It's here I stand, at the top of the world. The glittering lights and promising darkness do dance out before me, each castoff diamond an adventure yet to become. And yet the power which placed me here does not let me leave. Does not let me explore this world that is so lovely, it burns me somewhere deep inside to even look. I cry behind this glass prison that keeps me here. I cannot sit. I cannot sing. I cannot stand to meet the soul-speckled sky, nor kneel on a ground that pulses with such life that I cannot comprehend.
So he looks at me, with a smile in his eyes, and whispers,
"Who truly belongs here?"
The question catches me off guard, and the voice that for so long has carried me through all things sputters where before it soared. Clasping hands on talons I clear my suddenly parched throat, but still manage only to whisper a reply that surprises even I who set it free.
And with those words, so is abandoned my hope. She leaves me as a wind doth leave the sails of a ship long since taken from home. But I cannot cry. Cannot wish for such strength to return. For I beleive now my own words more so that those of souls more wise than I. And as I throw myself away, tears stinging my eyes and flesh, I cannot see him cry for me to stay. The tears burn through my skin, filling my nostrils with the putrid sweet smell of my own bubbling flesh. These acid tears drip all over me, cutting so deep my very bones sing the sanctus of wailing pain. By the time I open my eyes, I am somewhere far from my home, where the cries of those too far gone are turned liquid, to bathe those so deep in self-hatred. This is where I find myself, the liquid air around me sad against my bleached bones. It shines with a light that is blue and pale, just enough to see hollow imperfections that glint without light. 'Tis pain that drives them, nothing more.
There is a mirror here. It is blackened by age and cracked where rage-crazed hands had beat it's polished surface. Here I see myself, as I behold myself.
The image induces a scream, as that reality strikes me more fearfully than I could have imagined. Here stands a girl, young and round. But her features are those since now unbeheld. Not even the Greeks, long since lords of fearsome beasts, could have pictured such an ugly creature.
Her lips are slashed, flaps of skin hanging down her blemished face where it has been slashed from ear to ear. A fake smile, covering for the lip that lies useless below her chin, and how it trembles in utter sadness. The nose is nothing, ripped clear from her face in a fit of rage, and now sewn into nothingness by useless fingers. Of her eyes, she has only one. Huge and blind in the center of her face. It cannot blink, the eyelid has been slit down the middle by the many needles stuck into its oozing depths. Any blood on her scarred face has long since scabbed, been picked clean, and refused to flow.
"It is me."
The laughter hits me full force, and it surprises me so deeply I am almost afraid. You're ugly! That's why nobody wants you! You're worthless! You're not enough, stupid fucking bitch, nobody could ever love such a disgusting monster!
I scream, the tears and rotted goo falling from my useless eye. I tear away at the needles, gouging the gob of putrid sick from the hole in my skull. It falls with a splat! to the ground, and a flower seems to scream as it dies beneath the hellish slime.
Next, my nose. I tear away at the stitches that hold it there, freeing my skin to fall and drip peice by peice to the ground. My mouth slips away easily, falling from my skull quickly and without fuss. All that is left is I. As bones.
"There! Is that what you wanted? I made it go away, Mommy, I made it go away! I practiced my speech, I learned it all... but Mommy, I dropped my tablet in the water and the chalk all ran! PLEASE, GOD, SOMEONE HELP ME. IT WON'T GO AWAY!"
But then, a light.
I look into the mirror again, only this time, I do not see the monstress. I see myself, as my mirror always beheld me. But I shine. I laugh, and the very light and jewels of sweet wonder fall from my rosied lips. I look no different. I am not perfect. But for some reason I do not comprehend, I seem to be beautiful.
Is this what others see? Could this shining girl really be me?
"It is if you let it,"
says the voice in my head. I reach out a hand, and the girl in the mirror reaches back. She is smiling. This beautiful, eerily familiar girl is smiling at me. And suddenly, my wrist is clasped in her callused hand, and I am pulled forward into the light. I spiral forwards, sounds and smells filling my brain. They make me giddy, fill me with such a sense of wonderful completion that I can hardly remember why it was I was so engrossed in darkness. There are voices, all familiar, all saying the same thing.
"I love you. We love you. Don't give up."
I laugh, and it explodes from me like a bell. The feeling is so huge I can feel it expand to the ends of the Earth, and then... beyond. This is beautiful. This is perfect. I love it. Oh, God, I love it.
And then I'm back. Here I stand, at the top of the world. The glittering lights and promising darkness do dance out before me, each castoff diamond an adventure yet to become. And yet the power which placed me here does not let me leave. Does not let me explore this world that is so lovely, it burns me somewhere deep inside to even look. Yet. I do not cry behind this glass prison that keeps me here. I cannot sit. I cannot sing. I cannot stand to meet the soul-speckled sky, nor kneel on a ground that pulses with such life that I cannot comprehend. But still I smile, knowing what will come will come. And it will come soon.
So when he looks at me, with a smile in his eyes, and whispers,
"Who truly belongs here?"
I know what to say.