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Alive

His finger slid down onto the latch of the lighter, a quick forceful stroke, and the flame was sent ablaze. Staring at it in amazement, he leaned closer to the heat, his upper lip starting to drip in sweat. He had never once seen a fire, his parents had sheltered him from the world for so long. Seeing it in all its beautiful horror, he was breathless. He couldn’t imagine getting used to it. For and ordinary human to see as mundane and perfectly average. It was different, a new experience that shot something up his spine that made him want to jump into a pit of fire, just to feel the heat soak into his body, warming him down to his bones. Adrenaline perhaps?

He could never blame his parents for protecting him. They may have been overbearing but he could never express his devotion to them. They were his parents for Christ sake. Though he did have some remorse against them. To never feel the sand between his toes, to feel water lap against his skin, to feel the warmth of someone’s lips pressed against his own, these were all feeling he had never experienced. His parents were too cautious, after the accident.

The car ride that had taken his sister’s life and ruined his immune system. Damaged his liver and practically killed him. He lay in bandages for weeks, in a clean room in the hospital he was brought to, before the doctor had announced he may go home. He was elated, until they shut out his social life and left him feeling cold and abandon. While in his corridors, he often felt as if he was in a dungeon, left to rot. Beads of sweat would stream down his face during the summers and he shivered fervently during the winter. Being a lower class salesman, his father could not afford to air condition the cottage. The smell of dead animals would surround him from the forests below. He was in his own personal hell, and was ready to break out, whatever the consequence.

Being without a television, where dust could collect, he relied on books to take up his time. Biographies would let him get lost in the adventures of others while he was enraptured in his little four walls, his parents fear ridden to let him step foot outside. When he wasn’t reading, he was lost in thought. He heart often shook with grief for the loss of his sister. She was the rock of his family. While his father would hit his mother, screams echoing throughout the house, she would hold him as a little boy and wipe the tears away from his face.

He put the cigarette up to his lips and lit it. He took a deep breath, and a gust of smoke filled his lungs. Coughing, he bit back vomit. This was disgusting. He through the cigarette into the ocean and sat by the shore, waves lapping against his ivory feet and sad sinking into the space in between his toes.

He remembered the night his world feel apart with perfect clarity. A man had broken into his family’s cottage, he was safe in his locked bedroom. He had heard a shriek and then a gasp, and then it was silent. Almost eerily quiet. He opened the door and slipped out of his room, the floors creaking under his weight. The house smelled rustic, the smell of blood. His mother lay with a bullet in her chest, her eyes filled with horror, and her mouth in a small o’. His father lay almost the same but with his hand over his chest, clawing at the fabric of his blue collar near his left breast, and there was no bullet in his chest.

He had ran, terrified. Sprinting through the crowds of people, dodging to get past through the people glaring at him, he ran toward the ocean that lay ahead. The half of his brain that wasn’t thinking about running, was having fixed feelings. A gut wrenching anguish that made his stomach churn and heart ache, and amazement. It had been six years since he had been outdoors. He forgot what it looked like. A little Asian girl crying, blood spilling from her knee down her calf and spilling into the sand, her mother stroking her back soothingly. A man with a shock of red hair, spilling down past his shoulders in an unruly mop of curls, playing a guitar and singing along, people gathering around to pass the time while sipping cool beverages.

And now here he was, sitting by the ocean, a wet cigarette strewn beside him, powerless and feeling utterly defeated. He knew he was going to die soon. He hadn’t even tasted the alcohol that adults had loved so much. He scanned the beach, looking for one. He found a bottle of beer sitting beside a abandoned sandy towel. He stumbled over to it and put the bottle to his lips. An acrid smell burned at his nose and his lips formed a grimace. It looked and smelled grotesque but he didn’t want to miss anything. Plus, he was parched. He threw back his head and let the liquid spill down his throat.

Seconds later, he leaned over and his stomach lurched, spilling all of its contents onto the sand. The beer tasted bitter and although it wet his dry cracked lips, it burned wherever the alcohol had touched where it had bled. He smiled beside himself, he had actually had an experience. A one, that is he had friends, he could tell too and share opinions about. His life wasn’t just a blotch in the numbers anymore, he had actually done something, and he felt……Alive.





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