Writers (in order): ET*, Irene Hong*, Eman Hussain*, Mahathi*, Jane Fairfax*, Melon, Ciara Chakraborty, pasta, Nina Li, Irene Tsen*, Langston Wu*, Anriya Wang, Sawyer McKenna, Binny Park, and Paige Scott. Editor: Ms. Ja.

*Wrote more than once.

detention room: 325

time: 1600

Stella Gencens looked at the alien in front of her with disbelief. Though she didn’t show it, of course. She had been in the military for over thirty years, and she’d never seen anything like it. The alien-thing in front of her was sitting down, but you could still tell it couldn’t be over five feet. It was smiling at Gencens as if it was her granddaughter. This was not the case, but that didn’t matter. She swore then and there that she wouldn’t give in to it like her friends had.****

The thing in front of her reached out to grab a handful of crayons and started smearing crayons onto the paper. It wasn’t peculiar to see a child drawing, but Gencens knew that this appearance was exactly what had deceived her friends.

The thing’s movement began to accelerate, the uneven circles growing thicker and distorted. The drawing became increasingly aggressive, until it started to smash the crayons onto the paper. Crushed color bits scattered onto the table. As its skin flashed neon green out of frenzy and grotesque ears grew, it shed its child costume, transforming back into its monstrous true self. The alien became excited, and the smashing sped up, the crumbles crushed into powder. All that was left of the hysteria was polluted air of ugly purple and green crayon powder.

Both the alien and Gencens were silent as the cloud of powder settled, covering the table in a murky greenish brown. Gencens could see the alien more clearly now: its bulging eyes still lit up with excitement, but its smile was now missing. She knew the alien was going to try to get information out of her, but she couldn’t fathom why, of all people, she was the one they had targeted. Gencens was only a Lieutenant Colonel. She didn’t have access to any information that could be of use to them, and she was never involved in great matters. Well, she thought*, except for that one incident.*

She looked down to find her hands—hands that she had once killed with—tied behind her back. She closed her eyes so she wouldn’t give in, but her closed eyes opened far more horrors than what she was being put through. Memories of sins she had forgotten about and the blood she had washed from her hands flooded her eyes as she opened them wide to find the alien one centimeter away from her.

“Another one.” Its voice was jarringly sweet, childlike. “Another one of them.” A suggestion that its false image of a child would be the first of many.

She shook her head, silently begging it to stop. That was her first sign of weakness.

“I know you. You’re the same,” it said. “The same, or worse. I knew the others, and I know you. The same. No difference. You’re not special. No need to kill yourself trying to be. Just tell me what I want to know.”

“I won’t give in.” Her voice shook, betraying her previous confident demeanor.

A disturbing smirk painted its way onto the thing’s face.

“Hesitation… We are getting somewhere already.” Gencens cursed herself in her mind for letting such a feeble sound escape her. A large clunking sound filled the metal room, echoing and resonating against the walls over and over. Gencens’ eyes widened as large as the CDs she used to love to listen to. The thing was now sporting an even darker and ominous aura than before, thanks to the device now in its hands.

It smiled at her wide eyes, as a faint giggling slipped from its lips. Its arm crept towards the device with a big red button.

“Click,” it said, feigning pressing the button. Its head turned to face her. “Boom.”

The ground under her feet burst and she cried out in surprise. She fell down into a small holding cell below and it also fell, but landed just outside the cell.

The monster looked at her with her granddaughter’s eyes, her smile. As it circled around her cage, it shifted. Her mother, her father, her sisters, her brother, her kids, her nieces and nephews. Everyone she loved and cared for, staring lovingly at her with those eyes. Those fake, dark, lifeless eyes.

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