PREFACE The Beginning Of The End

As I walk on through this wicked world,

Searching for light in the darkness of insanity,

I ask myself, is all hope lost?

Is there only pain, and hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside,

There's one thing I wanna know,

What's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding?

(Peace, Love and Understanding – A Perfect Circle)

The time before all of this seems like a dream, a fantasy, an illusion - no - a delusion of something that doesn't seem possible anymore. We had spent the past seventeen years of our lives in a lie. It was a lie because we thought that we were safe. We were happy – happy, content and so blissfully unaware of just how cruel the world could be. That's why we write. We write to remember.

Mortality, humanity, morality – we've been forced to question it all, and this is our way of telling ourselves that we mean something, that we matter to someone other than each other. I think it was Alice who suggested we do it, and at the time it seemed like the most important thing we could do. Recording what we've done, what we've been through; in words, on paper. It means that maybe one day someone will appreciate all that we've sacrificed. That the things we've done have made a difference. I can't really say how big a difference, but it's a difference all the same.

Small actions, huge consequences.

Writing it all down means that we might be remembered - and shit, that matters to us. None of us want to end up dead, alone, unknown, unnoticed, or, worst of all, unappreciated. We've all hit rock bottom at one point or another and it's definitely taken its toll on us all. We're not the same people we were a year ago, and I can't say that it's necessarily better this way. We've been forced into positions that no seventeen year old should have to deal with, made decisions that no one should have to make, had people taken away from us far too soon. Things like that leave a permanent mark on your soul. For most of us it's physical too.

Hope - that, and each other is all that we have left to hold onto now. Hope that we'll make it out of this Hell one day. Hope that we'll see our families again. Hope that we won't lose ourselves along the way. A little heavy? You have no idea.

I was nominated by the others to write; only now I'm not so sure that I'm up to it. It's so vital that we do this right because it may be the only thing we get to leave behind. In the end, this could be all that's left of us. At first everyone tried to help out, shouting out ideas and suggestions. And all I could think was that I'd never get this done. I couldn't concentrate with all the noise. I needed room to think, because I had to sort everything out in my own head before I could attempt to put it all out onto paper.

So, I told them to give me some peace and Emmett backed me up in his usual non-tactful way, and at last they're gone and I can think straight. Only now I'm considering that maybe thinking isn't such a good idea, it brings back so many memories and emotions that I've been trying for so long to shut out.

I don't really know how we got to this point or even who to blame. All we know is that we can never stop fighting, because a whole lot more than just our lives could be lost if we do.