Third World

A resplendent, azure sky covers a field of poppies beside a dusty, rutted dirt track. The flowers' lime green stalks waver slightly, and their velvet, crimson blossoms undulate slowly in the breeze.

In the field, a figure lies sprawled. Around him, broken, twisted stems and ruptured, dulled petals are trampled into the dried soil. His chestnut-colored countenance is marred by the cracked, parched dust that is undisturbed by movement. Midnight black, short bangs rest on an unwrinkled forehead, and the rest of his silky hair pools into a dirty, tangled mass behind his head. Dark, glazed, almond-shaped eyes stare lifelessly into the sky. His mouth is tightened in a cross between a small, tired smile and a grimace of pain. A line of dirt traces the line of his nose where a tear once fell. A worn, calloused hand with dirty, bitten nails rests across his chest. The other grips the ground, nails digging into the soil, as if trying to hold onto the world for fear that, if he does not, he will float away from everyone and everything he holds dear. His once black, rubber boots, turned a dull grey by the grime and dirt, rest in slight indentations in the cracked, parched ground. Over the tops of the boots, his army-style, camouflage pants rest, hiding the numerous scars and claret scabs that criss-cross his muscled legs and crooked knees. The front tread of a boot is imprinted in the dust on the side of his calf. His belt, woven out of dark, chocolate-colored twine, is tightly fastened by a rusted, scratched aluminum buckle. Two patches on the belt by his right hip are worn to a lighter tan. His t-shirt, the same olive greens and beiges as his pants, is blemished by a burgundy stain just above his hand. In the center of the blemish, four quarter-sized holes are torn in the well worn, stiffened material, revealing skin covered with maroon, brittle, dried blood. Four holes penetrate the skin. Beside him, several bullet cases partially buried in the dried mud gleam like gold.

A pristine, sapphire sky hovers over the corpse of a 16-year-old boy, not yet bloated with the heat of the sun. An incandescent dragonfly zips between the scarlet blossoms. The scent of opium wafts in on the breeze.