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Lies and Walls and Beer (original)[]

There is one vice I shall never find myself a slave to: the beer.

How terrible, how miserable must those who drink this poisonous juice of rotten fruits find the world! Such terrible, intoxicating, poisonous filth should not defile the bodies of the kind and virtuous, nor should they attack the sensibilities of the pained and alone.

Alas, I cannot think of this every day. It would most likely purify me of my own faults.

As I walk home from school each day, I am usually concerned with trivial matters. In fact, as I now walk back home, I am imagining the thrill of creating

Of course, such joy may not last long, for I must inevitably walk underneath the trees.

Their looming presence and dark shadows never fail to dampen my mood, despite my rational mind proclaiming them nothing but trees. It could be the city's fault, it being their custom to cut the trees' branches once a year. The trees, incapable of screaming in agony as their limbs are brutally severed from their body, and equally incapable of understanding why such a thing must happen, keep their emotions deep inside of them until all that is left is a deep, primordial fear of something.

Of course, the mere idea that the trees' fear causes mine is outlandish enough to laugh at, so I truly believe that it is nothing but a fancy I created to pass the long walk home. But as I look up at the trees, I cannot shake the feeling that they radiate oppression and despair.

The rustling of the amber leaves stays me a moment, but I shake it off, hoping it is a bird. Sadly, I cannot explain away the twisted face of the withered hag staring at me from the branches of the tree, and I hear her scream before I see a veritable vision of hell. Harpies rain down from the sky, singing a song of woe and entrapment. I begin to run, hoping their screams are nothing but warnings or entertainment or anything but a reason to attack. They do not seem to be chasing me, but they continually descend into my vicinity.

"Be gone!" I scream, for I am slowing now, and as such, the harpies and their screeching, maddening voices shall surround me completely. I dislike this idea immensely, so immensely that not ten seconds after I have screamed the first time, I feel the pressing need to scream "Be gone!" once again. But then I freeze and nearly upend myself, for though the harpies no longer come, I am faced with the monster who haunts my dreams.

His eyes are round and green, and his fangs prominent when he grimaces or gasps for air. He feasts on the intestines of a young lady with relish, such relish that I feel a pang in my heart and my stomach. As I retch as this terrible, terrible sight, he sights me, and turns to me with a terrible grin before sinking his gaping, unnatural maw deep into the nether regions of the girl. Her arms are stretched out as if she had attempted to fly to safety, but the beast shamelessly continues to consume her.

I must stop now, and apologize for this terrible crime. I wish it had not happened, for if it had not happened, your minds would be purer for it, as would mine. Thankfully, when I look up again, it has been replaced by my house door, for it had been nothing but a memory.

"Say," I ponder aloud, "how much of that was in my mind?"

Without much prodding, the truth tumbles out of my mind: from the rustle of that first amber leaf, I had been seeing nothing but the burnings embers of a much-reviled illusion, the mirror I use to look back upon that foul memory I dare not speak of. I look back at the trees and find them to be green. It is the time of new beginnings, and I should no longer be focusing on the past.

As I enter my house, thoughts of the frightful monster threaten to overwhelm me, and I find myself nearly unable to dispel them. I can fondly reminisce about the long-gone days when such thoughts could not penetrate my mind with such vigor, or the even earlier days when I had not known such a terrible sight, when I had not seen the monster.

The psychopathic nature of its actions cuts into my heart whenever I remember the gleam of its eyes, jubilant yet innocent. Had it been happy to do such a thing? Was that its birthright? Even though I have made efforts to shield myself from bestowing reason upon such a terrifying force of nature, I feel that I may have somehow misunderstood its goals.

I see his eyes on the computer screen. I'm not getting good grades. It frightens me, sometimes, but it should frighten me more. I have never known hardship, never known the slap of reality dashing my dreams, and so I cannot muster the outrage which would lead to sure improvement.

Something must be terribly wrong with my soul, and I hope that you, reader in the audience, have no such affliction. I cannot believe any medical or sociological reason for why my thoughts have dulled, and I trudge mindlessly on in search of some "better" future. I don't know why I kill myself like this, but I would never wish such a thing on anyone else. It leads me to drink water, filling up my water bottle as if I can purify myself through the tap and the motion.

"Maybe this is their reason that the poor and the addicted drink the beer," I say to myself absentmindedly as the tap pours forth its glistening elixir of life. "They forget their troubles for the moment, and they have something to do when they feel their life is crushing them."

And as if by magic, the pieces which had once been scattered to me suddenly make all too much sense. I see myself reflected in the water, the cold, clear mirror which scatters my external visage and lays my soul out clearly. I see, reflected in my black heart, the very reason for which I have the computer, and for which others have the beer, and in that instant, the wall I had created in my mind separating me from those drinkers of the monstrous beer is shattered.

I hope, dearest audience, that people can tell you these things, and you need not realize that they were hidden within your heart all along. Or I hope it doesn't hurt you when you shatter such preconceptions, for at this point in time, when I realize that I don't differ so much from drinkers of beer, I feel a deep sorrow, and I would not wish it on anyone else.

I down the water, and it tastes bitter, tinged with my sorrow and my anger, with the realization that I had an assignment due which I had not done, with the poisonous quality I had once attributed to the beer. Unsatisfied, I down more, and yet more, and every time it reminds me of nothing if not the mocking, innocent glint of the monster's eyes.

I want to scream, because I feel like I cannot deal with it anymore. I feel too entitled, too lazy. There must be something deeply broken in my heart. Unfixable, I lie down on the sofa and fall asleep, only awakening when I feel a familiar presence in the room.

I cannot help but whimper as I watch the monster meander closer to my face. He repeats my cries, mocking me as it nears me. Its hot breath feels like a furnace, like an opening into the reviled gates of the Christian underworld.

"Not now," I mutter as I close my eyes. "Be gone." I hope that he may understand my plight. I had watched the death in an almost detached manner, yet I now feel the guilt and shame for being so detached that I let my idle thoughts of heroism trump my fellow-feeling towards a life lost. In my defense, I had been feeling restless and angry for some time by that point, and I have been tormented by the hideous beast ever since.

I open my eyes, and the monster regards me with its cool green eyes. It rasps, "Do you feel that you are better than all other humans?"

"No!" I cry, for I do not wish it to be true.

"You wish to rid yourself of hate, but you cannot."

"Untruth!" I shriek, even though it was a hasty and unrehearsed answer. The monster waits - perhaps it knows of my mind's own tricks - but I am loath to correct myself.

"You lack any semblance of love for your classmates, your sister, your cat, your mother, and your father."

"Sacrilege!" I roar, but I cannot get up. I feel heavy; the water within me pins me to the sofa, like a drunkard lazing within my stomach.

The monster tells me, "You do not respect your parents, because your schoolwork is undone and your belly is taut, filled with water."

"I don't understand you, odious being," I snarl, bluffing so that it will tire of my insolence. "Do you mean to suggest that my schoolwork is undone?"

"I have seen your backpack, friend. You would be afraid to discover that you have not opened it. Your snack rots inside your lunchbox; your pens rot from disuse. Ay, you are either a hypocrite or a liar."

"Why have you come, woeful and awful being? Am I to die at your terrible hands? Will you rip me apart?"

"I come bearing a message which you should have learned months ago. Your foolish sacrifices mean nothing."

I attempt to will him away by closing my eyes, but his breath is like that of a furnace. The putrid stench of rotting flesh emanates from his ominous frame. I find a water bottle in my hand, and I drink instinctively.

"You down the Internet like beer and drown your sorrows in water, hoping desperately that you can reverse your past mistakes. Beware, for the sheer volume will end your life."

"The beer does not kill."

"All things kill in too high a volume. Attempt to neutralize your soul and distill your sins with water, and you shall find yourself fading, a slave to these erasing effects."

I consider it. Would I rather live this life in which I am nothing but a disappointment, or burn in my rightful place, the bottle in my hand?

The light within my eyes agitates the monster. "You are a fool to consider yourself worthy of death."

"You were a fool to consider your meal worthy of death. I know your kind. You eat well and then kill harmless birds to wind yourselves down. Millions die from your foolish endeavors. Pathetic."

What can it do? It surveys me, disgusted. "Do you think your affinity for distraction is in any way the same as mine? You and your kind trap us in glorified cages, while the others let us free. You too trapped yourself in a cage, attempting to ignore the fact that by maiming me, you had done nothing but sadden your sister."

What was I to do? He had killed the bird, feasting on its nether regions. He had looked to me in innocence, as if he had done nothing. I could not resist. I had to hit something in this world which couldn't hit me back. If I deny that deep in my soul, I know that what I did was wrong, it makes utter sense. I am in the right.

I am, right?

It scratches deep into my stomach and I can feel the blood rushing out. "You are in the wrong." His words resonate within me as I sleep.

When I wake up, and my stomach feels fine, and I cannot see a gash. I remember that I killed my cat, that I do not really love my classmates, that I hate my cat and I'm lukewarm towards my sister, that I love my mother and father even though I don't work hard enough to stop them from worrying. But I can change all that if I admit that I can't focus and I have an internet addiction.

I go to my backpack, take out my homework, and start finishing it, hoping that I can stop hiding this problem from myself. But I can already feel myself forgetting what happened today.

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