One - A Silent Prelude

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It wasn't so bad, really.

The darkness was just a black void. An empty abyss absent any light. A dizzying plunge into absolute nothingness.

Darkness—if that's all it was—wasn't so bad.

The silence, though? The inky black abyss paled in comparison to the deafening quiet.

The silence enveloped Lizzie, wrapping her head like a winter blanket soaked in water. The weight was crushing, her senses deadened.

The thoughts came next, banging around her skull as if they were baseball bats wielded by some doped-up player in the middle of a 'roid rage.

You're a failure.

He left because you're broken.

No one loves you. No one likes you.

You'll never finish that degree.

You're fat.

He left because you're fat.

That bitch. That fucking slut.

You're not even out of your twenties and you've already peaked.

Why do you drink so much? Because you're a fucking alcoholic, that's why, andfuck itwho the fuck cares? Damn the consequences.

You're a fucking coward.

Why did you let him leave you?

Can your parents possibly think less of you? Of course they can. They only liked you because he was with you.

The darkness wasn't so bad but the silence was a fucking cunt.

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