Judgment Day

A flickering street lamp cast an eerie saffron light onto our breath, in the crisp autumn air. Otherwise, the alleyway was dim, the meticulous graffiti barely visible. Scores of fervent onlookers circled around the makeshift ring, with the cruel pavement as the carpet. They chanted, “Nelson, Nelson!” I couldn’t distinguish anyone who dared to cheer for me, Rudy. Still, I leapt into the air to make an effort to stay warm, but at the same time, was peering into the bitter eyes of my opponent. And then we were off.

It was another day at this miserable hovel, confined by the vandalised brick walls. High school was an experience, to say the least. Nobody would even spare me the slightest acknowledgment because I refused to buy a gun or do drugs. Instead, they aggressively shoved past me, like they had more pressing matters to attend to. Resiliently though, I slipped behind my hood and shuffled warily towards my locker. Occasionally, I would attempt to strike a conversation with the rusted door, but it merely snickered whenever I pondered what it’d be like to be popular.
However, today, the faded blue had masqueraded itself with a crimson red poster, fastened shoddily to the metal by a square of scotch tape. Hence, I obliged and hesitantly read the bold jet black lettering:
I stared blankly at the slip of paper for a few seconds, when suddenly, a baffling rush of courage bludgeoned through my veins and left me tingling with a bizarre sensation of invincibility. And throughout that single moment, I had an intense feeling that I was truly capable of anything. I admit though, I had always been fascinated by the activity and was direly trying to run from my own perception of myself as a failure, an incompetent bystander who could never achieve anything.
Then, I began to stagger, barely conscious, towards that forbidden alley behind the school. I’d only ever eavesdropped on stories, but it was quite blatantly true that nobody dared to stroll in unless they were looking for trouble. Apparently, my mind was laced with a latent appetite for exactly this.
Teachers donated suspicious looks at me but would not invalidate their wills to ignore, as I continued to toddle in the unfamiliar direction. When I reached the sacred door, I finally grasped why this wing was generally deserted; clean bullet-holes were scattered around the aged wood and a thin film of smoke fluttered in through them. But I opened it.
Almost immediately, I heard a deep muffled voice say, “Wanna register?” And it was that second that I realized how incredibly sickly of a physique I had.
And that was precisely why I firmly responded, “Yeah.”
The next day, it was evident that everyone had noticed the list and noticed the fact that I had been paired with Nelson. The name struck insatiable fear into anyone and was the basic equivalent of the words “big”, “strong” and “death”. Regardless of the time or place, if Nelson was part of the equation, his menacing presence would loom over like pewter grey clouds to a sailor.
In fact, this impossible feat in catastrophe drew a number of wretchedly pitiful glances from people I had yearned the attention of. It was unfortunate that it had to occur in this way though. Some even wished me luck but with a complexion that plainly stated their predictions.

My watch aloofly read 11:00 PM. It pushed uncomfortably against my pulse, which had become decidedly frenzied, foreseeing the inevitable events that lay ahead. I contemplated how it would feel when judgment arrived but the night maintained its pace at a vexing crawl. Oh well. Oh well was the only emotion I could muster up. I could barely discern the fact that beads of sweat were tickling my cheeks as they dribbled down, despite the frigid night air. I could barely discern the starless black that enveloped me as I gazed on faintly. And I could barely discern the announcer merrily grunting, “Rudy versus Nelson.”
That was my cue for treason. I was going to stray away from my old anxious self and just do it. And so I did. And I won the dance competition.

Judgment Day


Joined January 2008

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  • Michele Markley
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