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“I have a gift.” I said, for the nth time. It was ridiculous, how even the therapist, who had witnessed countless demonstrations of my abilities, denied them completely. They were imminent in the way I walked, how I embraced the darkness around me, and how I scorned the goodness in others.
Time and time again she would come in, with that pathetic smile in her face, urging me to draw out my frustrations in my sketchbook and express myself through writing. I hated her, from that childish, almost giddy smile on her face every time she saw me to those forced little laughs she emitted whenever I made a comment that obviously disturbed her. I could chill her to the bone, if I wanted to. But for now I wanted to make my mother and the therapist happy, to get out of these lame classes as fast as possible.
“Why did you draw this, Thana? I thought you said you were going to stop drawing these skeletons and devilish things. Those were your words, Thana.” The therapist’s wrinkled brow of concern annoyed me to the point of screaming, but I held it in.
“I see them, whenever I go to draw. I can trace their outline, if you want me to.”
She shook her head, as I expected, and instead opted for me to socialize with the other critically disturbed teenagers for a few moments. She took my hand as I spun around to exit the counseling room, staring deeply into my blackened eyes. “I know it’s going to be hard, Thana, to give up all of this dark—stuff.” Her gaze left mine, resting on the tattoo that was etched in my forearm. She had asked repeatedly how I had obtained it, me being only sixteen and all, but I had told her, honestly, that I had no freaking idea.
I headed back towards the lounge, where several other menaces were waiting. My favorite one was a black haired, blue eyed psychopath. He was a cutter as well, but not of his own skin. I loved the guy, really. He made me feel so special, not at all like the freak that my single mom and the rest of the people in my life stressed that I was. I stood beside him, observing everyone else, and immediately a conversation was struck up.
“How did it go, Thana?” One of the younger boys inquired, seated beside the center’s only, and incredibly persistent, mute.
I stiffed up a bit for a moment, but my friend pressed my shoulder lightly with his hand and I eventually found the courage to speak. “Crappy, as always. They don’t understand how I feel, you know? It’s like whatever I say goes through one of her ears and out the other side.”
Everyone in the room shifted uncomfortably: I knew that they felt the same way. Therapy helped some people, but simply fell flat on others. We were the immune, the stubborn ones who resisted constant baiting from the personnel to ‘change’, whatever that meant.
I walked over to the fridge, abandoning my lifeline’s side for just a moment. The old white fridge had been replaced with a newer, sleeker black one, and I gently pulled the handle until it was open wide enough for me to observe all of its contents.
After a few moments of sorting through countless objects, some of which included yesterday’s pasta and who knows what, I settled on a glass of water, the same one that I had placed in the fridge yesterday. It was warmer now, warmer than I would have liked, and, after a minute of focus, I brought the water down to a nearly-freezing temperature.
The young boy’s voice echoed through the room for the second time today, two more times than the mute had ever been forced to speak. “Thana, is the reaper here right now?”
I hesitated, closing my eyes, and a black bang fell across one eye. It was hard to locate him today, for some reason. He normally stalked those who were about to die, mostly the old, and sometimes the infected. I hated seeing him in the hospital, above patients that I had grown to admire, and I began to loath his pathetic existence. It was only a matter of time before I saw the reaper, and was forced to come back to his lair.
“Thana?” The voice was there again, and I looked up to realize that everyone was staring at me in a fascinated wonder, even my most trusted friend. I looked down at my hands, and realized that the hue had faded to a crisp, wintery white.
“He’s not here, but he will be soon enough.” I paused for a moment, remembering an emotion that I had felt early in the morning. “It’s clear to me that I don’t belong here, with you guys. I’m meant to be somewhere else, doing something else.”
My friend took me in his embrace, like he always did when I got like this, all hushed and cryptic. “Don’t think like that, Thana. It’ll happen faster if you think like that.”
It was in that second, in that very point in time, that I remembered the h*ll in which I had come from. I remembered the burning fires, the twisting vines, the never-ending stalks of toxic trees and the ice cold breath of the air’s embrace. I remembered what I had come here for, and I remembered who I was. I was a daughter of death, marked by a number instead of a name. It was the same boy that hugged me now that I was here for.
The temperature around me dropped rapidly, icy tendrils sneaking up the countertops. I brought my hand up, to this boy’s face, and watched it overcome him slowly, slowly—
“Violet? Do you have an answer to the question I just asked?” It was the teacher, pointing at a problem on the board, studying me with those cold blue eyes. He ran his fingers through his black hair and grinned at my defeat as the rest of the class stared on.
I was awake, there in the classroom. I glanced at my arm, which had a heart shape etched across its surface in permanent marker. A quick glare was shot to my giggling friend before I looked back at the teacher. “I’m sorry, sir. I won’t sleep again.”
The teacher arched an eyebrow, and then history was made. He called on the girl in the back, the one on the right hand side, the one that had never uttered a word until this very moment. She answered the question immediately, shooting an annoyed look at me, and I realized that I had been staring.
As classed passed by, I realized every little bit of the nightmare: the subarctic temperature in the room whose cause was unknown to the school every time it was questioned, the girl that never answered an inquiry, the teacher’s son who fiddled in the corner, the permanent drawings on my desk that seemed irremovable when attacked by the janitor, and even the psychotic teacher. I played out the fantasy, over and over again, giggling every few minutes, until I saw something, something truly incredible and relentlessly scary.
My hand was stuck, stuck firmly where it had rested on my desk for the whole period.