A nightmare.

Tick-tock.

Tick-tock.

Stiff hands curled around the familiar curves of a brush.

Tick-tock.

The smooth roughness of a new canvas.

Familiar smell of handmade paint.

Thump-thump.

My heart beats fast at the thought of making something. It’s been years.

Swish-swish.

The brush glides on the canvas.

Tick-tock.

Thump-thump.

This old tune is playing in my head.

Tick-

Footsteps.

Someone’s coming. Quick, hide everything.

Creak.

“He’s here to see you.”

Thump-

My heart skips a beat. I can’t breathe.

“I’m letting him in.”

Please don’t. They were about to leave my head.

-tock.

Footsteps.

Tick-

Click-clack.

I can recognize the sound of those shoes anywhere.

Tick-tock.

I feel numb.

Tick-tock.

Silence.

Smash!

Screws and bolts come rolling at my feet.

Creak-creak.

I’m shaking. The bed shakes with me.

Rough hands grabbing my arms, pulling me up.

The whole room is shaking now.

Slap! Slap!

My cheeks feel hot and my ears are ringing.

An icy voice-

“You pathetic bitch.”

I just stand there, my shoulders sagging with defeat.

“Stop whimpering. You deserve it. You murderer.”

I deserve this. I am pathetic. I wish I was strong enough to fight him.

I deserve this. I am a killer. But I didn’t mean to.

A hand stroking my breast, lifting the hem of my hospital gown.

I can’t see anything, I can’t hear anything.

It just hurts so much and I can’t make it go away.

Creak.

The bed stops shaking. The room stops spinning.

But they return.

Click-clack.

Bullies, crystal meth.

Slam!

My baby brother, mom, our minivan, laughter.

They think I’m happy.

I’m driving, everyone’s sleeping, It’s late.

Tires skidding, losing control.

Darkness.

Dad’s blaming me, even now.

He’s right, I took it all away from him.

Nobody believes me. They all believe him.

He’s my doctor, after all.

Creak.

I’m on my feet. I can’t take it anymore.

I know what to do.

Thump-thump.

I can feel my fingers again.

My wooden brush snaps in half.

Thump-thump.

This is it.

Sharp edges digging in my forearm.

Thump-thump-thump.

Faster, then slower.

Drip-drip.

Everything looks white.

Thump.

I hope I get another chance.

I feel lighter.

Thump.

Drip.

Crash!

Silence.

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