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"Behind the Glass"
"Behind the Glass"
By Alyssa Huber
|"Fear" by akirakirai on deviantART|
She felt it coming again, and she couldn't hide from it.
Lushia's vision blurred. The Shadow Mark was taking her over, crawling across her skin. Her head was throbbing. Her heart was pounding. She felt desperately afraid. The burning, constricting, spreading pain was intense, but she would endure three times that pain if she didn't have to succumb to the sinking feeling inside her.
It felt as if she was looking at Mikio from behind a glass wall, unable to speak or be heard, gradually drifting farther away. A blurry image of Mikio glitched in front of her, his concerned eyes looking malicious in flashes.
It's not real... she thought to herself. It's just an illusion...
It was hard to convince herself of that when it looked like her friend wanted to kill her, or worse. Whatever was worse than death, that's what his face looked like. Brown eyes flashing to red. They became bloodshot. Then they disappeared into white nothingness. He grinned a grin too wide for a human face, revealing layers upon layers of sharp teeth. Blood dripped from his hairline, his eyes, and even the walls behind him.
The moment Mikio's eyes disappeared, Lushia couldn't tolerate it any longer. She held out her arms in front of her protectively, wishing it would go away. Her efforts to resist only made it worse, evoking a feeling of being smothered on all sides. Too much pressure. Too much nausea. She shrieked and fell backwards at the sensation of a thousand tiny insects crawling on her arms. It didn't help that she couldn't ignore the luring susurrus of secretive voices.
A warped voice spoke to her.
"Lushia..." it came from what was left of Mikio, and sounded like three voices at once. "Die" said one, "here" said another, and the third whispered "useless."
Frantically, Lushia rubbed her arms to be rid of the insects. But there was nothing there, even though she still felt it. Trying to block out the sensations were futile. She looked at her arm carefully. Something wasn't right: the Mark wasn't there. Did she get better? No, that couldn't be... not if she still felt what she did, and if the twisted creature in front of her was still there.
Focusing on her nightmarishly warped, labored breathing, Lushia looked closer at her arm. The crawly feeling was still there, but no insects. No insects meant this wasn't real. The creature in front of her meant this wasn't real. It only felt real. Lushia took a deep, shaky breath, and looked up to face the monster.
"Lushia..." the monster uttered through its layered teeth, with only two voices this time. It sounded more human...
The gruesome features of the creature were starting to melt away. When she saw a glimpse of brown eyes beneath the monster, she felt like she could breathe again.
"--here." said Mikio. "I'm here."
Lushia glanced down to see his hand held out before her, noticing the worn threads of his leather gloves sticking out from the seams. He was offering his hand.
Cautiously--as she still felt sick and uneasy--she weakly placed her hand in his. She focused again on his gloves. The smooth-but-rough feeling, the smell of the earth, the tickling of the threads. Mikio was here, and he wasn't a monster. Lushia felt safe. And yet, she felt a twinge of guilt rising in her; she could barely speak as she swallowed it back down, trying to focus on her gratitude. Mikio was here.