Omelets and Chả by Andrew Ho

The stomps of heavy feet will chunter up the staircase. Heavy breathing, a semblance of panting. With reserved calmness, his voice will call out: Arnie! Sam! 

Sam will flinch badly to the sound of her own name. She will be hunching over in the darkest part of her closet in a deep squat, her hands clasping over her mouth to prevent any fatal noises from escaping. Tears will stream down her face like ribbons, her breathing in a stagger, her eyes squeezing shut. A dream to be anywhere but here. The silver body of Jesus on the crucifix will stare expressionless on her wall.

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22 by H.A. Grace

Walking down the grocery store aisle, looking at the products that were thrown across the shelving and trying to read each logo and ingredient with a lost appetite and a distant mind was not an easy task. I caught myself reading the same word or line continuously, not to place it to memory but to just read it, to know what it said. My mind was far from this run-down grocery store, the no good little town, dead-end job and messed up life. I never thought I would still be here, stuck here. I thought I would be living my life to the fullest, graduated from college with my dream job and married to my dream man. And yet, I was stuck here in this stupid town reading the word ‘cake’ for the twelfth time in a row.

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Us by Emmeline Millhouse

I saw you. 

Yes, you. And you saw me. And I knew from the beginning it would be us, it would always be us. When I sat down at the bar, you slid over to me, smooth ink hair, doe blue eyes. You were real; not like the other phonies who smiled for a tip, but with a smile as sweet as strawberries and soft as velvet. You didn’t tell me your name. You didn’t have to. I saw it on one of those cheap bronze clips against your button-up black polo. You didn’t have to ask my name, but you did because that’s the kind of person you are. You did it to everyone, but I knew mine meant different to you. 

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Everyone Knew by Jonathan Sanford

Everyone saw Emily go home with that guy at the party, and now everyone would know.

And after ten days of waiting, she realized that not only was she late, she was beginning to become really, desperately, frighteningly late. 

Everyone saw her make out with him; neat, tidy Emily made out with him and then went home with him. 

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Submission by Yusef Toomer

Once upon a time, there was a family of four. There was a mom, a dad, a brother and a sister. The mom’s name was Jennifer, the dad’s name was Robert, the brother’s name was Kyle and the sister’s name was Lisa. They lived in a two-story house, and the people in the house loved each other. However, they had a conflict when it came to animals. 

It started way back in school. Kyle was in the fourth grade, and his sister Lisa was in the second grade. Kyle was two years older than Lisa, and so she looked up to him. Lisa was in science class one Tuesday morning, and she and the other students were going to do an experiment with organisms.

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Unraveling Affairs by Joshua Shepherd

Eleanor Grey arose from her peaceful sleep and eloquently began moving about her homely cottage to ready herself for the day ahead. She had waited many long weeks for this elating day to arrive in her life. November 21. The date’s newfound connotation brought a beaming smile to her face, for it was the day that her engagement to a young and charming sir Henry Mason would be announced at a dinner inside the Mason’s extravagant home. Just two years prior she had met Henry and started as the new maid for the Mason’s at just twenty years old. And now by her twenty-third birthday she would be the newest Mrs. Mason, in charge of the household alongside her loving partner, who would be just twenty himself here shortly.

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Scars of Our Own Making by Sophie Spruce

The matron dropped another pile of dishes in the sink, causing the soapy water to splash onto my shirt. I took one look at my callused hands and almost laughed from the sheer madness of it. Growing up, I’d heard tales of princesses in disguise but never thought I would be one. Now, I worked in the same palace I’d grown up in.

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The Labyrinth of Broken Mirrors and Fatherless Daughters by Macy Miles

I am beginning to believe there is no way out of this labyrinth. In the maze of affliction, I am a sliver of a fragment, a lost cause the world is desperately trying to rescue. To be young and depressed in this era of good vibrations and photoshopped social media portraits, it is surprising (even to myself) that I have found comfort in isolation. I am content in my manic-pixie wonderland, though I do not recognize the Alice in my mirror’s reflection. I am often afraid that I have fallen too far down the rabbit hole, past all of the whimsical beings—and straight into the belly of the beast.

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