Written by Alaina Madden/ Inspired by the art of Rachel Masterson

She set off on her daily walk to school. The neighborhood was quiet as usual. The walk was only a few blocks away, but she hated those few short minutes her mom made her walk to school. The other high schoolers in the neighborhood buzzed by her in their newly gifted cars. She sighed as she kept walking, “Life is so unfair,” she thought to herself.

I flew open the handmade door of our small house. I was done. I cannot live in hiding anymore, no matter what my mom says. “Come back here!” my mom screamed after me. It was preached into us from a young age that we were to never leave the safety of our tree during the sunlight hours. Our whole village lived in fear of The Tall Ones. I always thought they looked just like us, just maybe a few feet taller. How bad could they be? I’m only 16, I don’t have my wings yet, so I look even more like The Tall Ones than my parents.

I breathed in the fresh air as I felt the sun on my face for the first time. I brushed my long hair back and soaked up the warmth on my exposed skin. Today was the beginning of my freedom, I thought to myself.

She began to walk faster, the watch on her wrist counting down the minutes she had to be in the school doors. “Gah, I hate it here,” she thought. She felt a small crunch under her foot. She scoffed, “No one ever picks up the sticks and leaves off the dark sidewalk.” She drug her foot behind her, making sure she got off her shoe wherever she stepped on, not bothering to glance back and check.

I screamed, over, and over, until my throat hurt as bad as my crushed legs. I tried speaking to The Tall Ones. I thought she could hear me. I was so close. The large black sole of her feet. I tried to stop her. I looked around me. The ground had turned dark black from the deep blood that poured from an artery in my leg. I couldn’t stop it. Just a few feet in front of me, my blood was spread along the sidewalk where she had attempted to wipe it off her shoe. I wonder if she heard my body break under her? I suddenly realized I was going to die here, on the first day of my freedom.

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