Peer Review by Aarushikrishnan (United States)

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( #firstraycontest ) || your two minutes of static

By: artificialaorta


Radio waves bounce off the orange dunes of the desert. You can see them if you squint and look at a fixed point for long enough. 

The city stands proudly pristine, monochromatic as always. It's all an act, though. Scratch the surface of the buildings and they'll bleed black rotten blood. Dig between alleyways and stab the no-ends, and pus and bugs and all things vile will stain your hands permanently.

We're its antithesis.

We crack batteries open and drink their acid like slurpees, and we smile when it burns down our throats. Everyone says we're made of stardust, but I want to be gunpowder, cocaine, ibuprofen. Fuck stardust. Fuck stars. All they do is watch idly, ever the estranged parent silently judging their disappointing kid. I'll burn brighter than any of them and bathe in their jealousy.

Foreign trembling fingers place a cigarette between my lips. It's almost paradoxical that these limbs are mine; I don't recognize them in the dark of the night. 

"We could... you know, leave" 
"Shut up,"
"I'm just saying," he sounds irritated. "Offer still stands, though. Anytime you want,"

Radio waves bounce off the orange dunes of the desert. If you stare at the pair of pale body bags for long enough, you'll see them - like static in your visual field, blurring the outline of the city on the background. Gasoline has a disgusting overpowering smell. It sticks to your nose and doesn't ever leave you alone, an ex-lover that keeps coming back for more no matter how many times you hurt them. I don't know why Ghoul likes it so much: maybe it's because he's a little fucked up.

"Okay," I surrender, because sometimes you have to lose (and I think I'll claw my eyes out if I have to keep watching for any longer). We make our way back to the car.

I know what follows:
Jet will floor the fucking pedal, and Cobra will sleep like a baby regardless, and Ghoul will stick his head out the window and grin stupidly, and I'll sit and think angry thoughts that'll disappear seconds later. And we'll keep driving until the car breaks down or the first ray of light shines down on our orange desert, whichever comes first.

And we'll never look back.


the true lives of the fabulous killjoys is the title of my chemical romance's 4th studio album, and a comic book written by gerard way and illustrated by becky cloonan. give them a listen and a read (respectively); you won't regret it. this work is inspired on the world and characters depicted in these two pieces of media.
basically, a long disclaimer to justify that i am still emo in the year of 2018, and this piece is incredibly self-indulgent about it. it wasn't a phase after all, mom.
written for Aarushikrishnan's contest. (let's be real: written for myself, but the contest gave me an excuse, so i'm thankful for that). hope it's a decent read!

Message to Readers

this one's for all of you rock'n'rollers; all you crash queens and motor babies

Peer Review

THE. IMAGERY. It was beautifully well written, you should be very proud! I get some HEAVY Mad Max vibes when reading this ;)

I would like if you could deepen the theme of first ray throughout your piece. I get that this wasn't written exclusively for my contest, and unfortunately it shows in that regard. Still, this is definetly some high quality work!

Reviewer Comments

Thank you so much for entering my contest, and for writing this!