The White Fence by Man Wai Cheung

The White Fence

by Man Wai Cheung

She sits there on the porch of her front yard,

Listening to the sounds of birds chirping,

In the early mornings of sunrise.

She sits there old and wise,

Thinking about the happy things that she has done in her short life,

When she was young and old.

She sits there watching the little grasshoppers jump,

And thought about how she loved to chase them around,

Frantically swinging her paws back and forth.

She sits there on the edge,

Ready to be blown away,

In the late days of sunset.


Lamar Giles
Story Starters: The Basement by Janice Mak

The Basement


I was walking down the stairs to my the basement of my grandfather’s house. I have lost my skateboard again, but this time it wasn't just under my bed. The stairs creaked under me, like a shrieking banshee. There were soft squeaks every now and then, as if someone was trying to hold in their laughter, but I assumed naturally that they were mice. I held a flashlight in my hand, as the basement was pitch black. There was a musky scent in the basement that I could not place my finger on, but I was sure that I had have smelt this before.

As soon as my foot touched the the bottom step of the stairs, the door slammed shut behind me. I raced up the stairs, desperately reaching for the door before it closed, but I was a tad bit too late. The door locked itself right in front of my face. I banged on the door, crying for help but no one seemed to hear a thing. Cold sweat dripped down my back and panic was sewn across my face. Only one thought went through my mind:. iIs this really how I’m going to die? Alone in the dark?

I turned and faced the dark pit of oblivion. There must be another way out. Creeping down the stairs slowly, I ran my hand along the rough and bumpy walls of the basement, looking for the light switch. But that task seemed impossible for me at that time, with my fingers shaking uncontrollably. At last, the feeling of accomplishment came to me as the smooth switch flick appeared under my palm. I flicked it without a doubt but instantly regretted it.

As the basement has been untouched for years since my grandfather passed away, the light was yellowish and flickering, adding to the creepiness of the basement. I gulped and my breath quickened. My heart was beating faster than optical fiber could run. I could not shake off the feeling that someone was watching me. However, I could not stay on the stairs forever. I needed to find a way out of this horrifying pit. With a gust of determination, I took a step into my worst nightmare ever.

My grandfather’s basement was extremely old-fashioned. With brick walls and arches, it could be easily mistaken as a tomb in the Qin Dynasty. There was junk and furniture piled on top of each other ,and they were all mouldy and dusty, as you would expect in a basement that had has not be tampered with for over a decade. Deciding that going to the other side of the basement would give me a better view of the basement, I pushed my way through the heaps of antiques with a great deal of effort. Just as I reached the opposite wall, a pile of my grandfather’s books toppled onto me. Only later did I wonder the reason behind the incident, as there was were no wind in the basement, and I had not touched the stack of books bools.

I crashed onto the ground the groaned out in pain. My eyesight was slightly blurred and my glasses had fallen to somewhere nearby. Crawling around, I tapped and felt everything on the ground, hoping to find my pair of glasses so I could see the light once again. A glimmer of hope crossed me when a felt something smooth, something hard, something that seems like a book. Disappointment crashed into me and I sank like a deflated balloon. But wait, just next to the book laid lied my glasses! A surge of gladness rushed through my veins and blood. I put them on without a doubt and the first thing I saw was the cover of the book I had felt. Due to the dim light and blurry sight, I couldn’t see much but now the words are clear to me. “Trapped and Afraid, by Jonah Stracht,.” was engraved on the cover of the book.

My grandfather’s book. No matter Wwhether this was just a coincidence or not, it completely describeds the situation I was in right thennow. Trapped. Afraid. My heart was beating faster than ever. Perhaps my grandfather had been in a similar situation before. Perhaps he had left some of his tips to get out of this basement in this very book! With only hope to rely on, I quickly flipped through to yellowish and torn pages of the book. Most out of the ordinary, there was one page in the end of the book, that was completely clean and white, like it had been freshly printed out. It had three words: On it had 3 words, “To your left.”.

I froze. Only the rushing sound of my blood could be heard in my ears. The worst possible scenarios ran through my mind. What if there was were a bloodthirsty serial killer standing right next to me right now? Or even worse, a mad scientist ready to test out different inhumane experiments on me only I eventually die from the pain and torture?

I breathed in and out, calming myself. With frantic eyes, I slowly moved my head upwards and slightly to the left. There was a door, a door that had not been there a moment ago. I tried telling myself that it was just a trick of light, that I was just hallucinating from dehydration, unsuccessful I was in convincing myself. It was a medieval wooden door, with more than 4 different locks on it. My eyes widened in despair when I saw all the complicated locks that the previous owner of the basement has designed for the door. The door was possibly my only chance out of the basement and it seemed impossible to get through, or even if I could pick the locks.

I sank to the ground and buried my face in my hands, leaning against the door. I was in a panicked state and did not notice the red and sticky substance dripping and leaking out from the door cracks. But I did notice a dark shadow in front of me, lifting a bat over my head. Before I even got the chance to react, the sickening crack and thud rang across the room and everything went black.



Lamar Giles
Story Starters, Nov 2018

This new Story Starter comes from my time at the Virginia Children’s Book Festival. Enjoy this poem titled:

A Storm of Emotions By Cheyenne G.

A heart wrapped up

Guarded by chains

Only broken by a man

Whose love was like rain

It could be soft and sweet

Like a mornings mist

Or it was a storm of emotion

Very powerful and intense

But as usual the rain never lasts

So just as the storm the man’s love past

A heart now stands alone

Broken and beaten from what the storm has thrown

Wishing for the man to come take away the pain

Only to realize that there will always be rain

Cheyenne G., Governor’s School of Southside Virginia

Lamar Giles
Story Starters, Sept. 2018

LAMAR’S INTRO: Little known fact! I travel to schools and conferences a lot. Sometimes, I get to lead a writing workshop I call Story Starters. It consists of several three minute exercises that attempt to spark different creative aspects of the writing process—essentially things that help you start a story.

As you can imagine, three minutes does not allow for a complete story in most cases. So, I make the workshop participants an offer…if they decide to finish a story (or poem, or drawing, or, really, anything) that they started in a workshop and want the world to see it, I’m happy to share the results here. Behold…

Dear Mother by Briann L.

Dear mother,

I’m sorry that you weren’t there for me I’m sorry that I’ve grown into a trouble maker I’m sorry I’m disrespectful. I feel like I wouldn’t be this way if I had you in my life. If you would’ve been there for me through all my heart breaks. You know it hurts not to talk to you mother about guys. I just wish I could have that perfect story ending. Please answer me these questions...Why did you choose the drugs over me? Was I not perfect enough for you? Was I a disgrace to you?What was it? I need to know. Why couldn’t I have my mother that treated me right? That disciplining me for little mistakes I made. Just why? My life is strange. All the hurt I feel I keep it all inside. But once one little things tips me off.... I release it like there’s no tomorrow. I take it out on people that care for me, the people who are there for me. I hurt them the way you hurt me.

I just want my happy ending where I have my mother at my wedding, to see her grandchildren and most of all to see me happy.

Sincerely 
Briann L., Reuther Central High School, WI

Lamar Giles