3rd Quarter Haunts + Burning This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Too many ideas to write down. Do I pursue one and then another? Change some song lyrics, or write about my school struggles? What about deeper ‘life’ struggles? Or do I make up a story, one like the books I love to read, fantasy, or ‘realistic’ fiction? Living in the wilderness, back before much electricity, before our doom was evident? Before our ‘wonderful’, ‘perfect system’ spiraled out of control, bringing us to destroy our planet and each other. I want to write a story where there is no complicated way of life, just wonderful simplicity, there are no hidden languages, no insane rules to follow. No need to make real life connections because we have a different way of measuring. But at the same time, I don’t want to write about a perfect fantasy, because it’s what I want to write. “We don’t believe what’s on TV. Because it’s what we want to see. And what we want, we know we can’t believe. We’ve all learned to kill our dreams.” – We Don’t Believe What’s on TV by Twenty One Pilots. But now my want to see it is too strong, and I might as well give in to writing perfectly impossible fantasy. Maybe it’s the music I’m listening to now, maybe the lyrics are speaking to me, giving me a different point of view. Or could it be my pessimistic-turning mind ruminating in that seemingly endless loop of past mistakes and embarrassments and failures? I can’t do anything about them but they keep coming back to haunt me, taking the forms of other voices to scold me and correct me, the B- grade of meat in this world, not good enough. They say no one’s perfect but they scold you for your imperfections. ‘Oh, you’ll never learn what’s wrong and right otherwise.’ Or maybe I won’t write something perfect. I think I know now, but do I really know? I don’t think I’ll ever know. What I want. Or why. Or how. Or when. Or anything. How do I god darn know if I’ll ever know??? They say some things we’ll never know. But this unknown might just be my mind’s end if I can’t escape my loop. “…’cause sometimes to stay alive, you gotta kill your mind….” -Twenty One Pilots.
Ashes. It’s gone up in flames. The whole of it. The burning behind their eyes ceases to a dull but shaking throb, pushing the tears out of dry eyes and leaving cold spots on their folded legs. The migraine creeps in with the steady throb, matching the racing heart and rushing, burning cold blood. The walls begin to crumble. They step outside. The two others in the building, two of the few in this one’s memory, are lumps of blackened ash in their beds. The smoke took their lungs, and the heat took their bodies. For two days, it burned. They leave. Their hands are guns, firing at their heads, trying to stop the pain.






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