“The Song of the Wandering Aengus” By WB Yeats Inspires Audrey

The Song of Wandering Aengus © Copyright William Butler Yeats, 1899. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the Creative Commons License.

The Song of Wandering Aengus © Copyright William Butler Yeats, 1899. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the Creative Commons License.

Maidens of the Sea

Summer break should be devoted to something big. Not like photographing every sunset, finding the perfect shade of nail polish, or seeing how many times you can watch The Fault in Our Stars and still cry big, but something really important. Like finding out what happened to Vanity Harrison.

I was two weeks into break and no closer to the truth, halfheartedly studying her house with my grandfather’s faded binoculars through a break in my curtains, my feet dangling off my bed, Fatty Fred happily purring on my back as he cut my lung capacity in half, when Mrs. Harrison drove up her circular driveway in the red convertible looking more like a Hollywood ingenue than a grieving mother had any right to. She parked in front of the elaborate Greek columns lining the exterior of the entryway and went inside. Just like normal. Just like she had everyday since she woke up and found Vanity gone.

“Gah! This is pointless, Fred.” I rested my chin on the edge of the bed, my arms hanging like weeping willow branches to the floor, and dropped the binoculars on the ground. I wanted to turn over and stare dejectedly at the ceiling, but I was at Fred’s mercy and he seemed pretty comfortable for the moment.

There was a soft knocking on my door before my dad pushed it open. I rolled my eyes. Luckily, he could only see my feet and Fatty Fred.

“Hey, honey.”

“Dad, you’re supposed to wait after you knock. What if I was naked?”

“It’s 10:30 in the morning. Why would you be naked?”

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“The Song of Wandering Aengus” by WB Yeats Inspires Anne

The Song of Wandering Aengus © Copyright William Butler Yeats, 1899. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the Creative Commons License.

The Song of Wandering Aengus © Copyright William Butler Yeats, 1899. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the Creative Commons License.

Paper Goblins

Japanese tradition says when you finish folding one thousand paper cranes your wish comes true.

I’m only half-Japanese. I plan on folding two thousand cranes to be double sure my wish will come true: that Colten will fall madly in love with me. It’s not because we’ve been thrown against each other since he moved here in second grade. Sure, alphabetically Colten Adams always sat next to me, Piper Allen, in class, but that’s not the reason. It’s because he’s stormy-eyed and swollen-lipped. Sharp-cheeked and soft-spoken. He’s the most beautiful boy in all of Portland. No! In the entire world.

I want him to notice me before he falls for someone else, and I’m tired of waiting around for him.

When Bachan bought me dozens of packets of beautiful, colored rice paper at the Cherry Blossom Festival. She told me she’d folded a thousand cranes back in Miyako, met Ojichan, and the rest is history.

It’s time I folded myself a little history.

* * *

336 cranes are tucked into a shoebox under my bed when I find out through the gossip chain that Colten asked Harlow Rivers to homecoming.

“She’s not even that pretty,” I complain, folding over my math quiz diagonally.

As my friends poke lettuce and cucumbers around on their plates or sip at diet drinks, I crease the bottom strip and wet it with my tongue, tearing away the rectangle shape to give me a nice square to work with.

Veronica Wiseman — best friend and enemy since pre-school —nudges my shoulder. “Harlow’s really nice, Pipe. She let me copy her history notes this week.”

“I love Harlow,” says Molly. Molly Larkin loves everyone, bless her. She comes from a family of thirteen, and they all get along. It’s how cults get started, I’m sure of it. “I don’t even care. She’s super nice and super smart.”

I ignore them both to fold and crease, fold and crease. If I finish these cranes faster, maybe Colten will forget about Harlow by winter break. Maybe he’ll notice me.

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“Song of Wandering Aengus” by WB Yeats Inspires Jen

The Song of Wandering Aengus © Copyright William Butler Yeats, 1899. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the Creative Commons License.

The Song of Wandering Aengus © Copyright William Butler Yeats, 1899. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the Creative Commons License.

The Hunt

The night of the Hunt we always stole away, Mica and I, just in case. Most stayed with their families to say goodbye in case the glow started, but we stuck together. The elixir lingered on my tongue, heavy and sickly sweet like molasses. My hands shook as I waited for my veins to glow white, or not.

Mica bit into an apple he stole, keen to get the taste of the damning elixir out of his mouth. He tossed the fruit to me. It was crisp and light, one of the best I’d had here. We waited for the glow. It should have only taken a few minutes.

“Don’t worry about me,” he said.

“I always worry.”

“I know, so do I.” His brown eyes were made black by the slivered moon above us. Then he kissed me and I forgot everything, and we ended up a sticky mess of Macintosh nectar and summer heat.

I’ve worried every month since this deal was struck. This was the price we paid for the protection of the Headers. They get to hunt us like dogs once a month, and we get to sleep in the protection of the city away from the demons rising from the ashes outside the untouchable dome of Nacht. They would kill three people tonight, chosen by the elixir we all just drank. Drink the placebo and you can go home, but drink elixir and your veins spark like fireworks. That’s when you start running. It’s a sport.

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