A Man's Best Friend

    By Lucy

    The sudden sound of crashing glass woke me from my peaceful nap. I lazily raised my head     as the smell of smoke reached my nose. My master must have had another failure. He     always busies himself with peculiar glass objects filled with bright and vibrant colours.     Usually he'ld be mixing his colourful potions together while muttering to himself in some     strange tongue. His bizarre activities regularly result in some sort of explosion, which is then     followed by his harsh shouting.

    My master has been like this ever since I've lived with him. dog I've grown quite fond of my     master, even though sometimes he concentrates     so hard on his projects that he forgets to feed me.     My master lives an unusual lifestyle, and he doesn't     interact with others much. I've never seen anyone     show my master any kindness. They always laugh     and jeer scornfully at him.

    The intensified smell of burning interrupted my     thoughts. Why hadn't my master put the smoke out     yet? I got up on my paws and padded over towards     the source of the smoke. I tentatively poked my     head through the doorway and called out to my master. I could make out the shape of him     standing in the center of the room, with a furiously fizzing container gripped in his hand. I     kept barking and he finally turned his head to face me. A disturbing smile spread across his     face and his eyes bulged out unnaturally. His glasses were cracked and knocked halfway     down his nose. My bark fell into a whimper. The sight of him terrified me.

    My tail dropped when I finally realized that his entire back was covered in crackling red     flames. Why would he just stand there and let the flames slowly swallow him up?!

    I was startled by his sharp laughter. "I've found it! You see this, my little friend? My discovery     will make us rich! Everyone who's ever laughed at us will regret it!" His voice boomed into     my head, although I couldn't understand the forceful words he spat out. I helplessly watched     his maniacal laughter fade out as he slumped to the ground.

    I raced out of the small crooked house we used to share and kept running. I threw my head     back and howled mournfully at the vast sky. A single, insignificant syllable still echoed in my     head from the last thing my master had said. The word "friend."

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    By Xingyi

    I'm such a mess. I'm paranoid all the time, thinking somebody is after me. Every morning I     drag myself out of bed. At times, I wish I could fall into a dreamless sleep and never wake     up again. At night, I get the same nightmare over and over again, always waking soaked in     cold sweat with my heart pounding. I have been falling apart ever since that day, months     ago, when I did the unthinkable. I regret everything. The memories still haunt me to this day.
    I think I may be in the process of going insane.


    Lately, I have been trying to move on. I've cleaned myself up a bit. I hope I look decent     because tomorrow I will be starting my new job. I will be working in the back of the local     grocery store, doing inventory. There is even going to be a man helping and supervising me.     I am really excited. I can't help but grin.

    Today I got up early, got dressed into some fresh clothes, and then made my way down to the     store. I took a deep breath of cool, morning air. I was ready. In the back of the store, a man     was waiting. He introduced himself as Joey. He was kind and welcoming. He explained to     me the process and then handed me a clipboard. As I got into the rhythm of the work, my     mind started wandering. I didn't even notice that Joey had disappeared.

    The lighting was dim, the shelves stretched nearly to the ceiling and the walkways in     between were narrow. It was like a maze. Anyone could be hiding and I would never know.     For a long time, all I could hear was my own breathing. Then, my breath caught. It sounded     like my four year old daughter was crying. The sound just cut through the silence. That     couldn't be right though: my daughter is dead. My pulse quickened; my breathing was     uneven. That is impossible, but as though defying me, the sobs continued. My hands began     shaking uncontrollably. I put down my clipboard. I called out Joey's name. Maybe this was     just a joke to scare the new guy. There was no reply. I decided to find the source of the     agonizing cries.

    I was getting really close now. The sobbing was coming from behind this line of shelves.     What I saw next hit me like a brick wall. It made me go numb. It was my little girl. Her head     was down and her soft brown hair fell over her face. My brain was screaming this can not be     true; she's in God's kingdom now! All the horrible memories that I had been desperately     trying too forget rushed back to me. She looked exactly the same as the day she died. She     was even wearing the pajamas I got her for Christmas. The girl in front of me looked up. She     had stopped crying. Her hair parted and I saw her eyes. Suddenly, our surroundings     changed. Now we were back at home, only a few moments before the terrible incident.

    I had not been feeling right. My daughter's eyes were wide and full of fear; tears were     streaming down her face. She begged me to stop, but I hadn't. I had lied and said that     everything would be fine. Everything had not turned out fine. It was my little girl. It was so     painful to watch, I simply wanted it all to end. And then, darkness took me.

    Joey touched my shoulder gently, bringing me back to the present. I was on the cement     floor. I sat up quickly, but she was gone. Joey had heard me calling and came to check on     me. I was only half listening to what he was saying. I had too much to think about. He said that     I looked as if I had seen a ghost and that perhaps I should take the rest of the day off. I     nodded gratefully. Once I got home, I collapsed onto my bed and cried.

    That night, so many months after the incident, the cops paid me a visit. I knew it was time to     face the consequences of my actions. I didn't need to say a word. It was clearly shown in my     eyes that I was guilty. That night, the cops took me away, and I was glad.

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    Lost And Found

    By Xingyi

    We began in a place called the safe zone. Here, we are joined together, swirling around for     centuries. My siblings and I were young and impatient. We didn't want to wait around, so we     left. The farther we got, the lower the temperature dropped. When we could hardly move, a     crushing pressure came down upon us. Just when we thought it was the end, the pressure     was released. We flew out of the earth and into the blinding light. When my eyes adjusted, I     noticed that this world was painted with colours. Beautiful, I thought as I plummeted down.

    "Plop," I dropped into the icy ocean, turning solid almost immediately and losing my healthy     glow. I drifted peacefully down to the sea floor, bubbles racing past me. It's very strange     under the water, I thought to myself. My brothers and sisters would love it. I looked around     for their reactions. They were nowhere in sight. I felt a pain in my heart. Now we were most     certainly lost forever. Many days passed. By then, I had gotten used to this underwater     realm. The rhythm of the tides and the unusual creatures that swam back and forth were     soothing. It dulled the pain, leaving me feeling hollow. Then, I fell into a deep slumber.

    When I awoke, it was dark out. A warm breeze brushed past. I looked up to see millions of     twinkling lights. In the center, there hung a delicate, silver crescent. I was mesmerized.     Slowly the stars and the moon faded as the sky turned purple to pink, then finally to pale     blue. Two people were walking along the bend of the shore. One was tall, but bent. She was     talking to a young boy. They strolled along, a small hand in a wrinkly, frail one.

pebbles The young boy came over and picked me up. His touch was loving and caressing. "Hey grandma, look what I found!" The boy stood waving me around.

The elderly lady made her way carefully over. "Yes, it's quite an interesting rock you've found there. It looks like it came from the same volcano that created this island. You're its keeper now; treasure it and keep it close, always."

    I was so happy. Of all the pebbles scattered on this beach, I was the one that stood out. I     knew that from now on, my days would be filled with love and joy. I would no longer drift in     the cool depths of the ocean, moping over the loss of my siblings. Who knows, perhaps they     have also been found.

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