By Debbie, age 16, New Zealand
The whistle of vague nightmares embodied his consciousness. The whispering of one word was his heartbeat: ab-sinthe, ab-sinthe. The glazing, blazing liquid seared in his veins like blood not yet spilled. There was nothing else to do. His cracked, bruised eyes wandered pointlessly around the city.
A shattered café caught his eye. "Bullseye." He shot in. Here he emptied his pockets for bottle after bottle of absinthe. His French features had left him long ago, a husk of a man who looked as though he did not belong anywhere, along with his first glass or bottle. The cursed nectar flowed through his body and the fleeting numbness overwhelmed him. He walked past dozens of ballet dancers enveloped like curled roses, painting one thousand neon Frida Kahlos on the ground, their canvas. His eyes were the lens of a camera that could see through the deceit of everyday illusions; he was the only one who could see the world for what it was, in its entirety. A joke, a gem. The jewels of a duchess lay glittering, claimed only by gravel. Elephants roared, shrouded in mist. Knives fell through the air, cutting through the smiles of unfamiliar faces.
France. The city erupting before his eyes like a love letter. Baguettes, postcards, vintage paradise, romance. The picturesque dreams of this dystopia brought him to his knees. His demoniac self came into being as he crashed on the asphalt.