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Band Aids for the dead

This is a night for endings. A night for stuffing your copy of The Catcher in the Rye into your backpack and saying goodbye to your house where your dad spends every night drinking too much whiskey, reminiscing about his army days and beating the crap out of you and your brother.

A night for checking the list of names of all the kids at school who have always irritated you and called you a freak and a weirdo.

A night for paying tribute to all the cult movies and cult figures who gave you a voice when you were struggling to find your own.

A night for prowling the dark street with their grave-cold pavements; meeting the clowns, phantoms, gargoyles and helpless ones who come crawling out of their hiding places at night.

A night for discovering the dark thing inside you, getting to know him intimately, feeling him stretch his wings and ball his angry fists.

This is the final night.

Tomorrow I’m taking a gun to school.


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I run my fingers across the rough walls and over a torn poster announcing that the circus is coming to town. (Whoopee, boys and girls!)

The cold of a drainpipe sends a shock through me. I stop in front of another gate. Rust is eating away at the metal bars.

The gate makes a sharp, screeching sound when I push against it. At first I think it’s also locked, but when I put my hands through the rails, I find a sliding bolt. It’s slightly stuck, but I wiggle it open. My footsteps echo in the skeletal silence of the school building.

I don’t blink. I’m barely breathing as I zoom in on this moment.

It feels completely unreal.

At the end of the short passage is the quad where we assemble before school on weekdays.

This is my battlefield.

This is my stage.

Fanie Viljoen
Skrywer, dagdromer, koffiedrinker.