Patina Nightmare

Helen Ezelle, Grade 10

 I sit quietly on the cool metal. My foot dips slightly into the frothy brown puddle that surrounds the tracks. The air is thick with sticky fog. The dense forest looks like concrete walls; a prison-like barrier between me and the real world. Everything is completely silent, except for the occasionally chirp of a lone bird.  

This place used to be one of laughter and juvenile curiosity. This was the spot where kids would come to splurge on stolen alcohol. The spot where the kissing tree grew tall. It was seclusive. About a mile out of town. All you had to do was follow the train tracks.  

I peer down into the puddle and look at my reflection. A penny shines brightly against the murky pool. I pick it up and take it between my fingers. I take my thumb and rub off some of the grime. Lincoln’s face glistens in profile. The year on the coin is 1957, the year I was born. I take it and shove it in my pocket. I pull carton of menthol cigarettes out of my jacket pocket, and light one. The smoke blends in with the fog; a bit off ash falls into the puddle. The train whistles in the distance. I get off, and accidentally step in the puddle. The reddish sludge sticks to the canvas of my shoe. I climb up the small hill and make my way up into the dense forest. I hear some rustling in the woods on the other side of the tracks. A girl and a guy hustle out of the other side. She giddily holds onto his arm. She’s blonde with a smaller figure. Her hair is messed up on the left side, protruding from the rest of her perfect do. The guy is slightly muscular and about 6 feet tall. They could be the cheer and football captains for all I know. I notice the guy has a flask in his right hand. Both of them are flushed, their red skin shines brightly against the green canopy. The train horn grows louder. The two of them slide down the small hill. The blonde trips slightly, giggling as she catches herself. The train comes into view, it’s about 100 yards away now, but approaching quickly.  

Her helplessness exposes itself; raw vulnerability.

The boy takes the girl by the throat. He wails on her, pinning her down on the tracks. Her screams are muffled by his left hand, the right hits her face over and over again. He takes a beer bottle and smashes it on her head. He takes the broken bottle and runs it down her body, the girl melts onto the tracks. The puddle darkens to a crimson. The train is almost upon them. The boy stares deeply into the girl, plunging into the space behind her eyes. He gets up. In no hurry, he walks across the way and comes into my side of the woods. I sit behind a tree, hands over my mouth. Luckily the train is so loud that any noise I make will be drowned out by the blaring horn. My eyes dance back and forth, studying the boy’s every movement and the train. I crawl over the precipice of the hill and watch the scene. The girl turns her head towards me. It falls to the side like a newborn baby. Her helplessness exposes itself; raw vulnerability. She opens her mouth the scream, but only a horrifying gurgle comes out. Her eyes open so wide, her Mary Kay perfectly concealed and blushed face is plastered with a look of sheer terror. The train makes one last resounding shriek. I turn away, reaching into my pocket and pull out the shiny penny. Lincoln still sits there, expressionless. The sun peeks up from behind the clouds, cutting through the fog in bright orange streaks. I gently put the coin back in my pocket and start to slowly make my way back towards town, following the horizon. The train is slightly ahead of me. I peer back at the girl, her eyes stare blankly towards the tree line. 


1 ~Editor's Note~2The Dragon's Toe3George's 4Exotic Flavor5Paper Cutter 6Masked , Big Fish , A Plant , and Pass, Hit, Set 7The Stories of Colors 8The Lightning Monster9The Rainy Life of the Weather Named Stormy 10Tables, Reflection , Arachnid , and Distant Forest 11Discovery 12Etched Blossoms , Owl, City Scape , and Puppy 13Superior Species 14Those Butterfly Wings , Converse , Tunnel Vison, and A Cloud 15A Sea of Red 16Nebula Metro17Life of a Diary 18Flowers , Swan , Waves , and Grass 19The Dragon's Tooth 20The Girl in a Dress 21Burning Out , Blue Dot , A Southern Feminist's Manifesto , and Silhouette 22The Fire Kindling: Chapter 1 23The Perfect Student , Social Pressures , and The Perfect Student 2 24Patina Nightmare25Eventide26Creative Shutdown, Eye's Through A Looking Glass , Head on Collision , and Writer's Block 27The Road to the Championship 28Reconnecting With Nature , Eos , you were a summer thunderstorm , and Reconnecting With Self 29Senior Spotlight: Ava Muller, Photography, The Landing , Tranquil , One-eyed Flyer , Grief , Dreamer , Fractured , Breakin', Lost Lives , and Lilypads 30Senior Spotlight: Maggie Huffman, Digital Illustration , Nice to Meet You!, Exploration of "Circe", Surfs Up! , The Return of Morales , Companionship , Mandalorian , Ambush , Just Hangin', and The High Priestess 31Senior Spotlight: Jolie Stumpff, Poetry , Don't, Muse, Being a Boy , In Search of a Cosmos, Overstimulation , Wheels , and Final Moments32Playing Time Struggles, Head in the Game , Sky High , and Moment of Glory 33Pollination , Azure Afternoon , Creator of Color, and Elegant Emu 34One , Fido , Heart Handles , and Early Birds35Dedication: Katherine Berdy