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Sample from hic sunt dracones

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News and Events

By Brian Weilert



In the New York public library sets a small copper sphere known as the Lenox Globe. This 1503 artifact dates back to a time when the world, in its entirety, was yet to be explored. If you look closely at the Eastern coast of Asia near the equatorial line you can find the Latin words, hic sunt dracones, which translates to, here are dragons. These simple, etched words signified the end of "discovered" lands, words warning sailors of the uncertainty and dangers of the unknown. This warning held many a brave man in check but for a select few; it issued a silent challenge to push forward. These men recognized the fact that no true opportunity or progress can come without risk. They were willing to face their dragons.




I'm Taneeka, 17, plain, quiet; most the time, smart; but I don't want anyone to know that, and I guess if you're collecting data for a study or survey or something, I'm Afro-American. But you can just say black, I'm okay with that. This is my final year at Bismarck High and well, I am in jeopardy of flunking out. Maybe I'll just quit. Before you jump up and say, "Don't do it. Don't throw away your future." You should hear the whole story. Hear it, then judge me.

My father is the city's first black district attorney and has been for the past three years. He and I live alone in Manhattan. My mother up and left so long ago I dont even remember her. Dad kept telling me she was a drunk and never even loved me. I was told by him that I was better off not knowing her. Of course, I always figured there had to be some truth to what he said 'cause she had never tried to contact me. Ten years and not so much as a letter or phone call. Even though he told me these things, I would still have dreams, phantom memories of her rocking me in that old leather chair that still sets in the corner of our apartment living room. I can smell perfume, not booze, and hear the soft whisper of a far-off lullaby. Dad told me kids minds were weird that way. They would make stuff up and then stick it in as reality. I guessed he was probably right. If it was real, why would she have left and never came back? It didn't make any sense at the time.

My life was fine until just last week. I was taking an AP Psych course. I was trying to up my GPA and stay in the top 5% of my class. AP credits were weighted so I was in. About half way through the spring semester we started a unit on latent memories. Freud contended that repressed memories manifested themselves into dreams or nightmares. As a surprise to the class, Mrs. Langton invited a psychiatrist trained in hypnosis to come and speak and even put one of us "under". The doctor asked for a volunteer. I was intrigued and though it was out of character for me, I raised my hand and was selected.

"Ok young lady, I need you to sit right down in this chair facing me." I did as she instructed with my back to the class. Listen to my voice...follow the object...eyelids heavy...very sleepy...clap three...

"Ok, can you tell me your name?"


"Very good Taneeka can you tell me where you are?"

"Im, Im upstairs in my room, Im putting my dollies away."

"Your dollies? How old are you?"

"I'm six and a half quarter."

The class stirred in a hushed laugh, not knowing if it was a joke. The doctor shared their scepticism.

"Oh, just six? You're an awful big girl to be just six."


"Ok, Ok, I'm sorry Taneeka. You're a sweet little six-year-old. What are you doing now?"

"I'm ready for bed now. I brushed my teeth and put on my nightie and Im say'n my prayers."

"Good Taneeka, what now..."

"God, thank you for my mommy and protect her always. And please protect me too. God, please help Daddy. Amen"

"Taneeka? What's wrong with your daddy?"

"No Daddy! I don't wanna be your big girl! I don't wanna anymore! Please. MOM! MOM! Please Daddy no! NO! GOD! GOD!

(Clap three times)

The class sat in silence, stunned. I remembered it all. My face streaked with the glistening trails of tears assured everyone that it was all real. Memories, dominos began to fall in my brain. One recall knocking into another revealing my past, my dark, secret past. I was jarred when Mrs. Langton said my name and asked if I needed a moment to myself. I, lost in a world ten years ago, stood and left the room. I have not been back to school since. That was five days ago.