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The family sat on the floor eating their meals. They sat unusually still, instead of engaging in lively talks, the conversation consisted of polite requests to pass the curry.

Aisha shifted uncomfortably, waiting for someone, anyone, to say something. Yet, her normally loquacious family said nothing. Her mother pulled the black flowing shawl tighter over her head. Her father looked down. Aisha’s many older siblings eyes darted back and forth, communicating in a foreign language unbeknownst to her.

Finally, her father spoke. His gravelly, yet gentle voice seemed more… cautious, scared. “The school has been closed down.”

Aisha’s mouth hung open. Her heart stopped. “Why?’ she choked out. Teaching was his passion, his dream. Every penny he saved went towards his education. Aisha loved the tidy old building, for it was filled with wisdom and knowledge. She taught imaginary classes, in the hope that one day she would be a teacher like her father. He believed her. In a world where women were simply housewives, she learned. He taught her, despite the shame it brought in the eyes of his relatives. How could he ruin that?

Before he could reply, the sound of gunfire pierced the silent air.

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