916. Fright.

Help. I’ve been screaming for help and no one hears me. I pound on the window begging for someone to recognize me, to get me out of here, but all they see is her. They see her outside my personal prison, in the real world. They see her wearing my clothes even though they don’t see that she’s withering away underneath them. She wears my skin a size smaller, pulled taut over her skeleton as a sad attempt to protect it. I watch her with envy; follow her living my life without pain, without the bruises that still paint my body. The only fear she knows is me, the nightmare that comes to her when no one is around. She hates to admit that we’re one in the same, refuses in fact, scratching at her skin to get rid of the sight of me. She’s the new me and all I can do is scream for help to get out of here.

I don’t know how long I’ve been trapped in this place. It feels like a lifetime, but I know there is a reality where I existed outside of this. I’ve only been here for her lifetime, one that I witnessed born from my own mangled flesh. She took control when I was weak. Maybe that’s something I should thank her for; for being there when I couldn’t. But she’s held up appearances for so long, that I fear no one would believe me if they ever discover where I’ve been hidden. They wouldn’t be able to separate her from me, the guilty and the innocent.

She’s tucked me away so well from everyone that I’ve even begun to question my ability to cope with civilization again. I dream of it, in the rare moments that the nightmares allow it. I dream of seeing the sky and the trees and the colors. Everything is grey here. Shadows creep from every direction despite the fact that there is no light to cast them. I’ve forgotten what color looks like. I’ve forgotten the glow of the sun sinking below the horizon. Even the bad colors I can’t remember. The marks on my skin achromatic shapes of evidence. The dried blood that has glued together hair and scalp, not the dark crimson I remember.

She’s not real. She’s merely a cast of me to make people believe I’m not gone.

I’m okay. I hear her tell people that frequently. I’m okay, I’m fine, I’m well. They’re words I don’t quite understand—because I’m not. She gives people false hope that I’m still me and I hate her for that. I don’t know who I am anymore, maybe I’m no one, but I know that what I am is not okay. I’m a mess; a mess of tangled nerves and poorly glued together human fragments.

I’m an animal to her; rabid and wild. Nothing more than a chained up beast she throws meat to every night. A pleasant sight, I’m sure: the ghostly creature that I am, fervently sucking the marrow from bones just to keep up any strength I have to continue watching her. Her with the flush to her cheeks and the taste of soil and copper scraped from her tongue. Often times I wonder if I have sinned—if I’ve committed an act so reprehensible that this is now my condemnation: to watch everyone fawn over my perfect replacement and never wonder as to where I’ve gone off to. I’m not just a no one, I’m a nothing.

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