As I squeeze my eyes shut, talking a small deep breath I don’t bother thinking. Thinking is too hard, too hard, not worth it. As I pick up a pencil and a notebook I always keep by my bed I pause, letting it rest just above the paper.

I write one word:

Shadow.

Shadows. My life is figments of shadows, all fleeting across the barren black walls. And when I watch them play, as I fall in love with the shadows I feel a gripping nothing like a abyss totally control me and I feel myself bowing down to it, letting the numbness eat me alive.

And I watch the shadows, watch them live not daring to feel anything for them knowing as soon as I like them they will die, and I do not want to cause anymore death, anymore pain, so I’ll live like this.

My little sister comes knocks on my door, and I sit up and take a quick look at all the masks I can wear. I put on one and tell her to come in.

She sits on my bed and asks me for something, a CD, comfort, one of my books, it doesn’t matter. I play the big sister and bitch about her always asking for things, give her whatever she wants and then tell her to get the hell out of my room. She plays the little sister and teases me for swearing, and I remind her that she does it just as much as me. She laughs and leaves.

Someone always has to play the shadow, when someone else blocks light there always is a shadow. I am a shadow, I live in shadows and everything real seems like a shadow. A pretend to be real but I notice every breath and feel so light headed and just look at that one word written on the sheet of paper.

Shadow.

I remember rejection from kindergarten, I remember never having the big bubbly handwriting that everyone else has, and I remember seeking acceptance before I finally took my place. I was a shadow, I am a shadow and I live like one. The world needs its dark as much as it needs its life and it needs its shadows as much as it needs its players.

I don’t think anyone can really tell what I am. I don’t think anyone really notices and even less cares. I just play my part, and hate it.

Why not?

I paint myself perfect, and I give myself faults crafting until I hate the product. Then I smile and give everything to everyone, and when I get home I give myself something. Sometimes.

Sometimes I take a knife to my skin giving the sweet satisfaction for a little longer, the simple will to live. And the simple will to die.

And I scream out without words and sound, plead with someone and anyone to get me away from the shadows. Then everything spirals away for a second and I’m safe in bed, breathing hard and scared of myself, and not scared of myself and scared of myself because I am not scared.

And I paint an expression on a blank uncaring canvas, my face, and act again. I can act. I know that. If all, I can act. I fool my friends, I fool my parents and family, and sometimes for a few blessed moments I fool myself. Then the devil invites me back into hell, and my refusing grabs my marked arms, my arms marked by Satan himself, and pulls me back into the hell that is the shadows.

I thrust forward, and feel him chuckle softly in my ear.

“Don’t worry, pretty,â€