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The Degree at Which Books Burn

451º Fahrenheit, this is the degree at which books burn. But why am I telling you this, and why should you care to know? Because, in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, it’s not about ‘brainwashing’ people into certain ideas. It’s about the society that leads them to brainwashing themselves.

Imagine yourself in a time where all you did was watch TV all day. A time in which you couldn’t sit down and read a book whenever you wanted to. This is the kind of time Guy Montag has been brought up into. And at the start of this book, you can easily see how it’s affected his character, “It’s fine work. Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn ’em to ashes, then burn the ashes. That’s our official slogan.” (Bradbury, 38). A corrupt society where people are blinded by themselves, and that’s when it sparked an idea in my head. I made a Text-World connection to current day society. Although books aren’t against the law, it’s as if they were. Everyone gets all their information online or from TV nowadays, and that’s creating less of a demand for books. It’s like they’re slowly fading away from existence, and we don’t even care.

But, how does Guy Montag know what’s right from what’s wrong? Can you really blame him for doing his job and following the laws that have been put forth? He goes along doing what he’s doing, until he realizes that maybe he shouldn’t be. Guy Montag is a simple guy until Clarisse comes along, then his whole world changes. Montag is faced with many obstacles, but most conflicts he faces are himself. The choice of morally right or conventionally right. The choice to save or to burn. Yes, Montag makes all the choices, and occasionally hinders himself, but he’s not the only problem he faces throughout the book.

Captain Beatty made things extremely difficult for Montag, almost like a game of cat and mouse. You could tell he knew, but instead of confronting him, he tore him down, teased him and played with him, then he waited, waited for his own family to turn him in “But her friends turned in an alarm earlier, that I let ride” (Bradbury, 143). I could make a text-world connection at this point, Captain Beatty’s character is in someways like a Nazi soldier. Not just in the way that they burn books, but in the way that he follows blindly. If he doesn’t know what he’s doing is wrong, then he just does his job the way his leaders tell him to do it, even if it’s not the right thing to do.

But who’s to say this portrayal of a decimated and corrupt society isn’t true? Because, with the arrival of new technology, nobody’s turning to books anymore. Because, the way things seem to be going nobody really wants a crafted compilation of coherent literature, not if it’s made of PAPER. And this is why Ray Bradbury does an excellent job of showing the effects that a small turn of events could have on the future of a society. And the effects it could have on the people of the society as well.

“The History Place – Triumph of Hitler: Burning of Books.” The History Place – Triumph of Hitler: Burning of Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967. Print.

Change is Inevitable

*Spoiler Alert*

As the immune gladers watched their friend turn to gone they witnessed a sight they never wanted to. “I’m a crank, Minho! I’m a crank!” (Dashner, 184). And I think that this one quote sums up the theme of the book perfectly. The theme that I’m going to explain, and conversely, the theme that ONLY the characters of the book can explain.

James Dashner is really able to connect with the reader; make him/her think deeply about the plot and development of the characters. Each intricate detail to reveal why every little thing happens. And as the third book of the series concludes, the questions in my head are inundating me. I could make a text-text connection with the events involving Newt, anyone could. Conflicts that hard are easily remembered…forever. But the biggest question that I have is: What would Thomas do with a second chance from the start? Would he allow W.I.C.K.E.D to return them their memories. Would he do it if it meant saving the life of Newt. Would he do it so he wouldn’t have to kill Newt himself.

The end of the book really reveals the theme that has remained static throughout the series. Conversely, this theme is always developing in new ways. Not a basic theme of friendship that can be displayed in any book. But one that is much more unwanted. The theme remains what it was in the last book, change is inevitable, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. 

And so for my final blog post of this book, and my multimedia blog post I chose to create a gif that really captured the message of this theme. Because change WAS inevitable for Newt, he couldn’t choose to be a crank or not. Unfortunately it was for the worst this time, however, due to the fact that they lost Teresa and Newt. And W.I.C.K.E.D has yet to find a cure, “As we tried to instill in each of our subjects over and over, W.I.C.K.E.D is good” (Dashner, 324) but they will never stop, never. With this quote, I wrap up the book. Where’s the fairytale ending? Did the good guys win? Well, that’s just the thing, that quote reveals a lot about the theme of the book, a lot about the characters, what they did, who they WERE and how they changed. But it doesn’t have an answer for everything, and not every book has a solution to the problem.

NewtCrankDashner, James. The Death Cure. New York: Delacorte, 2011. Print.

“The Maze Runner Photo: Newt.” Newt. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.

“La Chiave Orgonica.” La Chiave Orgonica RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.

Hunt and Hunted

Thomas, Minho and Newt have been stripped of their freedom. They have no choice of whether they get their memories back or not. But that won’t keep them from fighting it. As we continue the journey things start to get heated. And the time has finally come for action. The time has finally come to escape.

The 3rd book of the best-selling series: The Death Cure, continues with Thomas, Minho and Newt on the run from W.I.C.K.E.D Last time we saw Thomas, Minho and Newt they had just been forced into the rooms to get their memories back. Thomas was nervous, he had been pinned down by 2 armed guards, about to regain the thoughts he had never wanted to receive. So many questions and ideas rushing through his head, but most of all he was thinking about Brenda, standing right in front of him, about to ensure his memories. Thomas lost focus he had so many questions. Why would she make Thomas get his memory back? Why would she help W.I.C.K.E.D?”Okay, Thomas. We’re going to do this really fast. Are you ready?” (Dashner, 54), but it all became clear when she spoke to him once more

Although Thomas had lost trust for almost everyone he thought he could rely on before, he knew that this was a true moment. Brenda had “accidentally tripped” and stabbed an anesthetic into a guard, they retrieved his launcher and shot the other guard to stun her. Thomas had regrouped with the others and they were looking for Teresa and the rest so that they could make an escape. At this point I could make a text-text connection to another best selling series: The Hunger Games. These books are based on a very similar idea. A corrupt dystopian future where the only way to resolve serious problems in society is by endangering the lives of people in that society. But like in the third Hunger Games when Katniss was stabbed in the back by the leader of what she thought were her allies. Thomas also feels stabbed in the back when Teresa and the other Gladers leave him behind.

Thomas, Minho, Brenda and Newt escaped by a plane lounging in the hangar, this plane conveniently owned by Jorge, was their ticket out. But of course like always, W.I.C.K.E.D wasn’t giving up without a fight. The most climatic battle occurred there between the gladers and W.I.C.K.E.D, but Thomas was still fighting another conflict, and internal conflict. The thought of Teresa and the others leaving, he just couldn’t get over it. I think that these internal conflicts have been messing with Thomas mentally throughout the whole series, constantly changing his character. Because he has no one he can REALLY, REALLY trust, he is always being torn apart between people he THINKS he can trust. Thomas was not thinking clearly at all, shot while boarding, and next found himself awake again in the plane. He didn’t know much on how he got there or where they were going, but he looked up at Brenda and as soon as she asked about his friends she was quick to reply.

But this time, Brenda gave Teresa and the others the benefit of the doubt. Thomas shifted…daring to hope she was right. “So you think we should go to… Denver, she replied. Thomas nodded…Yeah, Denver.” (Dashner, 98).

Dashner, James. The Death Cure. New York: Delacorte, 2011. Print.

Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

Wikia, Maze Runner. “W.I.C.K.E.D.” Maze Runner Wiki. Mazerunner.wikia.com, n.d. Web. 22 Jan.2016.

The Test Continues

If you thought it was over, you were wrong. And every step our ‘heroes’ take, seemingly leading them to the end, only really appears to take them back even further. And as Thomas becomes entangled in more trouble, he begins to become estranged with not only the others, but himself too. Thomas will face more conflict than ever before, and he’ll find out there really isn’t anyone he can trust.

The guy who finally opened the door, the door which Thomas so patiently waited to be opened; ready to jump out at any time. And he stood there, silent, still, like a christmas present waiting to be unwrapped.”Same long nose, same weasel-like eyes; that greasy hair combed over an obvious bald spot that took up half his head. Same ridiculous white suit” (Dashner, 5). All the time he’d spent in that room alone, imagining how he’d get out once the door finally opened. Driving himself crazy, wondering if the other Gladers were still alive. But yet he sat relaxed. But when the ‘Rat Man’ finally sat down, that’s when he started to open his mouth. But surprisingly sarcastically, as if he didn’t care at that time what had happened to the other Gladers. “You’re immune to the flare” (Dashner, 10). This one thing ‘Rat Man’ said put Thomas in a state of shock, he couldn’t avoid the truth, couldn’t deny it, after being manipulated, tested, and lied to. He knew what he had just said WAS actually true.

Thomas’s mood shifted from confused to happy when he finally saw his friends again; he was relieved to know they were still alive, but only temporarily. Something in Thomas’s mind was still ambivalent, like it had lost fate, his anger towards Teresa, after all she’d done to him he didn’t know whether to trust her again. I also remembered a Text-World connection I could make that dates back to WWII in China. In WWII China was fighting enemies whilst fighting itself. A civil war and a world war, external and internal conflicts much like the ones Thomas faces now. His feelings for her on the inside can also be tied to his battle against W.I.C.K.E.D on the outside, and who to trust is what’s really tearing him apart. But worse yet, he doesn’t know who’s good, who’s bad, he doesn’t even know who he can trust anymore.

As I mentioned in my previous exposition blog post on book 2, Thomas is a very dynamic character, besides physical traits his characteristics are unpredictable and typically relate to the scenario he’s in. He constantly changes his perception of different people, and only because he can’t trust anyone. Everything Thomas has heard from even the closest people (Teresa) to him have usually been lies. He’s been put through an extreme test and doesn’t know what to think anymore. Before Thomas denied W.I.C.K.E.D, along with Newt and Minho, the permission to give them their memories back he saw Brenda. She appeared to be working with W.I.C.K.E.D. “Don’t trust them…Only me and Chancellor Paige, Thomas. No one else.” (Dashner, 35). Thomas became even more confused, and even after all the things he’d been told, he still wasn’t ready for what he just heard.

Wikipedia. “Chinese Civil War.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Dec. 2015. Web. 6 Jan. 2016.

Dashner, James. The Death Cure. New York: Delacorte, 2011. Print.

The Last Variable

*Spoiler Alert*

Here I have created a fake Facebook page for the main character of the story Thomas. I have included posts based on the key events that I think are extremely important, and the ones I think evince the THEME of the book. I think the theme of the book is, to put in just a few words, “Change is inevitable, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse” and I think many examples of CHANGE are shown throughout the book. Thomas’s perception of other characters is changed. Like for example, Minho after the lightning storm showed no sympathy and was ready to move on “So, what, six died in the Storm? Seven?” (Dashner, 148). Teresa–after he’d lost her once–she pushed him away, and then he pushed her away once he lost all his trust for her the 2nd time, “No…Just leave me alone. And you can tell WICKED I’m done playing their games. Tell them I’m done!” (Dashner, 357)

Fake Facebook Page:

http://www.classtools.net/FB/1444-n3UGaf

Dashner, James. The Scorch Trials. New York: Delacorte, 2010. Print.

The Maze was only the Beginning

“It…It was Teresa” (Dashner, 119) after running the other Gladers through the scorching heat for hours, Thomas finally told them. But why was it harder for Thomas to tell the Gladers than to leave Teresa in the shack alone? We once again return to the Scorch Trials to find out that all this time, the hollowing screeches from the little structure off in the distance WERE Teresa’s, but were they really? Why was Teresa so different around Thomas, and when she told him to get out, why wasn’t he hesitant to refuse? After all this time looking for her, he finds her, and he leaves her.

As the story develops, so do the characters, and Thomas faces his biggest obstacle yet. Bigger than entering the maze, bigger than when he lost Teresa, the feeling of loneliness and emptiness dwelling inside of Thomas, the feeling of remorse and sorrow. When Thomas fails to retain his emotions he runs, and runs, and runs. And he runs not only himself, but all the Gladers, 4 hours into the middle of nowhere. And when finally reaching the shelter they’ve endeavored for days, they stop only to realize that they’d lost 6 more Gladers. Minho had been lucky, lucky to get out alive after being struck by lightning, lucky to sustain only minor burns and charred clothes. He wasn’t as lucky Thomas, who got by without a scratch, but luckier than those 6 who didn’t make it, and much luckier than the 40 who died in the maze.

17 Gladers live on, and right now Thomas tries to take his mind off Teresa in order to protect those other Gladers. As we progressively read on in the book, the inner conflict that struck Thomas right in the beginning starts to resolve, but another conflict evokes Thomas. When they finally find shelter they soon realize they’re not the only inhabitant to the building. “Cranks” are lurking in the torn down structure for the same reason Thomas and the remaining Gladers are, survival. They can’t fight off the Cranks though, after the storm they’ve become far too weak, besides–they’re outnumbered 40-11. The conflict Thomas faces here is with one Crank in particular, the leader, Jorge. Thomas has to think quickly, and without hesitation, in order to keep the rest of the Gladers safe, but things only worsen when Minho jumps Jorge and viciously attacks him, now Thomas has to reason with him, for his life, and the life of all Gladers. As Thomas comes to an agreement with Jorge, it feels like momentarily the conflict is solved, “And he certainly wasn’t stupid enough to trust Jorge after just one brief meeting” (Dashner, 165) but the biggest conflict is, and for a long time will be, trusting him.

Once again a text-text connection between the first Maze Runner book can be made. The connection between the outer conflicts that the characters face, such as difficulty in communication and cooperation between colleagues, this is what I found most commonly related in both books. In the Maze Runner it was the maze, and more specifically what was in it that turned Gladers against each other. In the Scorch Trials they’ve been thrown everything, from Lightning Storms to Cranks, and even Teresa. Thomas, and the rest of the Gladers have to face almost every single conflict there is to make it through, they’ve basically reentered the maze, it’s just a whole lot worse.

 

Dashner, James. The Scorch Trials. New York: Delacorte, 2010. Print.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Maze_Runner

 

The Flare, Ending of Humanity

What would you do if you were stuck in a small building, and then suddenly released into a deserted, arid, sweltering wasteland? You would try and survive, anyway you could, and that’s what the Gladers attempt to do in the “Scorch Trials” by James Dashner. The Gladers tried their hardest to make the best of an awful situation in the maze, and when they’re rescued the feeling of hope’s disseminated throughout the whole entire community, until they’re released into a vast and mysterious place. Knowing only one thing, it’s a test…and only the best will pass.

The second book in “The Maze Runner” series takes place in an area unknown to the Gladers, and of course this sounds very familiar, but unlike the maze…there really is, no.way.out. The wide range of rock, dust, and dirt is nothing more than the debris left over from the Flare, the thing that drove humans extinct. “Thomas shivered, something that seemed completely impossible in the sweltering heat” (Dashner, 99) this is a really descriptive piece, because it’s not literal. It is describing Thomas’s anxiety and fear about what I think is not only the people approaching the Gladers but other obstacles and conflicts in the near future.

“Teresa, can you hear me? We’re waiting for you out here” (Dashner, 18) Perfectly depicts Thomas as the selfless person he is, but more than anything/anyone he cares about Teresa, when he’s trying to help he always puts her in front of himself, which is good, but he also puts her in front of all the other Gladers, which is dangerous. In situations like the one where there was persistent screaming from a small structure in the distance, Thomas wasn’t hesitant to volunteer in response to Minho, even though it was a joke “Ok then, who wants to go meet this nice young lady”, “I’ll go” (Dashner, 113). Minho, he’s not officially, but basically, the leader of the team. He’s giving orders, instructing people on where to go, and has quick wits to help problem solve. Sometimes his humorous behavior can get in the way of the important tasks, and this could pose as a big problem for the rest of the Gladers. Both Thomas and Minho will have to overcome internal-conflicts throughout the book in order to help the Gladers survive the Scorch Trials.

A text-text connection can easily be made between this and the first book of “The Maze Runner” series, in the sense that many characters are burdened with conflict at the beginning of the book. For example in the first book he had just arrived in the maze, and in the second book he loses Teresa at the beginning. I think this is a good way to introduce the characters because it really allows the characters to show their true colors at the beginning of the book. This makes it easier for the character to develop, because his/her weaknesses are exposed earlier and can be rectified sooner.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Dashner, James. The Scorch Trials. New York: Delacorte, 2010. Print.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX. Dir. Wess Ball. Perf. Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Ki Hong Lee, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, and Patricia Clarkson. 20th Century Fox, 2015. Trailer.

The Butterfly Effect, History’s Chain Reaction

Time Travel what’s the worst that can happen, you find a dinosaur, you put your life at stake. Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s the little things that matter”, well that saying is true, cause the worst thing that can happen, is stepping off the path.

A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury, ends with the killing of the main character, Eckel, which is the subsequent result to all the change in events that were caused by Eckel’s mishap, histories biggest chain reaction, also known as The Butterfly Effect. I think that, although the book is sort of a mix between Sci-Fi and Historical Fiction, the theme of the novel is actually based on morales and principles, showing how even the slightest step off the figurative path, or in Eckels case the actual path, can make a huge difference.

One connection I can make is Text-World, the connection I made was how similar Eckel’s actions are to everyday actions of almost anyone. Eckel didn’t consider the consequences of traveling back in time and actually proceeding with that Safari; much like how people don’t consider the results of their actions before they carry out with the action. For example, when Eckel was told to stay on the path and not do anything besides what he was told to do, he tried to question that:

“So they’re dead,” said Eckels. “So what?”, “So what?” Travis snorted quietly. “Well, what about the foxes that’ll need those mice to survive? For want of ten mice, a fox dies. For want of ten foxes, a lion starves. For want of a lion, all manner of insects, vultures, infinite billions of life forms are thrown into chaos and destruction. Eventually it all boils down to this: Fifty-nine million years later, a cave man, one of a dozen in the entire world, goes hunting wild boar or saber-toothed tiger for food. But you, friend, have stepped on all the tigers in that region. By stepping on one single mouse. So the cave man starves.” (Bradbury, 7) This conversation between Travis and Eckels shows how naive Eckels is, this also recollects the saying, “It’s the little things that matter” because Travis is talking about how important it is to be attentive, and to stay on the path, and that even the slightest step off could drastically alter the future.

“He did not move. Eyes shut, he waited, shivering. He heard Travis breathe loud in the room; he heard Travis shift his rifle, click the safety catch, and raise the weapon. There was a sound of thunder.” (Bradbury 7) I think the closing paragraph of this short novel was subliminal, yet very conclusive, making it inquiring to readers. The resolution of the book was one that led to some very interesting questions, for example:

– Were Travis’s actions morally correct, or was he just trying to justify the situation?

– Why was Ray Bradbury so descriptive with the concluding sentences? Why didn’t he approach it more directly with a straightforward conclusion?

Bradbury, Ray, Ray Bradbury, Ray Bradbury, and Ray Bradbury. A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

The Last Survivors: Reading Response

 

The Last Survivors: This World we Live in

0-20:

 

New Vocabulary:

NONE

Summary:

They’re in a normal house, but this is after the “apocalypse” and they seem to be living a normal life. They’re all together, except for the father and 2 kids that live somewhere else. Every week on Monday they get a food delivery, they have limited supplies so they only get food deliveries once a week, they have only 2 meals a day, which is enough to subsist on. One day their food delivery guy doesn’t show up, they have enough to last the week but the mother wants to investigate more, Monica (the main character) and the mother go into the town, what they think is deserted, and try to find some sort of explanation. Jon, who is Monica’s younger brother also lives in that house, he doesn’t like learning. Matt, Monica’s older brother is the one making all the decisions with Monica’s mom, they have what Monica calls “Conspiratorial Deliberations” and wonders why they always exclude her in important conversations.

Connections:

I think that I can relate some of the events in this book to world events going on, especially around China. 2 Earthquakes have recently hit, one in Yunnan and one in Nepal. In the book there have been many Earthquakes, devastating ones, creating Tsunamis that are taking out cities. Of course in the book it’s less realistic, and more severe damage, but that’s a connection between the book and the world.

Questions:

Why would they stop delivering food and not tell anyone?

Predictions:

I think they’re going to start their venture to Pittsburgh in search of safer and more sustainable life, especially since the food supply is running out.

 

20-40:

 

New Vocabulary:

Illicit: Forbidden by law, rules, or custom. Usage in book: Mom was working on one of her illicit crossword puzzles.

Virtuous: Having or showing high moral standards. Usage in book: Feeling virtuous, I also added a chocolate peanut butter pie.

Summary:

Before Miranda, Matt, Jon, and their Mom start the journey out of that town and into the city of Pittsburgh they must stock up on provisions. Since food deliveries have been discontinued Matt and Jon decide to go down to the River for 3-4 days catching fish; they’re trying to catch shad to salt and pack for their trip to Pittsburgh. Matt and Jon left on Tuesday and are supposed to return on Saturday. Before they left, they robbed all the empty houses in search of more supplies; Miranda found an electronic heater at Mrs. Nebitt’s house. Now they have some food, heat, but no electricity, and are pending the arrival of Matt and Jon so they can salt the shad and start for Pittsburgh.

Connections:

I can connect this to the 2nd book in the Maze Runner series “Scorch Trails” because before making a very dangerous journey they gather up all the provisions and supplies they can get. There is also a correlation in the leadership, between the two books. In scorch trails it’s mainly Minho assigning jobs to people and choosing when to move on and when to stop and rest. In “The Last Survivors” it’s the same, Matt is giving out orders in order to create a susceptible chance of survival.

Questions:

How did the bodies of the 6 dead people get piled up in the same place? Did someone pile them up or was it just coincidence that they landed in the same area?

Predictions:

I think there’s not going to be any/much shad brought back by Jon and Matt which will cause the venture to take place much sooner and make it a much riskier journey.

 

40-60:

 

New Vocabulary:

NONE

Summary:

Jon and Matt come back late from their fishing expedition and Miranda and her mom are really worried, and very surprised when Matt comes back with a girl, Syl, who is his WIFE. They have caught 2 full trash bags of fish they’re saving, Matt and Jon go back another 4 days to try and get more food. Meanwhile, while Jon and Matt are gone, the 3 still at the house are trying to find something to offer to the “moon goddess” Diana. Miranda’s mom is reluctant in giving up Miranda’s diaries, yet still no one has talked about the venture to Pittsburgh, and if they were following through.

Connections:

This isn’t a personal connection, but I can make a text-world connection in the sense that this is the typical actions of a teenager. When Matt brings in Syl, he’s being very difficult with his mom, and I think this is the behavior of lots of teenagers.

Questions:

What happened to Miranda’s dad, is he still alive, where did he leave to?

Predictions:

I think that they’re going to run out of electricity, because as time progresses they lose more and more time where electricity is available. I think once they run out of electricity and heat they’re going to finally make the decision to go to Pittsburgh for survival.

 

60-80:

 

New Vocabulary:

NONE

Summary:

Jon and Matt just came back from another extremely hard, long, tiring, etc. fishing trip. This time they brought back half a bag, instead of the initial 2 bags of fish they go the first time. Syl, Miranda, and Laura (mom) made a SACRAFICE to “The Moon Goddess” Diana. They sacrificed stuff dear to them, and even after giving up those treasuries they still had a terrible week. The subsequent week was filled with glee, everything started going in their direction. Then it started getting worse again, it was the same repetition of arguments, fights, yelling, complaining, just like it was in the beginning of the book.

Connections:

I can make a Text-Media connection between this book and a movie called “Snowpiercer” In the movie Snowpiercer the world was hit by a catastrophic event thought to be a failed global warming experiment. The experiment turned the world into a complete tundra. A man had to build a train that went all along the world to so that they could survive (the people on the train). I think this relates to this book because it’s the same exact problem, and although very different concepts, their ideas of survival are very closely related. Both solutions are intent on keeping people alive by moving, and not staying in one place, trying to survive. Example: In the book, they talked about going to Pittsburgh so they could survive. Example: In the movie, they had to keep moving on the train, they never got out, always kept on the move.

Visualization:

I can visualize Syl and Miranda praying to “The Moon Goddess” I can see them on their knees begging for the world to go back to the way it was before. I also visualize Miranda’s mom reluctant to pray, it’s kind of showing how her personalities is different from Syls, she doesn’t really believe in anything.

Questions:

When are they going to Pittsburgh, are they?

How long can they survive in this conditions with this amount of people, and their available resources?

Predictions:

I think that the food will stop being delivered and they’ll start walking to other civilizations in search of shelter and other necessities to aid their survival.

The Machickos

THE MACHICKOS

 

For many years the Machicko family had been leading the crime in California. They were centered in Los Angeles but also controlled an area in Orange County and San Diego. “The Lawn Father”, ran the Machickos, his name was Bobby Machicko. The lawn business was a cover for their crime business, because like all good crime industries, you need a good cover name. Bobby Machicko had two sons and two daughters. Clementina; the youngest daughter was head in line to take over the ‘family business’. And though the others knew, they showed no motive to kill or harm in an act of jealousy, for The Machickos were a good family. They may have killed, but they had peace in their hearts.

Carlos was the youngest of the four; he was not the bravest but definitely the smartest. Carlos spent most of his days studying until he met a girl named Josephine. Josephine was a tall and beautiful woman, but Carlos married her for her curiosity. Like Carlos she always wanted to know more, but that nearly led her to her death. Emilia; the oldest daughter was the craziest. She set out to only kill, not to find peace. And Garcia; the oldest son, was the idiot. He could never figure out what was going on; he didn’t even know what his family did. He knew nothing of the ‘family business’ but then again, that’s how it’s supposed to be. Dallas Machicko used to be the oldest; he was also the wisest, the smartest, and the funniest. He was in line to rule the family business, but the Talitas didn’t think so. Thirty bullets in the chest on the way to a grocery store surely put that thought away for good.

 

 

It was October 19th, 2014.

Clemeninta was at her house, sipping slowly at a glass of warm tequila. She feared the worst for what would come of the two families. The Talitas; the rival family of the Machickos, posted a big competition in the crime industry. The Machickos feared that if the Talitas would run them out of the Mexican Mob Industry, there would be corrupt streets, and many would suffer.

 

 

October 20th, 2014, Bobby Machicko’s Office

“Step into my office my friend,” the Lawn father said as one of his clients stepped into the room.

 

“Lawn Father, I need your help”, his client said shivering in his seat.

 

“I will help you my friend, but you will return the favor for me soon.”

 

“Yes Lawn Father, I will,” said….

 

“And please call me Bobby, Bobby Machicko”

 

The man left with reverence and caution. He did not want to offend Bobby Machicko, especially not before his daughter’s wedding.

 

 

October 22nd, 2014

It was the eve of his daughters wedding. Everyone who was invited was sure to show up, everyone except the Talitas. The Talitas were invited to show signs of peace with the Machicko family, but the Talitas weren’t the peaceful kind. They loved to keep everything they did quiet. Which is why nobody knows they killed Dallas.

 

 

Bobby Machicko was waiting in his room, it was silent; you could hear a pin drop, if one did. But the reason for the silence wasn’t unknown, for the Talitas godfather was coming that day. Security had been tight; nobody got in or out of the building without Bobby’s consent. Carlos had come to talk to his father earlier that day, but he was shunned away because of the importance of the meeting. “This meeting could bring the Talitas and the Machickos together once and for all, don’t you understand my son?’’ But Carlos didn’t understand; he was smart not to understand. Carlos instead thought; why would the Talitas want peace? He asked himself again and again repeating the question over and over. Then he found his answer; but it wasn’t the best one. “Come on in Agasthya Talita, I don’t want to waste your time so lets get right down to business” said Bobby happy to have this esteemed guest in his house. “We’ve had war for many years Agasthya, I think it’s finally time this war should come to an end, I assume you’d think the same”, “A little quick to make assumptions, don’t you think?” At that moment Agasthya pulled a gun out of his sleeve. He pointed it straight on at the head of Bobby. But before he could pull the trigger, a trigger was pulled on him. “Ah!” he screamed in pain. He yelled as if he’d never been shot before. Not in the leg at least. “Carlos, how’d you know?” “It was a hunch” Carlos replied.

 

 

October 23rd, 2014

“How could you let him go on with this” Clementina said angrily, “Dad he almost killed you, you must retaliate” Suggested Emilia. “Dad, when are we going to get a job? I haven’t mown a lawn in forever”, said Garcia, still unaware of ‘the family business’. EVERYONE QUIET, CARLOS SAVED MY LIFE, LETS GET HIS INPUT

“I don’t think we should retaliate yet, it would show signs of hesitant reactions, just proving how weak we are” Carlos replied “HOW!” yelled Emilia “Because that’s what they want; WAR”

 

 

October 24th, 2014

Agasthya was planning, planning on a real way to take the Machicko family down. And then he thought to himself, get him from the inside. 3 spies from the Talitas were in the Machicko family. They were used to bring information back and forth. But Agasthya didn’t want information; he wanted Bobby dead. “Make it so, and don’t come back without his body!” the last words from spy to boss before they set out to kill Bobby. Security had been tightened even more at the Machicko HQ. Bobby had 4 men outside his room at all times while he was sleeping. Also, he had three men in his room while doing business, for security reasons of course. There were at least 50 men around the whole HQ, all of which were checked. All of the men had been tested, passed, everyone that is but the spies. For the spies had become very good friends with the Machicko family. They had become quite close with Bobby himself. But after all, that was the job they signed up for.

 

 

October 25th, 2014

“Son, it’s time you finally find out about the family business”, Bobby said to Garcia. “Well dad, I already know” Garcia said confidently. “You do, that’s great, then you can carry out a job for me, can’t you?” “Of course I can, I will go to Ms. Louis and mow her lawn early” he replied stupidly. “Maybe we should wait, after all, it’s better if you just stay out of the business”

 

 

October 26th, 2014

Clementina and Carlos were bickering over who got to choose which gun. The Machicko kids had been planning to retaliate, they wouldn’t stand by and watch their father be shot at. Just as they were about to leave the house, Bobby Machicko came down stairs. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” he said angrily. “AND WHY DO YOU HAVE 15 OF MY MEN!” “We’re going out to get revenge on the Talitas” Clementina replied. “NO! YOU’RE NOT!” he said with a scream that almost gave them a heart attack. They all ignored him and ran out the door. “Follow them now!” Bobby said to one of his men. 3 hours later they came back “How could you do something so stupid!” Bobby said scolding them. “Agasthya is dead, you’re welcome” they replied. “NO! Now they will only come after us even more. What have you done to our family?” he said with a red, steaming face. “Where’s Garcia?” he said after calming down. “Where is she?” he asked again. They pulled a body into the room. “We didn’t all make it” Carlos said crying. “No, no, it can’ t be” Bobby said with a tear dripping down his face. “He didn’t know anything, he didn’t even want to be in the family business”, he said now in deep sorrow. “Who did this?” bobby asked. “WHO DID THIS?” he asked again but with a louder voice. Emilia stepped forth. “One of our own?” he said surprised. “How could you?” “Because he’s not one of us,” Emilia said. “What do you mean?” “Just ask the Talitas”

 

 

December 4th, 2014

Although Garcia had been proven to be a traitor and a scum, they still held a formal funeral for him. Garcia had been a good son, and although he acted dumb; betraying the family was one of the best acts he pulled off. He had gotten close, to close to the Machicko family. And even though he was a Talita by blood, they treated him like a real Machicko. The Machickos did not care that he was planning against them, because that was not the final act he carried out before his death. The last words he said before he was shot were Remember me not as a Talita, but as a Machicko. Garcia had known all along that they were going to end him. They knew he had grown too attached to the Machicko family. So they did it, they killed Garcia, one of their own family members. The Talitas were a cold-hearted family; they cared for no one. They even killed their first daughter and their oldest son; luckily they gave Garcia one more chance. Garcia was the one exception they had. The Talitas had stolen the son born the day they thought Garcia was born then Garcia grew up with the Machickos thinking he was actually part of their family. But when Garcia was 17 the Talitas took him and explained everything, they said if he wouldn’t betray the Machickos and give the Talitas information that they would slit his throat while he sleep. Garcia didn’t know anything at the time; he just went with what they said to keep his life. But he couldn’t betray the Machicko family, so he didn’t, and in return he got a knife to the throat.

 

January 4th, 2015

One month after the death of Garcia was the official marking of the war. A war amongst the families, a war that would change everything, this was the war of the Machickos. And it all started with the death of a traitor. Although he was a traitor, no one treated him like it, and so there was a proper burial, on the same day that there was a meeting, a meeting to gain allies. The Machickos knew they couldn’t do it alone, they couldn’t beat the Talitas by themselves, and especially not when the Talitas had half of the families on their side. The playing field was cut, half and half, the Conrolios and the Fintalos had joined the Talitas. And the Menroxis and the Gonzales’s had joined the Machickos. But everyone knew that there was only one family that really made a difference.

 

“We need them on our side,” said Carlos Machicko

 

“He’s right, they would make all the difference to the war,” Clementina added

 

“They have come to none of the meetings, they do not speak to any other families, they are a hidden shadow, alone in the dark. They will not come out, not even for this, how do you expect us to get them on our side, let alone get them at all?” asked Bobby Machicko

 

“I don’t know,” replied Clementina

 

A silence went through the room as they all thought how to get the family to join. They were clueless, they were out of ideas, but they knew one thing for sure.

 

“But I do know, if the Talitas get them, it’s all over,”

 

January 5th, 2015, Garcia’s Funeral

Garcia’s funeral was a proper funeral, what you would expect, maybe more. About 150 guests showed up, including those from allied families. The subtle flower arrangements that Emilia took the time to do by setting aside her violent way, the nice coffin where Garcia’s body was placed with delicate carvings, and Bobby’s words to Garcia as he passed on.

 

“We never thought of you as the most clever, we actually believed you to be the dumbest of us all,” Bobby Machicko laughing softly but still with the tears coming from his eyes, and deep sobbing he continued. Bobby Machicko continued his speech and tried to keep himself together. He read all the way down to the last word, he quickly and softly stepped away from the podium after we was finished. He was the 6th victim to be struck down by the recognition of a lost family member. And even though he wasn’t really a family member, it felt that way to all the Machickos. After the speech Bobby Machicko was pulled aside by Clementina for a chat.

 

“We need to talk,” she said, sounding ignorant and impatient, but also sounding like she had something important to say

 

“It’s Garcia’s funeral, we’re not talking until it’s over,”

 

“We must, it’s extremely important,”

 

“If it’s that important then you could tell me now,”

 

“I don’t think I can,” Clementina said sounding frightened

 

“Why not?” Bobby responded

 

“It’s from the Deminoscas,” she said

 

Bobby’s eyes grew large; they looked as if they were going to pop out of his head. The Deminoscas were the most powerful family in town; they could take all other families out if they wanted, that was because they did something nobody else did. They stayed out of the way so nobody would know about them. If they were to find out about them, then they would soon forget. The Deminoscas is the oldest Mexican Mob Family there is, dating back to the start of the Mexican Mob Industry. The Deminoscas basically are the Mexican Mob Industry of California. And they are the reason there are only 7 families, and only 6 families publicly known.

 

“What did they say?” Bobby Machicko said wasting no time

 

“You should ask them yourself.” Clementina said with an undecided expression on her face

 

January 8th, 2015

It was the final council meeting, the Tailta’s of course not joining, or any of their allies. Bobby Machicko hosted a meeting at Machickos’ HQ with THEIR ALLIES for war strategy. The meeting had started, and it had seemed that the whole Deminoscas feud between the Machickos and Talitas had been forgotten, until now. The Machickos had gotten a call from one of the allied families saying they saw the Deminoscas Family going into the Talitas headquarters, the spy for the allied Gonzalez Family was killed, but not before he got the information back, the last thing he reportedly saw was Agasthya Talita shaking hands with the head of the Deminoscas. Bobby Machicko was sitting on his desk, quietly, he had a lack of physical movement, and after he got the news, it was like he was paralyzed from the waist up. The call came before the final council meeting, which made it an even more urgent meeting. Bobby Machicko knew that there was limited chance of winning, but, as the good man he was, he offered them a chance.

 

“Allies, I know that you’ve gotten the news about the Deminoscas Family, I know that they’re trading sides with the enemy, and I know that our chance of winning had just become a lot smaller.” Bobby announced to the attendees of the meeting

 

Clementina was sitting in the back corner listening to the speech; she was waiting for his big, motivational comeback on how they would fight till the last ounce of blood. Carlos was standing next to her, he know far too well, even without being told, what Bobbys next choice of words was going to be.

 

“So…I’m offering you a chance, a chance to leave, a chance to join the other side, or a chance to stay out completely. As much as I want, and need support, I can’t force you. But remember, you all came to this side for a reason, that reason was because you chose to be here, and not there. So make up your mind, are you in, or are you out?”

 

February 19th, 2015

 

Note

Not complete, writing piece in progress