We Are The Kids From Yesterday (Two Roads Meet Epilogue)
a/n: HELLO HI ITS BEEN WAY TOO LONG SINCE I DID ANYTHING IM SO SORRY I HATE YEAR 11 i’ve been writing this on and off for ageS pls icant believe its done praise the lord and his miracles
as it’s an epilogue it corresponds with the story of two roads meet (no shit) so it probably won’t make a lot of sense if you haven’t read that beforehand
anyway yea here goes
-TW FOR SUICIDE-
They finally have a few days off tour, but Phil figures he would
probably rather die than spend the tiniest fraction of them with any of his
fellow members. These last few months have been insane, to give the greatest of
understatements. Forming a band after graduation, for a start. Progressing from
a dirty, noisy garage in the back of Ryan’s uncle’s house, to performing in
late night bars and small shows, to this. Being signed. Actual touring; putting
the contrast of trailing to Starbucks a few times in the space of four days, to
travelling from London, to Manchester, to Glasgow, then to Dublin. In the same
amount of time. He’s seen more cities in the space of a week than he previously
had in his whole life. It’s insane. Everything’s just insane.
He’s probably talked to more people in the space of a week than he has
in his entire life, too, to come to think of it. The likings of meeting up with
his cosy circle of Tom, Esmée and Grace, had now somehow expanded into speeding
through Drive-Thrus at 3am and losing count of the amount of food fights that
have commenced in the hotel room using the products of their complementary
mini-fridges with the likings of Ryan, Alex, and Charlie. His best friends, and
fellow band members of two years. He never, ever, ever in a million
lightyears, thought of his future shaping up like this. Never.
Of course, he’s still in contact with Tom and the group. He doesn’t know
what he’d do if he wasn’t. He’s proud of him; his best friend of nine years.
His rock. And now, an aspiring film director, working closely with some kinds
of high-profile media producers Phil can’t remember the names of. All he knows
is that he probably isn’t far off a glittering career in Hollywood waiting for
him at the end of Sunset Boulevard. Their little secondary school joke was
coming to life.
With being busy with Art college and with a portfolio six times the size
of Phil’s song writing book, he doesn’t often get to see Esmée as much as he’d
like to, although with Grace living so near, he’s never too far from an update
from her; whether it’s a fond chuckle at a sneaky Snapchat selfie from her
behind the desk in Topshop HQ, or a wistful sigh at her texts about how much
she was missing them on account of the fact she’s living halfway up the
country. She’s doing well, too.
As for Grace, well. He’s surprised she isn’t touring with
them, to be honest. Her fate has followed similarly to Phil’s in terms of
music-related careers; flitting from concert-to-concert, meeting and conversing
with band member after band member had somehow developed into being offered a
provisional place in none other than Star Surface after announcing they were in
need of a new lead guitarist. Phil had never had the privilege of being
introduced to Grace’s true talent when it comes to guitar-playing until only a
few months ago, when he and the band decided to surprise them at a concert on
their free night off.
Their young lives are already full of such success, undoubtedly
accompanied by more potential waiting amidst the brightly lit years down the
line. They’re living in the light at the end of their tunnels of teenage lives,
and it’s blinding.
For Phil, maybe a little too blinding.
Days, months, even years have rushed past as quickly as
opportunities without a single chance for hesitation, and Phil can’t keep up.
He lived for years under the impression life was too dull for him; too slow,
too uneventful. He always kidded himself that all he needed was a bit of
action; a bit of light in his life to lift his spirits and chase the crawling
demons inhabiting the depths of his mind away.
But the light he had in his life had burnt out many years ago,
consequently burning a hole in Phil’s life, heart, and soul in the process.
There isn’t, hadn’t been, and never will be a single minute of Phil’s
life spent without Dan on his mind.
Phil knows this isn’t a life he should take for granted. He knows he’s
living a product of something only many teenagers can wildly fantasise of; and
a life burning so fast, so brilliantly, so brightly, isn’t
something every human is gifted with. It’s barely something any humans
are gifted with.
Phil loves everything about this life. He loves grinning into the
microphone at the sight of the glimmering lighters decorating the crowd in the
middle of their cover of ‘Just One Yesterday’; every individual light
illuminating the darkened population of fans beneath them reminding him of the
population of the night sky (corresponding nicely with what that particular
song meant to him). He loves being the only one awake at night
when the tour bus is hurtling down the road at 70 KMPH, thinking of how he once
gazed out of windows that weren’t tinted black, and sat on
upholstery that wasn’t manufactured using very expensive
Once, he fell asleep embracing something that wasn’t his
Phil sighs into the night air. He loves this life, sure.
But he isn’t happy. He’s far from happy.
He gulps back any potential tears as the icy gust of wind slaps his
cheeks, the inevitable feeling of crippling loneliness crawling back into
consciousness after spending a few minutes without being surrounded by the
presence of countless other people, whether it be friends fellow band members,
fans, or their agency.
The lack of company also allows him to realize how it had been a very
long time since he’d been alone like this; so long that the idea of being in
his own company is now apparently considered an abnormality instead of the
other way around.
Although being the centre of such a hectic life, Phil realizes how
warped his views on abnormality and normality have been. He never anticipated
living a life where the idea of going to the corner shop for milk on your own
would be the height of alienation, and being screamed at by thousands of
teenage girls is now just another part of the day.
It’s not normal.
Although Phil never wanted to be.
But he never wanted to be a celebrity, either.
He breathes out a shaky sigh of relief as the fallen leaves crunch under
his shoes, the moon accentuating the silhouettes of the trees surrounding him
and highlighting the opening he’s approaching.
He indulges in the almost-silence of the night he’s gifted with,
following the uneven footpath created by an amount of steps from previous
walkers that Phil can’t possibly comprehend.
He bets none of them are celebrities, though.
It just isn’t what you do, when you’re as staggeringly high up the
social ladder as he’s found himself to be. There are parties to attend,
interviews to go to, paparazzi to pose for, and journalists to satisfy. No-one
has time for country lanes in the dark. They’re for people of supposed normality;
non-celebrities, dog walkers, human beings. People with the
biggest worry in their life being what casserole to cook for dinner, or whether
they’ve remembered to e-mail their boss about the weekend errands. People who
have time to walk, to think, to talk, to evaluate, to live.
Maybe that’s why celebrities’ lives tragically collapse in the way they
do. Phil thinks. Because
they don’t have time for this. They’re dealing with the lives that probably
demand this kind of mental attention more than anything. We need time to think.
We need to talk. We have more in our lives that needs to be evaluated,
considered, and assessed.
But there’s a public image to keep polished, songs to write, agents to
please, and guitars to play. No one has time for it.
He reaches the opening faster than he’d expected due to his straying
train of thought stealing his consciousness for a couple of idle moments. He
lets his lips tug at a soft, content smile as he finds a promising-looking log
a few footsteps away from him, letting the full moon’s hazy glow serve as an
effective enough light to guide him over to the log without tripping over any unwanted
obstacles; his ankle still ached from the result of a few too many drinks
combined with the tree root he had completely missed, and ever since he’d been
determined not to repeat the performance of falling flat on his face in front
of the group of newly-made friends.
Only there would be no-one to fall in front of, now, on account of the
fact Phil’s almost completely alone.
His gaze immediately settles on the luckily clear night sky, the broken
clouds exposing a dark blackness behind them, which reveals the breathtakingly
intricate patterns of stars peppered into the midnight hour above the treetops
Phil realizes how dearly he’s been missing.
The brightest light burning into the stretch of varying shades of
darkness catches Phil’s eye, sending a sudden chill jolting down his spine,
feeling his breath catch in his throat the moment he tries to break the
self-created silence with a whisper.
“Hi, Dan.” He sighs softly into the nothingness surrounding him,
refusing to let his eyes wander to anything else that wasn’t the star dwarfing
the rest of the pinpoints of light in the sky, the unnaturally bright light
glimmering softly in response.
If Phil was crazy, he’d let himself believe Dan’s listening.
“It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to do this.” He gestures
sadly up into the array of stars he’s realised how much he’s been bitterly
missing. “It feels weird that this used to be such a day-to-day procedure,
whereas now I feel like I’ve de-familiarized myself with silence. It doesn’t
feel right not having thousands of other humans in my company.” He gulps,
gazing up into the sky as he suddenly realizes he’s now in the company of
thousands of other stars, not humans.
But it’s only the company of one star he particularly cares about right
now. He wouldn’t care if all the stars burnt out if it meant keeping Dan up in
the sky, lighting up the darkness he’s such a stranger to.
“I don’t know how I’m finding all this celebrity stuff, Dan.” He sighs,
feeling his voice wobble on the last word. He wonders if Dan’s been watching
him as much as he’s been thinking about him; if he could see the countless
concerts he’s performed in the space of these two years, watched over the roads
he’d been hurtling down in the tour bus, the oceans he’d been flying over,
leaping from city to city, making the most of the sheer undiscovered broadness
of the earth humans are given no choice other than to explore. He’s living this
live in a way he’d never imagined remotely possible, and he wonders if Dan
would be proud of him.
He wonders if Dan knows a lot of things about his life. He wonders if he
knows about his almost love-affair with Ross; the drummer from Star Surface. He
wonders if he knows how much it pained him to see the heartbreak written into
Ross’s face after having to turn him down. He wonders if he knows about him
seeing his own face on the cover of Wednesday’s latest Kerrang! magazine, the
countless interviews they’d been flitting to and from, the appearance they’d
been asked to make at Reading Festival last year to introduce Arctic Monkeys.
He wonders if Dan’s proud of him.
But most of all, he wonders if Dan knows he’s nothappy.
“I know I shouldn’t take this life for grante- well, strictly speaking,
no human should ever take a life on earth for granted.” He corrects himself. “I
know I shouldn’t be taking this quality of life for granted,
and I really do try to appreciate it. I do appreciate it; of course
I do. I’m just-…” He sighs, lowering his voice although it’s pretty evident
there’s no need unless he feels like he’s going to disturb the trees. “Until
now, I never understood how someone constantly surrounded by people, friends
adoring fans and an eventful life full of excitement could be so lonely.”
He fiddles with his shirt sleeve, keeping his gaze fixated on the light
which, although he’s certain could be a trick of his imagination, had dimmed
slightly in empathy. Almost as if he was trying to hint he can relate.
He frowns in sudden realization of what Dan was possibly trying to
“Celebrities-… they’re like stars, right?” His voice cracks. “Only the
ones that shine the brightest get credibility; they get noticed.
They’re given a name, a purpose, a sense of belonging in the futile culture of
stardom. Like stars; it’s only the brightest most noticeable ones that are
given a name, given a place in the man-made constellations made for them. The
Ancient Greeks only cared about the ones that burnt the biggest, most beautiful
light. There must be an uncountable amount of less-bright stars that have been
completely overlooked by ‘Orion’ or the 'Big Dipper.’ Where’s their sense of
belonging? Their existence hasn’t been determined because they simply haven’t
been recognised by humans? Humans; who make up the most infinitely tiny,
insignificant proportion of the universe. We’re nothing to
stars. Yet we seem to have enough control over them to feel the need to name them.
Almost as if we created them.
It’s the same kind of culture with celebrities, really. Some with equal,
if not more talent can be completely unknown, overlooked,
completely disregarded because of stupid celebrities with wasted fame that
isn’t deserved, nor is it remotely necessary at all.” Names such as Paris
Hilton and Kim Kardashian spring to mind. “Some are never given a name. They’re
never given a sense of belonging in the world of Hollywood. They’re never noticed.
They’re just another anonymous, insignificant proportion of the population that
makes up human life, aren’t they?
Why do we have to rely on others in order to make ourselves noticed? Why
is it their responsibility to determine our significance as a human? We’re all
the same family under one sky; why should it be when one celebrity dies,
millions cry, although when millions of humans die, no one
even notices, let alone cries?” He has to gulp back a tear at the mention of
death while having Dan’s light in his line of vision.
He sighs, letting the silence cut into his consciousness as he realizes
how much he’s been repressing his star talk. Five minutes of being alone with
the stars later, and he’s already feeling better than he’d ever been before;
well, since Dan’s passing at least.
“I find it rather abstract how…” He pauses with a frown. “How while in
the concept of man-created astrology, giving stars names and constellations is
effectively humanizing them; transforming them into a concept humans can
comprehend. One they can feel as if by joining a few dots they can suddenly
conquer the universe.” He shudders; astrology sickens him.
“Although while the culture of celebrities is almost dehumanizing humans-
turning them into objects. Into perfect dolls that should only be approached
with a scream and an autograph pen being thrown at their face.” He smirks at
the memory of the Sharpie hitting his eye. “I mean, kissing the ground where
Justin Bieber has walked? You wouldn’t exactly fall to the pavement after the
postman had delivered something to your house, would you? Just because he’s known,
because he has a name and a place in this world, that apparently results in the
perception that he’s less than a human, and more of a God?” He shudders, one
experience with being in the same hotel lobby as Justin bloody Bieber and his
rudeness to staff had been enough to put him off meeting any huge celebrity
ever again. It wasn’t as if his opinion on him was sky high as it was, but if
that experience wasn’t offputting, he doesn’t know what else possibly could be.
“I’d never really come to terms with how different a celebrity’s image can be
from their actual self. I’m sure Justin would probably have a lot less people
falling to his feet and cradling the gravel he’d stepped on if they knew only a
fraction of the stuff that we do.” He grins. It’s the best part of being
'famous’; hearing all the embarrassing gossip about your fellow celebrities. It
gives you the same rush as you used to get while hearing something awful about
someone you hate back in high school.“ His eyes glitter. “Although they do
say high school never ends.”
That statement has been pretty damn true in the world of fame. If you’re
not rich, good looking, interesting or remotely talented, you’re forgotten
about. You’re worthless. Four years of battling for popularity and significance
in high school, as he realizes, is only a sample of what to expect for the rest
of human life. It’s unescapable. The only thing that changes, are the trends.
The names. The faces.
It almost seems as permanent and timeless as a star’s life cycle through
the eyes of a human; especially considering a human life is gone before a star
can even blink.
“But even stars die out.” Phil breaks the heavy silence as he suddenly
flickers his eyes up to the sky, meeting Dan’s light in a hard, sincere gaze.
Like celebrities. The words echo relentlessly through the midnight atmosphere,
hauntingly laced into every gust of wind rustling the forest of trees behind
him, shattering the peaceful quietness resting on the grassy fields in front of
him, and hollowly circling Phil’s mind, stinging with realization over not only
what he’d just said, but how much he’d actually meant it.
He stands up suddenly, his teeth chattering in the sudden drop of
temperature the cruel midnight weather inflicted upon him. “I would say I’ve
had a lot of time to think about the mortality of the universe, and bore you
with another lifeless tangent in the name of being somewhat poetic.” His voice
is suddenly bitter, every word spat into the darkness coated with venomous
self-hatred as he begins walking. “But I haven’t. I haven’t had time for
anything apart from being able to collapse into a bed in the corner of a 'Tour
Bus’ for a few hours before being woken up to repeat the same routine over and
over again, with the same false smile etched onto my face, and the same sharp
ache in my hand after unwillingly playing the guitar for hours after I’d
usually pack it up for the night.
It’s not how they edit it to look in those stupid 'band documentaries’.
That’s just a sugar-coated perception made by staring down the lens of a Canon
Powershot with our 'Greatest Hits’ edited into the background. Never have they
thought of giving the public an idea of what it’s like from the alternative
point of view, minus the heavy layer of media.
They don’t care about the receiving end though, do they?” He gulps,
staring up at the blackness of the star-studded sky exposed between gaps of
thick, pale clouds. “We’re hid behind it all.”
Dan dims briefly in response, responding with a shaky glimmer in
response to the tidal wave of dark clouds ominously approaching, as if he knows
exactly what Phil is desperately hinting at, and responds in opposition with an
equal amount of desperation, the flickers in his light becoming increasingly
panicked as Phil continues walking.
Although, how does Phil know he’s even listening?
Undeniably, it’s a more logical explanation that his imagination was still
fucking with his conscious state of mental health causing him to believe in
ridiculous concepts such as the whole 'afterlife’ thing he previously expressed
relentless scepticism towards. How does Phil know he’s not being completely
ignored, when that’s all he’s ever known his whole life?
As he walks out of whatever forest/field situation he’s found himself
in, his eyes are caught by a glimmer of light shining through the bare branches
of mid-winter. He gulps, walking ahead in order for further revelation of what
seems like a building of some kind behind the dispersing trees he’s walking out
Ten minutes is all he needs to come to the realization that the building
is not alone. As the lights accumulate and the trees He gulps
again, his eyes trailing over the beautiful city skyline that it’s a part of,
surrounded by an array of artificial lighting poured into every tower,
skyscraper and apartment his peripheral vision can take in one glance.
It’s the same city.
The same city they shared the night with, those many years ago. The same
city that stole their breath as they exchanged sleeping for beholding the
glittering view from the Skybar. He locks his gaze on the same building that
saw him and Dan rushing out in the middle of the night to become a part of the
beautiful view of the surrounding urban galaxy. The same building where they
had proved their love to eachother in a way that can only bring back Phil a
haunting shiver whenever his mind ghosts over the memory.
The same building where Phil was about to become a part of not the
human-created galaxy, but the real one. Above him.
“If I started here…” He glances up in the sky. “It only makes sense that
I end here.”
Dan’s inability to respond doesn’t stop Phil’s instincts screaming at
him that this was completely crazy, wrong, insane, along
with any other panic-fuelled adjectives the English dictionary can cope with.
Phil knows damn well Dan’s aware of what he means.
He follows the path, swapping grassy mud for cold, hard concrete as his
feet hit the ground at a quickening pace, leaving the country for the city in
one swift motion of the worn-out wooden gate, escaping the shadow cast by the
last tree and casting shadows of his own in the amber streetlight he suddenly
finds himself under.
It takes a lot of use of his sunglasses, pulling his fringe down
over his eyes and hitching his scarf up over his face to avoid any dreaded
recognition. Plastering on yet another false grin while scribbling his name in
Sharpie ink onto someone’s phone case really would be the last thing
he could possibly be dealing with right now.
But he’s made it. He’s here.
He allows himself to let out a soft chuckle in disbelief at the
postcard-perfect view that had so nearly completely slipped his memory. He tugs
off his sunglasses, almost taken aback again as he’s suddenly exposed to the
vibrancy of the sight without having to peer through tinted lenses.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Dan’s voice echoes hauntingly in his mind, causing Phil’s heart to
clench at the vividness of is voice. If he didn’t know any better, it would’ve
been enough to convince him that Dan’s still here.
But he’s not.
Phil gulps, locking eyes with the unchanged skyline stretching 360
degrees around him. Everything’s identical to how they left it; all those years
ago; the skyline still juts out with the family of skyscrapers over to his
left, his heart clenching at the lights studding the concrete. The same
Cathedral that had stuck in his memory since he last gazed at the
city stood proudly to his right, the lights peppering the building with a
soft glow, illuminating every detail of the breathtaking, historical architecture
Phil can only wildly dream of creating.
The seemingly infinite network of roads is still there. They
all still run, curve, wind, twist and meet in the same directions; and the
family of traffic and humans still continue to drive across the tarmac, the
miniature life forms whizzing past eachother at a rate Phil can’t even
He finds almost immediate comfort in being in contact with the roads
again. Hearing the distant roar of the bustling night life continuing on
beneath him in complete oblivion to his observations was enough to cause the
tension in the pit of his stomach to unknot. Because whether you’re dead, or
you’re alive, humanity lives on. People have futures to experience, hearts to
break, achievements to be made, opportunities to grab at the last
second, opportunities to pass up, love to fall in, and lives to
They’re all sorted, in terms of human life. The roads have taken care of
their futures. All they have to do is ride through it.
“Apart from me.” Phil suddenly confesses out loud, although he’s certain
Dan will understand. “I’m one of the less fortunate ones, aren’t I?”
His eyes leave the city for the night sky, studded with starlight above
him. “I used to think of my fate to be set in concrete. I could see it laid out
in front of me, and I was content with the possibilities the future could’ve
provided me with. I was happy.”
He sighs to himself. “A lot can change in a few years, can’t it? I
couldn’t recognize my future if someone personally wrote it in the stars for
me.” He hesitates. “Maybe because there is no future for
He lets his eyes trail over to the largest, brightest light in the sky,
and he gulps at the pang in his heart.
“It’s said that the lights that shine twice as bright, burn for half as
long.” Giving the example of Dan’s life was pretty much useless given that
it’s blatantly obvious to both of them, so he settles for another example.
Perhaps a little less obvious.
“Celebrities are considered the brightest stars in the sky of humanity.”
He begins to reflect back on his previous musings in the field. “They’re the
ones who make a name in the world; make an impact in society, the ones who get noticed.
Noticed for perhaps not entirely who they really are inside, but the name they
make for themselves. The mask they’ve created to hide behind.
I think I can safely say I’ve had my fair share with Celebrity culture.”
Phil narrows his eyes, reflecting back on the crazy mess of memories from his
short-lived course of a couple of years of burning as bright as he did. From
the glimmering lights illuminating every venue they’d performed
in, through the millions of flashes per second of the paparazzi lights in
his face, to here; under the stars, locking his gaze with the
only light in the sky that matters. The only light that has ever mattered
to Phil. “I’m done with it. My road’s finished, and fate has stopped serving
me.” He gulps. “All that’s ahead is a dead end.” He feels a mixture of
adrenaline and anxiety begin to swirl hotly in the pit of his stomach as he
dares to glance down at the sickening drop beneath him, the lofty height
dwarfing even the tallest of humans amongst the grandest of buildings. He’s at
the top; at the very edge of the city. At the very edge of his life.
“I’ve always believed soulmates meet, because they have the same hiding
place.” He glances up at the sky, allowing himself to edge further forward.
“The stars were the only place we felt comfortable in. In the
fields, immersed in the night with only the moonlight to give us a
sense of directions, we could be ourselves. We didn’t have to worry about
the impressions we were giving to other people. We didn’t have to worry about
anyone else, apart from eachother. And the array of lights above us.”
He begins to lift himself onto his tiptoes, inhaling the city air, rich
with pollution. Rich with human life.
“You’ve returned to the hiding place.” He gulps. “And it’s time for me
to join you.
Because I like the thought of two people spending forever together.”
He suddenly whirls round, turning his back on the city. Turning his back
on humanity, the endless roads, fates set in stone, and life.
His gaze sets only on the brightest light in the sky. His light.
His star, his guidance, his sense of belonging, his hiding place.
The only light that always has, and always will matter to Phil.
He closes his eyes, and relaxes his feet.
And you only live forever in the lights you make
When we were young we used to say
That you only hear the music when your heart begins to break
Remember when I asked James Dashner what was Thomas’ name? Well in The Maze Runner, page 67, there is a part where Thomas looks at his own name on a gave and he gets a feeling of sorrow. We all know WICKED gave Thomas his name, but maybe some part of Thomas still remembers he had a name before WICKED. Also this may have been a sick trick from WICKED, if Thomas saw his own name, imagine the killzone patterns they would get