The Tale of the Two Lovers

She deserved the world. She deserved me, he told himself. His love for the girl was beyond the heavens and earth, the stars in the galaxy – infinite. He craved her, she was everything he wanted and more; her smile was soothing like the ripples of the ocean, and her eyes resembled sweet honey nectar. They lived In the woods, in peace, the voices of the birds heard as they soared through the sky.

They were alone, with not a single being to be witnessed.  The naked trees that guarded the woods could be seen through the dark hole of the window as the gaps of moon light peered in. “I love her, she needs me, and what I did was good for her. She’s happy now, peaceful,¨ thought the boy. He knew that the girl lived an unfortunate life. Everyone would say how good  she was, how beautiful she looked, how funny she could be, and yet they´d hurt her and led her astray. He wanted to be the one to love her and put her out of her misery. 

He held her hand, his was endowed with warmth while hers was cold as ice, ¨I want to take you somewhere special,“ he whispered to the girl. She was silent and he took that as a yes. As he entered the woods, the night air carried something vile. He carried the silent being he loved most in the world as the cricket’s melody filled the air. Trees greeted them while the stars lit the two love birds through the darkened woods. The boy, madly in love, allowed his lungs to be filled with the moist, crisp air. He took the girl to the river near the stranded walnut wooden cabin. He always wanted to take her  there. It was beautiful, bewitching,and angelic just like her. He viewed her striking features once again. He listened as the river crashed against the rocks.

He held the girl close to him and gave her a kiss on her cheek. The moon hovered over the two and watched above as they held hands once again, his were warm while hers was cold. He simply couldn’t let go yet he knew it was for the best, ¨At last you shall be free,¨ he said to the girl as her hushed rotten corpse sank along the river stream. She was truly free….

Nahla Colon is an inspiring writer and poet who wishes to grant  her eternal passion of literature with others. She developed her love for writing from a young age by her fondness  of reading and using her imagination to escape to a world of her own.  She involves herself in hobbies such as traveling, writing, reading, and simply adores Mother Nature and all of her hidden beauty. Nahla, when she’s older, longs to live in a field of flowers with the one she loves most  and write away her feelings as the sun kisses her skin and the earth neighbors her.

Just a Small Town

The dark clouds boomed loudly, making a thump. I ran quickly into the gas station, splashing water into my shoes. The bell rang as I walked into the candy-filled store. Finally, a familiar face! “Uh- Aira! Didn’t know I’d see you..”, she looks down at the register. Blue shuffled awkwardly, putting her hands behind her back. I looked down, grabbing a white chocolate Hershey’s bar. I didn’t want her to feel awkward. I pull out my small pocket book, meticulously counting every coin. I’ll have to have ramen again tonight. Blue comes back from behind the counter. “Is that all?”, she asks, “Sure.”

I walk back outside into the rain, my apartment is just across the street. I run across, looking quickly for any cars. I glance behind me and see a shadow slipping into the darkness. The Ring doorbell,bright blue light, makes me remember I forgot my keys. Oops. Buzz. “Who is it?I hear in a monotone voice. 

“Ma- Aira. I forgot my keys.” I can never remember the new name. “Hey, uh, Mr.Webber it’s me.” I make an awkward laugh. “Could you use the spare I made for you?” 

I can hear his uneven breathing louder than a choir. He’s old. “Okay,”. I hear the click of the door. I pat off my shiny shoes. The mess of bright orange hair, Toney, the elevator guy, greets me. “Rainy day innit?” he says in a thick Irish accent. “Yeah.” I avoid contact with him, maybe out of habit, or disrespect. The ride is quick, an awkward smile is shared between us. “Bye”, I say, I wave. I hear him say “exiting ele-” and then this weird static when I leave. He’s probably just confirming I got off.  

My hand gets wet when I reach my hand back into my pocket to grab my Hershey bar. I rip it open, smelling the condensed milk. I take a bite, and it melts in my mouth. My eyes shut with satisfaction as memories rush back to me. I remember getting my first car with a basket of hershey bars. My inner peace is satisfied. After the 3 months I’ve had, I deserve it. I see the lump on the rug, and yell “Thanks Mr. Webber!” to the room next door. The door makes a satisfying click when it unlocks, I swing open the creaky door. I switch the light on, revealing my apartment. I’m annoyed at the boxes in the corner, I should’ve unpacked them at the beginning of my move. I’ll just do it right now. 

The pictures in the box brought back memories of everything: pictures of me and my dad, others of me in the pool, in my humongous room, and in the car. God, I miss that room. It wasn’t that long ago before everything changed. I still remember the smell of dollar bills, it was nothing compared to what I have now. My trashy apartment reminds me of the palace I had before. I remember scrubbing the blood stains out of the carpet, the musty smell of the old dish soap, and the bright alarming police tape. I should focus on the good memories. I remembered getting a new Louis bag, marveling over the shiny gold on the luxurious handbag. I should’ve had that, and more. If it weren’t for him… but now all the pictures with my family are worthless, I’ve moved on.  I grab a black trash bag and throw them out hastily, as to not bear another surge of jealousy for what I could have still had. 

I have to clean all of this, it’s a mess. I’ve been out for most of the day. I turn on the radio, it plays “Firework” by Katy Perry. I dance around with my eyes closed, feeling the beat. A moment of freeness and passion always comes in this song, between jumps during the chorus.The music lasts for a few seconds. “Ads… shoot”, I mumble under my breath. Could this day get any worse? I scroll on the radio, finding nothing on the FM channel. “AM it is”. Static. When I was just about to turn it off, I heard a voice. At first it was just static, going in and out. “In- the- apart- 306”. That’s my room number. I listen, furrowing my eyebrows. “Sir? When are we going to take her?”. I turn up the volume. “We’ll decide later. How much will we get, Blue?”. Blue? Blue, that’s my only friend! The only person who had been nice to me. The only one. “4 million, Sir, from dad’s-”, it cuts off. I click the button to turn the radio off, with tears in my eyes. I would never think anyone would betray me like this. Oh God, what do I do? I fall to the floor, bending against the wall. My arms curl towards my head while I sob internally. I can’t breathe! 

I need to call someone, my old best friend. She wouldn’t betray me would she? 

I pick up the phone slowly, dialing her number. My eyes gloss over with tears.  “Ellawyn?” I ask, my voice cracking. “Oh my god, M, are you okay? I haven’t seen you in so long, where are you?”, Ellawyn was always worrying about me. 

I cut her off. “They’re following me, I can’t- I just don’t know what to do.”, she seems confused. “Who’s following you? Are you okay? I know all the things with your dad, you know the court and the will. It was supposed to have you in it, but you’re doing ok…. Right?”. I dodge her questions once more.  “I know, that’s why they’re following me.”


“Look, I don’t know, okay?”. My head is racing, moving faster than a race car. “My dad’s debt, he had all the taxes, right? They must be here for that, he didn’t pay them.” I sob, trying to pull myself together. My head is hot, I just need to get it all out. 

“I know the money was a huge let-down for you, you wanted to go to Yale or whatever. Why are they following you? It’s not your fault, you didn’t make the debt. It went to you when he…you know. But I thought…. Why are they following you? You haven’t done anything!”

“Because I killed him, Ell.”

She goes silent.

Adaline Sand is a 12 year old from West Philadelphia. She goes to SLA@Beeber middle school as a 7th grader while enjoying her time at Mighty Writers every week. Adaline has been going to MW since September of 2021.

A Fox, Snow Leopard, and iPhone 13

A snow leopard, named Snowy, lived in the Himalayan mountains while a fox lived deep down in the grasslands. The fox, named Nick, traveled up to the mountains. Once at the top of the mountain he saw the snow leopard. The fox at first was surprised and nervous but after Snowy smiled and growled at Nick, they both burst out in a huge laugh. They quickly became friends and decided to travel to New York. They started their journey by packing huge nutritious lunches.

Snowy said good-bye to his family and Nick wrote his family a good-bye letter. They were almost to New York when in Pennsylvania, an angry mob of Earth ponies ambushed them. The ponies appeared extremely angry and Nick and Snowy had no idea why. A pony named Hitch chased them to New York.

In New York they arrived in Madison Square Garden and saw an ad about the brand new iPhone 13! They turned to each other and said, “What is that? We have to have it!” Right after saying that, a person walking by dropped their brand new iPhone 13, and Nick swiftly picked it up! Snowy and Nick ran so fast but did not know where to go.

After running for what felt like forever (though it was really only 10 minutes), the phone began buzzing, and before they knew what was happening they were surrounded by the person who dropped the phone and zookeepers! Nick and Snowy were sent to the Philadelphia Zoo because they got caught with the item when the owner tracked their phone. What a costly and sad lesson Nick and Snowy learned and they never hoped to see an iPhone again!

Nusayb McCain, age 8

The Brand New Seat

For five years in Bangladesh, I attended a private, coed primary school. Every day when I came to class, I sat at the back with all the other girls, while the boys sat in the front row. Girls were given the old textbooks, whereas boys were given new textbooks. Also, when girls raised their hands to answer a question, most teachers would not call on them to respond.

The unfairness of this two-tiered system was lost on me at the time. As a girl in Bangladesh, I  understand this not as inequality, but as a conviction . It is an accepted practice to discriminate against girls  regarding many issues like education, health, and economic opportunities. I did not have the faintest idea  that girls were marginalized in many aspects of life in Bangladesh. We were made to believe that it is okay for girls to have fewer opportunities. I was taught that I can’t have the same freedom, resources, and opportunities as boys can have. As a result, a kind of inferiority complex took hold of me. 

A few years later, after arriving in the United States, I enrolled in school. When I walked into the classroom for the first time, I lowered my head, found a place in the back of the room, and sat on the floor. I shuffled timidly and looked toward Ms. James. She pursed her lips and frowned. I panicked. Did I do something wrong? Was I disrespectful? Did I obey the rule? My mind was racing.

“Umme, what are you doing?” she asked calmly. 

I didn’t respond. 

“Come sit at the front, next to Jack, okay?” She smiled and reached out her hand, pulling me forward and leading me to the first row to sit next to a boy, something I would never dream of doing back home. 

There, sitting at the front of the classroom, I felt an excited tingle in my stomach. This is where I wanted to be, this is where I belonged. At the front of the classroom, besides the boys and, of course, the girls. 

That brand new seat made me more confident and more motivated to face challenges and opportunities that in my homeland I was made to believe were meant for boys only.

Umme Orthy is a graduating senior at Science Leadership Academy at Beeber in Philadelphia, PA. She is headed to Haverford College this fall. She loves traveling, art, spontaneous weekend outings, and music.

Foxtail Hollow

Eliana dashed through the forest and around the barren trees; thorns scratched at her legs. Her yellow rain boots splashed the puddles on the trail as she ran. Eliana put a hand on her dark, green hat as a big gust of wind whooshed past, nearly knocking her over. 

A storm was coming and, in Foxtail Hollow, a storm was never a good sign. Every time there was a storm something horrible happened. The last time there had been a thunderstorm, three children in the village had disappeared. 

But storm or not, she had to face it. This was just like in her dream: the storm… the forest… The Fox. She had to believe that it would all work out and she could face her fear and get her spell book back from The Fox. 

Eliana stopped for a moment and picked up a short and sturdy branch with a pointed end, and then continued until she reached the end of the path. She stood in a clearing in the woods waiting for it. She clutched the sharp stick to her chest. She was ready.

Eliana took a deep calming breath and swept her wild, auburn hair out of her face. She closed her eyes. She had to do this. She had to face her fear. There was no other way. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes again, staring out into the endless inky forest.

“Fox! she called. “I know you’re there, come out!” Her words echoed all around her.

The dead trees beside her cast a shadow like a spiderweb against the cool dirt.

“I said come out!” she shouted, her breath clouding in front of her eyes. 

Suddenly, she heard the crunching of leaves under foot. Eliana squinted against the dim light cast from the sinking sun. Then, she saw it. 

“Ahhhh!” Eliana shrieked, her voice cutting through the silent air.

“Shhh…” The creature soothed. 

Eliana took a sharp breath in.

“But… but…” she stammered, staggering backwards until she hit the ground.

 “You’re not The Fox!,” Eliana whispered, bewildered. Her chest tightened with panic.

The beast gave a cunning smile.

“I know.”

Then the beast let out a guttural cry into the twilight and a blanket of darkness covered the world.

Ada Busovsky is thirteen years old and loves to write novels and short stories. She has been writing since she was nine, and is currently working on a novel that she hopes to publish one day. She also enjoys baking and doing gymnastics. Foxtail Hollow is her first published piece of writing.

Good Night

“I’m…So…out…of…breath…” I struggle to say while being chased by loads of zombies. “My base is just around the corner…” Before I could even reach the corner, a zombie pops out and almost attacks me. “GAH!” I yelled, and I immediately punched it in its face and continued running, while still out of breath. I eventually made it home. “Ah, home sweet home!” I exclaimed in relief. I grab the wooden planks I got from some abandoned house across the street and nail them into my door, keeping the zombies out. 

I look through my backpack for the food I took in a worn-out store, and I end up getting a can of beans out. “That’s good enough. After all, I need to save most of my food.” I put the beans in a bowl, and then put them in the microwave. While waiting for it to warm up, I run upstairs to my room and jump on my bed. Under the covers was my laptop. I don’t really use it much, as it only helps me find more information about the infection…

“Let’s see…” I say as I search up more about the situation. “Hmp, it’s mainly news articles…Huh, what’s this?” I came across a website claiming it has a safe place for survivors and a large amount of food to share. I click the website’s link, and check it out. “Huh, it’s just a banner about where to find it, but should I really trust some sketchy people on the internet?” For all I know it could be some trap, and believe me, I’ve been in those types of situations before! “Well, there’s only one way to find out…”

I close my laptop and run downstairs with it. I force it in my backpack. My microwave starts beeping, indicating that my food has successfully been cooked. I open my microwave and rushfully eat my beans. In my mind I keep debating whether I should go or not. But no matter what it is, I’m confident in myself that I’d get right out of it. After all, it’s been months and look…I’m still alive, and well!

But then, everything in my room started turning black and melting. “WHA-WHAT’S HAPPENING?!” I yell. I sprint for the door but that turns into black goo also. I go for the windows but that’s blocked off too. Now, everywhere I look Is just black..There appears to be no escape. But then something speaks out to me. Someone’s voice…That I don’t recognize…

”It’s nice to finally meet one of the longest-living survivors of this infection..”

“Huh? Who’s there…?”

An entity slowly appears from thin air. It has a top hat that’s purple, with a purple suit. It also has a potato sack for a mask. It’s in some type of laying position, but floating! “Well Ethan, we’ve certainly met before.” It says. 

“Huh? What do you mean? What’s going on?” 

Amused, it continues talking. “Maybe your mind needs to be refreshed a little. Do you remember this…?” He points at the old man, who somehow predicted the infection.

“Yeah, I remember him. He’s the one who-” 

“Yes, that’s correct,” says the entity. 

“Wait, are you saying you’re the one who WAS the old man?”

“Precisely…now, why don’t we join forces, with your survival skills and my power, we can both rule the world! You can do anything as you wish, do we have a deal?” 

Let me get something straight, I WAS ABOUT to shake his hand, but his appearance was shocking enough. The way he…or it…talked, the way this seeming entity looked. I know as a fact that I couldn’t trust this scammer. “No!” I say, forcing my arm back before shaking his hand. “Why would I want to trust some sketchy person like you? For all I know, you could just be using me for some kind of stupid plan to take over the world!”

The entity puts his hand back on his shoulder, disappointed. “Ethan, my beloved boy, are you declining my offer?” I’m doing this for your own good!”  

I hesitate to say a word, but I knew declining his offer would probably prevent the world from ending. “I don’t know who you really are, or what card you’re playing, but it ends here!” I say. 

“Hmp, they are always so stubborn at first. Then when the world comes crashing down on them, they’d come straight back to me,” it says.  “Fine Ethan, stay out of my business. I tried offering you the chance of your lifetime, and this is how you treat me?” 

I sit there in silence for a moment. I guess avoiding the offer was the bright idea.

“Fine…SO BE IT!” He says before disappearing into thin air. 

“Phew, that was close..” I say. Just out of nowhere, smiling faces start to appear all around me, slowly coming closer.  “What’s…going on!?”

I close my eyes thinking it’ll do anything. When I do that, all I hear is screams…screams of agony. Once I open my eyes, I’m back here..Like nothing ever happened. “I’m glad that’s all over…But who would’ve ever known that there is some entity attempting to make things even worse than it is. “What if another survivor makes a deal with that guy?” Hopefully they’re smart enough NOT to accept his deal!”

I start to hear banging at the top of the stairs. “What in the world is going on up there?” Quickly, I ran upstairs only to find a load of zombies trying to bash down my windows! Scared and frightened, I didn’t know what to do! I grabbed all my valuables and equipment and stuffed it in my even larger backpack. I run downstairs and continue collecting my things. “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon!” I say, struggling to put the rest of my things inside my backpack. I hear a large bang coming from upstairs, and more specifically, in MY room! I hear a bunch of footsteps and bangs. Zombies start running down my steps. But they all had smiles on their faces…in fact, they were the SAME smiles I saw in the entity’s realm. He’s come back for revenge! But who would be this mad over someone declining an offer? I sure wouldn’t!  Well ok…I’ll admit, to be honest I probably would, but that’s not the point! 

I start running for the air vent, considering the fact that it’s the only escape that was in my house. But my backpack was too large, it wouldn’t fit!  Yet the only big thing inside of it was my laptop! It was holding most of the weight! “No! No! No! Not my laptop!” The zombies started coming, I knew what I had to do. I grabbed my laptop and threw it at a zombie’s face. It falls and they start walking on it. Breaking it. I finally get my backpack in the air vent and before a zombie could even get me, I successfully get in and close the lid. “Phew, that was close…But my poor laptop!”

I begin to hear banging on the vents…or more like crawling. My air vents are basically like a maze, and somehow I can actually fit in these. I look around for the exit…But then hear crawling behind me. Curious, I look over my shoulder just to see A CRAWLING MONSTER THING! I start to crawl faster as sweat starts pouring down my face. Every few seconds I look over my shoulder just to see if it’s behind me, and obviously it was! Every corner I turn I attempt to make sure it isn’t there anymore. Luckily, I eventually found the exit…”How’s that guy so powerful? What’s his true intentions? And what’s his weakness…” I start walking across the street, attempting to find another safe and secure place.

I start to hear groans behind me, when I look there’s a hoard of them, with that same smile…I start running even though I’m out of breath…”I’m…not…gonna get..infected…not today..not tomorrow…not EVER..” Eventually I ran into a dead-end inside an alleyway. It looks as if it was the end. The zombies start inching closer and closer as I guess I was supposed to just sit there and let them devour me.

“Welp, surviving three months in a world-wide zombie apocalypse wasn’t all great, but at least I made it here..I’m thankful that I’ve survived all the way up to this moment, the end of my journey…”

I continue watching as they get closer and closer..I close my eyes, thinking some kind of miracle would happen, but judging from the situation, there’s no way out. While my eyes are closed, I can hear a helicopter from afar.

I didn’t think much of it, considering that it may be the police saving people, but what are the chances of them finding me.? For some reason I hear the helicopter coming closer to me…did they really come to save me? I hear a miracle. “Grab on!” a female voice yells. A ladder is lowered down to me. I grab onto it. It IS a miracle! “Look out!” she yells, and I look down as there are multiple zombies getting on the ladder.

The helicopter starts to ascend. I start kicking the zombies’ heads, so one by one they fall to the ground. Luckily, I got them all down, by just one foot. “Hang on, we’re flying you to our base! Can you hang onto that rope for a few minutes? Our helicopter’s kinda full!” 

I look up at her and smile. “SURE THING!” I yell. I watch as we fly into the night sky. I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but this zombie apocalypse may be the funnest adventure I’ve ever been on! 

“Hmp, great job Ethan, you managed to survive my minions…however, once I get to make a deal with your friends, the world WILL be mine…just you wait….”

Demaur and Christopher are 12 years old and live in Philadelphia, PA. They like puzzles, art, architecture and writing. They’re still cooking up something special for Ethan’s continuation, stay tuned!

Academy of Palumbo

A school community can be anything you want it to be. To me, it is a place that I can show my inner colors and be myself. It is a place that I cannot be harassed. At Palumbo, I would not be embarrassed to ask for help. In some schools, you would be made fun of for asking for help. That would bring a person down- they would not be able to learn because of the fear that they would get bullied. 

We should encourage people who ask for help. In my ideal school community, there would be culture, social people, and sports I can play. 

At Palumbo, there are a bunch of sports available that I never had the opportunity to play in middle school. Time spent on athletics at Palumbo could lead me to have a career in sports; most of all, I would love to play basketball professionally.  

My ideal school community is one where I can be in a competitive environment because I enjoy having to work hard to get better.  This is because of my work ethic.  I tend to show the most growth when in a group that has to fight to get a spot. When there is a problem I need to overcome, I put more effort to overcome the problem. 

A school community should have people that support each other, but most importantly they should do so when times are hard. If other people thought about how their actions might affect others, it would greatly improve the community. We should also realize when someone needs assistance, We should provide it to them. 

Most importantly I feel like everyone should have a voice. Many people assume that students don’t have good ideas; however, I firmly believe that students are just as capable.

The biggest conflict I face is myself. I tend to overthink things that occur. This holds me back, because I can get stuck thinking about something so much that it can delay my completion of a task. 

In order to deal with this challenge, I look for ways to balance work and play. This way, I am reminded that if I work when I should, like on an essay or project, then I will be able to relax fully later knowing I did my best. 

Sometimes conflict leads to more conflict. I might be mad at someone and put some else in it, making them mad at the person. Like triangulation. 

For example, you are person X, you argue with person Y, and you tell person Z about it which drags person Z into that conflict. I get over this by admitting I was wrong and trying to do better. 

The conflict I am dealing with now is the pandemic. It is keeping me from talking to my friends and having the social part of a school I was missing.

I missed out on that part of a school for a long time. Being social is really important to me because that is how I show who I am. 

How I overcome the pandemic Is by wearing a face mask, washing my hands frequently, and social distance when I go out in public. 

The conflict that keeps coming back to me is the pressure of a lot of school work. It gets really hard to get a lot of assignments done in good timing. How I get over this conflict is by trying my best to lay out my schedule for the week so I can properly turn in all the assignments. 

When I use my schedule, I get my work in on time and I don’t have to stress about the due date and which work is more important than another.

Sometimes that doesn’t work and then I go and ask for help so I could get my work done properly and on time. Asking for help makes it easier to get what I need in an efficient manner. 

Throughout my education, I was always put to high standards. Due to that, I feel like in a community of learners like Palumbo I can shine. Palumbo has all the things I want in a school. I really love playing sports Like basketball and baseball. In my school now I really did not get a chance to be on a sports team to show my skills. 

In Palumbo, I would be able to play on a team. Lastly I want to go to a place where my ideas can be shared with my peers and become a better learner. Not only that, Palumbo Palumbois a really competitive school with a lot of smart people around it. That is why Palumbo is the perfect school for me. 

Musa Kane is a 8th grader at Science Leadership Academy Middle School.

The Injury

I was on the ground and I felt a sharp pain in my right leg. The excruciating pain continued to spread through my body. The coach ran on the field… 

It was just like any other Saturday morning. I had begun to get ready. I had put my gameday clothes on and drank lots of water like my mom had kept nagging me to do. I got my Gatorade, my bottle of water, and began to walk to the soccer field.  Before I was able to reach the door, my dog ran up to me and started to play with me. For a good minute I played with him but I knew I had a game, so I kept it short. When I got to the soccer field I greeted my friends and we joked around for a little. After that I drank my bottle of water and  started to warm up for the game. I did my normal stretches, then I took some shots up on the goal. 

After our stretch the captain walked over and said, “Yo coach!”

 “They have first ball,” Coach responded, 

“Alright good job; 3-4-3-1 formation The back three are Bryce, Garret, Amadu This is gonna be a tough game, Play your hardest and have some fun.” 

We walked on the field and readied ourselves for what our coach said would be a hard game. Right off the bat, their offense demolished our midfield and as I went to close in on the player with the ball, he gave a good cross to his teammate who finished it with a great goal. We kept trying to even the field with a goal of our own but struggled. Our coach called a timeout and switched us around moving me from defense to offense. I was nervous when he switched me because I usually stay on defense but when I switch to offense, it usually means he needs me to kick the ball upfield. At the time I was happy because offense was more fun but it was also way more work. Soon after he moved me up, we were able to tie the game up.

At halftime we took our time hydrating while our coach told us the game plan going forward. It wasn’t too different from what we were just doing but it had worked. After the halftime kickoff JR, our striker, got a beautiful goal that the goalie just couldn’t get to. I walked over to him, “dapped” him up, and said, 

“Good shot! Let’s keep that going.” He smiled and said,

“Just keep giving me the ball.”

After that we saw that the other team was frustrated because they didn’t like that we broke ahead and they came back with another goal. There were almost 10 minutes left in the game and we  were thinking about how we were going to get the ball and score. We were all focused on winning and as we looked for an opening to grab the lead, I saw the opponent make a bad pass. I intercepted the pass and “burned” one kid. That’s when I saw another player from the opposing team come at me trying to kick the ball but he hit me directly on the leg. 

For a second I didn’t know what was going on. I just laid there as the pain got worse. I couldn’t think straight and I just squirmed holding my leg. My coach walked over and asked if I was ok. I just nodded, got up, and continued playing. I assumed if I kept playing the pain would go away. But as the game continued I lost focus and the pain began to get worse. After my injury the ref decided to give us a free kick. JR. took it and it was a beautiful shot in the top left corner and, after that my coach decided to sub me out. 

I still wanted to play but waited until the final whistle when we came out with the win. My parents went home and I walked back with my friends. On the walk, we made jokes and played around as usual. We were very happy after the win and still had a lot of energy. Jalen said 

“Y’all tryna come over for a lil?” 

As much as I wanted to go, I really just wanted to go home and take a nap. I said no and he understood. When walking back home I realized that just walking off this injury wasn’t going to work. With every step, the pain continued to get worse and worse and finally, the agonizing pain was just too much. My friend Jalen saw me struggling and pulled me over and let me lean on him to help me out . Finally, when I got home I decided the best thing for me to do was ice it a little because this usually helped me when i got hurt. After the ice melted, I took a shower then got in the bed to take a short nap. I was exhausted, and with the pain getting worse, I thought resting would make it better.I woke up to my mother shaking me and saying 

“Clean this room! We’re still going to the movies with Aiden but if you don’t clean this room you won’t be going.” 

As I got out of bed, I bent my leg to get up. I felt a shock of pain and laid back down. I told my mother how my leg felt and she was mad I didn’t tell her and my dad sooner. 

“I’m so disappointed in you! What were you thinking? You should’ve told us earlier you could’ve made the injury worse!” 

I was disappointed in myself. I shouldn’t have tried to hide an injury just so I could play in the game. My dad and mom drove me to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and had me checked out. The doctors X-rayed me and made sure I was ok. The doctor told my parents I had fractured something in my leg and I couldn’t play for a while. I love sports, but not being able to play for a while really taught me something. I was never injured like that before, and even though I still play, I always make sure to be careful. Winning is awesome, but it isn’t the most important thing. Always play hard, but play smart.

Bryce Ford is 15 years old and in the 10th grade at The Haverford School.


Introverts Unite!…Separately

I went home after spending two whole days at preschool for the week. When I walked into the house, I stopped in the doorway and stared at my mom. She turned around from the kitchen and asked what’s wrong. I looked at her with eyebrows furrowed, dropped all my things wearily, and said, “Mommy, I need to be alone”

My mom smiled and said I could be, understanding that children, real children, were beings that came straight from Hell.

Since my parents understand what it’s like being introverted, especially at my age, I never thought of it as a bad thing. It wasn’t until I reached middle school I realized that introversion is, according to stuck-up idiots of society, seen as a negative thing. Apparently, they think that wanting to be alone for at least fifteen minutes and not befriending everyone that’s in a five-to ten-mile radius are the two major signs of an extreme antisocial disorder.

One of my best friends happens to be one of these idiots and confronted someone in our class about his said “disorder.” She kept going on and on about how he needs to stop being antisocial, depressed, and negative. I cut in and told her she could just ask why he’s an introvert. She looked at me with pure disgust and said, “Yeah. Exactly.”

I remember giving her a look of disgust back, and I may have been thinking something along the lines of, Ya big-mouthed socialite. I’m an introvert.

Being that people thought that being an extrovert was the greatest thing in the world, I decided to see what’s just so great about it. And before I tell you about my first experience, let me say there’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING SO FAN-FRIGGIN-TASTIC ABOUT IT. Anyways…

After standing in the lunch line and paying, I sat down at my table and started eating. It was nice outside, where my real friends were hanging out, but all the talkative people at our table were sitting inside. And being that extroverts just have to know everyone in existence, I decided to force myself to sit with the people I kinda know.

For a couple minutes, I told myself to jump into a conversation that involves me or to just start one. When I finally thought of a topic to talk about, I sat up and opened my mouth until a cursed extrovert sat down, said my name in a stupid, high-pitched and cheery voice, and started loudly conversing with others.

I looked outside and yearned to be with my fellow introverts. At the same time I didn’t want to be rude, so I desperately stared off into the distance, praying that the right moment to leave would soon come.

And it did.

When Stupid, High-Pitched and Cheery Voice sat down, she sighed, rolled her eyes, and said, “I need a fork. Lisa can you come up and get one with me?”

Once she left, I quickly grabbed my things and went outside. When I saw my group of my friends, I shouted, “I can’t do it!”

A week passed, and I didn’t try my experiment again. I weighed out some of my options, and here were my answers: there’s no way I’ll try talking to people at lunch again, and there’s no chance I’ll ever play along with the incoherent babble that occurs on the bus.

Though after I made that conclusion, I got a text from one of my friends from my old school, asking if I would be coming to their prom.

“Force me to be social and talkative and nice to the others,” I reminded my friend when we pulled up to the banquet hall.

“Will do.”

As I walked into the lobby, I was greeted with fanatic screams (okay, maybe just two), surprised yet (slightly? somewhat?) happy faces, and hugs. A lot of people were saying they didn’t know I was coming and how beautiful I looked and so on and so on.

After getting away from spending a whole two to three minutes with my adoring fans, we walked into the room the dance was being held and sat down at an almost empty table. My two friends were listening to me gabbing away about my new school and how much I loved it while the three people we were sharing a table with got up and moved, once again hindering me from going through with the experiment.

However, throughout the night, I was surprised to see how outgoing I was, dancing for over an hour, catching up with people I didn’t even know would’ve missed me. People who were new to the school that I’ve never met knew who I was.

Even after that, I didn’t see why being an extrovert was so great, and I spent the next two days in solitude. To me, you just put yourself in situations where everyone wants you to come to their social event and will be eternally upset if you say no. Meanwhile, introverts have it good. Unless they’re invited to a party from one of their close friends, then they’ll either A: won’t hurt the host’s feelings if they say they had other plans (and those plans were curling up with a book, laptop, or furry animal and watching Netflix) or B: not get invited at all which would only make them happy. You know why? Because it’s one less person an extrovert has to worry about.

Around Christmas time, I went shopping with my friend (the same friend who called us introverts all those nasty names, mind you), and our first stop was Macy’s. There, she was looking for gifts to give each of her friends in their Secret Santa game (but if everyone’s getting everyone a gift, how is it a secret?). I was told it’d be a little, short trip there, then we’d go to Target, which was where I needed to go.

Well, a short trip to my friend and her mom means an hour and a half to two and half hours all because my friend couldn’t find good gifts. She found a couple things they’d like, but she was nervous they wouldn’t really like it.

Let me just interrupt my own story really quick: so, if you can’t quickly find at least one gift for each of your friends that you’d know they’d like, then do you really know them enough to call them your friend? Yeah, just further proves my point on introversion.

“I have too many friends,” she finally admitted.

I stopped walking and stared at her. This girl had to be friends with every single person in her school ever since Kindergarten, and she’s just now admitting she has too many friends?

“I don’t even know what they really like all that well, and I have to buy gifts for every single one of them. Why do I have to be so social?”

“I’ve been telling you all these years that you should be like me,” which was my verbal way of my thoughts being, Yeah, having eight plus “best” friends is a pain in the ass.

Maybe I’ll try this experiment again, but I doubt that I’ll ever convince myself that being an introvert is a bad thing. You know why? Because it isn’t, and you can be feared by most and loved by few which, to me, is a great gift, especially during the holidays.

Erin Brody is a writer from the Pittsburgh area who attends Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter school for their Writing and Publishing program. She has been published in pulp. for creative nonfiction, Hot Dish Magazine for short fiction, Dime Show Review for poetry, and she will soon be featured in Variant Literature for creative nonfiction. She is also the managing editor of The SIREN newspaper and could often be found watching or participating in theatre.


Once upon a time, there lived two powerful girls, Khadija and Janice. They came from two different backgrounds. Khadija was from Saudi Arabia and Janice was from Pennsylvania in the United States.

Kahdija went through a lot of trauma in her life, like terrorist attacks, war from America, loss of food, destruction, no education, and more.

Janice was hurt by a broken family, 9/11, police brutality, bullying, racism, and even more.These girls had been through so much pain and fright.

They thought that maybe, if they stood up, maybe they could make a change. So, these young teens made their communities a little bit better by hosting religious ceremonies and meetings, daycares, protests and other forms of community activism.

A couple years go by and it’s now 2027. The world got better, but there were still flaws that the world thought couldn’t be healed.  That was all going to be changed soon!

Khadija was finally able to go to college but not in Saudi Arabia. She became a college exchange student at Temple University in Philadelphia. She didn’t know much English, but it was a good thing colleges teach ESL.

The catch was that Janice was a tutor for foreign exchange students,and she spoke Arabic because because she had lived in Mecca for two years as a child; due to her dad being in the Army. Throughout her two years there,  she  did not learn much because her family was so determined that Muslims were bad.

When they met, Janice wasn’t very excited to see that Khadijah was Muslim. Janice automatically said no to teaching her.

Over time, they both learned that Janice was the only one that could teach Khadijah so Janice decided maybe she could get to know her.

Khadijah and Janice started to get to know each other. Janice realized that both she and Khadijah were very alike and they both loved to help their community.  They decided they wanted to make a change in the world. It took awhile but they came up with many ideas.

They did food drives for the community and classes for how people could help. Then, they finally came up with something really unique: an app!

This app would allow people to put out information on helping out the community and include events such as concerts,prayer meetings, fun things for kids and cleaning the city. It started small but it soon got bigger, the whole campus knew!

Two powerful girls from very different environments managed to create something so beautiful. It soon got all over the country and everyone played a part in saving their communities.

It’s now  2034, and the world managed to become so great, with many people around the world supporting their communities through food, religion, fun, safety, and happiness.Khadijah and Janice are still best friends. Their kids are growing up together.  and they both are beside each other as members of the United Nations.

The world needs you. It always starts with community activism, but it will get bigger. Look what the Black Lives Matter protest did. It started off in just some community and it traveled nationwide and now we have the whole world able to protest for a cause so big. If you never give up, you will have a revolution…