by Korey Johnson
April 2010

Sweat slowly cascaded down the side of his face, collecting at the bottom of his chin until there was just enough to fall to the tiles below. Each drop raced between the terracotta squares until they were devoured by the searing summer sun. The boy licked his lips anxiously as he inconspicuously leaned over a table that held a dozen recently baked treats. His excited eyes impatiently examined each individual treat in comparison with the others. Some were larger, others seemed sweeter, and several were more gorgeous.

“I shouldn’t… it’s not mine” the boy thought but couldn’t stop; he was committed to the treacherous deed the moment he inhaled the alluring warm wind that blew past each attractive cup cake.

Before he knew it, the boy was already briskly walking with a half eaten cupcake in his tiny hand. Although the cake was tastier than he could have ever imagined, each bite and step was accompanied by an growing feeling of numbness. The sensation grew so strong that he had to stop and examine what remained in his hands to make sure it was still in fact a cupcake. He nervously looked around and slightly hesitated before he stuffed what was left into his mouth. Surprisingly, as he began to walk again, the boy didn’t lick his fingers or even his lips; instead, he quickly wiped them off on his already soiled t-shirt.

“I’ve had enough of this”.

He intuitively felt that attempting to enjoy the treat any further was only going to enhance the bizarre, unfamiliar feeling.

After his peculiar day the boy laid in his bed. The strange and mysterious feelings that he had felt so strongly before slowly faded away until they presently disappeared, leaving only a vague alien memory. With his arms relaxed at his side, the boy took a deep blissful breath and closed his eyes. As he drifted off into his dreams of saving the world from the intergalactic warlords of the universe, he began to feel ill again. The feeling began to invade every thought; trampling everything in its path. Dreams of saving the world turned into nightmares of him deceiving his people and destroying the planet; he felt no longer like a hero.

Awake again, he inevitably erupted into tears.

“I’ve never felt so awful,” the boy sniffled.

“I’ve never…”

As my vision became blurry from the tears that intimately enveloped my eyes I realized that I felt guilty.

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