I Never Knew – Adrianna Gray

Tomorrow will be the anniversary of the worst day in my life. Nine years and that horrid day still haunts me. All that time passed and I never knew the pain my siblings felt. At least, not the full extent of the variants of pain. I never thought their truculent tendencies would develop so rapidly and stay with them until. . . I understood, in hindsight, what she was capable of, but-I just never . . . funny . . . I think she’s out there, somewhere. She’s like the shadow behind every corner, with how often I think of her. That day, so much like this one nearly nine years ago, still haunts my nightmares luridly. If only I knew . . .

“Mayna, stop this! Now, Mayna!” my brother, Mason, commanded our little sister as he pushed her to the floor.

It was five in the afternoon on an unusually warm night. It was the end of October just a few days’ shy of Halloween. My siblings were in one of their heated arguments. The quarrel had been going on for several minutes, while I concealed myself behind the stairs. Ever since it became just my siblings and I, four years prior, both had become hostile. I couldn’t intervene, though. I only did once and Mason locked us both in the dank basement for over a day. I know I was a coward of a fifteen-year-old for doing so, but I didn’t wish to face either of their wraths.

The situation was getting out of hand even for them. I know I should have stopped it then, but the fear I had overwhelmed me. I froze.

“No, Mason, I won’t stop! You can’t treat us like this!” Mayna yelled getting back on her feet, “Don’t you see you’re hurting us?!”

“I do what I do to teach you respect!” Mason bellowed, “You’d be better off if you would just listen to me!”

“Then I’ll make you see,” Mayna muttered venomously, looking at something glistening in her left hand.

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Enigma – Abbie Hoffer

 

In the days leading up to his murder, my brother was as he always had been. He seemed quiet, but was actually very opinionated once people got to know him. He was introverted, but knew how to have fun. I loved Harry, as had everyone else in his life. He taught history at a high school level, coached tee ball, and still managed to raise me, his little sister. Harry taught me to drive, to work, and how to survive in the city. Then again, maybe he wasn’t that good at surviving. It’s funny how the tables can turn so suddenly, pitching you off the ledge on which you were just standing. One day, Harry was taking me to a Mets game, the next he was held up and shanked outside the grocery store by some punk in a Jim Carrey mask. Just like that, he was another lost soul in the wind.

The funeral was lovely. Most of Harry’s students showed up, as well as his entire tee ball team. A few of my friends showed up for support, as well as some distant relatives. Our parents didn’t show, which wasn’t a surprise to anyone. They weren’t too keen on me, which is why Harry had to step in and raise me. Mother and Father cared more about their reputations than their “special” child. I didn’t care about them, not anymore.

I wore a bright blue sweater and jeans as I stood in the funeral reception hall. Harry hated it when I wore black. Some people hugged me, which was awkward. Most just told me that my brother was a kind man. I think that made it worse, honestly. If he was a criminal, he still treated me well, but I could see how he could have it coming. But the fact that he was this immaculate pillar of society who didn’t deserve this at all made it all the worse.

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A Message From Ms. Leo

When I started teaching Creative writing over twelve years ago, I never envisioned it blossoming into the solid program that it has become today.  I am humbled to work with such a talented group of writers who end up teaching me new things every day.  This publication is a testament to their hard work and creative spirit.  Please enjoy.

On the Run – Asna Rizwan

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Photo by Jordan Franklin

Witnessing the aftermath of a murder unfortunately held a spot in my everyday life, a downside to being an agent in the FBI. However, today’s occurrences were far beyond ordinary. Isla’s murder took place in my own home, and I was the number one suspect accused of strangling and torturing her last night. As much as I despised Isla for her perfection and her close friendship with Isaac, I was no killer. But yet somehow, my husband, a fellow agent, arrested me as I left the penthouse with bloodstained clothes and a face tearful from betrayal.

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Infiltration Novel Excerpt – Adel Mansour

Imagine you and a close friend are having an espresso at a coffee shop, waiting for another one of your friends. She arrives and puts two bullets into your friend and then another two into you. While this is happening, your mother and father are having lunch at a pizza shop, and your brother has the whole place rigged with enough C4 to level the whole block. Guess what… he does it. Now, your aunt is on a bridge leaving the city you live in, and your boss blows every single bridge and tunnel leaving it, effectively trapping the city. While all this is happening, many more situations like it are occurring all over Kings City. Right now, you may be asking, why are the people I know and love doing this? The real question you should be asking is, how well do you know them? They are part of a group known as the Infiltrators. They are a group who has no nation, no race, and no religion. The point of life to them, is to get into your life and then turn on you when told to do so. You could’ve known the person for five, ten, even fifteen years, but they will kill you without any hesitation. Ian and his friends are placed into this situation when they go to Kings City to represent their school to enter a prestigious club known as the Elite Society. But let me ask you this… If your parents were killed by the Infiltrators, would you stay and fight with your friends, knowing that you could get yourself along with everyone you love killed over your own vendetta? Or would you escape the moment you get the chance? Leaving it to the United States Military might be the smarter choice, but how can they differentiate friend from foe, when they look exactly the same? Join the group through this unforgettable and fast-paced adventure where at any moment, their world can come tumbling down. But be careful, nothing is as it seems.

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Only Ash Remains – Grace Messimer

DSC_0022.jpgOnly ash remains as I step through the knee-high piles of debris and ash, some gray, some white, some completely blackened by the fire and bombs that burned everything to the ground. I looked around for any sign of life, any sign of my small hometown from before it was burned to the ground.

My boots are covered in the flaking ash, standing in a spot that may have been my house or my family. I do not know if there was an evacuation, if my mother and father and brother had any warning to leave before they too burned to ash like a phoenix unable to be reborn.

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The Child – Cecilia Bollinger ★

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Art by Julia Wanner

The streetlights gave off an eerie glow in the fog, a halo of yellow light framing the bulbs. A man was walking home, clutching his wool coat closer to his body, shivering in the damp. His name was Tom Cavanaugh. It wasn’t the most important part about him. What was important in that moment was that he had spent the night at a party with a woman who wasn’t his wife. He shouldn’t have kissed her; he knew that. But Tom had a weak will. He was pretty sure it ran in the family.

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