The Time I Almost Drowned in a Pool

By Jessica Huong

Have you ever been on the verge of death? I can honestly say I have. It’s a very scary experience, and the memory will probably stay vivid in your mind for your whole life – it might even affect how you live your life.

When I first experienced this, I was very young – around four to five years old? Maybe even younger, in fact. I was on a trip with my family and several relatives. These details are pretty blurry, so I can’t recall where we went. But, what is clear is that there was a swimming pool.

After a while of having fun with my family around the area, we all decided to go swimming. I was excited, but I really had never seen a swimming pool before in my life! We got everything ready and headed to the pool in our building. It was super crowded, but it looked amazing to me. There was so much water, and it was so blue, ever more so than the ocean! I couldn’t believe my eyes.

When we arrived, I saw a bunch of my older cousins immediately splash right into the pool as cannonballs. I thought it was really cool, and looked like so much fun! So, of course, I jumped in right after them, hoping to join in.

But that was the deep end. I couldn’t swim.

Usually, when you see somebody about to drown, they’re flailing their arms around the water’s surface and screaming, right? But I wasn’t really sure what was going on, so I just sunk down into the water quietly, like a stone. Nobody noticed.

This is the really vivid part: I began to realize that I was drowning when I was already sinking, my face a few feet deep into the water – this was a long distance from the surface for little four-year-old me. I finally began to freak out and move my hands and legs around in hopes that somebody would notice, but I was too far under the water!

It seemed like an eternity that I was in that pool, sinking, unable to breathe, and feeling scared. In my head, the image is still as clear as a spring day. Remembering it actually makes me kinda anxious!

Luckily, one of my aunts was in the water and saw me in there when she was swimming. She hurriedly went down to get me, and the was the end of the eternity for me.

This is where it gets blurry again – what did I do when she pulled me out of the water? Did I cry? A lady who I didn’t know called my mom over, and according to her I was scared and shaking a lot. Of course, I can’t remember this part – this is based on what my mom told me.

So, how has this experience impacted my life? To be completely honest, I’m not too sure. When I went to summer camp in around 2012, I remember hating the water with a passion. That same year, I took some swimming lessons and got the basics down, and I didn’t hate it anymore. I do dislike swimming and being in the water, but I’m not afraid of it, so it’s just a simple preference.

Take this little story for example. Summer of 2015 – my family went on a trip to Cuba. We went to a beach, and in the ocean, my mom and I stepped into a very deep pit while nobody was around. My mom had almost drowned, but I used my basic swimming skill to swim us to the shallow waters. That, also, has become a really clear memory to me – what if I never took swim lessons? Who would be there to save us?

With all that said, I don’t hate swimming, and I’m not afraid of the water. I can swim fairly well now, I just prefer not to – and that’s fine! So, I can gladly say that I don’t think my near-death experience has greatly affected me. To be honest, I’m actually glad it happened, so that I have something to write about for this article.

If I were to fall into the deep end of the pool ever again, there’s no doubt that I would be able to calmly swim back up and towards the edge. I don’t let my near-death experience change how I live my life, and I never will!

Dance of the Mechanical Marionettes

By Krystael Castro

“Await no more a word or sign from me.

Your will is straightened, free, and whole — and not

To act upon its promptings would be wrong.”

I. Authenticity

She felt such hatred for herself and for this world

and has, therefore, committed suicide and a massacre;

for when one hates, one kills.

It was an attempted escape—or a conditioned excuse, perhaps—

To not love thy neighbour or even the God in the heavens

enough to follow His teachings,

As scripture would hold it,

For that Love is what keeps us sane and righteous.

But the vision was to break free from from this

Uneigentlichkeit—

Uneigentlichkeit erfülltes leben, dass von diesem kam geworfenheit.

(This might include religion, but that was not for her to decide as a truth for all, should she believe it to be).

And so she is trapped in a battle with “fate” as she tries to grasp a life of

Eigentlichkeit—

Eigentlichkeit.

Our hearts will forever yearn for it

Until it is finally achieved.

II. The Struggle

She sank slowly into a dream

It accepted her wholly as she faced to embrace it.

She arrived at an infinitely dark room;

Its walls you could not see,

But one made of frosted glass

Made visible by a warm glow that existed beyond it.

All that she ever wanted was gathered there

(though what she saw was uncertain).

Her body moved towards the glass,

Her hands clenching a hammer,

She attempted to shatter it;

Not a single crack did appear.

She gave up and she stared

Into that glass of haze,

An indiscernible, filled space and

She knew.

She saw it and she knew.

Unclear through her eyes,

But clear in what she felt,

A happiness completely her own.

III. Danse pour moi

Chains, shackles, heavy, cold metal

On their hands and feet—

And even as they may not take notice to them—

There are shackles on their heads;

the holy temple of all that is perceived,

They take a firm hold of their bodies,

securing them on this ground

Limiting the boundaries where none should be

(Except in a place where love for one another is not fostered,

Which is a hatred allowed to run loosely in this world—with insufficient penalty).

We move just as the slaves we are

Of Time, of Times, des temps, et les circonstances—

the circumstances of the world

in which we were birthed.

“Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay

To change your day of youth to sullied night.”

Bright days of adolescence have been darkened quickly with

The masses of screens and expectations built by generations past

Turning all people of flesh and bones into

cold mechanical robots with eyes transfixed

Lifelessly, submissively; they are

Everyday robots in control; mechanical puppets

in the process of being sold.

Bones and bodies

meant to be built for strength, creativity, and

The self-governed pursuit of authentic happiness and fulfilment—autonomy—

They exist here,

Only to give in quickly to the strings of society’s puppeteering.

Cold hands and sinister smiles look down on them,

“Danse pour moi, mes petites marionnettes!”

Lifelessly, submissively,

they dance.

“Danse pour moi, mes petites marionnettes!”

IV. Surfacing

She was sinking back into the dream,

But she felt awake;

She was in control.

The dark room felt cold,

But the light on the frosted glass drew her in;

She walked forward.

She touched the glass and immediately felt

Its warmth that spread—not only to her hands—

But filling her head and her chest and she felt

An enlightenment;

The glass shattered,

she danced, she danced

She walked through it,

she danced, she danced

and she smiled

she danced, she danced.

Salvator Mundi: The Last Da Vinci?

By Marian Pascual

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi is without a doubt, one of the greatest artistic rediscoveries of the 21st century.  It is one of the few 20 surviving Da Vinci paintings which made it a huge worldwide media sensation.  But what made the Salvator Mundi worth $400 million dollars?

On November 15 of last year, the painting was offered in a special lot in the Post-War Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Christie’s in New York.  Starting the bid at $70 million, the painting was sold 19 minutes later with the record sum of $400 million, breaking the record of the most expensive art piece in the world.  How crazy is it that [restrict]500 years later, Leonardo had no idea that his painting would be sold for over $400 million dollars, which is a million times greater than the currency back then!  Today, the painting is in the hands of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The history of the painting dates back 500 years ago (around the 1500’s) according to experts, and is known for certain that it was painted for King Charles I, since it was recorded in his royal inventory a year after his execution in 1649.  Salvator Mundi (‘Saviour of the World’) is a painting of Jesus in a Renaissance holding the world in his left hand, and giving a benediction or blessing with his right hand.  At first, the painting was thought to be a copy of a lost original, but after research and its removal over overpaint, the painting was restored which proved its authentication as the original one.

But can this be the last Da Vinci?  According to some reports, Salvator Mundi is cannot be the last Da Vinci since the Duke of Buccleuch owns Da Vinci’s Madonna of Yarnwinder, and if sold at auction, it would be sold for at least $1bn…  It would not be a surprise that after seeing the results from Salvator Mundi’s auction, he wouldn’t mind selling his Da Vinci too!

It is fascinating to think that after hundreds of years, the world would rediscover such an exceedingly rare painting by one of the world’s greatest painters.  With the development of technology, who knows what else humanity could discover?  Lucian Freud’s Francis Bacon?  Or the existence of aliens?  Only time will tell.[/restrict]

Farewell 2017

By Linda Cako

2017 was supposed to be the year we were going to see change. And change we saw. Not all was good, like President Trump’s Muslim Ban, North Korea starting to flex its emerging nuclear prowess, and the UN warning us that we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since WWII with up to 20 million people being at risk of starvation in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria. There were three powerful hurricanes to hit consecutively, and France ended its State of Emergency after two years of attacks and will start having a more intense police presence throughout the country instead.

Clearly, it was not the best year for global issues.

Some changes and events, however, were good and celebrated throughout the world, such as Australia passing it’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill. The first gene therapy treatment for cancer, Kymriah, was FDA approved in August and has already begun to be used on patients with leukaemia and is being considered a miracle cure, and Google’s DeepMind AI taught itself to walk.

It was a time of great change in Forest Hill as well. We changed school principles, had our very first dance, and said goodbye to great teachers and hello to new and old faces.

While it seems that every year we want to label as The Worst Year Ever, 2017 was hardly the worst year. Scientific discoveries gave us hope for the future and made us realize how far we have come as a species, and emerging politics made us understand how far we have yet to go to achieve our goals of becoming a more fair and just society.

Going into 2018, it’s time to reflect how we want to proceed. What pressing issues must we address? What issues have inspired us to make a change? What do we have left to work on? Even as a high schooler, we can all make an impact. All it takes is to find your passion and advocate for change. It does not have to be enormous. Small steps eventually lead to great distances being crossed so it’s never too late to start.

Ms. Fuentes’ said in her first speech when she came to Forest Hill that she wants us all to take advantage of our unique positions to make a difference in the school. How do we want to leave Forest Hill? Better than when we entered it, for sure. Whatever the definition of better is to you, take 2017’s lessons and make something good come out of change.


Linda is a grade 12 student at FHCI and is a Social Issues Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper.

Image Source: https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjyjvPio5bYAhVG4YMKHdjSCYYQjhwIBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thriveglobal.com%2Fstories%2F16470-anxiety-pangs-keeping-them-at-bay&psig=AOvVaw3X0aqIhL2py_-2WNZNbViO&ust=1513779911218260

Winter Break, Binge Session: Top Netflix Shows to Watch

Bored During the Winter Break? Here are some suggestions for entertaining TV shows to fill your time:

-Scandal

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Scandal is a show a show about ‘lawyer’ gladiator, who goes around and fixes problems for people while deciding whether to pursue a relationship with the president or a secret agent.

-Grey’s Anatomy

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A medical show that follows a group of doctors transition from interns to physicians.

-How To Get Away With Murder

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A professor of law covers for her law student’s murders. The question is will they get away with their many many murders.

-Gilmore Girls

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A mother and a daughter with the same name drink a lot of coffee.

-The Mindy Project

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A gynaecologist fails to balance her personal and professional life.

-Prison Break

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One man breaks his brother and a group of other inmates out of prison. This follows his journey in prison and after their escape. Proceed with caution because everything you learn in this series will be wrong in the new series.

-Quantico

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Follows FBI recruit Alex Parrish who is blamed for a terrorist attack watch her prove her innocence in this exciting show.

-Black Mirror

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A Sci-Fi show that is creepy and thought-provoking.

-Blacklist

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A wanted man with connections to basically all other criminals turns himself in if he gets to work with one specific agent only. This crime-fighting show follows their interesting relationship.

 

-Downton Abbey

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Follows royals and their transition through the war. The family is made up of a hilarious grandma (seen in the gif), 3 daughters, an American Lady, a British Lord and other surprise add-ons.

-How I Met Your Mother

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An AMAZING SHOW that follows a gang of friends:

TED: the annoying main character.

ROBIN: the Canadian, enough said

LILY: married to Marshal and a great side-kick to Robin

MARSHALL: married to Lily and a great side-kick to Ted

BARNEY: the reason to watch this show (he is the best)

-Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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The 99th Precinct is where we get to see the hilarious Andy Samberg and his funny friends.

-Homeland

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A crazy show about terrorists, spies and love.

-Shark Tank

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A show to brush up on your math skills while watching new products pitches and laughing hysterically at the Sharks’ comments.

-Ru Paul’s Drag Race

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“Chante you Stay” Ru Paul. Enough said.

-Glow

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A funny show about women who wrestle for TV.

-Full House (the original)

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This is a cute show that follows a rambunctious family, with three daughters, 1 dad, and 2 father figures.

-Shameless

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A group of kids, who have an alcoholic dad need to raise themselves and stay out of trouble.

-Mr D.

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A show that shows us how teachers really think.

-Suits

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A lawfirm hires a fake lawyer, who is smarter than all of the other lawyers. Well he has a photographic memory but he also just bends the law a bit.

-Jane the Virgin

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A writer gets accidentally inseminated with her bosses baby…GASP

-Friends from College

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The name says it all, the show is about friends from college who are reunited.

-Atypical

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An endearing show about a family with a son with autism.

-Drop Dead Diva

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A supermodel is killed by a truck of cantaloupes and is reincarnated in the body of a lawyer. That should be enough to get you hooked.

-The Fosters

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It’s about a diverse family that has 2 fostered kids, 2 adopted twins, 1 biological kid and two lesbian moms.

-The Good Wife

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A show about lawyers, who fight for their clients. It’s dramatic and addicting, at least for the first few seasons.

-Nashville

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Takes place in Nashville and it follows a bunch of country singers and their families.

-That 70s Show

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A comedy about a group of friends in the 70s.

-Lie to Me

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A show about a man who can basically tell someone’s thoughts based on the movement of their eyebrows and lips.

-Switched at Birth

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Two girls are born on the same day and then accidentally given to the wrong families. They grow up and then realized they were switched…du du duuu.

-The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

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Now this is the story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-air

In west Philadelphia born and raised
On the playground where I spent most of my days
Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool
And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school
When a couple of guys, they were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighbourhood
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
And said “You’re moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-air”

-One Day at a Time

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A sitcom about a modern family that deals with immigration and LGBTQ issues.

-American Vandal

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A mockumentary about whether a high school student committed an act of vandalism at his school.

-Life in Pieces

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A story following an extended family with different sections of the show following different parts of the family.

-This is Us

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****CREIS*****

-Me Selfridge

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A true-ish story about a man who opens a department store.

-Angry Bird

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AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING

Image Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/television/best-netflix-series-25-great-netflix-tv-shows-1288230

Wouldn’t it be great to be an asparagus fern?

By Tatiana Bogdanov

Wouldn’t it be great to be an asparagus fern?

To sit on someone’s windowsill and grow and taste the sun and be watered as soon as your soil is dry?

You don’t have to think, you just do.

You won’t spend time with writer’s block, sitting at a computer

Mashing meaningless words into a google doc to find the order you like them in

Flipping through songs so fast you barely hear the melody, looking for the one that’ll inspire you

You won’t spin around in a chair, fiddling with a pen and then folding up a star shaped sticky note

Looking at the random shopping bag on your bed, or the unflipped calendar on your door

You won’t fiddle around with the wire of your headphones and wonder why you’re not outside

You won’t have ten tabs open on your laptop, one for each different thought you had

You won’t spend time reading the poem so far that you have out loud, hoping that you get to read it to people, in an awkward turn of events

You won’t restart ten times because you want to write a different thing, each one more and more cliche

Making you question why anyone tells you, “you write good”

You won’t run your hands through your greasy hair, mostly because you don’t have hair or hands,

Because you’re getting a headache from the staleish air inside

You won’t bounce, or try to bounce, the hockey ball that you have,

The one that you didn’t shoot up the garage roof

You won’t have to have writer’s block, causing all of this

Writer’s block when you’re feeling happy no less, which makes writing hard

Cause you can’t do teen angst

But then again, you’d be called an asparagus fern, though you don’t grow asparagus,

Which is lame,

And your most prized possession would be “pot”

And not the kind that makes you high

And all you’d do is sit, and watch the time go by,

As your owner gets their thoughts out,

No matter how much they wish they were more impactful and meaningful and deep and world-changing,

Maybe about crime? Or sex? Or love?

Or bringing light to an issue that they take close to heart?

But, nah.

They have to go with the thoughts that are positive,

That feel as positive as they do right now,

That feel like sun warming skin.

Because the assignment is due Monday, and they have diddly-squat

Maybe it’d be nice to be an asparagus fern.

With it’s feathery leaves.

Calm.

You’d get to be a graceful, delicate little plant.

Poised.

It’s a good deal.

But then again, you wouldn’t get to cry or laugh or shout or scream or tear your hair out or sing your heart out

You wouldn’t get to be so frustrated you have tears in your eyes and so anxious they spill over, you wouldn’t get to be so loved, no matter how wacko your owner is with you, the asparagus fern

You wouldn’t get to travel the world, or stay right at home, or kiss anyone, or touch anyone (even though they might touch you, which will give them dermatitis), or feel the burn of a good run

You wouldn’t get to do anything really, but taste the sun, and take in water.

So maybe we should just aspire to be like the asparagus fern, for now.

Humans of Toronto- A Grade 11 English Assignment

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By Ava Smale

“My mother-in-law, Rose Smale, has always been very determined and would go to great lengths to get what she wanted. In 1951, she was working as a secretary for Algoma Steel, a job she really enjoyed and got a lot of satisfaction from. She met an engineering student named John Smale, who was working at the steel plant during the summer. They fell in love and wanted to get married, but he still had three years of university left and she would have had to quit her good job. At that time, women had to give up their jobs to another single person when they got married, but she didn’t want to give up the job she enjoyed. Without telling anybody, they went to Sault St. Marie, Michigan, and got secretly married. Before leaving for the wedding, Rose’s mother asked her why she was dressed so nicely, but she didn’t even tell her mother about her plan. After they were secretly married, John went back to school and finished his degree. She continued working. Three years later, they got married formally in a church in Sault St. Marie, Canada, surrounded by family and friends. Until John died last year, they always celebrated two wedding anniversaries, their secret wedding and their formal wedding. They were married for 65 years.” #BreakingTheRules

Creative Writing: Eight Ball

By Linda Cako

Jared and I always spend our weekend summer nights playing pool at the local bar. Sometimes our friends Lenny and Mo would come and play with us, but not every night. They had wives and kids so they had other priorities. Those poor, dumb bastards.

Me and Jared have this long-standing wager where the loser has to drink a shot of gin. Neither of us like it so it makes good incentive to win. The bartender, Al, was a good friend of Jared’s dad and always lets us play until late at night, so long as we lock up after.

Sometimes Jared would bring cigarettes and we’d chain smoke them and practice making smoke rings. Sometimes we’d try to pick up girls, too. That never really worked though, so we stick with the cigarettes.

Tonight Lenny and Mo couldn’t make it and it was my turn to buy drinks.

“What’s for tonight?” Al said.

“Make it a rum and coke for me, and um, your finest imported malt liquor for the Mrs.” I said. Al winked. When I pulled out my wallet, he put out his hand and shook his head.

“Not tonight. Business is good.” he said. “How long are you two staying?” He said.

“Same old. No place to go here.” I said.

“Alright,” he said, “don’t you boys stay out too late though. Thinking ’bout you boys’ mothers if anything.” He said

“Yessir,” I said.

When I brought our drinks to the table, Jared had already broken.

“C’mon man. Without me?” I said. He ignored me.

“I’m stripes,” he said. Then he chugged his beer.

The rest of the night went by playing pool and smoking. Then Al left and after a bit we did too. We decided to spend the rest of the night walking around. The roads were quiet and everyone was sleeping at home so me and Jared decided to go to the water tower at the other end of town.

Once we got there we picked up stones and threw them at the tower. The thing was pretty roughed up anyways with all the dents and graffiti.

Jared said, “You ever think about getting married?”

“Why the hell would I?” I said.

“I don’t know. ‘Cause you got to move on. Start a family. Get your shit together. Get our shit together man. I can’t stand the fact I can’t keep a girl for more than one night. I mean, doesn’t it bother you?” he said.

“I don’t know man. I like us here right now. I like Al and Lenny and Mo, but you see them. They look miserable even if they say they’re happy. You want that? You want some girl making all your decisions for you and screwing you like that?” I said, “That’s not the kind of life for me.”

“Doesn’t sound too bad,” he said.

“Then get yourself a girl already! Jesus. How hard should it even be?” I said.

He said nothing so we continued throwing rocks in silence.

The next day Jared didn’t come to the bar, so Al got to lock up this time. There’s no reason for me to stay so late by myself.  The day after, Jared ditched me again. Said he’s with some girl and that she’s one of the good ones.

“Maybe you’ll be my best man,” he said. I just nodded.

I went back to the bar the next week but there was still no sign of Jared. So I pulled out my cigarettes and ordered a rum and coke and played pool.

Creative Writing: Edge of Humanity

By Raine Love Perez

I raised my right arm, forearm facing up as the smartphone microchip implanted in my wrist projected a hologram out in front of me. One click on the hologram and I was teleported on Floor 13, Section J. My brother appeared by my side moments after and we started to walk.

“Ah, what beautiful morning today,” he said.

“I guess,” I said.

I looked up scrutinizing the solar panels all over the ceiling.  I wanted natural sunlight. Like in the stories.

Silence fell, and was quickly shattered when Darius said, “The Union’s planning our next clearing mission two days from now. Forty-eight hours and you’ll get to go outside again.”

The Union. A group of AIs who make the big decisions. The members appoint new members, and the Head chooses the heir. Simple and straightforward.

A clearing mission is when all combatants leave this city-sized skyscraper we call Florae, and clear off all the Grymers in sight. The primary reason why I became a combatant is so that I could go to the Outside. Killing off the demonic creatures that took over our world would be the secondary reason.

Soon arriving at our house, Darius placed his hand on the scanpad to make the front door disappear, allowing us entry to our humble abode. It solidified again after we were in.

While Darius headed down the hallway, I sat down at the kitchen counter where my sketchbook was and started drawing. My hand subconsciously dragged the pencil along the paper, trying to replicate the image in my head.

I drew grass to replace the marble floors I knew so well, hills to replace the modernized buildings, a river to replace the roads, a sky to replace the ceiling; clouds, the sunset, and…

A large weeping willow tree, set right atop one of the hills. Oh, how I wished to see one of those in person…

“Oh, and Nova?” Darius called. “Remember when I broke the washroom door?”

I raised an eyebrow in confusion, never recalling him ever breaking a door.

“No? Okay. Anyways, the lock is broken,” he stated, casually, as if it was a normal day-to-day thing. I eyed him as he sauntered into the kitchen I was in.

Mental note: The lock on the washroom door is broken.

Related mental note: Darius breaks things.

“Okay…”

This was my life.

My life in Florae.

And I wanted out.

Creative Writing: Wired

By Jon Ulutas

     We’re late for training today. It’s unusual for bots to be late but our part of the city gets busier every day. The President cranks out more bots as his war draws closer. My creator says they were lucky to survive the last war and yet the President wants more. He flaunts power while hiding behind us, his wall of toys.

My mind’s artificial and even I think that’s foolish, it baffles me that I was created to serve him. “I knew we should’ve left with the others”, I said to Alfred. “Fredrick, there’s a reason I let them go first”, he said. “You’re my …What do the creators say?” he asked. “I think it’s ‘you’re my friend.” I answered, “I don’t understand what it means”. “Well, you ever thought about walking through the human part of the city?” he asks as we stop walking.

I stare bewildered. “Course you have, and now you can because that’s how we get to the base in time”, he says. “We’re late for a chance at something illegal?” I ask. Alfred shrugs, “Be a criminal or be late”. Alfred runs into a small alley around the corner. Left with no choice, I follow. At the end of the alley there’s a wall labelled “Human”, we ignore it and climb over.

We end up in a small clearing leading to a bridge. I was excited, it was all a blur. I see a human standing on the bridge. I stop. She was still, staring at the water below. She stepped onto the railing and leaned over the edge, a determined gaze. “She’s jumping”, I said. I made a break for the bridge. “Fredrick! She’s a creator, leave her be!” Alfred yells. I watch her let go and fall over. Without hesitation I dive over the railing after her. I’m surrounded by water, I open my eyes and see her sinking. I grasp her waist and swim upwards.  We break surface; I pull her up and cradle her. She’s unconscious but breathing.

I’m holding her, I feel her body expand and contract on each breath. Her heart played like a drum in her chest. She’s soft and smells of vanilla.

I feel the warmth of her skin seep into me. I felt her heat like fire against metal. She is a human. I felt her heat.

Creative Writing: Training Day

By John Ulutas

It was an early morning in Philippines. I woke up in the hot heat to the sound of the chickens, 7:00 AM like it was clock work. I get up from my bed and I walk into the kitchen, flagrant with smells like always. My mom greets me and hands me a plate of rice and stew. I sit down and slurp away, when I finished I pick up my plates and carry them to the sink to wash. As I’m washing my little brother comes to me and says that’s it’s time for training with the others. I hurry to finish washing and I jog out to the front courtyard.

The courtyard was a square big enough to fit a party, with 4 low rise walls and a rough cement floor. Surrounding the courtyard were palm trees and tall soft grass. I take a deep breath, the moist air in my nose and step into the courtyard. My two brothers are already training so I hurry to pick up my weapons. 2 sticks, each a meter long. I bow to my sensei and we start practicing, smashing our sticks together in a patterned fashion, from one movement to another until I’m drenched in sweat. Then I started training with my older brother and we go at it, but today he seemed off, he had a look in his eyes I didn’t recognize. Throughout our practice I kept pointing out to my brother how he was doing it wrong, and he simply refused it and continued. With every time I corrected him, the stronger his strikes became. For some reason the frustration in me rose and made me match the strength of my brother.

My mother was taking pictures of us with so much pride in her heart that she is too blind to see the battle between my brother and me. As the fight went on we gritted our teeth harder and harder. We moved like lightning striked our sticks so hard that they sounded like thunder, and like a movie we dropped our sticks and fought. We were broken up by our father who split us and sent us to different corners of the house. Tears streaked down my face, I was crying with anger. I went back to my room and slept, I was done for the day. Since that day my brother and I haven’t talked like brothers, in my eyes he reverted back to some stranger I didn’t know.

I wish I said sorry and made up. We didn’t talk for years, but at least now we are on our way to repairing our relationship. It’s getting better.

Creative Writing: Listed

By Sydney Shapiro

She scans the hologram for her name. Her eyes are dry and out of focus. Her dirty fingers glide by every name, hoping not to see her own. Three up from the bottom she sees her name, “Julie Pawper, age 17, legs.” Julie turns and see an older woman standing over her. The lady gently puts her arm on Julie’s shoulder, trying to be comforting. Her hand feels unnatural.“My hands were replaced when I was 19” the lady explains. “My arms end just before the wrist.” Julie feels a rush of pain in her veins. She picks up her bag and starts to head home.

Julie takes the long route home to clear her thoughts. The list fills her mind. Julie’s older brother Charlie was listed a year ago. He got bronchogenic carcinoma from a wealthy man named Richard Afflewent.  Charlie can’t breathe on his own anymore so he uses a machine. She continues to walk while dragging her toes along the pavement.

Julie lugs herself to the door and turns the handle. She opens the door, her family is sitting in the living room crying. Everyone knows she’s been listed but no one can bring up the courage to say it out loud. Julie starts to walk to her bedroom without saying a word. Her room is small and can only fit a small mattress. She sees a hologram pocket sitting on her bed. My fingers glide around the floating note avoiding the button that opens it. She presses the bottom slowly, her heart beats faster. The image displayed has my name beside a picture of a boy in a wheelchair. She couldn’t help but scream while tears rush down her face and stain her cheeks. Julie wails into her hands over and over again. Her breath becomes short and heavy. Her eyes slowly shut and everything becomes quite for a moment. “My legs.” she whimpers.

Julie’s little brother Tommy walks into her room, plops himself onto the bed and looks her in the eyes. “Mom and dad said you’re listed, what is that?” His eyes open wide with curiosity. Julie explains “At age 17 children in the unworthy side of town are eligible to be listed. If a rich person has a disease, they can exchange their limbs or organs for ours.”

Tommy and Julie sit in silence for an hour glaring at the ceiling while holding hands. “If you are going to lose your legs, we should use them until the exchange” Tommy suggests.

If it were only that easy…

 

Humans of Toronto- A Grade 11 English Assignment

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By Mowie Casilla

“We were an average family back in the Philippines. We were not rich, not that poor, we were pretty much normal. My dad was a manager in some shoe factory back in the Philippines and my mom works in Canada for so long, since I and my siblings were young, our mom been working in Canada. My parent thinks that our future will be more secure and stable if we live in Canada. I was twenty one when I came in Canada and I thought everything was good but I didn’t realize that my parents sacrificed their selves to pay for our apartments, for our foods and stuff. My mom been working as a maid since she’s been in Canada and every time she comes home her clothes are full of sweat, and she can barely move and her legs always hurts. One day my father loses his job and my mother had to work harder than before so we can pay for our bills. While my father is looking for a job, we were struggling to get a money so I looked for a part time job so as my siblings, but sadly I was the only who found one. While my sibling goes to school, I worked to help my parents to pay for our bills. Even though we struggles a lot my parents and my siblings stay strong together and help each other when someone needed it. My parents sacrificed their selves so I and my sibling can have a better life here in Canada.”

#ImmigrantStory #FamilyStory