Child Marriage

Each day before the reaping, the 11-year-old girl walked between the stunted stalks of millet with a sense of mounting dread. In a normal year, the green shoots vaulted out of the ground and rose as high as 13 feet (4 meters), a wall tall enough to conceal an adult man. This time, they only reached her waist. Even the tallest plant in her family's plot barely grazed her shoulder. Zali could feel the tug of the invisible thread tying her fate to that of the land. As the world closed in around her, she knew that this time the bad harvest would mean more than just hunger.

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