Author's Note: This is a not entirely fictional take on a high school experience. Nora and the Creature are both real people, though names have been changed/omitted. I feel very strongly about this work, and I understand that it comes off as severely confrontational. Writing this took me to a very dark place, and it definitely shows. These are the words of an observer with a few artistic licenses taken.

Are there any Creatures in your life? Feel free to share in a review. We all love a good vent.

Tire Tracks

Watching this…it hurts.

Am I the only one who sees It's true form? That small girlish creature, the charming smile which distracts from It's poor posture…can It really be human? It isn't pretty, but people think It is, because of its charisma. It's charming. It clings to Nora, my love, like a parasite. It sucks the life out of her; It takes her good nature and twists it.

Nora isn't beautiful. Her face is too round, and her eyes are even rounder. She has heavy eyelids, and her bottom lip is fuller than the top one. Nora isn't beautiful, but she's pretty. She is too tall for her round face, but she knows how to compensate for it. She likes fashionable clothes, and her skill at makeup almost makes her attractive enough to be jealous of. Nora wears heels because she wants to be taller. Her feet hurt, and her ankles bleed because she can't afford the kind of shoes that are comfortable as well as stylish. She thinks people look down on her.

She sees through the Creature that clings to her, heels on It's clumsy feet too. It wants to mimic her, because Nora's clothes look good on her. It wants the attention people give Nora for itself. It doesn't see that it looks like a fool.

Nora is an artist, but there's not much else she's good at. She and I share a table in our art class. I like her a lot, because she's so serious. Smiles are a grace that she rarely shares. But she's the nicest girl I know. It hurts her to be cruel to people, even if they deserve it. She doesn't like to talk about the things that make her angry, because talking makes her even angrier. In a lot of ways, she reminds me of a guy.

She doesn't have many friends. I don't think she really even considers me her friend sometimes. People make her sad. Sometimes she'll tell me that she hates girls. Sometimes it's guys. She sees the faults in both sexes, and rarely the positives.

"Girls," she tells me, pausing with her watercolor brush poised in her hand, "Are beautiful. But they lie. They're like snakes. Their hypnotic eyes draw you in, but when you're within range, they strike you in the back."

"I wouldn't do that," I say quietly, not raising my eyes from my work.

"I know," she replies, but it's a lie. My Nora doesn't trust anyone, but she also hates to hurt them.

She sits with me in Art because of the assigned seating. Most everyone ignores it this late in the school years, but she uses it as an excuse. If we separate, the Creature will pounce on her. It already feigns insult when she sits with me, but I see through It's lying façade. It knows I see the true ugly beneath, and if It comes near, I will rip off It's lying skin to reveal the true ugly just below.

Or so I would like. I doubt anyone but Nora would be on my side if I exposed the Creature for all of It's worthlessness.

Nora would smile if I crucified the Creature. She hates it, despises it, curses it. My love would like to see it cry, but she is too gentle to hurt something, even something so wicked.

I am too weak to make It go away. I dislike confrontation even more than Nora. I can't do more than give It dirty looks across the classroom. They fight a lot, and it hurts me to see Nora hurting.

"She treats me like dirt," she says softly, after a collision, "I hate apologizing. I feel like she makes me into a monster. I feel like a monster."

I know she doesn't want to get me involved, but I don't care. If you have a problem, you have to talk to someone. When Nora keeps it to herself she gets stomachaches.

I hate it when she apologizes. She's happier when It's not near her, but there they are again, as if they're best friends. They are happy for a few days, maybe even a week, until It hurts Nora again. It enjoys hurting her. It enjoys making Nora look like the bad guy.

Nora used to be friends with another guy in our art class. He was the best looking guy in class, all the girls liked him. Hell, even I liked him a little.

He and Nora and I shared a very special thing: We saw the truth. The dark ugly behind that disgusting Creature's charm was clear to us three. We laughed when It tried to be prettier than Nora, and we joked about stapling It's mouth shut when it pretended that it was as smart as the teacher.

He broke Nora's heart.

Nora liked him a lot, but she didn't say anything when he decided to start dating one of our classmates. She was a nice girl, sweet and open, and her friendship meant more to Nora than someone she may or may not have dated. But, that wasn't what hurt her.

He betrayed us. One day he was with us, and the next he was at It's table, with his girlfriend. Nora couldn't even look at them.

"She's cool. You guys shouldn't be so mean to her," he tells me after class, "You know, Nora's really a bitch to her, it seems like."

I punched him.

It hurt like hell. I'm not really a punching kind of person. He didn't even hit me back. He just laughed.

"You hit like a girl," he taunted, and walked away.

I saw then what Nora means when she says she hates guys. She hates guys more than girls, I think. But it's hard to tell. Liars are the thing she despises most in this world, and she says that girls are liars. There's more contempt in her voice when she talks about guys, though. I think she finds them repulsive.

"I hate guys," she tells me, her chin in the palm of her hand as she stares down at her unfinished painting, "There's no way you can trust them. They only like girls for one reason."

"I'm not like that," I protest, setting down my ink pen and looking at her.

"You're different," she says, and this time she actually means what she says, "I know you don't like girls that way."

I'm not gay, and I wish she didn't think gay guys were the only good guys. There's more out there for you, Nora, than asexuality. I would love you, even if you never wanted to kiss me a day in your life.

But, it's useless. Nora attracts the wrong type of people. It's not her fault; she's just too easy to take advantage of. People see that, and they walk all over her. It's why the Creature treats her like dirt, because It knows It can get away with it. It's why I want to protect her; because she's too easy to hurt.

"I wish I could tell her just what I think of her," she says coldly, "To her face. I wish I could tell her what she's really like."

She's talking about It again. Everyone loves It. It is good at everything. If Nora is good at something, It suddenly finds the same new talent, and is at once ten times better at it than Nora.

I think that It should let Nora have at least one thing to her name. I wish Nora could have one thing that she excels at, that It isn't sticking It's grubby fingers into. It steals her ideas and pretends they're It's own, then lies and gets angry when Nora protests.

I'm afraid for Nora sometimes. I fear the Creature is going to make her like It. I think sometimes she'll no longer be human. Being near It makes her petty. She's not kind when It's around. Sometimes she says hurtful things she doesn't mean. I don't mind, though. I see the truth.

Nora loves the truth. She thinks that all liars deserve to die. I agree most of the time. The Creature has made Nora this way. Nora doubts the words of every person she meets because of It's lies. Everything that drips out of It's rotten maw are lies. It lies so much that It doesn't even know what truth is any longer, I think. I want to rip out It's tongue and watch it choke on It's own poisonous blood.

"I'm looking forward to graduating," Nora says at the final art show of the year. Our works are near each other, so we can talk. Several pieces of both of ours have been bought. It helps her self-esteem when someone likes her art enough to buy it.

The Creature comes by us and pretends to be friendly, asking for a picture. I want to flip It the bird, but I stand still. Nora shrugs, ignoring it for the most part. I smile inside. I understand why she's looking forward to graduating. She is planning to major in Business once college starts. The Creature is staying in the art program, as am I. Oh joy.

"Promise you'll stay in touch?" Nora asks me as we load up our cars at the end of the night.

"Why wouldn't I?" I ask. I love you, Nora, I add silently.

"You know friends don't stay in touch once they don't see each other every day," she replies sadly, as if this is self-evident.

I watch her drive out of the parking lot, but I stay there and think for a little while. It's dark, and the street lamps are on.

"So I see you're still here," the Creature says venomously, glaring up at me as It waits for It's ride—It's too lazy to get a driver's license when people are all too happy to give it a ride for free.

"Fuck you," I reply, going to unlock my door. I don't want to be near the whore. The Creature poisons my good mood.

"Nora was my friend first!" It hisses, "Now thanks to you she's been a total bitch to me!"

"She hates you because you treated her like dirt for the entire past year and a half," I reply blandly, "She sees the real you, just like me."

"I didn't treat her like dirt!" It lies, crossing It's arms and trying to appear incredulous.

"If you really think that, it's a wonder you have any friends. She was only mean to you because you were more mean to her," I get in my car and slam the door, starting the engine.

Nora always said, if It would apologize first, if It would be honest for once, if It wouldn't bring her down and leave tire tracks down her back, then she wouldn't mind being friends with It. Nora would like to forgive It.

I just want to run It over.