The Contest Part two

Short story: The Contest

Part two of three


They finally finished and went back to the bottom, where they looked over all the pictures. There was one hundred and fifty in all, many of which were great, but Maria still felt that any picture she had did not fit the theme of this contest.

"What'll fit the description?" Maria wondered aloud, looking at the miles of forest around her.

"Hey," Aiden began, speaking for the first time since she and Maria were on the phone earlier. "Why don't we go for a walk through town? We can see what there is to take pictures of."

"That's a good idea! Let's go ask Mom if we can."

"Sounds good."

Maria and Aiden set forward onto the path leading home, then after they got permission from her mother, they grabbed a pair of bikes and headed towards the town center. Maria lived in a hilly area, mostly grass, and flowers, but with a couple of houses here and there. It was not uncommon to see a bear or wolf, but there had been few accounts of an attack. It was an hour and a half's ride to town. They set off around 1:30, hoping to be back home by 6:00. The air was warm, riddled with a few breezes here and there.

The town was nowhere near as 'country' as Maria's home area was. There were malls, offices, and at least two people who had a million dollars. It was a tourist attraction, though only because a couple miles farther was a popular geyser. There were many gift shops and candy shops in their town, as their town was sort of a tourist attraction. They were remembered for their unique building designs, and beautiful beachfront views.

When they first got to town, their first thought was to check out The Sweet Shoppe. The Sweet Shoppe was an old-fashioned candy shop, complete with a taffy puller, where saltwater taffy was pulled daily. As they walked in, this was the first thing that Maria saw. That would be an interesting picture, She thought, turning her head the way of the taffy workers. No, it wouldn't work. She turned away and started to look at the candy. None of it really spoke to her as art, so she shrugged and turned to Aiden, who was watching the worker pull the taffy.

"Ready to leave?" She asked, startling Aiden, who was, apparently, very wrapped up in the chocolate.

"Sure, let's go," Aiden said, diverting her attention back to Maria.

They began to head out, continuing their adventure for the perfect picture. Maria took pictures at three other stops, when she saw a giant metal outline of a building, reflecting the sky in the distance.

"That's perfect!!" She practically shrieked, grabbing Aiden's hand, and dragging her along, over to the building. "What is that?" She asked excitedly as they hurried to it. The streets weren't crowded, so they were able to get to the building quickly.

"I think it's a construction site. They're building an office for Mayor Mortis."

"Great. Well, it's perfect! See how the setting sun is reflecting into the Let's get over there! Come on!" They turned one more corner and almost ran right into a fence.

"What's this doing here? No!! I need to get in there!"

"Why?" Maria asked, confused. "Just take the picture out here, it's a good view."

"It's too far away! I can't get a good picture, I have to get a great one!"

"Well Maria, we're too far away to do anything about it now. The sun's setting. If you're going to do something, do it now!"

Maria looked sideways at the building, a plan formulating in her mind.

"No!" Aiden interrupted Maria's thoughts.

"What? What harm would come if I happened to accidentally slip over the edge? Look, everyone's gone now!" She said with a glint in her eye.

"No! No, you can't! What if you get caught? What if someone finds out? You would go to jail! If they caught you, you could ruin your chances of becoming a lawyer!!"

"Relax. I'm not going to get caught. Even if I do, what damage will one little black mark do on my record?" She started climbing the fence, strapping her camera around her neck and arm like a purse.

"Maria! Come down!" She repeated.

"I need to win this Aiden. You wouldn't understand. You don't go to school with Thea!"

"Maria!" Aiden's voice dropped to a whisper, even though the place was abandoned. "Get down from there! Th-They could have trip wires! Or-or security cameras!"

Maria ignored her friend's pleas and continued on. Her heart started pounding, her throat was dry, and she was only focused on the building. Get the picture. Get the picture. Get the picture. She pushed this thought around her head. Over and over again. Get the picture. Get the picture. Get the picture. Synchronized with her heartbeat. Get the picture. Get the picture. Get the picture. She took a deep breath and jumped off the fence, now officially breaking the law.

She turned around to say something to Aiden, who had run away. Maria shrugged. Though she felt a little hurt Aiden had left, she knew it was best Aiden not get in trouble. Not that there was going to be trouble! She looked back at the building. She guessed she only had a few minutes before the sun sank, and even less time to get out before she was spotted.

She let out a deep breath and pushed the voice of her conscience down.
It's go time Maria.

You've got to win this.

Otherwise, it's all for nothing.

End Pt. 2

Cover Image Credit:

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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