Today, I wish to break from fiction and address a very personal reality. Normality. It’s a subject many shy away from yet try so hard to master. Normal. Many cringe at the word.

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines normal as this: “conforming with, ashering to, or constituting a norm, standard, pattern, level, or type.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has eight definitons of normal, the most prominent being definition 2a and b: “according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle;” “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern.” Simplified, society wants us to believe normal is fitting in.

But this poses a question: fitting into what? So let me ask a different question. What even is “normal?” Is there even a “normal?” Truthfully, the answer is no. Why? Because everyone has their own definition of “normal,” their own standard. What’s normal to one person may seem odd to the next. For instance, some may think pink is a normal favorite color. I think pink is hideous, and lime green is a normal favorite color. Others will say lime green is hideous, and black is a normal favorite color. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Frankly, “normal” is an out-of-date cliche people use as an excuse to give up on being themselves. How many of us have done something because we thought it would make us “normal?” Whether it be trying a new style, adopting new phrases, becoming someone different, etc. That brings the next question.

Why are we so afraid to be ourselves?

We need to open our eyes. When we gain the acceptance of “normal,” we lose our identity. The identity that is unique to us and us alone. You can hate me for saying this, but acting “normal” is living a lie. And don’t take me for being self-righteous or condescending. I’m only trying to convey the truth.

I’m not immune. I fall into society’s grasp everyday. I can’t tell you how many times I haven’t done or said something because I didn’t want people to think I’m weird. I want to fit in, too. Yet, I want everyone to know I’m not “normal.” It’s always been a struggle. A fine line to balance. All my life, I’ve tried to go against the flow. Purposefully displayed myself as different. And I’ll be honest. Being defiant against society’s mold has its costs.

I’ve grown up with only two or three close friends. I struggled with depression for more years than I should have. I cried myself to sleep almost every night, wondering what was wrong with me. One night, my dad asked me what was wrong. I confessed that I desired to be normal. He merely looked at me and asked why. I was shocked for several moments, then lamented about my lack of friends. He then asked if I wanted people to like a fake me or a real me.

I ponder his words to this day. And it only brings me back to the beginning. Is there even a “normal?” On deeper reflection, maybe there is. But a different kind of normal. A normal that’s true to ourselves, not the “normal” society holds over our heads. As long as we conform to ourselves and follow our own pattern. Only we can decide who we are going to be. This brings me to my final question. Are you going to follow society’s “normal,” or are you going to set a precedent for your own kind of normal that only you can follow?



Out of the darkness formed an angelic creature with black-tinted skin and white, feathered wings. He stood tall and strong, waiting in the darkness patiently. It was not often someone visited the ruins of Elion, and he surely didn’t expect it to be a wandering soul of the female creature race. He stared with electric purple eyes as she stepped foot onto the main road. The night wind unsettled years of encrusted dirt and rust. The deteriorated buldings groaned. A familiar sound to him.
He stepped back when she found the monstrous markings in the dirt that would never pass. Though he was many yards away from her. With narrowed eyes, he passed her off as a careless creature who had been forsaken. He paused through the dirty haze, a structure forming. A structure made of the ribs and skull of an unsightly, many-horned creature that had fallen long ago.
The girl continued walking the ghost town. Unsure of what would happen. She missed her dragon companion. And she couldn’t shake the memories of the last creature she encountered. She came upon a great beast’s forgotton remains. A creature stood in the skull’s gaping mouth. He was similar to the one she met a few days back. Except this one’s skin was black and his eyes purple. His wings were ragged, one permanently broken while the other was half missing. “Who are you?”
His intense gaze tracked her movements. Head turning as he watched her in silence. Her words were foreign to him, but he could still understand what she wanted. But he turned away. Noiselessly moved deeper into the skull. “Wait!” she cried. “I’ve met someone like you.”
Pivoting, a purple aura emanated from his form, veins illuminating like violet lightning on his skin. His shredded wings arched as much as they could. He beckoned her until she cautiously approached. Then his eyes flashed with lightning, sending her to the ground as he gained access to her mind. A blast of electricity broke through her eyelids, radiated into her skull, then left her body of nerves tingling.
Axxeriorat–for that was his name–still remained in place. His aura spread further from him. Lighting the inside of the skull. He cared little for the torment she suffered upon the dirt. Not many knew of Elion’s brutal history. Not many cared. Tortured by the silence of the dead around him, he continued staring. She managed gaining control of herself. Her eyes wide in horror.
He had given her a brief history. Had shown her what had passed. His jaw set as he relived the memories himself. It was his brother and him. Together, they led the charge against the invasion of their peaceful civilization. They were successfull until the fell beast was summoned. Only diaster followed. For three days and nights, their town was burned, defiled, and shredded.
Nothing stopped the brutal phenomenon. Streets lined with blood. Homes filled with screams that turned silent. Everything burned to ash. The brothers failed in their sworn duty. They were the best forces Elion had to offer, and their best wasn’t good enough. He was the last survivor. Only because he had fled like a coward.
When he returned weeks later, the beast was nothing more than a rotting carcass. It was off the carcass he lived. Until only bones remained. He assumed the beast had served its purpose then was killed by its summoners. That mattered not. What mattered was he failed. Failed to destroy the relentless attackers and foul creature. Failed to save his people, his brother. His battle-torn wings helped pay the cost. But according to tradition, his tongue needed removal. So he could never speak of his failures.
The deed had been done. He had drawn the sword from his wings and cut out the apendage long ago. Not that he was a chattery creature. A constant power he possessed was that involving the mind. He had also tapped into her memories. Seen the creature she had spoken of. His cruel stare found her once more. She begged him to stop the mental intrusion. She couldn’t bear the horrid images of his past world.
Lighting flashed from his eyes, releasing the hold he had over her mind. His aura dimmed until it vanished. Darkness flooded the skull. But his veins illuminated. This being had mere seconds to flee before he unleashed more power upon her. How many other creatures had he turned to ash? This one would be no different. His eyes glowed with his electric purple light. She was on her feet and sprinting from the skull.
The display of power only increased. His aura emanated again. This time filling the skull with blinding light. He was enraged. Had he only continued his failings? His brother was still alive. Yet, he hadn’t taken it upon himself to search. A snarl took over his lips. He had failed his brother even when he thought his family enjoyed the afterlife. Apparently, their other-life celebration wasn’t so. How many others did he leave behind when he fled?
Axxeriorat released a burst of power, finally bringing his emotions under control. But the damage had been done. The skeleton crumbled around him, disintegrated. He strode through the ash, ready to smite anything in his way. This place that held his brother, this Saison Burn, would not enjoy his coming presence.

Second Chances

What would we give to have a second chance? To say the things we should’ve said and taken back what we shouldn’t have? What would we give to use our time more wisely? To make that visit or call? To not be inconvenienced by selfish needs? In truth, we never know what we would give until all is lost. We never stop and think about those we know. We refuse to share our lives until it’s too late. And then what? We’re filled with sorrow, dread. Filled with regret and hate for ourselves. All we can do is sit and contemplate what we could’ve done, what we should’ve done. But no. We were too busy living our own lives. We don’t have time for that distant family member or friend. We lie to ourselves. Tell ourselves they should’ve reached out first. Did we ever stop to think they were telling themselves the same thing? Did we ever stop to think about them at all? No. Of course not. And even if we did, it was a fleeting moment that quickly passed. We never made that call or visit. Though we deceived ourselves we would. We never took back the wrong things we said, never said the right things. Not all of us get a second chance. For some of us, the time with someone has passed. We’ll never get to feel that hug or see that smile. We’ll never get to see their eyes light up when they’re happy or darken when they’re upset. We’ll never get to hear their voice, hear that laugh. All we hear is silence. All we see is a stone marking what could’ve been and what will never be. All we feel is loss and depression. All we realize now is that we were too late. And all we can wonder is what we would’ve given to have that second chance.

In memory of the ones we’ve lost. And perhaps, the ones we can still save.