Will you play with me?

It asked me. It sounded innocent, but could I really trust it? Its voice held something undeniable; something subliminal, right on the borders of my perception.

Please?

It begged again. I denied the voice.

We can play a game. I will give you a prize. Anything you want.

Anything? My thoughts rolled back to my sister, her bones in the ground, my mothers tears, just as dead as her spirit. I listened.

So that is what you want? That is easy. You just have to trade me something. If I like what you offer me, then we will trade. If I do not like it, then I get to take something.

What could be of equal value to a soul? Equal value of the sorrow, the black fingers of death growing deep like roots of mistletoe, sapping our livelihood. What could possibly take it all back? The last few years? The scars on my wrists? The burns on my arms? The broken bones? All the torture I've endured? My mind was empty.

If you cannot decide, let me choose, yes? Just sign the paper.

I had a feeling. It was a deep nagging, an itch in my mind. What is this voice? What is this feeling, this dread that it causes? The paper turned into a snapping shark, the pen was a thorn, a knife in my side. I didn't move.

Just sign it. Then all of it will be over.

The voice was like a cold wind. It froze me. I stood, my head blank and cold, isolated. The voice shook the deepest part of my soul, made shivers crawl down my spine and through my limbs.

Do it.

Suddenly, the voice gripped me, and it almost felt like my body had moved of its own accord. I saw my name on the line. When did I write that?

The voice laughed, and I got that feeling like when you know you are falling, but all you can do is give up and brace yourself for the impact. The voice drew out a feeling that I hadn't known for years. The voice was ice-cold fear, hopelessness pumping through my veins. I messed up.