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BETA WRITERS

We have two entries which didn't quite make it last month: but coming second is pretty good too. For next week we have 'Shepherd'. All submissions need to be sent in to ds.risingstars@gmail.com by Sunday noon. Word limit: 350-500 words. Good luck.

The Night of the Boogie-Woogie

By Nadira Tasnim

He was fond of music. Whenever he heard a song he forgot everything else. He closed his eyes and enjoyed it, completely immersed in it. No matter if the song was poor or full of life or sad he loved it. Even if his house was on fire, as everyone teased, and he was listening to a song, he would wait till the song was ended.

He loved to play music too. Although he couldn't afford a guitar or piano or even a flute, he played music. He used leaves or hollow stems and blew them. He had even discovered a way of singing a song, with a music being played in the background accordingly, by saying the words and holding the middle of a flower in front of his mouth like a microphone. This nameless flower, he found in the woods. You see, he went to the woods regularly to find out new ways of playing music using the flora.

He 'loved' singing. Well, he doesn't anymore.

It all started five years ago. It was his birthday. He went to the woods in the evening with two stems, planning to play music all night. Wandering around, he found a suitable tree under which to sit and attract all the birds with his wonderful talent. As soon as he held the stem against his mouth he heard something. He looked around. It was a sort of music which seemed to be coming from miles away. It did not come nearer. Nor did it fade away. It was where it was. Not getting louder or softer. He tried to follow it. But how could he if he did not figure out where it was coming from? Once it seemed to be coming from the back, once front and once from nowhere.

But somehow he felt he had to follow it, no matter what happened. It felt like an uncontrollable urge pulling him towards it. He looked here and there trying to figure out which way to go. He couldn't. The not-knowing-what-it-was and the sadness made by the music were both distracting him. Suddenly he screamed and the music and the scene vanished in front of him. He fell down and was asleep.

The next day he went to the forest hoping to listen to the sad music. He stayed there all day and returned home unsuccessful. He went again the next day. And the next. And again. Always unsuccessful.

Until his next birthday, though. He again heard that powerful music. This time it was nearer, but still no sign of where it was coming from. He figured out it was a sort of boogie-woogie. Trying to understand which way to go, he screamed and fell down. He looked up at the sky. The bright moon slowly faded away.

He goes to the woods every night hoping to listen to the music but always returning unsuccessful. He knows the music won't be there unless it is his birthday. Still he goes there. He knows that the music is played especially for him. By someone.

By someone very special.

The Dish and the Spoon

By Nabil Rahaman

He was tall and handsome but still very much human. Not much different from the rest of us. But to them, he represented something else, a symbol of hope, a promise of freedom. They said the wait was over. That he could do it; bring mankind back from servitude. They called him the one. The chosen one.

This world of ours, this faux reality, he knew nothing of it. To learn that everything he'd ever known was a lie, he was shocked; to no one's surprise. It was hard to grasp at first, the reign of machinery over men. He was trained. He needed to be prepared for any unexpected events. When you accept that reality is a lie, when you learn that anything is possible, you begin to expect everything. And so he did. They said they'd visit the system when he was ready. Was he really the chosen one? Only one person could tell. They were going to visit her in that other world. And soon, he was ready for the truth.

They travelled to the other world. The line was long. No one paid much attention to their black leather jackets or those cool shades. They were told to wait.
In that room, there were others who understood, who knew about the system. The chosen one approached one of them, a boy. He was bending spoons just by looking at them. Our hero tried one. And failed. The boy then, like a wise sage, said, "There is no spoon." That was the key. To accept that nothing exists. Our hero tried it once more. The spoon bent.

“DO THE DISHES ALREADY!" the owner screams at me. "I PAY YOU FOR WORKING, NOT WATCHING MOVIES.”

I frown and turn to the dishes. Lies. There are no dishes... I break them.


BOOK REVIEW

The Casual Vacancy
Author: J. K. Rowling

Reviewed By Musarrat

When you open Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling, you think the world has been set right again. Finally people can focus on a real writer and not that 'Fifty Shades of Garbage' that everyone and their mother seem to be gushing over. You expect to place yourself at the hands of a trusted storyteller and an old friend.

Oh, but Hedwig, I have a feeling we are not in Hogwarts anymore.
Casual Vacancy had its debut a couple of weeks ago to mixed reviews, most of which haven't been the best. It's hard for a Harry Potter fan to be objective about anything that Rowling has written, but can you really still love her blindly if it's just plain bad writing?

The story is set in the small idyllic town of Pagford, where councilman Barry Fairbrother drops dead in a golf club creating a “casual vacancy” - that's the technical term for these things, apparently - for someone to fill. Fairbrother, it is soon revealed, was working on a housing project on the outskirts of town called The Fields which wasn't being too well received by the town's gossipy, stuffy, upper middle class residents, and upon the news of this death, it's a scramble for his place in the council to either continue or abolish these plans. Will it be Colin Wall, deputy headmaster of Winterdown Comprehensive, who wants to continue Barry's good work? Or will it be Miles Mollinson, leader of the group that would turn its back on The Fields? It might even be Simon Price, who's under the impression that Barry was taking kickbacks, and wants to do the same.

Sounds dull, doesn't it? That's because it is. It's not fair on JK Rowling to compare this to Harry Potter - let's face it though; fans are going to be doing it anyways - but even if you start it with an open mind, it still won't change the fact that the book is quite boring and somewhat badly written. Aren't you supposed to be getting better at this after seven books, JK?

The redeeming qualities come from the teenagers and their drama filled gossip girl-esque (but without the couture and the Louboutins) lives, this is where the book gets somewhat interesting - but not till page 242!

The book is number 2 on the New York Times bestseller list (but then again, all three of E. L. James books are in the top 6) so it's worth a read if you have nothing better to do this coming Eid vacation. Just don't be too disappointed because it's about as far from Harry Potter as you can possibly get.


KIDSTARS

Save Water!

By Shivi Anand, Grade 3 student, AISD

Lots of people are dying because they cannot get clean usable water. If we don't start conserving water fast, soon we will be in the same situation.

Have you ever thought about how much water we are wasting?

Lot of floods and droughts are happening in many countries because people are not aware of the harm that they are doing to our environment.

Farmers living next to the Himalayas are having lots of trouble with their crops as most of the ice on the mountains is disappearing because of the heat and pollution. The crops are not getting enough water.

If you want to save water, all you have to do is:
· Take short showers instead of baths in the bath tubs
· Do not leave the water on when you are not using it between brushing, washing hands and faces or shaving
· Check for any water leaks
· Take water just enough to drink - do not leave it in the glass
To learn more, please go to
www.waterconservationschool.com/fiftyways.htm



 

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