Appearances Can Be Deceiving This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "This is not real," she whispered softly, almost praying. "This is not reality." She tried, as she had so many times, to shut out what claimed to be her world. She attempted to detach herself from those who considered her to be one of them. She retained her incomplete knowledge, what small part of her former self was still hers, by a thread as thin as that which tied her to sanity.

"This is not real," she said, holding the words like a flickering candle against the darkness. Shivering from the cold emptiness within her, she hid her head as if it might help to save what she had left. What those around her saw seemed normal to them. They saw a girl with a brown braid, a pair of bluish eyes set in a square face that matched strong, broad shoulders, chapped lips the color of a year-old chewed eraser, and a nose of rather average proportions. Realistic imperfections of the usual human sort met their eyes. Others observed a tall, largish frame, three silver rings, faded blue jeans with a pink nano-pet clipped on a belt loop, a black Nike shirt adorned with the customary swoosh, and a pair of well-worn leather boots. Near her sat her Waldenbooks bag, her 20 pounds or so of school stuff, and whatever science-fiction book she was reading at the time. All of these were things which could have belonged to any teenager. Their eyes were not acute enough to sense the deeper things. To them, the ever-present headache that assaulted her like a sledgehammer, the minute tremblings of her unsteady hands, and the look in her eyes of a deer caught in headlights were invisibilities. Her thoughts were not open to them, or they would know what she had known ever since she had watched "Star Wars," or even before that, at eight or nine years old, when she had read her first science-fiction book by Isaac Asimov ... or perhaps she had always known.

"This is not reality," she breathed, as a charm against whatever darkness might overtake her, from within or without. She was aware of the truth in her heart of hearts, even though she had lost so much of it. This was neither her time nor her place. She had forgotten what was, or how to get there, but she could take consolation that at least this was not it. She was sure, as well, that she was not alone in her loneliness. There were others, forgotten children of the past, misplaced children of the future, and confused children of faraway places. Chanting silently to themselves, they said, "This is not real; this is not reality." They were everywhere, and she saw them no more than the surrounding humans saw her. They don't see me ...


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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