Another Victim This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 8, 2009
I remember that very first day I saw Jimmy. I had started that morning like every normal morning in my life. I woke up, hung over from another blurry night where I could feel no pain and no heartache. Walking slowly to the kitchen, I saw my mom greet me just like she did yesterday, with one glare of pure hatred. The searing of my heart began again and I felt my eyes begin to water. How did I end up like that? In my head, I could see my life represented as a building, flames licking its sides, and finally that building was a pile of ashes, burnt to the ground. Nothing could remake that building into the beautiful thing it used to be.
I left my tiny house knowing I wouldn’t be going to school that day. I just kept driving until my car ran out of gas and the sun had gone down. I emitted an ear splitting scream, knowing I’d be going home or calling my mother soon. I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t go back. I ran from my car, all thoughts leaving my head. It wasn’t long before I collapsed on the ground, tears freely falling and my heart bleeding. I had nothing left.
After what felt like hours, I sat up on the ground and looked around myself. I was in some side street of San Francisco and decrepit buildings surrounded me on each side. There was only a dim light from the crescent moon above my head. People were everywhere, some looked dead, and others were just barely hanging on. I didn’t feel comfortable in that place, but there was also something addicting about it. I didn’t want to leave, even though my conscience was screaming bloody murder. It knew that my chances were running out of time, and it would soon be too late, but I didn’t listen. That’s when I saw him. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a figure moving more gracefully than any other human being I’d ever seen. He was dressed in all black, with the sculpted face of a dark angel. His eyes were black and bloodshot. He had a cruel yet kind and intriguing smile on his face. His stance was perfectly straight, and he seemed to hold a high sense of pride. He couldn’t be older than twenty-five.
I watched this beautiful person lean down onto his knees next to a girl who was lying on the street. When I looked closer, I could see the slight rise and fall of her stomach. I watched him stroke her face and whisper in her ear. The girl began to cry, and he helped her to her knees and uncurled his hand in front of her eyes. In his long palm were a needle and a band. She looked up at him, and I could swear I heard him whisper, “They don’t love you like we do.” The girl took the needle, while tears rolled down her dirty cheeks and injected the contents into her arm after wrapping the band around it. She began to spasm, her eyes rolling up and down in her head. All of a sudden, she gasped and crumpled back to the floor.
I was terrified by what I had seen, but couldn’t seem to get off the floor. Then, I heard a rustling next to me as the man walked to the next person he saw, only feet from me. “I’ve never seen you.”
I jumped at the voice of a girl who had sat next to me. She had eyes that were a bright, unnatural red. Her face was covered in dirt and her hair hung dead. Her teeth were yellow in her mouth. “I left my home for a while… What is this? Who is that?” I pointed toward the man.
The girl chuckled coldly. “Once you come here, you can’t get out.” She coughed violently and curled up next to me.
“Wait, wait, no! Wake up!” I screamed and scrambled to my knees while violently shaking her narrow shoulders. “Who is he?!?” I could feel his presence creeping ever so closer to me. My time was running out.
The girl coughed, and she moaned loudly. “There’s no one really there… No one is ever really there…” After she spoke, a dead and eerie silence fell around me that was only broken by my breathing. Time was out.
My heart began to beat furiously. All my hatred and sadness and distraught were rising with each of my breaths. I was confused and scared. I had to leave that place, but I just couldn’t. I looked back up at the man, and at that moment, he saw me. A wicked smile made its way onto his lips and his graceful footsteps began in my direction. Leave, I told myself. Get up. But, I couldn’t. This man had me frozen in my place by his beauty and odd sense of welcoming.
“I’ve never seen you.” He got down onto his knees as he had with the other girl and looked into my eyes. I couldn’t break the penetrating gaze, it had me under its control.
My thoughts began to leave me, and all I could think about was how badly I wanted to be carefree like him, I wanted to do anything to be like him. I couldn’t speak any longer. “I know about you, though. About your mom, and what she’s done to you. I know everything about you.” I didn’t want to leave. I ignored the screaming inside my head. I ignored the sense I was hiding deep in my heart because the pain was overwhelming. He placed his cold hand on my shoulder and a strange painful happiness spread throughout my body. It was intoxicating. I couldn’t think… I couldn’t… “I’m Jimmy, and I want to help you.” He uncurled his hand in front of my eyes, and in it he held a band and needle. I looked up at him again, and he whispered in my ear, “They don’t love you like we do.”

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