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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by jojama

Another Summer Day

It was a sunny summer day, the kind of day that could be wasted away in the shade of a tree, staring at clouds. Eating ice cream, feeling the breeze lift the hairs off your neck.

Emily was in her room, going strong on the fifth hour of watching a Netflix series. With the blinds drawn and her door closed, she lay in bed surrounded by darkness, enraptured by the convoluted love triangle that was forming on screen. It took her a drowsy moment to register that her name was persistently being yelled from downstairs. After a brief pause in the yelling, there was a knock on her door and her mother entered. Emily frowned at the light entering her room.

“Your dad is furious.” Her mother sighed. “You remember that we switched internet providers last month, right? How we now have a bandwidth limit? We went over it.”

Emily slowly processed this information.

“I vaguely remember that… how do you even go over that limit? It was huge, I swear-” Her mother cut her off. “You went over it. Em, get off that computer and go outside.” Emily started sputtering, but her mother continued. “You, my dear, single-handedly Netflixed us over the limit. We have to pay a seventy dollar penalty fee. Go outside, it’s summer! And of course, no more Netflix for the rest of this month.” Emily’s mother left, the door hanging open.

Emily went through a couple of stages. She felt pretty angry at this obvious display of injustice, and hit ‘play’, continuing the episode. After a while, however, she pressed ‘pause’ and closed the site. She felt guilt, and dread as she imagined the lecture she would get later from her father.

She continued lying there for another ten minutes. There were lots of things to consider: How would the love triangle be resolved? How would she survive the rest of this month? How could she access the internet and continue watching?

Gathering her willpower, she slowly got up and dressed herself, brushed her teeth, grabbed her bag and laptop and headed out the door to the nearest Starbucks.

Along the way, she found herself enjoying the warm embrace of the late-afternoon sun. She was glad to be outside, and stopped for that ice cream cone. Maple walnut.

She paused underneath a tree and stared up at the clouds, adding to her SnapChat story: “3:54 PM. Enjoying the summer weather.”

She decided to enter a book store, and bought a book she remembered enjoying in her senior year of high school.

She saw that cute boy from her French class and he even said ‘hi’ to her.

Then, she located a Starbucks and marathoned the remainder of the show.

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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by jojama
Another Summer Day
It was a sunny summer day, the kind of day that could be wasted away in the shade of a tree, staring at clouds. Eating ice cream, feeling the breeze lift the hairs off your neck.
Emily was in her room, going strong on the fifth hour of watching a Netflix series. With the blinds drawn and her door closed, she lay in bed surrounded by darkness, enraptured by the convoluted love triangle that was forming on screen. It took her a drowsy moment to register that her name was persistently being yelled from downstairs. After a brief pause in the yelling, there was a knock on her door and her mother entered. Emily frowned at the light entering her room.
“Your dad is furious.” Her mother sighed. “You remember that we switched internet providers last month, right? How we now have a bandwidth limit? We went over it.”
Emily slowly processed this information.
“I vaguely remember that… how do you even go over that limit? It was huge, I swear-” Her mother cut her off. “You went over it. Em, get off that computer and go outside.” Emily started sputtering, but her mother continued. “You, my dear, single-handedly Netflixed us over the limit. We have to pay a seventy dollar penalty fee. Go outside, it’s summer! And of course, no more Netflix for the rest of this month.” Emily’s mother left, the door hanging open.
Emily went through a couple of stages. She felt pretty angry at this obvious display of injustice, and hit ‘play’, continuing the episode. After a while, however, she pressed ‘pause’ and closed the site. She felt guilt, and dread as she imagined the lecture she would get later from her father.
She continued lying there for another ten minutes. There were lots of things to consider: How would the love triangle be resolved? How would she survive the rest of this month? How could she access the internet and continue watching?
Gathering her willpower, she slowly got up and dressed herself, brushed her teeth, grabbed her bag and laptop and headed out the door to the nearest Starbucks.
Along the way, she found herself enjoying the warm embrace of the late-afternoon sun. She was glad to be outside, and stopped for that ice cream cone. Maple walnut.
She paused underneath a tree and stared up at the clouds, adding to her SnapChat story: “3:54 PM. Enjoying the summer weather.”
She decided to enter a book store, and bought a book she remembered enjoying in her senior year of high school.
She saw that cute boy from her French class and he even said ‘hi’ to her.
Then, she located a Starbucks and marathoned the remainder of the show.
#prosechallenge 
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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by kayxx

She Knew Better

The intentional grid like configuration of the streets of Manhattan is referred to as the Commission of 1811. The commissioners revered their design because it combined 'beauty, order, and convenience'. However aesthetically pleasing, the formation has a way of assaulting every New Yorker and wanna-be New Yorker alike. This assault takes place when the never ending streets serve as wind tunnels that violently whip winds through the streets and deliver what feels like literal slaps to the face.

This story happens to be about a particularly slapping wind in September. One that felt less like a slap from a drunk girl at a barcade in Williamsburg, and much more like the lasting sting only your mother's hand could produce.

Like the one I received when I was sixteen, and I told mine that she was weak. Weak for staying with my father when she knew he was sleeping with other women. It wasn't the slap that hurt. It was really just watching the single tear roll down her cheek and hit the linoleum. It crashed to the floor with what I presume to be the same force of a brick hitting concrete after being dropped from the top of the Empire State building. At the time it only hurt because I made her cry, now that slap hurts for a different reason.

It's five years later and I'm standing outside of a bar on Mercer street, with a boy I'm sure I love. He's smoking a cigarette. Malboro Red, actually.

I'm staring down at my boots. They're suede and have a pointed toe. Wearing them makes me feel like I'm cool enough to be standing outside of a bar on Mercer street, with a boy who's smoking a cigarette.

I was so focused on dodging the wind and convincing myself I belonged there, that I didn't hear him the first time he said, "hey look, we aren't exclusive or anything are we? I've been seeing other people."

I looked up, and he blew cigarette smoke into my face. I inhaled it. It felt like my father's mistakes and my mother's devastation crowding back into that pit in my stomach.

On exhale, without a second thought, I shot him a cool girl smile and said, "yea, for sure, me too.".

When I was sixteen it was so easy to see how my mother was wrong and the reasons she was weak. Even still, that night, I knew what I did was necessary. For the men of my commission I needed to make sure that I act orderly and remain convenient, so that I can be beautiful.

But by saying those words I had reduced myself to less than. I melted into those boots. I laid myself flat, preparing myself for the slaps of my future. The slaps from the city I love and all of my sort-of boyfriends to come.  

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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by kayxx
She Knew Better
The intentional grid like configuration of the streets of Manhattan is referred to as the Commission of 1811. The commissioners revered their design because it combined 'beauty, order, and convenience'. However aesthetically pleasing, the formation has a way of assaulting every New Yorker and wanna-be New Yorker alike. This assault takes place when the never ending streets serve as wind tunnels that violently whip winds through the streets and deliver what feels like literal slaps to the face.

This story happens to be about a particularly slapping wind in September. One that felt less like a slap from a drunk girl at a barcade in Williamsburg, and much more like the lasting sting only your mother's hand could produce.

Like the one I received when I was sixteen, and I told mine that she was weak. Weak for staying with my father when she knew he was sleeping with other women. It wasn't the slap that hurt. It was really just watching the single tear roll down her cheek and hit the linoleum. It crashed to the floor with what I presume to be the same force of a brick hitting concrete after being dropped from the top of the Empire State building. At the time it only hurt because I made her cry, now that slap hurts for a different reason.

It's five years later and I'm standing outside of a bar on Mercer street, with a boy I'm sure I love. He's smoking a cigarette. Malboro Red, actually.

I'm staring down at my boots. They're suede and have a pointed toe. Wearing them makes me feel like I'm cool enough to be standing outside of a bar on Mercer street, with a boy who's smoking a cigarette.

I was so focused on dodging the wind and convincing myself I belonged there, that I didn't hear him the first time he said, "hey look, we aren't exclusive or anything are we? I've been seeing other people."

I looked up, and he blew cigarette smoke into my face. I inhaled it. It felt like my father's mistakes and my mother's devastation crowding back into that pit in my stomach.

On exhale, without a second thought, I shot him a cool girl smile and said, "yea, for sure, me too.".

When I was sixteen it was so easy to see how my mother was wrong and the reasons she was weak. Even still, that night, I knew what I did was necessary. For the men of my commission I needed to make sure that I act orderly and remain convenient, so that I can be beautiful.

But by saying those words I had reduced myself to less than. I melted into those boots. I laid myself flat, preparing myself for the slaps of my future. The slaps from the city I love and all of my sort-of boyfriends to come.  
#fiction  #prosechallenge  #Itslit 
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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by B27321

What Had Happened To me

I Had Never Been to a Séance Before.

Strange Things

Were Going On In This House.

I Had to Admit

If Any Place Had a Right to Be Haunted

It Was This One.

They Said the Foundations Were Pre Roman,

Old as the Stones,

the Story Goes.

Dreams of the Screams,

Those That Died Here by Flame, Plague, & Torture;

Haunt my Sleep.

The Dark Man,

All Ways In the Back;

All Ways.

Like Puppets In a Play

& He Holding the Strings.

They Started to Weave

These Dreams

Into my Waking World.

I Had to Get Some Sleep,

Some Release.

So I Took It Up With the Proprietor,

the Count;

a Family Friend.

His Haunted Hollow Eyes

Saying Much More to me

Than we Shall See

What This Meet Brings.

It Was I,

the Count & Two Gentlemen.

One a Learned Doctor of Court,

No Stranger to the Bizarre,

The Other a Professor of History

& the Occult Sciences;

He Would Be Leading Us

Through This Strange Ceremony.

No Sooner Had we Began our Introductions

Over Brandy & Cigars,

Then a Manifestation Became Evident.

A Globe of Brilliant Light

to Turn the Night to Day

& Say your Payment Is Due,

Entered the Room.

The Count Pointed to me

& Said you May Have Him.

For 13 Months

I Know Not What I Do,

Till They Pulled me From the River;

Ran Through.

6 Months In a Hospital Half the World a Way,

Tomorrow Is the Day;

the Count Explains.

Taken From

the Private

Journals

of #B27321

Last Son

of a

Fallen Line

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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by B27321
What Had Happened To me
I Had Never Been to a Séance Before.
Strange Things
Were Going On In This House.
I Had to Admit
If Any Place Had a Right to Be Haunted
It Was This One.
They Said the Foundations Were Pre Roman,
Old as the Stones,
the Story Goes.
Dreams of the Screams,
Those That Died Here by Flame, Plague, & Torture;
Haunt my Sleep.
The Dark Man,
All Ways In the Back;
All Ways.
Like Puppets In a Play
& He Holding the Strings.
They Started to Weave
These Dreams
Into my Waking World.
I Had to Get Some Sleep,
Some Release.
So I Took It Up With the Proprietor,
the Count;
a Family Friend.
His Haunted Hollow Eyes
Saying Much More to me
Than we Shall See
What This Meet Brings.
It Was I,
the Count & Two Gentlemen.
One a Learned Doctor of Court,
No Stranger to the Bizarre,
The Other a Professor of History
& the Occult Sciences;
He Would Be Leading Us
Through This Strange Ceremony.
No Sooner Had we Began our Introductions
Over Brandy & Cigars,
Then a Manifestation Became Evident.
A Globe of Brilliant Light
to Turn the Night to Day
& Say your Payment Is Due,
Entered the Room.
The Count Pointed to me
& Said you May Have Him.
For 13 Months
I Know Not What I Do,
Till They Pulled me From the River;
Ran Through.
6 Months In a Hospital Half the World a Way,
Tomorrow Is the Day;
the Count Explains.


Taken From
the Private
Journals
of #B27321
Last Son
of a
Fallen Line
#fantasy  #horror  #adventure  #poetry  #mystery 
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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by MsHannahTweets

Freckles

Jill always considered herself to be a victim of genetics. No matter how much she worked out and ate healthy foods, nothing would change the pear shape of her body. Without the help of heels, it was impossible for her to stand taller than 5'3. Worst of all, she thought, was how freckled the sun made her skin. While her friends turned golden brown in the summer, she became spotted. The unchangeability of genes was endlessly frustrating. Jill had done nothing to deserve this injustice. 

For several weeks, she sheltered a crush on a new guy named Charlie in her friend group. He seemed somewhat interested, but she couldn't quite tell. Dread boiled inside her body when all of her friends decided to spend a day at the beach. Swimsuits were her least favorite thing to wear. But, knowing her crust would be there, she went anyway. Without her heels, Charlie could see her true height. He was startled, but seemed almost pleased.

Letting her guard down, Jill jumped into the water and enjoyed a day of swimming. She forgot that the salty water would eliminate her makeup and make her freckles shine brightly. But she was very lucky it did. As it turns out, Charlie liked shorter girls and LOVED freckles. 

No, it wasn't fair that Jill was covered it freckles. It gave her an advantage. Little did she know, another girl was nearby watching her. This person also hated genetics. No matter what she did, her skin didn't freckle. 

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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by MsHannahTweets
Freckles
Jill always considered herself to be a victim of genetics. No matter how much she worked out and ate healthy foods, nothing would change the pear shape of her body. Without the help of heels, it was impossible for her to stand taller than 5'3. Worst of all, she thought, was how freckled the sun made her skin. While her friends turned golden brown in the summer, she became spotted. The unchangeability of genes was endlessly frustrating. Jill had done nothing to deserve this injustice. 

For several weeks, she sheltered a crush on a new guy named Charlie in her friend group. He seemed somewhat interested, but she couldn't quite tell. Dread boiled inside her body when all of her friends decided to spend a day at the beach. Swimsuits were her least favorite thing to wear. But, knowing her crust would be there, she went anyway. Without her heels, Charlie could see her true height. He was startled, but seemed almost pleased.

Letting her guard down, Jill jumped into the water and enjoyed a day of swimming. She forgot that the salty water would eliminate her makeup and make her freckles shine brightly. But she was very lucky it did. As it turns out, Charlie liked shorter girls and LOVED freckles. 

No, it wasn't fair that Jill was covered it freckles. It gave her an advantage. Little did she know, another girl was nearby watching her. This person also hated genetics. No matter what she did, her skin didn't freckle. 
#prosechallenge  #Itslit  #getlit 
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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by RandiHaugen

Rats

You might be able to recall the picture of the flabby, middle-aged woman sitting on the ground, wearing nothing but sweatpants and a sweat-stained bra, an agonized look on her face as she holds on to her fatally wounded daughter. If so, even if you don’t know my name, you know my face. You know my tragedy.

I didn't care who saw me. I didn’t have any vanity left; my grown daughter Lylie was lying next to me, her bleeding head in my lap, her hair a tangled mess of blood and dirt. Without thinking, I pulled my cotton sweatshirt over my head and proceeded to tear it up using my teeth and the strength left in my desperate, trembling hands. Goosebumps spread across my flabby, bare arms and back. Very carefully, I started wrapping the improvised bandages around Lylie’s head.

Thick dust lingered in the air like the morning fog from the Thames, except no amounts of sunshine could make it evaporate. Within minutes, blood was seeping through the improvised head bandage. Lylie’s screams had ceased and become faint mumbling and moans. Everything in me screamed of the danger of the situation. Holding on tight to my daughter, I looked up, hoping against all hope that there would be a doctor, or some sort of Eastern emergency personnel present.

Instead, I stared up into a photographer’s camera lens.

“Help me!” I tried to yell, but the horrendous dust made me choke, and I started coughing in stead.

The photographer lowered his camera, and looked at me. His black eyes shone with compassion. And yet, he did nothing. I knew he was Eastern straight away. His clothes and shoes were regular enough, but the camera, and even more, the way he carried himself, stood out. I’ve always thought privileged people walk differently. I don’t wish to be rude, but you have a distinctive air of self-righteousness about you. It’s like you think good things are yours as a sort of birthright.

Everywhere around my daughter and I, the brown dust from the collapsed factory building hovered. Through this dust, people were disappearing and reappearing like ghosts.

“They didn’t say anything,” Lylie gasped.

“I know, I know, Lyle."

“Hh… how – agh – could this happen…?”

“Be calm, baby girl. Mummy’s got you."

Lylie managed to grit her teeth, but not much more.

When I first saw the gigantic, churning pillar of dust rising towards the sky, a few hours before, I didn’t think much of it. I realized some disaster had occurred, but I didn’t have time to mull it over. I was the mother in a family of six, which included my alcoholic husband and a son with some sort of mental disability I couldn’t afford to pay for a doctor to diagnose. I had my hands full.

When the screaming form the floor below started, after someone had received a telephone call and I discerned the words “Ashford and Tate” and “disaster”, I got worried. Force of habit made me glance at Rhys, the father to most of my children, but he didn’t notice. His eyes were open, but something about them reminded me of a dead fish left in a fishmonger’s chest after all the ice has melted. Rhys was somewhere else, mentally. He just lay there on his dirty mattress, too sick to walk or to care.

Looking at Rhys always made a horrendous anger swell inside me, but it also reminded me why I could not rest, or give in. It was too shameful a thing that my eldest daughter was the only one in the family with work, and I couldn’t allow myself to become an even heavier burden to her. My brave, strong Lylie, she was the light of my world. If it weren’t for her, our entire family would have been ruined. We had always been like rats swimming from a sunken ship, but Lylie was the one who found the piece of wood we clung on to. She kept us afloat.

But there by the factory ruins, hours later, hope was bleeding out, even before my eyes. It bled out through my fingers as I pressed my hands against the sides of Lylie’s head on top of the soaked bandage. Panic rising in me, I realized I was loosing her.

When the emergency personnel arrived – too few and too ill equipped to have even the slightest hope of being able to meet the overwhelming need. By then, corpses and soon-to-be corpses were lining the pavements, and there was a growing crowd of sobbing and screaming relatives and friends. By some miracle, Lylie was among the first twenty who were rushed to the makeshift hospital inside St. Paul’s Cathedral. There, her head was patched up; she received blood and – despite my screams of protest – lost her legs. There was no avoiding it, I had known that ever since I saw my daughter being half carried, half pulled out from the collapsed building, her legs dragging after her in a funny angle. After the operation, a doctor with an Indian accent told me Lylie had been lucky.

I was awake almost until dawn, curled up on the rug on the floor next to my daughter’s hospital bed. Lylie was still unconscious, machines beeping around her. The sound of screaming, mainly from victims’ loved ones and not the victims themselves, echoed off the cathedral walls. Now again there were flashes of light; Eastern journalists and photographers present to document the disaster.

For a time, I sat with my fingers in my ears, trying to block it all out, while staring at the ceiling, which seemed higher than the sky where it soared above me. The magnificence of the cathedral took my breath away. It was utterly unfathomable that there were once people in this land capable of constructing buildings like this.

It wasn’t something I thought about often, but the notion always became more intrusive when I was surrounded by awe-inspiring architecture, and that horrendous night was no different. I recalled what I had learned during my few years of school: that our ancestors became lazy, resting on their former victories and choosing to live wasteful and unsustainable lives, caring nothing for further innovation and development, or for the fact that society and market forces was developing and changing. And develop and change, they did. The East developed with lightning speed.

It strikes me as bizarre to think that the world once looked like a mirror opposite of what it does now. The poor and suffering whom the rich wished to think as little as possible about mostly used to live in the East. The West was once a glorious empire. In some distant past, our lives used to matter.

At some point before dawn, Pip showed up. The terror and fear I was feeling burst out of me like an attack from a mistreated street dog someone tried to pet.

“You’ve left Rhys and Ridley alone, you stupid girl?!” I hissed at her, though my concern for Lylie had actually made me forget all about Rhys and the other children. “Philippa Jane Clarke, are you positively mad?!”

“They’re not alone,” answered Pip, with the sort of mature calm one wouldn’t expect to find in an eleven-year-old. “Mrs Eavesbrook’s there.” Pip looked at me, eyes grave. I could tell from the dark rings around them that she hadn’t slept. “Will Lylie be okay?” she asked.

“They took her legs,” I said.

“What?”

“They amputated her legs. Sawed them clean off.”

Pip went pale. Suddenly I saw a glimmer of the child she actually was, or should have been. I wanted to hug her, but my arms were too heavy to move.

“They had to,” I added, trying to sound more comforting. “They couldn’t fix them. A piece of a wall fell on them. They looked … it was …”

Tears ran down Pip’s face.

“I know,” she whispered. “The newspaper said so.”

She opened her shoulder bag and took out a crumbled copy of The Guardian. The title read: “Ashford Factory Collapse: Hundreds killed.” I let out a gasp of disgust as I realized I was on the cover. In a flash, I remembered the black-eyed Eastern man with the camera. The sight of the picture horrified me. I looked as ugly as a haggard old witch, and absolutely devastated. Lylie’s head bandage was bleeding through my hands.

“You were on the news, too,” Pip said. “The picture is everywhere.”

For several minutes, I could barely breathe. I fixed my eyes on Lylie’s head where it rested in a crisp white pillow. Her head was wrapped in actual bandages now.

“Why did they let them work there?” Pip asked.

“What do you mean?”

“The article says the building had been deemed unfit as a factory. And yet it kept going; new floors and yet more new floors being built. The rules and the regulations were ignored entirely.”

“Deemed unfit?” I said, opening the newspaper. “Where does it say that?”

Pip pointed it out to me. My eyes skimmed over the sentences, and I realized she was right.

“’Cause we’re rats,” I muttered, cold anger flooding my veins.

"Sorry, mum?"

“To the people of the East, we’re like rats. If we die in a disaster like this, they don’t care. They’ll feel sorry about it for a while – my goodness, I hope my ugly crying face haunts their dreams! – but they won’t actually do anything about it. They love their precious, wealthy lifestyle too much, and their cheap things from foreign factories. The rich business owners, they know that even if a factory collapses, they’ll find new workers. Oh they’ll plead and apologize after this one, but just you wait. There will be no change, because there are always more rats. We have nowhere else to go.”

“The Easterners could help us,” Pip said.

I took a deep breath and forced myself to smile, and not protest. Pip still had an ember of childish innocence burning in her, and I didn't want it to die.

“Yes, Pippa,” I answered. “If they wanted to, they could.”

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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by RandiHaugen
Rats
You might be able to recall the picture of the flabby, middle-aged woman sitting on the ground, wearing nothing but sweatpants and a sweat-stained bra, an agonized look on her face as she holds on to her fatally wounded daughter. If so, even if you don’t know my name, you know my face. You know my tragedy.

I didn't care who saw me. I didn’t have any vanity left; my grown daughter Lylie was lying next to me, her bleeding head in my lap, her hair a tangled mess of blood and dirt. Without thinking, I pulled my cotton sweatshirt over my head and proceeded to tear it up using my teeth and the strength left in my desperate, trembling hands. Goosebumps spread across my flabby, bare arms and back. Very carefully, I started wrapping the improvised bandages around Lylie’s head.

Thick dust lingered in the air like the morning fog from the Thames, except no amounts of sunshine could make it evaporate. Within minutes, blood was seeping through the improvised head bandage. Lylie’s screams had ceased and become faint mumbling and moans. Everything in me screamed of the danger of the situation. Holding on tight to my daughter, I looked up, hoping against all hope that there would be a doctor, or some sort of Eastern emergency personnel present.

Instead, I stared up into a photographer’s camera lens.

“Help me!” I tried to yell, but the horrendous dust made me choke, and I started coughing in stead.

The photographer lowered his camera, and looked at me. His black eyes shone with compassion. And yet, he did nothing. I knew he was Eastern straight away. His clothes and shoes were regular enough, but the camera, and even more, the way he carried himself, stood out. I’ve always thought privileged people walk differently. I don’t wish to be rude, but you have a distinctive air of self-righteousness about you. It’s like you think good things are yours as a sort of birthright.

Everywhere around my daughter and I, the brown dust from the collapsed factory building hovered. Through this dust, people were disappearing and reappearing like ghosts.

“They didn’t say anything,” Lylie gasped.
“I know, I know, Lyle."
“Hh… how – agh – could this happen…?”
“Be calm, baby girl. Mummy’s got you."

Lylie managed to grit her teeth, but not much more.

When I first saw the gigantic, churning pillar of dust rising towards the sky, a few hours before, I didn’t think much of it. I realized some disaster had occurred, but I didn’t have time to mull it over. I was the mother in a family of six, which included my alcoholic husband and a son with some sort of mental disability I couldn’t afford to pay for a doctor to diagnose. I had my hands full.

When the screaming form the floor below started, after someone had received a telephone call and I discerned the words “Ashford and Tate” and “disaster”, I got worried. Force of habit made me glance at Rhys, the father to most of my children, but he didn’t notice. His eyes were open, but something about them reminded me of a dead fish left in a fishmonger’s chest after all the ice has melted. Rhys was somewhere else, mentally. He just lay there on his dirty mattress, too sick to walk or to care.

Looking at Rhys always made a horrendous anger swell inside me, but it also reminded me why I could not rest, or give in. It was too shameful a thing that my eldest daughter was the only one in the family with work, and I couldn’t allow myself to become an even heavier burden to her. My brave, strong Lylie, she was the light of my world. If it weren’t for her, our entire family would have been ruined. We had always been like rats swimming from a sunken ship, but Lylie was the one who found the piece of wood we clung on to. She kept us afloat.

But there by the factory ruins, hours later, hope was bleeding out, even before my eyes. It bled out through my fingers as I pressed my hands against the sides of Lylie’s head on top of the soaked bandage. Panic rising in me, I realized I was loosing her.

When the emergency personnel arrived – too few and too ill equipped to have even the slightest hope of being able to meet the overwhelming need. By then, corpses and soon-to-be corpses were lining the pavements, and there was a growing crowd of sobbing and screaming relatives and friends. By some miracle, Lylie was among the first twenty who were rushed to the makeshift hospital inside St. Paul’s Cathedral. There, her head was patched up; she received blood and – despite my screams of protest – lost her legs. There was no avoiding it, I had known that ever since I saw my daughter being half carried, half pulled out from the collapsed building, her legs dragging after her in a funny angle. After the operation, a doctor with an Indian accent told me Lylie had been lucky.

I was awake almost until dawn, curled up on the rug on the floor next to my daughter’s hospital bed. Lylie was still unconscious, machines beeping around her. The sound of screaming, mainly from victims’ loved ones and not the victims themselves, echoed off the cathedral walls. Now again there were flashes of light; Eastern journalists and photographers present to document the disaster.

For a time, I sat with my fingers in my ears, trying to block it all out, while staring at the ceiling, which seemed higher than the sky where it soared above me. The magnificence of the cathedral took my breath away. It was utterly unfathomable that there were once people in this land capable of constructing buildings like this.

It wasn’t something I thought about often, but the notion always became more intrusive when I was surrounded by awe-inspiring architecture, and that horrendous night was no different. I recalled what I had learned during my few years of school: that our ancestors became lazy, resting on their former victories and choosing to live wasteful and unsustainable lives, caring nothing for further innovation and development, or for the fact that society and market forces was developing and changing. And develop and change, they did. The East developed with lightning speed.

It strikes me as bizarre to think that the world once looked like a mirror opposite of what it does now. The poor and suffering whom the rich wished to think as little as possible about mostly used to live in the East. The West was once a glorious empire. In some distant past, our lives used to matter.

At some point before dawn, Pip showed up. The terror and fear I was feeling burst out of me like an attack from a mistreated street dog someone tried to pet.

“You’ve left Rhys and Ridley alone, you stupid girl?!” I hissed at her, though my concern for Lylie had actually made me forget all about Rhys and the other children. “Philippa Jane Clarke, are you positively mad?!”

“They’re not alone,” answered Pip, with the sort of mature calm one wouldn’t expect to find in an eleven-year-old. “Mrs Eavesbrook’s there.” Pip looked at me, eyes grave. I could tell from the dark rings around them that she hadn’t slept. “Will Lylie be okay?” she asked.
“They took her legs,” I said.
“What?”
“They amputated her legs. Sawed them clean off.”
Pip went pale. Suddenly I saw a glimmer of the child she actually was, or should have been. I wanted to hug her, but my arms were too heavy to move.
“They had to,” I added, trying to sound more comforting. “They couldn’t fix them. A piece of a wall fell on them. They looked … it was …”
Tears ran down Pip’s face.
“I know,” she whispered. “The newspaper said so.”

She opened her shoulder bag and took out a crumbled copy of The Guardian. The title read: “Ashford Factory Collapse: Hundreds killed.” I let out a gasp of disgust as I realized I was on the cover. In a flash, I remembered the black-eyed Eastern man with the camera. The sight of the picture horrified me. I looked as ugly as a haggard old witch, and absolutely devastated. Lylie’s head bandage was bleeding through my hands.

“You were on the news, too,” Pip said. “The picture is everywhere.”
For several minutes, I could barely breathe. I fixed my eyes on Lylie’s head where it rested in a crisp white pillow. Her head was wrapped in actual bandages now.
“Why did they let them work there?” Pip asked.
“What do you mean?”
“The article says the building had been deemed unfit as a factory. And yet it kept going; new floors and yet more new floors being built. The rules and the regulations were ignored entirely.”
“Deemed unfit?” I said, opening the newspaper. “Where does it say that?”

Pip pointed it out to me. My eyes skimmed over the sentences, and I realized she was right.

“’Cause we’re rats,” I muttered, cold anger flooding my veins.
"Sorry, mum?"
“To the people of the East, we’re like rats. If we die in a disaster like this, they don’t care. They’ll feel sorry about it for a while – my goodness, I hope my ugly crying face haunts their dreams! – but they won’t actually do anything about it. They love their precious, wealthy lifestyle too much, and their cheap things from foreign factories. The rich business owners, they know that even if a factory collapses, they’ll find new workers. Oh they’ll plead and apologize after this one, but just you wait. There will be no change, because there are always more rats. We have nowhere else to go.”

“The Easterners could help us,” Pip said.
I took a deep breath and forced myself to smile, and not protest. Pip still had an ember of childish innocence burning in her, and I didn't want it to die.
“Yes, Pippa,” I answered. “If they wanted to, they could.”
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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Randombunny

Beautiful

She had been told, her whole life, that she was beautiful. It was the most important part of her.

She was given more, she was loved more, and she was held higher.

Her jokes were funnier, her laugh was sweeter, her cooking was better than anyone else's.

Everyone said it.

Golden girl, with the porcelain face.

Until it cracked.

Her face, broken by careless hands, reformed into planes that no longer pleased the eye.

Plain now.

She didn't understand why she was no longer funny. No longer good. Why her laugh was no longer compared to the ring of bells. No longer did her personality charm. 

The world hadn't prepared her, she didnt know how to be average, how to have no one hold doors or look her in the eye. The only thing different was her face. It was just a face, not anything else. She didn't understand why her life left her when her beauty did.

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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Randombunny
Beautiful
She had been told, her whole life, that she was beautiful. It was the most important part of her.
She was given more, she was loved more, and she was held higher.
Her jokes were funnier, her laugh was sweeter, her cooking was better than anyone else's.
Everyone said it.
Golden girl, with the porcelain face.
Until it cracked.
Her face, broken by careless hands, reformed into planes that no longer pleased the eye.
Plain now.
She didn't understand why she was no longer funny. No longer good. Why her laugh was no longer compared to the ring of bells. No longer did her personality charm. 
The world hadn't prepared her, she didnt know how to be average, how to have no one hold doors or look her in the eye. The only thing different was her face. It was just a face, not anything else. She didn't understand why her life left her when her beauty did.


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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Virgilian

Ruby

It’s starting again. Just like every morning at seven sharp; the megaphone from the edge of the woods down the hill.

Bastards!

“Ruby can we talk?” He says, “Ruby will you please come out?”

It’s not even Ruby they’re after.

All day long the megaphone blares calling out Ruby, my darling wife. At ten AM the helicopters come, hovering over the house or above the tree line across the clearing. I can see the sniper sitting in the door gunner’s seat from my window. He scans the house through his rifle scope hoping for a shot at me.

I tell the kids to get under the bed and stay there.

“Ruby, bring the kids out and come talk to us. This is not about you,” The speaker blurts out.

Once it was not, but they made it about her. God Damn them! I look for Loudspeaker Man through the scope of my 30/06. If I could get a clean shot…

But no, it would only endanger the kids. One shot from me and the walls of the cabin would explode with all of the ordinance that the US Marshals own. They have no respect for life. I know that for a fact.

I move from room to room to room looking out the windows for intruders in the yard. I know at some point they will get tired of waiting and stage an assault. My daughters know what to do. I’ve been training them since they were able to hold a gun. They are all brave and good shots. I hear the dog bark and go to the back door. Men in military gear are carrying the lifeless body of my son away, God bless him. I watch them disappear into the pines. It is the most helpless I have felt in my entire life. I return to the living room stepping over Ruby’s body, lying almost in the same place where the sniper’s bullet took her life three days ago.

The End

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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Virgilian
Ruby
It’s starting again. Just like every morning at seven sharp; the megaphone from the edge of the woods down the hill.
Bastards!
“Ruby can we talk?” He says, “Ruby will you please come out?”
It’s not even Ruby they’re after.
All day long the megaphone blares calling out Ruby, my darling wife. At ten AM the helicopters come, hovering over the house or above the tree line across the clearing. I can see the sniper sitting in the door gunner’s seat from my window. He scans the house through his rifle scope hoping for a shot at me.
I tell the kids to get under the bed and stay there.
“Ruby, bring the kids out and come talk to us. This is not about you,” The speaker blurts out.
Once it was not, but they made it about her. God Damn them! I look for Loudspeaker Man through the scope of my 30/06. If I could get a clean shot…
But no, it would only endanger the kids. One shot from me and the walls of the cabin would explode with all of the ordinance that the US Marshals own. They have no respect for life. I know that for a fact.
I move from room to room to room looking out the windows for intruders in the yard. I know at some point they will get tired of waiting and stage an assault. My daughters know what to do. I’ve been training them since they were able to hold a gun. They are all brave and good shots. I hear the dog bark and go to the back door. Men in military gear are carrying the lifeless body of my son away, God bless him. I watch them disappear into the pines. It is the most helpless I have felt in my entire life. I return to the living room stepping over Ruby’s body, lying almost in the same place where the sniper’s bullet took her life three days ago.

The End
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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Yen

Sweet injustice to thee

"We are here - welcome to the future of pleasure. I know what you want if you just tell me what you need. Let me set you free." There goes the catch phrase. They play it everywhere nowadays, on the radio, in between talk shows, in little corners of online news. Sometimes I wonder if they are trying to shout it out loud or be subtle. It is the newest advancement in the world of AI. These androids with new and advanced emotional updates are your friends with benefits. They are programmed to learn your every move in the bedroom and give you the best combination of sexual actions or positions that will guarantee ecstasy every single time. You don't need to wait for her to be 'in the mood' or for him to erect again. Or if you're out and about and you have a rare small pocket of free time in your schedule, you could bring a small device that is synchronized to the Main Profile. For men, it is a sort of soft tube that is retractable and has pressure sensors (it even has the function of keeping your penis down and out of sight for when you're in a meeting). For women, yep, you guessed it, you place it inside your vagina. And it comes in a ball shape. But of course, it will change to multiple shapes during the course of a Session according to the Programs.

The ease of it is that you don't even need to customize the Programs, although you can. It will learn everything about you, like your mood for the day, level of energy you currently have based on the amount of walking you've done and the food you ate thus far, and even the surroundings - whether you're in a quiet room (or bathroom) or in the busy streets. And based on all of these things and your personality type and the records of your previous uses, it will bring you to a different level of sexual pleasure. There are so many benefits - it raises your self esteem, releases stress, makes you happy and acts as a substitute when you're having a long distance relationship. It has proven to lower depression rate in the world and some people even reported that they have landed their dream jobs and recovered from nasty diseases after using it.

But it also means that we are disconnected as ever from the real people around us. We walk around with our AI friends more than we talk to our real friends. And it is no surprise, because who would want to give so much effort when all we need to do is just lay down in bed with our own sex expert? Why you would spend money on an expensive date when your 'date' could go shopping and cook for you? And fuck you in all the right ways after you'd eaten a delicious meal?

I finally open my eyes after I'd analysed all the flaws in this new world. I mean, surely there is value in real human communication. My thoughts were interrupted by the deep voice of my Android, Dan. Dan is slightly taller than me. He has tan skin and blue eyes that turn grey after the sun sets. His hair is black. His lips are full.

"Hey, Phoebe." He sighs as he climbs on top of me.

"Dan." I said flatly as I try to give as little body language as possible.

Without saying another word he started to 'scan' me, and that means looking into my eyes and around my body checking for heart rate and body temperature. It only takes a fraction of a second for him to realize I am in wanting. He knows me better than I do. No matter how he starts off my morning, it always ends good. Soon after that I have forgotten all the negative aspects of this era. His hand is of course warmed to the right temperature, which is about half a degree warmer than my body temperature. He hovers it over my left breast, because he knows I don't like to start with my right. His fingers barely touch my nipples. My breathing quickens. He knows I like some suspense.

I closed my eyes. Without touching me anywhere else, he slides three fingers into me to ease the ache inside, then he speeds up immediately to match my heartbeat. And then... Thirty seconds in Paradise. To think that I once had a real human being as a lover makes me cry.

All we're doing Love is injustice. But justice was never given to me.

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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by Yen
Sweet injustice to thee
"We are here - welcome to the future of pleasure. I know what you want if you just tell me what you need. Let me set you free." There goes the catch phrase. They play it everywhere nowadays, on the radio, in between talk shows, in little corners of online news. Sometimes I wonder if they are trying to shout it out loud or be subtle. It is the newest advancement in the world of AI. These androids with new and advanced emotional updates are your friends with benefits. They are programmed to learn your every move in the bedroom and give you the best combination of sexual actions or positions that will guarantee ecstasy every single time. You don't need to wait for her to be 'in the mood' or for him to erect again. Or if you're out and about and you have a rare small pocket of free time in your schedule, you could bring a small device that is synchronized to the Main Profile. For men, it is a sort of soft tube that is retractable and has pressure sensors (it even has the function of keeping your penis down and out of sight for when you're in a meeting). For women, yep, you guessed it, you place it inside your vagina. And it comes in a ball shape. But of course, it will change to multiple shapes during the course of a Session according to the Programs.

The ease of it is that you don't even need to customize the Programs, although you can. It will learn everything about you, like your mood for the day, level of energy you currently have based on the amount of walking you've done and the food you ate thus far, and even the surroundings - whether you're in a quiet room (or bathroom) or in the busy streets. And based on all of these things and your personality type and the records of your previous uses, it will bring you to a different level of sexual pleasure. There are so many benefits - it raises your self esteem, releases stress, makes you happy and acts as a substitute when you're having a long distance relationship. It has proven to lower depression rate in the world and some people even reported that they have landed their dream jobs and recovered from nasty diseases after using it.

But it also means that we are disconnected as ever from the real people around us. We walk around with our AI friends more than we talk to our real friends. And it is no surprise, because who would want to give so much effort when all we need to do is just lay down in bed with our own sex expert? Why you would spend money on an expensive date when your 'date' could go shopping and cook for you? And fuck you in all the right ways after you'd eaten a delicious meal?

I finally open my eyes after I'd analysed all the flaws in this new world. I mean, surely there is value in real human communication. My thoughts were interrupted by the deep voice of my Android, Dan. Dan is slightly taller than me. He has tan skin and blue eyes that turn grey after the sun sets. His hair is black. His lips are full.

"Hey, Phoebe." He sighs as he climbs on top of me.

"Dan." I said flatly as I try to give as little body language as possible.

Without saying another word he started to 'scan' me, and that means looking into my eyes and around my body checking for heart rate and body temperature. It only takes a fraction of a second for him to realize I am in wanting. He knows me better than I do. No matter how he starts off my morning, it always ends good. Soon after that I have forgotten all the negative aspects of this era. His hand is of course warmed to the right temperature, which is about half a degree warmer than my body temperature. He hovers it over my left breast, because he knows I don't like to start with my right. His fingers barely touch my nipples. My breathing quickens. He knows I like some suspense.

I closed my eyes. Without touching me anywhere else, he slides three fingers into me to ease the ache inside, then he speeds up immediately to match my heartbeat. And then... Thirty seconds in Paradise. To think that I once had a real human being as a lover makes me cry.

All we're doing Love is injustice. But justice was never given to me.
#scifi  #fiction  #romance  #erotism 
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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by El_Tennze

The complicated tense of past and future

My mom once told me “Truth always prevails in the end, Paul.”

Despite my naivety, I couldn’t help but wonder when such an end does come.

As my face slams into the cold unforgiving desk, my hands tied behind me, I crave for that end to come. Where truth prevails. Always.

The inspector tugs at my hair, forcing me to look him in the eye, his nose only inches away from mine. I whiff the smell of bacon and soda as he gnarls, “Tell me now then your sentence won’t get graver than it already is.”

I struggle to speak through swollen lips, “I don’t know.”

The room was dark, its corners lost in the dimness of one lamp above us, casting pallid shadows and a wave of dreariness that weigh down upon me, keeping me pinned to the table and leaving me utterly helpless.

His bulldog of a face contorts to a scornful grimace, “Heard that before. Let’s not make it hard for the two of us. WHERE IS HER BODY?”

His voice floats in my head, like a butterfly fluttering above a garden of thoughts, once a cornucopia of vibrant buds, now only a vile land of their corpses, a grave for a beautiful past defiled by a cruel twist.

Her body? Her body smelt of apple, her fruit cologne already a piece of herself. She had a slim figure, an eye-catcher from a light year away. Her hair was a crackling fire, burning in ochre and orange and red. Her eyes were the grey clouds in a rainy day. Her skin was cream, camouflaged in the white covers of the bed that we used to share. I could vividly recall her. Her every scar and every curve. The texture of her lips. The song in her voice. But her body…

“I’m innocent.”

He relieves his grip but seizes my throat instead. “Heard that shit too. Why do you want to suffer so much?” Her blue eyes are an ocean, its surface restless and lashing. His blood could be boiling like the magma in a sea vent right now. The canine in him hungers for a bite.

The bruises in my body and the pain in my abdomen all tell me I can’t take more of his killer blows. Why am I even trying to convince him? I force a few words, “Please… I-I told you –”

His hold tightens to a deadly strangle. “Damnit! You’re the only suspect we have. Who else would it be?”

My jugular throbs to a near burst, my heart hammering, desperate for air. My vision blurs. The end might come after all. But it might not be what my mom had said.

I only last a month in jail. Without a body and any piece of evidence, the witness’ testimonies have not been enough to incriminate me.

But maybe I deserve a punishment for my crime. Jane was my girl, our fates intertwined by the clumsy fingers of destiny. She is the most important person to me yet I failed to protect her. In the loss of her, failing to protect is as severe as murder itself.

Her family has appealed to the public for her immediate rescue in case she was still alive. The news spread like an airborne virus all over the internet, a plague that roused pity and contempt and rage. I recognize the sentence I have received. My face is in it. ‘The suspect – her boyfriend.’

I hope my mom could support me through the battle, at least inspire with her words, fool me into believing everything will turn alright somehow, just lift me up from the bottomless hole I’ve fallen into. But all she can utter are coughs, and other times just choke in fits of them. All she is now is a consumptive. To provide for us, I desperately need a job.

The poster says, “WANTED: Waiter, not more than 35 yrs old.”

But the owner retorts, “Oh that? That’s filled up. I forgot to remove it.”

In a small convenience store, the manager regards me with favor until someone whispers to his ear. All I get is “We’ll call you.”

Why do they treat me like an ex-convict? I’m not even a criminal. This is such a wretched world.

In the streets, I can feel the sharpness of people’s gazes, piercing into me. Their animosity digs into my skin like sharp claws, slowly flaying me, exposing my vulnerabilities until even my own sense of dignity has been scraped off.

I stay in my room most of the day. There, they can’t stare at me. They can’t humiliate me. And the walls can deaden my mom’s coughs.

But the walls imprison me. The touch and the coldness of the bars are forced into my reminiscence. The pungent stench of the prison cell begins to clog my nose. And sadness becomes tangible once more. More concrete than my body. More real than memories of Jane.

For the underprivileged, no opportunity is ever too late. But most times, they’re the worst of them.

Alex, an old friend, comes up to me, “Hey bro, I see you’re down right now.”

I’m buried right now. “Well, who employs a criminal?”

He grins, “I might know a few.”

Alex sniffs the stacks of bills before dropping them into a pouch. “This sure smell good.”

“Just get it done!” I nervously clasp the gun in my hand, its coldness seeping deep into my skin.

Alex slips in the last wad of dollars. “C’mon Paul. We’re experts at this. And it’s your fifth time if I’m right.”

“Fourth! Now shut that vault and let’s get going.”

He shoves the lid close. It clicks. Then to our terror, an alarm blares off.

Alex bolts to a start, dragging me along. “MOVE IT!”

My head is spinning. My muscles tense and my heart races, resonating to the erratic sound of defeat. But very instinct of mine has awoken, firing me up and giving me strength despite the shock.

A man appears from a corner, shotgun in hand. He lifts for an aim but I am quicker. No thoughts. No doubts. No restraints. Only a shot. An instinctive sure-fire solution. And a body. Then a thud barely a whisper in the noise.

A body. A dead body…

I watch in horror as the man lay immobile. I try to run but my feet won’t budge. A police siren wails from nearby.

The bulldog inspector eyes me like a fresh bone, a palpable look of triumph brightening his face.

“Looks like you’re back where you’re supposed to be.”

I stare back with vacancy, uncaring, unfeeling and unbelieving. “Go torture me all you want. Kill me if you have to.”

I already died long ago anyway. When the fingers point at you, there’s no coming back.

The end has finally come, yet I guess the truth has prevailed years back. They branded me a murderer. And now I am.

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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by El_Tennze
The complicated tense of past and future
My mom once told me “Truth always prevails in the end, Paul.”
Despite my naivety, I couldn’t help but wonder when such an end does come.
As my face slams into the cold unforgiving desk, my hands tied behind me, I crave for that end to come. Where truth prevails. Always.
The inspector tugs at my hair, forcing me to look him in the eye, his nose only inches away from mine. I whiff the smell of bacon and soda as he gnarls, “Tell me now then your sentence won’t get graver than it already is.”
I struggle to speak through swollen lips, “I don’t know.”
The room was dark, its corners lost in the dimness of one lamp above us, casting pallid shadows and a wave of dreariness that weigh down upon me, keeping me pinned to the table and leaving me utterly helpless.
His bulldog of a face contorts to a scornful grimace, “Heard that before. Let’s not make it hard for the two of us. WHERE IS HER BODY?”
His voice floats in my head, like a butterfly fluttering above a garden of thoughts, once a cornucopia of vibrant buds, now only a vile land of their corpses, a grave for a beautiful past defiled by a cruel twist.
Her body? Her body smelt of apple, her fruit cologne already a piece of herself. She had a slim figure, an eye-catcher from a light year away. Her hair was a crackling fire, burning in ochre and orange and red. Her eyes were the grey clouds in a rainy day. Her skin was cream, camouflaged in the white covers of the bed that we used to share. I could vividly recall her. Her every scar and every curve. The texture of her lips. The song in her voice. But her body…
“I’m innocent.”
He relieves his grip but seizes my throat instead. “Heard that shit too. Why do you want to suffer so much?” Her blue eyes are an ocean, its surface restless and lashing. His blood could be boiling like the magma in a sea vent right now. The canine in him hungers for a bite.
The bruises in my body and the pain in my abdomen all tell me I can’t take more of his killer blows. Why am I even trying to convince him? I force a few words, “Please… I-I told you –”
His hold tightens to a deadly strangle. “Damnit! You’re the only suspect we have. Who else would it be?”
My jugular throbs to a near burst, my heart hammering, desperate for air. My vision blurs. The end might come after all. But it might not be what my mom had said.

I only last a month in jail. Without a body and any piece of evidence, the witness’ testimonies have not been enough to incriminate me.
But maybe I deserve a punishment for my crime. Jane was my girl, our fates intertwined by the clumsy fingers of destiny. She is the most important person to me yet I failed to protect her. In the loss of her, failing to protect is as severe as murder itself.
Her family has appealed to the public for her immediate rescue in case she was still alive. The news spread like an airborne virus all over the internet, a plague that roused pity and contempt and rage. I recognize the sentence I have received. My face is in it. ‘The suspect – her boyfriend.’

I hope my mom could support me through the battle, at least inspire with her words, fool me into believing everything will turn alright somehow, just lift me up from the bottomless hole I’ve fallen into. But all she can utter are coughs, and other times just choke in fits of them. All she is now is a consumptive. To provide for us, I desperately need a job.

The poster says, “WANTED: Waiter, not more than 35 yrs old.”
But the owner retorts, “Oh that? That’s filled up. I forgot to remove it.”
In a small convenience store, the manager regards me with favor until someone whispers to his ear. All I get is “We’ll call you.”
Why do they treat me like an ex-convict? I’m not even a criminal. This is such a wretched world.
In the streets, I can feel the sharpness of people’s gazes, piercing into me. Their animosity digs into my skin like sharp claws, slowly flaying me, exposing my vulnerabilities until even my own sense of dignity has been scraped off.
I stay in my room most of the day. There, they can’t stare at me. They can’t humiliate me. And the walls can deaden my mom’s coughs.
But the walls imprison me. The touch and the coldness of the bars are forced into my reminiscence. The pungent stench of the prison cell begins to clog my nose. And sadness becomes tangible once more. More concrete than my body. More real than memories of Jane.

For the underprivileged, no opportunity is ever too late. But most times, they’re the worst of them.
Alex, an old friend, comes up to me, “Hey bro, I see you’re down right now.”
I’m buried right now. “Well, who employs a criminal?”
He grins, “I might know a few.”

Alex sniffs the stacks of bills before dropping them into a pouch. “This sure smell good.”
“Just get it done!” I nervously clasp the gun in my hand, its coldness seeping deep into my skin.
Alex slips in the last wad of dollars. “C’mon Paul. We’re experts at this. And it’s your fifth time if I’m right.”
“Fourth! Now shut that vault and let’s get going.”
He shoves the lid close. It clicks. Then to our terror, an alarm blares off.
Alex bolts to a start, dragging me along. “MOVE IT!”
My head is spinning. My muscles tense and my heart races, resonating to the erratic sound of defeat. But very instinct of mine has awoken, firing me up and giving me strength despite the shock.
A man appears from a corner, shotgun in hand. He lifts for an aim but I am quicker. No thoughts. No doubts. No restraints. Only a shot. An instinctive sure-fire solution. And a body. Then a thud barely a whisper in the noise.
A body. A dead body…
I watch in horror as the man lay immobile. I try to run but my feet won’t budge. A police siren wails from nearby.

The bulldog inspector eyes me like a fresh bone, a palpable look of triumph brightening his face.
“Looks like you’re back where you’re supposed to be.”
I stare back with vacancy, uncaring, unfeeling and unbelieving. “Go torture me all you want. Kill me if you have to.”
I already died long ago anyway. When the fingers point at you, there’s no coming back.
The end has finally come, yet I guess the truth has prevailed years back. They branded me a murderer. And now I am.

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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by LadyJay

Prayer for a Pedophile

Stolen identity, sexually misused, yet you remain carefree. Toting my innocence and naivete. Just a child, yet caressed as a woman. Was it my low self-esteem or adult sized breast, that said touch me? I know I consented, but I was a pre-teen seeking validation. There was no one else, daddy certainly was unavailable to tell me of my beauty and worth. So I pulled up my skirt so that you could tell me who I was. Justify me with your touches, terrified of rejection, I did anything to be accepted. Surely, you must have endured abuse as well. A man of integrity would've sent me home, but you took my body first. For decades I've eaten the shame and guilt.

How could I have been so vulnerable? Why couldn't I just learn to love me? I refuse to continue to blame myself for the work of a pedophile. No need to return my identity, as I have a new name. Redeemed, I am. The love of God cleanses the dirty feeling, providing purity. The debauchery that is my youth no longer has the power to lord over me. As I learn to live with the sober knowledge of the abuse, misuse, riddled with shame and guilt, I am determined to forfeit the posture of a victim for the mindset of an overcomer. I forgive you, surely you've been hurt as well. It has been said that the hurting, hurt the most; this I know full well.

#ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit

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Donate coins to LadyJay.
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Challenge of the Week #58: You are a victim of injustice, write a story about it. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $150. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by LadyJay
Prayer for a Pedophile
Stolen identity, sexually misused, yet you remain carefree. Toting my innocence and naivete. Just a child, yet caressed as a woman. Was it my low self-esteem or adult sized breast, that said touch me? I know I consented, but I was a pre-teen seeking validation. There was no one else, daddy certainly was unavailable to tell me of my beauty and worth. So I pulled up my skirt so that you could tell me who I was. Justify me with your touches, terrified of rejection, I did anything to be accepted. Surely, you must have endured abuse as well. A man of integrity would've sent me home, but you took my body first. For decades I've eaten the shame and guilt.
How could I have been so vulnerable? Why couldn't I just learn to love me? I refuse to continue to blame myself for the work of a pedophile. No need to return my identity, as I have a new name. Redeemed, I am. The love of God cleanses the dirty feeling, providing purity. The debauchery that is my youth no longer has the power to lord over me. As I learn to live with the sober knowledge of the abuse, misuse, riddled with shame and guilt, I am determined to forfeit the posture of a victim for the mindset of an overcomer. I forgive you, surely you've been hurt as well. It has been said that the hurting, hurt the most; this I know full well.
#ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
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Juice
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