Adult Supervision

The chrome sheen of the abandoned vending machine distorted the reflection staring back at me. It wasn’t me, exactly. It was a funhouse mirror version, all sharp angles and fractured memories. The long stretches of summer, once measured in scraped knees and firefly jars, now stretched into an uncertain future. We were unsupervised alchemists, I and the ghosts of children reflected in the machine’s metallic belly. We brewed potent concoctions of stolen candy and daydreams, unaware of the shadows stirring at the periphery.

The American Dream flickered on the horizon like a neon sign on a dying power grid. We hadn’t held the future hostage, not intentionally. It was a rogue program, a runaway script in the vast mainframe of existence, hurtling towards us on a collision course. The chrome shimmer warped, the reflection morphing into a thousand faces, each holding the echo of a stolen summer and the bittersweet tang of anticipation. We weren’t naive, not entirely. We felt the ground shifting beneath our feet, the tremor of a coming storm. But for now, we held onto the strange, nourishing broth we’d concocted, a shield against the encroaching darkness, a testament to the resilience that shimmered, fractured, but unbroken, in the distorted reflection.

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