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FICTION: Short Story - Starlight

I cant believe Im actually here. Its further past 3:00am than Id actually like to know, and I find myself
sitting on the roof of a building, shivering, my eyes scanning the horizon. The cement looks cold and
unforgiving, ten feet below me. Although Ive climbed up here a million times, tonight, the adrenaline
pumps even harder.
Meet me at our place in 5.
That was all I had gotten from Emma. She didnt bother to tell me why it was so important that the
meeting occur so hastily, but I didnt dare argue with her. Emma is not the kind of person who says things
she doesnt mean. I let my feet hang off the side of the flat platform, the peeling blue paint scratching my
calves. Smoke billows out of the vent behind me. Suddenly, I can hear the rope ladder fall and start to
ache under the strain of Emmas weight.
Sorry for the short notice Emma says breathlessly as her face finally comes into view.
Her blonde hair is tangled and stuck to her face from the sweat dripping down her forehead. She is still
wearing her pyjamas: a pair of ratty old soccer shorts from when she played as a kid and an oversized TShirt that she got from camp. She looks dishevelled, but her voice is calm and her demeanor regular.
Sure. Whats up? Is everything OK? I ask.
Yup. My house is a war-zone right now, and I just felt like looking at the stars for a bit. Her breathing
was slowing now, and she came and sat down beside me, her legs dangling parallel to mine, her toes
pointed elegantly towards the pavement looming below.
Emma has been my best friend since middle school. Her Dads a diplomat,so she moved around a lot as a
kid. In sixth grade, I saw her sitting on the roof of the gym building at lunchtime, feeding the chickadees
with pieces of her half eaten tuna sandwich. I was completely intrigued.Nobody ever had the guts to
climb up on the roof. Now, all of a sudden, sitting there with her legs dangling and her sandwich pieces
flying, was this girl I had never seen before. Until then, Id only ever imagined high schoolers with beer
cans and cigarettes up there, never anyone without a criminal record. There I was, standing, frozen and
wanting to say something.
Emma just looked at me, smiled and said You want to come and join me?
Weve been friends ever since.
We just stare in silence for the first few minutes. Emma doesnt have a sweater with her. I cant tell
whether she didnt have time to grab one, or if she just didnt bother to take the extra time before she left,
but it doesnt really matter. Emma isnt the type to be bothered by the cold.
How did it start this time? I ask, to break the silence.
Emma sighs. Mark came home completely smashed, and Dad was not happy about it. He woke up Mom
who was even less happy to be disturbed at three o'clock in the morning, and she started yelling at Dad for
waking her up, who yelled at Mark for getting drunk, who yelled at Mom for drinking while she was
pregnant with him..Anyways, everyone was so busy yelling at each other that they didnt even notice
that I slipped out.

I look over at Emma to see her reaction, but she isnt facing me. She still stares out at the stars. I can see
their little glows dancing in the reflection of her eyes.
The stars are prettier earlier in the morning. Emma smiles.
The sun is just starting to come up over the horizon now, splashing rich golden rays across the starry sky.
The further and further the rays reached, the more and more stars slowly fade into invisibility.
Emma looks down at her watch. Its 4:30. We should probably head back before your parents notice
youve gone.
Emma kicks her legs back up unto the gravelly platform and starts heading towards the rope ladder. I
follow, slowly, rubbing the chipped paint off of the back of my legs. The rope ladder creaks as we lower
ourselves down, careful not to let the frayed edges burn our hands. When we get to the bottom, Emma
turns around and looks me straight in the eyes.
Thanks Kenz.She reaches out and hugs me hard for a couple of seconds. Then she turns around, pushes
her hair out of her face, and starts running down the street.
I watch her long legs take her further and further into the morning, until I can barely see her form in the
glare of the dawning sunlight. I reach into my pocket, and look at my phone. No new messages. I slip my
phone back into my pocket and start heading back for home. If all goes well, Ill be able to get back in
enough time to put my phone into charge in its supposed nighttime prison, slip into bed and get a few
solid hours of sleep before my parents wake me up in the morning. After all, Ive technically been asleep
since 10:30.

NON FICTION: Research Paper - Excerpt from Analysis of the Institutionalization of Democracy in
Central Asia

Summary of Previous International Aid Efforts


Much of the International Aid to this point has been coming from The United States and the European
Union, as well as NGOs and The United Nations. The US is one of the largest financial contributors to the
region, and the EU has donated over 3 billion USD towards aid in the region. In the 1990s, much of the
financial support of the region was in the form of economic reform, and more recently military assistance
has been considered a top priority by financial contributors to Central Asia. The democratic foreign aid in
the region has been centered on creating and instigating systems that mirror successful Western
democracies.
Challenges and Criticisms
The challenge with the current systems of democratic aid in Central Asia is twofold. Firstly, the financial
aid being given to Central Asian states is not focused on democracy, effectively treating it as an
afterthought. The second is the cultural ignorance that Western powers bring to their efforts to bring
democratic systems to the region. Historically, the nation is accustomed to being overlooked and used as a
pawn in political games of more powerful nations. It is difficult to gain the trust of these nations that have
spent so long being used. In addition, Western powers attack the issue of democratization as if it is a
universally applicable idea, which, upon examination of the cultural views on democracy in the region, it
is not. Central Asian states have begun attempts to adopt a culturally sensitive view on democracy, which,
while not adopting the Western ideals of political pluralism and civic involvement, is more in line with the
views and values of the citizens of Central Asian nations. Although, it is debateable whether all nations in
the region are actually in favour of adopting a democratic system at all, as many citizens of some of the
regions nations view democracy as a lower priority, and a detrimental system for the effectiveness of
government.

FICTION: Drama Excerpt from The History of Us


LIGHTS SHIFT BACK. MATT, SAM AND KEIRA HAVE LET GO OF EACH OTHER AND
RETURNED BACK TO THEIR USUAL FORMATION. SAM TURNS TO KEIRA.
SAM: You were right though. From that moment on everything was different.
MATT: We dont have to talk about that.
KEIRA: Im with Matt on this one. Lets stick to the happy memories. Remember the time when.
SAM: (cutting her off) We do need to talk about it, because thats when all of this..
SAM MOTIONS AROUND HER, REFERENCING THE SITUATION THEY CURRENTLY FIND
THEMSELVES IN.
SAM: ..started happening.
KEIRA AND MATT SHIFT UNCOMFORTABLY.
SAM: (relenting) Look, you know I love you guys and all of our crazy stories. But if you two just sit here
and reminisce about how wonderful everything was youre never going to move on.
KEIRA AND MATT ARE SILENT. SAM SIGHS, AND CONTINUES.
SAM: I was terrified of leaving. Leaving my hometown, my family, my friends, my memories. Suddenly,
all that would be left of the world I knew would be me.
SAM TURNS TO HER FRIENDS
SAM: I never told you guys this, but I almost stayed.
KEIRA: Why didnt you? We could have had so much fun. Parties on the beaches, getting smashed and
going dancing or swimming in the ocean and never remembering a second of it. It could have been just
like it always was. (Beat.) Everything could have stayed just like it always was.
SAM: I.I dont know. I just needed to see what would happen.
KEIRA: (with a hint of anger) See what would happen? What are you? Five?
SAM: I couldnt tell you Keira. Its just a feeling you get, you know? Where.
MATT: (finishing her sentence)....suddenly you just know what you have to do, even if it defies all logic
and reasoning
SAM IS SURPRISED BY THIS.
SAM: Yes. Exactly. I was sitting there in the car, wondering if it was going to be the right decision.
Wondering if I was going to regret that one moment for the rest of my life.

NON-FICTION: Essay Excerpt from Rhetorical Analysis of Martin Luther Kings A Letter from
Birmingham Jail
King opens the letter by asserting his credentials and reliability as a source. His imprisonment
immediately casts him in an unfavourable and untrustworthy light. King counteracts this by first subtly
implying his importance, mentioning his desk and his secretaries who have little time to waste on
criticisms from the public. Only a legitimate and powerful man would have secretaries to respond to
correspondences on his behalf, and only an important and occupied man would have so little time to
answer his critics. In the first paragraph, King has already established that he is no petty criminal, and
thus should not be dismissed as one. For the remainder of the letter, Kings audience must account for his
legitimacy and influence in their reading of Kings arguments, immediately garnering King a small
amount of credibility.
King, then begins to discredit the arguments made by the clergymen in the original public
statement. King employs a calm and factual tone. Rather than becoming defensive, King informs his
critics that he came to Birmingham, not as an outsider but because [he] was invited. He paints the
situation as a misunderstanding between the two parties, rather than personally implicating his critics in
the falsehoods they were proclaiming. In informing his audience rather than humiliating them, King
inspires his critics to take an equally non-aggressive approach. King manages to explain himself without
being discredited on an immediate emotional response, which gives his arguments credibility, and him
legitimacy.
King goes on to argue his intentions to fight injustice. Beginning with a universal Truth:
injustice is bad, King ensures that his arguments will not be refuted. No one can argue in favour of
injustice as a concept, as it is universally known as destructive. Thus, Kings audience begins by agreeing
with him. King advocates for something they believe in, making him a friend rather than a foe. In this
way King becomes more likable to his audience, as they see him as being on their side.

Before outlining the more controversial parts of his claim, King demonstrates his honesty and
reliability by declaring his actions in detail. This transparency makes King more believable, as he
willingly provides every detail, assuring them that he is not involved in any illegitimate practices.
Furthermore, King addresses the opposing side of his arguments, and factually explains why he did not
choose to take action in that way. Kings consistent honesty and diplomacy in his statements inspire a
sense of likability.
This becomes increasingly relevant as King begins to address the substantive parts of his
arguments. At this point, King has established that he is legitimate, important, honest, and has respect for
those who criticise him. His demeanour demonstrates he is an upstanding and trustworthy individual. The
arguments King has presented up to this point are entirely factual or universal, and thus, not up for debate.
King crafted the first half of his letter so gives him credibility, increasing the likelihood his arguments
will be better received as they become less overtly factual.

King begins the more argumentative section of the letter by defining justice and injustice. He
acknowledges the hypocrisy in him advocating for the abidance of the law, while being in prison for
breaking it, yet twists the hypocrisy in his favour by comparing his act of civil disobedience to that of
early Christians in the Roman Empire and the Boston Tea Party among others. In acknowledging the
hypocrisy, King discredits himself before his critics have the chance to, which also allows him to defend
himself before he loses favour with the public. His choice of examples are tailored specifically to his
audience, knowing that the white Christian Americans will respect and agree with the civil disobedience
of Christians and American revolutionaries. In this way, his arguments become more credible to his
audience, as they cannot dismiss the actions of their heroes merely to proclaim King incorrect.