Sunday, September 7, 2008

David’s Escaped by Shae F

As soon as David was released from years of pain and suffering he realized, now he was on his own no longer living in fear of his mother but now in fear of himself. David walked until he couldn’t walk anymore and came to a town where a little girl named Rebecca lived.

“Hi, my name is David and I have been walking for a very long time without food shelter or anything too drink, do you think maybe you could get a glass of water?”

As Rebecca ran into her house to grab the grungy little boy a glass of water three very rude boys came and started to torment poor little David.

“Hey get away from him.” Rebecca sniped. Handing David the glass of water.

David smiled in delight as she chased the boys off her lawn.

“Sorry about them they have no manners, and apparently neither do I, hi my name is Rebecca.”

Rebecca took David into her house and introduced him to her mother.

“how do you do David?” Rebecca’s mother asked in a gentle tone.
“Fine, thanks.”

Rebecca began to tell her mother why he was so thin and dirty. Once she had finished her mother raced up the stairs to find him some suitable clothes.

Later on that evening while enjoying a nicely cooked meal David wondered, was this going to be his life showing up at peoples houses and asking for food and water?

“David my mother and I were wondering, would you like to stay here with us?” When Rebecca said that David’s heart fill with love. he replied in a ecstatic voice,
“Thank you so much, I would love to stay here.” David replied.

The next few week were great for David he went shopping to the movies out for dinner and was having the time of his life, until one night he Rebecca and her mom were all watching the news when his mother came on.
“hello we have a urgent news a mother of five lost one of her children while at the mall, if anyone knows the whereabouts of a boy named David Pezler about 4’11 Caucasian brown hair 11 years of age please notify the police, this has been
Connie reporting for W.S.S.F. news thank you.”

David’s mouth dropped wide open. He new if he went home his mother would surly kill him. He told Rebecca and her mother the whole story. They began to weep as they hugged him close.

The next morning was peculiar the state police appeared on Rebecca’s doorway, in shock David ran up to the attic were he hid in a closet so he wouldn’t be forced back to that horrible placed he once called home. Not knowing what to do Rebecca’s mother answered the door.

“Hello gentleman how can help you?” she said frightened

“Maim we were told that you having been seen with a young boy named David Pelzer is this true?” the officer said in a firm voice.

David hiding in the closet new that if he were to return home he would never see daylight again, but he had to do something drastic, before Rebecca’s mom had a chance to reply he came running down the stairs and said.

“Officer let me stay here they are so nice to me and they feed me and give clothes that aren’t all ratty and old, and they don’t beat me like mother use to please sir have a heart and don’t make me go back.”

“fine and just for your safety we won’t tell your mother of your whereabouts, have a nice life son.”

As the officers left David new he wouldn’t have to suffer anymore.

The Day my Friend Came Over by Rose D

“Hello, can I speak to Alfred?”

“yes hold on a minute…Alfted?!?!”


“hi Alfred do you want to come over today?”

“Sure! At your house?”

“Yeah, sure.”

I was thinking back to when I lived in California when my mom was really sick in the head. It was 1960 when Alfred came over. The day that Alfred came over my house practically changed the way I looked at
life. It was about 7:00 pm when he came over and the house still smelt like
stale alcohol and strong cigarettes from my mom smoking all day. I went to school
today and it was the worst day ever because I didn’t get to take anybody’s lunch
so when I came home I was ravenous. Of course my mom gave me the daily routine
of some kind of horrible torture so I didn’t get to eat then either. I was in my
room(the garage) when I heard the ding dong of my doorbell.

“Coming!” I said as I walked through my poor little house. When Alfred was in my
house he said it smelt awful. I hurried him up to my room so my mom wouldn’t see
or hear us. I wasn’t really supposed to have friends over but I would sneak in a
friend rarely.

There was an awkward silence as we just sat there in my room staring at the garage door. “…So how’s life?”

“It really stinks!” and then he started rambling about how his life was pathetic
because his friend chose drunk people over him and how Alfred thought that he
was his best friend. Finally when I got him to calm down, he asked me how my
life was. I almost yelled, “you think your life is bad, my life isn’t a walk in
the park either. I have to deal with a drunk mother and starvation every single
day. At least you have boxing. I have absolutely nothing!”

Once both of us calmed down a little bit I talked about how I had to actually
steal lunches from other kids to survive. I also told him how the nurse had to
do a private physical everyday when I walked into school. I told him how I
always lied and said that my life was fine and made up excuses of why I had a
different bruise or a cut. I told him how I got stabbed by my mother and how she
had another baby and how dad left us even when he was my only hope. Then it was
his turn to tell me about his life. I was thinking wow. His life isn’t very good either.

He started with how he felt his best friend was ignoring him and how he felt
neglected. I learned that he got beat up by the town bully(Major). Then I realized that
in order to survive we would have to stick together.

“Want anything to eat?” I asked Alfred.

“Sure. What do you have?”

“Just meat.” I said with a sigh. So I got him some steak and we both sat in the garage and ate it ravenously. We decided that we must see each other close to every day and never break apart no matter what happens. After that day I always remembered that Alfred’s life was significantly different from mine but just as bad. Whenever mom poisoned me with that liquid, I thought what kind of torture is Alfred doing right now? And from that day on I would never forget about my best friend.

Rebecca & Junice by Julia D

In just two short hours Becca will be arriving in Harlem, New York to stay with her distant cousin Junice for the summer. A lot has happened this year with Becca, like the death of her beloved Grandmother, Gemma. Junice couldn’t make it to the funeral when Gemma died because her mother was being put in prison for drug possession and she needed to be there to take care of her sister. Becca feels sorry about the way Junice has to deal with her mother in prison and how the state is trying to put Junice and her sister in foster care, even though that’s the last thing Junice wants. Becca feels a little guilty not being there for her cousin this past year, but she had a lot going on too. Becca decided to take off for Poland shortly after Gemma died to learn more about who Gemma was, and what her life had been like. But her trip was over. She needed to go visit Junice who she hadn’t talked to since Gemma died. They had a lot to catch up on.
The plane begins it’s decent in New York. Junice would be at the baggage claim waiting for her. Becca safely gets off the plane, and heads straight to baggage claim. There she spots Junice wearing jeans and a t-shirt. She looks exactly the same as she’s always had, but somehow seems different. She has a glow in her face, almost as if she looks happy, which is something Junice rarely is. Usually she is always mad at the world for something, especially after her mom went to prison and the whole foster care thing.

“Junice, my goodness how are you! It’s been way too long!” Says Becca.

“I’m great, but I’ve got something really important to tell you. Lets grab your stuff and get a taxi, i’ll explain everything on the way home,” said Junice.

On the forty-five minute taxi ride into Harlem, Junice tells Becca about how she has met someone. This shocks Becca, which makes her beg Junice to tell her every single detail of how they met. Junice talks about her current boyfriend Damien. She goes on and on about Damien’s family, what he wants to do in the future and what he likes to do for fun. While listening, Becca is shocked that Junice was able to get close to anyone, but in a way she is very happy that Junice has finally found someone.

“Wow Junice, Damien sounds great! I am so happy for you! It sounds like you guys really like each other. But before you go on finishing the rest of your story, I want to talk to you about Gemma.”

“Oh my goodness yes! Your sister told me that you went to Poland, and how you were trying to find out about Gemma’s life and everything. What were you able to find out?”

Suddenly the taxi pulled up outside Junice’s Harlem apartment, Becca began to tell her cousin about her trip to Poland. She talks about how she got to Poland and had a translator help her travel and translate for her. She was also able to discover that their grandmother was actually a survivor of the Holocaust, and was persecuted because she was Polish and because of her Jewish belief.
“Whoa, hold up. Gemma was a Holocaust survivor?” Asks Junice.

“Yep, I had no clue until I met Josef who was a big help. Now sit tight I’m getting to the good part.”

Becca gets back into storytelling mode and goes on to tell Junice how Josef, a man she met while in Poland, heard about the awful torturing that was going on in the camps during the Holocaust. Josef later joined a secret group to help rescue victims. He and his group had set of for Chelmo which was a concentration camp. While spying on what went on inside the camp, he witnessed horrible things that people should never see. One night he noticed a woman with red hair still alive and breathing in a pile of bodies. He rescued this woman and preformed CPR on her. The women turns out to actually be Gemma, but she told Josef that her name was Ksiezniczka, which Becca explains to Junice that she found out it actually means 'princess' in Polish. And so the CPR that Josef preformed on Gemma refers to in her fairy tale as 'the kiss of life'.

“Ohhh so thats how that part ended up in the story that Gemma always told us.” Said Junice.

“Yep, but wait we are getting into the best part, when Gemma fell in love,” said Becca.

“Gemma had a boyfriend!? Get out!”

“Yes she did, but it’s rather sad, but ill keep going,” says Becca.

Becca starts off the story again, beginning with how Josef talked about Gemma falling in love with Josef’s friend Aron Mandlestein. He was also known as "the Avenger." Later on down the road, Gemma and their secret group were almost killed by Nazis, trying to hunt their group down, and Gemma then decided to marry Aron and take on the new name Gitl Mandlestein. Gemma used this name on her passport to America when Aron died.
“And so that’s Gemma’s story, and how she got the U.S,” says Becca.

“Fascinating stuff Becca. I’m so proud of you for taking this adventure on. You know, you were always Gemma’s favorite,” says Junice.

“Was not! She loved us all equally. Although I was the youngest and you guys would always pick on me!”

“Haha true. Hey what do you say we order some food catch up some more?”

“Sounds good to me.”

Rebecca and David by Erin P

After David was saved by his teachers, it was planned that he would go live with his Grandmother in England. His Grandmother was a nice old lady that he had visited only once in his life, long before his mother started harassing him. He could only remember the good things about her and hoped that she hadn’t changed. The following week he was on a plane to meet his grandmother in his new home.
Rebecca was on the plane, ready for lift off. She was very eager to get to England so she could finally figure out the puzzle Gemma had left for her to solve. As she sat in her seat, belt buckled, the story’s Gemma once told her ran through her mind and mushed together forming one huge fairy tale. Little did she know that all this remembering made her unconsciously speak the story of Briar Rose out loud.
“Excuse me miss, but what might I ask are you talking about?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was talking, I was just remembering a story my Grandma used to tell me. Who are you?”
“I’m David, I’m on my way to go meet my Grandma, who are you?”
“I’m Rebecca, nice to meet you.”
“So Rebecca, what are you doing going all the way to England?” asked David.
“I am actually going to find out about my Grandma. You see, she died a few weeks ago and she always told us these fairy tales. They had the same basic ideas as the regular ones, like Cinderella, but she gave them different names, and one she told the most she called Briar Rose. Its kind of confusing to explain, but she always said that she was Briar Rose. That she was the young princess in the story’s she told. Sorry, I’m probably boring you.”
“No, its fine. Keep going, I’m interested.”
“Ok, well I guess I’m here because clues I found in her box led me here, and I’m really wanting to find out about her life, and why she called herself Briar Rose.”
“That’s so cool, I wish you luck.”
“Thank you, David, why are you going to see your Grandma? You sure have a lot of stuff with you, way to much too just spend a week or so.”
“Well it’s sort of a long story, but my mom…well, she beats me. Well more like she used to beat me. It wasn’t really beating, but she used to harass me. I would do absolutely nothing, but she would continue to treat me badly and tell me I was a ‘bad boy.’ I wasn’t aloud to live in my house, I slept on a cot in the garage. I hardly ever ate, it was just bad. She brainwashed me into thinking I was actually a bad boy, and that everything was my fault. So, last week my teachers found out and now I’m going to live with my Grandma.”
“That’s horrible. I could never imagine someone with that much hate. You do know it wasn’t your fault, right?”
“Yeah, I know now.”
“If you would please fascine your seat belts, we would like to begin take off.”
“I get sick on planes, so I’m going to go to sleep, wake me up when we get there!”
“I will, and Rebecca?”
“It was really nice meeting you, thanks for talking with me.”
“Your welcome David, I’m only in England for two weeks, but if your grandma knows where this address is… feel free to come find me.”
“Thanks! I definitely will.”

Another Journey Begins by Colleen S

Edmond was now alone, not literally alone, but he knew no one. He was staying back in the village he and his brother had gone to, to live, but Isaac had decided to leave back for home. Edmond was sitting there, his hair more raggedy than ever. Edmond had not been able to give himself another haircut since he and his family had been separated. The boy was stressed and upset, and had not gotten his hands on a cigarette because he had no money and was not at home to make one. Edmond knew that his job there was to save the souls left behind in that little village but now wished that he was back home where it would be much safer with at least one person that he was comfortable with. He walked back into his tiny two room house to rest. His job to help people would start the next day he had decided.

Becca Berlin and had decided to take a trip, since already finding out her Gemma’s past in Poland, she had decided to go on another trip, but this time just for fun. She had gotten to England expecting a great time. But she hadn’t realizes that she would now be sucked into a horrible war. Becca came upon a small village and needed a place to stay, at least for the night, and figured she could finally head back home tomorrow. The village looked suitable, but some of the roofs were damaged but Becca didn’t quite mind the ivy and some of the overgrown weeds. She though it made the place seem interesting.

“Hello? Who are you?” asked Edmond to a girl he saw walking up to his small coved front door.

“Hi, I’m Becca Berlin and I was just looking for a quiet place to stay for the night. But I see that this house is occupied so I’ll just leave now.”

“No, no that’s alright. You can stay here but I can’t promise you a comfortable bed. There isn’t much room here. My brother left this village without me. But I chose to stay here. There are souls in this village that need saving and that’s what I’m staying here to do. Well at least for a few months. Then hopefully I’ll be heading back home.”

Becca looked around the small house briefly, though there wasn’t much to look at. The walls were mostly bare, and the only light was coming in from the door and two small windows. Candles were around but not lit. There was one bed, and it didn’t look like the cleanest thing, but it would do.

“Oh well that’s very nice of you. I’m supposed to be here on a quiet vacation right now just to get away from work and things, but I see you can tell what a mess this war has made it,” Said Becca.
Becca was wearing a simple white shirt and a beautiful but casual long billowy skirt. Edmond thought she was pretty and the colors of oranges and yellows on her skirt reminded him of the sunsets he saw with his siblings and mother at home.

“So why England?” asked Edmond.

“What?” asked Becca.

“You know, why’d you choose to come here out of all the places in the world?”

“Well,” replied Becca, “I’ve already been to Poland to find the past of my Gemma, and that turned out to be a very interesting story that has actually affected my life forever. I’ve decided to come back to Europe because I love it so much and I find it so very interesting. Who knows, maybe I’ll find out something here. I learn something new everyday you know.”

“Yea, I’ve heard that before. You really remind me of someone.” said Edmond, “You seam really nice and caring, and that you have a lot of stories to tell.”

Edmond had thought that Becca was just like Daisy, and now that he thought about her, he realized how much he missed her. Edmond knew that his love for her was wrong, but he could not help the feelings. I wonder where she is right no, he thought.

Edmonds train of though was interrupted by Beccas soothing and calm voice.

“Well, I had gone to Poland because I had promised my Gemma on her death bed to find out about her past. She had left me with a box of clues but they didn’t connect very well at all. When I got to Poland, I met my translator and we actually became good friends. I even helped her buy a computer so that we could talk more often with living so far away from each other and all. When I found out who My Gemma had conceived my mother with, I actually got to meet him and here the story firsthand. It was a great experience,” explained Becca. “So what about you? What’s your story?”

“Well, to make a long story short, I miss my cousin Daisy very, very much and I’m now separated from my whole family. This war has ruined everything. But I have to be strong and be able to depend on myself. I am old enough now.”

Becca was slightly confused about why he missed his cousin so much out of his whole family, but she was too tired to ask lots of questions even though she was usually a very curious person.

“So where do you think I can crash for the night?” Becca asked.

“Oh well you can take the bed tonight.” Edmond replied.

“Well that is very nice of you” Said Becca.
They finally both lay down to sleep. Thinking of the people they missed the most in their lives right now. For Becca it was her dearly departed Gemma. For Edmond, it was his cousin Daisy. Would he ever to be able to see her again?

Gemma's Secret by Alicia C

Rebecca got out of the car at Linn’s house in Fort Oswega and was greeted by Linn, Stan’s friend. They had a long car ride they had just been on so Linn brought them into the house to talk and get to know each other. Rebecca carried the large box of Gemma’s into the living room, when a large group of people walked into Linn’s house. Linn introduced them to Rebecca and Stan then they gathered to talk about what Rebecca had been looking for. Linn explained that these people had all known a lot about the camps and could maybe help her with some information on Gemma. “Thank you for coming I sure hope that you can help. I am trying to find out where my grandmother was originally from. I have these pictures that were in her box we found, but I’m not sure where she was when they were taken.” Rebecca said.
The pictures were passed around the room and none of the people really recognized the photos, except for Daisy, a small women who had been very quiet since the time she walked through the front door. “Where did you get these pictures?” Daisy gasped.

“Well I found them in my grandmother’s box. There was a ring and pictures inside of the box but I need to find out where she was when the pictures were taken. Do you recognize this picture?” asked Rebecca

“I’m in this picture. I remember this day very much actually. It was the last day” Said Daisy.

“Last day of what?” questioned Rebecca.

“Last day with them before I left.” said Daisy

Then Daisy got up from the living room and walked away. Rebecca was shocked that she didn’t have anything else to say but then one of the other woman in the room told her not worry, she would be back eventually. Rebecca finished passing around the rest of the pictures and items in the box but no one was a help except for Daisy, who as the women had said, eventually did come back into the room. Daisy sat next to Rebecca and began telling her all about the picture.

“Your grandmother, Gemma I think you called her, she was in a large group of people with me. We were together for a while until my father took me back to America. I’m not really sure if I can help with where your grandmother came from because I wasn’t with her from the beginning. My father sent me to England to live with my cousins but we had to escape when a war began. My cousin Piper and I were forced to leave everyone else behind and that’s when I met your grandmother. Once she reached the camp Piper and I headed back home without entering the camp unlike your grandmother who did go in.” said Daisy.

Shocked to hear so much information at one time Rebecca paused and thought about what Daisy had said for quite some time. Not knowing if Daisy’s story had been much of a help she just let Daisy continue. After naming everyone else in the picture and describing a little about each person Rebecca found out Gemma had been pregnant, with her own mother. She had been shocked at this news but decided to ask Daisy about the rest of her story because she knew she could think while Daisy talked.

“Well Piper and I ended up staying with Major McEvoy and his wife. And we tried very hard to figure out where the rest of my cousins had been sent. We were taken away by English soldiers and when our camp was found by terrorists we had to leave again. Eventually we found our way home but when we got there, it was not what we had expected and not what we had wanted to see. We had some food left from the barn, but it wasn’t very much. I was in the house when my father called and I was sent back home to America while Piper was left in someone else’s care.”

“Wow that must have been tuff. If only I could figure out why my grandmother had been brought to the camp, and where she had lived before the camp.” sighed Rebecca.

“Your grandmother never talked about that much but I vaguely remember her talking about being a princess.” said Daisy.

“That is a help. I found out that her name in Polish means Princess which makes me assume she was originally from Poland.”

“Yes that would be a good guess but I’m sorry I can’t help with that.” said Daisy.

Daisy’s journey had been just as interesting as Rebecca had imagined Gemma’s would be once she put the missing pieces back into the puzzle but she had still been so curious about Gemma. Knowing Daisy couldn’t help with much more she thanked her and the rest of the people and they slowly left Linn’s house and went home.

Summer Reading Essay by Ryan P

We set the table and cleaned the house for when our cousin David would visit. Aunt Pearl was very excited for him to visit because we haven’t seen him in a long time.
We heard a knock at the door and we jumped from our seats to see David. Aunt Pearl scurried to the door and opened it and David and his mom were there. They exchanged hugs greeted each other. We all sat down in the living room and David’s mom commented, “That is a lovely rug.”
“Thanks,” said Aunt Pearl.
It really seemed like they had nothing much better to talk about. Aunt Pearl was just happy to see David, not his mom. I remember Aunt Pearl talking on the phone about poor David and that he had a terrible mother. David had many cuts and bruises on him.
“How did you get those cuts David,” I said.
“Umm…” He hesitated for a moment and looked at his mom and said, “Just from climbing trees and playing outside.
“oh.” I said in disbelief. The cuts and bruises he had weren’t from trees I knew.
“Hey David do you want to go to my room,”
“Yeah, go and play,” said David’s mom like she didn’t want us around.
We played outside and talked for a few about our friends and family. David seemed shy and he hadn’t grown since the last time I saw him you could see his bones protruding from his body because of how thin he was. We went back upstairs and I saw Aunt Pearl and David’s mom having a heated conversation between each other. I remember David and I always loved to hang out with each other. But now he seems different.
“David did you know I am training to become a boxer?” I asked.
“No I didn’t.” He claimed. He just looked at me and smiled, he didn’t say anything at all. I decided I would show him around the city. I showed him where I trained for boxing and the park, and even introduced him to Major and James. David seemed more comfortable now. I showed him what I did for my job, at the grocery store. After all that we returned home and we sat down in the living room with Aunt Pearl and David’s mom. David’s mom reeked of alcohol and always seemed very cold and never talked to David or me. Her and Aunt Pearl shoed us away and me and David sat in the other room and watched TV.
“What’s your favorite television show?” I asked.
“Oh, I am not allowed to watch TV at my house.”
“Not allowed to…Why not?”
“I’m just not allowed to.”
“Too bad you’re missing out.” I said.
“Come on David!” his mom yelled in a harsh tone. “Were leaving!”
Without any argument David got up and we said our goodbyes to each other. David’s mom grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him out the door. Aunt Pearl was teary-eyed and in no time she began to cry. I figured there was something different about David.

The Exciting but Terrible by Nicole L

Once Rebecca Berlin’s grandmother died her mother and father thought it would be best for her and her two sisters to move on somewhere else. It wasn’t Becca’s first idea to move but she trusted her parents and if they thought it was best she was up to try it.

Three days later, as Becca woke up; she went down stairs as she normally would. As she always tried to sneak down the stairs without the creaky noises. She suddenly was astonished because she heard a little voice yelling for help. This was the first time while living at her new house in Daly City, outside of San Francisco, that she had heard this. Something wasn’t right she thought, so she stumbled out the door still thinking of the yelling. As she opened the door everything looked normal. Becca thought she heard the yell coming from across the street. Just to make sure everything was alright she decided to cautiously approach the older looking house. She hadn’t met any neighbors yet because she was still unpacking and thinking about the passing of Gemma, her grandma.

Becca knocked on the door and a lady pulled open the door very fast and rough.
A little startled Becca managed to say, “My names Becca and I live across the street. Is everything ok?”

The lady stood there and crossed her arms across her chest blocking the door way and said, “Hello dear I’m Catherine but please call me Mrs. Pelzer. Everything is fine. Are you new in town?”

“Oh yes,” explained Becca, “we moved in 3 days ago.”

“Very good, would you be interested in babysitting if I ever left?” said Mrs. Pelzer.

“I would be happy to,” Becca said.

“ Great! You can come over tomorrow to meet the 5 children” She said happily.

“Sounds great ill see you then” said Becca.

Becca was still concerned about the yell but Mrs. Pelzer seemed like your average mother. Once she got home she told her mom and dad about what happened. They were glad to hear that she found a job. After getting ready Becca decided to take a walk to the in town diner. She sat down at a booth and ordered a meal. After placing her order an older person came over and sat down with her.
He said “Hi I’m Josef I live in town.”

“My names Becca,” she said.

“Did you just move here? How old are you?” Josef asked.

“Yes I just moved here from Massachusetts, the Holyoke area, and I am 23.” Becca answered.

“Why did you move?” asked Josef.

“Well my parents thought it would be best for me after Gemma died.” Becca said.

“I’m sorry to hear but if you don’t mind me asking who is Gemma?” said Josef.

“Gemma, oh she was my grandmother. She had many names like Gitl or Ksiesniczki. That means princess in…” Becca was suddenly cut off.

“What? How could? That was your gandma?!” Josef stammered.

“Yes we were very close. She is known for her story of Briar...” Becca tried again.

“Yes yes Briar Rose!” Josef said ecstatically.

“Why do you know all this?” Becca was starting to get the chills.

“Didn’t she tell you? I was the one that brought her back to life. I saved her!” Said Josef.

“Wow this is a lot to take in! Gemma told me that she was briar rose and I promised her I would put all the pieces together. You seem like you could tell me the whole story. That would make my family so thankful for all of this. Nobody believed her about Briar Rose. My sisters thought it was just a story.” Becca speedily blabbed.

“Yes I could tell you all about her but I’m running late today and have to get to an appointment. Today is Monday, want to meet back here on Wednesday and we will talk more?” He said.

“Of course!” Becca said.

On her say home all Becca thought about how ironic meeting Josef there was. She was very excited to give her family the news and learn about her family’s history!

Her family couldn’t believe her. They asked over and over again are you sure? Becca explained every detail she remembered to them and by the time they settled down they went out to dinner and took a ride around town.

Once arriving home Becca was very tired and decided to venture off to bed.

Becca woke up at 9 o’clock sharp. She had breakfast and got ready because she was about to meet the five Pelzer kids today.

The house was a good sized house but a little old which fit in with the others around it. Mrs. Pelzer introduced her to all the kids and told her she would be back in about an hour.

The kids were great together and played many games. Becca watched them while they were having fun. She noticed on boy, his name was David, sitting down watching.

Becca approached David. She noticed that he looked beat up with bruises and cuts everywhere.

Becca said, “What are all those from and don’t you want to play with the other kids?”

As tears came to his eyes he said, “I’m not allowed to and there from my mom.”

At that time Becca’s stomach started to turn. Pictures started going through her mind and the scream came back to her. Becca knew she had to do something for this little child. He was only 12 and his mother treated him like this?

Becca talked to David trying not to pay any attention to the way he looked or how he was dressed. She felt terrible and the stories he was telling her were making her feel terrible, even scared. He told her that she can’t ever say anything about it to his mother or she will do even worse things. Although she did convince Dave to tell his teachers and tell the nurse the real reasons of how he got the bruises and cuts.

Just then Mrs. Pelzer arrived and Becca quickly left trying not to talk too much to Dave’s mother.

The next day at school Dave went right to the nurses’ office and broke down crying. He told her everything. He told her about regular beatings, living in the garage, the gas chambers, and his mom starving him. She was stunned and took everything seriously. She contacted the Police and they immediately took action. From that day on Dave was finally in good hands.

All in all, both people got what they needed. Becca found out all about her Grandmother and Dave was rescued. It was a happy ending for both of them!

The Contender Helped It by Luis A

One I was in Mr.Donatelli’s gym when I heard the screeching sounds of the old staircase. It was to late for any of the other boxers to come and work out. I was in there all by myself working out on the peanut bag when I heard him coming up. The door crept open as this kid came out from behind the door. I pretended not to notice him at first then when the door slammed shut I turned around. I asked him," Can I help you."

"Hello I am David Peltzer" he said," I came here today to find a way to take out my aggression. I’ve lived with my mom’s abuse over the past years and can’t take it anymore. So I have run away and came here to Harlem. I want to…"

"Hold on! You talk a lot you know. Where are you from first of all?"

“San Francisco," he remarked.

"How have you ended up here?"

"I took trains," he said.

"Ok well what do you want me to do?"

"I want someone like you to help me get started to become a boxer," he answered.

"Well ok just today cause I don’t like teaching to much."

First thing I told him was the schedule he would have to follow which I was in. Then I brought him to the peanut bag and taught him how I was used to hitting it and then told him he would have to make sound like a machine gun. "How do u do that," he asked.

"Just practice," I said. Then I lead him over to the heavy bag and told him it was to build up your arms and shoulders. "You want to really work on this and the peanut bag to work up your speed," I said. “When I started I had trouble moving the heavy bag without it hurting but once you start practicing every day you’ll get used to it. Also with the peanut bag its hard to control at first. Are u going to move here?”

“No I just heard of this gym when I was around here and thought I could just check it out and to get started. I’m still not done running away. I want to go as far away as possible. I was going to find my dad.” He mumbled

“O, where does he live?”

“I found out it was around Boston so I’m going to find out.”

“Well hopefully you find him. Lets get back to work.” I said.

He responded,” No I think this was good enough for a start when I get to Boston I will find another boxing instructor to help me become a boxer.”

“Well just remember on your way there find ways to work out. Do your running and do push ups, crunches, and other exercises if you really want to be in good shape when you get to Boston.”

“Well better get going, train is going to leave soon. Well thanks,” he told me

“Yea no problem, peace.”

He left and door slammed shut and he was on the way down the old stairs to the crowed stoops on the Harlem streets.

Freedom at Last by Jessica S

David was thinking about home as he leaned his head on the airplane's window. He had thought of being up there with those very clouds at one point; away from the hurt, away from the hate, and away from his horrible life in San Francisco. The clouds looked so white and puffy, he wished he could glide above them, and never come down. He was on his way to England. They had just gotten over a war over there, and he wanted to escape the war inside of his tiny liquor-infused home. Waiting for him almost 3,000 miles away was a girl named Daisy. She was from the US, so she would know what it was like there, so David could have something in common wither her. She went to go live with her cousins the summer before the war and decided to move there five years after she had left it. David was hoping that Daisy would give him then luxury of food and maybe, just maybe, new clothes. This was something David hadn't gotten in months; and all because of his mother. David wasn't even sure if he could even call her his mother. She treated him horribly and beat him daily. She would burn him and once she even stabbed him. But what was even worse was that she loved each and every one of his five brothers very much. David would be sent to the basement to sit and wait to do the dishes while his family enjoyed each other company and the food they were given. David did not want to think about her anymore, because the clouds below him had started to get a little grey.
Daisy was waiting for a dirty, frail, little boy to come out of the gate. Thoughts raced through her head- but all of this wasn't going to be answered soon, because David then creeped out through the gate. He looked around, scared and alone, and Daisy's heart just melted. She walked over to him.
"David? David Peltzer?" She asked. The child looked up at her with the shiniest eyes she ever saw, she couldn't tell if they were tears-she hoped not! David slowly nodded.
"My name's Daisy. I'm going to be taking care of you for the summer," she said.
"Can it be forever?" the boy whispered.
"What?" Daisy asked.
"I never want to go back, please don't send me back!" David responded. Daisy's heart melted again. This poor boy seemed to have been through a lot.
"I won't... I promise" she said.
And then together, they walked out of the gate and to Edmond’s car. Daisy was thinking of Edmond. He had been going through a rough time ever since Daisy had left England five years ago. And even though she was back, he still seemed distant. David took some time to look around at where he was. He saw the puffy white clouds from underneath now. Although they looked the same as when he was up in the sky, he thought the above view was even better. Daisy started to drive down that long dirt road to her home, and thought that now was a good time to hear David’s life story.
“So, you’re from San Francisco? I lived in New York.” David just kept looking ahead. It was silent for another minute. “David,” Daisy continued, “its okay now. She won’t be able to get you now. You won’t get hurt anymore.”

“But she didn’t. I was clumsy. They were just accidents,” David lied. Daisy could see right through it too.

“Are you sure?” Daisy asked. David didn’t wasn’t to tell her the truth, it was as if his mother was right behind him, watching, listening to his every word. He almost forced himself to tell her.

“I deserved it though….I was bad….” said David. He wasn’t even sure if he should deserve Daisy. He didn’t deserve kindness. He hadn’t gotten it his whole life, so why start now?

“No David, no one ever deserves it-ever!” Daisy responded. “You are a good person, and you did nothing wrong. You’re free.”
David had heard this line before, when that detective had got him from school a few months ago. And only good things came after he said that. David wanted to trust Daisy, because anything was better than living back in San Francisco. And she promised he wouldn’t go back. ‘I can trust her,’ David though. ‘Yeah, I can trust her,’ and he looked ahead on the long road ahead.

The Story Untold by Chelsea G

One bright and sunny day in Holyoke, Massachusetts Rebecca Berlin was walking to work with her Gemma’s box in hand. Her Gemma had died a few days before and her dying wish to Becca was that she learns that her Gemma was the princess in the story that she told her. That story was Briar Rose. Becca’s Gemma had told her this story since she was very little and her and her two older sisters Shana and Sylvia could recite the story word for word. Becca loved that story and she also loved her Gemma more than any on e person could. She found this box after Gemma had died in the drawer at the nursing home that she kept a secret. On the cover of the box were the words Briar Rose written below a beautiful flower which was carved flawlessly into the wood. It was very heavy and contained information that would take Becca on a wild adventure unlocking her Gemma’s past. As she was walking along the road to her job at the newspaper she saw a small boy covered in cuts and bruises taking out the trash. She walked over to the boy and said, “Excuse me young man may I have a word?”

“Yes,” the single word came out of the frail boy’s mouth as a horse whisper.

“What is your name?” she asked looking down at the small boy with worry in her eyes.

“I … I do not have a name miss,” said the boy looking up at her with fear.

Becca took her stare off the boy for a moment to look up at the small white house behind him. It was big enough for a small family and Becca was sure hers would not fit. She looked back at the boy to see him turning away as if rejected by her. “Wait, where are you going?” she said touching his shoulder willing for him to turn around.

The boy turned to look at her once again and said, “My mother does not like me to talk to strangers. I must go before she finds me out here and hits me again. Please miss just go.” With that he turned around and started walking.

“Please don’t go I wish to meet your mother and father. Please take me to them.” She said without thinking.

The boy shrugged and took her hand and led her into the small house. When she walked in she saw two boys running after each other and laughing at the boy. She looked down at him and said, “Why don’t you play with them?”

The boy looked at her with what looked like a small smile. “You see Miss, I must clean up after them, my mother and father and my brothers. They make the mess and my job from mother is to clean it up. My mother will be in here on the couch.”

At that moment they walk into a tiny living room with a small TV placed on a coffee table. The mother is laying on the couch and a bottle of alcohol in her hand. As soon as she sees the little boy she makes a face of disgust. “What are you doing in here?” she said straight at him.

“There is a nice lady that wanted to talk to you. I was just showing her the way to the living room so you could have a nice chat with her.” Then the boy turned and left.

Becca sat down on the opposite side of the couch from the woman and with a smile said, “Hello my name is Rebecca Berlin. I just met your son out front and I would like to talk to you about him for a minute.”
The woman looked at Rebecca with an evil stare. She was tall and thin though she smelled of alcohol. She then said, “Yes what would you like to say about him?”

Becca looked at the small living room and noticed how clean it really was. Then she regarded the couch and gagged it was a small old thing and it was ripped and torn and looked as though it were overstuffed. She looked back up at the woman in time to see her take a swig of the alcoholic substance resting in her hand. “Well you see miss I just thought it strange that a boy who was taking out the trash has so many cuts and bruises. It just worries me a bit. Um where’s your husband I would like to talk to him about this too.”

“Oh he falls a lot he has a bedroom that is up the stairs and that boy is always falling down them. He’s such a clumsy little thing.” Said the woman with a frown that Becca can tell is fake.

With a sigh Becca says to the woman, “I don’t think he does fall a lot I think there’s a little more to the story then your letting on. He regards people with such fear and doesn’t seem to be able to connect to people either. Does he go to school? Does he even eat look at that poor child he looks as if he is starved!”

“Excuse me! I do not think that you have any place in telling me what you think is going on here! I am his mother and I know what’s best for him! He is not going to school he doesn’t need it, and for connecting with the rest of humanity that is his choice. I want you to leave my house and I don’t want you to bother my family anymore!! I expect you know where the door is so you can let yourself out!” and with that the woman looked back toward the TV ignoring Becca’s presence altogether.

Becca got up off the couch and headed for the front door. On the way she passed the bathroom and saw the small boy scrubbing the toilet with a tooth brush. “Little e boy I think I know what’s going on here and I’d like to help. I will do what’s necessary to get you out of here!” She said. Then for the first time the boy actually smiled, but it must have hurt him because a moment later the smile was quickly wiped from his face. Then he went back to scrubbing.

She walked out of the house and the rest of the way to the newspaper but the whole way she couldn’t get the sight of the little boy out of her mind. She was determined to get him out even more so then she was in finding the truth to her Gemma’s past. Becca walked into her office in the newspaper and went straight to work to find out information on how she could help the boy. Then shortly after she opened the phone book her boss Stan walked in and saw her.

“Aren’t you taking the week off?” He said.

“Uh I am but I had to get out of my house and work on a story that I think will really benefit us and I think all of you will be excited to read it!” Becca said.

Then Becca found a way to save the boy and then proceeded to find out her Gemma’s past. She was very excited that she got to adopt the boy and take him with her on her adventures in Poland. Then she got to find out about the truth of the boys bruises and cuts and horrible beatings. The boy was glad to know that now he was out of harms way.

When Boxer Meets Mad Lady by William V.

The summer reading books that I read were a Child Called It and The Contender. I will be using th following two characters to carry on a conversation: Mother the abusive parent from A Child Called It, and Alfred, the boxer from The Contender. The characters are meeting for the first time in Harlem where Alfred lives and have mixed reactions. I will be playing Alfred in this conversation that takes place on a busy street.

I was walking down the streets of Harlem when this mad lady ran into me while I was carrying a bag of groceries from Lou Eppsteins store a.k.a. Lighting Lou Epp. Her hair was all tangled and she smelt like she hadn’t bathed in weeks. She had deathly look about her that would make big ‘Ol Jelly squeal (Jelly is the boxer that ate too much so Mr. Donatelli wouldn’t train him).

Anyway this mad women was only two feet away by the time I got back to reality and before I could move, Whack! She plowed right into me and milk spilled over the two of us.

“What was that for,” I Yelled.

“You could have moved, and look it’s all over my clothes!” she belted

“Look lady they couldn’t have gotten any worse than they were before,” I barked back.

“I outta do what I did to my son,” she mumbled.

Curiosly I asked,“Why what did you do.”

She started explaining, It was back when I had a home and I wasn’t on the run. I would torture him. He wasn’t the oldest or the youngest. I would make him vomit if I new he was eating. I would make him sleep in torn up clothes. I even locked him in a room with chemicals so that he couldn’t breath.

“That’s so terrible, so what happened to him,” I stated frightened.

She continued, “The brat told his teachers and the cops came and set him free. Next thing you know, I was on the run to New York where I ran into you, or you ran into me,” she said.

“So what do you do for a living?” She wondered.

I used to be a boxer. I had to work real hard to be a contender. I ran every morning, ate a big breakfast, and then worked out in the gym for hours. It was tough. When I actually became an amateur contender, I would eat a steak, let it digest, and fight. I only fought three amateur bouts, but it was worth it.

Before I finished telling her about my boxing adventures, I realized that lady was gone and so were all of my groceries. I suppose that’s what I get for stepping out of reality. Well, now I guess I give another visit to the great Lou Epp and his store full of groceries, lesson learned.

Knock Out by Teddy B

Ender sat on a lake in Georgia. He sat on a raft he built himself out of wood. The second raft he had made for that particular lake now that the other was rotted and disassembled. He had found it that way upon his return to Earth only a year ago. He had truly been away for a long time, on a planet 50 years away. That was in Ender’s past though. He didn’t much care for his past. It was a dark and gloomy past. As a child he was separated from his parents and cast into a life of loneliness and constant pressure. He had commanded in a war, won, and was the brightest person, let alone child, in the world by age 12.

The day was beautiful. The sun was out. One cloud was apparent to the Northwest and was quickly drifting away into a background of trees. In any direction trees were thick with underbrush below resting upon a slowly sloping hill of which Ender appreciated after spending six years in a space station that’s floors sloped up to make a tire-like shape. On the south side of the lake a house stood, Ender’s home.

“What the…” Ender exclaimed as a raggedy boy popped out of the brush and into the lake. The boy was under water for nearly thirty seconds but came up to the sound of Ender screaming across the lake. “Hey, what do you think your doing you little peasant?”

As the young boy stuttered Ender splashed his way to the boy on his raft. When he arrived he threw the boy ashore next to an especially thick and dark patch of brush and screamed “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, I ASKED?!?”


“Well, I’m waiting,” bellowed Ender into the boy’s ear. “This is private property, which means “no come in” to you little boy.”

As the boy started to cry Ender realized how cruel he was being. “Okay settle down. Wow, you look horrible. Are those bruises on your arm?”

“Ye-es,” The boy said quietly gulping in breaths after his rant of crying. He never cried but he was startled so badly and the big scary man came off so horrific he simply couldn’t help himself He didn’t know why.

“How did you get those?”

“M-my mother.”

“That’s terrible. What’s your name?”


“Yes…” Ender said expecting more.


“Well David Pelzer. I’m Ender Wiggin. Sorry about before. I was just enjoying a moment. Nothing really now that I think of it. Anyway, where did you come from? I don’t get many strangers, or anyone, around here often.

“I live in a town outside San Francisco. I stole money from my brothers to jump on a train in an attempt to run away from my mother. I just kept going from train to train. Where are we?”

“Georgia. Are you serious?-”

At that moment a fist ran across Ender’s face as another gripped little David. Ender heard Dave shout “No, Mot-” before he hit the ground and was out like a light.

By Hannah S.

It was a warm night in California .Summer was almost over, and fall was coming as the leaves from the trees started to turn. Alfred Brooks had just moved into an apartment next to David Pelzer. The spacious brick apartments where outside of the city in California. David, who had come from San Francisco, stayed close to his different foster homes after the rough beginning of his life. Although David was happy to move somewhere new when he found this apartment.
That night David went to a small restaurant for dinner. After he finished his burger he left the money and a tip and walked out the door. He pulled on his sweatshirt as he paced down the long street. Alfred, who was driving down the street recognized the tall and thin man with dirty blonde hair. The car came to a halt and David’s head lifted up to see who was stopping. The window of the car squeaked down and he heard a familiar voice say.
“Hey want a ride home? It’s your neighbor Alfred.”
David didn’t know that much about him, but had met Alfred before and knew he was a nice guy so he crouched over to get in the car and watched as the car pulled away from the curb and accelerated. Alfred’s voice pierced the silence in the car.
“So David, where do you come from?" Alfred said.
"Different foster homes in California." said David quietly.
“Oh.” sighed Alfred
“I was abused as a child and ended up in foster care.” David then glanced at the scars on his arms and said, “and that’s where all the scars are from.”
“Sorry that happened to you David.” Alfred said quietly.
“And what about some of the scars on your face Alfred?”
“I was a boxer at Donatellei’s gym in New York when I was a teenager.”
“Oh were you good.” David said casually
“Yeah I guess, but there were some hard times.” said Alfred
“ With me too.” said David “I would go days without eating.”
“That’s harder than what I had to face considering I ate 3 big meals a day, but I did have to face some big guys, and have hours of tough training.” Alfred chattered
“So why did you stop boxing Alfred?” said puzzled David
“My coach said it was my time to stop and I realized it to because I was no longer the best, but I had put up a good fight.”
A cold breeze then filled the air as they were approaching the apartments. The windows were slowly rolled up and the car fell to silence again. David glanced over at Alfred. He had black hair and dark skin, and scars that ran over his face. Then David broke the silence.
“So why did you come all the way out to California from New York?”

“ I went to college at the University Of Phoenix.” said proud Alfred
“So what did you major in?”
“ I majored in Science in athletic training, so I could possibly open a gym someday and help other people like it helped me.”
“I’m thinking of writing a book about my life, and trying to help people too.” said David
Alfred then replied, “so tell me about your life.”
David then started. “Ok well I had a great family, a mom, dad, and two brothers. We had great time going to the beach or the park and just spending time together. But then my mother started drinking when I was in about elementary school and problems started from there. I was to clean up the house and if I wasn’t done in time or if it wasn’t good enough I wouldn’t get food at all, and would be beat. And if I did finish I would get crumbs or food left over before I went to school. Then I would have to go to school and lie about the bruises or cuts.”
“I’m sorry about all of that David.” said Alfred sadly
“Its not you fault Alfred.”
“But then one day all of the teachers got together and helped me to safety and took my mother away.”
“That’s good you were ok.” Alfred said
“Yes. So tell me about your family Alfred.” said David
“Well they live in Harlem, NY. There is my mom and my sisters. They are all very nice and my mom is very hard working to try and get the best education for my sisters and me.
“Well that is good to hear.” David said happily.
The car came to a halt and pulled into its parking spot. David thanked Alfred for the ride. They both knew that they would become good friends.

The Zocmarb Project by Nathaniel L

Ender Wiggin was sitting in his room on one of the bugger planets when he got a call from Earth. The newly colonized planet was Ender’s and Valentine’s third planet to colonize it was named Zocmarb. It was almost like Earth except for instead of grass on the ground there was blue grass called Blugraz. The oceans also had a green tinge and smelt like flowers. But as in all places, Zocmarb, had a very fowl and disturbing something and that was the Larz rocks. They were pink and very pretty from the outside but when picked up they released a terrible odor and bite into their capture and stores their blood. Then in a blink of an eye, the rock would shoot old blood on the victim.

The call that Ender had received was from the president saying that he was going to bring a boxer named Alfred Brooks to Ender’s planet to give the people there some entertainment.

The president then handed the phone to Alfred. “Have you gotten a ring ready Ender?”

“No, I just got news of you coming, I didn’t have time,” said Ender.

“Well I’m looking forward to seeing the universe famous Ender Wiggin, see you later.”

Silence, the phone was hung up. Ender said “Well he must’ve been in a hurry, I didn’t even get to say goodbye.”

Ender let out a long sigh; he hadn’t talked to anyone on Earth for over 50 Earth years.

Just as Ender was about to leave Valentine came running in yelling “Alfred is here, Alfred is here.”
Ender was very confused so he went outside to see how in the universe Alfred Brooks was able to get to his planet in less than 30 minutes; it usually takes 2 years on a shuttle.

When Ender got outside he saw a small space ship. Alfred walked out of the speeder with a swagger or a drunken walk (probably from the voyage) and came up to Ender and asked “Like my ride?”

Ender, clueless asked “What is it?”

“Well it’s a new space ship patented by Mazer Rackham called the SpaceSpeeder SSpeeder for short,” answered Alfred.

“Oh, well uh I guess we should start building that boxing ring,” sputtered Ender.

“Oh no, no, no.”

“Well you see I don’t box anymore I just couldn’t stand watching the opponent go down it feels terrible.”

“I know how you feel,” consoled Ender.

“How so?”

“Well back in Battle school and on Earth I beat up some guys really bad.”

“Ah, but they lived didn’t they?”

“No, I learned that I had killed them, when I fought I fought so that I would hurt them so badly that they wouldn’t want to even try and beat me again.”

“You would have been a good boxer, you have such a killer’s instinct”

“Yeah, but I don’t like to fight, just like you Alfred, so Alfred what did you come to this planet for?”

“Oh, I came to teach boxing and provide an athletic program for your community.”

“I think that’s just what we need, just between you and me the people are getting a bit obese now that we can create a surplus of food.”

“Great all we need to do now is build a gym.”

“Let’s get to it.”

The building of the gym started off a little rocky because of Ender and Alfred’s differences in opinion. Alfred wanted to make the boxing ring on the third floor just like in Brooklyn. Ender on the other hand, felt that the stairs might be to dangerous for the obese people. In the end they agreed to make an elevator and make the stairs optional.

The next step was to get some teachers or trainers. Ender and Alfred worked together and found 3 retired basketball players to be coaches and 2 retired soccer players and so on and so forth until they had a couple of coaches for each sport (Including badminton). Three weeks later the facility was bustling with activities and a new game. The Game was the same as Ender had played in battle school and children developed a love for it as like any other sport.

Ender walked outside on his way home and found Alfred sitting on the bench outside. “Hey Ender” said Alfred.

“Hey Alfred” said Ender

“I can’t believe the progress this community has made there’s not a single obese person in the colony.”

“Then I guess its time to go and help colonize another bugger planet.”

“Our paths will probably never meet again Alfred.”

“I know, how are you planning to get to that planet before the mother ship.”

Ender sat for a second and then said “your space speeder.”

“No!” Exclaimed Alfred, “It’s mine.”

“I’ll fight you for it.”

“No thanks you can take it, I’m not getting in your way.”

Junice in Kulmhof by Jiayin S

The breeze was haunting as Junice bent down to observe the markings left by the river. She thought about the history of this place where so many souls had been lost to the victory of violence and hatred. In a way, it reminded her of home, where gangs ruled the streets and innocent lives were forever changed, simply because of racism and years of grudges being held. In Kulmhof, like the streets of home, it was survival of the fittest; she’d learned that from her mother. Sometimes, Junice just wished the world wasn’t so cruel to those who couldn’t help but be weak. It wasn’t their fault that fate had it in for them. She looked up as she heard footsteps, people approaching. A fair, red headed young woman, a German woman, and an older man walked by.

“People don’t like to talk about what happened here,” the man said.
“Why not,” the red-head said, “It is harsh, but it is their history.”

Junice heard the German woman translate the red-head’s words. As they came nearer, the red-head glanced at the river and saw Junice, knelt down beside the water. She gave a timid wave, but when she saw Junice’s concentrated expression, she turned away. Junice sat there, still lost in her trance of thoughts about her life, her mother, her history. But she decided to get up and walk with them, as her legs had fallen asleep, to maybe learn more about the horrific place called Kulmhof.

“Hey there,” she said, catching up to the red-head. “I’m Junice.” Looking back, the red-head stopped and reached out her hand.
“I’m Rebecca. What brings you here?”
“I was gunna ask you the same thing,” Junice replied. “I’m here on a school trip… but my class is off in some other part of the city.”
“Oh, I see, so you’re in college?” Rebecca asked.
“No, I’m still in high school. I’ll be lucky if I can graduate.”
“I see… I’m here on a search for the past of my grandmother; it’s kind of a long story. You’re from America too? I just realized you speak English.”
“Yeah, I’m from Harlem.”

Rebecca stopped walking for a moment. She looked around and said to herself, “This place is so depressing… but it’d beautiful in its own way. It makes you realize how the world really is; what we’ve become and what we once were.” Rebecca nodded. After a moment, she decided to invite Junice to lunch.

“Would you like to have lunch with us? I think my translator is going to show us a nice café around here, maybe a couple towns over, when we’re done.” Junice considered the offer and then accepted. I’ll catch up with the class later, she thought.

Rebecca and Junice walked further through the ghost town of Kulmhof. The overcast sky was ominous, threatening to open up and let buckets of rain fall to the earth. The two were quiet, as Rebecca’s translator and the old man had walked the other way towards the café, but Rebecca had wanted to walk a little further, so Junice accompanied her.

“My grandmother was from this place,” Rebecca said, mostly to herself. Junice glanced over. Rebecca continued.

“It was right before the actually war, with the Nazi’s and all, but she won’t tell us anything about her life, her past, her husband, the father of my mother, her country, nothing. So I came to find out on my own.” Junice thought for a moment, still caught up in thoughts about her own life, but interested in Rebecca’s as well.

“I wish I had some mystery to figure out for myself… the only story I have is my own; and my mother’s. Should we be walking towards the café?”

“Are you hungry?” Rebecca asked. Junice nodded, so they turned around and walked the other way along the river.

“What’s your story?” Rebecca asked, “Or, rather, your mom’s, if you don’t mind me asking.” Junice was silent, a solemn look on her face, for a moment and then she spoke, quietly, to tell the story.

“I grew up in the hood, never with enough money, always fending for myself and my little sister. A few months ago my mother got busted for selling drugs… she had no other way to get pay. We couldn’t bail her out, we could only watch her suffer there for a crime she felt she had to other way to get past. A few months ago, I fell in love with a boy named Damian. And when my mother heard of this from my grandmother, my mother was disgusted, she felt like I’d abandoned her. But what could I do for her? I brought her what she needed, but other than that I had nothing to give. It’s kind of nice to be here, even if it’s with my school, just to get away, see something new for a change.”

By then, they’d reached the café, and Rebecca was full of sympathy for Junice.

“I can’t say that I can relate, but I can say that I’m so sorry, Junice,” she said. Junice was speechless as well; she’d never been that open about her life, her issues, her personal thoughts, and certainly not with a stranger; not with anyone really. There was something about Rebecca that made her calm and helped her get through what she was feeling. Somehow, talking about life was easier than living it. Junice smiled at Rebecca, grateful for her kindness.

“Thank you, it’s not like anyone can do much,” Junice said.
“Well, if there ever is anything I can do, let me know,” Rebecca replied. She gave her number to Junice, “Or, if you ever want to just talk.”
“Sure thing, if I can get near a payphone.”

“Junice!” Junice looked back and saw her teacher, and all of her classmates, standing by the café exit.

“Oh,” Junice said, “I guess I have to go. Thank you Rebecca, maybe I’ll be in touch.”

“Oh, alright,” Rebecca said, “Good luck.”

The Strangers by Jennifer M.

As David sat on the stairs in the dim lit, cold basement, he thought he heard someone whistling near the window. He looked around and was able to get a glimpse of a young woman who was walking in the backyard. David tapped on the window with a broomstick handle until he caught the attention of the stranger. She looked down in wonderment as to why this young boy was shaking quite severely and standing alone in the cellar. She knelt on the ground and proceeded to talk to him through the cracked window pane. As the stranger looked around through the window she noticed an old army cot set up in the corner that appeared to have blood-stained sheets lying across it. David looked at her with such fear and hopelessness.

The stranger, whose name is Becca Berlin asked, “Are you O.K.?”

David replied, “Sure, I’m fine. I had fallen down the stairs and the door was
locked when I tried going back up. My mom will be home soon and she’ll open it for

Becca said, “Oh, I’m lost. I was supposed to be meeting someone in this
neighborhood who is helping me to find out some information on my grandmother and I
must have taken a wrong turn and ended up in your backyard.”

David exclaimed, “Is your grandmother lost?”

Becca smiled and said, “No, but she may have been a princess.”

This drew a big smile from David as he wanted to hear more about this princess.
David asked, “Did your grandma live in a castle?”

Becca laughed, “Well, I’m trying to find out that very same answer. I’ll let you
know once I’m able to solve this puzzle.”

David looked at Becca with his great big eyes which looked so sad. He decided
to ask another question about her grandma. He blurted out, “Is she a kind princess or a
wicked princess?”

Becca replied, “She was the kindest princess you could ever meet.” Becca looked
down at David and asked, “I hope you don’t mind my saying but why are your clothes so

David looked very nervous and fidgety. Before he could reply he heard a voice

Becca was startled by the tone of the individual who was yelling out, “David, get
upstairs, right now!”

David stammered, “Ummmm…. I’m sorry, I must go now. It was nice talking to
you. Thank you for sharing your story.”

David immediately jumped up and the conversation was coming to an end.

Becca said, “O.K., take care.”

He answered, “You, too. I must go NOW.”

David’s neighbor, Mr. Gibbs, was crossing the lawn calling out to Becca as he
realized she turned into the wrong yard. Becca gave David a quick wave goodbye.

When Becca arrived in Mr. Gibbs’ living room she could not escape the image of
how sad and terrible that little boy in the basement looked. She questioned Mr. and Mrs.
Gibbs if they knew the little boy next door. Neither remembered anything special about
any of the children next door as the family kept to themselves.

Becca returned to the hotel after spending a few hours with the Gibbs’ and
learning some of the past history about her grandmother. She tossed and turned in bed
for hours with the image of that sad little boy engrained in her mind. She couldn’t help
feeling that something was just not right.

The next day she returned to the Gibbs’ house knowing they were planning to
leave town for the day to attend a county fair. This would give her the opportunity to
peek in the cellar window and see if the little boy was there. What she saw stunned her.
She was cutting through the backyard making her way around when she heard a woman’s
voice screaming. When she looked in the window she could see this woman in the
kitchen, smashing the little boy’s face into the counter area. This was the same little face
she had seen the night before through the basement window.

Becca immediately goes to the Daly City Police Department and reported the
incident. David doesn’t realize it yet but once he arrives at school, he will be free from
his mother’s abuse.

By Jack B.

Daisy awoke to the sound of her small cousin, Piper, tossing and turning beside her. Daisy lay still, staring up at the white textured ceiling, thinking about the night before. Reluctantly, she got up, making sure not to wake her cousin. Daisy slowly crept down the creaky stairs and out the door to the garden. She walked through the luscious flower beds of tulips and morning glories, wondering what time he would arrive. Alfred, Daisy’s friend from New York, had called the night before, telling her that he was coming to England for a couple of months, and needed a place to stay until he could find a hotel. She quickly suggested that he stayed with her and her cousins, but in her excitement, Daisy neglected to ask Alfred what time he would be coming. Not wanting miss his arrival, Daisy decided to wait in the front of the house. After about an hour, a cab pulled up to the end of the driveway, and someone got out of the car, paid the driver, and turned towards the house. Daisy’s face lit up as she realized that it was Alfred who was standing there, with the sun shining off of his brown skin and muscular arms. He began to walk towards the house, but before he could get five steps, Daisy was running up to him, and greeting him with a very enthusiastic hug.

“Alfred,” Shrieked Daisy, still embracing him tightly in a bear hug. “How are you? I haven’t seen you forever!”

Grinning, Alfred said, “I’m pretty good, but I’d be better if I could breathe.”
“Sorry,” said Daisy as she released him from her hug. “So, what made you come to England?” she asked while brushing her hair from her face.

“Well,” replied Alfred while picking up his suitcase and beginning towards the house, “ after I stopped boxing for Mr. Donatelli, I decided I needed something new for a while, so I saved up my money and bought a ticket to come here.”
“Well, what I don’t get, is why England? Out of anywhere in the world, why did you want to come here, especially with the war just ending a little while ago?”

“I was talking to your dad the other day, and he told me that you were here, so I thought I’d come because I wanted to see you again, and I didn’t want to go somewhere where I wouldn’t know anyone.”

Walking up the front steps into the house, Daisy said, “You always did like my dad a lot.” Suddenly she stopped, turned slowly to Alfred and said in a very serious voice, “But you don’t like Davina, right?”

“No, not at all.” chuckled Alfred.

“Okay, good. I just had to make sure of that.” The two walked into the kitchen, and Alfred sat his suitcase down next to the table.

“So,” said Alfred as he sat at the table, “were you here for the whole invasion?”

“Yeah, I was in England the whole time, but not here in particular.” Daisy stood up and opened the window, letting in a cool, fresh breeze of air. “We were taken away and had to live with a military family. Piper and I that is.” Daisy walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out the milk. “After that, we walked all the way back here on our own, and that’s when my dad called and made me fly home.”

“Wow, that must have been difficult for you.”

“Yeah, it was, but I got through it.” said Daisy. “So, how long are you staying?” she asked.

“Oh, I’m only staying tonight. The cab driver told about a hotel not that far from here, so I think I’m going to stay there.” said Alfred. “Well, I’m tired, I haven’t slept since I was still in New York, is there anywhere that I can sleep?” Alfred asked, yawning.

“Yes. Go up the stairs, second door on the right.” replied Daisy.

“Thanks” said Alfred as he headed up the stairs.

The Shuttle by Casey B

“Ender now this is your final exam.”

“You did it you just won the war!”

“I killed billions of living things… I’m a murderer!”

“You killed us Ender, you killed us….murderer.’

“Ender, Ender, wake-up. The new arrival is here,”said Valentine.

Ender awoke in a deep sweat.

“Another nightmare?” questioned Valentine.

Ender just sat there, motionless. Then he sparked the idea Val was saying. The Shuttle! Here on planet Eros it takes many years to fly from Earth. In Earth years it’s longer.

“Ender, hurry the shuttle is landing soon!” Val shouted in excitement.

We don’t really get to many shuttles. This is actually the second ship to arrive here on Eros.

Ender and Val arrived at the landing port just as the new pioneers exited their temporary home for the last couple years. Ender closely inspected the pioneers. There were many adults. Could there not have been a single child in the whole crew? Then Ender saw him. He was a teenage boy, looked to be around 14.

“Hi, I’m Ender.” Ender said.

“Hi, I’m Alfred Brooks.” he said.

“Where are you from?” Ender said.

New York City” Alfred said.

“Why did you travel all the way here to Eros alone?” Ender said.

“Its personal... well I use to be a boxer, but then my trainer said that I didn’t have the killer instinct.” Alfred said.

“I know that feeling way to well...” Ender murmured.

“What does that mean?” asked Alfred.

“Well, I’m Ender Wiggin.” Ender said expecting a big commotion.

“Ok, I’m Alfred.”

“You know Ender... Ender Wiggin... The best general of all time... nothing?” Ender asked.

“Nope.” Alfred answered.

“When did you leave Earth?” Ender asked

“1956, why? Alfred questioned.

“Why did it take you so long?” Ender asked appalled.

“Well my shuttle was an exploration. Later we found out you discovered this planet and so we came here.” Alfred said.

Ender invited Alfred to stay with him and Val before the new pioneers leave tomorrow for there new village. Alfred and Ender had a great time telling stories about their times on Earth.

“So Alfred, what do you want for dinner? We have vegetable and either artificial beef or chicken?” Ender asked.

“Well, my old trainer would say, to be a contender, I can’t eat that. But, how about the artificial beef!” Alfred said.

“My favorite.” Ender said sarcastically. “So Alfred, do you have any friends you left on earth?” Ender asked.

“Yes, I had a best friend named James... but I left him very ill at the hospital.” Alfred said very quietly. “You?”

“Yup, almost my whole life I’ve been trained to be who I am, the best general of all time. I was pushed so hard. I was exiled from everyone, well they tried anyways. I made a group of friend that helped me in my time of need, when I commanded the war. The weird thing is that I thought it was a game. I thought it was just a stupid game... no, but it was real and I killed billions.” Ender said.

“Wow that is rough.” Alfred said.

“Well, it’s around time you guys go to sleep.” said Val.

In the morning Alfred and Ender said good bye and Alfred left with the other pioneers to their new life.