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Connections To The Present This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Running down the dark, damp alley, he heard the bang as the shotgun was fired. Then only impact, the smell of something rotting and the force of the bullet burrowing itself into the muscles of his back.

"Why tonight?" he thought in wonderment.

He had only gone out for a walk. The city streets were full of crime, but usually not his neighborhood. Tonight, however, was different. As he had been passing Reed's Jewelry Store on the corner of Hemway and Park Street he had seen the men in black rummaging through the store. He had reached into his pocket to find a dime to call the police station. The dime seemed to jump from his hand into the pay phone slot and thus seemed also to make quite a loud clink.

"Damn," he breathed out loud, looking for a place to crouch between the phone booth and the newspaper distributing units. But his effort to conceal himself was too late; one of the burglars had seen him.

Now after a brief chase, he was lying face down in a heap of garbage at the end of an alley, his life bleeding away from him. Memories flew before his face. He was back in grade school staring at the blackboard, the numbers meaning nothing and the hard chair reminding him of his bad posture.

Letting his mind drift, he began to notice how intricate the neutral colored, plastic desktop was and that in the right viewpoint it resembled the millions of tiny grains of sand on a beach. This brought him into the middle of another long-forgotten memory. Thunder crashed and rain pelted his face. He had snuck out of his summer house to sit through a storm. As he listened with his eyes clenched tightly he felt a sucking on his toes. Looking down he found a starfish that had latched onto his foot to save itself from the tyrant ocean; much in the way his own hand was now trying to keep the blood from escaping his body.

Back in the classroom, his teacher was calling on him.

"Son, I would like you to do this problem on the board, please ... Are you okay? Wake up, sir ..."

The face faded and he returned to the alley. When the face began to come into focus, he thought he was drifting away again but this face belonged to a police officer. He felt his body being pulled onto a stretcher. The paramedics' voices thundered around him. His wife was spilling tears; tears all over, reminding him of the rain from the beach, only softer.

"You're going to be all right," his wife sobbed, grasping his leg. Sirens roared as he was zipped through the city and the only thing that he could concentrate on were the five finger-like tentacles of the starfish, squeezing his foot in the hopes of saving a life. n




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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