A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
The following work is the result of an eight-week collaboration with The Chicago City of Learning Young Author Playlist and Hypertext Studio Writing Center. An excerpt of this piece is also featured on HYPERtext Magazine.
BY ALLEN PEREZ
When you read this it will be about a week since I got out of the mental institution. I am using the term “got out” very loosely since I had to break out, again. Although it wasn’t that difficult. This blackout that we have had for over three weeks has made it easy for me to escape. Speaking of the blackout, let me just tell you that I was right. I told you that it was going to happen, but no, you said, “Why should I listen to Alan? He’s crazy.” I might be crazy but I am still smart. Anyway I am actually feeling better. I feel more alert than I used to. Then again the meds are washing out of my system. I always told those damn doctors that the meds made me feel funny, but again no one listens to the “crazy” person, now do they? Well I hope you remember where to go. I must have told you at least a million times, but you never paid any attention. If you forgot just look under your bed. You should see a panel in the floor. I am taking it that you are going through its contents so let me just list them off. First is the GPS that has a set of coordinates saved as the home option, that is where you should go. Next up are three bulletproof vests that I bought for you, your girlfriend, and for me. After that there is some water, canned peaches, and Meals Ready to Eat or MREs. This and whatever else you guys have in your house should last you until you get to the location. Last, but certainly not least, is a black box. Inside is a .45 caliber colt 1911. It’s loaded, but the safety is on so don’t worry about shooting yourself. I know how much you hated my obsession with guns but trust me it will come in handy. This new world that we are going to be living in is merciless. It might not be that bad in the city, but out here it is life-and-death. Try to get out as quickly as possible so that you can avoid the mobs of hungry people. May I just tell you again that you should have listened to me? It should take you, give or take, roughly three days to get there and I will be there a day before you. I hope to see you soon, your “crazy” brother, Alan. Oh I almost forgot, don’t eat all of the canned peaches, save some for me.
Well you are probably wondering why I am not there with you. Let’s just say that I ran into a bit of a snag along the way. You can obviously tell that I was there at one point but I didn’t stay long since I had some business to attend to. I shall be there shortly but don’t just open the door for whoever knocks. Since I am on the subject of business I recommend that your girlfriend, Johanna, starts the list of tasks on the paper that is stuck to the mini fridge. You might have many questions but I can’t answer any of them. The only thing that I am going to say is that I am “spying” on another group of survivors. They’re just there. Around the campfire trying to stay warm. I wonder how long they have been there. They obviously live in the wood cabin behind them. They seem to know each other quite well. The squirrel is skewered on a stick and roasting over the fire. The rifle that they use for hunting is leaning against the base of a tree. They look so easy but I know better. I know better than to think of anyone as “easy.” Everybody presents a challenge to Alan. Ah, there it is. The rifle is at an arm’s reach of a man. This man is not talking, but he is casually looking around. He is the scout, a dumb scout, nevertheless Alan, what a scout looks like. Alan will come from behind and take out the guy cutting wood first. Then the scout will be next. From there I can then use the rifle to hold up the other four. I hope they cooperate. It would make it easier on Alan, but they won’t; they never do. Alan will have to act quickly and not make any noise while he is going around the camp. Maybe they’ll have canned peaches for Alan. I know how much Alan likes canned peaches. As it gets darker it gets easier to hide and creep around the camp. Then that’s when I notice it. The smallest most cutest thing that I have ever seen, a baby. The baby brought me back. It showed that there was still hope in this new world that we are living in. Anyway I hope to see you soon, your “crazy” brother, Alan.
Once again I have eluded you but it’s for another great cause. Next to this letter should be the GPS with some new coordinates. These should take you to the east shore of the United States. I promise I will be there, no matter what. Speaking of being there, I am actually here right now. I bet you are looking around as we speak trying to find me but you won’t, I am too good at hiding. I have decided to accompany you on this journey in order to protect you and Johanna. I will always be here just out of reach and out of sight. I am sorry that I can’t reveal myself but I haven’t been myself lately. I am getting less predictable and more jittery as we speak. Those doctors seem to actually know what they were doing. As the meds that they gave me wear off I am losing control of my mind. I have been having thoughts of just ending it. Of leaving this place and making the pain go away. I have almost killed people because I could not control my actions. I had to go back to the institution in order to get some more meds. So, for your own safety, I have put some distance between us until the meds kick in. I will join you in a couple of hours. I recommend that you two leave tomorrow morning when I am feeling better. I shall then reveal myself and we will be a big happy family again. From then on we will make our way to the coast and leave. By leave I mean I will initiate the second phase of my plan. There’s a boat with some of my friends on it that will take us to a secluded island off the coast of Maine. From there we will spend the rest of our days living off of the fatherland. Well you should probably get some rest, so I guess this is goodbye for now. See you tomorrow, your “not crazy” brother, Alan.
Allen Perez attends Eric Solorio Academy High School.
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