Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Happy Ending

a story by Nina Yukymchuk, age 15

One rainy morning Alex woke up. He went downstairs. He was excited, singing a song while taking a shower. He then brushed his teeth, and dressed up for school. When he was by the door, his mom stopped him. She looked so pale. Her hair looked like a mess, she had black spots under her eyes. She said, “Hun, we're moving tomorrow.”

When he heard that, his heart started to beat fast. He fell down on his knees, begging her to stay. He said,“Mom, you can't do this to me. We can't move, I want to graduate here.”

He looked at her like she had stabbed him in the back with a knife. His mom looked at him. She looked so frustrated. Her voice was shaking. Quietly she said, “The baby.. it's a girl. You're going to be a big brother soon.”

He was so mad he raised his voice at her for being pregnant with her new boyfriend. They were getting married and moving to another state. Alex didn't want to move away. His life was perfect here. He dropped his backpack on the floor, went to his room and slammed the door shut.

The whole day passed and he was still sitting in his room locked. He was so confused. What would he tell his girlfriend? He loved her so much, he didn't want to break up.

Another hour passed. His mom was knocking on the door. “Alex, hun, are you going downstairs? I just made your favorite lunch.”

He didn't want to go downstairs. He thought that she was crazy for still talking to him after he yelled at her.

“I'll be there in a second.”

So his mom went downstairs.

He was sitting in his room thinking about what he should do. He got out of his bed, put the books that he was reading away.

He told his mom that he was really disappointed in her. But after that he came up to her and kissed her on the cheek and saying, “I am really happy to have a baby sister.”

She was sitting on a chair. She put her plate away, stood up and gave him a big hug. She was crying, so happy to hear that from him.

Inside he felt so sad he had to move. When he called his girlfriend, he told her that he is moving away, that he can't leave his mother alone until her wedding.

With anger his girlfriend slammed the phone to the ground and broke it. She put her coat, boots and hat on. She opened the door. The wind was blowing so hard that she almost fell to the ground.She got to her car and started to drive to his house.

When she came there, she didn't knock she just opened the door. She saw his mom in the kitchen. It smelled so delicious. His mom just made brownies. It was so warm in the house.

She said, “Hi, uhm.. Is Alex in his room?”

Alex's mom called from the kitchen,“Yes, he is I am sorry about the news.”

Alex's girlfriend smiled at her and went upstairs.

When she came to his room, she stopped. She threw her purse to the ground and walked closer to him. He threw his arms around her and kissed her.

The next day he helped his mom pack. His step dad picked them up and they moved. He didn't leave with them he told his mom that he will come to her wedding.

When his mom was driving away, he was standing by the house, waving them goodbye. Then he picked up his girlfriend. They drove to a restaurant. While driving, he told her what happened, and that he will never leave her. They came to the restaurant, ordered and he got something out of his pocket with a big smile. He looked worried, his hands were shaking.

He said, "Baby I love you. Will you marry me?"

With a smile she kissed him, "Yes, honey, I do want to marry you."

Both of them were sitting there, smiling from happiness. They were getting married.

Me, Nick and Shane: America's Most Wanted

by Vlad, age 16

So me and my friends Nick and Shane are walking to the store, right. We go in a Mini Mart we buy some chips and drinks and we leave. We go to my house which is like fifteen minutes away from the Mini Mart and we start watching the news and eating our chips. I haven't mentioned Shane and Nick are both fat. They both are obese and they like to eat and watch movies.

We see a news report on Most Wanted and they show a video of three dudes breaking in a store and stealing supplies and electronics worth a lot of money. So I say to Shane, "That dude kinda looks like us."

And he says, "You're right. He kinda does look like us."

Two of the guys were fat like Nick and Shane and the other one was tall like me.

So later we run out of chips and drinks and I say, "Hey, let's go to the Mini Mart and get some more food."

We end up going again and we're like half way there and all of a sudden a cop rolls by creeping and staring at us. He turns on his lights and pulls over to talk to us. We are thinking he is just going to tell us to get off the road. But instead he starts asking us if we had to do anything with the robbery at a Cricket phone store that we saw on the news.

The cop looks like he knows what he was doing. His badge is all shiny, he has a hat on and sunglasses, he looks like a professional, but really he's just a smart ass.

We start explaining how we were just watching that report on the robbery and it wasn't us. I tell him that he's talking to the wrong people. He doesn't talk nice to us. He is that kind of cop you don't want to talk to. He asks us ridiculous questions like do you have anything in your pockets that shouldn't be there? I just don't like his attitude and how he is just standing there with his eyes wide open, writing everything we say into his little book.

So later he calls in back-up and that's when we know we are going to get accused of something we didn't do. So the back up arrives and they start asking us more questions. The back up isn't so bad as the other one, he is more of happier cop--the kind of cop that likes his job and helping people out. But I can still tell what they are doing. They are playing good cop and bad cop to trick me into confessing.

And we tell them once again that we didn't do anything, that they got the wrong people. I know that they aren't going to believe us, so they start putting handcuffs on us and we are all in custody. They read us our rights and put us in the cop cars and take us to Downtown. When the cop is putting me in the car, I almost hit my head against the roof because my handcuffs are to tight and that is making me anxious.

We are all worried because we think we were going to get booked. Shane is in the other car, so it is just me and Nick. Nick starts sweating like crazy. He is really nervous and scared. Nick starts telling me how he can't get in trouble because his parents will kill him. I look at the computer that the cop is typing on and I see him putting my name in and my eye color, my hair color and I just think: what's the point of that.

I know that Nick is the one who gets scared the most about everything. Shane is the more tougher one. If Nick and Shane were not to snitch about something bad that happened, it would be Nick who would give up and snitch. So I tell him, "Dude don't worry. We didn't do it and I am sure that we can prove it. So we finally get downtown and we're driving in the cops' parking lot and Nick whispers, "I hate pigs."

They take us in the building and put us in a holding cell. It is really cold in there and the toilets are metal. Nobody is in there. I am alone and there's no sound whatsoever, all I can look at is the cement wall.

They call our parents and we are waiting and waiting. They finally let us out from the holding cell. Then one by one they take pictures of us and our finger prints. Then they put us back in the holding cell.

I ask one of the officers, one who has a mustache, what we were going to get charged with. He said, "You will most likely get charged with theft 2."

So our parents arrive to pick us up and they look mad. They start walking fast and screaming: what have you two done this time!

Nick and Shane are both scared. The officers take us from the holding cell to our parents and first thing Nick says to his mom and dad is that it wasn't us. Unfortunately they don't believe him. His mom is so angry with him, she gives him a big, painful smack on the head. And Shane's parents are just really disappointed, same as my parents. Even though I don't get yelled at, my mom still says I am grounded for a long time.

One of the officers explains to our parents what happened and gives us a court date. Then I tell my parents that it was not us.

"They have a video," I say. "I'll tell the cops to show it to you."

So our parents see the video and they tell the cops that's not our kids. And the officer says: deal with it in court. That really makes me mad. I clench my jaws and I can't wait until court.

Way later already it is almost time for court and we are all really nervous. We are worried the whole time waiting for the court. Couple of months later we go to court, we are prepared with what to say and our parents are the witnesses. We're all standing there, talking to the Judge and we're out there trying to prove that we didn't rob the store.

Next thing you know we win the court case. We walk out with angry faces because we got accused of something we didn't do. I think to myself: what if we never went to the store? And: if they had caught me later by myself I probably wouldn't have any proof or witnesses. I would have actually gotten charged with theft 2. I think I am glad we went to the store.


by Lili G., age 15

Любовь прекрасна
как белый лебедь
её удержать очень
не легкo.
Крылом ударить может
и подарить прекасный дар
тебя любить.
Любовь как птица улетит
и не вернётся
но можнo удержать
И всю жизнь
счастливo прожить.

Love is wonderful
like a white swan.
It's hard to keep.
Its wings can hit,
but give you a wonderful
gift of love.
Love can fly away from you.
But if you hold it right
it can stay with you forever
and give you the life
you want to live.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Голубцы ("golubtsi"): Ukrainian Stuffed Cabbage

recipe by Artem Stepanenko, age 17


1 large head of cabbage,
ground meat - 500 g (beef and pork in equal proportions),
rice - 0.5-0.75 cup,
1 onion
1 carrot
2 to 3 tomatoes (can substitute 2 tablespoons of good tomato sauce or ketchup)
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
vegetable oil for frying
freshly ground pepper

for sauce
tomato sauce or ketchup - 2 tablespoons
sour cream - 3 to 4 tablespoons
broth or water - 400-500 ml


Wash and clean the cabbage leaves. Place small quantities in salted boiling water. Boil the leaves for ~ 1 to 2 minutes, until tender (i.e. elastic). Remove cabbage from water, allow water to drain and cut off the stems. (stalks can be cut before cooking cabbage or after cooking). Separate the cabbage leaves.

Prepare stuffing:
Peel and finely chop onions.
Wash, peel and grate the carrots.
Fry the onions and carrots in vegetable oil until soft.
Wash and chop the parsley.
Boil the rice until half ready.
Wash tomatoes (you can remove the peel) and cut into small cubes (you can grate or chop in a blender to a mush).
Peel and finely chop the garlic or use a garlic press.
Mix with ground meat, rice, fried onions, garlic, tomatoes (or tomato sauce), fresh herbs, add salt, pepper and mix well.

In each cabbage leaf put the prepared stuffing, folding each leaf like an envelope. Fry the cabbage rolls in a pan or deep skillet with vegetable oil until slightly browned.

Prepare sauce:
Combine tomato sauce or ketchup with sour cream and water (or broth), and pour this mixture over the stuffed cabbage, so that the liquid barely covers it. Add a little salt and pepper and simmer 30-40 minutes.

Let the cabbage rolls stand for 10 minutes under the lid.

When serving, pour sauce over cabbage rolls. Decorate with sour cream and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

[Photo credit: link here]

Monday, January 25, 2010


a story by Andrey German, age 15

The phone rang. I picked up: Hello, what's up? I dropped the phone. My friend had died. It was really cold, sometime in December.

The next day I woke up in my room on the floor. I was frozen and I got a cold. I was so not myself. I felt like I was on fire just looking in the mirror. Tears started hitting the ground. I never thought he would die at the age of twenty.

I brushed my teeth, took a shower, I took some medicine because my throat felt like it was squeaking. My head was on fire and I felt weak.

I walked to school. While I was thinking about him, it brought me a sad face. Alex died on a Sunday after he went to a friend's house. His friend had a dirt bike. Alex saw it. He was really into bikes and he asked to ride the dirt bike. His friend said he wouldn't let him, but Alex kept on asking until his friend finally decided to let him. So Alex took the bike. He was speeding and there was a sharp corner. He was going about 100 miles an hour. The bike slipped, he flew off, fell and broke his neck and died.

At school, the teacher with the black hair was mean to everybody. No one liked her. The room was full of students and they were all reading a book named The Million Dollar Shot. The teacher was such a jerk to me, because I was late and because she was just trying to annoy me. She saw my sad face. I thought she would ask why or what happened. She just didn't think about that. Instead, she asked me about what happened in the book that we had to read. I told her I didn't know because I didn't have a chance to read it, so she asked me to come to the front of the class. I did. She asked me about the book again and I got really embarrassed. My legs started to move to the door I didn't want to say anything. I had a lot of bad stuff to say to her, but decided not to, and just walked out of the class.

I walked out and went in the hall for a little bit. I thought she would come ask me why I did that or to say sorry. It didn't happen and I went to the bathroom, washed my face and stared at myself in the mirror. Then I started walking home in the cold blizzard.

Every window was frozen. Many cars were stopped from going places because it was too icy. It was so cold I could barely move and I had left my coat in the class. I didn't want to go get it, because I knew if I went in the class again, I would curse at her and get in trouble. But I had too much stuff in my head.

As I was walking, I started thinking to myself about Alex. A thought came to my mind, saying: I'm in a better place. That made me feel better, but I was thinking of the places I used to go hang out with him and how he was always happy. Tears came down my cheeks. When they hit the ground, they were ice. I felt like I was going to die or faint any time.

I got home. As soon as I walked to my room, I passed out. Luckily for me, my mom was home. She heard a noise and went to see what happened. She saw me on the floor and saw that I wasn't breathing. She called the ambulance and tried to wake me up. It didn't work, so the ambulance took me and I woke up one hour later.

I woke up in a place that was unfamiliar. I didn't know where I was. I saw a lot of nurses, which told me where I was, but I didn't know what happened. My stomach was empty. I saw a doctor and asked, "What happened?"

The doctor told me that I had been in coma for one hour. He said I was so lucky to still be alive. He said it was a miracle.

I got to go home. I ate some soup, because I was very hungry, then fell asleep. I didn't go to school the next day.

Three days later, I had to go and see my friend get buried in the ground. I was trying to hold myself from crying. I knew I wouldn't see him on earth ever again.

After, I went to the place where he died. It was on a hill, on a sharp corner. There were trees all around. I put some flowers down and prayed. I was reminded of the fun stuff we did together. I remembered swimming at Kah-Nee-Ta. He would do back flips and we would barbecue and play basketball and volleyball together. After that we would eat. It was always sunny and hot when we hung out. I also remembered us working together, installing tile with the music on full blast. When we worked together, it didn't even feel like we were working because he was so funny and always smiling. I never remember him being sad. He was one of the best people I'd ever met.

I left home and went to school the next day and the teacher saw me and finally asked me what happened. I told her. She felt really sorry for me and she apologized after I told her what happened. From that moment on, she respected me and was never a jerk to anyone ever again.

My friend Alex died on December, 31, 2008. Rest in peace, Alex. I'll always remember you. You will be missed. I wish you were here now.

Sofie's Life

a story by Julia Salyuk, age 15

One afternoon I came in the children's hospital where I work and my assistant told me that we got a newborn baby that is deadly sick. She said that her mother left the baby on the second day and also that her mother is a person who drinks and smokes. They told me that the baby girl has an infection in her ear and that she might die in a couple of days. They said the hospital needs to find a family to give the baby to.

They called, but nobody wanted to take in a sick girl named Sofie. So, I thought of taking her to my place because I saw that nobody cared about her. I told the workers to stop calling people for Sofie, that I am taking her. My best friend told me not to do that, but I told her straight that I have love Sofie from the first sight.

When I first saw Sofie, she looked very sad and afraid. I loved her eyes. They were blue as the ocean and her hair was black and curly. The girl didn't look skinny or chubby, just the way I like babies. When I came in her room, she looked at me and, for the first time in her life, smiled. At that moment I felt like coming up to her and hugging her. In my heart I named her Sofie because that name described her.

Soon after completing the papers and an expedited adoption process, I took Sofie home. I have only one son who is sixteen-years-old. He was OK with the idea of having a baby girl in the house.

When we brought Sofie in, she looked at everything with amazement and when I showed Sofie her room and put her on her bed she cuddled in her new blanket. In a blink of an eye she was asleep.

The first night Sofie cried almost the whole night, so I thought of having a person that could take care of Sofie. But once I told the people I called that the girl has a long term illness, they put down the phone right away. My son came in the room and said that if I keep on telling them everything, I won't find anybody. He said that it would be better if I didn't tell the people on the phone about Sofie. I decided that once they see her, I should tell them the truth because they might love Sofie the same way as I did.

So I called again and this one old grandma picked the phone up. I said that I need a babysitter and she said that we can meet. When she came she was dressed in a long dress and didn't look like she was poor. I also noticed that she had good taste in picking out outfits, her face told me that she was very nice and that she will understand any problems. I found out her name was Bella and that she is fifty and has a good experience with babies.

I asked her when she wants to start and she said as soon as possible. When she looked at Sofie, it was with love. And when I told her that she has to wear gloves when she changes her, she got the idea and said, "Why didn't you tell me right away?" But then she said that was OK with her.

One day the main doctor came and said she had a very, very happy news. She said that they did a test on Sofie and that her blood work shows signs of no infection. I had tears of happiness coming down my cheeks.

Once Sofie turned two-years-old, she had no more health problems, but we were still not sure if she is going to live long.

Then one day a lady came over to our house. She had a mini skirt and a very pale face. She was smoking a cigarette and she said these scary words: "I need my daughter back and if you don't want to giver her to me, you will have to deal with the police!"

At first I didn't believe her, but then I asked my assistant who had checked the woman's history. She said her name was Jany and she was 19 years old and she stopped taking drugs already five months ago. She also told me that Jany was already in court and they said that Jany had the right to take the girl the very next morning.

The whole night I didn't go to sleep. I was by my little girl crying. The night came by very fast. At nine in the morning Jany came. She didn't even want to hold Sofie. Sofie was crying so hard that I thought might faint when they were driving off.

That day I didn't go to work and hardly did anything except cry. The next night came and I didn't sleep. Then in the morning I had a brilliant idea, but when I told it to Abby and my son they said that I shouldn't be doing it, but all I asked from them was help. So they agreed to do that.

The very next minute I was at Jany's place. It was an old hotel where people except for drug dealers never went. When I came in, I couldn't believe my own eyes. The whole house was in smoke and Jany was on the couch smoking. The walls had holes that looked like somebody had fought there, and there was dried blood on the floor. After that I almost threw up. I couldn't see Sofie anywhere, so I started running around, looking for her.

When I found her, she was on the bathroom floor, screaming in fright. When she saw me, she screamed, "Mommy!" and right away jumped into my arms and almost choked me hugging me.

When Sofie calmed down a little, I asked Jany, "Jany, I notice that this place must very hard to call home."

"Well, you know what? Don't get your nose in other people's problems. I can't stand seeing you because if you have lots of money and a good place to live, it doesn't mean that everybody has the same!"

Jany started to cry like a little girl and my heart sank in fro seeing how hard it is for Jany to live.

"I came to tell you that if you want, you could move in to my place, live with us and be part of our family."

Jany's eyes widened suddenly. I worried there were going to fall out the next minute.

After a long pause of silence, Jany finally spoke, "Is this some kind of a trick your trying to play on me?"

"No, it's not. I thought that it would be better for you because you would be by your daughter and have a good place to live, and it would be good for me to because I really want to be by Sofie."

Jany thought about it. I could see that because she looked at me very serious. And then said, "Okay, if you want that, I am going."

I was very happy because I was going to be by my little girl.

Jany took ten minutes to pack because she hardly had anything to pack, and after she was done, we left to my place.

I was very happy when we were driving home. When we came in, I showed Jany her room, and I also told her that she can't smoke in the house but she didn't care.

Week by week went by and I noticed Jany changing little by little. But the doctors told her that she will die because of the drugs.

Jany really loved Sofie.

One day I saw taxi in our driveway and I asked Jany why and she said that it's for her and she said that she is leaving because she doesn't want Sofie to see how she is going to die and she also said, "I am leaving because I don't want Jany to see how I am dying."

Jany started to cry, but when Sofie came in, she stopped right away. She also told me, "I want you to promise that when Sofie grows up, you will tell her how much I loved her and why I left."

"I promise you that I won't forget to tell her that."

When she packed up her stuff, she had tears rolling down her cheeks. When she was leaving, she couldn't stop crying and hugging us all.

While she was hugging me, she told me, "I want you to know that you were like a mother to me because my real mother told me she can't wait until I die. She even gave me the place where she would bury me."

She started to cry even harder and I was crying too because Jany became very close to me.

Jany's last words before she walked out the door were: "If I turned around, I would die." So she left and I got Sofie in my arms and went to the window and told her to wave goodbye to her mother forever.

The Move That Rico Will Never Forget

story and photo by Lili Garkavets, age 15

Rico was a shy boy, but very trusting. He never lied. He was a tall, skinny boy with black hair and brown eyes. One morning his parents told him that they are moving. He got up sad but did not say a word about not wanting to move. He took it how it was.

They were moving to Ohio from Mexico. They moved to a small house with two bedrooms and one bathroom. The rooms were all dark and very creepy. It smelled like bad food and old stuff. The house was the very last one and the oldest one in neighborhood.

It had been five days from the time they moved in, so it was time for Rico to go to school. The playground of the school did not have any swings or monkey bars. The school building was old and smelly, the classrooms were very small and crowded, kids crammed together like kernels of corn in a can. It even smelled like old corn in class.

When Rico checked in to the room they called office--it was big room with two chairs and a big desk--he found out that his new teacher was Mrs. Parallelepiped. His homeroom was #25. When he walked in the halls, it was dark and there was trash all over the school. The walls were all dirty, old books on the floors.

He finally found the small room with a lot of desks and a chalkboard and a teacher's desk. His teacher was a middle-aged woman, with short hair and big glassless. She was mean and grumpy. She could almost eat a kid up with her mad look. When Rico started talking, all the eyes were following his lips, his every word.

Mrs. Parallelepiped looked up and asked, “Are you Rico ?”

Rico whispered, “Yes, ma'am.”

She did not smile just said, “Go sit down by Leo."

Leo was a big guy for his age and he was mean looking he had a big scar on his face. It was like a sign that he is a guy you don't want to mess with. He had messy hair and dirty t-shirt. It looked like there was real blood on his t-shirt. Leo gave Rico the look of “don't you dare." When Rico walked down to his seat, all the eyes followed him. He started doing the class work. It was a history test. It was so easy for him, and Leo did not like that Rico was smart.

Rico did not notice how the class ended so fast. It was lunch time. All the kids circled him and told him the rules in this class: if you are a bad boy you're welcomed. If you are a teacher's pet, you get beat up.

Leo was in middle of group and said, “Let's test you and see who you are.” It was clear that he was the boss here.

Leo asked Rico to say a bad word. Rico said no. He knew that was the end for him in this class; that he will get beat up.

The kids said, "Say it or you will be sorry."

Rico said, “No.”

So they pushed him around and told him, “Get ready pet!"

After school, a group of boys followed Rico. Leo was in the middle of the group. When Rico turned onto his street, the boys caught up to him.

Leo said, “I give you one more chance. So say it and you will be welcomed to our group."

Rico looked up and said, “No.”

Now there was a feeling of blood coming from his nose. He saw someone hitting him more and more. Harder and harder. Stronger and stronger. He heard crying. He thought that was his mom but he had no strength to talk or open his eyes. Then he woke up home. He felt so much pain. He had blood all over his body, but he did not think that he is hurt. He felt good inside.

His mom was crying, but he said, “I did not say it. I did not." Then he said, “I want to go home."

The next day the Rico's family started packing. They ended up leaving the next month because to much work needed to be done. They will not forget that day, the day kids treated their son unfairly. But Rico was not sorry for the stuff he did. He proved to himself that he can stay strong.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Wrong Person

a story by Aleksandr Bahmatov, age 15

Chapter I: Where Am I ?

It was a hard hit on my head that took me out. I closed my eyes and everything went blank. When I awoke, I was in the hospital. I tried to sit up, but my head was locked in place and the bright white lights shined. I still couldn't get what was going on and where I was. I felt a tension in my head and before I knew it, a doctor was by my side. I could hardly see because my eyes were barely focusing and everything was a blur. He started talking to me in a soft voice to say where I was. My head was in such great pain that felt I was in hell for something, what I didn't know.

I asked with a nervous strain in my voice, "Doc, why am I here and what happened?"

Doctor said in a soft voice, too quiet to hear even for a pro, "You are in a hospital in New Jersey because you got hit really hard on your head by a terrorist. That was by the bank in June 2010."

"What, a terrorist?" I asked.

When a tall man in a police uniform came in and Doc went out, the policeman said,"Hi there, Alex. How are you doing? And, by the way, how is you head?"

"Alex," I spoke out softly. I was confused by not recognizing my name.

"Yes! Alex," he said. "That's your name. Can't you remember anything at all?"

It was there and then I realized that I can't remember anything except for when I was hit and my head cracked from the power blow.

Chapter II: Six months later after the surgery.

After six months passed, I was still feeling lost and unwanted. I was feeling lonely but I knew something now about what happened to me and who I was. And it was my first day after the accident to go back to work.

I was out walking alone and no one was out down the busy street leading to a police station, where I worked as an FBI agent. The cars passed by and no one looked at me because most of them were looking at the road and talking on the cellphone.

I walked by the apartments that were tall and by the markets that were small. Their parking lots were trashed. I stopped at the red signal and was waiting to cross the street that had four intersections of all black roads. There streets were clear, no car was left driving.

It was quiet and peaceful and, suddenly, a scene blinked in my head. Police cars had blocked the four-intersection road. Their sirens were loud, lights that were blue and red blinked one after other. But that scene went away as fast as it came.

I crossed the road, not waiting for the signal to turn. Now I was walking where there were no cars, no people and no birds had ever flown in the air before. I was thinking about the operation about which I found out from my partner. It happened when the terrorists were holding a hostage in a bank.

I was wearing a tuxedo, my black hair slicked back. I had a sports black Lance car that I was now afraid to ride in by myself.

When I was trying to get to the job ardently, a black truck with tan windows raced to me and stopped where I was. Before I knew it, a man in a black mask sprayed something that made me close my eyes and go to sleep. They dragged me into the car and raced away in a high speed.

When I woke up, I was in a dark dungeon siting on the wet floor. Some light was peering from the hall on the left. I was in a shock that gave me pain like there was a gust of wind. The pain on my wrists was from the handcuffs, fastened to a cold metal pipe that went trough the dungeon. And there before me was a man with black and tan sunglasses.

"Where am I and what am I doing here?" I asked, not knowing why I was here and what I have done wrong.

The man said, "You don't have to die painfully if you tell us where your partner lives and where his hideout is."

I was quiet because I was scared so much that I started to cry. My tears were falling down on the cold floor. They mixed with the dirty water that smelled like rats.

Then again he said the same question with an anger that gave me creeps. He showed me a photograph of a family that had two boys and women and me in it then said,"If you don't tell me, you will die and so will your family."

When he said "family," my heart tightened and thrashed in my chest and I was scared. It was more than usual, which was strange because I didn't know about the family in the photo. I still wanted to protect them, so I tried to tell the man with the black sunglasses that coved his eyes from been seen that I was in an accident and I couldn't remember anything that happened in the past. But he wouldn't listen to me. My voice was shaking and my teeth were clenched.

Then the man said, "You got thirty seconds to tell us."

Pretty soon I was being hit and kicked by ten men who came into the dungeon until blood came out of my mouth. When the man with the sunglasses went out, I tried to tell the other men what happened to me, but they did not listen to me. One of the men said," You could still save your life if you tell us what we need to know." But I couldn't say anything because I was in great pain and I didn't know anything to tell them.

Then one bad guy took out a black gun and pointed it at me. He said, "You got ten seconds to tell me or say goodbye to yourself and your family."

When he was counting down, my body shook in pain and I was getting more and more scared as he counted lower and lower. That's when I heard a police siren and a had a strange feeling about dying by a gun or being saved by the police.

When he was on the sixth second, someone ran in and screamed loud, "Finish him off fast!"

The man with the gun raised his hand that pointed at me and his muscles tightened when he closed his eyes. I heard the click of the trigger and a bullet went into my head.

My body shook in pain and my head hit the hard wall of the dungeon. My life flew so fast before my eyes that I couldn't remember it. Before my eyes closed, there was a light that was so hard it cut my eye, so that I couldn't see anything. Then it was so dark that I lost my pain and forgot everything there was and there is. I still didn't know if I was dead or away until a time that will come and I will live. But I knew only one thing--that my son, whom I saw in the picture, will grow up, he will find the injustice, find out about my story that was spread all over the world like a jigsaw puzzle, and get the picture to reveal itself from my perspective.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Яблочный пирог ("yablochniy pirog"): Apple Turnover

recipe by Gennadiy S, age 19, from Ukraine

4 apples
1 cup of sugar
3-4 eggs
1 cup of flour
pinch of salt


Preparation: Turn oven to 400

Beat sugar together with the eggs using a mixer, put salt and flour into a mixing bowl and mix all of it.

Then peel and cut up a few apples. Grease a baking dish and put apples into it. Then pour obtained mixture over the apples.

Baking: Put into oven and bake for 25 min. It has to be golden brown.

[Photo credit: Irina]