She stared desperately into the mirror, trying to recognize the stranger scanning every inch of her own face. In anguish, She watches tears glide down her smooth, pale skin.
The face draws nearer, and only inches from hers, she hopelessly searches.
She can see every scar, blemish and freckle. She can see every contour, line and pore. But, She just can’t see herself.
Her breath escapes through trembling lips. Slow and shallow, steam forms and disappears on the glass, obscuring and revealing the face before Her.
She stares at the woman’s tear-streaked cheeks, lifting her hand to trace the paths of her sorrow, running her fingers along the blood of her soul.
Lower, lower, and lower it falls.
Closing her eyes painfully, She blocks out Life. She hears not. She sees not. It’s just Her, and the warmth of her tears on her cold skin.
Her breath deepens. It quickens.
She backs away from the mirror blindly. A thud pierces the silence, when her back collides with wall. Her pained sigh echoes against the tiles, as She slides lifelessly to the floor.
Images flash before Her eyes. Voices torment Her in the confines of her mind.
Her father is shouting.
Her mother is crying.
Her brother is screaming.
He wants him to stop hitting his mother. He wants him to stop hurting her. He just wants him to stop making her cry. He doesn’t like the red.
The sound of palm against flesh rings shrilly.
Louder, and louder still.
Her father is attacking her mother. Her mother’s flesh is bruised. Her mother’s trying to shield herself from her raging husband.
Her mother raises her arms pitifully.
He just hurts them too.
Her mother’s blood shines on the walls. Her mother’s blood spreads at her own limp sides. He kicks her mother, and she doesn’t move.
Her mother’s eyes were always so beautiful. They always sparkled. Yet, there they were, staring dully at her – lifeless.
Her own scream penetrates the stillness. But, no sound she made could ever drown out the violent hysteria only she can hear.
Their screams attack her. They threaten to consume her.
Screaming! Crying! Shouting! Thudding! Glass shattering! Doors slamming! Wailing! More screaming! Slapping! More glass breaking!
She grabs at her ears, forcing them against her skull. Nothing she does will ever muffle their sorrows.
Her stinging eyes are shut tight. Her back racks violently, shuddering with each tormented sob.
Rocking back and forth, childishly hugging her knees to her chest, Her last whimpers were never heard.
“No. Stop. No. No… No… S-s-stop. No. N-no… No…… Stop…”
Their voices slowly diminish. Eerily, their cries circle softly around Her.
Her father stands before her. Menacingly, whispering hauntingly, he draws closer.
“Eli… Hehehehe… Eliiiiiii… Oh, Eli… You stupid, naïve little girl… Eli… Eli…… Eli………Eli…………… You stupid……… Naïve… little girl…”
He raises his hand, and starts to strike Her across the face.
Her eyes shoot wide open. She hears her rasping breath, as if not her own. Her skin, now drenched in cold sweat, she begins to rise.
She stares into the mirror.
Finally, a familiar face.
Sweat mingles with warm tears where He hit her. She watches herself touch her cheek. She doesn’t even know she’s doing it.
She had no choice. He killed her mother. He killed her brother. He was trying to kill her.
The steel didn’t pierce his chest. She was too weak. She was too young.
But as he lunged, she raised her tiny, thin arms to protect her face. She raised them just like her mother did, and the knife met his bare, exposed neck.
He fell atop Her, and she tasted his blood. His weight almost crushed her.
Its warmth spread over her face, and soaked into her hair. It ran down her neck, and trickled past her shoulder. It pooled beneath her, and she felt him gag.
She could never forget how her tears mixed with his blood, as he grew stiller. She could never forget how he got heavier, when not long passed, and he became dead weight.
She reached for the blade. It just sat there, reflecting the light.
She dragged the razor, dipping its tip into her wrist. These were the arms, once so tiny, that had saved her, and she thought of how she wished they hadn’t, as slowly, ever so slowly, she ran it across.
Deep, her own wound oozed crimson. Unthinking, she watched it flow constantly.
With every slowing heartbeat her life began to fade. With every drop of blood wasted away, so too did her pain.
She looked into the mirror once more, and smiled and at the person she was leaving behind.
She sat down, and resting her head against the cold tiles behind her, Eli descended into nothingness…
He would torment her no longer.