First name: Brigid
Genre: YA Fantasy
Everything is a lie––their faces, their words, their clothes, the books on their desks. It's a barrier as fragile as the surface of a bubble.
Underneath it, I see their fears, their secrets, the feelings they hide. I know their loneliness; it emanates from their minds, building from a whisper to a murmur to a scream that ricochets around in my skull.
One of those shrieking souls is my own. I share their pain. On the inside, we're all screaming.
But I've learned that I'm different from them. I accept the scathing mess of words their minds throw at me: freak, girl, freak, witch, goth, freak. I don't care what they think, as long as they never know the truth. They can think I chose to dye my hair blood-red, that my reflective eyes are contacts. They can think I wear long sleeves because I cut myself, even though I'm hiding something very different from the furious red slashes they'd expect.
I don't blame them. It’s human to make judgments. If I had a choice, I would make them, too.
Instead, I have to know every last detail about everyone, all the time––who likes who, who hates who, who's sleeping with who, who's doing drugs, whose parents hit them. Thoughts and dreams and memories and fears all burst inside my head like fireworks … and someday, I won't be able to take it anymore.
I never asked for this. I sure as hell never wanted it. My whole life, I've kept it inside. But it's killing me, crawling through my veins like a disease.
How long before it takes over––before it takes me, like it took my mother?
I dig my pen into the desk, drawing black lines that flow like poetry. I draw people the way they should look––same height, same size, same shape. They have X's for eyes, so they can't see. They have no mouths, so they can't tell lies. They hold their hearts in their hands, exposed and bleeding for the world to see.
I try to lose myself in the rise and fall of murmured thoughts around me, but it’s the first period of the day and they’re all the same. Bored, tired, hate this class, bored, bored. I shift my attention to the thoughts of the Pre-calculus teacher, Mr. Sampson. He tends to think in graphs and numbers, which is oddly comforting.
Numbers are safe. They don’t hide their purposes. They put everything in order, in measurements, in boxes. I don't like math, and I'm not good at it. I just like its consistency.
I stop, putting my pen down to observe my finished work. X-eyes, outstretched hands, dripping hearts.
No one can see the world the way I do, I think.
I'm completely alone, and there's no one.
No one, no one, no one, no …