Durant High School Journalism

The Garden

The following is a work of fiction, all similarities between indviduals or corporations are all coincidents. This is not based on true events.

In Riverside, California the legacy of the Parker family has preserved since the founding of the city. The family is famous for providing the city with locally sourced produce. Beau Parker controls the family legacy.

Beau has a beautiful and kind wife, Molly. The two met 17 years ago at 18 years-old and married nine years ago at 26 years-old. Together they have a son and a daughter, who will be raised to care for the farm the way their ancestors had in the past.

Beau’s day begins at 6 a.m, as he begins tending to the animals. From the barn’s central control room Beau sets the feeders to release feed mixes for the chickens, pigs and goats. Then he makes sure the cattle and horses are grazing as he milks the three cows.

After completing his early morning chores, Beau checks the mail, then returns to the house to have breakfast with his family.

As Beau flips through the mail, he passes bills, advertisements and coupons but the final envelope is from Ellison Wood, a name Beau had grown to despise. For the last five years, Ellison has tried to buy the farm from Beau.

Ellison Wood is the CEO and majority shareholder in Wood Inc. and wants to buy the land the farm sits on. 

The farm rests at the center of the city, it is surrounded by sky-high buildings and highways that create a perpetual smog. The land is valuable but not worth selling in the eyes of the Parker family.

Despite the grey atmosphere of the urban city, the smog is unable to penetrate the farm. The air is always crisp, clean and fresh with the smell of soil, fruits and natural fertilizer. The smell reminds Beau of what the farm means to him: home. He grew up in the same house he is raising his children in.

Beau enters the house and walks to the kitchen where Molly sits feeding their daughter. He throws away the advertisements, puts the coupons on the counter, puts the bills where he will sit and hands the letter from Ellison Wood to Molly.

“When will this woman quit?” Beau asks his wife.

“Have you ever sent her a formal rejection?” She gives him a knowing look.

“I’ll read the offer and then respond, it would be rude not to address her offer in the rejection letter.”

Beau opens the letter and reads it to Molly:

To the Parker family,

I know I have contacted you about the acquisition of your land previously, but as those inquiries have not elicited a response, I feel inclined to contact you again.

I would like to buy the land the Parker Farm rests on, this includes the land the barn and home rest on. If this land is acquired it will be converted into a new headquarters in addition to a new parking garage

I would like to offer your family five million dollars for the land. It would cover the cost of your current land, a new home and proper transportation for the animals to a rural area.

As a member of this city, I appreciate the hard work the Parker family has put in to provide nourishment to the people of Riverside and I hope using new urban farming techniques your family will continue to do so from a new facility.

I would like to hear from your family soon in regards to my offer. I hope we can benefit each other.

Best wishes,

Ellison Wood


Woods Inc.

“Can you believe the nerve of that woman! How dare she insult the family legacy?!”

“I understand your frustration but not in front of the kids. Just reply with clear intent that you have no interest in selling your family legacy.”

“You’re right. I am sorry for yelling in front of you guys. I am going to take a walk around the field to clear my head.” 

He gives Molly a quick kiss, and kisses each child on the forehead. He exits the house to go to the fields. In the fields a variety of fruits and vegetables are growing. When he was a young boy his father always taught him that the field was the best place to clear your head.

His father would say, “The fields are the garden of the farm. God couldn’t take Eden from Adam and Eve and no one will ever take this from you.”

About the Writer
Photo of Angelique Robinson
Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

The Storm

Can you see it?

The young picture-perfect family, from down the street. The hardworking father, the show-stopping mother, and the beautiful little girl.

She’s adorned in ruffles and lace, smiling for the camera. The film capturing the moment in time, one that would become so precious to the girl. When she is older and reality has set in, that her picture-perfect family was never quite that. 

Her mother is synonymous with a wave, constantly being pulled back out into the world like the tide. She struggles with the actuality of being a mother, the long nights, emotional toll, and financial stress of a child. She is in constant motion, unable to settle, even for her daughter.

The unrelenting call for more distractions keeps the mother from the girl. Days, weeks, even months go by with no contact from her mother. But that is to be expected, reception is scarce in the deep. The girl understands, she knows her mother and the struggles she faces. The little girl leans on her father. 

Her father, the supposed definition of perfection, loves the little girl. He is constant in her life, never being pulled away. She knows this with absolution. As the little girl’s body grows, her mind, and perception do as well. Her father has a difficult time comprehending this change. 

He cannot fight his own upbringing to nurture the little girls’ newfound beliefs. He is like lightning, lashing out sporadically, irrationally, and always when water was near.

The girl loved them, her father the lightning, and mother the wave. The two had many children of the sea and sky. All would come to the girl for help and advice when the mother and father were missing. As she was the child with the most experience handling the dangerous combination. 

She had strong roots, like an oak, planted throughout the home. She loved the children as her own and wanted nothing more than for them to lead happy and healthy lives. She became a backbone for her home, creating the stability and comfort the children craved. Her mother was at war with the tide, and father at war with the storm, the girl loathed this about her family. The constant motion and inability to find a calm, that is all she wanted, calmness. 

The girl grew and grew until the ocean was too small for her. Her roots were deep, much deeper than expected. The idea of removing herself for the betterment of her own mental capacity was difficult. The memories of the photo are constant. 

Is leaving a betrayal?

Am I selfish for wanting this?

The girl knew the storm and tide would never cease; she knew nothing could calm this storm. So, she made a decision, she ripped the roots up. The little girl knew, only she could be the calm.  

About the Writer
Photo of Jennifer Dages
Jennifer Dages, Editor-in-Chief of Writing

Jennifer Dages is a senior at Durant High School and is the Editor-in-Chief of Writing for PawPrint newspaper. In her free time, she practices Brazilian...

The Asylum

In the Year 2235, Joe Smith woke up, the same way he had every day before, exhausted and uninterested in the day to come. Joe got out of bed, wondering when Annabelle, the woman who loved him would visit. Joe follows his routines every day, he puts no effort into it, he doesn’t have an obsessive reason, it just happens.

On non-workdays Joe brushes his teeth, shaves, washes his face, puts on tan cotton pants and a white t shirt, then goes downstairs to eat oatmeal, then drinks orange juice. Once he is ready for the day Joe goes to his study. He spends five minutes meditating to improve his soul and to keep him calm. He gets up then enters his Memory Museum. In 2197, scientists discovered a way for humans to extract memories and keep them on disks to replay like movies. They had existed since before he was born.

Every morning, even before work Joe visits a specific memory.

On March 6, 2219 Joe was 18. It started the same as every other day. He followed his routine before school perfectly. When he got to school, he began walking to his locker as usual but upon arriving at his locker, standing there is a handsome boy trying to open it.

“I don’t know you and that’s my locker.”

“Oh sorry, I’m new. My name’s Hugh, Hugh Collins.” Something was going on with Joe, he felt warm, it was something he had never felt before.

“Well, I know you now, but that’s still my locker.”

“Oops, sorry. Mine is next to it, I didn’t read the numbers carefully. First day anxiety. It never goes away.” Hugh slides right to the next to Joe’s. Joe takes this as the end of their conversation, so he opens his locker. He exchanges for binders and books for his first two classes. “Most people would introduce themselves.” Hugh says from his locker.

“I’m Joe Smith.”

“That must be a common name.”

“I guess. See you around Hugh.” Joe had never felt many emotions around his family but in the brief interaction with Hugh he had wanted to crack a smile.

“Wait Joe! Could you show me around? No one offered to show me around in the office.”

“Figures, sure, I’ll give you the tour.” Joe takes Hugh around the school showing him the different buildings and where his classes were. Hugh managed to get a laugh from Joe as he made creative ways to remember unique things about each building.

“The Mystery Mischievous Masterpiece Building. Would be the art hallway where secretive, salacious activities occur.”

“Moving Along. You’re really passionate about your creativity huh?”

“They make life more interesting.” Joe just gave a small smile then walked back to the patio, where most students hung out before school.

“Well, this is where I leave you.”

“I’ll see you later.”

“If you can find me, you can sit with me at lunch.” To give Hugh’s creative mind a challenge, Joe neglected to mention that they had the same class for lunch.

Joe left for his first period which was on the opposite side of campus. He decided he would share Hugh’s way of going through life. Hugh seemed far happier than Joe, so Joe assumed whatever Hugh was doing was right. Throughout the first three periods there was a noticeable difference in Joe’s mood. Many of his assumed he was on something.

 In English he was thinking creatively for the first time. He smiled for the first time in History. In Spanish he spoke for the first time. This change delighted the teachers and confused the students. When it came time for fourth period Physics, Joe was exited, which confused him because it was the first time, he could remember, feeling this much in one day.

When Joe made it to Physics Hugh was sitting in the seat nest to his, where no one usually sat. Hugh was shocked to see Joe enter the room. Hugh smiled in greeting but did not say anything which was weird to Joe, but he was too introverted to start a conversation.

After giving the class their reading assignment for the day, their teacher called roll because he was terrible with learning names. He went through the entire roster but never called Hugh Collins. Joe looked over at Hugh with curiosity

“Don’t worry about it.” Hugh whispered so that only Joe could hear.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course.” Joe trusted Hugh’s nonchalant behavior. The girl sitting in front of Joe was very confused as to what was going on behind her. She went up to the teacher and told him what was going on. The teacher thanked her for the concern and dismissed her to complete her assignment. The teacher became serious, glanced at Joe who took no notice as he was whispering to Hugh. The teacher then began to write a note.

“John, could you deliver this note to the nurse. Wait there for a response.” Everyone knew who he meant.

“Okay sir, but what about the assignment?”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll have someone fill you in.” Joe glanced at Hugh, then walked up to the desk to get the note.

Joe quickly walked to the office to deliver the note. He went straight to the nurse’s office. No one was being treated so the nurse was just behind her computer.

“Hello Joe, what can I do for you?”

“I’m here to give you this note and wait for a response.” He placed the note on her desk. She picked up the note then glanced up at Joe.

“I’ll be right back with your response.” She walks out then the memory fades to black.

Joe has wondered for the last 16 years what that note said, what happened to him and most importantly what happened to Hugh. Every day this was replayed for Joe, yet he could not remember what happened after he blacked out that day.


“In the museum Anna!”

“Of course, you are, I should have come here first. Are you ready?”

“I’m always ready.”

“So, did anything from that day comeback?” She rubs a wipe on his arm.

“No, still nothing.” She injects him with the same serum she has for the last sixteen years.

“It’ll all be okay.” He falls asleep forgetting about the last few hours.

About the Writer
Photo of Angelique Robinson
Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

The Perfect Small Town

“K2TV Reporter Chris Topling reporting live from Cheyenne, Wyoming where 26-year-old Janelle Davis was found in her home after ten months of the disappearance of her and her husband John Davis. Davis returned home in the family car but only recalls leaving by herself. Davis shows no signs of physical harm or malnourishment. Strangely, Davis has no recollection of the last ten months or of her missing husband. The last thing she remembers is heading for Yellowstone National Park to spend a week on vacation. The state troopers and local authorities are looking for evidence as to what happened to the Davis family, but so far nothing has been recovered, nor is there any information on the whereabouts of Mr. Davis. Back to the station.”

10 Months Ago

            Janelle and John Davis were preparing to leave for their vacation at Yellowstone National Park. They planned to camp at the park so they could hike, relax and enjoy nature with ease. The two were packing their car with hiking gear, camping gear, plenty of food and their luggage.

The couple left their home in Cheyenne at 6 am hoping to reach the campgrounds at about 1:30 pm, giving them plenty of time to set up their campsite before sundown. John got behind the wheel with Janelle providing navigation from the passenger seat.

The couple drove, sharing polite conversation, while listening to music on the radio. They stopped for gas two hours into the seven-and-a-half-hour drive. The couple refilled their coffee, used the restroom and continued on their way.

Another two hours in the car go by until a clicking noise is heard, “click, click, click.” John recognizes the sound as an engine problem and pulls over. John and Janelle get out of the car.

“What are we going to do? You don’t know anything about fixing cars!” Janelle worried.

“Don’t worry, this is what mechanics do. Calm down, and look at that sign, Lander is in three miles. We can search if there is a mechanic in tow n.” John pulls his phone out and searches for the desired information. “Look at the wonders of Google, there is a mechanic shop in town.” He shows Janelle the mechanic’s information before dialing the number. He engages in a very simple conversation with the mechanic, explaining the situation. “More great news, the mechanic has a tow truck and will pick us and the car up.”

“How long will it be?”

“About fifteen minutes.”

The couple waits for the mechanic by discussing the things they want to do when they get to Yellowstone. The fifteen minutes passes quickly, as the pair sees the tow truck approaching them. On the side the truck says, “Lander Auto Repairs.” The truck parks in front of the car and the driver gets out. The driver is a young man, appearing to be about 20 years old.

“How are you folks doing?” This confused the couple as the man appeared younger than them but spoke like a sixty-year-old.

“We are fine, just anxious to be on our way.” Janelle responded for the both of them. “What about you?”

“Good, just working. Speaking of, let’s get you folks to town to see what’s going on.” The man hooks their car up to the truck without another word to either of them. Once the car is secure the, the man beckons the couple to get into the truck. As soon as everyone is buckled, the man heads toward the town.

About five minutes later, the truck approaches a dainty town. No trash, no homeless people, no dirty walls, no smog in sight. Everything here seemed perfect, like a display in a shop window. As the truck drove through the town, there were very few people walking around. Those who were walking were all in similar outfits but looked nice enough. All the people seemed to wear blue jeans and white t-shirts. Even the driver was wearing dark blue jeans and a white V-neck t-shirt.

Another two minutes go by before the truck pulls into the lot of the auto-repair shop and everyone gets out of the car. The Davises stand to the side as the mechanic releases the car from the truck.

“From what you described over the phone; it sounds like a blown engine. It’ll take at least an hour to fix. If I were you, I would go over to the diner and grab some breakfast.”

“Thanks for the suggestion.” John says. He takes Janelle’s hand and they walk over and enter the diner. There are only four tables occupied. One with a middle-aged couple, one seating a woman, the third with a dad and two kids and the other with a group of teens.

All the diners turned and stared at the Davises with wonder. A waitress comes out to deliver food to the table with the dad and kids. She then takes note of the strangers near the entrance.

“Seat yourselves, I’ll be over in a minute.” The waitress calls over to the couple. They follow her directions and decide to sit near the woman dining alone. Each of them sat on one side of the table.

Janelle took notice of the décor, it was not very elaborate, checkered floors, red walls, black chairs and booths and white tables, very boring for a restaurant.

She also took note of the woman who was sitting alone. The woman was staring intently at Janelle. John began speaking to Janelle and her eyes promptly focused on her husband. The two spoke for only a few moments before the waitress appeared to take their drink orders.

“We didn’t get menus. We aren’t sure about what you have.” John explained.

“Sorry about that, small town, everyone’s familiar with the menu, not many visitors. We have milk, orange juice, apple juice, water and coffee.”

“We will take two waters.” Janelle decided, ignoring the waitress’ explanation. John nodded in agreement. The waitress smiled and walked away. They had to wait for her to come back with their drinks before they could decide on what they wanted to order. Janelle glanced behind John to see the woman still staring at her. “Honey, I’m going to the bathroom, I’ll be right back.”

Janelle sped past the woman towards the bathroom. Immediately she locked herself in a stall to do some breathing exercises to calm down. She thought she was being paranoid about the woman staring at her. Then bathroom door opened.

Janelle did not want to leave the stall, but she worried that John would think something happened if she was gone too long. Reluctantly Janelle left the stall. Standing in front of the door was the woman who was staring at her.

“Leave.” The woman said bluntly.

“If you moved out of the way I could go back to my husband.”

“Not the bathroom, this town. Get out of here before it’s too late.”

“You make it seem like this is a horror movie, the only strange thing here is you. Now if you will excuse me.” Janelle motioned for the woman to step aside. The woman simply sighed and moved out of the way, shaking her head. Janelle ignored the woman and walked back to the table, but John was not there. The woman exited the bathroom. Janelle promptly turned to her.

“What have you done to my husband?”

“I didn’t do anything. He was sitting there when I left to the bathroom. Check the men’s bathroom before assuming the worst.” Janelle sped to the men’s bathroom.

“Johnnn!” She waited a minute before worrying. She repeated the sequence but nothing. She rushed back out to the table. The woman was enjoying her breakfast as a frantic Janelle approached.

“He’s not in there?” Janelle shook her head no. “Then it’s too late. Go to your car and drive.”

“The car is in the shop, that’s why we’re here! Plus, John has the keys. What is going on here?”

“Come with me.” The woman leaves the diner without any hesitation or leaving any cash. The two women run three blocks, into a building. The woman locks and bolts the door.

“Are we safe? Can you explain what’s going on? Do you know where my husband is?” Janelle asks frantically.

“Lander is a new and small town, but it has a dark history. This all started when geneticists figured out cloning. When the ethical debates about human cloning were rising, a group of scientists fled California and wound up here. They started doing tests on their family members until they made it perfect. All they need is a non-clone to carry the clone.”

“Are you saying that there are cloning experiments going on in this town?”

“Not experiments, the elites in town get clones, they get embryo cells and insert the DNA and then freeze them to keep them preserved until ready to implant. To not arise suspicion, each person only gets two be cloned twice. The poor people in town get to stay in their homes and alive if at least one child is able to carry the clones.”

“If they don’t have any daughters, only sons?”

“If the mother is past her prime age to have children, then the family is annihilated.”

“They just kill people?”

“No. People get a choice. They can either wipe all memory of this place and people can start over elsewhere or yes, they can choose death.”

“What are you, a clone or a carrier?”

“I am a carrier, I have carried one clone, it was almost two years ago. I am set to carry another in a few months, after that it is time for my annihilation. If I were part of a clone family, I would just choose to not be cloned, only one has chosen not to be cloned.”

“What does any of this have to do with me? Or my husband?”

“There are not very many women available to have clones right now. There are some who are pregnant with first-borns and others who are unavailable through contract.”

“There is a contract?”

“Yes, as crazy as it seems. To ensure the health of the carriers they are only allowed to be pregnant, naturally or with a clone, every two years. When they are almost out of carriers, they trap women passing through the town.”

“So, what did they do with John? What if I choose to just wipe my memory?”

“John is probably in a holding cell. The choice is only for the families who have no available carriers. You are an available carrier so you will either carry a clone, then get your memory erased or they will torture you and or John until you carry a clone anyway.”

“What will they do with John while I am pregnant?”

“John would be allowed to be stay with you. You will probably be given a place to stay until you give birth. John will most likely have to work around the town, like the rest of the people who are related to a carrier or are currently inactive carriers.”

“Where can I find the people, who would have my husband?”

“Probably at City Hall, it’s a front for the geneticists’ lab. The holding cells are also there. Before you go there, stop by the mechanics, ask about the car and then your husband. You don’t want to alert the city officials.”

“One last question, how do they erase your memory of this place only?”

“that’s a question for the scientists themselves. They must target a specific area of the brain. It may be similar to the way they transfer the memories of the clones.”

“They do what?!”

“Oops. Yeah, the clones don’t start over. At puberty they implant a chip that connects to the hippocampus, so the brain stores former memories as though this body has made all of them.”

“Oh my.” After getting directions to City Hall, Janelle leaves the woman’s home with a smile plastered on her face as though she just made a friend instead of learning the hidden darkness of this perfect little town. She walked back to thee mechanic’s shop to check on the car like the woman said. The mechanic was wiping of the car then his forehead as she approached.

“How’s the car doing?”

“Fine ma’am. All set”

“Great, as soon as I find John, we can pay you and be on our way. Have you seen him?”

“No, I would check City Hall, a couple of locals may have picked him up for a tour. They probably wanted to introduce him to the mayor. We don’t get a lot of new people around here.”

“I bet. Thanks, I’ll be back with John as soon as possible. Then we’ll pay and be out of your hair.” Janelle smiled at the young man and began walking toward City Hall. It only takes about ten minutes to walk there.

She enters the building. Unlike the diner, the inside of City Hall is just as pristine as the outside. Pinstriped wallpaper, chandeliers and modern furniture decorates the lobby. Janelle walks up to the receptionist who has been looking at her since she walked in.

“Hi, I was wondering if you had seen a new man walking around anywhere? He’s my husband and our car, which was at the shop, is ready.”

“Yes, he’s in the mayor’s office. It is the last door on your right.” The receptionist smiled at Janelle, whose stomach twisted in repulsion.

“Thank you, have a nice day.” Janelle all but ran towards the end of the hallway. She knocked on the last door on the right.

“Come in.”

“Janelle!” John exclaimed, happy to see his wife.

“John! Let’s go. The car is ready, and it is almost noon. We still have another three and a half hours to drive.”

“Nonsense, it is still early, sit and chat with us Mrs. Davis.”

“As much as we would love that, we really must be going.”

“Ah yes, I suppose that camping trip won’t take itself.” Said the mayor as he stood up and walked closer to Janelle. “Then again, you won’t be taking it either.” Before she could run or protest, he injected her with a liquid. Immediately she became dizzy and drowsy. Slowly Janelle began to black out. John stared in shock.

“You said she wouldn’t get hurt!”

“She was trying to escape!” The mayor said angrily. “I may look like I’m 18, but I am mentally 85; I know when someone is acting.”

“Still, I could have convinced her.”

“It is handled, just accept it. Pick her up and follow me.” John picked up his wife. He followed the mayor down the corridor and then down a flight of stairs to a laboratory. The mayor motioned to the chair in the middle of the lab. John laid Janelle there, he strapped her into the chair. The mayor guided John out of the room so the geneticists can begin the procedure.

Janelle woke up what seemed like minutes after she passed out. She felt fine, aside from a slight groggy feeling from just waking up. She was alone in this strange lab setting. She realized she could not raise her arms. She began to panic.

“John! John!” She screamed, hoping that her husband could hear and save her. John busted into the room. Worry all over his face. “Oh, my goodness, John, thank goodness nothing happened to you. Help me, we have to go.”

“We can’t go. I’m sorry honey. You are a carrier.”

“You knew!!!” Janelle screams in John’s face with a fury she never knew she had.

“I permitted this. We can be cloned later in life, if you carry this clone.”

“Why would I want a clone? This isn’t natural. We are not meant to live longer than one lifetime. It’s why we vow until death do us part.”

“So, are you going to try to terminate this baby?”

“I would never, but I will be leaving here as soon as I give birth. Whatever it takes.”

“So be it.” John looks defeated. His shoulders slouch and he bows his head while walking out the door.

“John? I don’t think you are meant for me if you thought I would do this to live longer. You clearly don’t know me as well as I thought you did.” John looks ready to collapse as he sees the look of hate and disgust in his wife’s eyes. As a tear falls, he walks out the room and never looks back.

In the next ten months, Janelle lives with the woman, Ginger. The two women became close as Ginger guided Janelle through her pregnancy. They began to act like sisters who have known each other forever.

Janelle confided in Ginger as she no longer had John. John had become an elite in society. Janelle only knew what spread as town news. He remarried some local elite woman and they are living happily.

Once Janelle went into labor, her countdown for returning home began. They would wait until she was fully healed to send her home. Janelle and Ginger prepared for their goodbye as Janelle wished she did not have to forget Ginger. A month after the birth Janelle was driving towards Cheyenne Wyoming with no idea as to where she was leaving or how much time had passed.

The Attic

I’ve never been a fan of the attic. It’s dark, stuffy, and all around unpleasant. My brother would tell me stories of a creature. Not a monster he would assure me but always put emphasize on the not human idea. “It wanders the space above our heads,” he would say while gesturing his hands towards the ceiling.

My big brother, my role model, scaring me senseless, purely because he could. The idea of a creepy crawly thing living right above me, who would steal my socks as I slept, effectively terrified me as a child. This irrational fear of the unknown creature followed me into adulthood. Every time I came home to visit my family I caught myself glancing up toward the ceiling, secretly wondering if the creature of my childhood was watching. 

When my brother asked me to get the last box from up in the attic I hesitated. That uneasiness I felt during my childhood years resurfacing. As I trudged up the staircase to the second floor of our family home, my brain flew into a dozen impossible scenarios. Wondering if I should prepare myself, for the possibility of catching a glimpse of the creature, the unknown figment of my brother’s childhood imagination.  Every step my feet gained ten pounds, the pit in my stomach growing. I was reminded of the feeling you get while you’re in line for a roller coaster, your stomach rises it seems, then drops suddenly. Your brain can only think of the terrifying situation you’ve put yourself in, wondering why you were careless enough to agree to this senseless activity.

 I reach the apex point in the staircase; my brother calls up from below me. 

“What’s taking so long, afraid it’s up there?” I can see his look of amusement from the bottom of the staircase. ‘Yes, absolutely terrified’ I think to myself, but I would never give him the satisfaction.

“I am a grown woman; I am certainly not afraid of your made-up creature.” I retort pulling the cord to release the ladder leading to the attic. This little trip down trauma lane was at the expense of my parents. They had both retired and were moving to a lovely little house in the foothills of Tennessee. My brother and I agreed to assist in the consolidation of my mother’s lifetime worth of mementos and kitchen ware, alongside my father’s enormous collection of golf clubs and vintage car accessories.

This proved to be a more insurmountable task than either of us originally thought. We were on our 75th and final box, shoved into the back corner of the attic. Finally making my way to the top of the ladder. My eyes scour the room for the final box.  I could make out a dark silhouette of the box in the back-left corner, right below the oval shaped windowpane. Scrambling my way past the lip where the ladder connects with the ceiling, standing to my feet, brushing the dust from my knit sweater. I slowly start to move my feet towards the corner, dragging with every step. The floor creaks under my feet, sending me into momentary cardiac arrest. My hand over my heart, my breathing ragged, I continue my journey. 

Silently wishing for this ordeal to be over, I push the box with my foot, no one reaches to kill me, so I assume it’s safe. I begin to lift the box when something latches onto my wrist. I immediately scream, eventually my common sense overpowers my feeling of terror and I run. Sprinting to the hole in the ceiling I crawled through. I clamber down the ladder screaming for my brother. He’s already halfway up the stairs, frantically asking what’s wrong. “It’s up there, it’s real.”

I manage to get out. He shakes his head, smirking, and departs for the ladder, saying “I thought you were a grown woman who wasn’t afraid of my made-up creature.”

I decided I was not going to be here when he got down, in fear that it would follow him. I rushed down the stairs, out the front door, to my car. I was about a mile from the house before I could breathe properly again. Whatever grabbed my wrist was not human, that made it all the more terrifying. My attention drifted from the red light to my wrist. Red flowed down without ceasing, dripping onto my leg. It saturated my jeans and cascaded onto the floor of my car. It was an intrinsic view, every heartbeat pumped another small wave through the opening. I could taste the metallic copper scent perforating my vehicle, soaking into my taste buds. I was staring at it drip, drip, dripping, I could see the deep maroon color seeping from inside me, and then I saw black.  


A micro-fiction piece anonymously submitted by one of our staff writers.


I follow a strict schedule. 7 o’clock sharp the kids are fed. Dressed and ready for school. Clean cut hair, pressed shirts and trousers. Coffee on the table, room temperature. Silence. He leaves. The children leave. Wash the sheets, press the clothes, sweep and mop. Sit with the children while they do their homework. Make dinner, on the table by seven. Perfect plating, nothing touching. Ever. He smiles tightly, his eyes crinkle to the click of my heels on the floor as I rush around him straightening up. The perfect woman. He works there. In the den. We stay quiet out of respect. He paints me while they sleep. I am portrayed in shades of blacks, blues, and purples. He stands in front of the canvas for hours, each stroke more precise than the last. Facing his completed work, he sighs with exhaustion. He glances toward me with indifference. That is how I know he is finished with his piece. I creep to our room, careful not to disturb him. I stare into the painting, into the woman’s face. Her smooth pale skin tarnished. He wont like that tomorrow. I paint over her face in secret.

The next morning it’s back to the routine. Children up and off to school. Hair and clothes pristine. Coffee, room temperature of course. Everyone leaves. Clean the house. Pick up the children. Help with homework. On to dinner. She interrupts me. “Mommy, what happened to your eye?”. I stare at her. So many answers come rushing forward. “I fell honey”. He looks over, eyes like his fathers. I look to the painting, above the mantle. That woman he paints. Her smile never ceasing. Then back to my son. Our son. Distaste in his eyes. “Mom, what did you forget to do this time?”

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