Madeleine Edwards, Grade 9
She sat staring out the window, her room damask, dark. The dirty, grime-coated window filtered through grey light on her white face, made her eyes appear grey, tired. Her yellow-straw hair flowed over her shoulder and her corseted breast, like some goddess in a heart-shaped box. She brushed her long hair, a fragile, pale bird kept in a lifeless cage.
As she watched the street below, she began to think herself away.
When she opened her eyes, she was there in the sunlight, where it was warm on her back. Her skin was bare now, still so pale. Her hair was so long, so beautiful, and it washed over her, a cloak of spun gold thread. Her big blue eyes sparkled anew and she rose from the carpet of red-blossomed heather.
Looking skyward, she began to walk in this beautiful Eden, purple sky stretching on for always.
She reached a field of blue paper flowers that towered over her head and she laid in them, staring up at the pink-candy clouds. The air sung a nightingale's lullaby to her, always changing, never once repeating. Finches, linnet birds, flittered overhead, adding their voices. In the trees, with black-blue leaves, crows and blackbirds made there nests. She rose again and continued to traverse the serene landscape.
It was as if all was fine now, she was no longer trapped. She could go wherever she wanted; she could walk forever, if she wanted. There was no pain, no loss here - there was only light. She would never have to cry again, nor run.
Everything was okay.
‘But I am alone.’
The truth tore her heart, but the light of the world brightened the pain and made it all better. She was alone, forever, but it didn't matter. She had herself. Herself, for eternity. She didn't need to be sad, because her world would make it better.
In a beautiful lake, she bathed herself. Serpentine dragons breached in the clear, cool water, spreading their silver wings and falling on their spined backs as they surged from the water. Aquatic wolves were curled up on the rocks, fur-covered scales gleaming, webbed appendages relaxed. A dark rainbow of colour, they rose in a chorus of howls, responding to their land counterparts.
She washed herself in the cool water before she stepped into the sun. Somehow, it seemed colder now. Slowly, she was swallowed up in the sound of her screaming, and could not cease for the fear of silence in her mind, the fear of silent nights. Her thoughts were nothing else but the constant sound of her own agony. She longed for the bright world to cure the darkness, but it would not. No longer was she the fallen goddess of imaginary light.
Her weary eyes opened to the dull light, the window. She came back to reality, and came back to the black-and-grey world. The darkness ripped her apart, tore her heart out. She dropped her brush, dropped her shoulders, and cried.