This piece was written as a mind stretching experiment for a writing challenge on tumblr called musedays. Interested? There's a link on my profile.

It was hard to think with two dozen apple scented candles stuffing up the room.

I rubbed my temples and cracked my neck, trying to clear my head. Whose idea were those stupid candles again? I wanted to say Christine had brought them. No, as I scanned the crowd I didn't see her. She might've left, but she might not've been here at all. Attempting to figure it out made my head hurt.

People of all different shapes and sizes and colors laughed, talked, joked, sighed, shouted, and milled about the room. They were all young, and I suspected they were all drunk. I suspected I was drunk too, from the look of the half-full glass in my hand. While everyone else was having a great time being drunk, I found myself feeling sick. Voices crashed against my ears as if they were screeching car breaks and the heat and glow of the candles and the dulled yellow lights made it hard to breathe. I needed some fresh air. Where the hell was the door?

Shakily, I found a seat in a red chair in a gloomy corner where the noise and smell were less. I tried to take a drink and spat it out. Whatever vile thing was in my glass resembled gasoline more than alcohol.

"Kelly! There you are!"

Blinking, I squinted through the haze at the figure walking towards me. It was Christine. So the candles were her idea after all.

"Listen, Kelly." Voice dripping with something similar to sincerity, Christine sat down in the seat next to mine and put her hand on my shoulder. "I just heard the news. I'm so sorry. Do you need me to do anything for you?"

I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. It took me a minute of staring before I realized I was supposed to say something.

"It's okay. I'm fine." I shrugged, hoping that was reassuring. Christine smiled softly, and patted me on the shoulder again before walking away.

Forgetting about my search for the door, I turned Christine's words over in my mind. Was I supposed to be feeling sad about something?

A drunk man sat down next to me, grinning like an idiot. These types of parties were never ideal places for thinking.

"Go jump in a lake." I rolled my eyes. He appeared not to hear me.

"You know, there are going to be fireworks later tonight." He didn't look around the room as he spoke, as if he was making an announcement to the entire blur of a crowd. "Yes there are. There was this one time when I was a kid, my dog freaked out..."

"That's fantastic." I stood abruptly, deciding to leave this rambling drunkard to his own devices. A little too abruptly, apparently, because my glass slipped from my hand and fell to the ground, smashing into a million glittering pieces that caught the flickering light from the candles.

"Shit." I stepped over the glass firework I'd created. My mind was racing. When the glass hit the floor and I heard the crash, I remembered something. Or, rather, I remembered that I should've remembered something, only I couldn't remember what it was. Where was Christine?

The candles, the stuffy crowd, the horrible drinks, the dread at knowing something and yet not knowing... I needed to throw up.

The door was nowhere in sight, but I spotted a window and strode towards it with my hand covering my mouth to keep myself from puking. Throwing open the window, I sent my dinner down eleven stories into the darkness of the night. I collapsed and sat there for a long time, resting my head against the sill and taking deep breaths of the clear, cold night air that didn't smell like apples.

Fireworks aroused me from my trance-like stupor. They burst across the sky, screaming and clashing and raining colors down on the world. I stared at them until the noise made me remember.

I'd been kicked out of school. It was New Year's, and I wouldn't be in class next semester. I couldn't quite remember why just yet, but I figured it didn't matter. I was too exhausted to care.

"Cheers to new beginnings," I muttered bitterly, wishing I still had my glass so I could toast with the fireworks. The murmur of the crowd had faded to a whisper behind me, so I closed my eyes and let the winter wind lull me into sleep.