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I grabbed my 3DS and leaned back, letting out a sigh of relief before I unfolded the device. Oi, that was a long day… My mind started to drift as the system turned on. Noticing my backpack over on the table, I suddenly remembered all the homework I still had to do. …Meh, it won’t take that long once I put my mind to it. I’ll just play for a little while and unwind first. So, I started playing. When I next looked up, the clock read 10 PM. This was how the past several days had gone: I would remember my schoolwork, talk myself into playing a game instead, and then forget all about it until the last possible minute. With a curse, I leapt to my feet and scrambled to my pack, pulling out the first assignment I found and swiftly completing it. It was sometime around 2 that I finished everything. I sluggishly stuffed the papers back into my bag, but one slipped out and fell to the floor. I picked it up—it was a quiz I had just recently gotten back, though more than a few points were missing. Usually I did better than this, but for some reason I just hadn’t been able to focus. I was more preoccupied with… Oh, come on. Video games alone can’t make my grades fall like this. True, my grades had fallen recently, but it seemed doubtful that the video games were the sole factor. I’ve been playing games when I should’ve been doing homework for years now, and results this negative were a recent occurrence. There was no causality there…right? I flopped into bed and tried to sleep. Unfortunately, the problem nagged at me. What if the games were getting to me? It would be stubborn not to at least consider the possibility…still, what changed, then? I guess some of my more recent games were from a new series, but the one pulling me away at this point was one of the oldest of the old. Well…maybe it’s cumulative? Hm, that sounds kind of ridiculous… Rolling over, I cast a glance at the clock. 3 AM, meaning I had maybe four hours to sleep. Ugh, I really don’t want to go to that stupid physics class tomorrow… It wasn’t that the subject was uninteresting, but I felt that the teacher didn’t do a very good job of presenting it. The early time certainly didn’t help. Still, it was the only time I could get, and it was required for my new major that I— Wait… I sat up. Of course—I had just changed majors this semester! I always did well in my classes before this semester, but I had thought that switching to a science degree would be wiser. The problem was that I just could not muster up enough interest to legitimately care about most of what I was learning in these new classes. So it’s the classes, not the games. Okay… Finally feeling relaxed enough to sleep, I collapsed and muttered that I would switch back to my old major sometime soon. Something still nagged at me, though: even if my game-playing habits weren’t becoming any worse, that didn’t mean that they weren’t still detrimental. …Fine, I’ll try to manage my time a little better. I managed to get a little sleep before dragging myself out of bed for physics. As I headed for the door, my hand hovered over the 3DS. I…guess I’m too tired to play anyway…maybe later.
That feel When You’re hanging in the air Free falling And there’s like Wind or air or something I don’t know Hitting your face And like there’s water beneath you or something And it’s like rushing closer I guess? Oh and by the way you’re Nick Cage And you just jumped off a boat Because you’re actually Ben Gates And You stole the Declaration of Independence but got caught Why’d you use a credit card Nick WHY That feel When You strike the water with all the grace of a rhino in a classy antique store That’s on a fancy street with a dumb French name Because you’re Nick Cage Nick Cage is always classy That feel When You can’t see anything and you don’t know where you are Because you’re in the freaking Hudson River that thing’s got more pollution than Something with a lot of pollution And you’re like Drowning But Nick Cage never drowns because Nick Cage cannot die Except if the bees get to him But there’s no bees here because bees don’t like water And you’re You know Underwater That feel When Some cool dude working for your enemy grabs you because he can see somehow And swims twenty feet away and surfaces And somehow the two dozen helicopters don’t see him So that’s cool you guess That feel When He’s like “Welcome to New Jersey Ben” And you’re like “My name’s not Ben it’s Nick and I don’t want to be in New Jersey” But you don’t really have a choice But hey at least you got rid of those tools from the FBI What’s their deal anyway
Running for a Shooting Star David lost himself among the trees in the night, his dark coat and pants blending in with the black trunk. This was the second time this year that he had become somewhat lost in the woods, the second time that he was running from Jessica and her friends. This, however, was not a warm night on Spring Break, fleeing an unaware house to the shelter of an old, crumbling church on the other side of the wood. These were different trees in a different state, a different season, even a different world at time, with an active pursuit following from the convention center towards an unknown end in the cool winter air. It was the rust-gold mask clinging to his upper face that freed David from his own world, the mask which allowed him to approach conventions as someone other than himself, to go as Elion. Being unleashed as Elion, though, had caused him to dare to stand against Jared, Jessica’s violently protective confidant—protective not only of his friends, but also of his pride—and so now David ran from convention center, darting from darkness to deeper darkness like a wraith as he led Jared and his friend Brandon on the chase through the moonless woods. Elion’s grim smile twisted David’s face as he led his pursuers, toying with them at first but now wholly committed to escaping them. A tree presented itself, and Elion swung David’s body up into the branches with ease, staying close to the trunk to keep the tree from shaking too badly. Through the branches he could see nothing but the beams of Brandon and Jared’s flashlights as they ran some distance apart, searching for the masked offender. Their lights passed by Elion’s tree, and David’s eyes followed them uphill as they moved towards a row of houses set high on the slope. The lights turned back, moved together, and walked back towards the tree. David held his breath, and the passed by, Jared’s swearing floating up alongside Brandon’s conciliatory remark that “the rat probably wasn’t worth it anyway. He ran, and it’s payment enough to make someone turn coward in front of his girl.” David’s fingers tightened on a branch. The “girl” was Diana, self-introduced to him as “Valaina” at first: he’d called himself “Elion” at the time, a she’d picked up the gag and ran with it. As Valaina and Elion, she and David had met a few months ago, and whenever he and Diana could get together they still shared a dance floor in the guise of their Others, but those times were slowly becoming as rare as a passing comet. Looking around in his perch as Jared and Brandon moved further off, David’s eyes settled on those houses uphill. Valaina had told him she lived close to the convention; maybe one of those was hers. He couldn’t leave without making amends. With Jared and Brandon quite a distance off, he slithered out of the tree and began to make his way uphill, flitting among the trees like a ghost. Not feeling ready to be shot, he skirted the properties and made his way around front, looking for the lion’s head knocker that would mark her house. No need to look: Diana was extricating herself from a crowded car three houses away, her own mask pulled up over her hair. The car pulled away, and Elion dashed along the road to the foot of her drive. “Shooting stars and sliver moons,” He sang out the first line just loud enough for her to hear. She paused at the door, turned. Smiling, she pulled her mask back down over her face and sang back, “Disappear, disappear in the night, And safely, softly commune.” A smile spread across Elion’s face, and he touched his mask, bowing to Valaina. She returned a secret salute, pressing two fingers against her throat, and went inside. Elion drew his trench coat tight around David’s spare form, and quietly walked back to the woods. The comet had passed, and all was well.