Breathing in the gray, drifting smoke, going up into the dark sky, coming from the group, makes me sick. But there’s nowhere else for me to go. Five days ago, I became a member of the Inferno Society, an opulent gang for boys. My older sister, Winnie, had sent me to the store to buy her an atrocious lime green hair dye that her boyfriend wanted her to wear, reminding me of all disgusting things: mucus, frogs, and peas. Me being her little brother I hated the idea of her boyfriend.

The fact that she was going to change her coiled, black hair, that reminds you of a scribble drawn by a toddler with a heavy-black marker, had me annoyed. Especially because I had to stop writing an essay that was due the next day. So Winnie and I got into a fight. A stupid fight...

I found her lying on the couch by the front door. “Buy the cheapest one you can find.”

“How is it possible for someone to be so useless?” I asked her, as I snatched the twenty-dollars from her outstretched hand.

Her head turns dangerously towards me, like a snake’s, freezing me in my tracks. “Commie, would you shut up and go buy the hair dye?”

It’s a warning that I better stop. But I keep going.

“Why do you always have to do what he says?” I’m still frozen in my sneakers but I can’t plug the words rushing out of my mouth like a waterfall.

“You’re giving me a headache, Commie,” she says, her head buried in the soft, blue pillow that adorns the worn leather couch.

With an upturned lip and a scornful look on my face, I hammered the final nail in my coffin. “Mama was right. You really are good-for-nothing.”

Like a cat, she springs from the couch, aiming for my face. With her long, pink acrylic nails (another thing her "lover" suggested), she rakes across my face, sending me crashing to the hard, tiled floor.

I can feel the blood dripping down my face. My brain and my limbs don’t seem to be working in sync because I’m telling myself to run out of there, but my butt stays rooted to the floor.

My face is turned towards the floor, slick with the already noxious blood. So I don’t see her coming. I only hear her, making me back up against the door that leads to my freedom.

Suddenly, her soft, thin, gingerbread-brown hand is turning my face upwards to look at her. Her hair, as crazy as a lion’s mane, frames her round face. Sharp eyes the color of burnt umber, forcing me to make eye-contact.

Her crouched stance resembles a wildcat. “Commie, you have no room to be talking. After all, all you have going for you are your grades. But how far will that really get you if no one even likes you?”

No one likes you. No one likes you. No one likes you.

When Winnie said it, the words were a whisper. A hiss. Like a hurt animal with no where else to turn. But in my head, those words kept growing in volume. Like a conductor telling his orchestra to crescendo.

Hot, angry, indignant tears flood my eyes. Her dark eyes soften. Why am I the one crying? I'm the one who hurt her. She just said one hurtful thing. I taunted her in several hate-filled words. So why is she giving me the piteous look? As these thoughts scream for attention, only one stands out enough for my body to react: You need to get out of there.

So I do.

“Hey, Commie? You there?”

I come back to reality. My sad reality that has me standing around with the Infernos. In an empty parking lot. On one of their nightly patrols. Near the slums where the rancid garbage fills my nostrils.

Although they’re one of the most prominent, as well as, wealthy, societies around, I still can’t shake the feeling that I don’t belong with this group.

“Yeah, what do you want?” I retort, in an angry tone, before I realize that I’m speaking to one of the youngest leaders of the society—Armie Osei, my older brother. No one else knows.

My eyes widen, as I look at Armie’s strangely cheerful face; the smiles of a jester they mutilated to have smile forever. Don’t imagine it as creepily as I said it. I just mean he smiles way too much. Only that smile covers a lot of who Armie really is: A young man who had to leave because of me.

The rest of the some fifteen society members standing around, suck their teeth in unison.

“I said, can you go on a snack run for us? Since you are the newbie, I thought it would be okay. But if you don’t want to, I can go,” Armie says in an amiable tone, scratching the back of his head. Again the rest of the members click their tongues in sync.

“No, I’ll go.” I accept the money and snack orders from Armie’s fingers painted with black nail polish and adorned with lots of rings and chains to show his importance.

As I walk away, it reminds me of the way Winnie gave me the money to buy hair dye.

And how she probably saw me leaving the same way Armie did.

I wonder if she hates me again.

Armie left home because I drove Winnie and him away. When Mama died, two years ago, Winnie and Armie were both ready to leave me by myself since I had gone off the rails. First I started out numb. No feeling. Then, I started hanging out with gangs like the Infernos regularly. I never killed anyone, but I was the violent one. The rabid dog.

Except they couldn't keep me on a leash. We constantly fought. Physically and Verbally. 2-on-1. They were older, stronger, and had more numbers. I always got destroyed, but I would keep coming back.

It was selfish of me. They hated it. I loved it. Maybe that makes me a masochist. I'm okay with that.

Winnie and Armie finally got tired and were planning on leaving me to do what I want.

In the end, only Armie left. And only so he could fix me.

But I destroyed both of them.

And they’ll never forgive me.

I left after Winnie’s tongue-lashing and face-slashing. I even bought the stupid hair dye, accidentally forgetting it in front of the store. But I was too ashamed to go back. So I spent the night in the park, sleeping on the slide. When I woke up, the clock in the park said it was 4:55 am, Monday morning.

There wasn’t much I could do since I’d decided to skip school. I decided to go downtown to see if I could get a gift from Makola Market to buy Winnie’s forgiveness.

Unfortunately, ever since the beginning of high school, I’d been plagued by fainting spells due to stress. Classmates were always concerned while I couldn’t help laughing at how I looked so weak in the way I was drawing attention to myself. I liked to blend in. To do my own thing, but the fainting made me the #1 star.

It was an unforgiving hot day and as I was stressed out, it wasn’t long before I pathetically slumped against one of the stalls. Before my eyes completely closed, I spotted a shadowy cat with black fur and tan spots.

It got so dark.

I woke up in a place surrounded by a dark, choking fog. I sat up to see the shadowy cat sitting on its haunches, staring at me. On closer inspection, it had the features of a cheetah: long, slim, muscular legs, a small, rounded head set on a long, graceful neck, a flexible spine, a deep chest, and a long, tail for balance. The only incorrect things were the swapped color of its fur.

The strange cat, seemingly able to see that I was awake, walked closer and circled me with its tail moving in a trance-like way, almost like a snake that doesn’t know which way to go.

Once the cat stopped moving, setting itself right in front of me, I could hear it communicating with me in my head. Not in actual words, but like thoughts that sounded like mine came to me. Visions. Thoughts. But no words. This is how the cat conversed.

In my head, I saw the cat show me a guy with silver jewelry and black nails who’s too cheerful: Armie.

It showed me a slim, lanky girl with coiled, green hair and pink acrylic nails that were now stained with blood making her look like a clown: Winnie

A lean boy with coiled, unkempt, black hair and four angry, red scars embedded into his face: Me

The last thing from the cat was a whispered thought: Fix this

The dark fog cleared, I woke up, and Armie appeared right in front of me. I then asked if I could join the Inferno Society, a thought that didn’t seem to be my own idea because I had always steered clear of societies like theirs after Armie left.

But I joined.

Finally reaching the Shoprite Osu, I entered and laboriously carried a basket full of their food. For myself I bought a cheese stick and a pack of chin-chin, a crunchy, donut-like baked or fried dough of wheat flour.

I paid for everything and started making the mile-long trek back to where the Infernos were. I started to think about the cat with the black fur and tan spots.

Speak of the devil.

I heard the cat walking gracefully behind me, so I stopped. But its nose hit the back of my legs, urging me to keep on walking. So I kept moving all the way to the abandoned parking lot with the cat on my heels.

The cat and I arrived and I gave everybody their food. I sat down with my own food and started eating as the cat laid in my lap. Weirdly, no one noticed the rather large cat in their presence. Except Armie.

Finished with our loitering, everyone was heading to the base. I was the only one headed somewhere else.

The cat followed me all the way to the park I spent my first night at.

Armie was already there. Winnie too.

One last thought blossomed in my mind: They forgave you a while ago, so now fix your family, idiot.

The unusual cat was gone, leaving me with all the puzzle pieces, to fix my mess, in my hand.

May 13, 2020 20:29

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Zsofia Toth
20:46 May 17, 2020

Wow, you write in a really expressive way, outlining the feelings. The only “problem” is that there are still things left hanging in the air (like how would he fix the mess in his head), although I would also loved to hear that. Nice job!


Zuriel Wurah
23:27 May 17, 2020

Thanks. I'll try to better tie things up. Also if we're allowed to continue short stories I might continue his story. Also I noticed both of our names start with the letter Z!


Zsofia Toth
05:33 May 18, 2020

That would be great! I really love to hear, how the story goes on :) indeed we are both Z-s :))) love it!


Zuriel Wurah
13:41 May 18, 2020

Thanks for the hype!


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23:58 May 16, 2020

This story was awesome! But I didn't quite understand the ending. Was that in the future? Other than that, I can't find any mistakes! (Though that thing before isn't really a mistake.) Keep writing and stay safe! -Brooke


Zuriel Wurah
17:00 May 17, 2020

The ending wasn't in the future. It was the present since the story has like quite a few flashbacks. So it was the present where Commie had to fix everything. Also you understood that Commie was a boy right?


17:41 May 17, 2020

Okay, I realize that now, re-reading it. I did understand that Commie was a boy. I really like his name!


Zuriel Wurah
23:29 May 17, 2020

Thanks, his name is an African name from the country Ghana from the Ewe tribe. So since I'm Ewe and experiencing with different settings besides Western countries I wanted to try it.


00:25 May 18, 2020

You're welcome, and that's really cool!


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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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