A/N: This was the first vignette that I ever wrote, and honestly, it's the piece that really just smacked me across the face like, "learn to accept criticism, you utter moron, it's for your own good." So yeah, this really helped me to get my head out of my ass about this whole "I'm right, you're wrong," philosophy that I used to live by, and really helped me learn that you need people to sometimes attack your work for it to get better, if that makes sense. Anyways, that's enough of me, happy reading!

Today is a good day. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping… it's just one of those days that makes you feel happy to be alive.

Lies. All lies. There is nothing good about today, just like how there was nothing good about yesterday, and just like there will be nothing good about tomorrow either.

Think happy thoughts, Valerie, I keep trying to remind myself. Think happy thoughts and everything will be okay. No more parents with their verbal abuse, no more older brother walking all over me like I'm some kind of doormat, no more 'best friend' treating me like a pack mule… no more people telling me that I'm not good enough.

It's not working.

I can think of rainbows and sunshine all I want, but cruel words trample over them like it's the easiest thing in the world. Why is it that words always conquer all, be it your feelings or your sanity? Why can't words simply be words, meaningless words that have no control whatsoever over you? Why does one word send someone over the edge? When does it stop, when does it end? When do I break, when do I crack?

"Stop it Valerie," I scold myself, leaning my head back against the dent in my locker from where someone had kicked it, "you're letting words, stupid words, take over again!" I shut my eyes, trying to think of something, anything else.

Maybe math will help me divert my mind. Math has no words, just numbers. Numbers I can do. Thoughts of parabolas and sinusoidals take over my mind, kicking words to the curb. I was finally feeling a little, just a little relaxed when - bam! A heavy textbook and a wallet are thrown in my direction by my 'friend' Lyla, causing me to open my eyes, startled.

"Valerie, do my calculus homework and get me a coffee," she says - no, demands. Lyla doesn't even stop to hear my answer. She simply turns around after delivering her command and walks away, the obnoxiously loud click clack of her heels echoing throughout the hallway.

I roll my eyes, opening the textbook, ready to do someone else's homework, when a pair of keys falls onto the book. I look up and see my older brother Steven, who casually says, "If mom and dad ask, then you borrowed my car and got that speeding ticket." I open my mouth to protest, but my brother continues, not even looking in my direction. It's as if I was invisible, nonexistent.

"Also, the ticket is a hundred and fifty dollars, and you're paying for it," he informs me, walking away, as if asking me nicely or saying thanks would erase him from existence. I put the keys in my bag, mentally preparing myself to get a lecture from my parents. I'm better off getting yelled at by them rather than getting myself on my brother's hit list, I decide.

And just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, I hear a shrill voice shriek - for the fifth time today - from a distance, "Valerie, you messed up again! Can't you do anything right?"

There it is. Valerie, do this because my life is apparently more important than yours, you insignificant speck of flesh. Valerie, take in all this verbal abuse and don't fight back because you just can't. Because sweet little Valerie the Vermin can't talk back, she can't say no. Because Valerie's not human, Valerie has no feelings, Valerie can take it all in and it won't matter because it's Valerie!

I feel my head spinning, pounding with thoughts, words, feelings… attacking me, eating away at me, all at once.




There's nothing. It's stopped. My head feels fine. I don't even need happy thoughts to block everything out because… oh.

I feel nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

I am an empty soul that has gone numb. Nothing fazes me anymore. I guess I'm finally what everyone thinks I am: nothing.