Anticipation This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I stand here trembling. My knees feel weak. My fingers fidget nervously, as my palms begin to sweat. When I glance over my right shoulder I see crowds of wild-eyed people, screaming and yelling the names of their loved ones. Some of those eyes are staring at me and yelling my name. The sounds mesh together into one loud rumbling roar. My heart feels like it is going to burst. I look down at my right hand as it continues to shake, ever so slightly. I look at the silver band on my right pinky; it is supposed to bring me luck. Over to my left, a gang of people looks around, secretly whispering and scratching down meaningless numbers on paper. Far behind me I can hear grunting and more screams. I look back and see, through a wire fence, large girls hurling heavy objects and groaning. More people cling to the fence and yell. I can smell sweat and the stink of feet. I feel sick, as if any moment something terrible may happen. I can see some people jumping into pits, and still more people screaming and crying out for their families and friends. I look to my side and, within five feet, a large man in a tuxedo with a malignant twinkle in his eye, holds a gun. I feel butterflies in my stomach. I think Why am I here? I say a quick prayer. In the distance, I see another man with two guns. As he raises the guns, a line of boys in front of him drops to their knees. I hear a faint whistle. Then two gunshots, one right after another. After the first shot, the boys begin to run for their lives and the people nearby go into a frenzy. After the second shot, all are silenced. I take a final glance at those anticipating eyes to my right. I look behind me to find a mob of girls rushing straight toward me. I searched the mob for a familiar face. Suddenly, I feel a large knot form in my stomach. The high speed mob shows no sign of slowing down.

First they are fifty yards away, then 25, then 10, then 5. I want to hide, but where? I can't look, I turn and start to run as fast as I can. I hear a small voice say "go," and feel the slap of a metal stick in my hand. A girl next to me falls to the ground with outstretched arms and a cry of pain. I begin my leg of the race and enter a special zone, where there is no pain or fear. I can see nothing except for one girl in a purple uniform in front of me. I can't hear anything except an inner voice telling me to run faster. I almost smile as I pass the girl in purple, who mutters something under her breath. It is too early to smile; I haven't finished yet. As I come around the final curve, the next leg of my relay team comes into view, and I sprint as fast as I can. I hand her the baton as she begins to run. I step off the track, trying to control my breathing, walk over to the rest of my teammates and watch as the race ends. What was I so worried about anyhow? l


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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