Control. What a deceptive word. What a deceptive idea. To think that anyone really has control is ignorance. Well, any full control. Most people can control themselves enough not to go out and kill anyone who slightly annoys them. But then again, most people don't hear voices in their head. No, that's mainly me.


My professor's voice droned on and on. Most of the students in the small classroom were dozing or sending text messages to one another. They were doing normal teenage things. I was sitting stiffly upright in my desk, resisting the urge to stuff my fingers in my ears, and trying in vain to ignore the voice in my head. I had never considered myself a normal teenager.

He's an imbecile, and you know it. She said, Put everyone out of their misery. Shoot the damn man. Stab him. Rip out his intestines and strangle him with them

Usually I could ignore that thing; that voice. Hell, it even used to be a comfort for me. But now, now it's hard to even control my thoughts. They don't seem like my own anymore. They're…Hers now.

The loud ring of the school bell silenced the voice, for now. The rest of the normal students filed past me, anxious to fill their vapid minds with the latest gossip before going to their next class. That's all they care about. To them, school is one big event for socializing, with the classes stuck in to fill time.

Of course, I pretend to be like them. It didn't take me long to figure out that conformity equals normality in the world. And though I'm everything but normal, it pays to act like I am.

"Anna."

I was so accustomed to hear voices inside my head it took me a few seconds to realize that my teacher was speaking to me. "Yes, Mr. Digby?" I asked, turning toward him reluctantly. I had a feeling about what he wanted to talk to me about, and it wasn't anything I wanted to discuss.

"I need to speak to you about your grades," he said grimly.

I sighed audibly and walked to his desk. "Yes?" I asked again.

He motioned for me to sit at the desk closest to him. I did, unwillingly, and looked at him with my eyes wide with false curiosity. The moment of relief from Her was over, and she started her rant again.

"Anna, your grades have dropped dramatically since last year," he began pedantically.

Why should you listen to this man? He wants you to fail, She began angrily.

"You've dropped from an A average to a D…"

You do your work and you know it. He's an idiot…

"…I know it's not just in my class, either, I've checked with your other teachers and their answers were disappointing…"

…It would be putting everyone else out of their misery as well. Think of it as community service…

I couldn't take any more. My mind was being assaulted from the inside and out. I needed an escape. "I'm sorry Mr. Digby," I said sweetly, interrupting him. "I've had a lot going on in my life lately, and I haven't been able to concentrate on my schoolwork. I appreciate your concern." I rose from the desk without invitation. "I'll see if I can do some extra credit at home."

I bolted out of the classroom before he could stop me. As soon as I was clear, I let out a big sigh of relief. Only one voice to deal with.

The halls were nearly empty. Only a few couple lingered, kissing each other goodbye and walking hand in hand to their significant other's next class. I nearly gagged; it was so sappy, so…unnecessary.

"Hey, Anna!" I turned from the couples to find my best friends, Shannon and Lily, sprinting down the hallway towards me. Instantly, I lapsed into teenager mode.

"Hi, guys," I said, ignoring Her voice. It was easier now that I was with my friends. She was always quieter when I was around people I liked.

"What did Digby want?" Lily asked, tossing her auburn hair.

"Ugh. He wanted to discuss my grades. As if I don't know that I'm failing," I said disgustedly,

"Aaron's such a busybody," Shannon said, cracking her gum. She always called the teachers by their first names, even to their faces. "I was helping Margaret in the teacher's lounge the other day, and he kept talking to everyone about how 'disappointed' he is."

"I'm sick of school. Let's skip seventh," I said, walking down the hallway. I expected Shannon and Lily to follow me, but they hung back. "What's wrong, you guys?"

"Um…" Lily said, looking at Shannon. I knew that Shannon, a teacher's pet, would be reluctant to ditch, but usually Lily was up for anything.

"We don't think you should be skipping with such low grades," Shannon said slowly.

They don't believe in you either. Real friends would want to cheer you up. I'm your only real friend…

"And we think that maybe you're a bad influence on us," Lily added.

See? I'm the only one you can trust. Trust me, Anna…

"Oh," I said, shaking my head in a futile effort to get Her to shut up. "I see how it is. I used to be your friend, but now I'm just the girl with no father and failing grades."

"It's not like that!" Shannon said, reaching out to me, "It's just that you've skipped five times this month, and it's causing our grades to drop, too."

"Fine. I get it. Whatever," I said, walking away.

You don't need them. You don't need anyone. You have me.

I was starting to wonder if She was right…