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Category: Madie’s Bear Tribe Journals

Searching for shoes

Searching for shoes

Madie trudged through the bustling market plaza, her eyes scanning the rows of tables in search of a new pair of shoes. Her current ones were on their last legs, the soles worn thin and the seams threatening to give way with each step.

But finding a replacement pair proved to be more difficult than she had anticipated. None of the shoes she tried on seemed to fit quite right, and the ones that did were in even worse condition than her own.

With a frustrated sigh, Madie resigned herself to the fact that she would have to make do with her worn-out shoes for a little while longer. As she made her way through the crowd, she couldn’t help but overhear snippets of conversation about the Central Bobcats—the notorious gang of troublemakers who ruled the Central High School campus with an iron fist.

Her heart sank as she listened to tales of their latest exploits, their reign of terror spreading far beyond the confines of the school grounds. Madie had never been one to back down from a challenge, but the thought of crossing paths with the infamous Hulk sent a shiver down her spine.

“He’s so evil,” one voice whispered, sending a chill down Madie’s spine. “They say it’s because of his father, always beating on him whenever he lost a tournament.”

Madie frowned, her mind racing with questions. Was it true that the Hulk’s cruelty stemmed from a lifetime of abuse? Or was it simply a rumor spread by frightened townsfolk desperate to make sense of his reign of terror?

One thing was for certain—there was no denying the darkness that lurked within the Hulk’s heart. His actions spoke louder than any words, his enjoyment of others’ pain a chilling testament to his ruthless nature.

As Madie continued her search for shoes, a sense of unease settled over her. The Central Bobcats may have ruled the school with fear and intimidation, but Madie refused to let their reign go unchallenged. She may not have been afraid of much, but the Hulk was a force to be reckoned with—one that she wasn’t sure she was ready to face.

Journal Entry 8

Journal Entry 8

It has been a long day. Matt and Jonas have still not returned with Runt. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Runt is doing fine and that the Central Bobcats didn’t catch him. Tony was his best friend, is his best friend. Speaking of Tony, he is still recovering. We are still taking turns looking after him. He is not taking in many fluids but his color is improving slightly. We held elections today for Sheriff. Sheriff Pete will take over as the man in charge of security. He has started looking for people to fill the deputy sheriff positions. I need to put a Thank you in the Bear News for everyone that helped in the middle of the night. I suppose I could give you some good news. Casey finally delivered her baby. Her labor lasted for days. She was in labor, then she wasn’t, she was in labor then she wasn’t. I felt bad for her because she was in constant pain. Everything turned out fine in the end. Mom and baby are doing well. As soon as Casey is up to it, we are going to have a naming ceremony. The ceremony usually occurs about two weeks after the baby’s birth that will put it around the end of the month.

A long walk

A long walk

Madie stood at the edge of her old neighborhood, her heart heavy with memories of a time long gone. The streets were littered with debris, the once vibrant houses now mere shells of their former selves. But amidst the decay, one house looked decent, a relic of Madie’s past.

Hidden behind a pile of trash, Madie watched from afar as the new owners of her childhood home went about their daily routines. She couldn’t help but wonder if they had changed things inside, if her father’s tools still lay in the shed or if her mother’s sewing machine still occupied its corner in the kitchen. And beneath it all, a haunting question lingered in Madie’s mind: were her parents’ bodies still hidden beneath the blue tarp in the backyard?

The longing to return to her old room, to find solace in the familiar surroundings, tugged at Madie’s heartstrings. But she knew it was a longing she could never fulfill, a dream shattered by the harsh reality of the world.

After her parents’ deaths, the neighborhood had become a breeding ground for street gangs, their presence casting a dark shadow over the once peaceful streets. Nighttime was a time of terror for Madie, as she huddled beneath her blankets, praying that the monsters lurking outside wouldn’t discover her existence.

Most of the homes in the neighborhood stood empty, abandoned by their owners who had fled in the wake of the chaos. In a desperate bid to survive, Madie resorted to breaking into these vacant houses, scavenging for scraps to ease her hunger pains. But even the simple act of finding food was fraught with danger, as people fought and killed over the most meager of resources.

As the weeks passed, the street gangs grew bolder, their grip on the neighborhood tightening with each passing day. Traveling alone became a perilous endeavor, as Madie found herself navigating the treacherous streets without the protection of friends or fellow gang members. In order to survive, she left her neighborhood to find a quieter existence.

The Bear News

The Bear News

The Bear News main office was located a couple blocks from the High School in an abandoned store front. Evan and JT took turns manning the office during the day.

Evan thumbed thru papers in the back office looking for a reference for a pending news article when the doorbell chimed indicating a customer had walked into the store. “Can I help you?” he called out as he continued to search for the allusive piece of paper. “I’ll be there in a second. Fill out the form on the desk if you can write.”

Recruiting the strongest men away from the other local gangs would ensure Hulk’s rise to power. Obsessed with building an army that would do his bidding, he sent two of his goons to the local paper to place an ad.

“Hello, is somebody there?” Evan said as he walked into the front room expecting to see a sad and lonely single person hoping to place a free personal ad in tomorrow’s paper. The two Central Bobcat goons were a surprise.

Relax, play it cool, he said to himself, “Uumm, how can I help you?”

One of the goons handed Evan a piece of paper, “Xavier wants this placed in your newspaper. He also wants posters displayed around town with the same message.”

Evan read the note. The Central Bobcats were recruiting for their gang.
As editor and chief of the paper Evan determined the final content placed in the Bear news. He had no desire to publish a recruitment ad for Xavier, the Hulk to build an army of bullies.

“This isn’t something we typically run in our paper and even if we did, it would be very costly to you. I don’t have the resources to print posters at the moment. We used all our card stock for the Fall Festival posters.” Evan handed the paper back to the guard. “Sorry!”

The goon reaches across the counter and grabs Evan by his shirt. “We aren’t payin! And if you don’t put this in your newspaper, we will burn the place down with you inside!”

Evan didn’t like being strong armed into doing something he felt strongly against. He also didn’t want to die. “It’s going to take a while to acquire the ink and poster paper needed for this project.” Hoping to avoid a beating he added. ”Give me a few days. I’ll need to come up with funds and contact my supplier.”

The goon releases Evan with such strong force he stumbles backward and falls to the floor behind the counter, “You’ve got three days!” He tosses the note down to Evan. “Three days and we will be back.”

Evan breathed a sigh of relief as he hears the door chime indicating the Central goons vacated his business. A couple minutes later JT returns from his assignment, unaware the Central Bobcats had paid a visit.

“You would not believe who was just here!” Evan said as he walked around the counter. “The Central Bobcats want us to place a recruitment ad in the paper….and they want posters placed around town.” Evan hands the note to JT.

JT reads the note, “Hell NO! We are not recruiting for the Central Bobcats.”

“They said they would burn the Bear News down with me in it if we didn’t comply with their request. I told them we didn’t have the card stock for the posters and that we would have to come up with funds and contact our supplier. I bought us three days. Any ideas? ”

“We could always notify the Constable. Maybe his posse could give us some protection.” It was the only idea JT could think of and it didn’t sound realistic in the long run but he threw it out there.

Evan shook head, “We’re screwed. If we don’t place the ad in our paper Xavier and his goons will burn us out. If we do place the ad everyone in the community is going to think Bear Country is friends with Xavier and his thugs. We need to talk to Madie.”

Journal Entry 11

Journal Entry 11

The Journal Club has finished with the flyers for the up and
coming festival. Evan and J.T. have done a wonderful job again. It
amazes me how creative they can be. They will be distributing the
flyers around town today. The festival is the one time of the year when
everyone gets together and has a good time. We forget about our
sorrows and pain and enjoy ourselves. I am a little worried about the
Central Bobcats. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t cause
any trouble. Sheriff Pete is working on obtaining people for security of
the festivities. It is going to be a challenge for him. He is asking for
help from around the community.

I heard Lisa practicing her guitar this morning and singing. She
has such a beautiful voice. She usually tries to sing happy songs but
sometimes you can hear a little sadness in her voice. She keeps the sad
songs to herself. No one bothers her when she goes to the roof to sing
and play. I am not sure if she knows that we can still hear her up there.
It’s her place of solitude, so we leave her alone.

Sing a song with Lisa

Sing a song with Lisa

The late afternoon sun cast a warm glow over the rooftop of Bear Country High School as Lisa carefully unfolded the chair tucked against the wall. A gentle breeze ruffled her hair as she settled into her familiar spot, the melody of a song swirling in her mind like a delicate wisp of smoke.

Lisa wasn’t one to dwell on sadness, despite the melancholy undertones that often permeated her music. Instead, she found solace in the rhythm, the beats that pulsed through her veins and stirred something deep within her soul. Each lyric she penned was a reflection of the world around her, a testament to the highs and lows of life in Bear Country.

The rooftop had become Lisa’s sanctuary, a haven where she could lose herself in the music without the distractions of the world below. Here, amidst the tranquil expanse of the open sky, she felt free to let her thoughts and creativity flow unencumbered.

As she strummed her guitar and sang, her voice carried across the rooftop, mingling with the gentle hum of the city below. The students of Bear Country High School often gathered to listen, their smiles and applause a balm for Lisa’s weary soul. In those moments, she felt a glimmer of hope, a reminder that even in the midst of darkness, there was still light to be found.

Though she longed to mend the brokenness that plagued her community, Lisa took comfort in the small moments of connection and positivity she shared through her music. For in those moments, she knew that her songs had the power to uplift and inspire, to remind others that they were not alone in their struggles.

And so, as the sun dipped below the horizon and the stars began to twinkle overhead, Lisa continued to strum her guitar, her melodies weaving a tapestry of hope and resilience in the fading light. For even in the darkest of nights, her music would shine brightly, a beacon of light in a world filled with shadows.

Journal Entry 12

Journal Entry 12

I feel so bad. No one told Tony that Runt was missing. I was
updating the bulletin board in the admin hallway when Tony asked me
where Runt was. I just stood there and stared at him. I finally told him
that I was sorry. Runt had been missing for days. I tried to explain to
Tony why we think Runt left. That he left to find medicine and that
Jonas and Matt went looking for him.

Tony was so angry that he yelled at me for being irresponsible. He said I should have been more reliable and that it’s my fault if Runt is dead. I don’t blame him for yelling at me. We should have told Tony that Runt was missing sooner.
Runt was not my primary responsibility. He just appeared on
our doorstep one day, dirty and hungry. Tony became is friend. Tony
is the one who took care of him. This is going to sound stupid but I
honestly didn’t realize that I should have been taking care of Runts
needs while Tony was ill. I just assumed that everyone took care of
everyone. I have a tremendous amount of responsibility around here. I
try to make sure that life around Bear Country runs smoothly and most
of the time it does.

The Cage Fights

The Cage Fights

In the dimly lit gymnasium of Central Bobcat High School, Xavier, known to all as The Hulk, held court on his makeshift throne, encircled by his loyal crew of goons. Their eyes were fixated on the cage fights unfolding before them, the atmosphere thick with tension and anticipation.

For Xavier and his goons, these fights weren’t just a pastime; they were a vital part of their strategy to assert dominance over the community. If Xavier harbored any hopes of extending his influence beyond the school walls, he knew his crew needed to be battle-ready at all times. And besides, there was no denying the twisted thrill they derived from watching the chaos unfold in the cage.

The sight of frightened kids being thrown into the pit, their pleas for mercy falling on deaf ears, sent a shiver of excitement down Xavier’s spine. Yet, beneath his veneer of callous indifference, Xavier was a strategic thinker. He ensured that when the stakes were high, his enemies faced off against his own crew. After all, he couldn’t afford to risk the safety of his top fighters. Building an army required strength and resilience, qualities Xavier’s crew possessed in abundance.

But amidst the adrenaline-fueled chaos of the fights, there was one figure who lingered in the shadows, the Runt slouched in the back of the cage, his small frame overshadowed by the larger children around him.

The Runt had no desire to prove his worth in the cage fights. He had spent his life avoiding confrontation, preferring to blend into the background rather than draw attention to himself. As he watched the mayhem unfold before him, a sense of dread gnawed at his insides. He prayed that he wouldn’t be chosen as the next participant, knowing all too well that he lacked the skills to survive in such a brutal arena.

For The Runt, escape was his only goal. He longed to return to the safety of Bear Country High School, far away from the violence and chaos that consumed Central Bobcat gang. The prospect of fighting in the cage was a nightmare he couldn’t bear to contemplate, a fate he would do anything to avoid. And so, as the fights raged on around him, The Runt plotted his escape, determined to break free from the shadows of the cage and reclaim his freedom.

Journal Entry 13

Journal Entry 13

I woke up early this morning. I didn’t sleep very well last
night. I kept thinking about what Tony said to me yesterday. By the
way, he is now avoiding me. I tried to talk to him this morning but he
wasn’t interested in anything I had to say. To get my mind off things I
went to the plaza to see if I could find another pair of shoes. No shoes,

but I did run in to a kid with a very well trained dog. They were doing
some amazing tricks and entertaining the crowd. The dog listened so
well. Then a couple of Central goons showed up. They enjoy causing
trouble and as usual, they did. They started tossing trash at the dog and
pushing around his owner. I wanted to see the dog eat one of them.
They would have deserved it. Unfortunately, the dog was well trained
and didn’t attack but he did display an impressive display of I am
going to eat your heart out if you don’t leave my owner alone.

With help from the crowd, the Central goons crawled away in
disgrace. I can feel trouble in the air. The Central Bobcats continue to
make life difficult. I heard that the Hulk is recruiting goons. I need to
organize a meeting with the town leaders to see if we can do
something about Central. Unfortunately, people are getting more and
more afraid. People like to look the other way when it doesn’t involve
them. I have a feeling this is going to involve the whole town soon.

The Central Bobcats terrorize the town

The Central Bobcats terrorize the town

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting long shadows across the streets of Bear Country, a sense of unease settled over the town. Xavier, better known as “the Hulk,” and his gang of goons prowled the streets like wolves, their presence striking fear into the hearts of the townsfolk.

Among them, a boy named Alex pedaled his bike down the familiar lanes, the wind tousling his hair as he enjoyed the last moments of daylight. But little did he know, he was about to cross paths with the most feared figures in town.

As Alex rounded a corner, he found himself face to face with Xavier and his crew. The air grew tense as the goons blocked his path, their intimidating presence suffocating. Without a word, they grabbed Alex’s bike, wrenching it from his grasp before he could even react.

“Hey, that’s mine!” Alex protested, but his cries were drowned out by the barks of laughter from the goons. With a swift shove, they sent him crashing to the ground, his cries for help lost in the shuffle of their cruel amusement.

To Alex’s dismay, the passersby on the sidewalk averted their gazes, hurrying past as if they hadn’t witnessed a thing. It was as if they were too afraid to stand up to Xavier and his gang, preferring to bury their heads in the sand rather than confront the tyranny that gripped their town.

The atmosphere in Bear Country had shifted, tainted by the looming presence of the Central Goons. Fear hung heavy in the air, driving people to avoid the streets altogether, lest they become the next target of Xavier’s aggression. No one was safe from their reign of terror, not even the most innocent among them.

Xavier and his goons grew bolder, their actions becoming more brazen as they seized whatever they desired with reckless abandon. Their disregard for the consequences left a trail of devastation in their wake, leaving the once vibrant community shrouded in fear and despair.

Journal Entry 14

Journal Entry 14

Tony is still avoiding me. He won’t look at me. He won’t talk
to me. He will not enter if I am in a room. I wish I knew what to say. I
have tried to apologize. I have never seen him this angry with anyone
before. I don’t know what to do. The cold shoulder he is giving me is
breaking my heart. I keep hoping that Runt will walk thru the front

Journal Entry 15

Journal Entry 15

Central continues to cause trouble. I went to the Plaza today
with Matt and Jonas. The streets are crazy. People are missing. No
proof but the word is that the Central Bobcats are behind the
disappearances. I knew Central was recruiting older males, large males
of substantial build but the missing are young boys. Apparently, four
young boys have disappeared in four days. Took Matt and Jonas,
collected a few community leaders, and went over to the Central
campus. We were hoping that the Hulk (as we enduringly call him)
might be able to help us. Let us know where the boys are. His goons
wouldn’t let us thru the front door. Apparently, the Hulk is busy with
Central Bobcat business and can’t be disturbed. We tried to force our
way in but the goons guarding the entrance had lethal weapons we
weren’t prepared to deal with at that moment in time. We left a
message. This whole thing with Central is getting on my nerves.

Journal Entry 16

Journal Entry 16

I held a meeting with the community leaders of the larger
gangs that are allies with Bear Country. I love community meetings.
No, actually, I don’t but sometimes they are a necessity. I am not a
very good diplomat. I have trouble hiding my emotions. I always turn
a bright shade of red when I get flustered. What I hate the most is that
these meetings always end up loud and noisy. Getting everyone to
agree is always a challenge but I think we have a workable plan. All
the gang leaders have agreed that getting someone inside the Bobcat

campus is a necessity. Bear Country will have to get someone inside
but first we have to find out what kind of security the Hulk has in
place so that we can get information out once we are inside.

I went to see Tony after the meeting. He is still angry with me.
At first, he pretending to be working on something and ignored that I
was even standing in the same room. I said I was sorry and that if I
could bring back Runt I would. I said I needed his friendship. He thru
a wrench across the room (It barely missed my head) and he said I wasn’t
a very good friend. A friend is someone you can count on. Someone
you can depend on. I said, “I was dependable.” He said I wasn’t. He
said I should have kept a closer eye on Runt. Perhaps he was right. I
should have kept a closer eye on the little guy. However, honestly, I
can’t be everywhere at once. I have a great deal of responsibility. I
would have done my best to look after Runt if Tony had died. We all
would have looked after him. It’s what we do in Bear Country. We
look after each other. No one could have prevented Runt from leaving
if he wanted to leave. No one is under lock and key.
Tony went back to what ever it was he was working on and I
left the room. I said I really was sorry.

The Secret Spot

The Secret Spot

Tony, Matt, Jonas, and Madie huddled together behind the rusted remains of a forgotten playground, their voices hushed as they discussed their plan.

“We need to find a spot where we can pass messages without anyone noticing,” Tony said, his brow furrowed in concentration.

Jonas nodded in agreement. “Somewhere easily accessible but out of sight.”

Central High School Campus sprawled before them, a maze of crumbling buildings and overgrown pathways. It was a stark contrast to their familiar Bear Country High School.

“Definitely not as cozy as our old school,” Madie remarked, her eyes scanning the desolate landscape.

Tony chuckled. “No kidding. But we’ll make do.”

They set off, weaving their way through the deserted corridors of Central. Despite its size, they soon discovered that there were pockets of emptiness scattered throughout the campus, hidden from prying eyes.

“Looks like the guards stick to the main areas,” Matt observed, ducking behind a row of abandoned lockers.

Jonas nodded. “That works in our favor.”

After what felt like hours of exploration, they stumbled upon the perfect spot—a secluded courtyard tucked away behind the art building. It was overgrown with ivy and littered with fallen leaves, but it offered the privacy they desperately needed.

“This is it,” Tony declared, a triumphant grin spreading across his face.

Madie nodded in agreement. “It’s perfect.”

With their secret spot secured, they set to work devising a system for passing messages back and forth. They agreed on a series of signals and codes, ensuring that their communications would remain undetected by the watchful eyes of the guards.

As they finalized their plans, a sense of determination washed over them. Despite the challenges ahead, they knew that as long as they had each other, they could face anything Central High School threw their way.

Journal Entry 17

Journal Entry 17

Tony stopped by my room in the admin hallway. He said he
wanted to help. I guess this is his way of saying he is sorry for being
mad at me.

It’s been a long night. Tony, Matt, Jonas and I (under the cover
of darkness) went to the Central campus. There was a lot of activity
even at the hour that we were snooping. The guards seem to all be
visible. No need to hide, the size of these people would keep most
people away. Of course, we don’t know exactly what is going on
inside. We snuck around the entire campus. No one seemed to be
guarding the east end backside of the building. The door was even
unlocked. We went inside. The classrooms in this hallway were all
locked and empty. At least the rooms we peaked into were empty.
Things seemed a little too easy. Feeling uncomfortable with the ease
that we entered we decided to quietly leave. Ok, we can get in. Which
means we should be able to get information to each other? The next
step is to get someone into the Bobcat gang.

The Agriculture Club

The Agriculture Club

Jake, Maya, and Ethan surveyed the sorry state of their crops at the back of Bear Country High School. The bug infestation was getting worse by the day, and they knew they needed all the help they could get from their fellow residents to rescue as much food as possible.

Maya, the determined and organized leader of the Agriculture Club, gathered the four volunteers who had shown up to help. She divided the tasks efficiently, assigning each person to a specific area of the garden.

“Alright, Tommy, you’re on pest control duty,” Maya instructed, pointing to a tall, lanky boy with a determined look in his eyes. “Samantha, you and Joey focus on weeding out the dead plants and put everything in the compost bins. And Emily, you’ll help Ethan with collecting the fruits and vegetables that can be used.”

Ethan, the practical and caring member of the group, chimed in, “Remember to drink water and take breaks when you need them. But we can’t afford to dawdle. If we don’t save as many plants as possible, we’ll be trading with other gangs just to avoid starving.”

Jake, the resourceful and thoughtful one, distributed the few sets of gloves they had salvaged from the school’s storage rooms. “Make sure to return these at the end of your shift,” he reminded everyone. “Other people will need them too.”

Maya added, her voice firm but kind, “And don’t forget about canning. We need to preserve as much of the harvest as we can. We’ll start in the evening, and we still need volunteers. Spread the word, and I’ll put up a message on the admin hall bulletin board.”

With a nod from Maya, the volunteers dispersed, ready to tackle their assigned tasks and spread the word about the upcoming canning session. Despite the challenges they faced, Jake, Maya, and Ethan remained determined to save their crops and ensure the survival of their community at Bear Country High School.

Canning beans with Maya

Canning beans with Maya

Maya stood before her group of volunteers, a sense of purpose radiating from her as she prepared to guide them through the process of canning green beans.

“Alright, everyone,” Maya began, her voice steady and confident. “Canning green beans isn’t too complicated, but it’s important to follow each step carefully to ensure the food stays safe to eat.”

Madie watched from the sidelines, her admiration for Maya growing with each passing moment. She had never realized the extent of Maya’s knowledge and resourcefulness, nor the hidden treasures within Bear Country.

“First,” Maya continued, “we need to prepare the beans. Make sure they’re washed and trimmed, removing any blemishes or tough ends.”

The volunteers nodded, listening intently as Maya demonstrated the process. Madie couldn’t help but marvel at Maya’s expertise. She had been eating the food grown and preserved by the Agriculture Club without ever truly understanding the effort and skill behind it.

“Once the beans are ready,” Maya instructed, “we’ll blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes to preserve their color and texture.”

Madie listened intently at Maya’s instructions. She didn’t want to make a mistake in the process.

“After blanching,” Maya continued, “we’ll pack the beans tightly into sterilized jars, leaving a little space at the top. Then, we’ll cover them with boiling water and seal the jars tightly.”

Madie listened to Maya, suddenly realizing just how much she had underestimated the members of the Agriculture Club. They were not just residents of Bear Country; they were heroes, keeping their community fed and thriving in the face of adversity.

“Finally,” Maya concluded, “we’ll process the jars in a boiling water bath for the specified time to kill any bacteria and ensure the beans stay fresh.”

Madie nodded in understanding, grateful for Maya’s expertise and leadership. As the she and the other volunteers set to work, Madie couldn’t help but feel a sense of hope for the future of Bear Country High School.

Journal Entry 18

Journal Entry 18

There are days and then there are days. Matt and Jonas fought
at the plaza today. It was awful. Both boys were injured. They both
had bloody lips, cuts and bruises. A couple of venders are going to
have to rebuild after Matt and Jonas crashed thru their kiosks.

It didn’t take long for a crowd to develop. People began to cheer for one or the
other. It always annoys me that people encourage fights. You would
think that the proper thing to do would be to stop the fight but not in
this town.

Any way, as the fight grew in intensity a couple of the Hulk’s goons from the Central campus arrived. They just stood back and watched. I am not surprised. The fight ended as Matt pinned Jonas to the pavement. Some words exchanged that I would rather not repeat. Then Matt released Jonas and stood up. Jonas struggled to his feet. He yelled at his brother that they were no longer brothers. I wanted to cry.

After the show, the crowd dispersed as quickly as it formed except for the Central goons. They were interested in Matt. I wasn’t close enough to hear the conversation, but Matt left with the enemy.

Journal Entry 19

Journal Entry 19

Jonas limped back to Bear Country. He didn’t say a lot when
he got back. I cleaned up his wounds and made him something to eat.
He didn’t eat much. I am not sure if it was because of his physical
injuries or because of the mental anguish I am sure he feels. The whole
thing was just incredibly sad. I find it hard to think about one without
the other. Matt and Jonas have always done everything together.

Journal Entry 20

Journal Entry 20

I have such a headache. Probably stress. The preparation for
the naming ceremony is going well. Casey is getting so excited and the
baby seems to be thriving. Casey is also doing well. Plans for the
festival also continues. We have had several responses from several of
the local gangs who wish to participate. The same gangs come year
after year. I can’t wait; we need some diversion, some fun. My brain is
tired. What else can I tell you? Oh, I know, Jonas is climbing the
walls. We still have not heard from Matt since he defected over to the
Central Bobcats. I hope he is safe and not taking any unnecessary

Journal Entry 21

Journal Entry 21

A message was sent to me from Matt sent a message to me. He is inside the Central campus, and it sounds as if he is doing fine. His letter read,


Just checking in to see how everyone’s holding up, especially Jonas. Please let him know I feel bad about his eye—I lost my balance during that last scuffle. And my chin should be back to normal in a day or two.

I’ve managed to explore most of Central campus, but some areas are seriously guarded. On the bright side, tell Tony I’ve spotted the Runt; saw him earlier today. It’s rough, though—he’s enslaved. Haven’t had a chance to chat with him yet. They keep those guys under lock and key, only letting them out for work.

Pretty sure the other lost boys are around too. Wrestling’s a huge deal here; people are constantly throwing down challenges. I’ve been flying under the radar so far ’cause I’m not gunning for rank. The higher-ups get all the perks—better food, more privileges. Not my scene.

Hopefully, I’ll be back home soon.

Catch you later, Matt

So that was his letter.


Sneaking into Central

Sneaking into Central

Sheriff Pete and Tony crept through the shadows of the Central Campus, their steps muffled by the thick layer of dust that coated the ground. They exchanged wary glances as they approached the designated note drop, a dimly lit alley behind one of the crumbling buildings.

Tony reached out a hand, snagging a crumpled piece of paper from beneath a loose brick. “Another note from Matt,” he muttered, his voice barely above a whisper.

Sheriff Pete unfolded the note, his eyes scanning the hastily scrawled words. “Seems like our boy’s been busy,” he remarked, a frown creasing his brow.

“Not everyone is happy with the way the Hulk runs the Central Campus,” Tony read aloud, his voice tinged with apprehension. “This is a good thing.”

Sheriff Pete nodded in agreement. “Sounds like Matt’s stirring up some trouble.”

The note continued, detailing Matt’s encounter with a breakfast-stealing bully that very morning. Tony’s eyes widened as he read about the knock-down fight that ensued, his admiration for Matt growing with each word.

“Looks like our boy knows how to hold his own,” Tony said, a proud smile playing at his lips.

Sheriff Pete grunted in approval. “That he does.”

But it wasn’t just Matt’s fighting skills that were making waves. He had made some unexpected allies, including a girl named Hemy who shared a similar disdain for the Hulk and his cronies.

“Hemy says there are people at Central who do not like the Hulk or his goons,” Tony relayed, his voice tinged with excitement. “Seems like Matt’s finding himself a little rebellion.”

Sheriff Pete nodded thoughtfully. “The Hulk and his inner circle may have most of the people here afraid, but there’s strength in numbers.”

The note painted a grim picture of life at Central, where fear and survival were the driving forces keeping its inhabitants in line. But amidst the oppression, there were those who found solace in the wrestling tournaments and the camaraderie they provided.

“Central reminds me of the stories I heard when I was young about the gladiators,” Tony mused, his mind drifting to tales of ancient battles and valiant warriors. “The guards force people to fight as the Hulk and his goons watch.”

Sheriff Pete’s jaw clenched at the thought of innocent lives being manipulated for the entertainment of others. “We need to put an end to this,” he declared, his resolve firm.

Tony nodded in agreement. “And we will. But first, we finish the takeover plan.”

As they folded the note and tucked it safely into their pockets, they made a silent vow to bring an end to the tyranny of the Hulk and his inner circle, no matter the cost.

Journal Entry 22

Journal Entry 22

I am having trouble sleeping. I seem to constantly worry about everything.
Last night was horrible; I couldn’t shut my mind off from thinking
about the day. I don’t like that Matt is inside the Central campus. I
don’t want him taking any unnecessary chances.

I am sure he will only do what is necessary, but I still worry about him. Tony is feeling a little happier. He is anxious about the Runt. It was difficult to convince him that he can’t just run over to the Central campus and get the Runt back. We
have a workable plan to get all the missing boys back. I think he
understands that if he ran over there and tried to take Runt back right
now the other missing boys could be in trouble. One-step at a time and we will get our friends back. Sheriff Pete is currently training his deputies. I think he is enjoying his new role as Sheriff. He walks differently, taller, I think.


Journal Entry 23

Journal Entry 23

Sheriff Pete and Tony retrieved another note from Matt.
Not everyone is happy with the way the Hulk runs the Central
Campus. This is a good thing. Matt got in an argument this morning
with someone trying to take his breakfast. The bully was trying to
prove to his pals that he was big and tough. Matt won the argument
after a knock down fight.
Matt made some friends. One in particular, a girl named Hemy.
She said that there are people at Central that do not like the Hulk or his
goons. The Hulk and his inner circle have most of the people who live
at Central afraid. Food and a place to sleep seem to be the strongest
reasons why people stay. Others stay because they enjoy the wrestling
tournaments and that way of life. Central reminds me of the stories I
heard when I was young about the gladiators. The guards force people
to fight as the Hulk and his goons watch. Matt said there are 10 goons
in the Hulks inter circle.

Journal Entry 24

Journal Entry 24

Met with the gang leaders and shared the notes from Matt. The
atmosphere in this meeting was calmer than the previous one. The
gang leaders shared their thoughts on how to proceed toward getting
rid of the Hulk and his goons. Everyone agreed that the Hulk was a
nuisance. The longer he stayed in town the stronger he was going to
get. We have all decided to band together in a show of force. A lot of
violence is expected. I gave the gang leaders the opportunity to back
out of the conflict if they found the risk was to great. No one withdrew his
or her gang. I will send a courier to inform Matt on how we plan to

Journal Entry 25

Journal Entry 25

Matt has sent word that he has received our plans. He had a
few suggestions that might make the take-over a little easier. The Hulk
has scheduled a wrestling match for tomorrow morning. The Hulk and
most of his goons will be present in the gym for the event. Having
everyone at the Central campus in the same location of the school will
make our attack easier. I am holding a final strategy meeting this
evening with the allied gang leaders.
Matt has made allies inside the Central campus among several
of the current residence that do not like the Hulk’s style of leadership.
This is good news. Allies inside will make the battle a little easier. I
am keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly and that
any injuries acquired will be minor.

Journal Entry 27

Journal Entry 27

Everyone that was going to participate in the take over at
the Central campus gathered in the admin hallway. No one said
anything at first. We just stood there looking at each other. Casey
asked me to deliver a note to a friend she once new at the Central
campus. I said I would do my best to deliver the note. With everyone
gathered, I gave everyone one more chance to back out.
The walk to Central was a quiet one, a few people chatted back
and forth trying to keep the mood a little less serious. I was so nervous
and afraid but I tried to look confident. I didn’t want the others to
know that I was scared.
I don’t know if the Hulk was expecting guest but he didn’t look
surprised when we entered the gym. He had a sort of welcome to the
festivities grin on his face. It was a little unnerving. There was a sharp
pain in the pit of my stomach as I announce to the Hulk that we were
demanding that he leave Central and the local area with his goons. The
room went silent. I felt as if I was beet red in the face. The Hulk stood
up from his chair. He said something sarcastic like “I’m sorry, have we met?”
Trying to sound confident, I told him who I was.
He said, “Look little lady I’m going to pretend that you and
your friends here haven’t disturbed my festivities. Just turn around and
walk away and I won’t have my goons beat you to a pulp.”
I took a deep breath and said, “We’re not leaving but you and
your goons can leave quietly or with a fight.”
The Hulk and his goons began to laugh. “You are no challenge
for us; you don’t have a chance…Prepare to Die!”
I puffed up my chest in a display of courage. “I didn’t come
alone; I brought a bunch of friends with me.” The gym filled with gang
members from around the community.