Nisha Gill

Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute (Kingston, Ontario)

They are the first to arrive, flickering into view, bit by bit, slowly becoming whole. Faith is a small, delicate looking creature, like a ballerina, while Hope is a bit bigger, though still thin and wiry, a fighter. Both carry themselves with grace and confidence - the kind that comes from knowing something that others do not. They share a brief, side glance, eyes meeting for only a fraction of a moment, before moving away to examine the space.

It’s the same as it’s always been - wide open, endless, eternal. Not quite a room or a platform as there are no distinct walls or ceiling or even floor, each bleeding into the other, forming a kind of enormous tunnel. It’s dark and silent, with little lights floating in the air, scattered through the space, bobbing gently and flickering occasionally.

Hope makes to move forward, but Faith puts out an arm, stopping them, wordlessly shaking their head.

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Fire, Blood, and Ash

Pratik Bapat

Podar International School (Mumbai, India)

The wind was howling like a pack of wolves as Shantanu trudged along the gravel path. Shantanu just had a torn t-shirt, old half pants, and a long cloth as apparel while he struggled up the mountainous ghat between Topakarwadi and Samastipur.

Shantanu was a porter- someone who delivered goods between his village (Topkarwadi) and the town of Samastipur. His father and grandfather had done the same job and so had generations before them. Now, this mountainous path wasn’t a normal one, tales said that this path was infested with ghosts. Not all of the porters who went came back.

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the anatomy of a broken heart

Nisha Gill

Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute (Kingston, Ontario)

You sigh, rolling over onto your side and curling into yourself, one arm wrapped tightly around your waist, holding yourself tight. You rest your other hand over your heart, breathing deeply - in and out and again - focusing the quick, hard lub dub of the small beating, living thing inside of you.

This beautiful, brave, brilliant living thing inside of you.

"You can learn almost anything about a person by looking at their heart."

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Can't You Hear Them?

Fillipa Samella

HAEF Psychiko College IB (Athens, Greece)

My favourite time is that before dawn. When the shadows still lurk in this haze of light that rests heavily on the ground. When the crickets are silent and the birds asleep. When the sea is resting and the trees still tired. When the wind surrenders to stillness.

I trust this gloomy twilight. I find comfort, I relax. There is no obligation nor need for effort, no shame nor need for control, for all floats gently above reality. While the breeze roams free and cold. It’s before the sun appears, shyly at first, but stretching its golden tentacles to reach every corner. And long before the alarms go off, the traffic begins, and school, and bells, and voices.

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A Storm Inside My Head

Soumya Sathe

Podar International School (Mumbai, India)

The sky clouded over. What had been cheerful and azure this very dawn was now shrouded in grey; a view so bleak yet bewitching, it seemed to me as if Zeus was in great sorrow. It was unnerving to see the sky so dark, this early in the daytime. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury of being able to claim that any gaiety had been interrupted by this dampening affliction. I wished that I did.

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The Travellers

Jake Higdon

Westwood High School (Austin, TX)

Long ago, we laid claim to the hills and the valleys. We travelled the seas. We even sailed the skies. But it all came to a head when we set out for the stars.  

In our mechanical bubbles, harnessing the power of unseen forces of nature, we traversed the heavens, reached the jewels of light that had so long eluded us. The universe was truly boundless. The last of the frontiers had opened. The stars became the home of our people.

We had won.

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How To Disappear

Zachary Lo

Sequoia High School (Redwood City, CA)

The process starts long before you walk out of your old life, and it may not start the way you think. It begins at the edges. There is a fraying there, a blurring. Parts of you seem to be worn away slowly, like in sixth grade when you learned about erosion and how rocks may be smoothed by the relentless beating of the waters. That is the first part to disappear. Probably nobody will notice, or if they do, they won’t care. After all, smooth and rounded rocks are better than jagged ones, which cannot be nicely picked up in the palm of a hand and skipped across the surface of a lake

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A Very Short Story

Daniel Baranski

IV Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace (Lodz, Poland)

Releasing myself from the umbrageous hold of the woods, I went on
following the pathway inundated with some strange light of the Moon.
All those dark bushes——tall skeletal trees——languid bare rocks,
which I one after another was passing, gave not a single respite to my
romantic mind. I yet perceived something within—at least
initially—something like a whit of agitation sparkling as the place was
drawing nearer.

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I Am A Pen

Hana Hallak

Al Faris International School (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) 

Wake is unattainable, and I write from the depths of a dream within a dream. The dream was once alive and breathing, yes, in fact it was so alive seething with hope only seen by the eyes of the young. Perhaps because these young eyes were too pure to grasp the cruelty sometimes... However I was present at the breakeven of this purity, where in a space of breath, this youth aged a thousand times.

It was cold that day, I remember, and I had waited to be warmed by the hand that held me in a strong grip that told me we will deviate into metaphorical flights and literary merit. I had waited to plague pages and pages with the surges of creativity that never failed to assure me; these small hands have big plans...

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