Unreal

By Bryson Keltner

I stepped on to the hot, busy streets to the sound of car horns and Arabic.

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A Bow in the Clouds

By Emma Austin

I sat in the backseat of my aunt’s car, sweating uncomfortably in a hand-me-down dress next to my cousin as we circled the lake on the road leading to Grandma’s driveway. It had been raining all morning, but at that moment the sun was shining brightly, even through the tinted car windows.

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Almost Famous Friends

By Jamie Williams

My friends aren’t famous to the public by any means, but they’re definitely more famous than me. After being one of thousands of viewers of their online gaming channels for years, and then being trusted enough to moderate those viewers for them, we met for the first time in person at a convention in Indianapolis. They were featured guests; I was a fan who paid to see them.

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Shopping With Mom

By Brandon Killian

I learned of mother’s diagnoses with Parkinson’s disease in 2011, when I was 14 years old. When I found out I didn’t know what to feel. I was only in grade eight, and I didn’t understand how it would affect my life. I knew things would change, but I just wanted to be a normal family.

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Holidays on the High Seas

By Amelia Epley

I was feeling the rocking of the boat as I fixed my hair for Thanksgiving dinner. I turned off the blower and reapplied the herbal oil behind my ears. Tonight’s seasickness would be rough. It had been a windy day in Belize. I was standing to put on my boots but had to pivot on one leg and land on the bed as the ship caught a bad sway. A quick application of lipstick, and I was ready.

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Deep Cuts

By Jacob Dick

It was an average looking CD case, like any other my dad left behind. I had pulled it from the shelf by chance as I was searching for something to listen to. I never expected to be holding a portrait of an anthropomorphic hairless cat chained to a dartboard outlined with throwing knives, surrounded by chimera with Satan heads. My 8-year-old mind couldn’t comprehend what I was looking at. This wasn’t like the stoic morbidity of the cow skull on the front of the Eagles Album. This was more unsettling than the crooked old man on Led Zeppelin IV.

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The Red Scare

By Lindsay Whittington

I’m in Sarah’s living room with a group of people I know–all good friends, I might add–but all I can think about is the chili. It is at the center of my consciousness. Fear of it is gripping my mind and making my stomach clench in uncomfortable knots. My friends are blurs around me. I can’t see them. I can barely hear them. All that is there is the chili, sitting innocuously in its orange pot on Sarah’s kitchen table.

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