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IRJ-CP#16 November 11, 2009

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What Goes Around Comes Around: The Shame in Heathenism

“Hi Jackson Grist.”

“Good Morning Catherine Shane,” I replied as I walked through the glass doors leading into the lobby of the theatre. I should have been waiting for the teacher in class but nobody had waited with me there, and the freshmen packed the lobby. “What is everybody doing here?”

“I think it has something to do with what happened on Friday,” Catherine answered before she skipped away to say hi to Rachael. She had instantly reminded me of the incident last week.

The doors to the theatre opened and I was sucked in with the crowd. Normally we wouldn’t have a morning meeting in the beginning of the day, but the obvious pain most of my class felt needed to be addressed by the school. I sat in the seat next to Laura. I sat as stolidly and silently as possible, sensing the inevitable sadness in the room.

Mr. Jones cleared his throat to quite the other grades. He began, “As most of you know, there was an – incident in school on Friday.” The room remained silent. “A freshman was brutally wounded on her way to class, and we took swift action. Jane Reyn is still not in a stable state.” The noise of throaty gasps made by audience members darkened the news. “We want you to have all the information.” I closed my eyes and replayed in my mind what I saw.

–    –    –

I stood up to turn off the lights when the door swung open into my hand. Jane stood there, red, all over. I ran over to help her as did everybody else in the class. She whispered so only I could hear, ‘See you’, and then collapsed. The paramedics came. We all left school.

–    –    –

My memory played back at the same rate as Mr. Jones voice. He began again. “Since school was cancelled due to the fear of parents to send their children after such an atrocity has taken place, we will be having one fewer period in each class over the week’s entirety.” He paused for seventeen seconds. “You may go to A period.” The assembly rose solemnly and exited with few words.

IRJ-CP#14 November 3, 2009

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Follow the Wrong, Obey the Righteous: Fire Shows the Way

The old man shoved me past the girl and into a dimly lit room. He brought me over toward the platform near the side of the room and tied my hands with bungee cord to a pole sticking out of the wall. He then proceeded to lean awkwardly against the large, dilapidated, wooden table that seemed to go well with the deplorable, gray cardboard floors. The girl I had seen in the entry tried to come in, but he shooed her off.

“Jake Vertek,” the man boomed sanctimoniously. I suddenly realized that through all of what had happened, he had not spoken until now and his voice seemed torpid. “I am in need of your assistance.” He said this in a way that showed he really hated hearing those words coming out of his mouth.

“Well—,” I began to say mindlessly.

“Well nothing. Hear me out. I need you to leave this awful place and come with me to my own country.”

“Well—”

“SILENCE! My wicked brother has waged war on me for a lark, and you, a normal boy, have what it takes to destroy him.”

“But—.” That was the last time he wanted to hear me talk. He picked up a book from the table and threw it at me.

He continued as I winced at the pain in my leg. “As you can see, I don’t expect on taking no as an answer. I would like you to hurry, however, in making your alliance with me. My brother is nearly here to try and kill us.” That was the pinnacle of his discussion.

“Well—”

“Well what?”

“Well I don’t know what I can do for you?”

“It’s good that you have allied yourself with me.”

“But I didn’t—”

“Hey. Silence.”

Then I saw the girl. She had a stack of newspapers in one hand and a match in the other and was tiptoeing to the corner the old man had his back to. The old man followed my gaze, and jumped off the table toward the girl as she dropped the match. It only took a few seconds for the fire to precipitously light the walls and floor.

The old man picked up the girl by an arm and a leg with ease and swung her across the room into the wall near me, where she lay motionless. The fire was already out of control. The man sauntered out of the room calmly as the fire enveloped the table, leaving both the girl and I helpless in the corner of the room.

IRJ-CP#12 October 21, 2009

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Conflicting Ability: An Open Habitat

The current state of his room displayed his homework and papers strewn across his long stained wood desk, and his backpack carelessly tossed on the ground. On top of his school papers, yellowed papers lay waiting to be studied. In the corner beside his desk, his baseball mitt and bat were stacked, taking up as little space as possible. His bed was wedged into the opposite corner with a nightstand and touch lamp accompanying it. A metal Yankees alarm clock set to 5:30 sat on top of a Klutz Lock Pick book. An extra pair of glasses clung onto the semi-open window shade. A random pear lay on his bed underneath his poster of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show.

Hanging down from the top of his shelves full of Encyclopedia Brown, was a system of pulleys which seemed to be able to lift books up off the ground. One sock had been slid over the peg at the end of his bed and underneath, an assortment of rocks were lined up in little cubbies. Next to his sock, an open contact case was drying out. In front of his bathroom door, a folder of candy wrappers lay open on the ground.

The walls were painted a light green, and the door to his closet stood out in the low light. Next to his desk, the door that led into the hallway gave a good view of a man nearing the room.

IRJ-CP#10 October 15, 2009

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What Goes up, Comes Down: A Lost Soul

“Ok Class. You guys just got back from trips week and I decided to bake cookies for you.” Everyone suddenly became enticed in what Mr. Raset was saying. “When I read your name, come and get a cookie.” Mr. Raset picked up a stack of papers

I became uneasy at the sight of the papers. I could tell others were feeling the same way. “Rachel Angyl,” Mr. Raset cried out with a smile on his face. Rachel walked around the line of desks to receive her cookie. “Wait,” he said right before she grabbed a cookie. “First you need your test from the other week.” Rachel reluctantly grabbed her test and cookie and clambered awkwardly back to her seat. Once she had seated herself, she gradually lifted up her test to see her score. She pushed it back onto her desk with a look of awe in her eyes.

“I must have traded brains with a smart person,” she said to our questioning looks.

“Phillip Anum,” Mr. Raset called.

“What did you get?” someone asked Rachel as Phillip stolidly received his grade.

Rachel showed us her test. “A 48 out of 50.” David scoffed at her.

Mr. Raset called through the rest of our names and we all got cookies and good grades. “Alright guys. Like normal, I am going to take any questions you may have about your grade right now.”

Jane Reyn raised her hand. “Can I go to the bathroom?” she asked.

“Do you mean may you go to the bathroom?”

“Yes.”

“Of course.” Jane rose languidly, expressing the pain she still had in her knee. She sinuously walked around the desks to the door which she softly closed after she left.

“I’ve got a question,” Jackie said.

“Ok, shoot.”

“When we get the equation of the slope of a tangent line from the division quotient, why is it that we set ‘h’ equal to ‘0’ only as an approximation?”

“Who has their calculator? Michael, can I borrow this?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Rachael, can you close the shades?”

“Oky-dokey.”

Simon,” he said to me. “Can you turn off the lights?”

“Yep,” I said quietly. I hopped up from my seat and reached for the light switch. Just then the door flew open onto my finger and Jane fell in onto the nearest desk. Her hands were stained with a dark red from holding her stomach. She picked up a pen next to her and wrote ‘CU’. She tried to keep writing but she fell to the side, the rest of her life draining from her body onto the floor, the handle of the knife was the only think foreign to her body.

The class looked incredulously. All at once, people yelled and thronged around her to aid. It was too late.

IRJ-CP#6 September 22, 2009

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Against all Odds: Like Any Other Day

Like any other day, I woke up, strolled around, and then stood at the corner with my sign, ‘Unemployed with no place to sleep’. I stood there until lunch time and then went into the park. It was April 1st, and the third year in a row that nothing special had happened to me. When I was younger, nobody could forget that today was my birthday. Now I have no one that would remember. My view of life was askew, and as I thought about this, I knew nothing would change for a while.

Two years before, my first birthday on the streets: I woke up, strolled around, and then stood at the corner with my sign, ‘Without a job, need help please’. I had been out for almost two months and my expression was deadpan. I was fired the month before right at the beginning of the economic downturn. Thousands were losing their jobs.

My second birthday on the streets: I woke up, strolled around, and then stood at the corner with my sign, ‘No food, no money, no shelter, please help’. I have now been allocated by the city to a specific spot, and every day I watched people and felt like I walked among them. I recognized people and their daily routines.

That third year, I guised myself in an old suit after my lunch hour. I used this as a façade so that people wouldn’t think ugly of me when they passed. I hated the feeling that people would think contemptibly of me just because I don’t have a job.

It was about 5:30 when a large SUV stopped at the light next to me. I aimed my sign at it. Someone in a dark hat rolled down the window and I walked toward it. In my first few months, I would be cautious of the open window because of the consternation that I would get hurt or killed. After three years though, I didn’t think anything can get worse than it already was. I was wrong.

The man picked up something next to him and threw it at me. I stumbled back as he drove away. I picked up the faded yellow paper envelope that looked so formidable laying on the cement in front of me, and I slid open the slit at the top. I pulled out a stack of dollars rubber banded together. On top of the first dollar bill, there was a note. I decided I’d read that later. I flipped through the stack and surprised myself when I found that every note but the top one was a twenty.

IRJ-CP#4 September 16, 2009

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Captive: A Normal Day

When a strangely dressed man on the sidewalk yelled at me to jump in his car, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed 911. Well, I’m not really telling the truth. Let me try again.

When a strangely dressed man blocked me from walking down the sidewalk to school, I stood very still. He didn’t give me time to answer the random questions he yelled at me, and I tried to shuffle around him. Instead of letting me pass, he grabbed me by my collar and dragged me to his car. I was choking by the time he threw me in, and I must have been knocked unconscious when he slammed the car door into my head. I woke up with him pulling me from the car next to a dumpy house that looked like it was bombed in the First World War

Hi. I’m Jake. I am a freshman attending Xavier High School on 16th Street, and I take pride in my B average. Not many exciting things occur in my life, but I live in New York City, where the ordinary here appears extraordinary anywhere else. When walking to school I see odd things but don’t really take notice of them, like pedestrians being hit by bicyclists or businessmen dragging skis. That is why I didn’t really take note of the old man nearing me with 18th century clothes on. That is what I’ll tell to the police, I thought. Some sort of story that can inform them of my situation quickly.

My feet started to work again, and I reached the front door of the World War I house with the man pinning one of my arms against my back. The old man knocked on the door four times with a strong, muscular hand. I winced each time because my head still throbbed from being hit so hard. After a few seconds, the door swung open, and a young woman stood on the other side. She looked about as happy as I did and I could tell that she wasn’t thrilled with our arrival. The old man bent me over, and kicked me through the door.

IRJ-CP#3 September 9, 2009

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Earthen Fire: Beneath the Unknown

The ravine felt chilly, and when I looked up at the gloom above, I noticed the sun couldn’t seep through the thick trees hanging overhead. I rubbed my arms to keep warm until we neared the end of the path. The man leading me took a long, rectangular key out of his pocket. He quietly slipped it into the small square hole in the rock surface. The rock face slid almost silently into the sides of a dank, mundane tunnel. I kept thinking, as I resigned myself to groping through the dark, that the guide may abandon me at any moment, leaving me stranded. His indiscriminant mutterings, however, reassured me of his presence. After what seemed like half an hour, I could see a faint glow in the distance and followed it.

At the end of the tunnel, there was a large cavernous room with a structure more profound than anything I had seen before. I inferred that this was the alien vehicle that I had been told about. The ship had a thin oblong hemisphere at its base, while the upper section extended out into a grand platform. On top of the platform was a large windowed structure in the shape of a ‘U’ that seemed to imply that it was for indulging oneself in the beauty of the outside world. The ship fit into context with the rest of the room as it was made of a platinum colored metal. The viewing room at the top was different and was a vibrant white. It was from the inside of the windowed structure that the glowing seemed to be coming from.