Fiction - Page 2

Giving the Sack

Lilla Kassai

It was almost two in the morning. I was lying on my bed with my eyes half open. I couldn’t sleep. I left the bar around midnight, even though it was open until 6 in the morning. As the owner of the place I always got self-conscious when it was not my turn to close in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I trusted my employees with my whole heart, but even if the Red Velvet Cocktail Bar was one of the highest-ranked bars in the city, the danger of a mannerless drunkard causing trouble was never zero.

I somehow managed to fall asleep, but no sooner had I done so, than I woke up again.

“What is this sound?” I rubbed my eyes and started to regain my consciousness. A few moments later I realized that it was an Uriah Heep song, July Morning. My ringtone. I looked at the screen wondering who was calling me. It was the reception’s phone from the bar.

“Lévay on the phone,” I mumbled. 

“Boss, we have a problem here,” stuttered a frustrated female voice “The police is here and they arrested Dominik.”

I froze for a moment. The police…arrested my nephew who works for me…in my bar???

“Wait for me, I’ll be there in fifteen minutes! Stay calm!” I ordered the girl, and put down the phone.

I quickly got dressed and drove to the bar, where the police officers were already waiting for me.

“Are you Gábor Lévay, the owner?” asked the officer in an unfriendly tone.

“Yes,” I nodded “What has happened?”

“One of your employees named Dominik Árvai has been charged with sexual assault and indecent exposure against a female guest” the officer snapped “You can do a testimony tomorrow.”

I was penetrated. Domi, you goddamn womanizer!

“Can I at least talk to my nephew?” I felt my voice dither.

“I’m afraid not, sir. You can visit him at the police station for one and a half hours between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. the day after tomorrow.”

After that, the officers said a harsh goodbye to me and the two girls who were working. We went inside the bar; I informed the guests that the bar would be closed.

“Ladies and gentlemen! We are sorry to informl you, but we are closing at this very moment with regard to the previous scene. Please leave the bar right now!” I told the guests politely, but in a serious tone, then turned to the girls.

“Anna, Viktória, I am afraid that I have to keep you a bit longer. I want you to tell me what happened.”

“Okay Boss,” the girls mumbled, as we sat down at the counter. When all of the guests had left, Viktória started to talk.

“So, yesterday, when you had to leave earlier, Dominik, Dávid and I were holding the front. Around 11 a.m. a bunch of chicks came, all wearing some designer clothes and jewelry that cost an arm and leg. And maybe your soul as well, I don’t know…”

“Can we skip the clothes-part? I don’t really see that as important…” I interrupted, but then Anna snapped.

“It is, though. That means that they were rich as hell. Their outfits all together costed more than the maintenance of this place.”

I shook my head, not understanding their point.

“Is that some girlish jealousy, or what?” I started to get annoyed. I really appreciated these hard-working ladies but couldn’t understand them at that moment.

“No,” Viktória continued. “It might not seem relevant, but it will be. So they arrived, and since they looked pretty, Dominik instantly offered his services to them.”

I rolled my eyes. Of course he did. I warned him many times that his flirtatious behavior would be problematic and backfire.

“One of the girls really got his attention, and they flirted while he was supposed to be working and serving the other guests as well.”

“As usual.” I rolled my eyes.

“Some time passed and the other girls went dancing, while Don Juan started to get sensual with the girl. Man, that was a flirt on another level! I snapped at him to serve the other customers as well, and he was like: ‘Okay, okay,’  then mixed a shitty Whisky-Coke and gave it to a guy who ordered something else. Of course he complained, but I told him not to worry, and I would prepare his Vodka Martini. While Dávid and I were working our asses off, he somehow disappeared. We noticed it when another customer came up to us and asked where the womanizer was, because she had ordered her Piña Colada quite a long time ago and hadn’t received it yet. I promised to take care of it, and prepared it quickly. Dávid then offered to prepare the upcoming orders, and told me to find Dominik, because if he were the one to find him, he would beat him up.”

“Quite understandable,” I added and then let her continue.

“I started to search for him in the bathrooms, but I didn’t find him there. I went out to the trash bins, but he wasn’t there either. Then I started to hear some weird noises around the cleaning storage room. I opened the door and I saw Dominik with this chick, who was… seducing him.” Viktória grinned with pure disgust, and I was sure that my facial expressions looked exactly the same.

“Then the girl looked up, wasted as hell, and jumped on me, yelling. ‘Orgy, yaaasss!’ and I pushed her out of the storage room, and dragged Dominik out all the way to the counter. When Dávid saw him, he was gazing at him with rage. Luckily, the majority of the guests had already left, so we could go to the secretary’s office. Then both Dávid and I yelled at Dominik for being such a…”

I was shocked. I knew that my nephew was a womanizer, but this time he took it way too far.

“And it’s not the end of the story,” Anna added.

“Yeah,” Viktória continued. “The chick who seduced Dominik was so wasted that I think she wasn’t even completely conscious. Her pupils were as big as a tennis ball, so she might have been on something harder than her Long Island Iced Tea.”

I was petrified. The fact that my nephew might have drugged someone…and then taken advantage of her…Even thinking something like that felt absurd, and made my blood boil. In my bar, the guests shouldn’t worry about the danger of being drugged or taken advantage of. The fact that Domi had done this felt like a betrayal and a stab in the gut.

“After this incident we called a taxi for the girl. And now, it turned out that she reported him to the police and threatened to ruin our reputation and make us bankrupt. And guess what Dávid told us today: the girl was the niece of one of the richest men in town…”

I slapped myself on my forehead. This stupid little womanizer! How could anyone with the right mind do something like this? I thanked the girls for their time, and let them go home. When they had left, I drove home and poured myself a glass of Scotch. I had to digest what I’d heard. I knew I had to talk with him as well. Right now, not only was the reputation of my nephew in danger, but I could lose my source of income if this girl decided to use her status.

Two days later, while still feeling clumsy, I went to visit my nephew at the police station. The officers were a bit more friendly but still didn’t seem to hide their dirty looks.

I sat down in front of my nephew, who looked devastated.

“ Congratulations, Don Juan! You could have avoided everything, if you had kept that thing in your pants!” I snapped at him, furiously.

“But…She offered it…” he tried to defend himself, while being extremely confused.

“SHE WAS WASTED, YOU GODDAMN IDIOT!” I yelled at him “You took advantage of her, IN YOUR WORKPLACE! IN PUBLIC!”

“But…I gave her only one Long Island Iced Tea… she seemed to be very…conscious…She was just smiling a bit more…”

“Not everyone has the same alcohol tolerance, you fool!” I almost exploded from anger. “How could you?”

“She offered to s…seduce me in the cleaning storage!” he cried out “I was just a bit flirtatious, but she seemed to like it, so I continued. But I didn’t want to have sex with her! At least not like that…She told me that she hadn’t had any money with her, but she would have sex with me as payment…” he slouched his head, almost at the edge of crying.

“SHE OFFERED TO HAVE SEX INSTEAD OF PAYMENT? HOW COULD YOU BELIEVE SUCH A BULLSHIT???” I yelled at him so loud that the officers and the inmates turned in our direction. Therefore I took a bit back and continued quietly:

“Viki told me that the girl was wasted and had big pupils. Did you put anything in her cocktail?” I asked, still angry, but trying to be more objective and understanding. After all, he is my nephew. I organized all of his birthday parties when he was little. I helped him get down from the trees, when he had stuck. I loved him dearly, but what he had done made me furious and disappointed…How will I tell his mother that her son got into something like this?

“Me? I would NEVER!” he burst out in tears. “She already had big pupils when she got to the bar. I thought it was some kind of contact lens, for God’s sake!”

“Did you tell this to the officers as well? “

“Yes.” he answered with a strutting voice. “This is the truth. I would never drug anybody!”

“Mr. Lévay!” an officer interrupted, “ We’ve been ordered to inform you that since your nephew is still a minor, he won’t go to jail.”

“But what about the assault charges? Are they being dropped?” I was relieved but I knew it didn’t end there.

“Yeah, about that…” the officer continued. “Since he is a minor, and the woman was not, he couldn’t give consent legally, therefore, according to the law, he couldn’t “rape” her.  However, if she upholds her charges, your nephew either has to spend three months in a correctional institution or you can sue her for sexually assaulting and grooming a minor.”

I thanked the officer and nodded. I looked at my nephew when we were alone again.

“You’ve heard your options. So now what? “ I asked him.

“You are the adult…You tell me!” Dominik groaned.

“Well, since you managed to dally with the niece of a millionaire in public, you wouldn’t stand a chance in winning that trial,” I answered.

“But I’m still a minor! I don’t want to go to a correction center!” my nephew cried out.

“You should have thought about this earlier, Champ.” I shrugged my shoulders. “You know, before letting that chick seduce you in the cleaning storage.”

“She offered to do it as payment…”

“Life is not like a porn movie you dumbass…” I sighed. This idiot still wasn’t aware of what he had done and what consequences he could’ve faced if he had been over eighteen years old.

“But you can be my witness! Or Viki…Or Anna…” he begged, but I shook my head.

“I wasn’t present. And about the others…I highly doubt that any of them would be on your side. You were a disgraceful co-worker and employee.”

Dominik slouched his head.

“Don’t do the puppy eyes now!” I snapped. “I’m not going to pity you.”

“Excuse me, sir!” one officer interrupted. “Your visit time has ended. Please, leave the room!”

“I called your parents yesterday. They are coming to you tomorrow.” I stroked his shoulders, and left.

 I never thought that I would ever end up in such a situation. After some bureaucratic intervention, since he hadn’t had previous problems with the police, he was let go, and only got a “black point” on his ID for “indecent exposure in public”. I was relieved that he got off easy, but worried at the same time. Was that warning enough? Should I have let the boy be locked up in a correctional center, so he would learn this lesson? Or would it have been too harsh as a punishment? I only had unanswered questions in my mind. My self-conscious side was telling me that my nephew got slapped back to humility, but my other side tried to convince me that he would do the same thing again. The boy desperately needed the summer job, but I couldn’t help it: instead of the joyful little boy who scraped his knees after falling down from the trees and always greeted me with a wide smile, I saw this menace, who was irresponsible and untrustworthy in terms of work. His parents tried to convince me to let him come back to work, because he had changed, I hesitated. His colleagues despised him. It would have been backstabbing for them if I let him in again. Who cares, he is family, right? This choice wasn’t as easy to make as people might think. But if I let him come back, my employees, who are passionate about their jobs and work hard, would quit, because of me being unjust. My heart ached for giving him the sack, but I knew I made the right decision. Even if I had been stabbed in the back, I couldn’t do the same to the others.

The Missing Piece

Lilla Kassai

“Sarah, do you think that this is a good idea?”  whispered Lucy while sneaking up to the old mansion at the edge of town. It was already late at night, and the wind started to blow wilder and wilder. According to the weather forecast a thunderstorm was on its way.

“Oh come on Lucy! Are you scared?” Sarah peered back at the new girl teasingly. “Bates Morde is just a fiction. It won’t bother anyone if he gets bullied.” She shrugged her shoulders and continued “Anyway, if you want to be accepted at school, you have to get this done, Newbie.”

Lucy felt her heart beating faster as they approached the old mansion surrounded by bushes and trees that almost made it impossible for the sunlight to catch sight of the garden and the entrance gate. The house looked like a typical haunted house of a small town: it was built in Victorian style, and painted black originally, but on some parts of the facade, huge parts of the paint had fallen off, revealing the red bricks. Some of the windows were boarded up or just broken, and everything was covered in rubble and dust.

“Now New Girl, climb in, take something with you, then come back and run home.” Sarah gave the instructions and peered at Lucy defiantly.

“Okay,” she answered while pulling herself up to the window sill. “I’ll be back in a few minutes. Wait for me, okay?” she murmured back to Sarah as she carefully climbed inside.

She found herself in the kitchen of the house. She saw an old-fashioned stove and furnace and a few wooden kitchen cabinets. Lucy could not resist the urge to run her fingers through the ghost-cold furniture while slowly walking outside the kitchen to the long dark hall. She lit her lighter to see where she was going, but at the same time avoided being easily seen. She was walking close up to the wall, while often throwing a glance behind her back. After a few more steps, she found herself in a big salon. There weren’t many things there besides an old piano (“This looks way more beautiful than ours”), some mice-chewed furniture, and bird feathers on the floor. She cautiously stepped into the salon. Even if she thought the house was spooky, she got enchanted by it.

“So majestic and mystical…How could someone let this happen to this beautiful house?” she mumbled to herself while running her fingers though the piano and trying not to make any noise while stepping on some sheet music papers that laid all over the floor in a mess. She was fighting the urge to press some keys on the piano, when she heard a roaring thunder and the howl of the wind. She immediately became more alarmed. As her wonder towards the house quickly became suppressed, she realized why she was actually in that spooky mansion. She immediately tried to look for something she could take with herself as a trophy. She was running her eyes all over the salon, when she heard some unnatural hissing sound. She sprinted across the room and hid behind a curtain and a table with some weird three-dimensional puzzle on it. She wanted to examine it briefly, when the hissing became lounder, and a tall figure appeared in the entrance of the salon, in the exact same place where she had stood a few minutes earlier. The tall thing walked to the piano as quietly and elegantly as a cat. As it came closer and closer to Lucy’s hiding spot, she was able to examine him, but not so briefly. She could discern that the tall figure was a man with extremely pale skin and darker hair than the longest night in December. He sat down at the piano and started to play like a virtuose. Lucy was amazed and almost revealed herself before Bates Morde. While he was playing, she reached out to the 3D puzzle on the table that consisted of tiny sculptures of monsters. She cautiously grabbed one that looked like some gnome, and started to look for escape routes. Unfortunately, the only way was behind the back of the pianist’s, who was playing the Blue Danube Waltz with lots of movement and emotions.

“If I walk quietly enough, he won’t notice me…” she hoped, then slowly crawled out of her hiding spot and started to beetle towards the hall.  When she was almost there, the piano stopped.  She was terrified of the sudden silence, when a suave voice spoke:

“You better put that thing down, Honey! Your friends have stolen lots of my stuff, and I am not fond of your little pranks.”

“Shut up, you freak!” Lucy murmured in terror, and started to run. She heard the weird hissing behind her back, so she sped up. After getting back into the kitchen, she looked out the window, yelling.

“Sarah, I have it!”

Then she realized that Sarah wasn’t there. She had left her alone in the haunted house, after making her steal from a creepy man that was said to have lived in that house for more than 100 years, but still looked young. After hearing the mysterious hissing and now even footsteps, Lucy jumped out the window. After landing, she looped one, stood up and ran out of the estate, while the wind was howling into her ears.

She stopped running after she reached the street where she had moved with her family a few weeks ago. She had been attending the local high school only for one and a half weeks, so she had hardly had any chance to get to know her fellow students. And now, the meanest of the popular girls had played a very awful prank on her. What if she later reported her to the police for stealing from Morde? And if that happened, would anyone believe her, if she said that it was Sarah’s idea?

While she was trying to organize her thoughts, it started to rain heavily, and Lucy was drenched by the time she reached her home.

She went straight to her bedroom to change. Both of her parents were now asleep, so she didn’t want to wake them up. After closing her door, she sat down at the floor, took the goblin-like toy out of her pocket, and tried to examine it. It was a small little green figure, around 5 centimeters tall and roughly carved.

“I have to hide this somewhere,” she mumbled to herself, and then put the toy under a loose floorboard. She then wanted to put on her pajamas, but a loud thunder and lightning startled her. Then she felt shivers on her spine, because she heard the Blue Danube Waltz being played on their piano. She peered out her door, while her parents also came out from their room, confused.

“ Lucy, what is happening here?” her mother yawned.

“Sweety, I thought you had started to play, but if it’s not you, then who?” Her father was worried.

Lucy had an idea, but it seemed way too absurd.

“It can’t be him, can it?” she thought, and then the family carefully beetled towards the living room, where they saw a tall, dark-haired figure playing. As they approached, the music stopped. The Father switched on the lights, so they were able to see who this mysterious figure was.

“Sir, I order you to leave my house right now!“ thundered the Father, but the man just rotated himself on the piano chair, so Lucy was able to examine his face briefly. He had fair skin and big dark eyes. His slender face was framed by his shoulder-length hair, which was as black as a ravens’ feathers. And the most surprising thing was that he didn’t look older than 23.

“I’m afraid, it’s impossible until this lovely young lady gives back what she stole from me,” answered Morde with his suave voice.

“Lucy, what is this man talking about?” her mother asked, concerned. Lucy knew that she had to lie.

“Lucy, I know, you wouldn’t steal from anyone, right?” Her father looked at her, confused. “It’s not how we raised you.”

    “No, Dad” she murmured, then continued, “I don’t know what he is talking about…I…I don’t even know who he is…” Lucy started to panic.

“Oh, if that’s the case, pleased to meet you, I am Bates Morde,“ he snapped. “ Now give me that goblin back, and I promise not to hurt anyone.”

“Goblin? What Goblin? Lucy, have you done something?” the father started to get angry.

“No Dad, I don’t even know what he is talking about!” Lucy cried, acting like she didn’t steal that figure, but in reality, she was extremely terrified.

“Well, you have chosen the hard way,” Morde said calmly, then stood up. He opened his fist, revealing the other five figures Lucy had seen on that table. He blew them and they turned into dust as the lightning struck a tree nearby. Then he simply walked out of the house. After he left, the parents turned to Lucy.

“Explain it! Now!” the father demanded.

“You said that you were with Sarah. Is it true?” the mother asked.

“Yes, I was.” Lucy answered, shivering. Technically, she was with Sarah. Except that she had left her alone in a creepy mansion with this Bates Morde chasing her, and now demanding that weird toy back, like some six-year-old kid. “But we haven’t done anything. Actually she turned out to be an asshole,” she continued. She was mad at Sarah. She had betrayed her, and Lucy was sure that she would be made fun of. Awful prank, really.

“We believe you, and we hope that you are telling the truth.” The parents shut down the conversation, and everyone went back to sleep. Still, Lucy was only able to lie and gaze at the ceiling.

Suddenly she saw a long shadow, forming into some anthropomorphic shape, reaching out with its hand towards her. She froze; she couldn’t believe what she was witnessing. She seized her blanket above her head and curled up under it. She spent the rest of the night shivering.

The next day on her way to school, she observed something very strange. A huge amount of crows were sitting on the roof of the school, and it seemed as if all of them were watching her. The millions of black bird-eyes were staring at her very soul, and while looking at the birds, she felt as if she were standing face-to-face with Morde. “You have chosen the hard way.” This sentence haunted her all day. And with more and more crows appearing on the school grounds, she started to have a bad premonition.

After entering the school, the popular gang of Sarah and some football players came up to her.

“So, New Girl, did you bring anything from that freak’s house?” Sarah asked, which made Lucy lose her temper.

“OF COURSE, BUT YOU LEFT ME ALONE THERE WITH THAT CREEPY PIANO-VIRTUOSO!” she snapped. “You promised to wait for me, but you left! How dare you?”

 “Chill girl, I had to go.” Sarah put her hands up in defense. “Now come and we will show you the Gallery of the Brave, where we store those objects we seized from Morde.”

They led Lucy to a locker, which was full of old objects that could be found in the Morde-Mansion: old forks, spoons and knives, a sheet of paper torn out from a musical collection, a piece of broken mirror, and so on.

“Wow…” Lucy gasped. “You guys really take this bravery test seriously.”

“Of course,” a football player answered. “Bates Morde is only a legend anyway. The parents use him to scare little kids”

“But…I saw him…and talked to him…” Lucy quickly got confused.

“Oh New Girl, don’t be silly!” Sarah waved, relaxed. “Everyone knows that Morde is just a tale.”

After this conversation, the gang went to the same class, where none of them really paid attention. Sarah was painting her nails, and the football players were whispering about the new training techniques. Lucy on the other hand, always had a mysterious and unexplainable feeling that she was being watched.

During class, the teacher opened a window, and right after that, a crow flew inside the classroom. It distracted everyone from the lesson for a moment, but they could still concentrate. But then more and more birds flew in and started to harass the students. They tweaked their hands, pooped on their desks and crowed aggressively at them. One of the football players had just been tweaked by a crow, and he hit the bird with his book. Suddenly, all the other birds turned to him. They flew to his desk, grabbed his clothes with their small legs, and seized him out of the window. As the menagerie of crows was tossing the football player in the air above the ground, the birds seemed to melt into a big man-like silhouette with wings, giant hands and legs. After playing enough with the footballer, the creature dropped the boy down from a four-meter height. The teacher quickly called the ambulance, where they said that the boy had suffered serious injuries and would be paralyzed down from the waist.

“How unfortunate… He was a douche, though” commented a familiar suave voice to Sarah. “ But you chose to play with the fire”

Lucy froze. She looked to the direction of the voice. Sarah snapped.


“Well, I think you already know it, Honey,”  Morde answered in a bored tone.

“Sarah…He is…” Lucy gasped, pointing at the man in terror.

“Oh you, don’t spoil it for her, darling, please.” Morde pushed his chalk-white pointing finger onto Lucy’s mouth, making her keep quiet. Lucy was paraéyzed and petrified. She still managed to squeeze out a few words.

“He is…Morde…”

“Oh, come on!” the man snapped. “I think it was obvious to her!”

Lucy couldn’t be more confused. This man, who wasn’t even a human, lived in a haunted house and was the embodiment of pure evil, acted like a complete Hollywood buffoon.

“MORDE? WHAT?” Sarah was getting nervous. “Bates Morde is just fictional! His story is used to scare children. MORDE IS NOT REAL, NEW GIRL, DON’T BE SUCH AN IDIOT!”

“There is no need for this tone. I am very real.” Morde looked down at Sarah and Lucy, trying to show superiority. “And I can play the piano too. Your charming thief-friend was able to hear me play twice.”

 Sarah gasped.

“This can’t be real…you are not real!”

“Well, I certainly am. And I am fed up with you and your stupid friends stealing my possessions for fun. So give me back my things, and no one will get hurt next time.” Morde yawned as if he had been taking part in boring small-talk.

“Pff, get lost!” Sarah yelled and ran away, leaving Lucy with Morde again.

“You’ve got yourself a nice friend, eh?” he asked cynically. “I don’t think she would ever get your back. Choose your friends more wisely! Both of you chose the hard way. Now live with that,” he mumbled to Lucy, then disappeared in the shadows.

The following week, hardly any students could sleep. The corridor hummed with friends telling each other about the scary shadows they had been seeing in their rooms recently.

“It looked like some man with wings, but he was made out of birds…”

“That thing looked like a vulture, but with a human body. It was watching me from the window…”

“I have been hearing footsteps all night, but there was nothing. And somebody was murmuring and laughing all along.”

The hey-day of the week was when another football player disappeared with his cheerleader girlfriend. The most spooky factor was that the couple was spending the night together at the girl’s house, and they found stretch marks on the floor next to the bed.

Everyone was wondering what was happening. More and more people were thinking about the legend they had been told about a boy who was a wizard, but everyone was hurting him. So he decided to surround himself with magical creatures and monsters, who would defend him and hurt all those people who bullied him. This boy was Bates Morde.

“Sarah, what happened to you?” Lucy asked one morning in the school after seeing her friend becoming extremely paranoid. She was always looking for Morde while holding a cross.

“He was at my place, Lucy,” she murmured “I saw him. He was standing at my door. and lately, some clown-like creature has been following me. Am I going mad, Lucy?” she panicked.

“No, you’re not,” whispered Lucy. “I have also been very high strung for a very long time. Maybe we should not have stolen from him…”

“That is bullshit, Lucy! This Morde is just some loser, virgin boy, whose pranks were always lame, and he could not comprehend it,” she snapped, but immediately cast a glance backward, looking for Morde.

As the days passed, everyone became more and more paranoid. They had been seeing things that should not have been. More and more started to suffer from insomnia, or extreme anxiety. A few days later, a couple was found dead after committing a dual suicide. They couldn’t bear that much fear and panic attacks. And while all these things were happening, Bates Morde was just playing piano in his mansion, while letting his monster-menagerie make mischief across the town.

“You have chosen the hard way. Now live with it!”

Meanwhile in the school, the lights suddenly went out. The teacher was standing at the blackboard, when the surface suddenly became liquid, and a hand reached out from the liquified board, grabbing the teacher by his neck, dragging him into the dark liquid. In other classrooms, the doors of the cabinets flew wide open and long shadows started to reach out from them, grabbing students and teachers, who then disappeared in the cabinets filled with school excipients.The school was overflowing with screams. The students and the teachers started to run away, hurtling, pushing each other to the ground and trampling on the poor kids.

“Sarah!” Lucy shouted in the fleeing crowd “We have to bring all the stuff back to Morde! He is a freaking psycho!”

“I won’t go to that place again!” she yelled back. Then she followed the crowd.

“Fine!” Lucy murmured and lurched through the crowd. She managed to find the locker, a.k.a. the Gallery of the Brave. But there was only one problem: she couldn’t open it. She had no keys for it, nor did she know the passing code. She grabbed her school bag and started to smash it on the locker, but she was too weak to do any serious damage. Her problems increased when a bunch of thirty-centimeter-tall dwarves appeared with pickaxes that they were using to smash the fleeing people’s feet, luckily with hardly any success. Lucy tried to seize a pickaxe from one dwarf, but the little thing was extremely attached to his pickaxe, so she slammed the creature at the locker, then started to smash the lock with her newly seized tool.

After managing to open the locker, she started to empty her bag and put all of the repository of the Gallery of the Brave in it. She managed to fit everything in, and even if the bag was heavy, she managed to move easily with it. She avoided the fleeing crowd by jumping out the first floor window, but the landing wasn’t the most comfortable for her feet.

Still, Lucy stood up, and hurried up to the old mansion. She barged into the building, heaving heavily.

“Hey!…huhh.. Morde!” she shouted “You psycho, here are your useless toys!”

There was no answer.

“Heeeeey! Can you hear me, you toy-freak pianist?” she continuously yelled, but it seemed that the owner couldn’t hear her.

“HEEEEEY MOOOOOOOORDE!!!!!!!! WHERE ARE YOU?” Lucy became more and more angry, and she started to march all over the house.

“DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE GOT HURT BECAUSE OF YOU? YOU ENTITLED BRAT!!” as she walked towards the piano salon, she didn’t feel any fear of Bates Morde. She was furious and desoled.


While approaching the salon, she heard fragments of sounds resembling the Moonlight Sonata. Lucy found Morde at the piano playing.

“Oh, here you are, you son of a…”

“Please don’t say it,” Morde interrupted. “These people made my house end up like this. They vandalized it, they destroyed my home, and when I gave them the chance to apologize and give back what they took from me, they denied it. You denied it as well, Alicia Rockwell. Why are you so surprised now?”

“Look…” Lucy started. “I have brought everything back to you. All your stupid toys. Just stop what you are doing! People died because of your hysteria!” She didn’t want to, but she started to beg. “Please…stop this madness!”

Morde stood up from the piano and walked up to Lucy, whose heart was beating so fast that it almost exploded.

“Deal,” he grinned, then took away her backpack. He started to toss the pieces of the Gallery of the Brave, and in the end, he was holding the gnome-like figure that Lucy stole from him.

“See? If I put all of these figures on this table, the monsters won’t hurt anybody. They are just parts of a puzzle here. Only I can bring them to life and let them make mischief. Now, everything has stopped. Don’t provoke me to use them again. Now you may leave my house!” he groaned.

Lucy ran away from that place as fast as she could. She didn’t look back. She just hoped that Bates Morde would stick to his promise, and wouldn’t let his menagerie free again. Or that there wouldn’t be any more adventurous teens, who would steal his beloved knickknacks for fun or to prove how brave they were.

Crossing the Line

Áron Antal

Today I got an F in math. This was the final one I needed to have to repeat this year. I knew what this meant. I just don’t want to go home. They would never understand. They say that I have to go to college, because that is the only way for me to have a decent life. Well guess what. I screwed up again. Can’t they understand that I hate school? I want to find a job and have a decent life that way. I always struggled with education, why can’t they understand, why the insistence?

These thoughts and many like them were screaming in my mind, in the same way that the math teacher was screaming in my face. I didn’t care. I just stared blankly at the green board as the class laughed at me. I had got used to it by now.

When I arrived home, I heard them arguing. Great, just what I need. The fact that I just failed math surely will lighten the mood.

–Oh hi there you dumb…

–Hi Dad. How was your day?

–Oh just fine! Even better after I got a letter from the principal. Would you be so kind as to tell me what you were thinking? Can’t you concentrate? How could we raise you this stupid? Where did we go wrong, huh?

–I’m sorry, it’s not your fault.

–It sure isn’t. Get out of my sight.

I rarely talked back, as I was lectured with shouting when I did. But now I couldn’t hold it back.

–You know what? I don’t think you understand me at all!

–What did you say?

–You don’t understand me! You don’t know me! And you judge me without knowing!

–I know you all right; you are a dumb, ignorant, untalented piece of human garbage, that is what you are! I would be glad if you weren’t a failure!

–Okay then, we will see about that.

I slammed my door.

At night I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking: how could I endure this torture, day by day? What really keeps me here? If I really wanted to, I could pursue my dreams. I am an adult now. Why should they tell me what to do? I don’t need them, and I don’t need anyone. I won’t be a failure any longer, I will stand up, even if it means I must leave everything behind.

It was 2 a.m. I started packing up. Put my better clothes in a duffle bag, shoved my laptop on top, and put all the money I had in one of its side pockets. I earned it when I worked at my friend’s dad’s place for the summer. They lived about six hundred kilometers away. They were my destination. I know they will take me in until I can sort things out. Daniel works with his dad at their farm. I hope they have a job.

It took me fifteen minutes to pack up. I went to the kitchen where my dad had his old Chevy’s key on the counter. I grabbed it, then I climbed out of my room’s window.

Technically the Chevy was mine, it was in my name, I paid the insurance, but he drove it, and didn’t let me behind the steering wheel since I got my license. I bought it, but he didn’t have a car, so you can guess the rest of the story.

The night was dark, cold and quiet. I could only hear some dogs barking and an ambulance siren in the distance.

The old Chevy hesitantly came to life, its headlights sparkling in the dark. The sound of its engine tore the silent fabric of the night as I slammed down the gas pedal and rode off into uncertainty. Except one thing was certain. Anything is better than this life.

I should have made this decision much sooner.

What Is Always Coming, but Never Arrives

Lili Forgács

“You have sixty seconds to answer the last question. Are you ready?” the quiz-show host asked. Mr Green was readier than ever before. He was just one answer away from the final prize, from 1,000,000 dollars. If he could reply correctly to the previous thirteen questions, why would he make a mistake now?

“What is always coming, but never arrives?” he heard. At that moment he looked up at the board. He didn’t like the question; it was different from the others. On the screen four boxes with blue frames appeared with the four possible answers. “A is ‘Sun.’ B is ‘tomorrow.’ C is ‘river.’ And D is ‘hope,’” the host read out.

Mr Green felt sick and became a little dizzy. He felt like he was left with no legs to stand on. ‘What is always coming, but never arrives…’ the question echoed in his mind.

“Hope is too theoretical in a quiz-show. It requires academic rather than philosophical knowledge , so D is surely not the correct answer. On the other hand, the question itself is abstract; why couldn’t the answer be that as well?” Mr Green was just standing there in silence, a drop of sweat rolling down on his temple.
“The Sun comes up the sky every day, and it never stops, thus it never reaches its destination, it never arrives.”

“You have thirty seconds left,” the host interrupted the player’s thoughts. It was almost visible outside how the cogwheels of his brain were working.

“The situation with the river is almost the same as with the Sun,“ Mr Green continued thinking. “However, most of the time rivers flow into a sea or ocean. Of course, the water flow never comes to a halt, but in some senses it arrives. Tomorrow is something that we are always waiting for. As the clock strikes midnight, tomorrow becomes today, and today becomes yesterday. It’s an infinite circle with no end.”

“Ten, nine…” the countdown started.

“Sun or tomorrow?” Mr Green asked himself. “Tomorrow or Sun?”

“I am so sorry, but the time is up.” The host looked questioningly at the competitor.

“My answer is…” he cleared his throat. “My answer is A, the Sun.”

Suddenly the board turned red, the sound indicating the wrong answer was heard.

“I knew I should have chosen tomorrow,” Mr Green thought, while a bitter smile appeared on his face.


The world is not black and white. A question can be answered, a problem can be solved a million plus one different ways. Sometimes we can easily select the most favourable option, while in other cases we feel that there is none. We are also criticised for our decisions. One which is suitable for everyone and with which everybody agrees does not exist. We have to enumerate all the possibilities, then act. There is no guarantee it will work, as we could see with Mr Green, who gave his answer reasonably, and it might put us down in the dumps, but tomorrow always comes.


Simon Stoica-Bodor

It was a rainy time of the season in California. Jacob couldn’t afford a lift by taxi, so he had to go home alone in the rain with wet socks on his feet. 

Two hours previously, when the principal of his school asked him to write an essay about how he feels about being the best and most successful student of the facility, he didn’t mean to say yes, but for an unknown reason he accepted the assignment. He wrote a very long text (since the principal said it must be four or more pages) about his further goals and about how he got here. He mentioned how hard it was to prioritize between his hobbies, and how he wanted to live his life and attempt not to have any regrets when throwing back to his past in the future. 

Jacob finished it even though it took away ten hours of his life (as though being the smartest kid in the school hadn’t already required enough time). 

The final stage was to read it out loud in front of the whole school the next day. He took it seriously, but he was very tired after the working hours. Without packing the composition, he fell asleep behind his desk and left the papers there.

The day when he had to read his story, he was looking for his writing, but he couldn’t find it. He looked around the table three times, and around his bed. – It just can’t be possible! – he said. – I left it over here!! After a quarter-hour treasure hunt, he stopped and began to worry. His mother saw her son in trouble, so she went straight upstairs for him. She said they should look for the papers behind the desk, maybe they could have slid between the desk and the wall. She was right. The composition was there.

Jacob shouted out: – Eureka!!! This means “I have found it” in Greek. Jacob was very thankful for his mother, so he hugged her and ran down the stairs to get ready for his speech. Funny that the smartest person (among teenagers) forgot to think for fifteen minutes. I guess even the smartest kid can make mistakes.

The Hawaiian Love Story

Viktória Kamarás

There was a girl with wavy black hair and brown skin. She was very pretty and had the perfect life, and also a pig. This pig was two months old, with brown spots on its body and a curly tail.

One day she went to school and saw a very sympathetic boy there. They had the same instrument class together, and he played guitar while she played ukulele.On the next day she was practicing ukulele along the river when the boy appeared and sat next to her. She was embarrassed and shy; the boy fell in love with her and talked about his life and what was happening around him. The girl listened to him actively and was a part of the conversation. She found out that he also had a pig, similar to the girl’s. At the end of the school year they went to each other’s house to celebrate the year with some brown-sugar-grilled pineapple. They had a great time together chatting, eating and laughing. Together they played with their pigs and also became friends.

One day the boy went to the girl’s hut and spilled his feelings and told her that he loved her more than a friend. And the girl felt the same way, so they told their parents and they agreed too. They got married on a pineapple field because when they were children they used to eat pineapple together. The wedding cake was pineapple flavored. Later they had two children and a pig.

They have been in a healthy marriage ever since then, and they are very happy.


Petra Bardócz

I was sitting in my living room, laptop in my lap as I was looking through America’s cheapest states to live in. You see, me and my mother were about to move back to America, having left the country when I was five. Sadly, along the way my parents got a divorce, so we had to move out from my father’s place, and that is why we need to find a new place. Right now we are crashing at my mom’s sister’s place. It’s kind of nice if I’m being honest. I like how quiet it is and at the same time, I really like ‘Aunty O’ too. She’s one of the coolest people I’ve ever met.

Why am I looking for not-so-expensive houses and affordable states, you may ask? The particular reason for that circumstance is that my family from my mother’s side is not exactly the kind of family you would call rich. Let’s just say we are in the lower middle class, a family with average people.

So as I was looking for the perfect state, an idea popped into my head. Science I am a big Marvel fan I decided to check out Missouri. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe Missouri is where Star Lord, also known as Peter Quill, was born in 1962, on February 4. To my surprise, Missouri seemed like an affordable state, so I dug deeper in information.

To begin with, I found out that many well-known musicians were born or have lived in Missouri. These include guitarist and rock pioneer Chuck Berry, singer and actress Josephine Baker and even the “Queen of Rock,” Tina Turner. My eyes brightened as I read all of this.

Furthermore, Missouri is the native state of Mark Twain. His novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are both set in his boyhood hometown of Hannibal. Moreover, I found out that the filmmaker, animator and businessman Walt Disney spent part of his childhood in the Linn County town of Marceline before settling in Kansas City. Disney began his artistic career in Kansas City, where he founded the Laugh-O-Gram Studio.

These were also very promising news; I love Disney and his work. I think I am able to say that he is one of my role models. I cannot really explain why, it’s just what it is.

As I was scrolling deeper in Missouri’s history, my eye got caught on a year: 1904. This was the year when Missouri hosted the Summer Olympics at St. Louis. It was also the first time the games were hosted in the United States. I had mixed feelings after reading it, because watching the Olympics was mine and my father’s thing. One interest that we shared, and now he had left us, me with this unfilled empty hole in me that I feel like no one can ever fill or replace.

Anyways, I quickly shook off the feeling, got up from the couch, and ran off toward my mother to show her my research. Finally I found her in the bedroom, folding our laundry. I told her excitedly what I had found and deeply expressed my opinion on every pro and con. After a lot of talking and planning, calls and more searching, we decided that Missouri would be the state that we would move to. The only thing left for us was to find a suitable high school for me and a nearby house for sale.

At last I came upon the the pictures of Brentwood High School; it seemed very sympathetic for me even after I read through negative as well as positive comments. And for our luck, we also found a house just some blocks away from the school. I feel like this was meant to be, and let’s hope so that it is.

Missouri, here we come!

In God We Trust

Koppány Munkácsi

This story takes place in the USA’s state of Florida. Jimmy was spending his summer vacation at his grandparents’ house. Sometimes he felt alone, he needed a friend. He loved animals, especially reptiles, not just because they are cold-blooded, but in his childish mind, they are very cool. After some serious days of begging, his ancestors finally took him to the local ZOO. He felt joy inside his chest. This was the time for him to shine and show off the knowledge he had from years of watching National Geographic. They did not even reach the Reptile Section before the grandparents were already amazed by the amount of new information they had heard, not just from the guide, but from one of their loved ones. Finally, the moment we all have been waiting for, and the reason why Jimmy prayed every night…

His true friends. The alligators were his favourites, he kept dreaming about petting one. He even drew drawings about their friendship, with the title “In God We Trust.” Overall this was an unforgettable memory for the family. They decided it was time to go home. On the way, they stopped at a beautiful park, where they spent some time. Jimmy had his luck with him; he saw an alligator. While the old people were busy chatting, he snuck away and tried to interact with the animal. Which luckily took it easy and did not hurt our main character. The relatives discovered what was happening and took the child to a safe place, where they all said the same thing, “In God We Trust.”

Jimmy said this because his dream and prayer became reality. The grandparents said it with a sigh because nothing cruel happened that day.

Happy End!

I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes

Szonja Lengyel

I turned fifteen today and decided to hold a party. I got lots of gifts from my friends and, to my surprise. I got sunglasses, a suitcase, a camera that’s often used by tourists and a set with a travel blanket and pillow. I was confused and didn’t understand why I got any of these items. I loved to travel but my family wasn’t planning on going anywhere right now. Or so I thought. It turned out that the biggest gift that my parents gave me was a plane ticket to New York.

The Big Apple had been on my bucket list since I was a small child. After the party my mother told me to start packing, as the plane would be leaving the next morning at 9 a.m. I couldn’t sleep all night because I was extremely excited. My alarm clock went off at 5 a.m., I got ready and stormed down to the kitchen to eat something before we left. I prepared everything the night before, so my only job was to check everything before we went out the door. Even though I didn’t feel tired, I slept through the long flight. After we arrived at the hotel and checked into our room, we decided to relax a little and plan what we were going to do the next day. A few days passed by and we visited lots of places, for example Times Square, some fascinating museums such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art and and American Museum of Natural History, as well as other exciting places, like the Empire State Building and Madame Tussauds. On day three we decided to stop by the Statue of Liberty. I walked around to take some pictures of the statue and the city view from the island, while my parents climbed to the café at the top of the statue. When I finished taking pictures I decided to head inside and use the lift so I would save some time, but as the lift started moving it went down instead of up. I got confused and scared, not knowing what was going on. A few minutes later the lift stopped and the door opened. I carefully stepped out and saw a huge room. The air was damp and cold, I could barely see anything.I got my phone out of my pocket and turned on the flashlight. I was shocked to see lots of tables with things on them. I couldn’t see the things because every single one of them was covered with a huge white textile. I was curious so I walked over to the closest one and took the blanket off. It was a small replica of an island with a building on it. I read the note attached to the mock-up: “Ellis Island, New York State.” I looked closer and saw tiny little people dressed up in 1920s-style clothing. They were moving….. They were living. I couldn’t believe my eyes.The building on Ellis Island Served as the main immigration processing center and hospital from 1892 to 1954. I walked to a different table and pulled the textile down. This one said “George Eastman House and the International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York State.”  I saw tiny people taking photographs of the newly built wonderful building. I walked to another table and saw Niagara Falls. Tiny people were present in this replica as well. I had so many questions at that point. “Why are all of these mock-ups here?” “Who are these tiny people?” “What are they using these small structures for?” But I knew one thing, which is that I was not supposed to see this. I quickly took some pictures with my camera and put everything back the way I found it.

I heard footsteps and talking echoing from the other side of the room, so I quickly got into the lift and went up to the Crown Café. I ordered a sandwich and a hot tea and sat down with my parents. I kept thinking about the things I had seen under the statue. But I knew one thing; I am definitely going back there to investigate.

Coming Back

Dorka Kovács

Besides the whistling of the wind and the screeching noise of the engine, the only thing that could be heard was the music humming softly from the radio. Through the windscreen you could see the beautiful landscape: the towering mountain peaks, the pine trees heavy with snow, and the sky bright with stars. Fresh air flowed in through the downrolled window, which came straight from the mountains and brought with it the typical chilly weather of December. The heart of the man driving the car became filled with warmth, pride, and childlike joy, as he recognized the characteristics of the state where he had spent most of his childhood. Growing up here, he had got used to the very long winters, extreme temperature swings, deep valleys, green forests and rolling hills. He still remembers all the art classes where they had to draw the bighorn sheep and the state animal, the grizzly bear. Or the jersey he would wear when the Montana Grizzlies basketball team was playing. The taste of the delicious fruitcake and the creamy, luscious eggnog made by his mother could never be replaced by any other. Being a senior at the University of California, he hadn’t exactly had the time to travel home to Montana lately. However, with the arrival of December and the mistletoe hanging in the doorways, the winter break had also begun.

That is how he ended up driving on the highway in Montana, heading to his parents’ house. He has been to many places in the world; however, as the old tag has it, “east west home’s best.” It doesn’t matter how exhilarating the travels are; he is always thrilled to come home.