January 14, 2022 / Kelly Wei

London, 1984.

Have you ever played God?

We do, every night.

We are your sons and daughters, your objects of fear and reverence; man by dawn, myth by dusk. We are not your idols, not your gods, not your harbingers of holy tomorrows. Put nothing upon our altars! Put nothing upon our graves!

We are the classrooms full of promising, young students, with knives in the folds of our blazers and bruises beneath our crisp, linen shirts. Played a little too hard last night, one remarks, a corner of his split lip lifted up in a smirk. Stayed out too late.

We don masks, but you know us, don’t you? You created us. You are us.

Lock the doors all you like when the streetlights flicker out, dear citizens, but aren’t we still the subject of all your children’s favorite bedtime stories? Don’t we still find a way in through their dreams?

The stories say we are heroes. They say that we are here to save you! Divine intervention dressed in a catsuit and cowl, angels sent to tear this town apart, yes, yes, OK. That’s certainly rich!

So we’ll burn crooked cities and raze crooked kingdoms for you. So we’ll steal, lie, and cheat for you. We’ll loot the spoils of an unjust country that has betrayed us all, just for you-ou-ou — but oh, cherry, you wouldn’t mind if we kept a cut, would you?

(Divine intervention? Someone, somewhere, is laughing softly in the dark. If God couldn’t save the Queen, He sure as hell won’t save you.)■

by: Kelly Wei

layout: Jennifer Jimenez

photographer: Leah Blom

stylists: Caleb Zhang, Zaha Khawaja, & Noelle Campos

hmuas: Yeonsoo Jung & Jane Lee

models: Mikaela Medina & Darnell Forbes

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