Writing Catalog

Arianna Ruiz

Grade: 10

Cleveland School of the Arts

Instructor: Cari Thornton

The Aftermath

Short Story

The Aftermath

I dipped the ladle into the vermilion colored fruit punch, whisking away any and all mushy fruit that was in the concoction. I poured the sweet pungent liquid into the flimsy red cup; the cup met my lips, and I took a drink, unable to distinguish whatever alcohol was mixed in with the overly sweetened punch.

I took my red solo cup and headed to the makeshift dance floor. It was really just a bunch of people sloshing their drunken bodies together while their feet swayed on the cold porpoise concrete — music so loud there we no thoughts, just movement. I tried to move my body in a gelatinous way, but I was as stiff as a board, I was too sober.

Before I knew it, I had guzzled down multiple fruit punches; each time I got more sloppy and more needy for an escape from my mind, so I kept sloppily drinking until the sweet liquid was dripping down my chin landing on my pale chest. As my vision began to blur and my body began to sway back and forth like a willow tree in a violent storm, my eyelids drooped and everything blurred; I stumbled into the house holding onto any and every surface I could see through the film on my eyes. Suddenly my eyes began to close, my breath began to slow, I could hear my heart beat decelerating. I was sure I was going to black out again;after all it wasn't unusual, this was a daily occurrence for me. My feet stumbled backwards as my eyelids shut, I took a deep breath and collapsed.

I jumped up out of my sleep, practically choking on my own vomit; I hunched over the brown leather couch that wasn't much leather anymore, it was more of cotton seeping out of the seams and brittle sprinkles of opal colored leather. I continued dry heaving for a couple of minutes before I noticed that not a soul could be seen, just me in the alcohol ridden house. My toes sent a shiver through my body from touching the red mahogany floorboards; when I got up, I felt light-headed closing my eyes seeing the kaleidoscopic patterns flash through my eyelids.

I walked through the empty dark house heading to the bathroom. I entered the bathroom and looked at my reflection in the black wooden mirror. I was met with cracks going down the mirror all meeting perfectly in the middle.

"God, I look like crap," I sighed while stretching my purplish eye bags and placing my middle and ring finger on my temples, rubbing them in a circular motion.

I turned on the silver faucet and splashed freezing cold water onto my face in hopes that it would wake me up. My mind still pondered on the thought of where everyone had gone, surely tons of drunk teenagers wouldn't have just disappeared out of nowhere (unless there were cops involved of course).

When I was done in the bathroom, I began searching the trash filled house for any sign of life up and down, and my phone, so I could have somewhat a recollection of what happened last night. I began tearing the stain covered cushions off the tattered couch, and I even walked the perimeter of the house five times in total — still no sign of my phone or anyone. The whole time I was scouring the whole house and its property line I didn't see a single car or any sign of human life; sure the house was in the middle of nowhere, but it was on a rural interstate, so a car would pass by now and then (every so often I would watch the cars drive through the leaf covered road and wonder where they were all going). I finally came to the conclusion that cops must have been patrolling the lonely highway all night and probably stumbled upon the only house within miles with blaring music and a cigarette butt covered lawn and shut it down; they must have not noticed me or just didn't feel like doing more work than they had to.

I went to lay down back on the couch and close my eyes for a few seconds to process how I was going to get home, the obvious answer was I'm gonna to have to hitchhike. I just wanted to have a few minutes to lay on the couch and pity myself before I had to get up and begin my long journey up the highway.

"Ughhh," I said as I peeled my sticky body off of the tattered leather cushions; after getting off the couch, I put on the first pair of shoes I saw —- brown sandals with a dirt imprint mark from the previous owner. I went to the refrigerator and grabbed water before I walked out the house door.

My journey had begun. I walked down the smooth asphalt road, the only sound that was hitting my ears was the sound of my sandals hitting the ground and kicking pebbles off the road. Some time had passed, and I walked about seven miles down the road with no other sound except my feet. The moon came out and let a little bit of blue light glimmer from the orb itself. I decided to lay in a patch of grass a tiny bit off the road in hopes of being able to fall asleep. I laid in the cold, dewy grass and looked at the stars before falling asleep with the dampness of the grass against my face.

I woke up to the soreness of my body and sun shining in my eyes, I raised my hand up above my eyes trying to adjust to the brightness. I sat in irritation for a few minutes before getting back up to continue walking up the road. I don't have a clue what happened. No one was around. I was scared more than I had ever been before. I usually loved being alone, but this was different:it wasn't by choice this time.


I woke up to the beeping of the alarm. I hit the off button with the palm of my hand and rolled over onto the other side of the bed in the house I had found miles down the highway. I shivered as my body hit the ice-cold air of the house (it had become winter within the three months since I had made this place my home). I quickly threw on my turquoise and sage green zip up jacket and headed downstairs to heat up a freezer burnt breakfast burrito. Biting into the still half frozen burrito, I picked up the magazine on the table. It made me feel a sense of normality for just a second flipping through pages looking at the models and smelling the overwhelming cologne on the tester pages; it had brought back preteen nostalgia. I smiled to myself with my eyelids closed before returning to my cold, harsh reality. Over the past few months, nothing had mattered. Days blended together, and all nights were filled with fear and sadness. Most days I started drinking early and fell asleep wherever I would stumble over in a drunken daze.

Today was like any other day. I went to the parlor and picked up the clear glass bottle with clear brown liquid in the glass. I opened the black cap and wrapped my lips around the top of the bottle and guzzled down the fiery drink. I guzzled more and more until my chest was scorching and my mind was filled with blurry, unclear thoughts: all except one. Everything had begun to become clear, at that moment I had been hit with the loss of all hope. There was no hope. I hadn't seen anyone in a month, I hadn't seen any form of life on this planet unless I looked in the mirror. I stumbled to the stove and turned all the burners to their highest settings, listening to the click as the smell of gas started filling the room. Inhaling one more final time, I grabbed the hot-pink Bic lighter off the counter and threw it into the fire. In the instance I saw a huge white light, and I felt like I was floating in space. I felt at peace knowing it was all about to be over.

"Shock her chest again, Carol!"

I arose and my eyelids shot open, and I was in the center of a room I thought "again?"