Monday, June 7, 2021

The End of the Year As We Know It

 In a most unusual year, we have been proud to bring you poetry and memoirs and artwork.  We hope you have enjoyed them! Keep creating this summer, and we hope to see you back for more at Sevenatenine in September. 


Morning (after Krista Lukas)


The blistering tune of alarms

Invites the whisper of sunrise

Through cracks in the blinds.

Quiet footsteps lead to a dim kitchen,

Coffee wafts through morning air,

into my blue mug.

Dew collects on clear windows

As my dog watches a squirrel,

Focused on getting breakfast.


by Zoe L., Grade 9

Artwork by Josephine L., Grade 7


Honeycrisps

In time of despair let us be thankful for small triumphs.

A raspy thank you after you let all the precious hot air escape, as you keep the door open for the granny,

A quiet chuckle after you tell a mediocre joke, that you rehearsed in your head countless times,

A "Bless you!" after you sneeze sticky, thick phlegm all over your new sweater.

 

              People have a propensity to be better than you think,

              They are not flawless, but most are apples.

              Some can be tangy; some can be sweet.

              I prefer Honeycrisps, delicate with a sweet-tart finish.

 

                            Be thankful for Honeycrisps and small triumphs.


by Dhruv M., Grade 9


Artwork by Emma D., Grade 9


 Dear Future Generation

To our future generation:

I am so sorry for all we have brought you,

for all we have left you.

We believed we were infallible

until we began to fall.

I look down at you and feel reverent,

for even though the world is messy and unkind,

you have

-- thusfar --

proved yourself a formidable opponent.

 

May your kind souls

and brave hearts

forever propel you forward

far away from these trash-filled waters.

Humans have a propensity to kill,

but I believe that there will be no more heads on sticks in your time.

Instead there will be glasses on silver platters

and sunlight protruding through thin trees.

There will be innocent verdicts for innocent men

and guilty ones for the poor hearted.

 

Unfortunately, we have given you a war to fight.

Fortunately, you have all the weapons.

Let the battle begin. 


by Calli P., Grade 9


Artwork by Jacob D., Grade 8



Your Hand In Mine, My Heart In Yours

 

Our hands outline each other’s.

Yours in mine, mine in yours.

I can feel every callous and blister,

Yet still it’s soft.

Comforting.

Warm.

Like a freshly brewed macchiato and a pleasantly bitter aftertaste,

I drink up the memory until every last drop is gone,

So that the taste can linger forever.


by Jamie P., Grade 7

 

Artwork by Jamie P., Grade 7










Friday, April 30, 2021

April Memoirs

 Spring is a great time to get outside and write. It's also a great time to get some of our memories down on paper so that we can preserve them for years to come!  

This month's authors Rong X. and Mackenzie W. preserve the laughter and the tears, and most of all, the lessons learned from both.  Enjoy!


WARNING: Do Not Drink This Cocoa!

“Want me to make you guys some hot chocolate?”

            “Yes please! Our fingers are numb!”

            Only after the offer of hot chocolate did he then walk into the pantry and realize that to his dismay, and ours, we were out of the stir-in mix.

            “That’s alright, we still have the milk!” he gandered, “I think I can easily find a recipe for hot chocolate with just milk and probably some chocolate bars to make it chocolatey?” He gave us a winning smile, but we could all hear the hesitation in his voice.

            He yanked open the fridge door to grab the milk, his outstretched hand grasping only air instead.

            “Okay… so we don’t have any milk…” he said slowly, regretting every word before it even slipped his lips, “But don’t worry! I’ll figure out how to make it from scratch!”

            We sat and waited for several tolling minutes.

            “Come and get it!” An excited voice floated out from the kitchen a few minutes later.

            Snaking my hand through the handle and embracing the mug with my palms, I instantly felt the warmth radiating from within, swimming through my veins. I took in the chocolatey smell that seemed to waft all the way into my brain, and even that gave me enough warmth to make me feel cozier. I couldn’t help but smile a sigh of relief.

Plunking in a few marshmallows and letting them wallow in wait, it looked like the epidemy of the perfect mug of hot cocoa: Marshmallows playing tag in a kiddy pool of chocolaty goodness.

Only then did I squint close into my mug and notice the cloudy, translucent quality of the drink, and what looked like little rocks and pebbles sitting in the bottom. I let my spoon take a dip in the mug and move in a consistent circular motion, swirling my hot cocoa into a tiny tornado. The clouds circled my spoon like a storm, refusing to mix right. What the heck??

            “Dad, what’s in this?”

            “Chocolate chips and boiled water… I know, I know,” he answered as we all glanced at him blankly, “Hey! Don’t look at me like that, we didn’t have anything else, so it was the best I could do!”

Hm, okay. So that ‘delicious’ smell I so joyously inhaled a few minutes prior turned out to be some boiled water and chocolate chips. Yummmm, a sarcastic voice dragged out in my head.

As I looked around it seemed like my siblings all had the same expression on their face as me: Are we supposed to drink this??

Slowly and shakily I brought the mug to my lips. The discolored drink shoved an overwhelming amount of steam into my face making me pinch my eyes closed. Had it been your typical hot cocoa, I would have welcomed the steam with open arms: But this was definitely not your typical hot cocoa, and not by a long shot. I cracked open my mouth just a sliver, allowing the bare minimum of the drink to slip past my lips.

The bland taste seemed overly bland, stabbing my taste buds with its plainness. The chalky texture seemed to cling to my mouth not wanting to let go. A drink famous for having a smile-worthy sweetness, now shown through my eyes, turned infamous for its tastelessness. It’s as if it had been mutated, in my own household, into a flavorless and insipid drink. My throat refused to open up its drawbridge and let the tidal wave of cloudy river pass through. It basically screamed at me: You’re not seriously going to let this poison into your body… are you?!?! None the less, my ten-year-old-chocolate-addict-self pushed it all down into my stomach.

I have little to no memory of what happened in the snow that day, but rather a memory full of gagging down a drink like no other. Ten-year-old me might have poured the drink down the sink without hesitation had she not been craving hot chocolate so much she just had to drink it. It took some time, but now I don’t zero in on the awfulness of that experience.

To this day, it’s funny to watch my dad’s reaction when I bring up his attempt at hot chocolate from scratch. But now I see he took the time to attempt to make something with all the wrong ingredients: And while the hot cocoa train crashed and burned, the memory blossoms and grows fonder every day.

It’s things like that, the little things, that count the most. The little things that I will always remember.

My parents might not even realize the little things: But it’s what they do for me and the sacrifices they make, even the small and subtle, that I will keep folded neatly in my trunk of memories only to look back on and smile about years later. It is these things that truly mean the world to me, even if one of those memories is chalky hot cocoa that I practically forced down my throat.

by Mackenzie W., Grade 9


Artwork by Jacob D., Grade 8


Whoops, Slipped on the Keys!

It has been told to me many, many times: even the best pianists make mistakes during their performances. They just expertly cover up the flaw, so the audience isn’t aware of it. I know for a fact that I am not a part of these “best pianists”, but I do have moments where even I am impressed with how well I covered up the mistake. Nobody in the crowd, besides my parents and my piano teacher, Sylvia, would notice.

            The Sounds of Excellence Concert on April 6, 2019 was not one of those proud moments.

            The day started off amazing (as all infamous days do). I had already found out that I aced the auditions and got into the Sounds of Excellence Concert, so all I had to get through was the concert itself. I’ve already performed in this concert twice, so I really had nothing to worry about.

            Little did I know how rushed I would become. I thought since I was performing third to last, I had all the time I needed. However, I got carried away by the lighthearted and social atmosphere backstage and forgot to practice. Pretty soon, there were only two performers ahead of me, and I only had time to briefly skim through the piece.

            “You sound so good! You are going to be awesome out there!” my best friend Rachel reassured me.  

            I mustered up a nervous smile and wiped my sweaty hands on my dress. “Let’s hope you’re right...”

            A woman, probably in her late 20s, popped in the room. “Rong Xu?” she pointed at me. “You are on deck!”

            Uh oh. I stood up shakily and followed her to the vast area directly behind the stage.

            “The jazz band is currently performing. When they are finished and come backstage, you will then go out on stage, curtsy, and do your thing! You will do great, good luck!” the lady smiled at me and walked out of the room.

            I sat down in the waiting chair and bit the inside of my mouth. I could hear the jazz band finishing up. In just a few seconds, I was going to have to go out onto that stage—

            The crowd clapped and cheered. The jazz band’s performance was over.

            I forced myself not to cry. You’ve done this concert two times already, Rong. I reassured myself for the 50th time that day. You will be fine.

            I took two huge breaths, stood up, and faced my fate. The members of the jazz band that just played jogged past me, a huge smile written on each of their faces.

            Will I be as happy as them after my performance too?

            As I walked out on stage and felt a warm light shining on my face, I looked over at the crowd and spotted my family. I could tell that my parents were just as tense as I was. I moved my eyes down and gulped when I saw my piano teacher.

             I put on the world’s fakest smile and tried my best to curtsy without falling over. I stared at the piano next to me.

            One step. Two steps. Three steps. The expensive Steinway piano was just an arm’s reach away.

            I subconsciously sat down on the seat; the keys of doom right in front of me. I inhaled… and started playing.

            I rapidly scanned through the memorized sheet music in my head and transferred the knowledge to my fingers. My heart was ready to jump out and run away, but I maintained a serene face, extending my fingers to reach all the notes. I had no time to think…the music was going too fast. Sweat coated my fingers, making the keys slippery, but this was common when I performed at recitals. I just needed to make sure that I don’t play a wrong note, because then the whole piece would fall apart.

            As the music rose and dipped, I started feeling the inner pulse of the piece, and the beautiful melody drifted through my ears. Just like how you played at the audition. You can do thi—

            My pinky slipped.

            The world’s ugliest arpeggio came out of the piano.

            I panicked. No, no! This isn’t happening! Soon, all my fingers were playing wrong notes. I was playing everything except what was supposed to be played. Every knowledge of Chopin’s Étude in A flat flew away from my brain.

            The music transformed from a lovely piece of classical music to a horror movie introduction.

            Was that supposed to be a B flat? No! Argh…what is the next note? What am I doing? You messed up at the Kimmel Center! This is a huge concert! Mom and Dad are going to be so mad! Sylvia will never want to teach you again. Such a failure.  I was getting unbelievably frustrated. Even if the audience did not know the piece itself, I knew that they could tell that I made a huge mistake.

            This panic continued for about one minute. Then, for some unspoken, divine reason, I managed to get back on track.

            That feeling of guilt and disappointment never left me. I finished the whole piece with half of the emotion and adrenaline I started with. What was the point of finishing anyway? I had already messed up half the piece. This mistake was unmendable.

            The last chord echoed through the Perelman Theater. The audience started clapping, but I could sense the uncertainty interweaved with every clap. It was the worst feeling.

            I got up from the piano, took a deep breath, and curtsied.

            I tried my best to compose myself while walking off the stage, acting like I didn’t just butcher a whole piece of music. Once I got backstage, I was ready to let it all out, but I remembered: there were still people here. My friends were waiting for me on the other side, not aware that I destroyed my whole performance. I forced the tears back into my eyes and walked out with a shivering smile. Rachel and her older brother, Oliver, ran out of the room where all the other performers were lounging.

            “You did so good!” they exclaimed, smiling as brightly as ever.

            “Yeah, no.” I laughed. I could feel the hot tears welling up again. “I messed up. Badly.”

            Their faces fell. After an awkward two seconds of silence, I flashed a quick smile and walked back to the Green Room.

            When the concert finally ended, everybody walked out to the main lobby and waited for their parents. Every other performer was rejoicing and recalling their performances, while all I wanted was to do was disappear.   

            I shuffled dejectedly up to my parents. My mother even had a bouquet of flowers waiting for me—she thought my performance would be perfect.

            “怎么回事 (What happened)?” she asked.

            I turned my back to everyone in the lobby and starting sobbing, as quietly as I could. “我不知道 (I don’t know)!” I sniffled. “我忘 (I forgot!)!”  

            My father patted my back. “没事. 回家吧(It’s okay. Let’s go home).”

            As upset as I was, deep down inside me, I knew I had learned an invaluable lesson. This was the reality of life: I worked so hard for six months just to perform for eight minutes and to mess up. Even just for a chance at not making a mistake, I needed to work ten times harder. Once I got on that stage and started playing, my fate no longer lied in my hands. All I could do was hope that my hours of practice were not for nothing. Every person goes through this once in their life. It’s the sad truth. I could do nothing about it, and it was no use having a breakdown about something that happened in the past that I could no longer control. I decided to finally let go, to free myself from these chains of disappointment, and to continue facing forward.

            Soft rain pitter-pattered on the car windows. As the Philadelphia cityscape slowly faded away behind us, the remaining guilt and sorrow in my heart diminished along with it.

by Rong X., Grade 9

           

           

           

           

           

           

 


Thursday, March 25, 2021

March Forward

 It seems we have had trouble escaping the winter chill this March, but that means it's time to snuggle up to some excellent writing, right?!?

Enjoy this month's post! 

Artwork by Yana R., Grade 9


Prerequisites to Eating Your Birthday Cake

In my family there are three prerequisites to eating your birthday cake: you blow out your candles, smear your name, and make a wish about something irrelevant to the world. I wish I could get a Labrador puppy. I wish I could be the queen of England. I wish my mom would buy me a trampoline to keep in our backyard.

My 15th birthday that all changed.

My dad is sick upstairs, locked away in his room. My friends are unable to join the “party”. My brother complains that he prefers chocolate to the creamy vanilla icing that decorates the smooth vanilla cake. ‘Happy Birthday Calli!’, it reads in beautiful cursive. All in all, this was a birthday too easy to remember, yet sometimes I want to forget.

When Covid-19 struck America in early March, nobody expected that in mid-June it would still be raging; nobody expected hundreds of thousands to die. Yet, here I am four months later blowing out my birthday candles with a paper plate, smearing my name with a plastic spoon, and wishing for people to stop dying.

I woke up on June 15th, 2020 on the right side of the bed. My golden birthday! ‘15 on the 15th’ I caption my Instagram post. Creative, I know. I walk down the stairs to sprinkle-covered pancakes and a brother with presents in hand. My mom stands next to him, a proud smile on her face.

“She didn’t burn the pancakes this time,” Aidan chuckles.

“Very funny,” my mom throws back nonchalantly. Nothing seems off for a moment, but then my mom’s smile begins to falter a bit. I look around and walk into the answer of the question I didn’t know I had asked.

Aidan slowly states, “He couldn’t taste his breakfast this morning.” There’s a gaping dad-sized hole at our kitchen table. Oh no. Everyone knows that losing your taste and smell are sure signs of Covid-19. Nobody wants someone they love to catch the virus. Who knows how my dad’s weakened heart will take it? Quickly, I whip my phone out of my flannel pajama bottoms.

“U feeling okay?” I text my dad.

It takes thirty long seconds for him to respond. Like watching a rocket prepare to blast off from its sturdy structure, I count down the seconds to a reply. Houston, do we have a problem? Finally, my phone vibrates in my pocket: “Meh. I’ll survive. Happy birthday Caj!” Everyone’s spirits rise a bit when we see my childhood nickname being used. If my dad has the energy to poke fun, then he must be feeling okay.

I scamper up to my room to change, wearing a blue medical face mask just in case. I bound back down the stairs in a flash and grip the golden doorknob to the outside world; quickly, I shove the door open and am bathed in the glow of the early morning. A flash of color on our typically dark driveway catches my eye.

“Happy Birthday Calli” shouts the chalk. I run down the steps and see my neighbors lining the driveway.  They’re an odd group, ages ranging from 5 to 55, but there’s no one else I’d rather celebrate with. JJ, my 5-year-old next door neighbor, tutoring trainee, and babysitting burden runs up to me to do our not-so-secret handshake. At first, I’m excited, but then I realize what I must do.

“Sorry, not today little man!” I shout as I jump backwards, “My dad’s not feeling too great so keep six feet away.”

“But I only have two feet!” he complains.

I guess that’s the next unit we need to study... I think to myself. The three other families around the driveway take an unconscious synchronized step backward.

“Is your dad alright?” JJ’s mom asks.

“He will be,” I respond. “or now he’s staying locked up.” The mom frowns as she pulls a card out from behind her back, ‘Happy Birthday’ it reads. I’m starting to think this birthday might not be so happy. I run back inside for a moment and slide the buttercream covered birthday cake into my arms. Slow and steady wins the race. I remind myself. When I step back on to the rainbow covered driveway a small card table is set up in the center… We used to play poker right here, using goldfish as our chips… my dad always dealt… Carefully, I slip the cake onto the table.

 My mom and brother, each wearing the dreaded blue medical mask, walk out the front door. The click of a camera flies into the air and slowly people begin to sing. “Happy Birthday to you…” they begin, adding “HAYAH”’s between each line. Nobody ever knows what to do when others sing happy birthday. Standing over my cake I awkwardly dance and wave in a circle. JJ does the same, convinced the cake was made just for him. Finally, the last “HAYAH” arrives and I reach down to smear my name for good luck. My mom grabs my hand and pushes it away.

“Better safe than sorry,” she says as she hands me a plastic spoon and paper plate. The spoon doesn’t smear icing as well as my finger, but hopefully it brings the same amount of luck. I “blow” out the candles by fanning the paper plate: up, down, up, down. A slow, squeaky noise comes from above our heads and the neighbors go quiet, looking up towards the window. My dad stares down at us from behind the window screen in Hershey pajama pants and an oversized sweatshirt.

“Happy birthd-“ he starts to say before breaking down into a coughing fit.

“Thanks padre. Go get some sleep,” I call up to him.

A second later millions of worries shove themselves into my head: How many more sailing trips will we go on, trapped in the middle of the sea with waves crashing down? How many more pens will we steal from the cleaning carts around The Hotel Hershey? How many more movies will he force me to watch: Dirty Dancing, JoJo Rabbit, The Polar Express? I pull these thoughts from my brain and place them into the ever-growing list of things I want to forget.

In my family there were three prerequisites to eating your birthday cake: you blew out your candles, smeared your name, and made a wish about something irrelevant to the world. Did blowing out the candles and smearing my name truly make my wish come true? I’m not sure. All I know is that two weeks later my dad was finally able to get out of bed, but eight months in the future half a million Americans are dead and dying. I didn’t get to smear my name, sure. But they will never again get to eat a cake or make a wish. Who will celebrate their birthdays?

by Calli P., Grade 9

 

Artwork by Jacob D., Grade 8



Last month, we published the opening to a play, Pheidippides, written by a group of seventh grade students.  Though we do not have ample space to publish the entire play, we did want you to see the intrigue of the concluding scenes, published below.  We hope that when Broadway reopens you will have the chance to see Pheidippides live and on stage. 





Scene 6

The curtain rises in the deserted agora. There is no one to be seen in the usually busy agora. The wooden stands are abandoned. Pheidippides continues to walk through the streets of the agora.

Pheidippides: That is weird. Usually, the agora is buzzing with people.

Narrator: Pheidippides spotted a person hurrying through the street. When Pheidippides asked him where everybody was, the man said that everyone was in their houses because the Persians were about to attack. He also said that he was left behind to tell Pheidippides that he needs to go to the battlefield so he can bring the Spartan army with him. So, with all the strength Pheidippides had left, he ran to report to the battlefield. When he got there, Miltiades was waiting.

Miltiades: (with a disappointed look on his face) Oh, you’re here.

Pheidippides: (Pheidippides out of breath) You sound disappointed.

Miltiades: I am not.

Pheidippides: Am I too late?

Miltiades: Yes, you are. But we won anyway.

Pheidippides: So, you are telling me I ran who knows how far, for no reason?!

Miltiades: Hmm...let me think... yes you did! Now I need you to run back to Athens and tell them we are victorious.

Pheidippides: What? Are you insane!? No. I need a break.

Miltiades: You wanted to do this job, so finish it.

Narrator: And with that, Pheidippides ran all the way back to Athens to ring the town bell. By ringing that bell, he is telling everyone to meet in the agora.

Everyone cautiously walks out of their homes and into the agora.

Pheidippides: (now wheezing and clapping) We...are...victorious. (he is starting to cough.)

Narrator: And with that, Pheidippides is soon wailing as he passes out and falls. Many people ran to get help, but by the time a doctor got there, Pheidippides, the best runner in Athens, had died.

In the background there is Dun-Dun-Dunnnnn. Miltiades gets word of Pheidippides and is the happiest man alive at that moment.

Miltiades: (with a smirk and happy tone) Well, that’s the end of him.


Scene 7

The camera cuts to the event of Pheidippides’ funeral, where Miltiades happens to be making a speech. Almost the whole city of Athens is there.

Miltiades: (As sad music plays in background) It is so unfortunate that we are gathered here today to grieve over the death of Athens’ own Pheidippides. He was a great friend of mine, and was without a doubt the best runner in Athens! I-

Miltiades is cut off by a man who comes running from the street. The music cuts off.

Athenian Man: As if you have a right to be speaking like this! Pheidippides was the first to volunteer to run to Sparta, but instead, you ignored him and acted like he didn’t exist. When he was gone, all you did was insult him and say how he would never make it back. Then, when he ran all the way to Marathon to find you, you sent him back HERE to declare a victory. So long story short, this guy would still be alive if it wasn’t for you.

The crowd of Athenians nod and mumble in agreement, and Miltiades soon rushes off the platform in embarrassment. The Athenian man rushes up onto the platform.

Athenian Man: Pheidippides was one of Athens’ true heroes. Strong, respectful, and willing to do anything for his city. I went to school with him, and all of Miltiades’ tales of him being a “bully” and “dishonorable” are completely untrue. So, everyone, please take some time to pay your respects to the best runner in Athens, and possibly Greece. Pheidippides!

The crowd cheers as the curtains closes.

The End

 by "The Burnt Potatoes" including Zara C., Reuben B., Brady C., Emelia O., Michael A., and Katlyn C-Z. 


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Something New

 In February we found ourselves buried under endless snow, but as the month wraps up, the sun is giving us hope of something new: a little warmth, green buds bursting, and a play written by seventh-grade students set in ancient Greece.  For the first time in its history, Sevenatenine features a script at the end of this post this month, created by a group who calls themselves "The Burnt Potatoes." The plot might leave you asking . . . will it get a second season in March?  You will have to wait and see!

 But first enjoy two pieces from our editors, a poem about dreams and a short story that just might haunt your dreams and leave you wanting more.  The infamous longest-shortest month of the year is ending.  Take some time for reading the wonderful work our Holicong students are creating. 


Artwork by Brendan K., Grade 8


Dreams


Dreams are a half-thought-out joke, scribbled on a page.

Unwritten stories, sketches, and plays.

Dreams are stares in the mirror,

A reflection of doubt.

Dreams cling to hope,

That ideas may wander out.

So maybe someday,

Above the crowded streets of a city,

There will stand a girl

It’s her thoughts that are pretty,

Those unwritten words, the half-thought-out wit,

It pours from her mouth,

and no one will sit.

Dreams are large, growing, and vast.

And you will reach them,

Releasing your past.


by Zoe L., Grade 9


Artwork by Mia M., Grade 8



Too Big

A cat strides through the dark, a beacon in the night. Its glaucous fur illuminates its path as a fuzzy halo, an interruption to this mysterious black void it seems to be in. The cat moves forward, but nothing appears. Just more and more black, like water had been poured on the sun and it turned cold, oozing its tar remains all over the planet. If the cat wasn’t there shining its blue light on the landscape, there would be nothing. Nothing at all. 

So this feline must be important.

And that’s when the mysterious creature stops. Only for a moment. But a glitch in the program, big or small, means something amiss. Something worth paying attention to. Something dangerous.

Now the cat stops again, and sits, it’s tail swishing back and forth, creating a fan of light behind itself. And in this same moment, this cat transforms. Into a girl. She has long, glowing locks the same color as her past feline form. They are floating off her shoulders, still the only source of light. She looks to be around seventeen, and she is wearing all white. It stings to look at her, illuminated against this miserable black place.

And her eyes.

Oh, her eyes.

They must’ve been the same as they were when she was a cat, as her pupils were slits, cautioning, and alert. But it is their color that makes them so abnormally beautiful. They are, of course, white. The flecks, though. Glaucous, and stunning. They glittered against her matching aura.

She speaks, and her voice echoes off invisible walls. “What is foolish enough to join me here?” Her words are strong. Dangerous.

Nothing seems to happen, but the girl glares, and shifts her position. “Don’t you dare taunt me. I can destroy you with the snap of my fingers.”

Another voice booms throughout the dark, and the girl stiffens. 

“You may have stopped the others. But you will never stop me, dear Evangeline.”

The girl called Evangeline’s eyes flick toward the side. “How do you know who I am?” She growls. 

A chilling, evil laugh reverberates around, and Evangeline closes her eyes.

“I’ve known you since the first time you came here. Because I was your first enemy.”

Evangeline’s aura flickers. “You,” she whispers, suddenly shaken. “How?”

“The Wonderers don’t know what they don’t know, honey. And neither do you.”

“Get to the point.”

“Well... when you defeat darkness... it doesn’t just go away. When you turn on a light, is the blackness vanquished? No. Because when you turn that light off again, it’s right where you left it. Ready to play.”

“What are you saying.”

“I’m saying that you and your team of so-called warriors are no heroes. And neither are you.”

Suddenly, the darkness surrounding Evangeline becomes darker somehow. Like a fresh layer on a faded streak of black paint.

Her glow flickers once more.

“No.”

“Yes,” the voice counters. “We’ve been here the whole time. Resting. Watching. Learning. So that when we do come back, we’re stronger, and smarter than before. And so that we can get rid of you, and everyone working against us for good. So that the light can no longer vanquish the darkness. And we can survive.”

That’s when everything bright about Evangeline is taken away, and she seems to be eaten by the surrounding midnight. Now the only thing left is her voice.

“Lucian, can you hear me? I need backup. I can’t beat it this time. It’s too big.”

“No one can save you, Evangeline. Because you’re right. I am too big.”

And that’s when every trace of Evangeline disappears. And all that is left is vile, suffocating, darkness.

 

In another place it’s all white. A boy sits slumped at a desk, fast asleep. 

But not for long.

Like a ghost had walked through him, he screams and jumps up, paler than a sheet. 

Through heavy breaths, he says: “Evangeline? Hello? Yes, I can hear you! Evangeline? Wha-what’s happening? What’s too big?”

He is silent for a moment, then he stumbles backward, falling into his chair. His hand flies to cover his mouth.

“EVANGELINE!” he screams.


by Emery F., Grade 7


Artwork by Kathryn B., Grade 8


Pheidippides

Act 1

Scene 1

 

Curtain rises in the agora which is bustling with people on a Sunday morning. There are wooden stands everywhere and it is very noisy. The narrator speaks with a lot of emotion, and wears a white toga. The narrator also carries a clay tablet and stands in the right corner of the stage; downstage.

Narrator: Our story takes place in Ancient Greece, in the middle of Athens on a Sunday morning. Everyone is out, trying to buy things they need before they must go back to work. But then something happened out of the ordinary Sunday Athenians usually have.

There is a man dressed in a white toga in the middle of the Agora on a bench. This man is the Athenian army and navy general Miltiades. Miltiades is a strong, tall man in his middle ages with blonde hair on the top of his head. He also has rough hands and a soft-spoken voice.

Athenian General (Miltiades): Attention, attention everybody. (The crowd in the agora quiets down.) I sadly bring terrible news. We have just gotten word that the Persians are planning to attack and are marching towards us right at this very second. (The crowd whispers and murmurs in panic.) Now I know this sounds scary, but luckily, the Athenian army and navy are already set for battle.

Narrator: There are thankful sighs of relief from the Athenian people, but they don’t realize that there is more news to come.

Athenian General (Miltiades): But we don’t have enough men for battle, which is why we need to ask other city-states for help. And when I mean city-states, I mean Sparta.

Narrator: Now, the Athenians and Spartans have always been enemies. They have always been rival city-states. Now imagine how much backlash Miltiades got from telling the Athenian people they need to ask for help from Sparta. Yeah… that did not go so well.

There is an uproar with the Athenian people, and they start calling Miltiades crazy.

Miltiades: I understand your frustration. (As the crowd starts to calm down.) We have been rivals of Sparta for many years. I don’t even want to ask them for help, but it is what we have to do if we want to survive and if we want to provide a brighter future for our city.

Narrator: Wow…now that is how you give a speech! Although the Athenians did not like the idea of asking Sparta for help, they all agreed it was the only way to not get slaughtered by the Persians. But there was one problem, and that problem was someone had to go all the way to Sparta to ask for help.

Miltiades: Oh, come on! No one wants to do it?

Pheidippides: I’ll do it.

Miltiades: (Turning his head to look who said that.) Great! We have a volunteer. Now who said…Oh no. (He whispers to himself.) Anyone else? (trying to act like he didn’t hear Pheidippides.)

Pheidippides: I said I would do it. (Speaking louder so Miltiades could hear him.) Wow. I guess all the time he had spent running into boats has taken a toll on his hearing.

Pheidippides is a shorter man with brown eyes and black hair. He wears a brown toga and has old sandals. Pheidippides has a poor attitude, is rude, and is short tempered.

Miltiades: No, I heard you, but I was ignoring you because you are the last person I would want to send to Sparta. (Miltiades is now stepping down from the bench and walking to Pheidippides.)

Narrator: Now for all of you viewers, you might be wondering what the heck is going on! Well, I am about to tell you. If you haven’t figured it out before, Miltiades and Pheidippides hate each other. They are complete opposites. Pheidippides is more of a goof off who doesn’t really care about work, and Miltiades is a goody-two-shoes who got good grades at school and worked his way up the job ladder to an army general. Pheidippides is just a common Athenian. They were also in all classes together in school throughout their childhoods, and they did not get along. So, whoever made the saying opposites attract...well, they lied.

Miltiades: (Now at Pheidippides.) Look buddy, I am not going to let you go to Sparta and ruin this important mission.

Pheidippides: Well, I have changed and have become more responsible.

Miltiades: That is what you always say! You said you changed when we were in fifth grade, but then you put hot coals in my slippers. And then after that you apologized and said you would change. And take a guess at what happened next. You put melted cheese in my brand new Gugi’s. (Shows a spin off version of Gucci shoes) What I am trying to say Pheidippides, is that you will never change, ok? You will always be a self-centered jerk! (Now in Pheidippides face.)

Narrator: Now, you also don’t know that Pheidippides was very short tempered, so if someone said or did something that he didn’t like, he had to lash back out and that is exactly what he did. (As Miltiades is walking away Pheidippides trips him and Miltiades sprawls on the floor.) See what I mean? But while Miltiades was on the floor and the whole crowd was laughing at him, he realized something. He was going to allow Pheidippides to go on the quest to Sparta. And hopefully Pheidippides would die during the quest. It was an evil plan, but you have to admit, it is genius.

With his evil plan and a smirk on his face, Miltiades gets up. Acting like he and Pheidippides are best of buds, he swings his arm over Pheidippides. Miltiades then quiets the crowd and announces.

Miltiades: I have decided to let Pheidippides embark on the quest. (Pheidippides has a look of surprise on his face.) I believe that he is the right person to go on this quest and I believe he can get the Spartan army to join us in defeating the Persian army! (Miltiades throws Pheidippides arm in the air and the crowd cheers. Miltiades now turns to Pheidippides as the crowd disperses.) You will leave at dawn tomorrow so pack your bags and sleep well; you have a long journey ahead of you.

Narrator: And with that, Miltiades walks away and leaves shocked Pheidippides in the street. There is Pheidippides’s chance to prove his worth to the city of Athens and he knows he can’t blow it.

The curtain slowly comes down while the narrator is talking.

 

by "The Burnt Potatoes" including Zara C., Reuben B., Brady C., Emelia O., Michael A., and Katlyn C-Z.