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Biting Slippers &
Bowling Chickens:

Tales From Tuesday


Dear Readers,

Inside Biting Slippers and Bowling Chickens: Tales from Tuesday, you will find a sampling of the creative efforts of thirteen homeschooling writers who have been working together on Tuesdays all fall. As you can tell by the title, this is no ordinary literary magazine by no ordinary group of writers. The group has been dedicated and certainly imaginative, and for every page printed in this magazine, there are many more (both written and as-of-yet unwritten) that could have been included. They have refined these chosen pieces over a period of weeks, with input from their peers, their parents, and me. Some began as exercises done in class and some were inspired by a group study of forensic science.

The students’ voices are as unique and varied as their tastes and preferences, as you can see from the collection that follows. You’ll find poetic language, action and adventure, plenty of humor, and even reflections on the nature of humanity. You can journey to the past, future, and imagined realms as you read sections of several fantasy and science fiction stories. You can exercise your logical mind with sections of three mysteries. If you want to learn more about crime solving, there’s an essay on forensic careers. Two, very different, poems add strong imagery to our collection. Be prepared to laugh, feel, imagine, wonder, and ponder as you read these “Tales from Tuesday”.

Rebecca Yahm
December, 2005

No Reason
by Victoria Desranleau

I wake up in the morning
a heavy gloom outside
the clothes I picked look sober
for shoes I can't decide

The clock whispers it's too early
the pillow begs for me to stay
I look outside- it's raining now
I want to float away

My planner opens from the wind
I take a hasty look
a test in math and social studies
a report due from a book

How could I have forgotten
Mrs. Bean will be so mad
My eyelids force my eyes to close
I feel like such a cad

Cracking my eyes open
lifting them to the light
I sigh and snuggle deeper
I am in such a plight

I try to lift my covers up
they weigh more than a ton
I try to slip my slippers on
they bite me and they run

I reach up from my toasty cavern
I try to switch the light
the fuse sparks the bulb burns out
I don't put up a fight

The sheets are now engulfing me
the pillow surrounds my head
there's really no reason to get up this morning
so why get out of bed?


by Grant Davis

Chapter One

      A little girl wailed loudly as her mother sat patiently on the bed beside her. “But mom, I don’t want to go away,” she sobbed as tears welled up in her eyes.
“Oh sweetie, you won’t be going away until you’re ten years old, that’s six years from now,” said her mother in a loving voice. “You will be staying here for a long time until then. ”
     Aikia was the only child of the Egyptian Goddess Isis. She was deeply upset because she had found out that one day she was going to be sent to something that her mother called “God school.” The school was actually called “The Institute Of Divine Intervention,” a boarding school for Gods and Goddesses in training. It was essential for novice deities to learn to control their powers before they were allowed to interact with human beings. Every God and Goddess throughout any culture had attended this secret school. Isis herself had attended many years ago and she knew that when the time was right Aikia would be excited to go to the school.
The years sped by and soon it was Aikia’s tenth birthday. She hugged her parents and felt a jumble of emotions all trying to leak out of her at once. She still felt sad like the little girl inside of her but even more than that she was excited to get to know a new world and meet other children with godly powers. But before she let all her emotions burst out, her spirit escort led her to a carriage pulled by the ancient winged-horse, Pegasus. Pegasus slowly lifted the carriage into the sky. Aikia silently said goodbye to the only world she had ever known.
     The spirit guide made quite an impression on Aikia. It radiated blue light and was in the basic shape of a person but seemed to flow like a river, full of energy. Aikia had never seen anything like the spirit guide before and could barely look away from it.
     It was amazing how quickly Pegasus traveled. It only took about three hours to get from Cairo to the legendary Shangri-La high in the mountains of Tibet. Shangri-La was protected from humans so it was the perfect place for the school.
     As the carriage made its decent Aikia got her first glimpse of the fantastic creatures that lived in Shangri-La. She noticed dragons, nymphs, sphinxes, and stunning white unicorns scattered around in groups of three or four on the mountainsides. At last they approached the school. The buildings of the Institute of Divine Intervention were made completely of a crystal-like substance that changed color every few minutes and sparkled like the most brilliant jewels. Even in her daydreams back in Cairo, Aikia wouldn’t have imagined such beautiful sites.
     As soon as Pegasus landed, the spirit guide escorted Aikia to a marketplace. The glowing blue spirit opened the door to a tiny shop, motioning Aikia inside. The sign on the door read, Athena’s Books of Wisdom. The spirit handed Aikia a list of items she would need to purchase prior to the start of classes. The bookshop had many magical tomes full of information. There were books with pages that were clear until you ordered them to show you your homework. There were books that giggled when you tickled them. There was even one book that shot sticky goo out of its pages if you did not say the password before opening it.
Aikia visited twelve shops in a couple of hours before she had to rush to her hotel The Divine Destination. (The brochure of the hotel said that they would not let anyone into the hotel past 9:00 p.m. and it was already 8:45 p.m.). By the time Aikia went to the hotel she had bought twenty-one books, twelve different potion ingredients, four magical lenses that could see things that the normal eye could not see, two ancient scrolls that came from Egypt, and a white kitten she named Snowy. She and Snowy and all her possessions would be moving to the school dormitory first thing in the morning.
     The hotel seemed ancient to Aikia probably because of the limestone public baths located just outside. There weren’t any baths except for these Roman-style ones. The hotel was set on a giant slab of rock and part of it was carved right out of the mountainside. Nothing ran on electricity in the hotel, candles lit the rooms and hallways.
     Aikia had dinner sent to her room. She was very hungry since the last meal she had eaten was back in Cairo. After dinner she got ready for bed. Tomorrow would be the start of a whole new life. She couldn’t wait to see the school and meet her classmates. With her head on her pillow and Snowy curled up beside her, she fell asleep. In her dreams she walked among unicorns grazing in a lush meadow.

      To be continued…

by Eli Omand


     The bright morning sun rose with the dawn, bringing warmth to life in the Heart-Land. Chickadees flew from their nests, rejoicing in the banishment of shadows and soaring on the wings of dawn. Swooping low, they sang to the earth their sweet song of praise. Down on the earth, rays of sunshine splashed color into the fields and forests, the sparkling dew made the illusion of the plants having been carved from stone.
     A mouse emerged from its burrows, scurrying through the undergrowth in search of a filling seed. A flashing paw, claws unsheathed, scooped up the mouse and quickly dispatched it against a tree. Bending down, a ginger she-cat picked up the mouse and walked towards the forest’s heart.
     In the elders’ den a small, old black cat lay in the middle of the cave, curled tightly into a ball. Walking into the cave, Lotus dropped the mouse next to it.
     “Hello Amber,” she meowed, “I brought you a mouse.”
     Looking up Amber purred a greeting to her. “That’s very kind of you, but it’s already happening.” She meowed. “It’s already come.”
     Confused, Lotus sat down. “What’s come?” she asked.
     “The end of the Heart-land,” Amber whispered. “This is what I have been told.
          “When the six Elements are joined as one,
          A power unlike any other shall appear
          And strike down the enemy.”
          In the end only four will remain,
          And peace will reign for many years.
          “But darkness will rise anew,
          And so will the elements,
          So until then we must fight.”

     The Healers’ den was located in the side of a tall cliff at the end of the plains overlooking the forests of the Heart-land, accessible only by jumping up a series of rocks and boulders. Avatar always met Lotus there and he knew the way up to the cave by heart.
     Jumping from a boulder he landed on a small outcropping and looked where he would be jumping next, already knowing even before landing. He quickly made his way to the mouth of the cave that marked the entrance of a dark tunnel that lead to the main cavern where the healers lived.
     Walking through the tunnel Avatar came upon a vast cavern with many branching tunnels. High above, light shone through a small hole at the top of the ancient Fire-Mountain.
     Leaping upon a small side ledge he scanned the crowd of cats until he saw Kenien, Lotus’s mentor.
     Walking through the gathering he made his way to Kenien.
     “Hey Kenien!” Avatar meowed.
     “Hello Avatar,” Kenien meowed “How have you been?”
     “I have not rested for a while, but I am still moving am I not?”
     “Yeah, how are all the other Healers?”
     “It’s been very busy with all the new apprentices and we’re low on herbs.” Kenien meowed “If it wouldn’t be too much to ask would you and Lotus go out to find more of this one?”
     “I’ll see what Lotus is up to.” Avatar meowed “If she’s free I’ll make sure to ask her.” Off in one of the side tunnels a ginger cat called out for Kenien.
     “I have to go.” Kenien padded off, tail twitching with annoyance. “Lotus is in the Trading Post with Sunstream,” he meowed.
     “Thanks.” Avatar meowed as he headed towards larger tunnels that lead to the post.
     Wandering through the caves he slowly made his way to the trading post where traders from all across earth came with their trinkets and valuables. As he wandered through the tunnels he passed by many unlit caves when something caught his eye.
     Turning back Avatar saw a semi-clear stone that glowed from within. Looking at the stone he was unable to move and his gaze was locked on the stone.
Suddenly the cave vanished and Avatar was alone in a void of darkness. Widening his eyes Avatar pulled his whiskers against his face and opened his mouth slightly to catch any scents. Crouching low to the ground in defense Avatar’s eyes flitted from side to side as shadows of mist circled like evil.
     Suddenly the shadows stopped. Surrounded, Avatar counted five of the spirit-shadows. Swiftly, two of the shadows sprang towards him, taking the form of cats. Quickly Avatar rolled to the left, rising to his feet he struck out landing a blow directly in the first cat’s face. Surprisingly the other cat disappeared in a puff of smoke spinning around. Avatar barely had time to see the flurry of attacks as the second cat came in. Dropping into a crouch, he instinctively pulled his whiskers tightly to his face to protect them from the rain of claws.
     Suddenly they disappeared and he found himself in the middle of a clearing in the woods; on the other side of the clearing Avatar saw his family, his feet welded to the ground like the roots of a great tree. He could only watch helplessly as the shadows fell upon them.
     Once again the world disappeared and Avatar was plunged into darkness. Light appeared and he was back in the cave. Turning around he nearly ran into Lotus.
     “Are you alright?” She asked. “I found you lying on the floor like you were dead.”
     “I’m ok,” he meowed. “Just a little tired.”
     “Let’s go hunting by the ravine.” Lotus suggested
     Walking away, they laughed together about the past as behind them in the cave, a little stone flashed softly.

     To be continued…

Star Stranded
by Jonathan Davis


     A large spacecraft hurtled toward a small blue and green planet with frightening speed. As the spaceship crashed through the planet’s atmosphere it made a horrific screeching sound, ending in an abrupt landing, stirring up vast clouds of dust.
     Inside the ship in a small room that served as the captain’s quarters, three tall and strongly built creatures were talking intensely. The leader barked out commands. Turning to his first officer he asked in his rough, throaty language, “Officer Gault, how many crew do we have left?”
     Gault replied emotionlessly as he looked down at the small metal device that he held in his hand. “Captain Troukot, sir, we have 2,386 crew left. 463 of them are injured but should survive.”
     “How long will it take to repair the ship?” asked Troukot.
     “If we double the shifts we can have it done in seven days,” said Anark, the second officer.
     “Then double shifts it is,” ordered Troukot. “Officer Gualt, begin the repairs immediately. Officer Anark, put two of our carbon-based food units on this planet. If we ever come back this way we can harvest them,” said Troukot. “Be sure to select two of our healthiest food units,” he added.
     “But our crash landing has lifted up significant amounts of dust, making it nearly impossible for life forms to survive,” said Anark. “In fact this planet’s lizard-like creatures will likely be extinct within a matter of days.”
     “Then set up a temporary garden for our food units. Put a time lock on it for one year,” said Troukot, “The planet should be habitable by then.”
     “Yes sir,” replied both Gault and Anark as they set about their work.

Chapter 1

      Sam woke up with jolt as his alarm clock went off. He had been repeatedly hitting the snooze button and now was late for work. Sam worked for a highly funded company named the R.S.C., Research for Space Colonization, which had been working on a way to colonize Mars and one of Jupiter's moons. Sam quickly made breakfast and scrambled to his car with his cup of coffee.
     He was running a little late but hoped no one would notice. Sam was the head of the Space Traffic Division. His job mostly consisted of scanning space to find any meteorites or space junk floating about and to make sure that all spacecrafts and satellites were not coming too close together. It was a simple job and well paying. Most people in the R.S.C. thought he did not deserve the position because he had been working for the company for only four years. But that did not bother Sam too much. He was good at his job so why care about what other people thought.
     Almost there, said Sam to himself, as he pulled up to the gate and showed Ralph, the good humored guard, his identification card.
“Good morning, Sam,” said Ralph as he gave back the card, “Al has been looking for you and asked me to call him when you came in. He was talking about Project Nightfly.”
     As Sam drove toward the parking lot, he thought about Project Nightfly. Nightfly was a series of probes that were sent out to find and test meteorites for a new kind of energy for earth vehicles. But the project was canceled late in 2089 due to the fact that the new energy, known as astrogas, was giving off toxic emissions. So R.S.C. was left with a fleet of three billion dollar probes and a canceled program. To save money the probes were given to the department of space traffic to scout outlying areas of space.
     What does Al want to know about Nightfly? thought Sam, Did something go wrong with a probe? Al can really be bothersome sometimes, making a big deal over nothing. But he is one of my best employees, a very dedicated worker.
     Sam parked his car and walked into the building. As he entered the spacious lobby he looked up through the glass walls of his office located on the 2nd floor. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He relaxed and slowly walked the rest of the way up the stairs. When he opened the door he saw Jim at his computer and Al at one of the radars.
     “Good morning everyone,” said Sam, “You wanted to see me, Al? Something about Nightfly?”
     Al looked up in surprise, “Oh, hi Sam. Glad you’re here. I picked up a meteorite that has not been following the standard pattern.”
     Sam hesitated, waiting for more information.
     “It’s, well, following the Nightfly” said Al.
     “What? Following the... what?” Sam was shocked.
     “Late last night I picked up a meteorite that was a drifter,” Al began.
     Sam knew the term drifter well. It was a comet or meteorite that was not going in a predictable pattern.
     Al continued, “So I was testing the area to see if there were any currents that were driving it but there where none so I sent the probe toward the meteorite. As it neared, it started to change direction and come toward the Nightfly. It was then on a collision course so I had to steer the Nightfly back. The meteorite then changed course and came at the Nightfly.”
     Sam interrupted “Could there be a magnetic field connecting them together?”
     “No, that was one of the first things I checked. There is no magnetic field,” Al said loudly.
     “Where is this taking place?” asked Sam, “Can you get a visual?”
     “I was trying to get a visual when you came in. It’s in the far side of sector 732-GMD,” said Al.
     “Well please continue then,” replied Sam, as he sat down at his desk and started working. One of the space shuttles was scheduled to depart in just a few days. There was a lot of work to be done.
     “Umm. . . guys, I’m picking up a pattern of radio waves coming from the meteorite,” interrupted Al.
     Sam jumped up from his desk and looked over Al’s shoulder. Jim rushed over as well. Al was right, there was a pattern coming from the meteorite. That’s a first, thought Sam to himself.
     “I’m getting a visual,” said Al excitedly. The computer screen flickered and then showed an image of some sort of object in space. As the camera zoomed in he saw it was a ship, a giant vessel, but nothing like any of them had ever seen before. It was an alien spacecraft.
     “What the...?” said Jim.
     “Use the photo cam right now” commanded Sam.
     “SNAP,” the photo cam took a picture. Just then the spacecraft stopped and slowly turned. As Sam, Al and Jim watched in horror, it blasted a photon beam at the Nightfly probe and then the computer screen went black.

     To be continued…

by Keenan Villani-Holland

     Halfway through his deliveries, Taper Winry glanced at the fuel gauge and realized he had nowhere near enough Zivnis to make the rest of the run. As he pulled his HoverTruck 7 over into a fill station and landed, a man in a red SayCo cap and a grimace on his face came over.
     “Whadda want?” the man asked in a scratchy I-don’t-want-to-deal-with-you-I-just-want-to-go-home voice. Taper looked at the sign that was displaying the Zivnis prices, then replied, “Whoa this is gettin’ expensive! Makes me wish we were still usin’ oil. I’ll guess I’ll take #2,” “Yeah, well,” the man in the cap said and walked off to the pump, muttering “dang unions” He came back and began filling the truck. “Y’ know, the government says they’ve found a new supply of Zivnis,” Taper said, attempting to make conversation.
     “Yeah, but we have to invade Kade if we want it.”
     “I don’t care. Anyway we know they’re evil, and against us!” Taper shot back.
     “Whatever,” mumbled the pump worker “There y’ go, 35 greegs please.”
     “Holy…! Here you go” said Taper.
     “Have a nice day,” the pump worker replied, taking the money and slouching away.
     Taper looked around, saw there were no cops and stepped on the accelerator. He flew well over the height limit and above the traffic flow. He stayed there for a moment then dived and was lost in the jam of hovercars.
     Taper’s feelings were mimicked by most of the residents of the planet Dartand. Not all of them, though.

* * *

     Kyle rolled out of bed to the ringing of a phone. He stumbled into the kitchen and picked it up.
     “Hello, this is Kyle Tarnburg,” he mumbled.
     “Hey Kyle, it’s Garf.“ There’s a protest against the war at L:ME ”
     “Right in front of Prez Garbo’s war cabinet building!” Garf said.
     “Hey I’ll be there -- see ya.” Kyle hung up the phone and went downstairs.
     He picked up one of the large sheets of ReBoard that was lying around his extremely messy basement. He got out some paint red, black and purple paint and wrote on the board:
Why fight a war for a resource that’s about to run out?
He decorated it a bit with question marks and puzzled faces, glued a wooden stake to it and let it dry while he went to get dressed.
     It was raining when Kyle stepped out the door of his house. The rain wasn’t really surprising: it was always raining in Targan, the capitol city in which Kyle lived. He pulled out his UmbrellShield and unfolded it. Kyle didn’t really understand why the UmbrellShields where any better than regular umbrellas; they still broke, and it wasn’t like they protected you any more.
     By the time he got to the protest there were already many people there, chanting and holding signs. The signs bore legends like: “Stop the war” and “Whatever WAR can do PEACE can do better!” Kyle spotted Garf’s bright red hair and struggled his way through the jam of people to him.
     “Yo, Garf!” Garf looked around for a moment, and then spotted Kyle. “Hey dude, nice sign!” “Thanks,” Kyle replied modestly. “Yours is good too,” said Kyle looking at Garf’s sign, which read:
Why spend money on a war that could be spent on alternative energy?
     “It’s okay, I just couldn’t really think of anything else….” Said Garf. “Nah, it’s great!” assured Kyle.
     The protest lasted for only fifteen minutes before fifty men in police uniforms charged out and began rounding everybody up, including Kyle. “All right you’re comin’ with me!” a burly policeman yelled at Kyle. They loaded the demonstrators into cramped police vans, where they had their hands tied and were trucked off to the jail.

     To be continued…

That Other Mystery
by Grady Breen

     Phillip Comeau, a very successful businessman received a phone call from a man that said he was old childhood friend. The supposed old friend told him to come to his house on Saturday the twenty-first of August, which was two weeks away. Phillip was told a great number of other childhood friends would also be there. Mr. Comeau then said goodbye and hung-up, after he hung up Comeau decided to telephone his wife, Sage, who was a supermodel.
     The two weeks slipped away quickly and finally Saturday the twenty-first rolled around. The Comeaus pulled their Porsche up to a huge mansion on Fletcher Lane and walked up a long stone walkway that led up to a gigantic door with a tremendous doorknocker that had a gemstone in the center. Phillip swung the doorknocker up and down twice. After a few minutes of waiting, a very imposing butler opened the door. He was a large figure with a grin from ear to ear and holding a large bloody knife. Sage screamed as Phillip gathered his wits about him.
     “Drew, what are you doing here? I thought you were still a comedian and bouncer at that nightclub?” Phil said.
     “That stupid boss of mine fired me! Then he met his untimely end,” Drew said cunningly.
     “You know this brute!” Sage said to her husband in disbelief.
     “Hey, I have a degree from Princeton in physical therapy! I may be brutish in physical demeanor, but I do have a brain and ears!”
     “So how do you know this buff genius, Phillip?” Sage asked.
     “He is my brother and your brother-in-law.”
     “Oh, sorry,” Sage replied submissively.
     “ Don’t worry about it. Oh, sorry about the knife. We are barbecuing a cow,” Drew said and then led them through a labyrinth of rooms to a back patio that was bustling with people.
     Drew excused himself as he said, “I will be back with some appetizers.”
     A tall brown-haired man walked up to Phil.
     “Hello, Aaron. I haven’t seen you in a while,” Phil said. Aaron Hale was the tallest of their graduating class and had become a professional skateboarder.
     “You like jelly beans?” Aaron replied. Everyone knew that Aaron was a little ‘off his rocker.’ This wasn’t from a skateboarding head injury, but from whacking his head on a low ceiling fan.
     “You still a pro skateboarder, Aaron?” Phil asked.
     “Clowns scare me,” Aaron said randomly.
     “That’s nice, see you ‘round,” Phil said and walked off. Drew came back with a large plate of assorted finger foods. Phil and Sage started to walk over to the table. The table was covered with delicious foods from around the world. On the way over though Phil bumped into a blonde-haired man wearing a leisure suit. He recognized this man instantly; it was his childhood friend, Nicholas Levinski.
     “Hello, Phil!” Nick said excitedly.
     “Hello there.”
     “Who you here with?” asked Nick.
     “Sage, my drop-dead gorgeous wife of two years,” Phil said.
     “Who you with?” he asked snidely.
     “Mail order bride from Russia; her name’s Elena or something.”
     ‘Elena’ walked up to the two of them, frustrated.
     “For the last time, Nick! My name is Joanna and I am not from Russia, I’m from British Columbia, and I met you at a hockey game in Minnesota!” Joanna shouted and stormed off, infuriated at the inept mind of her husband. Nick turned back to Phil slowly.
     “Elena, Joanna, Lauren, it’s all the same to me,” Nick said.
     “How long have you been married to her?” Phil asked.
     “Our second anniversary is in three weeks,” Nick replied.
     “Months, right?” Phil asked hopefully.
     “No, years!” Nick replied.
     “You’ve been married for two years and you don’t know her name!” Phil shouted. Phil walked off towards the buffet. At that moment, a figure riding a Ducati motorcycle came streaking through the main hallway straight into the backyard. The figure stopped the bike, got off, and took off his helmet. It was Zak Pacy. No one had seen Zak since high school because he had gone to play hockey in Finland.
     “Hello everybody!” he said and strutted towards the food table and a manservant holding a tray carrying champagne.
     “Can I have one bubbly, please?” Zak said coolly.
     On the patio many people were talking amongst themselves.
     “Hey Phil, do you even know who invited us here?” Nick asked.
     “No, I wonder if anyone else knows?” Phil replied.
     “I am going to go see if I can find someone who knows,” Nick L. said and walked off. Nick looked for a while, but could not find anyone that knew who had invited them all. Finally, he asked Jonas.
     “I don’t know. One day, I got a call from some guy looking for a chef. I said yes, and this guy told to be here the next Monday. Somebody leaves a pay packet for me every Friday morning.”
     “Why don’t we go ask everybody at once,” Nick declared. Nick and Jonas walked outside and Jonas got on top of a large table.
     “May I have everyone’s attention please!” Jonas shouted from atop the table. Everyone turned quickly towards him.
     “Does anyone hear know who invited us?” he asked from atop the table. No one replied. A loud evil laugh started emanating from a nearby bush. Drew crept toward the bush and quickly pushed the branches away to reveal a large black speaker. The crowd gasped.
     “Very good. Very good, my captives,” the voice said.
     The word captives ran through everyone’s minds.
     “You all were brought here for a reason. That reason is a giant game of chess. Some of you are pawns, some rooks, some bishops and so on. If you ask who are the pawns? That is for you to decide. If you try to escape there is no escape. You have to fight your way out. The lone survivor will have the honor of revealing my identity to the world. The survivor will also win a job from me, a very dirty job. The job will pay very well. Hear one last thing, my captives, protect no one, everyone is going after you. There is a room in this house that is filled with weapons of one kind or another, find that room.” The message from the speaker was finished with another evil laugh. Everyone was shocked. One woman fainted. Phil hopped onto another dining table.
     “Everyone be calm! This is what we are going to do. We are going to go get weapons from that room and find this creep,” Phil announced. The crowd eagerly agreed. The mass of newly energized people started to go inside.
     “Wait! We need some organization before we go looking for this guy helter-skelter,” said Zak. He quickly counted everyone there.
     “There are seventeen people here. Five of you look around outside. That includes the front yard. The next four search the main floor. The third group of four looks in the basement. And the last group of four will search the upper levels,” Zak commanded.
     Sage asked, “where is this famed room of weapons?”
     “Uh uh umm, well we don’t exactly know yet,” Zak replied slowly.
     “Who is going to find it?” Sage asked.
     “You will!” Zak replied promptly.
     “No way! I am not letting my wife look for some fantasy room with a psychopath around,” Phil said worriedly.
     “Phillip, I can take care of myself, thank you.”
     “Phil you can go with her,” Zak said.
     “Thank you, even though I don’t need your permission,” Phil replied with mixed emotions. Everyone then started moving towards his or her assigned floor.
     Phil and Sage walked up the large staircase to the second floor. They were walking cautiously as of each step was a matter life and death. Phil led the way, looking around them at all times. The Comeaus held hands, not in partnership, but to make sure one wouldn’t get abducted silently. Phil led his wife into a large room that was filled with very strange things. Such things as mounted heads of creatures that looked like they where from other planets or even other galaxies. On the far side of the strange room there was a small door. Phil investigated the strange door and found that it led to a tiny balcony off the side of the house. Phil walked onto the balcony and looked around. He even looked up at the roof to see a very large stone gargoyle perched on the edge of the roof.
     “Sage, come see this,” Phil said to his wife. Sage joined him on the balcony and looked up at the gargoyle.
     “Hello,” the gargoyle said suddenly. Phil and Sage screamed and ran back into the strange room. The gargoyle lurched onto the balcony and ripped a post from underneath the railing. The gargoyle slowly stalked into the strange room. Phil and Sage were huddled against a wall. Phil hurriedly grabbed a mounted animal head off the wall and threw at the gargoyle.
     “Oh, the kid’s got an arm,” the gargoyle said. The gargoyle slowly prowled toward the frightened couple.
     “Do you won’t know a secret? I am the owner of this place. Now you know my secret, so I am going to have to eliminate you,” the gargoyle said eerily. The gargoyle then suddenly threw the balcony post at them. It missed, thankfully, but it did bury itself deeply into the wall. Phil and Sage ran for the door. They made it into the hallway and sprinted for the giant staircase. The gargoyle followed them eagerly, eating up the distance between them with long strides. Sage made it to the staircase first. She easily vaulted over the large stair railing. Sage landed on the other side of the railing with the balance of a cat. Phil turned to look at the gargoyle behind him and tripped on the top stair. He rolled down the first few stairs and hit his head on the railing support posts. The gargoyle walked over to him and picked Phil up easily. It was then that the gargoyle started laughing maniacally. The gargoyle held Phil by the back of the neck and laughed loudly.
     “Only one thing will save this doomed man…” the gargoyle said.
     “What is that?” Sage frantically asked as several frightened people surrounded her.
     “The Jewel of Heroes,” the gargoyle loudly replied.
     “What is the Jewel of Heroes?” asked Sage.
     “The Jewel of Heroes is a very precious gemstone. It is somewhere in the house. I have looked for it for years, but have had no luck.”
     Sage replied,“Oh great!”
     “Can I have any help?” asked a very hopeful Sage.
     “No! When you are searching your little friends will be stuck in a time matrix,” the gargoyle cackled.
     “You will have a single hour to find the Jewel; if you don’t find it…well then, your husband and everyone else will die!” he continued.
     “When does this hour start?” Sage inquired quickly.
     “Now!” the gargoyle said ruthlessly. Sage rushed off. First, she looked in the main hallway and then on the patio.
     She looked for what seemed like hours. The hour ticked away slowly, with each minute sage became more and more frantic. Her last hope was to look in the frontyard. She knew that she only had a maximum of ten minutes left to look, so hurriedly looked on the walkway. Then she looked on the front porch. The jewel was nowhere to be found. On the verge of tears, Sage started to open the door. And then she looked at the doorknocker………………………………………      There it was! The Jewel! It had been in the doorknocker the whole time. She eagerly grabbed the Jewel from the knocker and rushed inside. When Phil saw Sage with the Jewel, he cried tears of joy. Sage presented the gargoyle with the Jewel, as the gargoyle released Phil and everyone else that was stuck in time.
     “Finally the curse is broken!” the gargoyle screamed as he turned to dust. Sage and Phil embraced each other in victory and utter happiness. The good news over the Jewel and Phil was spread to everyone in the house. After the party was over, everyone, including the servants left the mansion for good. The house still stands to this day and some say you can still hear the gargoyle cackling. How do I know? Because I was the gargoyle! But I now I am just a greeter at Wal-Mart. Look for me, the name is Gary! The End

Becoming a Forensic Science Technician
by Ben Breckenridge

     There are many career choices in law enforcement, but one of the most interesting of those is in forensics. Some of you may have questions about jobs in forensics such as what the jobs are like, what education you need, and how much money you will make. One job is a forensic science technician. The job of the forensics science technician is to “…perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation…” (http://online.onetcenter.org/link/summary/19-4092.00).
     Whenever a crime is committed the forensic science technician uses laboratory results from the evidence collected to further the information gathering, putting the pieces of the puzzle together so that a picture of what happened to the victim can be created. Their job is very similar to the coroner’s. They both collect evidence and do lab work. The technician’s job is not to figure out who the victim is and how they died, but to deal with the physical evidence, such as hair, bodily fluids and DNA. These two professionals often work together.
     Forensic Science Technicians must have a high-school diploma or GED. They also need to take classes in math, biology, chemistry, and technology. To do this work the technician needs to be knowledgeable in sciences, be a detail orientated person, and be a good problem solver. He or she needs to be able to use logic and deductive reasoning. Technicians are required to read complicated and sometimes tedious documents.
     The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Forensic Science Technicians make about $20.77 per hour or $43,200 annually; I think this salary is pretty good for the amount of education required. The number of technicians is due to grow from 8,000 in 2002 to 12,000 in 2012. This does not seem to be a fast growing field. Only 4,000 jobs will be created in the next 10 years.
     Other careers in forensics include coroner, fire investigator, and profiler, but there is no room to describe them here. The career of a forensic science technician is unique and interesting. A job in forensics is not for the faint of heart. Often to collect evidence this professional must deal with blood, guts, and body parts. The career choices in forensics are not easy but in the end they can be rewarding, after all dangerous criminals are caught every day by the work of those who work in forensics.


The Empty Safe Mystery
by Henry Prine

#1 The Crime
     On May 19 the Police get a call from the manager of an insurance company. He says that $100,000 dollars was stolen from a safe. You (Detective Jack), and five policemen rush to the scene of the crime. When you and the five policemen get to the scene of the crime you see a nice brick two story building with a nice glass window and a big sign in front of the building that says "Parker Insurance Company". In front of the building there is a parking lot. You pull in to the parking lot and scramble out of the car. The five policemen rush after you to the big wood doors of the building. Then three of the policemen hurry inside while the two others wait alert outside with you. A half of a minute later one of the policeman comes out with a tall, handsome man with black hair, white shirt, black pants, and a black tie. You notice that the tie is ripped in one corner.
     One of the policemen asks the tall, handsome man, "Are you the manager?"
     "Yes," says the manager, worriedly.
     "What is your name?" you ask.
     "Hello. My name is Jack. I heard that $100,000 was stolen from a safe."
     "Yes," he says worriedly.

Do you want to:
Question the manager? Go to #2
Inspect the safe? Go to #3

#2 Question the Manager
     You decide to question the manager. You ask the manager, "Will you take us to your office?"
     "Yes," he says, and leads you down a bright, clean hallway to his office. His office is big and cozy, with a desk along one wall, a computer and some papers neatly arranged on top of the desk, a calendar hung on one wall. In the middle of the room there is a table with chairs. Manager Joe pulls out one of the chairs for you and you sit down. He sits down in another. Then you say, "So, how long have you been working here ?"
     "I've been working here for three years now."
     "Who else works here?"
     "Well, we have two guards that work here, Benny and Tom, two secretaries, Ann and Lisa, and three clerical workers, Jeff, Max and Jane."
     "Who is working here right now?"
     "Secretary Ann, and workers Jeff and Max."
     "Who went to the safe last?"
     "I did. This morning I went to make my morning check on the safe That's when I noticed that the money was missing. The last person to go to the safe before me was Jeff. Yesterday I told him to put $200 in the safe."
     "Who knows the combination to the safe other than you?"
     "Jeff and Max," he says. "Oh. I forgot," he said. Embarrassedly, he pulls a piece of paper out of pocket and hands it to you, saying, "I found this caught in the safe door this morning."
     You take the piece of paper. It was a letter from somebody named Johnson.
     "I have been waiting too long. Give me my money back Jeff. I said you could borrow it for two weeks. - Johnson"

Do you want to:
Question Ann the secretary ? Go to #4
Question workers Jeff and Max? Go to #5
If you think you found the culprit Go to #8

#3 Inspect the Safe
     You ask two of the policemen to come with you. They agree.
     Then you ask the manager, "Will you show us to the safe?"
     "Yes," he says and leads you and the two policemen down a bright, clean hallway.
     You come to the safe built into the wall about three feet above the ground. The safe door is open and there is nothing inside the metal walls of the safe. You look closer and you see a little bit of black cloth caught on one of the hinges. You take out a little plastic case and put the black cloth in it. As you put the case with the black cloth in it into your pocket, you notice something on the lock. You put the case away. Then, you take a magnifying glass out of your pocket and look closely at the lock. You see the vague outline of some fingerprints on the lock.

Do you want to:
Lift the fingerprints? Go to #6
Go back to your office? Go to #7
If you think you found the culprit Go to #8

#4 Question Ann the Secretary
     You find Secretary Ann in her office, looking worried. As soon as she sees you she stands up. She looks elegant in her dress suit and has golden hair. You go into her office and sit down. She does also. Then you say, "What do you know about worker Jeff?"
     "I don't know much about him, except that he usually has a lot of debts," said secretary Ann.
     "What do you know about Manager Joe?" you say.
     "Well I know he lives in a nice house in the suburbs and has a lot of friends," says Ann.
     "What does the manager do at work?" you ask.
     "Well he always checks the safe in the morning and analyzes the data from insurance sales," says Ann.

Do you want to:
Inspect the safe? Go to #3
Questions workers Jeff and Max? Go to #5
If you think you found the culprit Go to #8

#5 Question Workers Jeff and Max
     You find Jeff in his office, looking anxious. As soon as he sees you, he makes his face into a smile. Jeff looks young in jeans and a blue shirt. You go in and sit down in an unoccupied chair. Then you say, "Jeff, did you by any chance see anything strange or odd when you put the money in the safe yesterday?"
     "Not really," he says casually.
     "Are you sure you locked the safe door?"
     "Yes," he says, matter-of-factly.
     "What do you know about worker Max?"
     "I know he lives with his parents and does not have a lot of money. He also has a record of stealing," he says nervously.
     "What did he steal?"
     "Laptops, DVDs and money."
     "How do you know that?"
     "It was reported in the paper three years ago."
     Then the phone rings and Jeff picks it up.
     While Jeff in on the phone you decide to question worker Max. On the way out of Jeff's office, you catch a word of what Jeff is saying. "Not right now…." (pause). " Yes! I have the money…(pause)….Okay! Okay!…(pause)…. Bye," he says whispering.
     You find worker Max in his office, typing on his computer. He is wearing black pants and a blue shirt and has black hair. You go into Max's office, and sit down in on of the chairs against the wall of Max's office. You look around the office, You see a desk with papers scattered on top. There is also a computer on the desk. A file cabinet and a table were also in the office. Max looks at you.
     "What do you know about worker Jeff?" you ask.
     "Well, I know he sometimes has debts because he comes in complaining about them every now and then. Other then that I don't know much about him," says Max.
     "What do you know about the guards?" you ask him.
     "I don't know anything about them because they are only here at night," says Max.
     "Do you have a criminal record?"
     "No!" he says, looking confused.

Do you want to:
Question the manager? Go to 2
Inspect the safe? Go to #3
If you think you found the culprit Go to #8

#6 Lift the fingerprints
     You decide to lift the fingerprints on the handle of the safe door. You take out some iron oxide, a black powder, and sprinkle some of the powder on the handle of the safe door. Then you brush the powder off but some of the powder stays on. You can see some fingerprints on the handle of the safe door. Then you ask the manager Joe, the two secretaries, the three clerical workers, and the two guards for them to make copies of their fingerprints by putting their finger in an ink pad and then pressing them on a piece of paper. In this way, you can compare the fingerprints on the handle to the fingerprints they made. You figure out that the fingerprints on the handle were probably of the manager and of worker Jeff.

Do you want to:
Question workers Jeff and Max? Go to #5
Go back to your office? Go to #7
If you think you found the culprit Go to #8

#7 Go Back to Your Office

     You decide to go back to your office at the police station. You get in your car and drive quickly back to the police station. At the station, people busily hurry around you. It means nothing to you.  As you get back into your office and you begin to think over the events that happened earlier this day. As you sit down, something falls out of your pocket. You look down, and you see the small, plastic case with the black cloth in it. You pick up the case and put it on your desk. You think back to when you first met the manager as he came through the doors. Suddenly, you slap yourself on the head! "What an idiot I am!" you think, as the memory of the manager and of his tie ripped in one corner comes back to you.

Do you want to:
Question the manager? Go to #2
Lift the fingerprints? Go to #6
If you think you found the culprit Go to #8

#8 Conclusion
     You hurry down a bright, clean hallway towards Manager Joe's office, with the five policemen close behind you. You turn around the corner into Manager Joe's office. Joe is sitting in a chair at the desk. He looks up when you come in.
     "We found the culprit!" you say.
     "Who is it?" Joe asks.

To accuse:
Manager Joe - A
Secretary Ann - B
Worker Jeff - C
Worker Max - D

#C is the correct choice! You arrest Jeff. He goes to court and is found guilty. He gives back the money and goes to jail. You figure out that the cloth from the manager's tie got caught in the safe when the manager checked the safe in the morning and found the money missing. You also learn that Jeff was lying about Max's criminal record.  The insurance company does well for the next few years.


Thousand Dollar Skylar
By Shannon DiPietro

     “Officer, my dog, my dog has been stolen.”
     “Calm down, Amanda,” Officer Brad said slowly. “Now tell me what happened, Amanda.” Which he knew she could do perfectly without his asking.
Amanda’s dog had been stolen before, but not technically. What really had happened was her fiancé had taken the dog before to a doggie day spa to surprise Amanda. But since she didn’t know she flipped out and called 911. Now usually someone could get in trouble for calling 911 for a reason like that. But Amanda is the Prime Minister’s daughter and they had to make an exception.
     “Ok Amanda, was the dog that was stolen this time your husky?”
     “Of course it was, Officer. You well know that she wasn’t stolen last time I called. So you can stop with the teasing. But this time she’s gone really gone!”
     “Are you sure it wasn’t your fiancé again Amanda?” Officer Brad asked, forcing himself not to laugh.
     “Yes I am sure” she said sounding absolutely appalled at the question. “He is at the house. Besides there is blood on the carpet in Skylar’s bedroom.” Amanda said, now bawling through the phone.
     “What do you mean, ‘besides there is blood on the carpet’ Amanda? That is not a good thing.”
     “I KNOW THAT’S NOT A GOOD THING,” she said now screaming on the phone. “The point I was trying to make is that if he had taken her somewhere there wouldn’t be blood on the carpet.”
     “Ok Amanda, calm down. I need you to go look in the room were she sleeps. Is there anything out of order in there except the blood, Amanda?”
     “Yes, there are dog tracks all over the place. But those were from last night. Hey I didn’t notice that before.”
     “What is it Amanda?” Officer Brad asked quickly.
     “There is a bunch of ripped up carpet in the corner of her dog door and the dog door is it’s broken!”
     “Ok Amanda I will be right over.”
     Five minutes later Officer Brad arrived at Amanda’s house. “Lets have a look at that dog room. Shall we Amanda?” Officer Brad asked quickly.
     “Yes”, said Amanda blankly as they walked into the house.
When they got to the dog room and Officer Brad confirmed that it was dog blood on the carpet (by checking its characteristics under the microscope and calling the lab), Amanda was in hysterics all over again.
     “I wouldn’t be too worried about the blood if I were you Amanda,” Officer Brad said slowly. “I would be more worried about that,” he said pointing to a corner of the room. In the corner was a needle, a sharp needle on the floor with a yellow liquid in it.
     “What is in that syringe officer?” Amanda asked quietly.
     “I don’t know Amanda,” he said. “It probably is a sedative of some kind I think. I will have to send it in to the lab to make sure though,” he said as he examined it.
     “In the meantime Amanda, do you know why someone would take Skylar?”
     “Probably because she is a one of a kind red husky wanted in every town in Alaska. She is worth thousands of dollars and any dog breeders would like to have her to breed.”

     To be continued…

by Victoria Desranleau

     Darkness was all around her. A faint stream of light barely broke the surface. The seaweed tangled itself around her feet. She couldn't blow bubbles much longer. She started to struggle away in an attempt to escape the silent eeriness. The sharp movements caused the sleeping sand to awaken engulfing her in a cloud of the waterlogged powder. Her lungs burst, screaming in pain, she breathed in deeply and was surprised to find her lungs oddly intact. Her mouth was gritty. She breathed again, her head cleared. She reached down to free her ankles and then slowly floated to the surface. She broke the surface and came face to face with the worried face of her older brother. "You were in there so long I thought you had begun to drown." Looking in his eyes she saw his guilt from leaving her alone, while he joined his friends. She smiled reassuringly as he tousled her hair and swam off. Smiling to herself, she started to swim back to shore. Maybe tomorrow she would try out her newfound discovery some more, but for now, it was time for lunch.

To be continued…

The Geneseed
by Zak Breckenridge

The Story of Joe
3/16/2112 Westport, New York, USA, Earth

     Billy stepped out of the door and was met by a slicing wind; he turned to face the house and called: “I’ll be back in twenty minutes Mom.”
     “Okay,” was the reply. So Billy put on his helmet and flicked the power switch on his Hydrocycle before mounting it and peddling off down the street. As he went he saw no one on the streets; no tall, proud, men walking their poodles and no door-to-door salesmen knocking on doors and even no homeless people trying to make a house out of a plasteel boxes. Nope, definitely no one around. But wait, a huge, heavily muscled man in a tan trench coat with his left hand holding his driving cap to his head and the right resting in his pocket as he watched Billy go by on his Hydrocycle.
     The man’s name was Joe, he had to get to Chicago quickly, the government was after him, and it has only a matter of time before they found him. He checked furtively over his shoulder before jogging over to a small, beat-up vegetable oil powered pick-up truck. With his left hand he deftly tapped the truck’s lock control/starter card, unlocking the car and swinging himself into the car, with his right hand still resting gently in his pocket.
     On the other side of town, Agent Summers knew “The Fugitive” was here somewhere; he had followed him from Washington, D.C. to New York City where he had almost caught him before tracking him all the way to a small town (only about half a million people) called Westport in upstate New York. It was a very windy, misty day and the industrial smog added to the mist as Agent Summers’ gasoline powered Humvee rolled down the deserted streets of Westport.
     Joe glanced into his rearview mirror and saw a looming shadow coming out of the mist and smog, and as he noticed that it was a Government Humvee he started the truck and revved the engine up to speeds it had never been to before. Joe sped around corners, down back alleys and through signposts, then he had an idea and if he had been in a comic book or stupid kids’ show a light bulb would have popped up over his head. Joe turned down a street called Palmer Lane and about fifty yards down the street he did a one-eighty turn and as soon as the Hummer came around the corner he put the peddle to the metal and sped at the top speed of one-hundred and eighty miles per hour straight at the Humvee.
     The driver of the Humvee didn’t have time to react to the small pick-up that was coming at him too fast; he tried to turn but that didn’t effect the huge jolt as the small, civilian grade pick-up truck hit the heavily armored monster of a government SUV and exploded in a fireball about fifty feet across. In all the confusion no one noticed a man in a trench coat and driving hat leap through the windshield of the pick-up truck and land gently on the roof of the Humvee fractions of a second before detonation with his right hand resting in his pocket.
     Agent Summers stepped from his scorched Humvee; he was a stout man, with short-cropped strawberry blond hair, a small nose and a slightly singed black trench coat. Now people were starting to come out and they were all asking what had happened. Summers had to think fast. These folks wanted answers now and he had to make up a good story. Then the babble of questions was broken by a child’s voice that said, “Hey, who’s that guy on the roof of your car?” and Agent Summers looked up in time to see a fist come down into his face and knocked him back ten feet.
     A punch like that would have knocked a normal man unconscious for at least an hour but Agent Summers was not a normal man. He was the high school boxing champ, four-year member of the SWAT team and he had five years of government training. He had the upper hand in almost any fistfight but after feeling the punch of this guy he wasn’t so sure, but he had to fight. He jumped up, lunged at his opponent, but before he could make a fist Joe took his hand out of his pocket and what came out with the hand made Summers stop in his tracks.
     Joe was holding a robust, yet sleek handgun with a dark violet grip made of studded rubber and its three twelve inch-long barrels gleamed in the faint light of the sun that managed to get through the mist and smog. “Korean manufactured; five plasma bolts per second. Good ol’ ebay.” Was all Joe said before releasing a hail of plasma onto Agent Summers, or more precisely where Agent Summers had been standing a second ago.
     Agent Summers’ fist collided with Joe’s ribcage, his only response was to wince a little and take a step back, then Joe brought his hand up into Agent Summers’ chin with the force of a rock thrown by miner droid, knocking him into a wall. Next thing he knew Joe was hit from behind by a hundred and ninety pounds of muscled bodyguard and because he was caught unaware, two hundred and thirty pounds of mighty fugitive crashed onto the scorched pavement. No sooner had Joe’s face hit the asphalt and five more bodyguards jumped on him, then there was the sound of plasma fire and the six bodyguards flew off Joe and landed on the road smoking. “They’re not dead, just stunned.” Yelled Joe as he released another burst of blue plasma into the crowd of bystanders before jumping over them all and sprinting away.
     Agent Summers stood up with much effort in time to see Joe sprint off down an alley and although he had several broken ribs he could still run faster then a normal man, so he ran full tilt after Joe with four body guards who had stepped out of the Humvee trailing behind.
     Agent Summers saw the end of a trench coat going down an alley, bolted after it and as he turned the corner he saw Joe pushing with all his might against a concrete wall; Agent Summers laughed in the most spine-chilling way. “Hahahaha, Joe you know you can’t push though that wall,” said Agent Summers as a spider-web crack appeared on the wall.
     The laughing stopped and Agent Summers’ eyes grew too the size of dinner plates. “Oh and by the way,” grunted Joe, “how do you know my name?” Then in the blink of an eye he brought up his hand and released an uncountable number of plasma bolts in the direction of Agent Summers and his cronies who had just come around the corner. As he turned, the wall he was pushing against turned to rubble beneath his shoulder.
     Agent Summers and his bodyguards managed to dodge most of the plasma but one bolt found its mark in the shoulder of a bodyguard, frying it to a crisp so that the arm fell to the ground sizzling.
     “Mister Boris, I suggest that you go back to the Humvee and get the some medical attention.” Agent Summers said matter-of-factly as he ran after Joe.
     All Mister Boris could do was stand, stuttering, while his arm lay, useless on the cold pavement, and then walked back to the Humvee, cradling the stump where his arm once was.
     A small child looked out of the foggy window of his apartment and saw a man with a driving cap shading his face, a trench coat streaming out behind him and a huge triple-barreled handgun come sprinting across the road. Two seconds later four figures in black trench coats and dark glasses ran across the road at equal speed with small, bullet weapons drawn. And then, later a silhouette lugging some thing large stumbled across the road.
     Joe came to another dead-end alley but this was a dead end made of neomagnium; the most powerful metal invented so far. And so, Joe took cover behind a titanium trashcan and prepared his grapple launcher. Mr. Garend (one of Agent Summers’ bodyguards) burst around the corner of the alley where Joe was barricaded and was met by a shower of plasma; he dodged back behind the cover of a building minus a hand and screaming in pain.
     The plasma kept coming, pelting the edge of the building that Agent Summers, Mr. Garend, Mr. Kirin and Mr. Lukin were behind, in fact so much plasma was coming that if any of them wanted to get a clear shot at Joe they would be vaporized before they could pull the trigger. It seemed to be a stalemate until…
     “Hey, Joe don’t you know plasma pistols overheat quickly?” it was the voice of Agent Summers.
     The plasma stopped and Mr. Lukin leapt around the corner, leveled his gun-
     “Lukin! No!” It came too fast to see and Lukin didn’t hear Joe’s grunt, but it happened nonetheless; Joe heaved his now dangerously hot plasma pistol at the first government agent stupid enough to poke his head around the corner.
     All the plasma pistol appeared to be in Lukin’s eyes was a blazing orange line and as it connected with his chest it exploded in a plume of fire, blasting him back into a wall and if the explosion didn’t kill him the sickening crack as his head hit the wall did.
     At the instant the gun exploded Joe fired his grapple launcher up to the top of a skyscraper, tapped a button on the launcher and was pulled up to the top where he started leaping from roof to roof towards the town of Essex too the north.
     Agent Summers knew where Joe was headed so he started running parallel to Joe; but on the ground.
     It was a race; Joe was leaping from roof-top to roof-top and Agent Summers, Mr. Kirin and Mr. Garend making slightly faster progress on the ground.
In time Joe was cornered on the roof of a two-story building; on one side a surly man with a buzz cut and dark glasses pointed his small Glock hand-gun at Joe, on the other side a man that looked exactly like the man opposite to him, except for the fact that this one had only one hand and right in front of Joe stood Agent Summers himself, holding his hand-gun loosely in his hand, then, he addressed Joe.
     “It’s obvious how I know your name Joe. Does the name Shane Summers’ ring a bell?”
     Joe uttered a word better not put in this book. “… why are you working for the ****ing government?”
     “You idiot, it’s been my dream to be a government agent ever since the age of five!”
     “I never knew that! If I had known you wanted to work for the government I would have, I would’ve squished you like a bug the instant I met you!”
     “Well Joe, if you come quietly then maybe you can get a real job with the government.”
     Joe was stalling, waiting for the biocoil in his grapple launcher to regenerate.
     “Now come down from that building, Joe and we can have a proper talk.”
     Then two things happened! First; a government agent came tearing around the corner with a rocket launcher on his shoulder and fired at Joe. And second Joe’s biocoil regenerated and he raised his arm to fire at a nearby building. But alas it was too late and the rocket hit Joe’s head blowing him back off his feet.
     Joe soared through the air and all he could think about was the extreme pain the right side of his skull, that is until he hit the wall and blacked out.
     “You fool!” roared Agent Summers “Do you know why I didn’t have him hit with a missile in the first place!?”
     “Dunno sir, maybe you didn’t think of it at the time.”
     “No idiot! He had the gene seed that was stolen three months ago! That’s why we’re chasing him and you’ve probably destroyed it!”
     “Well, sir isn’t it a good thing the gene seed is destroyed?” asked the slightly guilty looking agent.
     Agent Summers hit him, hard with butt of his gun.
     “Sir,” said a wincing Mr. Garend “maybe the gene seed survived and we could retrieve it.”
     Agent Summers kicked the agent still holding the rocket launcher to the ground before saying, “Sure we’ll do that.” And he walked off with Garend and Kirin following behind.
     The area was empty, except for a beat-up and bruised government agent, who went by the name of Clarence Stevenson and who also swore too get Agent Summers back… someday.
     Agent Summers, Mr. Kirin and Mr. Garend walked matter-of-factly towards where they had last seen Joe.
     When he found the spot where Joe had landed all Agent Summers found was a scorched and smoldering driving cap in a small pool of blood and Joe was gone.

Story of William
3/22/2112 Bilbury, England, United Kingdom, Earth

     Dexter was late for his first swordsmanship class; he had been waiting for weeks on end for this class to start and now he was late for it. Most of his friends thought he was mad to train in the archaic art of swordsmanship, but he thought it sounded great. Dexter knew that he had to be at the northern park at four-thirty and it was already four-twenty-six, he burst into a jog; he had been to the northern park before many times, so he didn’t have to worry about getting lost.
Presently Dexter rounded the corner to the northern park and he jogged in. There where about half-a-dozen people standing in line, Dexter decided that it must be the swordsmanship class so he went and stood in line. It seemed that as soon as Dexter got to the line a man with two huge, five-foot-long swords crossed on his back, an uncountable number of short-swords hanging from his belt and several sturdy-looking sticks in his hands walked up and said, in a thick Scottish accent, “Hello, my name is William Charger and I am your swordsmanship teacher,” said the burly man standing in front of the eager students, “you may call me by: sir, William, or you can just call me Will,” continued William. “Now, we’re going to start with the most basic exercise in swordsmanship; I want you to-“
     “Sorry I’m late!” gasped a small, red-haired boy in an American accent, “my name is Billy and I got lost.”
     “All right, you can stand in the line there Billy,” said William. “Now, as I was saying, we’re going to start off with the most basic exercise; I want you to catch one of these sticks when I throw it to you. Got it?” he was met by nodding from his students.
     Dexter then realized that one of the huge swords on William’s back had a canister about the size of a soda can on the bottom of its grip.
     William threw a stick to each student, most of them caught it but the ones that didn’t picked theirs up promptly. William then went on to explain that he had made his own swords and one of them was very special because it was his invention.  “I call this one the ‘Plasma Sword’” he said, pulling the sword with the canister out of its sheath “I’m going to show you all how it works so might make your own some day, and if any of you are makin’ it I’m sure it’ll be much better that the one I’ve made. Now I’m only gonna show you once so listen and watch closely. This canister is filled with raw plasma that is highly flammable and ignites on contact with oxygen. Now when I press up on the canister, a laser envelope surrounds the (plasma proof) blade completely and then this canister injects the plasma into the space between the envelope and the blade, as so.”
     William placed his hand on the bottom of the canister and pushed up, firmly, instantly a transparent bluish sheath surrounded the blade, leaving about an inch of space between the blade and the sheath, then the space filled up with an orange, swirling, glowing substance that could only be plasma. "Now, you're going to pair up and practace blocking-"
     "Mister Charger?" a man in a police uniform tapped on William's shoulders.
     "Yeah, thats me," he said
     "Jonathan Berns, Bilbury police, I want you to come with me."
     "Look, Mister Berns, I'm teaching a class right now, you can come back in an hour or take the class."
     "Mister Charger we suspect you of possesing cybernetic blueprints that were stolen last week, now come with me." A grin slid onto William's face, he sheathed his Plasma sword and then burst into jolly luaghter. He laughed and laughed and then he stopped; his grin was replaced with a flat, bland expression. William's hand flew into and uppercut to Berns' stomach; he doubled over, then a powerful side-kick to the head knocked Berns flying backward. William ran at an amazing speed from the downed police officer who was now calling in back up with his radio.  William jumped the low wall that surounded the park; he landed on the sidewalk, knocking an old lady to the ground.  "Sorry ma'am," he said, running to the road that ran along side the sidewalk.  He glanced both ways before bolting across the road, narrowly avoiding a black, solar-powered car.  When he reached the other side of the road he made a sharp right turn down an alleyway.  Halfway down he jumped onto a dumpster, then to a windowsill, then to another; then he jumped to a rooftop and ran along the edge of it.  He saw a police car below him; just then he realized that if he didn't give up right there and the, he would be a terrorist.  He didn't like that name; he would give it a new name someday. The man in the passenger seat of the car yelled to William, "Come on down Will, we don't want to hurt you!"
     "Stop and leave me alone Rick," was the reply
     "I'll have to shoot if you don't come now!" said the policeman, brandishing a handgun.
     "Go away!!" yelled William drawing a shortsword and throwing it through the hood of the car, as he leaped of the gap between two buildings.  He landed on a peaked roof in a catlike position.   A boom echoed through the town as the car with the sword in it exploded.
     A policeman ran down the alley between the building William stood on and the building he had just been on. "William Charger you are under arrest, you have the right to remian silent, anything you say or do can and will be held agaist y-, Hey come back!" said the polic man as William disappered over the peaked roof of the building.
     William made his way across the city.  More policemen tried to stop him but he got away with ease.  Men would jump out of their houses and try to grab him, but he would knock them away and keep on running,.  He made his way towards the center of town, where the helipad was.

     To be continued…

Born to be Bowled
(A Chicken’s Tale)

by Nathaniel Healy


     "I remember back in the day, you know, two or three weekz ago. When the world was peaceful and monstrous chickens did NOT roam the land, fighting armies of insane private detectives. But now, itz too late for that. We must thinkz of the future, when the ocean will be free of sharksez but the private detectives will not win with out our help. We must collect monkey eggz to save the day. Don't ask me why but thaze gotz to be blue. Them crazed 'scientists' sayz blue. Them sayz blue, blue, blue", said the old man with the short black hair standing on the soap-bot 20,000tm.
     Some made sense. Some did not. I had started hearing rumors about giant chickens two days ago, but the rest (and maybe that) was just crazy as far as I could      tell. I'd never seen anything like it, but like others in the 9nd grade, I'd heard stories of these men "The clan of truth" they call themselves. But our lord the great and mighty Bob (as he has titled himself) has told us that these are lies. So we know the truth, not all believed the great and mighty Bob. Some like Huey Bex did not, but that is why this is his third year in the 9nd grade. He has to be generalized or else our lord, the great and mighty Bob, will implant a brain chip in his useless head, and he will lose his chance to be a chicken bowler.
     I always wanted to play sports but my family is not important enough to be professional (unless I can win the 9nd grade championship) chicken bowlers. Only the five greatest families (the Lamberts, Quinns, Bex', Jargs and McHumbergs) are chicken bowlers. Of course, you know chicken bowling is our national pastime. For those of you unfamiliar with the customs of Pindigle, chicken bowling is where you pick up a chicken and throw it at other chickens. You get points for the number of chickens that duck, and neither you, nor the chickens, can get seriously hurt or you are disqualified. I'm a really good chicken bowler. I'm not just bragging. I've got the best record in the 9nd grade. I've seen some of the best chicken bowlers in history, like Sir Terry McHumberg in his famous defeat of Corlam Quinn. I've bowled against Huey Bex and beaten him nine out of ten games on average. One day, I beat him 73 and a half games out of 73 and a half. (If you want to know more about chicken bowling see The Honorable Sport of Chicken Bowling by Grased Lambert.)
     Well maybe it is time to tell you about Pindigle. We are one of the smaller worlds in our area. The woods, the mountains, the photographic scenes blah, blah, blah. You know, all the stuff they tell you in generalization class.
     A few weeks before this old man's crazy speech had come the fateful day of December13th that changed the world* forever.

     To be continued…

*well, my world

The Pig
by Grayson G. Webster

     Van Dyke sat naked on a ragged, insect-infested couch, surrounded by crushed, month-old, in some cases even older, food, caked with his own waste. A fuzzy television sat in front of him (the television was fuzzy because it hadn’t been turned off in a few years).
     Van Dyke wasn’t his real name, but it was the name most recently used on his television, so that’s what he was convinced his name was. His given, long-forgotten name happened to be Richard Shieder.
     The fact that he was able to distinguish names from other words meant he was in a good state of consciousness. He would sometimes just sit, not comprehending anything, virtually brain dead.
     Van Dyke was angry. He wasn’t sure why.
     “Richard?” said a nervous voice. Richard let out a soft gurgle. Philip Shieder, Richard’s older brother, and the only person Richard had been in contact with for years, stood in the doorway. “It’s me, Phil.”
     Richard, now thinking his name was Phil, got excited. He could hardly remember the last time he had seen the man (as far as he knew, Phil was the only man in existence). It had been two days.
     “I’m sorry I missed you yesterday. Things have been a little crazy at work.” Only two of these words triggered any thought in “Phil.” Work was the place the man was when he wasn’t with him. He hated work.
     Philip turned his attention to the television screen. “Richard, don’t watch this. Here, I rented you a season of CSI.” Richard grunted in protest. He disliked crime shows because they weren’t realistic enough, but Philip made him watch them just for this reason: they allowed Richard to realize if something was realistic or not, and stirred up memories of people besides him.
     Philip slid in the video. “How’s about I make some popcorn?” He stepped into the small kitchen of Richard’s tiny apartment. Richard rarely had the energy to enter this room, so it wasn’t in as much squalor as Richard’s room. Philip opened one of the moldy cupboards and grabbed an old bag of popcorn. Richard’s stove and microwave hadn’t worked in months so Philip just crushed it up a little. Richard couldn’t tell the difference.
     The two of them sat for the next hour and watch the show, neither one really enjoying it. When the show ended, Phil spoke. “So Richard,” he began, but he could think of nothing to end his statement with. He had worn out all the subjects he could discuss with Richard, if you could call anything something you could discuss with him. Richard rarely responded to anything said to him; he probably couldn’t understand any of it. But Philip still insisted on going over the topic of various television programs just as a topic of conversation. Richard never left his home.
     So Philip just sat with his brother for another five minutes, then said, “Well, I have to be getting back to work,” got up, and left.
     Richard returned his attention to the television and forgot the visit minutes later.

     To be continued…

The Ice Rink: My Home
By Anni Maheux

Simply walking into the ice rink triggers something inside of me
The sounds and smells of the rink are so comforting and calming
The smooth, clean, empty ice invites me and I just can’t say no
I step onto the silent glass while it is still clean
Such a fragile treasure, its surface soon distressed by blades
I stroke around anyway, loving the feeling
The cold air in my lungs and the ice supporting me
My blades rip through the ice as I glide
Floating like a feather, faster and faster
Loose strands of my hair whip and my skirt flutters behind me
Like a leaf in the wind
My feet begin to move involuntarily
They do footwork I didn’t tell them to do
Twizzling and turning as if they weren’t attached to my brain
I jump and I spin
I feel my limbs stretching to their longest extension
Everything inside of me is going into the ice
Out to the walls
And way up to the ceiling, until it’s filling the entire rink
I feel as though I am one with the ice
So peaceful and tranquil
Nothing can hurt me when I am skating
Nothing can destroy this state of bliss
And when I am skating I feel, and I know, I am home