87 comments

Mar 03, 2021

Fiction High School

She rowed across the sea, pain wracking her arms. Land was only a few meters away, but it felt like miles. She wanted to stop, to capitulate, but how could she give up, after all she had fought for?


“May!” a voice called, “Quit that reading! You have an exam tomorrow, and you don’t want to do poorly on it!”

I sighed, wanting to act like I hadn’t heard, but I knew that would call for trouble.

“Alright mom,” a soft sigh escaped my lips. I slipped a bookmark into the novel and clasped it shut. That was just my luck; right when the story had climaxed!

Well, you can always read tomorrow.’ I thought, ‘When you’ll be free.’ That thought made my muscles tense as I looked for my textbook. Tomorrow was the last exam: the last time I needed to log into a dreaded meeting ever again.


***


Maycelonia Roberts’ I wrote, pressing pen to paper, the words creating a dent in the answer sheet. The tip of the ballpoint slashed through the paper, making an enormous mess.

“I’m done, anyway.” I resisted the urge to frown.

I looked at the display on my computer, which read 9:30 am. There was half an hour left but I was done with my paper. I suppose I should have submitted it and cleared everything up but something held me back. Something told me to remain a little longer. I switched tabs back to the meeting, and when I clicked on it, dozens of little boxes crowded the screen, showing all my friends and classmates. A few of them were still writing, their foreheads creased. A few others were clicking pictures of their answers, ready to upload them. 

Oh, the irony! Just a year ago, we were at school, unaware of what the future would bring. I still remembered we had spoken of the virus as if it was something insignificant that would vanish as quickly as it had come.

But this was the virus that had swathed the human population with agony, hitting headlines in less than months. 

It was why our school had switched to virtual learning. Although I should have been glad we had this option, I didn’t like online classes. They weren’t half as fun; they inflicted terrible fate on your eyes, and we could only do so much with our computers, anyway.

A year of virtual classes was going to mark itself on the calendar, and that thought filled me with awe.

I still remembered the day we got to know about the start of online schooling. 

I began fidgeting with my answer script, my mind taking me out of reality.

The memory was as fresh as inscriptions on a clay tablet.


It was a warm summer’s day; the sunlight baking the Earth, giving no mercy. The month had just dawned, but it had brought along with it rising temperatures and sweltering weather.

And also unexpected news.

“Are you sure, mom?” I asked, perched on the couch, “Are they really going to do that?”

“Yes, May.” My mother sighed, “For the hundredth time, yes. Your school is going to conduct classes online.”

“For how long?” I asked,, “And is it all going to be the same way it was in school?”

“This was a swift decision, May, and they’ll give you the details soon.”

‘That’s cool.’ I mused, wandering into my thoughts, ‘Is it weird that I’ve always wanted to experience online classes and now I’m really going to? I want them to start quickly, I want to see my friends.’

And seeing my friends again after a month was the best possible thing that could have happened to me that summer.



I turned my answer script over, my eyes moving over the sheet, trying to make sense of all the scientific terms and values I had written, but they were only a jumble of incoherent letters. 

I didn’t know why I didn’t go on and hand in my paper. What was holding me back? Why did I want to prolong my stay in this meeting when I could easily do away with it and start off my summer break?



I still remembered day one. The very first day of high school, when I thought I knew so much, but when I actually knew so little. I strode in, books in hand, my heart thumping. I had never attended a meeting before in my thirteen years of existence, and my emotions were mixed.

 I punched in the meeting code and password, re-checking it to make sure I had gotten it down right. My cursor hovering over the ‘join meeting’, I paused for a moment. I took a deep breath and clicked on it. The window disappeared, replaced with one that had rows of students’ videos arranged on the screen. The teacher hadn’t joined yet, but no one was really talking or anything. Perhaps they were as overwhelmed as I was. 

“Hey May!” someone called out, but I could only manage a wave and a weak smile. 

I studied all the features that came with this meeting. Of course, I wasn’t brave enough to toy with any of those. Yet. 

I hoped, really hoped, that these online classes would go okay.


It was nearly 9:40 now. Time seemed to have taken the challenge to usurp my will. I clenched my jaw. Many people had already left the meeting, and just so I wouldn’t look like I was doing something suspicious, I bent over, acting as if I was deeply engrossed in verifying my paper. 

Fifteen minutes more, I told myself, then you can be out of this.

Fifteen minutes made nine-hundred seconds, and that wasn’t a lot, right?


“May, what do you make of these virtual classes?” my friend texted me one night. The year was halfway done, and right now, we had been accustomed to this new way. In fact, we had grown so used to it that actual school appeared to be a distant dream hidden far away. 

Yet, I couldn’t say we didn’t miss it. 

It had been several months since anyone had been to school or had seen one another in flesh-and-blood. Why wouldn’t we want to go back? Initially, we’d thought things would return to normal in weeks, or when the year 2020 ended, or at least when the vaccine came out, but that didn’t happen. Deep inside, I had a feeling it would be long before things settled.

“They’re okay.” I sent back, which was pretty vague, but I didn’t want to lift my hopes too high.

I set my phone aside, feeling slightly uneasy.

Suddenly, I wanted to go back to school. Really bad.



“Ten minutes left for writing time to end.” the invigilator’s reminder called me to reality. My hands had gone numb after holding the paper for so long. I slowly made my way out of my seat and began looking for my phone. The sun shone harder outside, beating the countryside, and it made me want to fan myself. Summer was approaching again, and as usual, it did not fail to remind us of the radiant heat that was going to swallow everyone soon.

I finally found my phone and made my way back. Swallowing back uncertainty, I began clicking pictures of all my answers. 

‘This is going to be the last time you’re going to submit any exam this way,’ I told myself, ‘Isn’t that weird? How everything today seems to be happening for the last time?’


May,’ it was one of my friends again, ‘Shocking news, but they might open school next year.’ it had been nine months since lessons had started online.

The news took a few moments to sink in. Open school next year? No more of those online classes? No more staring at a bright screen all day long? No more worrying about our eyes and thinking of all the ways we were ruining them this way? 

‘They’re mostly opening up in June, which is only a few months away.’ my friend texted, ‘What do you think of that?’

‘That’s - um - cool.’ I replied, my fingers moving over the keyboard as I typed, ‘Wonder when I’ll get to see you again.’

I set the device away, the world spinning around me. She couldn’t be kidding, could she? No, she couldn’t. Why would she want to joke around with something like this?

Suddenly, I longed to step out the door, to get out into the open and feel fresh breeze blowing against me once again. Nine months. Wasn’t it long enough already? How much longer could we stay cooped up at home? 

Thank God these would be the last few meetings I would ever have to attend. Thank Goodness things would (hopefully) not be the same way next year. 



I was one of the last people remaining in the meeting. There were only 3 minutes left for the final call to end forever.

I held my breath and jabbed the ‘turn in’ button. The moment I did, something fleeting went off inside me, a small smile spreading across my face, lifting my spirits. No more exams, no more classes, only me and my holidays to keep each other company. Oh, all the things I would do, all the ways I would make the most of my time! 

“Adieu, 8th grade.” I whispered, “You’re truly over.”

I didn’t feel such a wreck now.


* * *


It was the evening that day, and I was curled up with my novel once again. There was no one to chivvy me around, because I had all the time in the world.

The reluctance of leaving the school year behind had vanished. I couldn’t always cling to the past, could I? Especially when there was so much more left to be experienced. 

I was on the very last page of my novel, a novel that I had been so keen to finish, and a novel that I had loved reading:


     She was glad she had made it all the way. She was glad she hadn’t given up when she had been on sea, because if she had, she wouldn’t be here right now.

     And over her lay the dome of the night sky, shimmering with millions of stars. They looked like sequins splattered across the heavens in a pastel of shining lights. They were worthy to be photographed, to be framed, to be treasured as a memory forever.

      “I would remember.” she said, the wind carrying her voice away into the darkness.


And I, May, would remember, too.

Always.













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87 comments

Akshaya Sutrave
14:57 Mar 03, 2021

And yup, my usual note! Hey everyone! It's been a MONTH since I logged into Reedsy and I'm so surprised after seeing what's happened her! I've submitted a story on March 3rd after a gap from February 3rd (see the coincidence?) and nevertheless, it was cool writing this one! 1. I hope I wrote it well because I always wonder what I can do to make my stories better (and yup, my self doubt is right beside me ;)). If there is anything I can do to make it better, please leave a comment! I've started liking suggestions and critiques on my stories...

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Akshaya Sutrave
14:48 Mar 03, 2021

I dedicate this story to Sythe Crimsonstar because she's an awesome friend and I'm so glad I met her! I just love her stories (and she does amazing poems, really, you should read them!) I also wanted to dedicate this to her because a few days ago, we realized that we attend the SAME SCHOOL and since her exams got over yesterday, I thought this topic would be an appropriate one! :) Her Reedsy page (go read her stories because they're great!): https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/b00c69/

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AAAAAH! I'm so late, sorry, sorry! Thank you SO MUCH, I'm honored! Yes, to anyone who reads this, it was a real surprise (a surprise, but a pleasant one, to be sure!) That we both Went to the SWME school, but met online! Corona, huh? Once again, thanks a lot, Akshaya!

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Cookie Carla🍪
20:14 Mar 09, 2021

From the moment I started reading to the moment the story ended left me in total suspense on what would happen next. It was so modern in a way that could speak to every reader who actually reads the story. I'm pretty sure every one can relate to the heaviness the pandemic cloaked on us. I really liked this story!!!

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Akshaya Sutrave
07:12 Mar 10, 2021

Hi Cookie! Thank you!! :) I agree! The pandemic has been hard for everyone!

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Akshaya Sutrave
07:33 Mar 04, 2021

Hola, Ethan! (Do you speak Spanish?)

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Uh... does taking it for four years and barely remembering it count? Lol

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Akshaya Sutrave
15:24 Mar 04, 2021

Lol! I'm learning Spanish on Duolingo

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Sarah 💜🌸
23:59 Mar 04, 2021

mood-

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Sarah 💜🌸
00:07 Mar 05, 2021

oh no, pack your bags and run everyone!

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Palak Shah
23:50 Mar 12, 2021

Great story. I loved the plot and the way that you have written the story. Could you please read my story and share your feedback on it. Hope that we can be friends Have a good day :))

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Akshaya Sutrave
12:37 Mar 15, 2021

Thank you! I'll do that, and sure, we can be friends! Have a good day too :)

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Palak Shah
16:49 Mar 15, 2021

Thanks :))

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Akshaya Sutrave
03:03 Mar 16, 2021

No problem! :)

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21:10 Mar 12, 2021

❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME A...

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Akshaya Sutrave
12:40 Mar 15, 2021

Thanks Felicity! That's a great way to spread positivity here!! :)

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15:14 Mar 15, 2021

No problem!! I think it was Luke and Isaac's idea. :)

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Akshaya Sutrave
03:02 Mar 16, 2021

Okay, sure! :)

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Akshaya Sutrave
08:47 Mar 16, 2021

And also, I really like your new name! :)

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21:16 Mar 20, 2021

Aww thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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23:40 Mar 09, 2021

Hey Akshaya!! I just read your story!! This is so so so so so good!! My favorite thing about it was how relatable it was. A lot of us are stuck in online classes right now and I can feel May's pain. Fingers crossed we'll be out soon!!🤞 I have just a few grammatical errors I saw: “For how long?” I asked,, - remove one of the commas after 'asked' “They’re okay.” I sent back, - change the period after 'okay' to a comma Suddenly, I longed to step out the door, to get out into the open and feel fresh breeze blowing against me once again. - a...

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Akshaya Sutrave
07:07 Mar 10, 2021

Hey Felicity! Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed reading this story and that it was relatable!! :) Yep! Fingers crossed!! Thanks for the suggestions! But my story got approved and I dont think I can make those changes. The option to edit it still there though, do you think I can edit it without it affecting the 'approved' status? Thank you! :D

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14:39 Mar 10, 2021

No problem!! I really loved it!! You are correct, it can't be changed now. I'm so sorry I didn't catch the mistakes earlier!! D:

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Akshaya Sutrave
15:55 Mar 10, 2021

Thank you!! :D Oh, that's not a problem at all, Felicity! I'll remember your suggestions for the next time, so thank you for catching them!! :D

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16:44 Mar 10, 2021

Lol okay, no problem!! :)

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Akshaya Sutrave
10:54 Mar 11, 2021

:))))

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15:08 Mar 09, 2021

HOLA (cool idea!!!)

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Akshaya Sutrave
15:24 Mar 09, 2021

Thanks so much, Felicity! :)

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15:41 Mar 09, 2021

No problem!! I'll be back to read some more of your beautiful stories later today!! :)

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Akshaya Sutrave
11:02 Mar 09, 2021

Hi Celeste!! :D

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Akshaya Sutrave
07:13 Mar 10, 2021

Thank you!! :))))) How have you been lately?

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Akshaya Sutrave
10:50 Mar 11, 2021

Cool!! <3 ME TOOOO!! :D

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00:33 Mar 06, 2021

OOF I really liked this! SO relatable! you expressed our feelings greatly! OOF I do really want online everything to be over. I like your take on the prompt with the book idea...it's like, "Why didn't I think of that?" XD Anyways, love your bio, love your comment love this story! Awesome job!

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Akshaya Sutrave
11:06 Mar 09, 2021

Thank you so much! Me too, it's been a whole year! Thanks! I just thought 'It says *someone* has to do the following things, not necessarily the main character' and thus XD Thank you!! I'm so sorry you had to leave Reedsy, but I support you completely. Wish you all the best in life and writing. :)

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15:24 Mar 09, 2021

:)

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Akshaya Sutrave
11:06 Mar 09, 2021

Thank you Carolina!

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Akshaya Sutrave
11:07 Mar 09, 2021

Also, I read your bio and I support you :) And thanks so much for adding my name in your bio! :D

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Keya M.
20:34 Mar 05, 2021

Great story Akshaya!! The ending sentence was so nice!

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Akshaya Sutrave
11:07 Mar 09, 2021

Thank you Keya! :)

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15:01 Mar 05, 2021

Ooh, I love this so MUCHHHHH!!!

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Akshaya Sutrave
11:09 Mar 09, 2021

Thank you Ivy!! :D

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14:30 Mar 09, 2021

:D np!

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Akshaya Sutrave
15:04 Mar 09, 2021

:D

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Nainika Gupta
14:40 Mar 05, 2021

AH AHHHHHH *four years later* AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH oml akshaya, this was so good!! amazing job :) also, glad you're back!1

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Akshaya Sutrave
11:10 Mar 09, 2021

Thank you so much Nainika! :DDD Thanks! I'm glad to be back, too! I can't wait to read your reedsy cast after my karare class gets over! :)

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Hey Akshaya! 1. I'm soooo happy to read another one of ur storiessss!!! 2. HOLA 3. I loved this story so much! Its very smart how u started and ended in a book! And I love how many people(including me) can relate to this! I'm dying to go back possibly soon! *fingers crossed* I hope u have a wonderful week ahead:)

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Akshaya Sutrave
14:31 Mar 16, 2021

Hey Varsha, thank you so much!! :)) I'm glad you could relate to it because I really want to go back, too! Yup, fingers crossed! Thanks! I hope you have an amazing week, too! :)) Also, could you tell me your favorite genre for reading?

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Of course Akshaya! My pleasure:) Yuppp! TY! Sure... I like fiction, fantasy, Mystery/suspense and maybe a bit romance. Why tho? :)

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Akshaya Sutrave
14:56 Mar 16, 2021

:))) No problem! Thanks! I'll remember that! (Hehe it's a secret for now! :))

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:) LOL (Well I can't wait to see what u come up with next!)

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Akshaya Sutrave
10:12 Mar 17, 2021

Lol! Thank you!! :)) I can't wait to read your next stories, too!

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Maya Emerson
20:23 Mar 12, 2021

❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME A...

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Akshaya Sutrave
12:41 Mar 15, 2021

Thank you Maya! This is a cool way to spread positivity!!

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Roger Crane
21:12 Mar 03, 2021

Okay, Akshaya, as I read I will jot down here some instant observations and then sum it up afterwards. Not "rowed herself," but rowed alone, or just "rowed." Anytime you row, you are rowing yourself, the only question is are you the only one in the boat. /"arms wrecked" should be, arms "wracked"--look it up./ "After all she had fought for?"--not a sentence and not necessary--add a coma and lower case 'a'/ no need for apostrophe around the italicized lines, which she is reading. / we do poorly, not "bad" on tests./ period after "lips." I wou...

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Akshaya Sutrave
06:57 Mar 04, 2021

Hi once again, Roger! Thank you for reading this story, too! I made the edits as I read your comment, and the sentence structures look better now! I've seen many authors word sentences like 'I would never do that' as 'I. Would. Never. Do. That.' to add emphasis, and though I initially did think it defied the rules of grammar, I started using it too. But now I will try to reduce that usage if it's not necessary (which is almost always). I did get a fair idea of what's needed in the grammar part. I used to type my stories in a Word doc, but i...

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Hey Akshaya! Thanks so much for dedicating this story to me! ❤ I totally felt May, that brutality and wanting to see my friends again... It's so real,that it fells almost... surreal... This was amazing! I loved how you stood stood the prompt, but with a twist! Bending the rules, ;) it's an interesting phenomena I haven't seen before, and it's totally dope! I'll have to praise the feeling you weaved into your story, and it's just... adorable, darn, I can't find a better word for it! Ka pow, we're highschoolers now, we're in 9th grade, th...

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