Milestone 1 Creative writing image prompt
The Other Forest
Rafael stood at the train station as he watched what was left of his family leave. As he stood there, he thought about his mother. She had passed away only a year ago, but so much has changed. Without his mother, there was no one to protect him from his father’s anger. His father was constantly reminding him, with his abuse and lectures, that he would never be a decent son. The leaves on the trees shook as the train’s engine came to life, his father away to his new life. He tried not to think about his father as he wandered back home. He would be staying with his father’s friend, Pedro.
As he finished packing the rest of his clothes, a honk sounded from outside. It was Pedro. He grabbed his bags and slowly walked outside to greet him. Pedro rolled down the window, “Get in the car kid.” Rafael climbed into the car, heaving his bags up with him.
“Where are we going?” Rafael asked. Pedro looked him over. “How far away is your house?” he asked, trying another way to get some information.
Finally, Pedro responded, “You’re not coming to my house.”
Rafael considered this, regaining the courage to ask another question, “Well if I’m not staying with you, then where are we going?”
“You’ll be staying with my ex, she agreed to let you live with her in a small town up in the mountains, a thirteen-hour drive from here.” The 13-year-old boy sighed, deciding to sleep because it was long past his bedtime.
He woke up sweating from the morning sun shining through his window. He sat up abruptly, taking in his surroundings. They were in the desert; in the distance he could see the faintest hint of what looked like a mountain.
“How much further?” he asked Pedro.
“About four more hours,” he grunted.
Rafael lay back down, deciding to sleep some more. He felt the road change from paved to dirt, shaking the car back and forth as he slowly came to his senses. There were so many trees around him that he couldn’t see more than a few feet into the forest. He stared at the trees as they drove by, a girl about his age with straight brown hair stared at him from up in a tree. Wait, not a girl, he thought. Something wasn’t right with her. He realized that there were no branches to climb that led up to the top of the tree. They pulled up to a cozy looking cabin and were greeted by a kind looking woman. She had long, wavy brown hair and perfect teeth.
“Hello!” she said smiling as Rafael approached the door. “You must be Rafael, let me show you to your room,” she insisted, guiding him upstairs. “My name is Coral; I did my best to get ready when I heard you were coming,” she explained. As Pedro came up the stairs, her smile faded. “You can put the bags in the corner,” she said, gesturing just below the window. Pedro obeyed, he turned towards her.
“I guess I should go; bye Rafael!” He walked past Coral and down the stairs.
“I’ve already enrolled you in school,” she beamed. “Don’t worry,” she said, “It doesn’t start for a month, I’m sure you’ll make friends before then.” Dinner should be ready in ten minutes!” She walked away, leaving him to unpack. He heard the engine of the car as Pedro pulled out of the driveway. He got up and dug into his bag and pulled out his journal and tucked it under his pillow. He sat down on his bed, really looking at his room for the first time. The bed had a plain blue comforter and was set against the wall, facing a wide window that looked out on the forest. A small lamp rested on his bedside table and a large, sewn tapestry decorated the wall above his bed. But as he sat there thinking that he should be worried about school, he realized that his mind was anywhere but school. Who was that girl? What was she doing so high up?
“Rafael! Dinner’s ready,” she called from the base of the stairs. He let his questions fill his mind, distracting him from reality as he sat down for dinner. Coral had cooked a potato leek soup and steamed spinach. He loved potatoes and ate the soup happily, but he hated spinach because they were leaves, but he had also never tried it. As he finished his soup, he decided that he wanted to make a good impression on Coral. He picked up his fork and in the politest way possible, stuffed the spinach into his mouth, barely chewing it before swallowing the slimy greens. The flavor wasn’t too bad, he thought. It was just the texture that made it hard to swallow.
The next day, he was woken by an extremely annoying woodpecker. He opened his eyes and looked out the window, in a dreamy state. He locked eyes with a girl, she had a concerned expression on her face. He bolted up; it was the same girl from yesterday. She realized that he was awake and dashed through the trees until she became out of sight. Panic coursed through his veins, bringing back the same questions. Who is she? What is she doing? He checked his watch as he dug through his bags pulling out shorts and a T-shirt, it was 7:45. He stumbled down the stairs. He found Coral reading in the living room. She looked up when he arrived, “Breakfast is on the table, how did you sleep?” she asked.
“Fine,” he lied, sitting down for breakfast. He wanted to ask her about the girl but didn’t want her to think he was hallucinating. “Are there any girls about my age who live around here?” he asked. He blushed, “I mean because I saw a girl outside this morning.” He pinched himself for saying that. She turned around smiling.
“We both know what you meant and no, there are no girls your age that live around here. But it’s ok, we all have had those feelings.” He got up and washed his plate silently. As he walked back to his room, he cussed under his breath. Note to self: never talk to Coral about girls.
Milestone 2 Endangered animal point of view
Poke and Mar and Life as a Turtle
All of us remember the beginning. Inside the egg, it is warm and protected I didn’t want to come out. I felt around my egg and realized it was warm outside. Curious, I started to push at my shell, I felt a small crack open where I had been pushing. Exhausted, I fell asleep deciding to try again later. The next day, I successfully got out of my shell. I looked around and noticed at least one hundred other eggs. Mine had been in the front where it was cooler, so I guess that’s why I’m a girl. In the nest, we were covered from a view of the outside world. I peered through the hole and was nearly blinded by the sun. I decided to wait until it went away to crawl out. “Are you coming?” asked one turtle who had just hatched from his egg. I shook my head and watched as the turtle crawled out of the nest and padded his way across the golden sand and towards the strange shiny area. “That’s the water!” A turtle who had also been watching with me pointed towards the shiny blue water. A shadow passed over the nest before swooping down like the angel of death on the baby turtle who was eaten in one gulp by a bearded vulture. The other turtle backed further into the nest frightened by the bird, I followed deciding it was safer further away. We crawled over all the eggs to the back of the nest. “What is your name?” I asked finding a clearing where there were no eggs so we could wait till the sun left.
“I’m Poke! Or at least I feel like a Poke.” Poke nodded, agreeing with his name choice. “I am—” I couldn’t come up with a name. “Oh, I know! You should be Mar.” Poke attempted to jump in excitement, but it looked funny because he only managed to get one fin off the ground. “I like the sound of that.” Satisfied with our conversation, I let myself fall into a deep sleep.
I wake up to see the sunlight streaming in through the hole. Poke is gone, I must have slept through the night. I look around the nest in hopes of finding another turtle. All the eggs now have slight cracks in them, all of them preparing to head for the water together. I am about to crawl out of the nest when the ground begins to shake, crawling to the back of the nest, I watch as the sand collapses on me like a thick blanket. I hear voices in some language that doesn’t make sense. I peek my head out of the sand just in time to see two huge animals walk away with all the eggs. Wait those are humans, I don’t know how I know this, but they can’t be animals. A cold feeling sank into the pit of my stomach as a memory surfaced, but it wasn’t my memory. Humans had caused devastation all around the world, but especially to us sea turtles. The sky began to darken as the sun set over the ocean. Now is the time for me to head towards the water. I finish crawling out of the sand and make my way towards the water, darting under large piles of seaweed at the slightest movement. After many breaks, I finally reach the shore and am embraced by the warm ocean. I swim down, enjoying the cool water surrounding my body. As I come back up to the surface where the water is warmer, I search the ocean floor for a good place to stay, but it was clearly hidden. Eventually, I spot a nice rock large rock with a cave underneath, it seemed like the perfect home. The rock was surrounded by tall stalks of seaweed and the seafloor was studded with patches of sea grass. I head into the cave under the rock and am surprised to find another turtle. “Poke?” I nudge the turtle. “Mar!!!” Poke wakes up suddenly and swims out of the cave and begins to swim in circles from excitement. Slowing down, Poke says, “I left at night and I didn’t see you, so I thought you had already left!” I turn to face Poke who is now swimming above the rock and tell him everything that had just happened. Poke listens intently with a few occasional circles around the rock.
I woke up to a loud rumbling that swished the water above the rock. I peeked my head out from under the rock and quickly regretted the decision for fear of being seen. A human was right above me swimming at the surface next to a small boat, carrying a large net. Terror clouded my thoughts as I remember what has happened. “Poke! There is a human with a net outside our rock,” I said trying to keep the tremble out of my voice. Poke glanced at me with a determined expression before he swam out of our home and up to the surface. “Poke! What are you doing?” I screamed. A wave of panic surged inside of me. The swimmer spotted Poke and threw some sort of weapon. The silver reflected a beam of light as is traveled through the water and broke a piece of Pokes shell. Shock filled his eyes as a small cloud of blood filled the water around Poke before he sank to the bottom like a deadweight. The human began to slowly swim towards Poke. I search the cave for something that could help, I settle for a seaweed blanket. I swam out of my cave, throwing the blanket of seaweed over Poke to cover us as I swam Poke out of the blanket and back to the cave. The human continued to swim towards the seaweed where Poke had been, and I watched from the cave as the human lifted the seaweed expecting to find Poke. The swimmer scanned the ocean floor before kicking off the ground creating a puff of sand as he swam to the surface. I turned towards Poke and wrapped a string of seaweed around Poke’s wound to stop the bleeding. After a while, Poke’s shell healed. But I will never forget how evil humans can be.
Many years passed while Poke and I met some other turtles and fell into a routine of living underwater. Mating season had just passed and now I was going to begin my journey back to my beach to lay my eggs. Poke and I didn’t live under the small rock anymore, we had moved further south to a much larger rock. I swam to the top of our rock for a snack, using my beak, I scraped off some algae. I was to start my journey today where I would leave Poke, possibly forever. “Mar!” Poke shouted swimming over with something green coming out of his mouth. “I got you seaweed!” We didn’t live near any large seaweed patches, so it was harder to find. “So that you can have a good meal before you leave” Poke sighed looking down as he gave me the seaweed. He was not happy that I would be leaving and had said so many times, but I had to. “Thank you Poke.” I said accepting the seaweed, “I should probably leave now. After I am finished, I will try to come back but I am not sure I will be able to find you again.” I turned away from poke and started my journey. After many days of traveling in deep water and shallow water where swarms of fish covered the ocean floor, I began to feel the water get warmer. I turned and swam to shore. This was the beach where I was born. Climbing out of the water, I begin my search for a safe place to lay my eggs. I am looking for one grain of sand in the ocean at least that is how this feels. The beaches are now covered in tall buildings. Where could I lay my eggs? I made my way to a small beach where there were very few people. But the waves were rougher. I decided this would be fine. I made my way up to the beach being on land for the first time in years. I scanned the beach for signs of life and chose a quiet spot beneath the shade of a tree. It took me around two hours to dig a nest and lay my eggs which I then covered using sand. I might mate again but for now, I would find another place to settle in.