The song had ended. She was almost there. She pulled the earphones out of her ears. She was still filled with unwarranted hope. She was smiling. “Hope…” she said to herself as she kept the phone back in her bag, “Was it supposed to be this positive?” She tried to remember what she had once written about hope. She could not remember. She just vaguely remembered writing about hope. She decided not to think too hard about it. This wasn’t something she could force. She was at the gate of the school. She touched the handle of the gate. It was strange. It was supposed to be several years older. It definitely felt old and creaky. It gave a sharp metallic screech when she pushed it open. The buses were still there in the school ground. Yellow and empty. She didn’t pay them any attention. She walked towards the building. Four broken pillars stood in front of it. There was supposed to be a roof on top of them. She could have sworn they were supposed to be white and not green.

She felt thirsty. Very thirsty. “Why didn’t I notice this before?” She thought. The song. She had been so drowned in it that she hadn’t noticed her thirst. The bottle in her bag was empty. She ran to the canteen. Empty. Classrooms. Empty. Washrooms. Empty. No water anywhere. She ran back down to the ground, threw her bottle down and kicked it. “How the hell am I supposed to stay alive without water?!” She shouted. Silence. That was the only answer to her screams. A few seconds later, she heard a sound and felt something nudge her from behind. She did not like where this was going. She closed her eyes, turned around slowly and opened them slightly. Velociraptor. A proper one this time. No bigger than a turkey. Feathers along the side of its arms. Before her brain could even process the full image, she screamed and ran. She could hear the creature run after her. She didn’t stop. As she ran, a sentence blurred into her mind. “Hope leads to despair.” That was the first sentence of her essay.

“Hope is born from desperation and leads to despair. Men and women fight each other through darkness and fire, raining down death from the sky, killing, dying, despairing… All in hopes that their small act of sacrifice will benefit the piece of land they call their home. Men and women toil till their bones are dust, enduring the abuse of their partners, working, crying, laughing, despairing… All in hopes that their small act of sacrifice will benefit the small lumps of clay they call their children. Men and women offer up their life’s blood to old men in robes to escape their despair, dulling their own minds by taking in all the unquestionable and thus, unconfirmable truths. I suppose that’s just another euphemism for falsehood. But all this, in hopes that they are pleasing the imaginary, invisible, impotent beings they call their Gods. People prey on each other’s hopes. The President preys on the hopes of his soldiers. The wife preys on the hopes of her husband. The husband preys on the hopes of his wife. The Gods prey on the hopes of mortals. And once they have devoured all your hope, all that is left is an empty shell of despair.”

A little too cynical for a 13 year old. “Damn it! Why am I remembering this now of all times?!” She thought as she ran from her death. She realised she was running towards the stairs that would lead her up the school. “Good thing today is a Wednesday…” She thought. I’m sorry, I suppose you’re not familiar with how her school worked. Wednesday uniform was a track suit. She wasn’t much of a runner but Wednesday’s uniform was much less cumbersome than the general uniform. It was made for athletic events. I should have mentioned all this before. As such, she was still vaguely surprised that she was outrunning a velociraptor but those thoughts were running slow. Her main concern was survival. Nothing else mattered. She dashed into a room and bolted the door as quickly as her body allowed her.

Okay I’m going to skip ahead to a later part of the story now. There is a whole constellation of reasons why I’m doing this. For one thing, it’s hard to keep the story bright when your mind is filled with darkness and other crap. I’ll end up killing the only living human in my story. So yeah, I’m just going to skip a major part of the story and fill it in using exposition via dialogue. By rights, this chapter shouldn’t even exist but I had already types half of it and it serves as a shitty transitioning. But hey, you’re lucky you’re even getting this… I have half a mind to just delete everything and let it all sink into nothingness… So yeah, the next chapter is gonna skip ahead several months in the story.

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