Category Archives: Short Stories

The Amhnu

My sister climbing a tree

Hi, this is just a reflection on a lot of things. It was originally made for an assignment at school about relationships, but it kind of transformed. I won’t say too much about it before. There are some allusions to the bible, but please don’t take it as a description of who I am. I chose things based on their symbolic definition, and their spiritual symbolism, but also as metaphors for some personal and learned (my teachers pointed out to me) observations. I didn’t proofread it super thoroughly, but enjoy!

Naturo’s garden bursted with different varieties of plants, from luscious greens, blooming pinks and yellows, to cosmic blues, deep purples, and others, who proudly stand with multiple swirls of colour. Gredus sat on a stone bench, legs crossed, looking into the distance. He stroked his beard, combed his fingers through his hair, which was short on the sides and longer on the top, and positioned his top hat from beside him onto his head. He had a big gold watch, which showed he could tell time, and combined with his whole attire, accentuated an air of sophistication. He was taking some time to think. Soon, after several hours, he sprouts a small smile. It disappears as he hears Naturo’s footsteps coming into vicinity.

“Gredus, how are you?”

“I’m alright, just enjoying being surrounded by your beautiful plants”

Naturo decides to sit on a bench beside Gredus and looked at him with eyes, a medium size, but which contained a galactic glare. Gredus shuddered. It was almost as if he was looking into the void, an unquantifiable power. Nonetheless, he collected himself and made his proposal.

“I’m in awe of how you were able to sustain such life. I would love the chance to give it a try, although I cannot compare to your greatness. I have an idea for a new nature, would I be able to try my hand?”

Naturo looks away for a second and focuses on a point in the distance, before looking back at Gredus.

“Of course, give it a try”

Gredus thanked Naturo graciously, and left to his lab. When he left, Naturo shook his head. He already knew what was to follow, yet he also was aware of his own incapability to prevent it.

Days of research and experimentation finally yielded – for Gredus – a satisfactory result, an alternate nature infused with drops of his own blood, something he named “Amhnu”. With the permission, of Naturo, he dropped his nature onto a planet and watched eagerly for their transformations.

The Amhnu took form as individuals and wandered the planet curiously and fearfully. They jumped at every sound and movement. When they found each other, they attached themselves into groups and clung on to one another in times of danger. Gredus was fascinated, and he felt himself have a bond with them, wanting to protect his creatures, in which would grow his children.

Throughout years, decades, and eventually centuries, Gredus watched his Amhnu grow and develop relationships and colonies. He began seeing some competing with each other for land and resources, some collaborating on giant artistic masterpieces, some avoiding others and developing their preferences, some trading belongings and negotiating using their own languages, and some helping others in need. In awe of his creation, Gredus began dropping shiny objects onto the planet as gifts, even dismantling some of the parts of his gold watch to drop into the earth inside rare caves and among rocks. As he noticed his Amhnu discover them excitedly, he felt encouraged to decorate the world with more pieces from his watch, until all he had left was the timepiece. With their obsession over the sparkles, the Amhnu began collecting other materials: wood from trees, stones, plants and almost any other thing they could find. Once afraid, they were beginning to take charge of their planet, growing more and more attached to their lifestyles.

Naturo sensed this and with his calm hand, emotionlessly unleashed plagues of illness and natural disasters, almost as if he, by his own hand, could not even prevent it from happening. Soon, however, Gredus’ children began to sprout in some locations, despite Naturo’s interference, and Gredus loved them. He wanted them to grow bigger, to achieve greater feats, to win greater battles and to have more and more. This was how, he thought, he would live happily ever after.

In his own, quiet ways, Naturo warned Gredus of their straining relationship. Without opening his mouth to speak, he communicated the horrors of what would follow through the winds and forces of the environment, which relentlessly bent everything to its gravity. He reminded the Amhnu of the futility of their ways of life, and rebelled from being a slave to their demands. By his unwavering demand, he forced them to accept their fate or to respect their relationship. The universe was all power.

For Gredus, who desperately now tried to avoid Naturo, there was a trembling of fear on a visceral level. His stomach could not amass the strength to ponder the existence of the void, and the mysteriousness of the supernatural. He was a man of men, and that in his mind was thorough and complete. So, still he encouraged his children to grow and to conquer greatness. And through that, the Amhnu tried to conquer nature.

If the issue was to conquer, there would be no use, as, for the Amhnu, in their state of denial, have already achieved conquering. They have conquered themselves, disconnected themselves from their reality. There was no conquering in the universe, for what only exists is a permanent juxtaposition of something and nothing; that which exists, and that which does not. Naturo was, at once, all conquering (something) and all accepting (nothing) and the world, is but a citizen of the universe.

When the Amhnu were running all over, in a desperate Anarchy, Gredus finally broke his silence with Naturo, and tries to apologize, beg for forgiveness, and to pray for Naturo to make things better again. But survival on the planet was simply hopeless without a collaboration with the planet and so he was forced to watch his Amhnu die by fire, water, ice, wind, and earth.

At last, when all was gone, Gredus sat in his laboratory, defeated. His face was red from frustration, regret, and sadness. On his desk, the gold timepiece laid, ticking away like a time bomb, against the rhythm of his breath. Upon hearing Naturo’s footsteps in the garden, he left to apologize to his master.

When he came, Naturo was sitting on a stone bench in the midst of a group of fig trees, which showered him with shade, snacking on some wild blueberries from the bushes. Trembling with guilt and fear, Gredus approached Naturo and bowed his head.

“Greetings, Gredus, what brings you here?”

“I have come, with a heavy heart, to say sorry”

Naturo reached for a fig in the tree and gave it to Gredus.

“I forgive you, Gredus. I can’t have it any other way. It’s now to you to forgive yourself. Come, sit beside me.”

He did, and Naturo gestured towards all of the plants around them.

“We sometimes don’t have a choice for certain things, but we still have plenty to appreciate about the world.”

Dear Life

Hey Everyone, I’m doing a collaboration with one of my friends on a series called “Dear You” It’s a storytelling thing on Quotev.com and her username is @deathnozomi so go and check it out! Here’s an example:

Dear Life,

Isn’t it funny how people keep asking how you are even though you don’t really share any familiarities with anyone. Am I not the one that feels your journeys and not the other way around? Am I not the one who is experiencing? And they tell me that you are good; that you are you.

What is the matter in which I hold in my grasp? Is it fairy dust? Yet you hold me from spreading my wings with your gravitational suction, that has forever captured me in my wake. The turning of the tides have been learned tragedies, my friend, that sweeps my powder away and away.

I visited the cemetery last autumn evening, and there must’ve been a reason that the area had been cleared of trees and other strangers to my eye. It is all there, the pale face of the rising moon, the named deceased, and the mighty starry purple sky that freezes me. The shadows, although some are moved with the trees, still remain in an aura of the energy in the soil reminding me that you have failed to teach me with your mysterious ways; its integrity or mine.

Mighty life, how were you able to keep us here in our ways in the midst of other ways. I beg you, your highness, give mercy to the spirits that hold the unknown……and the known who cannot see what they lack. It is always the resort to succumb to the unknown, for if one were to succumb it would have to be to something greater, which I turn to you on, unless I am any great of the greatness you are.

Is it worth, my dear friend? Do you see it or do you only sense an endless drive of continuum in this universe? Every scar, every bone, and all the layers of my skin cannot just be one of fairy dust. I believe I hold in my figure energy and power. When I clench my fist, I can sense the warmth of my energy, my light, and when I stand, I can feel my connection with the earth. I refuse to accept that this is deception, for all the glory I can recall is of this miraculous nature. It is my account and my curiosity that keeps me an honest being, but you tell me that this is a lie and that this integrity is only made up of the few cells in my brain. If so, take them away, for I must learn the truth and in a wickedly ironic sense, I feel I must be you.

 

And so I can…

I am living aren’t I…

The Only Justice in Conclusion

Continuing down the straight highway late Tuesday night, Henry watched only in the forward momentum of his velocity and the continuum of the endless night. It was dark out and the orderly alignment of street lamps only enhanced his pounding paranoia of the infinity of the unknown, but like any other day, the time would come in which his city would appear with the various different sized buildings familiar to his cautious instincts. His house, a humble cottage nearing the neighbourhood grocery store, ensured a short trip in and out of his house every week to do his shopping. In fact, the only thing Henry was insecure about was the hour commute to his workplace. It definitely was not ideal; the earnings were lacking and the workplace looked too extreme with all the different metal designs etched into the walls, but the fear of losing his velocity was enough to persuade his stay.

He was getting quite old as seen through his sight, as the expected coming of his facial wrinkles and white hair showed him his dwindling percentage of his own. The community celebrations and events he had attended as a child had been invested into regularly, because of the possibility of feeling the community connection, but towering above him, a statue pointed at him promulgating his dishonesty, and yet, he dared not to know.

It was not like he couldn’t understand, or that the information was inaccessible to him, but there was a stubbornness that embodied his that diluted the concept to him.

He spent his days restlessly waiting for his return to home from work with the utmost business-like postures in which he wore, that prevented his wandering mind to go any farther than his own boundaries of perception in his rule book, but his sight lingered beyond that; we found looking out into the distance often with a forlornly shape.

But they say for as long as  they have been saying that things will happen according to plan, and only the plan dictates the rules. It was as if the devil ripped away Henry’s barrier and split his worlds into the unknown varieties the last day. The statue sped across the pathways of his self -a misfire perhaps- and for as long as he did not know, let it be certain that it is known that the physics of extreme tension could only result in the final resolution. ‘tis where he is finally in the safe arms of what he’s lost.

An Emerald’s Intention

There once was a flower named Emerald. Ironically, her petals were not green like her name suggested they’d be. She was a humble little buttercup that sat on the edge of the stream, where the only constant noise was that of the rushing water making its way over to the lake on the other side of the wood. Patiently, she waited, watched the days go to waste, and observed the sun, moving from one side of the sky to the other, when she finally thought of how boring life must be. Of course, there were the little changes that would happen from time to time, such as when the weather got colder, or when the hunters would come to hunt for their prey, but for the most part, each day was the same as the last.

There was a city nearby, or so Emerald thought, because the numbers of creatures in the wood seemed to slowly diminish. She had also overheard a conversation that humans (who lived in cities) were starting to take over the wood. Luke, the bear of the wood, would come occasionally to the stream for a drink of water and would habitually greet all the flowers near the stream. Now, he rested in his cave, with the harmful intention of hate, for the bear now looked for flesh rather than berries and the various plants he once had an appetite for. The other day, he had killed 6 rabbits and 4 squirrels, whom Emerald thought were his only friends. She wished that she could reason with Luke, but alas, she was only a flower, and with her soft and quiet voice, she knew that she would not be heard.

That was during the spring. In the summer, the number of strange activities decreased in the wood, and for what reason but that there was no wood. For the first few days of summer, the tortured little flower watched the trees get cut down by a group of 4 people. The squirrels, who had formerly been residents of those trees, had scattered, and one had even gotten murdered. The birds, having no home, decided to fly away, hoping to find a new home, with the exception of Heather, for she just gave birth to 3 little robins. Starvation killed them off. The little flower saw Luke foolishly approached the people while they were chopping down the trees, and attempted to kill them with his jaws. She was genuinely frightened, and screamed that the bear stop whatever he was planning to do. She yelled and yelled, but was not heard. At last, before the sun set on that day, the vicious bear was shot.

The last month of summer was marked by the construction of human homes, and the moving in of new residents. The home nearest to the stream housed a family of 3 and their pet dog. They were a loud group and often had parties in their new backyard, but Emerald could not participate in what they did, because she was already overwhelmed by a strange sick feeling she had never before experienced. She was not consoled by the dog who, although was joyful, never seemed to live that same life that the former residents of the area had. It was unknowing, but unworried and liked to go on walks near the stream. The little flower cried for her lost friends and the silent, organic world she had gotten the privilege to live in, until the last day of summer, when she was plucked from her flowery bed and was thrown away; away from any of the worlds she had seen before.

The Forest and the Reality

There once was a small girl named Lea who loved the outside world. She spent most of her time in the forest beside her grandmother’s house(a giant building the whole family lived in), climbing over the tall white fence to get there. The curious flavor of her forest adventures had made her certain that she wanted to be an explorer/a traveler when she grew up, for she loved visiting new places. That was with the permission of her grandmother, who only allowed for Lea’s playing after she was certain Lea’s homework had been completed, which was not often. Lea hated flipping through what she believed was the pages of her textbooks, because she was forbidden to physically explore what was presented to her. The world was made of the forest and the wild.

One day, when Lea headed towards the forest, she saw a black dot in the middle of her favorite tree. It was about her palm’s length in diameter, and she was unable to solve the mystery of its existence. The little girl punched the dot, she threw rocks at the dot and she even went back to her grandmother’s house to get a bucket of water to pour onto the dot. Any effort to provoke any type of physical reaction to the dot was quickly dissolved into the heat of Lea’s frustration. She decided to pretend that the dot was not there, but the knowledge of the contradicting reality had taken its toll on the little girl, for no explanation was correct for the appearance of such a sinful creation, and never had the little girl returned to her love of the outside world since then.

The overwhelming force of fear had pushed itself into the very mind of little Lea, and although she was not young anymore, she maintained this perspective on the world outside. She did not appear angered at the crazy moment from her childhood, rather, the years of staying inside had totally extinguished the lasting concepts of her frustration. For her, the dot was a warning of one-sided look of the world she used to desire. In her 20’s Lea was introduced to the complex engineered world of human life. She remembered to do her taxes each year and to change the oil in her car at least every 5 months. She remembered to go grocery shopping once a week and to attend church every Sunday. All this was done simply because they had to be done and they had to be done correctly. Lea still was fixed on the day of the dot’s arrival, wondering whether it was still there.

In her 50’s Lea visited her hometown with her two children and husband. Her mother had invited them over for thanksgiving dinner. A swirl of leaves guarded the welcoming door of the old cozy home, and as Lea arrived at the front entrance, she couldn’t help but notice a big dark hole on the side of the forest. Fearing for her life, Lea steps into the house quickly, welcomed by all the wonderful guests and family. She didn’t remember exactly why they always had a thanksgiving party at the big house, or why she once loved playing in the forest, but she was plunged into the hole with a feeling of uncertainty that would swamp the rest of her life. It was now that she realized that she was certain of the absence of all that was right-Gummy Bear

The Man Old

Ol’ Steveton wasn’t the kind of jolly old folk you’d ever imagine yourself talking with, or rather, he wasn’t the type of guy you’d ever want to know. Years and years of intense work have reduced his previously large build into a rounded bent shape. Even so, he still manages to get dressed in his best suits each day with a strange longing look, one you might not notice if you were just passing by, which people do all the time. The old man is a person of habit. His hair, already scarce, is always combed similarly, his meals, always prepared the same way by his wife, and in his free time, always can he be found lounging on his sofa of 50 years old. Steveton had no children, and if he did, he showed no interest to the topic for he lived quietly, isolated in a small cabin beside a small, evaporated lake with his wife.

On the 8th of January last year, Mrs. Steveton died suddenly. She looked exhausted and her eyes, although dead, looked out into the distance, a hopeful smile plastered itself on her face. Ol’ Steveton never acknowledged her former presence again, for he does not move one bit at the lost of his sidekick. Instead, he sits on his couch, watching the same old sports episode he watched in his prime,  the one of his hero’s last game. -Gummy Bear

The True Test

Note*: This was written quite a while ago. I did not check for phrasing or any type of grammatical errors. I think it’s a good story for documenting my growth, as well as an interesting story to read(I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote it, but I wrote it!). Also, I’ve never written anything in italics before!!!

The hallways of the Middleston High school had always been an expressionless masterpiece. Or as Tom Bramber would’ve considered it, a reflection of the average student life (not that he was a “tortured genius”, but he had his individual opinions).

Tom was born in the summer on a family farm. There wasn’t much to do, but there was enough to do. Tom loved the warm feeling of security from the summer sun. It was his shield. All remained the same, until Tom turned 5 and was sent to elementary school.

(We won’t go into much detail on the experiences from Tom’s previous life, because the past needs to be let go sometimes. We will, however, comment on the persistence of Tom to make friends. It wasn’t very successful, and almost the opposite effect was created. What mattered was the transition to adult hood; the transition to “real life”).

The average day of a student(as Tom would describe it) was full of things that were permanent. Whenever he would walk into the school grounds, he would see Max hanging out around the basketball hoop with his followers. Although Tom had never tried toassociate himself with Max, he knew that Max was a good student. Between the constant habit of most of the grade 9 population to compare marks with Max and the cheap love that was shot out of smiles of teachers towards Max, Tom knew that Max had to be agood student. These recurring incidents not only were reflected by the blank hallways,but by the internal emotions of Tom. It was annoying to see the persistence of these habits, but more than anything, it was infuriating to see the isolation to the focus of individual change. By the way Max conducted himself, Tom could only loathe Max for being in such a prominent position.

There didn’t seem to be much difference in the levels of intellect between the two, but there was a definite power struggle that was depicted in their silent behaviors towards one another.

Tom possessed all things average; he had the exact average height of the boys, the exact average mark percentage in all his classes, and the exact average of the common image of a typical Middleston High School boy; brown hair and brown eyes. Tom always had the basic thoughts of a normal high school kid;which was to achieve good grades. In fact, the only thing that was different in the literal eyes of Tom Bramber was the absence of life, which was a transparent sign of aging. His dark brown eyes were the dullest by the time of the final exams.

On the exact day of February 14(the middle day of February), the entire grade 9 was assigned to complete an examination.Walking into the grey hallways of school, Tom made no attempts to rush into his classroom to study. Tom punched the walls outside his Math class three times(like he always does before an exam) and he arrived exactly one minute before the exam was to start. Tom caught a smirk from Max-who had clearly been studying. When he sat down on his seat, and Tom returned it with a glare. It was exactly 8:30 on the clock when Tom opened his exam and did what he always did. At the same time, Max opened his exam and started on the first page. Out of the corner of his bright blue eyes, Max could see Tom only on the “pre” pages(pages that explained how the test would be marked). Max smiled and started down the columns of the test questions.

“There will be a full one hour and 30 minutes for you to complete this exam” Mr James, the math teacher said as he smiled at his watch. Max smiled brightly at Mr. James and Mr.James had no choice, but to smile back. The teacher then sat down loudly at his desk and started on his daily news article.

Surprisingly, Max was not the first to complete the exam. Instead, it was Richard Clarkson who handed his test in .

“There’s no way that anyone who would be very accurate could finish that early.” thought Max as he finished his final question and started calculating his mark while looking over his test. Tom looked over his test and stood  up 5 minutes after Richard. Awkwardly, Max stands up as well. Tom calmly walked over to the “hand-in” box and before he handed in his perfectly average test paper, he was trippedby a text book that had been dropped on the ground. Max calmly dropped his papers in the box before he lent a hand to Tom. A similar predicament was put upon Max and he tripped over the same textbook. The entire class paused to look at what appeared to beMax and Tom sitting on the ground. “Get up and return to your seats!” shouted Mr. James as he turns and faces Tom “Next time, be careful with your textbook!”.

The class watched silently as Tom and Max get up and rush towards their seats. Tom looked over at Max and smiled suddenly, re-waking the colors in his eyes.It had been a funny incident and it took all of Tom’s mental strength to resist the temptation to laugh. Max only looked at Tom with a harsh glare.

At the end of the examination, Max left with his friends to compare answers and Tom stayed to help clean-up. It was a complete painting of isolation and all that was left in focus was Max and his friends. The colors left Tom’s eyes for the last permanent time, as he saw Max outdoors smoking a cigarette. When Tom left the classroom, he failed to complete his routine of punching the wall and he headed towards the cafeteria through the blank hallways of the school.

Nobody saw Tom again, but his eyes still were seen everywhere along the hallways. Everything was separated and “made new” in Tom’s new school, that even the warm summer days from Tom’s vacant past was not enough to bring back true life.

Mr. Terrace

Everyone would say that Mr. Terrace was always a kind, hardworking man. He lived right across the street from me and I remember that he always got up at 7:00 AM sharp to make his coffee, for his chimney would cough out the warm water vapor at 7:00 AM every morning.

He had been my neighbor for quite some time since the very beginning of my existence. Mother always told me to keep away from Mr. Terrace, but I saw no harm in visiting him at least once. I was a straight-A student and I knew that if I was caught by mother, I would be grounded. It was a punishment that set the limit to the wonders I could experience, but it was the consequence that kept the familiar feeling of security I once felt. Mr. Terrace was described to be a good man by everyone including mother, and I could only wish that she would understand that if I were to do any harm, it would not be in my motive to do so. Of course, I was taught that mother’s love is worth more than anything.

During the summer of grade 5, I dared to explore and discover the real person Mr. Terrace was. It was around noon and Mother was asleep. Taking my chances, I snuck out of the house and crossed the large grey road. The cracks in the road and the sound of my worn- out converse shoes on the concrete was real. It was all so real. As I approached his yard, I couldn’t help but notice the perfectly groomed trees and cut grass. The walkway was spotless, and even the soles of my feet would mark the stone engraved in the ground. The garden had been weeded and the flowers in the flowerbed shone it’s faces at the sun. I walked in the grass, and slowly approached the doorbell.

“Ding Dong”, the doorbell rung, “Ding Dong”.

I saw the door creak open and low and behold, there was Mr. Terrace, half dressed with his head sticking out the door. His normally well groomed hair was messy and knotted.

“Who is this?” He asked quietly.

Looking around madly, I ran for it. What a rumble I must have created, because her next door neighbor, Mrs. Cleaveland had run out of her house in a nice purple satin dress with a comb in her right hand. I ran across the road and disappeared into the bush on my front yard.

“Wait!” Mr. Terrace screamed as he stepped out of his house. His left hand became visible and the sun was reflected off his wine bottle.

Mother never told me that Mr. Terrace was an alcoholic. Good men weren’t supposed to get drunk all the time. I snuck back into my house and locked myself in my room. Looking out the window, I saw Mr. Terrace run inside his house. Mother found out and scolded me. The look on her face showed intense pain. Taking both my hands, She held them tight and cried.

I cried too. I didn’t mean to upset mother, and I knew she wished the same for me.

Perhaps she was thinking of father, the man I never met and I knew she loved him very much.

That night, mother took me out to eat at the restaurant we always ate at, home. She let me eat outside. I saw the moon in the sky and the stars that were specifically placed along the dark canvas. I always remembered the moon as mother, because both words start with the letter “m”, and I always wondered where father would be. Outdoors, the moon was all I needed to stay warm and free. Mother watched me from the window inside and smiled , although it was clear that she had still been crying.

I still don’t understand why mother didn’t tell me that Mr. Terrace was an alcoholic, why she disguised him under her sweet words, and why she was always unwilling to participate in conversation regarding Mr. Terrace. I was confused.

I kept my grades at the same level as before to comfort mother. The interesting things from the past became questions without answers. I was convinced that I was still a good boy, just as almost everyone still admitted that Mr. Terrace was a hard-working man. I wanted to be hard-working too, but I wondered: What for?

The next day, I saw Mr. Terrace come out of his house at 6:00AM with a suitcase. I realized that she must have decided to go to work early. When he approached his car, I noticed a bottle of wine in the other hand. Mr. Terrace wasn’t the kind, hardworking man I knew.

Mr. Terrace looked towards my window with an astonished look and carefully climbed in . I stared back emptily, and climbed back in bed. I desperately wanted to look back through the window, but I was stopped by the joyful song of the birds outside my window. It was as if the good in life returned to its usual state, and that everything was ordinary.

Two hours later, I got ready for school. I wore my backpack and smiled at everyone I saw. My mother saw my worn-out converse shoes I had on my feet and demanded that I change shoes. With my head held high, I kissed her good-bye and boarded the school bus, because maybe I wasn’t the good student I thought I was.

Camp Hubalake

Last summer, my only 2 friends; Oliver, and Lawrence, invited me to summer camp. Y’kno, one of those places rich kids would go to. We only had one in town. It was called “Camp Hubalake”, which I thought was stupid enough until I saw their mascot; a plum with the jaws of a shark. There were certain kids that went there that I didn’t like. They were the idiotic and naïve ones, but I mean, it wasn’t like I could reject. It’s complicated. It’s common courtesy to provide a logical explanation at least a month ahead of time, and it’s common sense to ask your parents about it. I did none of that.

Well,I didn’t ask my parents until a week before. They were pretty angry at me, but they still decided that I needed the experience of “getting to know different people” and things like that(not that it really mattered or anything). So, I phoned in to the camp management team 2 days before that camp.

They answered after 4 rings, which was ridiculous, because c’mon, it’s 2 days before camp starts, and I knew(from experience) that there would be nobody else phoning about registering except me.

“Hello, This is Hubalake Camp. Ryan speaking.”

It was a man, with an insanely deep voice. He sounded unhurried, and idiotic, just like those kids at school.

“Uh hey, this is Dan. I want to register myself for the camp.”

“Hey Dan, I’m sorry but the camp starts in 2 days, and the registration deadline took place last month.”

He sounded annoyed, like there were others who called about the same thing, which only got me a bit agitated. Perhaps, he had the impression that I was just a kid(I was just 12, I wasn’t a pubester just yet).

“Yeah…so uh Ryan, I need a spot in the camp, I’ve got money, and I can pay you once I get there. No big deal. Just put my name down OK? It’s my first time kay? I ain’t no spoiled brat, and I got no wifi at home.”

There was a short silence over the phone,when I heard some whispering on the other end. I heard Ryan talk to a woman about me, before a loud crashing noise came and completely blocked me from the whole conversation. I wasn’t planning on actually attending the camp anyways, but I had to prove to my friends that I tried.

“ Hello? Is Dan still there?”

Suddenly, I had a sick feeling in my stomach. The guy was still there.

“Yes”

“Yeah, you’re in.”

He was so blunt, that it caught me off guard a little bit. His approval indicated that all my savings would be used up in registering for the camp, that I was no longer able to spend my summer how I wanted to, and that I would be under the control of complete nitwits. Dang.

And I was just like:

“kay”

Before I hung up.

Then, Dad volunteered to drive me there 2 days later.

The camp was terrifying. There was an old white gate that marked the entrance, but most of the paint had fallen off, and the bits that were left were accompanied by rust. A willow tree was bent towards the entrance such that it’s branches blocked the top half of the doorway. A spider stood in the top right corner. Dad drove off.

I was like, Crap…I’m here.

I pushed away the branches of the willow tree, and I found the staff members of the camp right there; 4 meters away. There was a small building behind them that literally looked like a wooden crate, where I caught a glance from Lawrence.

“Hi, is this Dan?”

It was Ryan. Except, he wasn’t just the man with the insanely deep voice. He was the man with the insanely deep voice and a goatee(the hair on his head lived on his chin).

“Yeah, I brought the dough.” I said, reaching into my pocket. My hand slowly made it’s way out of my pocket, empty. I must have dropped my wallet while I went through the vines.

“Anything wrong?”

I shook my head and walked towards the vines, but my wallet wasn’t there. Then, I just walked to the building, past the staff. They didn’t even try to stop me.

Man, I was really homesick.

Lawrence smirked at me as I walked in, empty handed. He gave a wink towards his sleeping bag and camping supplies as if he had brought extra, but knowing Lawrence, I knew that wasn’t the case.

Lawrence doesn’t talk a lot, he’s real shy, but he knows what’s happening and he’s got a loud voice, because he’s a pubester. We don’t think of him that way. He’s a trooper.

Oliver came shortly after with a similar-sized bag as Lawrence’s.

“Hey Dan!” He shouted from the gate. His voice cracked , and I laughed because Oliver was a pubester too. Lawrence and Oliver were both one year older than I was.

The staff came into the building, after allowing us to settle down. More campers followed them in. I could see there was a total of 30 kids; 15 girls, 15 boys.

“Hello, campers!” Ryan shouted, “It’s great to be seeing so much more of you! We have a great day planned for you, and I’ve called your parents to pick you up at 8 AM, tomorrow morning.”

It was 10:15 AM, I just had to survive for a little less than 10 hours.

“For now, go find a cabin.” He pointed to a row of smaller wooden crates. “The 3 nearest to us are for the girls, the other 3 are for the guys. ”There’s a washroom in the middle separating the two groups.”

“When you’re done with that, we are going canoeing at the Hubalake.” A woman said. She had blonde hair and her nametag read “Tracy”.

So, that’s what we did.

We went canoeing on the Hubalake. It wasn’t anything special. The lake was not blue, rather, it was a dark hue of green. There were trees that umbrella’d the pool, and an old tire that was tied to one. Besides the fact that I had never gone canoeing before, it was quite boring. We played “Flip the Boat”, which was a fun game. I liked when people overreacted about falling into the water, because I didn’t have to.

We played “Fortress”, a game where you could go into the forest to get sticks to build a shield/castle. Halfway through the game, the staff brought in a box of beanbags, we could use to knock the castles down. I have an exceptionally hard throw, and it only took a few shots before I could do that.

After that, we ate Dinner/Lunch at 3 PM. We sat at a decaying sliced up tree(a wooden picnic table). The staff made pizza, a delicacy I’ve never eaten before. Wow, cheese was pretty cool! I ate 5 slices, received a smirk from Lawrence, before I was drenched in water by Oliver because I took the last piece of cheese pizza. Then, the girls got annoyed at Oliver for taking all the water bottles, and chased him over to Hubalake, where he was pushed in.

There were a few games afterwards, but everyone was just waiting for the night time. At 8 PM, Tracy told us that we were free to do whatever we wanted as long as we were in the cabins by 9:30 PM.

We got into a good game of hide-and-seek, but time flies, and soon enough, it was 9:30 PM. Heading back towards our cabins, I saw Oliver suspiciously going back to the forest. He had a black object in his hand. It looked so much like… my wallet. I rushed towards the forest too, but before I got there, he was gone.

I went back to the cabin, furious that my friend had betrayed me. Suddenly , I was back in a decaying wooden crate, in the middle of nowhere. There were 2 other boys in my cabin. One was probably around 8 years old, and the other was 13 years old. They looked like those city kids. Them and their expensive city clothes made me angry. All they did was stare. I slapped one across the face, and glared at the other. Lawrence looked at me weirdly.

“Yo, What the heck was that?!” The older one shouted. “What’s wrong with you?” I finally saw that I had slapped off a scab that he had on his face. Blood dripped to the floor. I braced myself for impact, as I would back at home when Dad would punish me for not using my brain, but like normal city kids, they did nothing.

“Quit the staring. It’s stupid. Do I look like a 5 legged penguin to you?”

I sat down on my bed. My jacket was still there. Lawrence handed my jacket to the older guy.

“Take this.”

He put his hand over my mouth and pinched me.

The older guy took my jacket and started wiping away his blood. He put my jacket next to him on his bed and didn’t return it to me.

The next morning, I awoke, finding that Oliver was not back. He left his camping supplies on his bed. One of the staff came over to our cabin to wake us up, but was surprised to see that we were all up already.

“Dan, you’re up already?”

Ryan asked

“Yeah, I am. I’m not up to no good. I have no money, and I just want to go.”

Ryan looked at me with extreme confusion. He scratched his goatee, and left a basket full of snacks. I assumed that was breakfast. As the others woke up, I started eating, only to stop mid-bite, to see that Dad was already waiting outside the gate. I grabbed Oliver’s camping supplies, and I sprinted towards the car, only to slip on the puddle Oliver dumped on me yesterday. I got up, and continued my way towards the car.

Dad had a cigarette in his mouth.

“Goody bags?”

I smiled.

“Yeah.”

As he started up the engine, I saw the other two boys from our cabin   leaving for their cars as well. The older one threw my jacket into the forest. It turned red from the bleeding. Lawrence glared in my direction.

During the ride home, I felt absolutely terrible. It was a shaky feeling, as if something devastating had happened. My shirt was still wet from yesterday. I was covered in dirt, but when I looked at my right hand, I saw a maroon color.

It was a scab.

A year later, nobody registered for Camp Hubalake. We cross by the gate every so often, and I always see my jacket lying on the ground in that forest.

They say that criminals always leave something at the scene of the crime.

Winter’s Lessons

It was another day at the neighborhood restaurant and Jack was sweeping up the dust in the vacant place. The restaurant was going out of  business. The manager and many of the other workers had quit, leaving the boss and himself.   “Hey Kid,” Mr. George glanced up at the slouched figure looking out the window at the glittering snow. “Your pay check thing…we have to lower it to 8 bucks.” Mr. G walked closer and put his hand on Jack Nelson’s back. “Sorry Jack, but we gotta keep this place alive.”

When Jack’s 8 hour shift ended, he headed to his apartment. Rent was 2 months overdue. His face lacked life as he looked into the cupboards to find his last pack of instant ramen . The cupboard reminded Jack about the restaurant; vacant and dusty.  So, taking the loose change his boss had given him, Jack headed out the door and to the grocery store. The grocery store was only 5 minutes away, 3 if he made it through the short cut through his neighbor’s lawn without being spotted,but Jack didn’t care about time that day. Walking to the grocery store, Jack looked down at his old shoes. They were broken, cold and wet. In fact, they looked as if nature had taken it’s course in the breaking down of the material.

Near the entrance of the grocery store sat a giant snowman built by the neighborhood kids.Two 4th graders, sat near the snowman holding a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup in one hand and a snowball in the other. They were so happy.

Jack went into the grocery store and grabbed the least expensive ramen flavor:chicken and a box of 35 water bottles. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a familiar face. Jordan Kett was at the cash register. His roommate and friend from college was working the cash register.

A few months ago, Jack dropped out of college because of money issues, which was a real shame because he was one of the best students there. Sunny and bright-that’s what the teachers thought of him. Jack put on his hoodie and headed towards the only working cash register. “How are you today?” asked Jordan trying to get a look at Jack’s face. He had a big smile. “Good” Jack said in his lowest he could. The total was 5 dollars and 47 cents. “Will that be cash or debit? ” asked Jordan, trying harder to see Jack’s face. For the first time that day, Jack saw his smile disappear. “Cash” said Jack. And after the paying process was over, Jack left the grocery store as fast as he could. He kicked over the snowman and took off his hoodie, as he sprinted back to his apartment. Angrily, Jack stood at the door of his apartment. “What does he want to do with me?” He screamed.” I can’t handle this! ”  He went back on the streets and kicked down another snowman before going back in his apartment. He had 45 minutes of silence before there was a knock on the door.

Jack peered outside and looked at almost a reflection of himself. Jordan stood there with his daughter with an infuriated look on his face, but before the fight began, it stopped. “Jack?” asked Jordan. “did you kick over that snowman?” Another awkward silence took place as the former friends looked at each other in the eye. Nobody was sure what to feel.  “We were worried.” said Jordan almost monotone as he left with his daughter.

The next day, Jordan knocked on Jack’s door with an envelope in his hand. “Jack, here is your 523 dollars” Jordan said, holding up the envelope. “I DON’T NEED YOUR HELP JORDAN!” Jack shouted.  “You don’t underst-” Jordan was cut off as Jack slammed the door. Through the small peep hole in his door, Jack saw that Jordan had left the envelope on the ground. I need the money thought Jack. I need it.. I need it… Finally, Jack lost it, he opened the door, grabbed the envelope and saw Jordan staring right back at him. “Jack…” Jordan started. “Go AWAY! ” Jack yelled. “Get out of here and don’t come back!” To Jack’s surprise, Jordan looked forlornly at Jack and quickly turned to make his way back to his place. Jack opened the envelope and took out the 523 dollars. There was another letter, but it was not important. The money was important. Jack could pay his rent. Jack could eat real food, Jack could start his life over with the 523 dollars. It felt awesome! Jack payed his rent, and bought more food leaving only 150 dollars left. When Jack was full and happy, he finally opened the letter:

Dear Jack,

Hey Jack, remember me? I’m Jordan Kett, your roommate and I was the one who took your 523 dollars to pay for my own education. You always had a lot of money. You had those fancy gadgets and stuff you brought from your house. I didn’t realize the situation you were in. Perhaps it was because I was stupid and naive. I thought it didn’t matter if I took your money because I always thought you wouldn’t care and we’d just laugh about it. It didn’t happen. You left school half a year ago. I ended up getting myself into trouble a bit, so I had to get a part time job here at the grocery store. I’m still in school. I saw you at the grocery store today and I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what I did.

Jordan

The happy feeling stopped when Jack read that letter. It was another reflection of himself, just like the cold winter snow.