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From the Teens of Washington County, MD
Updated: 2 hours 25 min ago

A Wolf’s Cry

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 17:20

By: Izzy Hendershot, Staff Writer

A wolf’s cry is what I hear at night. This is the first time I’ve ever heard it. It’s an unsettling sound to hear so late at night. What made it worse was the fact that I lived alone in my big house at the edge of the woods. My closest neighbor was about three miles away. I have no pets to guard me or tell me if something was wrong. I am completely alone. I did like being alone in my house, but at the moment I was scared to be alone.

Image via Flickr.

I rush to lock all the doors and my windows that were not yet locked, I close all of the blinds. After everything was done and I knew things were cleaned up, I rushed to get upstairs and to my master bedroom. Once inside my room with the door locked I made sure to go and lock the balcony doors and shut my blackout curtains. I had the lamp on my bedside table turned on that bathed the room in a dim glow. I started to get dressed for bed so I could lay down and hopefully sleep until morning.

I get dressed and lay down underneath of the covers, bundling up and getting comfortable. I was asleep in no time. Though my wish to sleep until morning was once again not granted.

I was once again woken from a nightmare. Though this one was not like the usual nightmare that I always have. This one was strangely different.

The usual nightmare that I have every night. It was always me being alone and for some reason I was always sad and depressed because I was alone. It showed me how I really felt all the time, these nightmares reflected on the feelings that I suppressed constantly. I never wanted to have the feeling of depression constantly over my shoulders and knowing I could do nothing about it.

This nightmare was different this time because in this nightmare I was in the woods. I was alone at first but instead of being sad and depressed and alone, I was scared. I felt scared that there was something out there watching me and waiting for an opportunity to hurt me. I ran and ran until I collapsed and I started sobbing. I didn’t even understand why I was so scared and what was chasing me, but I knew there was something or someone after me and I was scared to death. After a while of me sobbing I quieted down once I heard a branch snap and leaves crunching underneath the weight of something.

I looked up to see a dark silhouette of a man. From where I was on the forest floor he looked to be taller than any man I have ever seen. I could just feel the evil that was emanating from this dark shadow of a man. Just the sight of him sent shockwaves of fear through me.

This shadow of a man started to make his way towards me. I started to frantically crawl away from him. I knew that this man wanted to hurt me and something in me told me to not let him touch me. My back hit the large trunk of a tree and I now had nowhere to go. The figure kept getting closer and closer and he started reaching out for me. I was terrified and I started to scream and cry out for someone to help me, I started to cry again and the second before he touched me, I woke up in a cold sweat, my heart racing.

I look around the room and my light goes out. I look on the floor and notice that the bulb was shattered and broken. It’s strange that the light shattered because I thought it couldn’t be from being on while I sleep. I have it on the dimmest light. Then I notice that my curtains looked like they been opened. I’m positive that when I went to bed that they were completely shut. But now they were open about half way and I could see that my balcony doors were opened up.

I slowly got out of bed and walk to my balcony doors. Once I reach the doors I hesitate to go outside and look to see if anything is out there. As I look around and see that nothing and nobody is there I go back inside. I close the doors and latch them shut, then close my curtains fully. I turn around only to see a large but beautiful silver wolf with striking ice blue eyes.

Gold Flowers

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 18:03

By: Emily Wise, Staff Writer

I used to work at a smoothie place in a mall. That’s where I learned the world is a jerk.

“Could you make this colder?” No, I can’t, how about I give you a chunk of ice. “Strawberry smoothie, but instead of strawberries, use dragonfruit.” What the heck is a dragonfruit?? It’s not even on the menu??

But, in the midst of all the crazed customers, there was always some that made me smile. Two of them, who I assumed were in a relationship, always had the same order. One had blueberry, one had mango. It never changed.

Image via Flickr.

Neither did their affinity for wearing matching gold flowers change.

Some days one would be around their wrists, or they would stick them in the outer corners of their eyes. No matter where they were, the flowers always matched. They both wore colorful clothes, always smiling. They seemed to be soulmates, always happy and such. I would know, they got smoothies almost every day, the ones I worked at least. Honestly, they were our most frequent customers. I had gotten so used to their order, I could see them in the crowd and immediately make their drinks.

They always ordered the same thing, sat down at the same table, wore the same flowers.

It all changed so fast.

One completely normal day, I was going through the line, looking for the usual two. And it shocked me, because I didn’t see them. A small worry formed in the back of my head. What had happened to these two strangers? Are they okay?

I continued making smoothies. When I went up to the cash register to take another order, only one of the two was there. I almost didn’t recognize them without the other person. They wore a crown of gold flowers, and looked like they were in a rush. They ordered the usual, with a to-go container. I made it, they handed me exact change, and that was it.

That happened for the next few days.

Days turned weeks.

After three weeks of this, I was going to try to ask her what was wrong (because if something was definitely wrong). I kept looking through the crowds for the crown of flowers, but I didn’t see it.

It was almost the end of my shift before I saw them. Them meaning a single person.

Image via Flickr.


They walked up to me, and I immediately started making both smoothies. They watched, but before I could make the smoothie for their significant other, they spoke. “No, only one today. But thank you for being considerate.” I handed them the smoothie, and they paid the price they usually paid for both. As I handed them the receipt, they let a paper fall out of their hand onto the counter. While they walked away, I opened the paper.

Dear Friend,

You do not believe how much you, a stranger, have meant to me these past few weeks. My world seems to be crumbling. Everything is changing. Honestly, I’m not sure why I am telling you this. All you have ever been is the server at a smoothie shop in a run down mall. My friend, the one I always came here with? They died. A car accident. Only a few days to live. They lived a whole two weeks after the incident, as you may have noticed. I had to move, and I might not ever come back to this stupid mall ever again after tonight. Three colleges rejected me, and there’s still many bad things. And yet, as everything went crazy, you were still there. Always looking the same, acting the same. A pillar of stability.

It was oddly therapeutic. We walked in the mall, got two drinks, then sat down at the same table. A never-ending cycle. I cycle I wished never had to end.

It might seem weird of me to ask this, but I kind of consider you a friend. They did too. I think it would make my friend happy to know that you were at their funeral. (Once again, this is so awkward and weird, I’m so sorry if this makes you uncomfortable).

It’s on Wednesday. Wear your best.

Thanks.

At the bottom of the paper, a phone number was written, along with their name. I looked over at the table, observed them. I was surprised. Not by the fact they they wore all black, but the fact that I couldn’t see the gold flowers. It took a small bit of looking, but, as always, there was a flower. Around their neck was a choker, and in the middle was a small speck of gold. I got out my phone, and texted the number.

It would be a pleasure.

LGBTQ Stories: Transgender Experience

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 18:22

By: Adrian Lucas, Staff Writer

Instead of posting only my story, I will interview multiple people who want to share their stories. The first person I was able to interview was Charlie (but he’s still deciding on a permanent name). He is a 15 years old and transgender. His preferred pronouns are he and him. When he was three, he already knew that being a girl was not for him.

Even as a small three year old, Charlie would prefer to play with trucks and watch the “boy shows”. Also, he hated dresses and would always have to be forced into one. This went on for many years. On his 11th birthday, Charlie found out about gays and lesbians. At that time, he knew he was a boy and, since he liked boys, he thought he was gay.

When he asked his parents about it, they said that dating a boy made him straight and it broke his heart. Like most transgender people, Charlie was forced to be the assigned gender for most of their life. Fortunately, he fully came out two years ago. He finally knew what transgender meant and he knew it was him. This was who he was and there was nothing anyone could do to change that. 

Unlike me, Charlie is on Testosterone. At the end of our interview, he said, “I wear male clothing, go to a barber and do the rest. It’s a rough road with many bumps but things get better, I’m also bi so yah.”

I am glad that someone has reached out to me to share their story. It shows me that even in this world, even when you feel alone, just know there are people out there that understand exactly what you’re going through.

Until next time, goodbye.

 

conversation’s rare: a poem

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 18:26

By: m.h., Contributor 

Image via Flickr.

conversation’s rare
and yet, my heart skips when i think about you
just you
your eyes and hair and skin and voice and laugh and—
and everything that makes you, you

my heart aches knowing that you won’t be mine
ever
you dont see me the way i see you
you see me as merely another perosn
i see you as the world

obsession’s not the circumstance
it’s deep appreciation
love, perhaps
so young and fragile are we
desperate for the feeling of validation and warmth upon our skin

my dreams are plagued with your visage
i wake up, swooning
tender kisses felt only hypothetically
slow dances shared under faux skies
sweet nothings shared for only us to hear

to be cut off by a sudden awakening

if only you saw me the way i saw you
the world, to be protected and loved and cared for
your name disrupts the rhythm of my very heart
and yet, my name means nothing to yours.

How to Keep Your Sanity This Summer

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 17:09

By: Sara Malott, Contributor 

Since I started kindergarten in 2007, school has always started around the time of my birthday, August 20th. This year we aren’t starting school until after Labor Day. That’s right, three full months of summer before the 2017-2018 school year. With that being said, it can be difficult to keep a healthy summer mentality for three full months. Hopefully this article will be helpful for those of you already starting to suffer from boredom.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Keep a Schedule

When I have a routine, I tend to feel more productive and my self-esteem increases because I am focusing on me. Make lists, start a bullet journal, or simply use the calendar on your phone to keep track of your events. Make sure to try your best to attend all of your appointments. Going out for just an hour or two will help your mood. The worst thing to do is to stay in bed all day for weeks on end. This is harmful to your mental and physical health.

Join a Club

If you are struggling to make plans with your friends or you have a lot of free time in your schedule, join a club. It is a great way to meet new people. This way you will automatically be able to commit a certain portion of your week to an activity without having to do much planning. If you are religious, look to see how you could be more involved with your youth group. Go to your local library and check out the activities offered for teens. Look to your newspaper for other local listings.

Get a Job

Lots of small businesses are looking for teens and young adults to help out over the summer. Make a list of places you might be interested in working, and make the effort to give them a call. This way you can have more pocket cash for vacation or activities with friends. Summer jobs are a great way to develop responsibility and other various skills that might appeal to a future employer. For more ideas about how find a job this summer, head over to Miss Sarah’s Teen Job Search Resources article. Even if you aren’t old enough to get a job, look into places that need volunteers. If nothing else, you can earn SSL hours for graduation.
Read a Book

I’ve found that there are few problems in life that a good book can’t fix. I always have a few sitting on my bookshelf that I have collected over the course of the school year. If you don’t currently have anything that looks appealing, head to amazon or the library for an interesting pick. I tend to find myself reading more challenging selections in the summer because I have more time and energy to spend on understanding a story. Reading is always a great way to keep your brain from turning to mush in the summer heat, so it’s the perfect time to go and get yourself a good book.

Make Something

Often times when I am bored I find myself turning to pinterest for inspiration. If you are a crafty person, or you’re just up for trying something new, look on the internet for a new craft or project that you could do at home. Lots of people tend to find it satisfying when they can build or make something all on their own. You could even head to a local flea market to find an old piece to fix up for inside your room. You could give your piece to a relative or the new neighbors down the block. It could be a conversation piece for you living room. Regardless of what you do with it, making a craft will give you something to focus on for a few hours.

 

Spend Time Outside

This summer, take advantage of the beautiful weather outside! Get together with your friends and plan a picnic at the park. Ride your bike down to the lake and take a swim. Take out your dad’s old fishing rod and pack a lunch to take down to the river. Find a good spot to take a hike in time and set aside some time for being alone to think. Even little things like asking your family to eat outside or taking your dog for an extra long walk will help you to feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

Avoid the Screens!!!

Many a time have I found myself curled up in bed at four in the afternoon scrolling through instagram and eating bowls of ice cream. Studies have shown time and time again that teens spending an excessive amount of time on social media tend to have lower levels of self esteem. Seeing all of your friends taking selfies together on the beach is never going to make you feel better about being bored. The thing is, your friend probably didn’t post about her parents fighting for the entire car ride down and how she’s already cried twice this week. Social media pictures are only a small glimpse of what is going on in someone else’s life. If you are feeling blue because of what everyone else is doing, get out there and make some good memories of your own. Log off for a while and tell your friends you are taking a break. The world is so much more than Youtube, Netflix, and Instagram, but that is easy to forget with a phone constantly by your side. Make sure you are having a good time this summer, and eventually you will forget about what everyone else is doing.

I hope these tips were helpful for you to make the most of your summer. School starts in September, but until then, good luck trying to keep your sanity.

The Book in My Hands

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 18:41

By: Isabella Hendershot, Staff Writer

Image by Annie Spratt via Unsplash.com.

The books in my hands, other worlds

Completely.

Not just stories

of fictional persons,

But about getting

lost in the words.

 

I open a book, smell the ink,

new or old.

Hear the pages ripple,

like music to my ears.

Smooth, soft, silky and supple

The cover beneath my fingers,

A smile on my face.

 

A brand new book in my hands,

like glass or a delicate flower,

I don’t want to read it at first,

I don’t want to bend the pages,

Make creases in the spine,

Ruin the flat and glossy cover.

 

The cover first.

Light or dark colors,

Designs printed.

The book “blurb” next,

To read again and again.

If I’m interested enough

The book is added to my collection.

 

If my book is damaged

my heart breaks,

I can feel and hear its spine crack,

breaking into pieces.

Death. Loss.

 

My books bring me happiness,

They are what give me writing ideas for living in words,

My escape

To another life.

Finally Opening Up

Sat, 04/14/2018 - 18:00

By: An Anonymous Staff Writer

There have been many a time in the recent past when whilst listening to others talk of their lives I came to the conclusion that in comparison I lacked any actual problems. It seemed apparent to me that while I did complain about one thing or another, as we all do every now and again, I simply hadn’t the right as much as certain other individuals. It seemed almost a good thing to lack such issues, until at once I realized I didn’t lack them at all. I simply didn’t wish to think of the ones that I had.

It was four years ago after an annual holiday variety show my singing group takes part in when I found myself standing in line for ice cream with a boy that I would today consider one of my best friends and a young woman of our association. Young and easily excitable, I casually pointed out the package of rainbow sprinkles amongst the toppings and in turn they casually took the opportunity to come out to me as gay and queer, respectively. That revelation was a turn of events I didn’t see coming at all, though in hindsight I’m glad they turned out to be the first individuals I had ever personally known to be part of the LGBTQA+ community. As someone who had even back then begun to suspect my homosexuality that night had a profoundly positive impact on my life; one that was stifled only by the fact my parents were just on the other side of the room.

In the following years more and more people around me turned out to be not as straight as I originally suspected. Meanwhile I simply lacked the courage to say anything. Foolish as the thought was I figured one day I would get married, change my facebook relationship status, and everyone would figure it out. It was always a problem for tomorrow. Preferably a tomorrow that was much more than a day away.

Last year started out well enough, but then August rolled around. Thus begun my one month of personal hell. There was a boy around who kept rather clumsily trying to flirt with me, despite the fact he insisted he already had a boyfriend. He wasn’t even good at it, calling me things like a ‘handsome neanderthal’. When he wasn’t attempting to flirt he was obnoxiously rude, alluding to the fact he considered me overweight and insulting all the people I considered true friends (including the one who had first come out to me three years prior). I obviously never liked him.. He scared me to death. I was still very shy at the time but the fear I felt then wasn’t the result of mere shyness. He scared me because I was afraid of what he would do if I ever dared to say no. While consent through fear is never consent, he never realized the difference. So many things I should’ve had the opportunity to experience on my own terms were stolen from me. My first relationship. My first kiss. He even outed me to half the people I know in the worst possible way.  I have no doubt it all would’ve still upset me had he not been the first person I had ever been with, but the fact he was makes it all the more despicable. I believe I owe many people many things. But he is not one of those people. And to forgive him is not one of those things.

One day he embarked on a family trip to Chicago which meant we barely spoke for an entire week. The longer I went without a message from him the more I felt confident I would be able to cut him off once and for all. But that never came to pass. I never got to have my moment of triumph. He sent me a text a day or two after he got back that it was over. Everyone assured me he would get bored eventually, and everytime someone said it I wondered how they could be so oblivious to what a relief it would be when he did. I was free. I was single. I was still somehow sad. There are any number of articles on the internet about how someone can become attached to someone that abused them. I was horrified to realize that hypothetical person had been realized in me.

I couldn’t entirely escape even after the ordeal was over, however. Everytime his name is mentioned around me I regress back into myself, feeling a mixture of the same awful emotions I felt around him and embarrassment that I would ever allow myself to be associated with a person like that. But the thing is, no one who knows about it thinks I did anything wrong and they understand that it was a situation that I never wanted to be in.

My social life has changed completely since then and I’ve grown a lot closer with those select few people I genuinely feel comfortable being around. Plus, as cliche as it sounds, I’ve decided  I’m in charge of my own destiny. Anyone who wants to bend me in directions I’m not comfortable going in has no right to be apart of my life since they can’t approve of it without changing some aspect of who I am. I’m not perfect, but I’m not nothing and I’m not an object. I’m myself. And that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.

 

It Gets Better: Part III

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 19:12

By: Isabella Hendershot

It’s been a week since the night that I came home. It’s also been a week since Alec has broken into the pack house and almost kidnapped me once again. It’s been a week since Alec has broken my ribs before he bolted out of the house it, a week since that same night I had to endure a horrific pain.

Since the end of that night and the days following Phoenix has been very good to me, all of the boys have been. They all make sure I am always comfortable and they almost never let me out of my seat. They get me anything I need and make sure I am never left alone. Phoenix has been very protective and, if he can help it, has not let me out of his sight.

Phoenix has also been calm enough to let Cole change my wraps and bandages on my very slow healing injuries. While Cole tends to my injuries Phoenix holds my hand and tells me that it’s ok if I make a face or let out a sound from pain. He is my Alpha protector after all.

Today was the first day that I had to go down to Cole’s office in the hospital wing alone. Phoenix had a meeting to go to and I couldn’t wait any longer to go and get my wraps changed. I also needed him to give me numbing cream to put on the bruises that was over my injured rib cage, I was starting to feel more pain when I breathe.

I walk down to Cole’s office and tell him that I need my wraps changed and something to numb my pain. I follow him out and we go to one of his exam rooms. I sit down on the cot and then lift my shirt to expose my wraps, he takes them off and grabs a numbing cream out of the cabinet. He carefully applies them to my bruising rib cage and I’m grateful for the cooling and numbing feeling it applies to my heated and discolored skin. Cole puts new wraps on me and then he grabs more of the numbing cream and puts it in a jar for me so that I could use it whenever I needed to use it.

Once I’m finished up with everything I give Cole a hug and then walk back up to the main part of the pack house. I look at the time and see I have a few hours to kill before Phoenix is able to get out of his meeting and before the boys come back from training. I go to the kitchen and think about how I haven’t been able to cook or bake anything since before I was taken. I pull out everything that I need so that I could make cupcakes; my favorite thing to bake. I was also so happy to find that my special baking things were exactly where I left them in my secret kitchen hiding place.

After I pull everything out and get organized I begin to make my special red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese buttercream. I remembered that it was the guys’ favorite thing that I baked and they all thought I decorated them very beautifully. it always made me feel happy that they all liked them.

A few hours later when everyone was starting to come in the house and when Phoenix came down from the office, they all went to the kitchen as they were drawn in from the smell of the cupcakes. Once Phoenix comes in the kitchen I go over to him and give him a kiss and a big hug. As the boys follow behind they all flock to the cupcake stand that I just filled up and they start to indulge in the delicious sweets that are still warm from the oven.

Once they boys finally disperse from the crowd they made around the kitchen island, Phoenix lets go and goes to get a cupcake for himself. I see how he pouts  as no more cupcakes are left on the stand and I then come up behind him and hand him one that I saved just for my beloved.

He turns around and I see how his face lights up in happiness. He takes it from my hands and wraps me in his arms and then gives me a big kiss. After be gives me a kiss he pulls away slightly. After he takes a bite of the cupcake he gives me kisses all over my face and I laugh as they tickle my cheeks. He tells me thank you over and over again and I smile.

“Awe, you’re welcome my handsome Alpha,” I lean up on my tiptoes and give him a peck on the cheek. I giggle softly as I see how his cheeks turn a soft pink hue as I make him blush. It still amazes me of how I can still make this big bad Alpha turn into the shy little innocent teenager that I met so many years ago.

The rest of the boys look over at Phoenix and start to tease him and I laugh softly and pinch his rosy cheeks. He pouts and pulls me close, then he buries his face in my neck and hides from the guy’s. I giggle again softly and pat his back. I back away slightly and then hold him an arm’s length away and watch as he continues to pout as he looks to the ground.

“Would it make you feel better if I made you more cupcakes that are only for you?” I hear the protests of the boy’s behind me and smile as I see Phoenix’s head shoot up with a big and wide grin on his face. He nods his head and taunts the rest of the boy’s as I move to go and frost some hidden cupcakes that I set out to be cooled.

I have the boys leave to do their own thing, including Phoenix, then continue on with making my beloved’s own batch of cupcakes. I make sure to decorate them extra special to make up for the boys’ teasing habits. Once I finish the cupcakes I look at the time and see that it is just about time to eat lunch. I knew that none of us have had lunch. I started thinking about what I should make and decide to make spaghetti and meatballs with some cheesy garlic bread.

After I have made my decision I set off to work getting my ingredients together so I could start making lunch for the whole pack house. I start to make lunch and once it is finished and I clean up the counters. I open the kitchen door and the herd of boys come rushing into the kitchen, Alex at the head of the group, flocking to the cupboards to get plates and then to the stove to fill them up with food. I stay back by the door to the kitchen and wait for them to clear out to the dining room table.

Once they are out of the kitchen I grab myself a plate of food and then go out to the table so I could sit down next to my beloved and eat lunch. We all talk about what has happened so far throughout the day and then about everyone’s to-do list for the remainder of the day. They all also fill me in on what I have missed while Jared had me, they made sure to tell me all the good things and I was grateful for that. I didn’t want to hear anything that would upset me, mostly because I was having a good day so far.

When everyone was finished with their plates I made them all clear the dining table. Then I made them go into the kitchen and wash the dishes and clean the counters. I make sure all the leftovers were put away. I always made them do this after we eat because if I made the meal they all had to clean up or they wouldn’t get anything sweet that I made that day. I never wanted a dirty kitchen and they all knew that and I did do a lot for the boy’s so they agreed. If they ever protested then they all knew that they wouldn’t get anymore meals from me.

I watched them clean up and when I was satisfied with how everything looked I told them they could leave. I went to my secret library in the house and looked around. Everything was just as I left it, all my notebooks, sketches, bookmarks that I was decorating, even a stack of books that I left out on my desk. I was planning on picking out one from the stack to read next but I couldn’t decide quite yet. Everything was left untouched. There was not a piece of paper out of place or a spot of dust disturbed by anyone or anything that wasn’t by me.

It made me think just about how long I was really gone. After so long of being in the dark as I was held captive I soon lost track of the days. Time soon became as meaningless as asking my captor to let me go. It was as meaningless to cry and scream at him to stop torturing me and to let me go. The memories will forever be burned into my mind of the pain I was put through. The memories such as the feeling of being cut and beaten. The feeling of those sick torture sessions being dragged out for hours and hours as he kept making cuts against my skin, scarring me for life.

I felt tears start to roll down my face as I kept remembering what that monster put me through. I regained some of my composure and then after looking around again I rushed out of my library. I rushed out and down the hall to where cleaning supplies was kept. I grabbed all I could carry and went back.

Once I was inside the library again I started to clean. I cleaned and I didn’t stop until every inch of the place was dusted and disinfected. I didn’t stop until the room smelled of the lemon cleaner. I just couldn’t stop until I nearly collapsed from exhaustion. I couldn’t take it anymore, looking at this dusty place. It reminded me of what had happened, what he did to me.

Once I finish cleaning I sit down on one of the sofas that I have in the room and I am finally able to relax. Now that the room was cleaned I wasn’t reminded of the terrible things that was done i to me. Now I only saw my safe haven of my secret library, hidden away for the rest of the pack house. After a few minutes of sitting down and relaxing I get back up from my comfortable place on the couch. I then set to work gathering all of the cleaning supplies so I could put it all back into the closet down the hall.

I go down the hall and start to put everything inside the closet. As I shut the closet door I see Alex standing right in front of me. I scream as he scares me and then I can hear him laughing. I hit his chest as he continues to laugh.

“That wasn’t funny Alex!” I yell at him and hit him again for laughing at me.

“Ow! What was that for? Stop hitting me Scar!” He says as I continue to pound on his chest.

“That’s what you get for scaring me! And for laughing at me!” I turn to the side and lean against the wall, pouting.

Alex wraps me in his arms in an apologetic hug. I hug him back and we just stand there for a few minutes. I think he knew that I needed it and I was grateful for the hug and the silence of the hall. When we finally pull apart, minutes later, he then asks if I’m alright and then Alex starts to walk me back to my library doors. While we walk I stay silent and then tell Alex that I was going to be alright. He gives me another long hug and tells me things will get better.

I believe him but some part of me in the back of my mind thought that this would only be temporary. I mean it was only last week that Jarred had broken into the pack house and he almost took me again, I still had the injuries to prove it. But right at the moment I was only trying to make the best of my life right now. I had my beloved mate and the rest of the boys in the house to keep me safe. I did know I was safe but I still had that part of myself that held fear and paranoia.

When Alex leaves me at the doors to my library I stand in the doorway for a moment. I watch as he walks down the hall. I wait to go back through the doors until he turns the corner. When I know he’s gone I walk back into my newly cleaned library. I begin to search through my books and find one that I haven’t read before. I go up the staircase and I lay on the soft net floor in the middle of the second level.

Image via Google.

I arrange a layer of pillows and blankets on the netting after pulling them from the window seat. I make myself comfortable and I start to read. When I’m through reading a few chapters I realize something is missing. I forgot to turn on my thunder and rain track. Listening to it always made me feel calm, it was like a white noise machine but better.

I grab a little remote to my speakers and I turn them on. Right away I hear the thunder and rain. Now I’m extremely happy no one came in here and found the remote that I kept inside the pocket of one of my blankets. I settle back down and curl up inside my little protective ‘nest’ that I made. I start to read again and only stop for a moment when it starts to get dark so I could turn on my blue snowflake lights. I continue reading until I flip to the last page in the book. I realize that it was later than I thought when I look outside. No one came in to get me so I get up and search for another book.

When I find another I go back to my little nest and continue to read. When I’m about halfway through my second book of the night I start to get tired and I fall asleep. I fall asleep in my library without meaning to, listening to thunder and rain with blueish white lighting all around.

When I wake up the next day I find it dark and cloudy outside. I turn off my speakers and listen to the thunder and rain outside. I smile to myself as I lay comfy and cozy with my soft and fuzzy blankets. I keep my snowflake lights on so I could have enough light to see. I get up and wrap one of the blankets, that I left in the window seat, around myself. I leave my library and go downstairs to the kitchen. I fix something to eat and sit down at the kitchen island. I eat my early breakfast and decide to make something for the boys when they wake up.

I fix them all a big breakfast and then go back to my library. I felt like watching a movie so I push the false panel beside one of my bookshelves. The bookshelf sunk into the wall and was replaced by my home theater system. I grab the remote and lay back in my pile of blankets. I turn on the flatscreen and brows through my Netflix account. I spend some time adding new shows and movies and decide to watch a new show called “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

After watching a few episodes of my new favorite show I hear the buzzer to my doors. I pause the show and switch to the security feed that was connected to the tv. I look to see that Phoenix is outside. I get up from my nest and go down to the first level and to the doors. I open the doors just a crack and I peer out to look at my beloved.

He looks at my with worry or sympathy in his eyes, I couldn’t tell which it was. “Do you want any company in there?” He asks is a soft and caring tone.

I shake my head no to answer his question. I shift my eyes down to look at the ground instead of having them on my beloved. The truth was that I really did want his company, I just wasn’t sure if he truly wanted to be with me at the moment. I also didn’t want to bother him with my small little problems that he shouldn’t worry about.

“Well that’s too bad because you’re gonna have my company anyway.” he gently pushes the door open further and nudges me aside so he could slip in. When he wedges himself through the door he closes and locks the door behind him. I stay quiet and move out of the way for him to be inside with me. Phoenix takes my hand and pulls me close to him, enveloping me in his arms in a big bear hug. I lay my head on his chest as he wraps me in his big bear hug.

He picks me up after he gives me a kiss on the forehead. When he picks me up I wrap my legs around his waist and he holds me up. He starts to walk up the stairs to the second level in my library. When he gets to the top he then goes towards the middle of the floor where my little nest was. He slips off his shoes and socks and expertly moves me around, holding me with one arms, to take off his jacket.

When he has his jacket off he carefully carries me into my nest of pillows and blankets. I curl up in Phoenix’s arms as he lays down with me. After a minute or so he gently unwraps himself from me to take his shirt off. He then gets up and flips the switch on another bookshelf. When he flips the switch the wall opens up to a small, but spacious, walk-in closet. My beautifully handsome beloved starts to undress and then he dresses into his comfy and tight looking shorts. He walks back over to me and picks me up again. He carries me to the closet and he then undresses me from my clothes that I still had on the day before, and changes me into a tank top and comfy shorts.

When I was all dressed again I hold my arms up to Phoenix and he picks me up again. I hold onto him tightly as he carries me to my little nest of blankets and pillows. When he lays down with me in his arms I curl up to him as he turn on a movie for the both of us. I lay my head on my beloved’s, smooth and bare, chest and just listen to his soft heartbeat that soon lulls me into a nightmare free sleep. As I fall asleep he rubs my back softly underneath of my tank top and it puts me to sleep faster.

I wake up a few hours later, still wrapped in my beloved’s arms. I smile and purr softly against his chest as I feel him rub my back softly. I look up and start to watch the movie that is now playing. As he feels me move slightly when I wake up he leans down and kisses my forehead. I smile softly and snuggle up into his chest.

“We should go down and get some food to eat. None of the guys have seen or heard you come out and get any food in the last two days.” he speaks to me in a soft and comforting tone. I just nod my head in agreement and don’t argue with him about going down to eat food. He picks me up again and carries me down the stairs. He leaves the library he locks the door behind him. Once the door is locked Phoenix carries me down to the first floor of the pack house and to the kitchen. Since I don’t feel like cooking right now he was the one to be cooking for us tonight. I whine when he sits me down on the counter as he gets ready to cook.

I watch as Phoenix cooks my favorite food in the world, spaghetti with garlic bread. When the food is all cooked Phoenix makes me a bowl of spaghetti with a bunch of Parmesan cheese on top with my garlic bread on the side. He sets both of our plates on the kitchen island and picks me up to carry me to my seat. Once we are both settled in our seats we eat in a comfortable silence.

Once we are both finished and the dishes are put in the dishwasher Phoenix picks me up and carries me back to my library. While he carries me I am curled up in his arms. He takes me back up to the second level and we lay back down and he puts another movie on for us. I lay curled up in his arms all comfy and cozy for the rest of the night, eventually falling asleep again until the next morning.

 

To be continued…

Hormone

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 18:03

By E.M Ramsey, Staff Writer

Image via Pixabay.

 

I wish myself into a demi-venus 

dreamscape glow and I like myself best here.

I hate any feeling but burning from body to bone,
only leaving behind ash, on a reality

that was never mine to begin with.

Here, I can live without the weight of

muscle, or skeleton, or hip, or jaw.
I can be more nothing than a black hole,
I’ll let the universe eat me for

breakfast, and lunch, and dinner.

In orange-red cast I am enough myself to survive.

Gun Violence: Has It Gone Far Enough?

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 15:48

M.K. Powell, Staff Writer

Do you remember Sandy Hook? I missed the original school shooting, the ground zero known as Columbine, because it happened the year before I was born. When Sandy Hook happened I didn’t know things like this happened. I wasn’t aware of how big of a problem gun violence is. I knew about the Dark Knight/Aurora shooting, and I found it frightening. To this day when I sit down in a movie theater it briefly crosses my mind that I might die. But somehow it’s different when adults are killed. If adults are killed in a movie theater, then it’s categorized as a terrorist attack to me, preserved in the same place as 9/11. Because to me it was more sensible for someone to kill adults in a public place than shoot down children in a school, somehow. I had to try to make random violence sensible at 11 because it wasn’t.

I had just turned 12 when Sandy Hook happened, and I couldn’t believe it for days. I walked around in a stupor.

Who shoots kids? Kids as old as my little sister? Who let’s it happen again?

I though corrupt politicians taking money and allowing kids to die was a stretch even in a movie. 2012, the year of the Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings, was also the year the first “Hunger Games” movie came out. People in charge callously letting kids get killed for money was a concept I never thought could have any relation to real life, but at length, it feels like America has become that. We’re all leaving our houses everyday with the possibility of being killed.

If you add more guns to the mix, with clergy and teachers brandishing pistols, how is that better? You don’t fight fire with fire; you put out the fire. Full-on fire fights in groups of people sounds just about as dangerous as one active shooter, contrary to what has been suggested recently to solve the problem.

Image via Flickr.

I remember when the Sandy Hook families went to Washington, hoping to sway lawmakers to create gun-control laws. And nothing happened. Certain politicians declared they would not be shamed into taking the guns away by the presence of those families who had suddenly lost children. They were there to push lawmakers to make sure no one else would have to.

Let me clarify something: I don’t want to take anyone’s guns away. If I lived more rurally, I would feel safer owning a gun for safety. But I think that there’s a stretch between me having a gun for safety in the middle of nowhere and most of these shooters. At least the Pulse Nightclub shooter and the recent Parkland shooter were being watched by the FBI. The Pulse shooter was actually on the no-fly list, yet he was allowed to buy a significant amount of ammo and a semi-automatic weapon. Why isn’t there at least a limit of how much ammo a person can buy at one time for a weapon like that, or if someone’s on the no-fly list, then why are they allowed to buy an automatic weapon?

After Pulse, a part of me accepted that nothing was really going to happen. The Houses are controlled by the ones who receive donations from the NRA. If nothing happened after 49 people were mowed down like grass, then what was going to happen? A little over a year later, Pulse’s place as the deadliest shooting in American history was taken by Las Vegas, where 58 people were, once again, mowed down.

A few weeks ago, 17 people were killed in one of the deadliest school shootings in American history by a former student who was on an FBI watch list with a semi-automatic weapon. One of the victims was a gym teacher who put himself in front of students to protect them from a hail of bullets. Another teacher had been attempting to lock a classroom door to protect the students inside. One of those injured was a student who had put his body in front of a classroom door, taking multiple shots to protect his classmates. I was sad. It was a shame to lose more to gun violence, but I had to move on, because what do you do when that happens?

Then something happened.

A call for a march was put up by the students of Parkland High School. Students and parents in DC laid down in front of the White House in a demonstration. And something really amazing happened; the president said it was time for better background checks so no one with mental health problems can buy guns. A Republican donor refused to give a cent to anyone not supporting gun-control. Dallas told the NRA to go hold their convention somewhere else.

For the first time, I really have hope. It’s too soon to know anything for sure, but it’s possible this is the beginning of the end of gun-violence, and it starts with a group of brave Florida high school students.