n i n e | Gear Up

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n i n e | Gear Up

It was a week later when I realized I wasn't feeling good, and worse, I couldn't stop feeling it.

I found my attention wandering almost always, which wasn't a good thing when I needed to focus on what Bernice was saying and it was even worse when I was trying to study. I'd grab what I needed at breakfast to get through the morning and do what I needed to do at lessons with Bernice before escaping to back to my bed. I'd sleep, fool myself into thinking I was reading the books I needed to read and then go back to sleep. It was getting crazy. I'd skip lunch and only come out of bed when it was time for dinner with Uncle Albert and I could tell even he was sensing something was off about me.

Not to mention the fact that it was getting harder and harder just getting out of bed in the morning, a fact which was grating on my nerves because I'd always been a morning person.

In short, everything sucked.

Now I'd wonder where it all began... but I knew. I remembered it hitting me like a truck when Uncle Albert asked me if I was happy; when I realized that, for the first time ever in my life, I felt devastatingly lonely.

It was silly.

But it was also unnerving.

I wanted to kick myself and tell myself to gear up. Overcome this somehow.

I mean, I knew I would... eventually.

But it was all the thoughts that brought me low in my head. Thoughts that'd send me back into a weird spiral of being back to square one.

Thoughts that said why? Why me? Why here, in the castle, where I had nobody? The only person who genuinely wanted me here was Uncle Albert. Alexander hated me and Bernice was distant and obviously only polite because that was her job.  And there was no one else here—at least, no one I'd met. There was nothing beyond these castle walls I'd seen in weeks and it wasn't helping that I kept thinking this wasn't what my mother wanted for me in a way that it'd always haunt me.

Maybe this wasn't me feeling low. Maybe I was just going insane.

Right now, as I stood hugging my pillow to myself in my pajamas outside my bedroom door at two a.m., watching the dim golden glow of the overhead light turned on in the otherwise dark kitchen, I certainly felt insane.

Go, I told myself. Go and talk to someone. Say anything. Tell them you haven't been feeling great. Just say anything.

This was my first attempt in days trying to... well, reach out to someone. And I could say it wasn't going great.

What if it was Bernice? I wondered. She honestly would not be interested in hearing me out with any of this. She probably wouldn't be happy if I told her she'd won a million dollars if it meant she had to interact with me outside of our scheduled lesson hour. She always bolted so fast after them, I don't think I'd ever seen her otherwise.

Well, at least she had things to do.

Hell, it wasn't going to be Bernice in the kitchen. She'd never be up at this hour.

It could be Alexander again, I realized. And if anything, he'd be even less interested in giving me a listening ear.

Fuck all that, I shook my head. Just go.

Taking a hesitant step towards the kitchen, I paused, remembering the pillow I was clutching like a lifeline. Going back that very step, I opened my door and dumped it in the room before closing the door again. Showing up with a pillow? I mean, I might be insane but I wasn't insane.

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