02/21/2012 11:23 am ET

TEEN FICTION: 'Your Own Purgatory'

This is a regular column featuring original poetry by and for high school students, provided by, an online community writing site for young people.

The lights here are dazzling, hypnotic. They grab hold of your attention as they race by, spinning in a circle of crimson, cobalt, turquoise, and yellow. You’re staring now, mesmerized by the glow of these bulbs as they speed on, never slowing down, and never speeding up. The same pace for all eternity, it seems. The ivory horses slide up and down on their gilded poles, and the riders shriek with glee. How do they not tire of this? It seems unfathomable, how a body can take such repetition. You shake your head and pull away. The lights aren’t so beautiful after all.

You turn away and stare up into the sky. Black as ink, as it always is. The only illumination comes from the dingy fluorescents lighting up the rides and booths. There are no stars here.

You eventually make your way to the ferris wheel. The lights flash on and off quickly, and the old metal dinosaur screeches and moans as it moves forward, plunging down and rising up. This, again, seems to be painfully dull. How can one spend forever reaching the top, only to fall back down shortly after?

You know you must choose, and choose wisely. This is your eternity. But you just cannot swallow the idea of such bland repetition until the end of time itself. You don’t understand how these people can grin and scream with pure happiness.

Collapsing on the dirt, you hold your head in your hands. What on earth could be done to deserve this fate? What had you gotten yourself into?

You know there will be no returning home; this is something you’ve come to understand. You’re trapped here, in this prison of a carnival, this Hell. With a sigh, you deliberately slide your hand into the left pocket of your jeans and pull out a ticket. A single ticket.

This is the ticket you will use to board the ride of your choosing. Of course, the ticket is one-way. You won’t be getting off.

You get up and brush the grime off your clothes. You slowly drift over to the tilt-a-whirl, alive with the sounds of laughter and merriment. It is painted a neon orange, quite displeasing to the eyes, and the green and yellow lights flash on and off, blindingly bright. The machine spins and raises itself off the ground time and time again, and you again wonder how anyone could find this the least bit amusing. But, time is running out. You must choose your purgatory soon, or have one chosen for you.

Slowly, forcing every step, you make your way to the man operating the ride. As you hand him the ticket, you get a clear look at his face. It is a pale gray, drained of all color. His eyes look like bruises against his colorless flesh. His mouth is stitched shut and pulled up into a permanent grin. You turn away and board the ride.

It’s wonderful here, you’ve decided. All the colors blur together as you spin faster and faster, and as you plunge to the ground, your stomach knots. As you let out a sharp peal of laughter, the ride slows to a stop. But, you decide that you never want to get off.

You could do this forever.