Daybreak

He has a problem. A very very serious problem.

He cares. Perhaps a little too much. But no one could stop him from caring.

He is criticized and laughed at and people point their dirty, cynical fingers at him while wearing that cheshire smile.

That didn’t stop him from caring.

His friends tease him, warn him, laugh at him. Are they really his friends? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Well, are they?

He is waiting, wide awake at the bottom of an endless ocean of dreams. He knows that his dream is merely fantasy and wishful thinking.

Yet he’s wide awake.

He hopes that his friends will one day understand the pain and the frustration of caring. He hopes, he yearns.

He often asks “Why do I care so much? Why can’t I accept things the way they are?”

Because he cares. Cares a bit too much… No harm in caring, they say. Be happy, they say. Be grateful as long as they are happy, they say.

Don’t you want to be happy, my boy? The accept it. Accept the pain. Learn to live with the callous; then, and only then, will you be truly happy.

He never believed them, his heart is like a drum beating the word “care”, his heart tells him to break that stereotype.

Or has he gone mad?

Is it a combination of both?

He is alone. Very very alone.

Then comes a girl.

Never has he dreamed of finding such happiness. But this girl, she is his light, his world, his heart.

With her, he could care, he’s free as a dove in the bright, warm sunlight.

His friends questioned him, their curious glances never escaped him.

“They talk”

“Let them talk, West.”

She set him free, she erased the heavy clouds and the suffocating weight. He’s happy. He’s free at last.

“Thank you”

 

-Angela L.

run.exe

A dim light engorged the workstation of a profile, emitting from a luke-warm bulb clasped onto the left side of the desk by sheer force alone. The careful clacking of the keyboard reverberated throughout the bare space, occasionally finding objects to rebound off back into the expanse. Scattered at the desk was a multitude of everyday items; pens, books, papers. The figure continued to manipulate the keys of the keyboard, each digit gliding across the surface of the accessory with calculated ease. If one listened closely, a faint murmur of a television permeated the surroundings, largely ignored by the single occupant of the room.

From a spectator’s view, the body positioned in the office chair could only barely be made out to be human of nature. But something was off about the way the being sat attentively, never wavering from the tip-tapping of the keyboard, the pixels of the screen it was seemingly engrossed by changing from black to white, stuck in a perpetuated loop of illumination followed by the extinguishing of all three primary colored bulbs, pristine white followed by a bleak darkness.

The keyboard had stopped emitting sound for a period of time now, and the television’s droning voices were no longer present. Only the light remained constant, the bulb emanating a cold warmth to the subject beneath it. The world seemingly stood still now that the only motion had ceased. The only light that had casted upon the desk abruptly vanished, leaving only the solemn glow of the monitor. A few clicks could be heard creeping from the workspace, but soon all returned back to silence. The screen shut off, darkness crept from the corners of the room and soon engulfed all that dared occupy it.

The empty blackness lingered for some time before a dim light engorged the workstation of the profile, sad rays of light casting themself upon the smooth figure below it. A clear plasticity could be identified in the robotic figure. Perhaps most striking though, was the lack of any human resemblance. It was simply a husk, mechanically typing into another machine, performing this minute task for an unknown amount of time. This repeats, the cycle continues on and on, dim light engorging followed by darkness creeping in, out of times’ domain. Never wavering, the man types his thoughts for the only entity that will ever experience them, an insentient machine.

-Shaun G.

A Bike Ride

I finally felt stable in my life; the first time in years, there weren’t different screams from different feelings yelling at each other and fighting over who would win, it was as the screams settled down, but now there was nothing, nothing shouting, nothing screaming, no fights from the different Inside Out characters, it was as a giant black hole pulled them inside its body. The black hole seemed to get bigger and bigger by the second absorbing all the thoughts I cherished and sucking them up until I couldn’t go back to them and all that remained was emptiness in my dull mind. The only thought remaining in my poisoned mind was: “Would I rather have different feelings fight over, causing me to feel too strong, or have no war and only have emptiness float through my mind?”. It’s like riding a bike through a flower field, until it begins to rain and the tires get caught in the mud and so then you fall, while your bike breaks.

When it would stop pouring, I would pick up my bike and try again, with a broken leg and a flat tire, but as soon I would do this, the clouds would flush down its water, as it were laughing at my failure. I would keep trying and trying, until everything in my body was snapped in half, and all that remaining was the bell on my bike. On the other fields, I would see kids riding the same bike, except none of them had rain being poured down and they kept peddling, until their bellies ached from laughing too hard, when would I have that? My belly would only ache from falling on it too much.

I soon realized that I couldn’t go further and would die from the aches and pain. At least my skull would be buried with the sunflowers I never had.

-Kimi M.

CT-7567

This is the story of CT-7567, also known as Captain Rex who was introduced to the Star Wars universe in the animated series, The Clone Wars. Monthly installments will be released. Hope you enjoy.                                                                                                   _____________________________________________________________________

CT-7567 was having a great dream before the datapad next to his bed woke him up. It flashed red and blared,

“CT-7567, prepare yourself for morning Physical Training.”

The young cadet rubbed his eyes, jumped out of bed, and shook his bunkmate awake.

“Come on, 2224! We’ve gotta go!”

CT-2224 slowly and methodically rolled off his bunk and dressed himself. Once 2224 was ready, the two clone youths jogged over to the training area. Their instructor, Bani, waited for them. The Duros was irritated.

“You’re late again! How many times do I have to tell you?”

He made the two clones run laps until they were sweaty and miserable. Cody, or CT-2224, grumbled under his breath as they stepped into the sonic refreshers. Rex, who was designated CT-7567, was equally displeased. He knew they had gotten there on time. The eternally irate Duros always found something wrong.

Their next assignment was their favorite: Battle training! As they hefted their mock blasters and blew holographic droids into oblivion, they joked and laughed. Battle training never failed to cheer them up. Rex especially loved using special tactics to destroy the fake droids, who always used the exact same formation and strategy. He had just attacked a huge wave when something hit him in the shoulder. He stumbled forward and whipped around. It was CT-6453. What a jerk. Rex always saw him around, bullying cadets and bothering teachers.

“Eat bantha dung, 43.”

Rex waved him off. Little did he know how important 6453 would turn out to be.

The last assignment of the day was worse than PT: Galactic history. Their teacher was a hardworking taskmaster. The Kaminoan, Lima Bri, gave them tons of work and papers, and she never graded easily. Rex was feeling good about a report he had written about the moons of Io, but when he got it back Bri had given him only 75%. Cody was disappointed as well. His paper had received a 73%. They left class and headed back to the barracks to grab some sleep.

-Joshua M.

The Joy of Summer

Summer is more than just a season to me. To me, it’s the anthem of teenage freedom, the epitome of happiness, the release of stress. Every year, summer gets better because I learn to enjoy it more. From the outrageous heat to the cooling ocean, from late nights out with friends to weekends with family, summer is the season I live for and thrive in.

The heat wraps its arms around me when I step outside and although I relentlessly complain about the warmth, I am ever so grateful for the sunshine. The bright light pours down on me, leaving my skin sunkissed and my hair lighter. The long days under the sun feel like an eternity of bliss. It’s tangible happiness that makes me both long for the coolness of fall and desire to soak up every ray. Finally, after twelve hours of light, the sun bids the world goodnight and paints an incomprehensibly beautiful sunset. The pink and orange mix with the blue and purple on Mother Nature’s canvas, leaving me in awe and wonder.

A true blessing of summer is the liberty of swimming in the ocean for hours. The waves of Laguna Beach save me from the scorching heat and free me from all my responsibilities. Shocking coldness sends chills up my body but once I jump in and plunge my head under the salty water, it’s as if everything is right in the world. The ocean is a huge basin of excitement that allows me to float on your back, dive under the waves or ride them to shore. It’s calming and exhilarating, addicting and tiring all at once.

The beauty of this season is the joy of being with my loved ones. There’s nothing better in the world than making last minute plans to ride the trolley and hit the beach with my best friends or drive down to McDonald’s late at night to grab ice cream with my family. Adventure is everywhere and summer enables me to share those adventures with anyone at almost any given time. The long days and late nights are memories I will never forget or trade for anything.

Happiness can never be stripped from me and my smile seems to be etched into my face. I am joyful, I am energetic, I am forever in love with summer. And I hold onto these feelings and memories throughout the school year, reminding me that it’s only a matter of time before summer 2019 begins and I get to experience summer all over again.

-Jessica T.

Bipolar Bears

The tall wheats grew beside her, moving and swaying like her golden, thick hair. She looked up at the sky waiting for the clouds to pass by. She sighed. She had the bear riddle suck in her head, running through over and over again “…polar bear, the polar bear”. What if there were two bears? Would it be a bipolar bear? Now, bipolar bears were dancing through her head…“Bipolar bears, bipolar bears”. She looked up at the sky. Smiling, the clouds ambled across the atmosphere. Glooming over her, a gray cloud seized the sky, taking it as its own. Stupid cloud, why couldn’t it become fluffy and carefree as the others? Frowning upon the wheat, she realized she didn’t want to be here anymore, she didn’t want to be on this planet anymore, but who said she lived on a planet? Was it a planet? Was she actually alive? Why couldn’t these clouds leave? Why wouldn’t the voice saying “bipolar bears” leave? Why couldn’t she leave? Why was she stupid enough to let this grey cloud take over her life? But most of all, why couldn’t she be normal?

She looked over at the squirrels, crawling to their hideout to protect their precious acorns. Was that a way of living? Just protecting your acorns? Using all your willpower to protect some nut? Did they have a voice saying anything like, “bipolar bears”? If not, then she wanted to be a squirrel. Actually, no she didn’t, a squirrel seemed boring, just protecting nuts. “Protecting nuts,” she laughed. She would protect her bear’s nuts, if she had one. But who would have her? Other bipolar bears? Squirrels wouldn’t, they would hide even more, not only to protect their acorns, but to hide from her.

-Kimi M.

The Catcher in the Rye Spin-Off

Boy another day, another day of the countless tortures I’ll have to suffer from all the phonies in the world.  Ugh, why does this have to happen to me? Can’t I live a happier life at some point? Anyways, I endured the numerous agonies at Pencey with nothing to see, nothing to do.  As day ends, and night comes, I have the unwanted privilege of having Ackley in my room, as if this goddamn day couldn’t get any goddamn worse. I try to ignore his pitiful presence by reading Out of Africa.  His great ramblings consisted of his hatred of Stradlater and oh yeah how much he hates everyone else.  At this point, I was hoping for someone to kill me already, but as usual my prayers weren’t answered. As I was about to tell Ackley to keep his goddamn mouth shut, in comes Mal Broussard, a decent guy from Pencey.  I never thought I would be so happy to see Mal in all my life as I was fed up with Ackley’s crap. Mal came over to ask if Ackley and I wanted to see a movie. If you thought being with Ackley was a pain, watching a movie with him was worse.  Actually watching a movie with both Ackley and Mal was worse. During the entire movie, they would laugh at parts that aren’t even funny. They are stupid enough to actually fall for that Hollywood crap with even more phonies than the ones I’m surrounded by on a day to day basis.  I don’t really care what movie they pick since no one gives a damn about my opinion, and they aren’t even good friends of mine.

Anyways, the movie they suggested was one they already saw.  On the outside, I’m willing to do whatever; on the inside, I’m screaming: “THANK GOD”  So, we decided to go to a burger joint not too far from Pencey. A burger joint is a burger joint: nothing special but it’s goddamn better than the crappy food at Pencey and a phony movie combined.  We head in, and it already kills me when Ackley actually jumps to a table, making himself look like a moron. I seat myself down in this goddamn squeaky chair that’s hurting my butt like mad. I’m six feet two inches tall; this was the last thing I needed.  

Anyways, I take a look at the menu, which I’m happier to order from than eating the typical Pencey crap of steak and mashed potatoes.  Finally, some waiter who looks unexcited to be here shows up to take our orders. I order the “classic” cheeseburger with fries and the “classic” vanilla milkshake.  By putting “classic” before everything is probably just another way to say, “This is the food that sucks less compared to the other goddamn items.” Mal orders the “classic” double beef cheeseburger with the “classic” cheese fries and the “classic” chocolate milkshake.  Ackley orders practically the whole goddamn menu. I’ll sum it up for you: the burger supreme with every topping imaginable, chili cheese fries deluxe with an extra side of mayonnaise and to put the goddamn cherry on top, apple pie ala mode with a mint chocolate chip milkshake.  No surprise here, that Ackley would do something this stupid, so at this point I shake my head to the point where it’s about to fall off. As if being in the same room with a moron of a guy like Ackley was bad enough, I had to eat in the same room with him as well. Practically, the only normal person at this table was Mal, and when you think about, that isn’t saying much.  

Anyways, the food arrives; I can’t wait to be disgusted already.  My food is okay; the burger is medium rare when I asked for it to be medium, the fries are nothing short of dry, and the milkshake is a nice way of saying, “Enjoy your melted ice cream sir.”  My food experience was also ruined because I was watching the terrifying site of Ackley eating his food. You could tell he adored it, almost too much. He started off by devouring his burger as if he was the predator and the burger was his prey.  It was like a python attacking a pig. Some call it entertainment while I find to be quite phony if you wanna know the truth. Ackley swallows the burger whole, pardon me he tries to swallow it. It would have been funnier if he choked on the burger to tell you the truth.  After a good five minutes alone with the burger, he moves on to the fries, not as bad as him eating the burger but pretty close. It was like a vending machine sucking up your goddamn money, one after another after another. I’m surprised he wasn’t breaking a sweat at this point.  After a good minute and half of him inhaling his goddamn slimy fries, he finishes off with the milkshake and pie. I wish I was kidding as I’m about to say this, but he began to gurgle his milkshake with the pie. Every ten seconds, he would slurp and gurgle, slurp and gurgle, and slurp and gurgle.  It was never ending. I had never seen anything like it in my life. The mint chocolate chip milkshake was probably the only “mouthwash” or any form of dental hygiene he’s used in his entire life. I couldn’t have been any more goddamn disgusted, what a moron that Ackley kid is.

Anyways, after Ackley’s eating fiasco, I look at Mal closely; I can’t tell whether he’s used to this kind of behavior since he’s on the wrestling team or whether he was equally disgusted as I was.  I immediately go to the cashier up front to pay for the crappy food. Then, Mal, Ackley, and I head home as I watch another beautiful site of Ackley cleaning his teeth from all the schlop he ate tonight.  Boy, what a guy!

Anyways, I am back in my room, trying to pretend I never saw what happened at the burger joint and have a marvelous dream that I am an acclaimed executive chef at the burger joint where I chop and cook decadent food that everyone adores.  I am like a musician in my dream; the kitchen utensils are my instruments, and I am the magic behind it, working in perfect harmony. My dream is suddenly ruined by the sound of Ackley vomiting the night away in the hallway. I’ll get the goddamn mop.  

-Whitney D.

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.