ladysprite: (steampunk)
There are some jobs for which "don't bring your work home with you" is sage and reasonable advice.

Actually, I suppose it's good advice for all jobs - it's just more feasible for some than it is for others. I promised after my poor brain-damaged midget kitten that I wouldn't bring home any more heartbreak cases, but I knew somewhere inside, even as I said it, that it wouldn't last forever.

Hidden, for length and rambling..... )
ladysprite: (Default)
Casey, are you here?

I don't know where you are, or even if you read this thing anymore. No one has heard from you in like a year or more. Even after they pulled you out of school, I still saw you around for a while, but then you just vanished one day and no one will tell us where you went or what happened. And there are so many things I wanted to tell you, and on top of that stuff has gotten kind of weird here, and I could really use my best friend right now.

I'm sorry to hijack your blog like this, but I don't know how else to reach you. Besides, if you didn't want me to do this, you really should have changed your password sometime between seventh grade and now. And I guess I'm not really that sorry, since this might maybe let me get my words out to you.

There are so many things I wanted to say to you, Casey. I just never got the chance to. Either the time wasn't right, or the time was there but I couldn't find the words, or I was just too damn much of a coward, or something else interrupted, and look at me even now I'm spilling out words like a volcano erupting just trying to find a way to avoid saying any of them.

I never told you I had the 'Phage too. Yeah, how unlikely was that? Don't worry, I didn't catch it from you - if anything, I think looking at what you wrote that I had it before you did. Mine just progressed slower. They think I got it from working at PetSmart, since apparently I'm a genuine, bona-fido dog girl. (That's the closest I can come to humor. It's better than 'life's a bitch and so am I,' at least.) I wanted to tell you, I swear, but my mom was just so ashamed - I think she still believes I did this as a personal attack on her, to make the family look bad - that she made me hide it. And you know how good we are at hiding things in our family.

Anyway, for the longest time it just meant that I either had to spend all my allowance on Nair, or suck it up and wear long-sleeved shirts all the time.

And, well, you know why I had to do that most of the time anyway, too. But I'm not here to talk about that, or him.

Anyway, what I wanted to tell you was that you weren't alone, and that it isn't always bad like it was for you. The 'Phage, I mean. I'm sorry your transformation was so painful and so rough, but it doesn't always have to be like that. I thought that might make you feel better. Growing fur doesn't hurt at all, and it's kind of soft and pretty, and it feels a little bit like velvet. And for the longest time - like a year or two - that's all I had.

I guess I'll admit things got tougher last year when it spread to my face. It's not quite Bride of Wolfman bad, and it hurt a little, but really it's no more than I already knew how to deal with. And I can smell so much now, and it's amazingly cool to be able to sense this whole secret world that no one else even knows is there. And it twisted my back and my arms a little, but at the same time, I'm stronger than I ever thought I could be.

I never had the chance to tell you how good the Ocean County Arboretum smells in May after it rains.

I never had the chance to tell you that you should have said thank you to your mom when she took you to the doctor that first time. You never realized how lucky you were, that she wanted to help you make it through your change. Not that it didn't suck, I'll grant you that. But your mom is pretty cool, and she's been kind of a mess since you took off.

I never had the chance to tell you that they've set up a 'Phage research center about 20 miles from here. The doctors there are majorly creepy - not in a 'Show me on the hideously disfigured Frankensteinian doll where the man in the white coat touched you' creepy, but still.... I'd feel a lot better about my sessions there if I had someone to go with. Don't worry, though; I swear if you write back I'll never tell them where you are. I could never betray you.

I never had the chance to tell you how beautiful you were. Even before you transformed. You were always trying so hard to hide, but I never understood how you could even think that was possible. You talk about how you became a daffodil in the middle of the lawn? There was no becoming, chica - you always were.

I never had the chance to tell you that I loved you.

I hope you're safe, wherever you are. I hope you're happy, and that the sky is wide and the breezes carry you far, far away from this stupid town and all its toxic baggage, and that you've found some way to be at peace with every part of yourself. But I hope you think about me sometimes, and that you look here once in a while. And if you do - please, tell me you're okay?

Love,
Lauren

(has Becky gone completely mad? Not quite - check out the backstory here, here, here, and here.....

Rebirth

Nov. 28th, 2010 11:56 am
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
How long has it been since I've written here? How long since I've cooped myself up inside in one place and put my thoughts into words and put those words outside my head, into something that exists separate from me? My doctor says that I should - he thinks it'll help me "continue relating to my family and social circle," but what does he know? He still thinks that my blood relations are my family, and that my social circle goes to high school. But he also says that it's an "important contribution to science, to watch the effects of the virus on a developing subject." And as much as I'd like to say screw him and science, I guess he's right. Someone somewhere else might be going through this, and they ought to know.

I honestly don't know how long it's been. I don't go to school anymore - I tried for a while, but the desks were too small and my wings blocked the view of everyone behind me. Plus, with the reporters piling up outside and the 'Phage groupies trying to get near enough to me hoping that I'd sneeze on them and turn them into fairies, it was hard for any of the teachers to do their job. I got a letter from the ACLU; apparently they're trying to put together some sort of class action suit to get 'Phage transformees covered by some Disability Act, but I threw it away.

I don't mind, anyway. Reading hurts my eyes and gives me a headache. I'm not made to do this anymore. I can see when my neighbor across the street walks past her window behind the curtains, but focusing in close on something that doesn't move... after more than a few minutes, the strain makes my head throb and the words start to blur and spin. And besides, being inside for so many hours, with the walls pressing in against me and keeping the air so stagnant and still and the ceiling so low that I can feel it threatening over my head and barring the sky from me - after the third time I wound up in the nurse's office having a panic attack in Trigonometry class, I decided it wasn't worth fighting to keep going.

I remember I used to want to be a librarian. I keep telling myself that, trying to hold onto it in my head, before it vanishes in the swirls and eddies of the wind on my hair and under my wings and across my body.

My hair. I cut my hair. It used to be so long, and I was trying to grow it until it was below my waist, but it kept getting in the way in the air. The first time I tried to fly, it was a disaster. Blue jeans pulling and sagging and half pulled off by wind resistance, the ridiculous plaid shirt that my mom had cut wing-holes in torn down both side-seams the first time I actually put my new shoulder muscles to the test, and nearly garroted by my own braid. I tried and tried to figure out ways around it, but no matter what I couldn't make my hair cooperate. So I cut it all off.

I got rid of the jeans and the shirt, too. Stupid fabric, bunching and sagging and tangling, and worst of all getting between me and the currents that I needed to feel. Flying with clothes on is like going out on a lake in a canoe and calling it swimming. Every inch of my body is part of the flight, every motion steers me, and my skin is so awake for the first time in my life, that every touch of the wind against me is like a friend whispering secrets in my ear about the way the whole world works.

My mother cried when she saw me after that flight. I'm not sure why. More and more, I don't understand her. I don't understand any of them.

I think the problem is with my eyes, again. At least, I tell myself that. I look at all of them, stuck down here on the ground, and they just look... wrong. So short, and stubby, and thick, and slow. I try to show them things - the way one leaf dances out of rhythm with the rest of the tree when the air hits it just so, the way reflected sunlight highlights the underside of a wing when someone is circling above you.... I try to talk about how it feels to glide, to be embraced by the air and let it carry you... and they just look at me in that Very Confused And Understanding Way. They can't see, they can't feel, they can't know. Poor blind mice.

Where was I? I came home, hair and shirt and jeans gone, and my mother cried... was it because of my hair, or because I was away so long? I don't know, I can't remember. I know that I tried to listen, but after a few minutes all I heard were syllables, and not words, and I remember realizing that she wasn't my mother anymore. She was my incubator, my host - like a cuckoo's egg I was left in her nest until it was time for me to hatch, but now...

I am the daughter of the wind and the virus, of the earth and the hawk, and I am none of these things. I am not a person, not a 'Phage victim, not a chimera. I am something new.

And it is time for me to leave my nest, and find where I belong....

Are there more? Are they searching like me? I have to find them.

Confused? Look here, here, and here....
ladysprite: (Default)
I love living in a college town – though, to be honest, that’s a grotesque understatement when it comes to Boston and its suburbs. I love living in an area where, as far as I can tell, there are more colleges than there are grocery stores. People come here to get an education, then stick around and raise happy, educated, intellectual families. While there are the occasional exceptions, it seems like everyone here is a slightly-overeducated intellectual.

On the other hand, that’s not always as good a thing as it may seem to be on the surface… )
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
It happened the day before yesterday. They're out. Through. Whatever.

I would have written something earlier, but I've been in the hospital - mom rushed me there when I started bleeding after a really bad muscle spasm, and they kept me there as soon as they got a look at Mount Saint Whatthefuck erupting from my shoulders. I got home early this morning, though.

I always said I wanted to be invisible, remember? Always wished for it, always hoped for it. I'll tell you now - I had it before; I just didn't know. And I'll never have it again, and I miss it more than anything. How can you miss something you never even realized you had?

My mother at least managed to stop the reporters from coming into my room at the hospital, but that's only going to last for a little while. 'Phage is still the hottest story in the news, for all that it's pretty rare, and I'm the only case to wind up with anything more impressive than dalmatian spots within a 45-mile radius.

It doesn't help that I stand out now like a daffodil in the middle of the lawn - taller, brighter, and just more.... there than everything around me. Because oh my god, are they bright. In my mind, I had always pictured something like the cheesy angel wings little kids wear in Nativity pageants. Little fluffy tufty white things poofing out from my back, maybe a foot or two. But nope; no such luck for me.

They're big - two feet above my head, down to my ankles big. I have no idea where they came from, or how they grew that fast, and the doctors say I'm lucky again that I can still move my arms. Apparently the last kid to grow wings like this - some boy out in Kansas - permanently dislocated both his shoulders as they emerged. Supposedly I have some kind of... they called it 'supernumerary scapular articulation.' I have no idea what it means, but it doesn't seem very super to me. Except I guess it is, because having no arms would suck.

They're not white, either. I'd say they're red and brown, but that doesn't even come close to capturing the sheer amount and variety of color inside. I never knew there were so many shades of brown in the world, or that they could glow from inside like that. Brown is dull, right? Boring. Dirt-colored.

Except it's also the color of trees, and raw wood that's been polished until it shines. And the earth as soon as you start to dig in the garden at the end of the spring, and sunlight through honey, and the rocks at the bottom of a river. And red, not crayola-red or fake-cherry-ice-pop red, but cardinal-red, sunrise-on-the-beach red, maple-trees-in-October red. I have a freaking summer sunset growing out of my spine.

I still hate them. No matter how glorious they may look. Stupid mutant extra limbs, getting in the way of my backpack and making it impossible to sit on the sofa or sleep on my back or ride the schoolbus like a normal kid.

On the other hand, I can stand up straight again for the first time since this all started. And they feel *right,* like they belong there. And standing outside this morning, on the back deck when I got home from the hospital, stretching them out....

I never knew the air had so many parts to it. I mean, you can feel a breeze, yeah, but that's all it is. Like a fan, air moves, but it's just air, and it's just one sensation. Maybe a little weird if it blows your hair and itches your neck, but that's all. This... I don't know how to describe it.

Once, when I was in ninth grade, I let Joey Madison put his hand up my shirt. Everyone made such a big deal out of making out and fooling around, I kind of expected fireworks. I thought my body would explode from inside when he touched me, that I would feel all sorts of amazing, thrilling, divine, lightning bolt sensations that I had never had before. But it wasn't; all it was was awkward, and a little clammy, and kind of ticklish.

Today, with the wind on my feathers (and how weird does it feel to say that?), felt like everything I had imagined that would be, and more. There are so many sensations, and so many details, and parts of myself that I never had before telling me things that I didn't even know existed yesterday. It's like waking up one morning and realizing that there's another color, and it's more beautiful than all of the others put together.

The doctors say I'm not strong enough to fly yet, but this morning the ground just seemed so full of threats and dullness and people trying to tie me down into being what they want, and the sky was calling to me - whispering promises of freedom and space, telling me I belonged there, touching me in places and ways I don't have words for....

I still hate them. I don't want them. I didn't ask for them.

But I might, tonight, try. Just once, to see what it feels like.

Maybe.

Confused? Look here and here
ladysprite: (Default)
Here's the thing about wings that none of the comic books tell you:

They hurt. They hurt like nothing you've ever felt before in your life, and there's a whole hell of an ugly duckling stage before you wind up turning into a beautiful swan. If you ever do.

They just show you those shiny pictures of beautiful people standing proudly with their giant angel wings spread out behind them, smiling beatifically as if to say, 'You little people may gaze upon my sparkling magnificence for 3.4 seconds before I dramatically leap away to something far more important than you.'

(If I ever smile like that, I hope someone puts a bullet between my smug, melodramatic eyes.)

The comic books don't tell you what happens between your guidance counselor handing you a copy of Professor Charles Xavier's annotated and updated version of 'Our Changing Bodies' and your swearing-in ceremony to the Secret Order of Super-People (which, for the record, is probably neither secret nor super). But I will.

Most of the people who get infected with the Phage wind up more or less useless, to tell the truth. Oh, the media love to trot out that story about the Olympic runner from Kenya who wound up hybridized with a cheetah (and didn't that throw a monkey wrench into all of their rules) and a couple others like him, but for every one like that there are a hundred crazy cat ladies who wind up with what amounts to a serious body hair problem and maybe, if they're lucky, slightly better night vision. And even so, they're still worlds better off than the ones who wind up, say, with chitinous bug plates keeping their spines from ever bending properly again.

Not me, though. My doctor says I'm on my way to becoming "fully flighted and functional." Maybe 2% of the human population of the world has been infected by Bacteriophage Plasmavirus chimeriae; of them, about 10% become avian hybrids, and of them less than 10% wind up able to do anything with their wings other than create a decent breeze on a hot day. Making me.... well, making me someone who maybe should have paid better attention in math class, but no matter what the exact odds were against this, I'm Highly Unusual. My doctors say I'm lucky. I think I'd give anything to have it go away.

Do you want to know what it's like to grow wings? Imagine the worst growing pains you ever had when you were a kid, and then multiply it by a hundred. I've grown six inches in the past two months, as my bones hollow out and stretch to accomodate my new mode of transit. It was bad enough being taller than all the boys when I was in eighth grade, but I have no idea of how I'm going to find a prom date now - none of the guys in school are tall enough to do anything much other than stare me in the sternum.

Not that there's anything to stare at. That was the second change; my boobs have vanished completely. Fuel for the growing wings, my doctor said. They may redevelop once my metabolism equilibrates, he said. That's just what every sixteen-year-old girl wants to hear.

And the wings, at least, are growing at a scary rate. I tried to hide them at first, but carrying a backpack over the ridges started to hurt like acid and fire, and before long even t-shirts got too painful. The skin hasn't split quite yet, but it's likely to any day now, and in the meantime I've got what looks like twin mountain ranges about to burst out either side of my spine.

And if anyone ever tells you that they eat like a bird? Punch them in the face for me. Nothing makes a girl stand out in a high school lunchroom like eating your own weight in reduced-cost student lunches. The number of simpering cheerleaders who hover around me as I chow down on sloppy joes and jello cups, cooing about how they just *wish* they could eat like that, but, like, one french fry makes them *soooo fat* has grown exponentially over the past two weeks.

This is my life now. Braces to support my shins as they stretch and thin at alarming rates. Caftans so my shoulderblades don't break through the skin and expose my wings early. Calcium supplements and protein shakes and muscle spasms that snap my arms back like clothespins. Like it or not, everyone knows who I am now. I stand out like a character on an After School Special - our town's very own Phage case. And last week, in the middle of this, my guidance counselor decided that the best way to cheer me up was to let me know that Victoria's Secret has decided to publicize their Angels line with Real Winged Girls, and they're soliciting Phage survivors for their runway shows.

I wanted to be a librarian. I wanted to spend my life safely in the shadows and the back rows, and she thinks that telling me I have a chance to prance around on television in my underwear is going to make me happy?

And yet.

I look at the comic books now, and they seem a little different. And I watch the red-tailed hawks that nest near the library's chimney, and wonder if it's their fault, and what it feels like when they launch so effortlessly into the air and what the wind feels like beneath and around them. And the sky is so vast and wide, and the clouds can hide anything....

I could lose myself up there, I think.

(Confused? Part one is here)

Changes

May. 17th, 2009 09:23 am
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
I never wanted to grow wings.

Even when it was just imaginary, just a what-if game we'd all play while we were sitting around and reading comic books - what super power would you choose, if you could? All my friends were crazy for flight, daydreaming about flapping or spearing or otherwise powering themselves through the air, but I never saw the appeal. It was just moving, wasn't it? No different from walking, other than the cool factor that not everyone else could do it. And besides, wings were gaudy, and flashy, and that.... just didn't suit me. No, what I wanted more than anything else was to be able to hide. Invisibility, camouflage, the power to cloud men's minds, I didn't care how - I just wanted to fade away.

All of those games changed after the 'phage showed up, though. Bacteriophage Plasmavirus chimeriae, they named it. In the course of a few months we went from worrying about avian-swine hybrid flu to worrying about avian-swine hybrid pets. And when it jumped species to humans, all hell broke loose. The adults were full of doom and gloom and fear of the apocalypse, but to tell the truth, most of us kids thought it was pretty cool. I mean, here was all our comic-book stuff coming to life, if we were just lucky enough to catch a weird variant cold and make DNA goulash with the right other species. Sure, we all knew theoretically that the odds were against us, and we'd heard the horror stories about poor people like Tomato Girl, but still. Caution and restraint have never been the hallmarks of youth.

The outbreak certainly had some interesting side effects. If nothing else, the volunteer pool at the aviary and zoo skyrocketed as folks tried to increase their chances of developing into something awesome. It happened to one zookeeper, who caught it from a leopard bite; it might happen to them, right? And sometimes it kind of did. My friend Beth didn't quite grow the wings she wanted, but if you look real close she's got tiny gold feathers all over her arms. I guess that's something.

Then there are the other wanna-be's. I heard there's one guy from our class who's been faithfully licking his laptop more or less nonstop since the outbreak was announced. No one's quite had the heart to tell him that plastic doesn't have DNA. It just goes to show that not all nerds are geniuses, I guess.

Anyway. Threats of death and destruction on one side; the world's most unpredictable thrill ride on the other. And where was I? Hiding, of course. It's what I do. Not in a closet or anything like that; just quietly being as invisible as possible in my everyday life. Sitting in the back of class, squishing down in my usual seat on the bus home, trying to make as few ripples as humanly possible. When my shoulders started to ache, I figured it was probably from all the hours I spent hunched over my desk, working on college application essays - somehow, in spite of the End of the World scenario, my parents stubbornly hung onto visions of me going to Rutgers next year. Heck, the fact that they hung onto visions of there being a Rutgers next year shows how delusional they were.

I ignored it at first, until my mom walked into the room one day while I was getting dressed for school. (Privacy? What privacy. Maybe now you'll start to understand why what I want more than anything is to never be noticed again.) I turned my back to her to pull my shirt the rest of the way on, and she gasped, and then marched me over to the mirror and made me twist and turn until I could see the purplish, bruise-like shadows under my skin, and the white nubby bumps starting to push forward between my shoulder blades and my spine.

I didn't go to school that day.

I still held out hope for a little while that it was something else - armor plating, maybe, or giraffe spots, or heck, even bone cancer (though mom told me I should be ashamed of saying that). But nope, the doctor said that it was a textbook case of wing emergence.

They itch like hell, now that I know they're there, but I'm not supposed to scratch at them. It could break the skin, and damage the membranes underneath. I've been scheduled for a bone density scan next week; apparently only ten percent of the 'phage victims who grow wings actually develop enough other avian traits to fly. I'm not supposed to wear tight shirts, in case they break through early, and I have to start a miserable series of upper-body physical therapy - apparently even if I can't fly with them, they'll overbalance me enough to wreck my shoulders and spine if I don't work up the strength and stamina to counter them.

I guess, whether I like it or not, I'm not going to be able to hide for much longer.....
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
I often tell people that one of the best things about being a relief veterinarian is that I don't have a boss that I have to answer to. I go from clinic to clinic, and I do my best to follow the policies at the clinics I work at, but ultimately I set my own schedule, I make my own plans, and I do my own thing.

That's not quite true, though. I do, on some level, have a boss. And while I don't have to answer to her often, when I do it's always an adventure. And usually not the fun, lighthearted, wacky sort - more the kind that build character. If you survive. And today was an answering-to-the-boss day.

I'm not sure why she picked today, but I've learned not to question her in these matters. Or in any matters, for what it's worth. I drove as far as I could (she's very picky about not allowing cars on her property, for obvious reasons), then parked in an empty lot, snugged my scarf and gloves tighter, and started walking down the path that led from there, alternately grumbling about the thoughtlessness of folks who schedule meetings in the dead of winter and thanking my lucky stars that at least the path was more clearly marked than the last time I had made this trip, and that I was at least making it in daylight.

Over the river, through the woods, turn left at the giant cliche - I'll say this for my boss. At her age, she has become rather... hidebound. I tend to think of it as a blessing, all things considered. I followed the path to its inevitable but still impressive end, handed my coat to the omnipresent "assistants," and, gritting my teeth (I am American through and through, and we have spent the past three hundred years refusing to bow to anyone as a matter of principle), I went down on one knee. "Majesty, you sent for me?"

The Queen of Air and Darkness laughed, a sound that had more in common with icicles and bells than any human noise. "You may rise, my pet."

I hate it when she calls me that. It feels uncomfortably close to truth. I stood, still carefully keeping my eyes towards the floor. Some things truly aren't meant for human eyes, and while I don't know for certain that looking directly upon her will melt my contact lenses onto my corneas, it's not a risk I'm willing to take. "Is there aught you need of me, Majesty?"

I don't set out to talk like that on purpose around her. She just... seems to bring it out, whether I want to or not.

"It has been seven years since you first swore to serve us. Do you recall? I believe that was the original term you agreed to serve, was it not?"

I nodded wordlessly, praying that, since my contract was technically with the Bright Court, I wouldn't wind up riding a white horse at the end of a parade to Hell. Not only would it be the platonic ideal of No Fun, the time of the great ballads has gone, and my name doesn't scan very well anyway.

"So. Your service is done. If you so wish. Is that your wish, mortal? Do you want to be free?"

"Um... is that a trick question?" Eloquent, I know.

She laughed again - it's good to know that, if all of my other skills fail me, I can still list 'amusing to fairies' as a lifetime accomplishment - and shifted on her throne. "No, my pet. While we are not above the occasional prank or misdirection, we keep our oaths. You have kept your part of the bargain, and we shall keep ours. So I ask again - do you wish your service to the Courts to end here?"

I closed my eyes, doing my best to think clearly in a hazy, uncertain situation. To be free of this - isn't that what I had been counting down towards, ever since the first day I realized that my student loan exit counselor had pushed me into a Special Service condition that most new grads weren't offered, and that he hadn't been joking? No more burn scars (my hands were still stiff from the last visit to the dragon barn), no more bite wounds from werewolves and weeks spent drinking wolfsbane tea and watching the moon nervously. No more manipulative boggans, no more attempts to explain that dryads are outside my area of service. No more patients talking back to me. No more nightmares about things with too many legs and mismatched shadows that try to suck me in as I work on them.

No more unicorns. No more tiny leathery wings scalding my fingertips as I coax them from their shell. No more free laundry service in exchange for keeping the brownies' stable of fancy show mice fat and healthy. No more wild kelpie rides.

I opened my eyes again, seeing the edges of the carved and gilded throne swim and start to fade before me, the chamber slowly shifting back into a cold, empty cavern.

No more magic.

I sank to my knees again, shaking my head, and surrendered to the inevitable. "No, Majesty."

"I thought not." There was gentleness in her voice as well as humor, as she rose. Her touch on my eyelids was as soft as rose petals, as cold as the first breath you draw in a blizzard, as she renewed the glamour that let me see their world. "Serve us well, child."

Seven more years. That's all. Then I'll stop, I swear. I said it last time, but this time I mean it. I think.

(Happy Rabbit Hole Day, y'all....)
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
Sometimes I look at my body, and it feels like... not quite a roadmap, because the symbols don't tell anyone where to go, but more of a storybook. Each little mark is a reminder, the key to a story, a series of memories. The commas around my mouth, mostly hidden when I smile, from the Saint Bernard who tried to eat my face. The pale diagonal line across my sternum from the cat who got his hind foot stuck in the V-neck of my scrub top, before I finally started having my mother-in-law custom-make my scrubs to better fit a skinny, flat-chested girl. The tiny L-shaped scar at the base of my left index finger, dating back to when I was four years old and my neighbor's dog decided to try to share my bread and jam, starting me on a lifelong road of getting marked up by animals. I know them all, and even when I hate them, I love them, because they're part of me and part of my story.

And I look at the red, burned skin on the palms of my hands, and the blisters on my fingertips, and maybe it's just the Ultram talking - without it, I wouldn't be able to type right now, God knows - but I can't help but wonder what these scars will look like, and think about how, someday, they'll be proud badges of this story, too.

Hidden, because this is a long one..... )

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