I am walking on the exact line of the horizon. Where the land meets the sky. Where day meets night, up meets down, good meets evil, and black meets white. I am walking on the line that connects them all, and welcomes the edge of the earth. I step off it.
Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
My eyes stare blankly ahead of me at the grey leather seat. They don't dare to blink. As the car moves forward my mind and soul stays back at the house. Where everything changed. The car stops and I step out of it, grab my bags and walk into the school. My legs are moving, but I'm just going through the motions. Not stopping to think about anything. I have to remind myself to breathe.
I'm cold. Shivering. I stop at my locker and turn the combination. It freezes in it's place. Stuck to the locker like a magnet glued to the metal. I grab my books and binders. They freeze too. My hands and soul are so cold right now that everything I touch turns to a clever and demonic block of ice.
I walk down the hall that seems to be growing smaller with each step I take. I heave my frozen books along and drag the ice blocks that have replaced my feet. I'm getting frostbite. When I reach room 109 I take and turn the knob as fast as I can before it freezes too. Freezes like the rest of the iced over world.
I take a tentative step into the classroom as all eyes turn on me. The eyes seem to melt my ice but replace it with fire. I can feel my cheeks turn a burning red and my fingers tingle from the blood coursing quickly thought my body. I hurry over to my seat, sliding in to the cheap plastic chair.
The room is dark, because the lights have been extinguished. The overhead projector burns a hole in the wall and blinds the eyes of the onlooking students. The rest of the room seems grey, not black, not white. The windows are concealed by shades.
The teacher slithers over to my desk and puts out his hand demanding a pass. I pull my body out of my chair before the infirm plastic can melt beneath my burning heat. I stroll out of the classroom, trying to act nonchalant, ignoring the fact that I am being consumed by fire.
No one seems to notice me. There is a body in the middle of the classroom, walking past their very selves, that is raging with flames. One that could set the end of their lives at any given moment. Yet they take it so calmly. I've never been noticed before, I guess that even in mass crisis, I'm still not important enough to be given a second glance. Or even a first. They don't care to take a look. They don't distinguish my inextinguishable flames.
My footsteps down the empty hallway are deafening to my own ears. I step on each checkered tile with extreme caution incase it were to melt before me, and let me fall through, be buried alive in the unforgiving earth below. Forgotten. Alone.
I step into the office and the wrinkled lady from behind the desk grudgingly writes out a pass and hands it to me. I'm surprised she doesn't get burned. Especially when the paper pass instantly disintegrates. She doesn't seem to detect this horrible firing either. Why should she? She shoos me along, and I progress out the door, being careful not to ignite the walls.
I run down the hall to prevent the burning, to blow out the smoldering flames. It's too much. I slide down onto the grubby floor and sob. Then I see it. The floor has caught flame. The burning agony of my soul has come out to reach the world around me. The flames crawl up the painted walls. The tiled ceilings. The metal roof. I didn't know metal could burn, until it liquified around my head.
The world is about to end. The school has just burned down, and
I'm the only one sitting here, on the ash filled ground. The
ashes of my friends. The bell rings.
Misery is almost always the result of thinking.
I walk through the frame of the classroom door, and into the congested hallway. And there lies Maddie, curled up on the floor, crying out her dreams. The school of fish swims on by as if she's just another rock, or just another drop of invisible water.
"Maddie," I cry. "Maddie, hun, it's okay. It's alright. Lucy's here." She can't even look up at me, but she lies her fragile head on my shoulder. I take her in me. Encompassing her pain to patch up the holes. I hear the bell ring again, indicating that I'm late. It doesn't matter.
"Madeline, come on, lets go outside." She says nothing, but finds enough might to stand up and take a few steps. "Come on. Everything will be alright." The scary thing is, I don't yet know if I'm lying or not.
We walk across the school, slipping out a back door. I sit her down under a sheltering oak tree, and she kneels down, pressing her head against the trunk. I take her shoulders and hold them against my body, letting her calm down. Letting her breathe.
For the next 15 minutes we sit in silence. She keeps her eyes closed, and I hold her together in my arms. The silence, however, is accepted, not awkward. I know that we don't need any words right now to have our understanding.
She lifts up her eyes and looks at me. Her eyes are heavy with sorrow and tears. She looked at me for a while. I took in a breath and said, "You wanna talk about it?"
"Thank you." She said. Her voice was faint and cracking. "Thank you for being there. I love you Lucy. You don't even know."
All I can say is, "I know. I know."
"It's hard." She says, "Everything. I was burning." Her eyes are setting flames into my soul. I burn and hurt with her. My friend. "And freezing. I did something Lucy. It's bad." She was fighting back the tears that were ripping at the corners of her eyes.
"Honey what did you do? What happened?" I look straight into her soul, and see fear. Our hearts skip four beats, when we hear the rapping on the back door. The language arts teacher from the black lagoon comes wobbling out into the back court. She stomps her foot and let out an evil hiss.
"Where have you girls been? What are you doing out here? There is a class going on, and you two are missing it! Do you have any idea how much trouble you are in? How could you skip class? What's the meaning of this?" With each question she asks, I come up with an answer, that rolls up my throat, climbs up my tonsils and dies on my tongue in fear of being strangled.
We stand up in unison, and walk in silence to the door. Our freedom over, and Madeline's face stained with the remains of her burning tears. Our teacher doesn't notice, or plain out doesn't care. I hold on to my best friends back, and walk her into the hall.
"Now where's Erin?" She hisses.
"What?" Erin is someone we know. We aren't quite friends, more like acquaintances, I have no idea what she's talking about.
"Erin! She skipped class too." She's scribbling curses onto two pink slips of paper.
"Erin wasn't with us." I say slowly.
She sighs. "Useless," she mumbles to herself as she hands us
And in the times of now and then, the world is mysterious
I sit in the back of the science room, alone at the vast black table. My eyes flicker between the clock which seems to mock me by ticking slowly and evilly, and the classroom door aching to be opened. I hold my head up with my arm, watching the clock, willing it to go faster with my eyes. This is useless! I fold a piece of paper, pick at my nails, try to balance a pencil on my nose, and look at the little squirrel out the window trying to find some gross looking nuts. Then, just as I was poking a lonely spider with the tip of my pencil, I can feel the teachers snake like eyes on me. I quickly look up but it's too late. He pounces. Did you know snakes can pounce? He calls my name and a question follows.
I look down at the folded piece of paper. My notes. Um notes? Snake Eyes looks at me with those... snake eyes, and turns his short and stubby body around writing Erin on the white board. I ball my fist up around the slim yellow pencil wanting to hear it snap. I try to keep my face neutral so as not to give Snake Eyes the satisfaction of my anger. In his class nothing I do is right. And somehow, even with his back turned, I can still feel his beady black eyes glaring at me. Injecting me with venom, then eating up my miserable failure.
I look around, no longer interested in my previous distractions. I notice the unintentional patterns in the wall made my science experiments gone wrong. Or perhaps gone right. Right? Right. Snake Eyes is blabbing on about something scientific I'm sure. Nothing I care about. So I start to doodle on the paper. Faces. Faces of people, some the people that try to conceal their fears with a happy smile. The people that show their sadness for the world to see, and the people that honestly try to make the world a happy place to live in.
The bell rings sounding victorious and giving me a feeling of deep vindication. I grab my books, and wind up my feet, ready to take off. When I start the engine, Snake Eyes says "Erin, can you come here please?" Ah great. I take five heaving steps, and get to his rats nest of a desk.
"Yes your royal highness?" I ask, a devilish smile on my face.
"For the love of Pete Erin, you're failing! You never pay attention in class, you don't pass in your homework, and your notes are always blank... or covered in doodles." He says while eyeing my hand filled with crumpled up faces.
I look at my watch. "Hey! Look at the time! Well, gotta go." I turn around and skid out the classroom. I hear him yell, my name in deep frustration, but keep on going. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.
I squirm my way through the over populated hallway. I take notice to everything. Someone is crying, someone is laughing, someone is slamming a locker door. I reach out and jerk on my always jamming locker lock. I put in the combination and it wouldn't budge. It's a sign.
Screw the books! I tuck them under the stairway, and start to run. I slow down to a walk when I pass an opened door. Then I pass room 116. The room, home to Crazy Cat Lady, my English teacher. She is always rude, she likes no one, and no one really likes her. Maybe she likes her cats, but I'm sure they hate her as well. The door is closed, and all the students are already in their seats, waiting to reach their dooms. It's like suicide. So I try to avoid it. Would anybody notice if a silly little wall flower was missing? Probably not. I'm not noticed by anyone really, so before thinking it out, I swing into to the girls bathroom.
The bathroom is a sickly green color from the stall walls, the floors covered in... I don't want to know what, and the walls that surround my prison. Escape? I think that is in order. I slug over to the mirror looking at the reflection staring back at me with the same look of boredom that I wear so often. I'm not anything special, but I certainly don't look bad. Long unnatural bleach blonde hair, changing eyes which always seem to get complemented on, and an awesome nose, Trust me it is.
I sigh. The girl that I see isn't the girl that I want to be. I want to have friends, I want people to notice me, I want to be popular. I want to be Erin. Erin is hidden under make-up, blonde hair, and slightly trendy clothes. The fake Erin tells the real one she isn't good enough. The fake Erin is right. The fake Erin says I will never get anywhere by being myself. The fake Erin is right. The fake Erin tells me that nothing in this world is good, and to have people like you, you have to be just like them. Unfortunately the fake Erin is right. Both Erins hate each other. Neither Erin has friends.
A girl waltzes out of one of the stalls and awkwardly washes her hands while I stand there silently. Muahahaha, I feel like a creeper. Like Barney! Or Edward Cullen! Finally, the last remaining kids who will be ordered for passes have been herded into their rooms and are trapped for the next forty five minutes.
I move to my stall, kick it open ninja style, and find an urge to leave my mark. With the marker I stole from science class, I draw a picture of the Awkward Humping Starfish on the stall wall. Stall wall. Heh that rhymes.
I executively decide I am going to escape. I stand on the edge of
the slick toilet and put my hands on the window sill. The door
screeches open reveling the face of the Crazy Cat Lady. I hoist
myself out the window and drop down to the ground below just
before she slams the stall open with one of her bony hands
searching for the little girl that didn't go to her class that