Chapter 5:



Nothing has changed.

No progress. No Elopas. Just school. Just motherfucking school over and over again and nothing else. Even though I know it’ll be over eventually, I can’t help but complain to myself constantly about this utter bullshit waste of time. Every day when I walk out of those doors I’m reminded that though this hell may be temporary, you’ll remember it forever. And that lost time will never come back.

Unable to fully fall asleep after last night, I get up a little early and put my phone on the charger. Closing Gormage’s messages to me, I find the sudden compulsion to stretch. My body aches and my forehead burns thanks to the VISTA. But as I check the time, I decide I’d rather not waste it on more work.

Surprisingly, Elaine’s still asleep. Her door’s closed, at least. I don’t think I’ve ever been up this early in my whole life. Huey should be up by now, but downstairs, I’m all alone, and outside the window his car’s nowhere to be found. Guess he… left already? Makes sense I suppose. I go to sit in the den.

There’s nothing in here for me. I spend all my time in my room, so I’ve left no trace of my existence in this space. Nothing I own is here. Nothing I like is here. The aesthetic is old and dry, born from and kept alive by my mother. My eyes drift again to the cabinet near the left of the room. No… no, I can’t do that. But maybe… I mean…?

School is happening today. That’s a fact. And it’s gonna suck, I know that too. So I can’t make things any better… but… I could certainly take steps to numb the pain.

I open up the alcohol cabinet.

I’ve never drank before. As I twist open the lid to my water bottle to fill it with my parent’s vodka I’m mostly just thinking about how at least one thing I’ve never experienced before will happen today. I mean, fuck, that’s really all I ever asked for. Just excitement is all. Just a break from the noise. If Elopas can’t free me just yet, I’ll at least try and make the most of my time.

I take only a small amount at first. Water it down some with the sink to fill the bottle, then a little more. Then more water to balance that out. And I top it off with some more water just to be sure. Soon enough, the thermos is full of (mostly) booze. Planned on this being a one-time thing, but given I’ve got an easy out what with my dad packing his bags and all, I stash the rest in my closet for later. Who’s gonna know? I can just say he took it with him if Elaine asks. From now on, I’m living life to the fullest. That is to say, doing everything in my power to feel even the slightest hint of enjoyment or general emotion to begin with.

The drive to school is silent. To Elaine, at least. My earbuds are ripe with the wail of KFC Murder Chicks. As the same exact clothes I wore yesterday cling to my sweaty flesh I pray to god Elaine won’t smell the booze.

How would she…?

I try to block out my anxiety. I’m already bringing alcohol to school. Not gonna drink it in the car or anything but I’m not gonna be scared to do what I want with it. Who really cares what happens to me anyway? I’m more scared of the idea of getting caught in the act than any possible “punishment” they could lay down on me. Besides, I’ve got an out. My dad left. I’m going through a divorce in the family. A perfect sob story.

In homeroom I start drinking. I don’t tell Dylan. He's not chill enough- would probably freak out and get me exposed. Not to mention he doesn’t even seem to smell it anyway. Sure doesn’t bring it up. Nevertheless, as I nervously take my first nasty sips of the putrid syrup, he strikes up some time-killing conversation with me. As a fellow prisoner, it’s only polite to respond and get this day over with quicker.

“Molly…” he starts. “What do you think about me getting a haircut?”

“Why now? You’ve had the same hair for seventeen years.”

“Yeah, that’s… the thing. I mean, that’s fucking lame. And… it’s boring. I want something new.”

“Like what, pigtails?”

“Fuck off… I mean like… I dunno… a buzzcut…?” He sighs like he just got told he had two seconds to live. “I don’t wanna shave my head though…” he sticks his hands in the pockets of his baggy red hoodie.

“Get dreads or something.”

“You’re no help…”

First block hits and I don’t feel much different. Of course, quick sips aren’t gonna cut it. From here on out, I decide to start gulping a nice bit of it every so often.

Unlike Dill, Wire actually notices I’m committing a crime.

“Molly. Don’t tell me you’re drinking?”

“S’for my Kishibe cosplay… practicing. Y’know. Kishibe. From-“

“Chainsaw Man. I know. Everyone knows. They all watched it.”

“I read the manga.”

“I know that too. Asshole.”

“I’m soooo drunk…” I slur, a little loud. Pretty sure Ms. Junes hears but she doesn’t expect a thing. I’m the good kid.

“No. You aren’t.”

“Just let me believe…”

“You’re not acting any differently than normal. I don’t think you’re even close to drunk just yet.”

“You’re different. So pissed off… normally you’d play along.” I concede, wishing the juice would actually take effect some time this century.

“Oh. Sorry, I didn’t notice.”

“Dylan too. Everyone’s on edge. This school year’s gonna drive us crazy.”

“You’re just depressed about Elopas.”

“Yeah… but school doesn’t make it any better.”

“All of life is boring. You just have to find the fun in everything. You want to know what I did in first block?”

“What did you do?” I ask, somewhat pointlessly. Usually he’d go right into his topic. Whether he believes it or not, the guy is suffering. We’re all slowly degrading inside this tile-floor Silent Hill map.

“Do you know how long it would take to open every single locker in this entire school?”



“Uhhhh…. six hours?”

“They’re all locked. You don’t know the codes.”

“Oh… uh, two days?”

“No.” He smirks, adjusting his glasses, unintentionally revealing his hollowed, soulless eyes to me. “Seventy-four years.”

“Wow…” I feign interest.

“Would you like to know how I came up with that figure?”

“Not really…” I break my own time-wasting conversation rule on account of clause one: if the conversation is even more boring than just sitting and doing nothing, you may as well not have it.

Second block language arts is more of the same. Why the fuck am I so sober? I eagerly await lunch. But between this and third block, it’s generations before I even get there.

We don’t sit near anyone. Every day we just take our lunches to the quiet hallway, and nobody says shit. It’s even okay to be loud around this time, but none of us have the energy on days like these anyway. I don’t think anyone likes our group because they can’t understand what the idea behind it is. On rare occasions I’ve heard kids wonder aloud why the three of us spend our time together. They just don’t get it. Must all be numb to whatever soul-crushing illness haunts us. Our aesthetic isn’t pain, though. We aren’t goth, and we aren’t bad kids. Just a lesbian, a no-personality fuckup who’d probably be an incel if he were into girls, and a nerd. Like the only person you would still call a “nerd” in 2023. We aren’t hurting. We’re bored. We’re so fucking bored.

I hate us.

I open my lunchbox and toss out everything but the desert, including whatever weird note mom wrote me today. She always puts in some weird letter with a ghost or monster drawing on it when she makes my lunch these days, sometimes paired with a riddle or something. Wonder if the old bat’s gone nuts. Wouldn’t be enough to entertain me even if she has.

We sit and shoot the shit about how much we hate our teachers. I drink. We each chat about shows only the speaker watches in gruesome detail. I drink. We all talk about how much we’d rather be anywhere else. I drink. We all debate how we’d escape the school if there was a fire, or more likely a shooter. I drink. We talk about who could survive in a fight between the three of us, up against a tiger. I drink. I talk about Elopas. I drink.

Still don’t feel even a little bit different.

The knowledge that I am only halfway through the day, and literally need to go through almost that same amount of wasted time I already have in the first half of today again, weighs on me like a nutsack full of lead. I’m not suicidal, but during these classes I think about how cathartic it might be to blow my head off once every five seconds in between increasingly small sips of booze as my tank runs low.

In between blocks four and five, I spot Debby in the hallway. She comes to me, unprompted, efficiently shuffling along with her crutch. Starts talking to me out of nowhere. It’s almost nice.

“Hi, Molly.” She says, looking down at my head. If I were any taller, she’d probably smell the funk on my breath. “What’s up?”

“Nothing.” I answer truthfully. I think long and hard about literally anything relevant to talk about. “How’s Gormage?”

“Haven't talked to him today. Sorry about yesterday. I hope your wish comes true like you did for me!”


“Your wish, I hope it comes true. Elopas.”

“No, I mean… what? What wish did I ever grant you?”

“My leg. You cut it off, remember?”

“Oh… that. How long ago was that… what, like, two months?”

“More like two weeks.”


We stare at each other and then I walk to my next class.

Fifth block I can’t pace myself quite well enough. Less than a third of the way through and I’ve run completely dry. Not a drop of vodka left to satiate me. Not like it was doing anything anyway. I kinda wish someone would catch me at this point. At least that would be interesting. Not even the fear of being caught keeps me awake at this point in the day.

I try to pass the time with daydreaming like always, but since I usually daydream about Elopas, all it does is make me feel more down than I already do. I haven’t given up- she’s still obviously out there, because of the giggle and everything- but considering I currently have no clear way of making progress, things are looking grim at the moment. I try to think of something else.

Here’s a thought.

I just drank a full thermos of some sort of vodka. I don’t know fuck about what kind of vodka it is or really alcohol in general- but I just took in more than a few shots, right? So like… does that mean I have a wicked high tolerance? Could be good news. Then maybe I can really try and get drunk once I get home. Yeah, that would be fun. Something to look forward to. Unless… waaaait…. I feel it coming on… yes, yes… I’m drunk… definitely drunk…

Sixth block. Nope. Just tired. Still feel the exact fucking same. There is no escape. Just delusion. I can delude myself as much as I want. That’s not such a bad idea. Could try to pass the time that way. Unless I’m doing it already. On second thought, becoming delusional’s the last thing I want. That would make my whole Elopas experiment a huge joke. Gotta stay sane for the day when Elopas is real and I’m the girl who brought her into the world. Yeah. I’ll stay sane for that.

Boom. All of a sudden I’m headed home. I take the bus. Except I don’t feel even a little happy that school is over. I’ll be back tomorrow. And I’ve got like an hour long ride before I can even drink myself into a stupor in the privacy of my room. The only thing that’s happening on the ride home is what’s going on inside my headphones. Which is to say, the soundtrack to Cruelty Squad on loop. And even that feels boring when you’ve listened to it as much as I have.

I get home. Elaine is there, but too depressed to welcome me. Whatever. I go upstairs.

I set my bags down, but take out my thermos. Sneaking back down into the kitchen, I wash it to hell and back. Huh. I don’t think I’ve hardly ever washed dishes before. But I don’t want the smell of this thing alerting anyone.

Afterwards, as I lie in bed like usual, I breathe a sigh of relief, and nothing else. Nobody caught me today. But my plan didn’t have any results either. Nothing lost. Nothing found. No gain, just pain. And now, even in the comfort of my own home, the boredom’s sneaking up to me again.

If I go to sleep at a reasonable time, that means I will not be conscious for a vast majority of the hours I have away from school. In a few moments, I’ll be right back at that classroom. And even if I skip, I’ll have to go the next day, or I’ll be stuck going to school forever.

I don’t want to pass the time, and I don’t want to do nothing either.

I look at my headset. Bad memories of failed experiments. I look at my TV. Bad memories of better times spent watching media I hadn’t seen yet then. I look at my phone. Bad memories of writing Sonic essays. Everything is subtly, faintly bad. Annoying. A thorn in the side of my brain. It’s not just that life is hell, there is no life to begin with. There is no hell, either. There is no reason why I feel the way I do. There isn’t even a conclusion to that thought. What-the-fuck-ever. I hate this. I hate it. Fuck.

I grab the bottle.

Beginning to swallow the undiluted vodka, I sit back on my bed and try not to think too hard. Been doing that all day. I wanna feel, not think. It’s so cool having a tolerance as high as mine. I should become an alcoholic.

Hmm… that’s right. No thoughts. Just urges. Compulsions. What do I feel like doing? I ask my heart the answer, ignoring my brain as it attempts to go off on some tangent about which Bubblegum Octopus song most accurately depicts my aesthetic. Do I feel like… laughing? No. Nothing funny happening right now. Don’t even wanna smile. How about… frown? I’m fairly pissed, that’s for sure. After all this failure, I do find myself wanting to stomp around. But… that’s just the thing I don’t wanna think about right now. That’s what I’m running from, ain’t it? So what am I feeling?

Yeah… my tolerance must be super fucking high. I’m… what, halfway through this bottle? How much was in there to start? You know, I can’t remember… I take another swig.

I’m not… happy, I’m not mad. So I’m sad then, is that it?

Not sad about Elopas.

But hey… I kinda feel something tugging at me down there, just a little.

Is this about my dad leaving?

I haven't had time to think about that.

𝘿𝙞𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬? 𝙄𝙣 𝙛𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙩𝙝 𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙙𝙚 𝙢𝙮 𝙗𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙛𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙣𝙖𝙢𝙚𝙙 𝙃𝙖𝙧𝙡𝙚𝙮 𝘽𝙪𝙧𝙩𝙧𝙪𝙚.

I don’t wanna think about my dad anyway.

𝙎𝙝𝙚 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙫𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙤 𝙜𝙖𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙢𝙪𝙨𝙞𝙘 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙢𝙚.

I don’t really know the guy. Er, I didn’t.

𝙄 𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙨𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙮. 𝙄 𝙗𝙖𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙮 𝙨𝙩𝙮𝙡𝙚 𝙤𝙣 𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙨. 𝙎𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙨𝙩𝙮𝙡𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙧𝙚𝙢𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙨 𝙤𝙣 𝙢𝙚 𝙩𝙤𝙙𝙖𝙮.

I never cared about my dad.

𝙊𝙣𝙚 𝙙𝙖𝙮, 𝙨𝙝𝙚 𝙖𝙨𝙠𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙚 𝙞𝙛 𝙄 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚𝙙 𝙝𝙚𝙧.

I never really cared that much about anyone.

𝙄𝙩 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙖 𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙜𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙙𝙖𝙮 𝙪𝙥 𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙣, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙠𝙮 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙣𝙞𝙘𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙜𝙧𝙚𝙮, 𝙨𝙤 𝙄 𝙨𝙖𝙞𝙙 𝙮𝙚𝙨.

When was the last time I had a good day?

I don’t wanna-


I don’t wanna remember this-

𝙎𝙝𝙚 𝙡𝙖𝙪𝙜𝙝𝙚𝙙, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙖𝙞𝙙 𝙨𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙄 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙜𝙧𝙤𝙨𝙨.

Too late

𝙄 𝙘𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙙𝙖𝙮 𝙡𝙤𝙣𝙜. 𝙎𝙝𝙚 𝙣𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙢𝙚 𝙖𝙜𝙖𝙞𝙣.

I cry into my bed, afraid Elaine will hear me.

I miss dad. I miss Harley.

After she left, I hated her for a while. Quit liking all the things she liked. But in my mind, she just kept coming back. She was so pretty. I had to block her out. Block everything out. I didn’t want to remember this. I don't ever want to remember anything. God, that happened so long ago. I hate memories. I hate Harley. I hate dad. I hate…

I stare into the colorless liquid. I don’t know how much is left. I can only just barely make out the bending reflection hidden within the pool of clear sludge. I drink again. Again. Again.

But I just keep crying. I never really knew Huey. I never really knew Harley.

I wanted to run, not feel. I don’t want to have known them.

I was joking. Stop this. I don’t want to feel.

Please, stop it.

My hands are red as they grip into the bed, my face dripping with tears and snot.

What’s going on? Is this real?

Of course it is, what am I saying? Get it together…

“Don’t cry, Molly.” She tells me.

I look up. Drinking the last of what’s left, I swear I see her. I can’t tell you what she looks like, but trust me, Elopas is there. Elopas is right in front of me, and she’s just as pretty as you imagine.

“Elopas…” I pretend to say, afraid Elaine will hear me.

“I love you.” She tells me, and I cry more.

“It’s gonna be alright.” She tells me, and I cry harder.

Soon enough I stop crying, and I


In the morning my head hurts. I’m sick for real this time.

I pick up the bottle on the floor. Should have known. My tolerance wasn’t high at all. I just watered down my school vodka so much that it came out weak. And… oh.

So… nothing’s changed, then.

Elopas… still isn’t real. I was just drunk.

But she did giggle. And for me, that’s enough. She could be real. Even though last night was a delusion… that giggle was real. So even if I keep failing… one day, I’ll figure it all out. I know I will.

Huey leaving is fine. I understand. And fourth grade was eons ago. God, why do I care? I don’t know why I dug that stuff up. I know for a fact I’ll never see that girl again. And plenty of people go through their parents splitting. I’m just overthinking, more than usual. Guess drinking can do that to you? I’m just happy to experience something new.

Elopas’ in her heaven. All’s boring with the world. And everything will be alright.

The only thing I have to worry about is convincing Elaine to let me stay home.