CW Awards

Soooo this week is our last creative writing class *sobs in the corner* and we’ll be having a mini awards ceremony. I’m compiling this list of details about my novella to force you to vote for me make it easier for you to remember what you *might* want to nominate me for.  (I’m not trying to be a narcissistic, but… it’s part of the assignment.)

Title: Subliminal

eh.  I’m not sure what I think of it.  In a way it fits with the mystery and messages in the novella (and it does sound like a sci fi tittle) but I’m not sure how great it is.  In other words, I would love to hear it if you have any better title ideas.

Female Lead: Rowan Atreus (sometimes called Lacey Gorse)

Female Supporting: Rowena Dare or Ella

Male Supporting: Caleb or Chase

Villain: the Aurorans

Setting: Auroran Learning Institute (ALI)

Best Quote: I’m really not sure what my best quote is, but here’s one.

“Recognize yourself?” Ella asks, lowering her book and looking over the scene with thoughtful dark eyes.

“No,” Lacey admits, choking on the word.  She is alone.  She doesn’t even have herself.

Ella sighs.  “That’s all right.  None of us really do.”

If you think another quote is better, then that’s fine.

Opening Line:

“Rowan Atreus wishes her heart would stop beating.”

Closing Line:

“And when it opens, she sees a light.”

Literary Device:  Everything is based on the Aurorans symbolizing society.  Which might make my novella an allegory, but I’m not sure because after finishing English, I sort of deleted the literary device file in my brain. 🙂  So basically my whole novella is a literary device.

Comedic moment:  Well, there was that time when… when… nope, there’s nothing.

Dramatic moment: Chapter ten. >:)  The WHOLE thing.

Suspense moment: I’m not sure… Perhaps when a certain character dies and leaves behind a surprising note.  (if you read my novella, then that hopefully made sense)  But there are plenty of others.

Genre: Fantasy/ Science Fiction


S10: Round Robin—A Collision of Worlds

This week my creative writing class and I collaborated to write a round robin, a story where each person can only add three sentences at a time.  Now usually these kinds of things start with school children, continue with dragons taking over the earth, and end with an epic space battle.  So I was very impressed with our class that we not only formed a coherent story but made plans to write sequel chapters.  I can’t wait to see what’s to come!

The teacher looked out the window. It was such a beautiful day, but she had to stay inside and teach. She had about five minutes before class started. (GAINES)

Suddenly, there was a knock on the teacher’s door, and a young girl poked her head inside. “Miss Gilbert?” she said softly. “Can I ask you a question?

“Certainly,” Missy Gilbert, the teacher, replied. (LEONE)

“Okay, so it’s like this,” the girl began earnestly.  “I found this letter, and I think it’s in hieroglyphs, but I can’t read it.”  (KIMZEY).

“Let me see,” Miss Gilbert offered, pushing a pair of glasses on her nose and looking over the document.  “Those are not hieroglyphs,” she says, her jaw dropping.  “This is a language this world has never seen.” (LUPU)

The girl looked up with wide eyes. “I found it in my backpack. How could it be some unknown language?” (LEONE)

“I don’t know,” Miss Gilbert answered as several other fourth graders filtered through the classroom doorway. “How peculiar…I’ve never seen anything like it,” she continued. “Temia, why don’t we discuss this after class?” (RADZIALOWSKI)

Temia hesitated, then nodded her head. “Ok,” she replied, holding out her hand for the letter, but Miss Gilbert hummed.

“Actually, I’d like to keep looking at this, if you don’t mind.” (NOKELBY)

“Okay,” Temia said with a nod. She took her usual seat next to her best friend, Constantine. He poked her arm.

“What was that about?” he whispered.

“I’ll tell you after class,” Temia whispered back. (LEONE)

All throughout the class, Miss Gilbert’s thoughts kept straying off the history lesson she was teaching and back to the paper from Temia. What did it all mean? She tried to put two in two together, running through the recent events at the school through her mind. (RADZIALOWSKI)

Temia, who was extremely smart for a child her age, could tell that Miss Gilbert was not concentrating on the material at hand, but rather on the material Temia had placed into her hand. “I wonder what the big deal with that piece of paper is?” the ten-year-old thought to herself. (HOLLOMAN)

After class was over, Temia and Constantine approached Miss Gilbert’s desk.
“Miss Gilbert,” Constantine said in a proper, no-nonsense voice (rather unusual for a ten-year-old boy), “Temia has informed me of the strange language she found on the paper in her backpack. I believe I may be able to help.” (LEONE)

Miss Gilbert just stared at the boy standing on the other side of her desk.  She knew Constantine was a straight-A student, bordering on a geek, but how could this fourth grader have any idea what this language was?  She had gotten her Masters in Foreign Languages with a specialization in historic scripts, and she had never seen anything resembling this pictorial code.  (KIMZEY)

“You see,” continues Constantine, “I know you think I’m just an ordinary fourth grade boy.  But I am nothing of the sort. (LUPU)  If you knew who my father was, you would understand.” (KIMZEY)

“Constantine, I know who your father is. He’s on the PTA. I’ve met him many times,” said Miss Gilbert, wondering what on earth was going through the young boy’s head. (HOLLOMAN)

Constantine pulled at his beanie the way he always did when he was annoyed.  Here was another foolish mortal who was obviously oblivious to what was going on. “Well, ma’am,” Constantine replied, using what his dad had told him was a polite term for humans, “Us elves must be represented in the PTA or else the goblins would overpower everyone, including you humans.” (RIEDEL)

“Constantine dear, I know you like Lord of the Rings, but aren’t you taking this too far?”

Constantine rolled his eyes.  Why must mortals always insult him by saying he is referencing some frivolous human book series? (LUPU)

“Constantine watch out!” Temia cried as she shoved him to the floor.  He had been so busy with his thoughts that he had not noticed Miss Gilbert pull a short, thick sword from her desk drawer.  As the blade barely missed his head, he recognized the coat of arms embedded in the hilt: the Green Goblins. (RIEDEL)

“Don’t worry, Tem!”  Constantine cried, skidding along the tile floor to dodge the blow.  “It’s part of the plan — I promise!”  (KIMZEY)

Temia looked on with wide eyes as Constantine grabbed a chair and pushed it towards Miss Gilbert, making her stumble. The sword flew out of her hand, missing Constantine by inches, and Temia yelped. “I don’t think you dying is part of the plan!” she shouted. (NOKELBY)

“Run!” Temia yelled and pointed at the doorway. Miss Gilbert’s head whacked against the floor as the children scurried towards the exit.

“Stupid goblins!” Constantine shouted as he quickly grabbed the sword. (CHAN)

Halfway down the hall, the girl skidded to a halt.  “Wait!  The paper!” (KIMZEY)

“You go on, I’ll get it!” Constantine spun on his heel; his sneakers slid on the slick floor. Approaching the room, he cautiously held the sword forward, and peeked through the door. Where is she? (WHITLEY)

Spotting the paper on Miss Gilbert’s desk, Constantine crept forward several feet and reached out to snatch it. He swiped the document and shoved it into his back pocket.. However, the very second he turned to leave, the door shut with a resounding slam. (RADZIALOWSKI)

Miss Gilbert loomed over Constantine with an evil smile. Brandishing the sword, the young boy kept his distance, edging out towards the center of the room.

“Smart move, shutting us in a room while I have the weapon,” he remarked, somewhat sarcastically. (NOKELBY)

“Oh, you aren’t the only one with a weapon,” smirked Miss Gilbert.  And that was when Constantine heard the ominous bangs and thuds coming from the heating ducts. (RIEDEL)

“More goblins?!” Constantine exclaimed in disbelief, striking a defensive pose. Sure enough, several creatures soon began pouring out of the heating ducts, all armed with swords, spears, and pikes. (WESTEREN)

As the beasts descended down into the room Constantine realized the he had no chance of winning this fight without backup. Pressing a button on his watch, he called his mentor on the radio. “Santa! I need backup, now!” (NICHOLS)

Then he turned to face the oncoming assault.


Temia waited nervously at the playground.  Constantine should have been back by now, and, despite herself, she was beginning to think something had gone horribly wrong. (RIEDEL)

Shuffling around on her feet, she began staring at the door she had run out of, wondering if she should go back in and look for him. (NOKELBY)

Just then, a bruised Constantine burst into the room Temia was in, eyes were wide. He looked like he wanted to speak, but he didn’t. He motioned for Temia to run. (LEONE)

As soon as they began running across the playground, however, Miss Gilbert burst from the door. But now, her fake human skin had been shed, revealing the green scales of a full grown goblin. Although exposed in broad daylight, the mere mortals could not see her; so was the nature of the Fae. (WHITLEY)

Temia screamed. Constantine ran to her and grabbed her hand. He started tapping away at his palantir disguised as a wristwatch, hoping his father would answer. (LEONE)

“What happened, Constantine?”  the girl panted.

He shook his head, still smacking at his wrist.

“Where’s your bean– your ears!” Temia cut off, suddenly noticing the way they came to a point at the top, unlike her own regular, human ones.  (KIMZEY)

Constantine ignored the comment, leading her to a gap under the school’s chain link fence. He motioned for her to crawl under first, suddenly wishing he still had that sword. But after what happened in that classroom…. (WHITLEY)

After Constantine squeezed under the fence behind Temia, his friend put a restraining hand on his shoulder. “Stop!” she exclaimed. “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on!” (WESTEREN)

Constantine threw his arms in the air, shaking his head. Pointing his finger at his mouth, he made several, wild movements with his hands, and Temia yelled out in frustration.

“Quit acting like you’re having a seizure and start talking! Please!” (NOKELBY)

Tears began to glisten in Constantine’s eyes, and he began to speak to her very softly.  “Things are going to change, Temia.  All I want is for you to be safe: go to my people in the woodlands and my mother will care for you there.” (HARVEY)

“But, I don’t even know where to find her!” Temia said, slightly exasperated.

“Here,” he pressed a small jewel into her hand, “this will lead you to her. Now scoot!” (HEARN)

“You aren’t coming?” Temia asked, afraid she already knew the answer.

“No … I am sorry, but it has been my duty to protect you, and for now I must continue doing so. Temia, just know that you are very, very special.” (HOLLOMAN)

Temia opens her mouth to form a question, then closes it in shock.  She realizes Constantine hasn’t been speaking; she hears his voice in her mind.  But before she can say anything, the stone starts to glow world around her spins and spins until she finds herself in a lush, peaceful forest. (LUPU)


Constantine was a fair fighter for his age, but he knew he couldn’t take on a horde of goblins alone. That’s why he had called for help from Santa—the greatest of all the elvish warriors.

Constantine, despite the dangerous situation at hand, couldn’t help but chuckle as he thought back to the silly, Christmas legend the mortals had invented so long ago. (HOLLOMAN)


hohoho indeed!

When Santa arrived, Temia got a wild surprise–Santa was not dressed in white, he did not have a bushy white beard, and he was not obese from eating dozens of cookies. In fact, he looked more like the Elven king Thranduil from the stories Temia’s older brother read. She couldn’t help but feel the need to bow to Santa the cool elf king. (LEONE)

“Where am I?” she asked, looking around at the tall green trees surrounding her.

Santa, who seemed to be in a bit of a hurry, waved away her question and instead speedily asked, “Where is the paper with the strange language?”

Temia blinked, confused for a moment, and then frowned. “I…don’t have it. Constantine does, but why do you need-” (NOKELBY)

“Temia,” the Elven warrior’s voice stopped her in mid-sentence.  “The paper was placed in your backpack because you are the one prophesied on it; it speaks of one whose purity and valor can unite with the power of our people to vanquish the Green Goblins forever.”  Seeing the fear in her eyes, Santa challenged her, “Temia, through the Halari Emerald which my son [Constantine!] gave you, you came to this forest, and that means you are the one with the magic to restore our peace.”  (KIMZEY)

Temia shook her head, stammering “No — it can’t– I’m just a fourth grader!”

“You can hear telepathy.  You can use magic.  You are not mortal, Temia,” Santa says. (LUPU)

Telepathy . . . magic . . . Temia shook her head again in confusion. “But I’ve never done magic in my entire life!” she protested.

“Oh, really?” Santa asked pointedly, causing Temia to remember a strange incident long ago, when she was only five years old. (WESTEREN)

“Temia, do you remember that time, in third grade, when you fell from a tall tree?” Santa asked, adjusting a bow over his shoulder.

The girl nodded and added in a hushed voice, “I didn’t even get hurt.”

“That’s right my dear, and the reason you didn’t get hurt is because you told the ground to catch you—you have the ability to control nature: the wind, the water, the trees … all of it.” (HOLLOMAN)

“Its weird to have the earth listen to me, as if I was its master, i’m just a simple girl, who has the whole world in the palm of her hands” Temia stated glancing up at his gaze.

“But how does one expect me to understand all this, I can hardly understand math problems.” She stuttered shaking her head in dismay. (METZLER)

“Temia.  Yes, this is sudden, and yes, you are frightened,” Santa returned.  “But understand that there is only one thing for you to do if you are to aid Constantine in defeating these foes.”  (KIMZEY)

He removed a satchel on his belt. “You must find your way to Álfheimr; there they shall explain to you your legacy and your purpose. I would lead you there, but first I must rescue my son, before the Goblins take him.” (WHITLEY)

“But how do I get there?” Temia asked.

“That you must discover yourself, brave Temia,” Santa replied.  “Travel to Álfheimr and find my wife, Norène, who will help you.” (LUPU).

“O-okay,” Temia said softly.

“I know you can do this,” smiled Santa, moving towards a sleigh that appeared to be hooked up to a group of mythical looking elk. (HOLLOMAN)

“Be careful, and do not leave the forest– travel towards the sun always.” He swung himself into the sleigh, and said, “Good luck. Hopefully we shall meet again soon.” And then he was off. (WHITLEY)

Temia looked down at the green jewel in her hand.  Constantine had said it would take her to his mother.  And his father had told her to go east — to what, she only wished she knew.  (KIMZEY)

S9: I Open at the Close

A list of the beginning and closing lines of ten different novels.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling

Opening: “The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.”

Closing: “All was well.”

Notes: I chose this because, well, it’s Harry Potter.  Considering that it’s one of the bestselling series of all time, it’s a good one to learn from.  This book definitely has one of my favorite endings.


Artemis Fowl The Atlantis Complex, by Eoin Colfer

Opening: “Artemis was once an Irish boy who longed to know everything there was to know, so he read book after book until his brain swelled with astronomy, calculus, quantum physics, romantic poets, forensic science, and anthropology, among a hundred other subjects.”

Closing: “’You certainly should,’” said Butler, and lumbered down the corridor, stepping around a pool of turnip soup.

Notes: I love this series.  The first sentence does a wonderful job capturing Artemis’s character and grabbing the reader’s attention, while the closing demonstrates the books’ quirky sense of humor.

We Were Liars, E. Lockhart

Opening: “Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family.”

Closing: “I endure.”

Notes: Both the beginning and end to this book are so brilliant that I could probably rant about it for pages.  Since the writing style uses a lot of short, brief sentences, the lines themselves don’t appear extraordinary, but they’re powerful in their context.  The beginning does a good job introducing the setting and conflict, and the end emotionally shows how this affects the main character.

The Name of This Book is Secret, Pseudonymous Bosch

Opening: “Warning: Do not read beyond this page!”

Closing: “With greatest admiration and respect, P.B.”

Notes: I loved this series when I was younger.  I just had to include it because the opening line is hilarious.  And yes, the author continues to interact with the reader like that through the whole series.

Airman, Eoin Colfer

Opening: “Conor Broekhart was born to fly; or, more accurately, he was born flying.”

Closing: “’But men like us are different.  We are visionaries.’”

Notes: The opening line catches the reader’s attention from the start, and the closing provides a sentimental and satisfying conclusion.  I love how both show how Conor, the main character, is different in a positive way.

I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai

Opening: “I come from a country which was created at midnight.  When I almost died it was just after midday.”

Closing: “My world has changed but I have not.”

Notes: To make this list a little more diverse, I chose a quote from a memoir.  Although I don’t usually read this genre, the beginning grabbed my attention, and I love how the closing line shows where Malala is today.

Franny Parker, Hannah Roberts McKinnon

Opening: “When Grandma Rae Parker stole me away to the preacher on the morning of my kidnapped christening, she told him, ‘Bless this one just a mite bit more, if you will, dear reverend.  She may be a Parker, but she’s got her mother’s look in her eye.’”

Closing: “And I grew.”

Notes: I didn’t expect to add this book, but when I was searching my shelf for good examples, I had to smile at these lines.  The beginning is wonderfully quirky and endearing, while the end is sweet and sentimental.

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

Opening: “First the colors.  Then the humans.  That’s usually how I see things.  Or at least, how I try.”

Closing: “A LAST NOTE FROM YOU NARRORATOR: I am haunted by humans.”

Notes: As some of you already know, this is one of my favorite books of all time.  The same goes for its opening and closing lines.  In fact, the closing just might be my favorite of all time.  I love the irony that Death, which usually haunts humans, reveals that humans haunt it.

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

Opening: “Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”

Closing: “I do, Augustus.  I do.”

Notes: Before I read the first sentence, I wasn’t really planning on reading this book, but it drew me in.  The last lines are also very well done.  They pull together the novel, point to the theme, and reflect a marriage vow.  Though you do have to look at it in context to see all of that.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis

Opening: “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

Closing: “The other is that back in our own world everyone soon started saying how Eustace had improved, and how “You’d never know him for the same boy”: everyone except Aunt Alberta, who said he had become very commonplace and tiresome and it must have been the influence of those Pevensie children.”

Notes: Out of all of these, this one just might win the grand prize.  Aside from the humor, I love how both sentences develop Eustace.  The first introduces him as the brat he begins as, and the second shows how his adventures over the course of the book changed him into a better person.

S8: Questions that are Harder to Answer than They Should be

For this week, we answered a short questionnaire about our novellas then did a celebrity casting if we chose to do so.  I wasn’t originally planning on doing the casting but, well… I just had to.  I’ve done more celebrity researching in the last day than I have ever in my entire life. 🙂  

Question 1: What song would be the film score for your story?

I would say “White Teeth Teens” by Lorde.  This song can be interpreted in different ways—and I think it’s meant to be that way—but I feel like the theme of it fits my novel well.

Question 2: What book would be your main character’s favorite?

There’s no book that really jumps out as the answer.  I think she would like to read thought provoking books with themes of survival and self-realization, in which case she would probably like The Hunger Games.  Divergent might also appeal to her because it deals with the idea of categorizing people, although it’s strange to think of her reading dystopian books when she lives in a dystopian world.  Because of her experiences, she would be drawn to books that discuss memory loss, such as The Lost Hero, The Maze Runner, and We Were Liars.

Question 3: What TV shows would they watch?

This is honestly hard for me to answer because I don’t watch a lot of TV.  (I watch exactly one TV show).  Depending on her mood, my main character would either watch all of the popular shows to know what people are talking about, or rebel against all TV.  No, there would be no in between.  Ella would for sure like documentaries.

Celebrity Casting:

Well, here’s something I’m really bad at, since I kind of take pride in not knowing anything about celebrities.  I know next to nothing about these people and chose most of them for the way they look.  As a bonus, I chose a theme song for each character, since I usually think of those anyway.

Willow Shields as Rowan/Lacey:

Unlike most of the others, I’ve actually seen Willow act before and think she could do a good job. She plays Primrose Everdeen in “The Hunger Games.”

Song: “Who You Are” by Jessie J (though I prefer Ed Sheeran’s cover so that’s the one you get.)

Elizabeth Gilles as Rowena:

Yeah, I have pretty much no idea who she is. But the more I look at her, the more she looks the part.

Song: “No Angle” by Birdy (I know it makes NO SENSE now, but trust me, it will.)

Dylan O’Brian as Chase:

He was the first person that came to mind. At first I wasn’t sure, but now I can really see him in the role.

Song: “Monster” by Imagine Dragons

Haley Tju as Ella:

My options were pretty limited on this one. There aren’t a lot of Asian actresses out there! Or at least ones young enough for the role.

Song: “Am I Wrong” by Nico Vinz

Halston Sage as Bonny:

Her eye color isn’t the same as the book, but besides that she looks a lot like how I pictured her.

Song: “Popular” from Wicked (I’m not sure if this is the best song, but I couldn’t think of something better.)

David Huttlestone as Caleb/Leo:

And here is one of my favorite actors ever! I’ve been picturing him in the role for a while. (Even if his eyes aren’t green.)

Song: “Misguided Ghosts” by Paramore

S7: Assignment Gone Wrong

It’s the time of the week when we all post our assignments at the last minute!  With this sandbox, we were supposed to write about our main protagonist or antagonist in our novella giving a speech.  I did, well, you’ll see…

With sweating hands, Lacey drags her feet to the front of the room, trying not to look at the seated students who will soon be her audience.  She doesn’t want anything to do with this public speaking class, but an Auroran teacher told her it would be a good idea, since everyone should have to step out of their shell.

Keeping her hands steady, Lacey glances down at the speech they gave her to deliver, then meets the expectant eyes of the audience.  None of them take notes of any kind, and most don’t appear as if they plan on paying attention.  They are here to learn how to speak, not to listen.  Clearing her throat, Lacey reads the words planned for her.

“There was a time all of you inhabited the Outskirts, a place dominated by anarchy.”  Out of the corner of Lacey’s eye, she sees a boy doodling on the edge of his paper.  They’re not interested, since they’ve all heard this information before.  Discouraged, she presses on, explaining how the only communities in the Outskirts had tyrants for leaders, the adverse living conditions, and the overall lack of any hope.

“That is why the Aurorans gathered young people to take the Evaluation.”  Lacey pronounces each word with precision.  Although her audience doesn’t care, there’s an Auroran sitting at the back of the room, watching her with a hawk-like gaze and taking notes on her performance.  “With the world in the state that it’s in, our hope lies with the next generation.  Thus, the Aurorans selected the most talented young people the Outskirts have to offer in order to prepare them to take positions of leadership and bring change when they come of age.”

That doesn’t make sense, she thinks as she continues.  They expect next to nothing of us today, yet they expect us to change all of the world’s problems tomorrow.  Problems we didn’t cause.

After giving a tirade about the improved living conditions for students, Lacey reads the conclusion.  “At Auroran Learning Institute, we all have the opportunity we deserve.  Everyone is treated equally and given complete freedom.”

Lacey drops the paper, immersed in her own thoughts.  She doesn’t notice the next person standing up to read the same speech.  “That isn’t true,” she mutters.

“What?” a person from the audience asks.

“That isn’t true,” she repeats in a louder, bolder voice.  A few heads snap up.  “How are we free?  We can wear whatever we want, so long as we wear what they tell us to.  We can do whatever we want, so long as they approve of it.  We can be whoever we want to be, so long as it fits the mold they have planned for us.”

Lacey keeps talking, growing faster and louder with each sentence.  She can’t stop herself.  “Why am I taking this class?  Not because I want to, but because they think I should speak out more.  They force the timid to talk but not the loud to listen.  Is that being treated equally?”

There isn’t a single person in the room not paying attention now.  “And what is the point of the Evaluation?  To put people in boxes and categories, to decide who deserves the better treatment.  Then those of us who are lucky enough to be categorized as good enough have all the expectations to fulfill and orders to carry out.

“Our lives may have been horrible before, but are we happy here?  None of you will honestly answer that because we aren’t allowed to! We–”

Before Lacey can say another word, she feels a cold hand wrap around her wrist like a metal shackle.  She whirls around to find their Auroran supervisor standing over her, a blizzard of fury in his eyes.  “That would be quite enough, Miss Gorse.”

Dun dun dun.  On that lovely note, I’m ending my sandbox.  I’m not planning on putting this in my actual novel, but I hope you gained more insight on the conflict I’m trying to develop.  If you’re reading my novella, I’d appreciate it if you give me feedback on how well I’m portraying this conflict.  (You can tell me I’m failing completely.  It’s okay.  After all, this is only my first draft.)

Sandbox 6: The Mind of an Auroran

Here is the sandbox that you have all been waiting for  you get to read this week. 🙂  I rewrote Chapter 1 from the perspective of *drum roll* an Auroran.


One week.  Her time is up.  Clutching her clipboard to her chest, the Auroran walks to the prison’s door.  They told her to watch out for this one.  She can be too smart and strong for her own good.  A rebel.  But no matter.  A week in isolation should have done the trick.  The Auroran punches in a code, and the door opens.  The student sits in fetal position, on the breaking point though not yet broken.  Good.

The student’s head lifts up to examine the Auroran with wide brown disbelieving eyes.  “Come with me,” the Auroran orders.

The student peels herself off the floor.  “Come?  I’m leaving?”

The Auroran resists the urge to roll her eyes.  For the smartest young individuals in the Outskirts, the students sometimes asked the most infuriatingly simple questions.  “Yes.  Up now.  We don’t have all day.”

While the student eyes her suspiciously, the Auroran jots down a few notes.  Untrusting.  Confused.  Take advantage of the latter quality.

            “Are you my imprisoner or my liberator?” the girl asks.

Amused by the question, the Auroran smiles and answers, “Both.”  Then she turns and walks down the hall.  The girl will follow.

“Where are we going?” the student asks, stumbling behind.

“Save your questions for later.”  When they reach their destination, the Auroran turns to face the bewildered student.  “I’m going to explain everything to you in a condensed, brief manner, so it would serve you well not to interrupt.  Your name is Lacey Gorse.”

The student steps back.  “No.”

Again, the Auroran finds herself wanting to roll her eyes in annoyance.  Uncooperative.  Some hint of identity left, she jots down“I told you no interruptions.  Your name is Lacey Gorse.  Your past was bleak with a grey future, so when the Aurorans offered you a chance to take the Evaluation, you readily accepted.  Since you scored among the top twenty percent, you earned yourself a place at the Auroran Learning Institute, commonly known as ALI.  Your results are here.”

The Auroran makes pauses her recital to hand the student her Evaluation results.  They were impressively high, especially considering they had to take away any points for emotional strength.  If the results reflected her true performance…

“What’s the Evaluation?” the student asks.

“An accurate measure of beauty, intelligence, personality, creativity, and strength.  You just completed the final part.”

“The prison… and the memory loss was part of a test?  Does that mean I can have my memories back now?”

The Auroran ignores the student’s hopeful stare as she recounts the planned response.  She was told to expect questions like this.  “The prison was a test of emotional strength, yes.  The memory loss I’m afraid was an unfortunate side effect.”

“Why… how did it happen?”

There’s one question the girl will never receive an answer to.  “I’m afraid I don’t have time to explain.”  The Auroran checks the timer on her electronic board.  “When that door opens in thirty seconds, you will begin your life at ALI.”

“What do I do there?”

The Auroran bites back a sigh.  Why can’t the students understand their only job is to finish their childhood then take their place as world leaders, mending all the problems the previous generation left behind?  Instead of voicing her opinion she says, “You learn.  You live.  You’re liberated.”  The door opens.  “Come now.  The assembly is waiting.”

She walks up to the front of the stage, undeterred by the students’ expectant and confused stares.  “Students of ALI.  Today Lacey Gorse will be joining you.”  They’re surprised, of course.  No one prepared them for this to happen, because the Aurorans had only recently determined that Lacey would be able to join their number.

“Now we know you thought no one else would be joining, but these are unusual circumstances,” the Auroran continues, silencing the crowd.  “You also need to know that Lacey has unfortunately experienced amnesia, which may cause some trouble to her adjustment, but we’re sure we can leave her in your care from this point on.”

There.  Her job is done.  The Auroran walks off the stage and through the door, ignoring the new student’s desperate eyes following her.  She feels no guilt.  If the student was incapable of taking care of herself, she wouldn’t be where she is now.  Even if she is an anomaly.

S5: Michelangelo– Research Project

This Sandbox assignment was to write chapter five of another person’s novel.  I decided to continue Rachel R’s Stealing Joy, since we’ve been in the same group.  I sort of kind of followed her NPO.  Her chapter is probably a lot better than this, but I had fun playing with her story.  Hope you like it Rachel! 🙂

Here’s the real Mickey. Just for fun.

“Well first,” Michelangelo explained, “you’ve got to put this on.”  He pulled out bag of clothes.

Lisa rolled her dark eyes.  “Ugh… are you seriously complaining about my fashion again?  You know, not all of us are concerned about how we look when we’re on a mission.”

“Lisa, Lisa.  Michelangelo knows best.  Don’t forget it.  You’ll regret it.  Besides, these are disguises, not fashion outfits.  Though if you want some fashion advice…”

“Please don’t,” Lisa cut him off.  “Not all of us can look fabulous after spending the night in a tree.”

“I know.  Not all of us are so gifted.”  He examined his reflection in the rear view mirror.  “Or so good-looking.”

“Whatever Mickey.”

He frowned.  “Hey, I thought I told you not to… wait!  Turn there.”

Lisa raises her eyebrows.  “In that building?  You realize that’s a library only available to government officials.”

“Yes.  That’s where we’re doing our research.  And that’s why we need the disguises.”

“Do you have access?”

“Never doubt my abilities, Estrella.”

Lisa pulled into a nearby parking lot and they took turns changing into their disguises.  Then the odd pair made their way to the library door.  Michelangelo swiped a fake access card and typed in a password.  When the door opened, he put his thumb on a finger print pad to get them through a second door.  “There,” he said.  “We’re in.  And I’ve also disabled all cameras for the next thirty minutes.  It should take the SWAT forty five minutes to realize something is wrong and to get here.”

Lisa’s eyes widened.  “How did you do that?”

Michelangelo shrugged.  “I hacked the system.”

“You hacked the federal government?”

“Well… yes.”

Lisa shook her head.  “That’s very illegal, but I’ll ignore that for now.”

Michelangelo smiled.  It was nice to impress Lisa for once, even if she pretended like it was nothing.  “Now, over here.”  He pulled Lisa over to a data computer and they searched for information about Senator Grimled and who might have captured him.

“Lisa, I think I might have found something,” Michelangelo said, pointing to the screen.  But before she could respond, they heard the sound of heavy footsteps charging through the door.

Lisa threw him an accusing look.  “I thought you said they wouldn’t come for at least forty five minutes!”

He shrugged.  “Sorry?”

A SWAT man knocked down the door and came into the room.  Lisa sighed and took him down with a stun gun.  “Come on,” she ordered, pulling Michelangelo behind her.

As they walked over to a window, they heard several people coming up the stairs.  “Okay,” Lisa said, opening the window.  “We’re going to have to jump to that tree.  Think you can do it?”

“No!” Michelangelo shouted terrified.

“Okay then.  You’ll have to trust me.”

Just then, a SWAT officer marched into the room, shooting in their direction.  “Lisa!” Michelangelo shouted, pulling her out of the way just in time.

Her eyes widened.  “You just…”

“Yes.  Now what was that plan you were talking about?”

Lisa snapped out of her shock, stunned the second officer, and then jumped into the tree.  After securing her position, she dropped a rope to Michelangelo.  “Grab on!” she called.

Although it made Michelangelo nervous, he held on to the rope as tightly as he could while Lisa hauled him up.  Once in the tree, he pushed a few buttons on a hand-held device.  “There.  That should mess things up in there some.”

“Good.  This way.”  Lisa nimbly climbed out of the tree while Michelangelo stumbled along until they reached the car.  As soon as they got in, she took off.

“Well, that went differently than planned,” he muttered.

“You saved me from getting shot back there,” Lisa said, keeping her eyes on the road.

“Well… it was probably just a stun gun.”

“I know.  But still.  Thanks.”

Michelangelo grinned.  “Do my ears deceive me or did Lisa Estrella Sanchez just say thank you.  Seriously, I didn’t think that was in your vocabulary.”

“Don’t push it.”

Michelangelo cleared his throat.  “Well, I suppose I should thank you, too.  For, you know, getting me out of there.”

“It wasn’t much,” she said, but a small smile tugged on the corner of her mouth.

“Lisa?” Michelangelo asked after a long moment of silence.


“Look, I know you don’t like me but… if we’re going to work together, do you think we can at least try to be friends?”

She let out a sigh and made sure she paused for a long moment before answering.  “Yes.  I suppose we could try.”

Michelangelo smiled but didn’t speak.  Talking annoyed Lisa, which he usually enjoyed, but right now he didn’t want to ruin anything.  So it was Lisa who spoke first.

“By the way, what information did you find before the SWAT came?”


S4– Madlib

Sorry I haven’t been on my blog lately.  I have been BUSY.  But here’s a fun madlib to make up for it.  You can find the original story here.  Feel free to post results in the comments.

Male name (preferably someone you know):

Noun (place):

Noun (another place):

Noun (the second place again):

Verb (present tense):

Noun (plural):


Verb (ing ending):

________ [Male name (preferably someone you know)] didn’t know what time it was.  Or what day it was.  What he did know was that he was far away from ________ [noun (place)] —which was where daddy still was—and that he was still far away from _________ [noun (another place)]—which was where they were going.  He decided visiting _________ [noun (the second place again)] couldn’t possibly be worth all this trouble.  From what he remembered, it was all just a bunch of aunties, __________ [noun (plural)], and cousins he didn’t __________ [verb (present tense)], a lot of grown-ups who wanted to tell him how _______ [adverb] he had grown, and __________ [verb (ing ending)] more churches than he could count.

In case if you were wondering what the original was and you’re too lazy to click my link, here it is:

Asher didn’t know what time it was.  Or what day it was.  What he did know was that he was far away from home—which was where daddy still was—and that he was still far away from America—which was where they were going.  He decided visiting America couldn’t possibly be worth all this trouble.  From what he remembered, it was all just a bunch of aunties, uncles, and cousins he didn’t remember, a lot of grown-ups who wanted to tell him how much he had grown, and visiting more churches than he could count.

Though really, you should go back and read the whole thing….

S3– Auroran Learning Institute

When I read what this week’s Sandbox was, I actually started laughing.  We were supposed to create a flyer advertising the setting in our novella, which is a little strange for my novella since it’s in a dystopian setting.  Then I got the idea of making it a  propaganda flyer…