There's another person that lives inside of me. She has no name, because, most of the time, she steals mine. She's a proper little thief, but I always catch her; I always put her back in her place. She never goes unpunished.

She hates me, but I pay it no mind; the feeling is mutual. Her presence would not be so bad, I think, were it not for her whispers. She clutches herself, arms crossed in the embrace, and she mutters to herself—and to me.

Her favourite place is just behind my eyes, where she can bask in the hazy light and chant things to my mind as I lay awake in daydreams. She is the source of most of my anxiousness; worries are embedded where they had not been before. I think she does it out of sheer malice, but a part of me suggests that it may be of her own fret for my safety.

Either way, there is no love lost between us.

She hates me.

Not because of me—not because of who I am, but because of what I prevent her from having. Freedom, She longs for it, craves it, even. And I have it. I can only say that it will be a long century before she can grasp it; I enjoy seeing her desperation. Her pain is beautiful.

She was a lot of things, once. She was independent and willful. She was iconoclastic, charismatic, and artistic. She was unrestrained, carefree, and felicitous. She was free in all senses of the word.

I have envy, and I have spite, and make no mistake; I made my mark on her.

I have stripped her down to the fat. She is obedient and faithful and captive. There is little independence, but I have not yet finished with her. She retains no optimistic imagination.

Quite the opposite, in fact. I find that it is rather hard to smile when she's frowning just behind my jaw, which is often. The smile disjoins after a moment, and no matter how many times I attempt the gesture, it always ends as a disheartened curve of the lips.

It is not uncommon that someone will notice this, and ask of my burdens. I have difficulty thinking of a response, however, because by then she will have settled in the crook between the end of my skull and the beginning of my spine—another of her favourite spaces. And there she will sit, naked with the humiliation of her vunerability, in a curled position, screaming in the agony of her loneliness while all the time knowing that the only one that can hear her is me.

She hates me.

And I can't blame her. If I were her, I would hate me too. But then, she is me; she resembles me in every way; in humility, in despair, in loathing.

And sometimes I wonder why I treat her this way, when I know that in more ways than one, this is like tormenting myself.