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Highland Park, Illinois

A nonfiction piece by Kyle Dixon, senior English Education Major

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A place so beautiful, so peaceful and unscathed, made wretched by the inconceivable and unspeakable. It’s all so surreal.


That’s the thing, everyone starts talking, all at once, all over, and then everyone stops talking, like it never happened. But come here and you will see, it is talked about by all, just in a different way. You cannot say what it really was because everyone knows. All you have to call it is “what happened” or “the events that took place” and everyone here knows what you mean: a shooter on the rooftop terrorizing our community.


Such unspeakable violence, ripped apart innocent lives and traumatized a whole generation, no. Two or three, maybe even four… forever. You see, they show the direct aftermath, the memorials and the childrens’ chalk drawings, but they ought to also show the sign just down the street, offering counseling to those in need.


A whole community, stripped of their immunity by a plague that has metastasized to a being larger than life. Capable of the unspeakable. Cutting so many stories short with an abrupt end. Leaving so many things unsaid and undone, forever changing what once used to be.


The birds still sing, the waves from the lake still roll in on the coast, cars still drive by, only it all sounds so different, feels so different. Because the birds don’t sing, they weep. The waves from the lake don’t roll in, they fold into themselves, much like every person on the street, feeling so bleak as they recall that fateful day.

For the cars don’t drive by, rather, they process mournfully down the central road past the place of unspeakable horror and turn the corner where the hospital holds those that weren’t so fortunate.


Our fellow families bleed, cry, and scream, forever changed by the actions of one inhumane individual. One individual, emboldened by the elite that line their pockets, claiming to care so much. While they head to sleep, resting their heads on satin sheets, blood runs through our streets.


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