hardware. My back will bend no more, every stab of pain a firm reminder that I am not what I once was.

     I try on my new dress and wonder how such tiny crystals could become so heavy. They weigh on my chest, although the silk skirt lifts effortlessly when I twirl in front of the mirror. I admire the perfect stitches, the painted roses, the corset back, the hundreds of crystals glittering on every open inch of fabric. It is the most beautiful dress I have ever seen, and yet at the same time, I hate it. I hate that I made this beautiful, expensive, useless thing. I hate that I still feel hollow when I put it on.

     I am seventeen and tired. I am tired of skating, tired of pain, tired of feeling worn down. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to hang up my skates, to give in to my body and quit. But then I remember the little girl who wanted nothing more than to dance on the ice, who skated every day until her hands turned purple in the cold. I owe it to her to keep trying, to do the thing she loved as long as I physically can. So I decide to keep going, even though every practice is punctuated by pain in some part of my body. I get new music, a new routine ... all I need is a dress. I imagine a white dress with pink roses and ribbons lacing up the back, a dress so beautiful that simply putting it on will make me fall in love.

     Today I am competing. My new dress hangs outside my closet door. A bottle of little white pills sits on my dresser, painkillers that will allow me to perform an approximation of my old spins. I do not compete to win a medal, I compete because it is what I have always done. Because I have endured so much to be able skate. And it would be such a shame for that beautiful dress, with its white ribbons softly lacing up my back, to sit in my bedroom unworn.

 

Ginevra Davis is a 17 year old attending Concord Carlisle High School in Concord, Massachusetts.

 



Three-Dimensional Fears

By: Victoria Staub

Three-Dimensional Fears

 

Three-Dimensional movies will kill me eventually.

Let me explain.

I was six.

Meet the Robinsons had just come out

And I got a chance to watch it-

Wait for it-

In 3D.

Oh no,

And little did I know,

That day would stick with me forever.

The dinosaur-

The Tyrannosaurus Rex with the small arms and the big head-

Took a big bite at the crowd,

Took a bite at me.

I loved the movie

Who wouldn’t?

But I didn’t get over the fact that a dinosaur

Basically ate me

Well,

Digitally.

 

I was seven.

The Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert movie had just come out.

They were showing it in 3D.

I decided that I was old enough

To get over my fear of movies that were blurry without

Cardboard glasses.                                                                               

I mean, as scary as 3D is,

And was,

Hannah Montana was right in front of me!

That’s incredible!

Like the great Ellen DeGeneres says, “Annnnnnywaaaay,”

The movie was riveting-

Or at least my seven-year-old brain thought it was-

Until that fatal moment when Hannah-

Slash Miley’s-

Guitar player flung his pick into the audience,

Into me.

I know for a fact that something hit me in the face that moment.

Don’t get me wrong,

I knew it wasn’t possible, I’m not stupid now,

And I wasn’t stupid then,

But I was done with 3D movies.

Sort of.

 

I was twelve.

I had a bit of a

“Victoria (that’s me) is not scared of anything!”

Type of reputation going.

Jaclyn, my sole sibling, knew that I had fears,

Many actually.

I wasn’t going to let Shaune,

A family friend who undoubtedly feared me,

Know that I feared,

And still do fear,

3D movies.

 

But,

That backfired a bit when his grandmother offered

To take the three of us,

Jaclyn, Shaune, and me,

To see World War Z

In-

You guessed it!-

3D.

 

But dude, I was twelve.

I’d seen an R rated movie already.

Of course it was the classic

The Breakfast Club,

And I wasn’t afraid of a little zombie movie.

And I definitely wasn’t afraid of a stupid,

Dumb,

Horrifyingly scary,

Three-Dimensional movie.

Definitely.

Uh.

Not.

 

When the first zombie appeared on the screen,

I closed my eyes to prove to be the wimp I was-

Am,

So Jaclyn called me a baby.

I refused to watch the movie in 3D.

And I thought maybe

If I take my glasses off

I could still watch the movie!

 

But,

I forgot the fact that it’s blurry without them,

And so I closed my eyes and listened.

I asked for an update every few minutes.

Never again,

I told myself,

Will I ever see a 3D movie.

And I never did,

But I hate the fact

That I made excuses as to why I never saw one again.

 

“I was six,” I would say.

Stupidly six with a stupid fear.

Also,

Stupidly seven with a stupid fear.

My excuse from when I was twelve

Was that I was scared by the zombies-

And don’t get me wrong,

That’s also a stupid fear,

But I denied the fact that what scared me was the fact that it was a 3D movie.

I excessively make excuses,

As ridiculous and absurd as they are

Or might be.

Why I refuse to own up to my fears,

My mistakes,

My issues,

I will never know.

Insecurity,

Possibly.

Not every 3D movie I’ve ever seen

Ended terribly.

But I guess we just remember the memorable,

The disasters,

And the best days,

But never the normal

Because everything else is just everyday

Stuff.

 

Victoria Staub is a 15 year from Ambler, Pennsylvania old who attends Wissahickon High School.



The Will Allen Experiment

By: Dylan Kaufman
 

“Another swish, Scott. You have to teach me how to do that,” I exclaimed.

“He turned to me and smiled. Only if you help me with geometry. I hate that class.”

Scott and I were playing basketball at the park near our houses. We were neighbors, and best friends. I met Scott in Kindergarten, and our parents say that we have been inseparable ever since. This baffles me, because Scott and I are very different people. Scott is one of the stars of the basketball team at school. He was also what some people would call, a “lady-killer”. The one thing that was bad about Scott was that he had the IQ of a paperclip. The only reason he was passing was because I was helping him. I’m not the most athletic kid out there, but I like to think I make up for it with my brain. I never thought I was smarter than everyone else. I just thought that my entire grade was compiled of complete morons. I was what some people call a “nerd”.

“Are you going to Kimberly’s party?” I asked Scott.

“WIll, I swear, when will you realize that she doesn’t like me?” Scott complained.

“Jeez, Scott, you could have her. All you need is some help from Mr. William Allen.”

Kimberly was Scott’s crush since the fifth grade. She was the prettiest girl in our grade. Scott could never seem to talk to her. For a jock, he lacked confidence. That always surprised me about him.

“If you’re not going tonight, then you should come over. I’m working on something you should see. It’s going to change the world.” I told Scott.

“Fine, but if this one explodes like last time, I’m going to hurt you.” I looked at him and laughed.

“No,” I said, “you’re not.”

 

“Scott, where in the world are you? I have been calling you all night!”

It was 8:30 at night and Scott still had not arrived at my house. I was getting very angry, which did not happen often.

“Jeez, man! I’m walking into your house now. But there’s someone else here…”

Suddenly, the door opened, and I did not believe what I saw.

“Hi, Will!” said Kimberley.

“Uh, hi Kim. Scott, a word please?” Scott walked over to me.

“What’s up?” he said.

“What is she doing here?” I complained.

“Will, you won’t believe it. I took your advice and asked her out, and she said yes! I was so happy and I couldn’t breathe and I thought I was having a heart attack and-”

“Breathe, Scott,” I interrupted, “ breathe.”

After taking a deep breath, he continued.

“I was taking her back to my house when you called me the twenty-second time. She asked who it was, so I told her. She was ecstatic. Apparently, she is a science geek, like you.”

I looked back at her. She didn’t look like a science geek, but no one relatively popular was a geek I was aware of, so I guess I was excited.

“Fine,” I said after mulling it over, “she can stay.”

“So,” Scott began, “what is it?”

“It’s an atomic particle acceleration gene advancement and molecular endocrinology device!” I exclaimed. They both looked at me with extreme confusion.

“Oh, umm, APAGAME for short. It basically has the capability to change the DNA in teenagers into something else.”

“What do you mean, “else”?” asked Kimberley.

“I’ll tell you when I figure it out.”

“Let’s try it!” suggested Scott.

“Are you insane? It could kill us. The radiation itself could turn you into the Hulk!” I proclaimed.

“Seriously? Awesome! How does it work?” he asked. I sighed.

“Well, you put your thumb here. The plate it’s on examines your thumbprint and scans your molecular data. This chamber up here contains protons, neutrons and electrons that, if in the correct order, could be inserted into you and change your DNA.”

“Wow!” Scott exclaimed. “Can we try?”

“I guess… but it’s risky, like I said.”

“I’m in,” said Kimberly, “maybe it will work?”

“C’mon, Will. Please…?” begged Scott.

“Fine. Kimberly, put your thumb here. Scott, here. Me, there. Let me turn it on and… alright , it’s on. So… let’s just try changing all our hair to blonde. Ok, here we go!”

I ran to where I was supposed to go.

“Ok, guys, here we go!”

The machine roared to life. Buttons began to glow. Things were whirring and buzzing all over the place. It was working. I looked at Kimberly and saw her dark black hair began to turn blonde.

“It’s working!” I shouted. “It’s working!”

“Will, where are your parents?” Scott asked.

“Out to dinner!” I yelled.

“Ouch!” yelled Kimberly! “It’s starting to hurt!”

“Yeah, me too!” said Scott.

I realized that my thumb was hurting too. The lights were very bright. The machine was getting too loud. I looked to my right to check the radiation levels. They were too high. WAY too high.

“Oh, no! There’s too much radiation!” I shouted.

Then there was a flash of light, and everything went dark.

 

“I think he’s waking up.”

“Oh, there he is. How do you feel Will?”

“What?” I opened my eyes and saw my parents. I looked around. I was not in my room anymore. I was in a weird place. I finally realized that I was in a hospital.

“What happened?” I asked.

“One of your experiments exploded,” my dad told me, “one of the neighbors saw it and called 911.”

“Where are Scott and Kimberley?”

“Scott and KImberly are fine. They didn’t black out like you, in fact, they didn’t have many injuries besides some cuts. The only neat thing that happened to all of you is that your hair turned blonde.”

It worked! I thought to myself. It actually worked!

“How long was I out?” I asked them.

“About 3 days.” my mother responded.

“3 days?!” I shouted. “I have to get to school!”

I hopped out of bed. Luckily, my parents had brought me my clothes and my backpack.

“You can’t leave, Will! You just woke up!” They told me.

“I feel fine!” I said back. “I’ll text you after school!”

I raced out of the hospital. I ran down the stairs and out the door. When I stepped outside, I knew exactly where I was. School was 5 miles away and it started in two minutes. So, I ran. I wasn’t running fast enough. I kept going. Faster, faster, faster. Until it happened. I felt a burst of speed, and I took off. I was running at least 100 miles per hour. I saw blue lightning around me. Everything went by so quick. I looked at my feet, and they were blurry. I couldn’t see them because of how fast I was moving. Suddenly, my feet left the ground. I was still moving as fast as I was when they were on the floor. I was flying.  I got to school in at most twenty seconds. I tried to stop, but landed in a bush on accident. I stood up, wiped off the dirt, and went through the back entrance. Luckily, no one saw me.

I mulled over what had just happened. I knew something had happened to me during the explosion. The protons and electrons probably compounded with my cell neutrons, then the radiation binded them together through dehydration synthesis. The excess water was then exposed to the radiation, mutated, and then inserted into my genetic code. This must have caused me to develop extraordinary abilities, or ‘superpowers’. Basically, I was exposed to radiation.

I needed to find Kimberly and Scott to see if they were like me. I went to Scott’s locker.

“Scott!” I yelled across the hallway. He looked at me and smiled.

“Will! You’re awake! Listen, we have to talk, something weird is happening to me and Kimberly. I think we have-

“Superpowers, I know. Let’s meet after school and talk about it.”

After school, I met up with them in the cafeteria.

“So, Kimberly, what are your symptoms?”

“Well,” she began, “ I was making a sandwich when I cut myself by accident. I reached for the band-aids in my cabinet. but they flew into my hand first.!”

“Telekinesis! Very nice. How about you, Scott?”

“Well, I was playing basketball outside, I shot the ball, and it sailed over a few blocks and landed in the lake. I jumped up to stomp on the ground, and I flew 50 feet in the air.”

“Wow, enhanced strength. Very nice.”

“How about you, Will? What do you have?” asked Kimberly.

“I was running to school from the hospital this morning when I saw flashes of lightning behind me. I must have been moving very fast, and then, my feet left the ground. I think I can fly.”

“Lucky…” said Scott. “So what should we do first? Rob a bank? Steal a car?”

“What? No, we don’t use our powers, ever. Only if we need to, ok?” I told them.

“Will, you have superpowers. We have superpowers. Don’t you want to be kings? We could rule the entire world.” he said.

“No. Scott. That’s terrible.”

“Yeah, right, like you’re so perfect. Call me when you come to your senses. You coming, Kim?”

Kim looked up at him but didn’t move. He scowled and slapped her in the face. She flew a couple feet back.

“Kim!” I shouted. I ran to her. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah… yeah, I’m fine.” she told me. I looked up at Scott.

“Scott! Come over here now!” I shouted. Scott came over. His face was grave. I knew that he regretted what he had done. Kimberly didn’t. She slapped him.

“What is wrong with you?” she hollered. “We have the chance to be part of something bigger than us, and you want to rule the world instead of helping people? Shame on you!”

“Kim,” I said to her, “Scott has always been like this. He’ll be fine. In his heart, he wants to do the right thing.”

Suddenly, I heard a noise. Sirens. Screaming. Gunshots. I knew what I heard was not close to me, but was in the city.

“Scott! There is trouble in the city. I need you to carry Kim and jump to downtown. I’ll meet you there.” He nodded.

I ran as fast as I could. I felt the wind on my face, the energy around me. I ran until what I heard was right next to me. I looked up, and saw a bank. There were many police officers surrounding it, and S.W.A.T. teams were arriving. It occurred to me that the bank was being robbed.

“Hey, get out of here, kid!” the police chief screamed at me. “There is a man in there with 20 hostages and a bomb strapped to his chest!”

“Really?” I asked. I quickly ran inside the building, grabbed each hostage one at a time, and ran out. The look on the chief’s face was priceless.

“How...how’d you do that?” he asked me in complete awe.

“Well, I like to sprint sometimes, run a couple of laps, you know. The usual stuff.”

“Thanks for helping out with the hostages, but there is still a man inside with a bomb strapped to him.” The chief was worried, I could tell. He had some kind of look on his face.

Finally, Scott and Kim showed up.

“Ok, guys. Here’s the plan: Kim, you rip off a wall of the bank with your telekinesis. I’m going to run in, take off his bomb-thing, and get out. Scott, you go in after me and hold him. Ready? Break!”

We executed the plan perfectly. It seemed like we had done it a million times. When the police had the bomber, the journalists came rushing towards us.

“Who are you?” One of them asked.

“For now, we’re not sure,” I said, “all you need to know is that we are here to help.”