ISLAH by Jad Kaado

Ali the thief tightened the keffiyeh around his face, leaving only his bright blue eyes piercing through the veil. He surveyed his surroundings to make sure no one was around, and grabbed his knapsacks in a hurry. Gently, he cradled the ceramic bowls under his arms while tying the sacks onto the saddle of his camel. A smile slithered onto his face, as he admired the fine paint on the vases and the lapis lazuli stones that filled them. He easily obtained his new treasures, and reveled in the fact that they would sell quick in the markets.

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I'm scared. I don't know what the future will hold. I can't see past this moment. The results of my actions are unknown, but I need to move. Please move. My mind begs my legs but they are frozen in the grip of fear that roots me where I stand. This is fine. The coffee stains on my shirt add character, the length of my shaggy hair speaks for my commitment, my beard is a symbol of who I am and my body is a temple that needs no maintenance because it's still going strong!

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A sense of panic flowed over me as I watched my best friend get dragged away by the local cops. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t even say goodbye, my mind was in a total funk as I witnessed the officer walk my friend out of the interrogation room. It felt surreal, like a nightmare, only it was real. I could have easily prevented this, but of course I had been too caught up in my own self-preservation. I’m Evanna, and here’s my story.

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THE BOX by Toni Kwadzogah

you’re a reflection, ever seen

            The flood of light dimmed, fluorescents clicked on, and Abigail let out a soft sigh. The skin on her cheeks and forehead burned, her hands tingled in the sudden cool. Sharp spasms rattled up her spine in rough waves, but she remained upright, wrists locked, shoulders down, back straight, neck wrenched. She stared down at the bleached white pages before her, rigid finger joints imperceptibly twitching, a teacup trembling slightly in her hands.

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THE CELL by The Sir Shags

Since the day I was born, I've been locked in a cage. Or at least it seems that way.

Although these four, rotten walls dominate me, I can always look forward to the fleeting escape of a long nap. Sometimes sleep comes, but never easily. Once it finally does, it's gone too soon. And when I've awoken, there is that sweet, blissful moment before I recall my own wretched condition. That precious tenth of a second is shattered when I roll over and finger the jagged brick edifice of my cell's wall. I scratch in another meaningless tally mark denoting one more planetary rotation, a ritual which long ago ceased to matter. And then I just face the day, because that's all I can do.

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