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Miya DeBolt

Grade: 11

Bay Village High School

Instructor: Erin Beirne

Society's Shackles

Short Story

Society's Shackles

Locked up in a jail cell that I cannot seem to get out of. What did I do wrong? My delicate hands try to free myself. But, I only hear the clank of the chains, bouncing back. At that point, I can go no further.

I cry and look all around me. A dark, dingy room that smells of rotting rodents and insects.

Looking up at the ceiling, I hear a drop of water hit the floor. Wondering how and when I can escape. Unsure of anything. Confused. I'm not sure how long this prison sentence will last. Was it ever going to end? Am I locked up forever? I want nothing more than to escape this nightmare. I look around for a window. None. Not even one.

I stare at the bars holding me in place. Those horrific, steel, metal bars. Holding me in this claustrophobic cell that can barely fit one person. Making me feel like an animal in a zoo, instead of a human being of fifteen years.

It started out as an average day. Walked to school, because my dad was already at one of his three jobs. I missed the bus. Like always. Ever since I moved here three months ago, in hopes of starting a better life, I have been trying so hard to get to school on time. My new school. I hate being late, even though I always am. My dad always talks about the importance of getting a good education. He cares so much about my sister and me, and wants us to have a better future than him.

Since I was already late for school, I started running. As I got past the big tree right past my neighbors, I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking I got past the danger zone. Just then, she popped out from behind the tree. I shrunk back in terror, awaiting another attack, like always. I tense up.

"Look who we have here. It's the skinny kid from the wrong side of the tracks. You thought you could escape your trashy roots living here with your dad. I can see you for who you really are. You don't belong here. When you goin' back, scum? We don't need any more of you colored folk," the girl screamed, spitting at me, "living here won't change the color of your skin. You'll never become anything. I have both my parents, and they always tell me to make sure to keep folk like you in your place, before my country is overrun with trashy folk like you. You guys are all nothing but criminals and should be locked up."

My eyes started stinging, filling up with tears. I try to distract my mind, instead focusing on the memory of watching a tiny white butterfly flying outside my bedroom window. The sun was shining bright, and the butterfly came to land on a flower, before vanishing forever. Such an innocent memory from my childhood. The last one that gives me any hope. Before all this happened. Before I was sent to this prison, eternally. Before everybody started hating me. My eyes started to close, and I fell into a light sleep, prepared to jump at the slightest noise that threatened to disturb me. I had another long day at school, getting in trouble for being late. Begging the principle not to call my dad.

That night, I dream of people watching me. Mocking me. Throwing food scraps at me. Prison guards feeding me. Feeding me tiny bites of mushy, room temperature, utterly disgusting gruel. Feeding me as they might a baby. But, this time with a mocking gaze drilling into me. Into my soul. Stabbing deep into my heart, like spears of hatred. Their small dark pupils reflecting the stern look on the rest of their faces. The guards, they know I can feed myself. The spectators. Oh the spectators. Talking. Jeering. Pointing. That is the most disturbing, I think. I look at the people. All around me.

I scream for help. Nobody hears. Of course they do not. Even if they do, they will not care. Why would they? Why should they?

There is no way out of this prison. Nobody cares enough to let me out. Even if somebody does, the walls seem too tough to ever break.