Week 31: This Week’s Winning Stories

Masquerade Murderer

by Austin and Robert

Year 1482

Dear Marquis Levette,

We hope you will be able to accompany us to the masquerade ball.
It is open to all. Your job is to assassinate the Royals. This party is just
a scandal and a charade to make money for their regime. So…You will
be under camouflage by the theme, but so will they. Make sure no one finds
them. Make sure no one knows. Do not fail, my brother. The shadows await.

Manere in obumbrate.*
-Gustave Sardou

Marquis walked up the steps of the picturesque building. His identity was concealed under his mask. His knife was slipped under his costume. His mask resembled that of a plague doctor, but it still looked daunting and fitting.

He walked through the open door, and ignored the man who tried to hand him a souvenir and a beige -colored brochure. Marquis was instantly blinded by a great and elegant chandelier on the ceiling. The room was tall and wide, and filled with conferring people. Many of them danced. He spotted the Royals right away. He advanced through the crowd, though it was a slow procession.

At one point, one of the Royals stepped into the crowd to dance. While he scouted for a partner, Marquis approached the man from the side. Marquis jammed his knife into the Royal’s back and covered his mouth so he wouldn’t scream. He sat him in a chair, so it looked like he had passed out from consuming too much alcohol. Then he stepped away. Thank goodness there wasn’t a chaperone in the vicinity.

The small symphony was composing a beautiful piece with a string solo that really brightened the evening, even though he was at the ball not for enjoyment but as an assassin. A chef was preparing tacos and burritos as a main course meal for later in the night, and the scent wafted throughout the ballroom.

A woman with a prominent corsage walked by. Marquis immediately identified her as a Royal. He stalked her until they were near another chair. He implied his first strategy, and laid her into a chair. He was dumbfounded by how ignorant and inattentive the crowd was.

He watched as another Royal walked up the stairs and onto a patio. Marquis stepped up after him. As he gazed over the land, Marquis quietly approached him. As he thought that nothing could go wrong during the family ball, Marquis jammed his knife in the man’s back, pulled it out, and flipped him over the railing, where he descended to his death. However, as he did this, the man’s father, wearing a crocheted brocade fabric of clothing, walked up onto the balcony. His brow and his mustache furrowed at the sight of the masked man, who was clearly not his son.

“Who are you!” he exclaimed.

“The Reaper.” Marquis swiftly executed him. As he fell to the ground, the man seemed not in pain, but in remorse and regret.

Marquis’s dark and diminished heart felt nothing. He continued with his contract. Marquis walked back down into a disaster. The bodies had been discovered, and Marquis still had to kill one more.

As the crowd fled the building, he spotted her, in an elegant dress, fleeing with the rest of the throng. In the blink of an eye, he threw his knife into her back. Everyone screamed, but they did not note that Marquis was the murderer. While the crowd trampled each other to get out, Marquis took the knife and threw it in a garbage chute. He then ran down the steps. He saw his escape vehicle, which was a cargo wagon, just in case he needed to hide. Out of curiosity, he opened a crate. He found some sort of machine in the crate, but time was of the essence. So without questioning it, Marquis latched on the horses and rode away, completing his contract.

* stay in the shadows: Latin

The Masquerade, Mirage Prom

by Loie and Natalia

I wake up from a deep nap. “Carmelita! Los tacos y burritos estàn listos!” my mom says, followed by a run to the table. I love burritos so much, especially when my mom puts in avocados. My mom is a great chef; she is now working at a restaurant.

Tonight is the night of the prom! I am so thrilled because this is my first prom. All my life, I lived in Mexico, but two years ago, I moved to the US. Back in Mexico, we didn’t have proms; we had fiestas.

I am so excited to go to the prom in my beautiful beige dress that has rhinestones sprinkled across the bottom. The prom’s theme is masquerade ball, so in addition to my sparkly dress, I get to wear a gorgeous, black, lacy mask. My mom helped me with my hair and make-up, because I’m not the best beauty guru. After I’ve finished getting ready, I look in the mirror. I have to admit I actually look pretty picturesque. As I am admiring myself in the mirror, my mom calls me down.

I carefully walk down the stairs, trying not step on my dress. At the bottom of the staircase, there I see David Pueblo. He is my date to the dance. David has actually been one of my best friends ever since I moved here, so we are sort of going as friends. Even though David and I are just going to the prom as friends, he still gives me a corsage.

Before David drives me to prom, my mom has to take a picture; I’m so embarrassed when my mom takes pictures for her photo collage, so we go in front of the garage, and I put on a fake smile, then run to the car so my mom won’t embrace me again in front of David, who is now kind of my crush. Obviously, I haven’t told my mom because she would make a big deal out of it. Then we step into his car and drive off to prom.

In the car, he puts on some crazy rock music that don’t really like. His musical selection is sort of giving me second thoughts about David, but it may just be my mind overreacting. As we are driving to prom, I notice that David is starting to grow a tiny, wispy mustache. I become so grossed out I feel nauseated, but I save it by opening the window for some fresh air. Now I have so many thoughts about David in my head, it is like there was a tornado swirling inside. This isn’t how he usually acts.

Finally, we arrive to the prom. When we first enter the place, there is a huge chandelier that is sparkling. I don’t recognize anyone because of their masks. I don’t know what it is, but david is acting differently. His voice is a lot deeper, he has grown a mustache overnight, and I know David hates rock music.

Yet, besides David, everything is perfect. I finally recognize a few friends; Maria, Francesca, and Teresa; and head over to them. We all dance and jump around crazily to the new pop songs while David is talking to another unfamiliar person wearing a sombrero. Perhaps the person is a chaperone because she isn’t dressed up like everyone else.

From the way David’s eyes keep going on me, it seems like he is talking about me. Finally, David comes over to me and asks me to dance when a slow song comes. I don’t know if I really want to slow dance with David, but I can’t ruin our friendship, so I say yes. I start to dance really awkwardly; he, on the other hand, is perfect. The last time I remember, David was terrible at dancing. “What happened to you David?” I say, sounding a little nosier than I intend.

“What do you mean?” he replies nonchalantly.

“You used to be a horrible dancer, no offense. Anyway, now you’re really good; what happened?” I inquire again.

“Umm…I guess I just turned into a dancer overnight,” he says with an awkward laugh.

Things are so suspicious now. “So, are you going to my spelling bee this Friday?” I ask him this because David knows that I hate spelling, and I’m not good at it at all.

“Yeah, of course I’m coming; why wouldn’t I?” David responds again with a nervous laugh.

Wow! I can’t believe this; this may not be David. That, or he’s been overly sarcastic. I am so scared now. I have no idea who this creep is and why he is pretending to be David. I have no idea what to do, so I run like a machine and hide under a table. I try to camouflage myself with the tablecloth because if anyone were to see me, I would be super embarrassed. About two minutes later a person comes to me, lifting the edge of the tablecloth. It is the sombrero-wearing person that “David” was talking to earlier. I look a little closer, and the person is…my MOM! I can’t believe this.

“Mom, what are you doing here!” I shriek while raising up my hands and head, but clumsily bumping them on the table.

“What? I’m not Mom. Who is this Mom you speak of?” she questions with her Spanish accent.

“Mom, I know it’s you. It’s so obvious!” I cry, sounding annoyed.

“Fine, fine. The only reason I’m here is because I wanted to see if you would make a move on David,” she says.

“Oh, my gosh, Mom! Why would I make a move on David; he’s just my friend!” I exclaim, still not telling my mom that I may have feelings for David.

“I know, I know. But I was so worried like I usually am, and by the way, your dad is masquerading as David tonight,” she explains casually.

“WHAT?! I can’t believe this. I’m so mad at you. Why would you do this!?” I’m mortified and all of a sudden feeling dizzy.

Everything feels like a mirage, but then I wake up. I hear my mom yell, “Carmelita! Los tacos y burritos estàn listos!” Then I realize that it has all been a dream, and now, this is the real night of prom.

Strange

by Genevieve

Ever since fifth grade, I’ve been able to read people’s thoughts at will. As long as I could see the person, I could read his thoughts. I know this is invasive, but it can come in handy. For instance, if people want to bully me, I know that so I can just stay away from them.

However, the way I thought changed after I met my best friend, Xavier. He’s the kind of guy that looks weak so you mess with him, but he is one scary dude. He’s especially scary to me because I can’t read his thoughts. Trust me, I’ve tried, but it sounds like a dark cave, looks like nothing, and I can’t do anything about it. So whenever I try to figure out why I can’t read his thoughts, I always find myself thinking back to the first time I met him.

It was two months after school had begun, and I was transferring to a new school after having moved for my dad’s work. When I was being introduced to the class, everyone was looking at me strangely, except for him. His chin-length red hair made him appear gentle. I ended up sitting directly in front of him.

“My name’s Xavier; nice to meet ya,” he whispered.

“My name’s Harry; nice to meet you, too,” I replied awkwardly.

It turned out that we were a lot alike. We both played soccer and loved to write. I was thinking about reading his mind to see if he was up to anything, but he seemed so nice, and I didn’t want to be rude, so I didn’t do the whole thought-reading thing.

It was the weekend, and I invited Xavier over for the first time. It was scorching hot out so we were sitting on my patio. I noticed he had a huge bruise on his neck, so I casually asked, “What happened to your neck?”

His icy blue eyes seemed to fade a bit before he responded, “I fell.”

To camouflage the fact that I was about to read his mind, I pretended to swat a mosquito on my arm closest to him. I looked at him and tried to read his mind, but there was nothing there.

After Xavier left, I freaked out and ran to my dad, who has my gift as well, but is an even more powerful thought reader. “Dad, I couldn’t read Xavier’s mind.”

“Your powers are still developing,” my dad explained as he rubbed his mustache.

“Then you read his mind!” I raged.

“I’m not going to peek inside some kid’s head for you,” he whispered in reply.

“Fine! Then I will have to find out the old-fashioned way.”

The next day, I followed Xavier back to his house. After the final school bell rang, I yelled, “I’ll see you tomorrow!” to Xavier as he walked off waving. I waited a safe while before I ran after him. He headed into a nice apartment building, but he appeared scared to enter it. That’s when I finally realized what was going on.

“Xavier! Don’t go inside!” I screamed.

Xavier looked shocked to see me there, but he continued into the building. Before I knew it, he was gone. I was confused as to why he didn’t stay outside. As I was pondering, it began to rain, and I wished I had brought my rain poncho.

I waited under cover to see what was happening, when a mysterious man walked into Xavier’s apartment. I heard a muffled cry for help, and I bolted out of hiding and straight into the room.

The strange man was injecting Xavier with some sort of white liquid. Xavier was trying to fight, his eyes ready to kill. The man looked startled when I pounced on him. He pushed me away and threw Xavier across the room. I grabbed the mans coat and watched a brochure go flying. Quickly, I grasped it, using it to give the man a nasty paper cut. He held his face in agony as the stinging cut began to bleed.

I didn’t even see Xavier coming at him with a plate and smashing it into his. After that, the mystery man’s face looked like a collage of an armadillo-filled carousel, and Xavier’s room looked as though a miniature tornado had struck.

Apparently, a neighbor had heard all the noise and called the cops, who arrived to arrest the man.

In the aftermath, as we sat outside Xavier’s home, a question raced around my mind. “What was that stuff he injected you with?”

“The final dose of a serum that will make my mind invulnerable to people like you,” Xavier said with a smile.

“How did you know?” I asked, shocked.

“Let’s just say I have a keen eye.”

I took a moment to think about what he had said, and then I realized he must have a power, too. “So, what can you do?” I asked with a smirk.

“Just know everything about a person with one look.”

“Interesting,” I remarked, kind of freaked out.

“Are you okay?” Xavier questioned.

“I’m more okay than I’ve been before,” I laughed. “Don’t ever worry about that!”

Smokin’ Armadillo

by Lucas

I know this is going to sound crazy, but I woke up this morning face down in a pile of sand. I was in the middle of the desert with a parachute tied to my back. I wiped the sand from my eyes and tried to figure out if I was seeing a mirage or not.

The sounds of a fiesta were surrounding me. I focused on a strange sight. An armadillo was in front of me wearing a sombrero and a poncho. I noticed he had a curly mustache when I saw him start to eat his taco.

My body felt like I had been hit by a tornado. Really confused, I swatted a mosquito. Where was I? How did I get here? Did I really just see what I thought I saw?

Looking for answers, I pulled something out of the back pocket of my camouflage cargo pants. A souvenir of some sort? No! It was a brochure on parachuting.

Oh, that’s right. My big birthday surprise: jumping out of an airplane with three of my friends. But where were they? And was today still my birthday? I hoped I would soon find the answers to these questions and more.

Past Years’ Winning Stories

The Airport Layover

by Annabelle

I see Cleveland Hopkins International Airport as our airplane swoops down onto the runway. I can see the NASA Glenn Hangar in the distance. My family and I are stopping for a three-hour layover in Cleveland on our way to New York City for vacation. I take my ear buds out of my ears and slip my phone back into my pocket. I grab my backpack from the overhead compartment, and start walking out. The flight attendants wave as I step out of the plane. I go through the ramp leading to the actual airport, and suddenly see a sign saying Welcome to Cleveland, Ohio! and try to jump and touch it. I’m too short.

“Hey, over here!” my dad says from over by the souvenir t-shirt shop. I walk over there with my brother, Henry, and our mom.

“Okay, family meeting. We’ll be here for a while, so I’m going to put us in pairs and give each pair twenty dollars. We’ll meet back here in two and a half hours, so we’ll have more than enough time to board our next flight.” he started listing who is with who. I got paired with my cool older sister, Bea. My dad continues, “Jimmi,” he points at me, “think of Bea as a chaperone, since she is older.”

“Okay…” I glumly respond. I don’t like being treated like a baby. We all part ways, and I instantly tune Bea out when she starts chattering. The only words I catch are pumpkin and charade. She talks some about how she wants her boyfriend to give a corsage at their prom. I perk up and listen when she starts talking about food.

“…So, I was thinking. In the main terminal food court, there is a restaurant called Currito where we could get some good food. What do you think?”

“Okay!” I agree. I can hear my stomach rumbling. It turns out, we have to walk about half of the airport to get there. As soon as I smell the food, I feel as if I am in heaven. Fifteen minutes later, Bea and I are sitting at a booth, and happily eating. Bea has ordered an avocado burrito and I’ve ordered a taco. The food court has a high ceiling, and there are modern chandelier-type things that hang down. They are quite picturesque, and I find myself staring at them. They are so beautiful, a masquerade of colors. I ponder how we think of airplanes as common things, but really, they are flying machines. Amazing! Suddenly, Bea breaks the silence.

“Wow, our plane is going to board soon. We better get going!” she says, glancing at her watch. We quickly get to our new terminal and meet up with our family. We board the plane, and I somehow score the window seat. Yes! We take off, and my ears pop as we change altitudes. I see the airport grow smaller and smaller, and I put in my ear buds. Music envelops me, and I close my eyes, letting the plane carry me away.

I Remember

by Madison

I remember.
I remember everything.
I remember how my mother’s favorite
souvenir bowl made of glass
crashed to the ground.
I remember my dad’s poncho
falling of its metal stand.

I remember.
I remember looking out the window
as an umbrella flew from the patio
and started rotating around the wind tunnel
like a carousel with jewels on every horse.
I remember my brother’s favorite painting,
a collage of mustachesrattling on the wall.

I remember Dad rushing us to the basement
as if we were cargo.
I remember the smell of avocado
from our fiesta last Tuesday.

I remember.
I remember the tornado.
I remember the end.

I Will Never Forgive

by Fiona

Somehow, sometime, I had kicked a high-tech machine off the end of my bed that my mom just happened to put there the evening before, then climbed out of bed (supposedly sleepwalking, something I have never done in my life), knocking over the lamp that always sits by my top-bunk bed that (oops!—I left on before I went to sleep) onto the floor, causing a fire to start in my bedroom. (Yes, I was still sleeping).

That was the inspector’s theory of how the fire started, never mind the fact that my sister has such bad sleeping habits that she cries, screams, walks, and talks in her sleep—and never remembers afterwards, or the unimportant detail that we have heating and flammable gas problems and that the heater is directly under my sister and my room. No, because none of that matters, all that maters is that I got up to get a drink in the middle of the night, and about an hour later, the fire began.

“Ari?” my mom called from downstairs, interrupting my ranting, “Will you come here for just a sec?”

“Yeah sure, anything you say Mom,” I grumbled sarcastically as I trudged down the stairs.

It was a week after the accident, and my mom was finally talking to me again. But as I was soon to find out, it would’ve been better if she was still ignoring me, at least for another couple of days…

“I’m calling you here to talk about the fire,” my mom explained.

Right then, I started thinking about all the places I would rather be than talking to my mother about something that was, “absolutely my fault.” I would definitely want to be at a friends house…Maybe doing homework? Eww, never mind. Uhhh, cleaning my room…(I hope this shows you how desperate I am). How ‘bout in a tornado with only a poncho! (Okay, that might be a bit extreme, but you get the point).

Realizing that my mom was waiting for an answer, I mumbled an okay and stopped there.

“Obviously, you need a consequence for what you’ve done,” she said, not seeming to notice my succinct reply.

“Humph,” I said in response, knowingly pushing my limits of short replies.

“And I have one,” she said, carrying on. She took a deep breath. I crossed my arms and glanced up at her.

“Yes?” I questioned, not wanting to make her too angry.

She fixed her posture, preparing herself, “You will not be going to the annual fiesta this year, and will instead be doing chores and work the whole day and next two weeks.”

“What?” I exclaimed jumping up and uncrossing my arms, anger like a wildfire in my eyes. I thought she would at least ease into my punishment, but just like my opinion about the accident’s cause, she didn’t care about my feelings—or my life.

“What nothing,” she replied, also standing.

“But, but you can’t do that!” I sputtered, “I get how it was my fault with the chandelier, I shouldn’t have been playing basketball in the house, and even with the crochet game, though I still think it was partly the armadillo’s fault…but this just isn’t fair!” I whined, balling my hands into fists and clenching my jaw.

“Enough is enough,” she bellowed, “This is not your decision, so you should best leave it alone, unless you want to be grounded for more time!”

I gave her one last meaningful look and stalked off, already planning out my route about how to get around the house without ever having to be seen by anyone in the family.

The next day, I punished myself by reading a book my mom picked out that was my least favorite genre—non-fiction, and letting myself get bit by a million mosquitoes, which I regretted afterwards. The next few days were a chaotic collage of self-punishment and thinking about how much fun my sister would have on the stupid little carousel at the party.

Finally, the day came, but my mom and sister left without me. I felt like Cinderella with the boatload of chores and punishment of staying home, except, my story wouldn’t have a happy ending.

After a long day of hard labor, the party was over, and I saw my family again. My sister had a present behind her back that she was failing to hide. Noticing the envious look in my eyes, she came up tentatively.

Here you go,” she whispered.

Looking down, I found an umbrella from a drink that was dark blue with beige flowers, obviously meant as a souvenir and an apologetic gift, but a pathetic one at that.

“Thank you,” I replied, though she wasn’t the person I wanted an apology from, and even so, no matter how many presents were given to me by any person including her, I knew I would never forgive my mother for the poor decision she made.

The Final Story

by Joe

Oh man!  It’s my final spelling story!  I better get started.  Should I write a story about a chef at a fiesta making tacos?  Naw, that’s too boring.  Wait, I just heard something outside, but I think it’s the sound of a branch scratching against my house.

I keep thinking about different story ideas.  Maybe I should write about a masquerade.  I think that might not have a lot of action.  I hear the noise outside grow louder.   I go to look outside, and I see a huge tornado!  I see it tearing through the town.  I see some type of machine flying in it and a souvenir shop.  “What the heck?”  I say

I dash outside of my house and start running away.  While I am running, a burrito flies right into my face.  I wipe it off as I continue running.  All of a sudden, a plane picks me up and takes me away.  I try to escape.

Inside the airplane, I notice a door between the cockpit and the back of the plane.  Then I see a parachute in the back.  I put it on, and I jump!  I fly down to the ground.

Hmmm, I think to myself.  This will make a good last spelling story!  Hope I get a good grade, I think.  I walk outside onto my patio and look up.  “Oh, no,” I say.

Back in Steel

by Jacob

“But, Mom, the brochure says the ride is this way!” Piotr said. Piotr wished that his mom would listen, but she wouldn’t. Piotr didn’t want to let his friends down on their last day with him. Piotr was moving to North Carolina, but he didn’t want to. He was going to miss his friends and he was going to miss his old home.

“Mom, please!” Piotr pleaded.

“No, we’re are going home it’s almost closing time anyways!” Piotr’s mom said. Piotr suddenly ran off past the collage of different stands.

“Piotr, come back!” Piotr’s mom cried.

Piotr ran out of the parking lot and all the way back home. He dashed into his room and slammed the door. Piotr cried in his bed until a vase above his bed on a shelf tipped over and slammed down onto Piotr’s head. Piotr did not feel anything until he looked to notice what happened and from opening his eyes he noticed something that frightened him. His body was encased in an organic steel! Piotr started screaming.

“OH MY GOSH; AAAAAAH!” Piotr yelled.

Piotr then heard the sound of his doorbell ringing. Piotr quickly put on a poncho and his camouflage hat so he wouldn’t show his steel skin.

“Hello,” Piotr said to the visitor.

Soon a man in a wheelchair standing behind what seemed to be a big, blue, hairy beast took Piotr by the head and shoved him into a bag. Piotr woke up on a patio outside a building that looked like a school. Piotr swiped a mosquito off his shoulder then asked the man in the wheelchair a question.

“Where am I?” Piotr asked.

“At Xavier’s School for Mutants,” the man said.

“Who is Xavier?” Piotr asked.

“I am Xavier,” the man said.

“Who was that blue guy who shoved me in that bag?” Piotr asked.

“That man was Beast, and he will be your teacher for first period,” Xavier explained.

Xavier took Piotr to his room where he unpacked his stuff and went back to Xavier.

“I saw this one person who could control a tornado and this other person who could turn into animals, he turned into an armadillo,” Piotr said. Xavier took him through the whole school. To the classes, the gym, the hanger, the kitchen, the main lobby, the dorms, and everything else.

“My sister went off to a school but never came back, I missed her that day she left,” Piotr said.

“What was her name?” Xavier said.

“Illyana Rasputin,” said Piotr.

“I know her,” Xavier said.

“You do, do you know where she is!” Piotr asked with excitement.

“She goes to this school, here i’ll show you to her, come on,” Xavier said. Piotr was extremely excited. After so long he is finally going to see his sister again.

“Magik, someone is here to see you,” Xavier said.

“PIOTR, IS THAT YOU!” Magik shouted. The two hugged and kissed and we’re so happy to see each other. They we’re so happy that it looked like they had there own little fiesta on a plane and forgot to pack a parachute. Their rejoicing went on for a long time–longer than it takes to eat a cake.

“I’ve missed you so much!” Piotr said.

“Now we’re back together,” Magik said. They went on the rest of the day happy as ever to be back together.

The Fiesta

by Anna

I entered the room and gasped.  I had been invited to a fiesta, a fancy and elegant fiesta.  Chandeliers dangled from the ceiling, and bright polychromatic hues dotted the walls.  The fiesta was also a masquerade, and my mask was pearly blue and silky white.  Tables were filled with salsa, chips, burritos, and sliced avocado.

The host of the party walked over to me and pinned a corsage to my dress.  At a short distance, I saw my friend Sarah in the swarm of masked faces.  Together, we pranced over to the carousel outside.  I selected a shimmery, smooth, brightly colored figure.  Sarah and I rode again, and this time, I chose to ride a bumpy armadillo.  I took a picture of it as a souvenir.

Sarah and I had a great time at the fiesta.  We danced on the shiny tile floor.  We ate the spicy Mexican food, we jumped on the trampoline, and we joined in the egg hunt.  At the end of the celebration, we each were given an itchy, stringy, beige-colored sombrero.

French and Mexican War

by Gavin

The night sky is polluted from gunshots and cannons. Cargo is everywhere, taking up space in all the garages. Everyone is helpless, everyone is scared about the results of what is going to happen next. I lie awake in bed thinking of how long this war will last and if anyone is going to survive. Finally, it happens……

I get up from the brush of debris covering my body and stare at everything around me. Everything has gone; everything is dead. All of our ponchos and other materials and supplies that we once had have been demolished.  The patio is completely destroyed.

The painful silence in my ears starts to ring and I can hear every heartbeat pumping blood through my veins, a steady pounding in my ears. My body leads me to walk around, witnessing all of the broken house, the broken windows, and finally, my broken village. I see all of our souvenirs, the ones from the day on the carousel, lying on the ground. Everywhere I can see chandelier glass, as though it is a party decoration, prisms shining light in every direction, and within a piece of that glass, I can see the remains of someone’s burritos. I see all of the dead people, camouflaged by the debris, lying there on the broken streets of France, some bodies with their parachutes still attached to them.

I walk farther, and there I see my countryman holding up the flag, screaming, “We have won the war, the war that people thought would last an eternity.”

So I clench  my fist and yell, “YES!”

Everybody comes out and runs down the street shouting, “We won; we won!”

At that moment I am happy–for my country, my fellow patriots, and all my fellow people that risked their lives just to get peace for their country.

P.P.I.S
(Porta Potties In Space)

(Trademark and Copyright E.S.W. 2015, All Rights Reserved)

On my way to Chipotle, I went to a porta-potty; yes, I, Gordon, the armadillo, in my beautiful sombrero and fake mustache, was sitting in a Honey Hut when it happened. As luck would have it, my chaperone, with her wilted corsage, wasn’t there. Then, that horrible, awful, no good, very bad government experiment started. It blew me off the ground and straight into space.

For some strange reason, I could breathe in the porta-potty. Since I was rather hungry, I looked around the place, in search of food. Then I flipped up the porta-potty seat, and there was a burrito. That was an especially interesting discovery because porta-potties are known for their special stench, with plenty of unpleasant air.

The good news was that I had blasted off just before a tornado came! Good thing I didn’t own a house or even a garage.

*****

In space, I saw a taco stand advertising a free fiesta where salsa would be served. I LOVE SALSA! Obviously, I stopped, and what did I order? An avocado with chips (make your own guacamole); duh. Anyway, after I partied, I ate a taco and got a souvenir–a refrigerator magnet, which did not work because I had no fridge.

Then I saw a carousel with alien horses on it, so I stopped. Who wouldn’t? I continued on into space, only now I started to notice NASA machines. That’s when I saw it: the fuel gauge on the potty had dropped to 0.

I thought fast. Then I had an inspiration:  get rid of excess cargo; I plunged it down the chute. Soon the chute turned beige. I thought with disgust, “Ugh,” as I sprayed Windex on the chute.

THUD! I landed back on Earth.   Alas, my flush plan didn’t work. Next time, I’ll choose a different genre of adventure, not have it chosen for me. I’ll also go to Mi Pueblo instead of Chipotle. The chefs and food are better.   

Memories

by Neena

tornadoI sit on my patio hoping for the storm to pass.
The tornado swooping all I’ve ever known,
Where my childhood was.
My own little souvenir, a memory.
As the swift rough breeze picks up and turns things around,
I say goodbye to what I called home.
A collage of everything I owned.
I see my picturesque poncho that I got for my birthday,
My unfinished burrito on the counter.
Even that I feel sorry for.
I grab everything I wish to keep.
From my animals to a picture of me
When I was six riding on a carousel.
My chandelier shakes, and I know the tornado’s close.
I go in my basement and wait.
I sort through all my memories I’ve had here.
From my first masquerade ball to this,
This disaster.
All I’ve know gone forever.

 

A Trip to Mexico

by Maddie

mariachi_trumpet_play_mwMy friend Jasmine, Riley, and I were in Mexico singing for a teenage girl’s birthday fiesta. We set up our microphones on the girl’s patio and started to sing. We sang songs of many different genres. All the birthday guests loved us and applauded after each song. The backyard was a bit messy because of a tornado that had passed by a week ago, but luckily nobody had been injured.

It was late after the fiesta when we realized we didn’t have a hotel. It started to rain, so we grabbed our suitcases and took out our rain ponchos. We had been walking for about an hour when we stumbled upon a gas station. We went in and grabbed a brochure and looked for the nearest hotel. We bought a few small snacks and began our three mile walk to the nearest hotel.

On the way there, we spotted a menagerie, a smaller zoo, which had a mascot that was a very cute baby armadillo. We passed the menagerie and saw the hotel, right next door. We walked in, got two rooms: one for me and Jasmine, and one for Riley. Each hotel room had two beds. We unpacked a bit; then we slept. Riley woke up first and jogged to the gas station to get breakfast.

He came back with frozen pancakes, sausage, and orange juice. We heated them up in the hotel room microwave and then ate. I took out the brochure from the night before and named off three of the things I thought would be fun to do.

“How about parachuting off the back of a plane, how to camouflage yourself, or a circus about twenty minutes away from here? What do you say?”

“The circus!” they both said at the same time. We had a taxi drive us there, mainly because my and Jasmine’s feet hurt. The driver drove up to the parking lot and stopped the car. We got out, handed him the tip, and he drove off.

“He had a funny looking mustache!” said Riley as the taxi drove away. As we were walking into the circus area, I saw a carousel. I LOVED carousels. We went on it two or three times, decided to skip the clown show, and then played games in a couple of the booths.

We each went back to our homes in California with small souvenirs. We loved our trip and enjoyed the time we had together, but didn’t, however, enjoy the mosquito bites we received!

Walking in Sadness

by Jackson

Emerald_Dragon_Golden_Amulet_by_AranwenI throw on my poncho hunched over in the rain, I walk and walk. I turn the one souvenir I have from my mothers death, a golden amulet symbolizing good health, something she was wearing when she died. I walk past a carousel, the twinkling lights bringing me no happiness. I feel like a mosquito is tugging at my heart, sucking all happiness away. I sit on a patio for minutes and then keep on walking.

The lights of a fiesta are up ahead, and I turn. I see a Mi Pueblo up ahead, but I don’t feel like tacos or burritos. Then I see an armadillo up ahead, his thick skin an armor protecting him from rain. The stars are as twinkly as a bright chandelier. I see a beige building, so empty and uncolorful.

As I turn to walk home, the rain lets it final drop fall. The stars become brighter and so does my mood. Suddenly I do feel a bit like partying.

A Masquerade Fiesta

by Ava

masquerade fiestaMacie paced back and forth across her room, trying to figure out which country to pick. Her birthday was coming up and she wanted to have a theme of a country. She was stuck between France and Mexico. Macie dreamed about visiting both countries, but had never picked a favorite.

Macie could just see it, a fiesta. Everyone would be wearing a sombrero, stuffed armadillos all over. She would serve burritos and mash up some avocados to make guacamole. Macie could even have a piñata and give out candy for a party souvenir. She could visualize all of her friends having fun at this party.

Macie also thought about France. There could be masquerade ball, all the girls in beautiful gowns with corsages, boys dressed in tuxedos. There would be a chandelier hanging from the ceiling and wonderful music, croissants and other pastries, and everyone having fun and dancing. This party would definitely be the more mature choice. No more playing charades at a slumber party.

Then, it struck her–a combination of the two ideas.  Macie jumped up to make the invitation.

The Insane Armadillo

by Cam

an-ArmadilloGuitarOnce there was a crazy armadillo that was picturesque
Who wore a sombrero and ate avocados in burritos
He was quite a man having a fiesta everyday
And being very tan
He was the chaperone of the group
And the king of the group; don’t mess
With this guy

He ate nails for breakfast
And snails for food
Don’t stumble into him, he is very rude
If you could see him, it would be a souvenir memory
He also looked at himself in the mirror
He was the head of the armadillo regime
And cooler than a mime
The most interesting man in the world
He rode the carousal with no hands
And was in a hundred bands
The most insane armadillo in the world

The Crazy Tornado Fiesta Day

by Alyvia

tornadoOne day, I was on my way to San Antonio, Texas to visit my mom’s family. We were going to a fiesta, which is an event marked by festivities or celebration for my heritage. When my mom, Shari, and I were driving, we saw that it had started raining and that’s why we brought ponchos. Later on, the rain became harder and harder.

My grandma announced that her house was just twenty minutes away. We brought all the food and presents to give to them to her house for our celebration. Bringing presents to a fiesta is a tradition in our family. When we arrived to the celebration, a storm came so everyone put on a poncho because they knew it was going to start to rain because we had all watched the news. My mom and I were wearing camouflage ponchos, which was really awesome because we were blending in with the trees and other things. My grandma gave me a souvenir just in case the fiesta was canceled because of the storm, and the worst part was the fiesta was going to be outside. So she gave me a very fragile and old necklace that her grandma had given her, and I was so excited to put it on.

A little later, we went in the house and started eating all of my favorite foods like tacos arabes, tamales, enchiladas, tacos al pastor, barbacoa, carne asada, chalupa, chorizo, empanadas, huevos rancheros, lengua, and quesadillas. After I was done eating, I looked outside, and there was a gigantic tornado, and the house started to shake so everyone went out to the patio to look. After that, we went to the basement so we were safe. When I sat down, I felt something under me so I got up. It was a mustache with blood on it. I screamed and slipped and everyone started laughing. My grandma said it was a fake, and it was just to scare people. It sure did freak me out. So then I sat next to my mom and held her very tightly. Thirty minutes later, I noticed that I had accidently given her a bruise on her arm from holding on so tightly.

As we continued to wait out the tornado, I looked to the right, and I thought I saw a carousel where the horses had evil faces. I asked my grandma, “Why is there a carousel right there?

She yelled, “There is nothing there!”

So then I got really freaked out because everyone said that I was delusional because I was just so scared we were all going to die because of the tornado. When it finally passed after two hours, we all got out of the basement to see if the tornado was gone, and it was, but lots of things were damaged outside, including my grandma’s house.

So after all that, my mom and I said good bye to everyone, and we went to a hotel to get some sleep before we went home. On our way to the hotel, I saw an armadillo crossing the road and I cried, “Mom watch out!” So then we got into a car accident. We were fine, but the armadillo wasn’t. Then we went to the hotel and went to sleep and I had dreadful dreams, but in the morning, I felt much better on our way home. When I fell asleep in the car, I felt something bite me, and, of course, it was a mosquito.  Luckily, when we got home, everything went back to normal.

Revenge of the Chaperone

by Grace

Miss Elizabeth Ann Smith was my mistress, a bratty, spoiled little girl who had the brains of a cow, and I had the unfortunate pleasure of being her chaperone to parties, dances, teas, play dates, shopping outings, etc. I was also honored with being her personal maid. She was an absolute horror. She threw tantrums; screaming, kicking, biting, the whole routine. Miss Elizabeth had four maids fired because they didn’t fluff the pillows enough, and they left a speck of dust on her new gown. Oh, my, you don’t know how badly I wanted to wash her mouth out with soap for that! But whoowee, did I get my revenge on her!

It was Miss Elizabeth’s thirteenth birthday, and her parents were planning a big celebration. There were maids polishing the huge crystal chandelier, cooks preparing the birthday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the seamstresses were busy putting the finishing touches to the birthday girl’s birthday gown. Everyone at the Smith mansion was in a bustle getting ready for the big day. Then, things started to get out of hand.

“Ouch, watch where you are sticking those needles, you big oaf!” Elizabeth shrieked.

“Sorry, Godzilla,” the seamstress muttered under her breath.

With a crazed look on her face, Elizabeth picked up the box of needles and threw them at the seamstress. Scratches appeared on her face, and she was fired, just like that. I knew it would be a charade of a thing to do, but I dared to say, “Most humbly, Miss, but don’t you think that was a bit of an extreme thing to do?”

All she did was shoot me a glare, toss her silken locks, and fuss with her corsage of lilies and primroses, freshly cut this morning. I made a face at her back and decided that it was high time she got some pay back.

I knew that Mr. Smith got something very special for his princess on the day of her birth, and that this time is was a rich, navy-colored sombrero with realsilver threading. Sapphires and opals adorned the rim, creating a real gem of a hat. I had the perfect idea. I carefully crept outside, into the mercy of the sweltering heat. Waves of mirages sparkled on the road, imitating a lovely sea, but I walked past until I came to a thriving patch of poisonous ivy. Nothing had ever looked so welcoming.  Cautiously, and with the aid of a hanky, I removed some leaves, returned to the mansion, and rubbed them along the inside of the sombrero. I also left a second surprise for Princess Godzilla. On the grand stairway, where she would make her entrance, I smeared avocados everywhere, ensuring a slippery ride down on her royal tooshie.

Now, Miss Elizabeth’s usual birthday regime, as she liked to call it, was to dine, then socialize and dance, and then finally open her gifts. But, when she made her “grand” entrance, I felt deeply satisfied; it had played out exactly as I had envisioned, but then she acted like nothing had happened, no tantrum, no nothing. Humph! I felt like everything was going ten times slower, and it was agonizingly painful to wait until the time came for presents. When it was finally time, I could barely conceal my huge grin. There were presents big and small, wrapped, rolled up like a burrito, and bagged. As she reached for her bedecked sombrero, I leaned forward subconsciously. Then, she placed it on her head. At first, nothing happened, and then, “ARGGGGG!” She ripped it off her head and ran screaming, and itching, out of the room.

Let’s just say that I got what I wanted, and she had paid her debt.  In the end, I did get fired, but how she found out it was me, I shall never know. Elizabeth is like an armadillo, hard on the outside, but she had a soft under belly. I’m just glad I won’t be there when she gets married, because then, she’ll be bridezilla!

Two Poems

by Julian

Ode to a Burrito
Oh, burrito, how your soft edible skin touches  my lips.
How your gooey beans and avocados mush in my mouth like baby food.
I would have a fiesta for you if I didn’t know your  charade,
if I didn’t know that you would cause so much pain to people who cannot control
their hunger for burritos. That is why you are a souvenir of  my past,
because your masquerade was over the first bite I took from you
and that first bite has also made me have a careful eating regime,
but I cannot stop you from having the upper power,
because like a corsage you sit in the hearts of millions
waiting to feed again……

Armadillo
Spinning like a carousel
In the desert, with a sombrero
Clinging to your head as you fall
Into the fault, cracking like
A glass chandelier, but then you
Get back up and keep on rolling

Cancer Code

by Camille

My ears had adapted to hearing the painful voice of the doctor saying, “We did everything we could…” Those few words struck me as though a tornado had crashed throughout my whole body.  I had learned how to cope with such devastating news once before…but this unbearable news was too big for a mere a nine-year-old.

I clenched my fists into my pajama pants as an awkward silence filled the room. I heard only the sound of a humming noise coming from my older brother Drew’s i-Pod and the heavy thumping of his slipper punching the floor to the beat of his music.  I couldn’t bear sitting there while my mother was dying, and other relatives were in the room, including my dad, surrounding her with prayers.  I was her daughter; I should be the one by her side embracing her hand.  I should be in that room with my mom.  Other relatives hovered from one side of the waiting area to the other, stuttering curse words under their breath.  They were shaking their fists into the air with streams of tears trickling down their faces, screaming, “Why….why?” in their heads.

Then there was me, mutely staring at the floor, counting the diagonal lines, 34…35…36…until that same harsh voice that vocalized those deplorable words announced, “Adult relatives of Cameron Collins, you may now come and say your last good-byes.”  I froze as those icy words ricocheted off the doctor’s tongue.  For the first time since I was urgently shuffled into the car to go to the hospital, I looked up.  Dr. Edwards, who was holding a clipboard, gazed at me for at least a minute, and then rapidly blinked his eyes to control his tears as he turned to leave the room.   Confusion flooded my face because Dr. Edwards and I had met before when my dear sister, at the age of five, died of a brain tumor.  I knew that he was the same doctor because I remembered his hideous mustache.  As I stared into Dr. Edward’s bloodshot eyes, I could see that he was trying to remember how he knew me.  It was as if I was a vague memory in his brain, like he was trying to recognize an image in an old picture camouflaged in dust.

I returned to hibernating with my head down and finished counting the diagonal streaks.  I saw a sign that read, Hospital souvenirs, and I thought to myself, the last thing I would want is a momentum of this horrid experience.   I felt paralyzed as I stood in the hospital hallway, and I started to notice all the sounds around me.   From all angles, several mosquitos flittered around my head.  Thump, thump was the sound of Drew’s foot still pounding to the beat of his music.  I couldn’t believe him; our own mother was dying of cancer, which she had tried so very hard to prevent by running and eating healthily.

Breast cancer is a disease that cannot always be prevented.  I guess my mom learned that the hard way.  After ten hours of waiting in agony at the hospital, my courageous mother lost her battle against breast cancer, but she did not lose her dignity.    At last, my mom was at rest and no longer suffering.  The suffering was now left to our grieving family.

A week later with my head and shoulders still hunched over, my eyes fixated on an inspiring collage that I had made in the first grade.  It was a collage of my mom and me. My father tried to make me feel better but all that I could do now was cover myself in my armadillo-skin blanket.  It covered me like a poncho and allowed me to hide from the rain.  In this case, the rain was the sun, peeling its way through my curtain and streaming a beam of light onto my blanket.  My life would never…ever be the same again!

The mouse of my computer wavered around the screen.   I typed in the word cancer, and then the word code, hoping there was an answer on how to overcome breast cancer.   I hesitantly pressed the “enter” key.  A sphere circled around and around as it was loading.  The circles reminded me of a carousel turning round and round until the words appeared on my screen reading, “your search, cancer code did not match any documents.”  My body was in a state of confusion…what was I expecting?   What did I think was going to pop up?   I guess this search was a code that I am going to have to figure out for myself.

A month later, brochures were at every corner of the town, reading Cancer Code.   We would figure out that code for overcoming cancer together.  I had made a difference. For the first time in my whole life, I Nia Paige Collins, had made a difference that maybe would help a child like me who had suffered the loss of a parent to cancer.  We would fight till that code was broken!  This whole adventure felt as though I was parachuting out of a plane—scared of jumping, but thrilled to land!  I traded doubt for hope…and with hope we would break the cancer code!

The European Tornado

by Kyle

I finished packing for my trip to France and Spain. This would be an exciting trip for me because I was going to parachute into France. I waited on my patio for the shuttle to the airport and thought about my trip. The airport shuttle was actually on time so I locked the doors to the house and helped the driver load my luggage onto the shuttle. I arrived at the airport in record time, got through security, and boarded my plane to begin my thrilling adventure.

We were about thirty thousand feet in the air when it was time for me to jump. I was nervous and excited at the same time. I grabbed my parachute, counted to three, and then jumped. I flew though the air like a bullet and yanked the pin. My parachute was a menagerie of colors when it opened, and it caught my fall as I landed. I was in France! I got a ride to my hotel, which was unreal! The hotel had a video game arcade and three pools with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I picked up a brochure to read some more about things to do in Paris. I was tired from the trip so I went to my room and plopped into bed.

I woke up the next morning with a little tickle on my arm, and I realized that there was a mosquito feasting on me! I flicked it off and prepared to go sightseeing. I went on some tours, and I took pictures of what I saw so that I could make a collage out of them when I returned home. I went to a gift shop to buy a souvenir and decided on a miniature model of the Eiffel Tower and some postcards. I had dinner at a really nice restaurant in Paris, and I wished that I could stay one more day, but I was leaving for Spain in the morning.

The next day I checked out of my hotel, said goodbye to France, and boarded the train to Spain. I sat next to a nice man with a big black mustache who spoke English so we had a good time joking around during the trip. While I was on the train, I took the time to browse the iTunes store on my phone and pick out some new songs from my favorite music genre, which is rock-pop.

When I arrived in Madrid, they were having a fiesta with a masquerade parade! Everywhere I looked, I saw people wearing miraculous costumes as far as the eye could see. People were dressed up in Spanish costumes, and one group was dressed in armadillo costumes. The Spanish military marched in the parade in their camouflage uniforms.  I did not have a costume, but I had a colorful poncho so I put on my poncho and joined the party.  As I walked in the parade to my hotel, I could hear a faint sound like a large wind swelling in the distance. The sky was getting dark, and it looked like a storm was coming. I figured that I better get to my hotel.

The hotel was amazing, and it had a carousel in the middle of the lobby! I checked into my room and took a short rest before I left to go sightseeing in Madrid. The fiesta was still going on when I walked out of the hotel so I had a hard time getting across the street. I visited the palace and a museum, and I ate some really good Spanish food.  The weather continued to get worse with the rain and a really strong wind, and the streets were deserted at the end of the day.

I went back to my hotel and one of the hotel workers seemed really upset. She came up to me and told me something in Spanish and pointed to some stairs. I did not understand her, but she kept saying, “tornada” in Spanish. Then a man who spoke English told me that there was a tornado warning and that we had to go to the basement of the hotel. We all scurried to the basement of the hotel, and I watched the tornado on T.V. I saw it touchdown and wreck some buildings on the other side of the city, but luckily we were all safe.

A few hours passed and we were all let out of the basement. It was time for me to return home so I packed my bags and got back on my plane to California as I said goodbye to Spain. I think the most exciting part of my trip was experiencing a European Tornado!

Reaver’s Mansion

by Julian

Down in the sewers of Bowerstone Industrial, a group of wanted people have formed a guild down in the sewers. They are known as the Fallen. They reside in the sewers because they must hide from the guards and the tyrant, Mark, the captain of the guards. If he catches someone from the Fallen, he will shoot them on sight! Paige, the leader of the group is having trouble with Reaver, another tyrant, but not as bad as Mark. Reaver owns a mansion near the lake of Gurr in Millfields. Tonight will be his Masquerade party. Paige wants to learn more about Reaver so she needs to get into that party, but she can’t go alone. Most of her men aren’t strong enough to face Reaver, so she needs someone with better skill. She knows exactly who to get: Rexor, the assassin of the city. Paige is a good friend of Rexor, so she needs to persuade him to go with her.

Alas, as Paige headed to his hideout, she was caught by someone familiar: Mark. “You there! I know you; you’re the leader of the Fallen! I will strangle you right here and NOW!” screamed Mark as he hurled himself at Paige.

Since she was surprised, she didn’t have time to unsheathe her sword. As Mark was about to attack Paige, and the loud slash was heard, she was surprised by who was struck. Mark had a giant cut through his stomach. He plopped to the ground and in front of Paige was the assassin.

“Rexor! You’re exactly the person I wanted to see!” exclaimed Paige as Rexor turned around.

“Hmm, can it be you need help in fighting a certain someone? Reaver?” said Rexor as Paige’s eyes grew big.

“How did you know that’s what I needed help with?” questioned Paige as Rexor walked forward.

“I knew, because I was planning on going to that party as well, and it sounds like something you’ll be doing too,” said Rexor. “We should get going; we wouldn’t want to be late!” Paige nodded, and they began to walk in the direction of Millfields.

They arrived at the Mansion at sundown, thinking they were late. They were correct! As they walked through the giant doors of the mansion, a man walked towards them. “Hewwo, gents! My name is Gibson, Mr. Weaber’s butler. I am sowwy to say that you guys are pwetty wate for our fiesta! But that is aww okay because we still have some burritos and other delicious foods, and if wour lucky, some pop! Now, just to make suwe, what is the code?” asked Gibson as Paige and Rexor looked confused.

“Th-the code? Umm,” said Paige as she looked up and thought.

Gibson gave out a loud laugh and said, “Oh deawy, I was just playing you! Ha ha! Now fowwow me into the main chamber; we got to see Mr. Weaber!” exclaimed Gibson as they walked towards the main chamber. They looked around to see the masqueraders in large sombreros with squished avocado in there hands. When they entered into the room, Reaver was in front of them, but located higher than they were. He resided on a balcony, looking down at them.

“Aha-ha! Hmm, you guys are terribly late! For that, you have a penalty! Hmm-ha ha, you guys have to be a chaperone to my fabulous arena built right in this mansion! GA HA HA! Now then, let us spin the wheel and see what you will have to fight!” laughed Reaver as he hit the lever with a stave in his hand.

“What!? Reaver, we did not come here to play your silly game!” screamed Paige as Reaver started to laugh again.

“Ha ha, it’s a little too late for that! The wheel has already started spinning. Ga ha ha, too late, too late!” said Reaver with his idiotic laughs. The wheel stopped, determining that they must fight bandits. A gate door beside them opened, and the bandits ran into the room.

“Ugh, this is not what I was expecting. Just go with it; it’ll be done soon,” said Paige as Rexor unsheathed his sword and nodded.

Once they were in the room, the gate closed behind them. The round started and bandits started pouring out into the room.

“You take left; I’ve got right,” demanded Rexor as Paige nodded. The bandits were hardly a match for them. Since bandits were from the pinewoods and mines, they were dumb and weak and easily defeated.

With the round over, they left the room as Reaver said, “Poor men, I found them in them wandering Millfields forests. You seemed to make their lives miserable,” joked Reaver as the two got into the main chamber. He hit the lever and the wheel started to spin again. The pointer landed on ghastly creatures. Wolves. Although they may look viscious, they are very weak…if you have a sword or gun. Fists maybe? Well, anyway, the two walked into the next murky chamber. The room smelled of mold, and fog covered a swampy level. As the round began, piercing howls were heard. The wolves jumped out of their dens and began to attack. Rexor was a very fast person; Paige wasn’t. Even though the wolves were weak, they were very fast. Rexor pounded the wolves into the ground. He heard a scream and turned to see what it was. Paige was pinned down onto the floor, a wolf trying to bite her. Rexor ran towards her and slashed the wolf in half. Once again, he saved her life. One last wolf was standing, and after seeing its comrades pummeled, it fled. Rexor and Paige didn’t do anything about it, but then they heard a loud gunshot. Reaver had shot the poor creature.

“A what? Why, just why did I have to kill your opponent, hm hmm? Well that gives, what, a new penalty?!” roared Reaver as Paige started clenching her fists.

“Enough of this charade, Reaver! I’m not going to be a victim to your dumb arena! All I want is your head!” screamed Paige as she whipped out her pistol and shot at Reaver. Reaver, deflected the bullet with his little stave that he had. “WHAT?!”

“A hm-hm ha. Do you really think that’s necessary? Ha ha ha, HAA HAH HA HA!” laughed Reaver as he to pulled out his pistol and shot. Paige was shot right in the stomach.

“Guh! You, you’re a real tyrant… I hope you will never see the light again! Your darkness, *huff huff* it builds up more hatred. I will be alive for your gruesome DEMISE!” roared Paige as she was shot again. She let another grunt and fell to the floor. Rexor, for being an assassin, didn’t handle this straight.

“Ha ha, your friend finally shut up!  I will give you a souvenir for fighting in the arena. Meet me in the main chamber, whelp,” said Reaver as he walked off to the main balcony.

Rexor looked down at Paige’s bloodied body. “I’ll come back for you, or you will meet me in another life…no. I will get you back, don’t worry!” exclaimed Rexor as he ran into the main chamber.

“So Reaver, what’s my souvenir?” asked Rexor as Reaver gazed down at Rexor.

“Ah, yes, you deserve something at least. You prize is…to fight more bloodthirsty creatures!” yelled Reaver as Rexor’s eyes burned with hatred.

“NO! I will not attend your arena anymore! I am not going into another one of those rooms!” roared Rexor as Reaver smiled and gave out a chuckle.

“Uh huh ha. No… you don’t have to go into another room. This…is… the room!” exclaimed Reaver. Rexor unsheathed his sword, getting ready for the dangers that he would face.

“Now then, experience Hades! Come out, my pets!” said Reaver as five balverines fell from the ceiling.

“What?! Balverines, those dang creatures. Ha, you’re ‘pets’ will not have an effect on me!” yelled Rexor as he ran towards the balverines. He slashed at the first balverine as it hurled backwards and dodged his attack. The balverines were very fast. Rexor managed to hit one, but it hardly had any effect since his sword was getting dull from the other battles. One hurled straight at him, then another. One was in front of him and one to his side. Rexor plopped his body onto the floor, and the balverines slashed. Two bodies fell from midair, for when they tried to attack Rexor, they attacked each other.  With the balverines seeing what happened, they wouldn’t try to attempt that again. Rexor ran towards another balverine and stabbed straight through it. Two more left; another made an attempt of running onto the wall. Rexor hurled his sword toward it. It slashed through its leg, the balverine’s howling leaving Rexor with hurt ears! With the balverine stunned, Rexor picked up his sword and slashed at its back and then its face. One left. Rexor looked up and noticed it was right under a chandelier. He charged up his strength and jumped up high, slicing what was holding the chandelier, causing it to fall and shattering his sword. The chandelier hit the ground and crushed the balverine. Rexor fell onto the ground and lay there for a while. Reaver was surprised to see that his fellows were dead.

“You, you managed to defeat them. You deserve a prize!” yelled Reaver as Rexor arose.

“No! No more prizes!”

“Ah, but this one is very unique,” said Reaver as he picked up a body and pointed his gun at it.

“Paige! Sh-she still alive!?” asked Rexor.

“Ha, yes, but I will kill her if you do not do the things I ask,” said Reaver as Rexor asked what his new task was. “I want you to give me the heart of a demon!”

“What? A demon…no…demons are extremely rare and very hard to kill. No, I won’t do it. She…she means nothing to me. Kill her; I don’t care. I…will not do you task!” stated Rexor as Paige started crying.

“Well, she means nothing to you? Ah ha ha, very well,” said Reaver over the sound of Paige’s muffled scream. Rexor closed his eyes and heard the gunshot. A tear dropped from Rexor’s eye and he looked up.

“Guh-agh. What…is….th-th-THIS?!” coughed Reaver as blood dripped from his mouth. He dropped Paige and at that moment walked forward and fell off the balcony, and along with him was Paige. Rexor ran towards her and caught her. He looked behind him and saw Reaver’s dark body hit the floor. Rexor stared at Paige, and then she stabbed him. He let out a howl and said, “Heh-heh, yeah, you’re mad at me?… I thought you were dead, though, and who killed Reaver?” asked Rexor as Paige slapped him.

“I can’t believe you were going to let me get shot; you were never…never a help. And I don’t know who shot Reaver,” said Paige with a lot of anger in her voice.

Rexor, still bleeding, took out the sword and used a magic spell on himself to heal his wound.

“So, you know the healing spell as well? Hmph, that’s what I used on myself,” said Paige as a figure dropped down from the balcony. It was a figure Rexor knew: his brother, Thaurissian.

“Thaurissian? What are you doing here?” asked Rexor.

“Same thing you are. I was going to kill Reaver, and I did! You on the other hand, almost let your friend here die!” laughed Thaurissian as Paige got up and added, “We are not friends!”

“Huh, well, you were alive for his demise; that’s good enough for me, and just to say, I did save your life three times!” said Rexor as Paige nodded, but still he felt anger resonating around him.

“Well, how about we get out of this place?” asked Thaurissian, who was met with nods from Rexor and Paige.

With Reaver dead, his industry was shut down, and kids who had been forced to work, no longer had to do so. Bowerstone Industrial was no longer dreary and gross. With Paige still mad at Rexor, she shut down her guild as well and went to live with her parents. Rexor and Thaurissian were still assassins, at first roaming the forest, sneaking in the shadows. Who knew who they could kill, or what. With them working with each other, they soon decided to leave Bowerstone for a new residence in Driftwood. Reaver’s mansion was soon torn up and the two assassins changed their ways, killing only bad people. Perhaps their next mission would include the demise of Greaver, the Tyrant.