They remembered the fires. The pounding of the hammer. The freezing cold of the water, and then the finishing touches. The man filing the rough edges, and checking their locks.

They remembered the arms of the man. They’d held his arms high over his head, while the whip came down again and again. They remembered being left where everyone could see. They hadn’t been cleaned.

They remembered the arms of the woman. She tried to stop the man from taking the boy away. They’d held her, and she stayed. He left. She cursed them, and the man. He took them off when the bleeding stopped.

They remembered the day they wound up in the tree. The people sang all around. The big white house sat quiet, the family pretending not to hide inside. The man took them from their hook, and flung them, end over end, up into the tree. And they stayed there. It was nice to be out of sight.

The rain came, and washed them clean. The snow came with the cold, like the waters before. The summer heat came and went, and the cold came again. The tree began to swallow them. It felt good to be held, not to hold. Winds came, and more rain. More cold, and more heat.

Things changed around them. The white house was empty. There was no more screaming or singing or crying. It was quiet. They liked that.

Then the singing started again, but different. People came, but no one noticed them so high up in the tree, almost one with it. Just a little longer.

The people dragged the white house away. The tree grew. Now only one of them remained. The other was inside, held like they held so many. They would be together again soon. The tree would keep them forever out of sight.

The lady came one more time. She looked at the tree, and was glad. The chains that held were gone, surrounded by green new life. And it was good.

A terrible little story

Our teacher is a super hero. We found out by accident, when she destroyed the robot that tried to crush our school. We were very grateful that she saved our lives. We were less grateful that she saved the school. But, she’s a teacher, so we guess that means she needed to save her job. Even super heros need to eat.

Mr. Malone, the principle, didn’t see her change into a super hero. He’s kind of a jerk, so we didn’t tell him. After all, she doesn’t like him either.

You want to know what happened? Okay, I’ll tell you.

It was Wednesday. Ms. Goodhew was teaching us about polynomials (If you don’t know what a polynomial is, don’t worry; we don’t know, either). Ms. Goodhew is our math teacher. She smells like mothballs and old-lady mints. We are really nice to her, because she had a really bad year last year. Something about being locked in a closet for 6 hours. She doesn’t notice that we sneak out to buy sodas from the machine by the gym, and we stay quiet and pretend we’re learning something. Its a win-win!

We were all half asleep, waiting for the bell to ring, when we heard the first THOOM. It sounded pretty far away, like thunder. That wasn’t too wierd, but then it happened again, and again. And it was getting louder. Poor Ms. Goodhew just kept talking at the front of the room, while we all craned our necks to look out the window.

Miss Redwolf was with her class, outside. She teaches biology, and always drags her class outside on nice days. Sometimes she dresses up in her “Ceremony Clothes” with feathers in her hair and beaded mocasins. Those days are the best. Today she wore her normal teacher clothes, which was kind of a bummer. She looks really cool on Ceremony Clothes day. She was looking in the direction of the THOOMs, too, and then turned to get her class inside. We thought she was worried about rain.

The bell rang, and we all gathered our stuff and headed off to our next class. I had Miss Redwolf, and headed down to the biology labs. I didn’t run. Mr. Malone totally made that up. Anyway, when I got there, the rest of the class was getting settled, and Miss Redwolf was nowhere in sight. I got to my seat, happy that I wasn’t late. The THOOMs were getting really loud, now, so I was glad to be inside. Maybe we’d get to watch the thunderstorm!

Only one problem with that plan. It wasn’t a thunderstorm. It was a giant robot. Who ever heard of a giant robot attacking a school? That only happens in cheesy PBS cartoons! Well, now it washappening to us. The other girls started screaming. The only reason I didn’t was because I was too scared. Then Miss Redwolf showed up.

She was outside. Her hair was in her usual braids, but her normal teacher clothes were gone, and she was wearing some kind of crazy superhero outfit, complete with a mask. It was red and yellow. At least she didn’t have a cape. I knew it was her because she still had a feather in her hair. She jumped into the air, and started fighting the robot.

Watching our teacher fight a robot was so weird. Even wierder that she was winning! Every body else hid on the other side of the room. I ran to the window to watch. When I didn’t die immediately, some of the other kids came over to watch, too.

After a few minutes, the robot was in pieces on the ground. A hand here, a foot there. The head wound up in Wisconsin, I think, the news wasn’t too clear on that. Miss Redwolf disappeared, and then walked into our classroom wearing her normal teacher clothes. She still had the feather in her hair. She saw us, staring at the window, and froze for a second. We just got back to our seats and we all pretended that nothing had happened. We were used to covering for Ms. Goodhew, anyway.

Mr. Malone had a fit over it. Apparently one of the legs destroyed the football field. He started giving everyone detention, but since Miss Redwolf was the teacher on duty, nobody really minded. At least we didn’t have to sit through any more boring football games! After all, real men play rugby.