All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The thick smoke filled my lungs. I coughed harshly, grabbing my chest. The people around me laughed. I gave the joint back to the person I took it from. I coughed again, wondering what exactly was gained from smoking. My chest burned, maybe I had held the smoke in too long. I sunk into my seat. The couch felt hard, like I was sitting on a sack of rocks. I watched as more people entered the warehouse. I counted, one, two, four more, ten. The number only rose as the party raged on. The building was reaching its limit but I don’t think anyone cared. The music got louder. My head pounded to its beat. I caught sight of the banner above the door, “Congrats Class of 2020!” The right side of it was loosely tied. It looked like it would all come down if the wind hit just the right spot. The gold and white glitter specks fell on anyone that lingered under the sign.
“What are you doing?”
I looked away from the sign. A person appeared in my peripheral view, one of my teammates. I smiled.
“Not anything, really. I just zoned out a bit.”
He gave me a strange look before walking away. I must’ve looked out of it as I stared above me. The person next to me got up and was quickly replaced by another girl. The dryness of my throat made me get out of the seat that had finally become comfortable. People pushed past me. A drink spilled on me - beer, I think - followed by what I assume was an apology. Or not. It was difficult to hear and the volume only increased as I got closer to the drinks. I took an unopened bottle, unsure of what it was. Opening it, I took a sip and grimaced. I coughed, setting the drink down and searching for water to remove the bitter taste. I found a cup and went to the sink. I turned the knob on and off and on again. Nothing came out.
I return to where I was before. My seat had been taken by a lacrosse player with a cheerleader on his lap and his tongue down her throat. I wondered if the seat was as uncomfortable for him as it was for me. I scanned the room, looking for another spot to hide until I felt like socializing. My eyes locked on another person and theirs on mine. I lingered on him, watching as he flicked his lighter and pass his hand over the flame. He carried it everywhere he went - school, games, dances - he’d always have it in his reach, like a good luck charm. It wasn’t shocking to see him holding it now. I watched him play with the flame for a while until he suddenly stopped. I looked up and saw that he was watching me like I had watched him with a small smirk on his face. I muttered a curse word. The last thing I needed was to be stuck in an interaction with the class weirdo. I quickly ducked down, hoping that the sea of partygoers would make me disappear. I hid by a column like a child playing hide and seek, peeking out every now and then to see if I had been found.
“What are you doing?”
I turned around to find the person that I had been avoiding standing behind me.
“Nothing. Just stretching my legs.”
The look I received told me what a horrible liar I was.
“Really? Strange thing to do here. Maybe actually walking around would help.”
He flicked his lighter again. My eyes shot down to it. It was hard to ignore.
I gave a short laugh, “Perhaps you’re right.”
“Just perhaps,” he paused, staring at me, “Well, whenever you are done stretching out your legs, you should leave.” Light on. “The party is dying down.” Light off. “You’d be better off at home,” Light on. “Or anywhere but here.”
Before I could respond, the crowd swallowed him, removing all traces like he was never there. I coughed, the taste of smoke returned to my mouth. Conversations with him were always strange but unavoidable, as it seemed. I shook off the weird feeling that I had. I walked back to the center to find my lumpy seat empty again. I rushed and sat back down with a smile. The smell of beer floated up to my nose, reminding me of the stain forming on my shirt. I leaned back, letting my head rest on the back of the couch. Even with the music at a volume that made the walls shake, I felt my eyes close and drifted off.
The thick smoke filled my lungs. I coughed harshly, watching the building be engulfed by fire. People started to notice the flames and a shrill scream was sounded. Alarm had been raised and everyone was running away. The music was still blasting, I could still hear it, even though the area with the stereo had lost all visibility. The sprinklers weren't turning on. With nothing to counteract it, the empty space in the room fed the fire. People pushed past me, heading for the exit. For some reason, I wasn’t. My legs betrayed my mind. I walked towards the chaos. Someone grabbed me from behind, a person unknown to me.
“What are you doing?”
I pulled away from him as the flames grew. He gave me an incredulous look, his eyes shooting between me and everyone running out. He finally made his decision and ran out. From here, I could see the bodies of those that hadn't made it to the exit. The smoke was black and thick, making my eyes water as I watched things burn around me. The fire was fast, destroying everything it touched. Before I knew it, the flames were all around me. The sound of fire trucks rang to the beat of the dying music. I heard them enter, I think. They shouted for people to call out. I coughed, unsure if I or the smoke was to blame but no words left my mouth. My head spun until everything stood still and I couldn’t see anything anymore.
There was nothing.
I sprang out of my seat, drenched in a cold, sticky liquid, waking me from my dream that was more of a nightmare. I coughed before quickly closing my mouth, trying not to let the unknown substance go into my mouth. I looked at those around me and rolled my eyes at the laughter that ensued after I stood. My so-called friends stood in front of me with silly smiles on their faces. Most of them held phones with the flash on to make sure their prank could be seen in the dark warehouse. One had the cup that held whatever it was that I was now covered in. I glared at him, then at the rest of them. They continued to laughed. One of them attempted to talk but never got the words out as laughter consumed him.
This party had turned into a disaster.