3rd Place

The Rusty Oak Tavern

Aaron Matney

Three knocks upon ashen wood, darkened by rain, wind, and time. All round the five travelers, raindrops whipped and landed with hard splats upon them, stinging with each drop that landed on their exposed skin. In the back of their group, Alouise was probably the most comfortable, with her long red and black robes covering her small frame entirely – though Niklas in the far front didn't envy her in the slightest. The robes of a mage, he remembered, were quite heavy to begin with, even without the hundreds of spell components stuffed into the thousands of pockets hidden within them.

The High Price of Cheating

Brittney Arafat

Cheating has always been a concern for educators. However, with the steady rise in technology, students have found new, innovative ways to cheat in their classes. With the increase in online courses and education, a new market has developed. This goes beyond the traditional ways of cheating, which include plagiarism, asking others to write papers, and sneaking glances at the desk next you. Now, companies offer to complete entire classes, including all coursework and tests, for a less than modest fee.

The Stains on the Surface

Brittney Arafat

Mexican, Puerto Rican, light-skinned, coal. Hawaiian, spic, nigger. Are you Arab? Are you sure? Mulatto, mixed breed, mutt. Beautiful curls, nappy head. Gorgeous brown eyes, full of shit. Go back to your own country, towel head. Abomination in God's eyes. Mud duck, high yellow. Exotic, captivating, ugly, disgusting. Porch monkey, Oreo. You don't belong here terrorist. Camel jockey. Burnt cracker, zebra, yellow nigger.
​Slaughtered identity. Who am I really?

Falling Together

Brittney Arafat

“I can’t do this anymore, I’m so sorry,” I whisper, kissing my sleeping daughter on the forehead. She stirs but she doesn’t wake. I head to the front door. My mother is asleep on the sofa, face set in the disappointed scowl that I've grown so accustomed to seeing. She always said I would never be a good mother, that I was too selfish and lazy to be able to take care of another person. She would get the last word again. I shut the door soundlessly, and then begin the short walk to the highway.

Kitchen Table

Brittney Arafat

Four legs and a flat surface. Cover it, color it, stain it, and drape it. Some are wood, glass, metal, plastic. There are so many varieties, limitless colors. Like a person crawling on their knees, a slab of stone thrown across their back; a burden that should be too heavy to bear. That was where he always came to feed his appetite. Not for food or sex, no. The kitchen was used to feed me reasons about why I wasn't good enough. “You were too lazy to wash the dishes?” “I told you to shut the hell up,” and “ugly worthless bitch.” He would smile as he devoured the pain his words caused.


Lauren Church

Her history course was never that interesting. Dry reviews of the local natives and how much it sucked to be them. But today the professor had promised something different - a field trip. She gazed out the window of the small bus and watched the countryside roll by. The other students talked and laughed, white noise fading behind her. Her eyes followed the moving vegetation and power lines. She was skating along it somehow, so fluid and fast. Gray and brown, dust and dirt, until a sea of green emerged.

Everybody Likes Cher

A Night at the Shelter

To Then, From Now



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