Rogue Krystal (joined almost 10 years ago)

Stories


I'm dead. Really dead. Not in the "there'll be a twist at the end and I'll be saved" kind of way. Just dead.

Yeah, wasn't that my typical luck? My day in and day out? Slipping in and out from the friggin' jaws of death like a suicidal mouse playing with a cat? If this was what the rest of my life, which, granted, didn't look like it was gonna be very long, was gonna be, I wasn't so sure I wanted part of it. It got damn old, damn quick.

I'd faced down a lot of things in my...

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She'd always come running when I called, my little sister.

She was three years younger than I was, but to her, I was big brother, father, and something close to God. I kept her and our little brother safe from our mother, I tutored her in math when she realized it wasn't her best subject, I bought them both little cupcakes for their birthdays when we all knew Mother couldn't be bothered with spending money on anything other than booze, and I'm the one who broke down and went to the principal for free lunches when they joined me in...

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It's easiest to appreciate simple beauty when you are surrounded by desolation.

Peace had finally settled over the dusty streets, and the small unit of American soldiers let their guns droop, looking up the hill at the kids who had cautiously come out of hiding to wander the streets once more, seeking their friends just as the soldiers reunited with their brothers in arms under a leafy tree. One adorned with freshly bloomed pink flowers.

A soldier smiled as he looked at the plants. Long gone was the time where it had been considered unmanly to like flowers. Pretty pink...

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Scales glistening in the sunlight, Todd swung a cache of fish from his hand as he walked up the wharf. Their scales, blue, green, and brilliant white, shone silvery in the harsh artificial lights he passed under.

All dead. He'd caught practically an entire school that his wife would get to scale and fillet that night. They were all so identical... Like a family of all twins, like they were toys. He looked down at them and decided, as their brilliance nearly blinded against the dark, dull surroundings of concrete and discarded fishing items, that the sea was a different...

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The sheep were at pasture. The air was still and crisp, silent but for the rustle of leaves and the drift of a "baa" from the content grazers.

Restless, I turned my eyes to the mountains that were the backdrop of the field, letting my eyes rove over the gray craggy slopes up to the snowy white caps that scraped at the belly of the sky. I felt the chill creep up my spine.

Adventure stretched just beyond these fences. One day, I would become more than this, more than a humble shepard. One day, I would scale those mountains...

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It was a picture to burn.

His arm was wrapped around her waist and they were cheek to cheek, grinning like fools at the blank eye of the camera. Her arms were flung around his neck, a laugh frozen on her lips as they stood, all dressed down for a summer evening together, in her driveway.

She carefully held it to the candle flame and watched the smooth paper blacken and burn. Watched the image slowly eaten away to ash that fell like dark snow over the candle.

The dusting of ash of what had been her life: lies, broken...

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All I could do is stare. Rendered speechless by the impromptu, silly dance, I stood on the curb and crossed my arms across my stomach, a half smile curling my lips as I watched the motley crew before me dance and sway. Hands clapped above faces masked in what I could only describe as a mask straight from the Happy Mask Salesman from the Legend of Zelda.

Well, at least there was some bright spot to this dreary day. I swayed my hips to their chanting, to the low beats of their music as they moved, tapping my fingers rhythmically...

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His hand skimmed lightly over the cool metal bumps. His brow furrowed as he struggled to remember the meaning of the pattern, feeling the warmth of his girlfriend pressing close to his left.

"D-down?" he asked softly, biting his lip as his fingers lingered, heating the Braille with his own touch. Braille. Just another sign, along with the sudden paranoia for his safety, that he was no longer the young man he'd been before the accident. Just another sign he was no longer going to be independent, not really.

Just another milestone.

"Yeah," Jessica replied even more quietly, her voice...

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Spinning. The whole world was spinning.

And not the good kind either. The ground was pitching backward under my feet, making the sky wobble on its axis and vault over me as I hit my knees.

It was so hot... This's heat stroke?

The black asphalt, hotter still than the sun itself, scraped my skin as I went down, the color brightening and blurring across my vision into one massive kaleidescope of obnoxious rainbows, melting together. The sound buzzed unintelligibly in my ears, somehow feeling cold.

"Get out of the way! Move it!" I could vaguely hear the sound of...

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She could tell I was faking it. Every time I cracked a smile or choked out a laugh. All of it a fabrication to please the people around me. An attempt to lie to everyone, especially myself, about how screwed up my life really was, about how everything around me truly was going to hell.

When you've lost everything, why shouldn't you laugh? The bitterness of it is cathartic.

Yet... She stays around. Keeps an eye on me, noting my dulled eyes and chronicling every irrational action. Hearing the broken glass edges of my voice, seeing the glint of tears...

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