She stared off into the space in front of her, into the shadows of night, and curled into herself. Pulling her knees to her chest she laid on her side and felt the fear and anger and sadness wash away happiness. In a too-big bed she drowned; cold sweat froze in her crevasses.
How does someone feel death?
The garden of roses of that grew in her body died, the petals blackened and fell and leaving the thorns to claw at her from within herself. The flowers dropped their heads and begged for sunlight and turned to ash when it didn’t come. The blinds of her body were shut closed, no sunlight came in, no darkness went out. That is how one feels death; when their bodies garden empties and is only left with the ashes of the dead world; when you open your eyes to let in the light but all you see is the darkness churning around you.
When you are left breathless, do you die?
The weight of a dying world forced the air out of her lungs in hard puffs. The butterflies that used to rest in her stomach flew up with her breath, following the breeze out into the world, and left her body feeling empty. How romantic this is, she thought, being left with only dead flowers and a dead heart, as the fluttering disappeared with all the life from her body.
She listened to the pound of her heart to remind herself that she was still alive.
Do you make friends with darkness, too?
She felt on the verge of hysteria, clutching at her chest, it was during that stage between laughter and tears when she knew she was completely lost. She tried to reach past the cage of skin and bone that kept her heart to pull it out and fix all the things she didn't know was wrong with it. If she fixed it tonight she would feel better in the morning, right?
She didn’t cry, not yet; she was waiting for the Moon to come out and pull the tears from her eyes as she pulled the tides of the sea. Instead, she found a company with the shadows sitting with her. They sat too close, embraced her from behind and starred her in her face. They plait her hair and wove flowers made of anxiety around her temple. They gave her the comfort she couldn’t find within herself, so she left them to consume her.
Do you hear? They’re calling your name.
The winds cried from outside and shook the windows; they begged to sit with her and her shadows. They pushed at the glass, rattled it, and howled against it. She didn’t hear. Instead, she dived into the depths of her anxiety, allowing it to wash over her until her lungs filled and she couldn't swim herself to shore anymore. All she heard were the crashing waves that pushed her further down.
Like she pulled the tides, she pulled you, too.
The Moon came out and a tear fell down the bridge of her nose. She laid there and, finally, she wept, letting the Moon pull streams from her eyes. Colourless ribbons of light fell into the room and danced with the dark; shadows of the world outside danced with the shadows anchored to the room.
Your heart will ask you to stop; your heart will ask you why you did.
Her hand strained towards the light. Inches away; the light was only inches away when her heart turned into a rabid creature fighting against its restraints. It beat fast and caught tight in her throat. She pulled her hand close to her chest and protected it. Her unsteady breaths filled her head, leaving her filled with air and fear.
A shadow crawled on top of her and bent to whisper into her ear; why do you fear the light more than the dark? She swallowed, trapped under the shadow as he sewed the question into her head with careful hands and colourful threads. He used the deepest blues of the ocean and fabrics made of silk skies to fill her with the world. He stole the spark of a flame and lit her ablaze with the match of a few words.
Look how easily friends turn to a foe.
She let out a heart-wrenching scream, tears streaming, and crawled up her bed in fear. Her friend, her shadow, lit her on fire and left a burn so scarring that she felt it’s pain surge through her body. Her cries silenced the wind and called out to the Moon. Shadows hovered around her as she pressed herself against the cold wall behind her. What’s wrong, they asked. What did we do? Please forgive us, they begged. She refused, shaking her head so furiously as if to shake the shadows from her mind.
“Please go away,'' she whispered.
Don’t ask me that question, the one that everyone avoids.
The Moon travelled further up the sky to embrace the crying girl in her light.
The shadows clawed up the walls, away from the moonlights reach. The Moon watched for a sign from the girl; a sign of happiness or a sign of hope. Frozen tears shone as the girl stared off at were her shadows used to be. She still pressed her back against the wall, even as her body shook and ached for comfort. She felt nothing at all.
So when the Moon only saw emptiness she asked the only question she knew.
“What’s hurting you?”
Laughter caught the girl. At first, it started as just a giggle and then she fell apart for laughter had ripped through her.
Laughter is contagious and so the shadows watching shared a confused snicker, for they didn’t understand but ‘look at what a sight this girl is’! Amid her hysteria, a tear slipped out.
She fell upon her bed, clutching at her stomach and the sheets, with wet cheeks. ‘Why are you laughing?’ She had to ask herself even if she knew the answer. she came back to one answer that hurt her more than the Moon and her Shadows ever could.
She didn’t want to say the words aloud, to hear them could shatter her.