In the Dark Twinkle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


      Monsoons came with every summer, washing away the city's film. Weused to hope they would flood the schools, but that was when we were children.You want me to tell you what it was like, before? There was too much to see, buteveryone was bored. Money gnawed at our skulls and could be seen in the darktwinkle of a working man's eye. I used to know a man like that who spat upon thebum outside our door every morning. Then he hopped in a cab for the commute towork. He's dead now, though. The bum, on the other hand, fed his mange-riddenhound before himself, though the mutt always whined for more. They're dead too,so I don't know why these stories matter.

Money was never really importantto me, which is good considering we had none. I only cared about gettingpublished. I won a contest once with an essay on how "Pollution Destroys theMountains." The prize was a field trip with the other winners to thefoothills behind the city. We were finally escaping. But we never saw the untamedwilderness. Murl (our bus driver) couldn't "find the damn mountains throughthe smog." The destruction that got me there also kept me away.

Iwish the old movie house was still running. It's one of the only things I trulymissed. They tried to tear it down, but we wouldn't hear of it. The neighborhoodcamped out all night in front, standing up to the "pro-gress" of man. Ifinally learned my neighbors' names that night and how life had touched them.After that it was a ritual every Friday to see a classic film. We even pasted ournames to the backs of our seats, staking our claims to a piece of the community.If I had been stronger, I would have fought for more. If we all had been stronger...

I lived by myself. Stubborn and self-sufficient, yes sir! That's how Iwas raised. Mama always said, "You have to look out for numero uno, 'causeno one else will." Of course, she also thought that "they" werecoming. Some-times, though, on a good night, her bourbon breath brought wisdom.She told it to us straight. Never lied about the dogs "sleeping" by theside of the road or about Father coming back someday to visit. I'm glad Mamawasn't alive to see the end.

The final days were the worst. It wasn'tfast like a bomb. After a while the power was gone and the backup lights lit thenight. They lasted only a short time though, every day shriveling intohibernation, forever. The men in face masks and white suits went just as quicklyas the others did. Nothing could stop it. The animals in the zoo starved, fatstripes shrank into their ribs. Oh, and the roaches. Everywhere! They smeared theapartments, blotted out whole blocks, ate the dead. Sometimes I still dream thatthey are coming with pitchforks to take me. Maybe I really did die thatnight.

And this is heaven. It's so peaceful and quiet. Plenty of time towrite. I'll put this story away with all the others that will never be read.Tomorrow I am going to visit the houses to smash their clocks. I have all thetime in the world now.


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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