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I Declare War Against Love




Hours went by like nothing.

The pain had become physical. I had a cold. I felt like the gay Carrie Bradshaw or something. Since when did I get sick from a man? This shit hurt though. I couldn't lie. I had closed all the shutters to my bedroom. Etienne kept complaining about how gloomy I had made the room but I threatened to I managed to mute his voice in my mind.

It was early in the morning when there was a knock on the door. Etienne looked over at me from his desk. I could tell he was annoyed that I wasn't getting up to get it. I turned away from the door and put the pillow over my head.

My eyes were still watering. My skin had turned pale. I looked a mess. I couldn't stop coughing for whatever reason.

Sampson had left me. He left me sick.

Etienne whined real loud as he got his stuff and went to the door. I didn't see who he was talking to but it was obvious it could be only one of three people.

"You need to get him up. If he's sick, he needs to be in the nurse. I will make a complaint," Etienne continued to whine, "I'm going directly to the nurse after school. Whatever he has could be contagious. He could..."

"Etienne shut the hell up...please," the voice said.

It was Ty. I heard Etienne leave the room, upset and Ty replace him. The room was dark as hell. He cracked a blind a little bit and I thought about telling him to shut it back but I wanted him to think I was asleep so he would go away.

Before I knew it my body gave myself away as I started to cough and choke for no reason. My pillow was moist. It was moist for tears. I didn't know someone could cry so much.

He sat next to me on the bed, "You didn't come to class yesterday. Peter was worried about you."

"Can you leave?" I asked him, "Isn't class going to start soon?"

He put his hand on my shoulder, "What kind of friend would I be if I left you like this? I brought you something to eat..."

"Not hungry."
"You have to eat. Jules made it for you. He was slaving all morning to make it."

I rolled my eyes. I guess now I HAD to eat it. I picked myself up. I saw the expression on Ty's face as he looked at me. It was almost like he was surprised. I probably really did look a mess. He handed me the tray on my bed.

I looked at the tray. He had made a smiley face out of pancakes and added rainbow sprinkles on top of my eggs. My orange juice had an umbrella in it. This had to be the gayest breakfast ever.

"Is that a smile?" he asked me.

He leaned close looking in underneath me and began to smile. I hadn't even realized I was smiling. I wiped the smile off my face and shoved a piece of bacon into my mouth.

"Tell Jules I said thanks...and thank you too..." I told him, silently.

He watched me eat, almost like a mother would watch a baby eat. In the same way I felt he had this connection. I didn't mind. I could have easily turned away from him, but I was so drafted in pain that it felt like I lost all my pride anyway crying in front of all of them.

He smiled at me, "I'm glad you're eating."

I nodded, "Why are you so nice to me?"

He shrugged his shoulders. I didn't get it. I was sure he was late as shit for class, but he was patiently watching me as though he could care less. I'd watched him in class as well. He wasn't Monte by any means, but he did seem to be doing well in his studies. He wasn't like me either. He actually seemed to care about it.

"Maybe, it's cause you are like a little brother to me," he explained and smiled, "I never had a little brother and when I look at you, I feel like I need to take care of you."

"Because I have no one? Is that it? Everyone left me..."

My parents left me.

My best friend Shane left me.

Now Sampson left me.

I was completely alone and abandoned.

"I didn't leave you," he stated and smiled.

It was supposed to be sweet. I got that, but right now, I honestly didn't give a damn. I just crossed my arms and stopped eating.

"Yet..." I finished his statement and gave him this suspicious look.

He seemed all innocent...all sweet. He reminded me so much of Sampson when I first met him. How could I have not seen the signs in Sampson back then? Sampson jumped around from relationship to relationship. He was always a player, whether it be with guys or girls.

"I'm not going anywhere," he replied, slowly.

"Didn't you just tell me that we shouldn't be friends not too long ago?"

He turned to me, "I was just...upset. I didn't mean it. Besides what would you do without me? Here, I got you something."

He dug in his carrying pack and took out something. It was a small little wrinkled up doll. The doll looked old as hell. He handed me the weird thing and I looked at it up and down. It looked like it had been around longer that I had.

"What is it?"

"It's a binding doll," he explained and smiled, "A lot of people around these parts still believe in the old ways. My mother used to tell me stories when I was a kid. And she gave me that binding doll. If you have that next to you, those who mean you harm cannot come close to you."

"It's voodoo..." I stated.

"Yeah, I guess...keep it. It's been in my family for years but I want you to have it. It hurt yesterday to see you get hurt. Seriously. Here, look...hold the doll. If I mean you harm, I can't approach you."

I hold the doll. Ty looks at me and his eyes seem to pierce me. He leans into me slowly. His eyes are so powerful and his body so dominant as he glides over me shadowing me. His lips are slightly open. His lips are just above my forehead as he peers down into my eyes. Then he touches me, it is a soft touch. It vibrates throughout my body. It is almost as though I can feel his good intentions.

"Her name is Love," he stated and smiled, "I bet you don't believe in that old witchcraft now right. Hopefully you will believe her one day. She'll cast a spell on you...you know."

Another day this would have been poetic.

Another day I would have cared.

I placed the doll on my bed, "Listen, you and Jules kill me with that hocus pocus stuff. I'll tell you like I told him. I don't believe. If someone wants to hurt me...they are going to hurt me. A doll isn't going to protect me. You can help me though. See that letter...Sampson left it. Can you burn it before I read it?"

He looked over at the dresser.

"Syn, maybe you should read it...maybe it'll make you feel, I don't know better," he continued, "You know. Love is so important it's..."

"Ty, burn it."

"Maybe he's apologizing..."

"I don't smell fire..."

He sighed and got up, grabbing the piece of paper and shoving it in his pocket. He looked irritated, almost like he was taking this more personal then he should have.

"I'll burn it, but it won't make you feel better," he explained and shrugged, "Listen sometimes it doesn't work out."

"And sometimes you get cold," I interrupt him and stare out, "I'm cold now. I'm more cold than I ever have been. My tongue is sharper then it's ever been. If love was to cross my path now, it would be cut."

He got quiet. He looked at my face. I knew usually he would want to argue, but now he was looking at me and the only thing I saw in his face was...remorse. He looked over at me again.

"I'm so sorry this happened to you. I...mean it."



I arrived in class late the next day. Etienne's lame ass ended up snitching on me for cutting class and Ms. Trials said I wouldn't be graduating on time if I didn't start going to class. They couldn't stop me from coming late though.

I hated this class.

I hated this class because I knew exactly what the topic of this class would be like. It was the same topic of every class. It was love. Peter was standing at the front of the class. He had Lord Byron written on the board. Great...a love poet.

Jules, Monte and Ty all sat next to each other towards the back. I saw Ty signaling me to come over. I didn't feel like it honestly. I took a middle seat towards the window and begun to stare out.

Peter begun to read the poems by Byron. They seemed endless. A couple guys had fallen asleep on the side, which included Juboo and a couple people in his gang. Etienne, of course, being the teacher's pet was the reader of the poems which was probably why so many people had fallen asleep. Then there was Ty. This was of course his favorite subject. He was the modern day Romeo.

I raised my hand.

Peter looked at me, "Ah...Mr. Tardy...would you like to share you thoughts."

He smiled as he said it, obviously joking.

I shook my head, "I don't find that amusing. With all due respect, sir, you wouldn't find it funny if I called you Mr. Corny...Mr. Softy...Mr. 50-year-old-lame-who-probably-sits-at-home-with-Whitney-and-Celine-Dion-on-repeat..."

"Syn!" Ty states from behind me.

It reminded me of something that Sampson would say. Shit...it seems like everything and everyone was taking shots at me.

That was when Wilson started to laugh from the front of the class, "Keep your animal on a leash, Ty. He's out of control."

A couple people started to laugh. I gave Wilson this look and he returned it with a look of his own. It was obvious that he still didn't get over what had happened at the lake between us. He was still pissed off.

Peter started to clap to regain control, "No, Syn has something to say. More then anything in this class, I want freedom of speech. Syn, what is your comment?"

"I feel like this love crap is lame."

"And that's ok," Peter explained looking at me and cupping his hands, "I want different outlooks on these poems. I want to know what you are thinking."

After all those other teachers tried to shut me up, it was surprising that Peter actually cared what I had to say. I crossed my arms thinking about it. I was thinking about Sampson. I was thinking about all that.

"You don't want to know what I have to say."

"No we don't," Wilson agreed, sighing loudly.

That just made me speak faster, "I declare war...against love."


"I declare war against love," I state and crossed my arms, "The concept is ridiculous. I'll never do it again. Every Sampson has a Delilah and that is their weakness. That is all love is...it's weakness. Why? Why does mankind feel the need to sacrifice itself over and over to weakness. We feel like we are not complete without it. Look at these writers. They sit around and they write about love like it's perfect. They write about a feeling as though it's all good. As though love equals happiness. It doesn't. I've been in love. It's not heaven. Love is purgatory."
A couple of students in the class found this just hilarious. I watched as a small riot of laughter went on in the back of the class with these couple of boys.

Etienne was the first one to speak, "Sir, would you like me to call Ms. Trails?"

Snitch. I rolled my eyes. I was still standing for some unknown reason. They were all looking at me. Some people looked scared like Jules, some were nonchalant, some looked pissed like Ty, some were amused like Monte. All these reactions were aimed towards me though. Peter just stared at me shaking my head. He seemed as though he was waiting for some type of reaction from the class.

"Syn, can you sit the hell down?" Ty asked.

"Why does he have to sit down? If that's how he feels...then maybe he should express it."

I was surprised when I heard the voice. I looked on the other side of the room to see Juboo had been the one speaking. The dark-skin sex symbol looked over at me intently and then back at Ty.

Jules seemed to butt in as soon as he knew Jules was in the conversation, "I agree with Juboo...let Syn keep going."

Ty gave Jules this traitor look. Then the class got a little quiet as they all turned to me as though waiting for me to finish this whole revelation. Truth was I didn't even think about it. I was just coming up with it now.

That was when Peter stopped me, "Would any of you...especially you Syn, mind if I voice recorded our discussions? For an independent study..."

No one spoke. Punks...so afraid to disagree with him because he was giving them a grade.

"This isn't an experiment for you. This is our lives..."

"That is why it's so important," he stated.

For a minute I thought about it. I could see how serious the look in his eyes was. Hell, he really wanted to record me. He really was taking me seriously. Who would have thought someone would take my crazy ass serious?

I shrugged and watched as he struggled to get out his tape recorder before I started speaking.

"Love is like Purgatory," I stated right before he hit play, "That's all I think of it as. We die everytime we fall. And we spend time, suffering, remorsing to get into the good graces of God. Yet, in love, our lover has become our God. We sit there repenting our sins, everything that makes us human so that we can get in good with the person we love. We forget who we are to love another."

"Every relationship has sacrifice," Ty stated getting up off his chair with me, "Love is giving and taking. You give a little of yourself but you get a little of someone else."

I watched as Peter moved the tape recorder and pointed it towards Ty. It was like he was trying to get all the reactions. He was trying to tape the entire conversation.

"I think you all are taking this too serious," Monte laughed from the sideline, "How about we get back to the poetry..."

"No..." Peter said, "New topic. New syllabus."

Etienne's fat ass hand shot up into the air, "Sir, with all due respect, you can't change the syllabus. I'm sure Principle Baron wouldn't agree with this."

"This is MY class. I'll teach it how I please, Etienne. Thanks for the advise though. Now, here is the new syllabus. One test. One question. It's easy huh? I guarantee you guys an A. All you have to do is answer this question...what is love...and keep answering it until you know what it is."

The class went up in cheers. I could see a slew of hands raise into the air. People started shouting out their own answers. Bogus answers. They hadn't really even thought about it. I returned to my seat walking past Ty.

He tried to grab me and hold me back, but I pulled away from him. It wasn't that I was upset with him. I just didn't have anything to say to him. We were two different people. We had two different beliefs and the connection we had was slowly slipping.

The teacher stopped, "Now wait. You'll all get your chance. We'll discuss it and keep discussing it. In the end of the term, you'll write a paper...your senior thesis. It will be on love...dismissed."

I started out the class to hear Ty calling behind me, "Syn, Syn, can we talk..."

I didn't wait though.


I spent the rest of the day in my room gloating. I did have a lot of homework, especially for this Calculus class I was taking. I didn't do it though. I wasn't really a homework person. I was more of a study before the day of the test and hope I get a good grade type of person. Hey, my grades weren't all that bad though, so I stuck with it.


I hated love. How could it betray me like this? How come I felt so weak...even after I kept telling myself I just needed to get over him? The slightest thing reminded me of him and my chest felt heavy again. I started hitting my mattress again.

I had been betrayed.

I found myself sleeping into the night...wondering what this was all about. I had turned on my bed and suddenly I saw the doll...Love. It was the doll that Ty had given me. It was looking at me right in my face.

I had to get away for the minute.

I found myself walking into the darkness down the empty corridors. I had a flashlight in my hands. That was the only way to get around this castle of a school at night. That was when I felt something following me. Something dark. I stopped walking and whatever it was continued it's steps. My heart raced a little bit. All that weird shit with Tini had happened. I knew things were weird.

I turned to see the face of death!
"Death!" I shouted.

"Excuse me?"

I looked again. It wasn't death...it was just a real ugly guy. His face wrinkled up when he saw me. He was old. He looked very old.

"Oh god...you scared the hell out of me. Who are you?"

The old man had long white hair that went to his back. I could smell something...it stunk like shit. As I looked down to his feet, I saw a dog. It was a Golden Retriever. He had a fucking dog in the school. It was so damn creepy.

"Don't pretend like you don't know me."

My eyebrow raised, "Should I know you? You a celebrity or something? Oh, how could I have not recognized you! Brad Pitt right?"

"Very funny. You were always very funny," he stated and crossed his arms, "How's that witch girl of yours?"

"What are you talking about?"

"Don't pretend like you don't know me...you are such a clown, aren't ya? Aren't ya? A real nuisance? Aren't ya? Causing all this trouble. Didn't I warn ya to leave a while back? I told you about the eclipse. Even your witch of a girlfriend told you about the eclipse. Ya don't listen. Oh well, stick around and learn your lesson. Another kid gone. These walls are crying..."

"I don't know who you think I am...or..." I started.

He didn't wait till I finished though he bumped past me. He raised his hand as he slowly began to walk, "These walls are crying...I swear, don't you hear them? Another kid gone. Better go back to your room, kiddo. The lake loves the night."

I walked away.

Who the fuck was that old guy and what did he mean? Who did he mistake me for?




I walked into the kitchen lounge. To my surprise I wasn't alone. I saw someone. I thought it was the old guy again and I was about to turn right back around, but then I realized who it was. It was Juboo.

He was sitting in the kitchen stool over the island cabinet. He was sucking up some noodles from a bowl. The rest of the lounge with the chairs and things were dark and still off. It was the middle of the morning. It was probably around 3 a.m. or something like that.

"What are you doing up?" he asks me.

I shrug, "I just couldn't sleep. You?"'

"The same..." he replied.

I go to the cabinet. You would think a school that was as uppity as this would have a wide food selection for their students. That wasn't the case. There were noodles and water. That's it. Noodles and fucking water. I grabbed a box of the noodles and put it in the microwave.

"You really went nuts in class today huh?" Juboo told me.

I didn't look over at him. Nuts...it wasn't the first time someone used that word to describe my actions. I didn't deny it though. Hell. I had to start admitting it. I would go spas out for the umpteenth time. I was a bit crazy.

I shrugged, "Yeah. Hey, did you see someone in the halls?"


"An old man. Long white hair. A golden retriever with him."

"Oh you are talking about Lomas," he explained and smiled, "He's harmless. He works as groundkeeper. A little crazy...he doesn't have a sense of time at all. He'll wander around any time of night. He's a Baron. I think he's the principles first cousin...or second cousin...or some shit like that. Did he scare you?"

"Hell yeah, he kept telling me that about another kid being gone."
Juboo crossed his arms. He was wearing pajamas and wifebeater. He was very attractive. He had these big kissable lips. That must have been his best feature as well as his strong muscular frame. He wasn't tall like Ty or Monte, but he did have a little bit of a height advantage to me. He smiled at me and his teeth were sparkling white with a huge glimmer in his eyes.

"Well, don't be scared," he said finding it amusing, "But back in the day, students used to disappear. A total of 20 people in 10 years. It stopped not too long ago."

"Are you serious? Students disappeared?"

"Yeah...gone poof! I know because Wilson snuck into Baron's office one day and found the files. The weird thing is no police reports were filed. No parents even complained. It was almost as though the students never existed."

"Stop bullshitting me. Their parents didn't care."

"I bullshit you not. People send their sons out here when they are so bad that they don't know what to do with them. They send their sons out here when they've given up on them. In a way we are all the way out south of nowhere. We disappeared already. If we disappeared from the school, it'd probably just be `good riddens'. Welcome to Thomas Prep. Weird crap happens here. I hate this place. I want to leave really...but like I said. My parents gave up on me."

I looked at Juboo with these wondering eyes, "Maybe those kids ran away. Maybe its not that serious. I mean you hate it right? They probably did too."

"No...they disappeared off the face of the earth. The nearest town is miles and miles away. You'd have to go through swampland and fog is way too heavy around here. No one can get through it all without a car. They wouldn't leave..."

I raised my eyebrow again, "Well it's over now...ain't it?"

"No...not exactly."


"Well a couple days before you came, my roommate disappeared," Juboo explained, "It was the first disappearance in years. They put it off as though the boy was left on his own, but I knew my roommate. No one believes me. He had a reason to stay here. He and I...we were... getting to know each other on a different level. Then he ups and runs away and doesn't tell me. His name was Christian. I know Christian more then anyone. Christian would have told me. He would have..."

On a different level?

"What do you think happened to him?"

Juboo shuddered, "This is the real reason I can't sleep. I think whatever happened to those other guys...happened to Christian. I think whatever happened back then is starting...all over again..."