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Burning Words This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

She tried to slam the door shut but I stopped her. Her face became red as she threw the phone to the ground in fury. It was as if I could feel the thumping of her heart beneath my feet. I didn’t dare to look her in the eyes. I was too afraid. I felt a cold shiver go down my spine. What did I just do? She stared at me as if I was the demon that caused her this pain. I stepped back slowly and sat down onto the sofa trying to collect my thoughts. I felt so afraid that I could barely remember what happened. I laid back and thought my actions speak louder than words.



February 17th, 2007, the day my parents split. I was only 10 at the time. It hurt to watch but I couldn’t stop them. I couldn’t yell at them. I just couldn’t, I grew up with Laliophobia, the fear of speaking. I was afraid of letting people hear me. I felt as if I would be judged. I’m afraid of speaking because I don’t want people to know me for what I say but for what I do. Whenever I hear someone speak, it hurts me inside to know that I am afraid of something so natural. Throughout all of my childhood videos, I have not said a word. Not even a peep. Nothing but the sound of my breathing can be heard from my mouth.



I am silent as my parents scream at each other every day. My parents were getting divorced and I cared a lot but I acted like I didn’t. I could scream but I won’t. The silence is part of me. I am the silence. I sat on the bench outside the building with my journal and pen. I stared up at the giant cloud above my head and hoped not to cry as I began writing.



Dear Mom and should have been, Dad,







Why do you guys have to split so soon? Mom, you always told me love was forever. I never see you dad. Why are you always gone? I don’t want to be stuck with one parent. I like seeing you guys happy. But you guys are never happy so it doesn’t matter anyways. None of you care enough to show me what love really is. I may be ten but I still have a heart. Kids aren’t that stupid. We’re people too. I feel like I know how to love better than you now because I see what I shouldn’t do.
























From, Zei



I tore the paper out and folded it into my pocket. My heart was aching but I couldn’t cry. I always thought the sound that came out of my mouth while I cried was the same as when I talked. My parents always called me Zei, pronounced Zai. My name is Zeiren Jaycee Hunter. Kelliann Joyce was my best friend; we met on the first day of 1st grade in Mr. Tule’s class. He told me to sit next to the brown haired girl in the back.



“I’m Kelliann, what’s your name?” She said.



And as always, I didn’t respond. I waved at her, grabbed the marker in front of her and wrote my name on my hand.



“Oh hi, Zee, Zuh, Zay, Zayran” She struggled trying to pronounce my name.



Zuh-eye-ren, I wrote.



“Zeiren?” She said looking confused.


I nodded. We would write notes to each other all class for the whole year. From 1st grade all the way to 9th grade. We wrote and wrote. She spoke and I was silent. Then one day as we were walking down the hill a couple blocks from the local market, a tall light skinned man dressed in blue jeans and a white tee shirt came out of a parked van and grabbed Kelliann. She shrieked. I was afraid, but I couldn’t scream for help. I couldn’t call the cops. I just couldn’t. He had shot her in the chest.



“Say anything and I will kill you too!” He whispered demandingly.



No! No! Kelliann! I mouthed.



Tears began to run down my cheeks as the van drove off. I felt like this was my entire fault. Why couldn’t I just speak to save my best friend’s life? Why can’t I speak?! If I were normal, she would have never died. My mom always told me that everyone was unique in their own way and that it was a good thing. For me, it’s something different. I may be unique but it isn’t good. I feel as if I kill my best friend. Not the man. I feel like I should be arrested not him.



It has been 2 years since that happened. I have made new friends but none can compare to Kelliann. Every night I sit in my room and think of why I can’t speak. My thoughts hurt my brain. Whenever I hear someone tell another person to think before they speak, I get an odd feeling in my gut because I know that whatever goes on in my head will never come out of my mouth.


Kelliann’s sister, Juliann, is a freshman here at Kinrow High. Juliann was infuriated when she found out I had not stopped the man from killing her only sister. She hated me for so long. She still hates me today. I can’t walk past without her giving me the deathly stare. Even if she’s younger than me, I still feel weaker than her.



I came home and saw my mom on the phone. I was expecting it to be one of her work friends. But then I heard yelling. She sounded like she wanted to kill the person on the other line. I didn’t understand why she sounded so angry. I crept slowly towards into the corner of the hallway and tried to listen to what she was saying. I could barely understand what she was saying. Her voice grew louder and louder. I stood behind her knowing that I shouldn’t have been there. I stared.


“I stopped loving you long ago!” She screamed




“Go back to loving that ugly whore! Zei never comforts me! She can’t ever tell me that everything will be okay. She just can’t. She can’t do that for anyone! I don’t need you! Leave me alone! You broke my heart and left me, what more do you want?!” She turned around.


I took a deep breath and I was afraid to say something. But I did.


“I-I-I care” I said


“So now you want to talk?!” She yelled


“I don’t want to. I need to.” My voice shook


"I've gone through too much. I don't deserve this! I can't take it anymore!" She says while grabbing for the knife if the drawer.


"NO! I won't let another person die because of me!" I scream as she throw the knife to the ground






I said, no, I yelled, I screamed. I felt speechless.



She tried to slam the door shut but I stopped her. Her face became red as she threw the phone to the ground in fury. It was as if I could feel the thumping of her heart beneath my feet. I didn’t dare to look her in the eyes and speak. I was too afraid. I felt a cold shiver go down my spine. What did I just do? She stared at me as if I was the demon that caused her this pain. I stepped back slowly and sat down onto the sofa trying to collect my thoughts. I felt so afraid that I could barely remember what happened. I laid back and thought my actions speak louder than words.





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