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Mialie S

Doodle Dog went to the corner of the office where he knew scraps of this and bits of that are kept. He carefully climbed up on a chair to reach a higher shelf, and with a tug here and a yank there, a certain box came tumbling off the bookcase. And out of the tumbling box came tumbling down dozens of round foamy pieces, as white as the blankets of fuzzy fake snow in the windows in the town. Yikes! Doodle Dog hurried under the chair, tucking his arms and legs and paws and tail inside the safety of the wooden legs so that he wouldn’t get smacked with all the flying pieces. They were lightweight and kind of spongy, so they shouldn’t hurt TOO much, but there were SO many of them Doodle Dog decided not to take any chances. Out with the snowy white foam came tumbling scraps of fabric, their colors bright and bold against the plain softness of the airy golf-ball-like globes.

Once all the bits and pieces skittered to a stop across the floor, Doodle Dog set to work.

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Sher T

Shadows had begun to grow long by the time Kyrie rose from the lounger on the balcony. She’d gazed for hours out at the rolling hills of the Ozarks painted with heavy strokes of magnificent autumn colors. The cool breeze bathed her face as it blew off the lake. Unfortunately, she was too numb for any of it to leave the any lasting impression on her. Too much time had passed since she escaped, ran like the coward she was only to hide here in her suite, away from everything except the memories of Brody, Trevor and herself that played across her mind, shaky and cracked like old home movies on an ancient projector. Too much time wasted crying inside, dry-eyed on the outside, trying to rebury tragedies of the past instead of concentrating on the tasks of the present—things she might actually be able to do something about it.

She’d worked long and hard to build what she thought were strong defenses against the stinging, bittersweet memories, and they’d held for a long time—perfectly reliable until this morning. Now, it was time to repair the chinks in the walls, to get up off her butt, shower, dress and head back to the battle.

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Patti M

Finally, that last counselor made all the crazy appointments stop. “Ms. Harding, I know you want him to talk. I know everyone wants him to talk. I’d like to hear his voice too. I don’t know why he’s not talking but I know one thing. I know he manages very well without talking and he’s a lot happier if he’s left alone and not made to talk. I know it’s not what you want to hear and that you think I’m just allowing him to have his way. But, he’s 15 years-old. No one can make him talk and after working with him all these months, I’ve realized that he’s a smart, pleasant young man. There has to be a good reason why he’s not talking but I’m just not convinced that making him talk is the right thing to do.” Mom just sighed and took me home that day. It’s been online classes and sketching ever since.

I noticed the reflection of my jeans and brown Hollister shirt in the front door glass as I walked out, mom locking it behind me. As I stepped across the lawn, my eyes fell to a familiar sight, my tree. Mom owned the house but that tree, that tree was my tree. My hand rose to touch the bag hanging from my shoulders, making sure I had my shetching pad. I scanned the rest of the lawn and back again to my tree.As long as I had my sketches, I could take this, all of this, with me.

Brandy already had her music blaring into her head phones, with her hands above her head swerving back and forth to the beat when I pounced in the back seat behind her. The drive was long and boring and stupid. So, I slept.

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Yawa fell and fell.

Her body flopped in something wet and covered with leaves.

“Ugh! what? Rain?” Yawa mumbled as she got up wobbly on her knees. Streams of water raced down her face as a she realized everything around her was indeed soaking wet. She used the bark of the tree nearby to get on her feet then she checked for her backpack. Still in place.

She took in deep breaths to steady herself. The last thing she remembered was running from that boy. What was his name again? Thomas? Tommy? Whichever. Then she ran into a wall and couldn’t stop herself from falling. And now this place?

Leaves rustled somewhere nearby. Quick as always Yawa turned in the direction the noise came from. Someone stood a few feet from her. She blinked water out of her eyes and stared, trying to make something out of the silhouette in front of her. There wasn’t much light where she was. The person took a few steps closer and produced a spear out of thin air.

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I couldn’t get away from the horrific scene in the cave fast enough. The sweet acrid scent from the broken jars burned my eyes and I stumbled. Numbness cloaked me. I couldn't think and frankly didn’t want to. As I pushed myself to run faster, a stitch of pain ripped up my side.

Cold air hit against my face, drying tears as I left the cavern of horrors. No matter how hard I tried, the image of my sister played over and over again. Inside I screamed.
Flushed, I stumbled and fell into loose leaves and twigs. They crackled in protest.
When I finally was able to recollect myself, shame overcame the shock of finally seeing Xochil’s bruised and battered body. I should have demanded they released her instead I fled. I was worse than any of the accusations flung at me back at el Compuesto.


I rose up off the ground, brushing myself off. Phoenix halted a few feet from me. Emotions played over his face until settling into concern. That angered me more than everything I’d left behind. I’d trusted him and he’d been playing me the whole time like all the others. I looked away, sick to my stomach but mostly angry with myself for letting my guard down.

“Why did you leave?” he asked.

I turned back, glaring up at him. Only then did I notice that Beth and Sarah had followed.

“What did you do to her? You say we’re monsters but what you’re doing…” Then it hit me: the endless jars of body parts and the over sweet scent of what must been been formaldehyde; my sister’s tortured body all tied up with some cryptic messages in a book.

I bent over, heaving.

A hand rubbed my back. I flung it away. I didn’t need any of their sympathy. What I needed was answers.

“I tried to tell…”

I jerked up, glaring at all of them.

“Tell me what? That you’re torturing my sister?”

Phoenix glanced down, shuffling his feet in the debris.

“Oh, dios mio, you knew!”

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Now, almost three years after Davy Jones had sneaked his way into her pack, Evellyn watched with motherly affection as Flow's two three-month-old pup's played. One male and one female. She had named the mellow, affectionate female Bell. The male, already challenging and pushing the limits of the elder pack members, she had named Skipper. She had very high hopes that Skipper would become Captain's successor one day.

Evellyn watched them lovingly from her station near the den, drinking stale coffee from a thermos. It was a peaceful, quiet morning and she was filled with so much hope for her little family.

All of the sudden she saw the wolves go rigid, the dense fur of their necks spiking. They paced jerkily, agitated, and yipped and whimpered loudly. Evellyn was frightened and greatly disturbed. She had never seen her wolves act this way. Not in four years. She looked around, frantically searching for the cause of their distress, but found nothing. It was perfectly quiet. Eerily quiet, now that she thought about it. She spun around, scouring the landscape, until her eyes found the beach. She let out a shaking, horrified breath as her eyes went wide.

A massive wall of water was speeding towards the coast, rising as it traveled. Evellyn stood frozen, and watched as the water at the shoreline rapidly receded, as if it were being sucked backward by a powerful vacuum. The wolves had circled around their pups in a vain and heartbreaking act of protection. Evellyn Ward, who had spent the last four years of her life studying and living with a pack of endangered Baffin Island Wolves, and who would have been going home in three days, spoke two final words: "Oh, God..." And was swept away.

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Mrs. Desai stops talking then. “I can’t say any more in front of Kat.”

Which is kind of good. In my mind I’m still hearing Buddy’s barks, Sasha's howls, and their frantic nails scrabbling at the door. I'm picturing their bloody paw prints smearing the living room carpet, and oh God, oh God, my brain's not ready to take it any farther. I'm glad she shut up.

The officers nod. Mr. Johnson says, “I can take Kat downstairs. Buy her a Coke or something.”

When I shake my head, the female police officer says, “You really need to step out for a while, Kat.”

They don’t want me to hear the rest of the story. They’re afraid of what I’ll do. I'm afraid of what I'll do.

“I’d like to talk to you myself,” she adds.

“Not without an adult,” Mrs. Desai protests. “I watch Law and Order. I know.”

“She’s not a suspect,” the officer says with a smile for me.

I don't smile back. Did she even have to SAY that?

Mr. Johnson gets me a Coke anyway, and leads us to his own office. The Coke tastes surprisingly good. I can’t believe I’m enjoying a Coke when my parents are dead and my sister is almost.

The female cop is Officer Daly. She sits in a chair across from me, notepad on lap, pen in hand. “Tell me how your day started out, Katrina.”

“My name’s not Katrina. Who killed my mom and dad?”

I pop open the Coke and it totally explodes. I swear I didn't shake it, or maybe I did. Everyone except me leaps up, grabbing Kleenex, muttering exclamations.

Me, I just now said "Mom and Dad" and "killed" in the same sentence. KILLED! Nobody I know has parents who were killed. Nobody I know has parents who are even dead. Well, Edward, but his dad had a heart attack. That's not like being murdered.

Regular people don't get murdered. Not in their homes, when their kids are in school. Or supposed to be in school...

Officer Daly mops Coke from her navy blue pants. Then she sits back down and studies me over her Coke-splattered notebook.

"Well," she eventually says. "I was hoping you could help us answer that question, Kat."

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