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Thirteen

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Your name is John Egbert and you are thirteen years old.
You are thirteen years old and you have seen your father’s corpse.
You have seen your best friend’s mother’s corpse, and her own corpse beside it.
You have seen your own corpse – in different timelines in different planes of existence.
You’ve seen death two fold and you are thirteen.
You only just started high school, you haven’t even made any real friends there yet.
You don’t even remember who any of your teachers are.
You haven’t even hit puberty.
So why doesn’t the world understand this?
You’re a kid.
You’re a tiny speck on the boots of the earth.
A tiny, tiny speck, fighting a bloody battle and trying to stay alive.
Your name is John Egbert.
No one remembers that you’re thirteen.
No one remembers that you only just turned thirteen.

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. You’re certain almost everyone has heard this in their lifetime. Most kids don’t take it to heart, not until someone scrapes a knee or breaks an arm doing some stupid dare. On your thirteenth birthday you fully comprehended the extent of those old words. It’s all fun and games – yes the game had been fun, but someone was always bound to be hurt. In fact, it was you who were hurt first. Not you you. A different you. A different you who met with the denizen, who started a battle he could never have won due to the idiotic enticement of a blind troll millions of light years away. A lot of people don’t understand why you did it. They don’t remember. They don’t remember you’re thirteen and you didn’t know any better. You’re a thirteen year old kid – and kids make mistakes. But in this game mistakes cost lives. And you can’t pick up extra ones on the way.

There are a million dead Dave’s. Hundreds of thousands of millions upon millions of little white dead kids wearing Ben Stiller’s shitty shades. Dave always thought he was so cool. Everyone else seems to believe him – but christ, he’s thirteen. He’s a thirteen year old kid who’s scared of puppets. Who raps and fights his brother with shitty swords and takes selfies. He’s a total dweeb, just like you and your shitty pranks. You can’t even keep count of how many times Dave has died. He seems so old now, so old and quiet. He’s so worn down and hardened, so thinned out and stretched. It’s like a single gust of wind will send him on his way. He doesn’t seem thirteen. Sometimes you forget he is. Sometimes you forget you are. You guess that just makes it sadder.

Rose has always seemed mature. Mature, but not older. Jade was fun and friendly and bubbly but she too had a maturity about her – with her future dreams and time shenanigans. You guess it’s because girl’s hit puberty before boys. They mature faster. Rose used to play kid psychologist with her pet cat. How did she go from that to being completely and utterly overcome with the dark terrors that swum through the endless abyss of the furthest ring? Jade used to play with flowers – used to nap almost all the time. So how did she go from that to saving planets from complete destruction, shrinking them down into golf balls as easy as blinking? They’re fighters, survivors. Even Dave was. They were all taught how to protect themselves – how to fight and use things to their advantage. They were taught from when they were little.
You  were taught piano and baking by a dad who still smoked a pipe.

You guess the trolls can’t really sympathise. They were brought up with the mentality of violence and murder since they were young. Maybe that’s what makes everyone else forget that you weren’t? You’re thirteen years old and you hadn’t even seen more blood than a scraped knee before this game.  Your name is John Egbert, you play the piano, you hate baking and clowns and you love movies. You once got detention for playing the old water bucket above the door trick on the principal (it was meant for your teacher). One time you thought it would be fun to climb the tree in the front yard while your dad was out and you got stuck up there for two hours. Your name is John, just John – plain little John. Your name is John. You are thirteen. You are only just thirteen. Only a few days into being thirteen, but thirteen is such an unlucky number. This game is like Halloween gone wrong – thirteen, black (mutant) cats, witches and disappearing pumpkins and black magic. It’s like a nightmare – your life is a nightmare. Your life is hell and you are thirteen. Most kids would be complaining about homework at this age. You’re complaining about dying.
What kind of world would let that happen?

Sometimes you forget you were ever Twelve. Twelve was so quick, so fleeting – so iridescent. Turning thirteen was like waking up from a dream. Reality is always so harsh. Life is harsh. It’s harsh and brutal and no one understands, do they? No one understands. They’re not you. They’re not any of you. Not Dave, not Rose, not Jade – not even Karkat, the most human of all the trolls. In three years you’ll be sixteen. It will take three years to be with your friends again. You only have three years of being normal until you have to kiss happiness goodbye and delve straight back into the mayhem of sburb. You’re going to be sixteen and as far as you know your life will end.

Your name is John and in the end, you die. You die and your friends morn and the world continues.
You die and the world doesn’t even blink.