Author Archives: Writopia LitMag

TWINS

“Mom: You two are grounded. No parties, no car, no hangouts, nothing social, no boys, no phones, and no dessert for a month! Also, tomorrow you have to take care of your sisters because they have to stay home from school. Do you know why? Because they have a serious cold! Also, a little bird told me that you had forgotten to pick them up and drive them to swimming in the first place, so you guys owe me $50 for almost having them miss swimming and me having to pay for a lesson that they didn’t go to!”

A Prisoner to War

“There was a prisoner lying on the wet ground, covered in mud from the battlefield so that their uniform was indistinguishable from the surroundings. Standing there in my own uniform, spattered with mud myself as one of the victors preparing for the punishment, I could not even make out the telltale signs that would show that he was from the opposing side. He was a prisoner, I told myself.”

A Loving Banishment

“The man had seen many different worlds in his time, and knew a song from all of them. He walked across the mountain peaks singing one of them. He plucked the banjo with the edges of his koi colored hand guard. His hands were weathered, strong, and had the agility of a wild rabbit. He had bright green eyes that looked a little bloodshot. Though he may have seemed a little tired, his smile shined brighter than the light overhead.”

Smile and Nod

“Two days after Georgie and his mother arrived was the day of the funeral. They had been the first ones there, and the bright sun and cloudless sky were starkly different to the midnight black suit that Georgie was wearing and the black lace that adorned his mother’s even darker dress. Guests had trickled in after he and his mother had arrived, their faces somber.
Then came the casket.”

Dear America

“Racism strikes again. Another unarmed black man, we all know as George Floyd, died because of a police officer’s racism. A good man minding his own business wiped from the earth from the say of a few men. No. Not men, monsters. Who were they to decide the fate of George Floyd?”

The Smile of an Idol: Another Story

“H-huh? What? Has my hearing gone bad or something? I glanced to my side, only to see Karin’s eyes filled with hope and determination. Her eyes were the complete opposite of mine, filled with despair and malice. I looked forward once again, trying to find the trace of a joke on the scout’s face. All I could see was joyful seriousness.”

Twenty-20 Come Again

“I was only 3 when the virus hit so I don’t remember much from before everything changed. I don’t remember the virus too well either. The human brain doesn’t start making memories until you’re almost four so I only remembered a few moments from the end. When the vaccine was accessible to most average people all over the world, I remember sitting on the cloud with my family watching the window monitor. The people were dancing and cheering outside embracing their long-awaited freedom. They celebrated all night in the streets, rejoicing over the thought of being free. They thought it was over. They thought that was the end.”

Anti Gravity

“Ariel Phelan is a 13 year old writer and artist living in New York City. She loves to write historical fiction and realistic fiction short stories. When she is not writing, she loves drawing and reading. She goes to Rodeph Sholom school, and has been going to Writopia and Wricampia since she was little. “

5,000 Miles 10,000 Words

“It seemed as if everyone in her class at college knew what they wanted to do in the future, and she just felt stuck. Stuck in a routine, stuck in her tiny house, stuck in every aspect of her life. She felt as though she worked hard for everything, and somehow it still was never enough.”

The Better Side

“Today is the first day of high school and I am COMPLETELY TERRIFIED. Not only because I am scared about high school, because I am sure most people are, but I am scared that this year is going to be the same as every other year. And I am going to be looked at the same as I was looked at for the past eight years. A ghost.”

The Land of Cards

“What makes it special is that when the cards are put in the correct order, it opens a door to a world of unimaginable magic. A world where you can do whatever you want just by thinking of it. It’s a world where your wildest fantasies can come true. A world where creatures beyond the human scope are everywhere. It is the Land of Cards.”

Uncomfortable Situations

“When I started playing with kids who actually cared about the sport, I found that having a life outside of activities might be moderately important. That’s saying a lot. I even had to force myself to stop mentioning football as soccer, because no one here ever says that. It’s only when you watch American commentary day in and day out that the word becomes ingrained in your head, just as tourists can get into some embarrassing situations by referring to pants when clothes shopping.”

Why Couldn’t They Just Watch Shrek?

“‘What are you watching? Are you watching Shrek?’ I asked.
‘No. We’re watching this thing about zombies,’ Nat said.
‘What’s zombies?’ I asked.
‘It’s like when somebody dies, but then they come back to life. And they’re all bloody and gross and have arms falling off of them and want to eat your brains!’ Talia said, trying to scare me.
I snuck a peek at the screen. There was scary music and a hand coming out of the ground.”

The Temple of the Lost

“Members would be challenged to bring this imbecile of a man on an important journey. Rumor has it that multiple career-making discoveries had been foiled by the sheer stupidity of this man. Francis, however, was the best of the best, and he thought he could handle him. Now he was unsure, having actually spent time with the man.”

Taxi!

“The faint rumbling in the distance brings my hope up for a second, when I realize it is the R. The one positive thing about missing the train to the biggest job interview of your life so far in 97 degree weather is the gratifying gust of warm air from the wrong train. I fan myself with my hands, like that’s going to do anything. In that moment I make a decision. I’m taking a cab.”

Eggward: The Hatchening

“How do you join a cult? Do you need a resume or something? How do you write a resume? These are all things that Greg was thinking. Greg had always had a gaping hole in his life and maybe temporarily joining a cult could help.”

The Dark World

“Everyone takes my poems super emotionally. Today, I am going to the lunch room again. One of the other prisoners, Mr. Forkle, an old wrinkly guy, gives me a piece of chocolate.”

The Mess at Home

“Violet rushed up, but Skyline felt his fur prickling at the thought of being watched. His sister, Violet, was usually excited to be announced in front of all the watching soldiers, but Skyline, on the other paw, would rather be deep in a hole than in front of everyone.”

My Silent Resistance

“I pray that even though she now knows I’m non-speaking, she will assume competence and not condescend to me or treat me as subhuman, in a way. That is a stigma that many nonverbal autistics such as I know all too well. That’s why I hate labels like high-functioning and low-functioning: low-functioning means your capabilities are ignored, your humanity brushed aside, and high-functioning means your deficiencies are ignored and you can’t get the support you need; basically either way it sucks, and you often have to go through life alone.”

Transgender Bathroom Policy

“It may take a while for all states to allow transgender people to go into the bathroom of their choice, but with enough education on the topic, people’s thoughts may change. The issue that transgender people are discriminated against for using the bathrooms of their gender identity is a worldwide crisis and is a big problem in the world.”

Sentenced

“They’ll be at recess now, laughing, playing, knowing that they’re not in trouble and they won’t suffer in the least. I remember when I was one of those kids. Bouncing carefreely out the door, straight As, never in trouble. Of course, that doesn’t appeal to me now. Ever since–”

The Flower of Night

“They lick the street and eat the sidewalk without a moment of consideration. Buildings are devoured in a matter of seconds. It advances. The brave knights who hold the hoses and those too desperate to try to salvage their own lives are the only ones who remain near this beast.”

Miriam’s Song

“We tell them who we are.
First, people. Second, Jewish.
Here to spread the love of those around us,
Not to kill.
Here to help people that don’t have as much as we do,
Not to hurt.
Here to tell people that they are not alone in this big, scary world,
Not to hate.”

Timmy’s Golf Club

“’And then he said, “I’m bloodthirsty!” Haha!’ said the vampire comedian. Timmy shook his head. He slowly walked out of the auditorium filled with fans of these alien vampire comedians who had descended from God-knows-where and had taken over the comedy industry, forcing Timmy, a pure-blood human, out of his job as a full-time stand-up comedian. Timmy knew the world was ending. He could smell it in the air.”

The Gauntlet

“It is November 3rd, and the Gauntlet is 1 week away. The Gauntlet is a competition in the Portal. All of the greatest players of the Portal are selected by an A.I. to enter the Gauntlet. The competitors are placed in a maze, and they all have to survive until the end. The Gauntlet ends when all of the players virtual avatars, except for the winner, have been killed by the maze, or killed by other players. Eliminating another player doesn’t give you any perks except for confidence, which is key in the Gauntlet.”

Guinea Pigs

“…guinea pigs are very sociable animals that love their owners and help them with their mental health. Most guinea pigs are shy at first, but once they recognize their owner, can develop a fierce loyalty for them “

A Wind Filled Island

“None of us had ever seen, wait no, imagined what was happening that frigid day in October. The sky went from a golden sunrise to a seemingly clear, cloudless blue, and then suddenly it went dark. Every time the lighting came, the sky would resemble a beaten-up face. Purpled with bruises. “

Mrs. Reynolds Waits

“Mrs. Reynolds sat on the edge of her seat, shoes bouncing on the floor. She looked up at the brown wall clock, eager to check the time, but in a moment she remembered the old thing hadn’t worked properly since the Reverend had come in last Tuesday for tea. The wild gesticulations which always peppered his conversation resulted in the clock being drenched within a quarter of an hour.”

i remember

“i don’t remember the night before / i don’t remember the next morning, i made that up in my mind / i don’t remember my feelings / i don’t remember christmas / i don’t remember anything”

Bear Mountain

“Picture this: a hot and sweaty day. When I say sweaty I don’t mean I went on a run sweaty. I mean I officially became redder than a tomato. I’m a city girl. So, you might be wondering why a city girl is going to a hiking camp. A normal answer is because I want to explore the life outdoors and disconnect from all the technology. But not me.”

Pollution Problems

“People need to stop pollution now more than ever. Pollution has always been a problem before humans learned of its existence. Pollution has affected various animals species, air, water, and even health and will continue to affect all of this in time. If this keeps up humans will be heavily affected by all the pollution.”

Socialization: Why is it important?

“Whenever we socialize, it makes us happy; it helps us expand our general knowledge on what is going on. It is important to socialize, not only to avoid what happens when we don’t, but to make us happy. When we don’t socialize, we often miss out on some really memorable moments and can lose our connections with people.”

The Heart

“I keep crying as I’m walking to the nearest Seven Eleven because I hated Chinese food and right before he dumped me, Dan, brought me to a Chinese restaurant. Even after three years of dating, he still doesn’t know me.”

Sea

“The stunning Azure waves whip the rocks, engulfing them in sea.
Bubbles rise up, expiring at the foamy surface.
At sunrise, the horizon spreads fiery colors over the calm ripples.”

Bored

“The scent of all these sweet fruits and vegetables begin to make me nauseous
I wish for an AC in this horrible and hot place
I feel so weary in this place
I beg someone to get me out of this place, but alas, there is no one here”

Welcome to the Labyrinth

“When he asked some of his classmates about the library, their answers were often vague, as if the place itself had some sort of feeling that no one could explain. They had told Basil about the three librarians who lived in the building, each helpful and charming in their own way.”

Antimatter

“Hot water moved through the pipe, scalding my hand but I held on tight. As I looked at my wife, she stared back at me with determination. She moved closer to me, making sure she didn’t get sucked in by the black hole and reached out her hand.”

Godel’s Guide to Breaking Everything

“C: Well. You said that you had to feed a patient; doctors wouldn’t do that, they would be doing surgeries, and stuff like that. Also, when you dropped your bag (and your phone clattered out), a box of surgical masks fell out of your bag. I’m also assuming you’re going to night school?
M: Wha? How…
C: Dark circles. Concealer can’t cover everything, honey.”

My Past

“Crying is like being a punk about it, that’s what people on the street say. The boy didn’t believe it at first when he came in the room on a Saturday in June and his mom was crying and said, “Your father passed away.””

Darkthorn

“Another twig snapped, this time seemingly closer. Eyes narrowed, I pulled the bowstring taught and aimed towards the sound. I still didn’t see anything, but a feeling of unease had begun to creep into my body.”

Timeless

“I’ve gotta do something more with my life than just wait for something exciting to happen. I should be road tripping across the United States or something. My mom says that the US isn’t worth road tripping across. She says that it’s just 7-11s and narrow-minded people.”

Midnight Hour

“I think again as I watch my flowy silk red dress sail over the water, allowing the rest of my body to breathe in the night sky. Red goes well with midnight blue. I laugh as my fingers brush the edge of the water, illuminated only by the moon and the stars.”

The Forest

“The remark was nonchalant but mentioning such a place made Dawson instinctively shudder and look over his shoulder. There was nothing there of course, only the plodding horse. The horse felt it too. It took several minutes of the bright sunshine to remove the grim shadow of those words.”

DIY Shopping

“My armpits were getting really sweaty, like that time I met Justin Bieber and he hugged me and then he made a gross face because I was really sweaty. Don’t worry. I’m still a Belieber.”

Decaf

“I took another sip of my coffee. The taste swam around in my mouth making me feel the heat of a Costa Rican sun or feel the drum of a lost island. The smell was enough to make you happy, but the taste was amazing.”

The Shattered Syringe

“Crossing his fingers, Michael watches as an icon walks out of the pack and does that little animated celebration everyone was waiting for. Maradona. Michael watches his stream go crazy, numbers rising from thirteen to twenty to thirty six viewers.”

My Mom

“It feels great to hear her voice. It has been a long time since I heard her voice. It makes me feel sad and happy at the same time. Her voice is kind of soft like the harmony of angels.”

Eye of the End (The Second Vision and The Third Vision)

“All alone, far away from any contact that might help me. It’s been days since I’ve seen Lucas’s smile. No humans know anything about this place. The place is bright and gives me chills. Some random extension dimension with mirrors that isn’t home. I feel different than my usual self. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like I’m not myself anymore.”

Trees of Albuquerque

“The variety in species and function in the finches were fascinating, but what really caught my eye, or in this case my ear, were the song sparrows, the way their notes flowed into each other in complete harmony, going from do to re to mi to fa in beautiful consistency.”

Natalie, Luke, and Michelle

“There’s a lot that you can buy with a stolen 20 bucks. Especially if your mission is to sneak to CVS from school and see how long it takes until your mom notices you’re missing. Then you get to walk down every aisle. When you have $20, anything is possible. Well, anything that you can do with 20 dollars.”

Populism: Fighting for Liberalism without Liberals

“There seems to be a consensus amongst scholars that right wing populism is an anti-liberal movement. This notion is, to say the least, flawed. The populist movement has arisen due to a lack of liberalism, not opposition to it. My intention in this essay is to demonstrate that most populist voters are not anti-liberal but rather that support for populism is because liberalism is not available.”

Gone with the Sun

“Mornings are the most enchanting time of day. Light streams through the windows, hugging my home with its bright tentacles. When the light hits the colorful crystals hanging down from the rainbow maker taped in the kitchen, tiny spurts of color dance into my bedroom like fairies.”

Magical

“The magician drowsily woke up to a sunbeam shining directly into his eyeballs. Rolling out of his tent, he picked up his wand and conjured a single dollar, then he headed to the dollar store like he did every day.”

The 84 Block Journey

“I rushed across 2nd Street in a blaze and rapidly approached the stairs leading to the train station. I looked down at my watch, and then realization dawned on me; I was already 15 minutes late for my very first job interview!”

The Power Within (Part One)

“One day in the middle of February, my dad, a genius scientist acknowledged by everyone across the world, made a machine to stop his fear because late at night he sees ghosts. These ghosts look like everyday people, but they have reflective, transparent skin and draped clothes that make them look creepy.”

How is the Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Determined?

“Peace is said to be the ultimate challenge of our time, and one of humanity’s most important values. Unfortunately we struggle for peace because of racial discrimination, and the imbalance between the rich and poor, among many other things. This makes peace and the Nobel Peace Prize all the more important. The Nobel Peace Prize recognizes people who have tried to make peace throughout the past year and encourages them to continue making peace. Researching all the amazing people who have changed the world for the better made me wonder how the judges of the prize determine who has made the most peace. How do you measure what makes one person’s good deeds greater than another’s? That is why I choose to do my topic on how the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is determined. “

The Forgotten Cowboys

“The cowboy. A figure bathed in romance and national worship, the cowboy represents open lands, rugged individualism, and wandering, roaming freedom—diving into the unknown, unafraid, charging on a lone horse. The cowboy is the essence of American life, what we want to be; he is our quintessential hero. And he is always—always—white. However, white men were never the only ones out on the range, and they certainly were not the only ones with a hand in the American cowboy culture.”

Superheroes

“Superheroes are getting so much more diverse. Before comics went through changes, most of the superheroes were all white males. Then it changed to white females, and then all the slightest changes of diversity brought us to our current diverse comic world.”

Mitosis

“And the girl just kept on stating the same fact, the same I want to save lives. I just want to save lives. She said it so methodically that I began wondering if she really wanted to save lives at all, or if it was more of the feeling of being pre-med, the feeling of power, of success–feeling like you were someone to be proud of. Not just a collection of cells, but a complete, full, whole human being: someone who could save the world, but not someone who was real.”

The Bleachers

“I sit behind the block, fidgeting with my goggles and cracking my knuckles. There is one more heat before I swim, and watching the other swimmers race makes me want to rip somebody’s spine out. I lick my lips; the arena tastes like rusted copper and it reeks so grossly of chlorine I could swear the air is tinted yellow. The drone of thrashing water and frenetic onlookers makes my mind go numb.”

Inside the Ribcage

“People tell me I look just like my mother. It took me years to see it. The structure of our cheeks, the shape of our smiles. A few weeks ago when my mother drove me home from the airport I looked down at my hands and was startled to see hers. I hadn’t realized I’d known them so well — the wrinkles on the joints of her fingers, the patterns of crevices at the base of her knuckles, the veins that bulged out of her skin when she made a fist.”

Split Ends

“This is a story that begins at the ends: the frayed, thinning, split ends. The mangled roots that tell a tale of irreparable damage and stagnated growth. Why wouldn’t I cut them off? The scissors are in my hand, the inimitable power to sever and the potential energy of choice gripped shakily in my palm. But my finger rests perpetually on the trigger. This is why.”

Not the Last Time

Apart from the headache from the boisterous sirens of the produce trucks, another thought overwhelmed my mind. Had fate rolled its dice slightly differently, possibly landing on a three instead of a five, I could have called this very place my home. Eagerly, I examined through the clouds of filthy haze for signs of comfort and belonging, but I remained fruitless.”

Tears of Hope

“Far away, a man stumbles through the dry, desolate desert all alone. Upon his skinny body cling tattered cargo pants, scattered with holes and loose threads. An equally worn shirt hangs loosely, size large, though he is now a small. He was once known as Jeremy, but the name has long since slipped from his memory along with thoughts of his family and home.”

Danger in Life and Death

“The camera focuses on a lady (Ivy), arms outstretched, holding onto a support beam. She’s high up in the air and on the outer edge of the bridge. She looks around 17 years old, and she’s crying. Looking down at the water that is at least 200 feet below her. The currents are strong. Car horns honk in alarm and warning behind her. All sound around her fades except for her heartbeat.”

Bad American Food

“There was once a diner on the highway. It was small and dinky, but charming in that old time sense. It invoked a 50’s style aesthetic, with a shiny metallic roof and dim neon signs announcing to the world that it is, in fact, open. The food was bad, no doubt about it. But the people were nice…”

The Infection (Excerpt)

“I jolt out of sleep and am met by a wave of relief. So it WAS just a dream! That kind of dream drains me emphatically. Wow, I’m thirsty. I get out of bed to get a drink of water. As I go out, I stub my big toe on the doorway. I yell several words that my mother would not approve of, and I stumble out the door. I faceplant on the floor.”

The Case of the Missing Gem

“After their coffee, the detectives went home to get some sleep. The next day, Lock and Watts went out to the nearby buildings to see if Moriarty had ziplined in and out of the museum building. The first building they checked had no signs of Moriarty, but the second house had a broken window which the criminal must have done.”

A Mother Knows Best

“‘What about George National High School?’ asked my mom. I immediately felt my chest tighten. You had to take an admissions test and have a perfect GPA to get into George National High School. And I didn’t have the best GPA.”

Disney Breaking Out (Part One)

“Holly ordered her sweet peppermint hot chocolate after waiting in the line for way too long. She settled down in her usual spot for the last ten years. The peaceful corner table with quiet music was what she loved about her special time in the cafe. If it were up to Holly, she would spend every moment at her magical reflecting table. Every memory, every moment of happiness, fear, and anger, led up to this one spot.”

The Memories

“April opened up her dictionary and gasped. ‘Jackson!’ she screamed. Her friends thought it odd to have a pet caterpillar, but it was amusing sometimes. This was not one of those times. ‘Jackson!!’ she screamed, even louder this time. She finally saw him on the corner of the table. ‘There you are Jackson. How many times have I told you not to eat my dictionary!'”

George

“Beep! Beep! Beep! George sat up. He turned off the alarm. He put on his slippers. He walked into the kitchen. Crack! Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle ssssssssss. George cooked himself an egg. He poured some orange juice. He ate his breakfast in silence.”

Dry Water

“I walk every morning. To the store. Then back to my home. My tiny wooden shack, where Mother, Marco, Aba, Javier, and I somehow manage to live. The tiny wooden shack where we sit and eat the scraps of a rich man’s meal. Where we mourn. Where we dream. Where we cry. Where we sleep on the floor. Where we are.”

Forever Standing

         When someone looks Down on you When they laugh At your differences When they criticize Your similarities When you want it all to end So you hide away Tears streaming […]

You, Simply

“The sunshine was hot and bright, reflecting on the stream like rippled fireflies. I could feel the world around me, moving, changing too fast. Sometimes I felt like it was moving without me, like it needed to move without me; like I was running and I couldn’t keep up.”

The Food Chain

“As I stepped out of my house that day, I saw my neighbor George putting a leash on his pet human. They did this every day, walking down to Little Piggy’s human-burger shop to grab a bite to eat, which disgusted me. It is horrible how animals treat humans like nothing and are treated as lower than low to the rest of society.”

Michael (Excerpt)

“His mother was able to get him a plane ticket and arrange for him to stay at his friend’s house for a week or so. Daniel was excited and could barely sit still on the flight. Texting and calling weren’t the same as seeing his friends in real life. He walked down the street, avoiding the crowds, while turning off airplane mode on his phone.”

The Bathroom Mirror (Excerpt)

“The next day, Mary woke up to find a note on her bedside. Of all things, her sister thought this was the most appropriate. Love letters on how much she missed her. Mary snatched the paper from her bedside and opened it. You have been warned. If it had been written in any other way, then maybe she would have taken it seriously, but the font Helvetica? Really? She was worth way more than this basic font. “

What Separates Them All

“The air around the harbor blows every which way, cool gusts of wind sending the waves that lap by the shore into a frenzy. The summer sun sinks into the sky, replaced by dark clouds that settle on the horizon, as a light breeze shifts to colder, increasingly high temperatures, frigid enough to make the hairs on Farah’s neck stand up. Everything around here changes in a fraction of a second.”

Telekinesis Boy

“My name is Igor Parentheses Daily, and the moment I woke up today was the first day of the rest of my life. When I woke up, my phone was on the other side of the room. I didn’t want to get up to reach my phone, so I imagined the phone flying into my hand and thought, That would be cool, so the phone got up and flew into my hand! I was so surprised that I dropped my phone. At least that turned the alarm off.”

The Purple Guard

“Chris woke up to find that all his wounds were healed. He felt no pain on his leg where the elephant had impaled him, and he saw no blood staining the clothes he wore. He sat up to see the elephant facing him. A million thoughts whizzed through Chris’ mind. How was he healed? Did the elephant heal him? And most importantly: what should he call the elephant if he could control him? It needs a name!”

Elite Cat Trainer

“I used to be a dog person. Dogs were my whole life. I was a professional dog trainer, and not just any professional dog trainer. I was sponsored by Fluffy Friends™ and licensed by the American Dog Corporation. Until… my favorite dog, Betsy Fluffercins (the s is silent), a dog I had raised from birth, betrayed me.”

Alice’s Choice

“Outside was a ravishing forest. Different types of flowers populated the sylvan landscape, and the sky was roofed by vast trees. The sun-dappled ground was covered with moss and ivy, and the forest smelled of petrichor and pine. Cool humidity settled on Alice’s skin, and a flock of birds flew past her. She soon realized they were not birds at all, but a deck of cards flying in the air.”

Summer Bod: An Analysis of Body Image and its Impact on Young Women

“Marilyn Monroe once said, ‘To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one. It’s society who’s ugly.’ In the cruel environment we live in today, society’s wrath of a constant strive for perfection gets intentionally strung and tightened on the necks of so many young women.”

Germany

“He hoped the government wouldn’t find out what he searched, but they controlled the Internet, so he thought they might have already known and would come to arrest him the next day. He heard footsteps and instinctively fell on the bed to pretend he was sleeping. The door opened with a creak behind him, and he heard his mom whisper, ‘I think he is asleep,’ and closed the door behind her.”

Little Lemon

“Once upon a time, in the village of sugar lemons, Momma and Poppa Lemon had just announced the arrival of Lester the Lemon. Even from miles away, you could still hear Lester crying while his parents were celebrating. Sugar Lemon Land is all yellow and happy. There are positive quotes everywhere. The water is bright blue and sparkling. Everyone knows everyone.”

Change It Now

“…I always thought that I couldn’t do anything about it because I was just a little girl, but there was something about today that felt different. Maybe it was the fact that I had a little extra sugar from the Fruit Roll-Up, or a little extra confidence from acing my test, but I decided to go confront him.”

19 minutes

“I woke up in the morning to realize that my alarm clock hadn’t even gone off yet. It was only four in the morning. Meh, who cared? I would be early for work. Plus, I was the head of the company, no one could get mad at me for being early — right? Wrong.”

140 Miles to You (Excerpt)

“Isabel Cheston was feeling. Sitting in the doctor’s office one Saturday morning. She actually wasn’t really sitting. She was pacing the large white room while freaking out about her blood test. I could see why — she was getting four vials of blood drawn! Her hands were sweaty and clammy from her worrying. Her short brown hair tangled and knotted from her pulling.”

If Only

“Long ago, when people didn’t destroy the Earth and people were the Earth, there were two. The water belonged to the Goddess, and the land belonged to the God. The Goddess and the God were in a relationship of sorts, as they worked together and around each other. But that was all they could do, because the land and the water were separate. They longed for each other.”

Emery’s Revenge

“He was the son of King Timothy, one of the strongest kings that were alive today. But he was only strong because of one stone that carried strength. He desperately wanted the stone, and he was jealous of King Timothy. King Timothy kept the stone in a mountain that had the strongest gusts of wind that would blow anyone off to their death. Emery hated his dad a lot, because he was weak.”

Dave

“Sharpie Dave was a very shy brown cactus who came from Colorado and was ‘born’ in a toilet,  a.k.a thrown in the toilet to die by some random cactus farmer. Since then, Sharpie Dave had always felt unlovable and scared, but Dave had learned to accept that bad things happen in the world.”

Envy and Murder

“Sweat trickles down my neck. Why am I here? How did it come to this? I stand over the body and let the moment sink in. I look at my hand and see a gun. I drop it. It clanks against the floor, echoing for what feels like forever. I turn to the shattered mirror and see the monster I have turned into. “

The Path of the Soul

““Dargos and Herga. Rise. You are now one with the soul of nature.” Tapping them on the shoulder with his knarlwood cane, the cleric’s green and white robes fold as he ends the short and sweet indoctrination ceremony. Bowing to each other and the cleric, Dargos and Herga swiftly leave the auditorium of the city-tree.”

The Warehouse (Excerpt)

“I tried to crawl faster, my limbs sinking into the muck on the side of the now strawberry-colored creek and coming up with loud sucking sounds that would definitely alert any guards to my presence. Lucky for me, there probably weren’t any guards in the area. In fact, there was probably no one at all.”

A Love Letter to Myself

“As my being develops and evolves in the world, so does my sense of self. The different layers that shape my identity each tell a different story, and looking back at my past experiences, I am not ashamed of who I have become despite the ever so present obstacles that face me and the countless other people that look like me.”

Mercy

“It was dark outside. Her blood and bones ceaselessly begged her to go back to sleep, but that’s about the only thing they seemed willing to do. She felt as though she needed a cup of coffee to give herself the will to get up and make coffee. Iris Adley woke up.”

The Art of Kidnapping

“Why do rainy days always bring trouble? Keira Keegan certainly didn’t know. She was just five. And reading ‘War and Peace,’ of course, as beads of water dripped down the window of her room, splattering on the moist grass below. Her green eyes scanned the page as her short black hair fell across her face. Suddenly, she heard a piercing scream.”

Robot Battle League

“Dianna hit her alarm and got out of bed in a flash. Today was the sign-up for the championships! She had to get there nice and early. Downstairs, she was greeted by a warm hello from Silo and a bowl of cereal, which she devoured in seconds. She grabbed Silo, and they ran out of the house…”

Forsythia

“It had always gone on, ever since that horrid day. She had not, as a young wench, understood why the whole village, nay, the whole world, didn’t stop for Cynthia.”

The End of a World

“For the most part, they are silent and still. Only Hussein paces back and forth across the cramped white room. Not even the heavy thuds his boots make seem to distract anyone. The quietness that drapes the rest of outer space in a smothering quilt now covers the tiny space cruiser.”

Testing

“I remember the before. I don’t think the others do. I have flashbacks from before the plague. I remember them: my family. Not everything. Just bits and pieces. The one I remember most is a little boy. My brother… I think. Sometimes, if I let my vision go fuzzy and squint just right, I can see a pair of hazel eyes staring down at me. The same pair that in my memories looked up at me as I held… my brother’s hand.”

Untitled Novel (Excerpt)

“He shivered. After hours of searching through the forest, Ky had curled up on the roots of a great oak. Even though the huge branches and thick leaves kept the worst of the rain away, some had still made it through, soaking his already wet clothes. His brain was still a bit dazed from the confusion, but he was sure this wasn’t a dream.”

Mastermind (Excerpt)

“I stepped over the broken glass shards and entered the bank. Right in front of me was the reception, and to the left of me was a flight of cobble stairs. To the right of me were three doors. The first one was an oak door which said money counting room. The second one read file room, and the third one read surveillance room. This was at midnight, when the number of guards was smallest.”

Train Ticket

“I woke up with the sun. I never used to wake up with the sun, sleeping well into ten o’clock, but very recently, my body began to shake me awake in time to watch the sunrise. I didn’t know what change had caused that, but it wasn’t entirely unpleasant. Sure, it required an extra cup of coffee at work, but I didn’t mind watching the yellow and orange hues of the sky.”

Siri’s Story

“My name is Siri. I was a normal 16-year-old girl, who went to a normal school. Until a week ago. I’m going to tell you my story, which is a complicated one. Just remember the difference this makes the next time you use your phone. Now you will know the true, crazy story of your virtual best friend…”

A Ripple in the Waters

“I peered out the window, letting out a long sigh. Rain sucks, I thought miserably. I had made plans for that day with my aunt Ruthy, who was staying that week. Today was her last day, and we had arranged for us to go up to the park and take a walk together. Well, it looked like that plan was screwed.”

The Game

“As he scrolled through the the colorful pages, something caught his eye; it was a little tile that had a picture of a muscular chrome-clad warrior standing below a towering red-and-black patterned hydra. In blood dripping italic letters were the words, Swords and Sorcery.”

Ham and Cheese

“I looked back at my laundry machine and found myself staring right into the eyes of a fish. It was red with tinges of blue on its head and fins. In all, it was about as big as my two fists placed side by side, pretty large for a fish. I didn’t scream, or run away. I just stared open-mouthed. I probably looked like a fish myself. “

Triplets Chapter 1

“‘Angelika, wake up. It’s time for — ‘ Angelika raised a slim, manicured hand, signaling that she was, in fact, already awake, then settled back under the covers, closing her eyes. Angelika’s mother sighed tiredly. ‘Angelika, please get up. You’ll be late for school. Don’t you want to go learn?’ Now it was Angelika’s turn to sigh.”

Safety for Turtles

“The safety of turtles is important for them and us. Nearly all the turtle species are considered endangered due to humans destroying their habitat, slaughtering them for food, and for unpermitted release. Unpermitted release can cause harm to the environment too. Therefore, turtles in captivity should be kept.”

Lavender

“He wakes up early that morning. The room is dark, and the sofa is lumpy. He flips the pancakes and chops the strawberries and leaves them on a chipped plate on the wooden table. The shards of porcelain dishes turn the floor into a dangerous mosaic he tiptoes over. He sets a note next to the plate, a plea for forgiveness scribbled on it with a ballpoint pen.”

Hedgehog Human History

“Hedgehogs have coexisted with us for over 15 million years, and we have benefited off of them since the time of ancient Egyptians. Throughout the centuries, our relationships with these creatures were never faultless. After a long, complicated history with humans, hedgehogs have become our miniature, prickly friends.”

Oh College

“She keeps testing me until we get to class, where most people are testing each other on the bones. Susy is the best student in the class, so I am sure she will pass the test. This is our one chance to get our master’s in the orthopaedic class, or else we will have to take the class for another year. Ding ding ding, the bell rings for the start of class.”

Hell is People

“Hell is not a place. Hell is people. There will be people anywhere in the world who will put you through hell — or at least that’s what I thought when I grew up in this facility. They always told me that they would ‘cleanse’ me, to ‘fix’ me. But they only made things worse. “

Drowning

“From above, the waters looked serene. It was twilight, and the setting sun cast a brilliant glow across the gentle waves. The turquoise waters were deep, deeper than anyone knew, with shades of periwinkle and navy mixed in the dark depths. Yes, it seemed like the ocean was taking a rest for the night, lulling itself to sleep with the rhythm of the undulating waves.”

Me, the Woman and the Man

“In the corner of an illuminating empty, dull, gray room, I stand with pale hands that shiver like a shower in mid-December, shaking like the earth I am on. All over this neighborhood are factories, left to right. There is not a single park here. The smoke stacks develop into the sky like an evil crop of corn, and they give off these fumes which cover many of our homes with dust. It almost looks as if I had put black paint on my hands and rubbed it all over miniature, lego-like houses.”

Rock Climbing

“On the first day of summer vacation, I went straight to the rock climbing gym. This is the place where I had first conquered my fear of heights, and where I had done my first pull-up. This is where I go if I ever have some spare time and $5.50 on my MetroCard. Whenever I had to walk across the gym, I would always notice it, and whenever I noticed it I kept walking. I acknowledged it, but always kept a distance from it, the ten-foot red paracord with green lines going through it, stained with chalk.”

The Forbidden Island

“He went to bed with Mario on his mind. In the morning, he went to his parents the next day to ask who this was because this person had the same last name. Antonio’s parents looked at each other with nervous looks on their faces, but obviously they had to tell him the truth about his brother who sailed to the island and never came back home when he was three months old.”

How Kombucha Ruined My Life

“I wake up Saturday morning and check my phone from my bed. Looks like it will be another sunny day that I spend inside. I have been rehearsing the musical Legally Blonde all week, and tonight is the performance. I play Brooke Wyndham, an exercise queen accused of murder. Some of my friends and family are coming, so the show has to be really good. While I’m sad it’s almost over, a sense of relief washes over me. It has been a lot of work.”

“don’t know when i’ll be back again”

“It wasn’t supposed to end like this. The coral-colored suitcase open on the bed, the clothes hanging ready to be packed, the car come to take her away. The sun streams through the window, illuminating the pictures on the wall, reminders of a happier time. Outside, birds are chirping and children are playing in the park across the street. By all rights, it should be a beautiful day.”

The Odds Of The New Nun

“It’s approximately 3 AM, and I have walked miles in pain from a motel that I vaguely remember was in Iowa. Oddly so, a laugh begins to find its bearings on my body, and I begin an uncontrollable cascade of belly laughs that alleviate all of my momentary anxieties. Your body begins to display these erratic behaviors even in its sleep once you’ve put it through what I have.”

Morty’s

“There were many documented experiences of people who survived the voyage from Germany and other war-affected countries to America, but this is one that truly stood out. This is the story of a six-year-old boy named Yanek Levine, who journeyed to America by boat at the age of 10…”

Softball Setback

“It is my first day of middle school. Everyone says middle school is where you mature and become more responsible. I don’t want to go to middle school. At this middle school I am going to, everyone knows each other from elementary school, so it will be much harder for me to make friends. I had to leave all my friends and my home for this school, well at least the people I thought were my friends.”

Mercury

“It was on the red cinnamon hill. The rocket. It glistened in the sun. Their very own rocket that had blasted the two off to Mercury. It was in beautiful condition, ready to take off. They’d had enough of Mercury. The awful heat, it was so close to the sun. Every ration of water felt like an oasis in the middle of a raging desert.”

Controlling Fate

“My heart beats extra hard as I step onto my bike. The ride to school isn’t that long, but if I take the main road instead of my usual back alleyways, I might be able to stretch the ten minute ride into fifteen. That’s five extra minutes I don’t have to spend taking my math test. Five extra minutes I don’t have to spend watching numbers dance uncontrollably across the page, twirling just out of my grasp.”

Bakery Blues

“Being hardcore is well, hard. I have to party all night and sleep all day and never study to keep up my image. Do you think I want to be doing shots on the weekends? Please, I’d rather be watching the Barbie TV show with my four-year-old sister. But we all have images to keep up. Some more than others. And we all have a breaking point. Mine was earlier today.”

Three Minutes

“Three minutes before school ended, the only noises to be heard were the ticking of the clock (that ran two hours too late), the tapping of pencils (like that Britney Spears music video), and the sporadic, panicked scratching of pens on paper (pop quizzes are never fun).”

Up and Back Again

“Twelve-year-old Andrea opened her eyes groggily and looked at her bedside clock. 8:15! Andrea screamed in her head. She was supposed to be at school, Harker Middle, fifteen minutes ago. She quickly got changed into her blue and tan uniform, then swept her light brown hair back into a ponytail.”

a study of my papa

“I was seven years old. My mama and papa were driving back from Maryland in the middle of a giant thunderstorm. There was lightning and a whole flood warning. Mama was at the wheel. She was scared, and I was scared. Papa was scared, too. We worried that we weren’t going to make it home.”

Acelin (Chapter One)

“I walk up, right to the elevated platform where fifteen thrones sit. I can see the king’s scrutinizing expression. I am merely a small, meaningless nymph who is much lower than him on whatever social scale you look at. I am here to entertain the king, the royal family, and his court before hundreds of princesses or girls of noble status come and try to entertain the thirteen princes.”

Vera

“Vera, in her own quiet way, had always been as proud as a cat. She never claimed superiority, never went around with a stiffly straightened back, but like a cat, she always licked her wounds in secret and never let anyone know she was injured.”

2073

“Music echoes against the cold wooden walls of the old room, each note emphasizing how silent and still everything else is. Old books, stacked unevenly on the shelves, are coated in a thick layer of dust, and papers are strewn across the floor. It is 2073, and it has been years since anyone has stepped foot inside.”

Stormx4 Part I

“Her mom was on the phone again. Her mom had been on her phone for weeks, checking her texts, calling someone, or answering a call. Julia had been thinking about it forever and was determined to figure out the answer, and when Julia is determined to do something, it will be done.”

Serendipity

“The ingenue dreamed of a catastrophic world of cerulean music. / There were many realms in that world, each surprisingly different. / Her favorite glowed during the day with beautiful, cloudless skies. / The night sky was gorgeous as well, colorful but dark.”

Ignorance and Apathy: an Analysis of Japan and America’s Values

“Have you ever wondered what the cultural norms are 6,700 miles away? These cultural norms are systems of beliefs groups follow in order to maintain well-being. These sets of beliefs keep a society on one page and functional. Different cultural norms are also modified by the economy, integration, etc. Even though America and Japan are both first world countries, their values developed differently.”

Royal Blood (Excerpt)

“I creep into the room, my arms tense and my forehead sweaty. Tiptoeing over to the desk in the middle of the room, I open the second to last drawer. Peeking inside, I see what I was looking for. A gold heart-shaped amulet, covered in amethysts. It was my great-grandmother’s, stolen from her by thieves and put into a pawnshop.”

The Permanence of Plastic

“It is unlikely that anybody would like to live in a world in which there are no birds chirping and no fish swimming. We do not stop to notice the lizards, trees, and snails that are around us every day, but once we lose them, it will be glaringly obvious. This bleak picture is not one from a dystopian novel; it is our very realistic future.”

Seasons

“A lot of times I don’t feel comfortable without a coat on. The thought of people staring at my arms and my body is terrifying to me, so whenever I’m going out anywhere I always take a coat. The only bad thing about this is that it only works in the winter. In the spring and summer is when I really feel uncomfortable.”

The Accident

“I remember sliding down the bunny hill on November 12, 2013. I remember my brother’s hands around my waist. I remember them holding me tight and not letting go. I remember the heat from the hands comforting me that made me feel safe. I remember hearing my life and giggles in slow motion.”

Freakman

“It had rained all night, yet, there was no rainbow. Well, there was no sun either… but still. I was saddened by the outcome of the storm. It was just sky and clouds and emptiness. I got off the bus, feeling empty as well, like the lack of rainbows had affected me personally.”

The Simulation

“On Mondays, some of the students — mainly boys, unsurprisingly — act exhausted, just to annoy the teachers. This usually ends in parents being kindly invited to discuss their child’s behavior in class, or just the typical, ‘Go to the principal’s office, right now!’ But today, everything seems… different.”

Shadow Man

“I love the smell of the fresh air and the feel of wind gracefully blowing my hair, whipping it away from my face. This is one of the times I feel free. My stress thousands of miles away. Just sitting and looking out across the landscape to where the brilliant sun is slowly disappearing.”

Junior School

“I remember the kids’ vibrant and youthful voices filling the void in my mind with playfulness. I remember the dark skies shielding me from the truths of what lay beyond them, while we brushed past the greenery in our chosen form of transportation.”

The Infernal Names

“HER EYES ARE SO GREEN THEY BURN! like the curling pages of a magazine, chemical coating dyeing the flames. The Emerald City ablaze, the serpent’s tongue, the forest floor of the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve sin and sweat. And when you look at me with them, ooh girl, but I feel it all the way to my toes.”

Between

“The floor beneath my feet was vibrating as our small, dirty car rolled down the old, dirt road that led toward the city. It was a gloomy morning. Small droplets of rain pattered the window lightly. There was no sunlight because the fog was too thick to let light reach the dirt road. My mother was in the front seat, the place where my father used to sit, squinting to see the road ahead of us.”

Whirlwind (Excerpt)

“So there I was, sitting at the poolside, roped up and bleeding. I was shaking with a feverish violence that seemed to come from a scorching hot place, deep in my chest. Right then, I knew what I was going to do. The little voice of reason that lives in the back of my mind was desperately wondering where Grace was.”

The Absence of Hope

“The stars were punch-outs in the blackness above her, sometimes it hurt to think about space. She could think herself out of the earth, through the blue ring of atmosphere and even further beyond, looking down. If she willed it, it was possible for her to imagine herself growing more distant, shrinking, fading into… what?”

Heart Flames

“The cold, dry air blew through the forest. The trees swayed from side to side, occasionally dropping twigs or leaves on the hastily built campsite. The concoction of the sounds from the day quietly dissolved into the thin, night air. The only noise in the whole forest was the sound of the fire crackling and the wrinkling of the piece of paper I clutched tightly in my hand.”

Schoolwork Aiding Websites: Innocent Aid or Devious Cheating?

“The establishment of a border that clearly demarcates where your hand ends and your phone begins may seem easy at first. As technology worms it’s way further into our lives, however, the hand and the phone fuse, and the weight of humanity becomes more and more reliant on the crutch sweetly proffered by our mechanical aides.”

World Sweeps Coal into Dustbin of History

“It’s a humid day, reminiscent of so many others in Bangladesh, as Aarashi hops on the truck that will take him to the coal mine where he has toiled in obscurity most of his adult life. He enters the claustrophobic tunnel, like he has nearly every morning for twenty-six years, and is instantly swallowed by darkness.”

Cotton Candy Skies

“Reach up, up, to the cotton candy skies. To the heavens of pink, of white, and of gray, to the spun-sugar taste of a spring’s lovely day. The fire’s smoke twists into skeins of dark air, but the blue sky’s cobwebs knot into pale hair. Sunlight and moonlight and light of all hues, quiet in violet and in all types of blues.”

Soul-carved (Excerpt)

“‘If any one of you ladies stole my gods-damn peppermints, I’m going to give your spellbooks to the gods-damn witch hunters!’ The tired voice of Tallulah Hemmings — the strangest young witch in all of everywhere, as her biased mentor put it — rang out across the deck of what looked to be an oddly shaped pirate ship, tumbling its way across the waves with an eccentric grace.”

Romeo and Juliet Revisited

“Sigmund Freud once theorized that all instincts can be categorized as life instincts (Eros) or death instincts (Thanatos). Life instincts, most commonly referred to as sexual instincts, are the need for humans to survive, feel pleasure, and reproduce. Death instincts create a thrill-seeking energy that is expressed as self-destructive behavior.”

CHANGE & CONTINUITY IN APOCALYPTIC THOUGHT

“Since the beginning of recorded history, humankind has maintained a strong fascination with its own demise. From its eschatological roots to the nuclear age and beyond, apocalyptic thought has permeated mass culture. However, the thematics of apocalyptic thought and therefore of its representation in culture have shifted, although certain consistencies have survived.”

A Mindful Macbeth: How “Hand” is Used in Macbeth to Represent a Relationship Between Mind and Body

“We usually think of our hands as fairly physical things — almost distant things; we don’t regularly consider what they are doing or how we control them. Not so much for Macbeth. In William Shakespeare’s classic Macbeth, power-hungry Macbeth murders many for the Scottish throne, which witches tell him he will gain.”

Energy, Empowerment, & Entrepreneurship: Female Figures in American Literature

“Many critics — specifically literary critic Patricia Cadwell — now praise Bradstreet for her efforts for being “the founder of American literature” and her role in exposing the evils of patriarchal tradition (Cadwell 138). In truth, various works of American literature emphasize the female figure’s thirst for equality through the continuation of restrictive, outmoded ideologies pertaining to gender rights.”

Frankenstein, Not Gloria Steinem

“Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, was the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, an early feminist, and William Godwin, a progressive and an anarchist who raised her with values which advocated social justice and reform. One might thus expect Shelley’s writing to be alive with strong female personalities and feminist ideas.”

InsertTitleNameHere

“John came from a long line of fishermen. His family made its living off of selling fish. Until, one fateful day, John’s father was killed by a crab he had fished. John’s father was fishing and got a bite on his hook. He began to pull. It wasn’t easy to catch. He was then pulled into the water by the two ounce crab.”

Dinah’s Voice Must Always Be Heard; A Speech Examining Vayishlach (Genesis 34) Through A Feminist Lens

“So, a quick recap for all of you who have zoned out for the last thirty minutes, Dinah’s story goes like this. Once upon a time, Dinah, the only named daughter of Ya’akov and Leah, went walking in search of other girls in the land of Chamor. Shechem, Chamor’s son, “vayikach Dina” — or “takes” her. What happens after she has been taken, is debated.”

798

“798 could still feel the scalding breath of Krohn, his landlord, on the hairs of his neck, but he was a Sentien, so he could be hundreds of feet behind him without 798 ever knowing. In the cramped apartment, he ran, though the possibility of such a distance was barely even possible.”

The Savior

“Holding onto the cracking piece of the bridge, questions flew across my mind. A warm hand grabbed me. He pulled me up, and I was deeply breathing on the side of the bridge. I turned around. I was going to thank him and give him everything I had.”

Imperfect

“A large, clean, white box sits in the middle of a deserted, gray street. It lets out a wail, and my hinges squeak towards it. I open it, and inside is a wailing child, but where a second tiny arm should be, a clean stump is there instead. I turn away. The government will hunt and kill her for her imperfection.”

Province of Darkness

“In an open space shadowed by the main building, a Venorian maid, wearing her long, brown dress, was sweeping the leaves off the stone floor. The space was a circle, with four entrances and seating on the edge. In the middle of two entrances was a statue. The maid brushed her scaly forehead and looked up at the statue. It was a large, marble sculpture of a Dark Elf woman holding a sword in one hand and an olive branch in the other.”

Laughter Heals All Wounds

“We wear uniforms to make us all the same, so we spent all our time emphasizing all the ways that we were different. In some ways it is a good thing, but in other ways, it is quite demoralizing.  My new school suddenly brought my race into focus.  For the first time, I started confronting what it meant to be different: a black, dark-skinned girl, growing up in a predominately white city in America.”

Truth and Lies

“Getting into trouble with him would be serious business, and if I wanted to come home with my limbs still attached, I’d better remove myself from this risky activity. Sebastian often came to the bar, and he had been known to get into fights. But Sebastian was smart, and he had caught onto what I was doing.”

M.

“The water was dirty. He could see the grime washing off with every move of his hands over his dirty body; specks of blood flaked off into the water and opened old wounds that he didn’t know he had. His toes poked against the surface of the water, hair slicked back with shampoo. Months without relaxation, and he was tense.”

Observatory

“Sydney sat back in her chair. It was another slow day in the Extremely Large Telescope, and nothing was really happening, as usual. Sydney already knew that she wasn’t going to find anything. No matter how many signals humanity sent out from earth, they never got a response.”

On Conspiracy Theories

“According to Merriam-Webster, a conspiracy theory is a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators. People formulate conspiracy theories in order to cope with the fear of the unknown and to explain unprecedented phenomena that are frightening.”

Black Girl

“I am expected to drop out of school at sixteen due to pregnancy, and raise a baby without a father. / I am expected to live off of minimum wage with a fast food job and welfare for financial support. / Expected to live in the projects for the rest of my life until I make it out of it, but really never make out of it.”

Unexpected Visitor

“It’s raining so hard that the new roof begins to leak, and the pouring rain forces people to ditch the umbrellas for something stronger. Jennifer continues to stare out of her window, sitting on a chair in front it; she has been gazing at the mud sliding down the edge of the garden that once looked beautiful just a week ago.”

The Curious Cottage

“It stood with white brick, tattered with dirt and age. The door was a rustic red, gaping open in an ivy, spiraled archway. Over the years, it developed rotting wood, the pungent smell of dead rats, creaky floorboards, and the decay of things that had not been touched in decades. This only became clear when inside the house, but nobody dared to take a single step on the property.”

Misogyny and Bullying in North and South America

“There are many types of inflicted pain, like slavery, racism, mockery, bullying, violence, etc. but we are just going to focus on two of them: misogyny and bullying. Many of us have probably seen these two before, and most of us haven’t done anything to stop them, or walked away from the situation and tried to even forget it. This doesn’t stop the cycle.”

Child Soldiers

“A massive barrier and issue during the Sudanese war for education was the unique and brutal recruitment of child soldiers. Many children who were still in school, during this civil war, were separated from their tribes and families. Some young children were forced to be child soldiers to aid the war efforts in many ways like cooking, fighting, prostitution, and shields for the adult soldiers.”

Whitechapel

“The air was chilly, and the sky was cloudy while whispers and footsteps filled the streets of the Whitechapel District. A dark, heavy cloud had hung over the residents since the early morning. The bars were already filled with men and women alike, drowning their fears in bourbon. They all paid no mind to a lone figure, cloaked in black, shambling down Hanbury Street.”

The Factory

“The factory was the most beautiful building in town. It stood proudly at the corner of 17th and Orlando Street. It was a treasure to the people of the town. To a passersby, it was obvious that it used to be a church. It had beautiful stained glass windows in the most vibrant colors, making it stand out in the otherwise dull cityscape.”

Social Skills and Social Media

“Social media is one of the largest growing phenomenons across the world, and it is still spreading. This marvel condenses conversations and relationships to the form of an app. The problem with these apps is that social skills, such as conversation skills, body language, and many others, are lost when using social media as a main form of communication.”

Jazz in Education

“Jazz has always been a big part of my life. I believe that jazz is important because it teaches creativity in a way that’s different from anything else. Jazz is a musical genre you can improvise on. Classical music, which is the genre schools teach, is only played one way: by playing the specific notes written on the page.”

The Cure

“It began. I was in and out as they brought me to the operation room. I could see people running around me. The two that were pushing the bed had hazmat suits on, which only meant that there was a patient they weren’t so sure of. I felt something running from my ears — it was blood running like a never ending river.”

Janitor

“The man walked up to the school building early in the morning. The students wouldn’t be there for another hour, but he had to be there before anyone else. He groggily fumbled with his keyring, his fingers not awake enough to choose the right one.”

Space Baby

“Eliza’s eyes grew wide at the world. The space around her was light and airy. She floated up and around the little room in the aircraft. Her face was soft, cheeks glowing and red. Her lips were thin and moist, but no breath escaped them.”

The Snake

“As I walk to the street corner where I work, I feel free. No one is giving me funny looks. No one knows what I’m keeping in my bag. Then I get to the street corner and set down my hat. Already, people are looking at me. I reach down into my bag and pull out my snake, Jimmy. I drape him around my neck and start the day.”

Uncharted Territory

“Her screams seemed muted as they sometimes do in movies. I couldn’t make out her words because she was so distraught. Tears ran down her cheeks, and her face was red and hot. As I inched towards her to help her calm down, she swatted my hand away like a bug, a nothing to her.”

Angels

“What’s happening? Where am I? These are the first things that come to my mind. I’m unaware of the darkness that surrounds me. So I begin to walk. I don’t know where I’m going, I just know that I have somewhere to be.”

Annie and I

“I stared out at the desolate gloomy hills. They were mostly a greenish, brown color, like what you would see in pea soup. To make matters worse, my mom had told me that it would probably be raining everyday here in good old Hartford, Connecticut.”

Harmonica

“Harmonica. Harmonica, Harmonica. That was all Calum asked for consecutively for four years. He just wanted one. All his friends had one. Lucy had a pink one with jewels along the top, Hannah had a purple one with polka dots, and Mika had a green one with little dinosaurs across the top.”