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A single stone is dropped beside me,
The thud resonates throughout the otherwise silent air,
Scratched upon its large, grey surface
Is a single word,
That is just barely visible in this dimly lit cavern:

The disappointed eyes of my parents
Pierce through me as they reveal, yet another,
Jagged, moss covered rock.
They shake their heads with disapproval
As the stone falls through the air and slams down
On the dull cement below:

Another slab of grey is on display,
But just before it can slide from the grip in my father’s hand,
A whistle in the still air causes me to turn.
Plunging downward through the darkened atmosphere is a wall,
At least 1,000 feet tall,
made of stones.

The crash that reverberates
Quakes the very earth I’m standing upon,
Leaving me stumbling backward,
Only to find my back pressed against the cool surface of another
Crushing barricade,
Identical to the one that looms in front of me.

Hurriedly, I try to rush through one of the two gaps that remain,
My one chance at sanity,
Only to be abruptly cut off by the blockade that
Tauntingly slams down before me,
Leaving me skidding to a stop.
I swivel around,
Just in time to catch the last wall thudding to the ground,
Encasing me,
Trapping me
with these expectations
that stretch on for miles

My feet wedge themselves between the
Ashen bricks,
As I try to raise myself upward,
Over the walls,
Hands clinging to the sharp sides that trap me.
I fumble with the slippery stones,
And as I begin to plummet to the ground below,
I pull a slab out of place,
Causing a rumble to rip through the air.

Stone after stone
Tumbles to the center of the enclosure,
Falling on my shoulders,
My legs,
My arms,
Paralyzing me,
Suffocating me.
Buried beneath all these expectations,
I’m struggling

to breathe

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