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The Aftermath
Steven, Age 14, England

I sat there, alone, in a vast open space of darkness. I was dirty and unkempt. My hair hung low but didn't sway within the cold gusts that swept through the air. It was as though my hair was made of cement, stuck in one place. My eyes reminded me of a Japanese drawing that I had once seen. Very big and thoughtful with a lot of emotion. The only mirror that could be seen was smashed into a spider-web shape and I could see eight helpless boys looking back at me. All in unison, they looked away.

There it goes again. I see the same rat sun across the hard ground and he shivers as another gust runs down my weak spine. I know I have to do something about this but what? What can I do? It was the biggest disgrace I had ever seen. Old burnt out TVs lying on the floor not impact. Old clothes, the smell of strong smoke filled the air and I had to keep putting the same fire out over and over again. My stomach rumbled and cried out for food.

I wanted food, lots of food. Meaty chicken covered in rich, thick gravy but I knew that, that was a luxury. I could not have that until I had cleared up this mess. I sat on an old, rusty-springed, mattress from someone's bed and looked down at the old rotted food that was infested, stuck like glue, to a broken plate. A mug of something old that had already caught the curse of mould. Green, thick mould that looked like an array of forests. One light flickered above me then all went dim. I closed my eyes and rocked back and forth, alone, cold. What else could I do? Thoughts crossed my mind and I held my breath for the immense time.

I heard footsteps echoing in my brain. I closed my eyes furiously. She was coming. I could here her getting closer.

She was coming.

I gripped my sweating palms.

She was coming.

I expired my breathing.

She was closer.

I heard a loud screech as a spread of light crossed my face. She spoke once again with a shrilling expression.

"How many times do I have to tell you?"

I groaned and looked up with nothing but fear.

"Get your bedroom cleaned now or you will go to bed with no dinner"

She left the room and I continued rocking back and forth.

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