Jaylin’s Writing

The Miracle That Won’t Come

This is a poem that creeps into your mind
in the very middle of the night.
It jolts you awake so you’ll lay on your back
thinking about everything that went wrong.
It laughs as you toss and turn.
It smirks as you stare, wide-eyed,
up at the ceiling,
waiting for that miracle that won’t come.

If I Could Say

There’s so much
I would say
if I were given the chance
for you to listen.

First things first – I hate you.

I hate it when you talk to me
but I hate it when you don’t.
I hate it when you catch my eye,
I hate it when you won’t.

I hate how you know my deepest fears
but I’m at fault for that.
I hate it when you make me smile,
but it’s worse when you make me sad.

I hate it when you tease me about
marrying One Direction.
I hate it when I fall
and you think I need your protection.

I hate it how you laugh at me
when I start to act like a fool.
But even more I hate it when
you start to do it, too.

I hate how this is a cycle
between the two of us.
A never-ending circle,
I hate how you have my trust.

There’s so much
I would say
if you would just listen
and if you read between the lines
you’d find that
I don’t hate you
the tiniest bit
or even at all.

For When You Think It Can’t Get Better

Everyone has bad days –
and that’s okay.
Close your eyes,
relax,
let go.

Release everything keeping you away
or preventing you from reaching out.
Do not think that no one understands,
that you are alone in the world,
that you must not ask for help.
You don’t have to be strong
every day
or any day at all.

Don’t feel the need to
press on a smile
if someone asks how you are.
Don’t feel the need to lie,
to say that you’re fine,
to let falseness shine through your smile
because they’ll know.

Be honest.
Say you’re not okay.
Say you haven’t been for a while.
Take the shoulder and cry.
Do not think that it’s just a question,
a formality,
that they’re asking just as a reaction,
not because they care,
because they do.

Be free.
Cry when you need,
scream when you want,
walk away if you must,
run if you can.
Let the rain kiss your shoulders,
Let the wind urge you on.

Smile at those who smile at you
even when there are un-shed tears in your eyes
or you’re looking at the ground
with a scowl.
Sometimes, those smiles are the only way
someone can think of to say:

“Everyone has bad days –
and that’s okay.
Close your eyes,
relax,
let go.”

Picture Perfect

Jaylin's Book Spine Poem for the Web

All Just Noise

It’s all just noise inside her head.
Everyone’s talking, and yet, she doesn’t hear.
If something was wrong, she’d be the first to know.
Because that’s what happens when people knew she loved him.

Everyone’s talking, and yet, she doesn’t hear.
They’re trying to murmur their apologies, their sympathy.
Because that’s what happens when people knew she loved him.
Rain mixes with tears and soon she can’t tell the difference.

They’re trying to murmur their apologies, their sympathy.
She wants to scream but the sound never reaches her lips.
Rain mixes with tears and soon she can’t tell the difference.
Roses are gingerly laid across his grave.

She wants to scream but the sound never reaches her lips.
She can’t handle seeing flashes, hearing screams, smelling burning rubber.
Roses are gingerly laid across his grave.
His final words, said on a breath: “Where is she?”

She can’t handle seeing flashes, hearing screams, smelling burning rubber.
If something was wrong, she’d be the first to know.
His final words, said on a breath: “Where is she?”
It’s all just noise inside her head.

Fairly Unfair

Life isn’t happy.
You don’t go through it with a smile,
There aren’t any perpetual rainbows,
Butterflies, or fluffy puppies running around.

Life doesn’t have sympathy.
It kicks you when you’re up,
and it kicks you when you’re down.
It pinpoints your weaknesses, and laughs in your face.

Life isn’t fair.
It isn’t a game of Monopoly.
and if things aren’t going in your favor,
You can’t complain to someone to change the rules.

Life is a whole lot of bad.
It’s a lie when people say,
“It can only get better,”
Because it always, always can get worse.

Life isn’t long.
It goes by in a snap,
Despite it being the longest thing you’ll ever do.
One day you’re here, and then you’re not.

Life is unexpected.
Things jump out at you from behind corners,
laughing as you shriek and leap away.

Life is a competition.
People always compare, and you compare yourself.

Life is yours,
Shapeable by your hands, unique.

It’s a mix of things,
bad and good,

sometimes great,
sometimes terrible,

and it’s completely
and utterly
yours.

Getting Ready

Nail polish,
Shaved legs,
Bracelets,
Ring pegs,
Smooth skin,
Tanned face,
High heels,
A touch of grace,
New dress,
Bright smile,
Pretty enough
to go down the aisle.
Eye shadow,
Lip gloss,
Good night?
Fingers crossed.

The time’s arrived,
for the night of nights:

Prom.

Doll

Jaylin's Headline Poem

The Detective from Peru

There once was a man from Peru
Who thought some detecting he’d do
One night in the dark,
He went to the park,
But found not what he wanted: a clue.

Poor McGuire

I once met a boy named McGuire,
There was one thing he liked, it was fire.
But somehow, on one day,
His flame blew astray,
Now the poor boy, he speaks so much higher.

i’m sorry…kinda

Yes, yes, yes.
I am quite aware
that you have asked
for me to clean my room…
Many times.

Yes, yes, yes.
I am quite aware
that I am still sitting here
and clothes are still littering the floor.

And I am very sorry.
Really, I am…well, kinda.
But you’ll understand when I tell you
why I’m still on my computer,
instead of clearing a path
from door to bed.

You see,
my favorite band
released a new album

And

To get the full bliss
of new songs,
I must stay,
stretched out,
relaxed,
focusing on nothing but their beautiful voices.

But, if it makes it any better,
I’ll probably clean my room
tomorrow.

Home

A pale hand grips on,
Clinging desperately,
Unable, unwilling,
refusing to let go.

Face nestled against cloth,
No – not just cloth.
Uniform. His uniform,
Cladding an unresponsive arm.

Teddy bear. Her teddy bear.
Reassurances
Whispered from the heavens.

Home.
I am home.
Tell the world
That I am home.

Already Gone

Gone.

How could someone slip through your fingertips so easily?

Gone.

He had been there one moment, and then he had just been…

Gone.

It wasn’t possible. No, no, no. For days that turned into weeks that turned into months that finally made its transition into years, I had believed that it was impossible. I went home, hoping that it was a nightmare, that I would wake up and smell that familiar smell of coffee wafting through the air and tickling me awake, that I would hear the faint sizzle of bacon frying in a pan in the kitchen. But days upon days upon days, it was silent. Nothing was there. He wasn’t there.

I clutched his wedding ring into the palm of my hand, and I could feel a circular indentation beginning to form in my skin, as I stood at the edge of the rocks. The waves crashed against the sturdiness of the stone below me. For a moment, I wondered what would happen if I just fell into the swirling mess that was the ocean. Would I be reunited with him once I dropped? Would I go painlessly, or would I thrash against the waves and try to get back to the surface to no avail? Was it better to be up, with my toes safely curling the rocks?

“You weren’t supposed to leave,” I choked out, my pleas washed out by the ferocious wind, hair whipping around my face. My voice escalated into a scream. “It isn’t fair!”

It was stupid of me, I knew, to blame him for this. It wasn’t his fault. But I had been holding on for so long…was it finally time?

I watched as my fingertips opened, one by one, and then released his ring into the water. As it fell, I didn’t feel regret. Not even as it quietly plunked into the water. Not even as the waves ate it up.

It was time to let go. And so, I did, backing up from the violent ocean even though I desperately wanted to jump in after his ring and let the waves swallow me whole.

What’s Right in My Life

“You have to live hardcore, to be hardcore.”

My lungs are bursting. I gasp for breath as I make my final leg up the hill, and then around the perimeter of the field to finish my two-mile run – before practice. Yes, this is my coach’s idea of a warm-up. The other girls finish with me; we collectively collapse onto the ground. For several moments, all we hear is breathing, groans here and there, and plastic bottles being fumbled with, being twisted open.

After a few seconds of blissful relaxation, our coach grins, lifts his cap, revealing his slick-with-sweat hair. Lazy smiles appear on our faces as we see it, but no one makes an effort to move until he makes the point that we’re not supposed to flop over after such vigorous exercise because our hearts will explode, which I am sure is an exaggeration.

The others laugh halfheartedly, but no one wants to take the risk. We form a circle and begin to stretch, talking amiably amongst ourselves once our bodies begin to recover. We’re still sore by the time we really get into our exercises, but no one really complains.

The sun that had been beaming down upon us during our warm up runs for cover behind a dark, thick cloud. By this time, we’re nearly halfway done with soccer practice. Murmurs of excitement rumble through our team, and my best friend, Tina, and I cast each other knowing glances.

It’s as if that is the cloud’s cue to release a downpour upon us. Rain falls like bullets, pelting us with painless shots. Someone screeches, and we all laugh as everything puddles around us. Coach calls off practice, and with that, we dart like leopards towards our bags and run for cover even though there is none, and the only car in the parking lot is our coach’s. We stuff our bags in there first, choosing instead to save our belongings from the flood rather than ourselves.

It’s cold. Goosebumps erupt on my skin. I turn to Tina. Her lips are turning blue, and her lips are chattering. I feel cold just at the sight of her. Someone suggests loudly that we huddle for warmth. No one argues, and somehow I find myself in the middle of the group hug.

There are squeals, good-natured complaints, but everyone giggles in the midst of it all. No one minds the cold anymore, but we stay in this position. No one dares to move but it doesn’t matter.

They’re my family. This is my home. Even though we’re cold and shivering, and there’s really no roof above our heads – I belong with them.

One Man’s Pleasure Is Another Man’s Pain

*Editor’s note: This is an ABC story. Note the first letter of each sentence.

All stories start with one person, and in this case, that person was named Barry.

Barry was a young man with everything going for him.

Cash practically overflowed from his pockets and wallets.

Definitely, he was blessed.

Everything that anyone in the entire world could ask for was in Barry’s possession.

For a long time, he bragged about his things.

Gloating was a regular pastime for him.

He never saw how people rolled their eyes when he started talking about the new car he bought, or when he began to brag about the trip he took to Europe last summer.

In fact, he was completely and utterly oblivious to the obvious annoyance that he put upon others.

“Jealousy,” he claimed it was, since he knew that others didn’t have the same things he did.

Knives of envy stabbed into him from others’ glares as he made his way through crowds.

Little things like that couldn’t upset him, though.

Money was his happiness, and he didn’t care about a single thing other than that.

Nothing was a bigger despair than money to another man named Felix, however.

Obviously, these two men were nothing alike.

People could compare them and see that.

Quietly, Felix made his way through the day, while Barry was loud and obnoxious.

Really, the two of them couldn’t be more different, and they didn’t even know each other.

Struggling through his life because of the lack of money, that was Felix.

They knew that they each had either a lack or an overabundance of the same object: money.

Unfortunately, though, it was money that caused one man pain, whereas it was the only source of pleasure for the other.

Very unfortunate, that is – though more for Barry, not for Felix.

Why, you may ask?

X marks the spot for Barry, for all he cared about was money; whereas, Felix could find happiness in other non-materialistic things.

Zip, zip, zip – these two lives never even took into account the other.

Waking Up

It’s bleary at first. Disorienting. You wonder what’s happening, what you’re doing.

The first reaction is to go back to sleep, to take three steps backwards into a comfortable place. If you’re lucky enough, you can slip back into that slumber.

For some, though, it’s too late. Your body is registering everything around you, and you can’t go back as easily as you would have wanted.

Still, you cling. You cling to the last bits of comfortable territory, staying buried under your comforters and safe havens. Eventually, though, you need to let go.

You find yourself slowly moving your blankets away from your body, and then you step out of bed, cautiously, slowly, dipping your feet into the adventure ahead.

And then you dive into the day awaiting you.

How to Text Your Crush Like a Teenager

Get your phone.

Scroll down to crush’s name.

Hover over his or her name for a little.

Debate whether or not you should text him.

Worry that you’ll bother him.

Fear that you’re annoying him because you’ve texted him almost every day this week.

Put your phone down.

Go do something else. While doing the other activity, decide that you really do want to text him.

Return to phone.

Begin to type out greeting message.

Delete it since it isn’t nearly witty enough.

Re-type message.

Delete because you sound stupid.

Finally just say “hey,” but then wonder if you should put a smiley face. Put smiley face. Delete.

Put smiley face again. Send.

If crush does not text back within two seconds, take it to heart because he obviously hates you and thinks you’re bothersome.

Have a panic attack.

Hear phone buzz.

Realize that crush has texted you back. Smile.

Repeat process with every single message.

Every Man Has A Price

He ran.

His worn-in sneakers hit the pavement, soles flapping, one hand firmly planted onto his head so that his beanie wouldn’t fall off. He darted around the several passersby, weaving through the tall, well-dressed people on their way home from work. They leaped out of the way, letting out startled shouts, but he didn’t stop to apologize. Tears pricked at his eyes. He couldn’t seem to swallow the lump forming in his throat.

So, he ran.

For a moment, he imagined that he was an Olympic runner. The streets transformed into a track, the pedestrians morphing into fans. If he concentrated hard enough, the red-hot embarrassment as to what had just happened melted away. He wasn’t running away from the moment. He was just…running.

Reality came crashing back around him when he realized that he had run out into the middle of the street. A taxi screeched to a halt to avoid smashing him to a pulp, and he let out a short, “Sorry, mister!” before running on.

Sirens echoed off in the distance. For a moment, he feared that they were after him, that the little girl with her hair tied back in a ribbon and the pretty pink shirt from the park had called the police on him. His heart leapt up in his throat. Was he going to get sent to jail for kissing her?

He hadn’t meant to. She had just been so nice to him, even though he was wearing the same clothes that he had been when he saw her on the swings last week. Even though he hadn’t really had a shower or a bath for a really long time, and he probably smelled really, really bad. She had given him her chips and her sandwich. And, in return, he had kissed her. Then she had screamed, and that was why he was running.

His toe caught on something and sent him flying forwards, but he caught himself before he completely fell over. He found himself face-to-face with the little television shop. The screens were facing him, and the show that he had grown to love while sitting outside every evening was on. Wheel of Fortune, it was called, and he was convinced that one day, he would be on it and make all the money in the world.

The category was “a saying. His nose was literally pressed up against the glass, and his breath caused a cloud of steam to appear. Looking at the letters already guessed on the show, he mumbled to himself, “An elephant never forgets.”

A few turns later, someone solved the puzzle: an elephant never forgets. He smiled in satisfaction and turned around – halting when he saw a lady in an expensive-looking dress staring at him.

“You solved that with only three letters,” she said in what sounded like awe. He felt his chest puff out in pride, forgetting that he wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said, scuffing his shoes on the pavement. “I’ve been practicing.”

The woman looked at him a long time. She smelled nice. “I was sent out here by my boss to make you leave, since you’re scaring away our customers,” she said.

He felt himself deflating, “Oh.”

“Here,” she pulled something from behind her back. It was a small, stuffed toy. Blue, with floppy ears. He looked at it in confusion. “Have you ever watched Lilo & Stitch?” she asked.

He slowly shook his head no, still looking warily at the creature in her hands as she continued to speak. “You can have this for free, if you don’t come back.”

He nodded, snatching the blue alien out of her hands and streaking down the street again. He didn’t have a destination this time. He was just running, running, running.

Nose Goes

There were four commonly known facts about the girl that lived in the house at the edge of town.

One: She lived there alone.

Two: She was, admittedly, quite beautiful, with gorgeous golden hair that swung at her waist and clear blue eyes that could pierce someone from miles away.

Three: Her house was quaint and homey, painted a joyful yellow color with a well-groomed garden out front that made housewives glare in jealousy.

Four: She was completely, utterly, and indisputably–insane.

This girl, with her pretty locks and angelic face, was feared. She was feared greatly, in fact. Her house was that house. You know; the one that people walked by in groups, casting their gazes to the ground when they did so.

The one that kids would dare each other to walk past alone – or, if they were daring enough, to go and knock or ring the doorbell.

The one that a few brave souls would approach at night, edging towards the front door slowly, slowly, slowly, seeing how close they could get, only to scatter in terror when they saw her appear in the upstairs window.

Sometimes, she was outside on her porch, and when people walked by in their groups, she would call out to them. Except she couldn’t talk. Not with complete words and phrases, anyways.

There was something wrong with her, and no one quite knew what, but she would try to communicate with people by making guttural sounds and whines and arm motions, to which people would respond by just gravitating closer together, ignoring her.

Some were convinced that she was an alien. My friends and I, however – we knew better. Obviously, she was possessed by an evil spirit, and when she tried to talk to us with her gurgling noise, that was her trying to scream out for help.

We were always fascinated by her, but terrified at the same time. Every day, we would ride by on our bikes, staring up at her windows, but darting away if we saw a flash of blonde in the upstairs window. Sometimes we heard her sounds when she was on the porch. I slowed down a few times to try to see what she was saying, but my buddies would shake their heads, and we would be off again.

That was…until we rode by and, for the first time, she didn’t appear in the windows. We skidded to a halt, staring at the house for what seemed like hours. Still, she didn’t appear. She always did – at least, for us.

“One of us should go inside,” someone broke the silence, but I didn’t bother to turn my head to see who. “You know, check if she’s okay.”

Silence. Then, “Nose goes!”

It was a stupid game between us. Whoever was the last to touch their noses with their pointer finger had to do the task at hand. This time, everyone had their pointer fingers pressed to the tips of their noses. Except for me.

“But – fine,” I snapped, tossing my bike to the ground and glaring at each and every boy that called themselves my friend. “If I get murdered, it’s your fault.”

And so I went. The door wasn’t locked, and I wasn’t sure if I was surprised.

I crept through the house, the floorboards creaking underneath my weight. I froze every single time I heard a squeak, but then continued when no beautiful possessed girl flew out of the shadows to attack me. It wasn’t until I reached an inner room that I heard a gurgle behind me.

I whirled around. The girl was standing there. I felt my heart rate speed up. Instead of pulling out a knife or something, the girl walked past me, gurgling urgently. I turned around, walking backwards towards the door, when something caught my eye.

There were several easels, each portraying a different picture. They were beautiful, beautiful paintings portraying everything from flowers to insects to puppies.

Then there was a face. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it was my face. And underneath it was written “friend.”

I didn’t say anything except for, “Oh.”

I started visiting the girl more and more often. She didn’t talk to me, ever, but we communicated by writing. I learned that her name was Rose, that her parents died when she was young, and that she was allergic to fish. When I left, I would promise to return the next day. I never, ever broke this promise.

Because even though the rest of the world went on believing that she was crazy – and maybe she was, I haven’t exactly cleared that up with her yet – I didn’t pay any attention to that. Her entire life, she had wished for a friend.

Then there was me, who never wished for such a thing, but gained one all the same.

Inner Monologue: The Lock

 

No one realizes how much I really, really, really hate hands.

I just – every time I see someone walking towards me – I cringe because I know what’s about to happen. People walk by every day, and they apparently think it’s perfectly acceptable to kind of touch me as they walk by, to make me swing back and forth. No. No, no, no, no.

Why?

That’s all I really have to ask. Why do you people think it’s okay to touch me?

Because it isn’t.

Someone’s walking towards me now. Oh no, it – it’s her. No, walk away – walk away.

Urgh, she just coughed into her hands. Hm, she sounds really sick. Maybe she should go to the nurse’s – wait, no! Stop coming towards me! I said stop! Why – why don’t you listen to me? Don’t you know that your own locker is germaphobic?

Thanks for touching me and smearing your sick all over me. Really, I appreciate it. So. Much.

And even though you do that to me, I remain here, sitting and protecting your belongings, like the unappreciated knight that I truly am.

The Question

I was four years old the first time that someone asked me a question that actually required thought and deep deliberation. I was in a room with nineteen other children that I had met before but never paid attention to. We were sitting together in a circle, crossing our scraped-up knees so that they touched those on either side of us, not a single soul minding that we were next to people we barely knew, save my best friend, John, and me, who were the only two in the classroom who knew each other from before.

He had been in my life for as long as I could remember in my four short years on Earth and had even helped guide me through a few obstacles in my life with his five-year-old wisdom – such as helping me realize that it was really okay to hit piñatas at parties because the candy that fell out of them wasn’t their blood, and they weren’t really getting hurt or dying when that happened.

At the time that the question was asked, John was on the left side of me. I remember because my hair just barely brushed the backs of my thighs then, and for some reason, I always put it over my shoulder on that specific side, and John usually liked to tug on my hair and pretend that I was a horse. He never hurt me, though. He would pull on it just enough so that I would feel it and scowl at him, to which he would make a face, lips pursed together and nose scrunched up, eyes crossing, just to make me laugh.

I could see his hand edging slowly towards my hair when our teacher caught our attention with this simple question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Everyone around me began to shout out answers. A tall boy with spiky dark hair wanted to be a professional baseball player. A girl with hair that poofed out into a ponytail that danced out behind her dreamed of becoming a dancer. Someone else screamed that they wished to become a teacher, eliciting a small smile from our own.

Then John straightened up, waiting until there was a pause before interjecting, “I wanna be a firefighter!”

I looked to my left, ignoring the murmurs of approval from our classmates. John had never discussed this with me. In fact, the last time that we had played together, we had hidden away in the forest beside my house, and he had happily said that the woods was our kingdom, and when we were old enough, we would build a gigantic tree house in the sky to be our castle, and we would take our rightful place as the King and Queen of the Wilderness. I had agreed because John was my best friend, and I always wanted to do what he wanted to do.

When everyone turned their eyes on me, I realized that I was the only one who hadn’t spoken. The teacher looked at me, eyes soft and smiling and comforting, before repeating the question. This time, it was only directed towards me.

I opened my mouth to say that I wanted to be Queen of the Wilderness, but suddenly it seemed so childish. No one else had said they wanted to be kings or queens. They hadn’t even said they wanted to be princes or princesses. My jaw swung shut, and I looked down at the ground, thinking about what I could do. One shoulder lifted in half a shrug, but then John spoke.

“She’s going to be a firefighter with me.”

Another murmur went around the room, but this time, it had a tone of surprise. After all, who had ever heard of a girl as a firefighter? Firefighters were always men in the TV shows and the movies. They were always big and strong, especially when they had to drag someone out in order to save them from a burning building.

“We’re going to be, like, superheroes!” John continued excitedly, grabbing onto my hand and raising it in the air as if pronouncing me champion of a boxing match. “We’ll go into the fires and pull people out and then we’ll get the key to the city! Like Superman!”

“Girls can’t be firefighters,” the girl who wanted to be a dancer pointed out, her nose wrinkling in disgust as my hand dropped from John’s. “That’s a boy’s job.”

“So?” John argued, shaking his head adamantly and then grinning broadly at me. “She’s my best friend, and best friends get jobs together. I want her to be my firefighter partner because she’s really cool. And –,“ he pointed a finger in the air as if he had made some amazing discovery, “–and, she can run the fastest of anyone I’ve ever seen in my entire life!”

He made a noise with his mouth, something like a whoosh, as if to illustrate how fast I was going.

(This wasn’t true, by the way, because John and I constantly raced, and he always won, but only by a little).

The teacher took this as an acceptable answer and moved on to the next thing, which happened to be drawing. I realized later that I had never really answered when the teacher had asked me what I wanted to be. However, after that day, when people would ask me that question in passing conversation, I would tug on my hair, smile widely, and reply, “A firefighter.”

The Picnic

It was a warm, sunny summer day. Samantha had been sure that this was going to be a great day for a picnic, but by the look on her mother’s face, suddenly she wasn’t so sure.

The young, golden-haired girl paused in the doorway, hand fastened around the handle of the picnic basket as she debated whether or not she should ask what was wrong. Her mother had one hand pressed to her mouth, the other holding on to the phone glued against her ear so tightly that Samantha wondered how it didn’t break under the pressure.

Looking at her but not really seeing her, her mother closed her eyes and let out a choked cry, the tension in her hand releasing. The phone slipped out of her grasp and clattered noisily to the ground, breaking into three separate parts. Samantha cringed and took a cautious step over the mangled pieces, managing a quiet, “Mom?”

Her mom whirled towards her with such surprise that Samantha knew that she hadn’t heard her own daughter enter. She quickly raised a sleeve to mop away the tears staining her cheeks. After a few beats of silence, though, her mother gave up and collapsed into a chair at the dining table, shoulders shaking in quiet sobs.

Samantha had never been one for comforting – she didn’t like tears, and she never knew what to do in order to make someone feel better – but she hoisted her picnic basket up onto the table and wrapped her arms around her mother in a sort of awkward hug.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, praying that it wasn’t anything too extreme. It had always been her, her mother, and her brother, Ben, versus everyone else. It had always been them against the world. Whatever it was, she was sure that they would all be able to get through it. They were like titanium, the three of them.

The older woman swallowed thickly, slowly raising her head to look at her daughter. “It’s Ben,” she managed to say. “He’s…gone.”

Samantha felt her arms drop as if there were two weights attached to them. Her knees buckled underneath her weight, but thankfully, there was a seat there to catch her fall. “What do you mean, he’s gone?”

Her mind was whirring as her mother began a stammering story of what had happened, though nothing really registered in Samantha’s mind. She couldn’t understand it, as much as she tried.

He had just been with her that morning, hogging the last of the milk for his Cheerios just because he knew it would annoy her.

The police would come knocking with apologies, solemn looks on their faces, and a far more comprehensible story of how Ben had somehow managed to get into the middle of a hazing ritual of a dangerous gang from that side of town.

The gang was “jumping in” or beating a soon-to-be newest member.

That was when Ben, Good Samaritan Ben, decided that the best way to save the poor boy was to jump in the middle of it and distract the rest of the gang with his presence. He wasn’t alone, though. His best friend, Joey, had been there.

Joey, however, was a coward. He was also smart. He saw when the swinging fists and the blood were becoming too extreme, and he had escaped, dashing away with shouts for Ben to follow. Ben hadn’t listened. No, Ben, with his cockiness and his pride and his apparent belief that he was completely invincible, had stayed. He had fought to the death.

They found his body, bloody and mangled, haphazardly dumped into a trunk at a car junkyard within an hour of the incident.

The Color Purple

When I opened my eyes, everything was purple. So it was true, just like he said it would be.

I hadn’t believed it at first. It was a preposterous idea, only being able to see everything in one color. The world was meant to be seen in brilliant hues, of every tint that you could imagine. How could something be taken away so easily? How could the entire world be doused in purple once you open your eyes?

Besides, when a mysterious, trenchcoated messenger comes to your doorstep and awkwardly hands you an envelope officially sealed with wax that warns you of only seeing in purple, it isn’t exactly comfortable to digest.

My first instinct was to squeeze my eyes shut so tightly that I began to see spots behind my closed eyelids. That was what made nightmares vanish into thin air, what made them retreat to the dark depths of your mind, right?  This was only a figment of my imagination. It had to be. Seeing everything in different hues of a single color wasn’t normal. None of this was normal.

I allowed my eyes to slowly, slowly, slowly flicker open. The room wasn’t purple anymore. Instead, it had turned to different shades and tints of red.

The letter had said that this would happen as well.

This is completely natural, the letter had claimed in a neat, medium-sized scrawl. Do not be alarmed.

I attempted to push myself up into a sitting position. My elbows buckled underneath my weight and I crashed back against the unbelievably soft mattress and pillow that I had been resting on. Instead of trying again, though, I lay against my mattress and stared at the now-scarlet ceiling, trying desperately to recall what had happened before this when I realized something.

There were no windows.

I was in a room with no windows.

It was a familiar room, I knew that much. I remembered noting that the room was windowless before I had slipped into an inky black unconsciousness. I had never been in such a room. It made me feel enclosed, like a bird in a cage.

Except birds could see the outside world through bars, and I couldn’t.

I found it strange that I could remember entering the room, but I couldn’t place why I had done it or what I had been doing before that. It was as if my entire life were deleted from my memory, save the man with his official-looking letter.

A door that I hadn’t noticed before slid open automatically to admit a lady in a plain dress and clipboard. She was older than I was, and her hair was tied up in a tight bun with not a single hair out of place. Despite her orderly appearance, her eyes were kind – almost motherly. If I could have moved, my muscles would have been relaxing.

She took a step towards me, jotting something down, and then moving her eyes to look at me. Her mouth moved to say a friendly “hello.” With a jolt, I realized that I could barely hear her. It was almost as if she were speaking underwater, voice muffled and movements soft and flowy, like liquid.

The clipboard was set down beside my arm; I could feel it brush against me just barely as the lady leaned over, placing her palm flat against my forehead and then prodding at my arm. A sharp pain shot up. I almost cried out. I probably would have, had my mouth been light enough to form that simple sound.

“Has your arm been bothering you?” Her voice was louder this time, and I could understand it as she rolled up my sleeve. It took nearly all of my energy to turn my head to the side to see what she was doing, instead of replying like a normal person would.

I didn’t see much, just a bandage on my arm. My flesh burned as if it were on fire under the coverings, stung as if a thousand bees were attacking that one specific spot all simultaneously. Tears pricked my eyelids. I didn’t understand why the pain was registering now, when I had been okay before.

Carefully, the lady began to unwrap my arm. Every movement caused the pain to grow stronger and my teeth subconsciously gritted together to hold back my scream. A cold sweat broke out upon my forehead, my breathing became shallow, my head began to spin…

Until, suddenly, everything screeched to a complete and utter halt. The pain was lifted immediately.

I blinked once, ignoring how the color red turned to blue. “What-“

“It’s the injection,” the woman explained calmly, her expression never changing into one of alarm. “You’re having a reaction.”

“A reaction?” I managed to get out, realizing that it was far easier to move now, though it wasn’t completely effortless. Not yet. “What injection?”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I remembered the shot. It had happened when I had first entered the room, sat on the bed. It was a different lady who had given it to me, though. With a firm mouth and unkind eyes and gray hair pulled back into a strict bun as well. The shot had lasted for only a few seconds, and I didn’t remember much after that. I figured that was when I had blacked out.

“The letter explained everything,” her voice was almost soothing. “We have to make sure that your body can handle the real thing.”

“This isn’t the real thing?”

The woman stopped, her hand pausing over her clipboard, hovering as if unsure whether or not she should pick it up and jot down more notes. She grabbed ahold of it after apparently daring herself to, avoiding my eyes. “It could be, if it works.”

Another pain sprang up in my arm, but this time it was farther down, by my wrist. My mouth shaped a question, but before I could ask the one word that was on my lips, I looked down at my wrist, where the darkened blueness of my veins was rearranging, standing out against the paleness of my skin. It hurt, but I was far too fascinated to say anything. Instead, I watched as numbers etched their way underneath my skin, a dull pain still there as the last number melted away every second, changing, counting down. My eyes couldn’t tear themselves away. Not even as I felt the bile rising up in my throat.

I could hear the smile in the lady’s voice as she said, “Congratulations. You are officially the first person in history who knows exactly, to the minute, when they’ll die.”

I turned towards her, eyes widening and voice catching in my throat as she lifted her pen and checked something off on her clipboard.

Congratulations. You are officially the first person in history who knows exactly, to the minute, when they’ll die.

16 Responses to Jaylin’s Writing

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