The Boundaries of Life by: Ashley Camp

Running...always running...but never getting anywhere. It's an endless circle; the same places, the same people, the same conversations. It's an old record in an endless cycle going around and around, but never seeming to stop. It's the same song stuck on repeat but too broken to turn the volume down. Never knowing exactly what to do, but always knowing exactly what's happening. It would be like Superman knowing that the world is about to be destroyed, but not knowing when or how, or even how to stop it. The feeling of helplessness all around, dragging down all who are unfortunate enough to breathe it in.             Since the beginning of people, it's been common knowledge that when you get a scratch or a cut, it bleeds, and it's painful. The logical thing to do would be to clean your wound, however big or deep it may be. But those who are broken in more places than can be seen above the skin don't feel the pain of a blade on soft surfaces. So tell me, how do you know when you're really alive? The pulse of a beating heart? The warmth of your body? How can you be completely sure? Those who never know, tend to try and test the footholds between life and death. Smart? No. Not in the slightest since. But in the standpoint that I am in, it would be a logical experiment.              At the age of 15, Brayden stood above all who tried to outdo him. He was the best at everything; basketball, track, school, even had more friends than anyone else. He was at the top of the world and gravity couldn't pull him down. On the surface, Brayden had it all; looks, friends, popularity. But what's between the lines is where things start to get hazy. Family life was all but perfect. His mom was an addict who slept with every man in the neighborhood. His dad was an alcoholic that beat him, his mother, and his 8 year old sister. Brayden always hide the bruises his dad gave him, and if anyone ever seen them, would make an excuse about how he got into a fight or fell off his skate board.              Things started to get worse when he began his sophomore year. His mother was sent to rehab, and his little sister, Angie, was sickly. His father obviously was no help. So, as time passed, his sister grew sicker, up until the point where she wouldn't eat. After coming home from school one day and finding his sister lying in bed out cold, Brayden started to lose it. He called 911 and had an ambulance rush to their house...             Angie died 3 days later. They never found out the reason she was so ill. Brayden felt his heart being ripped out of his chest. His little sister was dead. His father didn't care, and his mother didn't know. He saw his world grow dark and felt, for once, completely empty. Brayden lost all sense of caring. He quit everything. Basketball, track, and even stopped trying in school. Nothing mattered anymore. Until you feel a life being taken away, right at the grasps of your hands, you will never know the trauma someone goes through at this point in time.             Over time, Brayden lost all of his friends. He was no longer at the top of the world, but closer to the ground than a corpse. All alone, he watched as everything around him died. As seasons passed, he watched the flowers die, then be reborn. Flowers are lucky. They have the opportunity to start over, to excel in another life. With more intellectual and deeper thinking methods, Brayden spent most of his time lost in his own mind. Fascinated by all the mysterious of the world, and a yearning to answer all the questions that needed an answer. The more his thoughts deepened, the darker he became. Thoughts of afterlife, murder, suicide, infinity, and other objects and questions that are meant to be left unanswered. Some things are unknown for a reason. It would take a fool to test the boundaries of life.             You’re not really dead, but you’re not alive either. You’re just a ghost with a beating heart. When someone is so far gone, they tend to find themselves living inside their own head. Everything they do, and every word they say is nothing more than empty noise in the wind. You reach the point where you bleed just to know you’re alive. Brayden, standing on the thin line between life and death, was determined to break the thread and fall forward into a realm of happiness, to escape the torment of this world. Cuts run up and down his arms and blood drips in the sink. Brayden, broken beyond reason, feels nothing. He’s lost all will power to continue and makes a single slash going down his arm. Everything grows hazy and the light starts to fade to complete and utter darkness. A single thought remained. A prayer to take it all back, a wish to undo this fate he has granted upon himself. A last chance to rewind the clock. Fading, fading.             Through the darkness a single light appears: a girl, dressed in all white with a glowing face. Shocked by the sudden appearance of the lady, Brayden didn’t realize who was standing before him until, breaking the silence, she says his name. It was his sister. His eyes blur and tears stream down his face. S    he out stretches her hand and offers it to her brother. Take it, and come with his sister, or deny and return to the world he just left.             Our choices define who we are. Every word we say and every action we take effect not only us, but the people around us. Doors open and windows close. We choose which ones we enter and which ones we close. With so many options in this world, it’s hard to tell which one leads to happiness and which leads to destruction. Choose wisely my friend, or face the consequences this world may throw at you.

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