The Arrow Online 2023 – Post #7

Hello! So excited for the 2023 Arrow – Hackley Middle School’s Arts & Literature Magazine!!!

Stay tuned for more posts to come over the next few weeks and then keep an eye out for the hardcopy, published version coming soon.

Here’s our last few writing submissions from 2023 student work:

And the Hunted

By: Alberto P. ’27

Most nights, my routine is the same. I take a ride in my 1947 Austin Sheerline, going down the dark, winding road by my estate until I come across someone in need of shelter or transportation. I take them back to the estate and offer a steak dinner along with a place to stay for the night, an offer they reluctantly accept out of a mixture of necessity and convenience. This far north in England, it snows whenever it is not raining; one rarely wants to be without shelter in such weather. After my guest goes to bed, I spend three quarters of an hour tidying up before I go upstairs, descend upon the visitor in their sleep, and suck the blood from their body. The year is 1966. My current name is Nikolaj Botezatu, and I am a vampire for the twentieth century.

Tonight, I find a hitchhiker trying and failing to shelter himself from the storm. The bright headlights of my automobile cut through the shifting, inky haze to create a blurred silhouette of the man: he is of average height but lanky, a characteristic accentuated by his long wool overcoat. The long brim of his hat begins to droop in the front under the weight of the rainwater, which still drips from its edges like a leaky faucet. As he warily comes closer, features become more defined, and I make note of his markedly average face. In an American accent, he sheepishly asks for a ride and climbs into the passenger seat. I ask him to call me Mr. Botezatu, and he introduces himself as Roy Thompson; my performance has begun.  I go through the motions of flavorless small talk, feigned consideration before I propose that he wait out the storm with me. After almost a century, this entire act becomes mechanical in my eyes. 

Finally, we arrive at Stanwyck Manor, an “acquisition” of mine from the previous century. I bring the car to a stop in front of the looming double doors and open the car door for my guest. Walking in pace with him — a subtly unsettling behavior that helps set the tone — I unlock the double doors and give them the slightest push so they swing out slowly, ominously. I smoothly turn back to the hitchhiker while standing in the doorway, flash him a perfected creep’s grin, and say: “Come in. You look pallid.” As always, I pause for a moment to watch his skin crawl… yet this time, the moment does not come.

As I said, I have gone through this routine for quite some time. No matter who I pick up, be he a traveling salesman or a circus strongman, this line will cause a reaction within them. Every single time those words escape my lips, I watch as my victim feels that first primal tinge of fear and their “rational” minds try to silence the feeling that something is wrong. This response is guaranteed, and yet… I receive nothing from the hitchhiker. Outwardly, his reaction is nothing abnormal, but nothing about it feels genuine. It feels unnatural, and I cannot help but become irked. What gives this transient the right to react as he does? What does he– 

No. No, I should not preoccupy myself with this. Some people simply have a higher tolerance for fear, I suppose. This was only my opening move; the true terror begins inside! Reassured, I lead the hitchhiker into the dimly lit, cobweb-filled foyer of the house. An infirm yellow glow coats the room, which bounces off of the aged sheets covering the furniture. The grand staircase with its ratty carpeting rises opposite the doors, and hallways branch away on either side. The suspense in this room sits palpably in the air, so in this room I let him marinate. I excuse myself to prepare supper, and he watches me leave down the dark hallway.

 On a normal night, dinner would be the part of the evening wherein I transition from unsettling to downright frightening. The electrical grid does not reach the western wing of the manor, so the dining room is lit entirely by candelabras running down the middle of the long, dark wooden dining table. I seat myself and my guest at opposite ends of the table, and we begin to eat. Throughout the meal they can see nothing of me but two orbs cutting through the darkness like the headlights of my automobile. They squirm in their seats under my gaze, and the fear that met them at the door begins to swell. Again, the hitchhiker defies me.

Mr. Thompson’s demeanor at the dinner table is no different than when I took him out of the rain; if anything, he is calmer now. Not once do his eyes dart back and forth in suspicion. Not once does he even hesitate to question the origin of the red meat he imbibes. When I stare at him, he stares back, and for reasons I do not know my skin begins to crawl. I shift in my chair. He continues to stare, and for reasons unknown my gut churns. I break eye contact. He continues staring, and for reasons I cannot understand an icy chill runs down my spine. Why does the hitchhiker not stop staring? He should be terrified right now. He should be afraid. What does he know? Why does he not react? Why does he not stop staring?! I abruptly excuse myself from the dinner table, and it dawns on me that, for perhaps the first time in my immortality, I am afraid.

After I show the hitchhiker to his quarters, I retreat to my game room — the most well-kept room in the manor, where I spend most of my time. I cannot stop thinking about the hitchhiker, sleeping in my house. For the first time, that frightens me. This man is not simply abnormal, you see. He goes against the natural order. He is cattle to me, and yet he refuses to recognize his place. He dares to make me feel unsafe in my home, and that is something that does not happen. I question whether the hitchhiker poses any true danger, and I do not find an answer… but it is irrelevant, because he is human. If he is human, I can still restore order.

In a fit of rage, I fly up the stairs to the guest bedroom and make a beeline for the man’s bed. It is not my quietest entrance nor my most elegant, but I do not care. I must kill the hitchhiker, and return this place to normalcy! I slow myself so as not to wake my victim, and I move to the side of the bed. In the darkness, I peer down at the mattress and find…

No one. The bed is empty. Slowly, hesitantly, I look around the pitch black room. My eyes suddenly catch on the armchair in the corner. Two orbs cut through the darkness, cut through me.

The hitchhiker stalks me, perfectly still. His demeanor still has not changed. He calmly meets my eyes, and my heart becomes loud in my chest. I fumble for the lights, no longer at home in the shadows. The sconces flicker alive, and pitch black is replaced with uneven brown. The hitchhiker gives me a polite smile, and I subconsciously convulse in response. “Mr. Botezatu,” he says innocently. “What are you doing here?”

At the sound of his voice, my fear is drowned out by anger. I can no longer help myself. “I am here, Mr. Thompson… to eat you. You are not my houseguest; you are my dinner. I am going to drain the blood from your body, and I am going to kill you. Do you understand, you miserable vagrant?! I am an immortal lord of night, and you are but one of my meals! You are my prey, and I am a vampire!”

“I know.” I hear the words, uttered in that same controlled tone, and I am disemboweled. The hitchhiker stands up. My muscles seize.

“I know lots about you, Mr. Botezatu,” he casually admits. “For instance, I know the exact route you like to take on your evening drives.” I’m getting dizzy. I take a couple of steps back. He takes a step forward in pace.

“I would like to apologize for leading you on, however. It was necessary to get you to invite me in, but I still feel bad about it.” I continue to stumble backward, and he continues to advance. My vision begins to distort. The hitchhiker, is he… changing? He doesn’t seem human anymore. I start to shake. In the same dead calm, he continues.

“The truth is, I was never on tonight’s ‘menu,’ so to speak. You were right, in a way: I am a step away from you in the food chain. Just not a step below you.” I hit a dead end. He takes another step forward. Trembling, I sink down against the wall.

“Mr. Botezatu? You look pallid.”


You and I 

by: Jonah G. ’27

If you have not seen what I have seen 

It would be easy in the bright, wide sheen Of memory, ever to forget 

That what you deal must someday then be met 

Our earth-bound souls are ever chained down here Forever failing to peer through the mirror And see our icy cruel and sundered minds As you wander under dancing wind-swept pines 

All too easy it ever is to be 

Forgetful of what sunders you from me. My mistakes are not just mine alone 

They belong to us, and are for us to bemoan. 

The cruelty that I can render out: 

It is not mine, but yours that gives you doubt. You look upon me, hereby can you lie, 

And say that you are not what you descry. 

They are not not different, fox and little shrew: Evil I or sweet and gentle you. 

For if we would, we all could be as I. 

Capable of evil, so we “try” 

But maybe, someday, I could be as you I could heal the hurts I once did do. 

Fox grows to shrew, and winter loses cold If we all could ever be so bold. 

So I sit, and try to do as I 

A stupid, feckless mortal to defy 

My inner soul will ever this day rue 

This is the day when I become like you.


by: Karen A. ’29

Roy sat up in bed gasping for air. He had the most horrific dream. A dark silhouette who Roy couldn’t quite make out had been swinging a globe of light. A little boy stood next to the man, glancing into the distance. A ghostly ship had risen from the water, and then…he was awake. 

His neck was clammy as he touched the left side of his chest. His heart was beating, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum. His hair was drenched with cold sweat, and he leaned back, relaxing. He couldn’t figure out what had seemed so chilling about his dream. He wasn’t the kind of kid who chickened out to go sleep with his dad, but he felt a strange cry. It wasn’t that he was scared. He couldn’t name the feeling. His eyes darted around the room, and he dashed out, fearing what would happen if he stayed for another second.

He bolted open his father’s door. He cried out, “Dad!” He jumped on the bed, feeling for his father. All he felt were smooth blankets. His heart started beating faster, and he checked the time. It was 2 am. His father couldn’t have possibly gone back to the lighthouse. He glanced at the lighthouse through the fog. Roy couldn’t make out a light, and fear fell upon his innocent face. He didn’t believe it, but the truth dawned on him. His father wasn’t at home. Nor was he at the lighthouse. 

Roy shivered. It wasn’t cold, but goosebumps arose on his skin. He grabbed a sweater and slipped on some shoes. He didn’t stop to adjust his laces. He stepped out onto the faded scratchy grass. The iciness of the breeze made his shoulders tighten. He was a brave kid, and he wouldn’t back out of any challenge. This time was no different. No matter how uneasy Roy was, his father was more important. 

Roy couldn’t imagine his father going somewhere without telling him. But it had happened, and Roy had felt a strange feeling of loneliness and discomfort. He had never really been alone without his father before. He was an only child, and only had a father. He was used to having to do things alone, but not completely alone. He always had his dad with him, a gentle hand on his shoulder saying, “Son, I will always be there for you, okay. I know it’s hard for you sometimes, but you’ll always have me.” That was comforting while it lasted, more like when he believed it. 

Roy looked at the rustling trees, it looked as if the trunks would be pulled out of the soil, long roots, no longer grounded in the soil. Roy walked toward the riverside as the flurry of wind began to grow stronger. The waves splashed violently over the fence that separated Roy from the thrashing waves. Roy had seen the water like this many times before, but he never realized how dangerous it was. It could swallow you in its dark, cold waters, and you would be drowned in seconds. 


He shivered at the thought, but he continued to walk farther down. Sometimes his father and he would go fishing on bright, clear days. They would laugh and compare fish, but those days seemed so out of reach now. It was possible for his father to go on a last minute trip, but not in these weather conditions. His father was a captain. All the folks knew him as Captain Tory. There were tons of legends about him, like the one about him being attacked by a shark and surviving. His father would tell Roy about all his adventures as Roy listened carefully.

Then his thoughts raced one after another, What if he drowned? Is he alive? Where is he? Am I going to be able to see him again? Who will I live with? What will I do? 

Roy found himself sobbing. It was just so overwhelming to think about how life would be without his father. His father was the only person he had ever lived with and every moment together was more spectacular than the last. He had never realized how much he loved his father. He finally understood what his father meant when he said, “Roy, nothing will last forever, so cherish every moment.” Roy had thought it was just some outlandish thing his father had said. Now he knew that it was true. He never knew how the pain of missing a loved one would feel. His father was the only other person he grew up with, and losing that would mean losing so much love and happiness. 

He was beginning to be able to distinguish his surroundings from his thoughts. He was a boy. All alone. A dark windy forest. Heavy rain. No father. 


Roy wiped his tears with his sleeve, and continued to walk further down the riverside. He walked by hundreds of trees, and where he started from, was now not visible, faded into the background like everything else. 

  Then, Roy saw a bridge. His father and he always leaned against the bridge as they threw their long line far out to the water to catch some fish. Roy stepped onto the cobblestone bridge as it started to shower. He put on his hood as he quickly ran across the bridge. The downfall started to get worse, and soon, it was pouring. He ran through the path beside the river, running to a light. Ever so slightly, he could see it. The fog and all the rain made it hard for him to see, but the only hope of finding anything was toward that light. He didn’t know whator who was there, but he was going. His father had always said, “If you don’t do anything at all, you can’t fall.” Roy had always known what he meant; if you don’t try anything, you can’t do anything. He was going to take a risk. For his father.

He continued to dash across the slippery path. The water had seeped into his shoes; his toes were now drenched in cold water. It didn’t bother him, not when he needed to find out what that light was. He ran faster and farther until he grew closer to the light. He walked cautiously. When he got closer, he could finally see a man. He had a sailor’s hat, and wore buckled boots. All of them seemed vaguely familiar. His father always wore those kinds of boots. Then, it dawned on him! His smile grew as he stepped closer. “Boo!” Roy hollered. His father jumped and turned around. His fearful expression turned into a smile, then into a worried glance.

“Roy, my boy, you scared me! What are you doing out of the house? You should be sleeping in bed!” His father said. 

“I should be asking you that! I was so scared.” Roy cried in his fathers arms. “I’m sorry o-okay, I just had a bad dream a-and I went to your room, but you weren’t there, and I checked the lighthouse, but there were no lights.” Roy said, sobbing.

“I’m so sorry Roy, you should know that I’ll always come back, and you didn’t have to come in all this rain.” His father said softly. “I’ll make it up  to you. I just had some important business to take care of. Watch this.” His father swung the lantern three times slowly, and the light faded away. Roy looked at his father. His father kept staring blankly at the river, so Roy did the same. Then all of a sudden, a dark schooner appeared, pulling itself out of the water. “It’s okay, Roy. I’m here. Family is forever. All aboard!” His father said, smiling.

Hand in hand, they entered the dark boat, Roy had learned the true lessons of life. And another day, was another adventure. He brushed away the fear, and took his first step.  


Conveyer Belt Sushi

by: Misha J. ’29


A circle that goes round and round

A never ending carousel of maki



Lightly chilled ikura and tempura

Eaten on a nice hot day



Stacks of plates

On a private table



Delicate pleats of seaweed

Flaky and fragile



A lovely runway filled with bliss for sashimi and nigiri

Being presented by the two



The first bite, always best

The fine grains of rice with thin cuts

Of sliced sashimi with flowery notes



The fluffy taste of fatty tuna

Melting like popsicles in your mouth

On a light summer day



No words necessary

Just the dry sound of a motor


Ode to a snowflake

by: Sarah S. ’28


Oh, how I love snowflakes –

gracefully drifting

from clouds in the sky

into my palm.

They bury me

in gentle hurricanes.

Delicate crystal shards,

fragile and unique,

each one different,

clump into piles

on the ground,

forming hills and mountains

valleys and cliffs

out of millions of snowflakes.



by: Xi H. ’30


Slim, dark shapes rounded by time,

silhouetted against the blank, blue-gray sky. 

The glossy black feathers flow together in a 

smooth, fluid stream.

Beady black eyes seem to gaze beyond the 

ever-drifting horizon—

where cloudy dreams and misty wishes 

linger aimlessly. An airy plume of hope 

wanders—a glint of light—

a flash of smoke, and all is gone.

And still they wait, perched on a tallest tree, 

austere and expectant. They know what fate does not.

Not a caw resounds through the crowd, though hundreds stand stiff. 

Something in the air ripples and unfolds, 

for even silence has its echoes.                                           


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