Author's note: This is basically an explination of my feelings at this time. I posted an edited version of it on my diary (why edited? I did not wish someone to read a certain section because I did not wish them to feel any guilt) but I felt a need to post the entire thing, so here it is. If you wish to visit my diary (listed on my personal profile - I tried to type the address here, but it didn't work) to see the edited version or any of my other writings that have not made it to fictionpress, feel free. Just be sure and sign the guestbook. *wink*

A View From A Cage

She sat in a corner of her cage, head leaning dismally against the cold bars. Her eyes stared straight ahead, but saw nothing. The light that used to shine in them was gone, reduced to a smoldering ember that flickered bright now and then; but these times were growing less. Her hair was unkempt, and she shunned the food tossed to her, growing gradually thinner as the months progressed.
She gazed listlessly between the bars, watching those passing by. A few were happy, some masking their sorrow with a plastic smile, some wandering aimlessly with hollow eyes, and yet others walking about with poorly contained rage. She watched them, her own agony making her sensitive to the feelings of others. She watched the sickening dance, the happy dancers with the perfect lives whose sorrow glared at her like a cornerned cat.
From time to time people would come to visit her. This was rare - she disliked having people see her cage - and she mainly went to visit others. But no matter the place, she always wore a mask, either of smiles and laughter or sympathy and tears; but never her true face, her true expressions. She forced her happiness, becoming a great actress, but the one thing the masks couldn't hide was her eyes. Her eyes, twin pools of pain, stared out of every mask she wore, begging to be seen. Often she wondered that people could not see her masks for what they were - or was it that they did not wish to see? Her eyes spoke the truth - did others never look at them? Did they not see the pain? Were they as blind and dull as that?
The door to her cage stood open, but she rarely ventured out: she could not go far. Her Keepers had given her a collar attached to a chain, and it reached only the few places they wished it to; she could go no farther. Not that she did not try. Often she would strain against her chain, seeking to follow her heart, to explore the distant hills that called to her. Many times she managed to snap her chain, and then she was free, running through the hills, wild with the thrill of exhiliration. But her joy never lasted long. The Keepers would find her, drag her back, beat her, chain her once more. They never struck her - what they did was worse. They abused her every day with their Tongues. Often she would wish they would strike her, thought that somehow a stinging slap would be more welcome than their voices, dripping with cynisim and disgust, their words saying one thing as their actions degraded her and pushed her down. Oh, that they would just strike her! Physical pain would be a release compared to this constant gnawing at her soul.
Slowly, slowly, they throttled her spirit. Choked it, pushed it down, forced it into submission. She tried to fight, tried to resist them, but she could not do it alone. Then a Man came. He took pity on the girl, befriending her and coming to visit her in her dark cage. He came every day, talking to her or taking her out of her cage to see her few friends. The girl was grateful for the Man's friendship; it was his constant company that kept her from giving utterly over to despair. He let her escape from her troubles, if only for a few hours. Then she would return to her cage, to the beatings of the wicked tongues. She would bravely face them, boldly standing tall under their oppression - it was the Man who gave her this courage. But one day the Man announced that he was leaving and going far, far away. The girl refused to think about it, refused to see the truth, but when the day of his departure came, she could ignore it no more. He came to say goodbye, hugging her tightly in the fading light. She would not let the rising tears fall before him, and so she was all smiles to the last goodbye. And when he had vanished into the sunset, she ran to her corner and wept.
Now that the Man was gone, she had no one to take her out of her cage. She spent every day there, hiding in the dark corner and never coming out, especially when the Keepers were there. She would be let out a couple times a week for a few precious hours, but then it was back to the cage, back to her corner. And all day it was the Keepers - condescending, snapping, sneering; it was more than she thought she could take. She cried nearly every day, lying on the floor of her cage and staring blankly before her. This is when her Death began. Before she had fought, before she had had a reason to fight; but now... Faster now the hands of the Keepers tightened about her spirit's throat, thrashing it to the point of breaking near every day. And so, it grew not to Care. She slipped into apathy, shirking her duties to lie listlessly on the cold floor. She would stare into space for hours, thinking nothing, feeling nothing but Despair. But one small thought continued to murmur...
She had learned that she could slip out of her collar - she could gain freedom without alerting the Keepers with the snap of her chain. She began to do this more and more often, but only for short periods. She dared not risk them catching her and giving her a new collar from which she would never escape. This discovery nonetheless started a small hope to grow: In less than a year, they would have no right to chain her anymore - she would be Free. But free to go where? Freedom is useless if you have nowhere to go but a cage. But if she could escape her collar, escape their grasp... Run. Run where? Her mind sighed as it fought fruitlessly with her heart. In under a year she would escape - she would have to be content with that for now. The how and the where to of her escape would have to wait. But not much longer now; not much longer...

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