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Escaping Eden This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , West Fargo, ND
Oh, Alex. You said the real you has been hidden for so long that it died. I told you the real you never dies, just because that’s what you’re supposed to say. You knew I was lying. So I told you the truth- I told you that there was a time when I tried to kill mine, too.

What I didn’t tell you was that I was successful.

Oh, she didn’t die. I wasn’t that successful. But I did manage to lock her up, contain her. I forced her into a small, back corner of my mind. I built a labyrinth around her, walls of control and deception and false security. I was very satisfied when I was done. I haven’t seen her since.

Well, I have. She shows up in glimpses sometimes, when she gets too close to escaping or figures out that most of the walls are nothing but air colored with doubt. But I just build more walls around her. I’m paranoid. I’m always building. But she- she’s everywhere. She grows through the walls like ivy, softly and carefully crumbling the foundations of this world I created- and all for her, Alex! She should be so grateful, that little brat.

And it wasn’t a terrible place, either. Not a real prison like in those stories we used to write, but just another dimension of being. She doesn’t even realize how lucky she is. Why does she wish she could come back here? Doesn’t she realize how much better it is there, when all her wishes come true the second she wishes for them, where everything is tinted and gauzy and soft-edged? She doesn’t realize I put her there to protect her, the stupid little girl. I finally put her somewhere safe, somewhere where she would never be hurt again like she was out here, and what does she do? She tries her utmost to escape Eden. The idiot. She tried to kill me, Alex! She said it was best for both of us, and that I would change into some kind of monster. She always was so melodramatic. I hated that about her.

Her favorite thing to do is write on the walls.

She’s got these long, inky fingers, Alex. She takes them and draws her desires and stories and dreams in words and pictures on the walls, and over time the ink seeps through and blows away on the winds, and becomes thoughts. I get those thoughts flying through my head, and I know they came from over the labyrinth, but before I can dismiss them and send them back to where they came from they put down roots and then it takes forever to get rid of them, because her thoughts are like dandelions. They’re strong and deep-rooted, deceptively sunshiney and golden, and when you get to the bottom of them they’re dark and tangled. And Alex, I worry about her. I can’t figure out anywhere safer to put her, because if she’s losing it back there, in the best place imaginable, what more can I do?

Because she is suffering, back there. Not as much as she would be up here, but she’s suffering. The real me never dies- no, she’s stuck back there forever, and she’s screaming and screaming, trying to get herself noticed. She’s desperate, though. There’s no one in here but her and me. And I’m never, ever going to let her out again.

We used to have the best times. We lived life as one, here in this head and this body, but she was always the extreme of everything. Hysterical laughter, raging anger, crippling sadness- she just wasn’t good for us, Alex. She was a danger to herself. I was doing the right thing! She had to go. I loved her. I loved her more than my own life, and so I did what was best for both of us, even if she didn’t realize it!

She’s going to escape someday, though. I know it, deep down, and that’s what worries me, because there’s only so much space in here for the labyrinth before I either lock myself in, too, or stop building. I’m the factual one of us, and I know, if I stop building, she’s going to find a way out. I can’t bring myself to close the entrance, because she’ll know- she catches the stray thoughts that blow back to her palace and prison, and she knows there’s an entrance somewhere. If I close it, if she loses hope, she’ll die back there. And then I know I’ll shut myself in the labyrinth, live out the rest of forever in the Eden I made for her- it would be my personal, perfect hell.

If I shut myself in there, it’s all over for this mind. They’ll take our body and try to figure out what’s wrong with it as I search for her bones, the real me, finally silenced, my ultimate goal. Because I did try to kill her, Alex. It was the best thing for her, dying. She was never going to be satisfied! And now I know I was right, that I should have just killed her and gotten it over with, because she’s in Paradise and she hates it. I think she’s looking for me.

Anyway, Alex, the real you never, never dies. Even when it should. Even when you do your best, it never dies.

Makes me wonder, what did you do to yours?



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