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Step 1.
Breathe. Keep breathing. This is always the best way to start anything. Breathe, breathe.

Step 2.
The first thing people will do is panic. Do not join them. Lock the doors, close the curtains, turn the TV off. Write instead. Write down everything you remember, write about the boy with the crescent moon eyes, the girl who had Austen quotes tattooed in her kisses, the old man who lived down the road from your childhood home, how he carried a picture of his late wife in his tweed jacket pocket, said he got all dressed up every day because he was taking her out on their first date all over again. Write about street fairs, autumn leaves, jars of fireflies, swimming in the lake, write it down and don’t look outside.

Repeat Step 1.

Step 3.
When the phone-calls start, don’t listen. Fear makes people retreat, barricading themselves in looted apartments and empty houses, but fear makes people lonely. Exes, friends, old school acquaintances will all call to hear the inflections in your voice that match their own worried tones. They will bring the riots, the brigands, the fires into your room as they spill every piece of the last three weeks out of their clogged throats. Do not listen, do not panic. Spill your own back at them. Read them your writings, fill their ceilings with the clouds you and he shaped into Roman legends, paint pink sunsets spent dreaming of your first trip to Paris over their battered walls. Fill their home with the rain as it fell like the pulses of hundreds of hummingbirds wings when you kissed him under an umbrella, how your breathing skittered, how his hands shook.

Repeat Step 1.

Step 4.
The phone will keep ringing, six weeks on from the end of the world. It won’t be friends anymore, strangers will press in random numbers in the hopes of connecting, of salvation. Hope can be as poisonous as fear. Their desperation will plague you, a quiet storm of rats’ feet in the drains, a whisper of a silent smog. You will forget step 1 for a while, caught up in other people’s stories, their fear morphed into pleading hopes, you cannot be the answer to all of their endless questions, and you cannot save them.

Repeat Step 1.

Step 5.
The phone will fall silent three months after the end, and the survivors will begin to emerge and explore. No-one knows quite what they are looking for. Some go home, wherever that is. Others just head North and don't stop until they hit an ocean. There is no need for you to leave when you have been busy painting childhood memories across the kitchen sink, your mother's buttermilk pancakes, how your father once cracked an egg on her head as a prank, their laughs whistling like your rusting kettle once did before. While you can still write, and still survive here, it is like you are living in a summer solstice where the winter of the world can never quite reach you.

Repeat Step 1.

Step 6.
When strangers knock at your door, do not answer. When they punch it, or howl at it, or scratch at it, do not answer. Do not welcome fear into your thoughts, instead remember his laugh like snapping sugar canes, the Eiffel Tower reflected in his sunglasses, the checked shirt of his you used to tie around your waist on summer days, how it felt like the sky was just the canopy of your own shared four poster bed. Remember Step 1, and breathe.

Step 7.
When another talks through the door, do not answer. When they tell you, they’ve spent the months alone and just need to know someone can still hear their voice, listen. Do not speak. Remember Step 1. When they tell you, they’ve been dazed, dreaming in one summer romance spent on open fields comparing bullet wounds and other quiet tragedies, remember Step 1.

When they tell you, their feet followed the old routes of their June bug wanderings without thought, that they don’t even know if the same family lives in this house anymore, but that they remember climbing the trellis when the dusk seemed to never settle. They remember she kept roses by the window, they always nearly knocked the lamp over when sneaking in. Step 1. They thought that summer they found a piece of themselves, a shard of something glass in a sea of sand dunes, and felt for a moment unconquerable. Breathe.

They say, they still have her beat-up copy of ‘Perks’ by their bed, couldn’t bear bringing it with them in case it got more marked. Breathe. They say, she had eyes like mirrors, and they never saw themselves until she looked at them. Breathe. They say, university was their own personal Berlin wall, and it’s been fifteen years, and they still wish they’d been brave enough to pick up the phone. But life gets complicated, they say, and they lost that piece of glass somewhere inside themselves, and every June tastes of heartbreak and now the world has fallen apart and it’s all too late anyway. Breathe. Breathe.

Step 8.
You painted his hand in yours over your moth-eaten bed-sheets, the small of his back carved out of the coffee table, you have poured out every memory of him across this house, the only thing you have left in a world on fire. Breathe. Do not open the door, it won’t be the same boy walking in, and you are not the same girl waiting for him. Breathe. And let go, and let the world unravel outside your walls. Nothing can reach you here.

Repeat Step 1. Repeat Step 1. Stop recognising your own name, and live in the open fields where you compared the paper cuts of adolescent suburban life, and this time don’t let the summer end.
A step-by-step guide.
20/6/16
this might not make much sense, so I'd really appreciate feedback on the plot!
1. did the plot make sense?
2. was the ending too abrupt?
3. would you have ended this piece differently?
4. what could make the storyline clearer?
to admire
It's coming on autumn now.
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:iconvvlpes:
vvlpes Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2016  Student Writer
I love this so much. Like, I always say that, so it begins to lose its meaning, but this is beautiful.

As others have mentioned, the repetition of Step 1 is wonderful; I found myself taking a breath every time I read it.
As far as your questions go, I didn't realize the stranger at the door was the one who presumably caused the end of the world until about halfway through Step 7, which I thought was good.
I have been slogging through my watches, nearly braindead, and when I first saw this, I inwardly prepared myself.

But I immediately perked up when I got to Step 3, imagining every scene so clearly. And by the end, which is my fave part, I realized I loved this, and a lot.

(Also, Patrick, Sam, and Charlie are legit squad goals. :heart:)
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:iconcomatose-comet:
comatose-comet Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Don't get me started I adore 'Perks' haha :rose:

And thank you so much for your comment! You actually make me out to be much cleverer than I really am because it was originally a literal apocalypse piece but actually your interpretation is so much deeper and better so I'm stealing that :D

I hope you're well, I'm catching up on my inbox too my god it's a marathon!! Why did I have to be so inactive this Summer aaaah! 

If you want, note me anything that catches your eye, I think I've missed a lot of lit here in the last few months. Or just note me about anything, I always love gossip/book recommendations/random chat~~ :hug::rose:
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:iconvvlpes:
vvlpes Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Student Writer
Oh my goodness, I just watched the movie yesterday! :squee:
It's so good. :heart: It makes me want to read the book again!

Of course!
lol I'm sure you're clever; obviously, you came up with this poem, regardless of its many interpretations, right? :giggle:

SAME
As of this comment, 542 total, 488 of that are literature pieces. :faint:

If I find anything, I definitely will! :love:
Reply
:iconsnowstormninja24:
SnowStormNinja24 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2016  Student Writer
I'm not really sure how to answer your questions about this piece, but I can say that I loved it. I loved the repetition of the word breathe, I loved that you wrote it as a list of instructions, and I loved how clearly I could see everything playing out in my head.
No, I don't think the ending was too abrupt. I can answer that one. ;)
It was a pleasure to read this!!
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:iconcomatose-comet:
comatose-comet Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much and sorry this is so ridiculously late :hug::heart: I hope Autumn is treating you well~~
Reply
:iconhopeburnsblue:
hopeburnsblue Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2016  Professional Writer
Metaphors. Anaphora. Snapshot images, each a story of its own. And incredibly, incredibly relatable. You never fail to amaze me.
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:iconcomatose-comet:
comatose-comet Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Mel thank you so much! :hug: And I'm sorry for being so late (again!!) Life got hectic, not bad at least, just busy. I'm about to run and read your journal and can't wait to read your answers to the 13 questions~~
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:iconindigo-moon-shadow:
Indigo-Moon-Shadow Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I think it's brilliant the way it is. I like that it's written in second person but is still coherent. I wouldn't change anything; anything that doesn't quite make sense at first becomes clearer with a second read, and that's not a bad thing. It gives it a bit of mystery (or it's just really late and my brain's being slow XD )
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:iconcomatose-comet:
comatose-comet Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for your comment, and sorry that this is ridiculously late :hug::heart: I hope Autumn is treating you well lovely~~
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:iconindigo-moon-shadow:
Indigo-Moon-Shadow Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
It's alright Meow :3 
Thank you, it's been a nice season so far Heart 
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:iconr0gue-66:
R0gue-66 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow. I'm, I'm honestly stunned at the beauty of this. Such imagery and scenery and even the progression of events! This brought me back to a time when I could have used this, about 6 years ago. Indeed, a bitter June. Thank you for this. Thank you. Whether your intention or not, you have captured and painted something that many of us have felt; a pain that no one could verbalize and an image and scenario that only those who survive can weather. Thank you, thank you again, for this.
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:iconcomatose-comet:
comatose-comet Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I am so sorry for being late to reply to your comment, but know that I read it then and I reread it now and I am honoured that this piece could have been of some help to you. I'm sending you my best wishes and hopes that Junes will only ever be sweet for you from now on! :heart::hug:
Reply
:iconsurrealnacre:
SurrealNacre Featured By Owner Edited Jul 4, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
speechless. i am speechless. and to be honest i feel like i needed to read this right now <3

i think things made sense and i liked the ending, it was perfect and i wouldn't change it. i also liked the repeating of step 1 throughout :) i had a miniature panic attack around  12:30 or 1am while thinking about somethings and breathing in some deep breaths is reaalllly important.

stay amazing :hug:
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:iconcomatose-comet:
comatose-comet Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
This is ridiculously late but thank you for your comment! Remember to always keep breathing, and I hope you are doing better :hug::rose: note me if ever you need :dalove:
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:iconsurrealnacre:
SurrealNacre Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
No worries<3 thank you for even responding! I am a bit better. I think we all have our moments when we faulter or question ourselves or we just snap, but I'm okay, still breathing, still climbing up (: thank you and stay lovely :heart:
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:iconcomatose-comet:
comatose-comet Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
definitely, we all have those moments but I'm glad you're doing okay :hug::rose: I hope autumn will treat you well lovely~ 
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:iconsurrealnacre:
SurrealNacre Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I can't wait for the foliage and cold weather to kick in! This is my all time favorite time of year, especially October :D how've you been by the way? :huggle:
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:iconcomatose-comet:
comatose-comet Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I've been good! Autumn in Paris is so beautiful - it's my fave season too but here it's absolutely divine~
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:iconsurrealnacre:
SurrealNacre Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I can only imagine!! Autumn in Paris :love: you are living the dream life haha :D I'd love to travel to Europe and experience the fall season, I could never live in a place without autumn's beauty haha xD
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July 4, 2016
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