English 11: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

The Strange Substance Very recently while rearranging the basement for the winter I happened to notice an object almost completely encompassed by dust and the most hideous of spider webs. At first glance I thought it to be an empty bottle, only after retrieving it out of the layers of dirt and dust was I able to see that it contained some kind of liquid. Only after removing the enveloping layer of dirt did I realize that the liquid inside was clear, it contained a great resemblance to water. Furthermore, the bottle itself, looked relatively old, which made me question its origin. I can make a safe or seemingly safe assumption that it is somewhere between seventy-five and a hundred and fifty years old. I would not say that it weights more than a pound and a half.

The liquid was kept within the container by a half broken cork. The object gave out a strange feeling, it made me question the liquid contained within, and what its purpose may have been in the past. It seemed impossible to distinguish what it was without opening it. My first inquiries were that it was used at ceremonies, immediately after it struck my mind that it may be medicinal, but there was a dark almost heavy feeling that gave me the idea that it may very well be poison, used in the earlier days of America. I could not contain the unearthing curiosity any longer, I pulled out the deeply fastened cork and with it came a very strong almost intoxicating smell.

As I lay in my bed I pondered over transparent glow that was emitted on the strange substance by the light of the moon. Now I cannot tell for certain what it was that went on at that moment. Most likely I dreamed everything that will be further described, but I cannot ignore the fact that I believe it to be something more tangible. As I was drifting from consciousness to sleep something very much like a man presented it or himself to me. It seemed that the manlike presence began to speak to me, soon after I was enveloped in a somewhat unbelievable story.

It was said that the strange substance was made in the past, long before it was place in the in the bottle about a hundred an fifty years ago. The man said that it served numerous purposes, some light and profitable for suffering people, but for the most part he unraveled the substances darker and more cynical purposes. As he unfolded his story he mentioned several times that the substance that I held at my possession was used as a destructive and deceitful weapon. He said that many people’s lives were ruined and many more villages were destroyed by its influence. He mentioned that one of the first things it was used for was for the eventual removal of the Natives by the British settlers throughout what known as America. He demanded that I “would not unless under the most dire of circumstances use any of the liquid” because there was always the danger that it would do to me as it did its past victims.

As the spectra left me with these last instructions I was able to question him about his past, and his connection to the item. “More than a century ago I used it for good,” he said “but its potential power was very tempting in the most destructive of manners. I eventually used it against the natives as I described the other settlers to have done.” When I asked for him to tell me what it was he would not, “ Its uses and effects were enough and such an item should remain unnamed, if this is not satisfactory then I ask that you give me the transparent substance so that no evil may come to you.” At the mention of the last statement I agreed to do so, as for the truth of this, I am uncertain and cannot say for sure if it actually happened or if it was just my dream. Either way it is best that it will be now left unused as the man had said.


























It is a place unlike any other, located not far from my house, between what seems to be marshland and an abandoned shack, lays an archaic graveyard. With dimensions probably no larger than 10 by 15 yards, with climate no different than that of Boston. It is probably the least visited natural setting around me because people do not yet realize the beauty of nature and the magnificent scenic views it can produce. I have named the place the undiscovered forest. I went to the undiscovered forest because I wanted to get away, and see what nature is like when left unbothered by humanity, and what information may be gotten out of what at first may seem to be a simple observation.


On this day, I happened to be looking at this undiscovered forest when I noticed a group of sparrows pecking at the ground trying to salvage some food. One can only imagine the sounds they make happily chirping as they hop from foot to foot. The ground much like the one I’m on right now is coarse and hard, yet the sparrows seem to posses no sense of touch. I wonder if they posses a sense of smell, like I do. They seemed very peaceful as if they had no care in the world. However it did not last long until they were chased away by a much larger group of crows. In the news, I see that a nation comes up with something such as a lot of money, or a or an oil deposit, then the government is first in line to ask for ownership or to tax so that it can keep as much money for itself, even humans now days stoop lower than animals, at least the crows let the sparrows come back and eat, a human wouldn’t even do so if there was no way for him to benefit from it.


It is now about the time of the setting of the sun, all day it has been raining as is evident, from the from the heavy water concentration of the leaves. It has ceased for the moment as if to allow me to sit out here and write this composition. Although throughout the day the temperature was fair, even muggy, with somewhat a heavy condensation that almost makes it hard to breath. It has now shifted to a cool almost chilly evening, where the drizzle seems to cooling down the atmosphere for the coming night, maybe even for what seems to be the long winter to come. I cannot see, smell, or hear any of the animals that were here less than a week ago. If anything, me and the majority of the people that live here better begin preparing for what seems to be a long chilling winter to come. As a matter of fact just like the animals have disappeared. I too will disappear as the animals have done, before it gets too cold and too dark for me to see my nose. It is not the smartest thing to challenge nature when by your self, and I will make no attempt to do so at this point in my life.


I awoke today only to notice about 2 inches of snow covering the ground around my house. I went to the undiscovered forest so that I could find some peace and quite. The lake was frozen over with a layer of snow that was no more than an inch and a half. It is like the extra layer of protection on me when it comes to meeting new people before I open up to them. Even the graves were somewhat buried under deepening snow. Seems that these past away people have no relatives to come and visit them. With the snow thickening it was getting somewhat difficult to keep the paper dry as is evident on the original copy of this peace. The trees now barren, leafless and somewhat lifeless, don’t stir, not even in the chilling wind. As for the animals you would think they are non-existent, not one in sight, and not a human in sight either. It seems that only trees remain buried under snow and maybe animals buried in or under trees. It seems that no matter how advanced that humans may get, they will never wander into nature and attempt to challenge her power. Our intelligence and inventions seem to be puny when it comes to fighting nature.


When I woke up and looked out the window there was a thin layer of snow, covering all the surfaces. There are no animal tracks in the snow, there are no paths formed, it is like a new mind, not yet possessing any trails of thought. I went out to clear a path in front of the house and shovel out the driveway. There was as usually no person in the undiscovered forest, as it is with an undiscovered idea before people discover it. There are no animals, it seems empty, dreary and most of all chilling like an awful nightmare that nobody wants to have or be a part of. You could not tell what was the graveyard, what was the pond was unknown and frightening, hard to figure out weather I would slip and break through the ice, the forest seemed to be wearing a mask, disguised to everybody, even those who may believe to familiar with it, somewhat like the Cinderella story. Because of the frigid cold, silent emptiness, and very much the loss of smell because there now remained very little feeling to my nose, I decided to return home. What seemed very strange was when I returned home to the part that I had shoveled was now recovered with snow and looked as if I never cleared it. Almost like a dream, or an idea, if left alone, all progress toward it will be lost, and the work will be done all over again. The last interesting thing about humanity, that some may not have noticed is brought by a snowstorm much like the current one. If one person goes out and shovels his sidewalk, the sidewalks will never all be clean, however if his neighbor picks up where he left off then the path can be further progressed, and so on with the next neighbor down the line till all the snow is cleared. So it is with a goal, an idea or even for the common good of all, if one person tries to achieve it he may fail, however if everybody in the community works toward it the there is a slight chance they will fail. So follow this and all will be ok.


It has been frigid for most of the last two days. The ground in the undiscovered forest is covered with snow. And where it is not, all life is frozen solid. The simple touch of anything outside will freeze you down to the bone. Every breath taken in is lung chilling, numbing and odorless. Breathing through your mouth may even be slightly worse, as the cold air numbs the taste buds and dries the mouth. The sound is usually missing, other than the timely howling of the wind bringing drastic drops in the temperature. I have had the misfortune of meeting people with the above said characteristics. People often called cold, or described so. Not the cold brought to mind when looking at homeless people, but the cold that is felt between two opponents, enemies and even best friends in an argument. Cold such as this should not last too long, and a cold heart should back nobody’s actions. Because as would happen with any man trying to get through winter unaided. So it is when one is faced by another with a frigid heart. It will be very difficult for us to continue going on if cold hearts continue to exist. Even Scrooge warmed up and became nice. I went to the undiscovered forest because I wanted to get away, and see what nature is like when left unbothered by humanity, and what information may be gotten out of what at first may seem to be a simple observation. I left with experience not previously witnessed by me, and probably not many people whom I know. I hope that what I have learned and grasped from nature, will allow me to grow as a person and as an intellectual.