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Your life, filled with drugs, parties, alcohol, sex, vandalism and petty robbery, is a far cry from the fa├žade you put on for people. Behind the jokes and the smiles and the funny faces, is a girl who lives a life of sin and sensuality. A girl who knows where the best raves are and who sells the best coke. A girl who is so far beyond saving that people can't even tell she needs help.

Behind every smile is a smirk. Behind every laugh is a curse. Behind every innocent look is poisoned knowledge. Behind the happy family are a jealous mother and a father who doesn't care enough to come home from work some nights.

Behind the prettiest girl in school, is the ugliest girl in the world.


You like calling the red light district you hang out in every night the City of Sin. A place where little girls lose their hymns and their freedom to men who have fucked a hundred times before, and will fuck a hundred times more afterwards. A place where prostitutes pick up anyone on two legs looking for a good time and you don't have to be legal to drink.

It's a place where no one is sober and clean and everyone has a good time at least once.

The old abandoned motels are the best places to get a fix, especially if you don't want your parents to know you're snorting coke at the wee hours of the morning and having sex with three people at the same time. The floors are covered with remnants of whatever the hell the last group of junkies was smoking and used condoms.

It's really no surprise. No one's around to clean up and it's not like anyone cares enough to.

But somewhere, between the drugs and the sex and the partying and the alcohol, you meet someone you know and you're afraid, so terribly afraid, because if word got out about what you did every night and every weekend, you'd never live it down.

But he doesn't say anything; instead, he just gives you a look that makes you feel like the most disgusting thing on the planet. And maybe you are, with your too short skirt and too small top and punctures in your arms and a beer bottle in your hand.

Then, he leaves. He doesn't speak a word, just leaves and for some reason, your stomach lurches and you get the feeling that the worst is yet to come.

You snort some more coke and fuck a couple more nameless faces to forget you ever saw him.


You don't ever see him again, except for one day in the hallway, when you accidentally bump into him on the way to Calculus. He looks at you like you just gave him HIV, before stepping away and calling you a waste of human. You just stare as he walks off down the hall, ignoring the little voice in your head that tells you he's right.

You almost run to the bathroom to puff some weed, out of instinct, but one pat of your pocket and a glance at your surroundings remind you just where you are and instead, you chew on your bottom lip and run off to class.


Sitting in the hotel room, needle in your arm, eyes puffy and red, breathing laboured, you try to keep yourself from crossing into hysteria. He told everyone.

Every fucking one.

You don't know how and you don't know why but everyone found out and you've been popping pills and snorting 'X' for two hours and the room's spinning violently. You feel like you're on a roller coaster, up and down, up and down.

In the haze of ecstasy and intoxication, his words twist into some sick love confession. It's some kind of fucked up fantasy that you'll probably completely forget about in the morning but you really don't care. You laugh and smile and beat on the pillow next to you, ignoring the crunch it makes as your pale hands connect with it. You're stoned and drunk and the City of Sin has moulded you into its poster child of failure.

You died there, back when you were fifteen and just starting to get into the party scene, and you'll die there again when you overdose the next morning, in a hotel room no one knows about, with no name and you'll just be another Jane Doe in the obituaries.

Laani's heart is slowing down, do da, do da, Laani's heart is slowing down, oh she's been dead all day.



All it took was an all-too-friendly truck driver and your own carelessness to lose her.

You aren't quite sure who your hate is directed at. The bastard who took her away, or yourself, for letting him. Your naivety was almost sickening, how you'd trusted the man so blindly, without bothering to wonder as to why a full grown man would possibly be offering to watch over a six-year old girl in pigtails while her big brother ran into the gas station to grab a Pepsi.

You were supposed to protect her, supposed to watch out for her and keep her safe from all the dirty little things the world wanted to taint her with. You were supposed to be overprotective when it came to who she associated with. You were supposed to shelter her and coddle her, because you were her big brother and damn it, you were supposed to dote on her every second of every day.

But here you are, sitting in a police car, praying to God that she'll be fine when you find her. If you find her. You don't want to think about all the possibilities. Especially the ones that are associated with that nasty 'P' word that keeps popping up into your head.

You feel sick with worry and absolutely horrified at the prospect that your little sister could be dead, or traumatized for the rest of her life.

An officer's voice echoes over the radio and the car abruptly screeches to a halt, then switches into reverse and in one smooth U-turn, you're heading back the way you came.

Despite the overwhelming joy that fills you when the officer tells you they've found her and she's alive and they have the guy in custody, you can't help but feel that something is horribly, horribly wrong.

You look on blankly as the trucker is hauled away into a police vehicle and your little sister is lead out by the hand by a female officer. Her pigtails are falling out and her feet and hands are dirty, her dress smeared with mud and grass stains, but she's alive and your parents are crying and smiling and you're so fucking happy it hurts.

You approach her, intent on giving her a giant hug and telling her how sorry you are, when something happens that makes your heart just stop.

She starts screaming. And screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming.

And then it suddenly makes sense as to why she's being led out by the only female officer there and why she's so dirty and scratched and you just stand there, stunned and your parent's tears of joy are turning into tears of sadness and the absolute horror on their faces makes you choke.

The harsh reality of the entire situation hits you like a ton of bricks as your little sister, the person you swore to protect, has to be calmed down by the female officer and even then, she's still shaking and crying and whimpering and the words you want to say die on your lips as you stand there.

She'll never be the same again. She'll never be pure and innocent and she'll never have a first time because oh my god, that sick son of a bitch smirking in the back of that police car is doing exactly what you'd hoped he hadn't.

You failed to protect her and it leaves a bitter taste on the tip of your tongue as you crumble to your knees and cry.

Reality is the biggest bitch of them all, schnookums.



Who knew that the prince of the school was a masochist? Certainly not I, said the cheerleader, blue eyes sparkling with mischief as she thought of all the nasty rumours she could spread.

Who knew the prince of the school had scars along his arms from countless sleepless nights of nothing but anxiety and need for release? Certainly not I, said the best friends, bright eyes now dim with sadness and heartbreak because they didn't catch it sooner.

Who knew that the prince was miserable and hurting on the inside? Certainly not I, said the counsellor, disappointment evident on his face as he thought of all the ways he could've saved him if maybe, he'd just pried a bit harder.

Who knew that prince of the school was being abused verbally by his mother? Certainly not I, said the principle, who regretted ever thinking that the smiling brunette woman, who'd walked into the school with her son next to her, was a kind person.

Who knew that the prince was in love with his best friend? Certainly not I, said the girlfriend, who's bitterness towards the oblivious girl and whose humiliation at being used ate away at her bit by bit each day.

Who knew that the prince was planning to do this all along? Certainly not I, said the neighbour, whose eyes held a kind of terror that could only be found in someone who'd seen something truly horrendous.

Who knew that the prince was going to blow his brains out after the school dance? Certainly not I, said the friends and family and acquaintances and neighbours and teachers and principals and counsellors.

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

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I own Laani and the other two nameless characters used here.