(hey there - it's been a while since the last post, sorry about that. This installment covers both the character's POVs though, which'll hopefully be interesting. Stranger dude is very bitter and very stressed - Art is just stressed. Please enjoy~ )


Pounding on his door nearly startles Art off of his cot. He bolts up and rubs the back of his neck with a sigh, dog-earing the page of his book with his free hand. He gives the bottom corner a glance before shutting it and scooting off the bed and shuffling to the door. "Page 44," he murmurs under his breath.

A boy he whose name he can't recall but looks to be about his age shifts from one foot to the other in the hallway. Art squints at him. The boy's fidgeting worsens. It's then that it occurs to Art that, lanky as he is, he's a solid four inches taller than the stranger. He makes an effort to smooth his expression and brush his hair out of his eyes. The beanie permanently parked on his head makes this difficult, but Art tries anyway.

"Hi," the boy erupts. His determined stare is fixed on the strip of paint his twitching fingers are frantically peeling off the doorframe. "I was ... I ... I thought maybe, maybe I ... could ..." His hands drop to his sides and he exhales violently. The sheets of paper he holds crinkle and snap like a dying flame.

Art understands. He's been dubbed "poem boy" since the start of fourth grade, never seen without his beanie or a book. The stranger outside his dorm room makes a last attempt at a coherent sentence.

"Just ... none of this-" the boy waves the crumpled paper the way one would hoist a white flag "-sounds right." His gaze has slipped to the floor. Art offers the boy a weak smile and motions him inside.

"There are a few adjectives I know that might do the trick."

(291 words)

[BONUS - same story from the stranger's POV + first person]

It's 11:00pm and I'm standing outside of the English major weirdo's dorm.

I hate my life I hate my life Ihatemylife. I go to knock but pull back: my arm's shaking. Fuck. Fucking fuck. I glare first at the door, then down at reason I jogged halfway across campus in the goddamn dark to get to it.

It's not my fault writing sucks. It's not my fault grammer's a freak of nature. It's not my fault adjectives avoid me like the fucking plague.

Why don't I just pull out a dictionary back at my dorm and half-ass this. I can deal with a few jabs from my shitty roommates. Honestly. I slam my palm against the surface in front of me and bang my head against it for good measure. Then I realize.

Fuck.

I leap back as the door cracks open and a tired eye wanders over me.

"Hi," I practically yell. I'm nervous as hell, what the fuck."I was .. I ... I thought maybe, maybe I ... could ..."

I can't look the guy in the face. I just can't. The paint hanging off the stupid doorframe in strips presents itself, so I settle on that instead. For a few painful seconds it's just him tugging at his bangs, me de-painting his door, and the heaviest silence I've heard since the last middle school dance my mom forced me to go to. I sigh.

"Just ... none of this sounds right." I flap the paper in my fists, defeated. Thankfully, the dude smiles. Relief washes over me as he cracks the door open enough for me to scramble through.

"There are a few adjectives I know that might do the trick," he says kindly.

(287 words)