29 March, 2011

I Can Haz YouTube Channel?

I have a YouTube channel. I have no idea what I'm goingto fill it with, but if I have to see my face everyday then so do you.

Here is my latest one, and I edited it, so it's not 600 minutes long this time.


26 March, 2011

Rebecca Black's Friday - A Scholarly Analysis

 Rebecca Black's Friday - A Scholarly Analysis


Official Music Video
Lyrics


I told myself that I wasn’t going to do this… wasn’t going to jump on the shitty song bandwagon for a chance to whore my site to people. However the indie-anti establishment-tree hugger me that hates selling out never existed, so that’s good. On with the whoring!

Ok so I’m at work: Someone sends a link and says “at least the lyrics aren’t as good as this song.” Right away I had the feeling that my life was about to end. You know that feeling where you know you shouldn’t do something but you do it anyway? And then you realize that was a fucking terrible idea? That was the point I was at. Friends call me Whiskers because I’m curious as a cat, so I clicked the link.

Let me recap to you what my initial thought process was watching this, and I have included the official lyrics and video link above for you to follow along!

For the Photoshop fans out there, you know in Filter settings, where you go to Sketch and it turns your picture into a really shitty imitation of a sketch from someone’s pencil? You know, the “sketch” novelty photos all the 13 year olds have as their Facebook profile photo because it hides their puberty induced acne, bad hairdos, and braces? (Everyone knows what I’m talking about) Basically the beginning of this video has a horrifying Rebecca sketch singing the word “yeah” and “Yeah ah ah ah ark” (Ya… not joking that’s the official lyric). I say horrifying because LOOK AT IT!

This face has given me nightmares for a week. She looks like an old ass lady crossed with Vince Vaughan. Take a look at the right side of her face, her jaw line. WTF is with that, it’s like her jaw is missing, where’s the rest of it?

So the next actual scene we see with her is the part where she wakes up at 7am, and sits up in bed singing. First off, this is a music video not a real life interpretation of life. I understand her hair is supposed to look “bedhead-y”, but let’s just be honest for a second… really? A music video is supposed to make the singer look great at all times. She looks like she stuck a fork in an electrical socket. YET she is wearing eyeliner right out of bed, so where was the art director on that one, make up your mind this isn’t a see-saw. Maybe she was up on an all night bender, who am I to judge.

At this point Rebecca is ready for school and singing from a page of her to-do list. Does anyone else think it is a little weird she says “Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal” like its two separate thoughts? Rebecca can’t go to school until she smokes a bowl and then eats Lucky Charms out of the box and giggles. While she’s singing in her house you can see what looks like her mom screaming at children and her dad going into a drunken rage, with his hands up in the air yelling. Awkward.

Ok so she’s standing in front of the bus stop now, and she sees her friends pull up in a convertible, with some kid driving who looks like he hasn’t had his first erection yet and who care barely see over the steering wheel. Have we mentioned she’s 13? This means that A) The kid driving is 13 and driving illegally B) If A is true we can assume he stole his parent’s convertible or C) Rebecca black is allowed to hang out with 16 year old boys who have a license at 13 years old. Also did you catch the Mole in the car?

Either way if that was me my mom would be beating my ass for even thinking about getting into a car with a 13 year old driver, with a stolen car. Or if he’s of age I’d get beaten again for being in a car with a boy who had his license when I was 13. “What would a 16 year old boy want with a 13 year old?” Every 13 year old in the history of the world rolls their eyes at this moment and is convinced that their mom doesn’t know shit about their life while – newsflash - your mom is right, asshole.

The lyrics here are:

Kickin’ in the front seat

Sittin’ in the back seat

Gotta make my mind up

Which seat can I take?

As a first thought if that was my car I stole from my dad, if someone be kicking in the backseat I be taking my back hand to their face. Also, I’m pretty sure that convertible has the front seat full. The driver + passenger = 2 people. I’m not really sure what Rebecca has to make up her mind about, but I’m almost positive there’s nowhere for you to sit unless you want to sit on the stick shift, and if you do we’re not even getting into that discussion today. Get in the back, bitch!

So she’s sitting on the back seat on the freeway, where high velocity winds could pick her off like a cow in a tornado. Great idea! Now she specifies that it is 7:45, does this mean she skipped school altogether? My mom would ruin me. Or does this mean she got dropped off by the felon and picked up again to cruise around wasting gas at 124 cents a litre after school? It looks darker so I’m assuming she put in a hard day in gym class, recess, and art and needed an escape.

These are actually Rebecca Black’s friends in real life, which makes this video so much worse because both of the girls in the backseat have braces on. Maybe they’re out celebrating the fact Rebecca doesn’t have braces, and she can chew all the gum and eat all the apples she wants (in your face, orthodontist). At this point she says some bullshit that makes no sense and then proceeds to point out that her friend is by her right. She makes a big show of pointing to her friend on her right, who no offence to her, but she looks like a real bitch. Meanwhile, Shrek to her left is smiling away waiting for Rebecca to point to her and give her a shout out too, but I think maybe the producers didn’t want her to point out the friend on her left anymore than they already had too. I feel almost bad for her, how tall is she? She must be at least twice the size of the other one, and both of them can’t dance or jam worth shit.

Also her head isn't even in the frame because she's so tall, and they must have blown the budget on the convertible because her head isn't in focus the whole time. Great videotography! Did you see the full moon in the background, the friend on the left is going to change into a werewolf any second. I could go on all day.
So they pull up to this, what can only be described as a Grease car-bush party, where everyone I parking on the lawn of this house. This reference will be lost on most of you but we have a beach called Wasaga, and all the Italian gino’s take their supped up 1990 Honda Civic’s down and park them on the strip, while trying to mack on girls walking by. This reminds me of that, only less hair gel, and much more of a chance of these 13 year olds will walk away with tail.

Now they’re all hanging out in the front yard leaning on their cars like gangstas, and have you noticed that all the girls are dressed like they’re going to the Junos? Mad cocktail dresses up in this 13 year old house party. I don’t know how house parties are now, but when I was a kid (cue Professor Farnsworth’s voice) we wore a tshirt and jeans to house parties; anything that was easy to hide in our backpacks and sneak into the laundry before your mom noticed all the puke, Wisers, and tears on your outfit. You can’t sneak a party dress to the dry cleaners.

Also check out the footwear these kids are wearing! When I was 13 I didn’t even know how to walk in thong flip flops (no joke) never mind wear a pair of peep-toe stilettos. Also someone needs to tell this girl that wearing a dress that’s too tight for your body is one thing, but wearing granny panties that divulge your panty lines chiseled into your ass is never a fun party photo to put on your locker. Also if you can’t walk in heels, please don’t… wear them.

Here’s the bridge, again with the creepy Sketch version of Rebecca, eating your soul:

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday

Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)

We-we-we so excited

We so excited

We gonna have a ball today

(She might get a few balls from the 13 year old guys after this video, amirite?)

My English teacher would have a fucking FIT if you handing in these lyrics as viable sentences in a paragraph. She would repeatedly punch you in the face until you corrected “we so excited” with someone that didn’t sound like a 4 year old kid from the ghetto wrote it. Ok go get a piece of paper and a pen because this next part is important, you better write this shit down: Yesterday was Thursday, Today is Friday, tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards.

Now is the best part, a random black guy rapping on the highway adding so much street cred you won’t even know what to do with all of it. He looks as though he’s rapping like he’s supposed to have grillz on, or he’s eating some grapes. He explains he’s following Rebecca Black’s school bus, and in doing so Chris Hansen is about to appear kickin’ in the back seat any minute. “Why don’t you… have a seat?” “WHICH SEAT WILL I TAKE?!”

Then we have Rebecca standing on a stage or something like it’s a Simple Plan concert, with misunderstood 13 year olds who hate their parents getting rowdy. Cut to Rebecca trying to hit a note, which ends up sounding like my Corolla when I use the E-break to pull donuts in the parking lot at Best Buy. As a side note, she should not be wearing that much blue eye shadow, or any blue eye shadow. Who was the makeup artist, Mimi? (Drew Carrey Reference coming at you)

 Then as the song winds down there’s a shot of the black dude getting jiggy with it, while probably driving to this 13 year olds house party, because 13 year olds are the only ones who think he can rap.



Sexual Exploitation Fears and the Internet

Accusations from adults and parents alike are deeming social networking sites “dangerous” (Willard 2008) because teens and kids are all alone ‘out there’ with no adult supervision; why, who knows what will happen! With so many outlets for creative expression rampant and usually run by young adults themselves, order is slowly becoming a distant dream from adults, and they are finally realizing that the internet has no means of control by anybody. One of the most common assumptions by parents is that teens are posting too much information for the world to see; including private information like addresses, names, and even pictures. Some would call this a self exploitation – unknowing teens posting a multitude of information attracting pedophiles and predators. Young girls who innocently post a picture of herself in a bra are then surprised to find a 40 year old man on her doorstop wearing a Childlurker14939 name tag and a bottle of Bourbon. Hysteria ensues when a parent finds a self portrait of her child posing seductively in her bathing suit, or a video of his son having a ‘wicked awesome’ time drinking Russian Vodka through a funnel and puking over neighbour Agatha’s fence into her prized organic petunia garden. Using a case study as a blueprint for this paper, we will be analyzing my own personal use of social networking sites and how the internet can actually be a controlled substance, if one knows how to use it, and not a Brazilian red light district.


The first section of this paper will focus on how the media and adults have created the idea that teens on these sites are questioning their moral upbringing and will ultimately end in death or worse, as a result of being involved in these sites. The fear for these websites is enormous, and it’s assumed that teens might not know how to handle them in a safe way. Susan Herring says that technology shouldn’t be feared and “for fluent young users who know their way around a range of information and communication technologies, [they] can use them simultaneously (multitask), and are able to learn new ones quickly, technology is at their service—they shape (customize) it, rather than it shaping them” (78). Teens, kids, and even young adults own the information age; they fill the internet, develop the software, and they create new and unique ways to express themselves.

First off, social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook are not “dangerous” breeding grounds for seedy perpetrators, who are waiting for na├»ve teens to upload their information so they can look up their address and root through their garbage. Places like MySpace, thrive on the idea that if you upload pictures, people want to look at them – this is not always the case. Just because your emotional daughter got a new side bangs haircut that neatly displays half of one of her raccoon eyes, doesn’t mean that predators are waiting in the bushes of her page licking their lips at the thought of 15 still-frame shots of her looking at the ceiling with an interrogation light in her face.

All the media attention that has been featured lately on social networking sites, privacy and threat issues, and the chance of sexual predators makes it hard to look at these sites as entertainment, and not as a pick up tool. Implications that young girls are posting sexual explicit photos to gather attention because they are deprived of adult interaction may or may not be true, but is certainly played up. My experiences with social networking sites has resulted in seeing a lot of sexual pictures being posted as ‘jokes’ or for fun from other users. Pictures of girls in revealing tops exposing ample boob and thong cleavage, guys making rude gestures and comments on others pages, and even pictures of couples kissing or in provocative situations posted for the world to see. These might be seen as warning signs that too much personal information is being leaked online, and that nobody should even know your full name, never mind your address, home phone number, cell phone number, a jpeg map to your house with your room circled and the times you are home alone written at the bottom.

As hypocritical as it may seem for myself to be saying this, as a social networking site user, people who use these sites are fully aware of what they are doing. The fact that most people screen photos not to include when uploading is proof that we actually examine the information before we post it; it just so happens we are more comfortable with exposing ourselves then our parent’s generation. The hysteria from the media is only half true, and don’t explain the facts fully for people to realize that the internet isn’t a gingerbread house, with their unsuspecting children finding it in a forest. In fact “data showed that one in five youth online had been sexually solicited [… but] a closer look revealed that the majority of these sexual solicitations in 2001 were not from adult predators, but instead came from other youth” (Cassell, Cramer, 56). We grew up with IRC, chat rooms, online games, and various other things that involved us to interact with other people all over the world. The people who choose to meet others whom they’ve met online are aware of what is happening, and are wearier of dangers that could happen. As a result of our upbringing being technologically infused, I can argue we are safer because we know that can happen, and we are aware of the signs. Others, and there are others, who meet people online in unsafe ways and either are unaware or don’t care to plan this meeting safely, are the ones who might have needed more of a parental monitor. If teens are not aware of their surroundings, and do not know how to safely cohabit, interact, and possibly meet others, then they should not be able to do so. Teenagers are constantly told to grow up, but then when they find an outlet for personal growth they are told they are too young to know the implications of such technologies, and the connotations they represent.

Gone are the ways of running across the yard and knocking on a neighbour’s door asking if their child can come out to play – it has been replaced with the instantaneous knock from one IP to another. Teens still need acceptance, reassurance, and attention just like the teens did 50 years ago; they are just in two separate ways. It provides an opportunity for all voices to be heard, and gives the chance of popularity to those who might not otherwise have had it 50 years ago. Nerds and geeks rejoice at the idea of posting their thoughts and personal pictures online to connect with thousands of other’s exactly like them, and not having to worry about bullies or popular jocks stealing their Popsicle stick replica of Mordor out of their desk after show and tell. I admit I have pictures that may be deemed a scandal on my Facebook page, and I will explain why I have them. Embarrassingly I was somewhat bullied in public school; not a lot but enough to make me feel bad about myself for a few years during those awkward pre-teen stages. I was super skinny and hadn’t filled out whatsoever (I'm still waiting), my hair was unmanageable and frizzy, and I had a speech impediment. Since then I have always looked for attention, to tell myself that people are paying attention to me for once. When high school hit and through the years I shed the awkward Amanda and replaced her with the more attractive version, I have always felt inadequate and needed to know I was important. When online customizable sites became popular, everyone hurried on to express their identity. I used bright colours, witty diction, and clever quotations to show people I had emerged from my graceless cocoon and emerged a star in my own right. I used social networking sites to display my assets and to show off what I had become, boyfriends, intelligent literature, and clever sayings to display my personality. It lets geeks and nerds have their opinion seemingly matter to people, to let teens and kids have a place to post news about their day, frustrations, limitations, and of course photos of themselves and friends.

These sites can be argued to have appositive effects as well, like boosting self esteem, or eliminating shyness. As well, teens can get involved and make a difference in their community by posting “links or information about issues, current events, or ways to get involved on their profiles [, where] other youth are more likely to get involved or take action if they find out about something from a friend” (Raynes-Goldie and Walker, 175). Also they can combine their networks through their profiles; “the efficacy of this was demonstrated in 2006, when American youth used their MySpace profiles to organize a countrywide walkout in protest of new immigration laws” (Raynes-Goldie and Walker, 175). The information they have posted that seemed so harmful has actually been used to join others and can be a catalyst for change.

There are so many opinions on social networking sites; it’s hard to keep track of them. Whether the users indulge in the giving of too much information, seem to trusting, or are ignorant to the possibility things might happen to them, or to the overzealous religious zealot who believes that these sites will end up in murder, perversion of moral ethics, or a vessel to have their kids grow further away from them, it is safe to say that social networking sites have their share of judgments As a user of these sites I believe that if teens implement caution, and privacy options to block unwanted attention, the sites can be a great way of expression and discovery. I do not believe teens proposition themselves for attention, but with the way these are set up and the obvious social implications that come with them, social networking sites are indeed a tool for youth to use to explore and create their identity; not to purposely exploit themselves.

*Ed. Note* [Forgot the sources, didn't want you guys to think I was making this shiz up! Added below.]

Bibliography


Cassell, Justine, and Meg Cramer. “High Tech or High Risk: Moral Panics about Girls Online." Digital Youth, Innovation, and the Unexpected. Edited by TaraMcPherson. The John D. and Catherine T.MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 53–76. doi: 10.1162/dmal.9780262633598.053



Herring, Susan C. “Questioning the Generational Divide: Technological Exoticism and Adult Constructions of Online Youth Identity." Youth, Identity, and Digital Media. Edited by David Buckingham. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 71–92. doi: 10.1162/dmal.9780262524834.071



Raynes-Goldie, Kate, and Luke Walker. “Our Space: Online Civic Engagement Tools for Youth." Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth. Edited by W. Lance Bennett. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 161–188. doi: 10.1162/dmal.9780262524827.161



Willard, Nancy. "MySpace and the Attorney General." Nancy Willard's Web Blog. 14 Jan 2008. 22 Oct 2008 .

22 March, 2011

#Winning Photography

Take a look at my #Winning photography album. Just a random collection of photo's I've taken that I felt were decent enough to share with you. Comment and let me know what you think!



11 March, 2011

Miniblog Part 3: "How Would You Know?"

5 Things you wouldn’t believe happened to me; but did


Minisode Part 3/5 – “How would you know?”


This is probably the best one, but the most for me to have to remember so I will do my best to tell things exactly as they were.

I have always had a PC desktop… It’s my drug of choice. I’ve used Mac, laptops, Macbooks, iMac, and eMacs in high school, (remember those?!) (Actually as a separate subject I used one of these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Macintosh_128k_transparency.png it was in my kindergarten room when I was 5).

So when I got to university I took my trusty beast computer with me. This was our family computer I eventually wiped and rebuilt (omgz I used to know how to do that shiz), I added parts, modified it, replaced ribbon cables (that’s how old that thing was) blah blah, PCI-slotted stuff up, the works. The computer was basically Frankenstein’s monster after I was done with it. It had parts from all over the place, and it was like a Clydesdale horse-tank, and could run ANYTHING. I had masterfully acquired the whole creative suite at one point I was running 5 programs from CS and my computer was all like “yup, no problem, keep it coming”. Those were big programs. Photoshop and Premiere especially.

So fast forward to my story; it’s first year of university exam time, which means its finals during X-mas. Being a Communications major most of our exams were take home, which meant a ton of papers I had to write. With 5 classes per semester, I had final papers for each class and then a few take homes also worth 20% or more of my final mark. So during exams there isn’t much class, used to study/write exams, so I remember in the middle of the night in my dorm room I shared with my roommate/friend, I distinctly remember smelling something burning. Like burning plastic. Went back to bed.

I woke up the next morning and the whole room reeks of burning and melted plastic and the whole hallway of our residence smelled of burning Barbies. So what happened was the fan on my computer literally caught fire, literally. Literally caught fire, and melted the fan like a fucking Crayola crayon on the driveway in July. Now that I think about it it’s a good think it didn’t blow up or catch the room on fire, I think I could have died. Oh well. So I remember all my shit was on the computer, all my papers, my bullshit exams… Basically I was in panic mode.

Luckily I had e-mailed the stuff I needed to myself beforehand and I ended up buying a fan and replacing it when I went home for the holidays. Anyway, the point of this story was… actually I have no idea I just wanted to let you know that.

Oh wait I think I remember now. So I had to deal with this PC tank until I think it started falling apart like the zombie called back from the dead by the Monkey’s Paw, literally pieces of it were exploding and not working. I bought a new computer second year, and was fine.

So third year came around and I started my deep and dark submersion into WoW-ism. There was a point where I would literally stay up all night playing this stupid shit and miss classes because there was raids going on. At the pinnacle of this time in my life I thought to myself: “When I absolutely can’t skip class and have to go… How can I play Warcraft at school without installing it onto the computer lab computers (admin bullshit, you know)?” And it came to me like a beautiful rack of Beer Basted Boar Ribs at the Salty Sailor Tavern in Booty Bay… By George Costanza I needed a laptop.

So I got a laptop which helped me shovel WoW into my face 24/7, and also for “school work.” As a side note I believe this allowed me to run my alts and use Guild members Main’s to run my Main’s through dungeons… blah blah blah don’t pretend you haven’t done this. The laptop was my baby; Dell XPS 13”, very top of the line at the time I bought it. I treated that thing better than I would treat a child. I’d take the battery out if I was plugging it in for prolonged periods of time, I would always use it on a flat surface, never leave it on more then I needed it to be on, etc. So one day I'm watching TV and surfing the interwebz on my laptop in the family room with my roommate when she points out my XPS is making a really loud sound. I realize OMFG my fan is fucking Donovan Bailey and is sprinting when I only have one browser open. It was running skin-meltingly hot (its metal) and I was super sad I would have to take it in to get looked at since it was at most 4 months old.

So I bought the laptop at Staples (first mistake), second mistake was I tried to explain to the guy at the counter what I thought was wrong. Let’s back it up.

So I bring my boyfriend to Staples with me on our way somewhere, to drop this off to send out. Now I know that there are probably several reasons why my fan is constantly on and my laptop is overheating and shutting off. I know that my computer is brand new and it’s probably not hardware related, I also know it’s not blocked vents because of how I take care of it. This leaves a software issue; or in what was to be believed as a BIOS issue, which was interfering with the computers software which controls the operation of the cooling fans. I'm assuming after installing software on my computer, one of the third party programs somehow was causing BIOS-related shit to go down. I consulted with a few other geeks and we established this is probably the issue, so I would probably need to format it; however I wanted to send it away to make sure because I am paranoid.

So we get to Staples and Lance and I get to the counter. The guy is maybe early 20’s, and I put the computer on the counter and begin to explain what’s going on. Immediately he addresses Lance instead of me, even though Lance is just standing beside me. He starts to go through all the normal questions: “Have you tried plugging it in?” etc and Lance tells him it’s my computer not his.

So finally he’s talking to me writing on a form.

Him: So what’s happening to it exactly?

Me: The fan is going crazy, it never shuts off, and it’s overheating and running extremely hot.

Him: Ok well it’s probably a faulty fan

Me: I don’t think so, the computer is brand new, I just bought it less than 6 months ago and I don’t use it that often, it just started recently.

Him: Fans break all the time (at this point I believe he was trying to one up me)

Me: Well, can you write on that form to check the BIOS, I'm pretty sure it’s faulty or affecting the computer making this happen.

Get ready for the best line ever

Him: How would you know?

Me: *Raises eyebrows* because that’s what I think it is, could you write that down at least so they check it?

He goes to the backroom and leaves us standing there for a minute. I turn to look at Lance who is making a face, his eyebrows also raised; we had a short discussion that went something like this:

Me: Did he just fucking say that to me?

Lance: That just happened.

So the guy comes back and is super rude to me now, cutting off what I'm saying and rolling his eyes when I am telling him I don’t think it’s the fan (I am saying this repeatedly because he said they would just take the computer in the backroom and one of the guys will replace the fan instead of shipping it out). I wanted to tell him; “Listen, the 16 year olds that work back there? I don’t want them near my computer.” Of course now I am telling him to send it to Dell instead of letting it sit in the Nerd room for some pimply faced teen to pry it open and haphazardly rip out a working fan. For some reason this terrifies me because the dude is not listening to what I am saying, and he keeps undermining me in front of me to my face.

Eventually he tells me that he’ll send it out, after acting like he’s doing me a favour, and humouring me, meanwhile the whole time has a look on his face like a crazy cat lady came into the store and told him the sky was red.

So two weeks or whatever later, Staples calls me. The conversation went like this:

Staples: Hello, your computer has shipped back; we have it for you to pick up

Me: Oh thanks, did they find out what was wrong with it?

Staples: Yeah, you had a corrupt BIOS and they had to format it. (I had given permission to do so if they needed to when I was in Staples)

Me: Ok thanks *hangs up* I fricken KNEW THAT SHIT!!!!!!!

Check and mate, Staples asshole. Hope you went home and cried then got a job at the circus, because you shouldn’t be touching computers for a living.

07 March, 2011

Top 10 reasons this blog feels like my child

I just wanted to let everyone know that Clover has purchased the domain http://www.cloverquips.com/ and she feels more grown up. By she I mean me, but everyone knows if you're important you always refer to yourself in third person.
This blog feels like a child I would probably have, and here are the top 10 reasons why:



1) I created it by accident after being drunk one night

2) The next day I tried to get rid of it but didn’t know how

3) I decided to keep it because I might like the attention

4) I dump all my problems onto it

5) It was pretty ugly so I gave it a facelift

6) I didn’t like how it was developing so I forced my own interests on it

7) I use it to get visited

8) All my free time is used on it

9) I forget about it for days at a time

10) I whore it out for a penny's worth of revenue

06 March, 2011

The Rising - A Short Story


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PT. 1
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They said it would change our lives; that we would never have to be afraid again – That we would never have to be afraid. They didn’t say much the whole time we were there, so I remembered that piece clearly. Some days I try to remember what it was like before, but I can’t. I’ve heard after a traumatic experience your memory purposely blocks things out, so you don’t have to relive them, and maybe that’s what has happened with us – all of us – when we were still all together, before what happened.

*******
All I heard was loud yelling followed by a wet thud, as there was a connection between a fist and flesh – I wasn’t sure whose – as I readied myself behind the grocery store’s brick wall; peeking out, eye’s fixated on the sliding doors.

“Go!” Rown screamed, as he flashed out of the doors clutching a 10lb bag of apples over his shoulders and peeled into the parking lot where I took off after him, both of our chests now heaving while we sprinted towards the woods. Rown struggled with the apples as he ran; the bag was coming undone and Macintosh apples spilled from the bag like a trail from Hansel and Gretel. I stole a glance behind me as the grocer – a huge man – was running after us as we tore across the pavement and up the cement barricade leading towards the forest. In one fell swoop I grabbed the bag from Rown and swung it over one shoulder, securing the bag’s opening, and quickly climbed the cement dam and loped into the trees, Rown – relived – scurried after me.

“I told you I should have gone in,” I sighed, as we walked over the forest floor, twigs cracking and crunching under our worn sneakers. “The bag was way too heavy for you to carry. Plus your face is bleeding, what are we going to do for that now?” Rown frowned as he dragged behind me, gingerly touching his split cheek where the grocer had socked him and examining the blood on his fingers.

After about 20 minutes of navigating through the thicket of trees, we finally stepped into the familiar clearing, exposing makeshift huts and lean-to shelters we had constructed several months ago. A small figure came out of one of the 4 huts and stepped up to us, shooting me a raised eyebrow when she noticed that the bag of apples had some casualties, as she took the bag from me.

“I take it you didn’t go in?” Mila muttered to me as she grumbled back into the hut she came out of. A taller boy, no more than 14, emerged out of the lean-to when he heard the noise of our arrival.
“Hollo, Rown! Welcome back!” Jin beamed as he rushed over to greet us. He took one look at Rown’s swollen face and made a concerned face. “I got just the thing, be right back!” He spun on his heels and hightailed it back to his hut, disappearing inside. Rown glanced over at me and rolled his eyes, I gave him a knowing look, which made him sigh noisily and shake his head. Jin appeared in front of us with a cloth and a handful of leaves. “I pricked myself on a thorn yesterday and figured out if you put these leaves on a wound it helps it.” He offered his hand of leaves to Rown. He took the cloth out of Jin’s other hand instead, pressed it to his face and mumbled a word of thanks.
“We’ll prepare dinner, go wash up Rown, and take Jin.” I nodded my head towards the little babbling stream, it gurgled as it wound its way in-between the trees and past our clearing, giving us a great little lagoon to use to bathe. I turned and headed towards the middle hut where the apples were before Rown could roll his eyes at me again.

“Why would you let him go in there himself? Jesus Hollo, only Rown would get punched by the grocer. We can’t let him go back in there now; did he see your face too?” Mila looked concerned as she stopped cutting apple slices and stared up at me.
“Rown is a smart guy, and he’s fast, I didn’t expect him to take such a big bag,” I gathered the slices Mila had cut and threw them into a cracked plastic bowl, which we had found floating by in the stream. “He’s just a little careless sometimes; his pride is definitely something that gets in his way.” I looked around Mila’s hut, this was the biggest we had, and was the one that was constructed the best. It was the size of a standard bedroom, and housed a small area where she slept on leafy bedding, a crude bench constructed out of wood, and a childrens pink plastic chair Jin found in the parking lot a few weeks ago. Where we were standing was a little table we used to cook or prepare food we had.

There we four of us; runaways or homeless; either way we didn’t have anywhere else to go. I had a family once, years ago. My mother was so high on pills and booze she didn’t remember who I was most of the time, and my stepfather was more concerned with gambling our money to make sure there was food on the table. When I was 8 I came home from school and found two syringes on the kitchen table, when I was 11 I hid in the bathroom while my step father whored my mother out to his friends for cash to pay down his debts. When I was 14 he cornered me against the wall and punched me in the head repeatedly until I blacked out. I regained consciousness in a heap in the back yard, realizing he had thrown my body outside and locked the door after I passed out. I never looked back that night; I took off and haven’t seen them in almost 3 years. I lived on the streets for a while; I tried a shelter once, but awoke in the night to two men trying to smother me with a pillow to steal my shoes, so I never went back.

Mila lived with her grandmother until she was 14. Once her grandmother died, the state decided to put her into a distant uncle’s custody until she turned 18. We don’t know much about what happened, but from what she’s mentioned he abused her savagely until she took off one night, not long after she got there. I met Mila in a soup kitchen in Boston; I immediately thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever laid eyes on. She was skinny and pale, I could tell she wasn’t doing very well on her own, which hadn’t been long I learned. I was a decent looking guy with blonde hair and grey-blue eyes. Someone told me I looked like a young Topher Grace once, so when I introduced myself she smiled and allowed me to sit down with her. Mila had gorgeous red hair that cascaded down her back like a waterfall; her glowing green eyes shared more than her words ever did. From her past she developed severe trust issues but soon overcame them and let me take the role of the provider. Since that day we’ve been inseparable; we quickly became fast friends and developed an untold level of trust over the past 2 years. 

About a year ago we met Rown, a kid who was always getting into trouble with the police, his parents, and basically everyone he met. He was a really nice guy, but sometimes he came off as abrasive or uncaring because he distances himself away from anyone who tries to get close to him. His sister died in a car accident when he was younger, and from then on he explained that he was never the same. He ended up setting fire to his principal’s car, and that’s when his parent’s didn’t know what else to do, so they threw him out. There was a group of homeless men who Mila and I stayed away from, but they had picked up Rown and were using him as a mule for transporting drugs. One day we heard shouting and we found Rown in an alley fresh from being gang beaten by some of the men, and we took him under our wing after that. He was a runner, he was thin and had wiry brown hair and brown eyes, but he had long legs and could grab unguarded items outside of stores and was gone before anyone noticed. 

Not long after that, Rown was caught stealing and was taken in by police. He eventually escaped (we never found out how), but not before his face was plastered all over every police station and local convenience store. We decided to get out of Boston and go up north to Ontario, trying our luck with a new country and an absence of disgruntled Boston cops. We traveled to Hearst, a town in northern Ontario where we could disappear and try our hand at living remotely. We built huts, we fished with homemade lures, trapped small animals and we sometimes wandered into town, very aware not to call attention to ourselves since we resided close by. The small town grocery store sits on the boarder of the Boreal forest, and when we needed to we would creep down and nab anything left sitting outside on display; food, items, or anything of value.

Then there was Jin; I met Jin a few weeks ago at the YMCA and youth shelter. I was there looking at the job wall – I sometimes picked up odd jobs for a little money – and he was staying there. I had grown rather familiar of the place, and had never seen him before so I asked the receptionist. She whispered to me that he has been in and out of foster homes all of his life, and nothing stuck, so he was here, refusing to go back to his most recent foster family. I'm not sure how it happened but one day I took him back to the clearing with me and he wanted to stay with us. Rown was not impressed from the get go, thinking Jin was annoying and needy, and always getting in the way. He would also point out Jin was one more mouth to feed, and one more person to hide. Begrudgingly he allowed Jin to stay, and we built him his own lean-to against a rock bed, which he seemed delighted with.
The clearing housed 3 huts and Jin’s lean-to, each one was pretty well crafted as we learned to build, and fix things ourselves. The little money I collected helped buy us whatever else we needed to get by. To be honest, we were a pretty tight knit family unit already, and I was just happy being around them. After we had eaten a couple of the apples from the stolen bag, and lazily sat by the fire outside Mila’s hut, we all went to bed. Unknowing to us, this small bit of happiness together was the last we would ever have.

 I awoke in the middle of the night to gloved hands viciously covering my mouth, while these two masked figures tried to wrestle me out of my bed. I fought back; swinging my fist and connecting with one of their noses as red blood exploded everywhere. It startled the second person, as I jumped onto his back trying to take him down. I heard a bloodcurdling scream – Mila – as I realized they were trying to get all of us outside. The first guy I hit jumped on my back, hitting me in the head until I let go of his friend. The next few minutes I had my hands and feet bound, and a rag over my mouth as I was being hauled and dragged out of the hut and into the clearing. Jin’s unconscious body was slung over a man’s back, as he was carried out of the clearing into the thicket of the forest towards the parking lot; it seems he was the easiest to take down.

I watched helplessly as Rown dodged and sucker punched the masked man lugging Mila kicking from her hut. Two more men sprang from Jin’s lean-to, knocking it clattering to the ground, and hurled themselves on top of Rown, who was yelling loudly, thrashing back and forth trying to break free. One of the men started slamming the palm of his hand into the side of Rown’s face to knock him down, until a second man grabbed his arm and said: “Alive.” 

We were all taken, all being lead or dragged single file through the woods, no shoes, feet being torn up from the undergrowth of the forest bed in the pitch black. At one point Rown threw his weight into the guy leading him, sending him cracking into a tree. It didn’t do anything, as three others ran from behind and hauled Rown to his feet, and cracked something over his head. I heard his body fall and the sounds of him being pulled over the brush behind me.

We got to the parking lot where two black cube vans with their back doors open waited for the men leading us. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man in the van pour liquid from a jar onto a rag and pass the rag to the man carrying Mila. He shoved it into her face; I saw her struggle, fighting the unmistakeable effects of Chloroform, until she dropped like dead weight onto the pavement. The man effortlessly picked her up and threw her body into the first van beside Jin who was still out from his battle in the clearing. He slammed the doors shut and pounded on them, as the van’s engine ignited, and ripped out of the parking lot and down the road. I stared in horror as they threw Rown into the second van, already blacked out, and came after me. 1 driver, and 3 left over men held me down while I attacked, thrashed, and fought for freedom. The rag closed over my mouth and nose and the bitter smell screamed into my brain and my eyelids started to close. I knew if they got me into that van I would never come back, and as they loaded my body into the second van and closed the door, I look back on that moment and realize I was right.

-----------------------------------------
(Pt. 2)
-----------------------------------

If someone asked me to remember what had happened to me that night, I would have said I didn’t know. I would have said I woke up on that cot with no recollection of anything after watching my friends beaten, drugged and being thrown into the van. I would have said I awoke to an IV in my left arm and both my wrists restrained, in a hard and scratchy hospital gown thrown over my waist and legs. I would have said as soon as I looked down at my exposed chest and saw the dozens of heart monitor pads stuck to me, or the tray of bloodied tools I threw up. Of course if I told you that I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth, because I was awake when they did it to me. 

*********
Groggily I awoke in a dark, windowless room. My head pounded and my throat was so dry and swollen I thought I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I immediately tried to stand up, until I realized that I was tied to a hook in the wall with industrial twine by my hands and feet. I managed to get myself into a sitting position, and leaned my back against the wall enough so I could survey my surroundings.

The room was maybe the size of a small bedroom, slightly elongated, and concrete. Mila, Rown, and Jin lay on the ground beside me; all similarly tied up with twine to what looked like boating hooks hammered into the wall behind them. Rown’s face was bloody and swollen; a dark stain on the concrete under his face told me the blood that once pooled from his mouth had dried, which meant we’d been in here a while. Panic flushed over me as I struggled to control my breathing, was he dead? His body has obviously been in the same position from when he was thrown in here, letting his gash willingly bleed and have time to stop. 

I studied his chest - squinted my eyes to see through the dark – I saw the rise and fall of shallow breaths under his torn t-shirt and air released my lungs in a painful flood of relief. I glanced beside Rown and saw Jin on his back, with a huge slit right above his right eye to his ear where someone had taken one crack to his temple and split his skin. Mila was off to the side, laying sideways in the fetal position, which probably meant she had come-to at least once and passed out again. Rage pumped through my veins which made my head swell and my heart thunder like a stampede. I threw my weight as much as I could opposite from the hook, trying to break the rope; at 18 years old, 6’1”, and 165 pounds I wasn’t deemed small and I was determined to try. I leveraged my bound feet against the wall and used them to push off, wrenching my own back and neck trying to throw myself as far as I could.

My efforts were slain when the wooden door slammed open and bounced off the back of the wall of our room. One man in a lab coat stepped in and looked down at me with no expression in his face. Another man in a red t-shirt quickly ran in behind him, and glared at me. The two had a brief dialogue, and the man in the lab coat looked down and smiled, “You’ll be out soon enough, lad.”  Hi accent was foreign and baritone and he stared at me for a second longer before walking back out the door, leaving the man in red standing over me. A slow menacing grin slide over his tan face, and I realized this was one of the men who took us from the woods.

The man watched me like a hawk as he made his way to where Mila lay. My heart started to leap through my chest as he slowly crouched over her, never taking his eyes off me. He gently pushed a strand of her strawberry hair behind her ear, tracing his fingers over her face, eyes daring me to do something. “She’s lovely,” His smile was sour and chilling. Fury kicked through my body as I bucked and kicked off the walls, trying to tear my body free. He stood up and in 3 steps he stood over me once again as he wound his hand back and it plummeted sideways into my face, striking me to the ground as dead weight. My head punched the concrete floor and I was instantly dizzy, my vision blurry as I lay from where I had fallen, now struggling to keep consciousness. “The bigger they are eh harder they fall,” was the last thing I heard from him, as he grabbed Jin from the ground and violently snapped him up, letting his head lull dangerously over the man’s arm as he was carried through the door. 

The next few hours happened like clockwork. One by one the man in red came into the concrete room and grabbed one of the bodies on the ground. The door opened each time and washed the room with light, and one by one each of my friends disappeared as the door was shut and I was left in the dark. Finally it was just me left, and the familiar baritone voice just outside the room reminded me I would be next. The man in red opened the door and stepped into the room; soon the man in the lab coat followed and looked over his glasses at me. He knelt down and gingerly touched my face where I had been hit. He made a disapproving sound and looked up at the man in red, sternly saying something to him in a different language. The two raised their voices before finally I was cut free, and with a man under each arm, I was picked up and ushered out the door.

I was strapped to a table in a white room with the man in the lab coat, and a female nurse. The next few hours I was injected with countless serums from syringes of all sizes. The doctor recorded each injection and the display on a machine I was hooked up to and adjusted additional syringes lined up on a table beside him. The nurse was now taking my pulse as I looked up helplessly at her, fear and pain in my face. She peeked over her shoulder at the doctor - his back was to us measuring fluids from a beaker – her face was apologetic, as she quietly whispered in a similar accent “you have to be awake for this, I'm sorry.” I phased in and out at this point, feeling everywhere from drunk to nauseous, making the doctor and nurse rush over and inject me with different needles until I was well enough again. The doctor and nurse now huddled in a corner speaking the same foreign language. 

I had time to slowly look around the room. There were dozens of shelves, with jars and boxes, and several tables with tools, some bloody, some clean. All of a sudden I heard a sound I hasn’t heard before – whimpering. I strained my neck but from where I was laying I could only see the tops of cages, there must have been dozens of cages, with animals in them. I couldn’t tell what they all were but I heard a dog, and a bird, all the cages lined up in a row along the wall of the room. My chest tightened and my heart raced, I tried to control it but I couldn’t. It felt like my ribcage was splitting apart, and pain seared from my inside and burned up through my arm where the IV was. The taste of metal was in my mouth, and I was suddenly aware my nose was bleeding. My eyes were panic stricken, as I rapidly regained feeling in my body. A machine sounded an alarm, and the doctor yelled instructions to the nurse, who frantically searched for something on a table. My body was turning red, I felt my skin heat and my breath seize, the doctor screaming now at the nurse. He ran over, pushed her aside and grabbed a syringe from the tray and stuck it in my neck. My eyes closed and I faded out into sleep.

A young girl about 12 years old entered my room where I lay on the cot, and noticed the vomit. She hurried out of the room and returned a few minutes later with the nurse from the operating room. The nurse was carrying a stack of sheets and a bucket of water; she handed he bucket to the girl, set the sheets on the table, and disappeared again out the door.
“My mom said you were really brave today,” The girl had pale blue eyes, and blonde hair that landed in small curls along her shoulders, “no one has survived what you got before. That makes you really special.” She smiled at me, taking my hand in hers. I tried to respond but my throat was swollen closed. “Shhh, mom said you would be sore,” she then brought the bucket of water over to me fished a wet cloth out of it. She carefully wrung the water out and proceeded to clean my arms off, where I had thrown up on myself. “I'm not allowed to say much, but I know you’re probably scared,” the girl looked over her shoulder at the door and listened for any sign her mom was coming back, when she was satisfied she continued, “Your friends are fine, they’re resting, one of them is actually up and eating, the little one.” I closed my eyes and was flooded with relief, everyone was fine, and Jin was awake and eating. We were all alive.

The nurse walked back into the room wheeling another bed. She proceeded to make the bed up with the linen she brought in and motioned for the girl to leave. “I'm helping!” She pouted.
“This young man is not properly dressed, Silvia, you will leave the room please.” The nurse gave her the eye and the girl giggled as she skipped out of the room. The nurse looked down at me. “I apologize for my husband earlier; we did not know you would have a reaction like that. Are you in much pain?” She had the bed now beside the one I was on, and helped me hop over on to it, and then pushed the old bed towards the end of the room. “This should make you more comfortable. Are you still feeling sick?” I shook my head. “Good, the IV will help hydrate you; we couldn’t have you drinking anything beforehand so again I apologize.” She went to the IV stand and turned a dial. My eyes felt heavy and I drifted off.

I slept for a long time. I awoke in the bed feeling almost normal; no pain, my throat was as good as new, and the incisions on my legs and arms were almost gone. I then noticed I wasn’t connected to the IV and my wrists were free; my heart started to pound.
“I unbound you so you would feel more comfortable, Hollo. But please don’t try to leave, we have much to discuss.” The doctor in the lab coat was standing by the table, with a tray he brought over to me. “You may not have your appetite yet because of the IV, but you haven’t eaten in 2 days.” He put the tray on my lap; on it was a plate full of what looked like stew. My stomach growled. Was I out for 2 days? How long was I in the operating room? I made a mental note to find these out later and I hesitantly picked up the fork on the tray. The meat was gristly and the sauce was bitter, I choked on the first mouthful and looked up at the doctor. “We’re not a 4 star kitchen,” He replied, picking up on my displeasure. I thought back to the last meal I had eaten; the toasted apples. If I had known this was going to happen I would have bought a burger, I had no idea if that was the last meal I’d ever have outside of this prison.

I pushed it aside and figured I’d take my chances with not eating it. The doctor sighed and took the tray from me, and I cleared my throat. “I want to know what the hell is going on,” the look on my face showed that I was not going to be passive much longer, “and how did you know my name?” The doctor took a deep breath and looked at me.
“My name is Daniel Lupei, my wife is Ana and you met my daughter Silvia. We are originally from Romania; I was a doctor in biogenetics working for the Romanian Government. We primarily tested on animals, a hypothesis we were proving about cell transplantation and a few other things. A few years ago a well known animal rights activist group broke into our lab, freed the long term test subjects, stole unperfected serums, and set the place on fire.”

Daniel looked depressed and his head hung low; his voice quieted. “Using humans as test subjects was never my plan, I did not want to do it, but we were near a breakthrough. We were almost at a point where we were successfully splicing animal DNA with mutated DNA strands from humans, creating hybrids that had amazing supernatural abilities. Mice grew wings, a baboon developed the capacity for teleportation, and we even had a house cat who could breathe underwater. It was a miracle for science and nature alike. After our research was stolen, the Romanian government put me on a top secret project to try to see if our mutated strands could be used to give humans extraordinary gifts. If it was possible, it would rewrite biogenetic history; it would allow doctors to grow organs, it would eliminate Cancer dozens of other lethal illnesses, and it would allow for people to fight the injustice of the world – the evil.”

I stared at him, “you have got to be joking. You kidnapped us against our will and experimented on us, that has got to be illegal.” I started to get up off the cot; Daniel stepped up to me and put his hand on my wrist.
“Please don’t leave; I did this so you wouldn’t have to be helpless in the world. Homeless children who think they have nothing left, I have given you something that no one else will ever get to experience.” He looked into my eyes, pleading; his grip grew tighter on my arm.
“Daniel, let me go.” I said it with enough force I could feel him waver. I took my free arm and ripped his hand off my wrist. He suddenly yelled out something in Romanian, and the man in the red shirt came running to the door. He sent me a cold smile and came running over to me, leaping on top of the bed to get the wrist restraints back on. My heart started to race, and panic flooded my senses. I couldn’t let them keep me here I needed to leave - right now. A dull pounding sensation coursed through my brain, slowly gaining in frequency until it started to hurt.

I screamed out in pain, clutching my head as the man in red held me down and the doctor tied my legs to the cot again. My head felt like it was splitting apart.
“What did you do to me?” I yelled out, hearing the sound of blood pump through my ears, a sharp shooting pain was in my head; my hearing was cutting in and out. I could hear clips of the doctor and the man in red yelling to each other for help trying desperately to hold my thrashing body down. Ana came running into the room alongside Silvia, who took one look at me and her mouth dropped, while her mother ran over to the table of tools and grabbed a syringe. I knew if I was injected I would be put under and relocated – that wasn’t going to happen again, not this time.

Using my elbow I knocked the needle out of her hand and it scattered across the floor, Daniel jumped off the cot and dove for it, leaving the man in red fighting my arms into the restraints. My heart was beating so fast, and I felt another wave of pressure in my head. I shouted out, feeling like someone was sticking knives into my brain. The pain was too much and I closed my eyes as the man in red held my arms to my sides with his body, on top of me yelling for the syringe. Out of nowhere a feeling of calm came over my body, the pain was gone in my head and it was now replaced with a cooling sensation, like someone had turned on a fan. I opened my eyes and was face to face with the man in red, and the first emotion I felt was rage. His face froze instantly, as if he was a photograph, and his eyes rolled back into his head. My heart roared in my ears as I witnessed blood start to run down from his ears and nose, and his body convulse into a seizure, as he toppled off of my bed onto the floor. I turned to look at the doctor and the nurse - my eyes felt like they were burning - I made eye contact with Ana and she dropped like lead to the floor, blood pooling from her ears. The doctor was covering his face in his hands, crumbled on the floor, writhing about.

As the three of them lay on the ground, my heart began to subside, and I blinked my eyes furiously to try to calm the burning sensation. I looked around, panicked, and tore the leg restraints off as I jumped out of my cot and out the door into the hallway. Silvia was standing there, eyes wide in horror past me at her parents, not sure if they were dead or alive - I didn’t either. She looked up at me and slowly reached into her breast pocket of her dress and pulled out a tissue and took a step close to me. I instinctively backed up, but something about this little girl wasn’t threatening. She reached up to grab my shoulder and gently lower me to her level, as she dabbed my eyes with the tissue. As she pulled her hand back I noticed the tissue was soaked with blood, my eyes were bleeding. “I think that stops happening after a while,” she said, almost mechanically. “I told your friends they needed to leave, they’re waiting for you.” She stepped back and let me run by her. As I ran down the hall towards the other rooms I looked back and saw her run to her parents.

My pulse raced as I ran into the first room. It was a mirror of mine; cot, table, IV, but no one was in it, the cot was made up and the room looked unlived in. I ran across the hall to the third room, the bed was haphazardly thrown, like someone got up to go to the bathroom. I yelled out, but no one answered. I got to the last room and again, nobody was inside. I stopped, wheeled around and ran towards the big room I passed on the way to the operating room. I skidded inside, and noticed there were trays of half eaten food strewn on a table, one stool was on the ground - someone had left in a hurry. I ran back past the rooms to the end of the dark hallway, “Mila!” I screamed into the hall, “Jin, Rown!” I rounded the hall corner and saw Rown, hair matted to his forehead with sweat, and his bare chest exposed, two heart pads still on him.
“Rown, Rown, are you ok?” I yelled as I rushed up to him and grabbed his shoulders shaking him.
“I'm fine, there was a man here, he was in front of the door, I told Mila and Jin to run ahead and I could take care of him”, his breath was staggered and his skin was yellow.
“Rown where is Mila and Jin?”I grabbed his face and looked into his eyes, which were bloodshot.
“They went through that hallway, towards the exit,” Rown breathed heavily and his eyes were scared, “Hollo, I think I killed that man, I think I killed him. I didn’t mean to hurt him,” He started to cry, tears of exhaustion and pain rolled off his cut cheeks.
“It’s ok, it’s ok, we’ll be ok,” I grabbed him into a bear hug, and squeezed him, “we need to get the fuck out of here though, OK? Can you walk?”
“Ya, let’s just go.”

We ran through the labyrinth of hallways, each connecting to another door until I saw Mila supporting Jin’s body by the wooden exit door. “Hollow!” Mila cried out as I rushed up to her, swallowing her and Jin in a violent hug. Mila’s face was streaked with tears and she had her head bandaged up covering one of her eyes. I looked down at Jin who was swollen, cut, and was a very dangerous shade of red. “Jin’s not ok, he’s not ok, the door is locked from the outside, we can’t get out, we can’t get out!” Mile shrieked, as Rown grabbed her head and buried it into his chest as she sobbed.
“Mila put Jin down, Rown help me with this door.” As Rown helped Mila with Jin, I started to throw my weight into the wooden door like a battering ram. The door was solid, and was not budging. I looked for the pins that held the door together, and there were none; this was a fake door, it didn’t open.
“This door isn’t real… it doesn’t open.” I looked back at Rown and Mila with panic in my eyes. Rown stood up.
“Stand back,” I got behind him, as he took a few steps backward, and threw his entire body onto the door. The wood cracked as loud as a gun barrel, splitting the wood and creating a crack down the center of the door. He looked back at me, desperation in his face.
“Do it again Rown,” I had no idea how someone so small had that much power, more so than me, but whatever happened to us here, we would soon discover it was changing us. Rown backed up again, a little farther this time, and threw his shoulder into the crack, it splintered loudly as Rown’s body was thrown clear through the door, creating a gaping hole where we could escape, and landed on the dirt outside.
I didn’t waste time asking, I grabbed Jin in a fireman carry and took Mila’s hand and passed through the door.
“Wait!” A female voice cried out, as I looked through the hole in the door into the building, which was located in the middle of a forest, surrounded by trees. It was Silvia, and she was standing looking out at us. “Take me with you.” Rown grabbed my arm and spun me around,
“Don’t listen to this brat, she’s one of them, they kept us here. We’ll find out way out of here, just leave her let’s just go.” He glared into my face, begging me to leave. I hear a yell.
“Oh my god, Jin!” Mila was kneeling beside Jin’s body, his face screwed up in pain and coughing blood. I dropped to my knees and took Jin’s face in my hands,
“You’re going to be fine, just hang on, just hang on buddy.” Jin looked up at us and smiled. His skin was blistering, spreading over his face and arms. I immediately withdraw my hands and shuffled back. Steam rose from his mouth and face as he reached out to touch Mila’s hand.
“No!” Silvia shouted from the doorway, as I looked over to see her shaking her head feverishly.
“No don’t touch him!” I yelled; Mila screamed as Jin’s handprint seared into her arm, burning her skin, the smell of burnt flesh exploded into my nostrils. She broke free of his grip and held her arm with her other hand while she watched in horror as Jin burst into flames, his body on fire in the middle of the forest floor. I heard Rown throw up behind me and I stood, steel faced, watching my friend burn before my eyes, and I couldn’t help him. I quickly grabbed Mila off the ground and covered her face in vain, as the smell of Jin burning filled the air. Silvia ran up to me, tears fell from her eyes and soaked her dress where they had fallen.
“Please,” She said quietly, “I have nowhere else to go.” Just then I comprehend the fact I had killed her parents in that room.
“Hollo, leave her, look what just happened? You want to trust her now?” Rown growled.
“She’s just a girl, no older than I was. She’s alone Rown. She has nobody.” Mila stepped up to Silvia and wiped a tear from her face with her thumb, and took her hand. Rown sighed,
“Here we go again.”
“I guess that’s it then, come with us kid.”

We walked the four of us down a dirt path leading into the forest thicket. As we entered it with no plan aside from the hope to survive the horrors we’d endured, we all knew our lives would be changed forever. And so we left; our old lives, our horror, and our friend, who all lay behind us and not one of us looked back.

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