For the all the broken, lonely hearts out there struggling against the shadows' chains.
Tired words formed against her tongue. Bitter, like mama's herbs. Her lips were pressed tightly together; the words were too weary to escape their prison. She knew that if she let those words drip from her mouth as they longed to, they would fall upon her listeners ears, sour, dry, disgusting - like herbs. She knew also that they might slowly heal the pulsing wound on her heart that she wrapped so tightly with half-lies. She could barely hope for that though. Hope was scare in those days and she hardly dared to spend it on something so painfully precarious. Because of this and because she was afraid, she kept quiet, watching the darkness settle around her. It took root in her silence, her lies, memories, her pain, her aloneness. As she watched it stole pieces of her courage, a small price to hide the blood that soaked her hands.
She lived this way for a very long time. The shadows taught her how cover the deceit in her eyes with well-timed smiles. They taught her how to remain unnoticed in a crowd of people, they taught her to absorb everything she saw and heard and how to leave when danger showed its face. The darkness taught her many things, and it took many things from her in return. There was one thing that she refused to give them, those words that still weighed against her tongue, smoldering gently like ashes. The shadows punished her for this, they attacked her and made her believe terrible things about herself, but still she would not give up her words. Time shuffled onward and she learned she could disguise those words in other words so they were not so bitter and the shadows did not know they were slipping past, written on the pages they had taught her to stain with blood and inky falsehoods.
One day she shared one single such page, lined with a few of her disguised words with another girl she knew was trapped by shadows. The other girl's eyes screamed the tears that refused to fall. That day, both of them felt something that they had not felt in a long time-- relief from their aloneness. Because of the understanding that they shared some of the shadows had to leave. These were the shadows that only formed when one believed they were forever alone in their hopelessness. The other shadows grew angry with their hostages, afraid of being sent away too. They coiled around the girls' hearts tightly, hoping that by forcing them to just survive they would forget about each other and the bond they shared.
Every day was struggle. Every morning that they awoke was both a blessing and a curse.
They reminded each other of their hope every day, whispering cleverly disguised words to heal each other’s constant loneliness. They began to fend off the darkness by wielding the words they refused to give up. Often times all they could do was survive, but they found that by surviving together the shadows weren't as dark, the days were not as hard and the loneliness wasn't as sharp as it was before.