The Tragedy of King Minos
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I've lived in the suburbs for as long as I can remember. I don't think I've ever left. I have a memory of doing so, a long time ago. My dad driving us out to Richmond to get on a jet to Chicago. Some contest I won. I don't think it really matters though.

None of that was real though. My memories are scattered. Fallen off the shelves in this distorted library, and I just don't have the time to put all these books back. As far as I can remember, I was born here. As far as I know, I'll die here.

I'm afraid of dying here. I've had family members die before. I can visualize funerals that have never happened, people wearing all black, my mother crying and all I can do is watch. I don't know how to comfort her. I'm not sure that I should.

People don't really die here, though. They just disappear. Death is an organic thing, decay is organic. That doesn't happen in the suburbs. People fall over, then the ambulance comes and they vanish forever. That's what happened to one of my neighbors, living across the street from me. The ambulance came in the middle of the night as we all slept. The police were there too, and I've never been able to figure out why.

The police arrested me once. I was trying to run away from home. I wasn't safe and I needed to get out. Family chasing me as I bolt down the stairs, feeling their assault on my sides as I struggle to open the door. Swinging it open. Screaming into the night as I dash down the driveway. I only notice I don't have shoes when I get to the edge. I kept running anyway, I felt like I had no choice. There are no stars in the sky, only the waning moon. An orange streetlight provides some semblance of light as I rush past rows of houses more numerous than the trees. My glasses are dirty. I'm often told to clean them, but I rarely do. I take them off and wipe my shirt on them. It doesn't help - it never has. I put them back on and look up at the streetlight. Are they coming after me? I doubt it. I turn right and keep running, the houses end and the trees begin and I reach the edge of the neighborhood. No houses next to me. In front of me, to my left and right, is the endless road.

No Man's Land. That's what I call the neighborhood I live in. I took it from an old song by a favorite singer of mine. I think about that as I sit down on the curb. There's no sidewalk here. There's no place within five minutes of here. It's just the place between No Man's Land and reality. The cars rush past, a few look like my mother's. They aren't, though. Tears don't fill my eyes. I want to cry but I can't. I don't know what I'm supposed to do in the moment but sit.

The police arrive. I don't recognize them. I've never seen police officers before. They're kind, and ask me what's wrong. They tell me to get in the car. They drive me home. I watch out the window as we drive for only half a minute, passing the orange streetlight and parking in the driveway. We go inside the house.

They arrested me. I'm not allowed to leave. I think I always knew that deep down. I don't own a car. We can't afford one for me, and even then where would I go? You can't leave this place. My parents work long hours. Nine to five is a luxury we can't afford. We live on the front, where paper artillery shells fall and cut every last ounce of coin we have from our bodies. We write our names and social security numbers on the shells, and the bleeding stops for a moment.

I don't remember my name though. When I write it, the name of someone who's been dead for years appears on the page. Nobody calls me by my own name. Why should they? Everything is normal inside No Man's Land. Everything is happy and everyone is content. She wasn't, though.

When she died, I asked my parents to buy me a flag. They did. I always loved the way the purple and black contrasted with the yellow. I don't think they know what it means. Sometimes, I'm not sure I do either.

I wake up alone. My hands are covered in blood. I reach up to rub my nose. Nosebleed. A high-pitched whine in my ears. I get out of bed and head to the bathroom. Two sinks, a shower, and a toilet. I stand at the sink sitting to the right, next to the toilet. I look in the mirror and I see a stranger. My glasses are dirty. I take them off, set them down on the counter, and begin to cough. Blood. The blood pours into the sink and I turn the faucet on. What was I doing last night? Talking online, probably. The only real human interaction I get. I look up. Blood on the mirror. I grab a wipe and clear it off. My mother would scream at me if it wasn't spotless. I should take a shower. Instead, I go back to my room. I'm exhausted. I hear the cicadas chirping outside as I open my laptop.

I'm a writer. Not necessarily by choice, but by irony. I never liked writing. Here I am, writing my words out for the world to see. To see the innermost thoughts inside my head. My father tells me I don't even know if these people really exist. I know he's right. I'm not sure it matters. Some people say they write for others. I write for myself. I write to prove I still breathe. It's dark outside, the sun went down hours ago. I type that into my keyboard. The text appears in a little box on the screen. I struggle to write. Pacing around the room, I strike my feet against the carpeted floor. There's still blood on my bedsheets. I bite my nails. I've never been one for prose. Academic writing is what I'm good at. I have a diploma from the Governor to prove it. I think it's called a diploma. A nice piece of paper with a little stamp, the governor's name handwritten in the corner, my own name written as well. It means nothing. I've never even met the Governor. He isn't real. I'm tired of all of this. It sickens me.

I stop pacing and get into my bed. I've left the lights on. The blood is dry. My mind wanders. I'm writing a story about a maze. The sound of the keys echo in my skull. A dull pain. It's been hours. Midnight. The pain grows, and I start to wonder if I should keep going. Every so often, a dramatic thought enters my head. I put my shoes on. I keep typing on my keyboard as I walk downstairs and grab a drink. I delete a draft. I start a new one.

I rush towards the door. I swing it open. Gliding down the driveway, past the rows of houses, with nothing but the empty sky for company. I reach the edge of No Man's Land. I look around to see if the police are there. My parents haven't noticed I've left. This is the only time I'll have. This is the only chance I will get.

I leave.

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