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L.A.Parker here, happy to announce that in the course of the next few months, we will be re-doing the blog, and poating some new content and more homework help to come! Let us know what kind of content you’re looking for!

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New Content

L.A.Parker here. I know it’s been a few years since anything new has been posted, I didn’t even realize this blog was still getting views. So I would actually like to start working on it. The homework help I think is something to definitely keep, but I am curious to know if anyone would be interested in reading a blog that a a focus on dealing with mental disease? As someone who has some disorders I think it would be good to have some content out there for people who may be struggling psychologically. Not a lot of people understand the feelings of people with psychological issues or can fully grasp it, so I think it would be interesting to explore and maybe change the blog up a bit somehow.

Tips For Writing an Essay: Beyond The Basics

By: L.A.Parker and Alex Huffman

One of the most difficult things to do is write an essay. Even after you have prepared in advance, the most difficult part of writing an essay is the actual writing. It’s a  grueling process that most of us would rather skip and watch Adventure Time instead. Here’s some tips to hopefully make the writing process easier.

The Basics

1. Read the Material

This is obvious, but reading the actual book, short story, or assignment is generally the best place to start. Chapter/plot summaries and character lists are not enough to write a good (and by good we mean analytical) essay. By high school and college, teachers don’t want to read a summary of a book they’ve already read. They want to hear what the student has to say about it or how they analyze the assigned prompt. If the material is difficult to understand, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Chances are half the class is equally lost. If you’re too shy to ask questions during class, ask your teacher or professor before or afterwards. If that doesn’t work, type your question into an online search engine. Not everyone who starts reading The Scarlet Letter “gets it” immediately. Let’s face it, a lot of these books were written a long time ago and people just don’t talk like that anymore. So don’t be ashamed if you don’t understand What Thou Dost Read. Ask questions, keep up with the reading, use the internet as backup, and one day we might be able to comprehend the Canterbury Tales without crying or pounding our heads against a wall.

2. Stick With Parts of The Story That Interest You

As you read the source material, jot down notes about the parts you like or hate– anything that catches your attention. When writing the essay, use topics, quotes, and a thesis that keeps you interested. It’s really easy for professors to spot where you got bored and started to ramble in order to fill up space. If you were assigned a prompt to follow, approach the question from different angles  until you find ideas you want to discuss (so long as you stay on topic and answer the prompt).  Try to stay away from areas of the source material that you found most difficult to understand.

3. Don’t Overthink It!

Some assignments, if not most, are more daunting than they really are. Sitting down and actually writing is the best place to start. If the essay doesn’t seem to be any good then you can always start over at any time.

Beyond The Basics

1. What Are You Writing About?

Before you sit down and actually start writing, think about what you want to write about. Whether or not you were issued a prompt, it’s important to know what it is you want to focus on in your actual essay. Just think of a sentence or two that  summarizes what you want to say. After that, those sentences can develop into your thesis statement. Does the source material have a reoccurring theme? Do certain characters stand out? Do they do something meaningful that can relate to the prompt? Think of these things while you decide on what you want to say. Once you sit down with something in mind, you will be less likely to ramble and more likely to write a cohesive paper.

2. If You Need Quotes, Find Them First

Before you start writing your actual essay and after you have thought of what to write about, go through the material and find some quotes that support your thesis. If you look for these first, you’ll be able to write your essay faster and more concisely.

3. Put Your Quotes in Some Sort of Order

You’ve already come up with a thesis at this point, you have the quotes, now you just need to decide where you want to place them in paper. Do certain quotes coincide with each other? Does one quote’s idea lead to another? Does the order you place them work concerning your thesis? After you have asked yourself these questions, number the quotes in the order you want them to appear in the paper. That way you’ll know what to talk about in each paragraph and what you can work toward as your paper develops.

4. What Do You Want To Say in Each Paragraph?

You have a thesis and you have evidence. Now you decide what you want to say in each paragraph. You don’t have to write out the paragraphs yet, but now would be a good time to come up with an outline.

For Example:

Introduction

Thesis

Paragraph One

What is the subject of paragraph one?

How does it relate to the thesis?

What evidence do you have to prove it?

How does it relate to the next paragraph?

Paragraph Two

What is the subject of paragraph two?

How does it relate to the thesis?

What evidence do you have to prove it?

How does it relate to the next paragraph?

Etc.

Conclusion

What is your thesis?

How does all of the material you talked about prove your thesis?

5. Write Your Paper

Once you’ve got an outline, the essay shouldn’t be difficult to write. You already have a thesis, you have evidence, and you have an ordered outline with all of the information on it. The only thing left to do is write it out and put some transition sentences in there. When you are done, take a break! Walk away from your essay and come back to it later with fresh eyes. Re-reading your work with fresh eyes will help you to spot mistakes and any misspellings, grammatical errors. Reading it aloud will help make sure your sentences flow. If everything is good, write a Works Cited page and turn it in. However, keep in mind that it might be a good idea to have someone else read it before the due date. That way, they can catch anything that you might have missed. If there are some points you left out or maybe they are looking for something else to be mentioned, the best person to ask is your teacher.If your teacher is willing to read a paper before you have to turn it in, take advantage of that opportunity.  If they spot anything, go back over your work and improve it.

Happy Paper Writing!

How To Write An Essay: The Basics

By: L.A.Parker and Alex Huffman

Step 1: Things to Keep in Mind

Be sure to indent at the start of a new paragraph, or use the space bar five times.

Basic essay format is split into four easy steps: Introduction, body and conclusion. A safe short essay format to use is the five paragraph essay.

DO NOT USE “I” IN YOUR ESSAY UNLESS OTHERWISE ADVISED!

“I think” is an opinion, you want to sound like you know what you are talking about. Try “it is evident” or “one would assume” it makes you sound a lot smarter.

Now onto the good stuff.

 Step 2: The Introduction

This is where you introduce what you want to talk about. For a five paragraph essay list at least three things in your thesis or make sure it is a thesis you can talk about for at least three paragraphs.

It should look something like this:

     Introduce the subject in question in the first sentence, the best piece of information to go here should be the title of the work and then the author’s name, followed by a short statement. Now, one should state the point of the essay, or what is going to be discussed within the paper. Whether this sentence is about symbols, metaphors or characters it doesn’t matter, but this is a good place for the thesis statement. Sentence four, this sentence can also be used to expand on the thesis, or write something else that will be touched upon in the paper. Now sentence five can be the end of the introductory paragraph or just keep right on going, but if your paper is due soon (like in an hour), I suggest you conclude this paragraph in the fifth sentence.

Step 3: The Body Paragraph

This is your body, the whole point of your paper. In the body you get a chance to talk about whatever points your want to prove concerning the topic or discuss whatever analysis you have made on the subject. Each body paragraph has a simple layout: Topic sentence, transition sentence, quote, comment on the quote, transition sentence that mentions your thesis, concluding sentence.

It should look something like this:

     This is the first sentence of the body, mention the first key point from the thesis here, this will introduce your analysis. Now this sentence is tricky because it is the transition sentence, at this point you want to move your way to introduce a quotation to back up your thesis. “Place quote here” (Author’s last name page #). Now comment on your quote and sound literary, this will ensure effective writing and possibly make it seem like this essay was written in a timely manner. This sentence here would be another transition, don’t be afraid to write about the quote you just used, but be sure to link it to your thesis. By continuously expanding on your thesis statement it will keep you from going off track and rambling in your paper. Now conclude this paragraph by transitioning into the next one.

      Now this is paragraph three, be sure to mention another point in your thesis that has not been touched upon yet. Why is this necessary? It is necessary because it keeps your essay organized. Don’t be afraid to raise literary questions within the paper, just be sure they can be answered. “Insert quote here” (Author page #). One would comment on this fictitious quote if one had bothered to invent one. However, sometimes less is more and this transition sentence is a beast. It just seems to be one of those things that needs to be said, written down, and then put into a shredder because one would assume not many have read this far into the template, but don’t worry it’ll all be over soon.

     Paragraph four is the final body paragraph that needs to establish the final aspect of your thesis. Whether it is to sum up all points that have been made or to add in one final point, the thesis should be wrapped up in this paragraph using points that have already been established or more quotations to back up any theories made within the essay. “Since this is the final paragraph, one can assume that a sentence may have been thought up by now, something literary, witty, or rather something that states a rare bit of knowledge, but one such as the writer of this example couldn’t be more wrong” (Parker 666). It is safe to say that nothing of note worthiness was stated in the previous statement. When all else fails use a word with five or six letters every once in awhile, thesauruses are a wonderful tool to acquaint yourself with. In the end make a final point as if you have proved something like a literary genius.

If more than one quote is needed per paragraph, the format should look like this:

     Topic sentence, transition sentence, quote, comment on the quote, transition sentence that mentions your thesis, transition into your next quote, quote, comment on quote, transition sentence that mentions thesis, conclusion.

Use as many times as needed to satisfy the requirements for your teacher/professor.

Step 4: The Conclusion

The final paragraph of your essay should not mention any new information but should instead sum up everything that has been said in the body of the essay. The best way to write the conclusion is to re-read the introduction paragraph and then place a revised version of it as the conclusion.

It should look something like this:

     Restate the first sentence from the introduction to re-establish the thesis, and be sure to mention the title and author again. Now state all of the major points that had been mentioned in the body, do not go into detail simply summarize the main point of the essay. Whether this sentence is about symbols, metaphors or characters it doesn’t matter, but this is a good place for your restated thesis statement. Now mention the big finale point here. Now this sentence is the conclusion and can be best stated in this manner: Parker’s essay template clearly did not help anyone in need of essay help, it was too wordy and difficult to follow and in the end, the reader can only grasp that the writer was experiencing desperate and mentally fatal caffeine withdrawal.

 BE SURE TO ADD A BIBLIOGRAPHY/WORKS CITED PAGE AFTER YOUR ESSAY! IF NOT ANY QUOTES THAT YOU USED WITH OUT A CITATION PAGE WILL BE CONSIDERED PLAGIARISM AND CAN RESULT IN A FAILING GRADE.

Hope that helped! Remember, using this template does not guarantee you an “A.” Its purpose is to introduce the basic concepts of writing an essay. Your teacher/professor might have individual preferences as to how they want you to write your essay, so be sure to follow the guidelines/rubrics provided to you in class before using this template.

7 Common Symbols in Literature

Written by L.A.Parker

There are many different themes or symbols used in Literature, below you will find a list of 7 out of the many symbols used in Literature.

1. Colors: Colors often play a role in stories. Usually they represent emotions like love, anger, or sadness. Red is a passionate color that can symbolize love, anger, or passion. Blue can mean tranquility, peace, sadness, and in some cases fear. Yellow can mean spring, like turning over a new leaf, or it can symbolize sunlight or light. Shades of greens and browns can be used for nature, peace, and to give off a sense of hospitality, unless the browns are used in images of deserts which would symbolize a’ death in nature.’

Objects, mentioned in stories, often times have a color. If the author mentions the color of an object, even something that seems unimportant, it could mean something to the narrator of the story or another character. Colors are used not just for imagery but also to invoke emotions as well.

Look to see if a color or a series of colors are repeatedly mentioned, does it hold meaning?

2. Water:  Water is one of the most overused tools in Literature. It can be religious, like baptism, it can mean purification, or it can even mean death (in instances like drowning). If the writer of the story takes time to mention an element of water look and see how it is used. Does it sound negative or positive? Does it sound peaceful or violent? By understanding the context of how water is being used within a story you will be able to use it when writing an essay as a thesis or even as concrete examples from the text to support your thesis.

3. Fire:  Another overused element in Literature. Fire can represent anger, passion, love, pain or death. It is a symbol used in some cases for rebirth or new life. Think of the phoenix from mythology or even from fantasy books, fire for the phoenix is used as both a weapon and a form of rebirth when the bird bursts into flames and a baby phoenix is born from its ashes. If the story you are reading mentions fire, see how it is being used. Did a building burn down and a character learned a vital lesson? Was someone injured in a fight while using fire? See how this element is used and compare it to life lessons, intense emotions, or even a comparison between life and death or rebirth.

4. Night: Night can be used in connection to darkness and acts as a cover over the world and can be used to represent an ‘end of the road.’ It can represent peace or tranquility or it can be as simple as death and darkness concerning the usage of shadows. The great thing about night is that there is a lot to work with. Go back and look for a scene in your story and see if the writer mentions night, if he or she does see if they take time to mention the moon, stars, comets, asteroids, meteors, lamp posts, any type of light. If he or she does, the writer is trying to tell you something about the character. There are two sides, night is the end of the day, where things are hidden in shadows but if there is a source of light, even a small one, the writer is trying to tell you about some internal or external conflict. Things in the light are generally safe, but things in the dark can be susceptible to danger.

In the story if you have read, does night play a role? Does it have any connotations to hell or even show an image of horror? Does night trying to show you two sides, possibly good or evil, truth or lies or even danger and safety?

5. Day: Literally the opposite of night in both nature and Literature. With day comes the rising of the sun, representing new life and light. It can be the new beginning for characters or an opportunity for starting over. Day is often used to describe things out in the open; it is difficult to hide in the shadows unless a character is in a building or under some other form of shade. With this theme in Literature you could compare it with night or darkness and contrast it with a character in the novel that might be bright or truthful in the story, someone that represents the ‘good.’ Another thing to include with day is the sun. The sun is the largest source of light for Earth, and with light comes new opportunities and knowledge.

6. Light:   Light is used for truth, enlightenment, safety, or it can be used as a holy image. Light can stand for the side of ‘good’ in a novel or ‘power.’ It is used to overpower evil or even bring forth knowledge to a character or the narrator. When using light as a theme look for areas in the story that might discuss darkness or night, then use that to contrast the effects of light within the story and plot. Light illuminates shadows, which means that with light a character might be able to see the foil in another character or even see if the other character is a liar or evil.

In your story look and see if a character is cast in both light and dark. Use that image to prepare a thesis of both light and dark within a character or characters, after that just look for evidence within the story to support you thesis.

7. Dark:   See if a character is in the shadows, literally, does the author describe a character as lurking the shadows or have pieces of their body or face obscured? These are symbols for darkness and hiding, meaning the character may be lying about something. Look into the story you are reading and look for words that mean ‘night,’ ‘dark,’ ‘death,’ or ‘shadows,’ the author uses terms like that to provide the reader with an image in their mind, whether they are conscious of it or not. Darkness can play a role in a plot by hiding objects, people, or animals. Darkness can be symbols for death, or the Grimm Reaper, or Angel of Death. Writers never mention something unless it is important.

Go back and see if darkness plays a role in the story? How about death? Does death play a major theme/character in the story?

The Color of Silence

The Color of Silence

By Alex Huffman and L.A.Parker

©Alex Huffman ©L.A.Parker

Mandy should have never left Home Base that morning. Walking right by the guards, chip in hand, pretending she was following orders to see her Father, one of the several people that had banned her from leaving. She was breaking the rules. And she knew better, especially after her Father allowed her the second wish on her birthday list.

When you turn twelve, you can dye your hair cherry red like you wanted,” he’d said. “But you can’t go Outside.”

            Outside …

Grey and dull as it might be, venturing Outside was what Mandy had wanted most. Being bound to the five-mile radius of the Base gave her chills, and made her want to pull her hair out and scream. After living like that her entire life, Home Base was beginning to feel like an inescapable seizure of blinding colors, noise, and people. Everything in abundance all at once, with people talking shouting, everything in neon colors with lights flashing and sirens blaring.

She needed quiet.

Mandy wanted to hear, for the first time ever, the sound of silence. She wanted to watch the herds of frost bison lumber through the sheets of snow, their webbed claws gripping the permafrost for stabilization. So when her Father forgot his microchip and set off with his research team, Mandy had leapt at the opportunity.

She’d left the Home Base in a neon orange thermo suit, snow boots, and a balaclava. In her backpack she carried her Father’s microchip and two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

At first, Outside was wonderful. It was a wonderland of ice: white, cold, and gleaming. Even the distant sun, which offered little refuge from the bitter winds, could not drown out the peaceful absence of color.

Mandy thought this might be why Home Base was so bright. Like a geode, the station’s plain, sleek outer shell sheltered the sparkling interior. Whether it was a neon thermo-suit or streaks of lime green hair dye, everyone -even the orderly scientists- wore something vivid. But Mandy was beginning to see that too much color could be just as dull as no color at all. She marveled at the refreshing shades of pale blue, grey, and white for hours, kicking through piles of snow without a sound. It was like magic, until she saw it.

A snow goblin stood several feet away from her, and she froze. It looked at her with bulbous, cold blue eyes.

But of course it wasn’t a goblin. It was one of those strange humanoids that populated the small planet in sparse throngs. Their short, broad statures and large, pointed ears is what had led the scientists to call them goblins.

The thing wore a thick, furry parka embellished with animal fangs. From what Mandy had learned in school, this snow goblin was male. His short, downy fur was pearl white with a childish peach fuzz to it. He couldn’t be more than ten years old, and he was stuck in a hole in the ice, trying desperately to get out.

“Hey,” Mandy called. “Are you hurt?”

The little humanoid boy pinned his ears. The patch of long, scruffy fur extending from his head, all the way down the back of his neck rose upward.

A violent sound escaped his lips, a warning, with his pupils dilating angrily in the midst of his pale blue sclera.

Mandy took a step back, wondering what she should do. He looked like he really needed help, but wondered if he would hurt her if she went near him. She cleared her throat wondering what she should say next.

“Do you need help?” she asked.

Mandy felt silly for talking, knowing the goblins didn’t speak. The only sounds they could make were ones of distress or anger. Instead, they used a sequence of finger and hand gestures, sign language her father called it, to communicate with each other.

The researchers at Home Base had programmed a computer to decipher the signs, but the precise grammar patterns were still unclear. ‘If only they could talk,’ one purple-haired researcher said last year, then no one would need to learn the basic signs at all.

Mandy had learned basic signs when she was young, like Stay Away, so that if she grew up to be a patrol or a scientist, they could communicate on a primitive level with the snow goblins.

There was one rule between the snow goblins and humans: the scientists could explore, as long as they did not interfere or interact with the tribe.

As long as they reinforced that basic law- “Stay Away”- the human explorers would not be killed.

Mandy turned to leave but heard the boy whimper. She paused, feeling the snow crunch slightly, under her boots as she dug her heels into the ground in a half turn. The boy looked frightened as he pulled helplessly at the ground, too weak to pull himself up.

Mandy took a step closer to him.

Under his bulky parka, the little snow goblin had a pudgy layer of baby fat keeping him warm, though not enough to keep him alive through a night in the freezing winds.

He squirmed and whimpered again.

Mandy took another step closer to him. Then another. She stopped, wondering if he would bite. He started to cry.

Frowning, Mandy walked over to him and plopped down in the snow, in front of the little boy. Twisting one of her bright red braids, she contemplated her choices. If Mandy didn’t do something, he would die… but she didn’t want to breach the Rule, either.

‘They are not so different from us,’ her father once said.

Mandy did what she thought her father would do. Motioning to herself, she signed the word Help, and pointed to the little boy. He whimpered again. Since he couldn’t twist around, Mandy squatted behind him, placing her hands beneath his armpits. Pushing up with her legs, she tried to lift him out of the ice.

            Crack!

The ice beneath her feet gave way, and both she and the little boy plummeted beneath the surface. Freezing air rushed past her and Mandy screamed.

She landed with a thud on her backside, the impact knocking the wind out of her as she stared with wide eyes at the hole in the ice above.

She didn’t hurt like she thought she would. She pressed her hand against the ground. It felt spongy.

Rolling over, Mandy noticed the grayish hue to the molded ground and wondered what the substance was. She looked around to see if the little boy was alright and was surprised to find him far away in a corner. He was trembling and bared his small baby teeth, ready to defend himself if she attacked. Up close, away from the sunlight, he looked even more babyish.

Mandy sighed and looked up at the ceiling. It was still midday. If they worked together, they could find a way out of here. Worst case scenario was waiting for the patrols to start looking for her tracks with heat seeking scanners and find her tomorrow.

Unless the hole was frozen over by then.

Her thermo suit would prevent her from getting frostbite when night fell… but she couldn’t say the same for the snow goblin. It was colder underneath the icy surface.

Mandy slung her backpack into her lap and took out the two PB&J sandwiches she’d brought with her. Slowly she got up and made her way over to the boy, holding one of the sandwiches out to him.

He turned his stubby nose up and made noise that resembled a huff. She edged closer to him, holding the sandwich closer to his face. He turned his back to her. She pulled at one of her red braids and stepped a little ways away from him.

Keeping her eyes on his rigid back, she sat down. Mandy took a bite of her own sandwich, after chewing for several moments, she saw him eyeing it with a mixture of curiosity and disdain.

Mandy stifled a giggle at his rueful attitude and she wondered how she must look to him. Loud, disruptive and bright.

“What’s your name?” she called.

He was silent.

She tried again. “Don’t you have a sign or something for that?” He looked at her with wide eyes tilting his head a little ways to the left.

“Alright, since you won’t-or can’t- tell me your real name,” Mandy joked, “I’m calling you Silence.” Her voice echoed in the dark cave eerily.

Silence flinched, haughtily fixing his ice blue eyes on Mandy. His downy fur peaked up slightly as he continued to look at her without blinking.

She lifted the other sandwich to him again, this time signing Eat and Gift, hoping he would understand that she was giving him the food.

Silence twitched his ears, before sniffing the air tentatively. To ease his suspicion, Mandy took another bit out of her own PB&J and tossed the sandwich to him. It landed next to his foot, and Silence picked it up carefully.

After several long moments, he bit it, tilting his head with surprise. He stuck out his peanut butter plastered tongue, and tried to lick the roof of his mouth. Mandy giggled remembering how she had slathered the paste onto the bread slices that morning. He seemed to like the taste of it, and swallowed the sandwich in three large bites. He sniffed the air again and looked back at Mandy with his unblinking eyes.

Silence inched closer to Mandy, signing something along the lines of Grateful… or was it Ugly? She tried to remember if she had learned that sign before. He signed another word that Mandy didn’t know, pointing to her animatedly and swirling his hands above his head, and motioned towards the hole in the ceiling, glancing back at her expectantly.

“Right,” Mandy whispered, “do you think there’s a way to get out?”

Silence’s face went blank in confusion. Unable to understand her, he repeated the strange sign, swirling sign again and stood quickly. He wasn’t much taller than Mandy.

“I have to think, I don’t know what you’re trying to say or do…” Mandy tapped her temple, trying to make him understand and stood as well. He parroted the tapping gesture, ears twitching curiously.

Mandy looked up sharply, an idea suddenly striking her. Silence must have been separated from his tribe while hunting, judging from his attire. If that was the case, then they were probably searching for him!

Mandy gestured at her thermo suit’s sleeve, making a sawing motion. Mandy hoped that Silence understood. If she gave him some of her thermo suit he would be able to keep his hands warm.

Silence nodded quickly, signing the unknown gesture again. Rummaging through his parka, he pulled out a rough, little white knife made of bone and cut some fabric from Mandy’s sleeve. He yanked the leather cord that laced along the edges of his parka and tied it to the orange fabric, using the knife he cut several long strips from the parka, letting bits of white fur fall airily to the floor. When he was finished he tied the knife to the orange fabric.

“A flag,” Mandy realized with a laugh. Silence tapped his temple. Mandy did the same, signing Good. She didn’t know the sign for ‘Idea,’ but she figured Silence was smart enough to understand what she was trying to say. A flag was much better than her idea and the orange clothe would surely attract someone’s attention. Silence held the makeshift item to her.

Mandy whirled the cord like a lasso aiming for the hole in the ceiling, and flung it as hard as she could upward. The flag fell short of the ceiling by several feet. She whirled it again, and jumped when the bone-made knife clattered noisily against the iced roof. Silence signed several movements but Mandy was unable to figure out what he was trying to say. He held his hand out expectantly.

“Do you want to try?” she asked, hoping that was what he meant.

Silence took the flag and began to swing it slowly in a circle. He held the end of the rope and continued to circle the flag faster and faster. Mandy took a step away from him, fearing the edge of the flying knife. He let the flag fly out of his hands and sail up though the hole. He waited a moment and pulled it back down.

“What did you do that for?” Mandy asked incredulous. Silence looked at her and tilted his head, before repeating the process once, twice, and a third time.

“Oh,” said Mandy, finally understanding. A moving flag would attract more attention than a stationary one. Silence threw the handmade flag up through the hole several more times, and Mandy watched as the orange fabric and knife flew high through the hole. Each time he threw, Silence looked at Mandy, angling his body so she could see how he threw.

“Are you teaching me?” she asked. Silence made the unknown gesture again, swirling his hands above his head. He handed her the flag, placing her hands at different areas of the rope. He helped her swing and she tried to copy him as best as she could. She closed her eyes and threw the flag up, waiting for the clattering to start. She heard nothing.

Mandy looked up in surprise to see the rope hanging from the hole!

“I did it!” she cried.

Mandy pulled the item down and tried again and again, and Silence watched unblinking at her excitement. He made a strange noise from his throat that sounded like a laugh.

After that they took turns throwing the orange flag up through the space over and over again, hoping that the brightly colored, moving object would capture someone’s attention.

The sky gradually darkened as night fell and Silence and Mandy’s flag tossing turns grew shorter and shorter, taking longer breaks in between. It was getting colder and Mandy’s arms were sore and stiff. She started to worry again about staying the night underneath the frozen surface. She glanced back up at the hole and noticed that it looked smaller. As the light vanished from the hole, Mandy saw Silence begin to shake.

Huddling together, she tried to keep Silence as warm as possible, wrapping his exposed four-fingered hands in her balaclava.

With no light, Silence and Mandy sat shivering. After another few moments she heard something.

Noise.

Mandy and Silence looked up suddenly and heard unintelligible shouts coming from above. A thick rope was lowered into the ceiling’s hole, dropped to the floor with a slight thump. After sniffing it, Silence grabbed onto the rope, tugging the end twice. The rope pulled back up, taking Silence with it. Mandy stood terrified, wondering who was on the other side. Was it her father or the goblins?

Slowly, Silence was pulled and through the hole. After several long moments, the rope was dropped through again. Mandy grabbed onto the cord tightly and tugged. Mandy felt her feet lift off of the spongy ground and tightened her grip even more. She swung slightly as she rose up and through the hole. Strong hands grabbed Mandy’s arms, pulling her to safety. It was then that she remembered the Rule, and how she had broken it…and then she noticed the warm, gloved hands did not look human.

To her horror, she came face to face with a full grown female snow goblin. Just as she tried to take a step away, Silence gave a little yelp, ducking into the female’s arms.

“Is that your Mom?” Mandy asked. Silence made another hand gesture.

Whoever she was, she was flanked by what looked like half of the tribe, all armed menacingly with fishing spears.

Terrified, Mandy swallowed hard. Silence’s mother, with her dappled grey coat of sleek fur, eyed her coldly through glacier-blue eyes. Her gaze darted back to her son, who began to hastily sign again. Mandy hoped it was an explanation. She didn’t want to think of what the other members slowly, began to sign back. Anxiously, she waited her eyes glued to Silence as she watched him sign faster and faster to his mother.

Suddenly, she saw it again: the strange sign that Silence had done earlier. Silence’s mother sighed, softening her cautious glare. She lowered her spear, and the rest of the tribe followed suit.

Silence glanced up at the sky with bright, unblinking eyes. Scampering past his mother’s protective grasp, he tugged on Mandy’s sleeve, pointing upward in excitement.

Mandy sucked in a sharp breath. Ethereal waves of green and violet light swam across the dark sky like shimmering ghosts- a Borealis.

Silence’s fuzzy ears pricked up happily as he pointed at the lights and then at Mandy, repeating the same strange sign over and over. But she was still confused.

“What about the Borealis?” Mandy asked, watching Silence point at the sky and then at her. She looked down at herself, wondering what was wrong.

Pinning his ears, Silence uttered a squeaky growl of frustration. Shooting Mandy a meaningful look, he pinched the orange sleeve of her thermo suit, letting it snap back sharply when he let go.

“Ouch! Silence, what was that for?!” Mandy shouted in protest, causing the entire tribe to flinch warily, lifting their spears. But Silence didn’t budge. He just continued to stare at her, waiting for Mandy to piece his message together. He looked exasperated.

Realization suddenly washed over her as Mandy fought a grin, afraid it might look like a snarl to the tribe. Instead, she repeated Silence’s gesture. ‘Borealis’, she signed, and then pointed to herself.

Silence pricked his ears again, making joyful little noises that were somewhere between a purr and a whistle. Mandy laughed. Silence had named her Borealis, because of her bright red hair and neon thermo suit! It must have been the closest word they had for ‘Color.’

Eventually, the tribe started to move back out on their way. Silence reluctantly scampered after them, signing ‘Farewell’ to Mandy. She copied him, and watched the tribe fade into the misty white before she started off for home.

As she walked back to Home Base, Mandy prepared herself for the lecture she’d have to sit through when her Father found out about her little nature walk. She didn’t care. She hoped one day to see Silence again and that thought made her smile. Even if she was grounded for a year, it was still worth it. Because if she hadn’t ventured Outside, she wouldn’t have discovered the Color of Silence.