By Justin Young
Jayden woke up; looked down at his watch with a projecting holographic GIF of batman holding joker off the edge of Wayne Tower, the time hovering above the bats head read, 2:33 am, in neon green, along with 54 notifications from a number of applications running below. Breathing in deeply, he coughed, as smoke and the smell of burning plastic wafted through the large crack in the door of the studio apartment where his mom and he had been living for the past month.
Jayden jolted in place and then flung his body off of the old twin mattress, falling hard on the concrete floor below. As he sat for a moment, the cold concrete felt better than it should have. Jayden heard a noise from the entrance to the kitchen, turning he saw two mice fighting over a piece of leftover food, one of the mice shoved the other to the floor, then skittered in the other direction. The defeated mouse lifted from the ground dusted itself off, then twitched, raising one ear. It then bolted toward him, scrambling beside his bed, and then shoved itself into a small hole behind the tv. With this, Jayden laughed and couldn’t help contemplating the irony of what he just saw.
For a moment he felt as if he were that loser mouse, he would never win, constantly attempting to escape his fate, and no matter what he did he would never get out. Just then a crack from a hidden two-by-four behind the wall snapped and broke, shifting the entire room. Jayden jerked back as he saw flames creeping along the side of the walls, then spreading to the ceiling in waves from the front door, which was now completely engulfed in flames.