Note of primary importance: the characters, their descriptions, places and situations are a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real characters, places or events must be discarded as coincidence.

A/N: I have nothing to say except that this is a blurb and I miss winter

Iron Skeleton

It is the fifteenth of January.

As the light goes on, I stare at myself in the bathroom mirror. My face is very narrow and pale and looks emaciated. There are dark circles under my eyes. It's late of course. I couldn't bring myself to get out of the bed right away. Alarm clock startled me out of my sleep, because it beeped so loudly. I don't like my alarm clock. But it's the only one I have.

I brush my teeth and then I start to shave; and as I do so, I make a small cut to the left of my chin. This is the usual place that gets cut if I'm not careful. A fat drop of blood rolls out of the cut. I wipe it, but then another one appears, and by that time I don't really care that much. I don't touch my hair, because it's so much work to brush it. I don't feel like making the effort.

I stumble as I walk out of the bathroom. It's dark, because everyone else is still sleeping. My sister's school starts sometime around nine, and I don't think either of my parents is going to work today. I'm dressed in something – a blue sweatshirt and jeans. I'm not sure if it's the second week I'm wearing the same clothes. I promise myself to do laundry on the weekend.

I go down into the kitchen, and make two identical sandwiches. One of them I eat right away, the other one goes into my backpack for later. I take my pills - one purple and one white. I wake my mother up and she drives me to school. While she is driving, I check my cut over and over again, wiping it with my forefinger and then my thumb. It burns a little, but no blood is coming out.

I'm late. It's not like I don't care – I don't want to be late. The teacher frowns at me and wants to know the reason. I tell her something off the top of my head. I sit down. I have to make a couple of jokes, and I do so, prompting quiet giggles from the twins who sit behind me.

We're having a discussion in class, but I cannot bring myself to listen. I would like to, but I have no attention. People raise their hands, but I just look at the teacher and say nothing, and try to tell her with my eyes that I'm really interested and I would like to participate, and I want a good mark too, but unfortunately there are no things more important than food and sleep. Nothing can be more important than my bed. I imagine its soft pillow and thick blanket and I feel like skipping the rest of the school and sleeping. The hand tugs at my sweatshirt – it's one of the twins. She wants to talk to me about something. I reply. I feel odd. As if everything around me is a dream, and I won't ever wake up. My perception alters and I see the twins and the classroom as mere images drawn by someone on the blank canvas. I keep acting along, but it's instinctive, it's autopilot, and I don't think about anything I say. In reality, I don't think at all.

The teacher is telling us that the final exam is close, and the mark is very important because it's our final year. I remind myself that I studied yesterday, although I can't remember what it was exactly. It's in my memory still, I'm sure. I look at the clock, and slowly count minutes till the bell. I make a mistake, and start counting again. Then the twins disrupt me and ask me to do some activity with them, which has been assigned in class. I'm supposed to listen to what they say and write it down, but I don't listen and I write everything wrong. They start to wonder aloud what is wrong with me. I don't reply, just throw down the pen and paper, turn around, put my head on my hands and close my eyes.

As I walk to my next class, I have to watch carefully, so I don't miss a familiar face. I have to say hi to people that I'm friendly with. If I don't, it's not going to be very polite. I see Leanne, for instance, and I wave to her. But for some reason she doesn't notice me and goes on without acknowledging my presence.

In Keyboarding I have to type. I sit down and look at the screen, fingers on the keyboard. As I start to move them, they tremble and become very heavy. I feel as if the bones in them are made of iron. Then the feeling spreads up to my arms, and now the bones there are made of iron, also. My arms drop to my sides. With an incredulous effort I raise them, my muscles struggling with the weight of the iron bones, and I start to type. I do a bad job, of course. I hit backspace a lot. My fingers always hit the wrong keys, and it almost brings me to tears of exasperation. I have to stop before I have a nervous breakdown. I close my eyes and my head inclines a bit and now my skull is also wrought of iron. I open my eyelids and raise my hand. I have to tell the teacher that I can't type because… because I have a headache and I have to go down to the school nurse. But he is talking casually to someone else, his face distorted with a pleasant smile, and he is paying no attention to anything in the classroom, because nothing can go wrong while he is smiling. No one will need anything while he is talking. But my head is wrought of iron, and I can barely keep it on my shoulders. I see his smile, and anger rises inside of me. I suddenly have a boost of energy. I want to stand up, jump up on my chair, then onto the desk. I want to push the monitor off, smashing it against the floor. I want to push all of the monitors, so they all fall and smash. Then I will run around the room and scream and hit the walls with my fists until I fall down breathless.

I stay seated.

The bell rings.

I now have an hour to myself before I can be engaged otherwise. I don't know where to go. If I knew of some dark corner in our school, I would go there and sleep. But I don't know of any dark corner; besides, I'm hungry. I chew my sandwich slowly. If I do it any faster, I will vomit. It's happened before. I don't know why, but I can't look at any kind of food without nauseous feeling, except chocolate. I would buy some at the cafeteria, but I have no money.

People are passing me by. They are all smiling and laughing. I hate some of them. I just hate their faces, and how they carry themselves and how they think and what they wear and how they smell. There is nothing remarkable or unusual about them. I hate them for reasons that are unclear even to me.

I remember about a meeting I have to go to. The woman who organized it has freckles on her face and a kind smile. I like that smile, because it's not a pleasant smile, not a self-satisfied smile, not a fake smile. I don't want to go, because I don't want to see her trying to bring people's attention to herself. She has a frail, quiet voice unsuited for shouting. That's why people don't pay attention to her. They only go to the meeting because of the free food, or maybe to talk to their friends. They don't care what she has to say. I imagine that woman coming back home every night, sitting at her table, and looking into space with her eyes suddenly sad, thinking about nothing or maybe about how she would like to have a louder voice. I don't know why people are so indifferent to her.

Some kid is coming up to me. I recognize his red hair. I know that I hate him, but he perhaps doesn't know that. He stands in front of me and looks at my face. I'm glad he cannot see the iron skull underneath it. He has this habit to walk up to others and stare at them saying nothing. I wonder why I hate him. It must be something about his eyes – large and grey and empty. I don't think he is thinking of anything. "Go away," I tell him. He doesn't. So I stand up and make my way towards the stairs. I wish I could wipe him out of existence. I wish I could vaporize him, turn him into nothing, make him cease to exist. I reckon that no one would even notice if he was gone.

I stand at the bottom of the stairs and look around the hall.

I see no one except for people.

I walk out of the school. I don't care about remaining classes. I walk and walk and walk. I walk home. It's snowing. My face is cold, and now I feel that all of my bones are wrought of iron, and I'm struggling to keep them moving, to keep myself moving. And though I know that this iron skeleton is bringing me down, it also protects me. Now I can never break my hand, or leg. Iron is so much better than bones, but it is so much heavier and I'm so tired of carrying it around in me.

There is a hill above the highway. I climb its slightly steep slope. I stand there for a while, thinking about my little sister with whom I would like to spend so much more time, but I can't make myself do it. I think about my bed, and about my homework. I think about my mother who occasionally politely inquires why I don't eat. I think about sleeping, and sleepless nights when I feel like screaming about my insomnia. I think about smiling and the red-haired kid. Then I realise that I'm very tired, and I can't go on. So I lie down. I sink a bit into the thick blanket of snow. It's very cold at first, but then it becomes warm. I'm not sure what the temperature is today. Today is the fifteenth of January. I like winter. Snow tickles my face, and it almost doesn't melt. But my face doesn't feel cold – my skeleton does. It's very cold inside of me because of my iron bones. I don't care. I want to sleep. I close my eyes and slide into the blissful darkness.