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I am always the girl that stays quiet, secretly afraid. But I’m sick of pretending and keeping up this charade. People don’t know me, they just like to assume.
This incident happened around when I was 15 years old. School was on Summer Break and I was home alone of course because that’s when all crazy shit happens. I was on the computer, playing around and goofing off when I got the insane idea to create a fake Facebook account. Now don’t ask me why, I have no idea why I did it. Maybe it was because of boredom or perhaps it was because I wanted to be someone I wasn’t even if it was for just temporarily. At school, I had trouble socializing. I have mild Asperger’s syndrome and it was extremely difficult to connect properly with other students. The thing is back around that time, thank God I wasn’t really a shy, nervous or self-conscious person. I was actually a very confident person. The problem was I was too confident. I was ignorant and would say things without thinking. I didn’t have a filter. I wasn’t trying to be rude, it was completely innocent but innocent or not that doesn’t make anything I said any less hurtful. I was quite a judgemental person. I was brutally honest with people and would say outrageous things. I honestly wasn’t trying to be a jerk, it just came across that way. Despite my brutally honest mouth, I wasn’t a bully to anyone. I was a nice person who said some stupid stuff. Moving on, I was quite well known at my school. Not necessarily in a good way. I was the weird girl, and it’s strange because by my confident demeanor you would think I was super popular, but I wasn’t. I hung out with many girls, but I don’t think I’d ever consider any of them as my real friends. I only had about two to three real friends who I could trust. I would get bullied. A LOT. I never showed it though. If someone would pick on me, I’d pick right back at them. I never let someone walk all over me, and if I could describe myself I’d say I was fearless. Nothing seemed to affect me. The students would call me names, and try to put me down in the worst ways possible, but I never let them get to me, and I think that upset them. After a while, they just got bored. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t completely stop, but they dialed it down a notch. I think mainly because I just didn’t care. I was trying to always fit in with the popular group. I would socialize with the popular students, I signed up and got accepted into the cheerleading team though it was very brief. I would go to birthday parties and school dances every chance I got. In fact, at the school dances, I was the one asking all the guys to dance. I even went against the most popular girl in the school to be class president and spoke in front of the whole school, of course, I didn’t win, but looking back at some of the things I did and said I don’t know whether to be impressed or just cringe. Though I never appeared to be upset about the way people treated me or bullied me, I think deep down I was beyond upset and sad. I remember when I would have a bad day sometimes I would just break down and cry never understanding why people treated me so poorly. Though looking back, I can see why. I was the black sheep. The school I went to was in the neighborhood so everyone who went there knew each other except me. Since it was my first time at that school and I never really had anyone my age living right next to me, I was completely new. And the students that went there grew up together. Also, I was considered weird because of my social issues. Getting back to the story, it was Summer break. School was out and I was at home doing my typical routine, just sitting like a couch potato on the computer, going on the iPad, or watching T.V. when I got this crazy idea to create a fake Facebook account of a hot girl. I was curious and wanted to see how people from my school would react on Facebook if it were some extremely attractive-looking girl, so I set up a fake Facebook account, created a new name, and got a photo of some gorgeous teenager from google. Then that’s when the fun begins. I began adding all my “friends” from school and started messaging them either flirting or just having conversations. And I must admit for the time it lasted, it was fun. I liked the way how everyone treated this new “me”. I messaged the bullies and would say cringe-worthy, and embarrassing things. Of course, everyone accepted my friend request. The guys were flirting back, and everything was going well. After a while I got bored and nervous I would be caught because people wanted to start video chatting with “me”, so I planned to take down the account. Right before I was going to take it down I posted “Just shit my pants” because I was going to take it down anyway, and thought it would be funny, because all these guys were flirting with “me” and I thought it would be hilarious, and I could go out with a bang. I was going to delete the account quickly after because even though it wasn’t really me, it still would feel embarrassing to see the notifications. I don’t know why I’m like that, as you can probably tell I’m weird! Right when I was going to delete the account, I notice that I have a message. So I open it up, and that’s when my heart sinks. It was one of the popular guys and he said “Why does your email address say c*****?” I didn’t realize it would show my email to the public! My email had my name in the title and I’m the only one that went to that school with my name. I made up a HORRIBLE lie and said that it was my dog’s name. He didn’t respond back. I was absolutely mortified. Soon word got around and everyone pretty much knew it was me. I was beyond embarrassed and regretted it SO BAD. Then the day I was dreading came. The first day back at school. I hold my breath and walk down the halls with my head down, praying no one would say anything. School was almost over. I was walking on eggshells the whole day, paranoid someone would say something about the fake account, but luckily no one did, so I thought. It was towards the end of school and I only had a couple more periods to finish up. I was counting the clock, not sure why because I’d have to face them every day forward. When I was walking down the hall, one of the popular guys approaches me. He gives me a strange look and snickers something like “Did you clean up your little accident?” Confused, I don’t say anything. Then he says “You know since you pooped your pants.” He starts laughing. I wanted to crawl under a hole. I put my head down and quickly walk away. Then in my next class, I hear whispers and giggles behind me. I don’t dare turn around. The rest of the day people were poking fun of creating a fake Facebook account and “pooping my pants”. I got tired of explaining everything about the fake Facebook account and eventually, the humiliation just turned to anger. Another guy from my homeroom mentioned it, and I finally just snap. “What can I say? Shit happens.” His mouth drops open in disgust and shock, but I was too angry and annoyed to care. I walked off. The school wasn’t the same for about the next couple of weeks. Eventually, the rumors died down, and only once in a great while would someone bring up that incident again. That was probably the most embarrassing moment of my life, and hopefully the last. Luckily at the time, it was embarrassing but it wasn’t horrifying. Though since then I’ve gained a lot of social anxiety and have self-esteem issues so if it were to happen to me now, then it would be a different story. I would probably never go to that school ever again, because who I was then and who I am now are completely different people. I’ve changed dramatically. I’m very aware of what I say now, in fact too aware. I’m the exact opposite of how I was. I’m constantly afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. I overthink and worry about everything. It went from one extreme to the other extreme. I barely say two words to anyone, because my social anxiety is so terrible. I worry about how I eat, walk, sit, talk, breathe. Not kidding. I’m living in constant fear of judgment, and I don’t know why or when it all changed. My self-esteem is horrible now, I have extremely low self-confidence, and I’m not sure why. It could be because I gained a lot of weight since then. Or it could be because I have PCOS which causes extreme hair growth which is embarrassing especially as a woman. Though those can be parts of why I am the way I am now, I think something emotionally must have happened to have had this much of a drastic change. I will say this. I miss how I felt before. I miss not caring and being confident, unaware, and happy, BUT I don’t miss the way people used to treat me and I don’t miss who I was, because I am a better person because of what I’ve gone through. I don't regret being bullied, my weight gain, PCOS, etc.. because it made me who I am today. I’ve been in other people’s shoes now so I know how it feels to be made fun of, or being overweight, or having problems public speaking. Before I didn’t understand. I was ignorant of certain situations, but now I get it. I don’t judge anyone anymore. Before, I barely had any friends, but I had way more enemies. Now that I barely talk, I have no enemies but also no friends. I guess sometimes you just have to pick and choose. Life is a brutal teacher, but my God do you learn. Lately I've been trying to step out of my comfort zone and just be myself, and though there are people who hate and judge, I learned to just not care about their opinions anymore. I think I'm finally finding my middle ground, and I notice I'm happier this way. It get's so exhausting trying to be someone you're not and fight for others' constant approval. If this incident taught me anything it's don't be afraid to be yourself, because you're an original and an original is worth more than a copy. Don't be like me and create a fake Facebook account to become someone else or to live someone else life. Look how that turned out. Though I was happy how people treated "me" when I was pretending to be someone else, it wasn't real. It was fake. I rather have a real, genuine relationship and be myself than a fake one where I'm pretending to be someone I'm not. I learned that I don't have to be someone else or a gorgeous supermodel to be liked or to "fit in" because I haven't faked a Facebook account since then, and I'm way happier now than I ever was pretending to be someone else. I'm happiest when I'm truest to myself and I find that there are still people who accept and love me for me. It doesn't matter whether I fit in or not. The people that make history are the ones who stand out and do something unique/different, because they aren't afraid to be themseleves. Beauty won't last, so the people who only accept others just for their looks are doomed for an unhappy relationship, and I don't want to be around someone like that anyway. Those who don't accept you shouldn't matter to you, and those who do accept you won't care because they love you for you. Embrace who you are, and don't feel ashamed to be unique. Remember, in order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
“Athena, don’t forget to heat the kettle for the tub!” My mom yelled across the kitchen. “Yes, I’m doing it right now mom”. I finish pouring the rest of the water in the tub when I see Jack, my younger brother sprint into the living room. “Guess what, Athena!?” Jack exclaims, jumping up and down.
I see the mother crying, praying to God to let him live. Her little boy remains on the hospital bed, lifeless. The mother caresses her son’s cheek. “I love you, Sam,” She says in a breathless whisper. I yawn in pure boredom. Can humans be any more pathetic? Do they seriously believe if they pray to God, he will fulfill their wishes? I look at my watch, the time is ticking. It’s past 4:05, the boy should be dead by now. “How long does it take one person to die?!” I murmur. Running out of patience, I slowly walk over to the hospital bed, examining the pale, boy with sunken eyes. I tilt my head in amusement “You’re a stubborn lil human, aren’t you? Look at you, so desperately clinging onto this pathetic life.” His eyes stay closed. The annoying mother finally takes a step out of the room for fresh air. Curious, I place my hand above his forehead. This was my favorite part. When someone was near death and I placed my hand on their forehead I could relive their life temporarily. Their most significant happy and horrible memories come to me, and it’s as if I’m the person. I call them mini dreams. As sick as it may sound, this was my favorite part because when I did it, I felt emotions. No matter what the emotions were, pain, fear, happiness, or love, I craved for them. After feeling nothing and living in numbness for so long, you’d do anything to feel again. Within seconds, I am brought to flashbacks of the dying boy’s life. I was now the boy and reliving every pain, every happiness, every desire and sorrow he felt. I was at school standing by my locker, when a boy who I thought was my friend punched me, causing my nose to bleed. I watch around as all my friends laugh. I feel humiliated, betrayed and most of all sadness. I run away, trying to hold back the tears. I’m angry and want to punch someone. Then I’m in a room. I see two adults, who I assume are the kid’s parents. The dad breaks down crying. “I’m so sorry Andy.” I feel my heart sink. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have taken it out on you. I’m sorry for everything I’ve done. I promise to be a better father, but please… Don’t ever run away again. Your mother and I were worried sick.” The mother stands back, looking heartbroken. Then I run to them, sobbing. “I know. I’m sorry for running away. I’ll never do that ever again. I love you.” I begin to feel an overpowering emotion of sadness and guilt. Suddenly I’m entering the next flashback. I’m standing outside, by an oak tree in front of a pretty girl. “Can I kiss you?” She asks, her cheeks turning red. I nervously nod. I can tell this was his first time. She leans and we kiss. I can feel my heart pounding out of my chest. Then I’m brought to a street with cars. I see my mom talking to a saleswoman on the sidewalk. I see my friend who has been ignoring my texts across the street. “Henry!” I shout. He doesn’t hear me. I sprint across the street to him, wanting an explanation, when suddenly I hear my mom scream behind me in bloody murder “Andy!”. The cars honk, and I see a truck coming at me full speed. I feel pure fear, as I stand there in shock and terror. My heart is racing. I attempt to run, but before I can move my foot I feel the truck plow into me at full force. I scream in immense and agonizing pain, and everything goes black… I’m brought back to the hospital. I take a deep breath, trying to calm myself down. After every time I enter a mini dream, I feel weird at first. I can feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins, but it never lasts. I’m awoken from my trance when I hear someone talking. I look down and that’s when I see him. Andy Scott, the 10-year-old boy who was hit by a truck. He has two loving parents, and a nice house, money, but no money in the world could buy him a friend. His life lesson was acceptance.
There’s this old house that’s said to be haunted. No one dares to move in, because every family that did move in that house mysteriously died or disappeared. There tended to be a pattern. It was always the mother and father that died, but the children were never found. They completely disappeared, never leaving a trace behind. After years and years of deaths and disappearances in that house, people started to fear moving in that house. So for several years that house stayed abandoned, until one day when a family from out of state decided to move in, because of the ridiculously cheap price. The new family just won $20,000 from a jackpot and decided to put that money towards their new house. The family that moved in consisted of only a mother and two sons, Mark and Jacob. Mark was the older brother with brown hair and blue eyes, and Jacob was the younger brother with the most unusual green eyes. Both the sons were teenagers, and it would often just be them in the house by themselves because the mom wasn’t around often because she was always at work. One day when Jacob was in his bedroom playing a video game, he began to hear strange sounds. It sounded like whispering. Curious, Jacob paused his game and decided to follow the whispering. It led him up the creaky stairs. Jacob was walking up the stairs, farther and farther away from Mark who was all the way downstairs in the living room playing a video game. Then the whispering got louder and louder until he came across a door in the attic. Suddenly the sinister whispers stopped as soon as he got to the mysterious door. There were locks on the door, and a big sign that the previous owners left on the door that said: “Beware”. This just spiked Jacob’s curiosity more. He went back downstairs and told his older brother Mark. He wanted Mark to help him open the door, but Mark was too busy playing his game to even talk to him. Jacob knew he had to do it on his own. Since his mother was out and his older brother was too busy playing video games. Jacob got an ax from the garage and ran back upstairs where he followed the whispers. He went to the same door, ignoring all the red flags that were telling him he shouldn’t be doing this. He swung the ax on the doorknob once, and it made a clicking sound. He tried wiggling the doorknob but it was still locked. He rose his ax and axed the door again, but still, the door wouldn’t budge. He rose the ax once more, getting ready to break the door. Just as he was about to ax the doorknob off, all of a sudden he heard something whisper in a deep demonic voice in his ear “Leave!” Jacob immediately jumped back, confused as to what just happened. He looked behind him, but there was no one there. He was all alone. Jacob ignored the whisper he heard and axed the door one more time, and boom the lock came off. Jacob reached for the doorknob when all of a sudden he felt something cold touch and jerk away from his hand from the doorknob, the force so strong it almost caused him to fall over. Jacob was beginning to get scared, but his curiosity was stronger than his fear. He finally wiggled the doorknob, and it slowly creaked open revealing a small, dusty, dark, attic. Cobwebs were hanging from the ceiling, and scratch marks on the walls. But other than that there was nothing there. Except for one thing. Sitting on a wooden rocking chair in the corner was a vintage porcelain doll with a long white dress and blackish, gray hair. The doll was enough to give even old men nightmares. The doll was absolutely terrifying. But it wasn’t the doll’s long nails that scared Jacob, or the pale white skin… No, it was the eyes. The blue eyes stared deep into his soul. Jacob’s never seen a doll’s eyes look like this before. They were so evil-looking, so REAL. Taken aback by the doll’s scary appearance, Jacob just stood there staring at it in fright when the attic door slammed shut, trapping him in the room. Terrified, Jacob ran to the door, trying to open it, but the door wouldn’t open. Then Jacob hears the sound of the rocking chair creaking back and forth. Jacob looked behind him and that’s when he saw the rocking chair moving by itself with the doll still on it. Jacob was mortified. Jacob then begins screaming at the top of his lungs, hoping his brother will hear his screams and save him, but the door remained closed shut. Then the doll tilted its neck to the side, with a twisted smile, just staring menacingly. The chair continued to rock slowly. Then all of a sudden the doll’s neck quickly snapped forward looking straight at Jacob. Jacob began banging on the door, screaming hoping Mark would hear his cry for help. Jacob knew if he didn’t get out of there soon, something awful was going to happen. When Jacob looked back behind him something unexpected happened. The chair was still there rocking back and forth, but the doll… It was gone. Then the lights started to flicker on and off. He heard the sound of children’s laughter echo throughout the room. The lights suddenly turned completely off. Jacob couldn’t see now. Jacob continued to bang on the door, in the dark screaming. He could hear the sound of small footsteps stepping on the creaking floor from behind him. Getting closer and closer. Creak….creakkkk… until the sound of creaking footsteps was only a few feet away from him. A white porcelain doll's hand started creeping slowly from the darkness, reaching out for Jacob. Jacob kept screaming and banging on the door. Then just as the doll’s hand was about to touch Jacob, the door swung open, making Jacob fall on the floor. Frantic, Jacob looked up to see who opened the door. To his relief, it was Mark, his older brother. Jacob got up and ran to his brother, crying. Mark took a step back. He was confused about why Jacob was screaming. Jacob explained what happened to him just a few moments before. Wanting to see it for himself mark looked in the attics room, but everything looked fine. All there was, was a rocking chair with a doll on it. Everything was normal. Nothing out of the ordinary. Jacob was confused because he knew what he saw, but Mark just thought Jacob was lying to scare him. Annoyed at Jacob for disrupting his game, Mark went back downstairs. Afraid to be alone, Jacob followed him. That night Jacob couldn’t sleep a wink, for he kept replaying what happened to him in his mind. In the middle of the night, while Jacob was trying to sleep, he began to hear scratching noises by his bedroom door. Then all of a sudden the door creaked open a crack, the light peeking from the hallway, but no one was there. Scared, Jacob pulled his blanket over his head. He started to hear heavy footsteps on the creaky floor making their way to the bed, where he was sleeping. It started to get closer and closer until it suddenly stopped right by his bed. Through his blanket Jacob could see a man-like figure hovering over his bed, this figure was tall and had a hat, with black eyes. He could hear the creaking of the wood as if someone was bending over hovering over his bed watching him. He kept the blanket over his body, clinging on to it for dear life. Then he heard an angry whisper in his ear. It said, “Stay away from the doll”. Then he heard the same footsteps walk back to the door. The door creaked open and slammed shut. Whatever it was left the room. Jacob took the blanket off his head and took a breath of relief. Afraid to look. He finally opened his eyes, scanning the room. He looked around the dark room, no one was there. The next day, Jacob was getting ready for school. He went to the bathroom to take a shower, and when he stepped out the steam from the shower made the mirror all foggy. Then he saw on the mirror letters that spelled out “Get out”. Jacob quickly sprinted out of the shower got his clothes on and went to school. He tried to tell his older brother, Mark about what happened but Mark still wouldn’t believe him. At school, Jacob found out the history of the house. He learned about all the deaths and disappearances of the house, and how the last owner that lived there before him was a family of a little girl that disappeared and a mom and dad that were mysteriously killed. Curious, when Jacob got home he researched all about the previous owners and the house online, but he couldn’t find much information other than there was a fatal accident. Jacob decided to search in the basement and look through the boxes that the old owners left behind. He thought he might come across something useful. That’s when he came across a little black Moleskine notebook. He knew it wasn’t his. It must have been the previous owners. He flipped open the pages and saw a picture of a family. In the picture, there was the little girl, and mom and dad. When Jacob looked closely at the picture he couldn’t stop staring at the little girl, because something about her was familiar, but he didn’t know what. Then when he looked at her parents in the picture, he saw the dad, and when he looked closer he couldn’t believe his eyes. The dad was tall, with brown eyes and a hat. Then in the back of them in the picture were their shadows. When Jacob looked closer he noticed that the dad’s shadow looked exactly like the figure he saw in his bedroom the night before. When Jacob went back home, his brother was out with friends and his mom was working so he was at the house all alone by himself, but he wasn’t prepared for what he was about to encounter. When he got home, the creepy porcelain doll was sitting on the couch. Jacob got a bad feeling about this doll and decided to throw it out in the garbage outside. Jacob felt much better after throwing it out. Later that night when everyone was home, Jacob was watching tv in the living room, when suddenly, the tv started acting funny. It was glitching. Then the channel switched to white noise. Then voices started to speak through the tv, like little whispers. He heard the sound of children’s laughter. Jacob tried to change the tv channel but it wouldn’t change. It was stuck on the same black and white screen with whispers talking through the tv. He even tried to turn the tv off, but nothing was happening. Finally, Jacob decided to walk to the tv and unplug it. When he did, it finally went off. Jacob decided he had enough of that basement, so he went back upstairs. When he opened his bedroom door, he saw the same exact doll sitting on his bed. The one from the attic that he threw out earlier. Jacob started to panic, and right when he was going to run out of the room, his bedroom door slammed shut trapping him in with the doll. He started banging on the door and tried wiggling the doorknob but it wouldn’t open. Then he looked behind him, and he stared at the doll. Suddenly the doll snapped its neck to the right looking straight at Jacob with a twisted smile. Jacob began screaming and tried opening the door but it wouldn’t open. Then the doll stood up and started slowly walking towards Jacob, one leg dragging behind the doll. He could hear the doll’s leg dragging against the wood, as it made its way closer to Jacob. Jacob started screaming, yelling for his mom, brother, anyone to hear. The evil doll continued to move closer to Jacob, and it seemed like the closer it got the more the doll’s smile started to stretch across the face. The doll’s head was tilted to the side, and its eyes pierced into Jacob’s soul. Then the door slammed open. It was Jacob’s mother. Jacob was crying hysterically, and the mother was confused. Jacob’s brother, Mark ran up the stairs to follow the commotion. Jacob explained to both of them what happened, but they both didn’t believe him. The mother tried to comfort Jacob but nothing was working. The brother was getting annoyed with Jacob for making up lies and walked towards the doll that was now miraculously back on the bed. He snatched the doll by the hair and started walking towards Jacob and their mom yelling “That’s it! I’m getting rid of this thing!” He yelled. Jacob explained he already tried throwing it out but it came back.
It was Christmas. Every kid’s favorite holiday. The holiday where they can go sledding, make snow angels with their friends, eat junk food, and sing Christmas carols with their friends. The only night where they were actually eager to go to sleep because they know Santa will come. The most exciting part being Christmas morning, when they open their eyes and smile because they know when they run down the stairs, gifts will be scattered underneath the Christmas Tree. That’s how Christmas went for most children. It was exciting. Watching Christmas movies with their family and putting cookies on a plate for Santa. The whole concept was exciting to everyone. Everyone except Kira Boone. Kira was a deaf orphan girl. She was used to watching happy families outside the window, seeing children run into their parent's arms. Kira yearned for that. She didn’t care about the gifts, she just wanted someone that loved her. Since Kira was deaf everyone overlooked her. She would be turning 9 in a few months. The Matron, social workers, and everyone at the orphanage adored her. She was well behaved, and never caused any problems. The Alderidge family were rich and wanted to adopt a child to improve their image. John Aldridge was the town’s mayor. He was a busy man always working, not having much time for his wife or son. His wife, Teresa didn’t mind so much because she would keep herself occupied by shopping, and talking with her lady friends. Their son, Ben was a troubled spoiled boy, who spent most of his time in his room, playing with new advanced games his parents would buy him every day. John would come home from work every night to take out that Teresa ordered. They never ate at the table as a family. Everyone went to their separate rooms, going through their phones. Before they would go to bed, they’d all shout goodnight to each other and repeat. This was a normal routine for the Alderidge family. Later that week, John told Teresa his plans about adopting. Teresa didn’t care as long as the child didn’t get in the way of her lifestyle. They all agreed not to adopt a baby, for those reasons. Ben was annoyed and didn’t want a brother or sister, but he knew when it came to something like this he wouldn’t get his way. Ben didn’t want to go for the ride to the orphanage. He didn’t care and thought it was stupid, but John and Terese made him go. During the ride on the way to the orphanage, Ben stared out the window, dreading everything. When they finally arrived at the orphanage, Ben looked at the building in disgust “What type of orphanage is this? You can’t seriously expect us to go in there and greet these people. They probably have diseases.” Ben scoffed.
The Adventures at Vocal
The moderation team on Vocal stays up late at night, drinking coffee so they don’t fall asleep. They review every single story submission. Some of them read the entire story, and a few secretly skim the pages if they lose interest. Some of the stories they read are horrible. Some are ok and kind of good, and there are a few that are just fantastic, and have everything they are looking for. Originality, remembrance, flawless delivery, great quality, and only a few grammar mistakes. The last winner won $20,000 and this new challenge will gain $5,000. Sometimes if the moderation team doesn’t like a story, but knows they have to finish reading it, they will hand the story over to another team member. Some will even trick others into reading the story they didn’t like, but luckily most of them just put their big girl panties on and read them no matter how cheesy or bad they are. The motivation being “Only a few more days” or “Remember, you get paid for this”. They put their favorites stacked in a pile, which they then pass on to the Curation team. Most of them think, but don’t dare say “Great, we have to stay up late and read all these stories, even the crummy ones, and they get to only read the good ones we choose. Lucky them.” Finally, when the submission date closes, the moderation team can relax and have a beer, at least until a few more days when they have to start reviewing their next challenge submissions. Once the stories are passed on to the Curation team, the Curation team works hard brainstorming and comparing the stories, trying to find the best of the best stories. They read the top picks, and carefully score to determine the winners. They’re a huge team, but the main judges in this story are Chris, David, Nicole, Lisa, and Robert. Chris is the funny one, though he sometimes slacks he’s great at his job. David is the flirtatious, womanizer, but when he’s working, you would never know. Nicole is sweet and down to earth. Lisa is the strict, serious one, the one you don’t want to mess with and Robert. Well… He’s Robert. It starts off as any normal day. There are only 8 days left until the submissions close, and everyone’s running around like a chicken with their head cut off, trying to find the top possible winners. There’s not much time left, and all was going well until 2 of the moderation team members weren’t responding to their phone calls and emails. The Curation team was frustrated because that slowed down business for them. The next day 2 more moderation team members weren’t answering or replying to them. The Curation team thought it was weird, and were getting worried not only for their workers but for their business because there were still so many stories that needed to be read. Then 4 days later, 5 people from the moderation team weren’t responding to their calls. This couldn’t be a coincidence. The Curation team knew something was up and tried multiple times to contact them, but they weren’t having luck. What were they going to do? There are only 3 days left until final submissions and they were losing their workers. They started getting phone calls from their moderation team worker’s spouses, and family saying that they were missing. The police eventually got involved. They were now investigating Vocal. So not only did they have to deal with the pressure of the contest, they had to work with the police breathing down their necks. Nicole retrieved the stories from the missing moderation team members. She was afraid and worried about why they were disappearing, but when you’re in a business, you don’t have the luxury to waste time. Nicole split the stack of papers with her friends, Chris, David, Lisa, and Robert. Nicole spent 1 hour writing in her little black Moleskine notebook, and spent about 5 hours reading the submitted stories, when she came across an unusual story called “Kein Ausweg.” This story stood out for some reason. She flipped open the pages and began reading. The next day, Nicole wasn’t answering her phone calls. The Curation team was worried, especially with the other disappearances going on, so as a precaution they all went to Nicole’s office. Like suspected she wasn’t there, nothing was there except a story. This drew Chris’s eye. He picked it up and flipped open the pages. He had a weird feeling. “Hey, guys this looks pretty good,” Chris said.
I roll down the car window and sigh. I peer outside, watching the trees and cars pass by. Park City, Utah. The town most people would dream of living in. It’s beautiful, it’s peaceful, it has a low crime rate, it’s everything you could want and more, but it’s just not home. “I can never see myself living here”. I think to myself. I miss Bucktown, Chicago. I miss the tall buildings decorated with mural wall paint, which some people may call tacky, but I call art. I miss the sound of the trains, and the symphony of the cars honking. I miss the crowds of diverse people, and never knowing what the day would bring. I miss my friends. I miss everything about it. Some people may call me crazy, but I was born and raised there. It’s a drastic change, moving from Bucktown, Chicago to Park City, Utah. I can already tell by looking out the window how quiet and boring my life is going to become. I didn’t want to say anything to my mom, because I know how hard she saved up to live here. She even spent the full $20,000 she inherited from Grandma to move here, so I didn’t want to make a big fuss about it.