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Hello, My Name is Anonymous

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"I want you to write about something real," our editor, Zane, announced. "Something that affects you personally. Write it anonymously. I want it tomorrow."
I smiled. This was my one chance. My chance to let go and tell everyone everything, without revealing myself. As other kids complained about the deadline, I slid out from my seat and waved good bye.
I walked down the broken side streets, watching the houses vary from collapsed, to devastated, to catastrophic. The weeds reached out and made poor attempts at grabbing my ankles. My neon green shorts attracted a cat call from two guys on the opposite side of the street. I ignored them, and that was the end of that.
I found the end of the street, the last destroyed house. It wore a faded robin's egg blue. The shutters hung by their last hinges. The door whined as I swung it open.
"Mom? Dad?" I asked.
"What do you want?" my father's voice answered. He stumbled into the hallway.
"I'm home. I... Can I use your computer?" I whispered. My father squinted at me, and I swallowed hard.
"I'm sorry, I'll go to the library. I'm sorry," I apologized.
"That's what I thought. USE THE FREAKING LIBRARY! THAT'S WHAT IT'S THERE FOR!" he screamed. I closed my eyes and bit my bottom lip.
"Don't yell at her, Chris," my mother ordered, although her speech was slurred badly.
"Don't tell me what to do," my father answered. He picked up the nearest object, this time it happened to be a broom. He marched into the kitchen, and before the screaming could start, I had sprinted out the door and down the street. On Marvel Street, the main street in town, I slowed myself to a near-brisk walk. A black SUV pulled up next to me. The window rolled down slowly.
"Chloe! Do you need a ride?" Gina asked from the passenger seat. I assumed her mother was driving her home from some sports practice.
"No! Thanks though!" I replied and smiled.
"Alright, see ya around!" Gina waved as they pulled away.
I sighed and traipsed on to the library. I reached the shiny, metallic building and pulled open the chrome door. A cool rush of air sliced through the May humidity. The air conditioning hit me square in the face, along with a split second of utter silence. The room was dark. The lights refused to turn on, although I flipped the switch several times. I sighed and made my way to the computers from the map engraved in my brain. I sat down in the cool plastic chair and turned on the computer. The screen flickered and blinked to life.
"Who's down there?" a voice shouted from somewhere above me. I looked up and saw Catherine, the library's most recently failed owner. She had the longest record, two months, of keeping the library living and breathing.
"Oh, hello, Chloe dear. How are you?" she asked.
"Fine. Um, I'm just going to use the computer," I told her.
"That's fine dear. Have a good day," Catherine said, and disappeared.
I sighed and logged onto Zoey's Facebook. Zoey. My alternate reality. Zoey had over nine hundred Friends. Zoey was gorgeous and perfect and had no family problems. I wanted to be Zoey. I was her, but I wanted her life more than ever. I took my makeup out of my backpack and started ringing my eyes with eye liner. I put it away and put in blue contacts to mask my brown eyes. I pulled up the webcam and started taking pictures. I uploaded them to Facebook immediately. Seconds later, almost one hundred peopled had "liked" the pictures. I felt happy. Content.
Then, I shook my head and started the real reason why I was here. My essay for the newspaper's "Hello, My Name is Anonymous" week. I began typing in a furious storm. I told my story and Zoey's story. I finished about an hour later, removed my contacts and makeup, and headed home.
After school the next day, Zane read our papers aloud to the crew.
"Hello, my name is anonymous. I live a life that is more a nightmare than a dream. I walk home every day, through broken streets and by sad little houses. When I walk in the front door, I hear one of two things: silence or screaming. My dad drinks and my mom's defenseless. I don't speak unless spoken to, or at least I try. I wouldn't want to get yelled at.
"Some days I spend my afternoon at the library. Doing what? Living in the fantasy world of Zoey DeChannel. She has so many friends, and is everything I want to be. She doesn't have family problems like I do. She doesn't have an eating disorder like I do. Zoey's perfect, and I wish I had never met her.
"Zoey thinks I'm a loser. I think she's right. I can't tell anymore if I'm pushing people away, or if they're leaving me on their own. Zoey's been getting into my head a lot more lately. She tells me what to do, and I try my best to ignore her. She tells me how I can get away from everything. She tells me a lot. Can I listen to her? Maybe she'll finally give me an identity," Zane finished. Everyone was silent.
"Well, what do we all think?" he asked.
"I think... It sounds made up. I mean, I'm friends with Zoey DeChannel on Facebook, and she's her own person," a boy answered.
"Yeah, it sounds totally fake. Kind of attention-wanting, if you ask me," a girl sighed.
"Chloe, what's your take?" Zane asked. Everyone was silent.
"I don't think Chloe's here. But I know her personally, and I just think she's crazy," I spoke up. I felt one million eyes staring at me.
"What? I'm sure Chloe would agree. She always listens to me," I rolled my eyes.
"Zoey DeChannel," someone whispered.
"That's my name, don't wear it out," I winked.



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