Timber: an excerpt from some side project that fell into my lap

I don’t even know how I got to writing this. I decided to take a break from my epic fantasy series for a few days, just to let my creative juices flow. But then I did something strange. Instead of powering up Microsoft Word 2010 or Scrivener, I took out an old journal that I used to write in back in ninth grade. Then I grabbed my favorite green mechanical pencil and I just started writing for a good ten minutes.

It started off with a description of my surroundings, of the bright blue skies and the majestic Mount Rainier peaking out over my fence line. I even noted the kids in the neighboring houses playing in the sprinkler. But then I scratched it all and started over.

Now it resembles none of that. It is something different, and something that is much closer to my heart than my fantasy series. Enjoy, give feedback, or don’t…if that’s your choice. I don’t mind.

Excerpt from “Timber” – August 9, 2014

The November issue of South Wood High School’s Timber newsmagazine was the same as always. A lack-luster symbolic tabloid photograph was plastered to the cover page in a thick inky mess, the colors so distorted that only the news staff knew what it was supposed to be: the editor-in-chief chained to a school district official, who was ripping apart a copy of the first amendment to the United States Constitution.

No one but the staff of the newsmagazine even cared about the paper. Most of the 1700 copies ended up in recycle bins or neat stacks by the doors of classrooms, awaiting a Timber representative to take them away forever.

The students who did dare to open the bulky and inky newsprint were bombarded by lengthy articles and thick black headlines and decks that screamed “READ ME! READ ME!” On page two there was an article about the increasing violence and road rage in the school parking lots, featuring not one, but two dark photographs of the overcrowded lots: the cars blending in with the pavement. On page four there was a full-page sports feature on the star quarterback of the South Wood football team, complete with a blown-up photo of his cocky smile. For those still reading the paper, page seven had a poorly worded opinion article on Thanksgiving, in which the reporter concluded that turkeys were in fact beautiful creatures that shouldn’t be eaten. On the next page the same reporter had written a “Wacky News” article on immortal lobster power, the text completely surrounded by illustrations of lobster claws and butter dipping sauce.

Perhaps the greatest part of the issue was the seven-page In-Depth cover story about student press rights: urging students to join in the fight against the Silver Meadow School District’s prior review and censorship regulations.

“As if anyone cares,” Ted Eppe said. “I’m sorry, but your newspaper appeals to that one percent of the school that sleeps under the stairs during study hall because they’ve smoked too much weed.” He paused to turn to the back cover. “But, your lunch menu looks great! Cardboard Hawaiian pizza tomorrow. Delicious!”

Elizabeth Plant, “Lizzy” to all her friends, slapped the varsity football player with a rolled up newspaper, leaving an ink spot on his bare shoulder. “We did our best with what we had. It’s not my fault that all of the sophomore reporters are complete duds. I should fire every one of them at semester.”


Author: Chase Charaba

Hello there! I'm Chase, an ambitious, aspiring young novelist and YouTuber who hopes to get a novel published one day. I'm also trying to produce the highest quality YouTube videos by constantly learning new ways to film and edit. I've been involved in journalism for 5 years, including 1 year as co-editor of a national award-winning high school newsmagazine and 1 year as the co-editor of an award-winning college newspaper. I write mainly epic/high fantasy, but I also mess around with science fiction, horror, and realistic fiction.

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