• It was the typical day for Josh Drake Casey—that is to say waking up too early to remember to kill himself, going to the prison called “school” to be tortured by the happiness and gaiety of the loud and obnoxious children who are highlighted by the all-too-naïve blondes, and being forced to listen to lectures from teachers, and finally being sent to the guidance counselor every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, where some shrink tried to convince him that he didn’t really want to kill himself. Damn shrinks, they always lie.
    It was seventh period, and once again Josh found himself begging Satan and God to kill him; to his disappointment, however, Satan enjoyed his misery and God hated him to the extent that he wouldn’t do as he wanted.
    The bell took its time before deciding to ring, and once it shouted at him, he slowly sprung to his feet, lifted his empty backpack, and trudged out the door, following all the eager students who looked forward to some senseless activity later that day. Josh, on the other hand, looked forward to nothing but a knife. He hated life.
    The immediate, though, brought an adversary that was almost more unbearable than the entire school day: the bus ride. As he walked across the seemingly infinite stretch of parking lot, the sun blinded his eyes and seared his milk-white skin. The shade of the buses provided no comfort, as it was filled with unintelligible racket, and like Grendal, he hated it, but he was more suicidal than murderous, although the thought of silence and blood was refreshing.
    Of course, his damnation included his stop being the very last, so he was had to sit through the nonsense of all the other children, and even though he had his iPod crammed with death metal and emo bands, the batteries were dead.
    Finally inside his house, he depressedly walked upstairs into his room, which was painted black, and the only light was a small red bulb hanging from the ceiling and a black light.
    Too tired to do his cursed homework that he never did anyway, he tripped on his bed and fell into a dreamless sleep.

    The next day, Josh again awoke to the persistent buzzing from his alarm. Dreading over the fact that he didn’t die in his sleep so he wouldn’t have to put up with a test that day, he took up his empty backpack and started outside with a granola bar, wearing the same Lamb of God shirt he had worn the day before—not like anyone would honestly notice. The instant he stepped out the door, the bus flew by. He had missed it, both his parents were already gone to work, and now he would have ISS for however many absences it would make for first, second, and third period.
    Josh began the slow journey that would make him late for half the school day. Half an hour later, one of his worst nightmares came true: as he was making his way along the sidewalk that ridiculously swerved for no reason, he heard a car horn. Spinning, he found a hot pink Mustang with bright purple racing stripes stopped on the road. “Oh my God, like, you totally go to the same school as me, right?” came a voice that shouted obnoxious blonde.
    He grunted a reply that could have been taken either way.
    “That’s, like, totally ten miles away! You’ll get there by, like, the end of lunch!” Next, he knew, came the question he dreaded: “So, like, do you wanna ride to school? I totally don’t mind.”
    Josh blinked in hesitation. Should he try to bare the ten to fifteen minutes it would take to get to school…or should he take ISS and the chance that the guidance counselor might see him? Groaning silently, he opened the door and stepped in.
    The girl seemed excited. “Hey!” she exclaimed, “I’m Hailey. What’s your name?”
    God, strike me down now, he pleaded in his head, then , ever-so-emo-ishly, he replied, “Josh,” barely more than a mumble. Then, something very strange happened during that ride—Josh found himself talking, and in a voice she could understand(?!).

    Hailey annoyingly stuck in his head the remainder of the day, and for the rest of the week he purposely missed the bus just so she would pick him up again. At lunch, he actually moved from his private sanctuary of solitude that was the table only he sat at to her table, which was filled with loud girls, some of which knowing of his existence and raised questioning eyebrows. Through all the drastic changes, a tiny voice screamed in the back of his head, “What the hell is going on?!”
    Exactly two weeks after the first time he met her, he picked up his knife after school, now using it for a different purpose than he ever dreamed of...he carved her name in his arm—after all, it was cheaper than a tattoo, though not much easier to take off. Once the blood clotted and he had eaten plenty of sugar so he wouldn’t faint, he went to sleep looking forward to the next morning.

    “Hey Josh!” Hailey called, and he stepped in the car.
    For the first time in history, his cheeks had color as Josh revealed his passion to her, but he got a reaction completely different from what he expected.
    “Ew, omg, that’s, like, totally gross! And, like, I totally have a boyfriend anyway.”
    The next day, Josh was on the news.