Struggle of Being Vegan – Grace Messimer

“What can I do for you?” the barista asked. Phoebe sighed, glancing down at the children at her side.

“Um, I’ll take a large coffee with soy milk and hazelnut syrup, and the vegetarian vegetable soup. And then they’ll have….” she stuttered, trying to not cringe at the order, “two ham and cheese paninis and two small strawberry smoothies.” Phoebe sighed and paid for the food, thanking the barista before walking  over to a table and slumping into a chair.

Once their food came, the small girl Phoebe was babysitting, Lily, asked, “do you want any of my sandwich?” Phoebe shook her head, spooning up more of her soup.

“No thanks. I can’t eat the cheese. Or the ham.”

“Why? Do you have an allergy? Because I’m allergic to peanuts!”

“No, Lily, not an allergy.”

“Then…why?”

Phoebe didn’t know how to respond. She knew that the parents of these children didn’t want them to get influenced by Phoebe’s vegan lifestyle, but the kids were practically asking to hear more about it! “I don’t eat meat. Or anything from meat products.”

“But, why?” Conner, Lily’s older brother, asked.

“Oh, you know,” Phoebe started, trying to skate over the topic, “environmental reasons, moral reasons, health reasons.” To this, Lily nodded, but Conner was still staring at Phoebe as if she had two heads.

“Health reasons?” he asked, and she nodded. “So do you mean that because Lily and I eat meat we’re not healthy?” he continued, looking confused. Lily looked up from her basket of food, her large brown eyes filling quickly with tears.

“Phoebe? Are Conner and me going to die because we eat meat?” Lily cried, and Conner looked at her as well.

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Voices of Death – Hannelise Zwahlen

It was a warm, sunny day in Paris when Archer strode into the paint shop down the street from his studio. He had a kind smile on his face and many would describe his hair as liquid gold in the sun. Archer was an apprentice to an artist named Eric, and was sent to the shop to buy more red paint for the artist’s latest painting. He walked up to the counter with the crimson shade in hand and greeted Madame Beaumont, the owner of the shop.

“Bonjour Madame. I hope you’ve had an wonderful morning.”

“Why Merci, Archer. It’s been quite a lovely day. How is Eric doing? I hope he is not stressing himself too much,” replied Madame Beaumont.

“Oh you know him Madame. Eric is always stressing about everything,” answered Archer with a chuckle, “Well au revoir, I must be off. Eric will be frustrated if I am late again.”

“Tell him to give you the day off!” exclaimed Madame.

“He would never do that,” said Archer with a smile as he grabbed the paint and exited the shop. He was walking down the street and towards the studio when he heard a voice.

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The Nightmare – Sai Kannekanti

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Art by Megan Brennan

Her eyes flew open.

From what little she could see in the darkness, she could tell that she was still laying on her bare mattress in her cold bedroom. The only thing remotely visible was the soft silhouette of her boyfriend sleeping soundly beside her. She noticed the way his back rose and fell, and her heart fell in line with the rhythm.

Now, the girl was starting to feel uncomfortable. Her body was splayed out in an awkward position, and a tingling sensation crept up her spine. But as she moved to adjust herself, she began to panic once the realization set in:

She couldn’t move.

A wave of fear and panic crashed into her. She felt trapped inside her skin, unable to move her body no matter how hard she tried. Her eyelids were betraying her, trying to squeeze themselves shut, and it took all the girl’s energy to force them to stay open. She could feel her breathing become shallow and rapid as her chest tightened. The discomfort grew as time passed, reaching unbearable heights. It felt as if the mattress and the bedsheets were closing in on her from both sides. She wanted to scream as loudly as possible…to say something, anything to make her boyfriend notice her plight, but her mouth wouldn’t budge; it felt like her lips were glued shut. Even her eyes were immovable, her view locked exclusively to her boyfriend’s back. It seemed like cruel irony to her, staring at her only escape but unable to reach it.

By this point, a feeling of dread was starting to overcome the girl as it dawned on her that she might be paralyzed forever. She could feel her eyes pooling with tears, yet she was powerless to wipe them away. The tingling in her spine agonized her. How long would she remain trapped in this awkward position until her boyfriend woke up and noticed her? The girl wanted to burst into tears when she realized she might have to wait for hours to be saved. She fought her body once more, forcing her toes to wiggle and curl with every ounce of strength she had.


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