Quin, 10th- Oakland, CA
Dust fluttered as the dark oak wood creaked under my foot. My legs felt like they were on fire, the strain caused by taking another step was excruciating. I propped myself up using the run down railing and looked at my surroundings. It was as if the sun had been consumed by a giant, darkness as far as I could see, the only illumination coming from the light that spilled in from above. In other words, nothing had changed since my first steps.
I squinted and let my mind study the gleam. The light was blinding but it gave off a sense of comfort and safety, this feeling was the only motivation I had left. I was never very hopeful to begin with, but these steps knew how to drain a man of everything he loved, no matter how small and insignificant it seemed. I took a deep breath letting the dank air fill my lungs as I took another step. That burning sensation in my legs screamed once more. I needed to rest but in the back of my head, a cold voice whispered to me, a whisper like a hand wrapped around my heart. If I laid to rest I would never wake again. I hear voices more often than I would like to admit. With every step I took their irksome chatter seemed to increase. Like ants crawling in my skull, it seemed like they all had something to say. Each sentence contradicting the next, “Rest why don’t you?” a smooth voice as deep as the void below would whisper seductively to me.
“You’re so close keep climbing!” a comforting voice that reminded me of my mother encouraged me.
“Give up, climb over the railing and take a dive” a sickly voice cackled.
“Just try one more step.” a hollow voice pleaded. Oh, that one was my voice.
I looked below into the abyss from which I climbed. It’s lull as inviting as the light ahead, but I felt no sense of comfort or safety. I felt an embrace, void of any love or pleasure emitting from the pit, an embrace that offered rest coupled with unimaginable nightmares. I had just been there mere minutes before, I didn’t remember it being so dark. And then it dawned on me, the higher I climbed the steeper my fall would be. The pit’s invitation became stronger, like a deadman’s hand pressed against my cheek caressing me as I fell to sleep. The light flickered in the corner of my eye. I stared at it allowing it to cleanse my eyes as that feeling of comfort washed over me. I took another step and the abyss let me go without any struggle. It was a patient entity and it knew I would crumble eventually. And as I took another step and pain like flames spread throughout my body I chuckled. A laugh to stifle a whimper, a whimper fueled by sadness and the thoughts of a man on his last legs. As the voices ran rampant in my mind a sad realization came to me. Everything here, even the light that called to me so insistently, knew I would soon fall, including me.
Students 6th-12th Grades