Independence High School is hosting a Festive Christmas Craft Fair and Market on December 2 from 8 am to 6 pm. Come shop at the many art & craft stalls and food trucks. Santa will be available...
A short story by Marco:
The smell of fire is something I never got used to. Something that made me sick and made me want to ditch wherever I was at due to the smell it of. The flames hurt and tortured people while the ash and smoke became toxic to anyone’s lungs that were around. I hated fire, not feared, but hated it with all will. Fire is what prevented me from saving my dad, the fear of fire and death had been replaced by hatred and a mindset of being unsympathetic to any form of pain or death. I hated fire, and the fire hated me.
“You’ve done a lot of heroic, stupid things with your powers but this and your future plan are way beyond stupid,” said Jay while he tried to hold me back.
“So what? You want me to just walk off and let the kid die?” I screamed while glaring at his eyes.
“What about me huh? If you go in there, and you never come out, what am I gonna do?!” Jay had a tear in his eye.
“Hey, don’t worry I’ll be back. I always come back remember? Just give me a minute.”
I felt Jay let go of me with a little hesitation, and as soon as the hold was gone, I sped as fast as my legs would take me. I was in the middle of it all; it was an oil plant with huge tanks of oil and gas all over the place. The place had been set on fire not that long ago, and I knew it was a matter of time until the whole block blew to pieces, so I had very little time. I ran around listening hard for the cry of the kid, my lungs filling with the smoke from the flames. The heat was rising with all the oils and gasses being combined.
As I ran I saw a white shirt, a small white shirt. I rushed toward it, and I found the kid I was looking for. There he was teary-eyed with a dirty shirt. He looked about four years old, and he was scared. It reminded me of how scared I was two years ago. I grabbed the kid and rushed out of there as soon as possible. As I exited, I saw the fire catching up to the huge tank. I ran faster, and on the way out, I grabbed Jay. I dragged both of them across a whole block, a careless drag. I heard Irvin’s shoes scraping on the floor violently while he held on to my arm for dear life.
I was halfway down the block when I heard the explosion, and I knew I had to brace for impact. I threw the kid and Jay behind me, and I stood in front of them holding my arms out, hoping nothing would hit either of them and hoping to absorb all the impact so they didn’t have to suffer. Then I felt the force, I felt the explosion getting closer, and I knew I couldn’t stop this. I didn’t move; not because I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t. I was paralyzed. My body felt numb, and all I could do was wait for the impact. I felt the hit launching me back about ten yards, making me hit a wall, and everything blacked out.
I woke up a bit later, not sure how much later, but it couldn’t have been that long. I woke up, but I felt a sharp pain on my ribs so it kept me down. I looked up and saw something I hated, detested, something I hated a thousand more times than the hate of flames. I saw a vampire. This vampire though, was one of the special ones. He was to the main one–what a vice president is to a president. He was in second place as the second most dangerous, second sickest, second place on everything, but also adding, second place for the blame of the death of my parents.
I tried to get up, but I couldn’t. My legs gave out on me, and my ribs were burning. All I could do was look helplessly as he descended with his humongous wings. It was a slow flap, but I could feel the wind coming down from it. I had no feeling, I couldn’t do anything, and my head was still buzzing. I saw him land right next to the kid. Jay got up faster than I had ever seen him move, and he charged toward the vampire but was quickly taught who had the authority at the moment as the vampire punched him hard, so hard he flew 20 yards and hit a brick wall in the back. All I could do was look helplessly as everything happened. He looked at me and gave me a smirk and mouthed the words, “You Can’t Take Us Down,” before he looked down and saw the child. Then he picked him up and just flew away. I looked, focused as much as possible to see where he went, and I saw it. I saw exactly the place he went into. I saw a very old warehouse he flew into and took the child. This is where he’s been hiding. After all this time of searching, I had finally found out where this one lived. Everything blacked out a moment later and all my thoughts left me.
I woke up about an hour later in what appeared to be a hospital. Jay knew about medical things, so I’m sure he was the one fixing me up. I was right, and I heard his voice across the room.
“Hey, look who’s finally awake,” he said in a tired voice.
“How long have I been out?”
“Patient has been out for about forty minutes or so,” he said in a weird formal accent.
“You got knocked down.” I looked over to look at him; I saw a scar on his jaw, almost going through his whole jawline.
“No I didn’t. I just tripped,” he said trying to be funny and put the scar aside.
“Hey, look. You’ve been with me forever, and I know exactly what you’re thinking, but what you’re planning I don’t want you to do. It’s way too dangerous. We could’ve died this time, and you wanna go out there and hunt this one down, too?”
“He took the boy, and if I don’t save him, then who will? When you can answer that for once, I’ll stop.”
He looked at me, half disappointed and half mad. I got up and put my clothes on over the bandages that were recently put on my ribs. I fixed up the case for my sword and put it on my back. I picked up the sword, examined it, and thought about my past and all the things I had done right in my life. I got mad and yet happy. I mounted it on the case placed on my back and started walking toward the door.
I stopped at the doorway thinking about how I was going to do this. I didn’t have a plan, and I never thought about any of this until now. I didn’t know what was coming, but whatever it was, I knew I was going to save that kid and get rid of that vampire. I got my courage together, looked up, and smiled.
Under my breath I whispered, “If I don’t do this, then no one in the world will.”
“You don’t have to save everyone. We’ve talked about this. What about me?!” Jay said with a tear in his eye.
“If I don’t do this, then you and me will eventually die like the rest of the people that are gone.”
“Just promise me one thing,” Jay’s tired voice said, calm and tense, like a last request of life from a person.
“What is it?” I said turning my head halfway back but not exactly looking at him.
“Make sure the vampire doesn’t get out of there alive,” he said n a very deep, tense voice.
A short pause came between us. In a moment I got a glimpse of my parents burning, suffering slowly because of the vampires. My eyes turned red, glowing in a reflection I could see in a mirror closeby.
“I’ll bring you back his head on my sword.” I walked out in fury with my fists clenched.
“It’s time to end this!” I roared while I ran at 70 miles an hour to the warehouse.
“This time, you’re done!”
Stuck in the Middle by Kasey
I look at my small figure in the mirror and glare at it. Why couldn’t I be like my older brothers Scott and Andy? I think to myself as I stare at the burned and discolored skin on my neck. It runs down the right side of my neck and ends at the top my right shoulder. There is a small gap before it runs down the outside of both of my arms. I’m pulled out of my thoughts by a knock at the door. I turn my head and see my mother peek her head through the small crack.
“Oh, Xander,” she says as she comes in and stands next to me so she can see us both in the full body mirror. “You look so handsome.”
“Thank you, Mother.” I take a look at myself and nod. It’s true. I do look good in a suit. My auburn hair is in its usual ponytail, and my bangs hang in front of my left eye, just like normal. It makes me look a little more normal… I hate having heterochromia. It’s when you have two different eye colors. My case is… wild, to say the least. One blue eye and one white eye. My bangs cover my white eye.
“Your father would be proud that you are becoming part of the cause he died for,” my mother whispers as she rests her head on my shoulder. “You… becoming a hunter against the assassins!” She gasps dramatically before starting to wipe away her tears with her pointer fingers. I smile and stand in front of her as I take out my handkerchief and hand it to her.
“Don’t cry. You’ll ruin your beauty,” I whisper, and she laughs.
“Oh darling, you’re too kind. There’s no need to compliment this old bag of bones.”
“No I’m serious! You look beautiful!”
“I see a woman who has raised me by herself since I was 10. She’s a strong, independent woman who will take no bull crap from anyone. She’s ready to walk down those stairs with her head held high and proud,” I whisper as I start guiding her towards the door.
“Are you ready?” I ask, and she nods before placing on a smile and grabbing onto my arm. The butler Alex opens the door and the living room goes silent save for a few murmurs here and there. My mother grabs onto the railing with her other hand as we start descending the stairs together.
“Can you believe that all of these people are here for your promotion?” My mother whispers as my throat tightens. There are so many people, and I could easily screw up and make a fool of myself. We reach the bottom of the stairs, and I bow down beside my mother as I give her hand a quick kiss before she’s whisked away by a guest.
“Oh, look at you, brother! Being a gentleman! And it’s only your first day as a hunter!” My oldest brother Scott shouts as he throws his arm over my shoulders and hugs me tightly against his chest.
“Oh, Scott, let him breathe,” Andy exaggerates since I can breathe just fine. Scott reluctantly lets go before pushing me into Andy’s chest.
“Whoops! My hand slipped!” Scott laughs before getting distracted by a pretty lady from our school. I shake my head and look at Andy. He is exactly like our mother–black hair, tall, and loves books. His eyes are completely blue like our father’s. Scott is the opposite. He’s more like our father. He is loud, boisterous, and has auburn hair and my mother’s green eyes. That’s all the information you need to really know about Scott because that’s all there is to him. I blink, realizing I’m just standing there with a little girl’s hand waving in front of my face. I look down at the familiar face of Emilie, my little sister.
“Hello, Emilie,” I say before I grab her hand and lead her over to the food table. “Where’d Mother disappear to?” I ask as I look around the room of guests. She only shrugs as she grabs an oatmeal cookie.
“Scotty said that she was walking down to the kitchen with some girl before he lost sight of ‘em,” she mumbles before continuing to munch noisily on her sweet.
“Alright, I’ll be back. You just stay here.” I start walking away from her and walk towards the staircase that continues going down. I place my hand on the railing and start speed walking down the stairs. I hear a scream that gets cut short, and I sprint down the rest of the stairs. I don’t understand why we have to have a giant house with such giant staircases. I finally reach the bottom and sprint down the hall behind the stairs with my heart pounding in my ears. Left, right, right, left. I finally reach the end of the hallway which leads to the kitchen and slide around the corner. My heart is beating so loudly and quickly, and I’m breathing heavily like I’ve run a mile. A mile which is only down maybe two flights of stairs and down a very short hall only to see my mother dead on the floor. Most of her body is blocked by another which is crouching near her. I clench my fists tightly. I glare at the figure.
“Goodness, you hunters are persistent, are you not?” She asks in a British accent, and I know it’s fake. “Do you want to die? If so,” she stands up and turns to look at me, “Do come closer, darling.”
“Who are you!? What are you doing here!? Why did you murder my mother!?” I spit and she laughs something close to a witch’s laugh.
“So many questions, so little time,” she says before she throws something down. A smoke bomb. I hear her footsteps as she runs toward the exit on the other side of the kitchen. I have to follow. I have to know why she killed my mother. I start chasing after the hooded figure dodging over and under obstacles that she would leap over or under like they were nothing. What did she mean by us hunters being persistent? Is she an assassin? I think as I dodge another branch from smacking me in the face. I jump onto a conveniently placed box next to the wall/fence and pull myself up onto the wall. The girl stops and faces me on the other side of the fence with a glare on her face.
“Stop following me!” She yells before pulling something out of her pocket and throwing it at the wall. Time seems to slow down as I jump onto her side of the wall. Just in time, though. Once I’m in the air, the bomb hits the wall behind me. There’s a hissing noise before I land on the grass and am surrounded by white smoke. I feel pain on my leg, so I reach back for whatever was on my leg and pull away at the sudden pain I got on my fingers. I finally just reach back and grab it into my hand despite the pain. A bombshell and it is really warm. No. It’s hot. Like fire. I kick it off of me and start feeling around the probably large, swollen, red spot on the back of my calf. It’ll have to wait for proper care. The smoke starts dissipating, so I turn and stare at the back of the retreating white hooded girl and curse my luck. She is getting pretty far. I get up and start limping after her as fast as I can.
“You never give up do you!?” She says as she starts slowing down and turns around. “You’re quite loud by the way.”
“Who are you?”
“That’s what you followed me for!?”
“I have to avenge my mother,” I spit, and she rolls her eyes before walking back towards me and stretches her arm out towards me. I think she is going to attack me again, so I pull out my lighter and light it right next to her arm. It catches fire, so she quickly yanks off her hoodie, throws it to the ground, and stomps on it. I look up from the now dirty and burnt jacket to the new view of the assassin. Her black hair lays near her shoulders even with the high ponytail she has. Her eyes are dark blue and have a certain edge to them that make me even more afraid of her.
“Why would you do that, you idiot!? I was going to help you, and you just try to light me on fire!?” She shouts before it’s silent, and we listen to the screams of scared women back at the party a few feet away. I hear someone start calling my name, and I turn to look at the fence and see Andy holding up a lantern trying to see us. The girl throws my arm over her shoulder and starts pulling me deeper into the woods.
“Where are we going?” I groan in pain. She laughs and starts leaning my body against hers.
“It’s a safe house for us assassins. We use an underground road to get to the hunters,” she boasts proudly.
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because I’m going to kill you after all of this.”
“No! You can’t!” I plead pathetically only to have her toss me into a hole behind a tree.
A short story by Marlayna:
I looked at the road ahead of us over the driver’s seat. The dark night stretched far ahead and was pitch black. The drive was supposed to be something to get my mind off the fact that I kept dreaming that Tyler and I were going to die. The dreams occurred months ago and disappeared but are now coming back. Well, it was more like nightmares. I could still feel the cuts on my arms that appeared in the mornings after. The Shadows were supposed to help stop them since they ran the government and had power unknown. I only met them once when they stopped me from jumping off Materson High just two weeks ago. I remember this.
The roof was the color of lead. The ground the color of night. I sat up there forever in the time I had left. I could feel the hope seeping out of me into the fresh air up this high. Being eight stories up from the ground. Maybe if I just run off the edge of the building my death will be fast, but if I just fall, it might be easier. It was getting darker with the sun falling on the horizon closer to the next day, and I did not want to see it now. I slowly moved to the edge of the roof to look down at my escape. The wind picked up suddenly, and it felt like a push to fall over the edge. Nobody was coming to stop it, and no one would–ever. Standing up I balanced on the edge, waiting for the last sunset I would see. The sky was a mix of every color I have ever heard of, and I only saw them in the sky perfectly mixed together. The sky was what I heard heaven could look like if that even existed after. Bright, beautiful, and unreal.
I suddenly heard a voice carried on the wind desperately saying, “ No! Don’t do it. You could change the future if you jump.” I whipped around to see two figures running towards me on the roof. The figures were pitch black and didn’t look human but something otherworldly.
They stopped a few yards from me, and I replied, “Why shouldn’t I, huh? My family is dying one by one so fast. I know I am supposed to die soon, so why not now and just get it over with since I have nothing to live for? This world is cruel. It promises a life in color brilliant and full of hope, but I see how it is, and it’s devoid of color and full of misery.”
I was crying now from how I was broken, and I couldn’t be fixed. “You are important to the world even if it is hard now. It will get better, but it is not your time to die yet.”
The word “yet” caught my attention because even the powerful leaders knew I needed to die but still they said yet. I was devoid of feeling and emotion and was hollowed out like a porcelain doll now–pretty on the outside and looked put together but inside empty.
When I kept hearing them say yet, I turned around and leapt off the roof. Or at least I tried because I felt a force around my body pull me back up. I pulled away from the force, and I heard the inhuman voices say again, “It’s not your time, and you can’t die until it is.” They repeated that until I slumped down onto the ground. I knew I wouldn’t die yet because they would stop me every time. I took the shadows in and noticed they were like seven feet tall, spoke in one voice, and power just radiated off them like it was normal. While staring, I noticed I fell into the dream of dying like every day now. After that I woke up in my bed.
Trying to forget the memory, I went on this car ride with Tyler. His chestnut dark hair was able to been seen over the driver’s seat. I sat in the back memorizing every detail because I knew I wouldn’t have long now since I was supposed to die soon. I was startled from my thoughts when Tyler said, “ Rose, I can feel you staring at the back of my head for the past ten minutes now. What’s going through your mind at the moment?”
“Well, I was thinking about how it feels like I have dreamt this before.”
With a look of puzzlement in the mirror, he said, “Ok then. So how is this car trip to you besides not helping clear your head?”
All I said distractly was “Ok I guess.”
He tried to make conversation like he always did when it was silent. His hazel colored eyes kept looking back in the mirror at my curled up form. There was a sickening feeling in my stomach that something horrible was going to happen tonight and that I couldn’t stop it. Driving down the dark, dimly lit road through the forest, the feeling grew more and more. I stared at the road until I just decided to jump in the front seat. I grabbed Tyler’s hand and held it like it was the only thing keeping me from burning like paper into a million pieces from my own thoughts. I closed my eyes and prayed I wouldn’t die tonight. Tyler looked over at me silently asking what was wrong, and that’s when it happened.
There was a loud noise like what you would think death would say to you. A crack somewhere, and I let out a scream. Or at least I tried. Blood dripped out of my mouth, and I choked on the crimson liquid that ran through my body. The blood once keeping me alive was now choking me to death. It’s strange that the things that keep you going can also destroy you. Trying to glance to my left at Tyler, I saw that his side of the car was shredded to a metallic pile. I looked around, and there was no sign of the car that hit us anywhere. I forced my body to look more at the disaster that was the wreck. There was metal and debris of everything all over, and I could still not spot Tyler.
It hurt to move, and I was covered in cuts and blood everywhere. I pulled myself out of the car onto the road towards the grass. The life was slowly draining out. I forced my eyes to focus on a pile of metal and something moving. I crawled to the rubble a few feet away from me and noticed Tyler bleeding out like me. He was unconscious, and I tried to take in all the details of him as I could. His brown, wavy hair, the face that lit up like a lightbulb every time he saw me, the slightly crooked nose, his slim frame from boarding all the time, and the eyes that could see into my soul at times.
His eyes fluttered open just enough so I could see the hazel eyes rimmed with long lashes slowly become empty. Tyler’s eyes were still open looking at me even until death. I sobbed until I couldn’t take the pain. Remembering the last thing I said to him was “Ok, I guess,” I wished I had said something better. I knew now that this was what the shadows wanted me to die from–a pain-filled, drawn out death. Even if this was for nature to be normal and to save people, I didn’t want to die. Laying on my back, I wondered if there is anything after this and if I was going somewhere. I imagined becoming stars up in the sky, Tyler and I. Always far apart but never alone, but never back to how it was. I grabbed his lifeless, cold hand lying beside me and looked up at the night sky into infinity waiting for the end to come.
Fire and Water
It was Saturday morning, and sixteen-year-old Alex Serafino wasn’t sure what had happened the night before. All he knew was that his head hurt. He sat up and noticed that his window was open, and there were black marks on the floor leading to his bed. After a while, the aroma of bacon and eggs snaked into his room and forced him to get out of bed and get changed. He dug into his drawers and pulled out a plain black shirt, black jeans, and a white pair of socks. Alex really liked the color black, which was the color of his hair. He started putting on his clothes and tried to remember what had happened last night and why his floor seemed to have burn marks that seemed like shoes, leading to his bed coming from his window. The thought of someone climbing a two story building to go into his room creeped him out. If that did happen, that didn’t explain burn marks in the carpet leading to his bed.
He finished changing and began to walk towards his window to see what it was like outside. Alex couldn’t stop thinking about the burned spots in his carpet. Fire was the only thing that was on his mind. The thought of it made him feel warm, actually his arms felt warmer than the rest of his body… His room suddenly became brighter; Alex looked down and nearly fell out the window when he saw his forearms covered in what appeared to be black flame. His instincts made him feel like it was normal, but seeing it made him stop, drop, and roll. He rolled for several minutes making things fall and all kinds of noise until finally he stopped and stood up.
He brought his hands up and saw that they were still ablaze. He stopped and stared at his hands, his mind still trying to process how his hands could be on fire without him feeling it. And how on earth could the flame be black? “Why black?” he said to himself. “Why not… Blue?” For a quick moment, the flames on his hands disappeared. But before he knew it, his hands were covered in what appeared to be light blue flames. The feeling was different, though. It was as if the blue flame was much colder than the black one, as if it were ice or maybe something colder. Alex wanted to know what other kinds of flames he could conjure up.
An hour later, he discovered that the yellow flame felt warm and radiated through everything bright near him. The electric blue flame crackled like, well electricity, and the green flame seemed to be doing nothing. He discovered more colors, and the feeling and effect was unique with each flame. He wanted to tell someone. He didn’t know who he could trust to keep his secret. The thought of his secret getting out made him wonder what a scientist would do. Dissect him? Force him to show them how it worked? Or maybe cut a piece of living flesh off him and try to make it light up?
Suddenly he heard a knock at the door and someone say, “Hey man, I’m coming in. You better not be changing or I’ll freak out.” Alex knew that voice anywhere. His best friend and the best swimmer he’d ever met, Arvin Wiley, walked in, locked the door, and looked at Alex with a face that seemed to be a mixture of impatience and excitement. “Dude, you are not going to believe what I can do,” said Arvin.
“Oh try me.” Alex said back.
Arvin lifted his hand, and a dark blue sphere of water, the size of a fist, danced around his hand. Arvin noticed Alex didn’t look too amazed.
“Doesn’t this make you think I’m a total freak?” asked Arvin.
“Arvin, look at my hands.” Alex said. Alex brought his hands up and thought dark blue flame. Nothing happened.
“What about them?” asked Arvin.
“I’ve tried every color but dark blue… Maybe I can’t conjure blue..” said Alex. “Blue what?” asked Arvin.
“This.” Alex’s hands began to blaze with light blue flames that sent a cool breeze across the room.
They stood there in silence for a moment. Arvin was the first to speak. “Well, this explains why you never burned yourself when we messed with fire, huh?” Arvin said with a chuckle.
Alex laughed and said, “Probably.. You think we can throw these like baseballs? Or that we might have different kinds of abilities?!” They were both thinking the same thing; time for target practice. They both went downstairs and outside to the old shed his parents have had for almost 30 years. They went inside to find it dusty and infested with spiders. Besides that and the horrendous smell of dead rodents and mouse droppings, the place looked pretty good and was the size of a shooting range. Perfect.
They both got to work, Arvin was in charge of getting rid of the dust, and Alex was in charge of the bugs and spiderwebs. Arvin lifted both his hands and conjured a ball of water the size of a large beach ball. He set it down and moved it around the shed like a remote control vacuum, picking up anything in its path. Alex decided to try using light blue flames to get rid of the pests. But instead, he used the green flame. The flame was green like the grass, and for a moment, nothing happened. Seconds later, mice began coming out from under the shed, flies from inside, and birds from the light post above and got close to him. As he looked down, he noticed the grass had started wrapping around his legs as if wanting to get to his hand. He threw the green flame across the street, and as he expected, the animals and bugs followed.
“The spiderwebs should be a piece of cake. I’ll try the light blue flame now,” he thought to himself. He conjured a small flame on his index finger tip and pointed at one of the webs. Alex concentrated. The small flame whizzed through the air. It hit the web and froze it instantly. Alex stood there amazed that his light blue flame could freeze things with a single pinky-sized shot.
Three hours went by, and the inside of the shed was transformed into a great place for fire and water. One side of the shed had Arvin’s pool and large, human-shaped cardboard cutouts they had gotten from a movie theater. On the other side, Alex had made a fire pit and had graffitied flames all over the wall behind more cardboard cutouts of random celebrities. They both began to practice shooting the cardboard cutouts. Arvin found out that he had the same ability to change the color of the water he conjured to anything but black.