Where does “love” come from?
This ancient feeling which wraps its soft arms around each individual and lights their
heart up with it’s bright, beautiful charms?
Love, like stars, comes in many forms,
it burns differently for each person
and it helps guide them through storms
Love comes from meeting a girl on orientation day
“I love you glasses!” She says, giving me a smile
“And I love your hair!” I happily exclaim
As we sit down for lunch, our life stories spill out
never before I had felt so comfortable with another
never before had I stopped feeling anxious doubts
We converse like we’re friends of long standing
except I have never met this girl in my life
our connection transcends all understanding
Love comes from meeting three more people,
with their fantastical and kind imaginations
having them in class made me gleeful
I’d get dinner with two of them after class
we complain about art school and the horrible food
but we’d smile and laugh at our own creative sass
Love comes from introducing everybody I met to each other
like a puzzle waiting to be solved, the last piece found its home
now we were all happily stuck with one another
Two more came into our chaotic little group
both humorous and wonderfully creative
it felt like we finally found our troupe
Love comes from staying up until three in the morning
our drawing assignments are due first thing at eight
but we’re too busy goofing off and ignore the warning
The ice cold Michigan days bite at our poorly covered skin
but that doesn’t stop us from awkwardly waltzing
to our favorite bubble tea shop with big grins
Friday’s are reserved for us to grab real food
the restaurants in Detroit serve us with more,
with stupid memories and perfect moods
They showed me what platonic love feels like
what it means to have best friends and
never have our conversations turn into fights
Ah, romantic love, how could I forget?
after all, it’s what everyone anticipates, they
impatiently wait for exactly what they expect
Except, this love comes differently than it is told
the rush of a first date feels electrifying in almost the worst way
but then later this feeling fades into the cold
Comfort replaces the anxiousness in my stomach
he squeezes my hand as we look at different paintings
we both decided on the art museum, even if it was sudden
He understands my political beliefs, he shares mine
how wonderful it feels to not have to fight my case
to speak intelligently without the male ego to whine
Then there is the infamous, awaited first kiss
it was sweet and awkward, as a first time should
but then he pulled away and smiled, what perfect bliss
Love comes from the ethereal ability to listen and play music
Vivaldi and Chopin fills my soul with burning passion
that sets my imagination aflame, so beautifully therapeutic
Saint-Saens and Debussy inspire humor and simple beauty
the perfection and imperfection of humanity
in their work is amazingly graceful and unruly
But what about the way my body feels electrified
when I play music and hear the melody and harmonies
create a symphony of sound which is amplified
By my need to hear the compositions again and again
to feel that flame ignite in my chest and envelop
my very being until there is nothing left.
Love comes from drawing cubes for three weeks
my lines are shaky and my perspective is questionable
but by December my lines are straight and charcoal coats my cheeks
I finally finished my very first animation
I drew out about 12 frames to make a ball bounce
then I played my video back and almost fell over from elation
I was careful to draw in proper weight and physics
as I watched the ball bounce on repeat I laughed
I did it, I broke out of my forced oppressive limits
I faced judgment and laughter for my college choice
wasn’t I wasting my life pursing animation?
no, I knew because watching a my ball bounce made me rejoice
Love comes from watching interviews with
animators, composers, and film directors,
imagining yourself there not as a myth
But as a fellow creative with something to give,
knowing I too am offered a seat at the table for my work
these studios are where I’d finally get to live
Love comes from the warm, familiar feeling of colleagues
walking in everyday and seeing their happy but exhausted faces
showing off their work, trying to become somebodies
Everyday I’m glad I didn’t wait and go elsewhere
I am the luckiest person alive to work with my friends
don’t worry, you guys, there’s room for all of us out there
Love comes from writing stories that uplift others
and from writing my emotions begging to burst
out of me and show the world my wonders
So what about this ancient feeling that’s wrapped
it’s soft arms around me and lit up my heart
with its bright, beautiful charm?
Love, like stars, comes in many different forms
it burns differently for each person
so make sure to bask in its warmth
I haven’t shared a personal story in a while, but after today and seeing this prompt, I thought I should. Last Sunday I went to the mall with my mom. An empty section on the second floor now had two stores, Michael Kors and Kate Spade, two of our favorite designers. While my mom and I were looking at purses in the Kate Spade store, she discreetly took a call. Not a moment later does walk up to me with a smile.
“I’m on the phone with our doctor and she wants to ask you something. I can’t really understand her, would you mind listening?”
I smiled back at my mom and took the phone out of her hands.
“Hello?” I asked, looking a big, pink purse in front of me.
“Hey, sweetie” she greeted on the other end. “I would like to ask a favor of your mother and you. Can you write a good review of me on this website?”
My expression dropped. I slowly set down the purse I was holding and swallowed the growing lump in my throat. For a moment, I simply couldn’t answer her, I just watched a bad memory replay in my mind.
It was time for my family to get blood tests done and go in for a check up. I nervously fidgeted in the seat of my car the entire way there. That was the day I was finally going to bring up my anxiety to my doctor. That was the day she would tell my mom about getting me to see a psychologist. That was the day I’d finally be able to release the clenched breath stuck in my throat.
My anxiety had been an ongoing problem for years, but last year in particular is when it began worsening. I couldn’t go one day without obsessing over minuscule problems, over the way people perceived me, over if I was hurting people, over if I was a bad person, it just wouldn’t stop. My anxiety attacks wouldn’t stop, but my breathing always would. That was supposed to be the day that I could put that behind me and move forward. But instead, I panicked after getting my blood drawn. I was so horrified they’d find something wrong with me that I couldn’t contain it, I exploded into tears in front of my mom in the doctor’s office room.
Then, my breathing hitched, I lost feeling in my hands, face, legs, and feet, and panic spread throughout my body. As breathing became more and more difficult, my doctor called in nurses into the room. I couldn’t calm down, I couldn’t even see in front of me, everything in my mind and in reality moved to fast. There were too many people in the room, too many nurses handing me water and trying to calm me down, too much noise, it was too much. My breathing stopped. I remember clutching my chest and burying my fingers into my skin. No breath got in or out, it felt like someone had clamped my windpipe shut. I grabbed my mom’s shoulder and wheezed, now using my other hand to claw at my throat.
“BREATHE” I heard a voice in my mind say. “BREATHE.”
I couldn’t do it, and I started feeling lightheaded.
My mom started panicking and crying.
The nurses kept shoving water at me.
“FUCKING BREATHE!” The voice screamed.
Finally, I let out a choked breath. I heaved out every bit of oxygen left in me and inhaled in short bursts. I could feel my heart beating into my hand which still clutched my chest. My face flushed red and was now completely stained with tears. I still couldn’t feel my hands or face properly and my body trembled as it started to calm down. I didn’t stop trembling for a long time after that.
When I gathered more strength to speak with my doctor, she asked me what had just happened. I glanced at my mom who looked like she was disappointed, and the looked back at my doctor and took a big risk. I was honest with her. I explained how my anxiety had been worsening and how my anxiety attacks were becoming frequent. I sobbed the entire way through and I sat there, humiliated, and pleaded with her to get me help. I did not but get on my knees for her, but I begged and cried for myself. She sighed and also gave me a disappointed look
“You know, you’re a teenager and it can be really hard sometimes. Stress from school can also cause a lot of this anxiety. Bullying is also another factor.”
I blinked in disbelief. “No, that’s not what’s hap-“
“Yeah!” My mom interjected. “You know, she’s been bullied before, maybe she is now I don’t know. But it’s really affected her.”
“Yes, well, have you been having a hard time with kids at school?” My doctor asked.
“No!” I said sternly. “There’s no issue with people at school, that’s not what this is about.”
“Yes, this is about your anxiety. Well, I can recommend you to learn some breathing exercises and take time to not stress about school things. I can send you to this woman who specializes in teaching people breathing and mindfulness. But, I don’t think this is a problem.”
In that moment, I felt my heart sink to the core of the Earth. Numbness spread throughout my entire body as I listened to those last couple of words. “I don’t think this is a problem”. My seemingly last hope of ever getting help, of ever believing me, of ever convincing my mom that something else was going on with me, crumbled before my eyes. My bravery to take my problems and life into my own hands was worthless and had failed. Everything my anxiety planted in my head the moment I decided I was going to tell my doctor was right. I stared at my hands and watched as pieces of whatever was left of my hope and sacrifice slip between my fingers and turn to dust as it hit the cold floor. My doctor and mom were smiling at each other, they had now moved on to another topic. But I sat there watching and feeling everything inside of me break into millions of pieces.
“I, uhm... sure...” I finally answered, pressing my lips together.
“Ah, wonderful!” She said eagerly. “Now, if you search up my name on Google you’ll find...”
I did listen to what she told me to do, but not without wanting to throw my mom’s phone across the room and stomp on it. I said yes to be polite, to be courteous, even after I remember what she did at my last visit. Ever since then, I finally convinced my parents through many months of arguing, of pain, of accusations thrown at me, after being told I was a disappointment and that I was being cruel, to take me to therapy. There, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and have been in therapy ever since. Today, I am doing better than ever before and look forward to a bright future at college.
So yes, I helped write you a good review, doctor. I hope you’re happy with yourself.
This is Tomorrow
Alina was lost in a massive crowd.
Her small stature offered no support as adults ran past her, shoving her back. She extended her arms forward so far that she could see her wrists peering out from her dark grey coat. With one hefty swing, she flung both of her arms out in an attempt to shove people’s legs aside. It worked, but only for a short while. Alina had just run into the beginning of a storm, it only worsened as gunshots rang out like thunder. She felt her heart drop into her stomach and churn, begging her to run but also keeping her frozen in her place. Her father was in that crowd, and as the gunshots became more frequent she became more worried. Prying her feet off the pavement, she ran deeper into the crowd calling for her father.
“Tata?!” She yelled, frantically looking back and forth.
More adults came charging her way, blocking everything. Pushing herself through the crowd became more and more difficult, especially since now the wounded were joining. She passed men and women with gunshot wounds in their arms, legs, and chests. Blood spilled onto the friends that carried them and stained the pavement below her. She could feel the pools of blood beneath her feet and the way it seemed to seep into her worn shoes and feet. It would enter her bloodstream and pump through her veins, giving her a strange sense of power and grief.
Alina needed to find her father.
Whether the people around her were wounded or not, Alina violently shoved harder until she made it to the scene that started the whole fiasco. Men from the Securitate, or Secret Police, stood at the end of the crumbling street, basking in the destruction. Their faces were cold and unmoving as they watched people being beaten and detained. The military style uniforms they wore were as stiff and unforgiving as they were and they wore it like a badge of honor. Those proud Communists loved to watch, they loved the rush, they loved it so much it made their hearts rot and slowly decay inside of them until all that was left is the empty husk where their souls once shined. Out of the corner of Alina’s eye, she noticed a police officer raising his gun at someone. When she turned to look, she found her father at the other end of the barrel.
“No…” Alina muttered. Tears welled in her eyes, but before any of them could roll down her cheeks, she lunged herself towards her father. The closer she got to him, the more she noticed the details around the scene. Her father’s black suit was torn and his brown hair fell in front of his face, coated in a thick layer of sweat. His tried desperately to put on a brave face, but Alina could see the fear in his forest green eyes. Those were the same eyes that greeted her in the cold, early mornings when she didn’t want to get up and go to school. They were the same ones that slowed her frantic heart as thunder crashed above her home, the late nights she’d clumsily waltz into her father’s tiny study and watch him smile before she even opened the door. Alina watched as the fragile glass that coated his eyes cracked the moment the police officer cocked his gun. Alina quickened her pace, and before her father or the officer had any time to process what was happening, the gun went off and Alina jumped in front of her father. Just as the bullet was about to pierce her, everything quickly went dark.
Finally, she jolted up, almost falling off of her bed.
After several moments, Alina felt her heart restart abruptly and made a sound that was a cross between a wheeze and a choke. She clutched her chest and tried to bury her fingernails in the clammy skin that felt like it was vibrating. The night was cold and silent but Alina could not hear it. Instead, she listened to the blood coursing through her ears, the loud and overwhelming sound wrapped itself around her brain and squeezed as hard as it could. Alina sat between the white sprawled bed sheets that felt like waves swallowing her whole and tried to still her breathing.
“It was just a dream. It was just a dream. It was just a dream” she repeated to herself.
Soon, the cool blanket and bed sheets that enveloped her didn’t feel as aggressive or hot. Now they calmly caressed her body to settle down in the mattress. Goosebumps popped up on her skin as she felt her heart slow down and her hearing become clearer and clearer. Everyday it seemed like reality became clearer and clearer to her, the fragile barrier that followed her as a child was getting cracks. Sometimes she’d stare at it during school lectures or when her parents were quarreling in the kitchen and she’d sit in the living room and feel herself drift. The cracks appeared slowly and gradually, and each time one appeared or extended, Alina could feel her heart wretch. She also discovered that there was no way to repair those cracks, no amount of glue, no amount of sticky dough her mother made for pastries, no amount of wishing, there was nothing to be done. Alina always wondered what would happen once the barrier broke. She wondered if another one would come up in its place or if she wouldn’t be granted the privilege of having another. Alina could see the barrier in front of her bed and right in the middle a large crack appeared, much bigger than any of the ones she had seen before. This time her heart didn’t wretch, it remained still, but now an unsettling silence flooded the room. She backed up onto her pillows and buried herself beneath her blanket. Alina welcomed her bedsheets to swallow her whole and drown her in their sea, but they wouldn’t let her. Instead, she cried enough tears to fill a river and pulled the covers tight around her body until it felt like the outside world could not touch her anymore.
[This is an excerpt from the first chapter of a novel I am writing about life under communism in Romania.]
Outbreak: Proud Soldiers
[This is from a series of short stories I’m writing.]
Church bells blared into the ears of the people singing along to a hymn. Three bells would sound off at the same time, then there’d be a short pause, then they’d be hit again. Each time the ringer yanked the bell pull, there’d be a brief moment where the sound from the clappers inside would drown out the singing. The sound would eventually spill out of one’s eas and then be filled up with the singing of the churchgoers. All of them sang passionately, swaying their bodies side to side like they were taking in each and every beat and note. Wide smiles were plastered across everyone’s faces.
Everyone except Joanna.
Her smile fell flat each time she entered the church and her voice would give out halfway through service. It always surprised her how her mother never noticed her behavior. Part of Joanna felt relief knowing her mother was too busy with her new baby sister to notice. That would mean no scornful looks, no whisper-shouting, and best of all, she wouldn’t be smacked into the outside walls of the church and forced to walk home with blood on her face. Her seven year old brother Lucas, on the other hand, sang like his life was depending on it. Quite frankly, it did.
Joanna couldn’t help but snicker at how off key her younger brother sang, the defiant smile she wore made her feel powerful. But, after the moment was over, she grew impatient and couldn’t wait until everyone stopped singing and sat back down. The priest would close the small Bible in his hands and offer everyone a warm smile as he’d begin to speak about different verses and how they applied to people in the modern world. Then Joanna could leave to find her friends, she could escape for a moment before being confined in her home. Her daydreams of leaving were interrupted by a baby crying.
She looked up to find her mother carefully bouncing her little sister, Diana, up and down to try and get her to calm down. The people in front of them turned around and Joanna watched as their smiles quickly disappeared and were replaced with looks of malice and judgment.
“Woman,” a blonde man said to her mother. “Don’t you know how to discipline your own child?”
Joanna’s mother, instead of answering, yanked her sisters hair until individual strands were plucked off and clenched between her mother’s fingers. This only made her baby sister cry harder and grab onto her mother’s button up white shirt harder. Joanna kept her head down because looking only made her heart tear faster.
“Shut that disrespectful child up!” Another woman hissed. People on the opposite end of the church were still singing, but the hymn was beginning to come to an end. Diana’s crying, on the other hand, wouldn’t cease. Joanna’s father stepped up and took the baby out of her mother’s arms. Her father was a large man, broad shouldered, and muscular. He wore a scornful frown everywhere he went, making it known that nothing made him happy. Diana didn’t seem to want to obey her parents and that greatly upset him.
Joanna watched out of the corners of her eyes as her father took the wailing child out of the room. Her hands began to tremble when the door to the room shut, there was no getting Diana back then. The hymn ended and with that so did the hateful stares of the people in front of them. Joanna, her brother, and her mother sat back down onto the long, polished, wooden benches. The priest closed the small Bible he held and smiled at everyone. As Joanna kept her eyes on him, she fiddled with the material of her white dress.
She desperately felt the urge to kick her feet back and forth, but her white flats would only cause a disruption, and she wanted anything but that. The door to the room opened and her father walked inside carrying Diana, whose eyes and cheeks were flushed a bright red. He walked back to where her family sat and handed Diana back to her mother. Joanna glanced at her to find the bottom of her white dress slightly torn. This sent a terrifying chill down Joanna’s back, but she forced her mouth to remain shut. She also noticed marks on her sisters legs, large red welts in the shape of a hand and what appeared to be a stick.
Joanna quickly turned away before her mother took notice of her staring. Her hands wouldn’t stop shaking, even when she buried them under her bottom and applied pressure to make it stop. For one moment, Joanna even considered breaking the fragile bones in her hands, maybe she would be taken away to a hospital. Away from the church, from her family, from the town, from everything she had ever known. But before she could ponder her decision any further, everyone stood up and began the closing prayer. She murmured it under her breath and crossed herself like everybody else at the end of it. Finally, Joanna could leave.
[to be continued]
He’s a republican, enough said.
Of course, I’m just joking. There’s plenty of things bedsides that for why this orange oompa loompa should be impeached. This man is a rapist and a sexual harasser. He is a sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, prick who deserves nothing but have his ass kicked by Joe Biden. The fact that some people actually voted him into office disgusts me.
This man endorsed a literal pedophile to run for office, a pedophile who was found guilty but let off the hook. People even took his side on that. The fact that some politicians in office now are okay with endorsing pedophiles, rapists, sexists, racists, and so much more if horrifying to see. A lot of civilians are even following in the racist lead of Trump and harming POC. Donald Trump deserves no respect, no fame, and he certainly doesn’t deserve that seat in the White House. There wouldn’t be just ONE best case against him, there’d be SEVERAL HUNDRED.
[just a note, this is all MY OPINION. i’m going to say it one more time, THIS IS ALL MY OPINION AND PERSONAL BELIEFS. but, the stuff i’m accusing our president of is true.]
KILL THE MESSENGER
Two men stood in the middle of a sandlot.
One of them, an old man, was forced down on his knees, his eyes were filled with fear and tears. The man standing next to him in a blinding, all-white uniform and helmet, kept a cold, straight face. He was a Soldier, no doubt, only they have had any ounce of humanity stripped from their DNA. The Soldier pulled out a gun specially made for execution, it was colored as black as the blood that ran through him. As he wrapped his thin, pale, long fingers around the handle and trigger, the old man heard the soft sounds of fingers on metal and jumped.
Anyone could have heard his sobs, they were enough to shatter your heart and break your soul. The old man was caught spreading Rebellion “propaganda”, and everyone knows the consequences of what happens when you’re caught. The Soldier firmly pressed the opening of the gun on the victim's head, and he only began to cry harder. The Soldier waited for the order of the General as the old man mumbled his final prayer. The General called the order and the crowd made sure to close their eyes. The gun went off, splattering blood on the Soldier’s uniform and the tan sand he stood on. I had had enough, I turned off my TV and threw my remote at it. Tears welled up in my eyes, I was sick of seeing executions filmed and having to be forced to watch it.
The entire world was sick of it, but it’s not like we had much of a choice. Unless, we wanted to be taken and tortured to the brink of death. I stared into the tiny camera of my TV, hoping the scumbags could see me. I cursed in that direction, but I knew that when they’d hear me they’d only give me a chuckle and dismiss me. I wiped the tears from my eyes using the sleeve of my brown hooded leather jacket. I stared down at the metallic floor of my room, strands of my massive, curly, dark brown hair falling in front of my vision.
I gagged at the sight of the dull grey floorboards and walls I gawked at my whole life. I felt like the inside of my mind was turning that color. I clawed at my blue sheets on my bed, I tried to resist the urge to create a tear in them. After calming down, I decided that sulking in my room would get nothing done, and decided to head out. Finishing my work was the most important thing to throw all of my energy into. I kneeled down next to my bed and stretched my arm under it. I felt the top of my box and quickly pulled it out. Inside were personal documents, my dad’s research journal, and papers with decrypted writing from my dad’s journal. His journal was my work, uncovering all of his secrets was important to me. After a couple of months of reading, absorbing, and writing out all of his plans and research, I came to the conclusion that the journal was the key to the Government’s weaknesses.
I smiled to myself at that thought and shoved my notes into the book and walked to my door. I pressed the touchpad beside it and watched as the same metallic coloring of the hallway revealed itself. The other doors across from me and next to me stayed shut, also colored that infuriating silver. I stepped outside and quickly made my way towards the elevator at the end of the hallway. I stopped by my mom’s room, and pressed the keypad next to the door to see if she was still there. No response. I checked my Transmission Watch and found no missed calls from my mom either. I shrugged it off and assumed she probably went down for lunch.
I set my feet on the pad in front of the elevator door and watched as a bright blue light shone beneath me. It opened, and once inside I pressed the button that would take me to the first floor, where the library, cafeteria, and other recreations for us civilians were. As the elevator went down, I could heard the tortured screams or whispers of the maniacs who stayed on those floor. Sometimes I’d allow myself to listen, just to see what was going on through their minds. Half the time it was gibberish and the other half of the time they were throwing around insults as to how stupid the rest of us were. There’d be days where I’d hear something in between the madness, it was unintelligible, but sounded like someone was trying to tell me about something important.
I shook my head and let their voices spill out, I wasn't in any mood to analyze what they had to say. The elevator came to an abrupt stop and the doors slid open. I lazily walked out and almost immediately my eyes caught the attention of everyone’s shoes. The girl’s wore grey flats whereas the boys wore grey boots. I looked down at my long, dark brown combat boots already accepting my fate of being stared at. In fact, as I strided towards the library one woman stopped me.
“Where are your new shoes?”
I gritted my teeth together and politely answered, “I don’t have a pair.”
“You have to get them, it’s apart of the new uniform!” The woman urged.
“I don’t want a new pair of shoes, but thank you for telling me anyways.” I quickly made my way into the library, leaving the stunned and offended woman outside. I am not one to be so choppy when I speak to someone, but the level of brainwashing with the majority of these people is too much to deal with at time. I sucked in a deep breath and headed towards the Educational Section. Of course, every book was about all of the Government leaders and people who helped them. It was outlawed to have any piece of literature from before 2140.
During that time, World War III took place and lasted a painful fifteen years. Millions of lives were lost, smuggling took place, governments fell, and people were split up. It was now 2182, in the second “Golden Era”, where we rebuild and make the world a better place. Better place my ass, the people who came to power managed to make it worse than ever before. I chuckled at the thought, despite the fact it really wasn’t a laughing matter.
I skimmed through a whole two rows of books, all colored white or grey, better known as bland and more bland. Looking at the row behind me, I finally found the previous book on codes and ciphers I used for my dad’s journal. I smiled to myself, a bit dumbfounded at my own eagerness. That smile quickly faded when I realized I forgot a pen and had to go ask the librarian, Mrs. Iracundior, for one. The stuck up old croon hated people and also hated whenever anyone disturbed her. Her hair was an unnatural grey and white, I assumed it had gone that way early due to the stress and hatred the witch harbored. Mrs. Iracundior followed every rule and wore the exact same clothes everyday, a grey sweater and long skirt. She was never changing, and I for one found that a bad thing. I braced myself for her scolding as I strided up to the middle desk.
“Excuse me?” I politely whispered. I saw her perk up, but instead of answering, she returned to reading her book.
"I'm sorry, I don't mean to disturb-"
"If you didn't mean to, you wouldn't have" she snapped.
"I'd like to borrow a pen, do you have one?" I asked, ignoring her little outburst.
Mrs. Iracundior grimaced and rolled her eyes at me. She snatched a pen from the desk next to her and shoved it into my chest.
"There, now go away" she hissed, dismissing me.
"Thanks..." I mumbled and sped walk the other direction. A couple feet in front of me I noticed a table that was empty and decided to sit there. I took out all of my decrypted notes as well as the other one's I was still working on. I opened my dad's journal to where I had left my bookmark and skimmed the page I had read more than one hundred times before.
"July 12th, 2154
The cameras around New York make life here difficult. Because of my work, I always feel paranoid a Soldier will come up to me, knowing what I do and who I work with, and execute me without warning. I've put my full trust in-"
The name seemed to be blotted out, it was illegible. I knew there were three main Rebel leaders, but I wasn’t sure which one worked with my dad.
"He has been good to me, he has promised to protect me and everyone else working with us as well as the citizens. Today, I work on encrypting the rest of the coordinates of attack and riddles he has given for the Government to work out. His way of doing things is strange, his puzzles and plans seemed childish and stupid. But I suppose that's the whole point, he wants the Government to feel mocked and be made a fool. While working on this, I am also doing experiments with the deadly viruses that seem to have stricken the population. Some are weapons of war, others are age old sickness, and others are new and uncharted territory. I believe I am close to a breakthrough with Red plague, a terrifying virus that if left incubating in a host for long, will make them bleed out of every orifice."
I cringed at the thought of witnessing someone with that. I stopped there and decided to turn the page where he wrote the encrypted material. I pulled out the paper I was working on previously, opened the code and cipher book, and began. I observed my dad was rather fond of the Caesar cipher, Baconian cipher, Straddle cipher, alchemist numbers, and a code I presumed he came up with. To me, it seems like he left the unimportant information in easy to crack ciphers, and the important information the hardest to crack. As frustrating as it was, I still wrote down everything, even if it was trivial. I had finished decoding a set of coordinates, 41.8781° N, 87.6298° W.
I stood up and grabbed my paper with me as I ran towards the giant atlas the library kept in the middle of the room. As I flipped through the pages, I stopped at a map of America and traced the coordinates as accurately as I could. It landed me in Chicago, Illinois. I pressed my lips together and scratched my head, why on earth there? Were there Rebels my dad and his boss wanted to get into contact with? Was that their next place of attack?
I went back at my table and jotted down the location above the coordinates in my messy cursive. I only then noticed how similar my writing was to my dad's, his cursive was a tad bit neater, but still close to mine. I organized all of my notes into a neat pile, by the page that corresponded with the journal. I began to decipher what the next set of symbols. I’ve had my dad’s journal for years, but never really gathered up the courage to read it until a couple months ago. I had stolen from my mom’s room as a child, and of course she noticed, but let me keep it. Ever since the incident happened with my dad, I didn’t dare look into the direction of where I had placed the book. I hated it so much, I took an small, old box, shoved it in there, and left it under my bed.
After digging it up years later, I discovered my dad’s life before her developed Mania. For some strange reason, reading made me feel closer to him, not the sicko behind bars, but him. I finished translating another set of codes, and it was another set of coordinates. I continued my routine of keeping up to go to the atlas, writing down the city, and translating the codes. After two hours, I had two pages decoded. The first page only had coordinates to big cities in America, and the second page had a written plan of attack.
Hit Chicago’s most important Government Facilities at 1800 hours
Hit New Orleans’ most important Government Facilities at 1900 hours
Both will be out for training exercises at specified times, TNT will go off as planned.
Protests should be in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, and Portland
Another name was blotted out.
Someone and I will go straight to D.C. and take on Congress at 2000 hours.
My dad and his boss executed an attack with dynamite? I asked myself. I sat back and thought about how many people they must have killed in order to go through with these plans. And for what? My dad’s boss was long dead and my dad now suffers from the Mania virus. Was losing all of those lives really worth it? Everytime I decoded something new in his journal, it started to make more and more sense. I was scared that upon deciphering more, the violence would only get worse. As much as I resented my dad, it was almost impossible for me to look at him as a monster no matter what he did. Perhaps I was faulted at that, I was always weak whenever it came to those close to me.
I checked my watch again and still found no Transmissions or calls from my mom. I frowned and sat up in my chair. My mom always calls to check in on me, and the fact she wasn’t was strange. I collected my things, making sure to safely tuck my notes and journal into my jacket. I looked around the library and didn’t find her there. I checked both the cafeteria and the gym and still found no sign of her. After exiting the gym, I saw a average sized figure with dark skin, dark brown, wild curly hair, wearing a body tight, grey jumpsuit.
“Mom?” I called out.
The person slightly turned my way, but ignored my call and headed towards the elevator. A crowd already walked between me and her, and I began shoving people out of the way. By the time I reached the elevator, it had already closed taking the person up. I looked at the screen at the top, and saw that she was going to my floor. I didn’t want to wait, so I found the stairs next to the gym and scrambled up them. With heaving breaths by the time I got up, I ran after the person. She entered my mom’s room, and I quickly followed her in.
“Mom, why are you-”
I stopped myself when I looked around my mom’s room and didn’t find her in there. I tore off the bed sheets, looked in the closet, I looked everywhere.
“What?” I whispered to myself.
I quickly backed out the room only to run into a tall person wearing a white uniform. When I turned around I found two Soldiers and a grey haired General giving me a very snarky smile.
“Thank you, Mrs. Collins” the General said in a gruff, almost seductive voice. “You were fantastic bait.”
A woman popped out from behind one of the Soldiers, it was the woman I chased up here. They let her go, and when they did, she made a run for it.
“Miss Bridget Asters” the General cooed. “I need to have a word with you.”
Life Lesson’s from a Fifteen Year Old
As a child and even now, I was always told to be strong and stand my ground. It's not a bad thing, in fact, I support that notion. What I don't support is when people tell you to go through life being a hard, cold rock and only caring about yourself. Now, I'm happy to have a civil debate with anyone on this, in fact I welcome it. I was born into a poorer family, my grandparents lived an even more poor life than I am. Don't take that to the absolute extremes, I live in an apartment and have clothes and food, I just mean I don't have as much as others.
As I was growing up, I always felt like I had a massive pressure on me to be the best and know everything. After all, I was the first born who moved to America, the land of opportunities and freedom [please, if you're from a different country, don't fall for the bullshit]. I learned English perfectly first, I attended extremely good schools in my state, my family saw a future for me, it was all great. Except most people don't exactly understand the HELL I went through to get here. I'll be honest, the pain and suffering has been enough for a life time, I'm actually afraid my heart might give up on me if I become anymore stressed or anxious. As a younger girl, I was very timid but I didn't bite, I loved being friendly and making friends.
Of course, me being different and learning English very slowly, I was bullied for that. I remember that's when my parents started telling me about being strong, like a tank, pushing through and not caring. While I know their advice comes from a place of heart, I don't necessarily agree with it. Obviously it's important to be strong and stand your ground, I encourage it. But everyone always forgets that being kind and showing you care is the most important thing. We don't have enough people like that in the world, why are you trying to strip children's kindness and understanding and replace it with one incredibly close minded view?
Listen to me when I say, being kind IS NOT WEAKNESS. It takes a huge person to be able to stay calm and still be nice to a person even after all the shit they've caused. I understand that at times you need to put someone in their place or call them out on their bullshit, hell, I've don't it multiple times before. But, in other situations dealing with nasty people or anything else, it's your job to be the bigger person. Show them how awful their character really is when they act like that. At the end of the day, blowing up and causing a ruckus does nothing to solve the problem.
I've learned in my fifteen years of being alive what it means to show kindness to everyone and what it means to have a civil conversation. I'll be going on a different tangent here, but it'll tie into my original point. I want people to understand, even the parents out there, that by acting out of control and not listening has consequences. I've usually been brushed off and treated as a complete dunce for most of my life, nevertheless screamed at and told I was worthless. I developed anxiety from a very young age because of that, and I still suffer from it. I have massive panic attacks when a stressful event triggers it, or I'll even get anxiety from small minuscule things. Anxiety can be caused by anyone or any certain of scarring event, friends, parents, other relatives, ect.
Please hear me when I tell you that showing compassion and anything related to it is not weakness. Someone could be going through a really hard time, even if they're horrible to you, and being kind to them could show them that people like you really do exist. If people keep spreading the shit message of "one man for himself" and "stop being so nice, you're a fucking weakling" they could send a person into a spiral downward. That's right, you singlehandedly could drag a person down and slowly tear their life and confidence apart. Don't be that person, I know there are so many people out there who are kind but have been told not to show it.
Please, spread it all around and teach others what it means to be a decent human being. The world is always at war, there's always arguments, there's always all sorts of relationships falling apart, don't add on to the bad things. I for one will carry what I've learned for the rest of my life, and through my work I hope I can spread the message across to my wonderful audience. I know from now on that no one can make me feel silly or inferior for choosing to be loving and understanding.
Just because you're in pain, doesn't mean you have to put others through it too.
Listen carefully I
will only say this once, I
want actions not words