The March - 3/9/2004

Chapter 1

A breeze. Wind chime tinkles brightly, and rainbows from a crystal decorate the walls. Outside on the lawn children hold hands and dance in a circle, singing gaily. Time seems to blur, the girls dresses creating a trail behind them. Their voices echo. "Ring around the rosy...a pocket full of posies...ashes...ashes...we all fall down!" The world spins once, its revolution so fast you can feel it.

She stood on the porch watching them dance, her wispy brown hair blown on the breeze. The children blurred more and more, everything grew brighter to her eyes, bright and blurred. "Ring around the rosy...a pocket full of posies...ashes...ashes...we all fall down!" Something boomed from above, like a bomb. The children fell down and scrambled towards the porch, towards her. She knelt, her hand outreached, to help them up.

She looked into one of their faces, her hand withdrew, she stood up, backing away. Its eyes were empty. Empty holes. "...ashes...ashes..." They were covered in blood, their bodies were eaten away. She backed against the door of the house as they grew nearer. Their mouths opened, their tongues flopped wildly. An unearthly scream. Blood poured out of her ears and nose and she clamped her hands over them. Squeezing her eyes shut tight, she felt her legs give way.

She stood with a gun in her hand, finger on the trigger. It was pointed at the head of a young man. Everything was bright, harsh and bright. He was sweating. She smiled prettily. Click, as she pulled back the cocker. She was wearing a pale sundress; the wind blew about her legs, and in her hair. They were standing in the middle of a play ground, surrounded by vividly green grass. Children held hands and danced around them. Everything in motion blurred, slowed down. "Bang're dead...hole in your head." The childrens sweet voices rose. They circled, repeating it, the girl joined in. "Bang're dead...hole in your head..." On head she pulled the trigger. The bullet exited the gun, and in slow motion impacted with his head his head exploding in slow motion, blurred motion.

"...ashes...ashes...we all fall down..."


Chapter 2

She sat on the porch's railing, her legs bare and dangling off over the lawn. Her hair was up, her guard down. Summer sun beamed upon her, making her skin warm. Then clouds crowded up against the sun, the sky going dark. Rain began to fall. Her sundress clung to her flesh, every inch of her shoving from under the thin wet fabric.


He stood across the street, the gun aimed at her. She starred at him blankly, though tears were struggling to overcome her eyelids and mix with the toxic downpour.

"Go ahead!" she yelled, "I don't want to be here anymore." He looked at her harshly, then lowered the gun, and walked across the street. Time sped up and slowed down. The rain paused and his body shot through it, bringing him to stand before her suddenly. Then his arms were around her waist and his face pressed against her stomach.

"I don't want to do this anymore," he said into her flesh. His body shook. The children ran up behind him, creating a half circle. All of them stared at him with their non existent eyes. One little girl with her hair in pigtails, wearing a dress of white, walked up and tugged on his shirt. He turned around and looked at her, looked at all of them. They weren't affected by the rain, not even being the least bit wet.

"Why are you sad?" the little girl asked, "Is it because you know you are wrong?"

His breath went through him raggedly, his shoulders heaving. Then the gun was up and he was shooting at them. One through the head, one through the chest, bang, bang, bang. Blood splattered onto him and onto her. Then all was silent as the children all lay dead on the ground, their blood covering the grass. He stood amongst them, his shoulders heaving up and down, the gun loosely held in his hand by his side.

Then he turned to her. She still sat upon the wall calmly, her wet dress clinging to her skin, now splotched with crimson. "Who are you?" he asked. She smiled.

"Ana. You?"


Then the rain sped up. It ran from Isaiah's dark hair forming rivulets down his face. He dropped the fun onto the grass and put his arms around Ana's waist again, pressing his face into her abdomen. Her arms wrapped around his shoulders, and she rested her head against his.


Chapter 3

Under the covers Isaiah lay on Ana, his arms wrapped around her tightly, his head on her chest. Her skin was warm against his, and he reveled in how it felt to be near another person again. It had been so long. He listened to her heart beating against her ribs and how the air went in and out of her lungs. His eyes were closed, half afraid that if he opened them, they would be there again. They were always there.

Ana felt his arms tighten around her waist. Her eyes were open, staring out the window, watching nothing. Their clothes lay in a wet heap on the floor, where they had been discarded quickly, in a rush to find warmth. Though, she never felt warm enough, her core was always cold.

Isaiah stood out in the middle of the deserted street. On either side, houses with dead empty windows stared at him. He stumbled. His clothes were torn, shredded. At the end of the street, the children danced around a pole, hands held, voices cheerful. As he grew nearer the earth groaned. The street cracked and blood welled up and over the concrete. The children screamed.

They ran to him, clinging to him, crying for help. Looking at them, he met their empty eye sockets. He shoved them away, screaming. "Get off me you little monsters! I don't know what the hell is going on here, but get the fuck off me!" The children came after him, some crawling through the blood that filled the street. One little girl, blond hair braided in pig tails, walked forward.

"You belong here. You'll never fit anywhere else. You belong to us." She said, her sweet voice overpowering the shrieks of the others. She smiled, showing pointed little teeth." We're in you, and you're in us. There is no way to get past it."

"No, no. I'm not insane!" he cried, backing up, falling over a newly formed crack, splashing through the blood. The smell of it filled the air and made him feel sick. The girls white dress stained with it, as it sloshed up in her advancement.

"You are! You came here to kill!" The girl shrieked and lunged at him. Her teeth met his neck.

Isaiah opened his eyes, gasping for air. His hand went to his neck and came back with blood on it. Ana struggled to get out from under him, to find something to stop the bleeding, but he clung to her tightly. He was drenched in the red liquid, as if he had been swimming in it.

"Let go! Let go!" Ana cried. She tried to pry his arms off, but he dug his fingers into her back, looking up at her pleadingly, his eyes dyed red.

"I'm not crazy! I'm not." He screamed, clawing at her back desperately. "Help me! Oh god, I'm not insane."

"You're hurting me! Let go! Isaiah please, let go!" Ana sobbed.

"Kill her."

Isaiah stopped and turned his head. Standing in the doorway was the little girl, her entire being dyed red, from her hair to her pale flesh.

"What?" Isaiah asked, his voice rough from screaming.

"You hear me, kill her." The girl demanded, "you came here to kill."

Isaiah lay there a moment, breathing in and out harshly. He reached over and picked up his gun off the floor, and pointed it into Ana's chest. "Is this what you want?" Ana was crying, her body wracked with sobs. She didn't struggle though.

"Yes," the little girl said, smiling, her lips closed tight.

"Fuck off!" Isaiah screamed, and turned the gun away from Ana, blowing a hole through the little girl. He head dropped onto Ana's chest again, tiredly. "I'm sorry, oh god, I'm sorry. I'm not insane." He said quietly, tears flowing down his face and to Ana's bare flesh. She clung to him, more for his sake than hers.

"I know. I know."


Chapter 4

Ana sat on the porch watching the river of blood that was once the street, flow by. "I killed him, didn't I? Can't we die?" she said out loud to no one in particular. Something moved under the surface of the river, rippling it. She picked up a stone that sat on the porch and threw it. Just before it hit the liquid, a creature jumped out and engulfed the rock into its being. Time stopped around the creature.

It looked as if it had once been human, but now had gills, fins, pale scaly flesh, and bones sticking out at odd angles. It looked sick and emaciated with bulbous eyes that were black and shining. It stared at Ana with a hunger. Then time started again and It fell back into the river.

Ana sat there, watching as the ripples rolled out and dissipated into nothingness. She then stood up and walked back into the house, dress blowing, bare feet silent on the wooden boards. As she opened the door, she said, with a faint voice. "We'll never die."


Chapter 5

Rain. It paused and hovered, glinting in the intensified light of the sun. Ana sat flicking them gently, then watching as they shot off, sped up by the force that seemed to surround her. Her sundress was dyed red and dried blood caked her hair. The river was dissipating now, as the blood was being sucked back into the earth. Soon all that would be remaining would be the scab. She picked at the dried blood in her hair boredly.

"Lady! Lady Ana," said a child's voice. Ana looked up to see a girl with short brown hair. She then saw that the girl had eyes, bright brown ones. Ana got down on her knees to look at her closer.

"Who are you?" Ana asked, tears welling up in her eyes. The girl took her hand and patted it gently.

"You're in my head." The girl answered, her voice echoing, ricocheting off the rain and sending it out in waves. The blood was gone from the streets and Ana was clean. "I'm sorry."

The girls form blipped, and then she was more mature looking, similar to Ana but with older eyes and darker hair.

"Why are you doing this to us?" Ana asked, grabbing the girls clothes. The girls eyes filled with tears.

"I don't mean to. I don't even know why you are here."

"You have to help us. I feel like I'm loosing my mind."

"You don't have a mind to loose! You are just neuron patterns pulsing in my brain! You know nothing of insanity." The girl screamed angrily, shoving Ana onto the porch. Isaiah came out of the house and raised his gun. He pulled the trigger.

"No!" Ana screamed, jumping up and in front of the bullet. It met her chest with a thump, and she fell to the ground. A red flower bloomed on her chest, spreading through the fabric of her dress. Isaiah fell to his knees beside her.

"Ana! Ana!" he screamed, ripping his shirt off and trying to stop the bleeding. "Oh god why?" he sobbed. The girl stood over them, tears welling, but her refusing to let them fall.

"Bitch!" Isaiah screamed, taking the gun and firing it at the girl. But she disappeared before the bullet could hit her flesh. Ana was coughing, and it seemed as if one of her lungs had collapsed.

"Isaiah, don't - " she started to say, but her voice caught and she coughed up blood.

"No! Don't leave me alone! I was alone before, and I don't want to go there again." Isaiah cried. Ana's eyes rolled back into her head and her breath stopped completely. Isaiah stopped attempting to stop the bleeding, and looked at her. Then he threw the gun aside, and began to shake her dead form, screaming. He saw the gun laying discarded on the porch out of the corner of his eye. He picked it up, put it to his head, and fired.



Chapter 6

First black, then white. Isaiah's eyes opened slightly, and then snapped shut due to the blinding light. He wanted nothing more than to slip back into the dark comforting amniotic fluid of death again. But, alas, he took a painful gasping breath and was then brought back to the land of the living, or something like it. His head was throbbing with a headache and he felt naked and cold. After a few moments had passed he opened his eyes. After the initial shock of the blinding white, his eyes adjusted. He was lying on a metal table in what looked like a hospital. A person walked up to him wearing a white gown and a gasmask. Isaiah opened his mouth to speak or to cry out, but all that came out was a rush of air.

"Don't try to speak yet. That part of your brain is still rejuvenating." The figure said through the mask. "You're in the part of her mind that creates things anew, or, the subconscious. You'll stay here until you have fully reformed your mind."

Isaiah sat up, and felt the spot where he had shot himself. Nothing, it was just the same as it had been beforehand. He looked at the figure again.

"Ana is fine, still recovering though. It will take far longer than yours." Isaiah coughed, and he began to make a moaning sound.

"Why?" he then asked. His mind was almost fully healed.

"She needs a connection to someone still in the conscious. You were the only one, but you blew your brains out. She has to wait till you return to full health."

"And who is my connection?"

"Me." Then the figure took off the mask to reveal a young man which looked very close to Isaiah but with brilliant green eyes and a less athletic build. Isaiah tried to back away, his eyes growing large in fear. He fell off the table, but found, to his dismay, that his legs had yet to regain function.

"Don't run, for Christ's sakes Isaiah, you're going to hurt yourself," the man said, as Isaiah continued to pull himself away with his arms.

"No, no. You can't be here...she killed you..." Isaiah said, as his back reached a white wall. The man chuckled, smiling.

"Only in her mind my friend. Only in her mind." He stopped, and put his hand to his chin, as if pulling on an imaginary goatee. "So many times too. In so many violent, bloody ways." He smiled at Isaiah again. "Ana has done the same thing to you, you just don't remember."

"Everything here hates you." Isaiah said uncomfortably.

"She doesn't hate me. She just hates what I'm not."

"You're killing her! Haven't you seen what you do to her?"

"She's killing herself." He said, completely aloof.

"She thinks you are perfect, an angel sent to her. That she's the one who is wrong."

"She're all wrong! I mean, she has people living in her brain for Christ's sakes!"

Isaiah had since gotten off the floor and was stumbling towards the man.

"Leave now..."

"Ask nicely." The man said smiling charmingly. Isaiah spat on him.

"Please." He said with vehemence. The man wiped the spit off.

"Alright. If that's really how you feel."

And with that he vanished. Isaiah then drifted into a sea of black. Not the same as death, but something much more painful. Harsh and causing his body to contort.


Chapter 7

"Time to wake up Ana..." said a soft voice. It permeated through the grey substance that surrounded her, soft on her flesh like feathers. Up she swam through the feathery substance, till her head broke through the surface, where she coughed and sputtered, gasping for air.

Then she was sitting up on a bed in a dark room. Blood was down her chin and on her clothing. Her eyes re-adjusted to this new darkness, and she saw the girl, sitting on the end of the bed, smiling at her.

"Good morning love dove. I trust you've slept well." The girl said, never once breaking her smile. Ana nodded. "Good."

Ana opened her mouth, attempting to speak, but a pain shot through her chest. She grasped at her shirt, choking, which only created more pain.

"Oh yes, don't speak. You're lung hasn't finished re-growing yet." The girl said with a slight undertone of maliciousness. Then her face fell flat, and she began to shiver. Ana felt the cold as well, rocketing through her body. "He's here," the girl said, looking as if she wanted to be sick. "No matter how much I try not to think of him, not to let him in. He always finds a way." Tears were beginning to stream down her face. Then she looked at Ana. "This is all your fault!" she screamed, then vanished, leaving Ana alone.

Ana crawled under the soft covers that were on the bed, wrapping herself in the warmth. "Isaiah, where are you?" she thought. "Where are you when I need you?"

The man stood in the darkness, watching her shaking form under the bed clothes. Ana felt eyes on her, and looked up. Through the tears in her eyes, and because of the darkness, she could not see clearly who stood watching her from the shadows. Instead of seeing him for his true self, she believed she saw Isaiah, standing there before her.

She got out of the bed, ran over, and kissed him deeply. The man pulled back, but then accepted. In her haste and her loneliness Ana pulled him back and unto the bed. He fell on her, and she was comforted by his weight. Then, for the first time, she was warm all the way through.

She then knew what she had done, and she wept beneath him, for the guilt that came from feeling whole for the first time. Guilt that comes from it being with the wrong person.

Hours passed, it seemed, and Ana now lay in the bed alone, random lone tears rushing down her face to join the rest on her pillow "Time to go home...time to go home..." a hushed voice said through her hair and into her ear.


Chapter 8

The man sat, alone. He was in a dimly lit room, watching two blue orbs spin around his fingers. She had wanted him, given herself up without a second thought. She needed him, right? His thoughts jumbled up in his head, and the lights stopped their dance, fading into darkness.

"Nothing ever changes, does it? Every time, I always feel guilty, even though that's what they wanted." He said out loud to himself. He could close his eyes and remember her perfectly. The way she smelt, tasted, felt against his skin. Most of all, she hadn't felt his presence and ran. "But she cried..." She wouldn't have cried if she didn't have to worry about Him, Isaiah, her love.

"But, how can she love him, and come to me instead?"

She thought you were him. In her desperation, she thought you were him.

"But, she hates him."

They both hate everyone. They are alike, that's why you want her, and she wants you.

"No!" he yelled, slamming his fists down. "No, they are not alike."

Why does it matter? They are just voices, and you are but a pleasant memory, or at least mostly.

"What if we're not?"

Does it really matter? You would still be trapped here forever, until one or the other died.

"No hope...I never meant to destroy her like this. I didn't know what I was doing."

Too late now my friend. Stop before you ruin them all. You will, you know, if you keep breaking into her conscious.

"I'm lonely."

You're trapped in her memories of you. Visit all the ones that make you cry first, then work your way up, till the heart break is too much. Rinse. Repeat.

"I just wanted to make her happy."

Didn't we all?


Chapter 9

Ana opened her eyes, and found herself staring up at a bright blue sky. Her arms and legs itched from laying on the grass. Her body felt out of place, or maybe, that she didn't fit in her body.

"Delilah?" said a man's voice. She turned her head, and looked in the direction of the voice. This all felt wrong, she didn't make her head turn.

"Yes?" A feeling of love and warmth washed over her. Laying next to her was the man. The one who had come to Delilah while she recovered. She tried to push the feeling down, but it continued to surge through her, as if coming from an outside source.

"What are you thinking about?" he asked, taking her hand in his.

"Nothing, my mind was just blank," her voice said without her commanding it to. "Why?"

"You just looked deep in though is all..."

There was a pause of silence and Ana, or Delilah, turned her head back towards the sky. Her hand remained grasped in the man's. Moments passed.

"Thomas, do you love me?" Delilah asked, turning her head to face him again.

"Of course, I want nothing more than for you to be happy," he said. Delilah smiled and hugged up against him.

"You do make me happy, and I never want it to change. Will you stay with me forever?"

"...Nothing is for sure Del. I can't promise you that..." Thomas said, sighing. "Nothing is forever."

Delilah looked away from his face, hiding the tears that were forming in her eyes. "I can promise," she murmured.

Ana felt her heart breaking with Delilah. All she wanted was to never be alone. All she wanted was for her love you be equally returned. The one person she thought could giver her that had just told her that it was not possible.

"I'll love you forever." She said quietly.

"Forever is a long time."

"I know."

Then time stopped. The tear froze on Delilah's cheek. Then time raced forward, speeding through events that Ana could not focus on. Then it came to a quick halt.

Ana, or rather Delilah, stood in a bathroom stall, tears flowing freely and quietly. She gazed intently down at her arm as a razor blade paused precariously above her flesh. So many thoughts and feelings bombarded Ana that she could hardly begin to sort them out. "I hate him...I love him...I promised...this is wrong...I'm wrong...I hate myself...I'm not good enough for him...he doesn't love one does...I need to break the's killing me...the silence is killing me...oh god I hate him, for being so perfect, that it hurts."

The blade sliced her skin over and over again. Blood rose up from the cuts, swelling and flowing, some of it dripping to the tile floor. Her tears fell and mixed with it, creating a marbled pattern. The door to the bathroom opened.

"Del, you ok?"

She sniffed, pulling the sleeve of her black sweatshirt back over her arm, letting it soak up the blood. "Yeah."

She came out of the stall and walked over to the sink. The girl who had asked if she was alright stood watching her. Delilah took water from the faucet and washed the bleeding mascara out from under her eyes. She then looked into the mirror and gave a weak smile. Ana was surprised to find that the face staring back was not her own, but similar. That she was in the body of the girl. The girl she had died trying to save. These were her memories.


Chapter 10

Delilah sat on her bed. On it pages surrounded her, letter's and pictures. She sorted out the pictures and began to read each of the letters in turn. Tears rolled down her cheeks and Ana, still inside her memories, felt loneliness and uncertainty well up inside of Delilah. But then those feeling seemed to be calmed as she focused on the words on the paper.

"...I want to be friends beyond the point of college. But what I'm trying to say is thank you for all that you have done."

She tenderly folded the small yellow paper and picked up another one.

"...but I got very jealous. But after a while I got over it and seeing how happy you were with him, it made me happy for you. You can even say I still like you in vain..."

And another.

"...there hasn't been a day where I haven't thought of you..."

" bring so much joy to me and you are there for are a part of my life and I like it like that..."

"...At times I wonder if this relationship will work out but then you prove me wrong. Time and time again that this relationship could work out and maybe you're the one for me..."

"...but I will never leave you until you want me to leave. I will live to that. You are worth something."

Delilah dropped the last letter, and put her face into her hands. Tears began to stream again. But this time Ana was not hit by a wave of sadness, but so many emotions that she could not decipher them all.

"You said you wouldn't leave me until I no longer wanted you around...Don't you remember?" Delilah whispered into her palms. "Don't you remember...?"

Ana felt for Delilah, who had once been promised what she would consider "forever" and then, months down the path of time, denied forever when she asked for it. But there was nothing either of them could do, as these images were but memories. The future, forever, was out of reach.


Chapter 11

Isaiah lay in bed. He had been there since he had gotten back from Delilah's subconscious. Unmoving, unsteady in his surroundings. He needed Ana. He could feel her, pulling on him, from somewhere he could not go. It drained him, so much, that he could not leave the spot. Pain, sadness, tears. All those were coming from Ana. But they were not Ana's, but only being channeled through her and into him.

He had woken up on the grass on the front lawn about 3 days ago. Dragging himself up the stairs, onto the porch, and into the house was about all he could manage on the first day. He had fallen asleep, for an indefinite amount of time, opening his eyes to find himself surrounded in darkness, lying on the living room floor. He had then mustered the strength to make his way to the bedroom, and crawl under the covers. They had felt cold and empty without Ana there to share them with him, but he quickly fell asleep, all his senses shutting off. He plunged into a restful darkness.

After that, he would sleep off and on. Being that when he had finally woken up, was when he began to feel Ana tugging on his heartstrings. He didn't know exactly where she was, only that she was trapped somewhere in Delilah's mind. He only knew that wherever she was he could not reach her. And so, he tried to help her, by giving her what strength he had, and resting to rest them both. This was what he felt he could do, and therefore, was what he would do with all his might.

On the 4th morning, when his eyes opened, and were met with the dull light of the sun shining through the glass panes of the window, he realized that he no longer had any control of his form. This was not the room in which he had fallen asleep; these were not the bed sheets he and Ana had shared. His heart was filled with a pang of sickening fear. Then, his body sat up.

He was in a small bedroom, cluttered, with posters on the walls, and only small patches of dark carpet showing through the clothes and other objects that lay on the floor. A woman stood in the door.

"Thomas, it's time to get up. You're going to see Delilah today right?"

His head nodded of its own accord. He got out of the bed slowly, wearily. Eat shower dress get in the car and drive. All the while he felt sick, and tired, and didn't want to be doing any of this. It hurt all over. His mind was throbbing with a dull sadness and pain. Pulling up in front of a hospital, he parked the car, got out, and locked the doors.

"It must be done..."

Heading through the doors, and to the front desk. The nurse looked up and smiled at him.

"Here to see Delilah again Thomas?" she asked brightly. He nodded. She filled out a sticker, handed it to him, and he stuck it on his shirt. Walking up a flight of stairs, and down a white hall. He walked into a room with couches and a TV. Some young people sat around it, some rocked, some muttered to themselves, while others sat with eyes fixed on the television. In a corner, a girl sat, head down, hands in her lap. Isaiah's heart stuck in his throat; she looked almost like Ana. She looked like the girl Ana had died to protect.

Thomas walked over to her, and stood, hands at his sides. "Delilah?" She looked up at him, and immediately her eyes brightened, and she smiled.

"Thomas!" she said happily, standing up to hug him. "I didn't know you were coming by today." He stiffened slightly in her embrace.

"How are you?"

"Same old, same old. They've got me so full of meds that I can barely remember what it was like to not be on them...but I'm okay anyways. Marie says I might be able to go home soon..."

"Really? That would be nice."

"Yeah...she says I've made real progress. Though, I'm not sure how. There is nothing to hurt me here," she said, smirking, "how can they be sure? I might get out and go back to my wicked ways."

"Don't say that." Thomas said angrily. Delilah's eyes fell, and she sat back down on the couch. Thomas sat down next to her. "I just want you to be able to leave. Don't you want that too?"

"Well, yes." She looked up at him again. Tears were in her eyes. "I want to be able to have a normal life. I want to have a life with you."

"Well then, don't talk like that. What if someone heard you?"

"I'm sorry..."

A nurse walked up, and put her hand on Delilah's shoulder. "Time to go back to your room dear."

"Alright..." Delilah said with a sigh. She smiled at Thomas, and hugged him, kissing his cheek. "I'll talk to you later I guess."

"Yeah. Goodbye."

She had stood up and was walking away with the nurse, but turned around. "I love you."

Thomas' voice caught in his throat. But then, he managed to choke out, "I love you too." With that Delilah was led away, down a hall, back to her room.

Thomas sat in his car, head in his hands, crying. Isaiah felt something wrong. He was guilty. His cell phone rang. He picked it up, and answered it.

"Hello?...oh, hello love....yes, we're still going out tonight....Of you too...bye..." He hung up the phone, and put his key in the ignition.

Isaiah woke up, tears drenching his face. It had all been a lie. All those months Delilah was locked away, he lied to her. He only stayed with her, because he cared for her well being, but he was lonely, and so, he had to find someone else, someone real. He never had the heart to tell her. Until it was too late.

"Oh god, I'm sorry..."


Chapter 12

Days gone by passed through Isaiah's minds eye. Happy reunion, tears, anger, boxes being packed. "Promise me you'll wait." One last long goodbye. Years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds, into infinity. Then it stopped, causing Isaiah's head to spin. Thomas was getting into his car, key in hand, pushing it into the lock.

"Thomas?" said a voice behind him. He turned to look into the face of a girl, with short black hair, and more piercing than were probably necessary.

"Yes?' He asked, wondering what this stranger wanted; How she knew his name. She glanced down at her feet, briefly, then back up at him.

"It's me Thomas, Delilah. Don't you recognize me?" She asked, frowning slightly. Thomas blinked, than memories flooded back, like waves crashing against a rock. Memories of high school, summer, late nights, video games, skin on skin, cuts, mental hospital. STOP. He looked as if on the verge of something dark and dangerous, then, it stopped.

"I have nothing to give you anymore. I'm engaged." He stated, then turned his back to her. Getting in his car he drove away, glancing back at her in the rearview mirror as she stood, skirt blowing in the wind, sweater tightly clutched around her. She stared after him, then turned and walked away.


Chapter 13

Once ventured to the outside, you can never return.

Delilah stood on a bridge, her eyes cast out over the dark waters. They churned unevenly, dangerously, ominously; like her soul. Cars drove past her back, growing louder then quieter as they continued on their journeys, not caring about the lone girl who stood, hunched over the railing, a cigarette in hand.

Her makeup was running, again, as more tears poured down her face. She cursed herself for being naïve, for trusting, for actually believing in something that was worthless. Human words never meant anything. It's always been what's down in writing, what you can hold in your hand, that counts. Even that being tossed aside, burned, assimilated. She couldn't stand herself for being a fool, and she couldn't even begin to hate him. It was never his fault, always hers. If only she had been more normal.

Another drag. The smoke poured down her throat and into her lungs, burning the whole way down. She wanted to smoke the whole thing in one breath, choke on it, and spit up her innards. Even if she couldn't she would damn well try. Another car zoomed past, causing her coat to billow out behind her, and her hair to whip. Another drag.

Suddenly, her calmness broke, and she dug her nails into her face, breaking the skin, as little rivulets of blood flowed down the contours of her thin oval face. She collapsed onto the concrete, hunched over her knees. "I hate you!" She screamed, so loud that her voice broke off at the end. "I fucking hate you!" She screamed again, against her already raw throat. "Oh how I hate you..." she said, quietly. Because she did, she really did hate herself. If only she could have been more normal, more sane, more pretty, more everything he should have had. More there for him, more ready to please, more giving, more willing to forget about herself. "God damn I hate you." She whispered.

She released her nails from her flesh and stood again, pushing her hair out of her face. Cars zoomed by. No one cared. She climbed up the railing, balancing herself with one hand on a support, the other still firmly grasping her cigarette. She took a drag, and held on tight. Above her a few stars fought to shine through the smog that canvassed the city. She wished she could have seen the stars.

"Are you alright?" a voice said from behind her.

"Shut up's no use trying to talk me out of it..."

"Um, miss, whose Ana? Are you alright?"

Delilah turned slightly, shifting her weight on her feet. Behind her stood a young man, and in the darkness, she almost thought it was Isaiah. But then a car drove by, shining light on a young face, surrounded with a halo of hair, which shone brightly for the split second the car drove by. He held out a hand. "Let me help you down..."

"What if I don't want to? What if I just wanted to see the stars..." she said, muttering the second part.

"Please, I don't know what's wrong, but, if you come down, I'll show you what it is to be happy."

Delilah blinked, staring down at him. She then took his outstretched hand, and stepped off the barrier, dropping her cigarette onto the concrete. The rivulets of blood still mixed with the trails of mascara on her face. The boy, who stood almost a foot taller than her, almost enveloped her in a warm embrace as she came to stand firmly on the ground next to him. "I'm Michael," he said, smoothing out her hair.

"Delilah." She stated, staring up at him. "Where is it?" she asked, after a pause.

"What?" he asked, looking confused.

"The happiness. Where is it?" Michael smiled, and took her hand again.

"Come with me, and I'll show you."