Something I Wish For by Jane Cooper by Final Draft

We're waiting after school. It's a good day -- bright and clear, but the sun's setting, and the sky glows all these crazy different hues of color. The only light comes from the glass door at the end of the hall, which leads out into the parking lot, where our parents will pick us up separately. No one else is at the school -- even the janitors are gone. It's just us.


He's helping me, of course. Even if I wanted to, I wouldn't be able to help him with even a single part of his homework. We don't have any classes together, and most of his are Pre-APs or APs, anyway. So it's probably something like Spanish. I love the way the rich, foreign words slip through his lips like airy velvet.


"Well, that's it," I'll say, closing the binder in front of me with a hearty, satisfying clap. He starts packing up, putting away his pencils, zipping up his backpack. He's probably wearing a hoodie, and those eggshell-colored jeans we both like so much, the same pair he nearly ruined when he sat in a puddle of soda a few weeks ago.


"My mom will be here any minute now," He'll say, checking his phone. It doesn't have a single scratch on it, and runs like it's fresh out of the box, contrast to my shattered, aged phone I'm holding in my hand. Reminds me of something else about our relationship.


"Thanks for all your help," I'll say, and I'll mean it, and I'll look at him, but he won't look at me. Not quite yet.


"I'll go out and wait," he'll say, shouldering his pack and starting for the door. And that's when it'll hit me, as I stare at his back as it recedes down the hallway, I know the time is now.


"I'm still in love with you." Though rehearsed thousands of times, the words slip out of my mouth cracked and choppy -- tumbling out after so long of being hidden between my teeth.


He stops. He'll turn around and look at me, and I know he's thinking that he's heard me wrong, because his eyes are on my lips.


"I'm still in love with you," I'll repeat, stronger now, as I take a timid step towards him. "I am."


"What?" He'll breathe, and at this point, I can't even imagine what's going on his head.


"I've always been in love with you, and I always will be." I look so small right then, smaller than normal, with my shoulders hiked up and my hands trembling as I sweat through my ACL tee and Nike shorts. And now he's looking at me with those beautiful, chocolatey eyes while his silhouette is outlined by the light behind him, and God, he's so beautiful.


"Before you say anything..." I continue. The speech I've planned out so carefully, right down to every pause, evaporates into thin air. Words begin to spill out of me like an overflowing faucet -- I can't stop them. I'm hardly even registering I'm saying them. "I know we haven't known each other long, and I know that you probably don't even feel the same way, but I can't go on with this in my head. You have to know that... that being around you... it's killing me. It's killing me. Every time I look at you, all I want to do is hold your hand or run my fingers through your hair or kiss you until my lips hurt. Every time you touch me, I'm so painfully aware of this barrier between us."


He starts walking towards me. Slowly.


"I understand you don't want to disobey your parents, and I'd never ask you to. But if I had to, I'd catch the bus at 3 AM just to kiss you goodnight. If we ever dated again, it'd be hard, and we wouldn't see each other much, but for me, it'd be so worth it. It'd be so worth it for all the small moments I get to spend with you. The little things... sitting in your lap and hugging you and just knowing that you're mine, and I'm yours. Everything about you is worth it."


We're only about a foot away from each other now.


"You're different than anyone I've ever met. There's something... indescribable about you. If the answer is no, if you don't want to be with me, or can't, that something will make me wait for you. I'll wait for you until the end of time, and I don't know why, but I can and I will. Because—"


"Because I'm still in love with you," he finishes.


Then his lips crash into mine

A Soldier's Love by Cassia Meditz by Final Draft

 Another war completed. Another land conquered. Another ruler dethroned. Another people beaten. But none of that matters now, for I am riding the train back home. I do not see the city around me, or hear the crowds cheering our return. The only sound I hear is the lilting laugh of my wife, tinkling with humor and happiness. All I see is my simple cottage, with the red brick walls and the honeysuckle climbing the cottage side, shadowed by a towering maple, just turning color with the coming of autumn. The only thing I feel in place of pride is the powerful urge to see my home, look into the eyes of my little girl I haven't seen for four years, and finally meet the baby I have never been able to hold. I long to smile with my wife again. To wash away all memory of that far away land and what I did to those people in the name of justice and honor. All I see are the hazel, smiling eyes of my wife and all I smell are the wafts of honeysuckle in the cool autumn air. The rest of the worlds ceases to exist. All but the memory of that cottage under the maple tree and the family waiting for me.

A Soldier's Tears by Cassia Meditz by Final Draft

 Another war completed. Another land conquered. Another ruler dethroned. Another people beaten. But none of that matters now, for I am riding the train back home. I do not see the city around me, or hear the crowds cheering our return. The only sound I hear is the lilting laugh of my wife, tinkling with humor and happiness. All I see is my simple cottage, with the red brick walls and the honeysuckle climbing the cottage side, shadowed by a towering maple, just turning color with the coming of autumn. The only thing I feel in place of pride is the powerful urge to see my home, look into the eyes of my little girl I haven't seen for four years, and finally meet the baby I have never been able to hold. I long to smile with my wife again. To wash away all memory of that far away land and what I did to those people in the name of justice and honor. All I see are the hazel, smiling eyes of my wife and all I smell are the wafts of honeysuckle in the cool autumn air. The rest of the worlds ceases to exist. All but the memory of that cottage under the maple tree and the family waiting for me.

     Then I remember the attack on our city. And the news that my family were dead. And I remember the screams that had ripped from my throat. Then I remembered there was no home to return to, and my heart broke a little more, sending its frozen shards into my throats, where they emerged in the form of a hot tear, burning its way down my cold cheek and into my waiting hand. The train left the city and raced across the surrounding desert, legacy of the war, but my eyes never strayed from the shivering tear drop, for inside it I could still see those hazel eyes and hear the tinkling laugh and smell honey suckle upon the air.

That Chicken Noodle Soup by Madison Palmer by Final Draft

That Chicken Noodle Soup
Oh, how I miss that chicken noodle soup. I remember flying into heaven, with every spoonful of that soup. I desire that soup like a damsel in distress desires her prince charming. Oh, how I wish that my momma could come back home to make me that soup, but now I'm 1,160 miles away from her, from my childhood, and that soup.
If I focus really hard, I can still taste the salty broth laced with egg noodles from the first time my momma brought me that soup. I was only in fourth grade, when asthma stole my breath. Momma decided that I needed a few days to rest, in order for me to heal quickly. Momma even took off those days from working at the paper to take care of me. At first boredom devoured me, my silent phone haunted me like a ghost from friends past, and my eyes gazed at my pastel ceilings like they were the Mona Lisa. I was already starting to feel the panic of missing my friends; I was even starting to miss school! Those dark thoughts didn't last long though because something interrupted my pity party. It was an aroma. The sweet aroma of salt and chicken broth began to consume me. When I opened my eyes I wasn't surprised to see my momma’s concerned caring face. My momma had saved me.

Those next few days consisted of me and my momma lying around, laughing at every episode of Friends together for hours, and sharing that chicken noodle soup. I would complain that I was too weak to read my fairy tales myself, but honestly I just preferred to hear her soothing voice read them to me instead. Together we traveled through majestic lands far away from where asthma can harm me. Magical lands where damsels in distress wait for their prince charming. Momma would say to me, “Madison, soon your prince charming will save you too from your own dragon, asthma.”, and she was right. Momma was always right; I didn’t always want to believe it, but she always was.

When my lungs did defeat my asthma, I wasn’t ready to leave this little fairytale my momma and I had created. Even though every breath had been a struggle, there was almost something magical about those days themselves. Maybe it was from the hours of precious sleep, or the millions of laughs I shared with my momma. The vision of water spraying out of her mouth as she gasped for air and touched her hurting abs, still brings a smile to my face every time. She brought me soup in my bed for breakfast, she brought me that soup for lunch while we cuddled up to a movie, and she brought me that soup for a dinner of two. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, I always knew that she was there to comfort me and treasure me with that soup. It was like the real world was on pause, and it was only my momma, myself, and that soup.

After I returned to my daily life, our very own fairy tale was locked away. Momma returned to her job at the newspaper, and I returned to my grade school. She didn’t read to me any more magical fairy tales; for I had to read boring books to myself, that my English teacher assigned to me. Now that Momma was too busy at work, I giggled at Friends to myself. Sometimes my brother, Chase, would join me, but he never spit water out of his mouth when Phoebe tried being an actress. For breakfast she made me eggs. My lunch consisted of greasy cafeteria pizza and packaged vegetables. Momma still always made a fabulous dinner for my brother’s and me, but that soup was locked away in our fairy tale; the fairy tale that we created together those couple of days.

ater that year, I tried faking being sick. I had no problem convincing Mrs. Murphy, the school nurse, but Momma wasn’t that easy to convince. She said she knew before I even made it to the car, and so that chicken noodle soup remained locked up along with our own perfect fairytale.

n middle school, I managed to get sick more than twice. I wasn’t always sick with a disease as friendly as asthma though. In sixth grade once, I went home from throwing up in class. I was mortified, but Momma knew how to cheer me up. Our fairy tale was no longer the same anymore though. I was turning into a teenager, and was growing up out of some of our old traditions. I no longer wanted her to read to me silly fairy tales about princess because I thought I was to mature. Momma would always just tell me that no one can ever be too mature for fairytales, and then she would just quote Neil Gaimen to me, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” Of course, back then I thought she was just weird, so I traded out fairy tales for mystery books. Momma was right though; Momma was always right. Besides the absence of her reading to me, everything else in our perfect fairy tale maintained the same. Momma and I still laughed until we gasped for air while watching Friends, laid around being lazy together, and shared that soup all three meals. 
n High school my sick days continued to decrease. I was no longer a young girl who believed in fairy tales, or a “wanna be” teenager intrigued by Nancy Drew. I was an adolescent searching for clues for my own prince charming in sappy romance novels. Friends was now considered for old people, while Gossip Girl was full of scandal for young adults. My door was to remain closed, unless Momma was just dropping of that soup. As I turned away from Momma’s care, that perfect little fairy tale we created disintegrated into only memories in sketched in my mind. The only thing that remained the same was that I knew my Momma would always be there wanting to care for me and treasure me with that soup.

’m now a junior in high school, with a 111 degree fever. Throughout the years of sick days, I have had fevers before, but this time was different though; Momma was visiting her dad back home in Tennessee. Oh, how I wish I still had access to our perfect little world. Oh, how I wish I wouldn’t have thrown away the key because I was becoming “too mature”. I’m now lying on my bed with the company of my pastel walls, while I giggle at Friends, read, and eat Chinese takeout. I have now graduated from sappy romance novels to bibliographies, but I will never be too old to enjoy romance novels, mystery books, and especially fairy tales. I have now beaten hundreds of my own dragons. My biggest dragon right now though isn’t my fever, or my desire for that chicken noodle soup, but it’s missing my prince charming. My momma was always my prince charming; I was just too blind by ungratefulness to see it. Oh, how I miss my momma.

Another Falling Day by Lauren Meyer by Final Draft

The shrill alarm cuts through the fog

of my befuddled mind

I reach a hand out to the phone

my eyes closed, reaching blind.


I roll over onto my side

try to ignore the light

but the alarm goes off again

signals the end of night.


At last I climb out of my bed

leaving the warmth behind.

I grab some clothes without a thought

no patience for their kind.


I brush my hair and wash my face

avoiding like the plague

The glass that brings right to the fore

What I'd prefer stay vague.


I search around my room to find

the mask of my disguise

The one that shows a stony face

and shows naught but my eyes.


I see it hiding in a drawer

shaking hands pull it out

to see the face I show the world

leaves me without a doubt.


I press this mask upon my face

let its features take hold

I shut down most of who I am

Relax into its mold.


I eat my breakfast, brush my teeth,

My mask still holding strong

Another sky, another day

dissolving before long


The bus rolls right up to my door

an opportunity

to tune out everybody else

and for a while feel free


Arrive at school, no one to meet

No one to say hello

I hold my mask tight to my face

and to my classroom go.

The Shadow Man by Hunter Roberts by Final Draft

Eyes fixed open,
My body frozen,
A million pounds on top of me,
The Shadow Man is all I see,
A room full of darkness,
The shadow man so heartless,
Only small sounds escape my lips,
My mind boggled, trying to get a grip,
He creeps forward,
My spirit consumed with horror,
The shadow man gets closer,
"They call me the soul disposer",
I feel his presence hovering over me,
I know sleep again is the only way to be free

Star Hunter by Kristen Pletcher by Final Draft

A crazed laugh escapes my throat as I pull on a rope, causing my ship to slip past an orbiting satellite. I angle the tiller to the right and sail through the sky, enjoying my endless orbit through the universe. My job is a simple one, but hard none the less. I hunt stars. My sailboat is loaded with jars, nets, and rope. Like a fisherman claims his place on the water, I fly through space. The sun my lighthouse, the Milky Way my ocean, the stars my fish. A bead of sweat traces its way down my back but evaporates due to the heat in seconds. I keep steering, angling myself towards Venus. All of the good stars are between Earth and Venus. They're hard to miss, hot balls if gas and dust that are a beacon to a star hunter. I spot one and sail towards it with a loud cheer. This is the hardest part. I lower my anchor when I five feet away. The anchor floats away, but luckily I stay put, along with my vessel. I reach out to the star, attempting to coax it towards me. If there's one thing I've learned from my time star catching, it's that yin yang is real. Light is attracted towards darkness. And I'm the darkest of them all.

Summer's Breath by Cassia Meditz by Final Draft

The sun was hot and beat down upon the earth with a fiery radiance. The green growth and vegetation, still tender from a too-quick spring, was withered and dead, brown leaves, unlike those of autumn, crumbled at the slightest touch. The once soft touch of grass and the whisper of cool wind through the shadowed trees had become prickly and harsh, the once pleasant wind becoming the hot breaths from a dragons maw. The roaring spring rains with fat, heavy drops which had once quenched the earth, were gone from the mocking blue sky and the ground, once soft, was baked as hard as a stone, waiting for a deadly flash flood to rumble on its way. Yes, Texas was clutched in the throes of summer, with nothing green remaining but for the dusty leaves of cedar trees, who never shed their shaggy coats whatever the weather

Glory Days by Bjorn Sunde by Final Draft

"Anxiously waiting that day to begin
Hoping to survive the next couple years
I stood thinking this be the place wherein
there be the rise of cheers or fall of tears
where relationships and careers built
stage for awkwardness and embarrassment
cause for self-loathing and withheld guilt
For these reasons it receives much resent
A place for much growth and a place to learn
the four years were fun, and very fast they went
and every few years, all the friends return
they sit there and think, where did those years go
they want them all back, those many years ago"

Better Luck Next Time by Jules Shelby by Final Draft

We just sat there, silent. There were to empty chairs and four empty plates and this stupid chicken. She kept starring at it and looking at me, waiting for me to eat it. I kept starring at their chairs. They were so unassuming, not knowing how daunting their vacancy was to me. They didn't even remember how they were once filled with warm, innocent, happy bodies.
It was like she forgot, too. All she seemed to care for was that stupid chicken and how empty our stomachs were. Or maybe only her own. Mine was quite full actually. Full of guilt. How come I got to sit here and smile reassuringly and cut myself a heaping slice of chicken letting it collect, cold, in my throat. All of this so she won't worry.
It should be them here, not her. She doesn't deserve this. Not the stupid chicken or the daunting chairs or the mournful midnights and mornings and middays, when the earth shrinks in around you and you just crumble. She doesn't deserve that. She isn't good enough. She is only worth death. Yet, it missed her. Twice. Better luck next time.

Time by Alex Frischhertz by Final Draft

The clock to us has become a device of fixation

An unrelenting measure of our steady demise

A perpetual reminder of our species desperation

To account for our years as their numbers gradually rise

Try as we might to prolongate our days

And do as we may to prevent its extremity

Our allotted time here is but a brief phase

And the time we've been given is seldom considered plenty

We are but a fraction of a second in the entirety of life

A single grain amongst a beach strewn with sand

And life is taken from us it is cut with a knife

Nothing save our memory left there to stand

But although, against common belief this must be favored

Because life, like all other things was created to cease once it's savored

An Unexpected Outcome by Sophie Guess by Final Draft

The rain making us dirty not clean

Sadness as we walk away

We don't know what is to come

You can feel the tension held at bay


Will we make it? 

Will we not?

We don't know

But we'll give it all we got


As we move on we will see

The outcome will come soon

All that is expected of us will

And it will come with a song and a tune

Darkness by Alex Frischhertz by Final Draft

As my finger connected with the lifeless switch, my senses were activated and responded to the cool touch of the smooth plastic. I fingered it's inanimate ridges until I found the lever. I pushed it down, and the switch buzzed to life with warm electricity that coursed through my body and filled me up from the tips of my fingers down to my toes. The light slowly seeped away retreating into the jet black sea of darkness that was sweeping across the room. It extracted the glow until my vision was taken from me and the world fell still and silent leaving nothing but the enigma of what could be lurking in the darkness left to fester in my vacant mind. I inhaled deeply and accepted the darkness, for it was familiar to me. I exhaled and felt its cool arms wrap around my warm body entangling me in an icy embrace. For darkness was an old friend, and it welcomed me back with a bittersweet taste of the alluring unknown.

Cracked by Victoria Benavides by Final Draft

A crack in the spitting image of you and me
lines dividing our once whole hearts
demarcations from fights
the rifts that used to be veins
Those thoughts drifted across my mind
oh so fleeting because I never thought it all really made any sense other than bits and pieces that I somehow strung together weakly, with a mind that was meant for a purpose far better than this
abusing the language that used to love
making it contort to fit my mouth, but bit too hard the words fell apart
letters strewn at my feet
feelings in little puddles that for a second resided on the surface then seeped into the ground.
I never had a complete thought after this, after you.
I never really thought much about it.
There was never much true thought put into anything really,
just the small
from within
To power a body
Slowly running out of time
I'm starting to believe the crack was in the spitting image of me.

Gaia by Victoria Benavides by Final Draft

Then I saw the world in her entirety
A wild beauty
I saw the ripples in her blue hair
Echoed in the dimples
in the puddles that grew in her
Crater eyes
Every raised ground
Contoured her face into one
Sphere that floated
Amongst aloft stars
Hidden moons
And her sisters that stretched out into

Words by Kristen Pletcher by Final Draft

It was a regular day

until my best friend tugged me into the bathroom

with panic in her eyes.

Something was obviously wrong 

so I went along,

sitting on a ledge jutting from above the sink.

She took a deep breath and didn't speak for a bit, 

so I waited patiently for her to collect herself.

It took a while,

and when she spoke, she did so once into her hand,

then once into the air. 

People say bad things happen to good people, 

and I can only agree.

Because as soon as the word 'cancer' 

escaped her lips, 

that theory was confirmed in my eyes. 

It was her mom. 

And it wasn't looking good. 

I think she knew as well as I did that her childhood was ending

as she sunk to the floor, myself closely following. 

So there I sat, 

embracing my friend in the disgusting bathroom,

anchoring her to the ground.

Depersonalization is More Than a Diagnosis by Rachael Moore by Final Draft

Everything I've ever written is a lie. It's all modeled after something that's never happened, all picturing things that I've never seen.
"Write what you know," they say.
"I don't know anything," I respond.
"Pretend you do."
All of my thoughts mean something else. They're interpreted as a situation I know nothing about but they don't translate to my life. My emotions are fake and my body isn't present.
This isn't about absence and someone who lacks experience. This is about someone who doesn't know what's happening because she can't. It can't because she doesn't exist

River Water by Isabella Zou by Final Draft

I’d forgotten what it feels like to cry.

Not the slow welling and blurring of vision, the silent tear that swells out of your eye and you press your finger to it, unravelling it over your skin. Hoping no one noticed.

Not happy tears, when you are so full of passionate joy that all you can do is, weep. Not angry tears, when you are so full of passionate fury that tears pour all over your hot face—

but the quiet and deep kind, the kind when it all overflows without warning, your chest and stomach convulse regularly while warm tears stream down your face. Your words are choked by a force not your own. The kind that molds up your heart as you sit lonely and you don’t know what to do, you don’t know how to face it, you don’t know.

I’d forgotten what it feels like.

Catching by Isabella Zou by Final Draft

You rest, mind wanders aimlessly
throughout an English hedge-maze
Blackness hits and a hint of dreams, and
you open your eyes the second you close them
Sleep is a time machine.

Throngs of high-schoolers yawn into the school gym
He carefully tunes, rich vibrations from the
smooth, supple instrument, the bow like a butterfly
“Letters AA through CZ, follow me!”
Tingles run through his legs, heart fluttering nausea
Soon he drags up to the stand, legs dissolving, chills waver him, judges expectant, inhales
plays, careful! 
Goes back to his seat knowing
he is ruined, crying quietly into his
sweaty hands
You were sleeping

Screams of utter despair, bullets chasing her
she runs out of the church
her closest friends gurgle with blood and die, slumped against cold tables
She falls to her knees, looks at the sky, shrieks and shrieks and
shrieks, lost it while you were sleeping

A cancer patient died, a soldier lived
A mother cried, a friend screeched with hyena laughter while you were sleeping, and
while you faced your demons,
while you risked it all and realized the heights of your glory
while you gave it up
Others slept.

Fear by Katie Jernigan by Final Draft

Achluophobia- fear of darkness; fear of nights where it was too dark to see if everything was falling apart; why you stay up at night wondering  if someday you'll no longer be able to find any light in the world

Allodoxaphobia- fear of opinions; fear that what they say could be true. Why you keep quiet in crowded rooms with silent eyes that scream words you'll never work up the courage to say. 

Amathophobia- fear of dust; fear that your past will stick to you no matter how much you try to get rid of it. The reason you scrub your hands until they're bleeding. They reason you wish you had some control. 

Chiraptophobia- fear of being touched. Fear of letting go of the idea  that love will always let you down. The reason you force goodbyes when all you ever wanted was someone to feel like home.

Eicophobia- fear of home surroundings. The fear of your mother screaming at you to turn your life around when you can't even tell which direction your going in anymore. The reason you packed your bags at 18 and never looked back.