Your fingers tensed around the object in your pocket, ready to pull it out at a moment's notice. The others that passed you seemed to all be staring as if they knew what you held already.

As if they could see through the seams of your leather coat, vintage and rough edged, dark brown and smelling of mold.

Even though they seemed to stare they still smiled widely in your direction. You were making your way to the circle.

The village always seems so joyful, the others are always this happy. They don’t even need holidays, though around this time the men and women gather to dance in the circle and feast upon the merry infants whose parents couldn’t bother to, or were not allowed to keep them.

It can’t be considered a magical time because they are always dancing and everyone is always eating, but you suppose these people are more together than usual.

Most any other time, you see them travel in pairs, man to a woman, a woman to a man, no other way, and they seem to enjoy this way.

However you, you do not.

Something about them gives you a mortifyingly poisonous taste in your mouth and it all started when you went past the hills a little ways and found the thing, the thing you hold so tenderly.

And now they made you sick, not because of the culture, not because of the town that is filled with the smell of rain mixed with luminous beauty and decor, and certainly not because of the ghastly antique top hats and pearls that decorated the others and sometimes yourself now.

No, it is how unrelentingly happy they are.

You have done so much to try and shake their joy and they remain the same, like they aren’t living, they aren't feeling. You’ve yelled at them, threw stuff, hit people, let them know how much you hate they’re creepy smiles straight to their faces.

Nothing in their faces change.

Such unrest in your soul and all because of these happy people, but the others joy was not like your own for it did not ever waver and something, you knew it, was wrong. Very wrong.

You had lived here your entire life and everything was okay until you came of age. Your parents were smiley too, but when you went through what they call the arrival, you began to feel all these things, more things than you were ever supposed to. Then you got to meet the others and the others didn’t feel the way you did either.

And it scared you, but this thing in your pocket might settle your uneasy mind. At least you hoped. You had found the thing stuck among a thick of branches and you just knew there was something special about it.

Right now the thing wasn’t working to help you feel at ease though, you weren’t sure why, but this new feeling was everywhere. The special feeling the thing gave you.

You knew it was forbidden to go beyond the hills to get the thing, but you went and you took it anyway thinking maybe, just maybe the others would feel about this object as you do.

The dirt between your toes was thick and sticky and the air was cool enough to be uncomfortable. The others dancing among the warmth of fire was so synchronized and smooth as if they were born to do what they do.

You had felt like something was off for a while now. When you were younger you were kept below the grounds and were fed and given water intermittently. In that world at least you never understood enough to care. However, your parents over the past year or so made you feel as if they were waiting to use you for something, though you’re not sure what.

You were also unsure of how the men and women pair together like they do, and unsure of where the kids of the hills came from.

Something you do know is that there are no children in the above grounds, and you assume they are all living a life similar to yours and you were living similar to how your parents did, minus all these feelings. Unless those kids were of the given infants.

Either way, the above ground was rather gloomy, though it held a sort of magic, at least that’s what you thought. Never knowing what it looked like in the above ground and never knowing the feeling of wonder until the arrival would make the hills magical.

As the others did spins amongst one another with beaming smiles, and touched hands as they bounced so elegantly to the sound of the wind, you came closer to them.

The closer you got to them however, the more disturbed they seemed to get, offbeat and slow stepping, and their eyes. They seemed to all look straight at your face.

Not your face. Through you. They were in your head and they could see straight through you and your body felt stiff and naked.

Your insides went up in flames and you pulled the thing out of the folds of your coat with clumsy bravery. The odor of the above ground was immense smelling of what you had never smelt, and the pain of the charring of your lungs and other organs began to spot your vision.

And their eyes.

Their eyes. They were bright and prudent and deep red and they moved you.

The thing caught on fire and its angelic symbols scribed upon it started to spin inside your head. 

There was screaming and writhing as you neared the others blaze. Their fire they dance around merrily now serving as your bed.

The others surround you now and they read the symbols in your head aloud, with booming voices that sound as if they come from the sirens of the underground.

And suddenly the world is black and all of the sensations are gone and you feel




December 02, 2019 02:16

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Anna Kubiak
05:02 Dec 12, 2019

I absolutely love the descriptive language you used and how you drew out the story and pulled the reader in. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I really liked how you with held certain facts to encourage the speculation and make the final moments even more important. Great job on this piece!


Jessica Stone
22:44 Dec 16, 2019

thank u so much!! im really glad the minimum word limit forced me to add a lot more description and backstory than i originally had


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