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       2012-2013 Pickford Young Writers Anthology of Short Stories and Poetry, p.1
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           Pickford Community Library Young Writers Workshop
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2012-2013 Pickford Young Writers Anthology of Short Stories and Poetry


  2012-2013

  Pickford Young Writers Workshop

  Anthology of Short Stories & Poetry

  AUTHORS

  Amy Lehigh

  Bailey West

  Chelsea Ross

  Dar Bagby

  Janet Beasley

  Jessica Arman

  Katie Arman

  Taylor Green

  Copyright 2013 by JLB Creatives

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, scanning, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission from the publisher.

  Published in the USA by

  TABLE OF CONTENTS

  Foreword

  Acknowledgments

  Introduction

  Short Stories

  Sage by Amy Lehigh

  One Word by Bailey West

  Terror Bond by Jessica Arman

  Project Alpha by Katie Arman

  Damaged Goods by Taylor Green

  Letters & Poetry (for Sandy Hook Elementary School)

  About the Instructors

  FOREWORD

  Welcome to the world of the Pickford Community Library. Come sit in the young adult corner designed by Chelsea Ross and Taylor Green. Take a place at the bright red octagonal table, sink into a lime green saucer chair, or cozy up on the blue dotted rug. Inspiration is here for the taking, and magical things are happening these days. Just witness the enchanting evidence in this e-anthology!

  This e-book was proposed and developed under the professional guidance of Janet Beasley and Dar Bagby, the gifted author/illustrator sister team of the Hidden Earth series. These trailblazers have led workshops every other Thursday evening at the library and have donated countless additional hours of mentoring and instruction. They have developed an innovative outreach program in creative writing that gives students real insights into the world of publishing.

  The students who have participated in the Pickford Community Library Young Writers Workshop project are AMAZING. Their creativity, scholarship, and dedication to their craft are boundless. We are honored to have this opportunity to showcase the creative visions of five members of the group: Katie Arman, Jessica Arman, Taylor Green, Amy Lehigh, and Bailey West. We foresee great futures for them in the literary world.

  The mission of our library is to unite diverse groups in the community with enriching cultural experiences. The work of the young writers group has become a source of enlightenment for our entire community. It is a great joy to witness their artistic growth and development. May you delight in this work as well.

  A wonderful adventure in reading awaits you—enjoy the journey!

  Ann Marie Smith

  Branch Manager, Pickford Community Library

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  The Pickford Young Writers Workshop is the brainchild of Ann Marie Smith, branch manager of the Pickford Community Library. Her insightful creation of the group and her willingness to promote it have given young writers in the community the opportunity not only to allow their literary creativity to flourish, but also to have it presented in published format for the public—the dream of every would-be author—by JLB Creatives.

  The group owes much of its inspiration to Judge Elizabeth Church, Chippewa County Courts. Her belief in a strong education for young people motivated her to fund a teen corner in the Pickford Community Library and to be the honored guest and speaker at a meet-and-greet for young people in the library. Thanks to her generosity, the teen corner now has new furnishings.

  Some very special people deserve the credit for seeing this book all the way to publication. Teachers and librarians at Pickford Schools promoted the formation of the group and gave their support throughout the school year. The instructors of the workshop sessions, Janet Beasley, author, and Dar Bagby, editor, volunteered their time to teach the group and to help the members prepare their works for publication. Connie Thompson, author and graphics specialist, donated her expertise in doing the anthology's layout and the creation of the cover text. Other very special people include the families of the Young Writers Workshop members; without their encouragement, the group would not have continued their dedication and attendance throughout the entire season.

  Without the the above mentioned people and their excitement regarding this endeavor, the 2012-2013 Pickford Young Writers Workshop Anthology of Short Stories & Poetry would not exist, and the reading public would be deprived of the young talent that is so evident in the works found in this book.

  INTRODUCTION

  by Dar Bagby

  In the fall of 2012 Janet Beasley, author of the Hidden Earth series, an epic fantasy adventure for young adults, and I, illustrator and editor, co-instructed a one-time teen writers class at Pickford High School in Michigan. Since I live close to Pickford but Janet lives in Florida, she appeared live via Skype. We offered our expertise through a Q&A session, and our efforts paid off when the branch manager of the Pickford Community Library approached us about instructing a young writers workshop in the Teen Corner of the library. We were honored and ecstatic at being given the opportunity to provide young writers with the information they ultimately need to see their names and their words in print.

  Our class consisted of six students, grades 9-12. We met every other week and, for one hour at each session, discussed various aspects of writing from creation to publication. Other renowned authors from Central Florida gave live presentations on Skype, and by springtime our dedicated future authors had written short stories to be published (by JLB Creatives Publishing) in this anthology, available to the public as a free e-book. Each of the writers underwent a one-on-one editing session, and one of the class members included her own illustrations to accompany her story. You will also find a special section at the end of the e-book dedicated to the survivors of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December, 2012.

  The young writers workshop is slated to continue each school year—fall to spring—culminating in publication of an anthology of its class members' literary output. If this inaugural e-book, 2012-2013 Pickford Young Writers Workshop Anthology of Short Stories & Poetry, is any indication of the talent represented by our local teens, it and the future e-books should be ones you will be proud to include in your e-library.

  SAGE

  by Amy Lehigh

  Sage looked up at the crescent moon, his white fur glowing in the light. He loved to look at the moon; no matter where he went with his friends in their travels, the moon always stayed the same. Plus, he couldn't really look at the sun. His black markings were as distinct as trees in a field of snow. They began in the center of his chest then stretched to four elegant stripes, two that wound under his front legs and two that wound over his shoulders. All were connected in the middle of his back and stretched as one to the base of his tail. “Hey, Sage,” Nira called. She was a pretty silver wolf with gold eyes, and she was Sage's best friend.

  Sage switched his gaze from the moon to Nira. “Hi, Nira. Are we moving again already?”

  Nira shook her head. “I just wanted to see what you were doing. I should have known you were watching the moon again.” She lay down next to him in the lush grass and rolled onto her back. “Ah, it feels so good to relax after a long day of running.”

  “Yeah, it's too bad we can't stay anywhere until we find Invir,” Sage said.

  “I hope my brother's okay,” Nira said. Invir had disappeared some time ago, and the pack had no idea wh
ere he had gone.

  “I'm sure he's fine. It's not like he's reckless. And if he does get into trouble, he's just about the best fighter we've got.”

  “I guess you're right. Let's not worry about that fur-ball right now.” She sighed and put her right fore paw on Sage's cheek. “You know, I find it kinda funny how this paw is black and the others are silver.”

  “Maybe it's special,” Sage suggested.

  Nira shook her head. “I like to think of it more like a link to Invir since he's black-furred and has that silver right ear.”

  “Yeah, you two are a unique pair.” Sage turned back to moon-gazing, and Nira removed her paw. The two fell asleep under the stars.

  The next morning around dawn they were awakened by movement in the bushes. Nira bolted upright, delicate hope rising in her chest. “Invir?” she asked the bushes.

  Sage sat up groggily. “It's probably just the others,” he yawned. He hated to disappoint his friend, but he felt she needed to be more realistic. Besides, he thought, if she'd set her hopes lower, I wouldn't have to see her so sad when it turns out not to be Invir. I sure hate seeing her so disappointed so often.

  A dark brown wolf with blue eyes and a white tail poked his head through the bushes. “We're leaving at the peak of the sun, so make sure you're ready,” he told them.

  “Thanks Todian,” they said in unison.

  “You're welcome. Oh, and try not to fall back to sleep. We'd rather not have to wake you up and have our heads bitten off for it.”

  “We'll try,” Sage yawned again. “But no promises.”

  Nira nodded, her head low with crushed hope.

  As Todian walked away, Sage got up and stretched, his front paws extending out toward Nira, his back paws gouging the ground. “Don't look so upset. We'll find him eventually, but until then, would you try not getting your hopes up so high?”

  “It's hard not to. I mean, I want every sound to be him coming home to me. I don't know if I can lower my hopes.” She sighed. “Sometimes it's so, I don't know, frustrating. I just want him to be here with me and to go home. Is that really so much to ask?”

  Apparently it is, Sage thought, but he didn't dare say it aloud to Nira. She was the most patient wolf he knew, but when she erupted, she erupted at everything within a thousand strides. Once she had even yelled at a leaf in late autumn because it was still attached to the tree! At least Sage knew enough to hide anything that might upset her...and to hide himself when she blew her top.

 

  “Well, we might as well join the others now. It's not like there's anything better to do than lie here.” They trotted through the bushes until they saw Todian, who was talking to Yuki and Yoru, two wolves that looked like yin and yang. Yuki was black with a white spot on his forehead and golden eyes; Yoru was white with a black spot on his forehead and dark green eyes.

  “Okay, Yuki, Yoru. I'm going to have you search for some deer. If you find one, go for it. If you find a herd, run back here and...” he paused. “Remind me why I feel I have to tell you this, considering I've awakened to find that you've done it how many times before?” The brothers shrugged. They knew if they found a herd, Todian would want them to run back to the pack and wake them so they could all go on the hunt. “Now go ahead and do your thing,” Todian finished. The twins ran off.

  “What, nothing for us to do?”

  Todian turned to face Sage and Nira. “Ah, I see you actually decided to join us. Did you find a burr where you were lying?” he teased.

  “Oh ha ha.” Sage stuck his tongue out at their leader, though his rich blue eyes danced with good humor. “It's not like you're any better on the mornings we don't have to travel.”

  “I guess you've got me there,” Todian laughed. “Well, anyway, if you're so eager to do something we can organize our own food patrol. The twins will track us by scent if we aren't here when they get back.”

  “Sounds good to me.”

  “Fine with me too,” Nira said.

  “Now we just have to figure out where to go. The twins headed that way.” Todian gestured toward the place where the twins had pushed through the bushes. “So we should head the other way.” He led them out of the small clearing they had been using during the night.

  A few minutes later the twins returned, panting. “Where'd they go?” Yoru asked.

  “The scent goes this way. Come on.” Yuki took off, winding through the trees and undergrowth, leading Yoru to the others, who were dragging an old buck. Todian looked up and saw them.

  “Neir,” Yoru panted. It was all he needed to say.

  Todian gave them orders. “Okay, everyone eat as much as you can. The first two to finish will start collecting strong branches and pine resin to hold them together. Put the resin on a leaf until you're ready to use it. Now hurry and eat.” He was the first to finish, along with Nira, so they began collecting the items. They found fallen branches lying around, about five feet long and four inches in diameter, and they bit into pine trees to collect the resin.

  When the group had collected about twenty branches and enough resin to hold them together, they paused. Todian gave more orders. “Now point the smaller ends of the branches toward each other. Weave the branches together, then use the resin to hold them in place.” They all shared the work and finished by covering the frame with ferns. “Now put the kill on the 'carrier',” Todian called it.

  They each adjusted themselves to a spot around the carrier so they could transport it. “I think we should go east,” Nira said, holding up three branches with her back and mumbling around the one in her mouth.

  “All right. Invir is your brother, after all, so you choose where we go,” Todian said.

  Sage agreed. “We'll be right behind you.”

  “Thanks,” Nira nodded.

  “We really might want to get a move on now, unless of course we want to lose the sunshine of the dawn and possibly get rained on and have Neir find us. Then we can just stay here another half hour,” Todian said, sarcasm dripping like rain off leaves.

  Walking led to talking, but they avoided talking about Invir—no need in upsetting Nira. So they discussed Neir, as there was really nothing else on their minds but the evil Arabian wolf.

  “That black-eared, black-tailed, black-hearted wolf! Why is he hanging around us? Doesn't he have some other innocent pack to terrorize?” Nira whined. “It's hard enough traveling as we are; we don't need him pushing us too.”

  “He probably doesn't even know we're here,” Sage said in a soothing voice, but Nira knew better.

  “I think his right eye is creepy,” Yuki said.

  “What? The blue-gray one? Nah, I think his gold eye is way creepier,” Yoru argued.

  “I think they're both creepy,” Todian joined. “Especially when he stares at you.”

  “I just think it's weird that his front toes and claws are white and the back ones are black,” Sage added.

  “Not any weirder than my one black paw or Invir's silver ear,” Nira argued.

  “I would say 'true,' but he has no one to be connected to.”

  “I guess.” Nira was silent in thought for a minute or so. “Anyway, I heard that since he's gray, he likes to hide in rocky areas.”

  “He's not going to stay only near rocks,” Todian said. “He's evil. He probably claims the shadows, too.”

  “He kinda looks like he's some sort of zebra hybrid. You know, with that black stripe down his spine...” Yuki started.

  “...and those two stripes that start at the corners of his eyes and go toward each ear,” Yoru finished.

  “Exactly,” his brother agreed.

  “Hey, Todian, he has your brown on top of his muzzle,” Sage teased.

  “Oh shut it,” Todian growled. “He's got your black around his neck.”

  “Ha ha,” Sage muttered.

  “Hey!” Yuki whined at the same time.

  “Oops, sorry Yuki.”

  Sage retaliated, “And it looks like a poi
nty-edged T. Isn't that the letter your name starts with, To-dian?”

  Nira spoke up, “That one crooked tooth he has, you know, the one on his top jaw that he tries to hide? That's what creeps me out about him.”

  “A tooth?” Sage teased.

  “Yes, a tooth! It's a creepy tooth, okay?”

  “All right, all right. But...” Sage stopped abruptly as he realized Todian had halted. “What's wrong?”

  “Huh?” Todian said. “Oh. Uh, I think we should rest here for now.” It was evening already. They had been walking all day.

  “I agree,” said Yuki.

  Sage looked around. “Definitely. We're still in the woods, and there's a hollow trunk to hide the meat in. We can hide the scent of it with the scent of skunk if we have to; we just have to make sure it doesn't touch the meat.”

  “The oaks are big enough for shelter, too,” Nira added.

  “And the bushes are high enough to hide in,” Yoru said.

  “Then we all agree. Set the carrier down and we'll take a break,” Todian said.

  “I'm exhausted,” Yuki groaned and collapsed on the grass. His brother fell on top of him, and they both went right to sleep. No one was willing to wake them to see if they wanted to eat, mainly because no one liked grumpy twins, especially when the twins were the best hunters in the pack.

  Sage, Nira, and Todian dug into the deer carcass until their bellies were full, then they buried it in the hollow trunk and found various places to sleep. Sage and Nira slept under the roots of an oak that crawled above ground, and Todian slept under a bush near them.

  * * *

  Sage awoke alone just before dawn; in his opinion it was the darkest part of the night. “Hello?” he called loudly “You guys better not be messing with my head.” He paused and listened. “If you are, you aren't doing a very good job of it 'cause I'm not scared,” he lied. He began to panic. He could not smell their scents, nor could he hear even a hint of Nira's pretty tail brushing across a leaf. They wouldn't leave me behind...would they?

  “Oh, you aren't scared? Well, I'll just have to fix that now, won't I?” An eerily silky, low voice came from behind Sage. He turned. A breeze whistled through the trees. The clouds that had been covering the crescent moon, darkening the sky, slid away revealing a gray wolf.

 
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