“Eyes” by Alorah

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Photoshopped image by Anica Raine

Seven eyes. Staring endlessly into my heart, tearing me apart like razors cutting through a block of butter. They grab my chest and reveal the secrets hidden deep within me. It destroys me. It slowly kills me. I crumble into the warm sand beneath my worn-out feet. Look away! Just turn your head around and walk away from this monstrosity! But I can’t. These eyes are so horrible, so terrifying, yet so mesmerizing. I wander from each eye and soon come across the one, gleaming, dark-blue eye filled with fear. My heart clenches up and I can’t breath. I quickly pull my eyes away from it as tears stream down my face. They swiftly blink on the smooth, grey, heart-shaped rock they are forever embedded into, because of me. Because of the worst mistake I’ve ever made.

It all started at an old, dark, eerie, and mysterious shack in the middle of the Barrington Town Forest. 7 friends and I dared each other to camp out half a mile from the main trail that runs through the forest. We were all somewhat afraid of the dark, so it would be a hard dare, which is the most fun ones. One of my closest friends, Alisa, agreed and laughed when people said they were afraid of the dark. But in her gleaming, dark-blue eyes, I saw fear that I’ve never seen in her before. I pushed that away and focused on packing, but it always lingered in the back of my mind. We were soon ready and headed out to go on our daring adventure, but it was more like a nightmare to me.

It was just starting to get dark outside when we arrived, so we quickly walked down the winding paths to find a flat area to put our tents up. As we strode through the thick wood, I saw someone. Not one of my friends. It was a young woman, clothed in a tattered and blood-stained, white dress. She had thick, matted, black hair that fell down to the small of her back. Her skin was so bright. It was translucent! There was only one eye on the woman’s face and her throat was sliced, but I didn’t understand until later. Her face was filled with sorrow and she beckoned me to follow her. I stopped dead in my tracks. My friends were looking at me with worried looks and were asking me questions, but I could only hear the hushed, ghastly whispering of a girl. She slowly lifted her scratched arm and pointed into the woods. I followed her finger and it lead to a small, wooden shack in a clearing. She started towards the house and as she took every graceful step, a ghastly mist followed her.

I realized my friends were shaking me and screaming at me, but I jerked free of their grip and stumbled towards the shack with the waiting woman.

I remembered an old tale my dad used to tell me to scare me when we went camping; A young woman was once walking through the Barrington Town Forest when she lost sight of her parents. She kept walking down the trails, searching and searching until she came upon a little shack in the woods. She knocked on the door and 2 scary men dragged her inside and torchered her. They cut out one of her eyes and put it in a box with  a little heart-shaped stone in it (these men were mentally insane). They slit her throat with a pocket knife and left her in the house where she was never found. To this day, she haunts the Barrington Town Forest and tortures people like the men did to her as a way of revenge.

I should turn around. Walk away with my friends, but I couldn’t. Something was calling to me. Something from in that house. So I kept walking and stumbling, away from my friends, away from safety.

I was at the front door almost immediately and only a foot away from the woman. The big wooden door opened, revealing a cobweb-filled room, which I presumed to be the dining room, due to the huge table set with wooden utensils and chipped plates. To the right of the dining room, I saw 2 beautiful sofas with the smell of camphor. A fireplace was in front of the sofas, full of dark-grey ash that occasionally flew out and floated into the rest of the shack. There was a little kitchen to the right of the sofas with rotting wooden cabinets. The woman made her way to the corner of the house and pulled up the corner of a musty carpet, uncovering a trap door with broken metal latch that’s been over used. It opened with a creeeeek. I wanted to leave, but the woman (who I now presume to be a ghost) pulls me towards it with her forgotten stare.

As I stepped down into the old cellar, my friends appeared at the front door. They screamed and ran towards me, but the ghost grabbed ahold of them and gestured down the stairs, which meant to go on. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to go into the cellar. But I had to. I don’t know why, but I just had to.

I slowly stepped down, down, down, towards a small, flickering light. It was a deep orange color that wrapped around every inch of me and it almost felt… warm. I steadily inched closer to it and I realized it was a torch in the middle of a circular room, stuck to a rusty, metal pole. Beneath it sat a box with a beautiful floral pattern on a pitch-black background. It was covered with an inch of dust. I was only a few feet in front of the box when the ghost strode up beside me. She wasn’t holding my friends anymore. I quickly took my endless gaze off of the box and frantically searched for them until I saw them. They were tied up to a pole beside the one with the torch. I tried to run over to them, to untie them, but the ghost stepped between us and pointed to the box.

“No! Let my friends go! Leave us alone!” I tried to yell at the ghost, though only the word “no” came out. The beautiful, young woman turned into a horrifying monster! Her fingernails grew out into long, yellow claws and her teeth stretched out into razor-sharp points. That one, big, round eye turned blood-shot red and her pupil thinned out like a cat eye. She towered over me and reached for me. Run. Now. I dived to my right, dodging her hands by an inch. The cobble ground dug into my bare knees and made small cuts all over the front of them. She screeched and darted after me. I fumbled with the rope tied around my friends, but it was tied in a knot I have never seen. It must’ve been ancient, but there was no time for me to study which way one piece of the rope wraps around and pulls the other. I remembered my dad putting my pocket knife in my pocket. Thank you so much. I began to saw away at the thick, spiraling rope. Just as it began to give way, the enraged ghost wrapped its long, bony fingers around my waist and lifted me off the ground and I dropped my knife. I squirmed and shrieked, but her death grip around my wouldn’t budge. As I kicked and punched empty space, I knocked that torch onto the ground. The small flames crawled around, catching on stray strands of straw, slowly forming a huge wall of inferno heat. The ghost let go of me and I landed hard on my back. The ghost screeched as the fire crawled up her dress and hair. Ignoring my intense back pain, I sprinted over to my friends and hacked away at the last little strand of rope. My friends broke free and we headed for the cellar stairs, but I remembered about the box. I went back and grabbed the box and ran back to my friends. But not before the ghost saw me. She swiped aimlessly at me and I dodged each one, except for the one that ruined my life. Her claws caught on the holes in my shorts and she tugged so hard that I fell flat on my face, banging my head pretty hard. The box flew out of my hands, dropping so hard that the lock broke open. It burst open, exploding with a blinding gold light and flashing colors. I covered my eyes with my arm, but not fast enough to not see my friends get sucked into the little box.

“No!” I screamed, but it was too late. The light disappeared. So did my friends. I pushed myself off the ground and ran to the box as fast as possible. This is where I found the stone. The heart-shaped stone with the eyes of my 7 friends.

 

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“The Army of the Enemy” by Kanen’to:Kon

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When we think of the War of 1812, or any other early-American conflict at that, we naturally sympathize with the Americans, our founding fathers and ancestors. But the British, our common enemies, also had an impressive and admirable military with skilled, well-trained generals, officers, and soldiers. Their tactics and strategy on the battlefield won the British Army many battles on all fronts, and the British Royal Navy dominated the entire Atlantic Ocean.

The official British Regular Army was established in 1707. The British Parliament passed the Act of Union, which combined the English, Scottish, and Irish regiments into a single force. This army became one of the strongest powers in the world later that century. The Royal Navy, Britain’s maritime war force, was also created as a result of the 1707 Act of Union. England’s navy, which had been growing in size since as early as 900 A.D., merged with Scotland’s three warships to become the British Royal Fleet, the largest in the world during the 18th and 19th centuries. No one dared to attack the newly-united kingdom of Britain directly until World War I began in 1907. Their military maintained a strong influence throughout Europe and the Americas, and suffered very few losses. (“History”)

During the War of 1812, the British forces were stationed in Canada. In this war, they were mostly on the defensive side. This was not how Britain usually operated, but they were unprepared for the war and did not have enough reinforcements or resources coming from England to launch many attacks against the United States. Since, back in Europe, England was prioritizing a war with Napoleon on their own doorstep, they could not spare anything for the forces stationed across the ocean in Canada. If the war in Europe was lost, then Britain would lose its independence and become part of Napoleon’s Empire. As well as being outnumbered, the British in Canada were also at a geographical disadvantage. Their already-small force needed to be divided between outposts in Quebec City, Montreal, and Northern Canada. (McGuigan, Ron)

Though they were fighting to stay alive on land, the British still dominated the open seas. They had hundreds of large, heavily-manned, heavily-gunned warships known as Men-of-War, with up to 124 cannons on each ship. Almost four-thousand sailors manned the ships around America all together. Some of these seamen were undoubtedly impressed from seized American vessels before the war. (Shmoop Editorial Team) The British wanted to take advantage of their domination at sea in every way possible. They blockaded ports, attempting to cut off trade and create an economic standstill. They tried to take control of the Great Lakes as well, but didn’t have as much of an advantage with so many of their vessels stationed in the blockades. Also, the Americans were already prepared to fight the British with their own ships in the Lakes. Many naval battles were fought in the Great Lakes, including the Battle of Lake Erie. The British were defeated in this battle, and therefore lost control of the city of Detroit. The Royal Navy was forced to retreat back up the St. Lawrence River. (“The Battle of Lake Erie”)

British soldiers on land were called Regulars. During the War of 1812, they would have been mostly stationed at camps or in Canadian cities. Only about 6,000 British men served in Canada at the time. Each soldier had his own daily routine. After waking up early, around 3 or 4 a.m., they began their duties. They often marched around the area, in any kind of weather, wearing special marching uniforms. This was a British military custom; they considered it a proper way of demonstrating strength and discipline. Each soldier had a different job. Some would cook, sew and mend uniforms, clean, or act as servants to officers. Every British soldier was issued a musket, which is a long-ranged firearm widely used in battle at that time. They had blades, called bayonets, attached to the end of the barrels, which were used for hand-to-hand combat. Officers also received smaller flintlock pistols and light, curved cavalry swords. After firing a shot, the soldier would need to place a new musket ball and gunpowder into the barrel of the musket and push them down with the ramrod, which is a long rod stored under the barrel of the rifle. As you can imagine, this process is very time-consuming; many soldiers lost their lives after the first shot. (Henderson, Robert)

It seemed that the British forces in North America could be easily crushed, but they had another ally: the Native Americans. They gave the Indians guns and encouraged them to fight against the Americans and attack settlers coming into their land. This made the Americans especially angry, and was one of the reasons why they declared war on June 18, 1812. The large majority of Natives were allies of Britain until October 5, 1812, when their leader, Tecumseh, was killed in the Battle of the Thames. Tecumseh had rallied all the Indian tribes to fight together against the Americans, and at the loss of their leader much of the Native American support for Britain withdrew. (“Tecumseh”)

On August 24, 1814, the British defeated the Americans in the Battle of Bladensburg in Bladensburg, Maryland. After the victory, General Robert Ross led his forces to the United States’ capital, Washington D.C. There they burned several public buildings, including the White House and the Capitol. Though General Ross saw this as a substantial victory, both the Americans and much of Britain were shocked by the burnings, seeing them as needless vandalism. However, Ross suffered no consequences for going too far with the destruction of the unguarded capital. He was killed before the Battle of North Point on September 12, 1814. (“British Capture and Burn Washington”)

Though the British were our nation’s enemy in the War of 1812, we can still recognize and even appreciate their superior military warfare and tactics. Britain had professional soldiers and a navy that was widely considered to be the greatest in the world. But despite their advantages, they were far from home and unprepared for the sudden war. In the end, the United States prevailed over their British adversaries. On December 14, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed and the War of 1812 officially ended. (“Treaty of Ghent”) The British returned to Europe to join the fight with Napoleon, and America laid down their weapons and began working toward a bright and promising future.

Works Cited

“The Battle of Lake Erie.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 02 May 2014.

“British Capture and Burn Washington.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 02 May 2014.

Henderson, Robert. “Morning Routine of the British Soldier in the War of 1812.” Morning Routine of the British Soldier in the War of 1812. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2014.

“History.” – British Army Website. Crown Copyright 2011, n.d. Web. 02 May 2014.

McGuigan, Ron. “The British Army Stationed in British North America: 1812 – 1815.” The British Army Stationed in British North America: 1812 – 1815. The Napoleon Copyright 1995-2013, n.d. Web. 02 May 2014.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “The War of 1812 Statistics.” Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 02 May 2014.

“Tecumseh.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 02 May 2014.

“Treaty of Ghent.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 02 May 2014.

 

“My Friend with an Orange Head” by Alorah

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I have a friend with an orange head

I see him once a year

He sits atop my kitchen table

‘Til I am ready to switch my gears

 

I start off at the top

And cut my way around

His little orange head

That isn’t very round

 

With a spoon I scoop out seeds

From his little head

And with the seeds I find some mush

That makes him seem almost dead

 

Now I’m at the eyes

I cut them with my knife

These littl triangular holes

Make him come to life

 

His mouth is in a smile

At the bottom of his face

With two little teeth

That point up into space

 

My little orange friend

Is almost complete

All he needs now

Is a body and some feet.

 

Sadly for my friend

I never find a body

Instead he sits on my front porch

Welcoming everybody