The Cookie Convicts

by April Deisinger

We sat at the counter, staring at the new cookies. Mom brought them home from Costco and Willem and I couldn’t wait to break into them.

She said, “No, wait ‘till after Dinner.”

But as we sat there, staring at each other across the counter, the temptation was too hard to resist. Their soft, delicate outer layer beckoned us like a lighthouse. Our eyes held a conversation our mouths couldn’t. We can’t take one, it’s not right, I seemed to be telling him. We looked at each other with an intensity that could burn anyone who got between us. However, he did not yield to my silent pleads and proceeded to commit the perfect crime.

Quietly, he opened the container and plucked a single chocolate chunk cookie out. In the same moment the delicious baked treat left its safety, a cold bead of sweat dripped down my forehead. I raised my eyebrows into my hairline, fear-stricken. Willem, however, was a natural at the art. He shook the other cookies into place so you could hardly tell one was missing. The crumbs ticked across the plastic bottom and I glanced over my shoulder. He sensed my agitation and looked up at me.

Shut up, he seemed to say, as if my mental thoughts were loud enough to summon her. After he clicked the box shut, a noise that seemed to ricocheted through the house, he stood up straight. Victory. With an ever-present smirk, he broke the cookie in half.

“I have to tell her, she’s gonna be mad!” I told him. Without a word, he handed me the chocolatier side of the cookie. A bribe for my silence, the blood money given to Judas.In that instant, I could feel my insides being torn in half. The desire for right and wrong, what I needed to do versus what I wanted to do. Evil prevailing, I took the half of the cookie offered to me and stepped away from the counter. We parted then, in a silence deeper than our mutual love for sweets. Maybe not friends, but today, allies.

April Deisinger is a grade twelve student who will be studying Law and Justice at Laurentian University next fall.

Making Friends?

(Excerpt from a novella)

by Hannah Heidrich

I put on my bubblegum pink mini skater skirt and pull my yellow knit thigh-high socks up over my knees. I toss over a white baggy t-shirt and double-check my makeup and long black hair. I look at the pictures on my phone, filled with models and fashion. My mother yells from downstairs,  “Time to go, Hope!” I look at myself in the mirror before I head out the door. Everything looks presentable for my first day of high school.

When I walk through the doors of my new school, the hallways are packed with eager freshman who are racing to their homerooms. I assume that going to class early is important, so I begin to head down to my homeroom class as well. I am glad I arrived to school early enough that I would have time to figure out where to go. I look down at my school map and start walking.

I am the first person to enter the medium sized grey classroom with desks that have hard dark green school chairs. I sit down in the middle row off to the far right side of the classroom against the wall. As time goes by, more and more students enter the classroom. One by one they enter, pick a seat and do not say a word.

By the time the bell rings, the classroom is pretty much full of students. No one decides to sit next to me. The teacher eventually walks in, stands at the front of the class, and begins speaking, “Good morning class. I am Mr. Badeau. I will be your homeroom math teacher.” He is a tall blonde man with light brown eyes. He has a light grey suit with a blue shirt on underneath. I assume he is the kind of teacher who does not mess around by the way he briefly introduces himself and by the way he is dressed. Mr. Badeau reminds me of a lawyer.

After a while, we learn our first math lesson and class is almost over. As Mr. Badeau is about to assign our homework, another student walks in. She is tall with long dark brown hair and green eyes. She wears a black volleyball hoodie labeled CHILL and has ripped black jeans on. It was like time stops while everyone in the class including me watches her walk in slowly with her black Dr. Martin lace-up boots on. She draws attention to herself without even trying.

“Who are you?” Mr. Badeau asks with a mix of confusion and annoyance on his face.

“My name is Katryna,” she responds.

Mr. Badeau points in my direction instructing Katryna to take a seat next to me. Katryna looks over towards me and gags. It is like she smells something rotten in the air and the scent is getting worse as she approaches me closer. I remain sitting in my seat and shift in it uncomfortably. We do not speak for the rest of class.

This is going to be a long semester.

Hannah Heidrich is a grade twelve Writers’ Craft student who will be studying at Carleton University in the fall.

 

Creative Question

by Rogan Gutwillinger

For the past few months, I have been busy filling out applications for post-secondary and scholarships. Frankly, it has become quite monotonous having to answer the same “how do you volunteer for your community” and “tell us how you demonstrate leadership” questions over and over again. Then, however, I encountered an application for residence at the University of Toronto. The following was the second question on the form:

Provide a creative response to the image below. (400 words maximum)

 

To say I was surprised by this question was a bit of an understatement. I ended up writing the following:

Upon viewing this image, I was reminded how much I love circles. I really love circles. Simply put, they are the essence of perfection: long, unbroken curves that defy the need for abrupt angles or monotone side lengths. I tend to be a perfectionist, and so circles are a breath of fresh air. You literally cannot achieve better symmetry than that of a circle.

Circles have become integral to everyday life (it’s no wonder they coined the term “Circle of Life”), so it’s quite easy to take them for granted. This is unacceptable, however, and I have learned to pause and appreciate every circle’s contribution, no matter the size or magnitude. Plates, camera lenses, wheels, pizza, the Sun, jewelry. Pi has become my favourite food, understandably. All these different circles, linked by their shared beauty, ignored by most of the general population. How can people be so blind in the face of such excellence?

I have become quite vocal about my passion for circles. My peers tend to prefer the term “obsession”, but I disagree. Nobody refers to breathing as an obsession, and I believe circles are just as important. My family declined my request to change my name to Onofrodo, unfortunately, but at least if I start a family my child will be able to enjoy bearing such a wonderful name. I sometimes miss important information when I daydream about these shapes. People call it idiocy; I call it prioritizing.

But an amusement park ride that spins you around in circles, over and over again? What a dizzying, fiendish concept. Who would voluntarily undergo such torture? I’d much prefer to ride a drop tower, thank you.

Later on in the application, I made sure to point out that, in reality, I’m much more of a triangle kind of guy.

Rogan Gutwillinger is a grade twelve student who will be studying at the University of Toronto in the fall.

 

Chapter 1

by Eric Kivisto

(Excerpt from a fan-fiction)

Saturday night in Shiganshina District meant many things for many different people. For the doctors and nurses, the busiest part of their week was just starting, while everyone else was beginning to wind down. The businessmen finalised reports from the week, farmers and craftswomen took their final inventory and then headed home for the night. For the local teenagers, saturdays often meant wild parties and get-togethers with friends. So, while his mother was just getting home from work, Eren was getting ready to head out. He stood in front of the mirror his family kept in the dining room, adjusting his messy brown hair. The door creaked a bit, indicating that his mother, Carla, has just returned from the office. She greeted him warmly, as she always did. He returned the greeting with a smile. He turned to face her, holding his arms out. This was meant to ask how he looked, but Carla took the chance to steal a hug. Eren hugged back, but rolled his eyes a bit.

“Oh, teenagers!” Carla laughed as she ruffled Eren’s hair. “ I miss when I could just hug my son without him getting all embarrassed.” Eren laughed back just a bit.

“Love you, too, Mum. How do I look?” He held his arms out again. Carla looked over the outfit; it was modest and presentable, as well as suiting Eren nicely.

“Looks good. Won’t you be a little warm in that flannel, though?”

“It’s thin,” Eren felt the fabric between his fingers and turned back to the mirror. “All else fails, Armin’s almost always cold, so I can throw it at him if I get too warm.”

“Alright. When’s Mikasa supposed to get home from practice today?” Carla asked, setting her purse down on the kitchen table.

“She should be here soon.” Eren looked over his shoulder. His mother was giving him a bit of a strange look. “What?”

“You’re already dressed? You’ll be waiting around in those clothes for a good hour while you wait for Mikey to get ready.” She joked, waving her hand around. “That outfit will get dirty before you even get to the party.”

“She did all her party-prep at Annie’s. That’s why she’s not home yet,” Eren sat at the table, checking his phone once more. “They’re leaving Annie’s now. Should be here in about ten minutes.”

“Are you guy’s giving Armin a ride, too?”

“Of course!” Eren smiled. “We don’t trust most of the people from school that are going tonight with Armin’s safety.” This statement was only partly a joke. Maria Secondary School had a higher-than-average number of discontents, in Eren’s opinion. While they’d be fine with someone from Armin’s Reach For The Top team or Robotics team giving him a ride, those aren’t the kind if people that go to wild high school parties.

“Fair enough. Try to keep me updated throughout the night and, if you do end up drinking, try not to overdo it.” The warning was always the same throughout most Shiganshinan households – “You’re old enough and I can’t stop you from drinking at this party, but don’t come crying to me if you have a five star hangover tomorrow.”

“Don’t worry,” Eren winced when he remembered his first high school party after turning sixteen — he had slept at the house that night, so at least his parents’ were spared the sight of him blackout drunk. “There will be three people there to keep me under control, and if that fails, I’ve already used most of my allowance to stock up on powerade and mineral water.” Another text came in, this one from Annie.

‘Get in, loser.” It read. Eren laughed and shook his head. He was about to send a text when Mikasa opened the door.

Eric Kivisto is a grade 10 student at Lockerby. This piece is an excerpt from a fan-story entitled The Death Of Armin Arlert.

Congratulations! It's a Girl!

by Sophie Laurin

Congratulations, it’s a girl!

A girl who will giggle a flash a gummy smile at a few months old.

A girl who will be discouraged from playing in the muddy puddles when the sun cracks through thunderous clouds after hours of downpour at three.

A girl will be playing with barbies and slapping globs of nail polish on her fingers and calling it art at five.

A girl who will be snubbed by the boys on the playground when she asks to play hot wheels at the age of seven. They’ll shove Barbie’s pink convertible back at her and laugh.

Congratulations, it’s a girl!

A girl who will love to play in her momma’s makeup bag at ten.

A girl who will love herself unconditionally at twelve.

A girl who will love scrawling secrets down in secret notebooks that nobody but her bedroom wall would know about at thirteen.

Congratulations, it’s a girl!

She will dream of how she can change the world and become the best superhero anyone has ever heard of at fourteen.

She will dream of a boy who will worship her like she worships the tabloids at fifteen.

She will dream of that last inch melting away as a reward for eating only an apple and downing fifteen glasses of water to make the hunger subside at sixteen.

Congratulations, it’s a girl.

Who you shame for being the target audience.

Who you laugh at for having even the slightest interest in a hobby traditionally considered “masculine” .

Who you will pull out of class for distracting the boy behind her with her tank top in 25+ degree weather. You will claim that she is taking away from his learning, you will send her home. Taking away from her learning.

Who you will overwhelm with multiples of “10 tips and tricks to getting your body beach ready”.

Who you will tear down and build back up by tearing down other girls.

Congratulations, it’s a girl.

A girl who will have to grow up in a dog-eats-dog world. Her sisters out for blood. Boys staring at her like a slab of meat, prey ready for claiming. “You’re not leaving dressed like that.” Her daddy spats. Its plus thirty.

A girl who you will tear down and wonder why she’s crumbled.

Congratulations, it’s a girl.

Sophie Laurin, a grade ten student, is a member of the Young Writers’ Club.

Banned

by Eric Kivisto

Whiteness. That’s all I could see. It wasn’t particularly bright – In fact, it was a rather dull, muddied white, like I was looking at it through a pair of cheap sunglasses or an old, dusty window. I’m left to wonder what happened and how I ended up here. I try to look around, but all that surrounds me is white. In a way, it could be called a room, I suppose, but there don’t appear to be walls — just infinite whiteness.

Giving up, I plop myself down on the ground. Something crinkles in my back pocket. I try to remember if I had left anything in there — a gum wrapper, class notes, or anything — but nothing comes to mind. I reach back into my pocket and and pull out a piece of paper that’s been neatly folded into a square. Carefully unfolding it, I begin to reveal a message that’s been written inside. Quite simply, the message states:

You have been banned

from existence.

…what?

Banned from existence? How does that even happen?! My mind starts running through all the things that might have gotten me banned from existing, but nothing I summon to the forefront of my thoughts seems severe enough to warrant this type of punishment.

Wait … If I’m here, and I’m reading this message and thinking these thoughts, am I not still existing? I think, therefore I am, right? … Right …?

Eric Kivisto is a grade 10 student at Lockerby. He enjoys spending his free time writing and finding new ways to mess with his own head.

The Art of Letting Go

by Himeshi Abeyratne

The clock was ticking, yet time had come to a standstill. Lying on the pavement in a pool of his own blood, Miles knew he was going to die.

He had gone for a quick drive to the supermarket, on the quest for milk and diapers, when a hulking mass of metal slammed into his car out of nowhere, an impact strong enough to send it soaring through the air. He had barely managed to crawl out of his overturned vehicle, dragging out his mangled legs, wincing as gravel and glass shards bit into his palm. He stopped a few feet away from the wreckage, gasping as a searing pain travelled up his side, and collapsed onto the road. He saw the truck, reduced to mere ruins. No sign of the other driver.

In the distance, he thought he could hear sirens. But he knew they wouldn’t reach him in time. He took in a rattling breath, pressing a hand to his bleeding abdomen. Emma. How would she get through this? His heart stuttered as he imagined her opening the front door, carrying their son tightly in her arms, expecting to see Miles returning from the store only to find a somber-faced policeman in his place, giving her the news that would change her life forever. He saw her smile fall away, saw his son crying, saw them years from now, never quite able to forget.

He blinked back the tears that pricked at his eyes. No. They deserve a proper goodbye.

With shaking, bloody fingers, he struggled to reach into the pocket of his coat. Gritting his teeth through the pain, he pulled out his cellphone. Blood streaked the screen as he typed out their home number on the dialpad. It took him three tries before he managed to hit the correct numbers, vision blurry and blackening at the edges, and held the phone up to his ear as it began to ring.

His wife’s warm voice filled his ears immediately, and he almost broke down then and there. He could hear the chatter of his son’s cartoons in the background. “Hey, honey,” she said. “I was just going to call you. I forgot to mention — can you grab some cereal? You know the one Ollie likes, the Cheerios?”

Cheewios!” he heard his son echo, squealing with delight. Emma laughed, the sound a melody in his ears. He swallowed down the sob rising in his throat.

“Miles?” she asked, and he forced himself to regain composure, realizing that he had yet to reply.

“Hey, Em,” he said. “Yeah, sorry, I heard you. Grabbing the Cheerios.”

“You’re a lifesaver,” she said. “Anyway, I’ll see you in a bit? Love you.”

“Wait—” he said, desperation setting in, as she was about to hang up. He clenched his teeth, holding back a groan as a wave of pain passed through him. There wasn’t much time left.

“What’s wrong?” Emma asked, her voice laced with sudden concern.

His head throbbed. He closed his eyes as his vision tilted, the sky spinning above him. He willed himself to focus on his wife. “Nothing,” he said quickly. “Nothing’s wrong. I just — do you remember the first time we met?”

She laughed again. “Of course,” she said. “But what does that have to do with—”

“Talk me through it,” he said.

“What?”

“Talk me through it. The checkout line looks really long, and I’m going to get bored just standing there.”

He could picture her rolling her eyes. “Fine,” she said, though her voice was fond. “Well, let’s see. It was a rainy Saturday — no, Sunday — morning, and you had just walked into the coffee shop . . .”

As she talked, Miles let her words comfort him, wash over him. For a moment, he forgot where he was, forgot that he was teetering precariously on the verge of death. He forgot about the last grains of sand trickling through the hourglass, about the blood oozing out of his body, coating his hands, pooling around him. For a moment, he was just a man, listening to his wife talk. When she finished, he was left in silence. He realized that his face was wet — he’d been crying quietly. In the sudden stillness, he thought he could hear his heart cracking in two, the fissures tearing at the seams, a slow, aching pain.

He could see them, Emma and Ollie, clearly in the days and weeks to come. After the initial shock, grief would set in, striking sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes during the day, in mundane, unexpected moments. He felt a sting in his chest as he wished for more time, knowing he would never get to see his son grow up, never get to grow old with Emma. At least the two of them had each other. It would take time, but eventually they would heal. The thought gave him peace of mind.

“Miles?” Emma asked after a while. “Are you sure everything’s okay?”

His breath was shallow. He thought he could hear the clock counting down. Tick, tick, tick. “Emma,” he said softly, her name a lifeline he struggled to hold onto for a little longer. “Can you put Ollie on the phone?”

“What?” she asked. “Why?”

Please.”

And maybe it was because she sensed something in his voice, something urgent and desperate, but she complied. “Here, Ollie,” she said. “Talk to Daddy.”

He heard his son’s cooing on the other side. “Hey, Ollie.” Miles felt his voice break, at a loss. What were the last words a dying father was supposed to say to his son? “You probably won’t remember much of me, but I want you to know that I love you. There’s so much I didn’t get to teach you. So much I wish I could—” He let out a breath, shuddering. “You take care of your mother, you hear me? And know that I’ll always be proud of you. No matter what.”

It was the goodbye to his son that was his undoing. He was unable to hold back. Sobs racked his body, and he clutched onto the phone tightly as his wife’s frantic voice echoed in his chest.

“Miles?” she asked. “What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”

“Em, listen to me,” he said, managing to subside his tears. He wished he could hold her hand. “I love you. I always will.”

“Miles. Miles. Where are you? What’s happening?” she asked, but he couldn’t bring himself to answer. He closed his eyes instead, teardrops trickling down his face, and listened once more to the sound of his wife’s voice. In the last seconds of his life, memory flooded his mind; Ollie’s laugh, Emma’s beautiful eyes. His heart pumped weakly, flickering and shivering like a dying sun. He took one last, long breath, and let go.

The clock stopped ticking. But time went on.

Himeshi Abeyratne is a grade twelve student and a frequent contributor to Viking Voice. Himeshi will be studying Nursing at Laurentian University in the fall.

Forever is Impossible to Believe

by Hope Guizzo

When you left it was hard

My heart began to scar

The memories that went to waste

Just seemed to be replaced

 

My tears fled like the nile

I feel like walking for a mile

I accepted I had to fix myself

Before I could fix you

 

It was apparent when we spoke

That it was all just a joke

You played with my heart

Like some kind of art

 

Did you listen when I cried?

Or were you just playing your lies

How is it that it’s impossible to believe

That you are no longer part of me

 

Forever, he said

But it was impossible to believe

 

Hope Guizzo is a grade twelve student in this semester’s Writers’ Craft course. She will be entering the Bachelor of Arts program at the University of Guelph next fall.

Great Pines

by Rya Funk

You know you’re part of a northern family when…

You find yourself surrounded by dense nature standing in front of an old beat up camper, rusty in all of it’s retro glory. We had been late booking a nice cottage for our annual summer adventures on Manitoulin Island, so there we stood, in front of the last available trailer on Lake Wolsey’s Obejewung Tent and Trailer Park. Unsure whether to feel disappointed or exhilarated by the prospect of living in such abnormally tiny quarters for the next few days, we began to settle in.

Considering Manitoulin is the world’s largest freshwater island, featuring 108 freshwater lakes, the drive down will never fail to invoke a sense of awe. As you get further inland you’re privy to being captivated by a layered ivory limestone that gives the inland lakes and surrounding Georgian Bay waters a clear aquamarine color. This fascinating landscape is due to ancient rivers and glaciers that have altered the soft bedrock. With a naturally magnificent landscape, the island offers an endless list of adventures to embark upon: from hiking and swimming, to waterfalls and museums, and finally to camping out in the depths of nature.

On the first day of our camping trip, us girls decided to venture out and explore the campsite. The road leading into the site was longer than the eye could see; a classic dirt road flanked by emerald forest on either side. We walked along the road until suddenly there was a left turn that opened up to endless fields of cows and hay. The sky, no longer blocked by the formidable pines, showed a great dreary mass of clouds, constantly in motion rolling towards us. Promptly a bright flash lit up the underbelly of the grey beast, accompanied by a loud rumbling causing the cows to look towards the sky in wonder. Off we went, our flip flops rhythmically smacking the ground, desperate for the shelter of our tiny camper. The wind weaved knots into our hair and shook the great pines lining the edges of the road. Unexpectedly, a wide smile spread over my face and a feeling of pure giddiness from within was unleashed as I began to giggle uncontrollably. The feeling was contagious as the other girls immediately joined in. At this moment I was no longer unsure, any disappointment from the previous day was carried away by the wind, leaving exhilaration coursing through my veins.

The following days were filled with beautiful hikes through the heart of nature, sharing jokes and stories over quintessential camp-fires with new campsite friends, and waking up early to the golden light and rich percolated coffee. On our final afternoon, the Italian portion of our blended family could be seen making pasta by hand on the well loved picnic table out in front of our camper. Soon, we had all formed an assembly line, cutting out circular pastas with the mouth of a plastic cup, then stuffing the pasta with goats cheese and chives, followed by me placing fresh pieces of smoked salmon on top, and finally sealing them off. Sun kissed smiles lit up all of our faces. After preparing a quick tomato sauce, we sat down to an unforgettable feast.

That night the sky glittered with an abundance of stars as we curled up in oversized flannels at the picnic table seriously studying the scrabble board in front of us. ABBA’s music rang clear, travelling on the evening breeze. I took a good look at the people around me and came to the conclusion that no matter where you travel in the world, the best memories are made when you’re with the people you love.

Rya Funk is a grade twelve student in Writers’ Craft. She will be spend a year reading, writing, and working before entering university to study in the sciences.

A Booklover's Guide to Playa Del Carmin

by Madison Laberge

Playa Del Carmen is known for it’s never ending beaches covered in white sand, seemingly perfect weather, clear blue waters and fantastic little outlet stores cluttered around 5th avenue. As a destination growing in popularity it makes sense that lots of people find themselves partying while on vacation. However, Playa Del Carmen can also be an incredible place to curl up with a good book and read all day.

Stepping off the plane with a large book in hand, I knew this is what I was going to be spending my vacation doing. Sandos Playacar is a beautiful resort with wildlife and spectacular gardens located all over the grounds, making any spot beautiful to indulge in some reading. My favourite spot was on the beach, sitting in one of the many beach chairs, with the white sand between my toes and the warm sun beaming down on my shoulders. The sound of laughter and talking muffled by the rolling sounds of the oceans waves and the occasional chirp from the birds that soared overhead.

Sandos Playacar also has a hidden gem that makes reading even more enjoyable. A small cafe on the resort, with no extra charge, that allows you to give in to your sweet tooth without having to go out of your way and allows you to nibble on something while you turn the pages. The cafe even features a beautiful outdoor patio where you can go to enjoy your snack and your book for a change in scenery.

But the beautiful reading spots don’t stop at the resort. Xel-Ha, a fun little park that has things to do for every age, sits less than twenty minutes away from the resort. The short bus ride over is the perfect opportunity to get some more reading in and the many activities provide a small break in between reading that allows you to discover the natural beauty of the Riviera Maya. The resort also features an assortment of hammocks that are fantastic for relaxing in while you make your way through chapters, and with ice cream and other food options close by you can do so with a snack.

Another must see in Playa Del Carmen, just a short walk down the beach from Sandos Playacar is a restaurant called Señor Frogs. Placed directly on the beach with open walls for direct entry from the beach, this little restaurant is perfect for sitting back and relaxing. You may find it difficult to read in an area bustling with movement, but luckily there’s an outdoor patio and spots along the beach with picnic tables for your convenience.

In all, Playa Del Carmen is a great place for relaxation and for transporting yourself into different literary worlds for as long as you wish. You’ll find that the beautiful sun and the perfect weather will make reading even better and by the end of the trip, you’ll know what I already know. Playa Del Carmen is the perfect place to binge read as many books as you can.

Madison Laberge is a grade twelve student in Writers’ Craft. She will be study Concurrent Education at Laurentian University next year.