Ninth Grade Dystopian Journal

Ninth Grade Dystopian Journal

Alex Blank, Staff Writer/Website Manager

In the weeks leading up to spring break, the ninth grade English classes explored the different concepts and ideas of dystopian literature through writing their own dystopian stories. A wide range of  story types were written including screen plays, poems, short stories, and more.

The ninth grade English department decided to give students the opportunity to partake in creative writing instead of the traditional essay. Though essays are useful to teach grammatical  concepts and to convey information, it does not allow students to showcase their imaginative potential.

First year CHS English teacher Emma Goehler, said “I was really impressed with the quality of writing and kind of ideas students were playing with and the way they were able to engage with each other.” 

The biggest challenge of this project was getting students to share their writing with other people because the writer does not know how the readers will react. Goehler commented, “It takes a lot of bravery [to share work].” The English teachers worked to provide a safe space to allow students to get comfortable with sharing their work beyond their teachers.

The English teachers were so impressed with the work of the 9th grade students, they wanted people to see it besides just the teachers. They decided to put together a dystopian journal featuring students who wanted to publish their pieces.

Below are three dystopian pieces selected by the English teachers: Squirrels by Ada Buckner, The Wardens of Kylish by Sam Guseman, and finally, The Rise of the Black Knights by Anonymous. If you enjoy these pieces and want to continue reading the dystopian journal you can follow the link at the bottom of this article.



Addy Buckner

Everywhere you went, it was silent. There was movement, of course, but the remaining survivors were silent. Or at least they tried to be. It had been two years since the squirrels had attacked. It had been an abnormally boring day in Virginia when shrieks were heard throughout the land. The very ground itself seemed to rumble. And the trees suddenly came alive, a mangled mass of furry bodies, and the glint of metal. No one had suspected the rodents of anything before. But while all humans saw was the innocent burial of nuts, the squirrels were actually planning something much more sinister. Knives, bullets, and guns; any weapon. The tools for murder were beneath the very feet of those whose lives they would later claim. All this time, the people had walked over them thousands of times. But when they emerged, and with the creatures carrying them, it truly was devastating. Now the people left to huddle together, starving, killing, and eating anything they can find. There were no more farmers brave enough to tend to matters of agriculture. The streets are silent and full of trash. Houses that once held families with laughing children and scolding parents now stand empty and eerie like skeletons. Like the trees and plants left unwatered. Gaunt and dark, and as delicate as a house of cards. A hollow world. 

Violet grabbed the ax that had been propped up next to the mattress she shared with a few other girls. Although the hatchet was much easier to swing, someone, probably an older teen, had already taken it. It was Gathering Day, so she knew she would need to start out earlier than usual. As she slowly threaded her way through the huge but cramped room that housed close to a hundred people, mostly teens, a little girl of about 10 awoke. 

“Violet? Is that you?” she asked in a sleepy voice. 

“Hush, and go back to sleep, Mary.” she quietly whispered, so as not to wake any of the other children. With a quiet sigh, the little head fell back against the makeshift pillow. The older girl made her way out of the cold, dark room, and into a smaller one, full to the brim with rags that used to be clothes, weapons, and other nicknacks. A middle-aged man was already there, leaning against a wall and sharpening a small pocket knife.

 “Hello Violet!” he chirped. 

“Good morning, Mr. Grendwell,” replied the girl. Mr. Grendwell smiled, wished her luck with her day, and handed her a small bowl of stew. The dented bowl was made of some sort of rusting metal, and the stew was thin. Violet grabbed a coat two sizes too big for her, and headed out. 

The sun had not yet awoken, and the clouds were thick with the promise of rain. With only a few long sips, she quickly finished her stew, and laid the bowl next to the building, on the floor. She carefully weighted it down with a small rock, so it wouldn’t fly away in the wind. Violet peered around the corner of the concrete building before darting through the field of yellow grass to the woods that surrounded Base 48. Her thin form was quick and agile, with long dark hair flowing behind her. She was a raven. Small and dark, and looking as though she could fly away at any moment. Her clothes were raggedy and covered in mud, dust, and tears. Under the large brown coat, she wore a pair of cargo pants that were more holes than fabric. A thick wool sweater, itchy, but crucial in the chilly weather adorned her shoulders. 

Only a year ago Violet had been walking through the woods on an equally chilly day, the trees silent. Until they weren’t. A small chirp, almost imperceptible, cut through the air. Weaving her way through the thin trees, she followed the series of pitiful squeaks until she finally found the source. On top of a damp brown leaf, a helpless baby squirrel had lain. The enemy. The creature that had destroyed earth. Shaking, she slowly knelt down and picked it up. In doing so, she was directly disobeying the State. The penalty for that would be death. That was the day she saved Hope from freezing to death. 

Now she went on daily trips to Hope’s nest. Before anything, she always ensured Hope had a few cloth scraps and some food. She picked her way to the tree, having made the short walk so many times she could do it with her eyes closed. She had never told anyone about Hope, for if she had, she would have been shunned and banished immediately. Before reaching the squirrel’s makeshift nest, however, she hears a rustle of the bushes to her left. She freezes, and her hand flies to the ax. A second later, out pops a young brown squirrel with a reddish plume for a tail. The creature immediately climbed up Violet’s leg, up on her shoulder. 

“Hope! You scoundrel. You scared the heck out of me!” she cries. The only reply she gets is a quiet chitter. Suddenly, the squirrel jumps off her shoulder and heads deeper into the woods. Confused, Violet slowly follows. When she finally reaches a clearing, she is beyond amazed. 

Hundreds of squirrels had congregated in a small clearing. The sun shone through the treetops, illuminating the rodents. As she stepped through the shadows into the light, everything stopped. Hundreds of pairs of tiny beady eyes slowly turned to stare at her. Violet could hear her own heart beating against her chest. Then, to her utter amazement, she heard words. Above all, they seemed to be coming out of one of the squirrels, a small, fluffy, brown squirrel. Her jaw hanging wide open, the squirrel continued.

 “Who the heck are ya? How’d ya get here?” Violet just stared. “Hello? Anyone home?” The squirrel had a high-pitched nasally voice, like what you would think a squirrel would sound like. 

“Where- where am I?” Violet asked in a tremulous voice.

“Well, Squirrel Haven. Duh. Where else would you be?” replied the squirrel. 

“Well, just about anywhere else,” said Violet. After a few more seconds, the squirrel says, 

“So you know the truth?”

 “The truth?” asked Violet.

 “Yes, girl, the truth.”

 “Well no, I do not in fact know if I even know the truth.” 

“I guess I’ll just have to tell you.” answered the squirrel whose name we still don’t know. Sit tight, cuz this is going to be a while.”

“About twelve years ago, the State started experimenting. At first, it was just with small nuclear bombs. They were trying to invent one that was small enough to be completely operated from something the size of a school bag. But as the experiments got more serious, the government got more reckless. Because of one careless mistake about two years ago, nuclear gas leaked. And a lot of it. This gas was deadly to lots of crops, making them wither, and also fatal to many animals. However, it affected two species in very different but interesting ways. It gave us squirrels the ability to talk. But it made you humans’ minds fuzzy. And the government took advantage of this. When there was no food to eat, they blamed it on us squirrels. When everything was crumbling to bits, they accused us. We don’t even have opposable thumbs! Yet, to cover up the fact that we knew, and could now speak the known truth, they brainwashed all humans into believing that we needed to be eradicated. That if we were ever found, to kill us immediately. But here we are.” As the squirrel finished its last words, Violet promptly fainted.

The sound of rustling leaves woke Violet. Opening her eyes, she saw a pinpricked ceiling of green, a holey wall of foliage, with rays of sunshine falling through. She startled, and turned her head to see that she was alone on the forest floor. She quickly jumped up. Maybe she’d better start getting more sleep. Her head was pounding. As she picked her way through the sea of silent leaves shining with morning dew, she pondered what her wacky dream could mean. Talking squirrels, a little squirrel friend, the State being wrong?! One heck of a dream. However, she knew that she better get back to Base 48 before she was caught slacking. The State didn’t approve of slackers. THUNK! Before she even had time to comprehend, a small brown squirrel with a fluffy red tail had come flying toward her. Her ax, however, had stopped the animal in its tracks. With a satisfied sigh, Violet picked up her now headless dinner.


The Wardens of Kylish

Sam Guseman

“The Wardens of Kylish” includes some mentions of gun violence

October 2nd, 2556

Funny, I didn’t see myself writing in a journal but here we are. I’m Ivan Luna, a warden of the city of  Kylish on Vaelish IV. I’m about 5’ 10”, I’m strong from all the training you have to go through to become a warden, I have light brown hair and gray eyes. I sit here and guard the gate along with my partner, Poppy Gordon, though I call her Pop. Pop is definitely something. She’s 5’ 2” and acts like it. She’s cocky and impulsive, but also funny and smart. She has purple hair and green eyes that remind me a lot of the trees. Whenever she’s not on duty she always wears an olive-green sweatshirt. 

There are 21 of us, wardens I mean. We only see the other wardens when it’s time to switch guards. Every group has its quarters. I would be lying if I said being a warden didn’t come with luxuries that you can’t find often nowadays. We get our own rooms and bathrooms, we have a large space to live and train. We even get to customize our rooms. Mine is a light blue with several display cases showing off items I’ve found during my time as a warden. There’s really nothing much to complain about. 

I don’t do anything other than guard the walls, except for work on my S.U.I.T. (Surface Underwater Intelligence Transport) It’s, well, a suit. Armor that’s used to fight for and protect the city. It’s the latest marvel of technology. It can fly, swim, record, and even be remote controlled. It has a fusion reactor for power. It also has the capability to remove the need for sleep by stimulating the nerve cells. I’ve added different capabilities to my SUIT, like different weapon systems, my favorite being a sword made entirely from crackling yellow energy. I’ve trained with a sword for as long as I can remember. My father was an expert swordsman and taught me for years then when I became a warden, they taught us some hand-to-hand combat that can be modified to swordsmanship. Though, most of my training comes from teaching myself with different videos and recordings from centuries ago. The poor quality is almost unbearable, but I usually make it through.


October 7, 2556

Today was another boring day. Up on top of the wall is always a beautiful sight, Gopala were flying about with several animals that we brought with us and several that we did not. Gopala are bright blue mammals with large bat-like wings and they resemble a pterodactyl. The mountains are a shade of blue with light red mixed in. Many say it’s because of flighton, the red glowing ore abundant in the mountains and all over Vaelith. After all, it is the reason we came here. Flighton powers all of our generators, we would be powerless without it.


October 20, 2556

Some Elfhea were trying to get into the city again. Elfhea are humanoid creatures that resemble an elf. They have pointed ears and light skin. They’re about 500 years behind us in technology. Although, we have a good relationship with the ones who don’t try to break into the city. Kylish is a human-only city. I don’t know why they constantly try to break in, we have camps and some small towns set up for their use. With far superior technology to theirs, I might add. 


October 23, 2556

Pop and I were called into the captain’s office today. She gave us a mission. I was quite surprised because a warden’s only job is to guard the walls, but who am I to disobey orders? She told us to investigate a disturbance in the forest to the east of the city. We’re supposed to take care of any threats and collect any flighton we find.  

We went to put on our SUITs, mine’s a deep blue with some red mixed in to match the mountains. It has some rust in several places but it’s well-kept and gets the job done. Poppy’s is a bright shade of purple. I don’t know why she decided to paint it such a loud color. When I asked her she just smiled and said “I’ve got to keep some of my secrets, you know.” 

Being in a SUIT is like swimming in a river. At first, it’s cold and you have to resist the current, but once you get used to it, you can use the current to your advantage. In this case, once you get used to the current you can fly.

We went to hanger 051, a large room full of training gear, SUITs, and planes, we noticed that our SUITs had been repaired of all wear and tear, polished, and cleaned. When we walked to each of our LS, (Launching Station) a new mechanic was working on somebody else’s SUIT. I asked him “What’s with all the repairs?” 

“I dunno, captain’s orders. Wanted them to be all fixed up for some reason.” As he responded I wondered what our mission would entail. Certainly, nothing could win a direct fight with a warden, even with a slightly rusted SUIT. We’ve only lost three wardens ever and none from direct combat, they all just seemed to disappear. 

Pop and I entered our SUITs and took off. Flying is one of my favorite parts of being a warden. The view is always perfect, the green and blue leaves on the trees below, the multi-colored animals running between them, the dark blue water, and the large waterfall right by the gate to the city. You get to see the world as the gopala do. “Hey rust bucket, snap out of it!” Poppy said. I tend to space out whenever we’re flying. 

“Yeah yeah sorry.” 

We turned toward the east and set our destination to the coordinates the captain told us. “Do you see anything yet?” My voice was loud and clear through our commlinks. 

“Not yet.” Pop responded. “Did she say whether we needed to just do a fly-by or do a full sweep?” 

“ We better do the full sweep to make sure.” 

“Copy that.” As we approached our destination our sensors picked up on life forms. “Any idea what those are?” I asked. 

“Humanoid, they look like Elfhea.” Answered Pop.  

“It’s strange to see them so far from their capital.” I said.  

Once we got closer to the site we confirmed that the life forms were, in fact, Elfhea, but as we landed a young Elfhea walked out from behind a tree. She was wearing standard Elfhea military equipment, a metal vest with camouflage coloring, her pants and shirt matched her vest, and she was wearing combat boots. She had green eyes, long hair pulled into a ponytail, and the signature pointed Elfhea ears. “Hi!” She said. “Now what might two wardens of Kylish be doing here?” 

“We’re here on a mission. That’s all we can tell you.” Poppy declared. The young Elfhea smirked and said. 

“Can I at least get some introductions? I’ll start, I’m Naiadis. And you are?” We retracted our helmets and answered. 

“I’m Ivan and that’s Poppy, but feel free to call her Pop.” I laughed and Pop shot me a glare. 

“I have to take you to the leader of our camp.” Naiadis announced and started walking without waiting for an answer. I shrugged at Pop and followed her, Poppy followed behind me. 

As Naiadis walked us through the Elfhea camp, we got plenty of strange looks, but it’s not like we didn’t expect it. We stopped outside a tent with two guards. “We’re here to see Ariandriel.” Said, Naiadis. 

“Go on in.” One of the guards grunted. Inside the tent were several primitive Elfhea weapons as well as a couple of sleeping bags and one female Elfhea. 

“Ariandriel, we have visitors to see you.” 

“Thank you, Naiadis. You’re dismissed.” Naiadis left the tent without saying a word. “Why are you two here and what do you want?” 

There was a hint of distaste and anger in Ariandriel’s voice. 

“Why we’re here is none of your business, and watch your tone when speaking to a warden of Kylish.” Pop barked. 

“I will do what I please, warden. This is my camp and you will be polite to me while you’re here. You’re lucky I didn’t have you both killed when you walked in here.” Poppy laughed at this and I couldn’t help but smirk a little. 

“Okay fine, I’ll be nice for now.” Said, Pop,w still chuckling a little. “We’re here to collect and flighton you have and rid this place of any disturbances or threats, which you might just end up becoming if you’re not careful.” Poppy’s threat seemed to scare Ariandriel. The look in her eyes went from distaste to fear. 

“We can’t give you our flighton. We have orders to bring it back to the capital.” Ariandriel squeaked. I decided to say something. “We have to take any flighton. Those are our orders.” “You can’t have it.” Ariandriel said more confidently this time.  

“Then we’ll have to take it.” Pop stated.

 Poppy jumped at Ariandriel as her helmet started to cover her face again, and punched Ariandriel in the temple. With the significant strength added to her punch from her SUIT and the location of the punch Ariandriel instantly died. The guards outside looked in to see Ariandriel’s body falling to the floor and two heavily armed wardens drawing their weapons. I drew my energy sword and lept at the guards. 

My sword sliced right through the arm of one and passed through the other’s head. Poppy and I sprang out of the tent. Pop had a rifle and I had my sword. We cut through the Elfhea camp like nothing. Their primitive bullets bouncing right off our armor. 

My sword cut through a leg. Bang. Poppy shoots one. Hand, arm, head. Bang! Two legs at once. Bang! Arm, leg, hand, arm. Bang! I stabbed a young female Elfhea. Naialis. I didn’t have time to feel sad. Arm, stab, leg, head. Bang! Soon the entire camp was a pile of bodies. There were no survivors. 

Poppy and I took the flighton back to Kylish. We got loud congratulations from the captain and the other wardens. “Good job wardens. You get the rest of the day off.” That’s what we wardens do. We protect the city. We keep it safe.


The Rise of the Black Knights


Once upon a time in a land far far away there was a city, Charlottesville. It was small and

devastated by the local High school, CHS, losing their homecoming football game. Now ruled by

a teacher at Charlottesville High School, Charmaine Williams is the ruler of Charlottesville. CHS

was once glorious and very happy and peppy, turned into a depressing prison-like place after

the loss. Will Charmaine and Charlottesville High School be able to recover from this devastating loss?

In this small town was a lively elementary school teacher, Ryan Smith. Ryan was a second

grade teacher and was very good to all his students. He has 3 kids and a wife named Julie.

They live near the school so that’s why he works there. Julie is an interior designer and works

down the street. This school was actually very close to the high school and the kids would take

field trips to meet the high school students a lot. They would learn about what it’s like to be in

high school and about the older students. The elementary teachers would always talk while the

kids were learning and would talk to the high school teachers. This way all the elementary

teachers knew about Mr Pitt. Mr. Pitt was a super villain but no student knew that, only the

the faculty knew. He would torture teachers if they had a low average test grade or even not getting

him coffee when he asked for it.

One day after Mr. Pitt had shot one of Ryan’s peers with a laser for his students not passing a

test and having to curve, Ryan had enough, he started a secret organization of teachers from all

around the schools to create The Black Nights. He started recruiting people from all over the

schools, he even got most of the high school teachers in. Ryan one day after school had gone

to the high school to secretly recruit teachers to The Black Nights, when he suddenly saw Ruler

Williams! He immediately knew he had to talk with her, he rushed into her room but in a kind

maynor and sat down to talk to her. She was surprised and shocked about what Ryan had done

at first but she eventually settled and replied to his action. They had a long talk about Principal

Pitt and how he needed her help, she agreed to become part of The Black Nights and became

team co-leaders with Ryan. They would host “staff meetings” and plot on what to do to take

down the principal. Charmaine and Ryan were a great team, plus all the teachers that were

willing to coincide with them, they would make it.

Ryan, Charmaine, and the rest of The Black Nights planned their attack for months waiting for the right moment to get him, they ended up getting the kids in the high school to attack with them. The kids were on board once they heard about the principal. They would not stand for it. The Black Knights had lasers, swords, and other weapons, they had to be able to defeat Mr.Pitt before he could hurt anyone else with his propaganda. After plotting for weeks on how to defeat him they all came up with a plan and had a good night’s sleep before they would attack the next day. The students and teachers all stormed the school at 9 o’clock in the morning and confronted Mr. Pitt. He defeated most of them and everyone felt at a loss, they thought this

school couldn’t get any worse, they were wrong and they realized that at this moment. After the

loss of the homecoming game they thought the school would never be able to revive their

reputation. This made it even worse because the whole town was rooting for the Black Knights

to win.

The kids had been defeated by him, the fight was too hard, even the athletes couldn’t win

against him, he was ruthless. The fight was left to the teachers and admin once the kids were

done. The teachers tried so hard to win the fight but all of the Black Knights weapons were

getting damaged by the slime. Mr. Pitt had. Ryan was putting his all in trying to win his fight.

Ryan was tricked by Mr.Pitt when he grabbed a lemon from his lunch and squirted it in Ryan’s

eye. Ryan fell to the ground and felt defeated but got back up. Ryan was brave and never stood

down from a challenge, he would put his whole being into everything, even if it was the last thing he does. Ryan was hurting. His knee cap hurt along with the rest of his body from lasers that Rashad had shot him with. The weapons that the Black Knights had were no match for the

principal. Charmaine walks in and saves the day, she throws students’ essays at him as he falls

down in pain from paper cuts. He had never felt more defeated.

Ruler Williams declared that Mr.Pitt can never come out of jail and that Charlottesville is in goodcare now that they have The Black Knights. The Black Knights have had their first fight for change, this will lead to many more fights for what is right. The Black Knights are now made up of just the high school students along with the teachers and admin of the high school. Ryan

Smith now works as a PE and Health teacher there. Ruler Charmaine Williams loved her job as

an English teacher for the students but she had now become the principal in exchange for

Rashad Pitt. Ms.Williams is living life and having the time of her life. She loves the kids and she

and Ryan are protecting their school one fight at a time. GO BLACK KNIGHTS!!!!!!!!!


If you want to continue reading stories from the 9th grade Dystopian journal follow this link: .