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4am This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The only noticeable difference between four in the morning and ten at night is the silence.

You never noticed it, probably because you were rarely awake at that atrociously early hour. Of course, you had stayed up past three at a few parties and before your history final last year. And once you had woken up at five to catch a plane with your parents and another time to go on a field trip with some group. But no one was ever awake at four in the morning. That was just unheard of.

Your house is dark. It's the same kind of dark you remember from 10 p.m. last night. You had gone to bed early because you knew you'd need the energy today. No one else is in the house - it's a good thing your parents are away, the blaring of your clock radio would wake the dead. But there's something else bothering you beside the muffled silence of the usually busy street and neighboring houses. It's your own fear.

You'd never been afraid quite like this before - you'd never felt the almost irrational panic, the bubble of hysteria that makes you want to scream when you know you can't. You're afraid of yourself, afraid of what you are about to do. Even with the lights on to ward off the eerie half-darkness outside, you can't escape this feeling of dread. The lights just exaggerate the silence that you already can't handle.

Your bag is surprisingly light. A few necessities, a few tapes, two of your favorite books, some clothes, and all your money don't amount to much now that it comes down to it. You check your room carefully for anything you may have forgotten. It's orderly, for once; everything in place. Funny how you doubt you'll miss any of it, this stuff you've lived with all your life. Last of all, you check the bus ticket in your hand one more time before slipping it in your bag's secret compartment.

NEW YORK CITY: ONE WAY

One way. It's a desolate, frightening phrase, but you can draw strength from it and you do.

The bus doesn't leave until seven o'clock, but you can't wait in the house any longer, you'll go crazy. At four-thirty, you shut the door behind you for the last time, leaving the keys upstairs on the desk - intentionally, for once. The false dawn is turning the sky above you a deep scarlet, and the air is fresh from last night's rain. As you begin walking with long, confident strides, you remember that you forgot to leave a note.

This time it doesn't matter. After all, there's nothing left to say. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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