Sweet kisses land on my cheeks. They are from the sun’s gentle radiance. The snow twinkles around me. Each shout excitedly, “Look here, look at me glimmer and shine!” The snow frosted ground is blindingly bright compared to the soft cerulean sky. The color palette is bright and almost boring during this time; however, when the sun begins to set, softer colors begin to spread their soft glow across the sky. During the sunset, it feels as though everything is a dream. I forget that it is winter, and I can almost feel the loving embrace. My worries drift away. My solitude is accompanied by the sun’s gentle farewell.

I forget how many days it has been since I was left here. My friends and family have long forgotten about my solitude. Their eyes sparked with ambition as new chapters of their lives unfolded. An escape route to the outer world quickly engrossed their impulses. As they fled, a single whisper gingerly brushed against my ear. It spoke of the opportunities they were given if they left me behind. Pain, hatred, envy. My heart sank when I realized I was merely a burden. The leashes I desperately grasped for slipped out of my hands, and my friends and family escaped. It is terribly lonely.

In order to maintain my sanity, I have made a habit of reiterating facts about my situation. Unfortunately, it has been far too long. This routine is losing its potency. Time continues to push forward further moving me away from being in the present. In reality. It is so cold. The snow is soft, yet its icy touch bites at my skin. As each nerve panics with pain, I am reminded that I am still alive. The cold reminds me of the emptiness. I must hang in there until my radiance returns. The sun’s embrace will keep me company. Until then, I contemplate my decisions. I remind myself of who I am. I remind myself of my reality once again. I am Lucine. This place is my solitude. I am alone. I am, without a doubt, alone. Everyone I cared for has said farewell to this monotony. I carve at my flesh in remembrance that I am indeed alive. While my thoughts race endlessly, my body can become quite idle. Seemingly immortal, the blood from my veins remind me I am still human. The white snow is painted crimson once again. Nonetheless, as the day begins its new cycle, the snow’s white brilliance will replenish along with my lacerated arms. Upon this land of unchanging white, only the sun’s radiance and the blood of my wounds spread color across this finite canvas. I close my eyes once again and await the new cycle. This reality is cruel. That is why I turn my head away from it. This is why I hide.

“Sweetheart, you have to wake up and eat.” A tender voice reaches my ear. Her hand carefully nudges my shoulder. The winter isolation fades. Blackness engulfs my vision until my eyelids manage to finally lift. White LED lights illuminate this room far too brightly. I don’t respond. I never respond because, regardless of how nice these people seem to be, they’ll only leave me like my family. At the end of the day, I’m only a sick child. I am worth far less than the sheer volume of debt that I incur from hospital fees. People only stay around long enough to fulfill their obligations. The spoon feels heavy as I lift a flavorless chicken stock to my lips. I’ve been eating significantly less since people stopped visiting; consequently, my body is barely functional with a significantly lower muscle mass. A sigh escapes my throat. The sun seems to have already set. Gazing outside, I can see the city lights illuminate the landscape like stars bound to the earth’s canvas. A tear trickles down my cheek, and a surprising feeling begins to ignite in my chest. Determination. The city lights are as out of reach to me as the stars in the sky. However, I can escape this isolation if I can act “normal.” Barely finishing my soup, I close my eyes once again.

Dismembered limbs come to focus. The neighbor’s dog. A squirrel from the park. These were the early signs that deeply concerned my family. I can see my sister’s shocked face. In the mirror, a smiling figure stares back. Her eyes are bright which contrasted the congealing blood smothered on her face. Mother cleaned me up as Father talked with Kyra in an attempt to calm her. Years of “failed” therapy lead me to my current cell. It is so white. The lights always burn my eyes even in my dreams. I take a deep breath. I’ll be home soon. I’ll endure this loneliness for a few more months, and the grounded stars will be mine to hold.

The doctors have called my parents countless times by now. Each time they are informed of my surprising improvement and willingness to cooperate. They say my empathy has developed well enough to play with normal children. With the final call, my father’s vast funds were no longer being funneled into my hospital care. I pushed open a door labeled “Lucine” and enjoyed a familiar aroma wafting through the air. Lavender was much more soothing than cleaning products from that facility. A sharp cherry scent no longer assaulted my lungs. I turned around to catch a glimpse of my sister’s glare. I threw on my most innocent smile before receding to my windowsill. Here, I am one of the numerous stars. A genuine smile spread across my face. It was time to observe a world I was granted access to once again.

Because Mother and Father had vastly different interests, they would attend to their hobbies in separate rooms near midnight. Father would consistently be closed off in his shed for hours. He wouldn’t even notice if the gas heater filter was replaced. Carbon monoxide would slowly fill his unknowing lungs. His negligence will end. His suffocating and controlling attitude would cease tonight. For Mother, sneaking in traces of peanuts would certainly go well with her gluttony. A pristine blade slid out of the kitchen drawer. There was hardly any sign of wear on the edge. Typical, as the pig ate too much food for any chef to possibly cook in our kitchen. I swiftly entered mother’s dining room. Her gagging was subtle. It seems that she is struggling to crawl towards the bathroom with emergency aid. Her face is bright red still flush with oxygen. I traced the blade around her shoulder. Slowly, the incision dug deeper into her flesh. The scent of rust was more than pleasurable than I recalled. Her throat was too swollen to release any audible screams. Slowly, I collected her limbs. I inhaled deeply once more before heading to Kyra’s bedroom.

The door creaked as I slid it open. What an annoyance. I’d rather not shock her until the knife was lodged nicely into her resentful eyes. A flash of pain spread across the side of my head. My vision flashed bright blue for a moment. I staggered towards the ground and quickly fumbled for my knife. Ah, a grip tightens around my neck. Air tries to force its way in but a meddling pair of hands prevent the natural process. Kyra’s ugly, resentful eyes glare at me once again. Oh how I wish I could carve those disgusting pieces of tissue out her face. It should not be long before I lose consciousness. Her lips move; however, the high pitch screeching in my ear has yet to cease after I was hit. Blackness from the corners of my eyes claw their way at the rest of my vision. How laughable. When I stop yearning for attention, someone has paid more than a welcome amount of attention towards me.

Blindingly bright lights pierce my eyes. Fear remains in my heart. I truly am a disgusting person. Dreaming of such disturbing fantasies is certainly not healthy. Of course I’m still here. It seems the nurse has yet to collect my soup bowl. I stare outside once more. The sun is still absent which means workers would be much more lackadaisical. I stumble out of my bed. From the storage closet two floors above me, they neglect a small window hidden behind cardboard boxes. A certain custodian uses it to secretly release toxic nicotine fumes. I apologize for taking away this privilege they had, for there is no doubt the window would be discovered soon. It took a considerable amount of my remaining strength to lift the window. My frame is luckily extremely slim. I gaze outside. The fresh air cleanses my lungs from the overbearing cherry. I am alone. I have no chance at acceptance. One last night, I allow myself to sob. Forgotten by my family and too abnormal for society, I accept the freedom granted to my by the cold air. My tears are no more, and I can see clearly. But with clarity comes fear. My chest tightens, and a tinge of regret lurks. I close my eyes once more. I see a cage crumbling. I am free.


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