Category Archives: Creative

SHORT STORY: A Glint in the Moonlight

Three men were dead. That’s as much as the cops knew. That and the trembling little girl with the blonde pigtails and the too big backpack that must have weighed twice her weight at the crime scene was their only witness.

Officer Alexander Tyler was chosen to question her. As a large and muscular man, it was hard for an outsider to understand why he was chosen to question the scared girl, but anyone who knew him knew he was secretly a teddy bear with a soft spot for kids. He even embraced the girl at the crime scene when he arrived.

Officer Tyler led the girl into a cozy room with two pillowy armchairs when they arrived at the precinct. The ride there had been deafeningly silent, and Officer Tyler hoped that questioning the little girl wouldn’t cause her to revert even further into her shell. She trembled as he offered her to sit down in one of the plush chairs. She was timid, but eventually accepted.

“Hi, I’m Alex,” he said gently so as not to scare her. “What’s your name?”

He waited a second. Then another. Finally she was able to shakily answer, “Cam.”

“It’s nice to meet you Cam,” Alex replied. “Can I get you anything?”

She shook her head.

“Well,” Alex said, “Is it okay if I ask you some questions?”

Cam nodded her head slowly and took in a deep breath.

“Can you start by telling me everything that you can remember?” Alex questioned.

Cam’s eyes wandered off for a second as if she were recalling a dream. No, not a dream. A nightmare. The words came slowly at first, but soon enough, they were spilling out of her as if she couldn’t keep them in any longer.

She was waiting at her bus stop alone after her bus was stuck in 5 hours worth of traffic. The principal had called an assembly at school earlier that day. Cam hated assemblies. They were always so loud and filled with so many people. The assembly ran over and the buses hit rush hour traffic. The drive through the city was an absolute nightmare. And even regular traffic was typically horrible.

While she was waiting at her bus stop on 6th Street after she was dropped off, she saw the men walking together on the side of the road, talking and laughing. Cam thought she heard them telling jokes. Cam loved jokes.

She turned her head and watched the street where her parents typically came to pick her up. A few cars whizzed by, but it was so late that few people were out and driving. She stayed waiting for her parents to pick her up from the stop that was too far away from her home to walk for a little over 5 minutes. Cam hated having to wait for long amounts of time. She was what her parents would call a go getter.

All of a sudden, it seemed like the world was put on mute. The men went silent, and the crickets in the night abruptly stopped chirping their pitchless song. Cam quickly turned around to where the men had been walking down the street. And that’s when she saw it standing over the bodies of the dead men.

“What was it?” Alex asked.

“A person,” Cam responded, shivering.

“Could you tell me what they looked like?” Alex pressed.

Cam nodded shakily.

He was a tall man with a physique that reminded her of her father. He was dressed all in black, and what that didn’t conceal, the shadows hid the rest, cloaking him in a protective blanket. All except for his eyes.

His eyes had a maddened look in them. A look of satisfaction maybe, or crazed happiness perhaps. But what was most unnerving was also the seemingly disinterested stare that bore into Cam’s skull.

It was as if it was a rather dull evening for him. You know, just casually committing homicide over here. Don’t pay any mind. Nothing really interesting happening right now.

He also had a knife, Cam remembered. A double bladed one at that. Or so she assumed. She hadn’t seen many knives before, but the moon was full, and it’s stained red surface had glinted in the moonlight.

He was a foreboding character, and Cam could remember how frozen he made her feel. In a second, he could have ended her life. He could have taken that double bladed red stained knife and killed her. Just like that. But the man disappeared as soon as he had materialized in her vision, and Cam had been left shaking, scared for her life.

She didn’t know where he had come from, where he had gone, or why he was there. She just knew that he was. And he was a ruthless human being. He had to be stopped. He had to be captured. Because how could they be safe with him loose?

Alex decided that was the most they could get from Cam. He gave the information to the team, and told her not to worry about the man on the loose. “We’ll catch him,” he promised her. “I know we will.”

As he ushered her out of the room, he thought, It’s such a shame that this little girl has to wait for her parents to pick her up before she could go home.

“Would you like me to drive you home so your parents don’t have to come pick you up?” Alex offered.

“Sure,” Cam exclaimed, with a sudden enthusiasm that Alex wasn’t prepared for but willingly embraced as a success in getting the girl to feel less afraid. Alex knew that younger kids always loved riding around in his cop car. It was just the thing Cam needed to cheer her up.

Alex then led Cam out of the door, and, for just a second, you could just make out a double bladed red stained knife in the girl’s waistband from a glint in the moonlight.

By Pamela Lohman, Contributor

Lohman writes, “My inspiration for this piece was really based off of all of the books I have read that have surprise endings, and I wanted to create something with that shock factor in it.”

Featured photo by Savannah Karas

POETRY: Silence Poem

Silence hides in the age of noise

Covering behind man-made intrusions

The value of silence either ignored or forgotten

Without a little silence we are all confused 

Yet as the outside world bustles there remains one silence

A voice in your head that speaks with no sound

That guides you through your turmoils of days

It speaks louder than anything and always stays 

Yet some people attempt to suppress and smother their voice

Afraid or ignorant of the truth it yearns to tell

Maybe our greatest enemy is self-revelation

An endless corridor of dreams and pains in a towering hotel 

Is our brain a ticking time bomb itching to blow?

Or does suppression inadvertently cause depression?

Why do we envy the birds and their skies?

Because they do not have to pay thought to their minds.

By Clay Patterson, Contributor

Patterson writes, “I’ve always had a knack for writing and the short and quick format of poems have allowed me to write without worrying too much about finishing a project. I’ve written short stories, but I feel more confident in my poems as they material was written with more belief and emotion behind it than the stories.”

Featured photo by Amy Tran on Unsplash

POETRY: Clouds Poem

The clouds dance and float across the blue,

Ever shifting shape, reflecting passer-bys.

An amalgamation of shapes on a barren flat,

To who owns the infinite blue? 

The clouds of grey shroud the star’s glint,

Wisps break and fragmentize from the mass.

The strokes of color paint the sky’s personality,

A timeless trip of the planet’s life.

By Clay Patterson, Contributor

Patterson writes, “I’ve always had a knack for writing and the short and quick format of poems have allowed me to write without worrying too much about finishing a project. I’ve written short stories, but I feel more confident in my poems as they material was written with more belief and emotion behind it than the stories.”

Featured photo by Billy Huynh on Unsplash

SHORT STORY: Picture Perfect

Nobody would linger by his house for long. Nobody even thought to touch the iron gate surrounding his property. Nobody ever chose to enter his yard. People used to do it all the time because of large parties would be held there, but not everyone made it out. A handful of guests would disappear, and no one could say how. The other guests could simply remember a bright flash, and then they would be sent on their way by the kind gentleman who lived there. Once the disappearances became noticeable, the number of guests who went to the gatherings dwindled until no one went. That was more than twenty years ago, and that kind gentleman still lived in that house. 

Thomas was the gentleman’s name: a rich folk with gelled black hair and a thin pointed mustache. His eyes were darker than the deepest parts of the sea, containing secrets that no person shall ever know. His skin was ghost-like because he stopped going outside twenty years ago. His long lanky legs carried his body throughout his house while he puffed smoke from his favorite pipe. His smiles were never the kind and generous ones of a gentleman, but the one of a demon who has come to take you away. 

But those were only rumors that Jeremy Fisher had heard. His friends from middle school had always told him about that house and the parties that were held there. Jeremy believed them. He wanted to see Thomas and ask him what happened to those people that disappeared. When he told his mom this, she said that none of those things were real and that Thomas was merely a strange and quiet man. Jeremy was doubtful of that and held onto his hope. He wanted to meet Thomas so badly to where he got his twin sister on board with the idea. Sara was a tough girl to convince, but Jeremy did it. Sara began to rant to her mom about meeting Thomas, but her mom told her the same thing she said to Jeremy: none of those things are true – Thomas is just a strange and quiet man. 

Jeremy and Sara sat in the dark living room, making up possible stories about Thomas. 

“Maybe he eats them!” Jeremy shouted. He drew a line across his neck and fell to the ground with his eyes closed. 

Sara grimaced and shook her head. “I don’t think he’s a cannibal, Jeremey.” She stood and started to pace the room. “The stories always say there was a flash, but a flash of what?”

Jermy flopped onto the couch and munched on a bag of chips. “Probably the flash of light from the knife he used to kill his victims.” 

“Being a thirteen-year-old boy, you have quite a unique mind,” Sara said. 

“Why, thank you. Many tell me that I’m just plain crazy.” 

“That’s what I was implying.” 

Jeremy made a face when his sister turned away. He crumpled up the chip bag and threw it into the trash can. He leaped to his feet and jogged to the window at stared Thomas’s old house that was across the street. Parts of the gate have rusted and fallen over, but even with the gaps, no one dared to set foot in his yard. 

“Maybe we should just go over there. I mean, we both have been thinking about for a few weeks now,” Jeremy suggested. 

“And mom won’t be home till six, and it’s only four,” Sara added. A faint smile crawled across her face as she looked at her brother. “Let’s do it.” 

The siblings crossed the empty street and came to the main gate. It closed and locked with a silver chain. Jeremy scanned the area and found an opening big enough for them to crawl through. He ran over to it with his sister following close behind. They squeezed through the opening, avoiding the sharp points that were at the top of each rod. They watched every step they took, making sure they no one could see them or hear them. Sara and Jeremy made it to the front door without getting caught by any watchful neighbors. Sara grabbed the heavy brass knocker dropped it with a loud thud – it sent a vibration down Sara’s spine, reverberating around in her head. When the door didn’t open, she lifted it again and dropped it. It was much louder than before, and she heard it echoing throughout the house. This time, the door cracked open. 

“Oh, I’ve seen this in movies,” Jermey muttered as Sara pushed the door open. 

The foyer was brightly lit with dusty silver chandelier. The walls were decorated with black wallpaper that was torn away from the walls, exposing the rotting wood panels beneath it. To the left was a magnificent dining room that hadn’t been used for quite some time. The table that could seat twenty was covered with a thick layer of dust, and the fine china sat in the cupboard was unwashed and chipped. Jeremy ran his finger along with the table, a cloud of dust flying from it. 

He coughed, waving his hand wildly in the air. “Man, this place could give anyone an asthma attack.” 

Jeremy walked ahead, peeking his head down a thin hallway. It was lit with a flickering bulb that dangled from the ceiling by a wire. It was colder in the hallway as if there was a draft coming from every corner of the hall. There was a large archway at the very end, and the longer Jermey looked at it, he began to see the silhouette of a person in front of it.

“Sara!” Jeremy called out. “I think I found something.” 

Sara came bounding over and peeked around the corner. She couldn’t see anything at first, but, like Jermey, she eventually saw the figure. 

“Um, are you, Thomas?” Sara asked, her voice wavering. 

The figure took a few steps forward and stood below the lightbulb. The man’s skin was pale and full of wrinkles, and his graying hair stuck up in every direction. His eyes were as dark as the sea, and they stared directly at Jeremy and Sara. He wore an elegant black suit with a blood-red tie. In his thin hands was an old black camera. 

“May I help you, children?” he asked. 

“We just wanted to ask you a few questions,” Jeremy said. He took a few steps forward and held his hand out. “Um, I’m Jeremy Fisher, and this is my sister Sara.” 

The corners of Thomas’s mouth turned upwards. He shook Jeremy’s hand and motioned for them to follow. 

“Come with me.” 

Thomas disappeared through the archway, and the siblings followed. He took long strides as he ambled through the maze-like halls. He stopped in front of a door and rested his hand on the golden handle. 

“It’s been a while since I have had guests. I hope you don’t think of me as a bad host.”  

Thomas opened the door and held it for Jeremy and Sara. They walked into the parlor, and Thomas gently closed the door. A golden chandelier hung from the ceiling with brightly lit candles. The siblings sat in fluffy velvet chairs, eagerly waiting for Thomas.  

“We want to know about the people who disappeared,” Sara declared. 

Thomas nodded his head, all of the memories coming back. “As you wish.” He gingerly sat down in a large black chair and began. “I held splendid parties for everyone in town once I built this home. Everything was lovely, but when they left, I became very lonely. I built this camera from scratch, so I could take pictures of my guests and decorate my home with their happiness. Now, after twenty years, I want to take a moment to capture this happiness.” 

Thomas held the camera up, and a devilish smile crossed his face. The children got close together and smiled. A bright yellow flash came before their eyes, and the children groggily sat up their chairs. 

“What happened?” Sara asked, rubbing her eyes. 

“I don’t know.” Jeremy stood and walked forward, but ran face-first into an invisible barrier. He laid his hands against the cool surface and looked ahead. The two velvet chairs they were sitting in were empty. Jemery turned around and saw the exact same chairs behind him. It was like they were stuck inside a fishbowl that was decorated exactly like the outside. 

Thomas’s face came into view, smiling a devilish smile. “I told you this camera captures moments of happiness. Now they can live forever as a picture on my wall.” 

He walked away laughing, and the lost souls of Jermey and Sara lived on his walls, wailing and begging to be set free from their picture-perfect cage.

By Rebekah Johnson, Contributor @Rebekah07678349 on Instagram

Johnson writes, “I have been writing ever since 6th grade, and I’m still improving my skills every day. I care very much about my education and what kind of person I will become. I am quiet and shy around people, and writing is the only way I can really talk.”

Featured photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash


“Test #1743. Subject Name: Samantha Horice. Age of 23. Convicted for the murder of long time friend Terrence Smith and her husband Eric Horice.” Samantha winced at this. She couldn’t kill Eric. She loved him so much and was heart broken when he commited suicide. It was just unfortunate that he jumped out the window when she shot Terrence. Very bad timing in
her opinion. The police chief continued to speak.

“The court has found you guilty, and sentence you to death in the Hallex.”

The Hallex. She had heard horror stories about this thing. They say that all who enter the
Hallex shall never leave it. The machine was made by some guy named Professor Dobble. She
supposed that was the man approaching her.

“Now ma’am,” he said, “let me tell you what’s about to happen.” He had a dash of
excitement in his voice. “The Hallex is a device of my design. Its purpose is to execute criminals,
like yourself. It chooses one death out of millions of other painful and fun ones. A real fair way
to deal with lawbreakers.”

You have a disturbing amount of passion for this, Samantha thought. He continued to talk
about all the fun ways people had died in his contraption.
The chief cleared his throat. The professor stopped in the middle of his story of a lad
drowning in fresh cow-milk.

“Hm? Oh yes. Follow me.”

She was forced into a big room. It was a pure white box with a strait jacket in the middle.
She was put into the jacket and the officers left, leaving just the professor. “Now this box was
designed to bring death to hardened criminals.” he said, “But there is a way to escape your fate.”
She lit up at this statement. “How? How do I live?” The quirky man smiled and said, with a low
voice “Answer the riddle.” The he turned around and walked out. “What riddle? WHAT
RIDDLE?” The doors closed and the Hallex was activated.

The straight jacket was loosened. She threw it off and looked around. The only thing in
the room was a small, white box, almost blending in perfectly with the walls. Samantha looked
around. “What’s the riddle?!” she yelled to nowhere. The professor’s voice entered the room.
“You have to find the riddle.” he said, clearly enjoying himself. “Look at the box. It might give
you a hint to find it.” Samantha turned to see the wood box catch on fire. After it finished
burning, a beautiful flower laid underneath. This “hint” lowered down into the Hallex and
disappeared. “Answer the riddle correctly, and the Hallex won’t kill you. You now have 5
minutes to figure it out. Good luck.” The room went silent.

Samantha started to panic. She ran to walls to see if there was some type of secret door,
but the walls were just walls. She was pacing back and forth wondering what to do. The hint
showed a flower. Was the hint something about the plant. It’s color, scent, or texture? Maybe
something to do with the box. About 1 minute in, the wall of the Hallex pulled down. Flames
began to shoot out from the behind. She sprang back to the middle of the room. “Death by fire.”
she thought. “’Fun way to die.” She had no idea where to begin. Another minute passed, and the
walls began to close in. As those walls moved in, all Samantha could think about was the future
she was supposed to have with Eric.

She thought of the plans they had made together. “We always wanted a baby.” she said out loud to herself. “We would spend days just thinking about how great parents we would be and how’d we raise him. Had already been thinking of what to name them. Found all sorts of fun names. We even found our names. Apparently, Samantha means “God Heard”, listener, and…” Samantha sprang up. In Greek, Samantha could mean flower as well. Her mind was racing. “The flower was covered by a box,” she thought, “it was confined.” She looked around the room. The only thing she saw was the straight jacket given to her at the start… “It’s a long shot.” she thought. She grabbed the strait jacket and put it into the flame. The whole thing began to burn up. She had 1 minute left. “Please let me be right. Please let me be right.” The jacket burned up. Among the ashes she noticed two strips of metal with engravings on each. She picked up one and read, “Made in Canada.” She threw away the strip
and picked up the other one. This one actually had something useful.

“I am inevitable, and yet you run from me. No matter how I appear, I am all around you. Who am I?”

Samantha started to think, more than she ever had in her life. She paused to reflect on that
sad fact. She immediately jumped back to it. “Inevitable? All around? What could it be?” The
fire started to get closer.

She only had 30 seconds left.

“What is inevitable?” The fire was pushing its way forward. “Why would someone run
from that.?” She kept thinking and thinking, but still had no avail.
15 seconds to go.

Samantha sank to the floor in defeat. “I can’t win,” she said to herself, “I’m going to die.
I’m…” Then she paused. She looked at the flames getting closer to her.

1742 people before her were killed in the Hallex. The professors words suddenly came
back to her. “It chooses one death out of millions of other painful and fun ones.” She felt the
flames lick at her skin. Every person in the box had died differently. Many forms. One common
outcome. “Death.” Samantha whispered. Then she started to yell, “THE ANSWER IS
DEATH!!” The flames were immediately extinguished. The device spewing out flames sunk
back into the wall. She let out a huge sigh of relief.

The door to the Hallex open. A gunshot echoed in the room. A bullet had entered her
skull. She fell to the floor, dead. The police chief holstered his pistol. “I told you it’s easier to
just shoot them.” The professor looked disappointed. “I was really hoping to see her expression
as she burned.” The chief stared at him. “You know you have a problem right?” The professor
shrugged. “Let’s just get the next guy in here,” the chief said. They grabbed Samantha’s corpse
and brought it into the body of the Hallex. She was settled next to all 1742 other victims of the
machine. For all who enter the Hallex shall never leave it.

By Caleb Owens, Contributor

Featured photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

Student Film Group Makes it to UIL Film Semifinals

Almond Milk Paradise Production, a video production group here at DSHS, has made the state semifinals in UIL Film. This is how far the group made it last year. At this stage, 32 films are remaining, with only six making the finals. On the 18th of February, the team will find out if they made the state finals, with the champions announced later. They are in for the Narrative Championship for UIL. The finals are held at the Paramount Theater in Austin.

The groups members are: senior Andrew Spiegel, senior Ben Bondurant, senior Chrystian Zamora, and senior Reece Brownell.

Watch the film here.

By Cady Russell, Online and Social Media Editor

Featured photo from Almond Milk Paradise Production

POETRY: Pressure Poem

All the pressure,

The expectations.

Our driving forces,

Too caught up to stop. 

We’re all stuck in a whirlpool,

Struggling to swim out.

Rest means failure,

Timelines don’t allocate time. 

Priorities scramble to the top,

Pushing their way out of the crowd.

The rest trampled or left,

The ones who make us appreciate life. 

Best live life happy,

Balance hardship with joy.

Too much is costly,

No one can live your life for you. 

Maybe I don’t know what’s what,

But who really does?

By Clay Patterson, Contributor

Patterson writes, “I’ve always had a knack for writing and the short and quick format of poems have allowed me to write without worrying too much about finishing a project. I’ve written short stories, but I feel more confident in my poems as they material was written with more belief and emotion behind it than the stories.”

Featured photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash