Saturday, June 27, 2015

Stolen: A Letter to my Captor by Lucy Christopher

It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.

Source for synopsis and image:

Overall Review:
    This really isn’t normally the kind of book I’d read. It’s not that I’m opposed to books with darker topics, but I’m usually pretty hesitant to read books that are written in letter form. It’s not really the style I’d prefer, so I probably wouldn’t have chosen to read this book on my own. But I asked one of my friends from school (not Kalee) for a recommendation of something to read, and she immediately started raving about this amazing book she was reading. She insisted that I read it so that we could talk about it after, and I did, and it was . . . definitely not what I expected.
    The storyline is supposed to be about a girl who gets kidnapped and taken to the Australian Outback. It’s kind of a darker topic, but I think that Lucy Christopher handled it fairly well.
    When I started this book, I expected it to be this totally scary, creepy book about what happens when a girl is kidnapped by some scary, creepy guy. I expected it to be dark and kind of hard to get through at times. But although some aspects of it were definitely unsettling, I found myself feeling a lot more conflicted about the storyline than I expected to feel.
    A lot of times, TV shows and books show things like this in black and white: kidnapping = horrible. Kidnappers = disgusting. Kidnappers going to jail = great, end-of-story, everything-wrapped-up-in-a-nice-little-bow perfect. And although I don’t necessarily disagree with this philosophy, this book gave me more mixed feelings than other storylines using this concept usually do. I had a hard time seeing the “bad guy” as a bad guy (lol that reminds me of Wreck-It Ralph--“. . . you are bad guy, but this does not mean you are bad guy”). I kind of felt for him even though I wanted to hate him for this awful thing that he did.
Maybe it’s because he truly believed that he was doing the right thing. Maybe it’s because the main character didn’t even really know what to think of him. I don’t know. But I think it’s really impressive that the author could make a seemingly obviously bad person seem like a not-so-bad person after all.
After I finished the book, I was still feeling conflicted about the book. I wasn’t really sure what to think. I didn’t feel satisfied--even though I probably would have if the storyline wasn’t so debatable. It does make for good discussion, though. Maybe if Kalee reads it, then we can write a post that discusses our opinions on the book.
The book definitely made a lasting impression on me, so that’s good. I was thinking about it long after I’d finished. And the letter form of the story turned out to be a really good fit for the type of book it was.
The main character was decent. She seemed nice enough, and she was pretty brave.
. . . that’s pretty much all I remember about her. She wasn’t really the most intriguing person, in my opinion. But she was strong, mentally and (I guess?) physically. So I liked her okay.
In conclusion, although the book didn’t necessarily leave me satisfied, it was definitely an interesting and surprising read. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes books that really make them think. Maybe book clubs, too. It’s interesting to talk about with your friends (is that what people do at book clubs? I’m just assuming . . . I’ve never been part of one).
Sorry this review wasn’t really enthusiastic, but I didn’t feel very strongly about it one way or another. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t absolutely love it either. It was interesting and something to think about, but I’m not sure I’d read it again. Still, I don’t regret giving it a try.
Thanks for reading,
JC <3

P.S. Sorry we haven’t really been posting. :)

P.P.S. Do you guys have any suggestions for more reviews?

P.P.P.S. Shucks, I forgot the rating again. I’d give this book a 7.8 out of 10. Not bad, but not amazing. Okay, thanks for reading (again), and bye (for real this time)!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jurassic World

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor's interest, which backfires horribly.

Source for synopsis and image:

    "Life will find a way." Words can't explain how excited was for this movie. I first saw Jurassic Park when I was eight and was addicted to them since. Although I wasn't there when it was first released and I didn't feel the amazement of the crowd, this movie still struck me as beyond amazing. The CGI and the animatronics are still many times better than some of the movies we see now. I absolutely loved this movie and everything that came with it. From the characters to the music, everything was astounding. So along with many other people, I was afraid when I heard about Jurassic World.
    Jurassic World embodies the spirit of Jurassic Park nicely, but doesn't surpass its original. It is still a movie worth seeing and, I'm glad to say, stands by the earlier movies nicely. The use of the old Jurassic Park soundtrack was great. I especially love the slow version of the theme (which can also be heard in the trailer). When they revealed the whole park to the viewers and played the Jurassic Park music in the back, I got the feels, haha. The CGI was pure eye candy for anyone. You could see the texture on each of the dinosaurs. However, I do wish they didn't show the aquatic dinosaur (I forget its name) during the trailer. It would have been a nice surprise, because I had not expected there to be any aquatic dinosaurs. But other than aquatic dino and the hybrid (Indominus Rex) there were no new dinosaurs. At least none that I saw. The science behind the dinosaurs was great, too.
    The way the directors approached the science in the beginning was very intriguing. They would give you a whole chunk of information and then flash you with the mega awesome dinosaurs. It was like they were trying to appease the skeptics and the dinosaur lovers at the same time. They were trying to make sure that no one party got too bored. Admittedly, I did get a little bored during the exposition part. The explanations they gave did make sense. I sort of miss the simplicity of the explanations from the old movies. Taking blood from a trapped mosquito was a simple idea that could be grasped by a reader of any age. The training velociraptors part was well done. I thought it would be kind of weird, but somehow they made it work. I felt there was a genuine connection between Owen (Chris Pratt) and the raptors. The casting was great, too.
    Each of the actors played their part very well considering that it's not that easy to stare at air and pretend it's a dinosaur. Did I mention BD Wong returned? I didn't realize he was the only returnee until my Dad and Friend (not JC) mentioned it. It was cool, though. All the throwbacks (some subtle, some not so much) were very nice. I would have really really liked it if some of the old characters at least made a cameo appearance. Now to compare it to the old movies...
    Jurassic World was not as good as Jurassic Park. It didn't really give me that moment of, "Wow that's really amazing." It was also lacking something that I can't mention due to spoilers. I will say it didn't really make me feel emotions besides scared though. Oh, and a bit off topic, but I would like to apologize to JC for talking so much about the movie on the ride home.

    When a friend of ours suggested that we go see Jurassic World, I was a little worried because I’d never seen the Jurassic Park movies. I thought that I’d be confused the entire time. But fortunately, this wasn’t the case. Everything was fairly well-explained, and save from a few references to the old movies, Jurassic World could easily be considered a solid stand-alone movie.
    I’m not really the kind of person who loves action movies. I don’t mind them, but I’m honestly more of a chick flick kind of movie-goer. But I have to admit that Jurassic World was very impressive. It was exciting, it was smart, and it was touching in more ways than one.
    One great part of the movie was that it had an amazing cast. Each of the actors and actresses were well-matched to their roles, and they were amazing at showing the depth and dimension in their characters.
    I also really enjoyed, as I mentioned before, the emotional moments. Lessons were learned, people were brought together, and animals were adorable. They were scary, sure. But they were adorable. And the graphics were amazing, but I’m sure that Kalee already mentioned that, since that was what she was all excited about when we went to see it.
    As much as I enjoy drama, I really love comic relief. I also really love New Girl, so when Jake Johnson appeared on the screen, I was, like, internally pumping my fist and all “Yes, yes, yes, NICK!” He was pretty funny in the movie, and even Bryce Dallas Howard, who played Claire, was fairly amusing. And man, could that lady run in heels. And I’m talking sprinting--none of this jogging business. I was so impressed--with those heels, I’d probably fall on my face after two steps.
    The action was top-notch, the graphics were breathtaking, and the acting was amazing. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who . . . breathes, basically. There was something for everyone in this film. Well, I suppose I wouldn’t recommend it to little kids who are easily frightened. The dinosaurs were a little scary.
In conclusion, this movie made me eager to see the Jurassic Park films--and anything else that Spielberg cooks up.
(And Kalee, it’s all good. I appreciated the ride.)

This next part is for those of you who enjoyed our review and/or would like to learn more about the movie. Warning: *SPOILER ALERT!*
We are going to try to avoid spoilers, but there will be some.

Kalee: The plot is that the hybrid dinosaur, the Indominus Rex is genetically engineered. It is super smart and dangerous. The way they explained the engineering and the dino herself was great. If I remember correctly, this movie took a decade to come out because Steven Spielberg was unsatisfied with the blend of science and action of the script. Just a note, we were one of those crazy people who saw the movie on the opening day... We were just too busy to make a review.
JC: I liked the plot. Since I’d never watched Jurassic Park, Jurassic World was like nothing I’d ever seen in the theatres before. Though throughout the movie (since I’m very easily distracted), I kept thinking that it was kind of like Journey to the Center of the Earth, even though the main ideas were completely different. But overall, I thought the plot was original and clever and very well thought-out.
Kalee: It was a bit slow in the beginning though. The Jurassic Park movies are kind of known for having a fast movie plot and story. There is always some sort of action going on and going to happen. It took a while for anything to get exciting. There were pockets of excitement, but understand that the directors believed that they had to explain the science of it.
JC: You probably thought it was slow just because you didn’t need all the explanations, lol. So I suppose it was a little slow compared to the rest of the movie, but I thought that the way they explained everything was intriguing. The soundtrack helped a lot, too, to make what they were saying sound interesting instead of boring. I did think that there were a few random, unnecessary side plots that I guess were meant to give some of the characters depth and whatever, but I just didn’t really see the point of them.
Kalee: I think the side plots that had to do with trying to show that humans can be just as dangerous as the dinosaurs. (I heard it somewhere, but I can't remember where).
JC: Well, I didn’t really mean those plots, like the guy with his whole military thing and whatever. I thought that was interesting. But I just meant the whole thing with the boys’ parents fighting, and with . . . well, that’s basically it. The whole divorce thing seemed kind of out of nowhere. But that’s kind of my whole problem with it. Nothing else.
Kalee: Hmm, I see what you're saying. Do you think it took too long for the dinosaur to get loose?
JC: Um . . . not really. I liked how they did that, with the whole tricky tricky dino stuff.
Kalee: I do have to ask, what happened to the dinosaurs that lived on the island earlier? Did they find a way to round them all up? Were they the same dinosaurs from the first one? It also feels like they didn't really learn anything from the first movies haha.
JC: I can’t really answer that . . . viewers? Does anyone know? And I agree that everyone was pretty . . . not so smart. At least in the beginning. Except for Owen and that other trainer guy, of course.
Kalee: Overall, I would give the plot a 9.5 out of 10.
JC: I’d give the same. :)

Kalee: I liked the characters. I thought that they were all strong and there was positive development.
JC: Yeah, me too. I thought that the actors/actresses were well-matched to their roles. I also thought that the relationships (aunt-nephew, brother-brother, etc.) were portrayed really well and the actors/actresses were well-matched to each other.
Kalee: I liked Chris Pratt, who played Owen. He played a very convincing character. In my opinion, one of the best relationships in the movie was between him and his raptors, haha.
JC: Yeah, that was so cute. And I just have to mention it--Jake Johnson is the best. There. I said it.
Kalee: Who is this Jake Johnson?
JC: He’s Nick from New Girl, but he played the dorky camera control dude with the figurines in the movie.
Kalee: Oh, him. I may be incorrect but I thought I saw the book that Ian Malcolm mentioned in the second movie. I might be wrong though. Maybe he didn't even write a book, but I thought if that was it, then that was a nice little touch. One thing I didn't like was that there was no major character deaths. I didn't feel a lot of emotion throughout the movie. Jurassic Park had a lot of deaths and the characters that died were actually likeable characters.
JC: That wasn’t such a major problem with me . . . As you probably know, I’m kind of a happy-ending kind of person.
Kalee: I like it when you have one those, "Oh, no my favorite character just died," moments. It makes the movie feel more real.
JC: Difference between you and me, my friend. Character deaths don’t necessarily ruin the movie for me or anything, but it makes me kind of not want to watch it again because I know that they die in the end, and I don’t really see the point. But that’s just sometimes.
Kalee: Hmmm, yeah. I guess I kind of expected it after watching the other movies. I thought the brother duo was nice. I like older bro, little bro relationships.  
JC: Yeah, that was cute. I thought both brothers were portrayed really well, and they had great chemistry together.
Kalee: What about the main love interest in the movie? Their relationship was kind of cliche but it worked.
JC: I liked their relationship because it was entertaining to watch how frustrated Owen was getting with Claire. It was kind of an amusing relationship that made me want them to end up together. The one thing I didn’t like was Owen’s last line in the movie. It was kind of badly delivered . . . or maybe it was just badly written. Either way, it was badly something. I thought the last line could’ve been stronger, to say the least.
Kalee: I would give the characters an 9 out of 10. I kind of miss the sense of amazement the old characters gave on screen, but I should stop comparing it to the old movie.
JC: I’d give an 9.3. Onward!

THE CONCLUSION: (spoilers here)
Kalee: I didn't expect the T-Rex to come back. Now that I think about it it was really kind of cliche, but I still didn't expect it.
JC: I didn’t watch the previous movies (which you probably already know since I’ve mentioned it only about a billion gazillion times), but I still felt the . . . nostalgia, I guess? Because I could tell (maybe it was the music, or Claire’s dramatic realization that she had a plan that could work, or . . . idk, something) that the T-Rex was a big part of the previous movies even though I’ve never watched them. (Kalee, the T-Rex was a big part of the previous movies, right? ‘Cause if not . . . that was a really dramatic and incorrect paragraph I’ve just written.)
Kalee: He was the main enemy besides the velociraptors, which were crazy smart. He was like the ultimate dino at the end and it was pretty cool. I got the chills, haha. When I saw the Indominus Rex next to the aquatic dinosaurs exhibit I kind of could guess what was going to happen.
JC: Oh, my gosh, I loved that last part. The aquatic dinosaur was such a small part of the movie until the very end, and I (since Kalee’s obviously the smart one) didn’t expect the aquatic dinosaur to make an appearance at all.
Kalee: I really wanted to see that aquatic dinosaur more in the movie. I really wanted to learn more about it and see more like that one. It felt very unique.
JC: Yeah, I think that that was my favorite dinosaur after the velociraptors. What about you?
Kalee: I liked all of the little references, but I thought the whole park itself was really great. It felt massive and the visuals were beyond stunning.  
JC: . . . no favorite dinosaurs, then?
Kalee: Nah, they were all cool. Sorry, I kind of missed her question the first time.
JC: Okiedokie.
Kalee: The final line was pretty bad though.  
JC: Very. Okay. So what’s your rating of the conclusion? I’d give an 8.9.
Kalee: Me, too and JC, next time you come over, we are watching Jurassic Park. It doesn't feel like an old movie at all.
JC: Lol, okay, fine. Sooo, what do you guys (viewers) think? Was the movie good (if you watched it)? And do you have any other suggestions for book, movie, video game, or whatever else reviews?

Overall Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Kalee and JC

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Future of the Blossom

My sister wanted to make a guest post! Please visit her story~

Future of the Blossom
by Ninja_Bunnies


Sakura , a normal girl was living the perfect life until she found a girl in her room claiming to be from the future. Not only that, they look exactly alike! Read Sakura's story as she finds the truth.
A girl, no older than 15 sat in a tree, staring blankly at the world around her. A small birth mark was visible on her palm as she twisted a exotic ring on her finger . Moonlight reflected off her hair as she gracefully jumped down from the tree. Her feet hit the dry, bare ground with a soft thud. Her once gray eyes were now tinted a red color, with tears threatening to fall over again. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she walked north where a lake lay.
The girl faced the water. It was still clear unharmed by whatever disaster had taken the green life earlier. A single white fish swam around in it. A sign maybe? That hope might be near? She took one look around the area and made her decision.
“I’ll change everything,” she whispered, tears now rolling down her cheek. She extended her arm out in front of her and the ring glowed a soft purple. It continued growing brighter until the light was blinding. Once the light died down the ring was gone and the girl with it.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Super Smash Bros. Wii Game

Hey, everyone! We decided to review a game instead of our usual book and movie reviews because . . . well, just because. Anyway, we’re going to review the Super Smash Bros. Wii game :) Hope you enjoy (We took pictures . . . hehe)!

JC: So Kalee will be doing most of the reviewing. I’m kind of just here to comment on how hard this game was for me--basically just because I am really, really, really awful at video games.
Kalee: To be honest, I didn't want to buy the Wii U version of this game. We had the version for the regular Wii and I got bored of it pretty quickly. My sister and Dad however continued to play this game. We did get it for Christmas though. I would like to start off by saying I am no where near a competitive or pro player. I apologize in advance if I mess up some of the terminology. I don't mean to offend any gamers out there.
JC: So apparently, I’ve played it before (though I don’t remember, which suggests that I didn’t like it very much), but I was still extremely terrible at this game. I had no idea which character was mine half the time, meaning that if I thought my character was on the left side of the screen, I would go right, but in actuality, my character was on the right side of the screen, meaning that going right caused me to fall to my death. So it’s needless to say that I was not extremely helpful on the online version.
Kalee: One improvement from the old version is that you can play online. This feature is pretty fun and amusing. It is very very amusing. I enjoyed listening to my sister yell, "Sniper Pit," as she sniped people during sudden death. You can also communicate by changing your username. As much as Nintendo tries, they were not able to censor everything. The additional characters were fun to play as well. JC played as Wii Fit Trainer most of the time. We got really close to winning against people who were driving us nuts.
JC: Her ponytail looked EXACTLY like mine.
Kalee: Haha, yeah it kind of does. I enjoyed the new characters added into this game, but also missed a few that were not included. I'm a huge Fire Emblem fan and was quite happy when Robin and Lucina were confirmed. It would have been nice if a certain other character *cough Chrom cough* was added, but too many characters from the same game is obviously unfair. You might miss the Pokemon Trainer though. There were clone characters however, such as Pit and Dark Pit. The gameplay mechanics were very similar to the other game. The graphics were quite nice and improved. (Oh and feet) How were the game play mechanics to you, JC?
JC: . . . Game play mechanics?
Kalee: You press the button to attack or defend, haha. Was it easy to figure out how to use different moves?
JC: Oh. Well, it would’ve probably been easier if SOMEONE had told me how to use it, but alas, I was on my own, and I am not very technology-savvy, so I didn’t really get it. All I knew was that pressing the 1 button would make the Wii Fit Trainer throw a soccer ball, and pressing the 2 button made her do a weird yoga pose that somehow hurt the person you used it on. I didn’t really get what the other characters did with each button, probably because there was so much going on at once. Plus I was just really confused for no reason.
Kalee: I would have enjoyed more characters and courses. There were fewer of them.'s the big thing they missed: there was no subspace emissary. Super Smash is a way to get a mega crossover, which are awesome.
JC: For all of us non-gamer people out there, what’s subspace emissary and mega crossover?
Kalee: It was a mode in the game that was more of a story mode. The characters interacted to meet a common goal. The story wasn't really present, but it was still cool. It made the game feel bigger. It was cool. A mega crossover is just a giant crossover.
JC: Still don’t really get the mega crossover thing.
Kalee: Each character comes from a different game. So when all the characters meet is called a crossover. For example, imagine that the characters from umm... (I think it was) Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries met up in an episode. That's a crossover. Doesn't it sound cool?
JC: Oh, they actually do have those on TV (That’s So Suite Life of Hannah Montana, anyone?), but I didn’t realize that they’re basically the same thing. And good job remembering the names of the two awesomest shows in the universe. Though Vampire Diaries is kind of dying down. Anywho . . . yeah, a story mode would’ve been interesting to play. It’s too bad that they left it out.
Kalee: neeeeeeeeer, that's it I think.
JC: Let us know if there’s anything we didn’t cover :) Hope the review was helpful! I also hope that if you do get (or have) this game, you’re more successful than I was! Adios, everyone :) :) :)
P.S. Here's a few pics of the game --

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Collab Story 2

Hey, everyone! So here's the second part of our collab story :) Hope you enjoy it! If you've already read the first part, you can skip to Part Two. But if you haven't, you can just read from the beginning. Thanks!
Part One
"On the count of three."
Myra looked back at Elliot and I as she prepared to jump into The Pit. Only the heavens knew what lay in The Pit. For all we knew, we were just about to jump into the gaping mouth of some sort of prehistoric monster. The Pit was just a giant, gaping hole in the Earth. If I had to guess, it was at least a hundred yards deep. I had no idea how Myra expected us to survive the fall, but when that insane girl got an idea in her head there was no stopping her.
“You’re insane,” Elliot said, his voice breathy and nervous. He was trembling a little, and his face was pale and sweaty. I couldn’t help but agree with him.
"Well," she yelled and turned around to face us again. "What do you smart alecks want to do? We have no other option. The cave underneath the sea was a bust. There was no mystical giant jewel or whatever the old man was talking about. This Pit, whether you like it or not, is our last hope."  
I grabbed Elliot’s hand. I hated the idea as much as he did, believe me. But Myra was right. We were desperate. And desperate times, after all, call for desperate measures. “She’s right, Elliot. We can’t . . .” My voice was shaky, so I cleared my throat. “We can’t just do nothing.”
Giving him no time to reply, I ran towards The Pit and jumped. The ground gave away to empty air and we were soon beyond the point of return. I squeezed Elliot's hand and closed my eyes. Myra had jumped, too, right?
I could barely hear the sound of Elliot’s screams as the wind rushed past my ears. It was weird. I had expected to be scared--I was terrified enough just staring into The Pit, and I hadn’t been able to imagine what it would feel like when we actually jumped. But I wasn’t afraid. Instead, I felt . . . almost peaceful--even as Elliot gripped my hand like his life depended on it.
I started feeling an incredible amount of pressure on my head. The world was turning topsy-turvy. What little lunch I had that day was ready to come back up. Then there was nothing. No feeling at all. I couldn't even feel the air rushing past me anymore.
Elliot was still screaming, tears dripping down his face. It seemed louder now that we were . . . what? Suspended? I looked around, sucking in air when I realized that everything--the falling pieces of rock from the crumbling walls of The Pit, Elliot, still flailing his arms and legs around, me--had stopped. Literally.
I sucked in my breath again. Frantically, I began to attempt to get Chicken’s--I mean Elliot's--attention. He turned to me eventually with his teeth firmly gritted together. "Does anything seem off to you? Like magic?" I asked. I turned back to look for Myra.
Elliot was still hyperventilating a bit, so I whacked him on the arm. “Where’s Myra, Elliot?” He shook his head, not answering. I grabbed his shoulder with the hand not holding his, wanting to get his attention but not willing to let him go for fear of letting him drift away into oblivion. “Elliot, focus. Where’s Myra?”
"Myra?" His gaze was unfocused. "Myra!" He looked around and, as expected, he didn't see any trace of the insane girl. Did she just leave us to die?
And then, and then -- poof. The world disappeared, giving way to darkness.

Part Two
It was a cool summer day and a gentle breeze brushed through the open windows. I sat at the edge of my couch with my legs propped up against a pillow. I turned the page of my book and listened to the gentle crinkling of old paper. I heard my brother, Elliot, watching TV in the back room and thought about what a peaceful, perfect day it was.
“Ilaria!” My mother’s shrill voice cut through the quiet. I roll my eyes, but when I don’t respond, she yells again. “Ilaria, I need you!”
I frowned. “Not now, Mom.” I was just getting to the exciting part of my book. It was the part where the brave heroine shot down the lurking monster that emerged from the pond. I read this book more times than I could remember, but it was still exciting.
“Ilaria!” Her voice sounds closer now, like she was heading my way. “Get your nose out of that book and come help me.” Her head pokes into the doorway. “Now.”
I saw a look of panic creeping over face. What could she be so worried about? Suddenly worried, I jumped up to follow her. She led me through the hallway to Elliot’s room. I passed pinned up portraits of our family. My favorite picture was the one of our happy little family at the beach. It was before our father left to fight in the war. Elliot was smiling brightly despite the fact that we knew our dad would be leaving the next day. When I entered his room, I jumped back in shock.
Elliot’s a sweet kid, only thirteen years old. He tries his best to stay off of everyone’s radar, keeps his head low. He gets consistently average grades--Bs and Cs, no As or Ds--just so that no attention is called to him. So you can imagine my surprise when I found my adorable little brother lounging on his bed, watching Animal Planet, with his shaggy, curly locks dyed bright green.
I gaped. "Elliot, your hair?! It's green!" I was at a loss for words. Why would someone so "normal" like him dye his hair such a noticeable shade of green? It wasn't even a nice shade either. My mom motioned towards my brother who was looking around in a confused manner.
My mother sighed. “You see?” she asked me. “Will you please do something about this?” I shook my head. What, exactly, am I supposed to do about this?
"But I don't... I don't remember...," he stuttered. Elliot cast me a desperate look, looking like a deer caught in a car's headlights. "I don't remember dyeing my hair. I have been sitting here watching Animal Planet for the past two hours!”
I glanced at my mom. She was shaking her head disapprovingly, casting expectant looks my way. She wasn’t going to be of any help. I sighed and approached Elliot slowly, like he was a lion that I’m trying to tame. “Elliot . . . what do you mean you don’t remember?”
"I didn't even notice until you pointed it out," he practically hollered. "Besides, why in the world would I do something like this?" My mom shook her head, exasperated. She obviously didn't believe him and neither did I.
I walked over to his bed and sat next to him. “Elliot, come on. You can tell me,” I said, casting a pointed glance at my mother. She sighed again but nodded and left the room anyway, her high heels clopping against the hardwood floors. I listened for her footsteps to fade away before turning back to my little brother. “Why did you do this? Are you . . . mad at Mom?” I pursed my lips. “Because I know she has high expectations, but--”
Elliot looked around warily, as if he expected that somebody was watching us, even though his Mom had already left the room. "I think." He drew in a deep breath. "Ilaria, I think I was being possessed." I swear I tried not to laugh, but it was just too hard.
A tiny giggle escaped my lips, but Elliot’s serious expression didn’t change. I forced my mouth into a frown. “Um. Possessed?” I coughed, covering up another laugh. “Elliot, I know you don’t want to talk about this, but you don’t have to make something up. I thought we didn’t lie to each other. Ever. Remember?”
"I'm not lying, sis," he said very seriously with his green eyes never leaving my face. "I remember being scared and seeing a face shrouded in shadows. I don't really remember anything after that." He looked scared now, really scared.
My laughter dissolves at the sight of his terrified expression. Oh, God, I think. There’s something wrong with him. There’s something wrong with my baby brother.
I grabbed his arm. "Come on, little bro. We have to call the shrink." We hadn't talked to our psychologist in forever and an eternity. We had gone to him when Elliot thought his imaginary friend, Tim was real and would often run off to play with him.
He yanks his arm out of my grip. “Ilaria, no! I’m not crazy!” He’s got this wild look in his eye now that makes me step back a little, startled. “You act like you’re so different, like you understand and like you notice me and care about me. But you’re no different than her!” I let out a sharp breath. Because I know who he’s talking about. He’s talking about our mother. Our mother, who can’t stand imperfection. Our mother, who will never, ever be able to accept the fact that Elliot is anything less than extraordinary.
I turned back to him with a look of pure concern crossing my face. "Elliot, you really believe that you were possessed don't you? Then... Then...” What? What could I do to help? What if this mysterious man came back? How could I protect Elliot? What if he caused Elliot to endanger my life or--worse--his?
For a second, a hopeful look flitters across Elliot’s face. He thinks I can fix this, I realize in horror. He thinks that now that I believe him, I can protect him. Take care of him. I shake my head, my heart breaking at the disappointment that seeps into his expression. He clutches his green hair and sits on his bed with a thump. He mutters something to himself, and I step closer, uncertain. “Elliot? What was that?”
"Get out!" he screams. "Leave me alone. Your absolutely no help at all." He's tearing up now as fear starts to overwhelm all of his emotions. I nod, unsure of what to do now, but the least I can do is give him some peace. As I close the door to Elliot's bedroom, he starts to cry.