Life Update| Strategy & School

strategyandschool.jpg

 

What Life Has Been Like

Rough

Tough

Scary

😀

Oh okay…it hasn’t been that bad. It’s been so much worse! Maybe you’ve noticed I haven’t updated y’all on my life? Well, I haven’t. I have been busy. For some reason my mind keeps on wandering around to what I’m going to do after I graduate. I generally know what I want, but now that it’s so much closer I am really just wanting to skip all this in-between stuff and get to that stage. But I’m not there yet so I need to calm down and just enjoy every stage.

What do I actually have left of high school?

I will be graduating sometime 2018. Probably earlier. The classes I currently have left are as follows.

  1. 1 math course (I’m three quarters done with this).
  2. 1 PE credit (physical exercise, this just gets covered as an everyday sort of thing 😀 ).
  3. Photography credit. (fits into the arts credit I think?)
  4. Personal finance. (Dave Ramsey financial peace university course)
  5. 1 grammar course. (not too hard)
  6. Science course—anatomy.

 

I really don’t have too much left. The courses are relaxed sort of and it’s not too hard.

 

Places I’ve Gone

Recently I have done several things.

  1. Attended a (college) graduation party. (I was the ‘photographer’) 😉

IMG_9958.jpg

IMG_9956

 

2. Babysitted a bunch of cute blondie kiddos.

IMG_0051.JPG

IMG_0050.jpg

 

3. Experimented with shutter speed and water.

IMG_0223.JPG

IMG_0216.JPG

IMG_0212.JPG

 

4. Got cuted out by this adorable puppy (and model) ❤ . +that overcast lighting tho ❤ this photo is unedited.

IMG_0339.JPG

 

5. Went to a 4th of July party.

IMG_0517.jpg

anigif
And made a GIF of some pictures I took of a firework.

 

6. My little sis got bit by something??? We thought it was a snake (copperhead) Her foot (left one) was all swollen up.

IMG_0654.JPG

 

7. Playtime with a cute cat that I named Hermione. We are trying to get dad to say we can have her. 😉

IMG_0660.JPG

 

8. Doing experiment eye. Taking random photos of people’s eyes.

IMG_0859.JPG

 

9. Cow appreciation day~Chick-Fil-A.

IMG_0912.JPG
photo credit: Ella Boureston.

I had planned to share a semi-dramatic before after picture from like four years ago…but I couldn’t find it.

IMG_0930.JPG
My little sis and I went with some friends. It was fun.
IMG_0947.JPG
And then the younger kids…and one bigger one 😉 rode the tractor thingy outside the cfa building.

 

10. Doing my math every day.

im done bacon and eggs and toast2
This is my favorite thing to see when I’m done with a lesson. p.s the lesson 59 thingy doesn’t reflect which lesson I’m currently on. I have passed this up. 😆

 

11. Cleaning up for out friend’s arrival. And also eating healthy….

IMG_0973.JPG
I cleaned the pantry. I have done it a few times before but it gets messy very fast.
IMG_0980.JPG
My lunch (and dinner): Broccoli soup, onions, and chicken.

 

12. Indulging myself in creepy vampire editing… *hides in corner at creepiness…*

vamp.jpg

iPiccy-collage-vamp

 

Emmaline Lucille (1)

 

 

Photography Spotlight…|Q.L.P

This is a Quick Lil’ Post I have planned on doing for a little while. I am going to ‘spotlight’ some of my favoritest role-model photographers and also introduce you to some less-known photographers who are emerging and well-worth your follow.

So let’s get this thing on the road.

😉 My Role Models 😉

 

  1. Sonja Adcock Photography. Sonja is a photographer based in Pennsylvania. I love her work and especially how she uses light. Her style is soft and she specializes in artistic child photography. You can check her out here.

  2.  Photography by Britton. I probably should’ve mentioned these guys first! They are almost 100% my biggest photography role models. They’re a husband and wife photography team (I’m a big fan of that 😀 ) and they travel all over the place to photograph people. They specialize in (pretty much everything) weddings. Their official website can be found here. 

  3. Brittany Elise Photography. Brittany has a very unique style. I love the type of softness her portraits demonstrate. They really are very unique and I think you should check her out. She’s based in Tampa Florida, and specializes in newborn. Check out her website here. 

  4. Madison Photography. This is another big favorite of mine. I just love how colorful Madison’s images are. They’re so so pretty. I follow her on Instagram and lemme tell ya’–her stuff brightens my feed. Madison’s style is ‘creative, bright, colorful, sharp and airy’. Go check her out here. 

 

And that will have to wrap this part up for now. There are so many others I could’ve spotlighted but this will have to do it for now. I know these photographers will get you motivated to keep being a photographer or at least to enjoy looking at other people’s photography. 😉

 

 

❤ Lesser-Known Photographers ❤

This section hasn’t got very many in it as I only put people down if I really love their work and respect them. Truth is, there are a lot of lesser-known photographers out there. When I day lesser known I really just mean emerging, newer, or not started a business yet. So here’s my list.

  1. Sarah Leana Photography. I will be spotlighting her again just as soon as her official website is up but for now I’ll just direct you to her blog. It’s a newer blog but just so you know she’s amazing! Sarah has been a best friend of mine and my family’s for a very long time. She specializes in senior portraits (she took mine if you were wondering). Go and give her a follow! (Her family is going through tough times right now which I highlighted in this post.) Her style is classic, and you can go check out the rest here. 

  2. Natasha Ann Photography. Natasha is a photographer I found online maybe two or three years ago (I am awful at time, it might have been more recently 😉 ) . I found her through her sister’s blog–but I love her blog! She has a really neat natural style. another thing about her style is that she doesn’t edit much. It’s an unusual thing to see but her quality shines through! You should follow her. She has two blogs–one for everything and the other more specifically for photography.

And that is literally it! I told ya’ I didn’t put very many down. 🙂 There are others but I am not currently following very many yet (I have to find them first!).

Emmaline Lucille (1)

(L.P) Day, Twilight, Golden Hour, Sunset, & Night

So…I haven’t done this in a while (I got lazy).

But there is a new post on Lucillian Photography. And it’s the first of it’s kind. So…if you want to see it…you should click here.

2017-04-10.jpg

It will hopefully show you some strong lighting that features five stages of the day.

Day, Golden Hour (2nd), Twilight, Sunset, and Night.

signature

p.s. If you look at the post there’s a surprise at the end of it 😀 .

Writer’s Block// How to Escape the Scrape

A new writing post has emerged!

The last one that was similar to this was 5 Reasons You Should Keep Writing. 

Today we’ll be talking about writer’s block.

Escape the Scrape (1).png

Your inspiration is non-existent. You don’t feel like writing…or maybe you do and can’t think of anything to put on that blank page (or screen 😀 ). Congratulations!

You have writer’s block.

Now that I’ve diagnosed your writing problem (which you most likely have already diagnosed 😉 ) and also given you a deceptive blog post title…we may proceed!

What??! You gave us a deceptive blog post title?

Well, yes I did. You see…there’s no one way to fix this problem. I can’t just give you tips and say “This one will totally work for you!”. Because…every person is different and what works for me may not work for you. Yay, aren’t I encouraging?

While that may sound like bad news…guess what? It can also be very good news! Putting it positively- your solution may be right around the corner waiting to be discovered. So see, it’s not hopeless!

Ideas to destroy this beast…

  1. Remove anything and everything that’s distracting you from your presence. We have so many things in life that could potentially distract us from the one thing we want to do right now. I know for me personally- I go from writing a school assignment to just- not. Whether that means I’m checking my email or doing somethin’ else- It’s distracting me from writing. So. GET. RID. OF. THOSE. PESKY. DISTRACTIONS. ONE. BY. ONE. !
  2. Find a book to read that will get the imagination flowing. If you’re trying to write something in the fantasy genre, maybe read something in that genre. For instance, my current project is a retelling of The Little Mermaid. I keep on reading the original story to get the creative juices flowing. 
  3. Find a new angle. Were you telling the story first person? Try this out: tell the story in second person. Or you can take another character vital to the story and tell it in his/her perspective. If you’re struggling to put those first words on the paper…think about a way to make the story opening something totally different than what you’d intended. Was Willemina a princess once? Why not turn her into an ugly young woman afraid she’s never going to be realized for the princess she is? Now–true, this may just ruin the story. But there really are limitless possibilities. And it’s always possible you assigned the character the wrong role. 😀
  4. Make a pinterest storyboard. This may not be for everyone. But I can attest to loving this. Sometimes images inspire the mind when nothing else can. They visually transport you into the realm you’re writing about. They help you envision what you were trying to write. If you want an example of one you can check out mine for my dystopian story Watchful here. I love doing this, and it’s especially helpful to look back on when I’m stuck or uninspired. 
  5. Story Prompts. I’m not sure when this became a ‘thing’. But I just started getting into it. One thing I used to worry about was the possibility of plagiarism. Not anymore though. Because, I have discovered that different minds think differently. And while, yes, we sometimes tend to think similarly—you’d be surprised at what I come up with VS what others come up with. So don’t worry! Story prompts are an amazing way to help you step it up. Why not try angling what you have of your story into a prompt to enhance the plot? Or start your story with a prompt!
  6. Write. There is a way that may make you upset. It’s called writing. 😀 You’re not going to beat this writer’s block without doing some writing. Most of the things I’ve suggested up until now–have been ways to get the writing juices flowing. Because I don’t want you to think that the solution is NOT to write. True, you may need a little break. You may need to go outside where the air is clean to think about it. But the solution isn’t to quit writing indefinitely until you’re inspired. That’s a sure way to either never write, or when you do–to go back off it just as soon. 
  7. Try listening to epic music. I wouldn’t recommend pop or anything where the beat is louder than the words. If you’re writing a romance novel…imagine the scene while you’re playing some soft, sweet music. Try instrumental. If bigfoot is about to stomp on littlefoot…then play something tense. Will littlefoot be trod underfoot? 🙂 I personally love listening to movie soundtracks for epic fight scenes and the like. But you may need something smooth and calming. I do too, sometimes. 
  8. Make a writer’s schedule. This is one that I’m awful at, but really need to try. If you pace yourself so that you’re writing at a certain time for a certain amount of time- it may help. Put it in a place in that busy schedule where it’s not so likely to be loud. Make it fit at a ‘smooth’ part of the day where your work load isn’t there to bother you. 

 

I hope this was helpful to you! Keep writing!

Have you tried any of these?

Name a way not listed that’s helped you in the comments!

A you a writer, or more of a reader?

signature

Thoughtful| “Once Upon a Birthday”

IMG_5375.JPG

“Growing up is never straight forward. There are moments when everything is fine, and other moments where you realize that there are certain memories that you’ll never get back, and certain people that are going to change, and the hardest part is knowing that there’s nothing you can do except watch them.”     

~Alden Nowlan (no idea who this is 😉 )

From the above quote…you may guess what this post is about. Growing up. Getting older, and leaving behind the days of littlehood. This has been put on my mind a lot lately. I have to admit, I’ve been thinking about it for years. I think the first time was when I was six years old. The world was big, the grownups were so very…grown up. I look back and can’t help but blush at some of the things I thought as a really little girl. One thing that I think is funny is that I thought I would have a ‘special someone’ when I turned sixteen. Then it was all the story of Sindersoot (aka-Ascenputtel, Cinderella) and all those other beautiful fairytales. Well…I turned sixteen and um- yeah. I had figured out long before then that my childish thoughts were just not the way things actually normally happen. I blame the Little House on the Prairie tv series with Melissa Gilbert playing Laura. Do any of y’all remember how Mary had a ‘special friend’ when she was maybe fourteen? 🙂 Anyways…yes. The more people I meet the more funny little kid stories I come across.

The reason it’s come to my mind RIGHT NOW is my big sis, Hannah- just turned eighteen. And I will be eighteen next year. We’ve been pretty close for a pretty long time now, and I’ve always felt left behind whenever she crosses into another season in her life. We really do grow at a different rate. Everyone is just so different.

There’s one thing I’ve decided about this tricky business called ‘growing up’. I don’t want to forget all my memories. And I don’t want to be sad, depressed, or bitter about being left behind. Because I’m a unique person, who God is shaping day-by-day into the image of His Son. And I can enjoy where He’s placed me. All to soon, I’ll probably be wondering where the years went. I’ll be one of the older and (hopefully) wiser people who’re always telling us teenagers to be content. To just enjoy where we are right now. Here’s another quote about growing up:

“One of the oddest things about being grown-up was looking back at something you thought you knew and finding out the truth of it was completely different from what you had always believed.”

~Patricia Briggs

That’s something I can identify with. As I get older…things I thought are torn down and replaced with reality. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It is often a very painful thing (depending what it is), but not always something that will devastate you. Read this Bible verse for a very telling thing about growing up.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

~1 Corinthians 13:11 

IMG_5141.JPG

 

Have you had any similar thoughts?

Do you have any favorite childhood memories?

What is ONE memory that you never want to forget?

~Emmaline

p.s The cake for the post is the one I made for Hannah’s birthday. It was a two layer cake, one layer raspberry- the other vanilla. With chocolate cream cheese frosting, and strawberries on top.

Art Swirls 2. {three inspirations}

IMG_5076.JPG

Welcome to Art Swirls 2. ! I am excited to do this one today because I hunted for a few drawings on Google and came up with two drawings to try freehand. I didn’t measure anything at all…just used the good ole’ eyeballs. 😉

Image 1: Chip (beauty and the beast)

draw-3
Reference photo.
IMG_5069.JPG
My sketchbook take. 

 

Image 2: Cala Lilly

draw-1
Reference photo.
IMG_5074.JPG
My sketchbook take. 

 

Image 3: Silhouettes (taken from one of Walter T. Foster’s art books.)

IMG_5079.JPG
Reference photos from the book.

This one had more room for creativity. I sorta’ just chose a bunch of random objects to draw, and some from memory. This is what I came out with.

IMG_5080.JPG
My take. Haha. I know…isn’t that face thingy goofy? And I do believe I created a rare type of bird! 🙂 

I did the drawing of Chip as a ‘promo’ art for the live action Beauty and the Beast. Anyone else hoping to ‘be their guest’ this March?

IMG_5071-001.JPG

~Emmaline

 

Writing Right Now

IMG_3067.JPG

 

With all the fuss having been lately directed at the ‘horrors’ of high school and my new camera–where does that leave writing? Well, lately there hasn’t been much time. But…a few days ago I experienced that overwhelming feeling that I MUST write. So I started writing again. And, I am so very glad I did. My characters are so special to me and writing more about them only increases my anticipation for the closure of their unique stories. This post will focus on my two favorite writing projects (aka- the two I couldn’t ever put down because I am emotionally attached to them 😉 . ) The Sheltered from the Storm Series and my single dystopian YA novel Watchful. So, on to Writing Right Now!

Sheltered from the Storm Series

 

I am literally in the middle of book three! I am so excited. I feel like my characters have crossed and ocean since book one. The biggest challenge I have faced so far (besides ruthlessly murdering one of my favorite characters and being depressed for a week) is figuring out how to make the first book a great starting book. I started writing it when I was 12 or 13 –and my writing style and concept of the idea is much different. Here’s a little summary of each book so far:

The Robin’s Storm

TRS
The Robin’s Storm, SFTS series book 1.

I am pretty much considering re-writing this book and doing my very best to make it fit with the other two books. It will be discouraging and difficult, I have no doubt. And I am not terribly thrilled about it. But here’s the basic plot of the story.

  1. Anna and Ross (siblings) live in the country of Cantavia and are Christians.
  2. Evil men kidnap Ross.
  3. Anna and friends go after him.
  4. They go to the capitol city trying to find Ross.
  5. They discover things are much more serious than they appear.
  6. The rest of the book is dedicated to many action sequences and events that occur.

It sounds very simple, right? I can’t believe I just summarized it so very quickly. But trust me–it’s not as boring or simple as it sounds. I’m trying not to spoil all the middle (and most important) stuff. Did you notice I didn’t mention why Ross (who is 12, BTW.) was kidnapped? Why would they want a young boy? And who kidnapped him in the first place? And what are the serious things Anna and friends discovered? Who is/are the villain(s) (you have to have one of those!) and what do they want? See what I mean? There’s a whole lot more that I don’t want to spill right now. Here’s one of my favorite scenes which will probably utterly confuse you :p .

“There they are!”

She exclaims enthusiastically. I follow her as if in a dream. Soon I’m standing close to Tin.

 

“Ahh…so you are finally here! And you both look charming. I claim the first dance-s.”

Tin slurs his words purposefully. I shiver. Oh, great, dance with Tin? What could possibly be worse?  I look at our group. Beckym, Bennor, Ellis, and Tin are outfitted in tuxedos- each a different color. None of them are overly brightly colored. Except Tin’s, which is bright pink.

 

“To the dance room!”

Tin orders taking the lead. My stomach turns as we walk. That elevator was designed to annihilate people’s stomachs. Ross will be there, as will all the other victims. Funny that the victims are allowed to do whatever they please tonight- except leave. Because tomorrow- they will probably all be dead. Lord, please don’t let Ross be one of them!

 

“What a beautiful room!”

Sarah exclaims loudly. She’s doing a wonderful job acting, while I’m doing dreadfully. Then I look up. The sight takes my breath away. Flowers…real flowers, everywhere. No portraits of victims or photos taken from the Purging. No rabid animals’ mouths dripping with human blood. Just flowers. Then I look around. Oh no. People, lots of people. Women stand by chatting- looking perfectly (revolting)…fake. Men in tuxedos. Then a dance floor. Couples whirling to the music. Tin shinnies up to me and whispers in my ear:

 

“Remember the plan.”

The plan? Oh…right. The whole reason we’re here. The plan is really quite simple. The first person to find Ross will bring him to me, we will dance, I will tell him the plan. Then he will go with Tin- who will hand him over to Beckym and Ellis- and they will take him to a friend of Ellis’s. Ellis’s friend is arranging to have Ross escorted to the safety of people who will protect him for Dad’s sake. How they will get past security- I don’t know. And I don’t want to think about it. All I really know is that Tin will get Sarah and I out of here somehow- to the safety Ellis and Beckym seem so confident in. After that, who knows? I don’t care all that much, just so long as Ross gets to freedom. Then Tin speaks again- but to the group this time.

 

“Blend in.”

Yeah, great. Where should I go? Refreshment tables line the walls. Perfect. That should work. I make my way slowly (and, I hope, sophisticatedly) to the drink table. I ladle a glass out for myself and drink the liquid. The cold feels good on my stomach.

 

“Hello.”

Says a pleasant voice behind me. I jump, wheel around, and right myself. A hint of amusement flickers in the stranger’s eyes. He wears a little black pin on his tuxedo. Oh, he’s a victim. The realization hits me.

 

“Sorry if I startled you.”

He apologizes.

 

“Oh, no harm done…I jump rather easily. What is your name?”

I ask.

 

“Barak Osbourne. I’m afraid I haven’t the pleasure of your name though.”

He points out. Oh, my manners are so awful! Sarah would’ve done this so perfectly.

 

“I’m sorry. I’m uh- Elisabeth Rhodes. It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Osbourne.”

I use the agreed-on name. Finally, I’m starting to get the hang of this.

 

“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Rhodes. Would you care to dance?”

He asks politely. I panic inwardly. This was NOT part of the plan, what do I do now? Then I remember Tin’s words: ‘blend in’.

 

“It would be a pleasure, Mr. Osbourne.”

I reply graciously.  The stranger, (Barak, I remind myself) leads me to the dance floor with an easy grace. The music begins. Slow, freestyle, but Barak isn’t dancing close. He’s obviously doing the leading…but he makes me more comfortable. I begin to relax. He begins to converse quietly.

 

“Tell me, Miss Rhodes, if you were in my shoes, what would your reaction be?”

The question catches me by surprise. My reaction, to being a victim? Should I trust him?

 

“Horror.”

I answer, after a moment’s hesitation.

 

“You think as we think. Only a few of us want to be victims and are excited about the Purging tomorrow.”

Tomorrow! Ross, where are you? Then he lowers his voice to a whisper:

 

“Many of us are Christians, Miss Rhodes; we aren’t worried about where we’ll go if we die. We have been purchased by Christ…”

By Christ…he’s a Christian? Or is he trying to trick me?

 

“Don’t get me wrong- we still pray for deliverance. We pray specifically for a certain kind of deliverance…Anna.”

I nearly scream, but catch myself just in time.

 

“How do you know…?”

I whisper, all my precautions out the door. Barak silences me with a quick motion which could have been part of the dance. The music ends- Barak bows, and I curtsy.

 

“I enjoyed our dance, Miss Rhodes,”

He says, and then he adds quietly:

 

“Don’t be afraid to do the necessary.”

Then, he’s gone. Just as if that never happened. How did he know? I still feel shaken when I feel a tap on my shoulder. Having learned better- I turn around slowly. I turn around to find Bennor and…

 

“Ross!”

I whisper.

 

“Are you sure this is my sister?”

Ross asks Bennor with a twinkle in his eye. Of course it’s still me! The very notion of makeup and a fancy dress changing who someone is…!

 

“Yes, it is. But I hardly recognize her myself.”

Bennor and Ross laugh. This is no time to be fooling around! Then Bennor whispers:

 

“There’s been a slight change of plans. We’re taking Ross right to Tin, and then you and Sarah are coming with me.”

 

“Okay, let’s go!”

Let’s get out of here, FOREVER! As I pass Ross I whisper a hasty ‘goodbye, I love you’. But Ross actually tears up and says:

 

“Love you, Anna, be safe.”

Be safe? You’re the one who’ll be in the most danger. But it’s sweet of him anyway.

Do forgive all the adverbs (evidence that this is ‘beautifully’ unedited).

The Robin’s Flight

The Robin's Flight
The Robin’s Flight, SFTS series book 2.

This book is much more polished than the first. I think when I picked it up my style and everything has really matured. But again, basic plot:

  1. Starts by reintroducing us to some of the main characters.
  2. Anna lives in a new place that is hidden. A Christian community lives there as well.
  3. She is on the safety squad which attempts to keep the Christians semi-‘safe’.
  4. Something (not saying what) happens that makes them have to flee.
  5. All the rest focuses on all the events that transpire afterward. The main one is that Anna has to consider leaving her beloved country (again, avoiding the reason why.).
  6. Etc. 🙂

None of the scenes in this book are typed out as of yet, so it would take too long to write it here. From here on out- the books are only handwritten on lined notebook paper. Sorry!

IMG_3066.JPG

The Robin’s Freedom

The Robin's Freedom
The Robin’s Freedom, SFTS series book 3.

This is the final book in this trilogy. What, it’s a trilogy? Yep. But–I thought there were FOUR books! There are. Or will be. But I see the first three as being directly together, and the last one as being all on it’s own. The reason for that is it occurs several years after this last book (I won’t be updating you on book 4, because there’s nothing to report on there.). Basic plot? Here ya’ go!

  1. Picks up almost directly from the end of the 2nd book.
  2. People begin to seek recruits for the war (What, didn’t know there was a war? I know–I didn’t mention it 🙂 .).
  3. Battles occur. (you still don’t know any of this middle stuff, or even what the conflict is about!)
  4. People die. (my depression)
  5. There’s a romantic interest. (one really can’t avoid it–only reduce the cheese.) I’m trying to make it as unsappy and realistic as possible while still making it sweet.
  6. All the rest. Major climax. What happens? Etc.
  7. IT ALL ENDS HERE! (what ends here? Well, maybe you should be a beta reader if you’re interested 😉 .)

IMG_3068.JPG

 

Watchful

amazonjungle

 

I will spare you the synopsis which you can find here if you really want it. But the basis plot is about this:

  1. Jessica Graye is sent to IUIB (Institute for Unusually Intelligent Beings) to be schooled.
  2. She meets many new friends, but is distrustful of the school from the beginning.
  3. She has a gift which she is forced to hide because of her growing distrust of the school.
  4. She graduates and is assigned to be secretary to someone.
  5. Many things happen in the middle.
  6. Infinity. Dramatic ending. Etc.

Sorry, really basic–again! Here’s a scene I like.

“All newly-arrived students are requested to meet at the briefing hall in an hour. Those who fail to appear will be found and forced to spend the day with the precariots.” The order just plays over and over. Soon, Prisl and I are getting annoyed.

“You’d think we would’ve gotten the message by now.” I comment, brushing a speck of lint off my uniform.

“No kidding. We must be idiots.” Prisl adds, rolling her eyes. I laugh a little. Prisl and I are already rather good friends. And we’ve known each other for one afternoon, and about two hours this morning. It must be that we both tend to be somewhat sarcastic. Prisl has her hair done so fast it’s not even funny. Her red hair is so short; all she must do is brush it. When it’s my turn to use the mirror- I just stand there, uncertain.

“Never done your own hair?” Prisl asks.

“I um- I have,” I hesitate.

“Just never in front of a mirror.” I finish.

“Oh.” she sidles closer to me.

“I’ve never looked in a mirror much before.”

“Well then, let’s make this a first.” She smiles a little and hands me my brush from the nightstand.

****

I finger my hair, and shift my weight from one foot to the next. Someone taps my shoulder from behind. I turn in surprise. Garth stands there.

“When’s this thing gonna’ start?” he asks, voicing the thought we must all have.

“How would I know?” I respond.

“Sleep okay?” is his next question.

“Yes, great. You?” I fire back.

“Well, I suppose. Felt a little less comfortable on the beds here. Hard as rocks. Rather sleep on the ground.” He answers.

“I didn’t notice.” I say in an innocent tone.

“You wouldn’t.” he says. That’s for sure; I’m not too concerned about physical comfort.

“Let’s get closer, Jess.” Prisl says, appearing at my side. Garth gets a funny look on his face. When Prisl sees him- she extends her hand.

“Prisl Smith, from Beacon.” She introduces herself.

“Garth Williams, from Vigor.” He says, standing up taller and smoothing his words noticeably.

“Nice to meet you. You’re Jess’s friend?”

“Yes, from childhood, in fact.” He answers, still smoothing out his in general rough speech.

“That’s nice. Would you like to join us in the front?” Prisl asks.

“Thanks, but no. My friend Michael and I are gonna’ stand over by the speakers.” He looks at me when he says this, as if realizing that I’m still here. I frown, trying to push down the feeling that even now- I am losing my friend. I am losing Garth. Soon we are standing up front balancing on tiptoe. A woman in grey pants and shirt looks down at us without any expression.

“Welcome to the Institute for Unusually Intelligent Beings. You are here because your parents saw potential in you. Or because they thought they saw potential in you.”

“Encouraging, isn’t she?” Prisl whispers. I nod.

“This school is here to separate the intelligent from the average. In the next few months, you will all be placed under rigorous training to test your abilities. If at any time during that period, you experience anything unusual- you are to report at once to the Capital ward. Once there, you will be tested. If you pass that testing, you will receive special training- and then become a true capital. Are there any questions?” the woman’s eyes scan the curious faces around her. One girl raises her hand.

“I was wondering what a ‘Capital’ is?”

“A ‘Capital’ is a rating. If you have a gift, you are given the rating of ‘Capital’.” She answers.

“A gift?” I am almost surprised to hear my own voice. The woman turns on me with a steeled and measured gaze.

“A gift can be anything from very strong to unusually smart. It can be something not seen in other humans. We have not discovered all the possibilities now. That is part of the point of this school. To find gifts and evaluate them, to test people and see what we can do for the rest of the world with those gifts.” At last her gaze drops from my face. I feel relieved. For some reason, this woman’s words don’t ring true to me. Prisl pokes me.

“Hey, that was creepy! She was just staring at you.” I don’t answer.

“Any other questions?” the lady asks, glancing down at her clipboard.

“What other ratings are there, and what does it take to get them?” A tall young man asks.

“The ratings are Capitals, Tributaries, and Precariots.” Prisl nudges me at this point. She whispers in my ear:

“That’s what came over the loudspeakers. Precariot isn’t a nice word either. Doesn’t it mean like, lowest of the low?” I nod. I also nudge her hard as the lady keeps on talking…

“The Capitals are those with gifts, the Tributaries are those who do not have gifts, and they serve the Capitals when their training is complete. The Precariots, on the other hand—are nothing. They have no gifts and are neither smart nor helpful. They do all the menial tasks for the school. They must obey the commands of both Capitals and Tributaries. Their jobs include sanitation and deep cleaning. I would not recommend facing off with Capitals or school leaders, as this sort of behavior has gotten many into the Precariot position. I regret to inform you that the time for questions is up. Good evening and wisdom go with you.”

After the Q and A, everyone leaves the Briefing Hall, which I have concluded is just a huge room. For some reason, I can’t shake this feeling of anxiety. Something about this place just rubs me all wrong. Prisl is already good at reading me and is quick to suggest a little detour back to our room. Her suggestion is confusing, but I allow her to drag me down several flights of stairs. She comes to a complete stop in front of a grey door which looks a lot like the entrance to a lab.

Unedited. Sorry!

IMG_3072.JPG

IMG_3070.JPG

I am making slow but sure progress on this book and am really enjoying it in all it’s dystopian glory. If you don’t know the definition of a dystopian novel here’s a basic one:

“Dystopian literature is a genre of fictional writing used to explore social and political structures in ‘a dark, nightmare world.’ The term dystopia is defined as a society characterized by poverty, squalor or oppression and the theme is most commonly used in science fiction and speculative fiction genres.”

Thanks for letting me ramble! This has been a fun journey for me to take, and it only gets more exciting. Sorry for the length of this post! 😦 🙂

~Emmaline