Masks can be literal or figurative, depending on who you are and how you wear them. Some of us wear these masks for so long, that they become so melded to our skin, and the mask becomes a part of us, like the flimsy scotch-tape desperately holding a broken glass together. Then, over time, the tape wears out, we weaken, and completely break down, sometimes resulting in nothing but our own, unmissed deaths.

My eyes were red like bloodstained rubies. Royalty tainted by sin. Rubies that were haphazardly cut and placed without care. Blood that was shed with a craving that would not, could not fade.

My hair was the purple of the deepest point of the ocean. Dark, cold, and isolated, where contact with any passing creature was rare and fleeting. Never staying long. Like the dark violet velvet of the night sky, only without the stars or the moon that always seemed, to me, to have the face of a woman in anguish.

Body frame: not frail, not strong, but pale and cold like the lips of a dead goldfish. Did my heart even beat anymore?

I looked over the city from an abandoned rooftop, watching a masked man for what had to have been the hundredth time that week. Who knew why I had such a longing to see someone I did not, and had no wish to know. Why was it that my chest tightened and my cold blood warmed at the very thought of… whoever he was and whatever it was he was making me feel.

I was torn between the urge to kill him and the desire to shove him against a wall and ravish him senseless. Damned the consequences or his preferences.

I gritted my teeth together, cheeks warm, and savagely tore my eyes away from the feathered mask adorning his face, the opposite of my mask. Flinging myself against the wall, I wedged my fingers between the meager cracks in despair, my insides feeling as if they had been spun through a blender and poured back inside of my body.

The child, small and fragile with hair of pink, came up from behind me, toy cat in her overly dressed arms.

"You know what it is you feel." She told me gently, her voice small and bell-like.

"No!" I exclaimed, denying.

"You love."

"I was not made to love," I told the child. I dragged my fingers harshly down the wall, begging them to scrape raw and bleed against the brick, but lacking the courage to do so. "I cannot live, and though I may have wished for it at one time, I do not now, no matter how strongly my instinctual urges may drive me. I do not get attached. There is a thick, hard shell around me, flawless and cold like an eggshell. I wear a fake wedding ring to keep people away. It is a symbol of the promise that I made to myself long ago, that I would never fall in love."

"But you do." Whispered the child.

"I cannot!" I exclaim, sinking to the ground, fingers scraping against the cold, red brick and flaking off in layers. "I do not plan to live to see my thirtieth birthday and if I allow myself to engage in something like love… I am sure that I will die that much sooner. I will not love. I forbid myself to!"

"You are killing yourself."

"I wish to die."

The raspberry haired child stood up and walked over to me, settling between myself and the wall, her pink, cupcake-icing dress spreading over my lap, my right hand rested on the wall, curled like a dead spider's legs, and I watched numbly as she placed her tiny hand over mine, pressing my palm flat.

"You are too young to be saying such things." The child murmured, pulling her hand away to reveal a reddened palm.

I rested my cheek on the top of her head, nuzzling my nose into the long, silky, dark pink locks. Her form was soft and tiny and warm against mine. I closed my eyes, savoring the physical contact with another living being. Something so fleeting and rare and precious to me.

"I am lonely." I said softly, placing my free hand on her head and trailing my fingers through her hair.

She lifted her chin at my touch, striving for more like an attention-starved kitten. "You do not have to be."

My face became bitter. "I will be."

The child sighed. "So stubborn…" she reached up to caress my cheek, leaving a cold, wet, bloody handprint of my pale cheek. I kissed her fingertips. "What do you want? More than anything in the world?"

I closed my eyes. "To be loved. To be needed in this world by someone… anyone."

"And yet you will not allow yourself to love."

I didn't respond. I clung to the child tighter, wishing I could touch someone like this forever, yet I knew it was something that could never and would never be. My walls kept me in, and they, out.

The child continued. "One needs a reason to live. A reason to exist. Without one, we might as well not even be alive. We might as well be dead."

"I am already dead."

"Yes. You have no reason to exist. Yet some part of you keeps struggling to live."

"I…" I bite my lip harshly, and wish for the thousandth time that I still remembered how to cry. I free my hand from its place on the wall and curl around the child, shivering.

"I am lonely, little one. So very, very lonely." I whisper painfully.

And had anyone looked up from my crouching place on the rooftop, they would have seen a red-eyed, indigo-haired girl talking to no one but herself.

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There is… a LOT I could say about this, but I really am not interested in going into it. The character is very deeply based on myself. I guess you could say that I'm going through… a bit of emotional turmoil right now, though I'm not entirely sure what spurred me to write this…

Anyway, read and review!

Mysteri