Nothing MAG

June 1, 2010
By Emily Kurtz GOLD, Sudbury, Massachusetts
Emily Kurtz GOLD, Sudbury, Massachusetts
10 articles 0 photos 0 comments

There once was a boy, and he was Nothing. And his name was spelled just like that: N-O-T-H-I-N-G. He was not an adult, not a kid, not quite even a teen. Just Nothing. He didn’t play soccer with the boys at school or run and try to kiss the girls; he didn’t play chess with the nerds. Day after day he was alone, and he talked to the trees.

“Why are you so tall?” he said, and the trees said nothing, just swayed their arms in the breeze and waggled their fingers and he imagined they were saying, “We don’t know. We don’t know.”

After school every day, Nothing walked to the little white house with green shutters, the one he called home. This was his favorite time of day, when the sun was still up and Grandma was still awake to bake him cookies and tell him stories and ask, “How was your day, Charles?” He was Charles to Grandma. For two hours in the afternoon he was Charles. He would always respond, “Nothing happened.” He was waiting for the day when something did happen, something he could run home to tell Grandma about. But he was still waiting.

The night was not so good. It was when his parents came home. Then, he became Worthless. Worthless by night, Nothing by day, and Charles when Grandma baked him cookies. Worthless, pick up your clothes. Worthless, wash the dishes, try to make yourself Useful. Worthless, take your meds. Worthless, stop looking at me like that. Stop looking at me. Just go to bed.

He heard them whispering when they thought he was asleep. Worthless, Worthless. We wish he’d never been born.

But one day, Nothing came home from school, ready to become Charles. Instead, he found no one but an angry red and blue truck, lights flashing. After that, there was no more Grandma. There was no more Charles.

Worthless had a fit that night. The worst of his fits. They’d never seen him like this. He broke a vase and a stack of dishes. He couldn’t see. He saw bright lights in his eyes, flashing, flashing, and they made him angry. He was screaming, screaming so loud he couldn’t hear himself anymore.

Nothing didn’t go to school for a long, long time after that. So long that even the teachers noticed he was missing. Nothing was gone so long, they wondered if he’d ever be back.

And then there he was, standing on the playground one day. He’d grown a little taller, and his hair was a little nicer, and he was wearing a nice red and blue striped polo tucked into his dress pants. And they thought maybe he’d be different now. And he was. He was different, and he was slowly becoming Charles to the kids at school.

But he realized things now. He ­noticed the looks he got. He noticed how when they saw him coming, their voices drifted away and they averted their eyes, awkwardly shuffling their feet. He noticed how when the kids playing four-square saw him approach, they’d pick up their ball and leave. He noticed that the trees were his only friends. “Why are people like that?” he asked them, and they waggled their fingers and shook their arms and said, “We don’t know. We don’t know.”



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This article has 17 comments.


on Jun. 5 2011 at 2:12 pm
Amsterdamsel DIAMOND, Henderson , Nevada
54 articles 2 photos 69 comments
i've commented on this before i think  but i really do love it. it has to be my favorite story on teenink!

on Nov. 5 2010 at 7:15 pm
squalur996 GOLD, Henderson, Nevada
10 articles 3 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character....would you slow down? Or speed up?
-- Chuck Palanick

This is really great.  i read the  feedback section and it mentions this story.  it really is that good.  The well written emotion is very refreshing right now.

Jolvin SILVER said...
on Oct. 23 2010 at 12:02 am
Jolvin SILVER, Houston, Texas
6 articles 6 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or mirror that reflects it." - Edith Wharton

I was working in the library one morning and saw a "Teen Ink" magazine, I happened to flipped to the last page and saw your article. The moment i read the first sentences in your story, i was amazed, glued tight until the end. i was left speechless and your story kept me thinking all day. Let me just say, I love this short story you wrote and hope you write more!!

on Oct. 16 2010 at 2:36 pm
IamtheshyStargirl PLATINUM, Lothlorien, Utah
44 articles 16 photos 2216 comments

Favorite Quote:
Boredom instigates extreme creativity.
~Amoniel

"Bowing gratefully to all of my subjects, 'thank you. Thank you. The pleasure is mine." Nah, I'm just kidding. We're all kings together.'"
~Thesilentraven

This is beautiful, and you are a vastly talented writer.

Thank you for sharing your gift with us :)

<3


on Aug. 30 2010 at 2:57 pm
PearlWhiteNight BRONZE, No, Pennsylvania
3 articles 7 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." -Mark Twain

Wow, I read tis is the magazine, and it was fantastic. I wish I could write like that. Amazing!

on Aug. 2 2010 at 6:12 pm
HelyRose BRONZE, London, Other
2 articles 0 photos 7 comments
This is a brilliant piece .Great view on things , you really captured an emotition felt there. Amazing.congrats on being put in magazine.

on Jul. 28 2010 at 2:26 pm
acousticgurl SILVER, Lagos, Other
6 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
Shoot 4 d moon. Even if u miss, u will land among the stars. Rock Out!

This is an awesome piece please read mine and comment. Thanx.

inspir3d GOLD said...
on Jul. 16 2010 at 4:35 pm
inspir3d GOLD, Norcross, Georgia
11 articles 2 photos 73 comments

Favorite Quote:
We're all just looking for attention, to be discovered overnight. We're all frustrated by the popular ones that claim the limelight before they fall to pieces. So many of us are stuck under the radar--what makes me different? You decide!

Beautiful. i can really feel his pain. makes me stop and pause, almost cry. Great perspective. Gosh i could rave about this forever :) keep writing!!

on Jun. 27 2010 at 6:00 pm
LoverOfSong PLATINUM, New Lenox, Illinois
45 articles 7 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
"When words fail, music speaks." Hans Christian Anderson

Amazing. Hit home.

on Jun. 16 2010 at 6:25 am
OfficialApprover PLATINUM, Orefield, Pennsylvania
48 articles 0 photos 1754 comments

Favorite Quote:
Grab life by the balls. -Slobberknocker
We cannot change the cards we're dealt just how we play the hand
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted
It's pretty easy to be smart when you're parroting smart people
-Randy Pausch

Of course!  Deal!

on Jun. 15 2010 at 10:22 pm
Megaphone1927 SILVER, The Tardis, Tennessee
6 articles 0 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you don't peer into the shadows, you won't see the ghosts."-Flora Segunda

Hey Gymbabe, some of my stuff FINALLY got put up.

I'll strike you a deal. I'll read/comment/rate some of your stuff, but only if you check out mine too!


on Jun. 15 2010 at 2:46 pm
OfficialApprover PLATINUM, Orefield, Pennsylvania
48 articles 0 photos 1754 comments

Favorite Quote:
Grab life by the balls. -Slobberknocker
We cannot change the cards we're dealt just how we play the hand
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted
It's pretty easy to be smart when you're parroting smart people
-Randy Pausch

Yeah, it takes a long time, just be patient(I know, that's, like, impossible).  This piece was awesome, though.  I loved it.

Btw, will you guys check out and comment on my work?


on Jun. 11 2010 at 10:29 pm
Megaphone1927 SILVER, The Tardis, Tennessee
6 articles 0 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you don't peer into the shadows, you won't see the ghosts."-Flora Segunda

Wow, This is incredible. What does Charles have? I'm ready ready ready for Charles to find the good kids in the world. He needs an adventure real bad. He needs you to help him.

Well, thats what I feel anyways.

How long did it take the people to read your article and post it online? I submitted many different things, but it's takin' forever.


on Jun. 7 2010 at 5:38 pm
Destinee BRONZE, Oakville, Other
3 articles 0 photos 306 comments

Favorite Quote:
Blegh. - Abraham Lincoln

This may be one of my most favourite prose on the whole website. It is mind-boggingly awesome. 

on Jun. 2 2010 at 3:53 pm
magic-esi PLATINUM, Hyde Park, New York
27 articles 0 photos 231 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one."
"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light."

I'm blown away. I didn't know people wrote like this anymore.

 

P.S. That is meant in a good way.


on Jun. 1 2010 at 11:00 pm
MayaElyashiv PLATINUM, Ramat Hasharon, Other
37 articles 4 photos 196 comments
Wow...honestly, I was a little skeptical after reading the first two lines. But boy, was I wrong. This is one of the best pieces I've read on TeenInk. Amazing. 

on Jun. 1 2010 at 7:24 pm
Mary-Fairy01 GOLD, South Portland, Maine
10 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way. ~Emma by Jane Austen

I honestly have tears in my eyes right now. The prose is wonderful...sniffniff...


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