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Taken at Night This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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I was standing at the bus stop, it was five in the morning. The moon was hidden behind the clouds. The cold weather bit at my skin and chilled my bones. I pulled my fleece jacket tightly around me, burring my hands deep into the pockets of my pants. It was the last day of school. The last day of school before I become a senior. I’ll probably be the only kid in school. All the other students will be sleeping in, hanging out and laughing that they’re now seniors.
I cursed them as I stared at the ground. My ears were red from the cold, and if it wasn’t so damn cold I’d pull my beanie down to cover them up. That’s how cold it is.
I thought about my little sister, who’s probably still laying in bed. She’s only seven. Some days I swear she was seventeen. I smile to myself. I may act like I hate her, but she’s my best friend.
I heard the hum of an engine behind me. I frowned. The school bus doesn’t come from that end of the street. I turn around to look. A car, an old nineteen-eighty’s Beater car comes flying down the road. The engine rattled from the effort to push the car along the road at the speed it’s going at. I’m surprised parts don’t fall off.
I barely have enough time to jump out of the way before the Beater comes zooming my direction. I roll into the ditch just off the side of the road. I’m thankful it’s filled with snow and not the usual five foot drop off from the road.
I pull myself to my feet, brush last night’s snow off my pants and open my mouth to yell a stream of curses at the Beater as it drives away… but then I notice. It didn’t drive away. It’s sitting right there.
I take a deep breath and grab onto a tangled root and pull myself out of the ditch.
Just then the passenger door opens. A man steps out. He’s tall. Too tall. Big and muscular. I look at his hand. There’s a gun. My heart starts pounding and before the thought fully forms in my mind I turn away and run. My body isn’t so cold now. My worn converse shoes smack against the pavement as I run. I hear footsteps behind me.
What if he catches me? I think, then push the thought out of my mind. I can see the porch lights of my home. I can see mom’s bathrobe fluttering in the wind as she waits for the bus to pass by, making sure I made it on. I’m almost there. I keep running, but then, I’m falling. Pavement scrapes my cheek as I trip on my shoelace.
“Mom!” I scream. He’s on me now. I turn over and look at him. He’s holding the gun in his hand. I’m scooting back now, doing the crab walk I used to do in pre-K. I turn over, my feet under me like how a professional runner would stand just before the whistle blows. I launch myself forward, my hair flying behind me.
“Mom!” I scream again. I can see her watching me. I see her running across the grass towards me, the ties on her robe coming undone, showing off her pale pink nightgown.
My head is jerked back as he grabs a fistful of my hair. He jerks me towards him. I feel the gun in my side.
“Mom.” I whisper as he drags me back to the old Beater.
I kick my legs, and fling my arms. I don’t give a damn about the gun in my back. I land a solid hit to his gut. He grunts in pain but keeps moving. I fling my head back, whacking him in the jaw with my head. I hear a crack and a loud swear.
I’m in the car now. The door’s slamming behind me and the old Beater pulls away. I turn and look out the back window. I can see Mom. A tear leaks out of my eye and I whisper, “Mom.” Now, all I can do is hope. Hope they won’t kill me.





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