I stumbled out of the shower on numb legs. The towel fell from my shoulders and I shrank, trying to fold in on myself to escape the cold air. My hair was curly, dark and dripping wet, hanging heavily against my neck and back, creating little puddles at my feet. My pale fingers gripped at my hips, my arms locked around my torso-trying to keep some of the fleeting warmth from escaping my skin. I shook as a breeze swept through the room, and my apathetic* gaze fell on the ghost like girl in the mirror.

For a moment I couldn't comprehend* what I was seeing. That couldn't be me.

The girl in the mirror was so pale, almost colorless, skin stretched so tight I could see her ribs, pushing against the barrier of her skin as though trying to break through. She seemed to glow in the faint light from the moon, and the street outside. The perfect white of her skin was marred only by the ghastly* slashes and scars on her wrists, thighs, and stomach. The vibrant crimson of the gashes jumped out at me, and I had to look away.

Thick, dark hair hung around her shoulders, brushing her lower back-and tangling madly around her bony hips. It fell forward over one shoulder, shrouding her face. I dug my fingers into my sides and watched in horror as the image of the skeletal girl did the same. My mouth fell open in an inaudible sound of despair.

My eyes bored into me, staring accusingly at myself. "Who are you? Who am I?" The me in the mirror raised one hand to my face-stroking the withered skin torpidly, feeling as though I would shatter at the softest touch. I couldn't bring myself to stop, my movements becoming methodical, as a tense still fell over the room.

My thoughts drifted through my mind, screaming through thick walls while my face remained indifferent*. When did I become this? I barely even recognize myself.. It's all her fault.. No. It's my fault. I did this. I deserve this pain. I should suffer.

I could hear the cars on the highway through the thin walls. The sound never stopped here, and at first it was a roar-the sound of tires speeding over asphalt soon became mundane*. Like the shade reflected in the mirror. All that was left was a faint echo, and all else had been completely obliterated. Destroyed, shattered beyond repair. Frail and held together by tenuous bonds that felt ready to splinter apart at any moment.

Suddenly I couldn't bear to look at the tainted, weak and almost implausible being I had become, any longer. I tore my gaze away, staring down at the floor, rocking dizzily, my breathing erratic. I was so cold. I could almost see my breath pluming into steam clouds in the icy air.

I took a slow step to my dresser, feeling light-headed. My thin hands wrapped around the cool metal handles and I held back a hiss at the touch of the cold. My movements were jerky and awkward, as I pulled open the drawer. My eyes were slightly unfocused, so I used my hands to feel. Soft fabric brushed my fingertips, and I pulled out an old black T-shirt. It was a Pierce The Veil shirt, I dimly recognized.

I hissed, and dropped the shirt. My hands flew to cover my face, and I stumbled forward-my elbows crashing against the slick wood of the dresser, and I leaned there-breathless. motionless. I shuddered, the cold and the crashing wave of reminiscence roaring all around me. I snapped my eyes open, not willing to see what my mind would conjure up.

Reaching back into the dark drawer, I roughly pulled out an old T-shirt. It had once been my fathers, and a hint of his cologne still clung to the fabric. I breathed in the smell as i slid it over my naked skin. It hung like a dress around my thin frame, making me feel like a child.

If only I was as innocent as a child.

The cold pressed its clammy fingers against my face, wrapped them around my ankles and made me shiver. I wrapped my arms around myself again, staring down at the tattoo on my foot. Even through the rapid changes in my life, the emotional ruin I had become, the stupid anchor still lay boldly against my skin in vivid black ink. Reminding me of everything I had once been.

I shuddered as the cold embraced me, pulling me deeper. Water slid down my back from my hair, down my legs, dripping on the floor. Cold. Cold, cold, cold.

Suddenly, it felt like there was a suffocating heat everywhere, like a pillow was being held over my face, and I couldn't breathe.

My weak limbs searched for cool air, and I found myself stumbling and falling over the little black desk chair by my window. My long, spindly fingers tore through the curtains, searching for the elusive coolness I needed. And then the window was gaping open, and gusts of cool air washed over my face.

I sank to my knees next to the window, pressing my face against the screen, my fingers digging into the wooden sill, gulping down the freezing air. It felt good. Like I was freezing myself from the inside out.

I used to wish the nights would never end. Nights filled with laughter and trust. Moments i would never get back, that were seared into my memory. They would stay with me forever-even now, when I wanted the most to forget them.

My hazy eyes focused on the trees, how they stood so resolute and strong. So proud and unwavering. Almost nothing could tear a tree apart. Almost nothing.

The stars blinked lazily through the clouds, shining now and then. I watched them-wondering what it was like to be a star? So far away and only seen when the night is clear? I sat back against the floor, the wind ghosting against my legs. I knew I should be more covered up. I watched as the goosebumps rose on my skin, and the red lines puckered. They were so prominent* against my skin, like roads on a map. Roads leading nowhere.

I watched my legs for a long time-feeling the way my body reacted to the cold. I wanted to jump-to run. But I was so tired. I felt like waiting for the snow, curling up on the ground. Allowing myself to drift to sleep-a frozen girl. A broken promise and a thousand memories to symbolize the pain I felt. Would I be safe then? Curled up in a sanctuary of snow, blanketing me?

They would find me-peacefully asleep when the snow thawed. Pale and shrunken. Just another broken heart that the world forgot about. That you forgot about.

That was a dangerous way to be thinking. I didn't want to think about you-it hurt to think about you. A raw ripping burning pain that invaded my heart and lungs. So much so that I couldn't breathe. I leaned forward pressing my face against the screen-I needed air. Needed to Breathe. In-Out-In-Out. My sluggish* brain cringed away from the thought of you.

I didn't know how I got this way. How I changed this much, becoming a recluse*, closing out, falling to pieces. I can only guess that you lied.

I hadn't really thought of you in months. Tonight-finding that t-shirt-it had broken my control. I hadn't listened to my Ipod in weeks-afraid that I'd hear that song-terrified that I'd break down. Afraid that I would succumb to it, and fall into that deep dark place again.

A breeze swept through the room-I leant into the air. It felt good on my tight skin. Like I might not break at any moment. Like I wasnt dying.

I didn't know why I couldn't forget. But leaning against the window frame-letting the cold wood dig into my face, I wanted to. I wanted to forget about you-forget all the times you said my name, held my hand, and held me. It's wasn't my place anymore. It never was.

I was holding back tears now. Staring stubbornly out the window, taking in shallow breaths. The night was slowly dying, the cold death of winter bearing down on the world, resolute* and unstoppable.

Summer had faded so fast, disappearing without so much as a warning. The cruel snows would blanket the ground soon, and all wold be silent and serene. The world would be wiped clean and there would be no reminders, except the ones that marked my body.

A tear slipped down my cheek. Cold and frozen in the light of the stars. My wet hair brushed against my cheeks. I clamped my teeth against a shiver. I rocked back and forth on my knees. Feeling vulnerable. I was so broken, so weak. I just wanted to sleep.

Sleep was the only thing I lived for anymore. I used to be so whimsical. My only addiction was the blade. Dancing and singing, joyous and carefree. I wanted nothing more than love. And you.. You were everything.

I could remember the day you took my heart.

You took my hand and we ran along the road. Our footsteps loud against the ground. The sun was beating down on us-but it was nice, peaceful. You made a silent promise to me. I'll be here.

You pulled my hand, and lead me to the park. It was beautiful. The river gushing through the land and the tree standing tall and strong atop the hill. Your blonde hair fell in your eyes when you turned to smile at me. You never let go of my hand.

In that instant, your smile was all I could see. As though It was all I needed, it was vital, I couldn't survive without you looking at me like that. I wouldn't want to.

I remember the feeling of the open air beneath my feet as we tried in vain to reach the sky. Some part of me knew that no matter how hard I tried I'd never reach the clouds on that old swing set, but the child in my heart made me try. Made me believe. So I kept swinging, hearing your laughter, and the creaking of the chains as I swung higher and higher, thinking that I could disappear into the sun that was so bright.

I can still feel the cold of the water when I jumped in after you-the overjoyed gleaming in your eyes that made me feel like I was a child again. And not hovering on the precipice of being an adult. Who needed to grow up? Not me. The splashing sounds echo in my head now, your bright bell-like laughter that made my bones turn to jelly and the black makeup floating off my face, as childhood made its last stand, feeling like it would prevail.

We hauled ourselves out of the water and laid on the grassy banks of the river for a long time, staring up at the cerulean blue sky. It was so pure, dotted with the stark white of the clouds that drifted overhead. And I remember watching a heart-shaped cloud drift by. Your hand fell onto mine and I felt my heart smile in my chest.

Right then, I was standing precariously on the edge of falling in love with you. And I smiled, and took the fall.

There was a moment when I was sure that I wasn't going to wake up-and find that it had all been a dream. How could it be? With my hand in yours and the feeling of flying?

You promised me that it wouldn't end. I should have known-but I didn't.

The sun was still high in the sky, and you took my hand and lead me to the edge of the woods, their shade covering us like a blanket when you pulled me along. I thought for a foolish moment, that this was childhood all over again. That there was nothing beyond the shadows of these trees, and that we would stay hidden in our peaceful solitude forever. Just you and me.

We must have walked for hours, jumping over logs and tripping over roots. Until we came to a clearing that looked as though it was made for hiding from the world. The kind of place where the obsolete* dreams of fairy tales might exist, where the subtle* flow of magic made everything glow.

We made our own little world, gathering sticks, singing Disney songs, and making a tee-pee to hide from the imaginary monsters that crept through our untamed imaginations.

I thought that I could hide forever.

Three days was all it took for me to know I could never go back.

You and your smiles, the warmth of your arms around my waist at night. The feeling of your hands holding mine. The scent of your skin that made me feel just a little too giddy...

We were inseparable. Tied together. You wouldn't-couldn't find us apart. I was radiant in my joy, feeling as though you were my own personal sun, and there wasn't a world without you in it. You were my theoretical goddess.

My biggest mistake was trusting you. Believing you.

I think it was a Tuesday.

A storm cloud came over head, hanging like the condemning blade of an executioner. I didn't want to go home. I rashly exclaimed that I wouldn't mind being wet. But as the clouds grew darker I knew I would be eating my words when my jeans became a second skin.

We walked back to your house with the rain falling all around us, and I laughed-spinning and dancing in the rain, the beat of my heart synchronized with my laughter.

Something was different. You were colder-distant. Your face stoic through the curtain of rain. Your eyes held an ominous cold. And I soon stopped dancing.

Your hands were so achingly tender as you softly lifted the wet clothes from my skin. Your eyes filled with some kind of revere-finger tips stroking down my arms as you led me to the bathroom.

The steaming bath made me drowsy and slothful, and you folded me into bed-a soft, yet somehow unnerving smile gracing your lips.

The night had fallen, uniform darkness coating every surface. The restless obsession, the need to have you in my arms roused me from my slumber, and I crept into the hallway, searching for you to rectify the problem of my sleeplessness.

What I saw.. I'll never forget.

A beautiful girl, her glowing curls falling around your shoulders, her long tan limbs coiled around you.

Her lips on yours-your hands around her waist. My heart was shattered-broken-smashed. I was irreparable. There was no point. I, right then and there renounced* any claim I had ever had in you. How could I hold any part of you when an angel lounged in your arms?

I don't know what happened next.

All I remember was her standing up, her beautiful brown eyes glowing with thinly veiled supremacy. She, very deliberately, smiled and winked at me. There was a moment of unprecedented calm in my mind. My body moved without me commanding it to do so, and then the perfect angel's face wasn't so perfect anymore.

I ran away.

You called after me, your voice tearing a gaping hole in my chest.

I ended up back at my door an hour later. Slipping through my window, and curling up under the covers. I couldn't believe I'd been so gullible. So unwittingly falling into your trap of my own volition. I was void of feeling. It was as though my heart had been clawed from my chest, and left behind somewhere along the road.

I want to scream, to tear my hair, to vanquish* these memories once and for all. I want to slice my skin. I needed the only antidote I'd found to your poison.

My legs tremble and I almost fall as I reach for the cool blade. My only salvation. My fingers curl around my solace, and I can feel the vengeful hatred flowing through my veins.

"Please don't." Your voice from the window makes me freeze. "You promised."

My voice is dry and papery, as though it might crumble away to silence, filled with wariness and a vague fear. "And you promised you'd always be there.."

The blade slides across one of the old scars, and I can feel something in me reconcile with what I have become. The warmth of my blood slides down my fingers, pooling on the floor along side the water from my hair.

The screen shakes-being pulled out. I ignore you. My heart is crying out in agony.

"I said dont." your hand passes before my eyes, yanking the blade from my shaking fingertips, and I struggle to regulate*my breathing. You're too close. My hair falls over my shoulder, covering my eyes and shielding me from you.

You wait for me to say something. I don't.

I shiver in my blood stained shirt. Without thinking you pull me in. I freeze-I want to push you away, to kick and scream. What good would it do? Your so much stronger than me. I wouldn't be able to get away. And one look at your face and I wont want to anyway. That is what scares me the most. That this yearning* deep in my bones would take over, and I would fall into you with a renewed vigor, unable to control myself-forgetful of the consequences.

I fight the urge to give in to you-This isn't right. It hurts to have you holding me-a giant hole that I usually held closed was being ripped open. I wondered if you knew that you were hurting me so much, your incorrigible arrogance tearing me apart.

I slowly unfroze-I pushed against your arm. You tightened your grip on me the more I tried to get away. I couldn't. I almost didn't want to, my heart pounding as I tried to diverge from the path I was so tempted to follow. I stare at your shoulder, swallowing my despair at how your skin glowed, so clean and pure and beautiful.

Your hand was on my face, tracing my jaw. My eyes grew wide. I wanted to give in-to let you hold me, just bask in the warmth coming off your body. I knew i must fight. I just couldn't find the will anymore. It was detrimental to me. I was coming apart at the seams.

You began to pull my chin around. I was scared. I didn't want to see your beautiful eyes. If I did, then I knew I'd give up, and let you take me away again. I'd get hurt, end up an exemplary idiot, duped again and again, always forgiving. I squeezed my eyes closed, terror ringing through me.

I could feel your breath on my face. You gently kissed my eyelids. I couldn't help but open my eyes.

It was the first time I had seen your face in a year. Your soft blonde hair-your startling deep blue eyes, filled with indecision, concern for me.

Tears started to fall again-fast and hot down my pale cheeks. My mouth was clamped tight-so tight i could feel my teeth crumble and turn to dust. I looked away from you, feeling as though I was made of stone.

Without meaning to I breathed in your scent-smokey and familiar. My heart ripped itself in two again. I was holding onto sanity by my stubby-bitten nails, I didn't know how much longer I could last.

I stared out the window behind you for a long moment. We didn't move, as though moving would send us crashing and burning.

"I'm sorry." Your voice tore at the edges of the great wound in my chest. I didn't say anything as my breathing became ragged. I wished that I could walk out of here right then-leave you standing here. Because I didn't want to be your shadow anymore.

I wanted to be free.

But I wanted you too.

I shook my head. "No you're not." My voice was a fragile whisper that could be heard from miles away-I was so broken that each crack in my heart-cried on their own. A symphony of sadness.

I could feel your eyes on my face-watching me for a long moment. I wondered what you saw...Then I realized I don't want to know that you thought I was pathetic. I didn't want to know how you felt my bones beneath the thin covering that I wore, or how my blood seeped onto your skin. I didn't want to know that you were thinking of how much more beautiful that girl had been.

I closed my eyes and stepped out of your hold. As another breeze swept the room-I found myself missing your warmth, my body aching for you. But I swallowed my longing and held myself away.

I looked back out the window-watching the leaves on the trees move with the wind. The movement distracted me for a long moment-i found myself thinking of better days.

Days when I thought I had a right to be happy. What a joke. The stars shone so bright, and I found myself wondering once again what it was like to be a star. Maybe then I'd be beautiful enough for you. Beautiful enough to take your breath away.

Her smile lingered behind my eyes, how cold and mocking it was. How her empty brown eyes seemed to scream "I win." The pain ripped through my chest. "I win."

She had won. She'd won, and she'd taken the only thing that I had ever wanted so bad. Torn you away from me, and laughed as she stepped on my heart. I was nothing to her, I was a bug who had stood in her way for a fraction of a second. My heart throbbed. All she needed to do was bat her eyes at you, and you, like any girl would have, you fell right into her.

I could hear your ragged breathing behind me, and against my better judgement I turned to look at you.

Your eyes strained wide, as your chest heaved up and down. It was almost like you'd run a thousand miles. I watched you for a moment, wanting to believe that I was safe behind the wall of apathy* that I clung to. But I knew you saw right through me. You were so beautiful I could scarcely breathe.

Striding forward you grasped my bloody wrists-I didn't even have time to relish in the searing pain that came from you tearing at the split skin, before you crushed your lips to mine.

It was a sloppy, forceful kiss that almost knocked me to the ground. Your arms snaked around my waist and held me against your chest. Your lips were bruising, and your grip was crushing, but something in my chest fell down-and suddenly I was kissing back, I was digging my nails into your shoulders and clutching you impossibly closer.

The whole world was spinning and tilting and you were the only thing that was solid. You crushing me into you, folding me between your ribs until I didn't exist, and it was only you.

Her smile swam behind my eyes. The hollow brown eyes that shattered me. And suddenly it was like my lungs collapsed. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see. My vision was blurry and everything seemed so far away. Like I was high above you-where there was no air.

I shoved against your shoulders and stumbled backwards, tripping over my little black chair. I crashed against the window, and gasped for breath-not daring to look at you. The dark, bold lines of ink on my foot caught my eye. In this moment, it was unchanging, strong and resolute. Strong like I should have been.

I needed to leave.

But I couldn't. You stood there for a moment, and I realized that along the past couple of months you'd grown taller than me. Maybe 5'8 , Instead of 5'5. Your hair was longer, more shaggy around your face, it brushed your shoulders. You were still as slim as ever, still wearing the usual tank top and skinny jeans. Somethings never change.

"Why are you here.." My voice was nearly a whisper. I couldn't find the strength to raise it, to yell at you like I wanted to-To kick and scream and be strong. To pour it all out in a violent tirade that would destroy you like you'd destroyed me.

"Because. I want you back." You had to say it. You just had to, it was so matter of fact-like everyone in the world should know, like it was as simple and ordinary as saying you liked apples. Or your favorite band was Pierce The Veil.

"Amy. Get out." I whispered. This pain was too much, you'd left before-nothing was going to stop you from doing it again. Not even those months apart. Not this time, not those words that you threw at me like they were nothing. No, it wouldn't happen.

There was a collapsed silence in the air. I'd never told you to leave before. Never. The words tasted foreign on my tounge and for a moment I wondered if I'd really said them. It was like something just crushed us-like a used up cigarette butt. The means to an end finally gotten rid of. And i could distantly smell fire-like the last of our love turning to ash and smoke.

"...Alex.." I shook my head. Don't say my name.. I silently begged. Please. This is killing me. "Please don't do this.." I could feel the shock coming from you. Heard the tears start to clog up your throat. I could feel it too. There was an aching in my chest.

You stared at me for a long time with those eyes. And I still couldn't breathe. It was like the whole world just fell on top of me. There had to be a million spikes in my chest, because there's no other way that anything could hurt that bad. Just no way that saying simple words, could transcend* the levels of pain I thought I'd known.

You inched toward me. And I realized too late that I couldn't back away. I could feel the pressure building up in the space between us, and I searched for a way out-but the dresser and the shoe rack had me blocked. The room seemed to be shrinking as you came closer. The open window breathed cold air on my back and I shivered.

I turned, so that the window was gaping against my stomach and I couldn't see your face against the black of the night outside. Black. It was safe out there, you were not out there. I paused for a moment, just before it was too late, and wondered if I should've crawled out. But then it was too late, and your lips were caressing the skin of my neck.

It had always been like fire. Burning through me from the center of my body until it slowly surfaced, taking its sweet time to make sure I was roasted alive, and it was no different then. That fire started, it glowed, it was so bright as it burned through me, spreading to my arms and legs and up my chest until it was burning behind my eyes and escaping my mouth in frantic little gasps. You acted as though you couldn't hear them, as though you were deaf to the world, and you pulled me harshly against you-your softness molding against my back.

My heart was pounding in every part of my body, and I couldn't see straight. My head lolled back against your shoulder and you bit into my neck making me cry out. I couldn't control Myself. I was never one that was very strong in self-control, and you knew that. Took pleasure in my wild, erratic reactions.

Your lips quirked against my skin, like I was amusing you in some way. I hated myself for it. I wanted to turn around, rip myself from your arms and shove you away. Lock you out. Hurt you like those empty brown eyes had hurt me. But the fire was burning through my skin, igniting my bones, and I felt like I was falling, like ashes, through your fingers.

Your arms were like iron bars around me, keeping me in your trap-and I stared up at my ceiling with glazed green eyes. Everything suddenly seemed like it was made of glass, and if I moved at all it might shatter all around me. My eyes were fixed on the glass fixture, seeing nothing but the dust falling lightly onto the glass.

My thoughts were flying around in my skull, slamming into each other. I could feel the fire in my feet, could feel my hands grasping at your belt loops, pulling your hips roughly against my back. I could feel it, but it was like I couldn't control my actions at all. No, no. She.. I..

Your arms locked around me, pressing into my ribs like iron bars-locking me in place as you created the fire in me. Every part of my body screamed that I belonged here, but my mind twisted and pulled against it. Trying to separate want from need, but want was winning. I wanted your lips on my skin. I wanted you against me. I wanted this.

I needed it to stop.

"Let me.." Your voice sent shivers of pleasure down my spine, and your fingers began pulling at the damp t-shirt. "Let me.." I could feel the warm pads of your fingertips on my thighs. The fire surged toward your hands, and I felt like I was nothing more than ash in your hands. All I could feel was the want, as it pulsed with the fire-desire boiling in my veins.

And then I was all but ripping off the t-shirt, and tearing at yours too.

It was hot and raw, wild and animal. Primal. I was melting into you, sinking through your skin and bones, becoming part of you. Your voice was muffled against my skin as you crooned my name, telling me sweet lies, but to my ears-They sounded like water as if I was dying of thirst. Our skin slid over each other, fusing us as one. The outside world was like a dream, and we rolled together against the cool wood floor-which felt like ice under my flaming skin.

Your hair fell into your eyes, and you pulled me tight against you-our chests pressed together. "I love you." It sounded rough, and you didn't let me respond, smashing your mouth to mine. I fell through you and lost myself in the fire-feeling as if hell was heaven and all those people had it all wrong.

I fell back against the floor, panting and gasping as the fire cooled. The ceiling spun above my head, and my limbs felt like jelly. Your breathing turned slow and deep, and I knew without looking at you that you were asleep.

Your blonde hair fell over your eyes, and your mouth was slightly open, cheeks flushed and innocent looking. Something akin to pride swelled in my chest, looking at you and thinking of the tie we'd just forged. As the last of the fire slipped from my skin I stared at your peaceful, beautiful face, so tranquil and serene.

You had been my heart's desire all this time. A burning, festering scar that deformed my heart, that blinded my eyes. But now I could see clearly, I could see the girl I'd loved since my heart had learned what love meant. And I knew what I had to do.

My mind cried, half in victory, half in sorrow. My body fought against me, trying to pin me to your side-but I rose slowly, walking on weak legs to my dresser.

I slid on clothes, feeling the roughness of the cloth on my skin and wishing that it would scrape off every other feeling that burned against my skin. The pain, the loss, the fear. It coated me, and tied itself to my bones, trying to hold me back. I struggled to push myself forward, further into the pain, so that I could save myself.

The cold air of the window breathed softly against me, and I closed my eyes. It was as gentle as a mothers kiss-soothing, peaceful. I took great lungful of it into my chest, drawing it down to my toes, willing it to clean me inside.

I lifted one leg, feeling as though it weighed a thousand pounds as it hung out the window. A thousand memories flashed in my mind. You, holding my hand on that river bank, you building the Tee-pee you stroking my hair-telling me that you loved me. You and I swinging higher and higher. You, your face blurred by the river water as you peered up at me from below the surface-laughing at me with your eyes.

Her eyes. Staring out from her pretty, golden face-Mocking me, knowing my pain, laughing with a cold, calculated, empty success. No emotion-nothing. Just empty brown eyes, seeming to scream the words "I win."

I glanced back, seeing your innocent sleeping face. Your pale, perfect, soft naked body-gently laying on my wooden floor. Blonde hair fanning around your head and your perfect rosebud lips set in a small, winning smile.

The rest of me followed my leg out the window-where I stumbled onto the fresh green grass, falling to my knees. I stayed there a moment. Gathering strength-gathering will. I knew I needed to leave. Needed to. It was the only way. Though I wished with all that I had in me, that there could be another way.. I knew there wasn't. She had won you, she would keep all the pieces now. I didn't want this last small piece of you-this guilty, rough girl who I knew nothing about.

Slowly, feeling all the ache in my bones, I rose from my knees. My eyes trained on the ground, I began to walk around the side of my house-faltering, stumbling against the pain in my body. The mental agony that I was walking right into. One step, and another. Another, soon I was at the edge of my yard, stepping into the street.

The ground seemed tilted under my feet, and I scrambled along-the soles of my bare feet aching with the pavements rough edges. I couldn't see the light that was coming up over the horizon because all I could see was images of a summer long ago. The memories weren't faded-they rang clear and true in my eyes, drawing tears from them. Tears that burned my skin like acid.

Every labored breath brought with it the taste of your skin. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw your smile. Every sound echoed your laugh, your soft "I love you"s. And your deep, primal moans.

I don't know when I began running, fleeing from the demons that clawed after me. I only know that I ran into the light of the rising sun, and I never turned back.