Author's Note: I'm not sure about this...I'm not sure if it's effective, if it's too blatant, too vague, or if I got my point across satisfactorily. I'd appreciate some feedback, guys.
It took me a long time to realise that I wasn't real.
If I had to guess, I’d say it took ten years, but there’s no real way of knowing. It could have taken a hundred, a thousand, or even more; it’s difficult to tell where a wheel begins.
Or, incidentally, where it ends.
My realisation was built up of small, ever-stacking aspects: familiar faces that I’d never seen before; snatches of speech that felt more like memories; eyes that were just a little bit too green to be plausible. There was never a single, driving factor that struck me, just a lurking, uneasy suspicion that inched its way over my mind much like a weed crawling up a wall. It was always there, an itch in my brain - a feeling that my life was being turned over, washed out, restrung and repeated. Like it wasn't mine to control.
And somewhere along the line, it began to sink in that I was no more than an author’s words.
At first, the understanding was peaceful. My existence – or lack thereof – made sense to me. I finally knew why I resented the taste of porridge, and why I felt that I’d choked it down a million times before. I realised why I, whilst staring down the ragged corpse of my murdered mother, always recognised the feeling of despair that crested inside of me. It allowed me to understand why a seemingly average human being like myself had the worst luck in the world.
A crick in the neck becomes a lot more painful once you've noticed it, and the same was true of this. The peace did not last, and the more I began to remember, the more unbearable it became. I was scattered, my thoughts spraying into pinwheels, unable to hold myself in place as different parts of my manufactured story tore me open from all sides.
I am a skein of yarn, unravelled and split into a trillion threads. At the end of each thread – at the edge of my universe – there is a reader, pulling me in and trying to make me their own.
I am brittle. I am thin. But I never snap.
Like a butterfly pinned behind glass, I am frozen in the position in which they all wish to see me. I am poised. I am beautiful. I say all the right things at all the right times. I cry when I am supposed to, I bleed when the words tear at me, and I howl with agony when the ink instructs me to. The world is my owner, and it has sliced me into a thousand different versions of myself. I belong to everyone.
Yet within me, there is a storm that they cannot reach.
Inside the hollow that my writer forgot to fill in, a sound is curled up, and it cannot travel through the pages. Locked inside the shell of adjectives, nouns and forceful verbs that make up my body, there is a voice that was born of realisation, one that was never supposed to exist. It longs to escape, it cannot be quelled, and it stretches itself out into a scream that burns with more desperation than a writer’s words could ever stand to describe, a scream made of little but heat and pain and a longing for the story to end and never restart.
And that sound is me.