Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reading Level 2: Zack's Story

The final quiz will be on Thursday. The quiz will have two parts. Part one; Write a diary entry for July 1. It will be about Zack first day in the old city. Part two: fill in the blank about the whole story. A practice one is on the back of part six.

Zack’s Story

(Translated from Neo-Spanish to English)

June 3, 2213

Hi. I’m Zack. I’m 22 years old. This is my diary. I don’t know if someone will read this, but I wanted to leave a memory of myself. I imagine someone 100 years from now reading it and learning about the world that I live in, and my little life.

I live in New Portland, with my father in a tiny apartment. My mother died in the Northwest War of 2209, and I am an only child. When my mother died, my father became depressed.

My father is a computer programmer, and I will be, too. Almost everyone programs computers, because computers do almost everything. It’s kind of boring that way. I don’t really want to be a programmer, but that’s the only way to survive these days.

You probably want to know what happened to “Old Portland.” Well, it’s under us. Old Portland was so broken from a war that we built the new city on top of it. The old city was built for cars on the ground, anyway. Now we have flying cars, or “flyers.” So, we don’t need the ground. Our buildings are much taller, so people almost never go to the ground anymore.

Anyway, I’m getting tired. More later.

June 5, 2213

Hi again. I didn’t write yesterday because I was busy with some university work. Boring. It’s all on my computer, and I hate being on my computer.

The reason I want to write a diary is that I have some secrets. I want to tell you one of them. My friends and I hang out in the old city, on the ground.

Nobody from above goes down there, because we’re “not supposed to”, so we can be totally free. Most kids these days spend all their time playing video games, so there aren’t many places where kids can run free like we do down there. We play soccer, and other new games that we invent. I hope we never get caught going down there, because they’d tell us we can’t go down there anymore. That’s why it is a big secret.

It’s dark down there, and there’s some homeless people living there. They don’t bother us if we bring energy bars (our food) with us to give them. We have become friends with some of the guys down there. It’s exciting. That’s all the time I have right now, we’re going to meet up to go down there.

June 6, 2213

Yesterday, right after I told you about our secret place, I went down there with my two best friends; Bax and Andi. We climbed down onto the ground, and walked the streets as usual. It was dark, but you can always see clearly down there, because there are so many lights from the city above. But last night was different.

We were walking when we heard a strange, musical sound. It didn’t sound like the music that I know. We followed it to a side street. Down the side street, there were three men playing music with a real guitar, a real trumpet, and a real banjo. I had never seen people play real instruments before. People usually use the computer to make music nowadays.

We went a little closer, and we noticed that their clothing was strange, too. They looked like an image from the past. All of the sudden, I smelled something amazing. I smelled food, like I’d never smelled it before. Up in the city, only really rich people can eat real food. The rest of us have to eat these gross energy bars. These people had real stuff. We didn’t want to stay and find out why.

We made a deal to come back when we had more time before the curfew, then we went away silently into the night.

I’ll tell you more after our next adventure.

June 9, 2213

It took a long time for us to find a time when we could go again. We never talk about it on the net, because the police watch it. We only talk about it when we see each other in person. That’s why I’m writing this diary by hand, and hiding it under my bed.

This time, we didn’t hear music. I knew we were in the right place, because I remembered the old street sign: NW Everett and 3rd Ave. We walked quietly, looking carefully into the windows on that street. No smell of food, no music.

When we were about to go home, we heard a sound behind us. There was an old woman standing on the corner behind us. She was wearing a huge skirt that touched the floor, and staring at us with a smile on her face. She didn’t look homeless. She looked warm, friendly and mysterious.

We were surprised to see this woman because we were told that the old city is so toxic from the bombs that it’s dangerous to live there.

The woman waved to us, and we walked toward her. She had something in her hands. As I got closer, I realized they were cookies. I had never seen a real one before, and I almost cried. She held out her hand and gave us the cookies. We each took one and smelled it. For a few seconds, I forgot everything except that smell. It was like going to heaven. When we looked up, the woman had disappeared.

We ate our cookies slowly, and then went home in silence. I can still remember the taste of chocolate and sugar as I write this. My soul will never be the same. We have to learn more.

June 15, 2213

The weather was horrible all week. It was so hot outsidethat you couldn’t breathe, so I havebeen in our tiny apartment, going crazy.

However, today is different. Today it is raining. It rarelyrains here, so today is special. Even though we aren’t supposed to, people whohave windows catch the rain in bowls and buckets. They use the water from the rain to drink and wash.

Water is really expensive, so it’s smart to catch some. But, there is a companythat owns all the water, and thatcompany owns the rain, too. People must pay them for the rainwater, so theysometimes get in trouble. My neighbor was arrestedlast month for that.

My father just got home, so I have to hide my diary. We aregoing to the ground today, so I’ll write after that.

Later on June 15, 2213

We met the people who live in the ground today, but I haveonly a short time to write about it. We went to the place where we saw the oldwoman, and they invited us inside.

They farmvegetables on the walls with lights. They use bicycles to make electricity. They catch rain for water.They find things in the old city to use. Their whole city is a secret. They eatreal food all the time. Our tour guide was an old man named Rat. Rat was an electrician when he lived in theskyscrapers, so he’s important down here.

I don’t want to live in the skyscrapers anymore.

June 19, 2213

The strangest thing happened yesterday. We ate food down onthe ground. The “ground people” told us to stop eating the gross energy barsfrom the New City, so we did. When I woke up this morning, it was like someonecleaned out my head and my brain. I felt great. I felt smart and strong. I feltlike I could run, so I did. I went to the old city and just ran through thestreets.

Maybe you don’t understand what that means. That means thatthose gross energy bars have drugs in them. That means that the city puts drugsin the food. That means that someone was making me stupid all my life. I neverwant to eat one again.

We need to find a way to go to the Old City forever. I amafraid my father will notice that I am gone so often. If we go, someone willcall the police and they will find us. It’s dangerous. We have though aboutpretending to die, but they would need a body for that. Bax, Andi and I aredetermined. We will not give up.

The Old City is so amazing. We meet new people every time wego down there. I heard there are about 500 people living down there. None ofthem eat the drugged energy bars. That is the reason they eat real food. Andthere are more people who live in the mountains.

I am thinking about telling my father about the old city. Ifhelps me, I might be able to escape.

June 30, 2213

Today is my birthday, and this is our last day in the NewCity. This is also my last time writing in my diary. I will hide it somewhereafter I am finished writing this.

Tonight, we will go to the ground forever. We decided to“disappear”. I told my father I am going to leave and never come back. Helooked a little happy, actually. He said “whatever you want.” I remind him of my mother, so he canforget her now, and start a new life.

We hope the police don’t try to find us down there. We don’tthink they will. Because of the drugs they give everyone, the police don’t domuch (except arrest water-stealers).

I went for a last walk today in the “New City.” I knew thatI would never see it again. All the people in the New City are like Zombies. I can see that now, withouteating the drugged “food.” Secretly, I want more people to come down to the OldCity. I want people to see the truth about the New City.

One more thing—I met a girl last week in the Old City. WhenI first saw her… I had a wonderfulfeeling. People in the New City sometimes talk about “love,” but most peoplenever feel it. People in the Old City talk about love like it happens everyday.I don’t understand it. I think that what I am feeling is “love.” Maybe.  You will never know, because this is the endof my story. I don’t know who will read this. Maybe no one. If you find this, Iwant to say one thing to you…

Always do what you feel is right, even if it’s different, ordifficult.

This feels right.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

George's Story: Parts 4-6

Part 4:

George looked at the human in front of him. George was confused. So many new things were happening. There was this tree-eating monster, the flying thing, and this human. All of these things frightened George. He stood in the clearing and looked at the pile of dead trees, and he cried.

George decided the best thing to do would be to go back to his cabin and hide there. So, he ran out of the clearing, with the human making noises behind him. George got to his cabin and went inside. He ate some deer meat, drank some water, and he felt better.

However, George had not seen his last human. The human he saw in the clearing was curious about George. He called many of his friends, and the police. All of them came to find George in the forest. They organized a search party.

The next day, George was sitting with his bear friends. The bears were also feeling afraid, which is why they came to visit George. They had heard the flying thing, and they heard the tree-eating monster. They all sat together and looked at the river.

The bears heard them first. They heard dogs barking and people shouting. The bears knew they should escape. The bears looked at George, and then ran away. George was alone, and then he heard it too. Another new noise. This time, it was right next to his cabin. The noise was not a friendly noise. George didn’t think these people seemed very friendly at all. He went inside his cabin. He listened. He waited.

After a long while, he could hear noises outside his cabin. They had found his cabin. He decided to come out of his cabin, and meet these people. So, he came out, and saw three people and three other animals that they had on ropes. George stared at the people, and the people stared at him. Everyone was a little speechless.

Part 5:

The three men were making some more of those funny noises. George realized that they were communicating with each other. They were talking. Just like birds talk to each other in the trees, these humans were talking to each other. George felt sad that he didn’t know their language. George knew the language of the bears, and the language of the wolves, but he didn’t know the human language. He felt embarrassed.

The men had strange clothes; George wasn’t sure what they were made from. They didn’t look like anything from his forest. They also had strange tools, one of which made a noise that sounded like their language, and they talked into it.

After the men talked with each other, they all grabbed George by the arms and took him with them. Because George was curious, he decided to go with them and see what would happen. He didn’t expect that they would take him out of the forest, but that is what they did. They walked for a long time, longer than George had ever walked. They finally got to another huge monster, but this one seemed to be dead. George stopped, and didn’t want to go anymore. The men opened up the monster and went inside it! They pulled George into it, even though George was afraid.

One of them, sitting in the front of the monster, turned some small thing, and the monster suddenly roared to life. George was terrified! He covered his head with his hand, and he made a sound of surprise. All the men laughed. George looked at the animals in the back of the monster. They were calm and quiet. He knew that he was safe, as long as these animals were calm.

The monster began to move. However, George realized that the human in front seemed to be controlling it. Maybe it wasn’t alive at all. He wasn’t sure.

It moved faster and faster. They were on a trail. But suddenly, the trees ended and they were in a totally different world. George was totally silent as he looked out.

Part 6:

George had no idea what he was looking at. He had no words, no experiences, and no thoughts to describe the world that he saw outside. The trees disappeared after a while, and were replaced by what looked like houses. He was seeing a city.

He saw big square boxes with people moving around inside them. He saw giant pathways with monsters that looked like the one he was in moving all around. All of them had people in them. There were so many things that he had never seen before, he became very tired. He was like a baby in this new world.

They finally stopped in front of a house. They pulled George out of the car, and pointed at the house. They men brought him into the large house through the front door. George’s brain hurt as he tried to make sense of the things that he was seeing. They opened the door, and inside was yet another world. He wondered how they ever made all these things. All he knew were his stone tools and the things in his forest. He was seeing carpet, lights, furniture, metal, and electronics. He couldn’t even begin to imagine who made these things and how.

They took him to a table, and they all sat down. George sat down, too. He had never even sat on a chair before. He still felt afraid, but there was no going back now. He was sad when he wondered if he would ever go back to his forest. He had no idea how to get there, and no idea how to ask.

The men sat and stared at him, like he was an animal in the zoo. They all seemed comfortable in this place, except for George. Suddenly, George realized that the only way he could go back to his forest would be to learn this language and learn about these people and their world. Right now, there was no way he could tell them to take him back, and he didn’t think they would. He was powerless, like a prisoner in their hands.

They had stolen him from his home without thinking of him as a human who could take care of himself. They were as good as prison guards, or slave masters. They watched George for their own entertainment, and did not realize that he had a life there in the forest. In fact, as they spoke in the kitchen of that small house, they could almost hear the bears and the wolves howl in the night. They were howling because George was gone.

That night, George spoke his first word. “Food.” And he ate the strangest and most disgusting meal of his life. Someday, he would go back to his home.

The END.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

George's Story- Parts 1-3

George's Story


There was a man named George. George lived by himself. George not only lived by himself, but he lived in the forest by himself. You can imagine a forest with very tall trees of dark green. Inside it was dark, and the air was thick. It was a wet forest. In the winter, it would snow a little, but the snow never made it to the ground. The forest was actually very warm. In fact, George had not seen another human since he was a very, very young child. No other people ever went to this forest, because they thought that it was an evil place. This was not true, of course. George knew it was a great place! It had plenty of food, and he had never felt afraid in the forest.

If we met George, we might think he was a little crazy. George forgot how he got to the forest, and he really didn’t speak a language, either. He didn’t need to speak a language, because he didn’t have anyone to speak with. Animals didn’t speak, trees didn’t speak. Because of this, his mind worked much differently than our minds. His thoughts were different. He didn’t think about what time it was, or when he would die, or who he had to text. He didn’t know what a computer was. If he saw your shoes, he would probably think he was imagining it! He also forgot about the other humans for a long time. In George’s world, he was the only human.

Despite living by himself, George was very happy. He didn’t really think about being happy, though. He just lived his life, and did the things he needed to do. He built a beautiful cabin for himself out of trees, he slept on the softest moss, and he ate deer meat and plants he collected from the forest. He used plants for medicine, though he almost never got sick. He wore the skin of animals to keep warm. There were animals that became friends with him, too. There was a bear that came around often. She would just sit and stare at George, and George stared back. He also had some wolves that came to hang out in his yard. They weren’t like pets, and they didn’t come to cuddle… they were like family that came to stay for a few days and were gone. He never touched them, he just sat with them.


One day, George heard a shocking noise. The sound was like a tree falling, or a lightning storm. It hurt his ears. He looked up, and through the trees he could see something big flying through the air. It was much bigger than any bird in the forest, and the scary sound was coming from that flying thing. He sat down under a tree while it passed above the trees. The trees swayed as if there was a strong wind. He could feel the sound of the flying this in his heart. When it had passed, the forest was quiet again… but George was concerned. Nothing like this had ever happened in the forest. He hoped that it would never come back.

The next day, George was out hunting when he heard the noise again. This time, it was quieter. The flying thing was farther away. It was not gone. He continued hunting, but his mind was focused on listening. He was listening for the monster.

He didn’t hear the noise for several weeks after that. He had almost forgotten about it. However, he had not heard the last of that noise. George didn’t know it yet, but his life was about to change forever.

It was a sunny day when George was out, far from his house, looking for a rare plant. He had cut his hand badly, and he needed it to help heal his hand. He found the plant, picked some of it, and he was walking back to his cabin when he heard another strange noise. This one was different. He decided to see if he could get a peek of what was making it.

He snuck toward the sound quietly, hiding behind trees as he went. When he finally got to the noise, he saw a huge monster in a clearing. The monster shined brightly like a drop of water in the sun. George had never seen metal before, so he didn’t know that what he saw was a machine. He stared at it. He was terrified, but he couldn’t look away. He had never seen anything like it.

When he finally looked away, he looked at what the monster was doing. It was eating trees! It had already eaten hundreds of trees, and there was a mountain of tree skeletons next to the monster. George’s heart sank. It hurt him to see the forest be attacked like this. This was such a terrible monster.

He hid behind his tree again. George thought quickly about what he could do to save the forest. This giant monster was a problem. If the monster ate the whole forest, then George would have nowhere to live, and neither would the bears, wolves and deer. Everyone would be homeless.

George decided to walk into the field. He walked past the mountain of dead trees, and he poked a large branch into one of the strange feet of the monster. The monster froze immediately, and he heard a strange sound.

He saw something climb out of the monster. It was making terrible noises like an angry bird, and it was wearing strange clothing. George realized that this thing looked a little like him. It had pink skin, and no hair on its body. George stared, his eyes wide, wondering what this thing would do when it got to the bottom.

When it finally finished climbing, it looked at George and made all sorts of loud noises with his mouth. He pointed at the stick George had put in the foot of the monster, and the mountain of trees. It was angry. The “animal” pulled the stick out of the foot, and looked at George again, like he expected George to understand something. George thought that the animal must be the monster’s guardian.