Counting Steps

Written for the game Snap Shot, Writing Prompt #11


Alarm rings, song begins.

“Seasons greetings to the festive snowman, cries of joy ring across the bay. Remind all your loved ones how you need them, or along comes the reaper to take them away.”

Or something like that, I didn’t hear the words anymore.

A short cold walk connected my house to the school, a wire dripping with cheer and merriment, lights and decorations. Urgh. Every single day I would walk along and feel the crisp snow turn to unsatisfying mush beneath my feet, knowing that even this was futile, as the next morning I would arise to exactly the same crispness once again.

1076 steps lay beneath myself and the school, of which I would share 478 with Susan. I think I liked her, once. She was the kind of person I could see myself loving when we were old enough, spending a lifetime with. But all that was far too mature for a boy of my supposed age. So I kept quiet.

201 steps away came the chorus band, marching along with their happy little beats. The first time I had seen them I hadn’t notice the crying boy in the middle, or the way he hid his arms away from the world. Now I do, now I see them every morning, every morning the same slight slip revealing a flash of red as he steadies himself before marching on. Every day I want to rush to him and ask if he’s ok.

But that didn’t go well last time. Don’t break the cycle. Every step I take out of line is like a whip across my back. This was a good day when I first lived it, and now it is nothing but a nightmare.

School awaits, with all the charm of a wet slap. 140 steps down the corridor, slight shift right to accommodate the carol singing fat kid, just trying to spread a little cheer. I felt sorry for him once, but now he was just another ulcer in my rotting existence.

Christmas used to be my favourite time of the year. Before today.

Before every iteration of today.

Before I was forced to live god knows how many lifetimes trapped in a day in the life of a 12-year-old school kid. I wasn’t this kid anymore. I wasn’t filled with Christmas cheer anymore.

I wanted nothing more than to die. But even that was no longer an option. Sleep or death, one will always take me, but only act as the introduction, not the swansong.

Alarm rings, song begins.