| By Gabriella Telaroli

Her fingernails are yellow and worn short from picking and biting

The skin around her eyes is heavy and dark from no sleep

She’s scratching


Scratching at her arms

She’s breathing far too rapidly

Squirming all around

“Don’t go,” she says to me. “They won’t even care if you’re not there”

Okay I won’t,” I tell her, falling into her grasp

She leans in, her sharp white fangs grinning cruelly

“Coward,” She hisses in my ear, and I believe her

Guilt swallows me. I’m suddenly breathing fast just like her

“So… I should go?” I guess

My body starts to shake

I’m scared of her, even though I thought she only wanted to keep me safe

No,” She growls, starling me, her voice harsh like venom

 “You’ll look like an idiot

“They don’t even want you there. They don’t even like you

They only invited you because they feel sorry for you

“They aren’t really your ‘friends’”

The words sting like cold, jagged metal to my heart

I’m suddenly bleeding

I go. Idiot, idiot, idiot

I don’t go. Coward, coward, coward

The only person she wants to protect is herself

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