The Pulse 2021-2022

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THE PULSE

NATIONAL ENGLISH HONOR SOCIETY Edition: 2021-2022

Advisor: Mr Daniel Markert

Editors: Luana Case, Victoria Konopka

Co-Editors: Hannah Ferrer, Shandry Almanzar, Samuel Rodas

POEMS

You, My Heart, the One Who I Love Deeply By: Biansly Frias

Distortion By: Tatyanna Ortega

Fall, 1998 By: Alexis Mejia

I Don’t Like this Feeling By: Alejandro Caro

The Little but Big Monster By: Alejandro Grajales

The Void of Life By: Stan Davis

Belle âme (Beautiful Soul) By: Apollo Albarracin

Music Can Change You By: Randy Munoz Sincerely By: Kaleb Guzman

03 08

05-06 07 09-10 CREDITS

Spectacles of Truth By: Mateen Dalia

10 Cover Page

07-08 09 11

STORIES

Table of Contents

03 04 12 THE PULSE

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Nature of Conformity By: Ryan Chen Government BS By: Horace White World, Let Me Think for Myself By: Joshua Dos Santos
04

You, My Heart, the One Who I Love Deeply

You, my heart, the one who I love deeply You, the one who makes my soul feel complete You, are the boy that loves me completely My lover the one that took all of me

How could you? the second I heard I cried This shock, this pain, how could you, my lover? How dare you with her? how foolish of me you, my love, was I truly not enough?

This painful realization, how could you? Your touch was shared, and your love was spared, wow How must I live now, how must i go on Your passion your love I crave all these things

I must go on with, a piece of me gone For now, you are nothing but a stranger

Fall, 1998

Artistry over names and faces Tailored and sequined, red all around, They walked and writhed, peroxide blonde laces! Prints of the Romanovs and Joan were found.

Tragedy on top of tragedy, Would there be any glimpse of salvation? Dresses of chainmail, chains of amnesty, The opposite of purgation

Though the last model, out of many dire, Hypnotized with her catwalk, yet she paused? Lights dimmed, encircling her, a ring of fire! And as she broke free, the sound of applause!

Perhaps their constraints were what saved her? A critical splendor show of gender!

THE PULSE II 3

I Don’t Like This Feeling

It makes you run and want to hide because It makes you mad, you can't withstand, to stay Alive when all you feel just starts to pause, When all you want is to not feel this way

The more you run the more you hide you will Be just pushed down into the darkest lands You felt your body was wrapped and be filled, And then you became ruled by dark commands

The fear cuts the body into pieces Just to examine the finer parts with Strength and power, only for it to decrease Your mind's power to leave it weak and clear

Then you wake up just to find yourself doomed By fear and realize you ’ ve been consumed.

The Little But Big Monster

They never thought this would happen. Which is the worst way to think that everything would go as planned, They were surprised when they struck it; well, they should have been alert Before it had been done

They began their journey on the newly built ship, it was a big one

The biggest one at the time set sail in the waters These waters were infested with something Who knows if this something was bigger than the ship.

They didn’t know they were in the territory of this monster The monster was getting closer, but it had not moved a single inch

It was the ship who had taken that risk The ship ended up hitting the monster But even though the monster never attacked. The ship started tearing apart and suddenly it sank.

THE PULSE II 4

THE VOID OF LIFE

The void of life is something that traps those and makes life boring, it makes you think life is not like it was when we were younger as we move on life feels like it is moving too fast,

I feel if I do not stop and look It will pass me by and leave me in the dust But life is also boring without love. Friends may fill the void for a while, but the void cannot be just filled with happiness When compassion is mixed with happiness it makes the phenomenon, we call love and make people happy and makes life fun. Sometimes those feelings of love are filled with hate, it is like a bomb ready to explode But hate in its own way can cause love Sometimes money can fill the void but as NF says, “the sales can rise doesn't mean much though when your health declines see we’ve all got something tarped inside the we try to suffocate hoping it dies.”

Without these emotions, you will lose feeling in your true self and will lose the things around you that hold places in your heart When the heart and soul are lost emotions and love will be lost as well and it will just become an empty void where the heart should be.

The Monster inside of the void that is what we call depression, takes its ugly hand, and grabs multiple people and sometimes it never lets us go

Even those with this monster on their shoulder feel compassion, it feels like it is too late, and the monster will take over your brain and not let you take back control

Bear
(cont.)

Even love causes a void in the heart When love is given to some, they throw it away and keep it underwater to drown it, but it can be revived when you meet the thing or person that can bring it back and make you feel that you have met the new thing that you will cherish forever

The void will eat you if you leave it be and you will feel terrible even when you have things the void can take over and still get you when it wants The void can be beaten not with love or passion but with the mental strength of those that the void thinks can take over.

When you must deal with the void push through and never let it take over and always fight because once you find the compassion or happiness that defeats the void you will feel reborn and will feel better about oneself.

THE PULSE II 6
Ceramic Lightbox By: Assata Burton

BELLE ÂME

(BEAUTIFUL SOUL)

O’ how this warmth came in, I do not know Whether by the eyes, or ear, or flow Greed and warmth, woven together too agitated to tell her

Like strands of magic worked upon the air, Oh, how they glare

They stare They dare

The light in which sparks

With the sky filled with hearts

A countless group attempts this light Which results in a bite

MUSIC CAN CHANGE YOU

Music makes me travel around the globe, Makes me go from continents to small towns, I change from place to place like a wardrobe

To different regions I collect all crowns.

They tell their tales about rags to riches, there are folks, that stay in their poverty, feel proud for their upbringing and success, The poor don’t want cash, they want equity.

The Magenta Files By: Rudy Williams
(cont.)

Music has me thinking how the world

is,

If we are improving or, we need more Tells us we need a better world than this Makes you feel tired, sad, distressed and feel soar.

The more you hear, the more you understand

The Music changes people, lets them expand.

SINCERELY

Sincerely I miss the Warm breeze, yet I love the Cold I want to See all the leaves, But the Branches are just as nice Sincerely I miss the children’s laughs and screams But the quiet is just as nice Yet anytime I think about you I think of a happy place. Sincerely you aren’t as great as you seem you’re actually quite mean When I’m with you my eyes get puffy and tired and somehow, I’m the LIAR The Cold seems better in every which way. Sincerely the sleigh rides, the snowmen, better yet than the sand. The sand hides many things underneath its surface things you could never know While with the snow after a while it shows you everything underneath . Sincerely I miss the cold breeze, yet I love the Warmth.

Bron Bron
THE PULSE II 8

SPECTACLES OF TRUTH

Through my small round lenses, what I now spot, Now I observe the news for what is new. More hate crimes, school shootings, oh and it's hot, I must explore, the news must be untrue.

Streets are filled with many different folkAs I stroll, I see what I neglected Rich bully the poor thinking it's a jokeSeeing us act in this way makes me disgusted.

I now see the world we live in is bad. Why hate? We all just need some common sense.

Hating on man because of race, that's sad. Vile words coming from your mouth, sounding dense.

Life was easier through a blur, with light, It is much harder to live through this sight.

THE NATURE OF CONFORMITY

The voices of our human society, Breed a depraved and contorted way of life, Whispers push expression away so quietly While it slowly quells and extirpates our strife.

Since the dawn of time conformity has been bred, Taught to be part of the herd to blend in, Creating the law that remains unsaid; That certain contrast cannot remain within.

Ceramic Light Box
(cont.)
By: Valentina Loaiza

Oh, do I ponder how our world would be, If the mask is dropped, what would be under?

Alas, this cruel world will never feel free! How I detest conformity, the blunder.

The souls lost to the wrong path, the horror!

Conformity kills, perhaps to keep order.

GOVERNMENT BS

Easily changed and easily tainted. A movement for peace was instantly trivialized. However, a riot for changes seen as accepted and empathized. People, outraged for a simple change. It is seen as a way for hell to be raised. We struggle and suffer every day. To be kicked in the dirt and kept chained.

The resentment given, from those born with the color right of way, It is unearned and entertained.

A young man who was out for a drive his life at no stakes.

And then one woman came on by. And it ended up being his final day.

The excuse given was an utter lie.

But in a crude twist of fate

She was left with no punishment for her crimes.

So, he could roll in his grave

Sunset
THE PULSE II 10

WORLD, LET ME THINK FOR MYSELF!

Society's box won't budge! I am stuck Like a snowman, confined by a snow globe-Looking for an escape, I have no luck. World, let me go on with my unique probe! A box which regulates my unique thoughts,

One that burdens me with a cliche mind. Filling me with anger, my stomach knots!

Where is this freedom, I hope I can find?

Why won't you let my thinking be my own?

Why are my beliefs suppressed by your hold?

World, I refuse to be another clone, Free me now world, it's getting kind of cold.

My hands cover my ears, cold to the touch.

How good freedom is, I love it so much!

THE PULSE II 11

STORIES 02 03 06

Ameliorate Antidote

07

Through the gap in the line of books, she faces a lifted hand and the silver ring embellishing it When the hand lowered, she came face-to-face with the culprit. She knew him all too well

They shared a moment in the quiet Her eyes followed his hand as it met the hair atop his head and promptly lowered to the back of his neck

“Sorry,

She eyed him with a blank stare, peering down at his feet as he rocked his weight between each foot The lack of fabric on his arms seemed inappropriate for the weather, yet his cheeks were flushed

“You’ve read it ”

Her hand faltered as the pair took in each other’s presence. Her eyes softened at the sight of creases underneath his own and she began to lift her right heel from the ground as pulled back her arm—-until a cellphone rang and echoed through the room His gaze left hers as the phone screen lit up his back pocket He stood still

She retracted her arm and closed the journal, turning to place it back on the shelf His ringtone rang through her ears as she searched the shelf for an opening. She found none

Karmic Soulmate

Written Professions

Let my books be then the eloquence And dumb presages of my speaking breast

Pulled away from the ink on the page, she glanced upwards at the towering bookcase facing her With the slightest tilt of her head, she sat still as the books gently trembled upon their shelves As they were parted, pulled, and positioned, she peered her eyes at the sudden interruption

She cleared her throat and the bookcase stilled She lay in anticipation of its next move, her breath hitched. For a moment, silence permeated the air, suffocating in nature The next, the bookcase shook once more She eyed the bookcase carefully, taking note of the order within the ruckus Right to left, top to bottom, each and every book on the shelf was shifted

She bid Shakespeare farewell as she closed the book in her hands Before she could ponder it, she rose from her hardwood seat to stand directly in front of the bookcase Her eyes followed the systematic movement on the shelf as her right hand met the fore-edge of a nineteenth-century publication. She watched the dominoes fall down the line as she tugged the book off the shelf completely Silence rang in her ears once again.“

His mouth gaped slightly but failed to make a sound Lips pursed together, he straightened his spine and lowered his hand to his side. She parted her lips to speak again, but he countered

She, too, straightened her spine She felt the weight of the book in her hand before she placed it back in the bookcase She turned to face the wall behind her as she reached for the bag that lay forgotten on the ground From inside it, she retrieved a journal with ink littering its pages

In long strides, she turned and rounded the corner of the bookcase while clutching the journal in one hand He stood there staring at the books and the gap that once was He pivoted to face her as she entered his view He eyed the journal in her hands as his fingers began to outstretch Before he could move further, she spoke

The journal needed to find a new home for itself Perhaps this had never been an adequate one She turned to face him once again and watched as he slipped his phone back into his pocket She met his eyes with a hardened gaze as she let the journal hang heavy in her hand

“Was it her?”

He shifted his weight between his two feet and dropped his gaze He opened his mouth to speak, but the pair remained in silence She cleared her throat as his breath hitched As she lifted her left heel to pivot around, he glanced upward and spoke.

The pause in her stride was forgotten as she rounded the corner of the bookcase and crouched down to reach for her bag He followed her footsteps to the other side of the bookcase and eyed her movements as she made them

As she gathered her book in her bag she uttered, “Tell her I said hello ”

He remained where he stood and watched her retreating figure as he made her way down the corridor

He failed to meet her gaze The seconds ticked onward as they both stood in the corridor of the library At first glance, it almost seemed as if time had never gone on. The leaves that cascaded downward outside mirrored the first fall of snow

She took the journal in both hands before flipping it open to the latest entry She turned the journal around before thrusting it toward him. He briefly glanced at her outstretched hand before he straightened his back and locked eyes with her

Before she could round the corner into the hallway, he muttered, “Are you leaving?”

She paused for a brief moment and straightened her spine as she faced the hallway Without sparing him another glance, she conveyed one last message before parting

“Goodbye, my love.”

“You’ve seen it ”
“What are you looking for?”
“Why was it still on the shelf?”
Are you looking for something?”
I didn’t mean to bother you ”
“I meant what I wrote.”
THE PULSE II 13

Jungle Book

The playground burst into an uproar when Haley’s DLC overheated, sparked and blew half her neck into bite sized pieces of flesh The smell of burnt bacon overwhelmed the air and all our hands shot up to touch the back of our necks where these bombs were placed Our skin momentarily turned pale, and our hearts raced, a justified reaction I guess, but it was when Haley’s body struggled and finally hit the ground that we came face to face with our reality

And yet, she was smiling After the year 2083, the US government finished their risk free and humane testing of the DLC DIAMOND, a revolutionary digital library chip shaped like the mineral it was named after The device was a solid 24 millimeters in diameter and weighed nearly three grams (the same dimensions as a quarter)

Eleven years after its release, the device proved to be truthfully harmless with no incidents up until it turned Haley’s neck into a sorry pile of blood and skin Inconveniently, most of us were implanted with these same chips on our fifth birthdays Our parents were sold on the idea that the public-school systems were not stimulating enough for our developing brains and that we would be better off not attending school all together They volunteered us as guinea pigs instantly

I resented them for treating us like lab rats

The DLC contained all the world’s basic knowledge: All levels and branches of math and science, every language in existence and a copy of every textbook on everything mankind ever learned Knowledge was power, and it was necessary for the species to learn all this information so that we may eventually stop this endless cycle of mistakes Ironically enough, wiring this slab of titanium to our neurons proved more annoying than we could have ever imagined Every year we acquired more knowledge, it was designed to be a gradual increase so that our brains would not implode from the information, and every year we became more miserable, nobody wanted to know any of the information that constantly streamed into our heads

But we were scientists, and it was not fun, so my smile faded, and Stacy shrugged. When we got to the lab, I pondered

Our brains could process all the information around us instantly and convert it all into mathematical equations Nothing was ever interesting, just predictable, no activity was exciting, no video game was addictingly frustrating, no one was better than anyone, everyone with a chip was already the best Everything was as easy as breathing but I guess for Haley, breathing wasn’t easy anymore Actually

“Do you think she wanted to die?” I motioned to the corpse as I grabbed my tool kit

My neck began to hurt

At seven years old, our generation graduated high school and went to “college” We picked our desired fields based on our skills and were plugged into a computer for three days straight, these were our college lectures. After the download was complete, we graduated with full knowledge and understanding of how to do our jobs, it became second nature. We were all geniuses, computers, monsters, whatever, I just wanted to be a kid

“I think we all want to, but even if her death was intentional, I think it’s quite rude to decapitate yourself in front of your friends ” She stared at the floor, “When we play basketball, do you have fun? Every shot we take will go in, it’s not a game, it’s not skill, it’s just a bunch of calculations and math problems… Why did none of us scream or cry when she died? Are we even human? We’re only ten years old, we should be able to cry when our friends die, but instead, we treat her like an outlier, a malfunction and we dissect her so we can fine tune our own diamonds It’s too cruel, I can’t blame her for wanting to die ”

Her rant was monotone but how do I respond to that? I don’t

“Why don’t we take them off?” I suggested.

There was silence Then Izaac broke it “I have stop by the hospital to perform heart surgery, one of the machines I made broke down, but after that I’ll come back to help”

How I wished that was a lie, an excuse, anything but the truth “Don’t bother, we can finish our basketball game some other time, for now, I’ll carry her back to my lab and dissect what’s left” I wasn’t joking when I said it, but they chuckled

“Can I come with you?” Stacy glared, practically on her knees pleading. “Sure We can pretend we’re scientists, it’ll be fun” I smiled

Would that solve anything? Our current knowledge would not be erased but maybe I’d be able to ride a bike without constantly calculating wind resistance and velocity Maybe I could-

“We can’t ” She countered, “We’d die, that was part of the contract our parents signed”

Exactly, we’d be free of this suffering, maybe in Heaven I’d get to play without all these thoughts in my head If only we never had these chips, I could still be a child, or, if only we had them from the minute we were born There would be no childhood to miss, all we would ever know would be calculations. No emotions in the way, we would just be machines No games, only labor

“So… what are we gonna do?” Minty questioned as he gently rocked her face with his foot.
Lab Rats By : Juan Marin Torres (cont.)

No fun, only a computer to be wired to for updates and new information. This was it. “I’m going to make things better for us Stacy, no more mistakes, no more cruelty.” I smiled fully.

I left Haley’s body there to rot, along with my friends, then I went to college for a week and came back with a degree in mechanical engineering and neuroscience. For the next month, I experimented on newborns, implanting them with the chips, blowing up some, deforming most, I labeled my experiments risk free and humane, nonetheless. Was this cruel?

No, of course not, people shouldn’t be having this many babies anyways, I was going to be these children’s’ savior.

And at last, I completed it, my own diamond. It was beautiful, bulkier than I would have liked but at last, I had saved the children. In that second of glory, the door to my lab swung open-

Izaac shrieked upon witnessing the capsules of infants, “WHAT IS THIS?!?” “The future,” I held the baby up

He was not amused “All this time you’ve been gone, and we waited patiently, but today, when I finally come to see you, I find this! Don’t you feel anything? Did Haley mean nothing to you?” He cried.

“I thought we would finish the basketball game we started the day she left us, but how are we supposed to do that now?” He cried some more I didn’t know he could do that

“Grow up Izaac, we aren’t kids you know, not anymore ”

That’s right, we were molded to be machines. It’s not unusual for a machine to create another machine. I did good, I was justified This is fine, this will not be a mistake

I just need some more guinea pigs

Bizarro
THE PULSE II 15

This message flooded the phones and cameras of the two girls who sat stunned by the words on their devices In the midst of reflecting on their happy memories by scrolling through their photo galleries, all their devices deactivated In this year of 2050, only the government-issued television remained working as it was now illegal to turn off the television in case of emergency announcements Lydia turned to her best friend, Marley, who sat breathless and in disbelief Marley clasped her camera that was working just fine a second ago

Stippling

POWERLESS

“Do you know what’s going on Mar? My phone just deactivated ”

Marley was unable to answer, but the silence between them was interrupted by a sudden flash from the TV An announcement was to be held right now. On the screen, an unidentifiable man in a suit appeared with hands shakily holding his papers He read from them, just another government worker helping to extend the claws of government control by the words he read, none of which were his own

“For the safety of all citizens, phones issued from private companies have been deactivated Cameras and other recording devices will also be suspended from use, including memory cards ”

Lydia glanced over at Marley who was avidly listening to the announcement She seemed to not breathe due to how still she sat on the sofa Her camera still enclosed in her arms, she looked powerless Photography was her passion and now that passion had been halted

The TV switched to a nature channel once the announcement finished “No, no! I can’t! It’s my pictures! I worked so hard to get the perfect shots!” Marley suddenly burst into tears She hastily removed her memory card and hid it in her shoe

“Mar, we have to If we don’t hand them in, we would be breaking the law,” Lydia reached over to hold Marley’s hand as a tender gesture, but Marley recoiled and sprung up off the sofa She had a wild look in her teary eyes, something Lydia had never seen before She wondered what was in that memory card that caused Marley to be so unhinged. Before she could ask, Marley grabbed her bag and fled out the back door Lydia sat there shocked by what had just unfolded She waited all day for Marley, but she never came back The device collector seemed as though they would come tomorrow as well, so Lydia went to bed, worried about her friend who she now had no way of contacting Light crept into the room the next morning, awakening Lydia and reviving her anxiety about the whereabouts of her best friend. She quickly got dressed and searched the house for any signs of Marley but there was no indication of her return.

“Citizens,

unity is not only conveyed through our morals but our daily actions as well. All citizens including government workers will now use newly developed government- issued cell phones These phones are more advanced than any other company with cutting-edge technology and a multitude of new features Today and tomorrow, all residences will be visited by governmentemployed device collectors If instructions are not followed, punishment will be distributed accordingly Thank you all and have a great day ”

a better

A knock on the door reminded Lydia of the day’s tasks The device collector was here Marley took her camera and her memory card with her when she ran out, both items already documented by the government However, all they know is that it is a camera, not what type of camera Another knock came on the door, prompting Lydia to think fast Marley’s phone was still there on the sofa Lydia grabbed it along with another camera and an unused memory card With the third knock she ran to open the door, all the devices in her hands. (Continued)

**ERROR: DEVICE
DOWN**
SHUT
as we begin a new era, we must all gain a fresh start on equal footing to work towards building
future Our
THE PULSE II 16

“Hello, I am so sorry for the delay I just woke up, so it took me a few minutes to get ready Here are all the devices with cameras in this household ” The device collector scanned the items and checked them off his list Lydia stood there nervously but ensured she made eye contact so as not to reveal more than her shaking hands already did The device collector checked off both the camera and the memory card, eliciting a feeling of relief from Lydia. She was about to hand the devices over and bid him a good day when the collector cut her off.

“One moment ma’am There is another member of this residence, correct?”

“Oh, yes She just went out to buy groceries I handed in her devices though ” Lydia held her breath After a moment of silence, the device collector replied “Alright then.”

“Thank you! Have a nice day!”

Lydia closed the door and could finally breathe again She was safe For now She still needed to find out what exactly Marley was hiding She decided to start looking for Marley early in the morning

The next day, at seven in the morning, Lydia stepped out to embark on her search for Marley but was stopped in her tracks by the same device collector along with several other burly government agents beside him She looked at what the collector was holding, and she could feel her stomach drop when she realized he had the camera and the unused memory card “Hello there. What brings you here?” “You are coming with us. ”

Lydia tried to run but was suddenly stopped by one of the agents who seized her hair and brought her to the ground face down She scraped her elbows and her knees from the impact The agents surrounded her and, each grabbing a limb, forced her to enter their car for her punishment

Days passed and no one knew what happened to Lydia nor Marley, yet one day an interesting photograph appeared on the television screens throughout the society It showed Lydia being attacked by government agents on her doorstep It showed the truth

THE PULSE II 17
Group Circles

AMELIORATE ANTIDOTE

There I was, sitting at the little nook in my bay window, wondering about my typical imposition: how life can be seen as anything but tragic I started roaming through the endless memories stored in my brain to try to rationalize the pinnacle of my sadness But first, let me introduce myself

Hello, I am Keansly Manningham, a fifteen-yearold boy My birthday already set a precedent for my pitiful life because I was born 10 years after March 13, 2020 You may recall that March 13, 2020, was when the COVID pandemic really shook America in their boots. Following the years after the pandemic was uplifted, there was a remarkable increase of suicides, depression, anxiety, and all forms of mental illness across the globe, which only got worse as the years passed The government concluded that this is a “generational and medical issue,” and which needed to be solved immediately. Consequently, the president, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez trusted the sciences to formulate some sort of serum to inject into newborns and prevent them from experiencing sadness-- they called it Ameliorate Antidote I hope my long rambling backstory has led you to figure out that I was one of the test subjects.

My mother had always trusted the sciences, especially because she is a scientist She frequently reminds me that I am a hero for all scientific technological advancement since I was and am her lab rat for the Antidote. Unfortunately, she gets caught up in her job and comes home late most nights so I guess she would never know that the serum didn’t actually work, and I am deeply, genuinely depressed Blaming my birth would mean my sadness peaked when I was born, so I guess I’ll jump to another elegiac moment of my life: my father’s passing

Well, it was a notably ethereal, dewy, beautiful spring Saturday. We decided to splash around in the puddles that had formed that morning Papí was acting like his normal self: teasing me and my mom by threatening to throw water at us I hated going outdoors, especially during daylight, because one side effect from the Ameliorate Antidote would be extreme sensitivity to the polluted air But my dad had always cured my mind from the pain and distracted me by my sadness, not to mention that rain is the only natural suppressant to my condition. You could imagine the despondency later that day when I witnessed my dad, lifeless on the bed with an empty antidepressant bottle and a halfempty Tito’s on the bedside table As bleak as this may sound, this wasn’t even the worst part. Guess my dad’s birthday… March 13, 2000 He was also a March 13 baby! I guess it is not the same because he was born before COVID came about, but I think witnessing him only capitalized the curse my birthday, our birthday rather, holds.

Yet, neither my birth nor my dad explain why I am so sad I’ll go on a walk-- and I know I said it hurts to go outside but my mom is a scientist, remember? Once she heard that I’ll have an overwhelming amount of health issues as a side effect, she designed this suit for me to subdue any health conditions. The only issue is that I cannot be outside for more than thirty-one minutes, exactly One downside to the suit is that all of the pollution will stick to the outside but not penetrate-until my thirty-one minutes are up Then my suit becomes the tissue paper at school, and seeps right through the suit, contaminating my skin Aware of these risks, I continue to zip the suit in the decontamination entryway and head outside (Continued)

THE PULSE II 18

After six minutes into my walk, I hear a rhythmic banging sound followed by frequent grunts I glanced to my right and saw a girl around my age aggressively beating the life out of a semi-new fence I couldn’t help but notice that there was also a U-Haul in their driveway, so I concluded that they are new in town I couldn't really describe their house to you because I live in a cul-de-sac where every house is literally the same, inside and out, except for the personalized colors. But the girl was definitely not like the people from this town. It is not like she was jaw-dropping in the slightest, but she was dressed in an oversized black zip-up, black baggy sweatpants, a white tank top, and some black converse not like the dramatic swing skirts and baby cardigans girls wear now There was something very reminiscent about her Anyways, I think I was intensely glaring at her because she stopped kicking the fence and walked towards me

“Was it called the Ameliorate Antidote?”

“Yes! Yeah, that's what it was called Wait, how do you know?”

I explained to her that I also have it and my mom was one of the scientists who created the serum Saylor suggested our parents were currently working together which could be true, but I doubt it because my mom never mentioned that there was a flaw in the Antidote I’m pretty sure that is something she would tell me, you know, just as a heads up Like “hello little lab rat of mine, I messed up and you are actually not going to be happy ever ” Something along those lines

Anyhow, I enjoyed talking to Saylor, so I tried to keep the conversation going “Why are you mad?”

I shrugged my shoulders because I didn’t know what else to say so I just stared at her, and she stared back We already had a mutual understanding of each other, and I couldn’t tell if it was because we were both injected with the Antidote or we simply understood each other.

Beep! Beep! Beep! I completely forgot about my suit. The beeping meant my time was about to expire; so in the awkward Keansly fashion, I just turned around and started sprinting back home

“Bye, Keansly!”

“Hello! I am Saylor Cordelia I just moved here from Utah I lived there all my life until my dad got this job offer to help revise some scientific serum that gets injected into newborns to make us happy or whatever. Apparently, I was injected with it the second I was born, February 3, 2030, but, as you can see, it did not work, and I am incredibly angry. I like, just found out before I found out we were moving. We just got here on… ”

She was extremely expressive and enthusiastic, I almost forgot she was brutally attacking an innocent piece of wood two seconds ago As she kept talking, I was analyzing her more and realized that she has shockingly long black, poofy, wavy hair that goes all the way to her hips She also has a big gap in between her teeth- wait, did she say that she was injected with a serum?

“Wait, did you say that you were injected with a serum? What serum did you say you were injected with?” I interjected her jabbering

“I think it was called the Alexandrite No The Anti-Prostate Definitely not What was it?” She tried to remember the name while ticking her finger on her lip and tapping the floor

And I have a pet cat, Marmalade, and younger brother, Philoe, so it is not like I am lonely at home

“I don’t know I will not lie to you, man I don't know your name, so I’ll just call you man But I do not know why I am so mad It is definitely not because I had to move I hated Utah It was time for a change I also have a great life, like my parents are wealthy but not braggy kind of wealthy, you know?

I hope you can tell I am not shy either, so I doubt that I will struggle with making friends I do not know why I am mad, man Actually, I think I know why I am mad ”

I felt bad for not saying anything, but I had to focus on getting home Thankfully, I was not too distant from my house, and I could run pretty fast when my breathing is not handicapped I made it home with just fifteen seconds to spare I stood in the entryway while everything got decontaminated with a sterilizing spray Surprised by my competency with time I checked the time again, 9:34, mom should be home in 10 minutes Speaking of my mom, I think she should be home in a few minutes. I’ll wait for her at the kitchen table in the meantime.

She paused for an awkward amount of time, but I think it is because she needed to breathe. That girl can talk! She pulled out an inhaler and re-inflated her lungs

“My name is Keansly by the way Keansly Manningham Why are you upset, Saylor?”

“I like the way you call me by my name, Keansly ”

She really emphasized the “ e ” in my name Did I emphasize the “ a ” in her name?

“My dad never told me that I was injected with some artificial advantageous serum But I don't get it because I angry often, like explosive and unexplainable. I guess that’s how they found out that the serum doesn’t work."

While I waited for her, I just started thinking about Saylor and our similarities We both had health issues and he both concealed any emotion aside from glee or serenity I was just shocked that we don’t share birthdays I guess I assumed that my birthday would be marked as a cursed date for everyone, and I just so happen to be born that day, doubling my luck Would she be the same as me if we shared birthdays? Better yet, would she be sad her whole life if she knew that she was expected to be happy, or the cure for sadness? That’s certainly how it felt for me. And for the first time in a long time, I felt like I understood why people can view their life beyond the tragedy

THE PULSE II 19
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