Why Are You Afraid Of Dying? | Teen Ink

Why Are You Afraid Of Dying?

April 2, 2015
By LiveForLife GOLD, Longwood, Florida
LiveForLife GOLD, Longwood, Florida
16 articles 1 photo 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A writer has unlimited power, yet he is powerless. He can create people, worlds, universes, and places you want to be in more than the real world; with the stroke of a pen. But at the same time he can only create. He can't really change the world."

“Why are you afraid of dying?”

I glanced up at the girl, confused. “Um, excuse me?”

“You heard me,” she challenged, flecks of gold sparkling in her maple colored eyes as the light field of freckles spilling across her nose furrowed. A bronze circlet sat upon her crown of flowing dirty blonde locks infused with streaks of burning blue. Her unrelenting gaze pierced through me, seeming to know me, to sum me up.

In the time it takes a human eye to lock with another, the same time for her optic nerves to send bursts of static to her brain to decipher and filter and perceive and to send orders to the muscles in her corneas to flex and bend and to focus and her iris to expand like a dark sea surging over an amber field of grain, she knew who I was.

She knew it all.


All that I had been, all that I was, all that I will ever be.
In the same time it takes a brain synapse to fire, for the electric connection to be formed as a temporary bridge of information and energy, she knew more about me than I ever would know of myslef.

“What is it that scares you about it?” she pushed.

I tapped my fingers against the register, mumbling something like, “Can I take your order?”

“Is it the dark? The yowling shadows? Are you afraid of what you don’t know?”

I glanced around her – the growing line of increasingly agitated customers fidgeted as they used up more battery life than they would have preferred while aimlessly scrolling on their phones and refusing to talk to each other.

“I’m not afraid of the dark,” I muttered.

“No, you’re not,” she stated matter-of-factly, her gaze reaching into my soul. “Yet you’re afraid of the unknown. You’re afraid of losing control, of letting go, of letting the moment take you. You don’t know yourself well enough yet to know what you would be like if you lost yourself.”

I just stared at her, my fingers ceasing their impatient thrumming.

“If I can give you any advice…” she glanced down at my name tag, a smile tugging at the corner of her wry lips, “Lazarus, it would be to lose yourself. Get out there. Live up to that name. The unknown is the best part of life.”

“Today, please?” somebody in line grumbled behind her.

She stuck her hand out. “Kara Kelly.”


As if in a dream I reached out and grasped her surprisingly strong yet soft grip as the nerves in my fingertips tingled and sparked. Her scent of fresh wind, crisp sun, and warm cappuccino wafted over to me as we shook. “Lazarus Quinton.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” she cooed before turning away and strutting out the door without another word. She held it open for a moment, turning back with a wry smile on her face and eyes alight.

I felt my cheeks involuntarily turn upwards themselves, a stupid grin plastering itself to my mouth.

She blinked once, turned back around, and walked out, the sunlight glancing off her circlet and setting her hair aflame like fresh flames of propane.

Right then she walked out of my life.

I would never see Kara Kelly again.

I would never grasp her firm-yet-gentle grip, I would never smell her skin’s infusion of the great outdoors and coffee shops, and I would never again look into those bright, alive, honey eyes of swimming gold.

But she would change my life in nearly every way possible. 

The author's comments:

The intro to a story I started that's some kind of hybrid between a memoir of the ridiculous adventure my life has become recently and where I want it to go.

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This article has 6 comments.

on Apr. 19 2015 at 11:11 am
casey_lg PLATINUM, Clemmons, North Carolina
20 articles 0 photos 38 comments

Favorite Quote:
"history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." -Maya Angelou

Wow. Finish it. Do it. This is amazing.

on Apr. 12 2015 at 5:32 pm
CNBono17 SILVER, Rural, South Carolina
5 articles 0 photos 248 comments

Favorite Quote:
Lego ergo sum (Latin—I read, therefore, I am)
The pen is mightier than the sword—unknown
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity—1 Timothy 4:12

Oh. My. Gosh. I had to sit on this one for 24 hours before commenting, and last night, I actually dreamed about Kara Kelly. Your writing is gorgeous, more poetic than much of the poetry I have to read in English class. Your imagery is fantastic, and—while I have to agree w/ @Beila about the placement of description—the story itself is more than incredible, hits deep, and like your mysterious character, is casually staring straight into the soul, bringing to light an issue that most people are afraid to talk about. I love it! Seriously, this is amazing!

Beila BRONZE said...
on Apr. 6 2015 at 8:00 pm
Beila BRONZE, Palo Alto, California
3 articles 0 photos 516 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." -Mark Twain

Wow!!! I want to read this story! I love that I can feel how you're rolling words around, looking for new ways of arranging them to capture new meaning. There are a few brilliant successes, and I commend you for that. In the beginning, though, watch how long your sentences get. "The light field of freckles spilling across her nose" is such cool imagery, but you totally lose it in the mad rush of words. Try to intersperse some of your gorgeous descriptions with the dialogue instead of organizing in chunks; I think you do this really well near the end. Overall, you've got some awesome ideas and huge potential; I'd love to continue reading this story.

on Apr. 6 2015 at 8:11 am
Allen. PLATINUM, Palo Alto, California
32 articles 9 photos 525 comments

Favorite Quote:
[i]No matter how much people try to put you down or make you think other things about yourself, the only person you can trust about who you really are is you[/i] -Crusher-P

I have only one real suggestion, and that would actually be to remove some of the details. The reader receives a bit of a sensory overload in the first few paragraphs, though it improves, right up until the end, where you hit them with a very good closing sentence. I'd certainly like to read more.

ellwist SILVER said...
on Apr. 4 2015 at 1:36 pm
ellwist SILVER, Surabaya, Other
6 articles 2 photos 85 comments

Favorite Quote:
"They only let you be this happy when they're preparing to take something from you." -Khaled Hosseini, the Kite Runner.

There's a poetry to this that most people can't contain. I envy you. Great job--keep it coming!

on Apr. 2 2015 at 2:03 pm
AvengeMyBrokenSong GOLD, WHOOP, New York
18 articles 0 photos 83 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It takes more strength to cry at mid-defeat."
-Susan Boyle
"The closer you get to the light, the bigger your shadow becomes."
-Kingdom Hearts

This is so amazing! You are so descriptive, and I feel like I was there watching the whole thing. I can't wait to read more!:)