By Sol Dente, TIWP Student

“Father please!” the young maiden cried, dropping to her knees in the sand and reaching out to grab her father’s hand.

“Cassandra, we’ve talked about this!” King Priam snapped. “This horse is a gift from the Greeks, nothing more. This paranoid talk has gone on for far too long,”

“You aren’t listening to me!” Cassandra cried. “If we let this horse into our city, it will be our downfall!

“The Greeks have surrendered! They have left us with this great gift! Don’t you see daughter, the war is over!” Priam exclaimed.

“I’ve seen it in my dreams, the Greeks storm the city, our houses are burned, our children are slain, all because of this so called ‘gift!’”

Priam’s eyes hardened and he yanked his hand out of his daughter’s grasp. “Enough of this!” he bellowed. “The horse is entering our city and that is final! Pick yourself off the floor and be useful for once!”

Cassandra’s palms came down hard on the course grains of sand, tears building in her dark brown eyes.

“Fine,” she gritted out. “If you won’t listen to me, I’ll just take matters into my own hands!”

With a snarl, the seer sprang to her feet, lunging for the nearest soldier with surprising speed. Before the man could react, Cassandra ripped his axe from his belt and ran to the decorative fire lit outside the gates of Troy. Keeping one hand wrapped around the hilt of the axe, she grabbed a torch from nearby and lit it, turning back to horse with her chin raised.

She sprinted as fast as she could towards the wooden behemoths, torch in one hand, axe in another, ready to save her kingdom.

“Stop her!” Priam shouted, spurring the stunned troops into action. Cassandra was barely halfway to the horse before her arm was grabbed by a nearby soldier, wrenching the axe out of her grasp.

“Listen! Please, listen! I’m trying to save you!”

Her words fell on deaf ears, the torch was ripped from her hand, the flame stomped out by the soldier’s boots and she was forced to her knees.

“Take the horse inside,” the king commanded.

“No, no, please!” Cassandra cried, tears staining her olive cheeks as she fought the men holding her back.

The remaining soldiers began to push the horse up the hill and into the city. Cassandra could do nothing as she was led inside, hands bound and flanked by guards, watching the gates close behind her.

The thunderous noise the gates made as they swung shut drowned out the sounds of Cassandra’s sobs.
“We Want Change! We Want Change!”

The chants of the protesters echoed throughout Pennsylvania Avenue, a sea of people waving signs and shouting chants, the largest protest to take place just outside the White House.

“Our planet is dying!” a sixteen-year-old girl yelled into a megaphone from atop a park bench. “And until the people in the White House and on Capitol Hill do anything, it will keep dying!”

A cheer rang up from the crowd at the girl’s words.

“We have less than five years before climate change becomes irreversible!” she shouted. “And our generation will be the ones to inherit that problem! We will be forced into a future of ashes and dust just because some of these congressmen don’t want to give up their fucking oil money!”

Another cheer rang out, signs held aloft as another chant broke out.

“There is no Planet B! There is no Planet B!”

“We tried new bills! We tried being nice! And look where it got us!” she continued. “We have to make our voices heard!”

The shouts of approval turned to screams as a black canister hurled through the air. A white cloud billowed from the black cylinder and the protesters scattered. Tanks surrounded the crowd, police in black tactical gear jumping out with their rifles raised. The screams rang louder as the police opened fire, rubber bullets fired into the crowd at random.

Four officers leapt onto the table with the teen, her megaphone tumbling to the ground with the sound of a pepper spay bottle.

‘We have a First Amendment right to protest!” the teen yelled, somehow keeping her composure with the burning pain in her eyes. The officers didn’t say anything, they just wrenched her arms behind her back and secured them with handcuffs.

She was all but dragged off the table, struggling in the two men’s arms.

“Listen to us!” she cried as she was thrown into the back of the police van.

The sound of the doors slamming shut cut off her screams with an iron clang.

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