The lost village – a fictional short story

Mikaela Bradford

A full moon shone brightly in the inky sky, beginning to dip beneath the horizon. Surrounded by stars, it outshone them all. Below the fluffy white clouds, a small graveyard sat, squat and still. The air hung heavy, weighed down by the desolation of the nearby village. The haunted silence rode the quiet wind, bringing with it whispery moans and feathered cries. The sound of hooves interrupts the holy peace. Four horses appear over the horizon, each approaching from a different direction. They ride with the dawn, the rising sun illuminating the cloud of dust the horses kick up. By the time the men reach the village, the sun is high in the air, just before noon. The riders screech to a stop as they enter the destroyed crossroads. As they dismount, the riders groan. Different colored plumes sit on each head, signifying where the rider is from: Blue plumes pay respect to the ocean, standing proud upon the rider from the east. The rider wears the traditional garb, a white tunic, bleached by the sun, with a purple vest adorning his chest. His skin is a sun-kissed golden, paying tribute to his years on the sea, and combined with his blue eyes, he is the picture of Poseidon. His tunic ties between his legs to allow him to ride.  The horseman from the west wears a sandy yellow feather, representing the desert. He wears a cotton cloth with an indigo turban and a matching vest. His skin is almost black, stunning ebony that breaks when he smiles, with teeth like ivory. He pays tribute to Set, who watches over the dunes. To the north, a white ruffle sits upon the head of a large woman, honoring the majestic snowy mountains. With her brightly patterned underclothes, she seems kind though the heavy furs that frame them speak otherwise. Her face is wrinkled with age and wisdom, but her size spoke of incredible amounts of strength. And finally, to the south, the rider wears a thick band around his head, with a green plume flying high. His coconut-fiber covering contrasts with his beautiful caramel skin. His eyes, golden like the sun, seem to glow. They come together in the middle and place their hands on top of the others. Their pride is palpable. 

“I am Koykon.” The woman speaks. “I represent the mountain tribes.”

“I am Orion, and I represent the ocean tribes.” The man from the east almost growls, his words tainted with a slight accent.

“And I, Atacama, stand for the desert tribes.”

“As I, Kaa, for the jungle.”

“You all know why we are here then?” Orion breaks the silence that follows. The other three nod in agreement.  They split apart to begin the summoning. The first thing they need is a body, which wasn’t very hard to find. The second thing they need is spoils of war, for which each brought a single coin from the other regions which their people stole. Dragging the body to the village square, the men place their coins under the dead man’s tongue. Chanting, they each cut their hand and allowed a single drop of blood to fall on the man’s forehead. Finishing their chant, the men waited. Silence fell upon the ruins. No soul would dare disrupt this ritual. A wave of air rippled through the given space. Then another. And another. Wave after wave, the body began to shake. Writhing, his eyes flew to the back of his head. The four living fell to the floor, feeling their life force drain. Cries of fear and despair were left unheard as all movement stopped. The dead body became enveloped in darkness and, when it dispersed, a child was left sitting there, wrapped only in a thin black blanket. 

Upon awakening, the men expected to be blinded by the light of a glorious god. He would be dressed in shining armor, ready for bloodshed. When no light came, the men sat up. Looking around, they were stunned to find no god and no dead body. The only thing that had changed was the little girl, shivering and crying, wrapped in a tiny blanket. The woman from the north was the first to speak. 

“Tiny child, Why are you here? Ar-“. 

“We summoned a god, and all we get is a sniveling wench!” Roared the man from the west, his yellow feather waving as he cursed in his native tongue. The child recoiled, taken aback by the loudness. The other two began to moan at their loss, crying out to Zeus to save them. She looked down. When she returned her gaze to the three men, her eyes were ablaze with an icy fire.

“You summoned me. The god of war and I have answered! Be grateful I did not strike you where you stand.” She stood, and the ground shook with the rumble of her voice. The blanket fell from her thin shoulders, dropping to the floor before the corners began to waver. The child continued to cry as her back began to shake. Giant black wings erupted from her back. 

“Do you see what your war has done to me! Look upon the ruin you hate has brought down upon me!” she screamed. Large black feathers began to fall and burn as they watched. What little of the wings they could see became nothing but bone. Her flesh thinned out, and her eye sunk into her skull. Massive wounds tore down her fragile little body. The earth began to shake more violently, bringing the horrified people to their knees, their eyes alight with terror. The child fell to her knees, exhausted. 

“Ares is the god of bloodshed. I am the voice of true war. Look upon me and see.” And they did. Through her eyes, they could see the sufferings of their people. The pain they went through. The girl fell unconscious to the ground.

As the little girl was swallowed up by the darkness, the ground stopped shaking, and the fear in the emissaries subsided, and they agreed. 

Whatever it took, there would be no more suffering thrust upon that little girl.

Gained and Lost

Shaye Gallagher

As this year comes to a close,  I can’t help but think of how this year turned out versus how I expected. I have been dreaming of high school for as long as I can remember. As you can imagine, a pandemic never made its way into my dreams. However, that is a situation that I, like many of you, am in. When reviewing all of the things I felt as though I had lost during the pandemic: my 8th grade dance; exploring Brazil; and hanging out with friends, I realized I have lost a lot. On the other hand,I have also gained a lot. The extra time has allowed me to pursue several hobbies I didn’t know I enjoyed. I started learning to bake. Now baking is  one of my favorite things to do when I feel stressed. I also planted a garden and now I love watching it grow. I’ve learned how to manage my own schedule and that it’s okay to be alone sometimes. I’ve spent a lot more time with my family and I’ve come to learn what wonderful people they all are. Finally, I have learned not to let my elementary school expectations drive my happiness. I encourage you all, as this year comes to a close, not to only think about what you have lost through the pandemic, but also think about what you have gained. After all happiness is a choice – a choice for you to make.

Bullseye Book Recommendations

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe-Benjamin Alire Saenz

Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life-Jordan Peterson

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

Pivot point-Kasie West

Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen

The Way of Kings-Brandon Sanderson

A Court of Thorns and Roses Sarah J. Maas

The Inheritance Cycle-Christopher Paolini

The Ultimate Sales Machine-Chet Holmes

Ender’s Game-Orson Scott Card

The Institute- Stephen King

One of us is lying-Karen M.McManus

Maps of Meaning-Jordan Peterson

Battlefield Earth-L.Ron Hubbard

Anne of Green Gables-Lucy Maud Montgomery

The Origin- Dan Brown

12 moew rules for Life-Jordan Peterson

InkHeart-Cornelia Funke 

To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper Lee

Da Vinci Code-Dan Brown

The Girl in the Spider’s Web-David Lagercrantz

The Collector-John Fowles

Jane Eyre-Charlotte Bronte

Six of Crows-Leigh Bardugo

Ordinary People-Judith Guest 

They Both Die at the End-Adam Silvera

Unbearable Lightness of Being-Milan Kundera

Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda-Becky Albertalli

Fahrenheit 451-Ray Bradbury

1984-George Orwell

Animal Farm-George Orwell

Understanding Frank Ocean’s “Nights” Beat Switch

Vitória Arantes

It takes guts to expose vulnerability, and Frank Ocean managed to pull it off beautifully.

You might know Frank Ocean from his notorious hip-hop music collective, Odd Future (OFWGKTA), or you might simply be able to associate the remarkable green hair to the former Def Jam artist. However, as far as a hype for musicians goes, Frank Ocean managed to unapologetically finesse his way into Daft Punk levels of buzz since the launch of Blonde -his second studio album released in 2016-. 

To say the least, Frank was seriously ahead of his time when he released Blonde; an ethereal melodic compilation containing a myriad of revolutionary tracks. The album’s tracks range from simple syllabic structures to remarkable pitch shifted vocals, all of which are included within the genres of alternative R&B, avant-garde soul and psychedelic pop. Blonde is a highly acclaimed album, as it presents Ocean’s introspective lyricism and a rather unconventional, progressive sound.

Each song from Blonde contains its own unique background history, forever holding a spot in the space-time continuum musical realm. The genre-defying Nights track, for instance, plays a major role in the album -one might say it is one of the most significant compositions of the album.- The sudden beat switch in Nights and its unparalleled manifesting powers is complex to the extent of becoming a field of study to Frank Ocean stans. 

The beat switch in Nights defines literal change in the mood for the entire album. The album is exactly one hour long, and the transition in Nights is at the halfway mark of the album at 30 minutes within its stream. The beat switch represents a turning point for the album. It is not only a switch in the song, but a switch in the album. Such musical switches are part of a theory known as musical frisson, which, as per described by Huron and Margulis (2011) is “a musically-induced effect that shows close links to musical surprise,” and is associated with a “pleasant tingling feeling,” through raised body hairs. In other words, you literally get goosebumps as a psychophysiological response to the auditory stimulus in Nights. One might even call it an emotional thrill, as it links emotional intensity to tangible sensations localized on any region of the body. Frank Ocean is not the only musician to utilize such a musical phenomenon. Similar patterns can be seen on songs like SICKO MODE by Travis Scott and Drake or New Slaves by Kanye West.

The reason this beat switch sounds so good is because it comes from absolute calamity. The distorted guitars, the string section, the collection of string instruments, and the reversed drum sections all arise from this beautifully chaotic place, where everything is presented in a crazy congested manner. It goes from zero to one hundred in a matter of seconds, and you never expect it, which is why it is so good.

Throughout the entire album, Ocean seeks to portray the motif of duality; which continues to be seen in the tracklist. For instance, if you count Nights as being both the last song of the first half of the album and the first song of the second half, you also realize that the beginning of Nights goes more along with songs like Pink + White and Ivy, whereas the second part after the beat change matches up with Siegfried and Futura Free regarding production style and lyrics. Another interesting concept to look at is the fact that the album listing is called Blonde, however, the album cover spells Blond. Going back to the theme of duality, some fans speculate that Ocean intended on changing the spelling of both names in order to emphasize the themes of duality between masculinity and femininity in his life; with regards to the singer’s sexual experiences. 

The album’s atmospheric tone brings to life Frank Ocean’s most vulnerable. It is almost as if Ocean is standing in front of his fans at his rawest spiritual form, -emotions unsugarcoated-  and saying “this is me, love it or leave it.” Must they love his strength and courage to throw himself out there in such an unshielded form. Must they praise his audacity to show his true and authentic self to the eye of the public. It takes guts to expose vulnerability, and Frank Ocean managed to pull it off beautifully.

Frank Ocean - Blonde Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

Frank Ocean’s alternate Blonde cover

Catcalling vs Complimenting

Veronica Streibel-May

*disclaimer: this is not directed at all men. This has been generalized for the purpose of getting a message across.

Catcalling. Nothing provocative in the two individual words alone. Playing with a little kitty conjures up a sweet image. Nothing that can hint that this is a negative term. How ironic. 

The dictionary definition of the phrase catcalling is: ‘the act of shouting, harassing and often sexually suggestive, threatening or derisive comments at someone publicly’ (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

It shocks me that many still believe that showing a woman any kind of attention should be taken as a compliment. We musnt get confused between sexual harassment and admiration. They just don’t belong together. Catcalling is not a form of respect, you are in fact undermining the victim and making them feel vulnerable. 

Most girls have been honked at, yelled at or whistled at by simply strolling down the street, minding their own business. It’s not uncommon. It just goes unnoticed in today’s society as we’ve accepted and learned to ignore it. But why? Why tolerate such an act when all it does is demolish our self esteem. It’s just uncomfortable and for what? So guys in their cars can zoom past and feel superior and manly? 

To set things straight; the intention behind a compliment is to make someone feel good and boost their confidence. For example: “your hair looks really nice today” or “that top suits you”. However when someone random on the sidewalk is commenting on how “those jeans make your butt look awesome”, it sends a shiver down your spine. Since when is it okay to make a sexual comment like that? To be honest, it will make the person feel violated and rather self-conscious as opposed to attractive and good looking. Men may not see the issue behind as in essence having a nice butt isn’t a bad thing but the problem is the way it’s done is dehumanizing. Objectifying women is no way to go about “complimenting” them. Treating them like a piece of meat tells them they are not valued.

Women get scared. How should we know when it stops at the comment? When we’re all alone, we’re seen as easy targets. Walking from the grocery store to the parking lot can become a dangerous path at night. Asking men to stop only aggravates them further and can push them to get violent. Standing up for yourself may be the right thing to do, but at what cost? 

Some may blame women for wearing “provocative” clothes and in this case are “asking for it”. I just laugh at this response. Are you saying women have to limit themselves just because they’re afraid of receiving unwanted attention? Anyone should be able to walk out in whatever attire that pleases them and feel reassured that this won’t cause them distress from a rando in his car. It’s not the outfit. It’s the mindset. It’s the entitlement guys feel that they have the upper hand and think it would be fun to make a woman feel uncomfortable. Listen, it’s not cute, it’s degrading

Community and Passion Persevere

Shaye Gallagher

This week I had the pleasure of witnessing a cheerleader execute her first aerial. I watched a wrestler lift 320 lbs and a basketball team push themselves to greatness. I wondered what could be motivating these athletes to devote themselves,in full,to their sports. Before I give my finding I would like to thank all of the coaches and athletes who allowed me to interrupt their practice to interview them about their experiences in blended learning athletics. I would also like to share my astonishment at the humility of the athletes at EAB. Every athlete whom I interviewed gave props to their coaches and thanked their teammates for motivating them to be there best.

I begin each interview by asking “ How have sports affected your mental health?” Every athlete responded that sports had been incredibly beneficial for mental health. They said sports helped them because it was a stress reliever and the community made them feel more at ease. However, it was the cheer team in particular that stood out to me. The cheerleaders told me that their coaches (Ms.Lola and Ms.Lady) have been helping them by allowing them to have classes that were less devoted to sports and more focused on overall mental health. I was blown away not only by the concept,but how it had paid off. I spent about a half an hour with them and it was a time filled with joy,passion and community. In fact, it was an apthospere so wonderful it even convinced me to join the team. 

The next question I asked was “ Has it been difficult to balance school and athletics” I assumed that I would have been  overwhelmed by the  amount of yeses I was wrong. While the athletes did agree that balance was tricky they said they noticed an overall improvement in their ability to concentrate. They also brought up how the more structured day allowed them to accomplish more.

The final question I posed is as follows “ What motivates you to come?” As an athlete myself I know it is difficult to go home for a short amount of time only to have to come back to school. While the athletes admitted that it did take discipline they gave props to their coaches for pushing them to be their best. The entire girls soccer team gave credit to their coaches for pushing them in every way possible to come to practice. I heard stories of coaches coming up with creative ways to keep their athletes encaged and safe. Mr. Joness’s had his basketball team set goals for themselves to keep  motivated. Mr.JP, the jiu jitsu instructor, came up with creative games that strengthened the muscles used in jiu jitsu fights.

To be transparent,the plan for this article was to only interview athletes. However, after finding out what a vital role coaches play I had to interview them as well. I posed each coach with a variety of questions. First, I asked them” What drives you to come and coach?” they answered with “ for the students”. Every coach said that they knew how important it was for students to be in athletics and that they wanted to do what they could to help their athletes. I asked the wrestling coach if he  believed the training done  both in zoom and on campus would give his fighters a competitive advantage. The answer was YES!!

So, after a week of interviewing just about every sports team I have decided that I am very proud to go to a school surrounded by so many humble and driven individuals. I am excited to watch the bulls impress at all sports competitions that are yet to come. 

How to Write a ToK Essay

By: Felipe Bauer

This essay will explore (not answer, because there are no definitive answers in ToK) the title prescribed as “if all knowledge about the brain comes from the brain itself, is bias something that should be considered when talking about politics?” Despite the fact that this question has a very clear “yes or no” answer, that is “no, your wrist doesn’t actually rotate when you turn your hand, it’s all in the elbow,” I must still somehow discuss it further, showing that I, indeed, do possess the ability to analyze seemingly anything and ruin any normal conversation or movie session.

To conduct this intellectual investigation, the areas of knowledge of Natural History and Social Mathematics will be used by my person. Furthermore, the ways of knowing of science, your mom, and the Math teacher will be implemented by myself in the discussion. Finally, this essay writer must define what is meant in Solanum tuberosum in the question.

Within Natural Mathematics, knowledge comes from the words my teacher writes on the board. Since this way of knowing is not reliant on the knower’s gray matter, it, therefore, does not generate bias within the politics. As all figures of authority within this area of knowledge must go through a rigorous testing process before being allowed to produce shared knowledge, any information about the potato they choose to educate their students on will be mostly (though not entirely, nothing is entire in ToK) free of bias. For my Real-Life Situation: I recall the time that I was having Economical Sociology class and a unicorn flew in through the window. It said we were never getting real jobs with a Humanities degree. Thankfully the safe space was maintained when we beat the unicorn in a debate competition, showing that this area of knowledge is valid, and studying it develops useful skills.

On the other hand, knowledge within the area of Artistic History comes entirely from the dinosaurs, as they were the ones who left behind the cave paintings. Therefore, within this area of knowledge, it is important to refer to your mom as a way of knowing. Seeing as she was alive in the time of the dinosaurs, she should possess an intimate understanding of the point of view of the dinosaurs. Furthermore, science should be consulted, as a hyperpronated scan of the fossils should provide the knower with an even better understanding of the perspective of the creators of the knowledge. It is then up to the knower to figure out why knowing the scientific name for potatoes would be useful in their everyday lives.

In conclusion, the brain is not necessarily the source of all human knowledge, therefore, bias should only sometimes play a role in discussions of politics. This realization can be further applied to the production possibilities curve, which should always consider the elasticity of the characters unless pi is equal to three.

Getting by with Life vs Living Life

By: Pedro Venancio

A human being’s natural inclination towards survival is to draw breath, but the manner in which such is done is defined by our perception of what it means to be alive. You see, any person with a basic motor function and respiratory system can breathe, and any person with a rudimentary survival instinct can breathe. But what does it exactly mean, in this way, to breathe or, more fully, be taken away by breath? To get by is to be alive, with the consciousness of our impending mortality, but to feel alive, is to live, is to feel infinite, as if the world is never going to end, that burning sensation of awakening. That’s an entirely different matter.

I remember when I was in eighth grade, just getting by with life. Every day, the same routine: Eat, study, sleep, repeat. I completely alienated myself from my friends and family just to focus on myself. Although I was concentrating on myself solely to get better, I got worse. My mental health just dropped because I wasn’t living, yet getting by. After nearly one year of repeating this same vicious schedule, I became asphyxiated by the solitude and monotony I had brought upon myself.

To get by, in a sense, is to be stagnant. Is to let the world flow freely at a rapid rate while you are paused. Is to let the current drag you through rhythms and motions as you hold your breath. Living isn’t about preserving your breath, counting them, watching them go in and out. It’s about forgetting to breathe, dive into passions and opportunities unafraid of consequences, swimming against the current and almost drowning, but in midst of the chaos, finding purpose to live. To feel alive is to live unabashedly, unbridled, and uninhibited. Living is not simply the state of existence and being, but rather, an ardent overflow of happiness, an overpowering sensation to chase your dreams.

Getting by is pretty easy; it’s just inhaling oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Getting by is to live your life in the parameters set by the world, rather than to dream of crossing the line once in a while. To get by, is to have a heartbeat; to live, is to skip one. Henry Thoreau once wrote, “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.” And that is, in truth, the nature of the problem at hand. To be alive and to live have synonymous denotations but vastly different connotations and meanings.

Living is to pass through life in perpetual wonder, in constant motion. Living is to enjoy the present to its fullest while it lasts and not worry about the future; to live for the moment. Carpe Diem! As John Keating once said, “And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

Living is to challenge everything all the time, to take a giant leap off a cliff, and somehow know you’ll float through thin air. To be alive is to go about your life, day after day, without feeling and absorbing all of the beauty of life between the chaos. Yet, truly living is to feel the moments between seconds and know that in that glimpse of time, glorious moment, you are infinite. Living is timeless, living to be unburdened by one’s own mortality, living is to look fate deep in the eye and wink. Living is to cry, laugh, mourn, love, feel, fly. Living is everything you do when it counts, to never take for granted the precious little time you’re given. Living is to exist between realities, between times, to experience the present without fear of the future or ache for the past.

I like to believe I live. I like to believe that my life is vivacious and invigorating. I like to think that if I was about to die, draw my last breath, and a small recap of my life played in my head, I would smile a warm smile, and my heart will rest in peace. I will live a life not without mistakes, but without regrets. I was once asked when I was very small, “What is the meaning of life?” At the time, I didn’t know, I pondered for years, but now, I think I might answer, “To live.” I believe there to be a sort of melancholic, almost arbitrary, beauty in life. To know that it must end, that there is a stop at the end of the ride, but that it’s what you do in between that matters.

Azure

Carol Khorramchahi

The sun bloomed on the horizon, golden petals stretching ever outwards into the rich blue. It was the brilliant flower of the sky that warmed my day. It was the invitation to a new day, that sunrise so ordinary yet, extraordinary. It peeked up over the waves, and the thin rays glistened over the sparkling undulations of the ocean. Upon the sunny beach, upon the rising gold, my eyes listened to the light as it played upon seawater, streams of pulsing light saturated the surface with a golden haze. It was a loud silence. The horizon was stitched with a line of silver.

With browning legs curled under, dusted with sand like flour on bread, I sat close to the lapping waves. Warm and cool, like tea that had been forgotten and returned to. My fingers wiggled in the water, in the lips of the ocean as she sang. The waves broke around the rocks in the shallows, their foam crests became chaotic lace over the blue. I watched it swirl, mesmerized, as if the movement of the water choreographed my thoughts. The waves of sunlit skies pulsed upon shore in a steady rhythmic beat, coming in as the dancing hem of a long and flowing gown, some crashing like hands of the sea pounding on the seashore.

I meandered forwards until the water soaked my bare feet, my shoes already dangling in my left hand, tasting the brine as much as I smelt it. Waves came as finest strands of blue-green hair, infused with sunlit white. For these were the great locks of our goddess the sea, of she who breathed life into the world and kept her steady shoreline beat. When these boats of nature’s tide, these free sailing sun-kissed branches, came to rest upon either pebbles or golden sands, they sat as kings adoring the seawater view. 

I settled on the pure, primrose sand, my eyes moved from sand to stone, from rock pools to breaking waves. In the gentle spring sunshine I felt as if I were swimming in the briny aroma, as if the new rays of the day brought a frisson of energy to my fingertips. It was a day for letting my eyes stay open, as I was an old fashioned camera, remaining still while the image developed. The gulls brought their high notes to the percussion of pebbles at the shore, their wings are like the pages from my childhood storybooks flying high in the sunny rays.

My hand scooped the sand that ran like cold lava through my star-fish fingers and onto the dry beach. I gazed at the falling sand like a child, overtaken by love and awe. Below it rose a drip-castle, a sandcastle that looked for all the world like a melted candle, for me it was the towering castle of my story books, in which my childhood was locked in. The best of my memories as far back and forwards as I could reach, formed the golden thread of both soul and spine. Memories, the good and painful, are photographs – and I could choose what kind of album I wished to build, as I looked around the infinite blue that surrounded me, I wanted all my albums to be filled with azure.

Once Upon a Time in a “Great” City

By: Pedro Venancio

She ran rapidly to the scorching stairs of her neighborhood. As she reached the downhearted street, each minute carried the poignant weight of an eternity. It was summer, and the heat sizzled off the rocks, the narrow street was suffused with a muggy air heavy with emptiness and sorrow. Hopelessness traveled through the city’s polluted air in a vicious cycle like a widespread illness. The cacophonous sound of ambulances, machines, and industries, discreetly infected the atmosphere. Meanwhile, this quiet venom stretched through every building, surreptitiously contaminating each inhabitant. Everyone in the city felt lonely, dead inside, and the melancholy weakened their already damned souls. The depressive heatwave struck the famous city of China, Beijing, in 2072. The atmosphere reeked of spoiled air. For the first time, people roughly tried to breathe, and when they did, they tasted the acidic and bitter taste of pollution. The woman stood by a trashcan whose repugnant stench corrupted her sense of smell as she found herself at a loss for words. She looked solemn and thoughtful; something was deeply provoking her, but she could not express the pain of feebly watching as the world fell apart around her.

The lost woman, after wandering thoughtlessly, came upon a curious finding. At her feet, in a small heap of tattered bones was a dove, which she would have mistaken for a pigeon were it not for the few white feathers sticking out amongst the otherwise grey ruffled plumage. A symbol of hope, uttered a small voice in the back of her mind. Although the dove smelled like a corpse, it’s chest rose and fell with what she presumed were the shallow breaths of a being who toed the line of death. It probably used to be beautiful, full of white feathers, like soft clouds, bright as it crossed the light blue sky, spreading its wings and delivering hope to people who were neither worthy nor appreciative of it. She tried to rescue the hopeless bird; she tried to share her dry saliva to keep the bird hydrated; gave a little bit of her skin and blood to prevent the bird from dying from starvation.

The unbalanced and disoriented woman ran down the narrow street with a bundle of the bird clutched to her chest as if being chased by her own worst nightmare. Desperate to keep the dove safe, she ran until she felt like her bones were melting, and a migraine repeatedly hammered her already crammed head. All she could feel was her leaden guilt, mischievously whispering from thought-to-thought. It was all she could think was, How did I lose the war to recover Earth’s dignity and naturality? The exhaustive guilt on her unhinged mind caused the woman to lose faith in the nanoscopic fraction of humanity that wasn’t yet extinct. Just the idea that the sudden death of the implacably lustrous soil was her fault was indigestible. She began to realize that her sweat evaporated even before it touched her dirty, scarlet cheeks. 

The impotent woman questioned the dull integrity of the city, How could they even do this? How could they suddenly turn clean air into fume? I feel blinded by the thick smoke covering society’s eyes like a blizzard; I smell the hypnotizing oxygen fill my lungs as it shrinks and darkens by the second; I feel the heatwave on my skin as if the sun was getting closer and closer to the atmosphere. As the pollution increases, hurling my hope off a cliff to the bowel of misery, I feel increasingly unavailing. My death-wishing migraine becomes part of my inhumane soul as the venomous oxygen I inhale furtively possesses me. How can I live? How am I supposed to walk through this never-ending narrow street and not let my spirit escape my body forever? I wish I could have overpowered the closed-minded murderers who unregretfully ceased every piece of green left on this alienated land.

In that single minute of continuous running, pure fatigue, and death threatening migraine, she felt like her life passed before her eyes. The once-called beautiful day was now bleeding, permanently staining the Earth’s soil. At that moment, she wanted to be six feet underground; she lost all hope. So, she flashed back to the time when the city was great. Inside her head, she pictured the Green city with nostalgia, I remember when I freely walked through this same wide street, the sun was sparkling and radiant. The shimmering rays and the vivid, colorful trees were in perfect juxtaposition; the increasing shadow throughout the day danced upon each house and every nest, and protected the population from the tropical sun. The contrast between the soft rain and sharp heatwaves forced people to see the natural beauty as if drops of melted gold were falling from the sky, and when it finally touched the rough earth, it was like miraculous enchanting sparks which gave birth to the Green City. The doves quietly flew high above the sky and smoothly charmed its way through the soft clouds, surrounding the city with charm and hope. The same hope that humankind knowingly and forcibly exterminated. It used to be beautiful; people’s gaiety was contagious. If that were to happen right now, it certainly would be a miracle. I tried warning everyone that this abundant endless path for urbanization was leading to an apocalypse, and worse, it was not meant to happen; ignorant humans were unjustly treating the environment as a natural dumping ground.As the woman was at death’s door, crossing her empty heart and yielding for demise, she saw someone else in the same situation. The world was tearing apart like thin paper in water, but she could feel a glimmer of hope. The attenuated bird kept his eyes open for once; it started to move a bit as something told him to wake up. Although the poisonous air formed a fog that blinded the poor woman, she could see the big, soft, dirty, blond hair of which she guessed pertained to a tall man. She tried to hide under her despondency, but her curiosity got the best of her. She cautiously approached the lost stranger and spoke with a weak, tremored voice as if she was asphyxiated due to the unbreathable air, “Sir, are you okay?” The inanimate man did not respond. He just softly laid down on the same flaming and narrow street; closed his eyes, accepted his destiny, and sent a bullet through his skull. The transient hope disappeared in a second. The dove drew its last breath there as the sound of the gun stopped his weakened heart. The woman took a deep breath for the last time, smelled the putrid smell from the burnt trees, and, as the unfaithful, helpless man did, accepted her faith, desisting to fight this inane war. After all, it already was a lost cause. The monster lived for many years, persisted to slowly kill every human, and finally completed his mission: to reign the world. Humankind was eliminated by its own idiocy.