I look up and around, and my eyes meet dispair. Somehow, the lives of those around me have twisted with darkness. In the course of a few short, short years, they have changed from the smiling, little things they once were to sobing, gossiping, and greedy beings designed to destroy the Earth.
It seems so long ago. Those days when children offered you a sweet and you took it without hesitation. Without fear of drugs or alchohol or poison secreted inside a harmless lollipop. The days when children came home long before dark, and rarely left home at all. The times when no minor smelled of tobacco or alchohol. They seem long gone, those days when 'cutting' meant cutting out a heart for mother on Mothers Day.
Now I swallow my fear, and trudge off through school, ignoring the jaunts and jeers of my once fellow classmates. Could it really have been just seven or so years when we were innocent elementry students? I duck my head down as the familiar scent of tobacco wafts in my direction. My throat tightens up while the boys joke and suck in more drafts of the wretched smoke. In the cold morning air, my breath resembles their puffs of smoke.
I make my way across campus and am stopped by a girl about my age, yet we couldn't be more different. While my coat was buttoned up to my chin, she wore no coat of any sort. The scars running across her wrists told the tale of the pains she's seen. She leans in close to ask me something and I can smell the smoke on her breath, and immidiately understand the meaning of her much too low cut shirt. She whispers cruel tales of drugs and pain into my ear and attempts to slip something into my palm.
The panic that freezes so many others sends a shudder through my body. I step back and drop the cigarette and powder placed into my hand and turn away, blocking out the darkness trying to overcome me. In desperation, I search out a friendly, familiar face. Having caught sight of someone who has, so far, escaped the inferno of drugs and deadly drama that has consumed the rest of the highschool population, I make my way towards her.
I smile but the returned smile is halfhearted and I immidiately glance at her wrists. Why was this happening to everyone? I look at the ground and shrug off her murmured apologies. If even the most devoted firefighter must give in to the flames eventually, I guess. Maybe, it would be easier for myself to do the same. Molding with the crowd seemed like such an easier path now, and everyone else seemed to be enjoying their burned and crisped lives.
No. I shouldn't give in to the flames. I have to be the one survivor of the flames. The beacon of survival to the future generations. There is a way to avoid the flames, to find a plateau that reached higher than any flame. A smile lights my face with another glance at her scars, a sign of her weakness. They all thought that the drugs, taint, and sex made them stronger and cooler, yet they were all wrong. What made you strong was resisting what overtook all the others. To finally take a stand and say no. Even if you have to shout it over and over, scream it in their faces, never give in. Even if you have to do it alone. I lift my head to where the group of 'popular' kids stand flirting and touching and kissing. With a sharp pang in my chest, I hope to never see their faces on the news in a scene of beggers at a homeless or rehab shelter, but I know it's hoping in vain. With a sigh, I shake my head and start on my way to class, they could ruin their lives, while i make my way through life with good grades and a happier life.
And this is written by (me) a real High school student who witnesses this everyday. Don't give in to the horrible flames. Fight.