You can feel it happening again, tugging at the corners of your mind in the hours you spend alone. It's making itself comfortable, bunking down for the sunny seasons. The red flag goes up when you hear the whispers. You start wondering if they'd ever receded at all. Gone is the theory of paranoia, yes they are there, were there, have possibly been there all along; yes, you have heard them so how could they not be? Constantly doubting ones senses is a daunting affair, a thing best left in the realm of bad fiction.

You start craving sleep more than food. And you think to yourself "I've got pills for this." As if the words will fight it off. You are a sorcerer now, tossing candy coated pills and incantations into the darkness of your mind. You seek to blot it out forever, wipe it from existence. "It will be enough." You say to yourself, securing the caps and taking your daily dose. You deny there is a change, and address its symptoms instead. You make them a series of afflictions which happened together by coincidence alone. They are not related. The causes are numerous and simple, but always slightly out of your control. It is the weather. It is stress. It is the goddamned hypocrites you live with. The list grows and eventually includes the zipper with the missing teeth on the jeans you never wear. Everything but you, as it cannot be you. It cannot be you again; you have used up your crisis cards. You bury that little red flag and pray to anything and everything that that's the last you see of it. Despite your vehement denial, you continue downward. You spend days numbly wondering whatever happened to passion, if this is a side-effect of real living. You can't remember real living, you've never done it. Life has always been ruled by some symptom of your condition, ever bastardized by simple virtue of how you process the world around you. You're not sure if it's really worth trying for anyway. There was nothing fantastic about what you were doing. It certainly didn't garner the approval you're so ridiculously desperate for. It didn't bring you love or wealth or prestige. All you were doing was clinging to little things and going "with this I will be happy." You closed your eyes and clutched them like talismans, squeezed them tight and prayed that in this thing you would find peace. Here would be contentment that wasn't hallow.

You begin to evaluate what made you "happy". Critically. You come to find it didn't make you happy at all. In fact it was motivated by character flaws. It was desperation, it was pride; it was greed or gluttony. Not some blessed virtue come to save your futile existence, just a vice wrapped in cheap, colored paper. So you wonder these things while you deny the old ways of thinking. You sit on the precipice of light and dark in your mind and you say "I'm not going down there."

And something in there laughs.