It's that feeling in my chest that makes me wonder if I truly believe what I think I do, or if I'm simply running from one extreme to another. Like I'm a sheet of ice cracked and broken into different pieces, and different people see a different part of me. It's not the whole picture. Just floating on dark waters that hide that ugliness that abides in secret depths.

You wake up one morning surrounded by perfectly sculpted lies and beautifully painted smiles and carefully forged "love". Renaissance-like majesty, beauty and perfection and love surrounding you and cradling you in its murderous arms. But it only takes one nick to let the falseness shatter away, only one tap against porcelain love to reveal the disgusting creature that lies hidden away in the darkness. And so you run, run away from the Stepford smiles, away from the loveliness and docility, because you know it's all a lie. It's bait for you to become swallowed in its embrace.

They say ignorance is bliss. They're right. It's bliss to be ignorant of the darkness that hides behind the light. It's unbelievably wonderful to believe that there is no wolf under the sheep's clothing. Because once I run, it's all over.

Round and round and round. The gravel under my feet crunches and snaps and crumbles, the road moves quickly to and fro. Yet I do not move. Frozen. The masked faces reaching out for me with their well kept claws and screaming for me with their nightingale songs. I yank away. I tumble. I feel earth swallow me whole.

I fall.

Yet you do not die. You awake in a dimly lighted area, surrounded by ghosts and monsters and witches. They are ugly. They are disgusting. But they do not lie, you conclude. There are no pretty masks hiding their wretched faces. They do not paint over scars, nor do they hide shadows with lamps. They are truth. And so you embrace them, dine with them, drink with them. You make love to them. Because they do not hide. They do not lie.

But my terror does not pass. I watch them kill innocents, rape lovers, eat each other. And I sink to my knees and watch in horror as they place my meal on the table. They smile so sweetly, as they show me the crumpled, bloody skin on the platter. It takes a few moments for me to recognize myself. My face. I touch my cheek and realize in disgust that they have peeled off everything. I look in the mirror. I see nothing. I feel nothing. Should I scream? Should I eat?

You run once more, into the darkness, unable to see. There are rooms, multiple rooms that lead to nowhere. You stumble and cry and run your hands against glass walls, unable to realize the transparency of your own mind. You vile creature. You demon among angels. You disgust me. You sickly, horrid child. You keep chasing yourself in black light, trying to escape the impending darkness that longs to taste your heart. Wicked laughs before you, lovely songs behind you. No escape. None at all. They will rip your soul apart and you will die.

And as I struggle to hide away from the beastly demons and run away from the painted angels, I no longer notice the lovely, smiling mask that now adorns my disfigured face.