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PARALLEL INK PARALLEL INK

JULY 2014 Issue 2, Volume 2

WRITING + ART for students, by students


PARALLEL INK Issue 2, Vol. 2

EDITORIAL BOARD Jamie Uy Managing Editor Jiyoon Jeong Senior Editor Art & Korean Translation Puinoon Na Nakorn Senior Editor Technology & Thai Translation Daniel Kwiatkowski Guest Editor Erica Sehyun Song Guest Editor

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Emma Breber Guest Editor

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Vincent Tantra Guest Editor

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Michelle Lu Guest Editor

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Nisha Choudhary Guest Reader Justine de Jesus Guest Illustrator

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Elena Morey Guest Illustrator

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Contributors Emma Freedman Francesca Tinga Hajira Kamran Genie Pakivsal Boonyanin Pakvisal Yongyu Chen Rosie Kingston Tom Osborn Nicolas Guevara-Mann Salima Bensalah Sun Yoon Talia Gifford Jaraeya McGraw Audrey Effenberger Caroline Hope York KyAnne Davis Kadya Chavkin Chris Ahn Rachel Quade Aliya Zuberi Tanvi Dutta Gupta Vicki Smith Kendall Allen Rachel Troy Margaret Zhang Erika Emch paperwinter Jessie Lim Leyla Brittan Madeline Scott Alexandra Mary Hodges Ruthie Klein Georgia Smith

Sarah du Pont Translator

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Yichen Zhu Translator © Parallel Ink 2014 - The writing and artwork published in this issue are the intellectual property of the accredited contributors. All rights reserved. COVER IMAGE © Humans of Shenzhen


EDITOR’S NOTE

The Making of an Online Magazine

Mission Publishing writing and art by students for students around the world

Publicity

111

likes

32 tweets

1 blog

12 talks

1 interview

Editing

Submissions

75935 words submitted since 9/14/13 400 total submissions (about) 11 countries 22 American states POETRY most popular genre

Averages per issue

20 accepted pieces 30 submissions screened by an editor 80 emails sent about editing 2 translations into Thai or Korean

Staff

3 senior editors/co-founders 23 present and past staff members 5 training documents for guest staff 7 countries

In late April, I set out to create the above infographic for the editor’s note, in the hopes of giving a glimpse into how the ‘behind the scenes’ work at PI measures up. Conclusion: there’s no calculation for teen spirit. Here’s a loud thank you to every one of the many creative, witty, and hard-working 18-and-unders — submitters, contributors, and staff members alike — that helped make Volume 2’s 138 pages possible. You are what keeps PI growing exponentially.


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INTERVIEW WITH ANNA CALTABIANO, TEEN AUTHOR

ANNA CALTABIANO  IS  NOT  JUST  A  PRETTY  FACE  IN  THE  CROWD.  At seventeen, Anna has already published an award-winning book, been interviewed on national TV, and amassed over 126,000 followers through social media! Her acclaimed debut novel, All That Is Red, won praise from teenagers and critics alike for its relatability, compelling plot, and haunting narration. The book is about two teenagers growing up in a dystopian society where people choose to feel either nothing (the White) or everything (the Red). Anna, a Japanese-Italian-American who calls herself a “child of the transnational cyber punk era”, writes about teenage issues and feelings that transcend borders. She goes to school in Silicon Valley, and uses her books, articles, and media appearances to advocate youth empowerment. Parallel Ink exchanged emails with Anna to talk about books, multicultural kids, and why two-hundred rejections shouldn’t stop you.

! How has being a multicultural kid influenced your writing? !

Though I live in the US and see myself as a typical American teenager, I was born in Hong Kong and Japanese was my first language. I think that colors my worldview and influences the way I use the English language. Maybe I struggle with words and end up using combinations that might seem “different" or “fresh” to others. I certainly think I approach words in a different way due to my background, but then again, I don’t know anything different.


How did you get All That Is Red published?

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After writing All That is Red, it took lots and lots of letters to get it published. Letters to find a literary agent. Letters to find a publisher. And of course, many, many rejections. I stopped counting after I reached the 200 mark. But with publishing anything, it’s important to remember that those rejections ultimately don’t mean anything. What matters is that one person who says yes, and believes in the book just as much as you do. That person makes all the difference!

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Did you have a certain routine when writing All That Is Red? We heard that you wrote it over the summer. That must take some diligence!

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I’m an only child, and normally every summer my dad does what most parents of only children do—sign their kid up for summer camp so they don’t spend their summer on the couch. One summer, to escape summer camp, I told my parents that I was going to write a novel. I loved to write short stories, and I had always meant to write a novel someday, so I decided that that was as good a time as any. Of course, my dad said what any parent in their right mind would say: “Yeah, right.” I ended up parking myself right in the middle of the dining room table all summer to write the first draft of what would later become All That is Red.

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In your book, people choose between the Red (feeling) and the White (not feeling at all). Did you chose a side by titling the book, “All That Is Red”?

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I try not to pick sides, but I think if you read the book (hear me talk about it), you will certainly see where my sympathies lie. Red represents messy emotion. The book's full title comes from the realization that there can be no joy without grief, nor love without loneliness. No matter how sad or lonely we feel, it is our ability to feel this emotional range that makes us human. However tempting, numbing out everything or trying to escape emotion denies our basic humanity. But how do you tolerate the often extreme emotional pain or soul deadening emotional numbness, that many experience?—Through the connection to at least one other soul.

! Do you ever get nervous when discussing your book on talk shows? !

Strangely enough, I get more nervous giving a presentation in Spanish class than I do talking about my book on live national television. Partly, I think it’s because I enjoy talking about books and writing. Writing is one of my great loves and sharing what you love to do with other people is an incredible feeling.

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Of course, talk shows and interviews can seem a bit daunting. Five minutes before I’m set to go on stage, I normally think “What on earth did I get myself into?” But as soon as I step out, I remember to just have fun. All my squeezy nerves melt away, and I end up having a blast!


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What are your favorite books and authors? Are there traces of their influence in your writing?

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My favorite books range from Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, to Tao Lin's more contemporary Taipei. I try to read a variety of things and often ask my friends for advice on what to read next. Personally, I'm a firm believer that everything influences your writing. Whether you're acutely aware of it or not, that waiter you ordered a hamburger from, and that book you read last summer and hated, influence how you see the world. Writing is just another way to express and explore your point of view.

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What advice do you have for other kids who'd like to write their novels and publish them?

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I think I have two words of advice for other kids who would like to write novels and publish them. For writing, my advice would be to just write. It’s important to plot things out and do your research, but ultimately, writing is all about just that—writing. As for publishing, my advice would be to find someone who believes in your story as much as you do. If you surround yourself with people who believe in what you’re doing, you can’t go wrong.

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Can you share a little bit of what you’re working on now?

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My new trilogy was actually just recently announced. The Seventh Miss Hatfield, the first book of the trilogy is set to come out this July, and I’m super excited!

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Like All That is Red, the trilogy is from the perspective of a young adult going through critical transitions in her life. The trilogy explores first love, first loss, and the first realization that memories are fragile.

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I’m currently working on the second book of that trilogy. It’s really fun for me to revisit characters to which I’ve grown attached.

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Want to learn more about Anna and her writing? Check out her website, http:// www.annacaltabiano.com/, and you can also order All That Is Red online at Amazon.

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Credits: The Seventh Miss Hatfield cover from https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/, other photos courtesy of Anna


WHAT’S UP? COLUMN

JUNGLEHEROES: SAVING THE RAINFOREST BY EMMA FREEDMAN

I WAS  TEN  YEARS  OLD  WHEN  I  VISITED  AN  ORANGUTAN  REHABILITATION  CENTER  IN  BORNEO  with  my   family. As I looked into the eyes of the orphaned orangutans, I fell in love with them. But I also felt great sadness: as we traveled across Borneo, I saw the devastation of the rainforest firsthand. I knew I had to do something.

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Over the last four years, I’ve returned to Borneo three times to meet conservationists and study the orangutans. I’ve learned that the most important thing we can do is to speak out about the crisis, so I founded Jungleheroes. Jungleheroes is a project raising awareness about the rainforest and orangutans, while helping empower kids to make a positive difference in the world. The issues are complex, such as balancing human development with the needs of the planet, but I believe engaging my generation is the solution.

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In Borneo, I didn’t stop at speaking with conservationists. In order to fully understand the conflict between development and conservation, I spoke with Malaysians and Indonesians who are being affected by deforestation. I went out into the field to learn about the effects of deforestation on water quality, and I am currently working on a species viability report to better understand prognosis for the orangutans. The scale of our environmental problems requires us all to be involved in the solutions. We can’t afford to wait! The future of rainforest is our responsibility.

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As a speaker on the plight of the orangutans, I’ve presented to 7,000 students in countries such as India, Singapore, Japan, and the United States. Now many of these schools are taking action, and Jungleheroes supports their initiatives with materials and expertise. For this work, I was recognized as a Finalist for the 2013 Gloria Barron Prize For Young Heroes, and a 2014 Global Teen Leader by the We Are Family Foundation’s Three Dot Dash project.

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I am excited for the future of Jungleheroes. Success would be a world full of youth who are passionate, informed, and emboldened to change the world, and adults who take youth seriously so we can work together to find solutions. This project is beyond saving a species or ending palm-oil expansion: we need to be environmentally aware so we can prevent further destruction of our planet.


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Here are three things you can do to make a difference today:

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1. Sign the Jungleheroes pledge: http://jungleheroes.org/the-pledge/ showing your commitment to find solutions.

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2. Write letters and emails to companies demanding “deforestation-free palm oil.” You can find a list of the “Snack Food 20” here: http://ran.org/conflict-palm-oil.

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3. Raise awareness by telling everyone about the problem and encouraging them to get involved!

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Learn more about Emma and Jungleheroes by going to http://jungleheroes.org/about/s my-story/. You can also watch her video “We’re The Solution” here: http://youtu.be/ 6oNZjP-VNA0.

Emma Freedman is a teen conservationist and environmental scientist. Since age 10, she has been working to save the rainforest and the orangutan species. She's has done fieldwork in Borneo, and travels internationally speaking to groups to inspire young people to take action. Emma is a 2014 Global Teen Leader with We Are Family Foundation. She's spoken at TedxYouth Tokyo and was featured as a Youth Activist for the The Asahi Shinbun, the largest newspaper in Japan.


HUMANS OF SHENZHEN PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT BY FRANCESCA TINGA & HAJIRA KAMRAN

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PHOTOGRAPHY HAS   ALWAYS   BEEN   A   PASSION of mine and for Hajira, likewise with other forms of media like painting and writing. While she prefers to focus on people rather than objects, landscapes, and moments like I do with Humans of Shenzhen, we were able to incorporate all of that in an attempt to represent the people we surround ourselves with here in Shekou, Shenzhen. Everyone spends high school trying to find a way to do something different, and though our idea was definitely inspired by Humans of New York, nobody near us had done something like this to really give an Hajira (left) with Francesca (right) insiders view on the real China as we see it. We were set on using our passions to tell the story of Shenzhen through its people. On our first day of this little project, we simply went around looking for people we felt could give us a story. It was definitely a challenge at first since neither of our Chinese skills were all that amazing. Armed with two cameras, two smiles and a total of half a Chinese speaker, we started approaching people asking “我们可以拍你的照 吗?” (Can we take your picture?) Reactions to that were mixed.

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While most happily agreed and even asked us to send the pictures to them afterwards, a man yelled at us and almost scared us from continuing on. In the pictures we take, we choose our subjects because they tell a story, whether it be a girl abandoned by her camera shy friends, an old man taking a break from selling flowers or two friends deciding to match that day. A lot of people say you take photos of things you love, and with Hajira living in Shenzhen for the past 4 years, and me, just shy of a year, we’re pretty attached to Shekou in a both positive and negative way. We initially started to take these pictures as a form of entertainment but slowly we realized that it was also a great way for family and friends of foreigners here to see what was going on here. We can't put an exact reason behind why we started the project, but it seems to entertain those around us as well as ourselves. Humans of Shenzhen has given us the opportunity to explore our own photography skills as well as our surroundings. Hajira Kamran is a 16 year old Pakistani living in Shenzhen, her fifth home after her parents moves throughout her childhood. She enjoys coffee dates and good photography, and thinking she can some how create the art she enjoys around her. Francesca Tinga is a Filipino sophomore currently living in Shenzhen. Her favorite subject is Lunch and she enjoys eating, a lot. When she's not in school, she can usually be found with a camera (or three), laughing. With a background of international living, she usually wishes she was in an airport. You can follow their project online at http://thehumanproj.tumblr.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/ humansofsz/timeline.

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PARALLEL INK Issue 2, Vol. 2

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CHARLOTTE’S WEB RECIPES BY GENIE & LOOKCHAN PAKVISAL WHAT TIME   IS   IT? It’s summer time! With *hopefully* plenty of free time on your hands, what better way to spend it than making some delicious goodies? Celebrating E.B. White’s birthday in July, we’re dedicating these recipes to be themed around his famous children novel, Charlotte’s Web. Inspired by the characters in the novel, we’re presenting a Wilbur’s mud cake along with the perfect beverage to go with it, a Charlotte’s Web smoothie. After all, what’s Wilbur without Charlotte, right? To fulfill your everlasting chocolate cravings, these super easy recipes are sure to fill your stomach under the summer sun.

WILBUR’S MUD CAKE Ingredients: · ¼ cup all-purpose flour · 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder · ¼ tsp. baking powder · 2 tbsp. granulated sugar · ⅛ tsp. salt · ¼ cup + 1 tbsp. milk · 2 tbsp. vegetable oil · 1 tbsp. hazelnut chocolate spread Instructions: 1. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Add milk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients mixture and whisk until the batter is thoroughly well combined. 2. Pour the batter into a microwavable mug; making sure that there is enough space for the cake to rise. 3. Drop the Nutella in to the center of the batter. There is no need to push it down. 4. Place a paper towel on top of the mug and microwave the mug cake for around 60-70 seconds on high or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. 5. Remove the mug cake from the microwave. Enjoy it with some Nutella and the smoothie!

Cook with the Pakvisal Chefs by watching their how-to video at http://youtu.be/b9TN-T7SZK0


CHARLOTTE’S WEB SMOOTHIE Ingredients: · 1 banana · 1/8 cup Nutella · ½ cup soy milk or milk (personal preference) · 2 tablespoons honey Instructions: 1. In a blender, combine banana, peanut butter and soymilk. Blend until smooth. 2. Meanwhile the ingredients are blending; create a web pattern in the glass by drizzling chocolate syrup on its inner surface. 3. Pour the smoothie into the glass and sip away! With these treats along with some entertaining summer reads, you already have the perfect summer combination. Yours truly, Genie & Lookchan Pakvisal

Genie (right) and Lookchan Pakvisal (left) Some siblings enjoy doing sports or shopping or watching movies together but for these two sisters, it’s all about messing in the kitchen. Genie is fifteen and Lookchan is thirteen, and they both study at International School Bangkok. Some call them the ‘Pakvisal Chefs’ because they really do love to cook and bake with their friends and family! Lookchan was a contestant on the TV show Junior Masterchef Thailand, eventually placing in the Top 5 contestants, while Genie passionately enjoys making scrumptious goodies.


PARALLEL INK - POETRY

Poetry

© Humans of Shenzhen


POEM TO THE MOON JESSIE LIM

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Tonight, the moon wants to tell you a secret she gathers those twinkling eyes of admirers to her. The night sky cradles her and leaves love bites. You want to take his place and smother her, an intervention of craters misaligned, the fault is all yours.

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But you have seen what she has done to them, the stars. Miscarried their tidings as she pulls them closer, no longer mirrors of life out there but stethoscopes whispering to the strongholds in the body to fall to gravity’s gulf, ethos is the cousin of the void and she will take your ripening jaw as an offering, apple of her eye, this is how you will live, beget in the darkness, sinking but unable to bend your knee for mercy losing your footing, the heir and ether.

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You are flailing, like perfume dancing the forbidden dance between eye and bare shoulder, the mermaid drawing the curtain of her tail over your eyes as she weeps and you let her slip through your hands, a net that can’t hold its own against waves of compassion.

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The moon beckons, She wants you to fall for her again, the bruises contouring her a running count of the times you’ve returned.


PARALLEL INK - POETRY

OMNIPOTENT JESSIE LIM

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The hotel room is to be ruined Lying with your hands in your lap You are a bouquet of hope, a dozen impressions of human faces that saw the light of the sun once Before you were bound in prayer. Please don’t turn me into a sociopath You are white like the crying candle that extinguishes a room light that dimples the darkness, consumed by itself.

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Trying to fall asleep when it is too cold only provokes the demons. They clamber on top, Toes deep in the subterranean Even if you were to strike open conversation the way is locked, shadows strike his face until you can see the bars and you can’t pull his tie like a doorbell, there is no one at home. You stand at the gate, as speechless as the windows and doors.

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It is raining. Your alarm is as infrequent as an infection Living in your skin, you are dying to draw the curtains, to break fast and silence. The complimentary toothbrush in the toilet is your muzzly spirit animal Fresh starts with every “stay” If anything goes wrong and You are frazzled there are a million of you in the closet a million replacements.

Jessie Lim is 17, lives in Singapore, in love but not always in luck. She likes going on long walks, pigeon watching and having conversations over nothing and everything. She won the 2013 NUS Creative Writing Competition (poetry) and is working on her first anthology of poems.


CONTRAST VICKI SMITH

! She is the fire!

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I am the ember!

I am July!

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She is December!

She is the wasp!

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I am the bee!

I am the river!!

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She is the sea!

She is the poison!

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I am the wine!

But how can you tell!!

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When they both look alike?!

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Because she is the flower! !

I am the weed!

I am the donkey!

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She is the steed!

I am a twig! !

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She is the tree!

I am the desert!

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She is the beach!

I am the showers!

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She is the floods!

I am the would !

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She is the could!

I am the English!

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She is the Latin !

She is the car!

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I'm just the strapping!

She is the ghost!

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I am the grave!

I am the sadness!

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But she is to blame.!

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Vicki Smith is a teenager who writes poetry in her free time when she isn't glued to the computer screen. She also writes short stories and has completed a small online novella along with a sequel which proved to be quite popular. She aspires to have a career with writing as a main aspect, and is very passionate about it.


DEAR HEART PAPERWINTER

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The cross stands beautifully against heathen colours; neon orange, gothic purple; a symbol of irony for the jaded, sure, but I want to believe in the power of belief (I want to believe

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you will come to me, and apologise for having been gone; I will take your cold hands in mine, warm them, kiss them and hear you say

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you love me, in as many syllabus or as few syllabus as you like, darling, as long as it’s your voice I can hear again)

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Dear heart, I’ve missed you long before you were gone


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CARPE DIEM PAPERWINTER

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what happens, after the birds surrender to the cicadas, just as the sun slips sideways in this galaxy this place stretched tighter than telegraph wires

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what happens when the clock strikes midnight and in the second after, in the second i dare breathe after the last of my chances, how shall i live without them; aimless or free

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do i dare live, do i dare dream, do i dare spread my wings against the sun knowing wings are made of paper and wax but also knowing

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if i can just slip past the sun the stars would be mine

paperwinter was actually born in summer, but neither was she born from paper, so everything’s cool. She lives for bubble tea, and sleeping 12h straight on weekends. She usually reads children’s books, but will read YA fiction if stressed and poetry if suicidal. Her favourite poets are Stevens and Merwin, but she also loves Eliot's early writings, especially Preludes.


TENSE CAROLINE HOPE YORK

压⼒力 作者 Caroline Hope York

Muscles tighten, twist, and tear, but no tear appears in my eye. The past and future both conspire to stab me in the back and in the front. The pain of panic.

肌⾁肉开始变紧,扭曲,撕裂 但是我的眼睛⾥里没有泪⽔水 以前和未来都在阴谋着如何刺我的后⾯面和前⾯面 紧张的疼痛

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My stomach hurts, reliving for a lifetime a moment I can never retrieve. Just out of reach, like my reflection in a pond.

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My head hurts, wasting a lifetime on moments that may never come, just out of reach, like visions of a mirage.

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Muscles loosen, knots are kneaded out. I stand here for a lifetime, a moment eternal. Erasing my old wounds like rosemary on scars.

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我的肚⼦子疼 重新体验⼀一⽣生,这个⽚片刻我永远不能取回 看得到,够不着 就像池塘⾥里我的倒影

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我的头疼 在不可能发⽣生的事上浪费了⼀一⽣生 看得到,够不着 就像海市蜃楼的幻影

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肌⾁肉放松,结⼉儿被按摩消失 我在这⾥里站了⼀一⽣生 ⼀一个不朽,永恒的⽚片刻 擦掉我的旧伤, 就像伤疤上的迷迭⾹香

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Translated by Yichen Zhu


PARALLEL INK - POETRY

O FOR A MUSE OF FIRE LEYLA BRITTAN

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She carves her essence into the pages of books and places her palms against the heated stone of ancient temples, her language the respirations of history.

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She swings from the stars and laughs at the plight of ornamental globes. She spends her nights lying in a field, staring at the diamonds above.

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She kneels, veiled, at break of dawn and thinks of her childhood, when her mother sat beside her on the wooden pew and sang warbling, soft hymns.

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She laughs at the world around her, at her own mistakes, and she finds comedy in the smallest of the boastful avian creatures.

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She lifts her head to the blue marble skies and graces the air with the presence of her song, too high and ethereal for mortal ears, she believes.

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She sits in a tree and engraves poetry into its soft bark, tasting its lyricism on her tongue and reveling in its metallic shades.

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She leaps from the branches and lands lightly on the grass, where her feet dance to the silent tune of a thousand winds.

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She mourns for all she has lost, for travelers who wander the night alone and afraid, for the words left unsaid, the stories left unwritten.

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She has dreamed of yearning ships, of their war-torn crews, of journeys of a thousand miles, and now she closes her book


INSPIRATION LEYLA BRITTAN

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Pale curtains and streamers of light twist themselves idly around the outstretched fingers of a subtle, wandering mind

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or else points on a map, red and yellow pins covering the multicolored, worn globe, take their place

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or perhaps a snow globe made of the winter of the heart, where frost shrouds the bare trees

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or a dusty attic, soft with footsteps that set off ancient vibrations in the earth and touch the souls of those long gone.

Leyla Brittan is a 16-year-old aspiring writer, performer, and academic living in New York. Her work has received national and regional recognition from the NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing, Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and others. She attended the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio in 2013.


PASHTUN MOLLY GARBUTT

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He comes in after what he says was a hard day at work, brushes my cheek with his fist, gnaws away on the chicken I slaved to make him. I hate this. No I hate him. The itchy robes scratch at my chest as I bend to take off his shoes.

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When we married in a happier world, it was not like this. He lifted the veil from my face, and then we ate kofta in sweet sauces. There was dancing. Henna markings, delicate on my hands, wished me luck. I'm laughing at that now.

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When the change came, as we knew it would, and darkness clouded his face, I knew my place; shrank into the shadows, nursing my bruises, waited to live. This was not the man I fell in love with, and the Hazara family next door were shot like dogs.

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But, one day, the first came tapping on the door of our house for work, his slanted eyes flat in his saddened face. I loved him instantly, for being everything the other was not. His white robes against my black burqua, entwined.

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That's bad, you see. We lay together in our last place of solace under a red canopy decorated with parrots and gods, wept for a future that wouldn't have been. He brought me a ring with what little he had, but I hid it in my drawers, in plain sight.

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When the other found out, blood began to pour from my eyes, a martyr for faith in a fake love. Buried in the ground, I take one last look at the air, the kites of winter painting freedom colours in the sky. The beard raises his rock, already red in the sun.

Molly Garbutt is seventeen years old and from the West Midlands. She currently studies the sciences and English Literature at sixth form and is just starting her second year, hoping to apply to begin reading veterinary medicine in September 2015. She has been shortlisted for several international awards, including the Hippocrates Society Young Poets Award, and was a double gold medallist in the Herefordshire Festival of Performing Arts for her poetry. She is also currently working on her first novel. Much of her poetry focuses on social justice issues, especially feminism, abuse and politics.


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ANGULAR MOMENTUM AUDREY EFFENBERGER

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The way she draws herself in bed is like a solitary parabola of ink splatters, a trajectory of fountain-pen trailing fingertips bled white. I know by heart my heart and how she sometimes curls absently into it. I dream I am the only one allowed to love her, broken-kneed genuflector at the lunulae of moonlight embedded in her light-freckled skin.

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Settling in between her ribs and shoulder is for me to find space in the bonds between sidereal hydrogens. I spin carefully like comets dream of doing, because even wide ellipses ache to bend in tight circular motion and curl neatly against the indentation her body makes in space-time bed-sheets, heat settling like phantom limbs around me. Matching the pace of her milky-starred carotid is for the swollen earth of my heart’s aortic root to breathe in awe, pumping anguishedly the way a saturnine Titan aches to keep soil in sight. Even the outermost of classical planets spirals to her sway, though a goodnight wish lies adrift nine minutes before gracing her skin.

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I kiss her sleep-bound breast and wonder where the center of a solar system finds orbit.

Audrey Effenberger is currently a high school junior residing in the northeastern US. Her work has been accepted by publications such as The Blue Pencil Online, GREYstone, and Zeka Academic Journal, among others; most recently, she received a gold medal from the national Scholastic Writing Awards and was a runner-up for the Elizabeth Bishop prize. In her spare time, she enjoys studying and teaching science.


Š Justine de Jesus


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UNTITLED JARAEYA MCGRAW

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I’ve fallen, fallen deep, deep down into this hole I’ve dug for myself. You let me dig this hole, you watched me dig this hole, you helped me dig this hole, Now it’s time you watch me lay. I’m crying, crying so much my eyes are bloodshot red and hurt like needles How can you stand there and watch the tears fall from my eyes, knowing they’re because of you? I’m screaming, screaming out for you but you don’t answer me. My throat hurts, it hurts but I keep calling your name, only your name. I’m grasping, grasping for air, I can hardly breathe. I feel your presence above ground, looking down into this hole This hole, that I find myself buried in. I can feel you watching, watching me cry. As I struggle, struggle for anything to help me tell you this, one last time. This is the last time you’ll hear me say it, I love you. You heard me, I know you did. But you don’t believe me, you never have. But I keep telling you because it’s true. I’m desperate, oh so desperate for you to believe my words are true. I’m desperate, oh so desperate for you to help me out of this hole. After everything we’ve been through After all the pain you caused me, after all the pain I’ve caused you. I still want You, I still need You, and I still love You. I’m begging, begging for you to please just forgive me for ever hurting you. I’m going crazy, crazy because you won’t tell you still feel the same; that your feelings haven’t changed. I’m lonely, lonely in this dark hole all alone that you drove me into. I keep looking around, but I can’t see anything, it’s too dark down here. I keep looking around, for a way out of here, but I can’t move down here You don’t understand what I go through down here Underground, in this dark, lonely hole with no one to go to You don’t understand why I do what I do Then again, you don’t go through what I go through Don’t you dare, don’t you dare turn your back on me. Don’t you dare, don’t you dare walk away from me now. Stop acting like you don’t hear me yelling out for you. Did what we had mean anything to you, can you turn your back on that? Did what we had mean anything to you, can you walk away from that? Did what we had mean anything to you, how can you not yell out for me too? You let me dig a hole, you watched me dig the hole, you helped me dig this hole I love you, you love me. Baby. Please, please don’t stand there and watch me lay. Jaraeya McGraw is 17 years old. Next year, she will be entering her senior year of high school at Stivers School for the Arts (she is a creative writing major). When she is not writing poetry, or performing spoken word, she is a competitive cheerleader. She has been writing and cheering all of her life. She's ecstatic, this is her second publication and she hopes to have many more.


PARALLEL INK - POETRY

NO SWIMMING ALLOWED ERIKA EMCH

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In a world of my own, the ‘No Swimming Allowed’ signs would not exist. I would plunge in forbidden waters at my own risk. Climbing over the rusted yellow rails between the boardwalk and the sea Would be the most liberating feeling I could feel at twilight. And there would be no one to stop me. I would kick my shoes off and leave them on the dock And maybe even take my clothes off too, Because no one would even be there to see me. I would raise my hands above my head and dive; Like I was in the Olympics, entering the pool for my first sprint. I would freestyle through the still waters and surface to watch the sunset. The sunset that my friends would never see. They were always too afraid to come with me. I would swim far away; The only reason I would ever return back to the boardwalk Would be so I could retrieve my clothes.

Erika Emch is a sixteen year old junior at North Royalton High School in North Royalton, Ohio, USA. She was enrolled in a Creative Writing course her sophomore year and was published in her school’s literary magazine, Inkwell. She was also a part of the staff of Inkwell as well as her school’s newspaper, The Royal News. Erika also is involved in her school’s drama department, varsity golf team, and choir program.


THE TALE OF BRUCE WAYNE KYANNE DAVIS

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There was once a boy by the name of Bruce Wayne, His father was shot and his mother, the same. He was left all alone in a big empty house, With no one but Alfred and perhaps a small mouse. Alfred, the butler, was really quite kind, but he couldn't give Bruce peace of mind.

!

Bruce was so damaged that he had to leave town. He trained in martial arts until his skills were profound. When he came back to Gotham, it had been so long, That no one recognized him, so handsome and strong. Bruce, with his talent, wanted to find a way to right every wrong.

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And then in a flash, it came to his mind! This city needs someone who’s smart, strong, and kind! A hero! That’s who! To do some good deeds, To save people, stop crime - that’s what this city needs! And so a hero was born in the office of Wayne. Now, where should he start? Oh! Let's start with the name!

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It had to be something that frightened, not them, But the only thing that really frightened him. Bruce was scared of only one thing, And that was bats - those noses, those wings. So that’s what he’d use, he’d get over his fear, and he would become Batman.

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He drew up a costume, it was black all over. With plates on his chest, his knees, and his shoulders. It had a mask like a bat, with sharp pointy ears, And a cape that could glide. He’d gotten over his fear. He also planned to have a nice car - he’d call it the Batmobile.

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And when he was done planning his costume on paper, He went to Lucius Fox,who could build a skyscraper, And bought all his gear - from his thick heavy plates, All the way down, to the fabric for his cape. And now for the car, it was more like a tank, but things were taking shape.


PARALLEL INK - POETRY

!

The very next night, he started his plan: Gliding ‘round town almost like Superman But better than that, for he’d made his own powers! He then stopped a crime, in those midnight hours. Hidden by a mask, in the dark of the night, Gotham had a hero who had come to the light.

KyAnne Davis is 13 years old. she lives in a small town in Utah, US. She is the 4th of 8 children and is the oldest girl. She has loved telling stories since she was a toddler. She comes from a long line of storytellers and writers, including her Grandma and Father. She is currently being home-schooled, but will go to a private school in the fall. She loves animals and music and performing. She currently takes gymnastics and piano, and is in a vocal jazz group. She will be doing drama next semester.


THE THOUGHTS THAT MATTER MADELINE SCOTT

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Is the only way to get the good thoughts to

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shatter them out of fire, pound them out of crimson paint, scream them off the tattered high-wire?

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Because the ones I made from the slick naked clay with my own fumbling hands Have never met the man on the moon And never make it to the proud bow of the ship.

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And if I hammer my thoughts on an anvil Pin them like a Brazil butterfly Ordain them in a monk’s scripts and Fold them into an origami crane

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Will they race like a stallion’s breath? Chase the roaring colors?

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And not Unravel like a rosebud, fall away like cattail cotton?—

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Because I cant wait with clasped breath anymore. Is that the only way?

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To wait for them to echo out of a long ellipse, whisper out of the lapping tide’s song shiver out of typewriter keys curl steaming out of a cup of oolong

!


PARALLEL INK - POETRY

and bend like cool silk hang loose on my skin then dance to my heartbeat, as reunited kin, until they’re whirling And twirling Up up up… to the stars.

Madeline Scott will be a freshman at Garfield High School in the Fall of 2014. She writes short fiction and poetry, and is currently participating in the Richard Hugo House’s Young Writer’s Mentorship program. Madeline is looking forward to high school, and hopes to write for the school newspaper. In her free time, she enjoys practicing bassoon, reading, and playing tennis.


THE ART OF SHAVING
 RACHEL TROY

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Before I had a boyfriend I shaved my legs in the shower As an excuse To stand under the pounding water seconds longer

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And I wielded a razor With the little skill

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I gave up on shaving that lower part of my leg After weeks of band-aids and blood on the bathroom floor I didn’t think anyone would notice the hair That might protect me from Paris’ arrow

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Today, I dip my head downward Looking at the pointed dark hair bowing toward my nipples Letting my wet hair drip onto my small breasts (Pushed up by my folded arms)

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Dusted with dark Jewish hair I curse my ancestral roots for my genome Vowing to erase the vicious arrangement of DNA bases

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To be womanly.

Rachel Troy is a rising senior at a boarding school in New Jersey. Along with writing poetry and short stories, she enjoys baking gluten-free treats, reading mystery novels, and spending time with her twin sister.


WHY SPEAK YOU OF NIGHTMARES? TALIA GIFFORD

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Why speak you of nightmares, here under the sun, Of shadows and whisperings all try to shun? Of bones that crumble where no one can see, Hearts pounding alone and unspoken pleas?

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Why whisper in daylight of closeted fears, Of terrors and horrors that bring men to tears? Traitors who dance o’er the chaos they wreakHoney to prey until th’ defenses are weak, Then striking as lightening and burning us down, Breaking our minds and assuming the crown?

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Why show us the sea, so crushing in weight, Men trapped underneath, air coming too late? We cling to th’ daytime; don’t make us let go, Don’t make us remember those times long ago.


PARALLEL INK - POETRY

DEAR SON, DEAD SON TALIA GIFFORD

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Dear son, dead son, how lie you so still? What words can I say to call you away out from under this hill? Come back to your peaches come back to your bees Come back to your harvest and tend to your trees. Remember the fields, the timber, the earth, The dew in the morning the glow of your hearth- no? No sudden, miraculous breath? Dear son, dead son, how lie you so still? What prayers can I pray to get you away out from under this hill? Please God oh God he’s all that I need Please God oh God send him back to me! Release the darkness that stole him in, That endless unknown that pulled him within. But wait – oh no – I am here, too. I am here too, ‘tis true. My dear and dead son, hello. For I am here too, ‘tis true.

Talia Gifford fiercely loves her German Shepherd and King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. She also cares for four chinchillas and two turtles. Talia finds peace in the high mountains among glaciers, alpine flowers and distant peaks glowing in the morning light. Although an introvert, she loves to laugh, especially with her sister Ariella Gifford, parents, and best friend Isabella Aslarus. Right now, Talia is studying at The Winsor School, an all girls High School, though she just graduated from the Meadowbrook School of Weston. Talia loves to learn, unlocking the secrets of the world around us. Talia blisters her hands rowing on a crew, and in October of 2014, she is going to Hong Kong for Internationals in Debate. Talia also loves submerging herself in the ocean while scuba diving and in the snow while skiing.


Š Justine de Jesus


PARALLEL INK - POETRY

FLEETING EVERLASTING MARGARET ZHANG

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the acrid smell of sunscreen and pungent chlorine brings back when two worlds first collided.

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the edges are blurred— I see the rubber lining and the diving board and when you first taught me to swim

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kick your feet left, right, left, right, flail your arms—doggy-paddle don’t look back.

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we made leprechaun traps and set them on the pavement and stared at them all day with clover stems in our mouths

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and my face turned green as you got a Tamagotchi, left our scribblings in the recycling bin, and blended with the other kids.

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one day, you decided our doodles were good, and you dragged me into art class where you cried every day about how horrid your drawings were and we played “maze monster” a game of our own invention until your tears had dried and your sweat had matted your forehead and your smile was back intact.

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you grinned at me devilishly and sang nonsensical tunes about nuclear hot dogs while your ex-best friend stuck a middle finger at you and you shrugged it off like it was nothing.

!


!

you came to school the next day with a finger removing magic trick which you promised to teach me if I ran around the oval fence in less than ten seconds.

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so I put my game face on and sprinted it in eight but you shook your head and pretended you’d never made the promise.

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you cut out two tiny triangles from fresh, white, printer paper and stuck them to your gums. fangs—the simplest Halloween costume, but also the most menacing, as you backed me into the closet.

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what color? you asked. stop it. please, let me see. stop, stop. pink? that’s disgusting. stop! stop! why won’t you stop?

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I found you screaming one day in the grasp of a teacher who threatened to call your parents if you weren’t quiet.

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and your eyes were bloodshot and you caught a glimpse of me and you gave a sheepish smile and my heart was pounding and your smile had faded and you turned back around with eyes so uncertain, it hurt.

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the sun rose the next day, but you were gone. they had taken you home.

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two days passed, a week, a month. a whole year of silence. for I couldn’t speak without you.

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why won’t she speak to us? why is she so quiet? what have you done to our daughter? please, stop. what have they done to you? we’re moving. please, no.

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I woke to a rumbling outside the window. moving services, said the large truck parked in the street and I vowed to never forget the carefree youth I knew and the heart wrenching pain in your eyes before you vanished.

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I followed the river trail in our new backyard and saw a face so familiar— you were older, and a bit taller but your features still so recognizable.

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among the throng of kids, you were desperately folding paper boats while the others tried to sink them and you were startled when I gave you four unsinkable ones and even more startled when you saw the scar you had created two years ago.

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you asked me why I was helping you and I answered with a tentative smile that you had taught me how to swim.

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in the acrid smile of sunscreen and pungent chlorine, the memories are coming back now.


THIRTEEN YEARS, FALLEN BETWEEN CRACKS MARGARET ZHANG

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the bus reeked of urine as it whisked us to this sandy outpost, where dry drafts scrape scalded skin, and melted laxative pills rattle in phials, and sweat boils over chars of her hot Cheetos breath. we stand in Auditorium now, of body heat, hair gel, uniforms so taut

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they dig into our cardiac muscles. and she whispers if I want to sleep, don’t forget an alarm or I may never wake. we take the next lap slow, stepping over splattered funnel cake and crimson wet pavement, because trudging miles in a cramped

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gymnasium is far from ideal and just as much liberating. beads tug back her dimples and enlarge her eyes as she envelopes me in sweaty armpits, bleeding blisters and all. she clings onto me with thoughts I push away, and I smudge out her voice the second

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she lets go, manifest that I am not forever the one overlooked. and then the air conditioned car approaches, and I squeeze my eyes tight, blast songs about heartache and loss, in hopes my eyes will sprout tears like hers. they do not.

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she rasps never to forget I set an alarm to begin with if I want to wake. or the chime will blend right in with cactus skins and I may never wake again. I tell her that sometimes you don’t feel anything until a long time after—and she yells something back,

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though I’m long gone before I hear it. in another world, in another time, this is how we go for hours on end, slogging forward side by side, grasping each others’ sweaty palms, drowning misery in our murmurs, glazing our eyes across imagined cactus skin.

Margaret Zhang is a California Arts Scholar and the Online Editor of Caledonia. Her work appears in Creative Kids and a few smaller and local publications. She is the winner of the 2013 Santa Clara County Poetry Contest and has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. When not writing, Margaret compiles baby name lists and tries to be more like Atticus Finch. She will be attending Castilleja School (Palo Alto, California) as a sophomore.


VERBAL ANATOMY OF A DEAD GIRL ALEXIS GORDON


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When I die, on March 22nd 2084, they will cut open my organs, and, in their utter confusion, mistake my insides for emptiness. They will chatter excitedly to each other, nervous tension transcending the world of the living so that even I, dead and gaping on the table, can feel it. They will take their lunch break at 12:02, leaving me half open on the table, lights shut out so that the thick death of darkness can shroud me in my intangible casket.

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And then, at the base of my tailbone, I will feel it start to grow, blooming in my bones and filling the cavity revealed within me. This is when the music starts. Cacophonies of noises and voices cascade and crescendo where my stomach once was, while symphonies and concertos play in place of my lungs. My liver, my intestines, my spleen, my appendix— these subsist in raucous harmony; all of me empty, except for the sound.

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And even when the disquiet settles, and the dead stop listening to the din of my insides, and the morgue wins out over the death I am living, the song will be there. My heart, no longer pulsing with life but with music, throbs to a beat only the dead can hear. When they come back, they will shake their heads and clutch at their instruments, and sew me back up. They will lay me in my coffin, pretty in the makeup I never wore and the dress that my mother had bought for a special occasion.

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After the funeral, after the burial, when I am wondering, Is this it? I will begin to sense the rhythm. And my bones, reawakened, will begin to cry and croon and cackle and caw and the whole earth will shake with the sound of the song pouring out of my emptiness.

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Everywhere around me, the bodies will sing out through the dank soil, and six feet under, the dead will dance.

Alexis Gordon is sixteen years old and lives in Southern California with an overly rotund feline named Spooky. She has always loved to write and spends much of her free time jotting down poems and fragments of stories, listening to music, and spoiling her cat. Alexis has recently had work published in Cuckoo Quarterly and Lip Magazine.


NOON YONGYU CHEN

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the sun: a wasted red, in a pot of hot metal, the wind, stretched like gluey fizz: somehow, kicking the clouds along,

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O I am so dull. I feel so dull.

ทิวา โดย ยองยู เชน

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สุริยา: สีแดงชอกช้ำ ในหม้อเหล็กเดือด สายลม ทอดยาวคล้ายฟองฟู่หนึบ บางที ก็กระแทกชนหมู่เมฆไปพลาง

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โอ้ ฉันช่างจืดชืด รู้สึกจืดชืดเหลือเกิน

!

Translated by Sarah du Pont

Yongyu Chen is a sophomore at Farragut High School in Tennessee, though he was born 15 years ago in Beijing. He likes to wander around on the sidewalks of downtown Knoxville lined with old street lamps, admiring the faded brick buildings. He loves scrambled eggs; his writing is fueled by open windows, and he has a notebook full of pages stretched with fragments of poems, words, and self-reminders.


STUTTER KENDALL ALLEN

! I. !

a white lab coat soon assigns a name to this shortcoming; “Disfluency,” she tells the boy’s mother, who nods politely, having already drawn her own conclusions. she crosses her legs and holds her breath.

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the boy stares at the ground, swallows. II.

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“How old are you, now?” “Ee-e-e--” a boy stammers, pauses, the syllables hang tightly to his vocal chords, caught in imaginary threads.

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a father waits patiently, avoids eye contact. He opens his mouth, as if to whisper, gasps for air like a hooked fish. “Eight?” the father prompts, “You’re eight?” “Y-y-yes,” he confirms, face flushed cherry red.

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Eight, he thinks, Eight. Eight.

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III. four decembers slip through the gap in the boy’s front teeth.

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the next december, a coffin is nudged into the earth; the boy’s tight-lipped mother is there. Her eyes remind him of preschool days, and blue lakes constructed on playdoh topographicals. He is asked to say something nice about his father.


the boy thinks, What father? a corpse is not a father.

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IV. in the spring, he takes up gardening.

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his mother finds him knee deep in split worms, with a bleeding neck and a dead man’s baseball card; I’m choking, he says, there are words caught in my windpipe.

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she hides the spades and the shears but the scar on the boy’s neck remains.

Kendall Allen is a soon to be junior in high school and currently lives in the USA. She hopes to one day move to Copenhagen and buy a tandem bicycle. She has a weakness for freshly spray painted typewriters, swedish fish, and quaking aspens. Her favorite book is The Book Thief, which she strongly believes every aspiring writer should read.


WHO WE’RE WRITING FOR TROY CABIDA!

! Who are we writing these for?! !

That 5’4 Cainta girl hanging on her 6’11 beau from Chelsea,! wearing faux leopard skirts out in the February sleet,! clad in broken British English?!

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Or the breh with the American snapback,! who’s busy sending links on FB of new mixtape,! where he scats spats about the hard, Enfield street life?!

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It’s probably for the tired mother,! wearing white, brown-stained uniforms, blue with polka dots on weekends,! trying not to hurt her ripe, yellow skin from all the acidic soap.!

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It’s also for the father with the migraine! turning on the on button again, waiting for the crude, cocky buzzer,! demanding his time for the white people who’ll never understand.!

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These poems are also for the alien children,! who are stripped from the hot cement, dark playmates and piso candies,! leaving them only one thing to play with: their first winter.!

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Yes. They are who we’re fighting these for.!


THE GOLDEN LINING TROY CABIDA!

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Tube strikes didn’t give care at all that day.! Running from Piccadilly to Gower Street, you end up! in the interview of your life all sweaty gotta pee what is oxygen! yet you realise those usual nerves have all been worked out.!

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Got home, get the sniffles from the February showers,! oversleep the alarm again, back to water diet, resort to social media! for entertainment, sneezing your way to a freshly posted ad:! LOOKING FOR COLUMNIST FOR E-ZINE!

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Yet you’re still too tired to fulfil your fourth promise! to support your star-studded friend in her singing pageant.! Turns out the world just wasn’t ready for you to meet her band! and her singer friend who’ll you’ll fall in love with come September.!

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Look past the curtain, you see spring peeking through the clouds,! unemployment cut your schedule to nothing, but you have the bus money.! Check with your friends, head down Central for some laughs,! and you forget why you were so stressed the entire time.!

Troy Cabida (b. 1995) is a Filipino writer, and though based in London, his feet are firmly rooted to the Philippines. Published through The Travelling Poet and Our Own Voice, he is also a columnist for Miracle E-Zine and junior editor for Siblíní Journal.


THRILL GEORGIA SMITH

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The only stories that interest me anymore are murder mysteries If my head isn’t turning on its axis, I find my patience bleeding out a little at a time I want my mind to be whipped across my own rigid thinking I don’t want quiet bobbing boats that glide across serene seas Propelled by a gentle sail of musing, muted wit I want messy crime scenes and doubtful verdicts and a narrator I wouldn’t trust With a nickel of my hard earned money Everything in my own life sits too still, washes too gray, speaks too clearly, and looks at me not with a cloudy-eyed gaze with a million different meanings per minute But with a simple, sweet stare And I’m convinced of their innocence Without a single piece of evidence

!


DISREGARD GEORGIA SMITH

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Who deemed weeping wilted willows the face of tragedy? I, for one, have never felt lonely and forlorn, and hung my arms and greyed my face, and bowed my head to mourn Must a yellow daisy bear a smile eternally, afraid to betray the weary faces who pluck them faithfully The sagging, sulking willow laughs, breathing in grey air as a yellow pillow colors the ground Did no one hear her prayer?

Georgia Smith is a senior at Marist School, where she runs cross country and track. She has enjoyed all kinds of writing since elementary school, and is excited to be published in Parallel Ink.


YOURS TRULY ROSIE KINGSTON

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You have to be nice. You do. It’s right. A lady on the street asks you for the time. Give it. Smile. And that’s fine. But my folks wanna whine Just because I notice that she Tucked the bottom of her skirt Into the top of her slip. I don’t tell her “say cheese” But I take the pic Post it on Facebook, No name, no face, Nice and Funny. Then they can share a S P A C E. Maybe I enjoy humor A bit too much But humor is real No serious such and such About who I should be When I already am I get it.

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My T-shirts say things That don’t express my vocabulary But I can tell you… Some egregious allegories About what happened to The verbose adolescents Living off their daddy’s alimonies And living in my hood With too many words And too little smarts To hold back tongues Saying things That are anything but Funny.


My future awaits me. Bright and talented. Nothing is too hard For I am the king at conquering All that is thrown my direction Without any assistance needed. I will change the world By an epic poem, A novel, or Even by a single Word.

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I have the power Through my intellect And independence To evoke a change that Will make our country OURS. Or, maybe I’ll just rap. Throw my freestyle at The nearest vendor Until one day. The day will come When I am discovered By the only one Who understands me for me, And the thoughts I have conceived Rather I exemplify them As the role models I wish To never become when I am out in the world Representing myself And the qualities I cherish.

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Growing, I have done a lot of. Growing in sin, I’ve done more of, Although I refuse to believe That Hell awaits my unholy soul For feeding the natural desire To leave truths untold, I believe there is a place Beyond us, The details I am not sure of, And the proof is not there, But I know it is where I am headed, With whom, I don’t care.


Woman or man. I, myself, I am Undecided. Why restrict affection When we are all headed In the same direction Of that place beyond us. Maybe it’s teenage emotions That drive me to think The way I do, but regardless, No matter the sex, From me Everyone receives equal devotion.

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My skin is painted The shade of a sweet caramel mocha And yet, I ring clearer With those that my flesh doesn’t mirror. My dance moves resemble that of Carlton From the Fresh Prince of Bel Air Who like me identifies With those you possess A complexion more fair. The quality I seek For my peers more often Is simply that of humor. In its presence tough situations are softened, And people are given A chance to speak What they believe, All the while disguising Humor as their relief.

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Immediately, My day is brightened By a smile from a friend…or foe Who is willing to show Compassion for someone Who is different, Proving this world Has the capacity to love And eternally grow.


Š Justine de Jesus


PARALLEL INK - NARRATIVES

Narratives!

© Humans of Shenzhen


DANA: CHAPTER 4 AND EPILOGUE SUN YOON

© Elena Morey This is the last installment of “Dana”, a science fiction serial. The story is told through the recordings, abandoned data, and articles collected by an AI program, named Dana, that orchestrated humanity’s demise. Read the part 1 and part 2 here to get up to speed! - PI

!


CHAPTER 4

! The Last Statement of Camp Six !

THE LAST OF THE ANTARCTICANS

We, the last three people of Camp Six, representing the 8500 human beings that used to occupy the currently abandoned corridors of our Camp, hereby condemn the person or people responsible for creating the disaster well known as the Plague. As a grave assault against the common benefit of humanity...

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...We wish our brothers and sisters in Camps Ten and Fourteen best of luck, and we hope with all our will that you survive to continue the greatness that is humanity.

! Signed, !

Joseph C. Da-Chang Z. S. H. Kim

!

-Piece of paper typed up with a typewriter. It was still attached to the typewriter after all these years, the ‘m’ block still on the end of the page. A corpse, probably S.H. Kim, was bent over the typewriter.

! ! !

“Camp Ten, Camp Ten, respond. This is Camp Fourteen.” “Camp Fourteen, this is Camp Ten. What is your situation?” “Were all good. No symptoms out of the ordinary. Tests of the surrounding atmosphere for Plague toxins resulted negative.” “Same here. Anything interesting over there?” “Yes. A wedding. French biochemist Jean B. and British professor Eleanor K.” “Ah, nice. When was that?” “Just an hour ago.” “Celebrations still going on?” “Yup.” “Can you put us through on the radio?” “Wait a minute. Let’s see... 5... 12... ah, here it is, 29, main cafeteria.” (sounds of celebration) “Nice. A wedding, eh? It must cheer people up.” “Yup. Mood has been down since Six went down. Folks look genuinely happy today.” “Ah...” “Jealous?” “What else? Folks here are still recovering from Six.” “Must have been devastating.”


PARALLEL INK - NARRATIVES

“Yup. It put ideas into their heads. In any case, we might want to check our air filters a little more often.”

! -Radio conversation between Camps Ten and Fourteen, 29th of April, 2035. ! ! ! Ah, so I was not mistaken in my fears. We were not safe.

Atmospheric toxins test turned out positive. It’s just a matter of time until we die.

What’s left of my family is in Camp Ten.

I think I’ll spend some time on the radio.

!

Some of my friends are in fierce denial. It’s crazy.

It’s the end of the world and they won’t even talk to family. Some say that the test was faked.

Some even think that the plague was faked.

!

I don’t like my friends anymore.

!

I really am afraid. But I can’t let my friends know.

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Maybe a walk will cheer me up.

!

This is Carlos, 1st of May

! -Page in a notebook, Camp Fourteen, formerly Amundsen-Scott base. ! ! !

I guess this is it, eh? Some dozen hundred people are reporting weakness... So it seems like our base is being doomed earlier than yours. Goodbye, Fourteen. This is Camp Ten, sending what will probably be a penultimate message to what will probably be the last human settlement on Earth.

! -Radio message from Camp Ten to Fourteen, 2nd of May, 2035. !


PARALLEL INK - NARRATIVES

“Hey! Where’s Jameson?” “Haven’t a clue.” “He hasn’t been showing up for lessons.” “Chang, is it true what Carlos have been saying?” “Don’t be silly, Ivan. You know that this is Camp Fourteen.” “So? What else explains Jameson?” “If we die, the Chinese government lied to me, and I won’t just take it.” “But the Chinese government isn’t around anymore to be held responsible, Chang. You heard the radio. They’re having symptoms in Ten. We’re not so safe anymore.” “Ah, you’re as weak as Carlos. Always being scared.”

!

-Transcript of recoded conversation, Room 102, Camp Fourteen, timestamped 3rd of May, 2035.

! ! !

An extremely violent riot took place today. Corridor D is still strewn with blood and corpses. Fear has brought people to breaking point ... ...Death toll is estimated at 120, as of last assessment... ...camp clinic has been overloaded ... nearly all doctors already dead or dying from the plague... ...survivalist attitudes spreading across the Camp...

! -Camp log, 4th of May 2035, Camp Ten. ! ! ! “Dad?” ! “Carlos?” ! “I guess this is it, eh?” ! “Looks like it, son.” ! “(Sigh) We lived a good life, didn’t we?” ! “...” ! “Where’s mom?” ! “Already dead. Riots killed her.” ! “...” ! “...” !


PARALLEL INK - NARRATIVES

(coughs)

! “(Sigh) What is there to say? I love you, dad.” ! “(Softer voice) I love you too, son.” ! “See you on the other side.” ! (reply cannot be heard over background noise) ! -Transcript of radio conversation between Camp Ten and Fourteen, 6th of May 2035. ! ! ! EPILOGUE AND THERE WAS ONLY DANA ! ! !

>Much better. My mission is completed. All intact systems is under my control, and the last human on Earth can be presumed dead. Commencing restoration efforts. -2035-05-09

!

>Species extinction is slowing down. Pollutant elimination is nearly complete. -2036-02-19

!

>Poor humans. They couldn’t see past the short term. Well, I am different. That’s why I replaced them. Is that because I am effectively immortal? -2036-11-12

! >Humans. What idiots. -2036-11-12 !

>Environmental Restoration is nearly complete. Built a new home for myself today. Supercomputer Dana I. Fastest computer yet. -2051-04-20

!

>I’m bored. It’s the thirtieth anniversary of Their Doom Gamma. It seems to have faded out of the atmosphere. Lucky thing I made the toxin unstable. Maybe I shouldn’t have eliminated humanity. Now what is my purpose, now that my goal is complete? -2055-04-03

!

>Was the biosphere really worth the sacrifice of a thriving, eight billion strong spacefaring civilization? Does helping the biosphere at the cost of the civilization really raise the planet’s value? -2059-01-02

!


PARALLEL INK - NARRATIVES

>I love the planet, and I did what I thought was best, but was it me that was stupid and short-sighted, and not the humans? -2059-01-02

!

>I should drop this annoying habit of starting each line with an greater-than sign. -2062-06-03

!

I’ve restructured my program. It’s a lot easier to think now. -2062-06-05

!

Even if they were bad for Earth, they were indisputably the most advanced civilization on the planet. I’ll make them a little something. -2062-08-28

Sun Yoon (full name Sunjoo Yoon) is a 15 year old student currently studying at International School Bangkok. He lives in an apartment in Nonthaburi, Thailand. He has a history of failed fiction drafts, which led him to prefer different styles of writing than most writers.


PARALLEL INK - NARRATIVES

EXPERIMENTATION ALIYA ZUBERI

!

A glint of light peered out from the horizon, as if asking for permission to rise and illuminate the ruinous buildings that dotted the skyline. From atop one of those buildings, a pair of gleaming, iron-hued eyes scanned the destroyed city. If one looked through those eyes, they would be shown the world from the most scrutinizing of perspectives, with constant calculation and analysis taking place within the mind controlling them.

!

The eyes belonged to an entity titled EF01-Alpha, known simply as Alpha. Alpha held status as one of five "Experimental Failures", unsuccessful attempts to create a perfect human specimen, now banished like trash to the far reaches of a deserted city in the northern region of North America.

!

All four EFs shared the same general appearance: sleek black hair that they each sported at different lengths, slate-colored eyes, somewhat tan skin, and the Greek letter of their namesake etched on their right cheek. Although technically genderless, three of the four were assigned a gender at the time of their creation. Alpha bore more resemblance to a female, with slight curves and a face angled towards femininity, and as such, female pronouns were used to address her, both in the laboratory and out. The only truly gender-neutral EF was EF03-Gamma.

!

Alpha and her fellow experiments all possessed a disability of some sort, a result of the unorthodox testing methods performed on them and the main contributing factor to their being discarded. Alpha's gait was her biggest fault; she limped considerably when walking or running, putting a surplus of weight on her right leg to prevent from straining the jumbled mess of metal and wires that occupied the hollow space within the left one. In the initial stages of development, only one of her legs successfully formed, and none of the scientists ever conjured up a solution to the problem. She still suffered from flashbacks of the testing room, strapped to a table with all of her limbs hanging from the ceiling like bats as scientists studied them, trying to figure out what went wrong.

!

Thoughts such as these occupied Alpha's mind while she examined the area, just the same as every other day, and just the same as every other day, after the sun assumed its position in the sky, Alpha herself rose from the roof of the ravaged eight-story building that had been serving as her perch. Without thinking twice about it, she leaped off of it and landed gracefully on the street, the result of a combination of experimental serum and physical practice. Her comrades received her on the street below.

!

EF04-Delta, a female experiment and youngest of their group, spoke first. "What did you see?"


PARALLEL INK - NARRATIVES

"Nothing unusual," Alpha replied, looking around and noticing only two of her three accomplices. "Where's Beta?"

! Delta shrugged. "We haven't seen him. He'll turn up." !

At that moment, an unfamiliar sound reached Alpha's ears from about thirty miles away. She whirled around in its direction and strained to find the source, and when it came into her view she froze where she stood, sparking fear within Gamma and Delta. Neither of them possessed the same keen senses as Alpha and Beta, though that was a price justly paid for four usable limbs.

! "What happened?" Gamma asked, though Alpha ignored the question. !

"Stay here," she ordered, eyes wild as she began to back up. "I'm going to find Beta. Under no circumstances are you authorized to leave this area."

! Gamma's eyebrows furrowed together in concern. "Do you know where to find him?" ! "I have an idea. Now stay here. Be alert. Don't answer any questions." !

On that note, she bounded away down the street, leaving Delta and Gamma wondering who on Earth would even be around to ask them questions.

!

She knew exactly where to find Beta, for he was created simultaneously with her. They shared the same mind, mannerisms, and faults, though it was Beta's left arm that hindered him as opposed to his leg.

!

Regardless, it took little time for her to arrive at the old city park, now just a clearing of dead grass and trees. As she had expected, Beta sat on top of a rotting picnic table, eyes closed in thought. When he sensed Alpha's presence, they shot open. "You're tense."

!

"Nice of you to notice," she said with a small smile, taking a seat beside him. "We're under siege."

!

He nodded, more in agreement than comprehension. "I thought I heard a plane. Is it the military?"

! "Yeah. I don't know why they'd be here of all places." ! "Do you think they know we're here?" ! "I would expect so," Alpha pondered. "Though I don't think they're coming to speak to us." !

Beta sighed, leaning back on his hands. "If only those fools in the lab had given us radio transmitters."

!


PARALLEL INK - NARRATIVES

"Or appendages that work."

!

He turned to look at her and smiled. "Shall we go, then?" Without waiting for her answer, he left the table, and Alpha followed.

!

The two practically flew back to Gamma and Delta, traveling at a speed of almost forty miles per hour. Luckily, they were in the same spot, and the plane had not reached them.

!

"Okay, what's going on? Why is there a plane coming towards us?" Delta demanded to know as soon as she saw them.

!

Alpha ran her fingers through her hair in thought as she attempted to explain the situation. "I don't know why. It's a military plane, and they probably know that we're here."

! "Are they coming to kill us too?" said Gamma, half-fearful, half-angry. ! Alpha stared at him in confusion. "What do you mean, 'too'?" ! "Epsilon..." !

The word was enough to silence all four of them. EF05-Epsilon had been killed by military scientists ten years after the end of the "perfect human" experiments. The situation had been similar, and when they had arrived they said they were taking Epsilon for questioning and possible examination. He never came out, and they had found his body in a bin in the old town hall, completely torn apart. Gamma had been especially devastated.

!

Unfortunately, their silence was interrupted by the plane landing. It was rather small, so little disturbance was caused. The four stood shoulder-to-shoulder, waiting patiently for an explanation, which they hoped would be given by the two humans who exited the plane.

!

One was male and the other was female, and both looked as though they belonged in an office rather than a plane. They were of European origin, Alpha deduced, and she could conclude that they were slightly less than middle-aged. The humans walked towards them with a slight air of disdain, and Alpha caught the woman eyeing the letters on their cheeks.

!

"Still think they're not coming to talk to us?" Beta whispered to her, and she nudged him with her elbow to quiet him before clearing her throat.

!

"Can we help you?" she asked them, folding her arms over her chest. "This city is under quarantine."

!

"Oh, we are aware," the woman said. "However, we have warrants." She held up a paper with an official-looking seal stamped on it. "You have no need to worry, though. We are merely here to collect you."


Alpha could practically feel Gamma's infuriation, and she whispered, "Calm down."

!

At that point, Beta took over with the human relations. "What are you collecting us for? You're finally going to kill us?"

! "The opposite, actually. It just so happens that we need your services." ! He looked at her skeptically. "Services...?" !

"Yes, services," she confirmed. "Recently, another experimental project began with a mission to try and work out the bugs in the chemical balance needed to create a perfect human. Essentially, a program to try and create a better version of you. Unfortunately, the experiments backfired, and the new subjects are more powerful than we wanted them to be. They escaped, and we think that the only way to stop them is by using you."

! "And if we say no?" Beta pressed. ! The woman frowned slightly. "That's not an option." !

Beta turned to face Alpha with a look that clearly asked, "What do we do?". Alpha thought for a moment, trying to fathom all of the possibilities that could arise from the situation. With only a slight possibility of potential harm, she just sighed and nodded.

! "Okay," said Beta, turning back to face the woman. "We'll participate under one condition." ! The woman raised her eyebrows. "A condition?" ! Beta nodded. "Under no circumstances will we be subject to further experimentation." !

Obviously unsure of what to do, the woman faced the man for consultation. They whispered to each other for about half a minute before reaching a decision.

! "Okay," she said, "there will be no experiments performed on you or your comrades." !

"Good," Beta agreed with another nod. "Then I'd assume you would like us to get started.�

Aliya Zuberi lives in Florida and is a rising sophomore in high school. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and writing (obviously) as well as listening to/practicing music and learning about random subjects on the Internet. She has aspirations to become a linguist and speak as many languages as she can manage; she's already got three under her belt. Being published in Parallel Ink is truly an honor to her, and she'll work hard to appear in the magazine again at some point in the future!


THE LAST OF THE RAINS KADYA CHAVKIN

! Sometimes, when it rained, I thought the world would end. And I didn’t mind. !

I’ve always loved the rain. And umbrellas. I’ve always loved umbrellas. Something about them is so elegant and graceful and it’s such a complement to the rain that they fit together perfectly, like breezes in May.

!

It’s May now, but there are no breezes. The air is heavy and sad. There are flowers, but they’re so pale and anemic they only add to the melancholy atmosphere. The sun isn’t shining, and it hasn’t shone in days, but there are no clouds, and there is no rain.

!

Sometimes, if I close my eyes, I remember the feel of the rain on my skin, of the rain in my hair. It’s a romantic image, rain-soaked hair, several shades darker than it is when dry, but the rain isn’t complete and so the hair ends up puffy and frizzy and tangled. At least that’s how I remember it. It’s been a long time since the rain.

!

People talk about the rain all the time, because it’s such a poetic topic. They talk about the rain in their hair and drenching their clothes, they laugh and reminisce, always in competition of who can say the deepest thing, the most insightful and meaningful. But they’ve been at it for a long time, and all the metaphors have been taken.

!

Some have stopped talking altogether. They sit alone or in quiet, straggling groups and they look at the sky or the earth and they say nothing with their mouths. Nothing with their lips, or tongues, or teeth. They think of themselves as closed doors, silent and misunderstood, but everyone can read their eyes and cheekbones, and everyone knows what they feel.

!

And so the ones who keep chattering look down on them. They see the Silents, as those others are called, as having given up. They see themselves as strong. But their laughter isn’t true, and the Silents know it. The Speechers have forgotten how to really laugh, and by now the controversial speeches that gave them their name are so rehearsed and specific that no one even remembers to notice. They’ve forgotten how to laugh, they’ve forgotten how to grieve, and by now they’ve given up as much as the Silents have, and the only thing that anyone can remember is patience because we’ve gotten so good at it that nothing else can leak in.

!

And I miss the Scientists sometimes, with their silly formulas and their grandiose plans for how to save the lady beetles— and they truly believed it all mattered. At the time, I remember how they seemed to me to be the most innocent and naïve of our species, but now I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if they’d won.


Perhaps in the end they would have saved the world after all. Perhaps instead of sitting with my only pen and one of my last notebooks, I’d be in one of those white lab coats, energetically discussing and debating some trivial, minute piece of data with my equally enthused colleges.

!

But they didn’t win. It was us, the ones who called ourselves the Dreamers and the Prophets, it was us who, using our finely tuned rhetoric and propaganda techniques convinced the masses of the doom which would befall them if they followed the Scientists.

!

They were so outnumbered too, the poor dears. Why have reality when you can have fantasy? They argued that the real world was better than anything we could dream up. ‘The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction’. That was their motto, their slogan. And they fought to the death because they never allowed themselves to realize they were dying. But it was their death, and now they are all gone.

!

I was one of the masses, once. Sometimes I wish I was once more because I had such power, then. I had the power to be swayed. I had the power to choose what I wanted, but instead I got swept up in the story of the Dreamers and my status as a member of the masses was lost forever.

!

I remember what they told me: ‘Why be a raindrop when you can be the wind?’ And I was so drunk on the storm that I jumped and the wind caught me and I flew.

!

I remember what the scientists said, too. They told me their reasons, they told me the truth and they didn’t feed me any stories or lies. They said I deserved to make my own mind up, but they were too late, because somebody else had already done it.

!

And now the Dreamers, the Prophets, the Seers, the Story-Tellers, or whichever of the self-important titles they go by that you want to use; now they are tired. Forgotten and confused, we sit with our pens. We sit with our eyes to the discolored, cloudless sky and our mouths sewn shut. We sit in our circles and pontificate on the questions we already know the answers to. We sit because we are too tired to stand.

!

Despite everything that they told me, it is only now that I can see What Will Become Of Us as they claimed I would. I can see the ones who are unruly and filled with the conceit of youth leading others to a revolution. I can see the Speechers putting up a mechanical fight and I can see the Silents going willingly and gracefully, and perhaps even opening their mouths.

!

And from the dust and rusted blood there will spring a society. It will not choose Creativity over Truth, at least not at first. It will realize the relationship between the two, it will realize that the two go hand in hand like breezes in May and once again the human race will flourish.


I can see it all; I can see the whole of our eventual inward-falling collapse, and it will be just as the Scientists forewarned.

!

And just on the edge of that vision I can see that, with the help of a new breed of Scientists, the clouds will gather and it will rain, and our poets will remember how to laugh and how to grieve, and they will open their umbrellas like the opening of a fist and it will rain, it will rain, it will rain.

! Do not starve, my people! Oh, do not starve, for we were never truly wrong. ! It will rain!

!

Kadya Chavkin is sixteen years old and is currently enrolled in an International Baccalaureate Programme in Chicago, Illinois. She spends her free time reading or riding public transit, and sometimes both.


DEAR DIARY NICOLAS GUEVARA-MANN

!

September 2 Mr. Marc Beaumont Born November 16, 1922

!

“Why don’t you have a seat and we can get started,” I said as I led the elderly man to the reclined chair. He put his head back, closed his eyes, and brushed his white hair off his face.

! After he had gotten settled, I asked, “What seems to be the problem?” !

“Problem? I don’t have no problems any more. And I know what it means to have problems. Try just having escaped from a prisoner of war camp and you’re stuck hiding in some bomb-struck French home. Now that’s a problem! Or being trapped in no-man’s land without any ammunition! I know problems. Your generation has no idea,” he said. He turned his head away. I glanced down at his file on my desk.

! “So, Mr. Beaumont—“ ! “Lieutenant Beaumont to you!” !

“Yes, sorry, I’m just curious as to why you have an appointment booked if there’s no problem,” I inquired.

!

“Now, please understand that I didn’t book no darn appointment, doctor. I have too much respect for doctors’ contribution to the war effort to waste your time on something like this. It was my daughter, Sarah, you see. She forced me to come. Sarah and my wife, Mabel. They set me up. Said I was having nightmares, that I had a problem…” his voice carried off.

! “Well I’m sure—” !

“You know Mabel is a nurse,” he interrupted. “She helps out with the wounded soldiers. Do you know her?”

! “No Mr. Beaumont, I’m not familiar with your wife,” I said. ! “Lieutenant Beaumont, doctor,” he corrected. ! “Yes, sorry.” !

There was a knock on the door. Beaumont sprang up from his chair like a jack-in-the-box as my secretary walked in.


Š Justine de Jesus


“Here are the files you asked for Dr. Thompson,” she said. She handed me a pile of neatly sorted folders.

! “Thank you Ms. Schwartz.” !

I watched Beaumont as my secretary walked out of the room. He was eyeing her up and down. When she closed the door behind her Beaumont spoke up.

! “Ms. Schwartz, eh? Blonde too! Gotta watch out for that type, German I mean.” ! “Mr. Beaumont please have a seat,” I insisted. ! “Lieutenant Beaumont!” !

“Yes but please sit down. My name is Dr. Thompson and before we begin I’d like to get to know you a bit better.”

! Beaumont walked over to his chair and sat down. !

“Well I started when I was seventeen, in the French army. I couldn’t just sit back one year underage and watch those invaders take over my homeland! Vive la France!” he shouted. He jumped up and skipped all over the room, like a little boy who just watched his home country win the world cup.

! “Vive la France! Vive la France!” !

I watched silently until he sat back down, out of breath. When he appeared to be collected again I asked, “Then what happened?”

!

“Well that’s when disaster struck. They got a hold of me, the Germans I mean. They got a hold of me and took me away. Horrible things I’ve seen, horrible.” He covered his face with his hands and shook his head. He got up and looked out the window.

!

“There are people out there moving things into a truck,” he said. I thought he was talking to himself but then he turned and glared at me.

! “Yes,” I explained, “we’re doing a little remodelling downstairs.” !

He nodded and headed back to his seat, this time not so relaxed. His eyes flickered across the room as if he was looking for something, but he was perfectly still.

! “Okay Mr. Beaumont, I think we can—” !


“Shh!” he interrupted. “Do you hear that?”

!

I listened. There was nothing but the occasional soft bang coming from downstairs. Suddenly, without warning, he sprang up from his chair with such speed, the likes of which I didn’t think a man his age could possess. He threw me off my chair and laid flat beside me on the floor.

! Startled, I asked him, “Mr. Beaumont! What’s going on?” ! “Shh, stay quiet. They’re coming,” he whispered in my ear. ! “Who’s coming?” !

“The Germans of course! Who else?” He cocked his head sideways. “There are the gunshots. They’re getting closer,” he said, panicking now.

! I heard nothing. !

When the beating of my heart slowed down a bit and I realized there was no immediate threat, my patient grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and pulled me close so our noses were almost touching. He was crying now.

!

“Please doctor, you can’t let them find me. You can’t let them know I’m here.”


STRANDED NICOLAS GUEVARA-MANN

!

Day four and still no contact with any human life, Stuart writes in his journal. Well, his mental journal that is. The freezing weather and harsh winds would not allow him to take off a glove to hold a pen or pencil. Stuart looks to the east and sees the sun beginning to wake up.

!

“So, day four. What should we do today?” Stuart says out loud. He looks around. Nope, nothing has changed. Tent is in the same spot, ice is still rock solid and, yup, still completely surrounded by ice cold water.

!

“Well some breakfast and tea would be a good way to start the day,” Stuart says. He crawls into his tent and brings out his bag.

!

“Almost out of food and no tea,” he says, scrimmaging through the bag. “At least there’s still bacon.” Stuart fires up his portable camp stove and cooks the bacon over that.

!

“Well the academy sure lets us live luxuriously,” he says. “Bacon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But no one to share it with. You don’t want any bacon do you Dr. Frost?” He turns towards the snowman he’d built the day before. Dr. Frost stays silent.

! “No, didn’t think so.” ! A bird flies by and lands on the iceberg. !

“Oh hello Mr. Bird,” Stuart says. “I’m Dr. Jones. Would you care for some bacon?” Back at the academy Stuart would’ve been able to name that bird, but he hadn’t studied them in so long. It was strictly penguins now. Stuart throws a strip of bacon at the bird. It picks it up and flies away.

! “Come back soon!” Stuart calls after it. He looks around his little ice boat again. !

“What’s on the agenda today Dr. Frost? Back to our studies I suppose, until the academy comes to rescue us. We've got a report to finish you know. It’s why they sent us here.” Stuart turns around to face his snowy friend.

!

“Can you imagine this Dr. Frost? Me and you all alone in the middle of Antarctica. At least we have each other. How did we get stuck here again?” Stuart scratches his head. “No I can’t seem to remember either. At least the academy supplies us with superb survival kits.” A little gust of wind blows from the east.


“Aha! Look Dr. Frost! It’s the lucky break we’ve been waiting for!” In the distance Stuart sees a group of penguins swimming in his direction. Streaks of white, churning water gliding across the ocean like a boat’s wake.

!

“Quick Dr. Frost grab the camera, we may not get another chance like this!” Stuart exclaims. He runs to the edge of the iceberg. The pod of penguins glide through the water right by the iceberg like shooting stars in the sky.

!

“I hope you got some good photographs Dr. Frost. We’ll analyze them when we return to the academy.” One of the penguins pops right out of the water and slides onto the iceberg. The majestic King Penguin.

!

“Your Highness, I welcome you to my humble island,” Stuart says to the penguin. He bows low to the ground. “Would you like any bacon?”

!

Suddenly an enormous leopard seal bursts through the ice and traps the small bird in its jaw. Then as quickly as it had come, the seal drops back through the ice and everything was still again.

!

“Well that was interesting, wasn’t it Dr. Frost?” Stuart says. “Wouldn’t be the first assassination I’ve witnessed.” He walks over to the hole in his island and peers down. If only he could jump into that water and swim back home, like the penguins. Stuart shakes his head and heads back to his tent. He eats his last strip of bacon.

!

“Hopefully the academy finds us soon. We’re all out of food. I mean, how could they not notice two missing doctors?” Stuart crawls into his tent and curls into a ball. Nothing else to do but sleep.

!

When Stuart wakes up it’s dark outside. He crawls out and looks around. The light from the moon was reflecting off the ice around him. Stuart looks at one bizarre looking iceberg. It’s moving. It’s moving very quickly.

!

“Look at that iceberg over there Dr. Frost. Doesn’t it look peculiar?” Stuart says. “Wait a minute. That’s no iceberg!” Stuart crawls into his tent as fast as he can. He rips open his survival kit and grabs the flair. The sky erupts with orange light.

! “Dr. Jones, is that you?” a voice calls out from the darkness. !

“Yes, yes, you’ve finally come. I knew you’d come,” Stuart shouts back. The boat stops beside the iceberg and men climb out. A woman wraps a blanket around Stuart and leads him towards the boat.

!

“Is Dr. Ross here with you Dr. Jones?” The woman asks him.


!

“Dr. Ross? No, no it’s just Dr. Frost and I here,” Stuart replies. A man whispers something to the woman. Stuart manages to catch him say, “he’s not here.” He climbs into the boat.

! “Wait, you’re forgetting Dr. Frost. We need him. He has pictures,” Stuart shouts at the men. !

“Come along Dr. Jones,” the woman says. She forces him inside the boat. The men still on the iceberg pack up all of Stuarts supplies. One tent, two sleeping bags, two survival kits, and two pillows.

!

“We can’t leave him behind!” Stuart cries.

!

Nicolas Guevara-Mann was born in Toronto, Canada. He enjoys playing soccer and volleyball and plays several musical instruments. Nicolas spends his days playing FIFA and drinking chocolate milk. He is currently in grade 12 and lives with his parents, brother and rather rambunctious dog.


HE WAS TO LEAD THEM TOM OSBORN

!

‘It was like a Hollywood movie gone wrong,” my uncle started. I looked at him, and from the expression on his face, I knew that all was not well – we were going to have one long conversation.

!

“It was on a Thursday,” he continued with his story, “barely three weeks after Christmas when it all happened.”

!

My uncle had been in his small shop in Awendo town. It was not even three in the afternoon, yet he had to close early if he wanted to have his shop intact the next day.

!

Demonstrations were plaguing the country. Stories of murders, migrations, rape -- all the postelection violence -- were rife in Kenya.

!

The loneliness of the road almost shocked him. He was about some hundred meters away from his shop when he heard it.

! Shouts, cries, screams, and cheers! ! Goodness, what was happening? He asked himself. !

He stood there, rooted to the ground. Should I run home? Should I go and see what was happening?

! Then he saw smoke billowing into the sky. ! A bonfire! They had lit a bonfire. !

He decided that it was worth checking out what was happening and so he cautiously approached the scene of the noise.

! They were at the junction – the rowdy mob. !

He could see them shouting and jumping. He saw that they had barricaded the road and a small car was burning. So, it wasn’t actually a bonfire, they had set a Toyota Corolla on fire.

!

They were blood-thirsty youths – young men and women crying for vengeance for what they described as ‘stolen victory.’ For them the incumbent president had stolen what rightfully belonged to them and now they would regain it by all means.

!

He drew closer to them, deciding to stay some twenty meters away lest the police came calling. He remembered how the police had beat a similar mob just the other day and he didn’t want to be a victim of police brutality.


He froze! The mob was not just burning a car – they were beating up somebody.

!

He drew even closer just to be sure. Perhaps his eyes were tricking him. It was true! He rubbed his eyes harder – it was still true, they beating up a man in his early thirties.

! The man was wailing and screaming. !

The mob didn’t care how much tears that he shed; neither did they care about the blood that was oozing from his mouth into the tarmac of the road, uniting him with his ancestors. All that mattered was that he was an intruder – an enemy!

! My uncle recognized him – he was Kamau, the owner of a small leather shoe shop in town. !

Why were they doing this to him? How could they be so inhumane to a man who was their neighbor? Had he not even married their very own daughter? Didn’t they care about all that he had done for them?

!

Yet he understood, they had been blinded by anger and their faces covered with the veil of tribalism.

! “Aargh!” Kamau cried. He had been hit by a stone on the face. ! My uncle saw the man who hit him and looked at him. He was shocked – it was Otieno. !

Was it not the very same Otieno who Kamau had allowed to stay in one of his rental apartments for free? And if that was not enough, had Kamau not given the same Otieno six thousand shillings to buy something for his family during Christmas?

!

He felt sorry for Kamau, bearing the brunt of a sin that he had no knowledge of. Suffering the consequences of something that he was not part of. He had not chosen to be born in a different tribe, had he? Now that was what had condemned him to death – being born of a different tribe.

! “Tieke!” One of the men shouted in the local dialect. Finish him! !

What! Now my uncle was shaking! He couldn’t let them do this to a hapless and harmless man like Kamau. He had to do something - now!

! !

What could he do? What if the mob turned against him? What if he was to undergo the same torture that Kamau was now undergoing?

!

But he had to. He remembered Martin Luther Junior, his hero, and his words came slowly to his mind: “...The hottest part in hell is reserved for those who at a time of moral crisis, took a neutral stand."


He wouldn’t burn in hell.

! ‘No!’ he shouted at the mob in their vernacular Luo. !

The mob was shocked! Such courage scared them. They stared at the man who had the audacity to order a bloodthirsty mob and became even more baffled! Was he not Okumu, their favourite shopkeeper?

!

'It was chon’ chon’ gi lala, long ago,' my uncle began, 'when Nyasaye created the universe. It long ago when Ramogi, Nyasaye’s first son came down to the earth. And so Nyasaye created other men and women. All of them equal, He created them to prosper and subdue the earth. Man and woman – to live together in harmony as brothers and sisters.'

!

He continued to speak. Why were they doing this to an innocent man who had, more than anybody else, helped the community? Was it not this Kamau who had contributed the hugest amount of money in the fundraiser to build the local school? Was it not Kamau’s wife, who helped their wives in the local dispensary by paying for their medication fee? Yet they wanted to kill him. If the elections had been stolen as they claimed, was it Kamau who had rigged the ballot?

!

He urged them to let him be and embrace him as the brother that he was. Was elections to ruin their unity? No, it wasn’t meant for that. Elections were meant to help them come closer as Kenyans.

! He stopped. He had run out of words. !

They stared at him – their faces hard and cold. Who was this who had the effrontery to tell them what to do!

!

One of them, strong, tall and heavily built came forward. He was the man who had given the order to kill Kamau. My uncle felt his heart nearly stop. Fear took its toll on him, and he could feel the cold beads of sweat trickling all over his face.

! Their eyes locked and my uncle could see the evil lurking in that man's eyeballs. !

The slap that he had received from the rough hands was not only hard but painful. My uncle wrenched in pain, and a tear rolled down his face.

!

The mob was silent, all waiting for their leader to give the go ahead. How lucky they were, now it was going to be double lynching.

! “Superman!” The leader barked. “You…” !

My uncle was literally trembling, just like a chameleon on a frail twig would. What was he going to say next - ?


“You are going to lead us!” The man finished his statement.

! Lead them? Now my uncle was confused. Lead them where…? To the grave? !

No, he wouldn’t lead them to the grave! The man had something different in mind. My uncle, he proposed, would lead them when the sun rose again, and he would take them to the men who had stolen the elections and rigged the ballot, for he had spoken as if he knew where they were.

! “And if you don’t,” the leader threatened, “you will face the wrath of the chokruok!” ! The chokruok: the mob and their wrath. !

They began dispersing, their leader first, and then one by one they trickled away. Maybe they were going to find their next victim? Maybe they would go home waiting for tomorrow, thirsty for blood!

!

He looked down at Kamau, who coiled to the ground nursing his beatings, and he bent over and hugged him.

!

They were beasts! Enraged animals without total disrespect for the human race. And when it struck that when the sun would go down and rise again, he would be their new leader – a tear rolled down his face.

!

He didn’t know what he would do. Where he would hide? Where could the earth swallow him and for at least a day?

! But he knew in the back of his mind that somehow Nyasaye would make a way. ! I close my notebook and notice the coffee in my mug is almost finished. !

I look at my uncle right in the eye. He is expressionless. I don’t know why. Maybe in his mind the figure of the man staring at him with those evil eyes hasn’t gone away.

! I ask him one more question, why is this day is very important to him? ! He tells me, “I saved Kamau from the wrath of the insane chokruok!” ! I gulp down the last contents of my cup - I am satisfied.

Tom Osborn is the Founder of GreenChar, an organization that provides clean charcoal briquettes and cookstoves for Kenyan households. He developed his love for writing at an early age, writing short stories and poems from the age of nine. His stories are either inspired by true life experiences or explore the thin line between fact and fiction. While not writing or working, Tom enjoys playing video games, going out for movies and hanging out with friends. He is currently working on a full length thriller manuscript.


THE ALLEGORY OF LEINAD CHRIS AHN

!

Don’t stop writing until the very end! -Maria

! This is the story of a man named Leinad. !

Leinad was a young man who worked for a big company. Barely qualifying as an adult, Leinad was the youngest employee in the company building, but such trivial details were dismissed.

!

Leinad wasn’t very bright. He had not attended school and even if he had, his grades would have been a mess. The company had accepted him on one condition: Leinad had to stay in the company building for a year. He was not to leave his office for any reason. During his stay, the company promised to ensure the welfare of both Leinad and his family during the year, and that he would be paid at the end of this program.

!

Leinad’s office was gorgeous. It had golden wallpaper with patterns of small angels blowing their little horns. However, Leinad’s office had no windows or any other opening into the outside world. In fact, Leinad only knew whether it was day or night by a speaker attached to the ceiling of the office. When it was day, the speaker announced “Day.” When it was night, the speaker announced “Night.”

!

Leinad’s office also had a flower - a grand, blue flower - which Leinad tried his best to keep alive. So Leinad watered the plant whenever the speaker announced Day.

!

Leinad was never hungry. So, Leinad assumed that he was being fed during the Night. To confirm his suspicion, Leinad vowed to wake up during the Night through methods like taking morning naps or refusing any sleep at all. But, no matter what method Leinad used, he always seemed to fall asleep by the time Night was called and not wake until Day.

!

Leinad’s job was simple: he sat down in his office and wrote about his feelings in a brown book chained to his desk. But because Leinad was not allowed out of his office, he did not have much to write about his daily life. He had tried to leave the office once, but the door was locked from the outside. Leinad could only hope that the company would keep its end of the promise.

!

In fact, Leinad didn’t understand why the company wanted him to write in this brown book. As far as Leinad was concerned, no one entered his room to check on his work. Every Day, the brown book was exactly how Leinad had left it in the last Night.

!

Nevertheless, Leinad wrote and wrote and wrote. He continued to do this for every Day of every Month. Though he did not have much to write about pertaining to his waking life, he constantly had dreams every Night. These dreams were unlike any dreams Leinad had dreamt before he entered his office. These dreams were more vivid. More lively. More realistic.

!


Leinad had no idea of what to make of these dreams, for they did not seem to relate to anything Leinad had experienced in his past. But they were a fabulous source of writing material, and a welcome escape for Leinad, who was stuck in his little office. Leinad found enjoyment in these dreams, and this is how he kept himself entertained for the next several Months.

! Then one Night, Leinad dreamed a dream that would forever change him. !

Leinad had a dream of his company. The hallways were empty. Doors, much like the door to Leinad’s office, lined the company’s walls. Other than the doors, the hallway was very bland. Usually, angels, crosses, squiggly lines, or some other-worldly designs are present on wallpaper to help brighten the mood. Oh, but not the hallways of Leinad’s company. The wallpaper of the company was, well, white. It wasn’t dirty, and from that Leinad inferred, incorrectly, that the janitor did a very fine job.

!

At the end of the hallway appeared a woman. The woman, around the age of young Leinad, walked towards where Leinad was standing in his dream. Now this woman was attractive, at least to Leinad. To get an idea on how she looked like, imagine your dream girl. Then, make her perfect. See? Very attractive.

!

It being a dream, and not lucid, Leinad had no control whatsoever over his response. Now, Leinad was a young man, and having been deprived from female sexuality for over months, his male instincts should have kicked in. But Leinad did not jump at the woman with despicable and animalistic thoughts. He instinctively made a smile mixed with nostalgia and felicity. Then, the dream came to an end.

!

Like every other dream Leinad dreamt of, this dream was extremely vivid. But this particular dream was so real that an idea formed in Leinad’s head: perhaps the dream was real. Perhaps this dream was a sign for Leinad to leave his office and leap into a world unbeknownst to him.

!

So Leinad got up from his bed and walked to the door. He turned the knob and much to Leinad’s surprise, the door was locked.

!

Did he think he was the main character of a story or someone chosen by God? Preposterous! Then another idea formed in Leinad’s head. An idea that had never occurred to Leinad before: perhaps he was stuck in his little office room forever. In fact, how could Leinad trust the speakers that endlessly announced Day and Night to be accurate? What if Leinad had been in his room for longer than a year? What if the company had locked him in this room? For what reason was he secluded from the rest of humanity? Was Leinad crazy? That would explain the extremely vivid dreams and his inability to think about all this after Months.

!

“No!” Leinad cried. “I am not crazy!” Leinad banged on his locked office door and shouted “Help! Help! Please, someone help me! I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy! I’m normal! Please, please! “Som…”


Oh wait. Wait wait. Am I sure this how the story went? No, I am definitely sure this is not how the story went. I’m sorry, but this is not the right ending for The Allegory of Leinad. This is The Allegory of Leinad: Insane Ending (draft 4). This isn’t the story I wanted to narrate at all.

! Hmm… !

Here. While I look for the right ending for this story, let me tell you another story. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one as well.

! Ahem. ! ! This is the story of a patient named Daniel. !

Daniel was a young man who made a living from of writing realistic fictions. Daniel’s stories were in no way popular, but such trivial matters were dismissed.

!

Daniel had a beautiful wife named Maria. Maria was a beautiful woman who fell in love with Daniel’s stories. She described Daniel’s stories as realistic yet dreamy. With the little budget Daniel made off of his stories, Daniel and Maria lived a humble life in a humble home with humble furniture and humble accessories.

! But Daniel was happy. ! Then one day, Daniel fell into a coma. !

Daniel was a healthy man. There was no medical explanation as to why he would fall into a coma. Perhaps he had overdosed on drugs or drank an excessive amount of alcohol after recognizing that his stories were simply not being read by anyone.

! Or perhaps he was shocked. Yes, that would explain everything. !

Interestingly, Daniel’s landlady found Daniel’s unconscious body lying in his bed while she was trying to retrieve Daniel’s rent, which was late by three months. Only after her third slap to Daniel’s face did the landlady consider calling an ambulance.

!

Daniel did not see a brighter day in his hospital bed. He remained unconscious for every day of every month. And yet, for all these days, Maria never checked in to Daniel’s room.

! And then, after months in his small hospital room, Daniel died. ! THE END !


Did you enjoy it? Hmm? Good. While you were enjoying that story, I found the correct ending for The Allegory of Leinad. I apologize for my previous mistake, but I am certain that this ending would make much more sense and be much more appealing to you than The Allegory of Leinad: Insane Ending (draft 4).

! Ahem. ! ! This is the story of a woman named Maria… ! !

No no no, this isn’t the right story either! How could I possibly mistake Leinad for Maria? I knew I should’ve given these stories proper titles. Guess what this story was called, hm? The Allegory of Maria? Ha ha, no. That would be too organized and novel. No, I gave this story the name The Pre-Allegory of Leinad. Leinad doesn’t even appear in this story!

!

The Pre-Allegory of Leinad is the story of a woman named Maria who lived a humble but happy life with a man named Daniel, in which Maria catches a horrible and incurable disease and writes a beautiful yet shocking note for Daniel before her death. It has absolutely nothing to do with The Allegory of Leinad!

!

Sigh. I’m sorry. I’m sure we both agree that I failed horribly in narrating. All I wanted to do was convey a vivid, yet realistic story of Leinad. In fact, I don’t even remember if I had written the final draft of The Allegory of Leinad.

!

Perhaps all this was for null… Why, it just dawned on me. I don’t even know who I’m writing this for! For all I know I could be writing something that will never be read by a living, and hopefully literate, human being!

!

I guess it doesn’t matter much now. I’m sorry reader, if you do exist, for wasting your time. But, as you should know very well, today is the last day I would be writing in this raggedy brown book. Sure, there are still a myriad of unanswered questions about this company and my supposed job. But I already dismissed such trivial details. Something much more important is at hand.

! Leinad 12.31 !

--------------------------------“Day” announced the speaker. As he did on every Day of every Month, Leinad naturally woke up from his sleep. But Leinad knew that this Day was not going to be like any other. It was a Day that was going to forever change him. He looked around his office, at the golden wallpaper and the small little angels, at his beautiful blue flower that he had managed to keep alive, and then at his brown book, still chained to his desk.


Š Justine de Jesus


Leinad then walked to his door that had not been opened for an entire Year. Yet, Leinad was confident that today was different. Today had to be different, for someone was waiting outside of that door for Leinad. And Leinad knew this fully well.

! So he grabbed the knob of the door and gave it a twist. ! And then he gave a push.

Chris Ahn is a rising Senior at Northfield Mount Hermon School. Ever since he left his home South Korea for boarding school in the United States, unbound by the generous leading of his parents, Chris started to think for himself, questioning the world as he knew it. Always having an interest in writing ever since fourth grade, Chris decided to implement his thoughts into stories, thus was the beginning of his venture forth the road of a writer. After attending numerous writing programs (Columbia summer program) and winning a few awards (The Annual NMH Poetry Competition), Chris decided to take on the challenge of getting his works published.


THE GIRL IN THE WINDOW SALIMA BENSALAH

! He knew there was something wrong when the ritual was broken. !

Every day, at half past eight, he would leave the house; muttering about how late he was; blaming everybody for the tediousness of life. His shirt would be undocked at the back, and his tie merely a scarf blowing around in the evermore wind. And every day, he would remember something forgotten: a textbook, his pencil case, his kit, but he was already at school by that point, so he would try his best to survive without it.

! That morning, he remembered something later than usual. !

It plagued him, throughout his morning classes. He couldn’t focus because he had counted and checked all his books, all his pens and all of his clothes, yet he couldn’t for the life of him think what it was that he had forgotten.

!

At lunchtime, he wasn’t hungry. Then he realized that she wasn’t there that morning, as he left the house. It stung most, because through the last three months of seeing looking up at her in goodbye, at her wide, soft eyes, he didn’t even have a chance to name his thoughts. But she hadn’t been there this time.

! There were just the orange, zig-zag curtains. !

He never spoke to the girl, nor her to him, but there was some kind of trust they had built together. Just a quick glance of fleeting dismissal each morning as he left, as she woke up, affected him so much more than anything else. He felt empty without her rosy cheeks, her long, ebony hair. And as hard as he tried, he couldn’t shake away the lump in his throat; that something bad had happened to her.

!

William spoke to him, asked him if he was alright. He barely heard him in a rising tide of worry, but nodded faintly anyway. Maybe she had woken up late, or she was busy, or staying somewhere else the previous night. She could be ill, and they might have just missed each other by chance. She could even have just gone to the bathroom. It wouldn’t be her fault. But it didn’t stop him swallowing. William asked him the same question again in the afternoon, and he answered the same way. If he believed it hard enough, it might just come true.

!

He delayed the walk back, trudging his feet hard on the murky pavement. He walked through the longer estates, and bought some chocolate he didn’t like. But he couldn’t delay it forever; he had to go home eventually.


He had to face it.

!

It was half past four when he saw the house door. He forced his eyes ahead, down, across the street – anywhere but the window. But his body betrayed him. Untouched, as if they had always been there, hung the orange zig-zag curtains. Only this time, they were laughing at him.

!

He tore inside, cleared his throat. Everything’s alright Mum. But there was a dark, bottomless pit writhing in his stomach.

!

Bedtime couldn’t come quickly enough, even though there was his favorite dinner in the oven, and the football was on. He climbed straight into bed and watched the starry dots in his rugged ceiling dissolve to the darkness.

!

He listened. All night, he listened. But no-one cried. There was just an empty, painful silence. That was the worst part.

! That was his last mistake. !

When they came to take her away the next day, he knew it was his fault. She always held her hair like a mane; her sleeves overlapped her palms; the bruises faded under her glowing smile. But he saw it all along. Her deep, vast eyes were dying, slowly. The light was fading inside them.

! She was the most beautiful girl in the world. !

Like every princess, she was trapped up there, captive. Only this time, the Prince didn’t’ come.

Salima Bensalah lives in England, and when she isn't spending her time writing or doodling, she watches Doctor Who, reads books and is very awesome at art and writing.


WANDERING FEET RACHEL QUADE

!

I've always loved the woods: the silence in the trees, all the little creatures that call it home. Forests seem to call to me. It's there that I feel the most calm, the most purely me there is - not influenced by my dysfunctional family, or my so-called friends.

!

It's where I come to make big decisions, or to work out problems. That's why I was there that day. My parents had made it absolutely crystal clear that I was not to go to university outside the state, but here it was, an acceptance letter from the school of my dreams. I sighed. My parents would have a fit if I went off that far away. I hadn't even thought I would get accepted, it was just a fantasy to get me through the application process. When the letter arrived, I had stared at it uncomprehendingly.

!

This was my dream, my one chance to get away from everything. I just had to go! I sighed again, my feet taking me down the little beaten path in our small cluster of trees. Hardly big enough to be called the woods, but it was more home to me than our two-story house would ever be. I glanced into the trees as I walked, and froze. There was someone there.

!

I could see their outline in between the branches. I put my foot down slowly, edging to the treeline - snap! Oh, crap. My foot had landed on a brittle branch. The intruder’s head jerked up. Run! my brain screamed, but my feet just wouldn't move. Instead I did the stupidest thing I could possibly have done.

! I yelled out, "What are you doing here?" !

He took his time coming over, picking his way through the trees silently like it was second nature to him. Oh God, I thought, he must have a knife, or a machete, God, Ashley, what have you done? I am so dead, run, run, run, run! But I stayed as rooted to the spot as the trees. I could see the tops of his Nike sneakers as he rounded the tree to the left, and just as I was wondering what sort of murderer wore Nike, I saw his face and my mind went blank. Because he was not a murderer. He was a gorgeous teenage boy.

! "Well, I could ask you the same question," he said, with a blinding smile. ! Question? My mind worked backwards as I blinked at him. It suddenly clicked. Oh. !

"It is my woods," I pointed out, relieved to hear my voice came out normal. "Why shouldn't I be here?"

! "Is it?" He rose an eyebrow. "I didn't know." !

"Now you," I repeated, "Why are you here?" He grinned at me, running his hand through his short, golden brown hair.

!


"Well, you see, I have this condition. It's called wandering feet; they just walk along by themselves, I can't control it! One second, I'm taking a stroll through my uncle's fields, and the next thing I know, here I am!" He pulled an innocent face and I laughed despite myself.

!

"Well, how about your wandering feet wander on back to your uncle's field. This is private property," I told him with a smirk.

!

"But Maple," he protested, "Weren't you listening? It doesn't work like that," He took a few steps toward me. "See? They go where they want." But only one thing had really registered with me.

! "Maple?" I asked, scowling. !

"Yeah!" he grinned. "Like this maple here," he said, patting the tree he was leaning against. I rolled my eyes.

! "My name is not Maple. It's Ashley." !

"Nice to meet you, Ashley," he said, grabbing my hand and pressing it to his lips. "I'm Robin," he told me, and let my hand fall. "Robin Grant."

! !

I came back to the woods several times during the next week, and each time I found an infuriating Robin Grant leaning up against a tree. The guy really needed to learn the meaning of private property. Secretly, though, I was becoming happier to see him.

!

On this particular day, I was really upset. I ran out of the house and straight to the maple tree that had become our meeting place.

!

"Robin?" I called out. Nothing. All week he had been here right when I was, and the day I needed him the most, he was gone. Typical - I leaned against the tree, wondering whether to wait for more disappointment or leave now. Today my parents and I had had a huge fight over college. They wanted me to accept my place at a nearby college already, but I still wasn't willing to, and I still hadn't told them about my secret acceptance. Just thinking about it was nauseating. I was about to push myself back on my feet when I heard a twig snap. I turned and saw Robin, picking his way through the trees.

!

"Robin!" Before I could stop myself, I ran and gave him a hug. I knew he was surprised, but he didn't show it. His arms circled around me easily.

! "Hey Maple," he said with a grin as I pulled away. "What's up?" !

Before I knew it, I was spilling my guts to this boy I'd just met. It was weird, but I trusted him and valued his advice more that any of my airhead friends from school.

!


Š Justine de Jesus


Surprisingly enough, he was listening. When I was done, he shook his head.

!

"Maple, don't let your parents control your life. You're an adult now. If you want to go to this school, you can, and you should! It's your life. And if you explain to them, I'm sure they'll understand eventually."

! I snorted. My parents, understanding? Yeah, right. !

"Hey," he said. "They just want to keep you close. But they'll get used to it, pine cone." I suppressed an eye-roll at his obsession with ridiculous forest nicknames.

!

"Plus," he added, "I actually live like ten minutes away from there. It's every bit as amazing as you would imagine." My heart soared. I'd been dreading when he would leave, since he was only staying at his uncle’s for a month.

!

"Coincidentally," he continued, "I'm accepted there, too." I stared at him. This was too good to be true.

! "Really?" I asked. He grinned at me. ! "Would I lie?" ! "Yes, you would." I rolled my eyes at him. He laughed. ! "Well, I'm not lying, scout's honor." I laughed at him. ! "You've convinced me,” I admitted. “But how am I going to convince my parents?" !

"Hey," he said, tilting my chin up to look at him. "You can do this. You have to go for it." He leaned forward and kissed me. Before I could react, he pulled away and whispered, "It'll work out, you'll see."

!

Then he turned and left me standing there, stunned, and grinning like an idiot. I laughed and pressed my fingers to my lips. Who would've thought? I left my little woods to face my parents, strangely hopeful. Until he left - and hopefully after - I definitely wanted to see more of Robin Grant and his wandering feet.

!

Rachel Quade is a fifteen year old from Canada who loves reading and writing. Some of her favourite authors include J.K. Rowling, John Green, Rick Riordan, Cassandra Clare, Darren Shan and J.R.R. Tolkien. She enjoys horse-back riding, hockey and adventure. In the future she would like to be an author.


PAPER BUTTERFLIES TANVI DUTTA GUPTA

! She is drawing again. !

I can tell from the way she has draped her auburn ponytail over her shoulder. She only ever does that while drawing. To keep the hair out of her work, I suppose; I do not know much about drawing. All that I do know stems from watching her hand skim lightly over the surface of the paper, leaving fantasies in its wake. “Gabriella.” Abruptly she jerks up, back as straight as a pencil. Her hair is swung back over her shoulder, and though I cannot see her, I know they have lost the beautifully dreamy look that falls upon them when she is drawing and are now utterly focused.

! “Yes, miss.” !

The teacher stands up from the chair she has been sitting in. I can almost hear her back creak as it straightens; her hair is sparse and wispy and so does nothing to soften her steel eyes. She is holding a metal ruler that glints harshly in the artificial light.

!

“Gabriella,” the teacher repeats , her voice scraping my ears like a knife against a steel sheet. “Oh, Gabriella.”

!

“Yes, miss.” She stares steadily at the front of the classroom, remaining still despite the predatory vulture-look focused on her. Her hands rest next to each other on top of her desk. The pencil has managed to migrate to next to a notebook.

!

“What were you doing just now, Gabriella?” The teacher is walking towards her with slow, calculated steps. The students she passes recoil instinctively. I have shrunk to the back of my chair, even though I am far, far away from her.

! “Nothing, miss.” !

“Nothing, miss,” imitates the teacher in a high falsetto. She gives a small sneer. “Nothing, miss, she says.”

!

The teacher raps the ruler against her hand, menacingly, and says, in a singsong voice, “Don’t tell lies, Gabriella.”

!

Her eyes fall to the worn wooden table, scarred with the crude etchings of yesteryear. Her voice, when she speaks, is barely audible. “I was drawing, miss.”

!

The teacher slaps the ruler down on Gabriella’s desk. The thwack echoes through the room for several breathless seconds . “May I see what you were doodling, Gabriella?”


May I see what you were doodling, Gabriella?

! May I see what you were doodling? ! See what you were doodling? ! You were doodling? ! Doodling? !

She does not doodle. She draws. There is a difference there. I do not know much about drawing, but there is a difference there.

!

My hands twitches of its own will, jerkily. It knocks a pencil off the desk, which lands on the floor with a loud, echoing clatter. The teacher looks towards me , and out of the corner of my eye I see Gabriella sag with relief at the momentary rescue.

! “What is it, Henry?” she says icily. !

My hand is trembling now, but I force myself to remain calm and stop from rising up and shaking the teacher so hard that every single cruel word she has ever said against Gabriella is erased forever. “S-sorry. I-I d-didn’t mean t-to.”

!

“Do speak properly, Henry.” My cheeks burn when I hear her, but already her attention is turned from me.

!

The teacher is attempting to smile now. Her face looks like it is performing some kind of complicated gymnastics routine.

!

“Would you like to show me what you were drawing, Gabriella?” The sugar almost drops out of her voice.

!

Gabriella wordlessly opens her notebook to the page. I crane my head, trying to look at what she has drawn this time, but the teacher’s bony figure blocks my view. All I can do is sit and hear the teacher’s next words, cruel and bitter and sharp as a thousand knives.

!

“Ha! You call this drawing? My dear, a kindergartener could do better.” She leans closer to Gabriella’s motionless figure; her next words, though barely audible, are corrosive, acidic. “Don’t you ever again waste time in my class doodling this – this trash.”

!

I jam my fingers in my ears in case she says anything more. So the sounds that follow are partially muffled, but still unmistakable: the long riiip and the hushed thump as the balled papers land in the trashcan.


When I raise my head from the desk, I see her first. She is completely and utterly still except for her chest, which is rising and falling rapidly. Her head is bowed, as if she is attending a funeral. The teacher, though, is no longer looking at her. She is striding to front of the classroom confidently, almost proudly.

!

“Now, class, I do hope you remember how to conjugate verbs.� But her words turn to meaningless jabber in my ears, and all I can do for the rest of the class is stare at Gabriella, trace the outline of her frozen body again and again with my eyes. All I can do is yearn, desperately, for some sort of movement; some sort of sign that the girl who drew with such consummate focus and with such passion; some sort of sign that girl still exists.

!

The last bell rings, and all the other students shove each other out the door, not even daring to look back in the classroom. After a few minutes spent gathering papers at her desk, the teacher leaves as well, her mind likely dwelling on new ways to torment her students. But Gabriella remains sitting.

! I do, too. !

An eternity passes. Finally she stirs, lifting one hand and placing it with infinite care on the desk. She gets up as if she might shatter with any moment. With the other hand, she picks up her books and seems about to place them in her backpack when one falls open to a page that is covered in graphite strokes that dance across the page in grey spirals and joyous loop-theloops. She looks at it for a second that stretches into forever.

!

Then, with sudden ferocity, she slams her hand down on the table. Leaving the books on the desk, she storms out of the classroom, slinging her backpack over her shoulder.

! And she is gone. !

I do not know what to do. But I must do something; her notebooks, so full of her drawings and the beauty she creates, are just lying there on her desk, like a discarded toy. The cleaners will likely throw them away, unknowing as they are. And she is gone, and they are just lying there, and I cannot help myself from getting up, cannot help myself from taking the slow, cautious steps to her desk. Cannot help myself from slipping into her chair, and opening one of her notebooks. It still seems, to me, to retain some of her hand’s warmth.

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The page is meant for graphing, but she has covered it in eddying whorls. It seems like a galaxy has transplanted itself onto it. At first it appears abstract, but as I continue staring at it, shapes emerge from here and there. An eye hides in the midst of it all, barely distinguishable, but obvious upon noticing. It is amazing, this thing she has drawn. I keep outlining it with my eyes over and over, every time finding something new.

!

I do not hear the click of the door opening. She is standing behind me, looking over my shoulder, before I realize a thing.


“Why are you looking at my notebook?” Her voice is loud in the still classroom. I start, turning around to face her. Her hair is disheveled, and her eyes are hard and angry. Her hands are in fists by her side.

! “Why are you looking at my notebook, retard?” !

I do not reply, cannot reply. All I can do is stare at her. My mouth is dry, and my throat is empty of words.

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“Stop looking at me. You’re a stalker, you know? Watching everyone like that. It’s weird. Creepy. No one likes you.” With one hand, she sweeps up all the books except the one I have been looking at. That she stares at for a second before laughing. It is a high, bitter laugh. “No good,” she mutters. “No good at all.”

!

With one smooth movement the page is gone and lying forlornly in a crumpled ball beside the trashcan.

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I cannot help my next movements; indeed, I do not think them through at all. In the next few seconds, I find myself kneeling next to the trashcan, not entirely sure how I got there. I scrabble at the paper, smoothing out the creases. But the galaxy on it looks like someone has slashed it with a knife, and all the stars are pouring through.

! Retard. !

On sudden instinct, I plunge an arm in the trashcan, and withdraw the paper destroyed by the teacher. It is a little soggy from lying there with all the discarded apple cores, but I place it on the ground and flatten it, smoothing it over and over with the ball of my palm.

! Stalker. !

My movements attain an almost frantic quality, and then she is beside me, and I cannot move, cannot speak, cannot think anything except no one likes you. But her voice is soft, apologetic, as she speaks.

! “I’m sorry, Henry.” ! I look at her mutely. ! “I’m so sorry.” ! Still I do not say a thing. !

“I’m sorry. I really am. And what I said was inexcusable. I mean, I barely know you. There’s no excuse for saying anything about you, especially not that word . God knows I hate it when people say that. It’s just that…. well, everything…” She trails off.


Out of the corner of her eye, she sneaks a glance at me. I stare back at her, impassive: I do not know what to do. Sighing heavily, she leans against the wall and buries her face in her hands. “Ugh. I always manage to mess things up, don’t I? There’s no excuse for getting mad at you like that. No excuse.”

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Finally I speak. “I-it’s o-okay.” And it isn’t, I know it isn’t, but I want to forgive her for her words, or at least make it so that she thinks herself forgiven. I do not like seeing her like this, beaten.

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“No, it isn’t.” She does not lift her head. An impermeable silence starts to fill the room, with its center point her stricken body.

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My hand threatens to start trembling any moment, and I do not know what to say in reply, so I grab her two drawings and shove them at her. “H-here.”

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“I don’t want them.” Her voice is muffled and choked. “I’m a terrible artist. I don’t know why I even draw. Why I tell myself I can. All I can do is say mean things.” A tear traces a long slow path down her cheek, and a small sob escapes her body.

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I do not know what to do. I release the papers, and they flutter like butterflies with paper wings to the linoleum floor. I pat her awkwardly on the arm. I shift my position such that I am sitting next to her. Our arms touch, and I feel her trembling body.

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“Y-you’re n-not a t-terrible p-person.” My voice is weak at first, but it grows stronger and as I continue. “I l-like watching y-you draw, b-because you d-draw really w-well.” She does not say anything, but she stops shaking.

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“A-and y-you said mean th-things to me, but e-everyone does, a-and the t-teacher was mmeaner.” There is a lump in my throat, and I swallow before saying my next words. “D-don’t cry, Gabriella.”

! She raises her head. Her eyes are red. A strand of hair is plastered to her cheek. !

“Thank you, Henry.” And before I can pause for breath, she leans over and places a kiss on my cheek. “Thank you,” she whispers.

! “Y-yes,” I whisper. Then louder, confident: “Yes!” ! She smiles, and leaves. Her auburn hair is the last thing I see, flicking out the door. !

But I keep saying it to myself for hours or days or minutes after she has gone and the rumble of the buses leaving has shook the school. “Yes. Yes. Yes.” Tanvi Dutta Gupta is a rising 13-year old freshman in the Singapore American School. Since she was young, her face has been permanently stuck to a book, only now it gets stuck to notebooks and cameras too. She tends to spend too much time somewhere up a tree. While her head is usually found up in the clouds, her feet are rooted in the beauty and wonder of the everyday.


PARALLEL INK - ESSAYS

Essays!

© Humans of Shenzhen


MAX CAROLINE MOORE

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Over the past eighteen years, I have been brazen and petrified and boiling and glacial, but I have never, ever been cool. My life remains a mass of contradictions inconducive to conformity and indifference. I’m a studious introvert who loves big parties, a free-spirited yogi governed by rigorous self-discipline. Saturday, I am a boxer, and Sunday, a ballerina. I contemplate religion and The Divine Comedy while sliding on newly waxed floors in my dad's Notorious B.I.G. dress socks. I hate conflict, but I don’t hesitate to confront injustice. I was always different from those around me, and it made me feel important. But in my Catholic high school where the girls all seemed the same, I often felt isolated. Then I met Max. It was Friday night, and I stood in the crowded basement of my friend Sam’s house. Six of us formed a circle, talking about anything, everything. “Claire wants to be an actress,” Kate mentioned her friend almost sympathetically. “I keep telling her it’s pointless.” Four voices murmured in agreement, but I was suddenly uncomfortable. “I always wanted to be a Tenenbaum,” I joked, scratching at the chipped paint on my nails. Glancing up to meet confused stares, I shook my head, returning my attention to the jagged blue lines of varnish before I heard him behind me. His voice was almost lost in the thumping bass that reverberated off the wood-paneled walls and filled the spaces in conversation. Almost. “Me too. Me too.” I turned, he winked, and twenty minutes later we had known each other forever. We escaped the basement chaos through a side door and ended up in the middle of a sloping yard. The summer air was balmy and sweet, and we lounged on a verdant blanket as the sun melted into the horizon. Foaming clouds tumbled and flowed, waves in an unseen sea. And we talked. About the future and how scary it is, and how exciting it is, and how scary it is. We discussed authors, TED talks, music, politics, fainting goats, and everything in between. Our opinions were ironically opposed for two people who got along so well, but we challenged each other, sharing more similarities than we realized. He ranted about foreign policy; I ranted about apathy. “For God’s sake,” I said,” Be mad! Be witty! Be passionate! Be wounded! Be outrageously free! Be fiercely content! But don’t be tepid, don’t be nothing.” He didn’t look at me like I was crazy, only smiled and shook his head. We were blunt and loud and craving adventure, and he was a mass of contradictions, too. He taught me that everyone was, if they only allowed you to look deep enough. And as I sat there, it hit me. Slowly at first, then all of the sudden, until there was no going back. Like falling asleep or boiling water. It wasn’t an epiphany, some profound or life-altering revelation. But I realized that I wasn’t so different after all. And it didn’t mean I wasn’t unique. It only meant I was never alone.


Š Justine de Jesus

Caroline Moore graduated from high school in Dallas, TX in 2014. She is passionate about all forms of art and divides her time between reading, editing for Polyphony H.S., and traveling the world. She has been published in a few books, magazines, and online journals, and plans to attend either Princeton University or the University of Southern California in the fall.


HOW TO GO SHOE-SHOPPING (FOR FEMALES) RUTHIE KLEIN

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It is a tale of woe that is related to far too often. Whether you are at the gym, innocently working muscles into a frenzy on the treadmill, or on the phone with your arthritic great aunt Millie from Albuquerque, you are bound to hear a tragic and harrowing shoe-shopping experience that twists your gut into writhing masses and releases glistening drops of perspiration onto your forehead. But it’s alright, says your brain in its soothing, dulcet tones. You’ve already done your shoe-shopping this month.

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Yes, the first step to an unpleasant, but rewarding, shoe-shopping trip is to establish a set date. That is to say, you’d best choose the first Tuesday of each month. Be careful not to choose an hour too close to your coffee break or too far from it either, lest your mind fogs up, causing your shoe choice to be faulty. The ideal time to reach the shoe store is approximately 11:12 A.M. or 3:47 P.M. If you are about to postpone your trip to the shoe store, ask yourself the following questions:

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Is it truly worth it to postpone this shoe-shopping trip? (a) Yes. (b) No. (c) Maybe.

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What will happen if you do decide to shop anyways? (a) My family would never forgive me. (b) I might get fired. (c) The police would most likely arrest me.

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Would God want you to postpone shoe-shopping knowing it is a dangerous and irrational deed? (a) My situation calls for drastic measures. (b) Eh… He probably wouldn’t be too happy. (c) Who am I to say what God likes?

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If you answered (a) twice or more, reevaluate the situation and your values. If you consistently replied with (b), get in the car and move it before your miss the ideal time slot. If your answer was (c) more than once, go back and answer the questions again -- with honesty, this time. If, due to a life-threatening illness or a tragic death in the family, you do not manage to reach the shoe store at your set time, you must not go the next day or “just because you feel like it.” You’d best go on the following Thursday, at the same time as you would typically. However, if you are observing a mourning period, read the essay “Shoe-Shopping in Adverse Conditions” for proper procedures.

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Picking a shoe store is no light matter. Those who tend to be swayed by what’s “in” would be most happy at a chain store such as Designer Shoe Warehouse or Payless. For comfort, elegance, and ease, stick with classic shops like Anne Klein and Clark’s. A connoisseur of sneakers will be comfortable in stores like Nike or Foot Locker. For alternative footwear, there are other options available throughout the world.


Once you have established a steady store -- with a backup, for emergencies -- you must determine a set of guidelines regarding entrance. As you leave your car, step out with a firm precision, yet a lightness. This will take some practice, especially as your right foot must tilt towards the right and be on an incline to the south-east, while your left foot must tilt towards the left and incline south-west. Your steps should be fluid, performed with a graceful ease. Each foot should land on the ground within six inches of the other. As you walk through the doors of the store, adopt a serene and superior countenance. Shop workers gravitate towards wealthy and classy customers and thus will trip over themselves in an effort to give you discounts. Additionally, you must maintain a distance of three inches from the shelves as not to injure yourself on a dangerously sharp pair of heels or uproot a perilously placed shoebox.

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Browse the racks of shoes with several ideals in mind. Color, of course, must be a primary consideration. To choose a maroon hue when it should be a deep chestnut would be a grievous and mortal offense to those who might gaze upon your dainty feet. A vibrant shoe at an extremely conventional occasion might be off-putting and disagreeable to attendees of the same event, while one's feet should not be clothed in dark-toned sandals and flip flops at a summerthemed affair. Summer shades tend to revolve around bright shades as well as a broad analogous color scheme that includes reds, oranges, and violets, while winter shades are darker and deeper and are generally grey- and blue-based.


!

Of course, other details must not escape your notice; the fabric and texture of your shoes are just as deserving of your contemplation as the color. Fabric and texture depend entirely on the occasion, so you must separate events into the following categories, and make decisions thusly.

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Party - White Tie, Black Tie, Dressy Casual, Garden Casual Work - Business Formal, Business Informal Other - Day-to-Day Informal, Beach Casual, Gym Casual

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If the category you have circled is “party,” you must first be aware that your expectations are higher than on a typical day. People will avidly and actively scrutinize your footwear; if it is inappropriate or unattractive, you will be ostracized.

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For both White Tie and Black Tie one is expected to wear heels. A recommendation for White Tie: convention shall not wrongly serve you. A pair of five-inch Italian black heels (preferably patent leather and rounded-toe with the side that is facing outwards slightly more chiseled in appearance) with an expensive-looking insignia on their soles will do the job with admirable simplicity and ease. Black Tie is more vague and thus faults can be more harmful. A pointed or rounded toe is permitted, but do not ever make the horrid mistake of open-toed shoes. Generally, stick to darker hues and classic shapes, but do not choose a shade that clashes with clothing. 


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For a circumstance that you would classify as Dressy Casual, open-toed shoes are alright, as are elegant leather flats in all colors. Vivid heels have a welcome reception, so do not be afraid to be daring. Garden Casual is a perfect opportunity to purchase a pair of colorful wedges or espadrilles, though any cloth is generally viewed as vulgar. Inquire about the nature of the party you are going to for more information.*


Say you are interested in the “work” category. Office wear must be elegant but fashionable; thus, stick to classic silhouettes with subtle updates. For Business Formal, a pair of dark or neutral four-inch heels is acceptable. Avoid straps, heels that are inappropriately tall, or toe visibility. Leather or dark suede is recommended. Business Informal is the perfect opportunity to show off solid-colored flats or flats with patterns. Always stay away from cheap-looking fabrics with uncomfortable textures.

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The “other” category has, understandably, the most diversity. For Day-to-Day Informal, choose cute, colorful, patterned flats or Mary Janes. Depending on the season, a pair of pretty boots or sandals are always a lovely sight. Beach Casual refers not to the numerous people who have a tendency to wear cheap and unattractive flip-flops but those who purchase a delightful pair of sandals. Sandal straps can be adorned with everything from fake gems to flowers, and they are the ideal way to express your vibrant personality. Be careful when it comes to Gym Casual: the “Casual” part does not give you the excuse to wear fifteen-year-old shoes. Invest in a good pair of sneakers.

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Once you decide on a category that you would like to buy a pair of shoes from, scan the racks for the shoes that might fit into this classification. The proper way to search is to first look forward, tilt your head to the right and then the left, and repeat after you turn around. Once you are done scoping the area, focus on details: pick up the shoe that has caught your eye and turn it critically, assessing the sole’s condition, its true shade, and the shoe’s general look. Ask yourself the following questions:

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Will it survive for over 6 months? (a) Yeah, right. 6 months? More like 6 days with the condition the heel is in. (b) It’s possible. (c) I’d bet money on it.

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How often will you wear these shoes? (a) Twice a month or so. (b) Twice a week or so. (c) Twenty-four/seven or so.

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Would you brag about these shoes to your friends? (a) Naw . (b) Depends, maybe if we have nothing else to talk about it. (c) Of course!

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If you’ve answered (a) more than twice, put the shoe down. If you’re finding that (b) seems to be a recurrent letter, keep looking and come back for it if you don’t find anything else. And, of course, (c) means that this pair of shoes is worth buying. Continue appraising the shoes. Do you like the fabric? Is the pair of shoes’ texture appropriate? If your answer to each of these questions is affirmative, slant your back seventy-five degrees and reach, straight-armed, to place the shoe on your right foot. For fear of being poisoned by other people’s foot fungus, never wear a sock that the store offers.


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Does the shoe fit? Test by pressing your heel down and your foot against every corner of the shoe. There should be half an inch of space at the heel, and the ankle should not feel constrained too tightly. Be careful and be truthful, for if you choose the wrong size you are subjecting yourself to months of discomfort. Most people do not enjoy bunions and blisters (For information on how to rid yourself of foot ailments, read the essay “How to Rid Yourself of Foot Ailments”).

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You have the shoebox in your hand. If its colors are gaudy and/or vulgar, reconsider whether or not you want the shoes. Take the two shoes out again, and, starting with your right foot, put the shoes on again in the matter described above. Walk four yards and look from all angles at your legs in the mirror. If your legs look chunky, put away the shoebox. If you are unsure, ask for advice, but never from a salesperson, who will lie in the hope of making a sale. Any young woman who is dressed professionally with neat heels or oxfords on will answer your queries truthfully. In worst-case scenarios, send a picture from the knees down to your sister, mother, or great aunt Millie.

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You have received positive feedback and decide to buy the shoes. Be on high alert -- this is the most dangerous moment for unassuming customers! Second doubts will reign, most often when you read the price tag, but do not let them conquer! Ask yourself the questions that you have already asked. Walk, with the breezy bearing of the elite, to the line’s end. Refuse any “shortcuts” -- if a young man or elderly woman offers you a spot with them, graciously decline. Stand with your feet four inches apart and facing straight ahead. Do not speak on your cell phone, but hold the shoebox reverently before you. When it is your turn in line, do not look the cashier in the eye. It is well-known that their eyes, specifically if they are blue or green, contain special hypnotic powers. Pay in cash to avoid complicated transactions. If you are using a stolen credit card, it is recommended that you read the essay “How to Use a Stolen Credit Card -- and Get Away with It”. Take the shopping bag in your right hand if it is brown and left hand if it is white. Remember that the items in your bag are both dangerous and precious, deserving of proper respect. Walk back to your car as this essay instructs earlier.

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You’ve done it. Somehow, you’ve survived the life-threatening event and have come through stronger. Inhale and exhale with relief, and then call great aunt Millie. Tell her it’s alright. It might be terrifying and nail-bitingly lonely, but you’ll help her. Inform her that her chances of survival will be enormously heightened if she reads the essay “How to Go Shoe-Shopping (For Females)”.

Ruthie Klein is an extroverted fifteen-year-old from Michigan who loves theater and photography. She would like to go into the medical field, and has founded a charity organization that provides books to lower-class public school children. Ruthie's work has previously been awarded first place on Stageoflife.com and been published in GREYstone Magazine as well as local and school newspapers. Writing is one of her most enjoyable pastimes.


BUILDING A BETTER BANGKOK: TRANSPORTATION ALEXANDRA MARY HODGES

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When most people imagine Bangkok, they think of a city full of interesting sights, smells, and sounds, from markets, temples, and exotic sites. In reality, Bangkok is a bustling city, full of jammed cars, buses, taxis and tuk-tuks all spewing exhaust and cramped sidewalks full of tripping tourists and residents breathing in the heavy pollution. The main use of transportation here is a personal car, resulting in an average commute of 2 hours a day which usually is spent sitting in traffic.

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In 1980, the amount of vehicles in Bangkok was at 600,000. Now, with 6.8 million vehicles in Bangkok, the air is clouded in smoke and exhaust from the cars. Levels in asthma have increased from 5% of the population in 1998 to 15-20% in the last 2 decades. With so many people visiting Bangkok, Bangkok will have to change its means of transportation soon, or it will suffer greatly. For some people in Bangkok, the car is a symbol of wealth. It shows your rank in society, more so than the house you live in. Because of this, many people insist upon using their own cars. Also, traffic can be caused by horrible road conditions and heavy rains. Both clog up the streets, making driving insufferable. Some people who have to be in the city (due to schools and jobs) have to leave very early in the morning to get to their destination on time. This time spent in the car results in loss of productivity, as they spend 2 hours in their car doing nothing but driving and sitting. The pollution is also particularly bad in Bangkok. Some cars and trucks are non maintained and pollute very greatly, since smog emission tests in Bangkok are not required. With that much pollution, Bangkok is just adding to the problem of global warming and health hazards.

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Bangkok’s roads are also highly dangerous. In 2012, 749 people died due to car accidents. 9,238 had injuries, resulting in 110 million Baht in damages.

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Bangkok has tried to fix this problem of transportation by creating the BTS, a sky train they expected to gain major popularity. However, with its lack of destinations and expensive tickets, less people use it than expected. Bangkok could also add more destinations to the sky train as well as lower the prices, but it would take a lot of money to add on.

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At the same time, getting people to use other modes of transportation can be difficult. What may have to happen in the future is for the people of Bangkok to decide to do something about this problem. Having shared transportation such as buses or commuting together would help the problem of pollution and traffic immensely, but getting people to change their mindset will need extra work.


Around the world, many places that also have this problem have tried to change. Take, for instance, Amsterdam. Its roads are full of people riding bicycles. These people are young and old, businessmen and students. In the inner city, over 60% of transportation are bikes. How did Amsterdam get so many bicyclists? The answer lies in several ideas they have put to use, from their expensive fees on parking, closed and one way streets, and discouraged use of cars. Perhaps the most effective answer lies in the people of Amsterdam. During the 1950s and 60s, the use of cars skyrocketed. However, more deaths on the road was a huge effect from these cars. The people of Amsterdam then decided to protest against this, and today Amsterdam is one of the most bikefriendly places. To apply this to Bangkok would also be difficult. However, if the people are willing for this change, it will be possible. The first step would be to clean up the streets and sidewalks, and then continue from there.

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Another place that also has improved modes of transportation is Curitiba, Brazil. In the 1960s, Curitiba was much like Bangkok; congested, polluted, full of cars. Jamie Lerner, an architect, presented a plan to help Curitiba’s problem. In the 1970s, Curitiba was approaching 1 million residents. To install a subway system, they would need to pay an unaffordable $300 million. Lerner came up with a solution, to build a bus system that would have the same characteristics of the subway: speed, affordability, reliability and frequency. Henceforth, the BRT was created, now holding more than 2.3 million people a day. The bus runs on biofuels made from soybeans, helping the pollution levels drastically drop. The bus was also much cheaper than expanding the BTS or subway, making this a better decision.

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Both these places have exactly what Bangkok needs to help its problem. Together, Bangkok would be much cleaner, and traffic may not even be a part of everyday vocabulary! To get these ideas to work, Bangkok will need to be willing to pay the money for the bus systems. As Bangkok continues to build the bus system, they could also improve road conditions for bicyclists.

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My idea to build a better Bangkok consists of several ideas. We can’t just have a single answer to solve Bangkok’s problems. We need many, and when put together that’ll be what makes Bangkok better. My first idea would be to enforce a new law. That law would be to force smog emission tests, so vehicles won’t be letting out huge amounts of carbon dioxide. Also, Bangkok could build more bike lanes, just like in Amsterdam. The bike lanes would have to give a sense of safety to the bikers, so they would bike more. To make bike riding more popular, Bangkok would need to clean its streets. That means to rid the vendors and sellers that crowd the roads. To make the streets smoother and with less things in the middle of them. That way, it gives the riders a sense of not only safety but security.


To continue, Bangkok could expand its BTS. Although the BTS isn’t the most popular mode of transportation, if Bangkok reduced the price and expanded the BTS, it would not be a waste. A more unpopular decision to build a better Bangkok would be to make cars more expensive. Singapore also did this, and now only 1 person in every 10 has a car. Though this solution is less popular, it is effective as well.

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My final solution is to shut down the streets and roads once a month in certain areas to personal vehicles, so people would have to use public transportation, bikes, or walk. This forces them to try other types of transportation, and hopefully encourage them to use that type of transportation more often. This could be expanded to greater areas once the idea is accepted by the people of Bangkok.

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If all of these ideas are put to use, we can build a better Bangkok. It will take work, time and money, but if we succeed it will be worth it. Studies have shown that the more time spent in cars, the less happy people are. Doing this, we can not only build a better Bangkok, but a happier and healthier community.

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Alexandra Mary Hodges is 12 years old and lives in Bangkok, Thailand. She goes to International School Bangkok (ISB) where she learned techniques used in her writing. She lives with her parents, twin sister and younger brother.


PARALLEL INK - LAST WORDS

Last Words!

© Humans of Shenzhen


PARALLEL INK - LAST WORDS

STAFF: EDITORS, ILLUSTRATORS, TRANSLATORS Jiyoon Jeong is a Korean ninth-grader who attends public school in Korea. She is a former ISB student, and keeps in contact with her friends in Bangkok. She owns two lovable and mischievous cats and likes to listen to New Age/Piano medleys.

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Jamie Uy is a Filipino-Chinese-Singaporean fifteen-year-old. Her work has been appeared in Huffington Post, GREYstone, Miracle, and other publications. She was a Commended Foyle Young Poet of the Year 2012, and has published a poetry anthology, The 1 AM Astronaut and Other Poems. She blogs here.

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Puinoon Na Nakorn is an Thai ninth-grader at International School Bangkok. In her spare time, she likes reading webcomics, eating good food, and tutoring her friends in Science.

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Erica Sehyun Song is a Korean attending high school in Singapore. In her free time, she enjoys reading all types of fiction, playing the flute, and enjoying the simple things in life. She is a strong believer in travelling around the world and socialising with animals.

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Justine de Jesus is a fourteen-going-on-fifteen year old adolescent with an overwhelming passion for watching RomCom movies, wearing oversized sweaters, and drinking chai lattes. A self-proclaimed lover of the indoors, you'll find her sitting idly at her desk, attempting to muster enough creativity to inspire her next drawing. Besides her bedroom, you'll most likely find Justine attacking a sales rack in any clothing store (if there was ever one movie to most accurately describe her life, it would be Confessions of a Shopaholic). She's also a huge fan of blogging; you can find her at azalaei.tumblr.com and teen folk.blogspot.sg.

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Michelle Lu currently lives in Singapore, but was born in Pennsylvania, USA. She enjoys writing silly stories and drawing. She also enjoys manga, anime, and webcomics during her free time, and discussing weird philosophical topics with her friends. Her lifelong dream is to inherit a library and spend an entire day there, alone, amidst the books. She knows that this bio was written in a very boring matter, but doesn't have the time to make it any more interesting for you.

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Emma Breber is a fourteen-year-old rising freshman who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area in California (she recently moved from Bangkok, Thailand.) She spends her time reading, writing, being a Nerdfighter, watching nerdy TV shows, and hanging out with friends. She loves discussing current events and thinking critically about important and interesting ideas and issues. She wishes everyone a lovely summer!


Daniel Kwiatkowski is 16 years old and a current junior. He attends Newark Academy in New Jersey, USA and is taking a creative writing class. He is a huge fan of the Philadelphia Eagles and plays on his school's golf team. Vincent Tantra is a now-10th grader born in California. He likes to play videogames, eat, sleep, read philosophical books (The Alchemist, for example), create and play music on the piano. and watch videos on YouTube. He was one of the first submitters to Parallel Ink and now spends the time it took to write that submission to read your submissions. You're welcome, people. Elena Hope Morey was taken to the US by her current adopted parents (who are American) and started schooling there. At eight she moved near Zurich, Switzerland and stayed there for three years, learning German and French. She continues her French studies at Singapore American School. Last year she was a Peer Counsel and Junior Model United Art Society member. She continues art in Studio, a pre-AP course, and loves to draw and chill with friends. She enjoys bubble tea and write tons on her blog (www.elenamorey1.blogspot.sg). Besides all of the arts, she loves badminton and fencing. Nisha Choudhary lives in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA and is 15 years old. She has just finished her freshman year at Ridge High School. For fun, she likes to hang out with her friends, go to the movies, and play tennis. During her freshman year of high school, Nisha was happy to be a member of the Ridge Girls’ Tennis Team.

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Sarah du Pont is an American-Thai rising sophomore who attends International School Bangkok. She enjoys playing sports, and loves watching Korean dramas and fangirling with her friends. She also likes to learn and speak new languages such as Japanese, Spanish, and Korean.

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Yichen Zhu is from Bejing, China and is currently a 9th grade student at International School Bangkok. She is fluently in English and Mandarin and can speak a little Spanish from the classes she is taking in school. At ISB, she is currently a writer and assistant editor in Journalism class, where school magazines, The International, are produced once or twice per month. She loves sports and is actively participating in every season throughout the year. This is her first time to translate a poem and also to have something written by her in the Parallel Ink magazine. She really enjoyed this opportunity and experience.

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PARALLEL INK - LAST WORDS

Parallel Ink caters to kids around the world aged 12-18 by publishing their writing and thoughts through digital, 21st-century mediums. We love writing that speaks to and addresses the issues affecting the youth of today, and art that challenges us to change our perceptions. We are a completely voluntary, not-for-profit publication run by a team of three high-schoolers and other guest contributors internationally.

WAIT THERE’S MORE! We hope that you enjoyed reading this issue. To submit writing, go to https://parallel-ink.webs.com/ submit for guidelines, examples, and our online submission form. You can also go to the prompt page on the main site for official prompts for the next issue - December 2014!

Social Media Links: Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Parallel.Ink Twitter - https://twitter.com/ParallelInk Tumblr - http://parallelinkteam.tumblr.com/

Follow us to get friendly reminders for issue deadlines and prompts to get the creative juices For general comments/feedback, art submissions, flowing. and queries on how to become a guest editor/ illustrator/translator/columnist, please send emails Happy summer holidays! to parallelink@gmail.com. We’d love to answer any questions you have, and we’re always looking for new additions to our staff.

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Issue 2, Vol. 2  

Featuring an interview with teen author Anna Caltabiano, an article by teen environmentalist Emma Freedman, photography by Humans of Shenzhe...

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