• All I ask is that you please read the summary before you read this story.


    Water flowing down a stream.
    Sunlight beating on my shoulders.
    A hot summer's memory.

    These are the words flowing through the boy's mind as he looked toward the sky.

    That sky. That dark, gray sky.

    The world was falling apart. He knew that. Yet, he couldn't bring himself to face it. Now, it seemed to be up in his face. Finally, it was hitting him. The wind started to stir, blowing his thick black hair all around his face, blocking his vision. How he wished that it could just block everything; block his eyes from all the sadness and pain.

    Pain. How he hated that word.

    He started back toward town, following the path of the stream.

    Water flowing down a stream.

    The clear blue of the stream is so beautiful and serene. Its beauty creates a paradise in front of your eyes. Staring at his reflection in the stream, he sees the stress and pain of the years gone by.

    He almost wants to touch the water to erase this image. His hands starts toward the water, but lurches back as the tip of his sleeve reaches the water and starts to burn. He watches as the water turns a deathly black.

    Saddened, the boy starts to head back toward his home.

    Sunlight beating on my shoulders.

    The darkness of the sky seems almost like a cage slowly enclosing on him. He looks toward the sky as the first drops begin to fall. The teenager stares off into space for a little while, then continues his walk. Slowly, he approaches the old stone gates of his town. He can see the cracks within the stones and the weeds growing out of the age old rocks, the wear from the past centuries evident.

    He walks along a path of broken cement, past the old buildings. The glass is broken in the windows, and on the grounds lays a large glass fragment. He stares at his reflection in the glass and sees the old corner he used to play on as a child, a corner that was now home to an abundance of weeds. He sees the once happy child; eyes bright green and lit up, cheerily playing a game of tag with his friends. His black hair is matted from the long day, but the sun is still high up in the sky. He is wearing only a white tank top and green shorts, causing his shoulders to become bright red. His feet are scraped on the bottom from running around barefoot all day.

    A hot summer's memory.

    It is here that he begins to see the image of his best friend chasing after him. He can see her bright blue eyes and red wavy hair, also messy from the day's activities. He watches her run faster and faster until she almost catches him.

    And then, he returns to the present time. His image in the glass becomes all the more real to him once more as he sees hisnow dulled eyes and flattened hair. His face is now extremely pale and thin. He curses at the reflection, and before he realizes, he shatters it. However, he doesn't care when he sees the blood and glass in his hand. He can't feel the pain. He didn't care. The pain didn't matter anymore. Not in this dying world, anyway.

    He makes his way into his friend's house, and there, his world shatters even more. He looks down at her pale, thin frame. The blue eyes that once pierced him with a single gaze are nothing more than dulled orbs that have lost their luster. That red hair that had once shown brightly in the sun now lays limply around her, having not been combed or trimmed in months. She looks up at him, and her gaze simply makes the pain all the more real.

    "What did you do to your hand...." she whispers quietly.


    A long silence follows after this.

    "I'd like to hear it again, if you don't mind."

    "The poem?"


    He reaches over and grabs the book of poetry, getting ready to read her the poem that she loves the most.

    "Water flowing down a stream.
    Sunlight beating on my shoulders.
    A hot summer's memory.

    Once more, he sees that tiny, faint smile on her thin, pale lips.


    Something is different about this time. He looks at her face and watches her eyes close. Her head rolls off to the side. Instantly, he knows what is happening and bursts into tears. He can see her breathing slowing and finally coming to a stop. He stops his crying for a moment and then lifts up the sleeves of her nightgown. He watches the black marks around her wrists disappear. He can't take it anymore, and runs out of the house; out into the thunderstorm.

    God, why is there so much pain in the world? Why?

    He stares off into the distance once more, repeating this question to himself over and over again. The rain drenches him and the dying world around him.


    Then he realizes that the pain would be over for him soon, too.

    He rolls up his sleeves and stares at the black markings around his wrists.

    Yes, it would all be over soon.