“Iceberg Ahead!”

by The Cowl Editor


Portfolio


Titanic heading for the iceberg
Photo courtesy of amazon.com

by Marisa Gonzalez ’18

The world around me begins to fade. The colors of my room come together and form a collage. At first I am nervous, but a little excited. This mixture of colors has never happened before. I try to widen my eyes to get a better view, but they begin to slowly close. My heart races, my breathing quickens, and I am no longer excited. As quickly as my world became color, it turns black.

I feel like I am drifting in the middle of nowhere. My eyes still do not open and my heart continues to race. What is happening? How did I end up here? Why me? What did I do? I am alone with my thoughts. My heart feels like it is about to burst. I want my mom. I want my cat. I want my blanket. I want to wake up. This dream is not fun. Where am I? Someone help! Please! Where am I? My heart continues to race. Why am I alone?

Suddenly, I feel a chill. Then another one takes my body over. I begin to shake uncontrollably. Where did the warmth go? I feel wind slap my face. Where am I? Am I on Earth again? I hear something. Waves? I feel something solid. My feet are cold. My hands are frozen. I am scared and shaking. My eyes no longer feel heavy. Can I open them? Should I open them?

I feel another slap of wind. Slowly, I open my eyes and the world comes into view. It is not what I was expecting. The world is very blue and I seem to be standing on something metal. My bare feet are frozen, and I continue to shake. My teeth chatter. I am so cold I want to cry.

Taking a deep breath, I begin to look around. I see some black shapes, but I can’t quite make them out. My eyes begin to tear up, making my vision worse. Where am I? Suddenly I see a bright light and two figures nearby. One figure speaks.

“Lieutenant, report!”

Lieutenant?                                     

“Nothing, sir,” the other figure responds.

Where am I? I take a few steps forward, though it is difficult with my frozen feet. I tightly wrap myself around my thin night shirt and begin to inch towards the black figures. Something catches my leg and I fall over. I must have made a noise because a dark figure rushes towards me.

“Miss, are you alright?”

A man’s voice. I look up and see the figure bending down offering his hand. His face comes into view, and I see a middle-aged man with a nice smile. I smile back and my cheeks warm up. Oh no, I think I am blushing!

“Miss? Are you alright?” he asks again. This time I take his hand and he pulls me up.                

“Y-yes, I- I’mmmm okayyy.” My teeth chatter and my cheeks increase in heat.

“Miss, what are you doing up here? You are supposed to be in bed. Is everything all right? Oh. You must be freezing. A young lady should not be up here all by herself in such little clothing.” And there go the cheeks again.

“I-I’m s-sorryyy. I th-think I’m l-l-l lost. Wh-where am I-I?”

The man sighs and shakes his head. Placing a hand on my head, he says “You are on the Titanic. Perhaps you hit your head. Would you liked to get checked out?”

Did he say the Titanic? Maybe I should get checked out. “Ti-Titanic!” I scream.

“Yes, Miss. Would you like a doctor?”

Titanic. I am on the Titanic. The unsinkable boat that sinks! I begin to hyperventilate and look around. I see the ocean. So, I am on a boat. Then I see white stuff floating in the ocean. Ice! Icebergs! Titanic’s enemy.

“Oh no no no! N-no! This c-cannot be happening!”

“Miss?”

“Where is the captain? Where he is? I need to see the captain!”

“Miss, you need to go see a doctor.”

“No!” I growl. “I need to see the captain, NOW!” I shout in his face and claw at his jacket. The man shakes his head and pats my head. He takes my hand and guides me to the birds nest. I try to break free from his grasp, but I am too cold to put up much of a fight.

“Sir. I found this girl on the deck. She wishes to speak to the captain. She fell and may have hit her head. What should I do?”

This man is stupid. Take me to the captain, duh! Before the other man could speak I shout, “L-look, I kn-know that this b-boat is going to hit an iceberg. I n-need to t-tell the captain to b-be careful.” The other man looks at me like I am crazy.

He opens his mouth but I beat him to it. “T-this b-boat is going to sink! Okay? S-sink!” The other man smiles. Great, now he really thinks I’m crazy.

“Ma’am. You hit your head. This ship is unsinkable!” He laughs. Great. Another idiot.                 

“No! I-it’s not! S-someone said it wasss unsinkable. B-but was it t-tested! Huh? N-no. It wasn’t and b-because of thisss the ship will h-hit an iceberg, sink, and p-people will die!”

He laughs again.

“Ma’am, you’re cold and tired. You can’t think. Now please. Go to bed and let me do my work.”

Why is this happening? I begin to hyperventilate and the first man sees this. He sighs and places his hand on my shoulder. “Come with me.”

We walk down the crow’s nest and into the captain’s quarters. The door opens and I rush in and shout, “Captain. Iceberg. Sink. Death. I’m not crazy. From future. Listen, please!”

The captain laughs a jolly, grandpa-like laugh and I look up at him. He’s smiling. I sigh.

“My. You have quite a lot to say. Now, repeat yourself slowly.”

I take a deep breath and tell him the whole story. He rubs his beard. “Hmmm. Interesting. Now. I truly don’t believe she will sink, but I have grown attached to this ship and will be careful with her. Thank you for your concern.”

I sigh. Then, I catch something out of my eye. It’s white and big! Iceberg! I grab the captain’s sleeve and point him towards the iceberg.

“Iceberg ahead. Iceberg ahead!” The man from the bird’s nest calls. I close my eyes and feel the ship take a quick turn. I’m hyperventilating again. A hand touches my shoulder.

“It is ok. We have made it.”

I open my eyes and look at an open sea. Yes, yes, we have.

Writer’s Block: “The envelope in my mailbox had no return address.”

by The Cowl Editor


Portfolio


Blank notepad and pencil
Photo courtesy of professionalgrantwriter.org

TWO WRITERS, ONE LINE:

“The envelope in my mailbox had no return address.”

 

by Marisa Gonzalez ’18

 

The envelope in my mailbox had no return address. At first, I was quite shocked. Why would someone want to remain anonymous? Of course, once I asked myself this question, I realized how stupid that was. Someone would want to remain anonymous if they were evil, an escaped prisoner, a stalker, or a serial killer. Or, you know, it could be something as simple as the letter went to the wrong place or was from a secret admirer, but my brain does not automatically go to simple. Also, secret admirers are creepy. Why do they want to remain secret?

Anyway, I stared at the envelope for some time before figuring out what I should do with it. Do I throw it away? Do I open it? Will it explode? Will I find a key that will unlock a magical world? All of these questions swarmed around in my head as I just stood there and stared. I must have looked crazy. Finally, after 20 minutes of staring, I realized that the letter may not even be for me. It only had my address. For a moment I felt satisfied that I had actually made a realization but then I started thinking about what I should do with it. If it were not for me, then who was it for. What do I do with it?

I took a deep breath, cleared my mind and figured that the best option was to simply open it. If I didn’t open it, how would I know who it was for? Yup, that made perfect sense! So, I held my breath and opened the envelope, hoping my questions would be answered. Unfortunately, they were not. I opened the letter and it turned out to be addressed to me. But, that wasn’t the weird part. The contents of the letter were not what I was expecting. It read:

Ms. Underwood,

We have been keeping an eye on you. We are happy to say that you have not disappointed us. When you signed the petition to set Bilbo the Bear free from bear baiting, we had high hopes for you. Your activism is quite impressive as are your Facebook posts. You clearly care deeply for animals and we would like to speak to you. As you may have noticed, there is no return address.  That was intentional as our organization is to remain a secret. I hope that you will be able to use that brilliant brain of yours to figure out where we reside.

OPA

I was very confused and freaked out. These people have been watching me. Wonderful. Although, they seem to love animals so that’s good. But still, they have been watching me. Also, I am supposed to find them with my brilliant brain. I didn’t even know I had a brilliant brain. But, these people thought I did, so I better figure it out. Once again, I went back to my staring method. Luckily, the method worked this time.

After staring at the letter, I began to think about National Treasure and how the Declaration of Independence had a secret message on the back. Ben and Abigail used lemon juice to reveal the message. Maybe this could work on the letter. Of course, I didn’t know where the address would be, so I used my brilliant brain and soaked the whole letter and envelope in lemon juice. It worked! The letter smelled of lemons and was pretty much damaged, but it worked!

An address appeared in the corner of the letter. I quickly ran inside and looked up the address on my computer. According to the internet, it was an abandoned factory. Awesome.  Not scary at all. I took a deep breath, grabbed my coat, wrote a note to my parents, and took off on my bike to the factory, because I have a brilliant brain and thought going to a scary factory was a smart idea. Go me.

I biked to the  factory and parked my bike outside. Upon seeing the building, I stood for what felt like hours just staring at the shattered windows and fallen wall. I think I would have stayed there all day if I hadn’t heard a bark. I jumped and turned to where the barking was coming from. A German shephard then came running at me.  I tried to run back to my bike but the dog grabbed my leg. I shrieked and then I saw a figure in a dark hood coming toward me. I continued  to shriek like a dying goose when the figure touched my shoulders. I shivered, gulped, and looked up at the hooded figure.

“Are you Macie Underwood?” The figure asked. I gulped again.

“Yes,” I stuttered.                    

“Well, welcome.” The figure then guided me through the door, down some stairs and I end up in the basement of the factory and inside a room that looks a lot like the Q Branch from James Bond. The figure took off its hood to reveal a middle-aged woman.

“Welcome,” she said. “Welcome, Ms. Underwood, to the Organization of Protectors of Animals.”

 

by Erin Lucey ’20

 

The envelope in my mailbox had no return address. Looking back, that should have been the first clue that something was off. But I was completely blind to the idea that something was fishy. I hadn’t seen or heard from Liam in over 14 months at this point!

The note I received appeared to be my saving grace; my only route to an explanation from him. So of course, to my current regret, I followed the shaky directions on the note to the café that is inside the subway station on the corner of Park Ave. When I first got there, I was nervous. Would he be angry with me for not finding him? Happy to see me and act like nothing happened? Anxiety. That is the last sentiment I remember entertaining as an awake, alive, independent-minded individual in the outside world. I simply did not know what to expect of that moment so long ago, but what actually happened that day had never come close to crossing my mind.

Honestly, I can’t even soundly assert that that day wasn’t a few hours ago, or perhaps years ago. As of now it seems that I will never truly know how long I have been “under” for. The next thing I remember after my final moment in that greasy café was the first hazy awakening that surfaced me to my current state of consciousness.

I know I’ve described this many times before, but I must keep reminding myself of what is real, as I am terrified of what will happen if I forget. Besides, I will forever be unsure which pages, if any, will ever make it out of here—if anything I am communicating will eventually reach another set of eyes.

The first time this happened, it felt like I had finally woken up from the deepest sleep of my life. Trapped in a barren white room, it seemed almost as if I was floating around, but yet still somewhat anchored to a point below me. In the far distance ahead of me I could see a rolling image, with a graininess that resembled a colorized scene projected from an old movie.

To my surprise and confusion, the scene was eerily familiar—something I had undoubtedly viewed before in my life. As I stared longer I could make out that I was watching an image of my mother, but not the way she was when I last saw her alive. Her face was fuller, eyes livelier—she was younger. I was watching a moment that had occurred within the first few years of my life, a time that I did not even realize I could recall. Images from the deepest parts of my brain were being projected before an unknown audience, and I was completely trapped, watching from afar.

At this “present” point, I am still unaware if I am alive or dead. My guess is that this consciousness I am experiencing was not the goal of whomever is responsible for my condition. As I continue to exist in this state of limbo, my images grow slightly further and further away each time I “wake up.” Though my hope seems to be growing smaller with my screen, I’m still holding onto the belief that there is a chance I can be freed.

—J.C.; 45th recorded instance of conscious awareness, Page 56, Date Unknown

The Three Boys

by The Cowl Editor


Portfolio


Splattered paint on a canvas
Photo courtesy of daxushequ.com

by Marisa Gonzalez ’18

 

There were three boys who lived in a magnificent house.  A house that seemed to go on forever. Each room more wondrous than the next. Edgar, Allan, and Paul, who everyone called Poe, had it all: a swimming pool in their living room, a trampoline in their bedroom, and a bowling alley for a porch; however, they wanted more. They needed more, so they claimed. Bright eyed and blond haired, they would whine to their gullible parents and get more and more objects they really did not need.

“But Mama, I’ll die without it!” whined Edgar.

“Oh, Mama, everyone has this! Do you really want your child to be deprived of such an important thing?” cried Allan.

“Mama, Mama, this is old! I must be in the ‘now!’ Don’t you understand?” whimpered Poe. No matter what they asked for, their parents gave in. But they were never happy.

  One day the boys’ friend, William, burst through their door and shouted, “Come, come, oh come look!” This awoke the boys who, infuriated, came clambering down the fine wooden stairs.

“What is so important that you must awaken us for?” asked Edgar, wiping his tired eyes.

“A wizard! A magic man! A man who can make dreams!” exclaimed William. The brothers were perplexed but then looked at each other, each with the same mischievous look in his eye.                             

“Where?”

The boys walked together down the brick sidewalk, William in the lead. The brothers were becoming restless as they turned another corner.

“How much longer?” whined Poe. William did not reply. He just kept walking in a hurried pace. Poe sighed.  Can this man really create my dream? Poe pondered. Can he know what I want most in the whole world, when I, myself, do not? Poe began to doubt his friend’s story until a little shack with no windows appeared into his view. If not for the large line of people pouring out the door, Poe would have reprimanded his friend for lying and stormed off. Upon seeing the line, Edgar was quick to move.

  “Get out of the way!” he shouted as he violently shoved a woman.

“Hey! That is not—” she started to say before Allan interrupted, “We have money! Move, peasant!”

They made their way through the crowd and there, right in front of them was the magic man, the dream maker. He smiled a little and chuckled. This disgusted Poe. How could an old man laugh at such a rich boy?

He was about to say that it is rude to laugh at such a prince when the man said, “My, my, such temper, such power. Power fit for a prince.”

Poe gasped. How could the man possibly know that he thought of himself as a prince, unless, of course, he was indeed magic? He looked to his brothers who were shining with pride, ecstatic that someone else thought they were princes.                  

“Now,” spoke the man, “your dreams.” He took one last look over at the boys and lifted up a brush. Slowly and carefully, the boys’ dream came alive in front of them. After ten minutes, the man nodded and got up.

   He removed his arm from in front of the canvas to reveal a picture, one that was different to each boy. The boys gasped and smiled. This was it, the one thing that would make them happy! The man was truly magic.

The boys went to touch the painting but were stopped when the man’s frail hand stuck in front of them

“Is this truly what you want?” he asked.

“Don’t be a foolish old man. Of course! Now move your arm and let us have our dream,” Edgar snarled.

With a frown, the man complied and the boys touched their dream. It turned into a splatter of colors.

  “Liar! You are no magic man, but a fraud. Give me my dream, now!” Allan screamed.

With a sigh and a shake of the head, the man said, “It is no lie. It is life. One must truly earn their dream, not simply want to have it or have the money to gain it. Now that you have learned this lesson, you may leave.”

Dismayed, the three boys left thinking about what the old man had said.

“What a fool,” Edgar grumbled. “What a horrid man and a horrid lie. How could I have fallen in into that trap?”

Poe walked beside him and shook his head. “I do not know. But I, too, am ashamed.”

Allan then ran in front of them. “Do not be sad. We are rich while that man is poor. We are far greater than him in every way. Now let’s go home and ask mama for a pony and forget all about this man.”

The brothers smiled, agreed, and began their journey home. In the shack the old man shook his head and smiled sadly. “Someday,” he whispered, picking up his paint brush.                           

“Someday.”

 

A Brother’s Love

by The Cowl Editor


Portfolio


Smoke rises from two fires in central Beirut, Lebanon  September 1975, as fighting goes on between rightist and leftist elements.
Photo courtesy of mic.com

by Marisa Gonzalez ’18

 

The war raged on, and Henry was in the middle of it. Guns exploded. Smoke filled the air, and Henry’s vision was cut off. His father always warned him about going out into the war zone unprotected. But he had to. His baby sister was out there. The one he had sworn to protect. The one who just had her sixth birthday and was so full of life. The one who was now helpless and alone. He had no choice, he had to find her.

Henry stumbled over some debris and balanced himself against a fallen building. His breathing was heavy, and his face stung from the smoke, but he couldn’t think about that. His pain was nothing. He was strong; his little sister was not. He wiped away some sweat from his face, took a deep breath, and continued his search. The air had cleared a little bit, and he could see the outlines of soldiers. He wanted to speak to them. To ask them about his sister, but he knew he could not distract them. They needed to be alert. They needed to survive.

Henry watched the soldiers pass and ran across the road when he thought the path was clear. He made it halfway when a tank came barreling down. Henry quickly rolled out of the way, cutting his hands and knees in the process. Again, he couldn’t think of the pain. Pain was nothing, and his sister was everything. Another tank passed by, and he ran for cover as guns began to explode around him. More smoke filled the air causing Henry to choke. He tried to calm himself down but the loud noises made it impossible.

Suddenly the ground began to shake. Gunfire ceased. Henry, still trying to catch his breath, looked out from where he took cover and saw a dark shadow approaching the soldiers.

Feeling more panic rising, Henry took off, not looking back when he heard a terrible noise—like a roar that made the buildings vibrate—and the screaming of soldiers. There was no time for curiosity, no time for sorrow. He needed to complete his mission. He needed to find her.

Henry ran as fast as he could, tripping over debris and stumbling over bodies. He could not look at those faces. He had no time to mourn. He had to carry on. More soldiers ran past him, and another roar shook the buildings, causing Henry to fall. A tank drove past him with a large gun. He slowly rose to his feet and was about to begin running again when the gun fired. Black smoke engulfed him, cutting off his vision once more.  He did not know what was going on. He could only hear the screams, and the roars. But he still ran. He would not let his sister down.

Journal Entry: January 3

by The Cowl Editor


Portfolio


Journal
Photo courtesy of claires.com

by Marisa Gonzalez ’18

 

The beginning of school is always the worst and not just for shadows. It’s the beginning of school, of course it’s going to be terrible, but luckily for me, this is when students are least awake and anything can come out of their mouths. Today’s juicy topic: Rachel is now dating Keith. Keith Upton is notorious for dating two girls at the same time and getting new ones each week. Now who in their right mind would want to date someone like that? Well, Rachel. Seeing as girls still go out with him can only mean one thing: go out with Keith and be the talk of the school. Well ta-da, Rachel. You did it. Now how do you feel?

“Keith was totally checking me out Friday and so I, like, talked to him. He said I was cute and Jessica was so last week. He then wrapped his arms around me and said, ‘I like ya perfume.’ Isn’t that adorable?”  Rachel’s squeaky voice resonates throughout the room. Excuse me while I gag.

“Yeah, Ray, so great. I am so jealous. I wish Mike told me he liked my perfume. But no, he’s all, ‘So babe, ya still wearing that perfume?’ Ugh, what a jerk.” Totally. They continue babbling about how awesome Keith is, and I tune them out. I try to concentrate on you, Journal, but I can’t help it. My mind is wondering. Will anyone think I’m cute? Should I interact with these girls, maybe ask them to make me more noticeable. Wait! What am I saying? Talk to them? Please, I can do so much better. Who knows, I might end up liking Keith if I talk to them. Yuck!

What’s the deal with relationships anyway?  It’s basically two people going goo goo over each other. What’s so great? Of course, I’m saying this and I haven’t been in a relationship. I don’t even have friends, well, other than you, Journal. And no, Arnold Kipper does not count as a boyfriend. He ate my glue in kindergarten. That’s all.

Oh boy! Another round of babbling. Sarah just came in. She’s dating Josh. She looks flustered. I wonder why. Oh, she’s coming closer. And, Journal she just sat down next to me. What do I do? Help. Ok, she wants to talk.

Five minutes later

Hey again. Man, that was weird. So here is what happened. Sarah sits down. Her hair is in a messy ponytail and she looks like she is about to vomit. She speaks. “Ugh. Like so gross.”

“What?” I ask. She sighs and shakes her head. “So Joshy.” Joshy? Another reason why I hate relationships. Silly pet names. “So Joshy was kinda drunk last night and his friends came over. Then they got drunk, and I was so mad. They were totally ignoring me, and I just got my hair done. It’s so like reddish-brown now, see?” I nod. “I know. It rocks. But no one noticed.” She sighs and sinks into the chair. “So, like, anyway, I had to be the driver and it was my dad’s car, and it’s, like, super new. But then stupid Joshy and his friends had to go and puke all over it! So, I like had to clean it up!” She sighs again.

Then she looks at me. She seems confused. Her eyes squint. “You’re not Rachel.”  I laugh a little. “Um, no. She’s over there.” Sarah looks perplexed, then mad. She gets up, flips her new reddish-brown hair and walks to Rachel’s table. Oh, Journal. Being a shadow is so much fun. I can have a whole conversation with someone and they would never even notice it’s me! I should become a spy! And a spy needs no one. So, I don’t need a boyfriend. No way! They are simply too much trouble.

I can’t believe I’m talking about this. Stupid Rachel for talking about Keith. She started this madness. Must change the topic. Awesome. The bell! Class! Time for more of my shadow work. Stay tuned, Journal. Today is going to be great. I can feel it!

~Mal

Writer’s Block

by The Cowl Editor


Portfolio


frustrated woman with laptop
Photo courtesy of glasshouseme.com

by Marisa Gonzalez ’18

Maisy Brockwell sits at her computer, staring blankly at the screen. No words come to mind. No feelings or thoughts. Her mind is simply empty. How is she supposed to write a 20-page short story if she had nothing? To make matters worse, she is sitting in the common room of her apartment and her roommate has just come in and turned on Supernatural, the “Bloody Mary” episode. So now she has no story and was probably going to have nightmares. Just great!

“Hey Maisy, you look dead. You okay? Hello? Hey Maisy, are you alive? You’re not blinking. Hello?” Maisy’s roommate, Carla, waves her hand in her face causing Maisy to blink and slowly turn to Carla. “Oh! Man, you look like a zombie. How about you take a break and watch Supernatural with me? It’s a good episode. I promise.”

Carla attempts to smile but the blank face of her roommate freaks her out.  She tries to start a conversation. “Um, Maisy, how are you feeling?” 

Maisy slowly blinks and states, “Nothing.” She then turns back to her computer.

A shiver runs down Carla’s spine. She shakes her head and turns back to the TV in time to see Bloody Mary coming out of the mirror.  A gasp escapes her and she quickly turns off the TV. Maybe Supernatural wasn’t such a good idea. Plus, her roommate might be possessed. She should probably handle that.

“Soooo, Maisy, whatcha doin’? Why are you staring at a blank screen? Hello?”

Carla tries another wave, but Maisy just continues to stare at the computer. Carla sighs and folds her arms across her chest. She tries a different approach.

“If you have become possessed then I am going to email the dean and get a new roommate. I may even get an A for the semester because my distress has caused me to lose focus on school work.”

She casts a side glance at her roommate. Maisy continues to be unresponsive. So, Carla continues to talk, “If you are possessed I must save you. Sam and Dean would most likely go for holy water, but we don’t have any, so I’ll probably go to the church and get some. Since its from the church it’ll be extra holy, so once it touches your skin you’re probably going to melt and I am going to have to pay the fine for the clean-up and I really don’t want to.  You know I’m poor.” 

No response. Carla huffs. “Fine, I’ll take your money. You won’t need it because you’ll be a pile of goo.” Nothing.

“Ahhhhhh!” Carla screams. “Okay! I have had it!”  She grabs the computer and pulls it away. 

Suddenly, Maisy comes to life. Her eyes fill with fire, her nose flares and her mouth curls. “How dare you!” she spits. “I was working on that! I need 20 pages. 20! And I have nothing. Nothing! And I will continue to have nothing if you don’t give me that back!”

Maisy lunges for the computer and Carla happily allows her to take it. She smiles stupidly and hugs Maisy. “You’re back!” Maisy tries to squirm out of the hug, but she suddenly stops as she feels a sense of release. Her mind fills. She feels emotions again. Now it is Maisy’s turn to smile stupidly.

When Carla releases her, Maisy takes a breath and says, “Thank you.” Carla grins and bows. “See, all you needed was to lose focus. You’re welcome. Now don’t stress. That story will not come to you if you think too hard. Breathe a little. I missed you. Possessed Maisy sucked.”

Maisy laughs and lets her mind go.  She turns back to the computer, cracks her fingers and types, “The attractive baby carved a turkey in the dilapidated zoo almost a year ago to create a diversion.” She smiles, satisfied at her accomplishment, and shows Carla. Carla sighs and shakes her head. This is going to be a long night, but at least her roommate is not possessed.

Analyzing Carter

by The Cowl Editor


Portfolio


Photo courtesy of slope media.org

by Marisa Gonzalez ’18

Portfolio Staff

On a Tuesday, Carter Mills walks down the hall with long strides. She is hard to miss with her cropped, spiky purple hair against the dull walls of Fordham High. I watch as she maneuvers herself masterfully through the sea of students. She glides gracefully until she spots a petite brunette who goes by the name of Flora. She is a nice girl. Friendly to everyone. How she became friends with Carter is a mystery.

They exchange smiles and begin to talk. I wonder what about. It seems to be lighthearted, yet Flora seems to be puzzled. She tilts her head slightly to the left with furrowed eyebrows. Her lip is thin. Carter continues to talk and her hands begin to move. First, they are steady but begin to increase in rhythm. Her hands pick up the pace as Carter continues to talk, Flora looking on. Then, all of sudden, the hands stop in midair and slowly sink back down. Carter seems flustered. Her face is slightly red and she sighs, annoyed at something. Flora laughs, I can hear her delicate laughter from my locker. I have always wanted that laugh. Flora is so perfect and Carter is so Carter. Again, I wonder how the friendship began.

Flora finishes laughing and shakes her head. Her fingers reach into her coat pocket and she pulls out a folded yellow piece of paper. Carefully, she unfolds it, like a clam opening to revel a pearl. I lean forward to see. Now I understand. In Flora’s hand was a pamphlet for the Senior Dance. Clearly, Carter did not want to go, yet it seems Flora may have persuaded her. With a frustrated sigh of defeat, Carter takes the paper from Flora’s hand. I am amazed. Carter would never go to a dance. Once again, I wonder how Flora and Carter became friends. The bell rings and with one final smile, the two depart.

Carter has always fascinated me with her carefree personality. Nothing really rattles her, and although it is clear she hates everyone in this school, except for a select few, she has never lashed out. Instead, she will look at you with a death glare, pretty much asking why you exist, and then proceeds to ridicule you with her snappy remarks. So, she is not the friendliest person. Yet she has somehow managed to snag five friends, and Flora, who is the definition of a goody-two-shoes, is one of them. I want to know her appeal. Why have these five individuals gravitated towards her and how has she let them in?

With thoughts of what I just saw rolling around in my head, I make my way to science class. A large body barrels into me and has the nerve to snarl, “Watch where ya’ goin’!” Oh, how I wish Carter was my friend. She would put him in his place. I resist the urge to flip him off and walk into class. Upon entry I hear Mrs. Hertz’s scratchy voice. “Ok class, today will be a lab day. This means lab partners. I am going to assign them.” I yawn and take my seat as the teacher drones on. I slump into the chair, my eyes drooping. I had stayed up late last night finishing a paper and science was too boring to really be awake for anyway. As I am about to drift off into dreamland I hear a ”pop.” Startled, I jump up and open my eyes and see purple hair. Carter.

She stares at me, chewing her gum. Then she blows another bubble, right in my face.

“What?”  I exclaim. “Geez, no need to shout,” Carter snorts. I really want to punch her but I maintain my cool. “What do you want?” Carter chuckles, “Telling by the drool on the table, I would take a wild guess that you didn’t hear the lab partner assignment.” I huff, “Good guess. So?” Carter chuckles again. “ Wow, is your brain still asleep or is having generally no clue normal for you? I’m your partner, genius.” Carter plops onto the seat next to me. Yikes.

I just stare at her. She stares back. Finally she caves, “Look, I don’t like this either. But we gotta’ do it, ’kay. Now are you going to get the materials?” I am about to ask why I have to do it when she gives me her lovely death glare. I scamper out of my seat and head for the materials table. I look back at Carter, her chair on two legs and her feet on the table. She continues to chew that stupid gum. I sigh. Well, I have always wanted to examine her. What better place to do that than in a science class.