Archive for May, 2010

Stink Bug Update

Posted in Historic Architecture, Nature Studies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2010 by Drogo

In Harpers Ferry 2010, less stink bugs have invaded Stowell Galleries than in the past few years; due to an extra cold winter start and new architectural renovations taking place.

1. Sewing and Patching tears in screens for windows & doors

2. Spraying & Cleaning window sills

3. Caulking windows & door frames

4. Caulking Roof leaks

5. Fascia & Soffit board repairs

6. Air conditioning units better sealed around edges and closing vent valve to the outside.

All these measures seem to have had an effect on the amount of invading stink bugs.

Murder He Wrote Part 1.6

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by Drogo

~ (from 1.5)

I woke up in complete darkness. I smelled rotting manure again! I didn’t believe it! We were back in the Spanish room of Bonner! John shined a flashlight in my eyes. My bones ached as I got up. “What the heck was that all about?” I asked. No one answered me.

Joe grabbed the haunted Bonner Sweat-shirt from the wall, and we left. As my eyes adjusted to the light outside, I turned and saw Bratt climbing out of the window with a cheery smile. “I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow!” he said.

Almost no time at all had passed from the time we first disappeared. The sun had not yet set, and our parents arrived to pick us up; as though nothing had happened. We all went home, and called other kids to tell them what happened. Believe it or not, not many people believed us. Alan did because he was an official ghost bagger, but no one else at Bonner believed our experiences.

Soon after these happenings; the school was repaired, classes returned to normal, Laurel’s novel was published, and Asher found Zimbabwe. The murder mystery was never solved, but this was not the last time our school would be haunted by paranormal activity. Everyone lived happily ever after, until Murder He Wrote Part 2, “Revenge”!!

THE END

Murder He Wrote Part 1.5

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , on May 17, 2010 by Drogo

~ (from 1.4)

The world around us was gray, and the ground was indistinguishable from the sky. Distance, therefore was also indeterminate, as no objects besides ourselves existed. “Where are we?” I asked Pavlov.

“Limbo. Well, one version of Limbo, which is more of a Purgatory really. We are literally situated between Right and Wrong. Everyone sees it differently, at different times, relative to their own life. For me, where ever I walk in this Gray World, all the people will be shades of gray, and the surroundings are always black and white. The single border between the two black and white sides follows me, and always stays directly between my feet. Some people see black and white patterns, and for others it is all a grey mist.”

“Well this is weird!” Laurel said.

“The human brain is weird!” said Pavlov. “Don’t leave home without it, though.”

Pavlov started pulling out wires from his coat pockets, and began fixing the Time Recorder. While Pavlov was tinkering around, Laurel sat down and began writing on a note pad. She was intent on completing her 999 page novel she had started two days before, called Space Dogs the Fifth Chronicle.

Finally Pavlov finished fixing the Time Machine Tape Recorder. We held Timmy back from it. “I think this jerk is going to work!” Pavlov said as he pressed eject.

The space around us imploded. Either that, or we were thrown out of that Gray World with a quickness. Real solid ground replaced the soft gray matter beneath us, with a harshness so abrupt that I could not retain consciousness. I went right to sleep.

~ (continued in 1.6)

Murder He Wrote Part 1.4

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , on May 17, 2010 by Drogo

~ (from Part 1.3)

I blinked my eyes. We were standing in someone’s yard. I say were standing, because many of us fell to the ground due to the effects of time travel. Time travel had many affects on me, as I’m sure it did on others too, not all of which should be shared. The grass I was standing in was black with oil. A path of tar led up to a mansion. While we stared at the 5-story house, jets and spaceships passed over us. The air smelled like gasoline, and the clouds looked polluted with acid rain. In fact the smog was so thick that I could feel it on my skin, like a thin veil of plastic. We heard some noises coming from the mansion. Timmy had fallen, puking on himself. I reached down and grabbed his hand, to help him up. Timmy’s hand looked as black as charcoal, but felt slick. I slipped on the oiled grass, and fell to the ground beside him. My face fell in the mud, which tasted like the worst kind of alcoholic drink you can imagine; mixed with mud.

We all agreed to ask the owner of the mansion for help. Bratt walked up first, and knocked on the door. A tall, blonde haired boy in a white lab coat opened the door. We were amazed to find that he looked just like Pavlov! “Come right in,” Pavlov said as he placed wires on Bratt’s head. “Now I’m going to read your mind. You are thinking about a piece of tape.” “No,” was the answer. “You’re thinking about hats.” “No,” was answered again. “Spoons?” “No.” “Africa?” “No.” “Food?!” “No.” “Homework.” “No.” “Deaf Leopard.” “No.” “Toilets!” “No, no, no!” Bratt said angrily. “Get these wires off my head! We are lost in time! Do you know what this is? Do you know what this means?!” Bratt asked as he pointed to a dial on the Time Recorder.

“Yes. It means this jerk doesn’t work!” Pavlov said as he threw his mind reader to the floor. “But can you get us home?” Joe asked. “Let me see that time device, first,” Pavlov said, squinting his eyes and focusing on the Tape Recorder Time Machine.

“Is that you Pavlov Carpathian?” Laurel asked.

“No, I am Pavlov Carpathian the Seventeenth! I am the great, great, great, blah, blah, blah, great grandson of the Pavlov you know from the Bonner Academy. Also all Pavlov’s are one and the same; in other words I am a transdimensional being that exists simultaneously in many dimensions. Although I have limited temporal manifestations, I am still able to travel dimensions at will; to help alleviate any discrepancies. This is of course how I travel through time, by willing myself through dimensional doors.”

“Of course,” Joe and Bryan said to eachother making the hand signs for crazy.

Pavlov checked the batteries on the Time Travel Tape Recorder. “This little time machine is merely a modified version of an electron generated flux-capacitor unit that I invented for a nostalgic race of aliens, at some point in one of my favorite timelines.”

“What does modified mean?” Timmy asked, scratching his head.

“Well it doesn’t mean antidisestablishmentarianism, that’s for sure!” Pavlov said. “You can adjust the amount of years traveled per second, by moving the volume dial.” He began setting the volume dial. John took the Tape Recorder from Pavlov, saying he was setting the dial wrong. Joe took it from John. Bratt stole it from Joe. I knocked it from Bratt’s hands. Timmy tried to catch it, but fell and landed on it.

Then there was a BOOM!!! I closed my eyes. We were flying through time again, I felt the inexplicable spinning again. I opened my eyes and saw smoke coming from underneath Timmy. Timmy recovered the Time Recorder, which was now smoking, fizzing, and popping! All around us was nothing, except for shades of light gray and dark grey. “That was incorrect,” stated Pavlov shaking his finger at Timmy.

“Busted!” Boston said.

“Damn it,” Bratt said.

“Pavlov, can you fix it?” Joe asked. “That recorder thing looks broken!”

“Sure, all I need is a screwdriver, wires, and two sets of brains,” Pavlov confirmed.

~ (continued in Part 1.5)

Murder He Wrote Part 1.3

Posted in Fictional Stories on May 17, 2010 by Drogo

~ (from Part 1.2)

All around us there was a sound of screams echoing through the darkened forest. There was water dripping from the leaves of the forbidden jungle. We were standing in the middle of a clearing, by a large oak tree. Timmy said “Wow!” It was a star-filled, windy night. Wild animals roared, and hissed, and chattered in the trees above. All kinds of bizarre sounds surrounded us, as we sat in the dark, feeling alone and confused.

Bratt’s younger brother, PJ, suddenly ran out into the forest, climbed up a tree, and began imitating the animals noises. Bratt and Joe called to him, but he was lost in the darkness, and would not come back. John said it would be a waste of time looking for him.

When the rest of us finally got our wits about us, we chose Joe and Timmy to go out for firewood. Mac and Boston had to practice some skateboard moves. The rest of us huddled in a circle, waiting. Bryan began filming a documentary.

When suddenly there appeared an orange blur in the trees! It became clearer as it headed for us through the mist. It was a man. No it looked more like a teenager. And then we realized it was Lea’s brother, Thrasher, in a pink and white tuxedo, with his hands tucked into his pockets. He was whistling a tune, I think it was Row, Row, Row Your Boat or something. His hair was shaved on one side, which looked as though it were going to throw him off balance. The air smelled like burnt crayons, and his shoe laces looked rough and were tied in double-knots. Then he stopped walking, and looked at us, and smiled. “Do you know which way it is to Zimbabwe?”

We shrugged our shoulders, and then he turned and slowly walked off into the darkness again. We all agreed that was weird. Soon Joe and Timmy came back with wood and matches. We started to light the fire when Laurel spoke up. “Where did you guys get those matches?”

“Oh, we got these matches at the gift shop down a ways,” Joe said. We all stood on our tip-toes and looked at eachother. Then we all sped off in the direction Joe and Timmy had came from, leaving Pavlov (which no one had noticed was even with the party) at the camp fire rolling dice on his own; which was just the way he liked it.

After about an hour, we sat down and thought. Just then we heard drumming just behind us. We jumped through the bushes, and stood in awe over the sights we saw. Through the jungle, lit by the radiant light of dawn, were temples, huts, markets, out-houses, palaces, parking lots, army tanks, runways, and landing pads. There were also people everywhere! As we came closer, we noticed a boy with a crown on, doing cart-wheels while picking his nose, off the roof of a palace. We approached him with trepidation.

“What are you doing, oh King?” Joe finally asked.

The boy stopped and did a flip to the ground beside Joe. “I do what kings are supposed to do.” This King looked suspiciously like PJ. Bratt became impatient, and asked “Who are you supposed to be, where are we, and have you seen a ghost running around with no shirt on?” “Me Peeajaya McMasterson, in Africa, about 100 BC, and no.” That was the answer that the King gave, but he also added “You are welcome to walk around a bit.”

Our small group headed down the street. We toured palaces and temples, and took a jet ride. “This humidity is saturating my brain!” I said aloud. “You are right, it is sweaty out here,” Timmy said as he pulled a random chain with a sign on it reading “Shower”; which dumped a bucket of cold water on his head. “Ahhh!”

“That reminds me!” Bratt stated. “We’ve got to find that Bonner Sweat-shirt!”

We dashed over to King PJ McMasterson, and asked if he knew a way to get back to our own time and space. The King happened to nod his head, and pulled out what looked like a tape recorder. He handed it to Mac. “A tape recorder?” Bratt questioned.

“No record tape, this a time machine! You press record, it remember where you are. You press play, it take you to where you started. You press rewind, you go back in time. But if you press fast-forward, you go forward in time, to FUTURE!!”

“Okay guys, we have got to get out of here, and figure this crap out!” Bratt said. Mac, Joe, and I tried to glean more information by studying the mysterious Tape Recorder Time Machine. “I did it!” Boston shouted after successfully completing a double mctwist ollie, one-and-one-half teaspoon kick-flip on his skateboard.

“Ok now boys,” Laurel said. “I am the only girl here, so I’m feeling kind of alone here; but we really need to get organized. We have to get out of here. I am writing a novel, and I have plans to work on it some tonight after my homework is done.”

“Alright,” Bryan said. “Where is everyone? Do we have everyone we came here with?” Joe, John, Laurel, Boston, Mac, Bryan, Bratt, and I were present. “Eight of us are here. Does King PJ count as nine?” I wondered. “How many of us came here?” We looked around, and at eachother. “I think 10 counting Laurel,” Mac said.

“So where is Timmy? Where did Timmy wander off to? Anyone see Timmy?” Joe asked.

Meanwhile, Timmy had wandered into a hot, empty bathroom with no running water. Timmy pressed the button for cold water over and over. Finally Timmy just slammed his head against the button and heard a beep. He thought maybe it was finally starting to work, so he pressed the button again. “I know I heard a beep,” Timmy said.

Just then, a short little fat guy waddled in and threw a bucket of cold water on him. Timmy reached for a towel, when he heard another beep, and the little guy came in again and dumped another bucket of cold water on him. This process was repeated, until it became annoying. When Timmy threw some wet cash and pennies at him, the man stooped to picked up the money, and left; bowing at every few steps. “Boy that was strange!?!” Timmy told himself.

Timmy arrived just as we began debating which buttons to press on the time machine, and what might happen if we did. King PJ had leapt out of sight, leaving us unsure and timid about using the Tape Recorder Time Machine. “What’cha guys doin’?” Timmy asked. “This will take us back home, we think,” Joe answered. “Wow, cool!” Timmy said as he reached in and pressed the fast-forward button.

“Noooooooooo!!!” We all yelled simultaneously.

Lights flashed, bells whistled, and whistles chimed as we were all ripped from the past, and spun far into the future. Our reality spun around and around, upside down and back again, until after a few minutes our feet were on the ground and we stopped spinning. Then the motion, or rather lack of motion, sickness set in. Spinning around was thrilling, but our bodies now had to readjust themselves to the new environment.

~ (continued in Part 1.4)

Murder He Wrote Part 1.2

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by Drogo

~ (from Part 1.1)

When I awoke, my head ached. I strained my eyes to see around me. Joe & PJ were standing over me calling me silly names, and telling me to get up. We laughed. I asked them what happened. “Well it was ok ‘til the ceiling caved in on the people upstairs. Then Mac told us about the axe, the walls turned weird, and a giant frog pulled Alan through the ceiling,” Joe said pointing to a large hole in the ceiling. “But everything’s alright now. Mr. Echo wants us upstairs.”

I followed Joe & PJ upstairs through Mrs. Yonder’s room. We had to crawl over the fallen ceiling. When we got to the Assembly Hall, many of the younger kids were scared and crying. We sat down on the brown folding chairs. Bryan passed me a note.

Mr. Echo said “Please everyone calm down. You are all cool dudes and dudettes! Now I want to make this quick, I would like to say that for the rest of the day school is out,” and there was a roar of cheers, clapping, and gasps of joy!!! “Unfortunately I cannot say that, because school is must go on. So first, we all want to know what is going on. Mac, would you mind bringing the axe that you found, up here. Does anyone know about this?”

From the back of the room, John stood up. He had been a student at Bonner longer than anyone. “Yes, 3 years ago, there was a murder here. I was a sneaky kid back then. One night, after school, I broke into the Social Studies room to get my homework. It was pitch black. I felt the tables. I grabbed my pencil and paper. I began to go, when suddenly I heard something! I turned around and saw Bratt running down the stairs. I tried to follow him but got lost in the dark. The next day, I heard that Jake was missing. It took me all these years to figure out that the person I saw was Bratt.”

“No way! I didn’t murder anyone! I was doing my homework,” Bratt said meekly.

“If there was a murder, why was I never told?” Mr. Echo asked confusedly.

“Because Bratt secretly hid the axe and his shirt, then got rid of the body. He hid both the axe and the Bonner green sweat-shirt behind the radiator. If we burn the cursed Bonner Sweat-shirt, it might stop the ghost of Jake from messing around,” John said.

There was great commotion among the students, but when Mr. Echo said “We will talk about this more later, now everyone go to classes as usual.” We all got out of our seats and there was much confusion. The older kids went outside. While outside, Bratt was complaining to John that he didn’t even know there was a murder. Joe, PJ, Timmy, John, Boston, Mac, Bryan, Bratt, and I finally decided to sneak back in after school, that afternoon, and find the Bonner School Sweat-shirt. Classes were more agonizing than usual that afternoon.

Finally, when school was out, and everyone else had left, a bunch of us opened a window. We crawled through into the Social Studies room. Joe kept watch in the alley as we each entered. Joe saw Laurel pass by the corner, and he signaled us. It was too late, everyone but Joe was through the window. Laurel dropped her sweater nearby the alley. Joe grabbed the sweater so that she wouldn’t come back to get it. Unfortunately she saw him take the sweater, and ran after him, through the window and into the haunted school.

Laurel confronted us, and so we were forced to tell her what we were doing. Joe gave her sweater back to her, and in a huff she headed back towards the window to leave. However the window had other ideas, and slammed down shut. Laurel quickly changed her mind and decided she would hang with us.

So our little group headed down the stairs into the dark basement. With Bratt in the lead, we carefully passed the Science room. Everything was still a mess. “I guess John meant that the sweat-shirt was behind the radiator in the Spanish room,” I whispered as we entered the room a’ la Espaniola. Bratt turned on the fluorescent lights, which flickered on and off like special strobe lights. We gathered round the hole in the wall where the radiator was. Laurel saw the sleeve of the shirt hanging out from the plaster, and lunged for it. A cold wind blew us all to the back of the room, into a pile against the wall.

A ghostly figure appeared in front of us. A pair of green jogging pants, and Nikes were all that it wore. It held out it’s hand. It was holding a gleaming diamond. A cold chill ran through my spine, and I knew it was a ghost. I rubbed my hands and turned my head. Timmy loosened his jacket and backed up, holding his fingers in a cross shape. You could see right through  the ghost! It’s eyes were glowing like sapphires. The air smelled like rotting manure. There was a faded smile on his face, and a split across his forehead. It was the ghost of Jake! The wind stopped blowing.

Bratt’s eyes were fixed on the diamond that the ghost was holding. Bratt leaped up. We called for him to stop, but it was to late. Bratt grabbed the diamond away from the ghost! In an instant we were transported.

~ (continued in 1.3)

Murder He Wrote Part 1.1

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2010 by Drogo

The Mischievous Murder

Bonner English 1987

Walton Stowell

~ It was dark as slate, that night. Which is not really all that dark, but still it was dark. By “it” I mean the old school that was once a church. The school was indeed dark, but it was also lonely. The building was lonely, except for one person inside, standing in the corner of the hall. Ok, they were both mutually lonely, the building and the boy. His cold lips were blue and parted. Blood slowly trickled down his forehead, from a bloody axe hanging from his head. Silent, as a cold breeze ran through the school. ~

“I didn’t do it!” Bratt yelled as the table fell over.

Mrs. Yonder came by and put the table upright. “Bratt, I’ve had it with you… EXCUSE Me!!!” Mrs. Yonder shouted as the class quieted down. “First, cramming my chair into my coffee mug, and now this?!”

From here on, I had an idea that things were going to get really WEIRD.

“But…..How could I have fit your chair into …” Bratt started.

“Even I’m stumped on this one, Bratt!” Mrs. Yonder replied.

Pavlov rolled some percentile dice on his 3,000 page book. “Snake eyes!”

The class headed for English, after Bratt received two checks. When we entered the English room, the teacher asked us if we had seen her plan book, and everyone said no. While we were doing our work, Pat’s chair flew across the room. His chair literally slipped from under him, and broke through the window. The girls screamed. After a half-hour everyone calmed down. After English class was over and Bratt finished making weak jokes, we all headed for the Assembly Hall.

Our class was questioned by the Bonner Principal, Mr. Echo, about missing rulers and papers, and a number of bizarre happenings. No one answered. He just shook his head.

At recess the next day, lots of kids were forming detective clubs. Some of them included names like The Donna Detectives, TCS Investigators, The Missing Stuff Busters, and The Joe Mob. We had recess at Barker Park, a most beautiful setting.

When we got back from recess, instead of eating lunch, all the kid inspecting clubs went in search of clues for all the missing things. They did not want to be blamed for all the missing objects, which would lead to harsh penalties. The TCS Agency and 5 other clubs checked the Assembly Hall. Several other clubs checked the English room. The Missing Stuff Busters checked the Science room. A few others investigated the Social Studies room. The Underhill Associates checked the Spanish room.

I was with the Underhill Associates, along with Bratt, Carla, Mac, and the peppy young Bushy Bright-Eyes. Bratt started to retell the story he wrote of Carla’s brain landing on Mr. Echo’s car. When Carla hit him, Bratt hit his head on the radiator, knocking he and the radiator to the floor. Bratt appeared to be unconscious.

While Carla slapped Bratt, to make him wake up, Bushy Bright-eyes peered into the hole in the wall where the radiator had been. As his bright eyes peeped into the void, a dull dusty object caught his inquisitive attention. “Ewe! I see something, I see something!”

“That’s an axe!” Mac said, reaching in and taking the dusty hatchet. We decided to take the suspicious item to Mr. Echo, but the door had sealed itself against the wall! John tugged on the door, but it was stuck. The axe flew out of Mac’s hand and stuck in the wall above my head!! We had to smash our way through the door, out of the Spanish room with a skateboard! The walls of the school began to move, and we became dizzy.

Carla, Lea, Laurel, and Donna began a chorus of screaming in the Science room. Underhill Associates made their way, wearily, to the Science room. We picked our way through the skewed chairs. Mr. Echo and the Missing Stuff Busters stood in awe of the 10 foot frog that sat beside them on the broken science table. The frog began trying to leap up, hitting the ceiling, but the leader of the Missing Stuff Busters, Alan, grabbed the frog’s leg and yelled “For science!” Alan and the frog disappeared through the ceiling. Then everything blurred up, and I blacked out.

~ to be continued… in 1.2