A/N: It's kinda long, so tell me if you think it should be split into chapters. Also, I need a better summary. I haven't actually written it yet, but I'm pretty sure I need a better summary, so any suggestions are much appreciated.


Morning

A buzzing in my ear and morning smacks me in the face. I have no curtains. I push myself out of bed, and stumble, elephant footfalls taking me towards the bathroom. Once there, my clothes fall mechanically, swiftly from my body.

It isn't until the red hot needles pierce my skin that the blackness clears, and I observe the unpainted plaster, sprinkled with the spraying water. I close my eyes again, focusing on nothing but the heat sinking into my solid bones, making them pliable and soft, clearing away the dirt of a day and a night.

The water hazes my world and the sadness of grey light on a dirty street evaporates, drifting out the window with the steam that rolls off my red skin. Too hot. The shower is too hot, but my arms ache from washing my hair, and the knob is stiff. I tell myself it doesn't matter. The colour will fade.

Stepping out of the shower, a towel winds snake-like around my body, and another catches the damp strands of my hair, pressing firmly around my head. I don't understand how my drying body can move so robotically through the familiar motions of wiping away stray make-up, applying moisturiser and cleaning my teeth when the warmth has made it so graceful, so bendy.

It slips through the quietness of every morning, depositing dirty clothes in the hamper, pulling on new ones, applying make-up, eating breakfast and watching the news, but it's not really there.

It shimmers through time, which move forwards, backwards, up and down, confusing and lying, laughing at the frowns of people who once thought that they had long enough. I can't judge time, watching, faintly amazed as it slips through my fingers until my mind screams and my body jolts.

Hypnotically I watch as my hair changes from dark brown to dark gold to pale blonde. The longs straight strands smooth out beneath the hairdryer, slipping and sliding under the manufactured air. It burns my scalp.

A car engine moves me from my disjointed state and into reality. Too bright, and my eyes hurt, the dark shadows disappearing under caking concealer. I leave the house.

The cold makes the air frost as it exits my mouth, blowing visibly in a cool stream that reminds me of disguised death slipping down my throat and into my lungs. Automatically my hands pull out the pack; the lighter sparking as the smoke starts to drift upwards, curling towards the sky, so pretty, molecules dissipating into freedom.

I wander along the road, watching the darkened houses and imagining the people inside. Old couples and young couples mostly. Screaming kids or yowling cats. I watch an old man watering his plants, and pull up short when he says something. I don't know his name, and I don't understand him. He is old, foreign and deaf.

I am two people, Inside and Out. Out answers, mouth forming words that make Inside sneer. Out tells him that she has to hurry, or she'll miss the bus. Inside screams that he is a boring old man that needs to shut up. Inside takes a long drag of her cigarette, while Out slips it slightly behind her thigh.

Inside reminds her that it probably doesn't matter, that there's a high chance he's blind as well.

Out smiles one last time, and pretends to hear the bus. She is gone, and I become one again. Hot tar trickles down my throat and blows out again as I sit on the kerb. Out lied, the bus isn't due for fifteen minutes. Inside smiles and congratulates herself.

The cigarette leaves a trail of sparks as it flies into the road, and the cold concrete seeps into my body, solidifying my bones again. I hold my breath and listen. Listening I can hear the faint squeal of cars on the nearby motorway, listening deeper I can birds chirping and listening even deeper I can the slight snores from an open window across from me.

The bus rumbles around the corner and I stand up, a smile fixed on my face. I become Out, version 11. Out, version 11 is the perfect passenger. She always pays with a please, a thank-you and a smile. She sits quietly, dings the bell only once, smiles some more, and says thank-you again as she disembarks.

There are many versions of Out: 1, 2, 3, 4...; the perfect student, perfect daughter, perfect friend, perfect stranger; straight A's, no trouble, kind, generous, helpful, friendly, polite, she'll always be there for you, smiling and causing no fuss. Emotionless and with no personality she's the perfect girl, the perfect robot.

The bus driver doesn't need to know that. The bus reaches my stop. I don't know where the time went, don't remember paying or sitting down, but my smile doesn't flicker. White sunlight reflects, piercing my eyes and I cross the road without looking. Cars screech and Inside smiles.

I start to walk. Long legs and long strides take me down a narrow road, passing the cafe that is never open, and the food shop that makes my mouth water. I check this time before crossing the road.

Destination: school.

Unattractive new building attached to unattractive old building. Jaded teachers, hormonal kids, and those nameless employees looking for a power kick. The corridors are too narrow, and as I walk towards my first class, I find myself jam packed in the middle of a group of first years, whose bags are bigger than their bodies. The chatter, scream and pick their noses.

I shudder, and shove my way between them. Frightened eyes glance at me, before hurriedly looking away. The chatter is silenced. Inside giggles, smiles, and then outright laughs at their fear. Outside smiles at them, and the noise starts again.

Inside groans, grabbing her head and using words that should get her mouth washed out with soap. I wander past one of the school toilets, and an interesting mixture of stale cigarette smoke and even staler urine invades my nostrils. I've never smelt it anywhere else.

They don't take prospective parents down here.

I enter, dump my bag, and sigh. German. Mrs Gerbil isn't here yet. She's never here yet, hurrying through the door fifteen minutes after the bell, unmarked papers in her arms and a child who lives in another world, unaware of her hypocrisy as she clucks, already frowning in indignation as she scolds and criticises.

We are always wrong, impolite and rude. We could never be as good as her.

Somehow I make it through the day, passing through the stale air of the next generation, and ignoring the puffs of oxygen from the old. It's no wonder the planet is doomed, if this is the amount of air wasted in only one school.

Sitting on the bus on the way home, I smile, fixed grin at the young kids, chattering beam at my friends. Inside pouts and whines, she wants to be out of here, she doesn't like these people, she doesn't like my fake personality, or the lack of sarcasm forming on my lips. She doesn't like Out at all. Neither do I and I tell her to shush, that we'll be home soon, only performing to my parents and sisters.

Inside sighs and rolls her eyes: as if that is so much better, and then reminds me where a screwdriver is if I need help with my smile.

I sit at the dinner table, drowning my piece of fish with a bottle of vinegar. My father looks at the brown pooling round my fish, and tells me to stop. I'll ruin the fish. I look at him, not comprehending; I like vinegar. I don't like fish. But Out just smiles, puts it back on the table and says I was thinking about something else, a school project. He smiles, satisfied.

Inside howls at me, tells me to stop being so stupid, to stick up for myself, to yell and tear and scream and smash. She tells me to break the rules. I tell her not to be so stupid.

Later on, I sit on the small slope of roof outside my window, inhaling and exhaling a steady stream of smoke. I crave the nicotine, and it disgusts me, but addictions aren't described as addictive for no reason.

It's past midnight and around me the world sleeps. I look deep into the darkness, staring through the shadows and watching them scatter from the moonlight. So many houses surround me, and I wonder at the lives inside. Looking past their human existence, I crane my head and look. I count, 2, 5, 8, 10... Whispering softly under my breath, and then I sing,

Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight... I wish I may, I wish I might, I wish I have this wish tonight... My voice trails off. I have no wishes.

My flesh is prickled from the cold, and I wonder why I'm sitting out here in my flimsy pyjama top and bottoms, but my mind doesn't focus on it for long. I want to sleep. Slipping into my room, I wander wraith-like across to my drawer, feeling through the clothes to a bottle filled with white.

Three of the sleeping pills – stolen from a friend's bathroom cabinet – slip down my throat, swallowed dry, tugging and scraping their way down. I sleep.

And I dream.

In my dreams I am free. I dance, my spirit soaring and swooping as I dive naked into crystal water, lapping and slipping past my skin in wonderful sensation. I swim, muscles rippling under smooth skin, multi-coloured fish darting and blinding.

Rolling on sweet green grass, sensual pleasure on my unprotected skin, until I'm dry and heated from outside and in. Climbing a tree, rough bark scraping on sensitive soles, and reaching the top, harsh wind ripping through me, stinging my skin and whipping my hair, and I feel it, rising inside me, pure, unbridled joy, and I scream, scream it aloud to a world that can't hear me.

Jumping, I slow, feel the air part around me, pliable awareness, and I land, cool, damp earth swallowing me, surrounding, and I want to cry at the comfort. My body lays, peaceful, every single sensation rolling over me, the air, the sounds, tastes and smell, all brushing my sensitised skin and decadent pleasure rolls throughout my body.

My mind leaves it behind, numb with happiness, with the untainted and primitive emotion rising and falling, converging in swirls inside my body, and it rockets upwards, towards a deep blue sky that swallows me whole, diving and twisting and I gather handfuls of clouds, feel the soft fluffiness dissolves upon me, water dripping down my skin, mingling with the tears of joy.

In my dreams I'm not insane and trapped, lost to a darkness that drives and corrupts; pleasure as sin and self-indulgence as selfish. I am not disgusting in my desire.

I am free.

Free, and my entire being convulses with the feeling, pleasure so great that I scream, a piercing primitive sound, pure joy clear through incomprehensible expression, just trying to let out and explain the overwhelming feeling, until my throat is hoarse and my body drifts downwards, spiralling as sensations caress my skin, drift into a timeless, consuming sleep.

And then I wake.

Slammed in the face with life, and I open my eyes and smile. Leaving the house, completed homework in my bag, skin covered and politeness in my words, Inside screams. She tells me truth that I will never admit:

I am just a doll, smiling blindly as your tightened strings conform me.


A/N: That last bit, the dream bit, was kinda hard to express properly, so sorry if it sucks.