Dragons Lie Beneath My Skin

Written by Sonora for the game Snap Shot, Writing Prompt #19


I think the universe is flawed because my heartbeat is broken into two. I have no synchronous form to wrap myself in–the rhythm in my chest shatters in a continuous loop. My life is a graphics interchange format of flesh.

They say daydreamers dream to escape, but reality is the only loophole away from the dragons beneath my skin. Too tight–it stretches over muscle and bone–taut tendons cracking and joints shivering. I am faux-carbon simply made of glass and ceramic. I look real until you touch me and I open my mouth.

Even my reflection is a snapshot of a fragmented child-adult. The person who looks back at me is the real inbetweener, all middling of middleton with boney knees. I’d like to say I know who I am, but this no man’s land has cemented me in.

Reality offers me deadlines for assignments, dishes to wash, and lost moments of patting the neighbour’s black lab. It’s better with baggy clothes and no mirrors. Filling up the time and forgetting myself makes it better.

Dad’s eyes, the ‘personal’ questions on forms, and the counsellor ruin all the work I do to forget. There’s too much empty time where my ribs squeeze my lungs into old, wrinkled balloons. The counseller with her too-white nails click-clacking on the keyboard tells me I’m overthinking things and then asks me to think. Her flawed logic makes me choke on the bitter water in my glass.

Online at 2am, trying to fill out university paperwork, my shadow flickers in the corner of my eye. The light from the screen has me silhouetted against the bed, my unruly hair shattering the light into thousands of fragments as though I’m dissolving into tiny birds. I pretend for a moment that they are the reason my skin itches and my outsides feel all wrong. But when I swivel back to the screen I can almost hear the wing beats in my ears and feel their brush against my scalp.

The questions stare at me, typed out across the white as though I should know. But maybe I do as I find my eyes drawn to ‘other’. And maybe it’s not the universe that’s flawed.