A Parallel Plot Based off of “The Red Umbrella,” by Christina Gonzalez

I couldn’t believe it! How dare she! I was her best friend, I left the party early for her! Its not my fault that her father was stupid enough to try hiding valuables from La Revolución. “La llevo a casa y luego ella me culpa … ¿quién se cree que es?” I mumbled. “Who does she think she is?”

“No te preocupes cariño, todo estará bien. Esos gusanos obtuvieron lo que se merecen,” my mother stated. “They made their choice and now they are suffering the consequences,” Mama looked at me. “Mi hija quirrida, you should be focused on Monday. I know you and your brother will do great things for La Revolución.” She smiled at me. “Olvídate de Lucía, forget about her, you’ll make new-loyal-friends while you are deployed, No te preocupes.”

“De acuerdo mama,” I said. How was I supposed to forget about Lucia, she is my best friend…I hope she still is.

“Despierta Ivette!”

“Que?” I yawned, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.

“We’re here,” my brother pointed out the window. I looked out. I saw a small town and a few children looked out from their porches at us. They seemed to be curious and excited.

“¿Estás listo para hacer tu parte en el crecimiento de la revolución?”

“Claro que si!” Everyone on the bus cheered.

“Perfecto, we set up and hopefully start classes tomorrow. Let’s move out!”

“There is nothing better than supporting your country, right Ivette?”

“Nada,” I replied. My brother was right, nothing was better than serving one’s country, and that is exactly what I going to do. I just hope Lucia will come to realize this to…and soon.

As time passed my hopes of Lucia began to fade. In her letters she has been telling me that Fidel was wrong about America; that is wasn’t as bad as he made it sound. She even began defending los Americanos. I couldn’t believe it. Lucia my best friend in the whole world, was calling Fidel Castor a liar. She was betraying her country, her people, me, by siding with los Americanos. I don’t know if my telling her that I was…raped…by a brigadier made her hate La Revolución, I told her- Le dije que no era culpa de Revolution que un tipo pensara que ella podía hacer lo que él me hizo. ¡Le dije que no culpara a la Revolución! ¡Le dije!

“Estas bien Ivette?” My brother asked me.

“Si, si, estoy bien,” I replied. I guess I wasn’t convincing enough because mi hermano sat down next to me, clearing waiting for me to tell him the truth. I turned away from him, watching a few of the children. They were playing, running and screeching, having the time of their lives. It reminded me of how Lucia and I used to play. I remember believing that we would be best friends no matter what…I never thought that-

“Pensando en ella?”

“De quien?” I pretended I had no idea what he was talking about.

“Hermana, yo no soy estupido. I know you are thinking of Lucia. You really need to forget about her. She is a gusano, just like her parents,” he sighed. “I know the two you were very close at one point…but, Ivette, that point has passed, the two of you cannot be friends as long as she is in Los Estados Unidos, y her parents stand against el Revolución… Lo siento.”

“I know. I know. It’s just that…we’ve been friends for so long, I never thought that it would end this way.”

“Lucia and her family are traitors! You shouldn’t worry or feel bad for them; esos gusanos obtuvieron lo que se merecen,” he stated. Placing a hand on my slouched shoulder.

That was the same thing mamá had told me the day Lucia’s papí was arrested.  They were getting what they deserved. But Lucia didn’t want to be sent to America, her parents made her. Lucia wasn’t a traitor, her parents where, and she was just caught in the middle. But, now she was defending the Americans and their capitalist government. She had even implied that she agreed with her parents. Or I thought she did. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe, maybe I missed read what she wrote. There was no way my friend Lucia was a traitor, was there?

My brother patted my back before reentering our house. I looked at Lucia’s house. I could see her mother sitting on her porch. You could tell from her position that she was in anguish. It didn’t take long for word to spread that her husband had been badly injured in an accident. She sat there all alone, light from the moon washing over her like a spot light. I could tell if she was crying or not, but either way it was clear she wanted to. I had no idea if Lucia knew about her father or not, but I was pretty sure if she did know she would blame it on el Revolución. “Los padres poisoned her,” I whispered to myself, not taking my eyes off of Mrs. Alverez. “They filled her head with lies, lies that I am trying to reveal to her! This is all their fault-gusanos! I will save Lucia from the lies of her parents! I will!”

Lucia and I continued to write-and to be frank-I could not believe what I was reading. She sounded less and less like Lucia and more and more like an Anit-Federalist. She even wrote that she liked life there in America! “Que que! No puede ser! Lucia …” I thought carefully how I was going to respond to this. I didn’t want to lose my friend, but it seemed that this was what was going to happen no matter what I did… Its time. I told myself. Es hora de que me levante. Lucia tiene que elegir. Ella tiene que volver a casa y unirse a las brigadas. Ella necesita regresar a Cuba y apoyar a el Revolución. Y si ella no lo hace-and if she doesn’t then our friendship will be over, simple as that. I wrote these words on the paper: “Lucia, you have to come home. You never should have left. You need to pledge you allegiance to your country and people-to El Revolución, if you don’t…” I breathed deep, but continued writing, “-If you don’t, you and I cannot and will no longer be friends.”

The moment that letter was sent I felt a sense of relief, an odd sense of peace. Now, it was all up to Lucia.

I never heard back from her. This is when I truly began to believe the words of my parents and brother, Lucia and her family…were Anti-Revolutionaries…and my enemies. MY growing suspicion was only feed when news got out that Lucia’s parents were trying to get out of the country. ¡Cobardes estúpidos! Ni siquiera puedo quedarme para obtener lo que merecen. Gusanos! ¡Los odio! Not only did they not support their country, but they took away my best friend! Because of them Lucia was gone. Because of them she thought el Revolución was some sort of great evil! “Espero que ninguno de ellos tenga permiso para irse,” I stated at the dinner table.

“La madre ya tiene permiso para salir de Cuba. Pero no a su esposo, y él nunca lo hará,” Papí replied.

“Que que?!” I exclaimed. “Why? They shouldn’t be able to leave, they’re traitors! They should rot in jail!”

“Si mi hija, they should be…but it is not our place to question the government,” he said.

“Pero-”

“But nothing Ivette!” My mother said in a stern voice. “You father is right! You never question the government! Do you understand?!”

“Si mama.”

I woke early that morning, I decided to spy on Lucia’s parents to see what they were up to, but what I saw was worse than catching them breaking the law. I saw that the house was empty. There was no sign of Lucia’s mother, who was usually awake at this time working away in the kitchen. There was also no sign of her father, who would usually try to walk-to no avail-against his wife’s wishes.

“Jesús!” I whispered, trying to wake my brother up.

“Caramba Ivette, do you know how early it is?!” He grumbled.

“The Alverez family is gone!”

“What?!” He questioned, jumping out of bed.

“Where did they-” We looked at each other.

“They’re gone…for good.”

“Esos cobardes fueron a los Estados Unidos!” My brother hissed.

My face fell. Lucia wasn’t coming home. She wasn’t join el Revolución, and she was no longer my friend. I knew from a fact that from this point on Lucia and I would be ex-best friends, and would never see each other again.

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Back to the Past

Poverty has been around as long as the human race has. Where there’s a winner, there is always a loser. Economically, the winners are the rich, and the losers are the poor, or those living in poverty. “Oh, this person’s parents can’t buy this new video game, they must be poor!” Not necessarily. Living in poverty mean that a family cannot buy food or provide basic needs for the children-or themselves.

It may be hard to believe, but there are many people right here in the United States living in poverty. Thankfully, people have been working, since the 1800s, to fix this issue. Before the early mid-1800s American policies regarding poverty were focus on outdoor relief; food, firewood, and small amounts of money called alms. The wealthy and local governments did this because the of a sense of community responsibility. State poor laws, required towns to take care of their poor. But after the early mid-1800s a new idea arose; “What if, instead of just letting them to continue being poor, we help them get themselves out of their economic states?!” Thus, the Antipoverty movement was born!

In 1817, the New York’s Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, collected the poor under one roof, oversaw their actions, and forced them to work. The state of New York formalized this policy in 1824 with the County Poorhouse Act, which required every county in the state to build at least on institution to house its poor, and, preferably, to teach them how to escape poverty. There was also the New York Association for Improving the Conditions of the Poor, in the 1840s, and the Children’s Aid Society in the 1850s.

The Children’s Aid Society, (CAS) attempted to reform the environment of poor children, especially by sending them out of the cities into the rural American West. This idea was formulated by Charles Loring Brace. The idea was to send poor children, to a family in the West, who would teach them good habits, as well as raise them. These families were eager for help on their farms, in fact, some only saw the children as laborers. The children were called “Orphan Train Riders,” and were commonly between a few months to 14 years old.

As earlier stated, poverty has been around since humanity has existed, and still exists today, in the US of A. There are still orphanages, shelters of the poor and homeless, even something that didn’t exist in the 1800s, food stamps. Renamed SNAP in 2008, this is a government program that helps those on low income get the food they need.

There are ways everyone can help end poverty for good, you can donate to institutions and organizations, you can volunteer, you can donate canned goods, you can help teach, education is a very powerful thing, with the right education a child in poverty can grow to become a successful career man or women. You don’t even have to look very far, look around in your own community! We can all make a difference if we try.

A Short Story Based off of “Call of the Wild,” By Jack London

We had heard everything this man, John Thorton, had warned. The ice is thin. The ice is rotten. The ice is dangerous. Still, even upon hearing this, Hal refused to listen. “Up!” He commanded us. “Up Buck! Hi! Get up there!”

None of us moved. We were drained, starving, near death. Still he beat us until we complied. I, Pike, began my painful struggle to rise soon after Joe. Three time I tried to rise. First try. Fail. Second try. Another fail. Third time. The Third time I managed to stand on my blistered, bruised, aching feet. The only one remaining on the ground…was Buck.

The whip continued to fall upon him. But he did not rise. We all knew, once Buck made up his mind, there was no changing it. Seeing as that is what Buck had done regarding this matter, there was no way Hal was going to get him up, instead, in his attempts to do so, he would kill him. We could all see in Buck’s eyes that he was ready to die, right then and there. My attention was then drawn to John Thorton. He seemed to be suffering along with Buck, like he could feel his pain.

Hal became angry. He grabbed his club. I winced, as I knew what would happen next. He lifted the club well above his head, thrusting it down upon Buck’s nearly lifeless body. He continued on mercilessly, but Buck did not move. He didn’t make a sound. He was a still and silent as death itself! Suddenly, without warning, John Thorton sprang upon the Hal throwing him back. Mercedes screamed, but did nothing. Charles also did nothing. John stood, shielding the almost dead dog. “It him again,” he hissed, clearly trying to keep his rage controlled. “I will kill you!”

“It’s my dog,” Hal replied, whipping the blood from the corner of his mouth. “Now, get out of my way, or I’ll fix you! I’m going to Dawson!”

Thorton did not move, and showed no intension of doing so. Knowing Hal, having being stuck with him for longer than I could count, he would not stand for this revolt. Ha pulled a hunting knife out of his pocket will full intent of harming John Thorton. Mercedes screamed. She cried. She laughed. She, was insane. Hal and Thorton fought. Twice did John knock the knife out of Hal big, rough hand. Upon doing this for the second time Thorton grabbed the knife and, with a swift movement cut Buck loose.

Hal, for the first time, showing a lick of intelligence, stopped, realizing Buck was not worth the fight, he was too weak to pull the sled. With one last glared at John Thorton we were off. I was in the lead, Sol-leks at the wheel, and Joe and Teek in between. As we made our way towards the ice a sense of impending doomed flooded every cell in my body, like it was the blood that was coursing through my vines. I looked at my partners, my acquaintances that I have been through everything with.

“Mush on! Mush!” Hal ordered.

Mercedes, as always, started complaining the moment the shield began to move, as her husband, Charles, staggered close behind. We could tell this ice was rotten and unsafe, but our master where to busy arguing to notice the ice. They are the worst master any of us have ever had, and if my feeling we not of paranoia, they would be our last.

“Mush! Mush, you lazy bag oh bones!” Hal yelled, cracking his whip.

These three had starved us to the point in which, we were, in fact, skeletons. As we began to reach the half a mile mark…the ice began to crack. Before anyone could even react to the sound, we fell.

I struggled, trying to swim to the surface, but the weight of the sled pushed me down. I continued to try to swim to the surface. As I continued to sink I realized that the chance of me-any of us-surviving were very slim. If I didn’t die from the lack of oxygen the hypothermia would. I was so weak, and in such agonizing pain I figured it would just be easier to die now rather than hang onto life. At that moment, as I felt myself slipping into grip of death, something inside my nearly lifeless body sparked, becoming a great burning fire. My body was rushed with the sudden, intense urge to survive, to endure the suffering of life, instead of letting death take me. My first order of business was to free myself of this harness. I chewed them off, I attacked them like they were a white rabbit that would serve as my dinner. Once freed from their grasp I swam with all my might, kicking my hind legs, determined to escape deaths evil grasp.

I had found something in that very moment. During my near-death experience. I found a fire inside myself that I did not know was there, but somehow seemed familiar, like it was with me since the day of my birth. I found my will to survive.

__________________________________________________________

I had to do this for school. Hope you enjoy.

Unsuspected Hereos Chapter 69

When the two of them could see again there were standing in front of-Sonic’s house? They looked to their left to see the others-Sonic, Tails, Rogue, Knuckles, Topaz and-

“Omega?!” Shadow exclaimed, running over. “You’re alive!”

“Affirmative. Although I do not know how this occurred.”

“Hey guys, what are you all doing here?” A familiar female voice called.

Sonic stopped dead still. “Amy?” He whispered. He turned, slowing dreading that it might just be a dream. “Amy!” He yelled, joyfully. He ran over to her, picked her up, and kissed her.

“Sonic…” Amy laughed. “You act like you haven’t see me in forever!”

“Oh Amy, I love you, I love you so much!” He laughed, hugging her, not letting go.

Amy waved to Winter, her best friend, with a confused but happy look on her face. Winter waved back, smiling.

Suddenly, a little creature few into her chest, chaoing contently. “Frosty?” Winter grabbed the little chao and looked at her. She smiled. “Frosty!” She hugged the little chao. Frosty-though confused, gladly took the embrace.

Rogue waltzed over to Shadow. “You’re smiling.”

“I know.”

“You happy?”

“Yes.”

“Good.”

“Good.”

The old friends smiled at each other. “Where are the others?” Rogue asked.

“Silver and Blaze are probably home. Power and DJ? Wherever they should be today, at this point in time.”

“You love her,” Rogue smiled smugly.

“…Yes…” he answered, looking at Winter, who was now hugging and talking to Amy.

“Then go be with her you idiot!” She laughed.

“Knuckles!” He coughed, walking away.

She laughed to herself.

“So Wint, how are things?” Amy smiled.

“For once…pretty good,” Winter replied, holding her little chao.

“I need to tell you something Winter, as a friend,” she paused. “I’ven known the both of you a really long time and-”

“Sorry to interrupt Amy, but I would like to speak to Winter in private,” Shadow stated.

“Okay,” she said with a knowing smile.

“Knux, Tails! I need to tell you something!” Sonic began, in constant motion.

“Calm down, man, what is it?” Knuckles chuckled.

“I’m gonna be a dad!” He yelled.

“What?!” The two exclaimed, pleased.

“Good for you man!” The three bros embraced.

“Boys,” Topaz laughed. “Congrats, Sonic the Hedgehog!”

“Thanks Topaz the G.U.N Agent!” He called back, sticking his arm out from between Knuckles and Tails, who were still hugging him.

“Everything’s back to normal,” Shadow laughed.

“Yeah, but better,” she smiled.

Shadow looked up between Winter’s large ears, Frosty gave him the “JUST DO IT!” face. Stupid chao. He laughed to himself.

Winter suddenly, leaned into him, kissing him. At first he was surprised how spontaneous she was, but then he realized she did this so their height difference wouldn’t matter much. He smiled, laughing at bit at this conclusion. He could hear Frosty chaoing in triumph as the two finally let themselves fall in love.

“Everyone c’mon, dinner at my house!” Sonic called.

“Free food!” Tails joked.

“Winter,” Topaz called. “We could tell the Commander you’re not what we think you are, you wouldn’t have to hide anymore.”

“Nah, he wouldn’t believe you, you’ll just get yourselves arrested or killed, I’ll mange, plus, with friends like you, nothing can kill the mood,” she smiled.

“Improvement!” Sonic laughed. “You are no longer a buzz kill, Wint!”

“What are you talking about, I was never the buzz kill! It’s always Eggman, the man has the most impeccable timing in all of Mobius!”

Everyone laughed. Indeed, he did.

Unsuspected Heroes Chapter 68

The shield disappeared and everything around them was destroyed. Including any signs of Mephiles. The group of four stopped their two friends, standing where Mephiles once stood.

“Oh my Chaos!” They all gasped.

“We did it!” Power whispered.

“We did it,” they all repeated.

“Oh my Chaos, we did it!” They all exclaimed, joyfully. They all shared many embraces, laughing and smiling.

“We just saved the world!” Power laughed, doing the moonwalk and other dance moves. He stopped a face of realization on his face. “We just saved the world…we’re heroes!”

Winter and Shadow laughed. “How many times have you saved the world?” DJ asked.

“Three time,” Shadow stated.

“Once, this would be my second time,” Winter replied.

“This is so darn cool!” Power sang. “Sil, we saved-two world-we saved our world, Blaze’s world, and the future! Oh, man we are awesome!”

The group laughed at what a big deal the young hedgehog was making. Suddenly there was a flash of white light, and everything changed.

Unsuspected Heroes Chapter 67

He looked over his shoulder, watching the signs of a great fight. A sense of security filled him. He knew that so people, fighting out there would get the job done, no doubt.

“We’re wearing him out!” Blazed yelled. “Get ready.”

The entire group was tensed. This was it. If this failed-it wasn’t an option. Everyone took their places. None stopped attacking him, but they were conserving energy for the big finish.

“You ready?” Shadow asked.

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” she replied. She closed her eyes and closed her arms in front of her face, her fists glowing as Chaos Energy began to ragged around her as it did when he removed his inhibitor rings.

“Now, Silver!” Blazed screamed.

Silver telekinetically brought Mephiles to his knees, immobilizing him. “Power! DJ Go!” He commanded.

DJ grow thousands of plants around Mephiles, giving fuel to Power’s fails. Blaze made sure the flames stayed in a funnel shape around Mephiles.

They could all hear his screams. His screams of-pain. “You will not stop me!” He yelled over the ragging flames, calling to them. “Even if you defeat me here today, I will haunt you in your dreams, I will never leave your thoughts! I will destroy you!”

This only made their efforts stronger. “Now! You two!” They all yelled, clearly straining.

“Chaos Shield!” She exclaimed, pointed at the four. A shield of chaos energy formed around them, protecting them from what came next.

“CHAOS BLAST!”

“CHAOS DESTROY!”