A Stranger World This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Fear puts everything into perspective. It plunges the senses into an icy river, numbing and beating them into submission, making the truth terribly clear.

This was the feeling I had as I looked at the stranger who stood in front of me. His jeans were ripped, his shirt ratty under an oily poncho. His hair clearly had not seen water in days, and he passed his hand over his unshaven face as he shielded his eyes. The only respectable thing about him was his eyes, which were a sparkling blue.

“S’like I said, lady,” he said, his drunken tongue slurring the syllables. “You gotta go.” These fear-inspiring words were spoken to my aunt, who fidgeted with the sweater tied around her waist as she tried to make sense of what he had just said. Naive tourists that we were, I stood with my aunt, uncle, and three cousins in one of Edinburgh’s cheery parks. Joshua, my two-year-old cousin, sat in his stroller and looked at the man with saucer-like eyes from beneath his curly golden hair.

“Do you mean to tell us there’s going to be violence here in Edinburgh?” my aunt asked. The intoxicated man had just told us that “sumthin’ nasty” was going to happen and that we should leave quickly. The man shook his shaggy head and began to back away, his eyes fixated on Joshua until he turned and hobbled across the street.

The wind brought the hushed words of people from all around the park, people who sat on benches, people who jogged amidst the foraging pigeons, people who knew nothing of what the stranger had told us. Most of all, though, the wind brought the fevered words my aunt and uncle were exchanging and the fear in their voices.

“We were thinking,” my aunt told us as she began to push Joshua in his stroller, “that it would be best if we returned to the hotel. We’ll pack and leave a little early. Okay?” I nodded dumbly.

We left Edinburgh that day, leaving the people, the park, and the stranger behind. The sky was still blue, the grass still green, the wind still soft as it brushed my face through the window, and the people still continued their daily lives. It took me a while to realize why I was so sad - it was the burden of knowing that the world was not the place I thought it was. It could be cruel and hateful, and it was indeed a stranger world than I had thought.

Later that day, an occurrence the BBC would herald as a “conflict sparked by the G-8 summit” was violently orchestrated. Many police officers were injured and civilians and tourists were caught in the mobs. There was potential for explosive action.

So I left Edinburgh with new insight into life because of that man. In a world controlled by politics, corporations, money and fear, he went out of his way to tell us what he knew, a terrible secret from his dangerous world. He warned us as he stared at a child who was unaware of the horrors people could inflict on each other. Perhaps the stranger saw in baby Joshua what he wished never to have lost in himself.

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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LittleRedDeliriousPrinceThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 17, 2015 at 10:51 am
A fascinating piece, with just enough suspense to entertain me to the very end, without creating such high expectations that I wouldn't have enjoyed the ending otherwise.
SaphiraBrightscales This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 28, 2013 at 6:00 am
Very well written. The story ended so beautifully, almost made me well up...
JENNY.M. said...
Jun. 21, 2010 at 9:40 am
notebookgirl said...
Feb. 5, 2010 at 9:05 pm
Fascinating, I loved it
Krysten M. said...
Aug. 12, 2009 at 1:11 am
well written :)
Kate. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 2, 2009 at 2:19 am
That was absolutely stunning. It was written in a gripping fashion; I didn't know what would happen next. In addition, it was very well written, with understanding and passion. Good use of quotes, as well :D. Two thumbs way, way up.
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