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Bloom

The softest whisper of fabrics brushing across the surface smooth skin was the only sound that penetrated into the deep silence of the night. They skimmed the surface of skin, whispering soft, soothing words, rejoicing and marveling at the beauty of it.
Oh, they laughed, as they were pulled tighter across the expanse of shoulders, two sharp shoulder blades jutting into them as they tensed.
Silk, cashmere, wool, all the same. Just variations of the same race. All just as greedy as they wrapped around that body, embracing it as their wearer stealthily crept through the obsidian night. A click, and the wind rushed up to meet them, just as eager to envelope their wearer as they were. Hands pulled gently, urging them forward, they were dancing in the wind, the fabrics laughing even more joyously now, rustling as the wind whistled through them. Oh, it was such a joy to be free.
But as they laughed and chortled merrily, they had noticed their wearer was not. Were they not free? In the world where every one thing down to a speck of dust was alive, why did their wearer not rejoice? They nestled into the soft skin they had been presented with---perhaps he was cold? But their wearer was still tense, back pressed against the wall, a darkness shading her face.
They tried harder, slowly comforting their wearer--to be the best fabrics they could be, so they wouldn't have to be locked back into the box again. But there was a few inches of skin they could not reach, it lay beneath a heavy sort of iron that they shrunk away from. The fabrics often avoided metals. The iron was a large, black thing that circled their wearer's neck---perhaps this was a new type of jewelry? They could not comprehend why their wearer would use iron as jewelry, but they had been in that box for a long, long while. Their wearer ran a few fingers over their surface, as if comforting them.
The fabrics were quiet for some while after that, sensing their wearer's hurry. They streaked through the darkness, moonlight filtering down in weak rays, clouds drifting in front of it like pollution, clogging the night sky so that even stars disappeared. Every thing may have been alive in this world, but in the midst of the night, even a tiny speck of dust was afraid.
There was a light. They saw it the minute their wearer noticed it. And as they approached, they felt him reach up to the heavy iron. A face appeared in the light, a smiling one. It beckoned to their wearer, enticing them closer. A hand reached out, which their wearer took as he let go of the iron.
The smiling face grew broader.
"Taylor!"
The voice was warm and friendly, befitting of that smile. But as soon as they heard it, the fabrics shrunk into their wearer's body. There was an underlying coldness--perhaps in the way he had gripped their wearer's hand harder?
" You came, I'm so glad. How are you doing now a days?"
The question called for a reply, but the he didn't wait for one. The man had begun walking, leading Taylor through throngs of people who had turned to look at him. They inquisitively examined his body as he passed though, faces leering.
So this is the one?
Yes, the very one---
Dear child---
He's quite an excellent ---
--pawn, isn't he?
Finally reaching a door, the man knocked politely.
"Miss? May we come in?"
He glanced at Taylor.
" I have Taylor with me."
Again without a reply, the man swung open the door, the scent of lilacs drifting out. The room was mirrored on all sides, an emerald lamp casting luminescent shadows on the floor. A young girl, Taylor's age, faced a mirror with her black hair silkily cascading down her back. As she glanced into the mirror, her eyes caught Taylor's.
The fabrics quivered on Taylor's body. The aura in the room---was their wearer safe? Just a while ago their wearer and them had been so free, dancing in the wind... But now, Taylor stared at his reflections, one in the mirror and one cautiously approaching him.
That iron collar began to feel heavy around his neck, weighing him down. He was free, wasn't he? He had been free, for years now, so why did he come back?
The question echoed in his mind, as the girl's light brown eyes widened in happiness. Her arms circled his neck with a cry of joy.
" Taylor....Taylor, you've returned."
You've finally come to your senses.
As he continued to stare at his reflection in the mirror, a heavier realization tugged at his seventeen year old body when his eyes rested on the girl tightly embracing him and the iron collar embellished with the number "6" around his neck.
No, no.
He had never been free at all.



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