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Days have a tendency to soar past us without regard to our desires. Sometimes I feel like my past was fabricated from a whirl of false thoughts and whimsical leanings, as if nothing that I think I know is the truth. That is when I find myself questioning reality and the rules that come with it - maybe that's why I'm where I am today, in a prison cell, force fed stale sandwiches. I spend most of my time reflecting on when everything started going downhill. Some memories are challenging to grasp, like a word that you can see but you can't read, but I try my best . . .

August 17th, 2008

I woke up to my blaring alarm with my sheets in a hopeless tangle. Through my bleary thoughts, I barely found amusement in how I effortlessly massacred my bed every night, but I there was a little chuckle somewhere deep inside. Mornings were the bane of my existence; in fact, if they could be obliterated from the world altogether, I would be happy. I sniffed back my stinging allergies and squinted out the window, observing the soft sunlight filtering through the baby blue curtains. Sometimes my mom scolded me for hating the sunrise; she found solace in the "delightful" birdsong. However, she learned to relent in my teenage years, which was something I was grateful for.

My bathroom was located several steps down the burgundy-and-bronze carpeted hallway. As I plodded along, I regretted volunteering for that ridiculous "End-of-the-Summer Festival". Carson convinced me to go with him, but I was just about ready to wring his neck. He hadn't told me how early I had to rise until roughly four hours ago and I almost hated him as much as the morning for it. Honestly, I wasn't all that enthusiastic about the whole community thing in the first place, unlike Carson. I lived in a small town in the middle of Wisconsin where everybody knew everybody, but I don't think anyone has ever truly known me . . . well, except for Carson, but he was pretty much everything in my life - my best friend, mortal enemy, brother-from-another-mother, and annoying pest.

Suddenly, I heard my phone ring from my room. Groaning, I half-raced, half-staggered from the bathroom and pounced on my bed. One glance at the screen told me it was Carson.

"I hate you," I mumbled once I answered the phone. I heard a distant giggle in the background that only sparked my grumpy nerves further. "I'm serious. I'm never gonna forgive you for this one . . . I mean, really? Calling me at three in the morning and telling me that I've gotta wake up at seven? You suck, man . . . and you hung up right away to boot. Coward."

"Good morning, sunshine! Gosh, how are you going to survive school with that attitude? It starts in two weeks, you know," he said. I could tell from the tone of his voice that he was grinning. I gritted my teeth.

"Shut up . . . you're not allowed to speak of school, and don't even mention that we're gonna be freshmen and that I should be looking forward to it. Anyway, what time do you want me to be there again?"

"Well, technically you were supposed to be there at like six to help set up the stands, but it's whatever. I told Mr. Turner that you'd probably be late, and he just nodded and said--"

"CARSON! You told me seven!" I screeched, interrupting and probably partially deafening him.

"Yeesh, let up on the shouting," Carson complained. "Listen, be there in five. It's right down the street from your house anyway. Bye!"

He hung up before I could rebuke him further. Bitter, I tossed on a pair of dirty old jeans and a stained t-shirt and headed to Burlington Street, a little road a couple blocks from my house. Based on my character, some might assume that I don't care about tardiness, but I've always liked being early and prepared. It's a virtue that my dad instilled in me from the very beginning.

The bright apple green and burnt orange flags of the festival could be seen in the distance. I felt a slight chill in the air that reminded me of autumn's arrival / / / this was always the most depressing time of the year for me. "No more late nights and mornings," I sighed, my chest aching with sorrow. I missed summer before it was even gone.

"Bryn! There you are!" I glanced up, finding that my feet had led me to the festival grounds. Mr. Turner and Lacy, his perfect-in-every-way daughter, were just a few yards away setting up the apple bobbing barrel. I cringed; the thought of all the germs and diseases that would be floating in that water by noon made me feel sick.

"I'm happy to see that you've finally made it," Mr. Turner stated, his piercing gaze examining my tousled mouse-brown hair and unkempt clothing. I pulled at my shirt, uncomfortable. I think Lacy noticed, because she stepped in front of her dad and smiled at me sympathetically.

"No worries, Bryn. You can come help me make some lemonade, yeah?" Lacy offered. I nodded, albeit hesitantly. I always felt like her niceness had to be unnatural, but then again I typically thought the worst of people. I hated how much I judged and criticized others in my mind, but I couldn't help it. Lacy beckoned me to follow her.

"So, are you looking forward to school?" she asked with innocence coating her voice.

"Uhh . . . no, not really," I muttered, my voice near a whisper.

"Aw, high school isn't that bad. I promise you can be my freshman buddy. I'd rather it be you than say, for instance, Carly Adams." She winked. "Seniors are required to take up a youngster and hang out with them sometimes, you know."

I chose to not answer. We spent the rest of the hour in silence as we squeezed lemons and poured sugar besides the occasional, "Can you pass the water?"

Around nine o'clock, I heard the scream.


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