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The Kids Aren't Alright

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The kids aren’t alright...

 

They’re dead... At least a good portion of them are, and it’s mostly his fault. He knows this, even though everyone tells him that he shouldn’t blame himself, that he isn’t all-powerful, that there is nothing he could have done to save them… That doesn’t change the truth that he can feel in his heart, in the weight pushing down on his chest every single day. The weight of their screams, their cries for help, their broken, burning bodies. He can see them in his mind’s eye, can see the blood, the broken bones, the snapped necks, the cut wrists. He sees their faces in their parents, in their siblings, and he sees the hate in their eyes. Why should he still live when so many innocent children died? His dreams haunt him with the images of their faces, disappointed in him. Shouting at him, asking him why he didn’t save them.

He downs another beer and hopes that it will make the ghosts go away.

 

The kids aren’t alright…

 

Her hands shake, her vision swims. She sits frozen in her chair while the people around her keep talking, unaware of her terror. Memories flash before her eyes; Cold grey eyes, a shark’s grin, a stinging pain in her cheek.

Tears pool in her eyes.

The heavy weight of concrete on her hands, a rope around her neck, her brother falling towards a mob of monsters.

Her breathing becomes laboured.

Darkness, a whip cracking across her back. Blood, pain, darkness…

She falls, someone calls out to her. She sees the vague outline of someone walking towards her. She screams, scrambles away, backs herself into a corner. Someone grabs her arm, pinning her in place. She screams and thrashes, she can’t get away. She can’t get away.

 

The kids aren’t alright...

 

She sits alone on the windowsill, she can see the moon reflected in the bottle on her nightstand. Children are playing outside, it’s hot, suffocatingly so. Their shrill voices pierce her eardrums. She can feel a headache coming up. One of the children looks up, sees her sitting there, and waves. She waves back, biting her tongue to keep from shouting at the girl to go home, to be safe, not to trust the world. She stays silent and watches the girl turn back to her friends. The girl has beautiful black curls, they remind her of another little girl. One with piercing blue eyes, one who laughed as the world around her burned. Her little girl…. Her little monster. She gets up and walks over to her bed, grabs a couple of pills from the bottle. She banishes the memories of sparkling blue eyes and long black curls, and downs the pills. She lays down on the bed and waits for the familiar darkness to wash over her.

 

The kids aren’t alright...

 

She sits lifelessly behind the counter in a convenience store, she smokes a joint in an alley with a group of strangers. She goes home, she feeds her cat. She drowns herself in normal life. She copes, but just barely. She drives her bike down the highway, pushing it to go faster. Now she gets the thrill another girl used to get from this kind of speed. A girl with curling red locks that would turn into a blur as she ran down a highway like this one at 50 miles an hour. A girl with a wild grin and an even wilder personality. A girl that fought fearlessly and ruthlessly until she met her untimely end. At night she stares at the picture on her nightstand. She turns away, tears pooling in her eyes.

“I love you” She whispers into an empty room.

 

The kids aren’t alright…

 

He clings to the other boy in his sleep, determined to never lose him again. He curses himself for giving up, for losing hope. Every time the younger boy wakes from a nightmare, screaming for help, his heart shatters. But he manages. He just holds him and tells him he’s save, that he’ll never be alone again. He watches fondly as his lover starts painting again, finding solace in the familiar paints and canvases. He gets a job to distract himself from the dark thoughts his mind usually turns to when he has nothing to do. The voices in his head that whisper all his fears. You left him alone. You gave up on him. He’s better off without you. He hugs his boyfriend closer and banishes those thoughts to the back of his mind. He has a machine gun under the bed that he can use if he has to. He falls asleep with one thing on his mind;

“This time I’ll protect him”

 

The kids aren’t alright...

 

She runs away from home when she finds herself unable to deal with her parents’ concern. She chain smokes in filthy alleys. She picks fights, often going to sleep with bruised ribs, a split lip, and bleeding knuckles. She passes a bottle around with other lost kids, huddled near a dumpster fire. This is her world now, survival. Worries about food and shelter leave no room for other thoughts, which suits her just fine. She roams the streets with her faithful dog at her side, sees people who are wounded, and knows that it’s not her job to save them anymore. She takes comfort in the loneliness of her new life. Then she sees him again, the boy who was convinced he had the world at his feet. She might have loved him once, but that was in a different world, a different life. The look he gives her is sad, but he keeps coming back to talk to her, getting her to open up about what had happened. She lets herself care about him again, which is why it hurts so much when he shows up one day with her parents in tow. He refuses to look at her while they take her away to some facility to get better.

They don’t understand that she’s broken beyond repair, they all are. Even the powers she once had couldn’t fix all that had happened to them. They were children, and they were left to suffer. After one year in hell, they were expected to pick themselves up again, to get back into normal life, to ‘get better’. But even years of therapy and medication couldn’t fix them…

 

The Kids Aren’t Alright